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Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

Trip report : (Bilbao - see below)
Hondarribia - was a gorgeous little town, with a fantastic medieval center. Next time I go I will go to a fantastically warm and cozy restaurant Sebastian. Sadly we were only in town for one night, and it that evening we experienced a downpour. We ate in one restaurant where all the pintxo bars were. I would go back and spend more time here!
San Sebastian - where to begin?
Astelena was great, we had an amazing oxtail pintxos. Really good foie gras here too. We arrived around 8.30 and the place was empty (during World Cup quarter finals). Didn't matter, we got a table, the children sat at a special kiddie table with crayons/paper and were set for the next 1.5 hr, when the place filled up completely!
Haizea had a great little baccalao in a brick (crepe) tied up w a charred green onion.
My other 2 favorite places were San Telmo (beef cheeks, cod and ??) and a place nearly across the 31 Augusto from where you veer off to go to San Telmo and Dakara Bi - The foie gras here was to die for!
If you go, go to the San Sebastian Tourism office and for 1 Euro you can get their little map of pinxto bars. It's a great little handheld cheat sheet.(it's online as well, but the printed one is much better) Of course, use it as a guide. If you see a queue of people...go, they must be feasting on something great. We had our children with us - they were doing their own taste test of croquettas! No winner - my son liked them all!

My recommendation is to visit other towns too. We went to Vitoria-Gastiez. What a find, and it wasn't jammed with tourists! Their tourism office is a wealth of information! As the tour guide on the Santa Maria Cathedral tour said "We are the forgotten Basque country!" It's so true but it's a charming city, though inland and not as immediately captivating as San Sebastian.
We also went to Logrono (the heart of Rioja!). We accidentally stayed at a hotel right in the old quarter and it was just 2 blocks from the pinxto bars. Again, this city was a gem! Calle Laurel...and Calle San Juan, the street that is just adjacent to the Marques de Vallejo hotel- a lovely hotel I might add!

Not surprising, but somewhat amazing b/c there is very little to be found on CH for pintxo bars in Bilbao. But, Bilbao has very good pintxos! See my trip report http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9807...

Jul 15, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal
1

Sicily (Jun 14 - 21)

Trip report (delinquent)- Italians love children, and Sicilians even more so! Don't be worried about taking your children out.
We ended up following local recommendations - we stayed at agritourismos. (Palermo, Agrigento, Modica, Ragusa? and Syracus)
Outside of Agrigento - I don't know the name of the restaurant, but it had a gorgeous view of the Valley of Temples light up at night...al fresco dining, children running around, amazing swordfish - changed my mind on swordfish in fact!.
Modica - if you go to Sicily and don't go to Modica...you have really missed out! Modica is a charming town set in a valley. It has about 10 store fronts/(factories?) that make a delicious grainy chocolate bar (without butter, I think?) it's almost like a biscuit, but after you get used to it..its addictive.
We went to Fattoria delle Torri and had a meal of a lifetime on their patio (with our two children nibbling off our plates) . gamberi rosso on a bed of sea salt, plated in melted butter.
We ate at a local /cozy restaurant on one of the main streets in Modica - the maitre de was so warm and accommodating, even though he had virtually no English and we had very limited food Italian. That evening our al fresco meal was punctuated by a strolling accordian player who played with such passion.
Sicily (and especially Modica) - we'll be back!
Next time I might skip Palermo ...

Jul 15, 2014
weezy1074 in Italy

Amsterdam and Brugges recommendations please...

A long over due trip report...
In Brugges - Den Dyver - was an amazing restaurant. Think white table cloth restaurant (not stuffy, simply elegant) that revolves around beer and beer pairings - rather than wine. My husband had a beer pairing with his meal. I had a sublime risotto for my main, the restaurant was great with our children (5 and 2) - made a meal for them- it was fairly priced for a good restaurant, they were served a delicious piece of white fish and mashed potatoes. - we had a very memorable meal, which my husband talks about ...Blauw...we live in SF, and have tried most cuisines, including various Asian cuisines, but this was the most unique combination of flavors I have ever had. We ended up returning a few days later with colleagues. The flavors were hard to describe, if you like Thai/Indian/Chinese/Malaysian cuisine, this will blow your mind!
Die Witte Oul -(the white owl) - we were lucky enough to visit this restaurant 2 days before they closed! Delicious and a delightful owner. Enough said.
Gartine- was a lovely restaurant serving traditional Dutch food. Solid choice. Give it a try.

Jul 15, 2014
weezy1074 in Europe

Bilbao - has good pintxos!

Bilbao -trip report
Pintxos- Calle Garcia Riveras - was jammed on a Friday evening! Had the feel of locals. One was #7- good tapas. The piece de resistance of our pintxos in Bilbao was found across the street at Bar Luzea- Moules (mini!) for 4.50, or a half for 2.50. The mussels were served warm, were salty and exquisite! We also tried the foie, served w a slightly sweet sauce drizzled on top, on a small bed of bread, topped w. slight dusting of sea salt...it was so good we had another order! The steamed shrimp were delicious too- they were perfectly fresh too!!
Another street we found w pintxos was Calle Degustacion - this is where the reputed Bar Lekeito is, meant to be good but it was closed at 10pm on a thurs so we visited a place down the street, Queso (something) very good- tuna with crey cheese and scallions on a bed of bread, along a w few pintxos I cannot recall.

Jun 29, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal
1

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

Thanks.

Jun 22, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

Thank you. Suppose I will have to post a trip report w the good places we discover!

Jun 22, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

Any suggestions for pintxos in Bilbao? Anyone?

Jun 21, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

anyone?

Jun 21, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)

Need advice - pais vasco - Bilbao (mainly)
Will arrive in Bilbao on Thursday evening. Where do people recommend eating in Bilbao, Logrono and Vitoria?
We have a 6 and 3 yr old. Pintxos is what we will be eating, no Michelin stars on this trip.

Bilbao 2 nights - completely at a loss as to where to eat
Hondarribia - thought we might go to:Gran Sol, Plaza Mayor
San Sebastian - Astelena, Bar Zeruko, Fuego Negro, Bar Haizea - is there a main street in San Sebastian that is known for good pintxos - not touristy?
Logrono - walk down Calle Laurel - any other suggestion of streets to visit for good pintxos?
Vitoria - ? suggestions please.

Thank you very much!
Denise

Jun 20, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal
1

Ramen Street Festival part of J-Pop Summit, SF Japantown July 19-20, 2014!

excellent!!

Jun 20, 2014
weezy1074 in San Francisco Bay Area

First visit to Pais Vasco

Doh! Yes, yes, my typo. We will definitely try the "cocido montañés". Not sure if time will permit a visit to Gaudi's house, noted though, if not now, saved for a future trip.

May 22, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

First visit to Pais Vasco

Good to know. Thank you!

May 22, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

Hama-ko. Sigh. I miss that place! The owners finally retired and it's now a cozy little wine bar.

May 20, 2014
weezy1074 in General Topics

First visit to Pais Vasco

I am in need of recommendations for lunch/dinner spots in Pais Vasco in late June/early July...it's a whirlwind tour - 2 nights in Bilbao, 1 Hondarribia, 3 San Sebastian, 1 Logrono, 2 Vitoria, 1 Santilla del Mar.

We aren't looking for Michelin stars, we have 2 small children with us, just looking for authentic/good/honest/inventive food/pintxos.
Further off the beaten path the better.

PS. Does anyone know if San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is accessible? (I have read that it is under construction)
Thanks for your input! I am really looking forward to our trip.

May 20, 2014
weezy1074 in Spain/Portugal

Whistler- dinner suggestions midweek

First trip to Whistler ...I am looking for any recommendations on places to eat in Whistler (staying in Blackcomb, but I have a car)- looking for any good independent restaurant/ or a good value/ ethnic is grand/ pub food grand too) trying to avoid overpriced ski resort dinners (is it possible)? Many thanks.

Jan 18, 2014
weezy1074 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver 3 nights // Whistler recommendations

Thanks. Just booked a table at Guu w Garlic.
Sounds like Alibi is a good place for a saturday afternoon when we need a little rest...and a nice beverage for adults!

Jan 14, 2014
weezy1074 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver 3 nights // Whistler recommendations

Do the heavy drinkers frown upon children drinking heavily?
Thanks. It's always hard to tell what goes in various cities, and what type of an establishment it might be. Brew pubs here are fine for children, before say...8pm.
Thanks.

Jan 14, 2014
weezy1074 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

mmmmm!
for me...Smoked (?) salmon over pappardelle with a cream sauce. I had it when I was about 17 in the Isle of Sylt with my family. (in the late -80s) I should just give up..but am always hopeful when I see salmon on a menu with a cream sauce.
Thing is, I have no idea what the restaurant was called, though I recall it was near the sea, an extremely large window faced the sea, and it was a stormy looking yet spectacular sky when we ate there. If only I could recreate this..

Jan 13, 2014
weezy1074 in General Topics

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

Smoked (?) salmon over pappardelle with a cream sauce. I had it when I was about 17 in the Isle of Sylt with my family. (in the late -80s) I should just give up..but am always hopeful when I see salmon on a menu with a cream sauce.
Thing is, I have no idea what the restaurant was called, though I recall it was near the sea, an extremely large window faced the sea, and it was a stormy looking yet spectacular sky when we ate there. If only I could recreate this...

Jan 13, 2014
weezy1074 in General Topics

Vancouver 3 nights // Whistler recommendations

I'm heading to Vancouver from SF...I'm looking for one or two dinner suggestions, as well as a lunch and a breakfast recommendation in Vancouver. Cheap and cheerful independent and/or locally sourced would be our preference, emphasis on especially as we'll be in Whistler for a few days. We want good and authentic food at a fair price.

Vancouver
Is Vij's still outstanding or has it been replaced by another better/hipper Indian restaurant?
What should we not miss? Is Guu worth going to? Is the menu the same? Original, Garlic or Otokomae?
Is Alibi room good (great for craft beer, no)? Can we take small children? (perhaps if we go really early?)
Is Choux choux charcuterie still around?
We'll be staying off of Hornby St, near the Burrard skytrain. We don't mind a walk.

Whistler (staying in Blackcomb)
I presume we'll be cooking in and early to bed on several evenings as our smallies will be skiing all day, but it would be good to know of a few places to go - where the food is good (or great even!) and fairly priced!

BTW,- We have 2 smallish children...who are good w ethnic food and well behaved.

Thanks for your suggestions. Many of the postings for Vancouver look quite old.

Jan 13, 2014
weezy1074 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Recommendation for last minute dinner for 2 [San Francisco]

That is a good suggestion. Thanks.

Jan 02, 2014
weezy1074 in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for last minute dinner for 2 [San Francisco]

Looking for dinner tomorrow night...something solidly good, yet also somewhat new or hip.
We love the likes of Delfina, Starbelly, Bar Jules, Bar Tartine...etc.
What I want to avoid is over rated and unnecessarily expensive places, just for the name/experience where the food isn't all that good.

Recently I went to AQ and found it excessively expensive, for the food and service.

Suggestions please.
Thanks.

Jan 02, 2014
weezy1074 in San Francisco Bay Area

DC dining for 4 nights?

I will be in DC for 4 nights, beginning tomorrow. While I lived there for years, I have been away for nearly 15. What are the must visits in the city proper? (I will be in Farragut West, going to the conference center every day). I am looking for good food, that isn't crazyily expensive (doesn't need to be Nora)!
Is the place still around in the Eastern Market that sells amazing crab cakes?
Is Jaleo still good?
Ethiopean/Erritrean recommendations?
What are the talked about places these days?
Thanks!
Denise

Oct 31, 2013
weezy1074 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Last minute restaurant in Napa

We are fortunate to find ourselves in Napa on Saturday night. (This Saturday!). Any recommendation for a good restaurant - good food, doesn't need to be expensive or fancy. We live in sf, and are spoilt by good restaurants that don't over charge. We are a party of 4...2 are 6 and 3! Suggestions please!

Oct 25, 2013
weezy1074 in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for a recommendation [San Francisco]

We have been away for 18 months...looking for a good restaurant to go to w our friends who used to live in the city. Emphasis on really good food, hip/chic, not hipster crowd. We love delfina, beretta, Starbelly, flour & water. Looking for a new comer that we haven't been to, or hear of as we were away. Something that might accommodate us on a Saturday night w out reservations! Thanks!!

Sep 19, 2013
weezy1074 in San Francisco Bay Area

Amsterdam and Brugges recommendations please...

We will be in Brugges for 2 nights (Sun-Mon night) next week, and Amsterdam for 5 nights (Tue - Sat night) with 2 small children - 5 years and 2 years. I am looking for suggestions on places to go to eat, be it a sit down restaurant or street food not to miss - we are mainly looking for places casual locals go, but looking for some really good food.
We are from SF, and know it doesn't need to be white table cloth and expensive to be really good Our children will be with us every evening, but they are very well behaved (have been to Cinc Sensis, etc) and they like to eat!

These are some of the places I am thinking of (found from previous CH posts, DutchGrub and Amsterdamfoodie - thank you all!!), if any of these should be avoided, please advise, and please advise if there is a place not to miss! Thanks! Are children welcome in Dutch restaurants? We are living in Dublin at the moment where restaurants are not child friendly!

Brugges:
Bistro den Huzaar
Den Dyver

Amsterdam:
Blauw
gartine
Restaurant Greetje
Tempo Deoloe - Rijsttafel
Sampurna
De Bekeerde Suster
Pancakes! Amsterdam
Vleminckx French Fries
Japanese Pancake World

Amsterdam terraces -
bar brandstof
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Gent aan de Schinkel
Cafe de Jaren Cafe ‘t Sluisje
Cafe Hesp
Café Onder de Ooievaar

Apr 14, 2013
weezy1074 in Europe

Recs for Ireland...

The Vintage Kitchen in Dublin (off poolbeg street) is meant to be very good, book early.
Also, the Pigs Ear across from Trinity (Dublin city center) is fantastic - a great example of excellent local Irish cuisine!
If you cant get into pigs ear, The Winding Stair is also really good - a bit more expensive (not better) and one of our favorites in Dublin is called Mulligan's Grocer - in a place called Stoneybatter, about 15 min walk from Dublin city center. Fantastic locally sourced Irish food - in a gorgeously authentic pub setting. Book all in advance if you can, Mulligan's grocer is recently getting good press. Are these off the beaten path? Not really, but they are smart casual and really good. Coming from SF, I have found Dublin has many expensive or just overrated restaurants. These are solid. Try Pigs Ear and Mulligans - you won't be disappointed!
Another place just came to mind - Rigby. Off Leeson Street (10 min walk from city center) by day it's a deli, by night its a small restaurant w/ no menu - lovely and quaint. 2options of offerings for 3 courses - only. Perfect!

Apr 12, 2013
weezy1074 in U.K./Ireland

Salzburg, and Kaprun, Austria

Thanks for the recommendation. The Goldener Hirsch looks very quaint and is just what we are looking for!

Jan 29, 2013
weezy1074 in Europe

Salzburg, and Kaprun, Austria

I am hoping to find some recommendations for restaurants in Kaprun (or nearby,we will have a car) and Salzburg. I will be in Kaprun at the end of February for about 5 nights, then will be in Salzburg on a Saturday night. I am looking for good, traditional cooking. Nothing fancy necessary, just solid Austrian food! Any recommendations of spots for coffee in Salzburg are also welcome. We will be staying in the old town. Thanks for your I recommendations!

Jan 23, 2013
weezy1074 in Europe

Driving through Bavaria next week

Yes!
We had a coffee/bier and late lunch at Meisers Cafe Restaurant Goldenes Lamb was quite good on Weinmarkt 10.
Dinner was across the street, at Restaurant Sonne Cafe - Weinmarkt 11. It was a cozy restaurant. It felt like a gasthof, personal, not too large, and casual. We were there w 2 children and they doted on the little ones.
It wasn't high dining, but it was solid food from the region!
If you get a chance, and are near Wurzburg, just outside of Wurzburg is a small village called Eibelstadt. It's a charming village set beside the vineyards, partially intact walls and towers - which people have made into homes. In this charming village, we had an exquisite dinner at Weinforum Franken. It was simply fantastic! Kurbis was in season when there, and the menu featured kurbis (pumpkin/ or more accurately hokkaido squash). If you make it to Lindau - the Restaurant Old Poste is very good. More formal than casual, but very good. A month later I cant recall the price range, but I remember it being very good value (could be because I live in Dublin and everything is terribly overpriced and most are very average). Sorry I don't have more details, it was now at least 5 weeks ago.

Nov 10, 2012
weezy1074 in Europe