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Upcoming Puglia trip

Thanks Val'
As I write this I'm in the process of being underwhelmed with the service in another restaurant in Matera

Thus far the welcome has paled when compared to that received in Gargano (especially!) and throughout our time near Carovigno and Savelletri .... Maybe the high tourist numbers are impacting on the welcome ....

Anyway the first lesson I learnt painfully this evening is that many restaurants in Matera close on Wednesdays. The second is that those which are open tend to close earlier than elsewhere

Thanks for the input anyway

Jun 03, 2015
daves2009 in Italy

Upcoming Puglia trip

Absolutely! If you haven't seen Italy Unpacked with Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham Dixon (a chef and an art historian travelling through Giorgio's homeland) on BBC, the third series starts with Basilicata and Puglia and is a real treat. The episode is From the Stones to the Stars - it is probably somewhere online.

May 21, 2015
daves2009 in Italy

Upcoming Puglia trip

Very grateful for the quick response (Ive left it a little bit "last minute" I think - Im heading to Puglia on Friday!)

I will get that app post-haste (I presume it is the Osterie d'Italia one - there are 4).

I had seen versions of the market "rota" several other places but the info was slightly conflicting. I will discuss with the landlord

Thanks for all the good advice

May 20, 2015
daves2009 in Italy

Upcoming Puglia trip

Dear Chowhounds
I will be travelling to Puglia and Basilicata shortly with stays near Carovigno (1 week), Peschici (3 days), Matera (2 days) and Trani (1 day). I have availed of the previous CH reviews and threads here on both these provinces and have identified (and/or booked) several restaurants:

Carovigno / Ostuni: Gia Sotto l’Arco, Casale Ferrovia, Porta Nova

Peschici: Trabucco da Mimi, Porto di Basso

Matera: Le Botteghe

Lecce: Le Zie

Trani: Corteinfiore

HOWEVER, I am conscious that many of these are probably a little fancy and I wonder if that is a good idea: I have often found on previous trips to Italy that the more low-key and “honest” the kitchen, the more satisfying the experience. Does anyone have any thoughts / opinions on this?

I suppose what I’m after are any recommendations for places that locals frequent in these areas (say Val d’Itria and Gargano) – somewhere to go for lunch while out sight-seeing.

We have a house while in Carovigno so I intend to to cook at home some of the time and buy local produce (and hopefully some fresh fish) in the village shops or the weekly market. The impression I get is that each main village/town holds a market once a week. Can anyone confirm this? Or advise of local fishmongers, etc?

Thanks in advance for any help

I’m very excited about the trip and will write a lengthy review when I return

May 20, 2015
daves2009 in Italy

Sant Marti - Poble Nou - Vila Olimpic recommendations request

Thanks willyum! Escriba was excellent - we were lucky to have reserved a table because the number of people turned away from Sunday lunch was quite astounding. I'll write a longer review when I get back (we're off to Seville now) but we have also eaten well this trip at Paco Meralgo, senyor Parellada, bar Clemens in the Boqueria, el Vaso de Oro and Pakta

Jun 02, 2014
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Sant Marti - Poble Nou - Vila Olimpic recommendations request

Dear Chowers
I am off to Barcelona later this week and wondered if anyone had any recommendations for the less-trodden pathways of the Vila Olimpic (where we are renting an apartment) or the greater Poble Nou area.

Having lived in the city briefly in the mid-2000s I have a fair grasp of the geography and transport in the Eixample and have already lined up a few nights at old haunts (including an old favourite: late dinner at Paco Meralgo followed by a cheeky nightcap in Dry Martini) but, aside from Els Pescadors on pl Prim and the X/Chiringuitos on the Bogatell stretch of the beach, this area is fairly new to me.

I dont want to exhaust anyone with vague, sweeping requests so specifically I am looking for a decent vinoteca or tapas place and maybe a nice lunch place (not picky: I was always a fan of everything from a simple pollo a l'ast to El Principal - via La Flauta) in the area between Parc de la Ciutadella and el Forum

Ive left it late I know but any advice would be greatly appreciated

May 28, 2014
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Ibai in San Sebastian: Has anyone been? Cost?

Thanks Mrs M; apologies everyone if I misled

Sep 03, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Ibai in San Sebastian: Has anyone been? Cost?

Walked by several times when in town in July (it has always seemed like an interesting place from reviews, articles and other titbits); frankly, it looked like it had closed down. it may have been on vacation but usually on previous visits there has been some sign of life

Aug 30, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

What's new on the Pintxo scene in Donostia/SanSebastian?

We have some friends visiting San Sebastian later this month (July 2012) and I wondered if any CHers had any new recommendations. On previous visits ('06, '09 and '11) we have really enjoyed

In the Parte Vieja:
La Cuchara de San Telmo, A Fuego Negro, Borda Berri, Zeruko, Tamboril

And in Gros:
Lagar, Hidalgo, Mil Catas, Alona Berri (is this still open?)

We'll pass all these on but I wondered if there were any newer places to add?
Thanks in advance!

Jul 14, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona as a visitor (with young kids!- gulp!). Much resarch has been done, now there are questions - please help!

Catamaran, Xiringuito Escriba on playa Bogatell both do good paella

Jun 07, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

One Week in and Around San Sebastian: Narrowing Down the Choices

Go to Getaria at mid-day and enjoy the kokotxas and grilled turbot. 25 / 30 mins on a bus and a nice break from the fine dining side of things. I like sitting outside Kaia Kaipe (although others may prefer Elkano). Also, for every *'d establishment there's an inspirational, fun place to eat pintxos. My advice is to keep the high-end places (where possible) for lunch so you can get into this, more social, culinary experience in the evenings. Akelarre would be my pick of the high-end btw

Jun 04, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

favorite barcelona tapas

It's a few years since I went to Cal Pep for lunch but I loved it. The food was perhaps heartier than I expected and I still remember 2 standout dishes (botifarra amb mongetes - sausage with White beans) and a clam dish (with ham in a sherry sauce). I don't know if they take reservations; back then you arrived early and got in line.

On the beach (Bogatell?) Xiringuito Escriba is good but I always had a soft spot for the (slightly gruff) Catamaran

Should you be tempted to try some tapas while in Barceloneta, El Vaso de Oro on c/Balboa is good

May 10, 2012
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

West of Ireland in August - Recommendations, Please?

Hi Amy
A few years ago I visited the Island Cottage ( restaurant on Heir Island in West Cork. Maybe somebody else on here will have been more recently but I recall it being a memorable experience. A short booat ride to a quiet island, drinks on the terrace at sunset, a fun atmosphere at dinner and a moonlit walk back to the boat.

Valentia Island in Kerry is very nice. We stayed at Glanleam house and enjoyed a nice dinner there but, again, this is a few years back so I'm not even sure if it is still a going concern.

In Limerick, we ate well at the hotel on Pery Square.

I would whole-heartedly second the suggestions of the English Market in Cork and Morans on the Weir

Apr 30, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Dublin for New Years

Hi Amy
Good to hear from you. I have a few suggestions but I think you're likely to elicit many more responses if you open a new thread with a title relevant to your travels (eg "ireland's west coast - recommendations please") since there are probably people better qualified to opine on those regions. Do you want to do that or stay on this thread?

Apr 26, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Upscale Dublin or Ireland restaurants in general

The Cliff House hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford (on the south coast) has an excellent restaurant. For a splurge in Dublin, Pearl is excellent as is Thorntons (although i'd rank it higher for food than atmosphere). In Galway, I've never really done upscale; I would recommend Morans on the Weir outside the city for some seriously good oysters.

Apr 11, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Gnocchi in Rome OTHER THAN Thursday?

I don't know about gnocchi but, if you like fish, the best I ate in Taormina was at l'Arco dei Cappuccini (sorry if that's "off-topic")

Apr 05, 2012
daves2009 in Italy

Cork, Dublin, Inverness, Edinburgh, Newcastle

Pearl Brasserie in Dublin is excellent. Pichet would also be a nice option.

Apr 04, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Need tips for upcoming Ireland trip

Hi Giant
Sheridans Cheesemonger has (or had) a nice little wine bar upstairs where you could sample the cheese and charcuterie
Outside town in Kilcolgan there's a place ced Morans on The Weir where can enjoy soome very good oysters and other seafood
I've heard from friends that Eight Bar was good but I haven't been myself

Cork City:
The English Market is a great place to check out local produce (otherwise I was generally disappointed)
In Kinsale, I thought Fishy fishy was good
There are also a few smokeries in the direction of Cobh which might prove interesting

A colleague reckons that Campagne restaurant is excellent


Feb 14, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Yet another request for Dublin spots

Hi dmcg,
I posted this a couple of months ago . Are you interested in something specific I'm more than happy to help

Jan 31, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Recommended restaurants (with outdoor space) for wedding reception - Near but outside Verona City

First of all, congratulations. Best of luck with the search for a venue. We stayed at Villa Quaranta for a long weekend 4 years ago; the food was excellent. The manager of the restaurant at that time, Simone (?), was a real asset to the place - excellent with the guests, proud of his restaurant and accommodating where necessary. The hotel was (and probably still is) owned by the Tommasi family which meant that the restaurant had an excellent supply of quality wines at decent prices. Despite several trips into Verona for dinner / lunch, the most memorable meals of our trip were at Il Borgo, the hotel's restaurant. If I recall correctly, there was also a beautiful (if small) chapel within the main building

Jan 20, 2012
daves2009 in Italy

Dublin for New Years

Oh Amy, that's too weird. I was in Pearl for dinner on 12/30 for my birthday too. The Game was excellent that evening. If I knew you were there I'd have sent over some bubbly :-)

Jan 04, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Dublin for New Years

Any feedback from your trip? Hope you had a good time. I ate in Pearl myself the other night and really had a great meal. On the other hand, a meal at La Maison in the run-up to the holidays was a bit of a disappointment.

Anyway would love to hear about your experiences ....

Jan 02, 2012
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Nice venues for romantic meals in Algarve (Almancil / Faro / Loule / Quarteira)

Thanks Monchique! We're big fans of ApoLonia from past visits. Their wine selection is excellent.

Some acquaintances mentioned Gourmet Natural and Couleur France in the Almancil area. Do you know these 2?

Oct 24, 2011
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Nice venues for romantic meals in Algarve (Almancil / Faro / Loule / Quarteira)

Hi Chowers
Can anyone recommend some nice dinner / lunch spots in the eastern Algarve? We're heading for a week's holidays near Almancil. We normally go in early or late summer so the dining options are usually eschewed in favour of fresh fish from Quarteira market cooked simply on the grill.

Since we're going at a time when temperatures are a good bit lower, we'd like to try some restaurants. Any suggestions?

Hope you can help

Oct 21, 2011
daves2009 in Spain/Portugal

Chow Sleuths -- Help me remember the name of a Munich restaurant


Sep 14, 2011
daves2009 in Europe

Crete (Palaikastro, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos) - any recommendations?

Heading to Crete on Friday - thanks all for your help and advice

Sep 14, 2011
daves2009 in Europe

Dublin for New Years

No problem - I'm enjoying it!

Restaurants in Dublin
In the last 15 years Dublin has undergone a massive transformation as a place to dine out. The range of cuisines and price levels is broad but there are many places charging comparatively high prices and failing to deliver on almost any level (food, service, atmosphere). That said, there are plenty of excellent places to eat – I’ll try to steer you clear of the pitfalls I’ve encountered.

The period between Christmas and New Year / early January sometimes suffers from a lack of choice (some restaurants close for the holidays) so you’ll need to check if you find something you like.

*High-end (and relatively high cost):
Thorntons 2* food + 0.5* atmosphere (maybe slightly unfair) = 1* from the Guide Michelin – in my opinion, the best food I’ve had in Dublin but the room is a little dark

Pearl Brasserie fab food in a snug, subterranean setting (some intimate alcove tables for smaller groups


L’Ecrivain great 1* food and a nice relaxed atmosphere

*Moderately priced, good quality:
La Maison a little bit of Paris in Dublin (although the service can be a little disorganised


*Top-quality, good-value lunches:
One Pico delicious food which is a bargain at their lunch price

Locks the younger sister of Pearl (above); a lovely room for lunch or dinner on the banks of the Grand Canal on the edge of the City Centre

*Smaller plates, seafood platters:
Dax Wine Bar a cozy, intimate place to share a selection of charcuterie or cheese; good wine list and knowledgeable staff happy to discuss pairings

Oyster Bar in the Cliff Town House the sister restaurant of Ireland’s only non-Dublin 1* restaurant (the excellent Cliff House in Ardmore, Waterford


Ivans in Howth located in the small, well-to-do, harbour suburb of Howth – 30 mins north east along the bay from central Dublin by the DART light rail system - you can take a table in the restaurant or sit at the bar and have a pint of Guinness with your oysters or fish platter. A new-ish restaurant from a family firm with a long connection to fish in Dublin.

Wine cellar at Fallon & Byrnes great place for an early evening drink and nibble (perhaps before a visit to the Stags Head pub around the corner?) fine wine selection (including EUR 1 corkage on Mondays


*Lunch on-the-go:
Soup Dragon excellent soups if you’re in this part of town

Lennox Café nice place for eggs Benedict and a read of the paper

The Humble Bean excellent coffee and soups/sandwiches

The attitude of Dubliners to food has changed dramatically in the last decade. We are much more adventurous and knowledgeable due to a combination of emigrants returning and immigrants arriving and sharing their cuisine.

This cultural and gastronomic mix is very much in evidence in the spread of ethnic food options (Thai, Tapas, etc) but also in the prevalence of food markets which go from venue to venue around the city and suburbs, 7 days a week.

I would recommend 2 markets in particular – Saturdays in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar (currently under reconstruction but should be ready for your arrival ) and Sundays in the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire (a 25 min journey south along the coast on the DART


If you like cheese, by the way, there is an excellent purveyor of Irish and European cheesy comestibles on South Anne St in the city centre: Sheridans

Have a good trip

Sep 08, 2011
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Dublin for New Years

I'll start with pubs and bars:

Old School Pubs (central):
The Stags Head
Mulligans of Poolbeg St
Davy Byrnes

With traditional music: O’Donoghues

Newer “brew” pubs – a wide selection of beers and ales from small producers
Bull and Castle

If you go for a walk in the Phoenix Park, this is a good place to slake your thirst:
Ryans of Parkgate St

For a slightly more buzzy scene, the bars in the Shelbourne Hotel are nice:

The list could be 4 times as long and not get close to scraping the barrel ..... really. Most places in Dublin have a fairly convivial atmosphere. These would be my favourites but most Dubliners will have their own preferences

I'll be back in a few days with restos

Sep 07, 2011
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Dublin for New Years

Hi Amy,
Dublin posts have become a little stale and same-y. While there are a few new places opening of late, the typical recommendations here on CH focus on quite a short list of restos.

Can you perhaps give us a little more detail of what you're after in a restaurant (price range, formality, cuisine). I'm not certain whether everywhere I would recommend would be open for NYE (or whether, if open, they would have a reasonable pricing structure given the night that's in it) but you can check their websites / e-mail them.

In terms of pubs there is no shortage to quality venues; one caveat is that they will all be fairly packed (although that's part of the convivial/familiar nature of socialising in Dublin). Do you want old-school or new? Traditional irish music or more modern tunes? A drinking spot or somewhere that morphs into a nightclub as the evening develops?

Sep 06, 2011
daves2009 in U.K./Ireland

Crete (Palaikastro, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos) - any recommendations?

Hi all
I will be travelling to Crete for a wedding in palaikastro next month (Sept '11). i wondered if anyone had recommendations for places to sample some quality local food.

I've heard from others that the fishing industry in eastern Crete has suffered due to dwindling stocks and that I should not expect much in the way of fresh fish in restaurants in this region. Is this the general concensus / experience of the CH community?

We will also be spending 4 days in Elounda and are keen to know if there are any particularly good tavernas or restaurants which you'd recommend for dinner. We'll be staying in a nice hotel but would rather dine with the locals if possible.

Finally, does anyone recommend any local cheeses, wines, etc? Discovering a local gem has made some of our holidays perfect over the last few years so if anyone could point us in the right direction we'd be really grateful


Aug 29, 2011
daves2009 in Europe