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Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

Fantastic list of personaly picks. I look forward to the next installment! This is all very helpful.

Sep 16, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

Great list of recommendations, Jen. Thanks for the input!

Sep 15, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

Grazie, Irene. Good to know about Antico Albergo, as I cannot find too much information on the restaurant apart from its website(which looks fine). Good to know that it's sort of on the outskirts, too. I think I also liked the look of this place because the wine list well rounded and decently priced.

As mentioned, I'm willing to overlook a thing or two I was looking for in restaurants, it really just depends on things over all. Again, please feel free to point out any positive or negative aspects of the places I listed. I do realize Cracco Peck is not really "Milanese" cooking, not is it moderately priced, but it seemed to come with high praises nevertheless.

Thanks very much for your input. It is much appreciated. Perhaps I can return the favor should you need advice on restaurants in New York or Philadelphia at some point :)

Sep 15, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

Thanks Cristinab. I'll definitely check those out. Very helpful...

Sep 15, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

Quite obviously, Irene, there will have to be some concessions. If you read what I wrote, those restaurants I listed are "somewhat" appealing, meaning that one or more of the attributes I seek in a restaurant might not be satisfied by all in that list. So again, obviously there will be some outliers in that list regarding price, Milanese sensibilities, et cetera. I also wouldn't say that finding at least two restaurants with the attributes I seek is a target that is too ambitious. That being said, if you have any positive or negative comments regarding those restaurants or any favorites for that matter, feel free to comment.

Sep 15, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Advice on a Few Restaurants in Milan

I will be traveling to Milan in early October with a companion before embarking on other legs of our journey. Unfortunately, after searching these boards, and looking elsewhere, I have not found extensive information or recommendations on restaurants in general in Milan, much less places that would appeal to me and my traveling companion. Most of the places seem like tourist traps, uninspired dumps or places serving up over priced (albeit fabulous-looking) haute-cuisine, seemingly without much of a Milanese identity.

I live in New York City, so I'm no stranger to great dining, or adventurous eating, however I'm looking for moderately priced places that aren't too fussy, yet strike a good balance between substance and style/atmosphere. I'd prefer places that would give one a good sense of Milanese/regional fare. Good wine lists are a big plus... So far the only places that I've found that seem somewhat appealing are:

Antico Albergo
ZeroDue
Al Mercante
Letteria
Cracco Peck

Any and all suggestions are welcome, as well as confirmation or commentary on the places that I've listed above. I look forward to hearing what anyone has to say!

Sep 14, 2010
Tyranisone in Italy

Wine Shop Help, Etc..

Hello all,

I'll be staying in NOLA for a few days, flying in this evening and leaving Saturday. I've lined up the restaurants I'm interested in trying but two places encourage BYO, and I would like any suggestions for a good wine store in or around the French Quarter, since naturally, as a tourist (gulp, I hate that word) I'll be staying there and I'd rather not spend half a day hunting down my wine for dinner and brunch across town. I work in the wine industry in New York so I tend to like an eclectic selection also heavy on Old World, small production bottlings, so any wine shop that might have that focus is certainly right up my alley.

Also, just for good measure, below is the list of places I'll be eating. Any comments or suggestions about them are welcome.

Cheers!

EAT (Brunch)
Stanley (B'fast and maybe Lunch)
Luke (Lunch)
Cochon (Lunch)
Petunia's (B'fast)
Boucherie (Dinner)
Dante's Kitchen (Dinner)

Also, I'm keen on trying Arnaud's French 75 Bar for their Sazerac, or possibly the Sazerac Bar.

Apr 15, 2009
Tyranisone in New Orleans

Little French Bistro for Steak Frites

It's not actually French, but Nook on 9th ave and 50th serves up a great steak frites. The fries are fantastic. The menu is sort of standard bistro fare-- good tuna tartare, grilled salmon and chive mashed potatoes, lamb chops with sauteed red cabbage...

The place is minuscule, and in the evening when the candles are on the table it has a lovely, warm charm. It's BYOB and cash only. Make a reservation because it can get packed, and being such a small place there is literally no place for you to go if you have to wait for a table.

Jul 06, 2008
Tyranisone in Manhattan

San Franciscans visiting New York - 3 Dinners

Bob,

I enjoyed Boulevard and will probably give it another chance the next time I'm in SF. There were some things amiss, but nothing that ruined my meal. You can see my review I posted on an old thread I ran across. NOPA, unexpectedly, was my best experience -- all the parts just came together for a fantastic meal. The service was very efficient and friendly, too. Anyway, back to NYC... EMP vs. Gramercy is a tough one. Both are fantastic. All I can say is that the dining room at Gramercy is comforting, and the food is a little more simple and rustic than EMP's very creative and polished menu. Stylistically, you might be better to stick with EMP as a good contrast to Babbo. They are destination restaurants and I certainly recommend them both for visitors. Choose Gramercy based on service and comfort level, but go for EMP for the posh food and vibe. You could also consider CRU. They probably have the best wine list in the cityand the food is excellent. Veritas is another goodie. In terms of good wine retailers, you can find fantastic older vintages, rare and interesting bottles at reasonable prices at Chambers Street Wine. You should also check out Crush Wine and Spirits for some harder to find and very interesting bottles.

For lighter fare or lunch one day I forgot to mention Tia Pol. It's my favorite tapas bar in town. Don't go too late in the evening as it gets very crowded. But it's a perfect spot for some delicious snacks and vino. You might like Degustation, also.

All in all there are just too many good spots, but if I had 3 days in town, here's where I'd eat: lunch at Union Square Cafe and Babbo for dinner, Jean George for lunch and a light dinner at Craftbar, snacks/lunch at Tia Pol, dinner at EMP. Perhaps I'd pop into Gotham Bar and Grill for cocktails.

Jul 06, 2008
Tyranisone in Manhattan

San Franciscans visiting New York - 3 Dinners

Read and pay attention to what I actually mentioned being very New York.

"If you can, try to score a table with a view of Columbus Circle and a view of Central Park. It's VERY New York, as all the cabs go by beneath you."

Jul 06, 2008
Tyranisone in Manhattan

San Franciscans visiting New York - 3 Dinners

Bobpantzer,

I have to thank you for all the great info on my picks for San Francisco. now you're going to be on my turf, so here goes:

Babbo is fantastic. It is the best destination restaurant in the city in terms of fantastic food and value. It's all about the food and wine there and there is no pretense. Definitely go there, and have fun with their very reasonably priced (for a restaurant) wine list. If you are looking for a less expensive, yet no less satisfying experience, try to book Lupa Osteria. The pastas are just as good as Babbo's, the menu items are inexpensive and the wine list is fantastic. In fact, it is done by the same guys who do Babbo except Batali's presence is a little less.

Balthazar is good for brunch, but for dinner it is just OK. You can do better. For French bistro style, try Landmarc at the Time Warner Center. If you can, try to score a table with a view of Columbus Circle and a view of Central Park. It's VERY New York, as all the cabs go by beneath you. They have a good steak frites menu, and the wine list is solid, and only marked up about $5-$10 above retail. You might also try Bar Boulud.

EMP is solid, and for a very New York experience it is worth the money. I've been there twice, for lunch and for dinner. I had a fantastic time, but in terms of value I wouldn't go back, but that's simply because I live here and have the time to explore other options. I'm a wine guy and appreciate good wine to go with my great food and I find that EMP's list is ridiculously over priced and limited in terms of reasonable selections for their food. Consider paying the corkage fee and bring your own special bottle that you can pick up from one of the fantastic wine retailers here.

Some other suggestions: Landmarc also has a fantastic brunch. Try Jean George for lunch--you get the same service, atmosphere and fabulous food for a fraction of the cost of dinner. Have a lavish lunch there, and maybe have a light dinner at the lively Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria by (Batali also) or Craft Bar, where you'll find fantastic small plates and fantastic wine by the glass and bottle along with a very stylish New York sensibility. Tabla is great, too. There's the more formal restaurant upstairs, and a more casual, although no less delicious cafe below called the "Bread Bar". For a truly creative cuisine experience I recommend the Tabla Bread Bar. You can put together a great a la carte selection and pair it up with a selection from their fantastic wine list.

I love the NYC food scene and love to share it with others. Any other questions, feel free to ask! Bon Apetite!

Jul 06, 2008
Tyranisone in Manhattan

what can you tell me about Boulevard?

I recently had dinner at Boulevard during my weekend trip to the city (my first visit to San Francisco) after many recommendations and much high praise. Now, I live in Manhattan and certainly do not suffer from a lack of fantastic, top-notch restaurants. However, considering the reputation that San Francisco has as a food town and in particular how much praise and how highly Boulevard was recommended to me, I was a bit underwhelmed by the entire experience. To start of on a positive note, I did enjoy that the entire menu was a la carte, making dinner with my companion (a picky eater) very easy, and my own choices very free. The atmosphere is elegant and posh, but also fun and comforting. I love that there's an open kitchen, and if I choose to return, I wouldn't mind dropping in for a seat at the "bar" area, reserved for walk-ins which is right in front of all the action. The first course choices were all very creative yet rooted in solid recipes. I particularly loved my cauliflower bisque, with a delicate poached egg in the center, succulent slivers of lobster and the silky bisque poured at the table. But...
The service is too austere, and inconsistent. There were large gaps of time between our interaction with the staff. This pattern was set when the bread for our table came out only after we asked for it--about fifteen minutes after two other tables around us that were seated after us had been served bread almost immediately upon seating. I needed to consult the sommelier, and it took forever for him to come to our table. This cost us a good 30 minutes as I didn't want to order before choosing a wine. Even after that, it took forever for the gentleman to return to our table with the wine. Perhaps they need two sommeliers on hand for the dinner hours? After that, the wine that I had ordered wasn't even as the sommelier had suggested it would be. The main courses were executed well, and they were tasty, but really pretty boring. In fact, the first course choices were far more interesting than the mains. I can go anywhere and get a fillet mignon with potatoes, or salmon with rice. The deserts were on par with the main courses for yawn factor. Perhaps the best thing to do is to sit at the open kitchen counter, order a few first course items, some cheese to end and call it a night. For a full meal, I'd rather go somewhere that will surprise me a little--in a good way.

Jul 05, 2008
Tyranisone in San Francisco Bay Area

what's the big deal with zuni?

So, I posted on this board a few days ago regarding restaurant recommendations, etc. Zuni was, and is still one of the places I have lined up to visit when I'm in the city at the end of this month. So, certainly the roasted chicken was going to be my pick from the main dishes. What else is worth trying there? I was trying to check out their web site, but it's not fully operational yet.

It seems to me that it's more about the experience and the cooking method (wood fired oven) than a simple argument on the merits of Zuni's chicken vs. a well prepared bird in the comforts of your own home. I love a great roasted chicken and prepare it often, but it still seems that ordering it at Zuni would be a real treat.

Jun 12, 2008
Tyranisone in San Francisco Bay Area

Alas, simply need restaurant recommendations and insight.

Thanks for the great feedback. As far as corkage goes, Xiao Yang, my question was moreover getting at how acceptable it might be in the type of restaurants I was looking at in San Francisco to bring in a rare or special bottle of wine that the restaurant might not have on its own list. A corkage fee to me isn't a "shakedown" in my opinion. I also work in the wine industry here in New York, so I'm pretty familiar with the rationale behind that. As for mark-ups, yes they can be pretty high at some establishments, but someone has to pay the rent, right?

Jun 12, 2008
Tyranisone in San Francisco Bay Area

Alas, simply need restaurant recommendations and insight.

Thanks for the fantastic input Bobpantzer. I think, what with your response, I'll make Zuni a must, and deffinitelt visit Boulevard. I'll certainly be happy to make my suggestions known about places here in New York for you to try.

Jun 10, 2008
Tyranisone in San Francisco Bay Area

Alas, simply need restaurant recommendations and insight.

So, this is probably the most common and boring type of post, but here goes:

I'm visiting San Francisco for the first time at the end of the month and pretty much have the places that I'm interested in checking out already lined up, but I was just wondering, from locals, if they are indeed worth spending my limited dinning time in the city on. The contenders are: Zuni Cafe, A16, Boulevard, NOPA, Jardiniere.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Being a New Yorker, I'm all too aware of how some restaurants can simply be tourist traps, so wadda ya think?

Also, every wine list I see rather conspicuously displays their corkage fee. It seems strange to me as restaurants in New York seem to discourage corkage. Is it more acceptable to bring a (special) bottle along in the San Francisco restaurant world?

Jun 10, 2008
Tyranisone in San Francisco Bay Area

Seeking advice on Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Anewton, please don't "put blinders on" when trying to explore wines, as was suggested to you. The beautiful thing about wine is that it is diverse and never static. The best way to get to know a particular type of wine is to explore the wine from several vintages and both the "top" and less well known producers. Hyped vintages and famous producers are certainly lauded for a reason, however you can really get to know the soul of a wine and a region by tasting around from the more average vintages and smaller producers. Especially now, quality winemaking has never been so common in the southern Rhone, and it is a shame to overlook top quality wines from producers that are just not famous. You can also think of it as seeing your dinner date from last week sans makeup and chic dress, getting the grocery shopping done.

That said, try some of the estate's "normale" cuvees from these producers, and experience "real" CdP:

Domaine Monpertius 2004
Domaine de Marcoux 2004 or 2005
Domaine Paul Autard 2004 (is just beautiful)

If you can find them, enjoy!

Apr 18, 2008
Tyranisone in Wine

Yet again...BYO Restaurants in Montreal

Thanks for the suggestion. Le Bleu Raisin looks perfect.

Sep 10, 2007
Tyranisone in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Yet again...BYO Restaurants in Montreal

I will be spending a few days in downtown Montreal with some friends in a few days. As I have never been to the city I have been reading up on places to eat, drink et cetera. I work in the wine business and of course I love good BYO restaurants. I've seen quite a few posts about this topic, but I have yet to see too many solid or clear recommendations for good BYO reastaurants (preferably European of sorts or modern fusion). Does anyone have any suggestions?

Sep 10, 2007
Tyranisone in Quebec (inc. Montreal)