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Wonderful, flawless meal at Daniel

Thanks for the review Spiritchaser. We have a reservation there is about 3 weeks time (also at EMP, Le Bernadine, Torrisi etc on other nights). I was a bit worried about Daniele based on some of the more negative reviews but yours gives me faith. Approx how long did the dinner take and approx what $ did the bill come to? Cheers

Apr 21, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Should a 930 reservation be a 930(ish) seating?

Bill - it sounds like you do a lot of great dining. We have had it happen - and I got rather hot under the collar to say the least. To me it is inexcusable that a restaurant should expect someone to wait well beyond the reservation time unless something entirely unexpected has happened. They expect people to turn up for reservations on time - or cancel they cancel the res, often all too quickly but the other way around and...

Then again, if the experience and value is there then (maybe) I can forgive a small(ish) wait.

Apr 17, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Using a 30% discount voucher for Sho Shaun

So after your feedback I tried to buy a Savored voucher today - but can't because the site only takes US credit cards. Now I def want to dine and Sho buttttt it kills me to think that I could have paid 30% less.

Apr 17, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Should a 930 reservation be a 930(ish) seating?

Hi. I'm surprised how many postings I see from people who arrive on time (with all diners present) - but are kept waiting a long time past their actual reservation time - including at some very 'high end' restaurants. I know that popular restaurants like to do multiple seatings, and that some early(ier) diners can hold a table longer than expected. However, should a restaurant really keep diners waiting for up to an hour (or even more) past reservation time to accommodate early(ier) diners - especially when there is a fairly late reservation to follow, and that the later diners can end up eating well into the early 'am' and beyond? Yes, I know that a late reservation means late dining - and if it's a tasting menu etc then even later dining. However what is reasonable with regards to expecting to be seated at (or around) the time that you reserve for - and how delayed (in seating) is beyond reasonable? In my mind more than 20 minutes or so is unreasonable - an hour would be beyond a bad joke and should be accompanied by many good free cocktails (though one is then too... to enjoy the food).

Conversely, what is reasonable with regards to being giving a dining time limit (for an early reservation) - and if there is no limit given, then being asked to vacate a table? I must say that at a high end restaurant in Asia recently free desserts suddenly appeared straight after the main to 'express' us off the table - a very bad experience as we were given no indication re a time limit.

I'm keen to hear other views - perhaps I expect too much (as a customer:)

Apr 16, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Using a 30% discount voucher for Sho Shaun

Hi. I have a reservation at Sho Shaun in a few weeks (and just got one for EMP due reasonable evening dinning hours - yay). Anyway, I have seen that Sho Shaun has a 30% discount available. Is this because there are issues with Sho - or just because it wants to attract more dinners? Also - has anyone used these vouchers there, and if so do the treat you any different / worse than normal dinners. Thks in advance.

Apr 16, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

How late is too late for dinner in Manhattan?

Thanks - that gives me hope (and faith) that I will be able to get into some of my 'must do' places. I'm an old 'boy' at 45 but with a nanna nap (do you have that term?) and pacing the pre-dinner drinks I'll be... hungry and ready to...

Apr 12, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

How late is too late for dinner in Manhattan?

Hi. Making restaurant bookings for places like EMP, Per Se, Le Bernadine etc I can only seem to get in at say 10 or 1015. How late is too late in NY at places like this for dinner? Also, when do these places 'wind down' for the evening? Does service fall off and / or the restaurant become mostly empty? When is the dining 'vibe' still happening until in such places? I would do lunches at these - but want to keep the days free for sites, shopping and more casual meals.

Apr 11, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Great UES dining for first night, or go to Annisa

Hi again. Another thread I opened has lead me to think that maybe I should dump DB Townhouse for our first night in NY - and replace it with Annisa. I was hoping to eat UES as we are staying up there the first part of our trip. Should I dump DB Townhouse - and if so is there somewhere else really good in UES for our first night's dining. Alternatively I can get us into Annisa that night. However we will have been flying 30+ hours (yip, I'm mad).

My questions are:
- Is DB Townhouse really good?
- If not, is there somewhere else really good (and that I could get into on a Monday night) in UES?
- If no to both the above, is Annisa as god as it sounds? I currently have a booking there late on another night, but can shift to mid evening the night we arrive. If yes to Annisa for our first night, will it be easy to catch a cab from UES to West Village and approx how long would this take mid evening?

Thanks in advance - I'm sooooo grateful for the tips and responses to my other threads.

Apr 11, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

7 reservations mades - 10 to go. Help with choices pleeeease

Hi All. Am having soooo much fun booking for 17 nights early may in NYC. We are staying UES for 8 nights then Tribeca for 9. Have made the following reservations to date:
- DB Townhouse (first night as close - and after very long flight)
- ABC night 2
- Marea 3
- Buddaken 4 (to mix up the types of food..., and looks like a nice space)
- ?? night 5. Thinking of Le Bernadine
- Annisa 6
- Trying for EMP for our 9th night as is our 20th anniversary
- Bouley booked for 10th night
- Rive Cafe (on the moored boat looking back at Manhattan for night 17 - primarily for the view).

First, are there any of the above I should 'dump'?

Second question is which of the following are 'must visit' and which are must not / prob not - and where am I missing? I currently have 10 slots available - unless I cancel some of the above that is.

- EMP (I looove the cook book and Per Se looks to be madly expensive, not that EMP is cheap)
- Le Bernadine
- Torrisi Specialties - is it really worth the effort to get in? Also, is the Friday - Sunday lunch the same as the dinner menu?
- Pastis
- Corton
- Blue Hill
- Marc Forgione
- Locanda Verde
- DGBG
- The Modern
- Jojo - too stuffy???
- Il Buco - the main one or the wine bar one???
- Artisnal - for lunch
- Grand Central Oyster - for lunch
- Asiate for lunch. Is it worth it - or too much like a hotel...?
- Peral Oyster. Is this better for lunch or dinner?
- River Park. Are the views worth the food?
- Eately (for a snack and maybe a meal) - but not in the weekend.

I have not covered mexican, persian, indian, latin or chinese as the restaurants just don't seem to stack up against the above choices but am happy to listen.

Will have to do a loooooot of walking in NY, otherwise I'll come home 10kgs...

Thanks in advance. Cheers, Stu

Apr 10, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Torrisi Lunch - Friday to Sunday

Hi. Has anyone had lunch at Torrisi Friday, Saturday or Sunday? These are the three days they say they do lunch. If so, is it the same as the evening menu on those days? Thanks in advance.

Apr 09, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Does promising a higher tip get better service?

Ok, so how often do you receive bad(ish) or just plain bad service - and then do you 'undertip', and if so to what degree?

Also keen to know what 'blow your mind' service should be as a tip - because I am sure that will happen to.

Mar 26, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Does promising a higher tip get better service?

Thanks soupkitten - point taken and I probably agree. I have experienced great service in America (in SF) just about all the time. However it does seem, from this forum (and a few others) that t vary quite a bit in NYC. Then again, if there wasn't below par service then the other service experiences would not stand out as much in a positive manner, kind of like we need rainy days to make sunny blue days seem...

Mar 26, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Tips on tipping - pleeease [moved from Manhattan board}

Just exploring ideas - and the rest of the western world includes service in the price on the menu (other than some hotel chains who add on), because they are customer / diner centric i.e. why should i have to do the math (and yes, based on many of the above responses, it is a hassle etc.). Maybe (and yes, they are maybe a bit tacky) but in this new world of iPad menus they will have a with and without the tip 'built in' option i.e food and seat or food, seat and service:) In a similar way to airlines. PS Tourism is bigggg business for every country (including America) and there are a huge number of tourists online mentioning the problems around tipping - and it's not even clear for locals as per the above.

Mar 26, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Does promising a higher tip get better service?

Ok, so first question (alongside my other thread) is does promising a high tip get better service? If so, how does one go about this tastefully - and what is a high % as a tip? It's just that I have seen some lovely restaurants reviewed here and elsewhere where the service sounds average to shoddy, and for quite high prices and tip ($ amount that is). Then again, are we being held to ransom?

Also, what happens when you refuse to tip, or lower the % / $ amount - due to bad service. Does anyone do this? If so when and why? If not then why not because if I under deliver to my clients either they never come back and / or they don;t pay the full $ on the current project (sic 'meal')?

Mar 26, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Tips on tipping - pleeease [moved from Manhattan board}

I have a genius idea - it will revolutionise dining out in America. Imagine a restaurant (OK, and maybe one day all restaurants) paying wait staff etc a fair wage and building this INTO the price that they charge you per dish / for a meal so that YOU / WE don't have to mess around with % and the like. You all (and I am about to) have to calculate %s in terms of tip $ etc and have the hassle of this all the time. Imagine an easy world where the price was 'all up' - unless you got beyond good service where you might CHOOSE to pay a little extra %, or if bad the tell the place and... Sorry but after my initial question and your all too gracious replies I am starting to think that this is a real issue and hassle for a lot of people. PS When did good service start costing more, or indeed any service (because some reviews that I read suggest that this is often the case). I would looooove to see / know the history of tipping in America - just for interest.

Mar 26, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

Tips on tipping - pleeease [moved from Manhattan board}

Now it drives me nuts, just because at the end of a meal and some wine (ok, and some more wine) I find tipping a hassle - having to do maths and what hour and after.... Down under (NZ, Aussie etc) wait staff get salaries and then tips are the 'bonus', not the wage. Anyway, my questions are:
- what is the standard % to tip in NY for food
- does one tip other people like cab drivers
- if two of you spend say $800 or so (on a big night out e.g. 20th anniversary) for 2 then is the tip % the same as for smaller meals? Sorry, just asking as that would mean that at these places (we are booking 4 or so for an 18 night holiday) the staff would be paid...$$$$$$$

Not wanting to be cheap - just clear and appropriate in my behaviour:)

Thanks in advance. Cheers, Stu

Mar 25, 2012
PerfectPalate in Not About Food

How do I get a table??? And also your all killing me:) AND you are all so generous

Hi. Coming to NY for the first time early May for 18 nights. Am very keen to dine in a wide range of places including Eleven Madison (for the 20th wedding anniversary). Question - for places like that how does one (please share your secrets with me) get a table? Using open table looks to be impossible - even once one is in the 28 day period. Now I'm not in 28 days yet - but looking 28 days out (to the hour) just to see and it looks hopeless.

Also, reading this forum (and also a fantastic foodie book by some Aussie chefs who visit NY to eat) means that the choices are killing me. It all sounds soooooo good. I loved San Francisco for food but it looks like 18 days (and nights) in NY is going to blow my palate and my bank balance away. My wife and I are trying to drop 5+ kgs each so we can put in back on when we visit. Believe it (or not) I'm thinking about doing a spreadsheet (or mind map) to ensure the right places, mix of places and yet also allow for some spontaneity - though I hear that no bookings can lead to starvation.

Finally for now, thank you all for the time and input you out into this site - so many people are so generous with their ideas etc. couldn't believe how someone replied to me and it must have taken over half an hour to write their reply. You also get me slobbering (like my dogs) which is not such an attractive thing.

Mar 25, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Upper East Side - then Tribeca? Plus lots of other questions:)

Thank you sooo much for the great ideas everyone. Really appreciated. Will let you know where we go - and what we love. It all looks so good and your ideas are really helpful. Can't wait:)

Feb 16, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Upper East Side - then Tribeca? Plus lots of other questions:)

Hi fellow foodies. We are coming to NYC for 18 days and nights of good eating for our 20th anniversary. Definitely staying in Tribeca for 9 nights and either Upper East Side or Noho for the other 9. My questions are:
- Is the Upper East Side ok as an area food wise - we love mixing it up with casual and fine dinning (see below) and if so what recommendations?
- We love the likes of Flour and Water and also Commonwealth in San Francisco. We would like to mix up our food and flavours and challenge our pallets as well try some old goodies. What recommendations in Tribeca, NoHo (and also Upper East Side if you consider it worthy)?

We are looking thinking about:
- Locanda Verde
- Marc Forgione
- Corton
- Bouley
- Blue Ribbon
- Per Se
- DBGB

We want to mix up fine dining, southern (we don't get that in NZ), both high and lower end Mexican, possibly Cuban, Italian (in the style of the great Italian food movies)...

A few questions (sorry). When they say jacket in a restaurant is a tie required? Which are the best foodie farmers markets? Are there any exceptional high teas in NYC and if so then where AND where are the best places in NYC for weekend brunch?

Thanks for your help - can't wait to visit (and eat). Arriving May 6

Feb 15, 2012
PerfectPalate in Manhattan

Thank you CHounds & San Fran. A trip food review (Coi, Flour & Water etc) but what's wrong with the coffee?

Firstly thank you sooo much to CHounds in helping is know where to dine, what to wear etc during our 6 days eating and eating more in SF recently. Before the food what we loved the most about the city was:
- the incredibly pleasant people
- the great public transport
- fantastic views and walks
- the galleries (De Young is amazing)
- the pedestrian friendly traffic
- great food (almost) everywhere
- where we stayed (5 nights at the lovely Parsonage cnr Haight and Laguna) and last night at the Ritz C

We did freak at first at the street folk during our first morning's walk along some of Mkt St but got used to it and had no hassles. We can't wait to be back.

Restaurants comments - almost in order.
- Flour & Water (not in order) was our favourite and we went back a second time. Fresh, friendly and overly-edible. My wife is not a giblets eater and even she could not resist. If you love food you will love it (and them) here.

- Absinthe - great cocktails and pretty good food (started with crab, salad, onto pork chop with jalapeno grits etc) with fantastic cocktail matches (who needs wine if the cocktails work so well - maybe someone should do the food / cocktail match as a 'thing') but terrible desserts

- Wexlers (lunch) great smokey chilli to start, nice flounder Po Boy (see my other post re Scallop Po Boys) and brisket in a bun with fat and flavour to kill even Mr Bourdain

- Foreign Correspondent - nice but not great. Maybe being seated inside was the problem.

- Commonwealth - great food, great prices, well priced wine and much promise of going far. We booked a table, phoned saying we were running a little late but they gave our table away (less than 15 mins late). They apologised - sat us at the bar right in front of the kitchen. How could we leave - the art and then the flavours. A must of the 'up and coming' places with mostly (really) great dishes.

- Wayfare Tavern - we had booked an upstairs table but they first tried to squeeze us in at the bar. Once we got seated upstairs we got great service and food. This was another 'traditional' dining moment sharing marrow then deviled eggs and steak tartare (needed more zip) followed by 1.5 main lobsters and mac and cheese all for under $120. If i lived in SF then once a week I would lunch here - and then die of a heart attack.

- Coi - overrated with many good but few great dishes and some less than average ones. Well matched wine but for over $700 it was not what we hoped for - go to Flour and Water for 3+ times instead for the same price. Also too many people taking photos of their dishes rather than eating - the table next to us spending 10+ minutes on 'shooting' each dish. Also no short blacks etc after dinner - only filter. Can this be a 2*?

- Yank Sing (for yum char) - nothing special and the same as most good (but not great) places in most cities.

- The farmers mkt at the Ferry Building - well, how couldn't we. Corn dogs (4505), oyster po boys, tamales, namu tacos...

Thank you all to your help in planning a great food trip. We will be back.

One question - what's with SF coffee? Even Blue Bottle is watery, bitter and lacking depth (in our opinion). Nothing like the Alpress we have down under.

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Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Flour + Water
2401 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

Our last trip to SF for a while and I need to find a spectacular "last supper"

Sorry - yes, I meant Flour - not Flower. Happy holidays and dinning.

Our last two nighst in the city- need help choosing dinner.

Hi. Definitely dine at Flower and Water but book quickly as it's very hard to get into. We ate there twice last week during 6 nights in SF - once with a booking and once without (about a 30 min wait but can be over an hour). Fantastic food that changes daily - by far the best place we ate at, although we did also enjoy Commonwealth. Wayfare Tavern is also vg - we really enjoyed a lunch of marrow, deviled eggs, steak tartare, Maine lobster and mac & cheese - and yip, we ate at F&W that night.

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Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

Our last trip to SF for a while and I need to find a spectacular "last supper"

Hi. I just spent 6 nights in SF (with much very useful advice from Chowhounds). By far the best place we ate at was Flower & Water - so good that we went there twice, the second time without a booking but well worth the wait. Every dish is fantastic We did eat at and enjoyed Commonwealth (will review it soon) but Flower & Water was that much more advanced in getting it right while Commonwealth is still on the path - some great and some good dishes - although all at a great price. Both places are fairly loud and laid back but with great food. Enjoyed both far more than COI or Foreign Cinema. Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern was a great place for lunch - in case you are looking for something during daylight hours.

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Coi
373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Tyler Florence Shop
59 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley, CA

Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

'Dress code', walking & taxis to / from restaurants - and area safety

Thank you to everyone for the great feeback and ideas re my questions. We fly out from NZ today - first dinner out at Absinthe tonight. Have a great remainder of the weekend and week.

'Dress code', walking & taxis to / from restaurants - and area safety

It's funny. If you wear a black hoddie here in NZ you are seen as a thug / wana be thug / kid trying to look gang cool. We have also done a lot of market research (our business) in Australia for a major hoodie company - there they are seen as casual and comfortable slob clothing for the weekends. Maybe in SF the hoodie is handy for the changeable weather. Just bought a nice North Face windstopper here in NZ on sale. Wonder why they have never done a hoodie.

By the way to anyone reading this - I am kinda embarassed by my online name - O just love great food and dinning experiences, no matter what the $ range (as long as good value).

'Dress code', walking & taxis to / from restaurants - and area safety

Thanks for the ideas - especially re the right routes. Yes. I was thinking probably a taxi for Coi. I'm keen to walk (to some) of the other places such as Absinthe but only if relatively easy, safe and fun.

'Dress code', walking & taxis to / from restaurants - and area safety

Thank you sooo much to the people who have given great dinning ideas for our 6 night visit to SF. Sorry that I couldn't eat at all the places but have covered off many / most.

A couple of quick questions.

What is the typical SF dining out dress code for the type of restaurants that I mention below? Sorry to sound silly but it differs so much between NZ / Australia - Japan - Bali etc. we are about to pack our bags but are unsure what to bring over for a foodie (plus some sites) trip.

Also, how easy is it to get taxis to, and from restaurants? Do they book you a cab - and how far before you leave does this have to be done - can it be done when you finish your meal?

We would rather walk where / when possible - taking into account the 'dress code' issues above. We are staying (for most of our stay) at 198 Haight St (cnr Haight and Laguna). Would love comments about the safety in terms of walking around the following restaurant areas (from where we are staying). I know approx how long it will take - but is it OK to walk around these areas at night?
- Absinthe 398 Hayes
- Foreign Cinema 2534 Mission (thought we might have a roof-top sunset drink at Medjool next door first)
- Commonwealth 2224 Mission
- Flower and Water 2401 Harrison
- Coi 373 Broadway
- Prospect 300 Spear (staying at the Ritz Carlton this night).

Thanks in advance - we can't wait to get to SF on Sunday.

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Medjool
2522 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

6 nights in SF - upper mid end and upper dinning list for input

Wow - what great ideas. Thanks for the input. The Liguria looks great Mister Meatball - thanks. No cornflower 55, we were not going to The Dinning Room as too few nights. Yes, it was Prospect and not Perfect that we have booked for the last (Friday) night. It should have re-opened by the 17th but I will check - thanks for the heads up on this Bob. Should I possibly replace Prospect with The Dinning Room if Prospect has not re-opened?

Re tipping, so does one only tip on the food and not the alcohol component when dining out?

6 nights in SF - upper mid end and upper dinning list for input

Thanks for the great input. I have replaced Boulevard with Perfect (same owners) which seems to be getting pretty good reviews and is a bit less formal. I have also added Wayfare Tavern in for lunch on the day where we are dinning out at 10.15 in the evening. I will definitely avoid the wine train experience - and may replace Absinthe in Saturday with a visit the Ferry Terminal Farmers Mkt which sounds like it had a good mix of good food and might be nice and relaxing for the day we fly out (not until 9pm). Also means we can visit Hog Island - although might do this earlier in the week as well. Will post a report once home - and looking forward to hearing about Coi a213b. Too little time and too many choices.

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Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

6 nights in SF - upper mid end and upper dinning list for input

Hi all. Fascinating but slightly confusing reading re all the restaurant options in SF. We looove good food and are prepared to pay for it but also want value (happy to pay a lot for great stuff...). I have worked up a short list and would welcome comments and ideas - it's for 2 of us aged early 40s from NZ who love great flavours, food and wine. We are staying in the Mission for the first 5 nights and at the Ritz Carlton the last night.
- Absinthe first night after arriving mid afternoon (Sunday)
- Foreign Cinema Mon
- Commonwealth Tues
- Flower and Water Wed (but can't get in until 10.15)
- Coi (for the tasting menu) Thurs but can't get in until 9. Is this too late for the menu?
- Boulevard Friday
- Possibly Absinthe Sat for Brunch.

Have also spotted the following for casual lunches:
- Swan Oyster
- Alsembic (looks great)
- Kitchenette
- The Terminal Farmer's Mkt
- Spire
- Maverick.

Also for snacks, Katia's Russian Tea Room & Breda's French Soul Food.

We are looking for an eclectic quality experience and food is a critical factor in our holidays (hence don't go to Fiji any more).

Would welcome any and all thoughts. Also how does tipping work (we don't really have it in NZ, Aussie or Asia except for outstanding service. It simply isn't the norm. Does one tip of there is already an 18% service chg (Coi)?

Finally, we were thinking of a quick day trip up to Napa and the Restaurant train. Should we bother with the train?

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Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Katia's Russian Tea Room
600 5th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118