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Higher-end Seattle restaurant with good wine list and service

Hmm - well, I live in Vancouver and have visited Seattle and Portland a few times, I think there are commonalities in the cuisine in this part of North America that are quite different from Toronto (where I used to live) or New York. Ingredients being an obvious one, local seasonal seafood, but also much more of a celebration of locally foraged wild mushrooms or vegetables, etc. I think the food is generally a bit lighter and more colourful, you'll find a lot more vegetables and seafood in a tasting menu here than on the East Coast, there's less of a love-affair with really fatty foods, smaller portions. I also find east coast menus a little bit more daring as well. Obviously all a huge generalization with many exceptions, but that's what I've experienced...

Anyway, what I was trying to say is, it looks like Carmine's has menu with lots of classic Italian standards, and is likely quite similar to a menu from a really good Italian restaurant out east. I'm not looking for molecular gastronomy, experimental food, just looking for something a little bit more unique than classic Italian standards. (again, just for this meal, normally I love eating at places that do simple classic dishes really well).

Also not looking for an over-the-top 3-star dining experience like French Laundry either - and money is definitely not an end in itself for me. Herbfarm would be a bit too over-the-top for this meal.

Anyway, apologies if you're getting annoyed - I really do appreciate the help, and I think there's lots of good options to consider from your original post. Thanks again!

Higher-end Seattle restaurant with good wine list and service

Thanks for the recommendation! Nell's looks really good, not mentioned as much on this thread, but looks like it fits the bill. Only drawback is that it's a bit further out, but like you said it's not that far away... will add it to the list!

Higher-end Seattle restaurant with good wine list and service

Looked through some reviews - it looks like Il Terrazzo is one of those staple Seattle restaurants that most people seem to love, and it just isn't reviewed as often because everyone talks about the latest and greatest. Looks great to me, I'm pretty sure I would really enjoy it... The space looks super-classy, and they have an extensive wine list, and the menu has Italian staples which sound like they're executed really really well from the reviews. Only issue is that the menu seems to be missing the pacific-northwest / innovative / exciting / high-end / seasonal characteristics I'm looking for (for this meal anyway)... but I might not be getting an accurate picture from the menu or reviews, let me know if I'm missing something!

Higher-end Seattle restaurant with good wine list and service

Thanks for the quick response!

Did a bit of research on those restaurants - of those suggestions, seems like Altura might be the best fit for the group... menu is small with familiar choices and flavours, but from the pictures of the food it looks like they have some pretty refined and innovative execution of their dishes. And from the pictures of the restaurant, it looks like a cozy / classy place. Wine list is extensive as well.

I get the feeling that the group won't be as impressed with places that serve great authentic rustic food, although I love that stuff...

Higher-end Seattle restaurant with good wine list and service

Hi everyone,

Looking for a higher-end Seattle restaurant to take a couple execs from work (we're all from out of town) - great food is the top priority, ideally pacific-northwest seasonal, exciting innovative food, and good meat options (e.g. not seafood focused). Wine list and service is almost as important as the food for the other members in my party - Wine list doesn't need to be a huge extensive list with rare and expensive options, just has to have some good solid wine options. Also, ideally it would be a restaurant close to the downtown core.

Canlis was my top choice, seems to hit all the marks, but I wasn't able to get a reservation (on the wait-list). I have a reservation for Staple & Fancy - the food looks amazing, but I don't know enough about wines to evaluate the wine list. I've also looked into Crush, Dahlia, and Lark - but based on reviews, seems like Staple & Fancy might be a better option.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Interesting - I am definitely a "novice", but I got more enjoyment from Hatsune than I did from Taichi.

There were two other Japanese guys there who said they had been to many of the top places (Jiro, Saito, Sawada, etc.) and were really happy at Hatsune... We were all in such an amazing mood though, so maybe that contributed to it.

I can definitely understand people being turned off by the boasting and lecturing though.

Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to trying more places over the years - starting with Iwa this trip...

Oct 15, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

So, you're saying that the better Ginza places are more refined than Hatsune?

Oct 12, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Thanks very much for the recommendation - Will need to add this to my list for next time :)

Oct 10, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Alright cool, will stick with Iwa for this trip then - thanks for the help!

Oct 09, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Hey Gargle,

Well - I thought Taichi was really good, and that was in Ginza. Iwa seems to be reviewed pretty well on this board...

Looking back through this thread - would you still recommend Sho? Or somewhere else?

Oct 09, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Hi Ninisix,

Thanks for the reply!

Sorry, I think I may have mis-spoken, what I meant was:

I had such a great experience at Hatsune, it was best meal of my life (so far)! But everyone always talks about places like Saito, Jiro, etc. and I'm just very curious about whether I will enjoy those places as much or better than Hatsune.

Of course, I understand that every place is different and unique, and not fair to compare.

I only have one meal in Tokyo so I wanted to make sure that I will have an experience that's just as exciting as Hatsune, even if it is very different.

Anyhow, I've successfully made a reservation for Sushi Iwa and very excited to try! Will report back...

Oct 09, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

High-End Sushi in Tokyo with easier reservations

Hi everyone,

Heading back to Tokyo in November for a couple days, and wanted to go back to Hatsune (still the best meal of my life to date), but unfortunately I only have a Friday lunch free and Hatsune is not open.

Tried Saito and Jiro as well, just to compare, but of course I could not get reservations.

Can anyone recommend another high-end sushi spot comparable to Hatsune that's open for Friday lunch? With similar criteria - easier reservations, ok for English speakers...

Thanks in advance!!

Oct 05, 2014
analogarsonist in Japan

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Just got back from a wonderful trip through Italy, wanted to thank everyone again for the suggestions, and give an update on the food!

The trip was slow, relaxed and stress-free - wandering around around, getting lost, and absorbing the culture while heading in the general direction of our next eating or drinking stop. We plotted out all of the restaurants, cafes, wine shops, snacks and sights using google maps and exported into Galileo, which works very well offline - so no matter where we were we could always find something nearby to eat or drink or see.

Anyway, onto the food. Clearly, I have very little experience with the food from these regions, so I have very little "authority" with these reviews. I'm just reviewing them based on the amount of enjoyment I got from the meal :)

Rome:

- Roscioli: One of our favourite meals! The Burrata was so incredibly creamy and delicious, cacio e pepe and bucatini all'amatrciana were amazing, cooked to perfection, house-made mortadella with parmesan was very good but did not stand out like the others. The wine selection was great too!

- Pipero: Another favourite! We had the tasting menu, excellent all around. The pasta with broccoli and sausage may have been the best pasta we had all trip (Mr. Pipero also said this is his favourite dish), the carbonara was excellent (I make carbonara all the time, and now have a new standard to reach for), and the rendered crispy pork fat was absolute genious. Wine pairings were great, and Mr. Pipero and staff were really friendly. We had a wonderful time!

- Pizzarium: Another favourite. When I first saw this on The Layover I thought the pizza looked too bready and was a bit turned off by their whole "let's put all sorts of crazy stuff on our pizza" deal. But the crust turned out to be so incredible (slightly crispy, airy, and so flavourful) and all of the topping combinations that we tried were all wonderful, really good ingredients. Won't bother recommending toppings since they change every 15 min...

- Massimo Nesta: Porchetta was great! Great seasoning, great quality pork, thick pieces of fat that just melted in your mouth.

- Da Remo: This was quite good, but was not blown away. We had a couple fried items - rice and tomato, zucchini flowers. They were not bad, but not really flavourful. We had the margherita with buffalo mozzarella and the da remo pizza, both were quite good, but I think I prefer the doughier Neopolitan style or al taglio style.

- Antico Arco: Made a last minute decision on this one after chatting with some fellow tourists, and was quite disappointed. The egg with truffles, and the risotto with nebbiolo sauce were pretty good. The duck and artichokes was dry and flavourless, the carbonara with truffles was basically inedible - the sauce was a really thick paste that was so heavy and rich, and the truffles and cheese were so overwhelming. Both the duck and the carbonara were on the tasting menu. Maybe we just had bad luck on that day with whoever was cooking.

- Claudio Torce: Excellent gelato. But we get pretty comparable gelato in Vancouver, so it wasn't mindblowing. But still excellent.

- Cafes: Tazza d'Oro had the best coffee we tried all trip. Eustaccio was not bad. Didn't really like Cafe Greco, I guess you pay for the atmosphere.

- Wine Bars: Il Goccetto was our favourite wine bar of the trip, loved the atmosphere, great selection of wines by the glass. Vino al Vino was nice, but did not have as good of a selection of wines by the glass.

Montalcino:

- Osteria Osticcio: Another favourite. Prosciutto di Maiale Grigio Toscano was some of the best ham I've ever eaten, the Tuscan sausage and egg was incredible - the sausage was cooked rare, and was packed full of flavour. Excellent atmosphere, friendly staff, and great views. Really wonderful lunch.

- Wineries: Fuglini and Costanti - highly recommend both of them. Amazing wines, friendly and informative tours, and beautiful wineries.

Florence:

- Buca dell'Orafo: Another favourite meal. The artichoke omelette was one of the best things I've eaten in my life! Spaghetti with peas was absolutely incredible. The pasta with meat sauce and the sliced beef were excellent as well. And make sure you leave room for the poached pear!

Del Fagioli - Another favourite, although slightly overshadowed by Buca dell'Orafo. Everything was really tasty - beans on toast and chicken liver on toast were both excellent, artichokes were delicious, deep-fried meatballs were packed with flavour. The pastas - potato ravioli and spaghetti with meat sauce - were also good, but did not stand out as much as the others. Ricotta cake was incredible.

Sostanza - Pretty good meal, not as good as the other two Florence meals though. Artichoke omelette was good but not nearly as good as Buca dell'Orafo. Pasta with house sauce was pretty good. Bistecca was a good steak, but didn't really stand out. The butter chicken was the best thing we ate, it was pretty delicious even though I usually hate chicken breast! And pretty ingenious cooking method. Was very touristy even though we took the 9:30PM seating.

- Cafe Giacosa: Thought the coffee was just ok, negroni was nice but pretty standard, poor selection of wines by the glass.

Bologna:

- Pappagallo: Made a last minute decision to stop over cause we were hungry :) And just had to try a bolognese ragu in Bologna. It was pretty good, but was glad that the sauce I make at home is comparable.

Venice:

- Antiche Carampane: Another favourite. Seafood heaven! Delicious scallops, shrimp scampi was the best I've ever had, squid ink pasta was excellent, moeches were delicious as well. Delicious food, really friendly staff, really enjoyable meal.

- Alle Testiere: Was good, but had a much better time at Antiche Carampane. The Venice seafood platter was good, but was disappointed that they left the spider crab off our plate even though the waiter said it would be on there, and the table next to us had it on their platter. We ended up also ordering a spider crab, which was good. The vongole was probably the best we've had. Desserts were great too, amazing panna cotta. Was turned off by the service, they actually told us that the kitchen was too busy when I tried to order more food.

Cicchetti: Just went to Do Mori and All' Arco, both were great!! It was awesome eating and drinking with locals at 9AM :) Do Mori had a better wine list, but All' Arco had friendlier staff, better atmosphere, and better food. Baby octopus at All' Arco was amazing

Cafe Del Doge in venice had great coffee, and probably the friendliest staff we've seen at a cafe. Coffee was still no match for Tazza d'Oro though.

Anyways, guess that's about it - also went on a bit of an eating frenzy in Paris, but that's for another forum :)

Thanks again to everyone for all the help!

Apr 16, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy
1

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Hi mbfant - did you get a chance to eat lunch at Pecorino? Any stand-out dishes you would recommend? We're headed there on Sunday.

Thanks!

Apr 04, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

mbfant - any recommendations on what to order at Pecorino? Can't seen to find reviews online, probably because of the name of the restaurant :)

Mar 28, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Definitely not overloading, I really appreciate the advice! Alle Testiere just responded confirming my lunch reservation, so looks like I'm all set... And we're very happy with only no non-seafood items. :)

Mar 27, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Great thanks for the pointers! Will report back :)

Mar 27, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

We'll do a bit of sight-seeing, but I'm more interested in just walking around the city and absorbing the culture. We're planning to get to Venice pretty early on a Wednesday, and then fly out late evening on the Thursday, so we'll have two lunches and one dinner there. The cicchetti tour would be one of the two lunches, thinking of going with gmcguireinrome's suggestion of Monica Cesarato.

Mar 27, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Thanks - I have reservations for all of the restaurants on my list except Alle Testiere (working on that now). Thanks for the suggestion re: times, but I'll be heading there for lunch.

Will let you know about Roscioli, and all the other meals :)

Mar 27, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Thanks again for all of the suggestions!

Updated Itinerary:

Rome:
- Roscioli (lunch)
- Market on Via San Teodoro (lunch)
- Pecorino (dinner)
- Pizzeria Da Remo (dinner)
- Pipero (dinner)

Florence:
- San Lorenzo Market (lunch)
- Trattoria Mario (lunch)
- Ristorante Buca Dell'Orafo (dinner)
- Trattoria Sostanza (dinner)

Venice:
- Cicchetti Tour (lunch)
- Alla Testiere (lunch)
- Trattoria Antiche Carampane (dinner)

Hopefully that works out well :)

Mar 27, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Yeah I'm reaching that conclusion as well. My wife just really wanted to try a tagliatelle al ragu from Bologna since it was her favourite dish growing up (well, the australian bastardized version of it anyway)

And yeah, we're not really expecting to really experience any of the 3 cities, just catching a glimpse. We really just meant for this to be a gastronimic side-trip from a business trip in France.

Mar 26, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Lol - I would definitely have the same comment if someone asked me for recommendations for "chinese food" options when visiting a specific city in China :)

What I meant to say is that I'm not that fussed about eating food from the specific region that I'm visiting (i.e. I don't necessarily need to eat Roman food in Rome if there are amazing non-Roman options). But, I'd like to limit my search to Italian options (i.e. I'm not looking for Chinese, Japanese, French, ...).

That being said, I now realize that I should not have cast such a wide net, and should have started with more specific requirements. (I just didn't want to 'miss' any good recommendations by narrowing down the requirements)

Thanks very much for your recommendations, more reading to do :)

Mar 26, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Took your advice to heart and started with the "types" of food first. :) And requested a reservation for Antiche Carampane...

Mar 26, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Thanks! Yep we're always pretty relaxed and definitely never rushed on our 'gastro-tours', we prepare the restaurant itinerary ahead of time and we don't really worry much about missing any iconic sights. We just take our time travelling to each restaurant and exploring the neighbourhood or any sights that happen to be nearby... I'm definitely downloading those apps, and have referenced Maureen Fant's website extensively :)

Mar 26, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Thanks! I am truly suffering from information overload :)

Lots of mixed reviews on Felice. I was debating between that an Cesare al Casaletto which you recommended for typical Roman fare, I think I chose Felice because it was highly recommended on Maureen Fant's blog. Although if it has gone downhill then perhaps Cesare al Casaletto is a better option (Parla calls it the perfect Roman trattoria).

Re: Dar Poeta, yes I came to that conclusion after more reading last night. I did look up Pizzarium, but I think I read somewhere that it's very good, but it's a bit of a modern twist on Roman pizza. I'm leaning towards Da Remo right now since I just wanted to try the classic Roman style pizza.

Roscioli: Yep, requested a reservation.

Re: Market - what do you think of the market on Via San Teodoro? Good food options? Or is there another market you could recommend? (especially if there is good porchetta)

Thanks again for the help!!

Mar 26, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Thanks very much for all of the suggestions so far.

Here's what I'm thinking for Rome, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

- Dinner at a traditional trattoria: Felice a Testaccio - Will look at specific menu recommendations for each, but hoping to try some classic Roman dishes.
- High-End Dinner: Pipero - to try some more modern high-end cuisine
- Pizza Dinner: Dar Poeta - seemed like a popular option
- Lunch: Roscioli - looks like an interesting option for cured meats, cheese, pastas (target to get there early)
- Lunch: Testaccio Market - hoping to find some good food (porchetta, etc.) while wandering the market.

Still need to figure out Florence and Venice. And thinking of stopping in Bologna for lunch.

Mar 25, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Yes - definitely see your point. However, to be honest I don't exactly know what I'm looking for, and wouldn't want any pre-defined selections to limit my options.

Although I should have clarified that I'm primarily looking for Italian options. Other than that, we're pretty open.

In Bourdain's Layover Rome episode, I thought Beto e Mary looked good - looked like a nice unpretentious place, authentic Roman fare, great stuff like tripe and sweetbreads. Although, at the same time, we wouldn't really be hung up on eating "only" Roman food in Rome.

Seems like we must try a cacio e pepe. Felice a Testaccio sounds pretty popular. We'd also want to find good porchetta (Panificio Bonci?), good gelato (San Crispino?)....

We would also be interested in trying a couple michelin starred restaurants - Il Pagliaccio seems like a good choice. But I think in general we would be going to more affordable Trattoria's.

We would probably be less inclined to go to really experimental / trendy restaurants, but would not be against it if there's a really amazing spot.

In general, we're really open to suggestions. I think our lack of requirements has made it pretty difficult to filter through all of the options!

Mar 24, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Recommendations - Whirlwind Rome / Florence / Venice Food Tour

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are going for a short whirlwind tour in Italy that will be mostly centered around food. We'll have 3 nights in Rome, 2 nights in Florence, and 1 night in Venice.

I have been spending a lot of time researching restaurants, and I'm VERY overwhelmed by the options! It's my wife's first time in Italy and I really want to show her some of the best food that Italy has to offer.

Our focus is mainly on finding amazing food, we don't care much about atmosphere or service, and we're willing to travel out of the way for good food.

We're hoping to select a good "mix" of experiences: high-end restaurants, casual dining, standing, off-the-beaten-path. And we're especially interested in trying some "must-eat" options (e.g. don't leave Rome/Florence/Venice without trying this!).

Can anyone recommend their top choices for a short itinerary like ours?

I know there are a ton of similar posts, and I've honestly read through many of them, but I was hoping this post could trigger some advice for our specific scenario. And hopefully this could help others with similar scenarios.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Mar 24, 2014
analogarsonist in Italy

Kitsuneya (きつねや) motsudon/gyudon, Tsukiji

Old thread - but just wanted to comment that the motsu don at the Tsukiji outer market was one of the best things that I ate in Tokyo. Incredibly rich flavour, perfectly cooked super tender offal, served by a grumpy old woman. Amazing.

Oct 22, 2013
analogarsonist in Japan
1

Kaiseki meal in Kyoto

I know this thread is 5 years old - but i just wanted to let you know that I decided to go to Kichisen because of your posts on this thread, and it was such a fantastic experience! Thank you so much :)

Oct 22, 2013
analogarsonist in Japan