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Tokyo report - Aronia de Takazawa, Sushi Dai, Seryna, Tsunahachi Rin

Hi everyone. Here's a few words from last week's visit.

Aronia de Takazawa - One of the meals of my life. Each dish seemed to be the outcome of creative thought, ingenious design and precise execution. Akiko-san's service was warm, welcoming and professional. Takazawa's food was flawless. I loved every single dish (we had 9 - easily enough). Everything was perfectly prepared and seasoned. While some chefs incorporate gimmicky techniques as an end in themselves, Takazawa-san's innovations are in harmony with the dish. I can understand why he does not really go in for ratings. How can you possibly reduce this kind of experience to a rating? Just go.

Sushi Dai - A long wait in the cold and a pretty good meal. Friendly and capable chefs. Fish very fresh and tasty but at least on what I ate, not quite of consistent top quality. Rice of good consistency and texture. I would choose other places over this one but it is a great experience. Fun for new visitors to Tokyo but if the line is too big, the other nearby places are probably just as good.

Seryna (Ginza) - We chose this as a shabu-shabu place, expecting that it was priced slightly higher than some comparable places but would be good quality based on available reviews. It was. Good beef, very good sauce and the usual attentive Japanese service. Good for a business lunch.

Tsunahachi Rin (Shinjuku) - Places like this help me overcome my natural aversion to eating in shopping malls. Tempura can be very pricey and serious but it need not be. I recommend this for those who want quality without breaking the bank. Young, relatively informal staff. Pleasant room. Fresh ingredients. Delicate batter. Yum.

Feb 06, 2011
panaroma in Japan

Tokyo Trip Recap (1/9-1/10)

Hi, thanks for the report. I will be in Hakuba this week. Any suggestions for food there or is it all standard stuff?

Jan 22, 2011
panaroma in Japan

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

Another reason L'Agrume may not be the right choice for this diner - it is a bit isolated (as much as that is possible in the 5th anyway).

Jan 15, 2011
panaroma in France

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

Here's a reasonable review of the one I meant
http://foodsnobblog.wordpress.com/200...
I thought it had buzz but some of the dishes left me wanting a sauce or something (personal taste really). Chef Ptipois is correct to suggest that L'Agrume is not really a perfect fit for your description. The decor is bare and modern and it does not really bustle so much as hum. The food matches your description though. Have a second look at Le Verre Vole though - it is bobo cool for sure.

Jan 14, 2011
panaroma in France

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

I forgot Frenchie and L'Agume

Jan 12, 2011
panaroma in France

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

Le Verre Vole, Aux Deux Amis, Le Chateaubriand, Saturne

Jan 12, 2011
panaroma in France

Australia/NZ/Solomon Islands/Fiji - want to base travel around food!

In general, and like most destinations, foodie places and big tourist sightseeing places do not always coexist. Here are a few places that in my view, manage to contain both:
1. Quay restaurant in Sydney. The View. The Food. Sean's Panaroma or Icebergs for lunch on a Sunday is a great way to experience Bondi Beach.
2. The premier wine areas, especially the Barossa and Margaret River (MR has great beaches too).
3. Tassie. There are some great walking places like Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain and the a lot of restaurants that are really dedicated to excellence. Good wine too.
4. Noosa. This place took an amazing coastline, added high quality accommodation, filled that full of discerning Melbournians and added some of the best regional dining in the country to keep them happy.
I have not put Melbourne on the food + sights list but that is because Melbourne deserves a food pilgrimmage all on its own. From places like Cumulus Inc, Movida, Reymond to the simplest of Italian cafes, Melbourne has a great, vibrant, well-priced food scene. Get into it.
I hate Cairns and I have never eaten well there but there are a few decent restaurants in Port Douglas. Brisbane has a growing food and cafe scene too.
As a general approach though, you should not expect too much from restaurants near the really big tourist areas. I have eaten some genuinely disgusting meals at resorts in Queensland and would advise against the Gold Coast if you are a foodie. Best to use that time in Noosa or Far North Queensland. Cheers

Sean’s Panorama [Bondi Beach]

Yep, this review by PhilD is a cracker. I have been eating at Sean's for years (used to live next door) and this really captures what is great about the place.

Foodie maps

Souphie has a very good map on his website:
http://www.julotzeblog.com

For what it is worth, you can find mine from a recent trip by searching for "Paris BKFO" on Google Maps. I was just learning to use Google maps so there are a few unlabelled things on there but it has many of the places frequently discussed on this board (Frenchie, Spring, Les Papilles, L'Agrume, Le Cinq, Ledoyen, Saturne, L'As du Falafel, Bertillon, Greg Renard, Oteiza, Fromage Dubois etc) plus some good bars and clubs.

Nov 07, 2010
panaroma in France

Sean’s Panorama [Bondi Beach]

correct!

High-end Tempura in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

I ate there about 2 years ago and it was very good but very expensive. There are two Ten-ichi in Ginza and the original still has the photos of Kissenger , Sinatra etc. I had a more enjoyable meal at the counter at Ten-asa a few days later. Ten-asa is less formal but the batter seemed more delicate than Ten-ichi.

Nov 02, 2010
panaroma in Japan

Looking for a Tokyo food guide

Have you been to Tokyo before? If not, you might be missing a lot by excluding places just because they are mentioned on this board or in other guides. I understand the desire to avoid tourist traps but going "off the beaten track" purely for the sake of it makes little sense, particularly for a first time visitor to a city like Tokyo. With the exception of a few places like Gonbachi, in Tokyo, you will usually be eating in a room full of Japanese people and the celebrated tables are generally excellent, particularly in Tokyo because the Japanese have an amazing ability to deliver consistent quality at the top level. By all means, find a guide to take you to a hidden Izakaya in a dark part of Shinjuku, but don't turn your nose up at places like Ishikawa or Aronia just because they are well known. Not only will you be needlessly missing good places, you will increase your chances of eating badly. Places get good reviews for a pretty obvious reason. Many years ago as a student, I recall a "hard-core" backpacker in Rome who proudly told me he had no intention of seeing the Vatican. "Too touristy" he said. Hilarious.

Oct 29, 2010
panaroma in Japan

Time Out Sydney's Top 10 - Do you agree?

As I said, Bodega is hectic but the atmosphere is casual and the staff don't mind a child being there, so we didn't feel unwelcome. Whether the kid likes it depends on the kid (mine likes crowded noisy places).

Paris in January: your advice?

We ordered by the glass (on Smr's recommendations) and I think our wine came to about 250 Euro. Pink bubbles (Lanson '99 - yum); Sancerre (great - can't recall the maker); an interesting oxidised (but not fortified) style wine (?! not my bag) with the foie gras ravioles; Nuits St George Burgundy (v.good but not spectacular - the table next to us also had it) and a CN de P (superb). All in all this meal was wonderful, and for the food, about the same as I paid at Cumulus last time in Melb!

Oct 20, 2010
panaroma in France

Paris in January: your advice?

78, and 90 with cheese and it is all very good. Be careful of the fancy water that adds a lot to the cost. Had my wife not immediately said "yes please!" before I could stop her, I would have declined it. The wine pairings by the glass were expensive as you would expect in a place of this calibre. I can't remember exactly how much but our wine cost quite a bit more than our food - we are boozy Australians though, so more sophisticated folk of Napa may be more restrained (on quantity if not quality).

Oct 20, 2010
panaroma in France

3 days, 3 nights in Paris - help me choose?

Having just tried to do this (and planning a further trip), I would recommend:
1. No more than one big meal per day.
2. One fine dining experience if you can afford it (lunch seems to be the best value and this board has lots of rec's - esp from Souphie).
3. One not too pricey bistrot and/or "Cave a Manger" (check the board for reviews of Les Papilles, Le Verre Vole etc because these enable you to eat and drink very well for a reasonable cost).
4. At least one lunch involving fresh bread from a good baker, good cheese (Dubois in the 5th is excellent) and any other in-season produce you can get your hands on at the markets.
5. One example of more modern cooking, where excellent ingredients are the focus (again, lots of recs on this board - Saturne looks pretty promising - I want to get there next time).

Oct 13, 2010
panaroma in France

Paris report - Le Cinq, Atelier, Verre Vole

I'm aware of that and did not say it had 3. This is a great room trying to regain its lost star. My point was that a dish like this is not really at the top level of cuisine.

Oct 04, 2010
panaroma in France

Paris report - Le Cinq, Atelier, Verre Vole

Here's a report from last week:

Great Meals -

1. Lunch at Le Cinq - The food and service were superb. Highlights included the Raviole with Foie Gras in a gorgeous peppery bouillon, matched perfectly with wine recommended by the somellier. The basque pork was also very good, though perhaps not as tender as it could have been. There was one service glitch when they brought us the calamari amuse twice. On that note, the calamari was good but not really a 3 star dish IMO. The other amuse of pumpkin soup was spot on.

2. Lunch in the park with Kayser rustique sandwiches. Many of our favourite things were simple. It is tempting to over-foodie things but my level-headed travel companions ensured that we got a variety of experiences.

3. Lunch in our apartment with cheese and butter from Dubois (Place Maubert), basque ham and sausage from Otieza (Rue St Michel), Kayser bread and a lovely burgundy from the Cave on Rue Monge (this is a good Cave a Manger, sometimes with live music at night).

Good meals -

Le Verre Vole - Great atmosphere. Lots of bobo 'tude but these guys have a real love of food and wine and their recommendations included some of the best natural wine I have ever tasted. My starter of red mullet was better than the similar dish I had at Atelier earlier in the week. My main of pork rib was so-so but my friend's toulouse sausage was really good. We walked all the way home to the 5th, buzzing with happiness. Great value for money.

Chez Hamadi - Great cous-cous, friendly staff. Mechoui was ok but not brilliant. Tunisian wine surprisingly drinkable. Why this place was half-full so near to the packed tourist hell holes nearby is beyond me. Again, we had a lot of fun for next to nothing here.

Atelier de Joel Robuchon - We had a really fun night here but it really is not a 2 star restaurant. The amuses were great (better than the mains, which were good but not really that memorable). Service was very good and the recommended wine selections outstanding. However, for the cost (1000 Euro incl wine - we weren't paying!) there are probably better places to go.

Bad meals - None, thanks to the help of this board.

Finally, loved the Renard Macarons!

Oct 04, 2010
panaroma in France

Les Ébullitions Perpetuelles

This Le Fooding event is on in 2 weeks. The website says you need to book by turning up in person "here" at particular times. Maybe I'm a little slow, but I can't work out if "here" means Galerie W, the restaurants each chef represents or the Le Fooding office. It looks as if the event will be at Galerie W but even that is not really clear because the restaurant names are very prominent in the advertising. Anybody got any clues?

Sep 18, 2010
panaroma in France

1st Lunch?

Good advice from a man (PhilD) who is likely to know a thing or two about jet lag.

Sep 07, 2010
panaroma in France

4 days in Paris

Some friends who said they had a a poor (overcooked) course there.

Sep 03, 2010
panaroma in France

4 days in Paris

Chez René is ok? We're just down the street but had been told to avoid it.

Sep 02, 2010
panaroma in France

Time Out Sydney's Top 10 - Do you agree?

I agree on Becasse (they are just nice people) and I think Bentley would be ok too. For good dining with 4 y/o, maybe try Seans, Bodega (a bit hectic though), Pendolino, Bistro Moncur or the Four in Hand.

Ledoyen

This is exactly why this board is so useful. Personally, I can trade off some warmth for a chance at brilliance but my friends are likely to want something a bit more fun. So, assuming that I lose the debate, I think we might choose between the lunch deals at Rostang and Le Cinq. From the comments here, it seems to be a choice between warmth/tradition and reliable grandeur. Any comments on the choice?

Aug 26, 2010
panaroma in France

Ledoyen

OK, that is a pretty discouraging review. When were you there and are there others with similar criticisms?

Aug 25, 2010
panaroma in France

Paris - Nov. 3 - 7 - Looking for good recs

I think you should do it anyway. What people really value is a diversity of recent views from people who know food and live in the city. One FAQ on PBM is great, another on Chow is even better! I like the fact that you sometimes have differing views. A few evocative words in a debate can be very useful for someone like myself who is unhealthily obsessed with restauant choice wherever he goes.

Aug 17, 2010
panaroma in France

Paris - Nov. 3 - 7 - Looking for good recs

This board needs FAQ . The problem is that people going into the threads obviously don't see older posts and we all tend to think we are the first to think/ask a particular question. Having a standing FAQ at the head of the board would help with this. Then, posts could focus on reports, new info and discussions of novel things, which might give you, Soup and John some relief from groundhog day.

Aug 17, 2010
panaroma in France

Ledoyen

Thanks, it was probably a silly question but it saves me from calling them back and bumbling away in my terrible French. My wife thinks it is hilarious that I say "umm" with an affected French accent.

Jul 25, 2010
panaroma in France

Ledoyen

When booking, do I need to tell the restaurant that I am intending to get the 88 euro lunch menu?

Jul 24, 2010
panaroma in France

France for the first time

Hi, I have made a lot of similar choices but you will be there before me. I would be really grateful if you would post a report.

Jul 20, 2010
panaroma in France