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Venice, Florence, Rome, Positano, Capri, Sorrento Honeymoon Report - Very Long

Thanks Elizabeth - I read and very much enjoyed your blog before our trip.

Sostanza and Vivoli were visited based on two recent, glowing recommendations from people we know and eat with often.

Save Campana, every meal we had in Rome had an amazing dish (artichokes at Piperno, burrata at Roscioli, gnocchi at Matricianella). This was also the case in Florence (pollo al burro at Sostanza, wild boar pasta at Cinghale Bianco, truffle tagliata at La Giostra). However, the meals overall were definitely better in Florence. Perhaps it's just because we've had good Roman food in NYC that we were less impressed. Also, the service was downright unpleasant most places we went in Rome, which may have led to us enjoying our meals a bit less.

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Matricianella
Via del Leone, 4, Roma , IT

Piperno
Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

Roscioli
Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Sostanza
Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

Vivoli
Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Oct 25, 2011
tatiana_nyc in Italy

Venice, Florence, Rome, Positano, Capri, Sorrento Honeymoon Report - Very Long

My husband and I just got back from our 2.5 week honeymoon in Italy. I relied heavily on Chowhound recommendations, most of which were wonderful. We live in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (next to Carroll Gardens, a traditional Italian neighborhood) and have very good Italian food in our own neighborhood (Frankies 457, Lucali, et al) - so I was pleasantly surprised to find many of our meals better than what we've ever eaten. I feel it boils down to quality of ingredients. Here is a synopsis of what we ate and where:

VENICE
We loved Venice and its food and ambiance, even after nearly every friend and family member who had been warned us that it was touristy and expensive with forgettable food. I regretted we didn't have another day here - we only had 2.

We arrived just in time for cicchetti and aperitivo hour. We went to Naranzaria, next to the Rialto Market for prosecco and aperol spritzes (divine) and some satisfying nibbles. Definitely worth a stop, and I am sure it there's great people watching when its a bit warmer - lots of locals there. For dinner we went around the corner to Trattoria Alla Madonna, which has extremely mixed reviews as it is an older, somewhat touristy restaurant. It was crowded and featured very bright lighting, so not amazing ambiance, but the food made up for it. Best seafood risotto I've ever had, and the spaghetti with clams was also outstanding. To start we had the crab cocktail (fresh, though a few shards of shells needed to be fished out) and proscuitto crudo, also very good. We ended with textbook tiramisu and some complimentary lemoncello. Everywhere we went we told them it was our honeymoon - many places gave us an after dinner drink, prosecco or small treat, which was nice.

Our second day we started off with a hearty breakfast at our hotel, Ca Sagredo, and then ambled around to see the greatest hits of the Venice sights. For lunch we stopped at Harry's Bar for bellinis and their famed ham and cheese sandwiches. For anyone who isn't aware, the bellinis break down to about $18 US - quite a splurge for a cocktail, but we enjoyed them nonetheless. Cicchetti hour was spent at Al Merca, around the corner from the night before close to the Rialto Market. For dinner that evening we went to Antiche Carampane, which was overall very good. The menu is both very seasonal and local, which we enjoyed - but I think it gets a bit more hype by Chowhounds than it deserved. We got the mixed seafood carpaccio and gnocchi to start - both fantastic. For our second course, we got the moleche crabs (which are fed eggs and parmesan until fat and then cooked) and squid in its ink over polenta. We enjoyed both, especially for the novelty as they are local delicacies, but agreed the starters were better.

The next day we went to the Rialto Market to assemble a picnic for our train to Florence. Got some great cheese from a shop next to Al Merca (some of the best goat cheese I've ever eaten), salami, wine and cheese. For dessert, blueberries and pastries.

Gelato Stops: Sosa and Da Nico. In my opinion, Da Nico is the best gelato I had on the entire trip (pistachio and bacio). We were going to try Alaska, but our waiter at Antiche told us he did not recommend it.

FLORENCE
Overall, by far our best city ranked by food alone. The city itself we were not keen on - every other person seemed to be speaking American or British English, even when we wandered a bit farther afield in the Oltrano district. The Centro Storico felt like a big, cheap shopping mall, with the outer edges a more upscale one. We found it uncomfortably crowded, and we live in NYC! We will only be back to eat and explore Tuscany in the future.

Our first dinner in Florence was La Giostra, which was touristy as expected - but the food was completely fantastic. The antipasto plate given complimentary was hearty and tasty. For starters we got a mixed crostini plate (delicious) and burrata with grapefruit (very, very good but not as good as the one we had in Rome later on in the trip at Roscioli). For secondi we had the truffle "carbonara" tagliata and burrata ravioli. We talked about the truffle pasta for the remainder of the trip. I still think about it. Potentially the best pasta I've ever eaten in my life. The ravioli was also great but couldn't hold a candle to the tagliata.

Our second day we took a private wine tour through Chianti (great wine and scenery, but endured some carsickness due to the winding roads, which no one had warned us about). For dinner we went to Sostanza, which had about 40% American and 60% Italian diners that evening. We had the artichoke omelet and a salad to start and progressed to the famed pollo al burro (butter chicken) and the steak, with a side of fresh white beans. I actually preferred the steak and my husband the chicken, but we agreed they were both fabulous. Ended with biscotti dipped in Vin Santo, a quintessental Florentine after dinner dessert.

Our third day we tried to go to Nerbone for lunch to try the bollito (roast beef) sandwiches. Waited in line for 30 minutes, and the person two ahead of us got the last sandwich roll. We did go on the later end (1 PM) - so I'd recommend going earlier. They open at 8, so we decided to go back on our last morning as I was deadset on trying! We went to GiGi, behind the San Lorenzo Market, instead - decent but nothing to write home about. Inquired at Trattoria Mario, which I'd read about on Chowhound, but the wait was 1.5 hours!

For dinner that night we went to Teatro Del Sale, which is owned and operated by the Cibreo team. It was QUITE an experience, and I highly recommend. We were definitely the only non-Italians there. You arrive and are asked to complete a members application (as it is a private club), then pay 30 euro pp for the food and show. This includes all you can drink chianti - a bar is available but at charge. The food is a progressive buffet - when a new dish is set out, one of the cooks sticks his head out a window and screams "Attenzione" and names the dish. Diners then rush up to get a helping - and the most popular ones run out quickly. We ate approximately 15 different dishes, the best being "fusilli grande" with sausage and capers. The buffet included soups, salads, appetizers, fish, pasta, and meat, ending with gelato (banana). The show was entertaining but lengthy and a bit inane. It was a one woman act performed by Maria Cassi, an Italian actress and the girlfriend of Fabio Picchi, an Italian celebrity chef who owns Cibreo. Both dramatic and humorous to the extreme, to the point of absurdity. All in good fun though, and the food and experience were wholeheartedly worth it.

Our last day in Florence we had I Frattellini sandwiches for lunch (very good but not great, sparse on the filling). The truffle, ham and pork one was the best of the lot. For dinner we ate at Osteria Cinghale Bianco - which I was a bit wary of due to mixed reviews - and it was another home run. We had liver crostini (the best version we tried in Florence), wild boar pappardelle and truffle tagliatelle. The truffle tagliatelle was nowhere near as good as Giostra's, but the wild boar pasta was fantastic. We actually ordered a second plate of it! Highly recommend. For dessert we had tiramisu, which was actually better than what we had in Venice, and complimentary limoncello. Our waiter and the manager (who spent time living in New York) were among the nicest we encountered.

Our last morning we made it to Nerbone and had bollito bagnato sandwiches (bagnato = bun dipped in juice) with salsa verde y rosso. The bread was a bit chewy, but overall the flavors melded together wonderfully. I don't think my husband and I spoke a word until we'd finished. Wonderful.

Gelato stops - Vivoli (recommended by my brother who studied in Firenze and known to be the best) - we found to be just average. It was a little too melty - perhaps they don't keep it as cold as other gelaterias. Dei Neri - get the chocolate pepperoncini - this was my second favorite gelati of the trip. San Trinitita - artisinal, fruit flavors were the best we tried of the trip. Carrera G - many candy and cookie flavors, a little overly sweet for my taste but my husband loved it.

ROME
Our favorite city overall - the ruins are positively magical when seen at night - but unfortunately, this is where my Chowhound advice ran astray. i actually put up one post asking for advice (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811230) as the choices in Rome are vast. The service was gruff everywhere we went - and my husband and I both spoke Italian and were very polite. We could not find a decent Carbonara, which was disappointing as it's one of the most famous Roman dishes and we love it. Here's where we went:

First dinner - Roscioli - recommended highly by pretty much everyone on this board. We were seated about 30 min after our 9 PM reservation and then sat for about 20 minutes with menus before our order was taken. Our waiter was very indifferent and forgot things (a bottle of water) and actually brought us the wrong item and then disappeared for 20 minutes - so we just ate it. Also of note - portions are ENORMOUS. Each dish can easily be shared by 2-4 people. The burrata was indeed the best version - by far - we've ever eaten. Definitely worth a stop just for this alone, though it could easily be shared by 4 people (and we love cheese). The second starter we ordered was braciola - but instead we received a huge mixed meat plate. For secondi we both got the carbonara - and it was not very good. I've had dozens of good ones in NYC restaurants as well as my own kitchen, and unfortunately it was not up to snuff. Dry and far too eggy, and the pancetta did not taste fresh. Very disappointing. For our last course we shared the smoked ricotta meatballs - which were really great, but we did not a lot of room left after the cheese, meat and pasta.

Second day - For lunch we went to Naumachia, between the Colosseum and San Clemente church. Fabulous thin pizza. The only place in the neighborhood that didn't look touristy/godawful. Highly recommended - we got a buffalo mozzarella margherita that was better than the ones we had in Campania, as well as one with proscuitto crudo, rucola and cherry tomatoes.

Dinner that night was at Piperno. We were seated inside, as the patio was full. Our waiter was a bit stiff but otherwise the nicest we had in Rome. The artichokes were to die for, and the squash blossoms were terrific as well. For our main we got a cacio e pepe (very good but i've had better in NYC) and a veal saltimbocca (same as the pasta).

Third day was spent at the Vatican. Lunch was sandwiches from Paninoteca Guido - adequate and cheap but forgettable. The waitress was rude and pretended not to understand us although we ordered in Italian.

Dinner that night was at Checchino dal 1887 - foodwise, the best meal we had in Rome. The place was completely empty at 9 PM, which we found odd for a Wednesday night. Only two other tables of diners. Our waiter was the coldest we had of the trip, which was strange as he was almost overly nice to the other American couple who was there, as was the manager. The third table was Italians. We had crostini (good) and a salad to start, and followed up with the bucatini alla amatriciana (very good) and the rigatoni pajata (excellent). As a main we shared an involtini, which was just okay. For dessert we had a ricotta chocolate cake which was delicious.

Our last day in Rome we had lunch at Matricianella and partook in "Gnocchi Gioveddi" - thanks Katie Parla for the tip, as we did not know about that tradition prior to her recommendation. We got a tomato basil version and an involtini and cheese, which we agreed was the best gnocchi we've ever tasted. Big business lunch crowd, so make sure to book ahead. Just a simple trattoria, but a very good one.

Our last dinner in Rome was at La Campana. Other than comments about how touristy it is, there was little bad on this board said about the food. I regret to report that it was, by leaps and bounds, the WORST meal we had in Italy. I actually thought most of it was positively inedible and wondered if the chef recently quit. Worth investigating. Interestingly we were seemingly the only Americans there - mostly Italians, though only about half full on a Thursday night. We started with grilled scamorza, the only thing I liked. The salad arrived drenched in cheap olive oil. We got fettuccini carbonara, which was drowning in cream (from what I know, cream does not belong in carbonara) and extremely bland. I tried to add pepper, which still made it inedible. The veal saltimbocca tasted like it had been cooked in concentrated broth and was far too salty to eat. Many of the other diners were eating fish dishes - which we never would have considered over the classics La Campana is known for. 80 euros later, we ended the night at McDonalds (no, I'm not kidding!).

Also of note, we went to Forno al Campo di Fiore THREE times while in Rome. The first two were in the afternoon and all they had left was the margherita, but the third was in the morning our last day and we had eggplant and squash blossom. Definitely worth a stop for a snack, note that they close for siesta every day from about 2:30 - 4:30 PM.

Gelato Stops - Giolitti - the best in Rome, we went twice. Huge serving, a "small" will get you three flavors. Make sure you get yours "con panna" - they top it with cream! Ciampini - gelato in wafer ice cream sandwich form - I loved these, my husband did not. San Crispino - we got the crispino, which is honey. Delicious and unique. Tre Scalini (gelato in tartufo form) - very good, but I'd advise only going for a dessert and coffee and not a meal as it is a tourist trap.

POSITANO
Our focus was on relaxation and romance in Positano, but we found some fantastic food!

First dinner was spent at Donna Rosa in Monteperuso, in the hills above the town. Family run (mom and one daughter in the kitchen, other daughter and father at the front of the house), it was the warmest service of the trip and also the best pasta besides La Giostra's truffle pasta and Cinghale Bianco's boar. Everything was fresh, delicious, and cooked before you (our table was next to the kitchen). Complimentary bruschetta and limoncello sweetened the already delicious meal - we had black and white seafood pasta and spinach/ricotta ravioli, which we agreed was the best ravioli we'd had to date.

For lunch the next day we went to I Capitano, with stunning views above town and fresh, delicious food. Seafood risotto, mozzarella and proscuitto salad. For dinner we went to Max, an enoteca in the heart of town. It was recommended by our hotel and everything we got was very good - lobster tagliatelle and sausage/ricotta lasagna. We had two desserts here - a lemon mousse and a chocolate souffle, both excellent.

Third day we went to see Amalfi and Ravello and had a casual lunch at Il Panini in Ravello - great toasted sandwiches, definitely recommend if you don't have time for a long sitdown (i.e Cusimo). We had drinks at the Il San Pietro (champagne) and then dinner at Taverna Fiora Leone. Solid pizza, though nothing we wouldn't find in NYC. We got a margherita and a sausage and peppers, as well as an antipasto misto plate to start.

Following day we went to Capri and had lunch at Gelsomina (thanks to all who recommended it!) It was very remote - though we got picked up in Anacapri by their free shuttle - but totally worth it for the food and views. We got squash blossom campanelle and caprese ravioli as well as a caprese salad - the best version we've ever had. After lunch we took a short trail to an overlook with one of the most spectacular views we've seen.

Our last dinner in Positano was at Il Ritrovo, in Monteperuso across from Donna Rosa. We did the tasting menu, a bargain at 35 euro each. The standout was the seafood pasta, though we enjoyed everything. Very friendly owner gave us a small bottle of wine and bag of spices, as well as complimentary lemoncello. One nice thing is that they have a shuttle that drives you back down to town as opposed to a taxi (we took one to Donna Rosa, 20 euro each way).

Last day of the trip was spent in Sorrento, where we had lunch at L'Abate (owned by La Lanterna) - very good antipasto and proscuitto/buffalo mozzarella/cherry tomato pizza. Our last dinner of the trip was at Il Buco, which used to have a Michelin star. Great room, a lot of ambiance but also a lot of fanfare. They didn't seem too pleased that we chose two courses each instead of the tasting menu (it was only 15 euros less than the tasting menu the way we did it). The starters were excellent - mozzarella five ways (deconstructed into yogurt, fried, grilled, etc) and beef carpaccio five ways. Our second course was a large tube pasta with arugula pesto and overcooked calamari (mediocre) and a spaghetti with pancetta and tomatoes (very good).

Hope this report is helpful! My research was pretty exhaustive, but the end result was very worth it.

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Forno Campo De' Fiori
Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Ristorante La Giostra
Borgo Pinti, 10r, Florence, Tuscany 50121, IT

La Campana
Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

Matricianella
Via del Leone, 4, Roma , IT

Checchino dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, Rome 00153, IT

Piperno
Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

Roscioli
Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Antiche Carampane
Calle de la Carampane, 1911,San Polo, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

Alla Madonna
Calle della Madonna, San Polo, 594,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

Il Ritrovo
Via Montepertuso, 77, Positano, Campania 84017, IT

Il Buco
II Rampa Marina Piccola (Piazza S. Antonino), 5,, Sorrento, Campania 80067, IT

Teatro del Sale
Via Dei Macci, 111/R, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Sostanza
Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

Vivoli
Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Nerbone
Via dell'Ariento, 87r, Florence, Tuscany 50100, IT

I Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori, 38r,, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Tre Scalini
Piazza Navona, Roma, Lazio 00186, IT

Donna Rosa
Via Montepertuso,97-99, Positano, Campania 84017, IT

Roscioli
Via Buonarroti 48, Rome, Lazio 00185, IT

Naranzaria
Venice, Venice, Veneto , IT

Al Merca
Venice, Venice, Veneto , IT

Osteria del Cinghale Bianco
Borgo San Iacopo, 43, Florence, Toscana 50125, IT

Oct 21, 2011
tatiana_nyc in Italy
1

Honeymoon in Rome Next Week - Food Itinerary

Great tip on Thursday gnocchi, will definitely check that out! Also thanks much on the pizza report, we will try one of the others you have recommended. Just arrived, time to go eat!

Oct 10, 2011
tatiana_nyc in Italy

Honeymoon in Rome Next Week - Food Itinerary

Hi there -

Two NYC hounds headed to Rome on the next leg of our honeymoon! Based on what I've read, I think the dinner choices we have made are pretty reliable, but please take a look and confirm or suggest alternatives. I'm alo listing the contenders.

Planning to make 9 pm reservations for all later today. After Rome we had to Positano - so more concerned with food quality than "romantic" atmosphere in Roma.

Mon - Roscioli
Tue - Piperno
Wed - Dar Poeta
Thu - La Campana

Other Contenders:
Colline Emilane
Santa Lucia
Checchino Dal 1887
Felice
Da Buffetto Pizza
Da Giggetto
Al Pantheon del Sole
Antico Arco

Thanks!
A

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Antico Arco
Piazzale Aurelio, 7, Roma 00151, IT

La Campana
Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

Giggetto
Via del Portico d'Ottavia 21A/22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Piperno
Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

Roscioli
Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Dar Poeta
Vicolo Bologna 45-46,, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

Oct 08, 2011
tatiana_nyc in Italy

Montreal - Garde Manger vs. Club Chasse and Lemeac vs. Laloux

Thanks so much for all your recs!

Revised plan below, with a single void - breakfast on Monday. Beauty's or L'Avenue, before hiking Mont Royal. Which has better food?

Also, do we need a reso for brunch at Lemeac?

SAT - Lunch at Olive et Gourmando, Dinner at Club Chasse et Peche

SUN - Breakfast at St. Viateur, Late Brunch at Lemeac, Dinner at APDC

MON - Progressive lunch splitting food at Schwartz's (sandwich), Romado's (chicken) and Patati Patata (poutine)

TUE - Snacking brunch at Jean Talon Market before departure

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Olive et Gourmando
351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

Patati Patata
4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

Montreal - Garde Manger vs. Club Chasse and Lemeac vs. Laloux

First trip to Montreal for an NYC hound couple. Trying to decide between restaurants for two of our three nights in town. We are celebrating our first anniversary but want geat food first and great ambiance second.

I've combed the threads and looked at menus, narrowed it down to the following:

SATURDAY - Garde Manger or Club Chasse

SUNDAY - APDC (reservation secured)

MONDAY - Laloux or Lemeac (or anywhere else you can recommend that's open on a Monday, these seemed to be the best of the lot. No BYOB's)

We'll also be visiting Olive et Gourmando for lunch Sat, Schwartz's for lunch Sun, Patati Patata for lunch Mon and hitting up the Jean Talon Market prior to our departure on Tuesday. Will stop at St. Viateur for bagels either Sun or Mon AM - though we've had them at Mile End in Brooklyn, looking forward to tasting them from the source!

Let me know your thoughts and if we are missing anything crucial. Thanks!

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Olive et Gourmando
351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

Patati Patata
4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

Moving to FiDi, Need Restaurant Recs

Thanks for all the great suggestions! Didn't realize a lot of Tribeca restaurants deliver over there, good to know. Max is a favorite of mine in the EV.

Sep 01, 2009
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Moving to FiDi, Need Restaurant Recs

Moving into my own place, but trading the East Village for the Financial District. Seems like the food options haven't yet caught up to the large increase in residential real estate down there (at least until BLT et. al open in 1-2 years)

Would love some recommendations for the best delivery spots (sushi, thai, indian, etc) as well as sit down restaurants. I'm specifically looking for places that are open past 6 PM and on weekends, as I've noticed many are open M-F for lunch only.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Aug 28, 2009
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Financial district grocery

Also check out Barbarini Alimentari on Front St, near the Seaport. Great gourmet Italian grocery, stocks lots of pastas and other specialty items imported from Italy. There's also a fairly robust selection of cheeses from Artisanal.

Found it this past weekend while wandering, the man at the cheese counter was extremely friendly and gave me several unsolicited samples.

Aug 24, 2009
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Ah! Chihuahua's

Uh oh, the word is out... this is my secret Tex-Mexican place! I have been coming here for 5 years - I used to live a block away.

I grew up in San Diego so I can appreciate good Mexican food. This is the ONLY restaurant I've found in Manhattan that serves real refried beans (aka made with lard). I always get the Enchiladas Suizas, am sure everything else is good but can't divert from my fave.

Aug 24, 2009
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Moving to 4th St and 2nd Ave, Need Reccos

I'm currently in the North East Village (12th and A), moving to the South East Village (4th St and 2nd Ave). All my staples are up on Ave A and B, so looking for some new standby places in the new hood. Belcourt is already a brunch staple for me, but looking for sushi delivery, sandwiches, bagels, etc.

Your help is appreciated!

Sep 23, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Persimmon, neo-Korean on E 10th

I ate there several weeks ago. The Bo Saam was the only passable thing on the menu. I took out of town guests and was completely embarassed to have brought them there.

The main course clam soup was absolutely dreadful. We got pizza afterwards.

Aug 15, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

NY Hound in town next week, needs recommendations

NYC hound traveling to Chi Sunday through Wednesday of next week. I'm staying at the Hyatt Regency on East Wacker Drive, and most of my meals are already planned by my business associates in Chicago. However, since I've never been to Chicago, I would love some recommendations on the following:

1) a solid Chicago dog with the works

2) somewhere within walking distance of the Hyatt for lunch every day (we have an hour break, so can't be too far)

3) a memorable, chow-ish dinner spot somewhere within a 10 minute driving radius of the Hyatt for Sunday night. Walking distance is even better, we'll be using taxis/public transport.

Thanks! Looking forward to visiting your great city soon.

Aug 06, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Chicago Area

fish tacos?

As a native San Diegan, I consider myself an expert on the subject...I've probably tried most of the places in the city that offer them. For beer battered and fried fish tacos, check out the following (all pretty casual):

1) Vamos Tacos y Tequilas - 20th and 1st. Pretty commercial place, but they're good.
2) Pinche Taqueria - Elizabeth and Spring. Tiny place... again, good stuff.
3) Mercadito - Ave B and 11th. Pricey and tiny but tasty. Check out Mercadito Cantina, which is opening next week down on B and 10th - it's supposed to be more casual.

I won't offer my reviews of grilled fish tacos, for real deal Baja fish tacos are always fried. Not to say they aren't decent... Pompano, La Esquina, Dos Caminos all offer them grilled.

Jun 27, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Seafood Birthday Dinner in Paris

We hope to have raw bar selections, etc. on top of entree, which I know are expensive. Probably wish to stay around 150E total (which might leave more room for a more expensive entree, not sure how much wine/dessert/raw bar would add up to).

Is Le Bar a Huitres too informal for a celebratory dinner? I have been reading good reviews.

May 20, 2008
tatiana_nyc in France

Seafood Birthday Dinner in Paris

I will be visiting Paris from New York for the first time this weekend and am seeking a great seafood restaurant for my birthday dinner on Saturday night. I am particularly interested in a great raw bar selection (oysters, lobster, etc). My boyfriend and I are in our late 20's, want a restaurant with a nice atmosphere - not touristy! Also would like to keep it somewhat easy on the wallet, with entrees in the 15-25 euro range.

We are staying in the Marais. As we will be going out for drinks afterwards, an area with a nightlife scene would be nice (the Bastille perhaps).

Please let me know if we need to book beforehand, and thanks for your help!

Also we are considering L'Entrecote and Les Refuge des Fondues for our two other dinners. Am I misguided with these two choices? Opinions/thoughs are welcome.

May 20, 2008
tatiana_nyc in France

Blue Smoke- burgers et al

Tried the chipotle wings last time I was there... they are absolutely crazy delicious.

May 14, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Chinatown Recs for Australian Visitor

I have lived in NYC for 5 years and am still on the hunt for a good place. I'm not at all a fan of NY Chinese, having been brought up on CA Chinese (i.e. farm fresh veggies and meat, no starchy/gloppy sauce, no MSG). I think I can count all the Chinese restaurants here I've tried on one hand - NY Noodletown, Grand Sichuan, No. 1 China, Six Happiness, Wo Hop. Not a favorite in the bunch...

I have a guest from Australia who loves Chinese and wants to try the best. Please point us in the right direction! Looking for fresh, delicious food, atmosphere not important. Please note if they serve dim sum, may do that in lieu of dinner.

Appreciate the help!

May 06, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

12th and A

I live very close... here are my reccos (all are reasonably priced):

Westville East
Back Forty (Amercian/organic/locavore)
Sapporo East (sushi/japanese)
Chickpea (mediterranean)
Cafecito (cuban)
Vamos (mexican)
Barbone (northern italian, lots more than pasta)

Terroir is fantastic, and there are lots of small plates that are reasonably priced, not to mention a happy hour menu with drink specials. Definitely try it - 12th between 1st and A. Drop Off Service on 13th and A also has a great happy hour, $3-5 drinks.

May 06, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Best Moules Frites in Manhattan?

Markt, no contest. Six kinds.

Apr 29, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Has Artichoke reached it's saturation point?

Went about 6:30 PM last night. Waited about 20 mins, and there were only 10 people ahead of me - definitely not typical NY speedy service, but then again it wasn't typical NY pizza.

Got the first slice of a new spinach artichoke pie... phenomenal. Totally burned the roof of my mouth, but it was worth it. Had spinach, artichoken and cheese sliding off. It was so large I decided against a second slice, as I was by myself. Next time i'll get it cut in half, it's really the size of two NY slices. They didn't have fritters, which was a bummer... will have to come back. All in all, one of the best slices I've ever had - and I have never liked white pizza. My only complaint - crust is a little thicker than I'd like. More solid than doughy, but I assume it would need to be as a non-soggy vehicle for the supercreamy sauce.

Absolutely no one ordered a napolitano while I was there, although several got sicilian slices. Crowd was definitely very neighborhoody/hipster. Looking forward to draft beer (which they tout on the windows, but I assume no license yet). Definitely a bit dangerous living so close as bikini season's coming up, but glad to have such a great slice in my 'hood.

Apr 17, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Has Artichoke reached it's saturation point?

As an avid reader of food news in NYC, it has come to my attention that Artichoke Basille's Pizza has gotten an astronomical amount of press. It's been only three weeks and has been prominently featured on all the major NYC city guides and food sites.

Since I live in the 'hood, I think I need to get over there before it's completely over (i.e. when the NY Times reviews it and the tourists start lining up). I'm also taking Tony's Brooklyn Pizza Tour this weekend, so it seems like an appropriate kick-off.

Suggestions and comments are welcome. I'm planning to to go for a spinach artichoke slice, maybe a napolitano and some cauliflower fritters... full report on the scene and food to follow.

Apr 16, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Should we try Angelo&Maxies for dinner?

For a large celebratory dinner, Angelo and Maxie's is great. The food and service are consistently good. It's also relatively quite inexpensive for the quality and quantity of the food.

Before I get killed by other 'hounds, let me prefice that with the fact that I eat steak on a regular basis (2-3 times a month). Thus, I've been to pretty much all the greats at least 5 times and have had varying experiences at each. Keen's is actually the one I have not been to. Here's my best of NY steak list:

1. Dylan Prime (Tribeca) - great apps, great steaks, great dessert (try the peanut butter pie), great service.
2. Del Friscos - private rooms for large parties, amazing food.
3. Strip House - great ambiance, great food.
4. STK - great food, from apps to sides and steaks (probably too trendy for the upper end of the age spectrum you mention). Though delicious, portions are not hearty.
5. Sparks - old time mafioso appeal, great steak and lobster
6. Wolfgangs - great porterhouse, but very loud, crowded. Service also not great. Crowd is all business.
7. BLT Prime/Steak - both food and service vary wildly (I sat waiting for my check at BLT Prime for over an hour, even after speaking with manager twice). It's also expensive. Pre-meal popovers are absolutely delectable
8. Peter Lugers - zero ambiance, service is deplorable. Porterhouse is good... but I like Wolfgangs better. Seems to have seriously slipped in past few years.
9. Primehouse - trendy, but not too much so. Large menu - tableside caesar salad preparation is impressive. Their "premier" steak, the bone-in filet, is extremely bland and disappointing, hence my low rating.
10. Old Homestead - great for a group of all men. Service is very slow.

Apr 16, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Best bagels/bialys in LES/EV?

Ess-a-Bagel is your best bet. If you don't want to walk up to 21st, David is your man for bagels - 13th and 1st Av.

Apr 08, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Il Bagatto or Hearth?

Two different leagues... Hearth is a pretentious, expensive showcase for locavore cuisine. Il Bagatto is a delicious, inexpensive (relatively) southern italian restaurant.

Both are loud... if you're looking to stay in the neighborhood, I highly recommend Barbone on 12th and B. Delicious, (relatively) inexpensive northern Italian, not too loud. I have taken friends, parents and grandparents there and have yet to witness someone who didn't really enjoy it.

Apr 01, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Fun Business Dinner (Flatiron, Union Square)

Here are some ideas:

Rosa Mexicana
Japonais
BLT Prime
A Voce

Mar 20, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Freemans- Give it to me Straight

Even after they expanded the dining room last year, there are still 1 hour+ waits most nights of the week and for weekend brunch.

If you want to sit around 8/8:30, I'd advise showing up at 6:30 or 7 and finding a space at he bar for some drinks (they have a great menu) and an appetizer or two. If you show up later than 8:30 on a Saturday night, the waiting list might already be closed.

Mar 18, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

Does New York mexican food really suck?

I've seen this thread before, looks like it got resurrected... and I'm surprised I never replied to it. I'm a San Diegan who is always on the quest for good Southwest Mex. I've accepted even the best hole in the wall taco shops are nothing compared to my local back home.

Ay! Chiuahua on 53rd St between 1st and 2nd is the only place in NYC that I've had decent Tex-Mex. Huge plates of enchilades verdes with (lard-filled) beans, rice, fresh-baked tortilla chips and rockin margaritas. As long as you accept it for what it is (i.e. the best of the worst in NYC), you will be fine. And it's definitely enough for two meals.

I would also recommend Los Dos Molinos, but only if you like VERY spicy food. They have much the same fare - fajitas, enchiladas, etc. but kicked up quite a few notches.

Don't bother with the Rosa Mexicanas and Dos Caminos' of the world unless you just want guac and an icy margarita - those two things they do very well.

As for the Lone Star and Shiner, they only place I know of is Hill Country BBQ. Maybe Southern Hospitality and Brother Jimmy's carry those brands too.

Mar 18, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

East Village restaurant recommendations

Here is my best of the EV list:

Pylos - Greek
Bourgeois Pig - Fondue
Barbone - Roman Italian (i.e. not red sauce)
Il Bagatto - Southern Italian
Mercadito - Mexican
Royale - Burgers
Boquedita Cubana - Cuban and BYOB

Feb 11, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan

grass-fed beef

Back Forty in the EV (11th and B) serves delicious grass fed burgers.

They specialize in seasonal, localvore menu items. Lots of veggies, etc.

Feb 11, 2008
tatiana_nyc in Manhattan