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Restaurant ettiquette in Rome with a small child?

We just got back from Easter week in Rome with a 9 and 11 year old (I know they are a little bit older but your child might just be a little better behaved...,). We valued the advice to have a big lunch which worked well. But, then we just couldn't help ourselves and went out to dinner every night as well. The kids might just love Rome, but whatever the reason, it all worked out really well. The first night, we did have a little snoozing before the pasta course but when the cacio pepe showed up all hands were on deck. We thought the places we went (Armando's, flavio, Antico Arco and l'asino d'oro) were more accommodating than most manhattan places of a similar type we go to.

Apr 18, 2015
BillyBob in Italy

Need 1 more Rome restaurant

We had good to great meals at Antico Arco (a bit different and contemporary) and l'asino d'oro ( very nice neighborhood place in monti) that were a little different. But, like others here, I still salivate at the mention of the name Armando.

Apr 18, 2015
BillyBob in Italy

Rome report - April 2015

Over the years, i have gained innumerable insights from chowhound boards and probably not given my share back. Thank you to the many on this board who understand how precious a meal, any meal, can be when you want to experience something worthwhile and only have a few short days in a wonderful city with literally thousands of places to choose between. I Don't know how many tourist traps or hyper-inflated hot spots i have avoided over the years, largely due to the help provided in forums like this one. So, i thought i would post thoughts on this trip and the places we visited - maybe someone will read it a year from now and gain some benefit.

First up: armando al parthenon. We had lunch at this small, wonderful, classic trattoria near the pantheon run by a warm and friendly family. The short menu reads like the greatest hits of Roman pasta with a few well-executed second courses and a delightful artichoke contorni. We had, in order of preference, amatriciana (outstanding guanciale with tomato - just the right amount of kick from the hot pepper), carbonara (creamy and delicious guanciale, eggs and cheese) and cacio and pepe (simple and satisfying). But, the declared first course winner was the farro soup with guanciale and tomato, a perfect blend of flavors and textures. For seconds, we had veal roast with potatoes (nicely executed but not particularly memorable), grilled lamb chops (excellent flavor) and chicken with peppers (best order - outstanding flavor). The artichoke contorni was delicious and worthwhile. Desserts favored the tira misu - expertly done. Wine was a sicilian blend of organic wine. Exceptional value at 45 euro. Reservations required for both lunch and dinner - you know a place is special when there is a line outside waiting the place to open at 1230pm and the first four parties in line are rejected because they don't have a reservation. But this is easter in rome. Next up: dinner tonight at L'Asino d'Oro.

Florence: Sostanza, Il Santo Bevitore, borgo san jacopo????

After reviewing threads, I thought that Sostanza and Il Santo Bevitore would be good choices for our family of 4 just after Easter (the kids are gastronomically adventurous, but aged 9 and 11). Saw a positive comment on Borgo San Jacopo somewhere else and was wondering why no love here? If that idea is a dud, was thinking about Alla Vecchia Bettola or Antica Ristoro del Cambi. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mar 10, 2015
BillyBob in Italy

Emergency - World Series viewing/dining/drinking tonight in Bklyn

Two Red Sox fans living in Brooklyn (Heights/CobbleHill) need recs for a good place to watch tonight's game. Thought of Dinosaur Barbeque but not enough emphasis on the game. Thought of Floyd on Atlantic but then thought again about the food. Need a good balance of sports focus and something reasonable to eat, thanks.

Oct 30, 2013
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Nantucket Update 2013

About to head out for an annual trip to Nantucket - was wondering if anyone had any new observations for this season. We were out in late May and had a terrific meal at our usual, Straight Wharf, a good lunch at Cru and a disappointing (also as usual, why do we keep going?) experience at the place that defines excessive "Nantucket pricing", Toppers at the Wauwinet. Anything new or surprising or must avoid, this year, thanks.

Aug 02, 2013
BillyBob in Southern New England

Best food at JFK airport for a long layover

If your layover is long enough, I would go to don peppe's for some old world Italian. It's about 5-10 minutes from JFK and will require a taxi, but I would do it if I had enough time

May 27, 2013
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

"Formal" foodie lunch near brooklyn city hall!

Parkslopemama is right on target. Frankie's back space is perfect for parties, we had one there. Ganso is great for ramen but way too casual and the wooden booths are fixed and would make seating awkward for a party that size I don't believe it's open for lunch yet but I really like red gravy, maybe they would open for a party. Queen is good, old school Italian and definitely open for lunch. One other thought is the relatively new Italian place down on atlantic! I think it's called hopeland. We had a couple nice lunches there and i like the vibe a lot.

Feb 28, 2013
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Sunday night football

We have had lunch here at canyon ranch two days running and each meal has been superb (and virtuous). Everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned well, which is obviously important if you aren't using fat or much salt. Lamb gyro, artichoke fries (baked but tasty), spicy shrimp pita, all really good. Nice to balance it out with the monster slab o 'beef I might order tonight. Will try to check out bourbon steak instead of red. Thanks for the tips.

Sunday night football

Thanks for all the great stuff. I am incredibly embarrassed - though - to report that we are staying at the Canyon Ranch (I was not watching the ball at all, my charming bride was). Northe Beach? So, it seems like that long cab ride to Shuckers is only 7 minutes - sounds perfect. And the fact that the concierge was clueless is not a surprise (maybe watching NFL games is not their forte, so to speak). Its probably too late to move off Bianca, since its in 15 minutes, but given our geographically challenged location, what is the consensus on red? Nobody seemed to have a problem with Bazaar (I had an absolutely incredible meal there in LA), so that seems OK. Its great to see opinions on steakhouses - in NYC, we have so many overrated places, listening to this board means a lot. So, I guess the options to upgrade over Red are Prime 112, Pubbelly, BLT, Bourbon Steak. I need a good steak to offset the yoga, pilates and spinning I am going to be doing all day long. Help me.........

Sunday night football

NY hound headed to south beach for the weekend. Big PAts fan (don't hold it against me). Already have a number of good looking things lined up ( but feel free to criticize or substitute - Bianca, red and bazaar), but really looking for the right place to watch football Sunday night. Problem is, without knowing the places, whether we can really watch the game versus just having it on in the background. Concierge suggested shula's but I may be tempted just to order in room service. Any advice?

Sunday night football

NY hound headed to south beach for the weekend. Big PAts fan (don't hold it against me). Already have a number of good looking things lined up ( but feel free to criticize or substitute - Bianca, red and bazaar), but really looking for the right place to watch football Sunday night. Problem is, without knowing the places, whether we can really watch the game versus just having it on in the background. Concierge suggested shula's but I may be tempted just to order in room service. Any advice?

Updated Thoughts on Middle Eastern in the Atlantic Ave Area?

We used to order from and go to Waterfalls a lot but then it seemed to go downhill, then we ordered in from Fatoosh and it was reliable and good - but not great, then Fountain closed and they turned it into some kind of hooka joint. I just ordered in from Darna on Court and was pleasantly surprised (the falafel was particularly well done, chicken over rice was OK but suffered from an longer than expected delivery time). Was wondering if you all had any updated views on the best Middle Eastern places these days in the area.

Dec 28, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Enoteca Restaurant, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

I think it is a solid choice but not more. did you check out Frankie's 457? Food is better there, in my view I have always fantasized about having a party of the size that you are thinking about in that really cool space they have out back. Depending on what time of year. Frankie's sister restaurant, prime meats, is good as well but not as much of a favorite of ours.

Nov 30, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Help with the Patriots game this Sunday

Thanks for all your help. We left Boston around 1130 and arrived in foxboro at noon. With the late start for the game, we waited for about 15 minutes literally on route 1 waiting for the lots to open, but that was ok. The tailgating looked like a ton of fun, although things looked like that might get a little sloppy later on. Davios hit the spot, and I think the comments here were spot on. We could have done much worse. My son, who is 7, did raise a few eyebrows by ordering steak tartare (it was unfortunate because he loves carpaccio but this came out tasting more like mayonnaise than anything else) and then following up with a plate of pasta and then tuna steak (he asked for it raw but they ended up searing it - probably was for the best all around). I had a respectable fusill with shrimp and a decent steak. Broccoli rave was a little disappointing but I've yet to find a restaurant who gets it right (although I do keep trying because when it is done right it is ethereal). Since the game was a blowout (go Pats), we left a little early had absolutely no traffic getting out and stopped at pepe's for a pizza on the way back to brooklyn. Thanks again. I hope I can return the favor the next time the Pats come down and kick the poor helpless and ridiculous jets around (they just did that on thanksgiving ) and you all need some recs down here. Cheers.

Nov 25, 2012
BillyBob in Greater Boston Area

Killer lunch at brooklyn southern

Sampled almost the entire menu. All done exceptionally well. Fried chicken was superb, plump and juicy but not greasy. Gumbo nicely balanced with just moderate spice. The show stealers, though, we're the fried oysters (no grease, crunchy, sweet, superb) and the special of the day, the shrimp over grits (the sauce on that dish was incredible). The kitchen was just a tad slow, though not enough to be worrisome after the food arrived (my 7 year old can get mighty hungry while waiting). And it is a small place. Thoughtful and cheerful service. While not a real destination place, this an excellent neighborhood kind of hangout with really good cooking and a very nice vibe.

Nov 25, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Help with the Patriots game this Sunday

Thanks for all the help. Will stick with davios and be prepared for lots of quality time on the drive down (until he falls asleep). Go pats.

Nov 17, 2012
BillyBob in Greater Boston Area

Help with the Patriots game this Sunday

I am a Patriots fan from NY going to Gillette for the first time with my 7 year old son (a rite of passage for both of us). We are staying at Boston hotel Saturday night and then driving down to Gillette for the 4pm game. I have heard that driving down there and parking can be a nightmare, so we were thinking aobut leaving early from Boston (before noon) and trying to eat somewhere down there so we could hang out at the stadium, Patriots Place, etc. The best thing I could think of was to go to Davios at Patriot Place at noon (my son loves pasta), but I read somewhat negative reviews here of the place (I think someone referred to their bolognese as "slop"). Not sure if there are any other viable options but wanted to check with you all. We are also driving south after the game at night, so we might need a good dinner place either near the stadium or short drive to the south (maybe towards Providence?). THanks for your help

Nov 14, 2012
BillyBob in Greater Boston Area

Rucola in Boerum Hill

While I agree with the positive comments on the food - unfortunately, we also had "sketchy" service (with bad attitude)

Nov 11, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Inside food at the Barclay's Center????

Headed to the Nets game this afternoon for the first time. Trying to decide whether to have lunch before outside in the neighborhood or inside the arena today. Anybody been inside and have a view/favorites? I saw the New York Times article but that seemed to be more catering related than actual food stands.

Nov 11, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

No heat, no hot water in my house - its officially ramen season in Brooklyn

Went to Ganso today. Very nicely done - close to superb. Place needs support -its good for the neighborhood. Interestingly, it was very easy to drive over and park on the street (Livingston - lots of spaces made it easy). Very nice fried chicken, although I wish there was a spicy dipping sauce. Spicy ramen was very good - by my comparison, the broth was better than Menchanko Tei but not as good as Totto Ramen (but great for Downtown Brooklyn). Left feeling warm and satisfied before returning to my chilly chilly apartment. Are there any other respectable ramen places in Brooklyn and Queens? I have read snippets about Zuzu Ramen on 5th Avenue in Park slope but not much else. Is it really Ganso or Manhattan?

Nov 08, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

New Brooklyn Waterfront Park?

We like gran electrica - nice Mexican in dumbo. Owned by the colonie people ( on Atlantic off the other end of the park. - Steve r is right on point about the park layout). . Avoid Grimaldis at all cost. Off joralemon - near pier 5 - we like the Corsican river deli ( nice brunch on weekend) and iris cafe anytime. But have not yet tried iris for dinner Both are on Columbia place between joralemon and state.

Oct 14, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Ganso

Also at lunch. Enjoyed four appetizers; fried chicken was superbly done, wings were only ok, Gyoza delicate and not greasy (as others have indicated) and pork buns terrific (delicately fried, good bun, nice balance in the sauce) We found the spicy miso deeply flavorful and porky rich The ganso ramen had less complex flavor but still good Agree with the comments that while not yet at the level of the finest (totto my favorite), it is a wonderful addition to the Brooklyn scene. Would go here anytime - great stuff overall. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if they keep getting better over time - it just has that feel.

Oct 14, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Where do you eat in Jackson Heights?

We like both la portena and la fusta, but for different things. the watercress, shrimp and lemon salad and skirt steak at la fusta are superb, makes me hungry just thinking about it. I prefer portena's shell steak and potatoes (the really really garlicky ones that are sliced, not the french fries, although they are good if you dont want the garlic taste coming back all night long). Their salad (I know, I know, salad at an Argentinian steak place? but, sometimes you just gotta have something remotely healthy) is definitely less tasty. Also, agree with the Chivito comments - I once ate a wonderful steak there that violated the sage rule of "never eat anything bigger than your head".

Sep 26, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Need suggestion for Chowmeet with visiting 'Gourmand' Singapore chowhounder

Junsik in Tribeca. See review thread (recent). Just got reservation for Thursday on Open Table. Awesome

Sep 17, 2012
BillyBob in Manhattan

New CitiField Eats - Pat La Freida Steak Sandwich

I went again Thursday afternoon - we didnt retry the Pat La Frieda's but we did go to the greek stand in the Worlds Fare (first time), which actually had a really good gyro (?!?). My friend got the Thursday special at Mama's: roast pork with mozzarella (sans gravy). It was a good day.....

Aug 10, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

New CitiField Eats - Pat La Freida Steak Sandwich

While the Mets seem poised to make the jump into permanent irrelevance, it still can be pleasant to take in a game and experience some of the interesting - although potentially prohibitively expensive charms of Citi Field. The new Pat La Frieda steak sandwich place appeared tonight, just next to shake shack in the left center outfield area. It offers a piece of griddled filet mignon smothered in some form of cheese with au jus and carmelized onions on a French style roll. The meat seemed tender and picked up enough flavor from the cooking process to be surprisingly good. The cheese was fine. The bread was close to outstanding - crusty enough to hold the whole contraption together despite the liquid from the jus and onions. But, the onions - which were brown from some sort of balsamic vinegar - were cloyingly sweet and excessively dominating. I don't think that the sandwich is worth the $15 price tag but it was in interesting enough effort to merit a second try later on, maybe once they iron out the kinks and maybe without the onions. But, it got us to talking about the sandwich as an interpretation of a New York style Philly cheese steak. Yes, it suffers from a wall street-like price tag, but it also is an interesting riff on the classic from our neighbors of brotherly love. We ended up discussing how to make it better and/or somehow uniquely New York. Some form of Siracha/remulade sauce maybe (neither of which has anything to do with New York)? While worth a try, it probably will never replace a Mama's or even Korean, if not shake shack or blue smoke. The line at this stand was longer than the line at shake shack - have we New Yorkers finally reached the edge of our tolerance/love for the shack burger? At least The Mets ownership is focused on delivering new food alternatives, even if the Mets are just the same old Mets. They lost, 4-2.

Aug 07, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

sunday dinner in brooklyn

Locanda Vini in Clinton Hill. Beautiful place in a developing brownstone neighborhood (its an old pharmacy), great Tuscan food, very authentic, not fussy though. We go there on Sunday nights with our kids (7 and 9) and they love it. More italian american would be Frankie's 457 on Court Street in Carroll Gardens. Old school Italian done right. Understated, but really good food (love their cookbook, too).
I'm not an expert on Bay Ridge, but that might work too. The only place I know there is the szechuan restuarant, Grand Sichuan House 8701 5th Ave.
I think Sheepshead Bay would work locationally but there isnt much there - I did have a nice and surprisingly well done grilled fish sitting outside at Liman the other week but I think most of the famous places there like Lundy's and Randazzo's are getting a little long in the tooth and short on quality.

Jul 13, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Looking for great seafood in Sheepshead Bay ala Lundys

we just went to Liman yesterday. Turkiish Salad, GRilled Fish were terrific and we had a great meal. But its really not the quintessential Sheepshead Bay experience (that may not exist any more).

May 19, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge..great lunch deal for a foodie....

I agree with "the don't take the Manhattan bridge" comments - not nearly the same experience. Its noisy and dark and the view is cut off by the roadway above and the cables to the sides. Also, you have to walk on the northern side of the bridge and you dont get to see both sides as you do on the Brooklyn Bridge. While the Brooklyn Bridge is slow going, the panorama and the people are the experience. I vehemently disagree with the Grimaldis suggestion. We live in the neighborhood - would never go there. It is mediocre at best and represents what is the worst about food experiences in NYC. Long lines to wait for food that is so forgettable it would be a waste. Juniors is worse. Never never go there. The food is awful - there are plenty of posts on the board about Juniors - avoid it like the plague. Here are several ideas, depending on the time of day. If you are considering going on the morning side of lunch, take a stroll further into Brooklyn Heights and go to Iris Cafe, a tiny little coffee place tucked into a very pleasant little edge of the neighborhood. Great stumptown coffee, homemade bakery items, they even have salads/sandwiches for later in the day. Its in WIllowtown, a cute area of brownstones and cobblestone streets about a 10-15 minute walk into Brooklyn. (Columbia Place between Joralemon and State). If you want to go for lunch and want something more than Iris, on the corner of Columbia Place and Joralemon is RIver Deli, a Sardinian italian restaurant that would be a good stop for brunch (or for dinner for that matter). Its a small neighborhood kind of place but it is authentic. The benefit of walking down to Joralemon Street and these two places is that you can loop around by the water and experience the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is a very exciting place these days - a new park on the waterfront with incredible views. That can lead you back up to the Brooklyn Bridge. I walk the Bridge frequently - the walk through the Park can be even more spectacular - doing both together would be a great combination. l prefer the PArk to the Promenade, which is the other place from which to view Manhattan. Another idea for lunch is Gran Electrica, a new upscale Mexican right next to Grimaldis that is owned by the people who started Colonie. If the weather is nice, they have a beautiful back garden with flavorful margaritas - the tongue tacos are good (it is overpriced, but that is what fancy Mexican food seems to be all about these days).

May 19, 2012
BillyBob in Outer Boroughs