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"Il Bulli" - Associated Places in Barcelona

Have an amazing trip Jim! We went to Spain earlier this year and finished our trip with several days in Barcelona. I did not eat at Tickets, but I did eat at Lolita's - and I have to be honest and tell you that it was our favourite tapas experience on our entire trip to Spain - not just Barcelona. (It was tied with an amazing tapas place in Ronda called Traga Tapas, but I digress)...

The food was amazing - fresh, original and inventive. The service was outstanding. We got two seats outside sitting at the bar facing inside the restaurant - and it was fabulous. Maybe it was just one of those perfect evenings where everything works, but I'd recommend you try it. It really was delicious. We loved it.

Aug 26, 2013
smartini in Spain/Portugal

Great food for 8 ppl near Park Hyatt on Avenue Rd.

I should also mention that if necessary, we could take a short cab ride if required.

Great food for 8 ppl near Park Hyatt on Avenue Rd.

Hi all,

Vancouver Chowhounder here....wondering if you might be able to lend me some of your fabulous Toronto insight....wanting to book dinner for 8 colleagues on Monday evening in TO....will be staying at Park Hyatt on Avenue Rd. Looking for really, really good food. Mid-range prices - nothing too extravagant (company budget!). Entrees over $30 would likely be a bit too high. We are all big foodies and love great restaurants - where would you suggest??

Business colleague dinner in/near Yorkville...~10ppl

Thanks for the suggestions, prima. Opus does look fantastic but I think it might be a bit too expensive for the budget. Is there somewhere with mains that aren't as pricey?

Business colleague dinner in/near Yorkville...~10ppl

Yes - I'm sure a short cab ride would be fine. Especially for better food and better value.

Business colleague dinner in/near Yorkville...~10ppl

Hi hounds,

A colleague of mine from Montreal will be organizing a dinner for her team in Toronto. They will all be traveling from Montreal and are wondering where a great spot would be near the Yorkville area. They will be staying/working at the Park Hyatt. Great food is a must - most of them are "foodies" themselves!! Any suggestions would be fantastic. It will be a weeknight, and the reservation would need to be for about 10-12 people. Mid-range or slightly higher priced is okay, but nothing massively exorbitant. (~$120-~130/pp including tax and gratuities maximum)

Many thanks in advance for your ideas!

Great food, not too fancy/expensive, 12 people

Hello fellow Hounds,

I will be in Montreal next week and will be having dinner with 11 of my colleagues who will be traveling there as well.

Almost all of us are foodies, and we'd love to try a great place in Montreal. We are on a bit of a budget ($75/pp...all in).

We will be staying at Le Westin, but could take a cab if it's relatively close.

The dinner will be next Wednesday - not sure if that will be too difficult to get a reso for 12 people!

I've browsed the boards here and had a look at Pinxto, Lemeac, Holder (looks very promising!)...any thoughts on Bistro Balmoral? (That place looks interesting!) would love any insight or suggestions.

I love the food in your city and wish we could go to Barocco/Bocata (we went there last time!), Garde Manger, CCEP, Les 400 Coups, PDC, Chien Fumant etc....I've eaten at all these places before and LOVED them, but given our large group size and somewhat restricted budget, I'm at a loss.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

Our Italian Tour (Venice - Bologna - Pesaro - Naples - Rome)....What would your perfect "foodie" schedule look like?

Hi allende,

Thanks so much for your insights. I guess I should have titled my post "best possible food experiences within the confines of our already-planned-itinerary!"

Unfortunately, with four people, there are a lot of sacrifices and compromises we all had to make when planning our itinerary, and we're doing the best we can given the timeframe we have.

I know the real way to explore and understand regional cuisine is to stay for much longer than we are - but like you said, I can't change our trip. It's more of a road trip and brief exploration of a few areas...if I had it my way I'd never leave and I'd explore all the places possible. Unfortunately, we're at the mercy of being limited by both vacation time and finances, otherwise we'd stay forever!

I think 3 days in Venice, 3 days in Bologna, travel through Pesaro and Palena (1-2 days), 3 days in Naples and 3 days in Rome is the best we could have done to make everyone happy.

Thanks for the insight on Amerigo. Will check it out and see if we can make it work.

Sep 04, 2012
smartini in Italy

Our Italian Tour (Venice - Bologna - Pesaro - Naples - Rome)....What would your perfect "foodie" schedule look like?

HI Barberinibee....

My apologies - I in no way intended to stunt your regular writing or posting habits...debate away if that will provide better information!!! I didn't think I was instructing you not to argue....I just wanted everyone to know that their opinions were welcomed even if they differed from others!! Sorry if it came across as cyber-bossy!!! :)

And as far as keeping it short and brief - I said that for the sole purpose of preventing people from shying away if they didn't want to write a long post. Truthfully, I LOVE long posts. :) I've printed many, many lengthy CH responses from all over the world and carried them with me on my travels. I just didn't want people to feel compelled to write too much!!! But some of your longer posts have been my favorites. :)

I definitely had Serghei's and Gigina written down from reading your previous Bologna posts and am hopefully looking forward to trying those.

Do you think Modena is too far for a cab? I understand it's only about 30ish kms....

Thanks for the insight. I will also go back and peruse your Naples posts.

Sep 04, 2012
smartini in Italy

Which Omakase?

Obviously can't go wrong with a "temple" like Tojo's.....but I just had the Omakase at Miku in Vancouver and was thorougly impressed. I believe it was around $80....there is a larger option but you have to order it in advance. (And as I finished writing this I realized that you asked the question in March! Ooops!)

Our Italian Tour (Venice - Bologna - Pesaro - Naples - Rome)....What would your perfect "foodie" schedule look like?

Hello (or soon to be Bongiorno!),

We are two Canadians will be traveling with two of our best friends from the USA to Italy for 16 days in the fall. I travel extensively for work and consider myself relatively well-versed in the best restaurants of the major cities in which I travel. I read cooking magazines voraciously and pride myself on knowing what the best places to eat are in my own incredible city of Vancouver, Canada. (And by best, I do not necessarily mean most expensive, though some of the best certainly are!). We have an incredible trip planned in the near future and will be touring quite a bit. I have read the majority of the posts on CH in the Italian threads and I have a general idea of the most regularly recommended places. I am looking forward to hearing some ideas and opinions (expecting to hopefully hear from allende, barberinibee, jen kalb and PBSF and all the others!!) I don't need a huge debate between Chowhounders....just your idea of what your perfect trip would include. You can keep it short and sweet/brief and include the name of restaurant and why you chose it and/or what to order. (ie. Trattoria ______: perfect for a great lunch and a cheap bottle of wine.....or Osteria ________ : be sure to order the squid ink fettuccine....etc.) We are looking for a variety of different places to eat - but one thing that we require is authenticity! Traveling a bit out of the way isn't a bad thing - we are willing to take a taxi! (On that note, is it absolutely ridiculous to plan to take a taxi from Bologna to Modena to eat at Hosteria Giusti?)

Feel free to include pastry/coffee/lunch recommendations as well.

Here is what our schedule looks like:

Saturday Sept. 29th - Venice - just the husband and I - would love a recommendation of a "special" restaurant for the two of us this evening (ie. romantic!)

Sunday Sept. 30th Venice - likely going to Murano/Burano....perhaps eating at Fiaschetteria Toscano

Monday Oct. 1st - Venice - no plans yet

Tues. Oct 2nd - Travel to Bologna (possibly detour through Veneto?)

Weds. Oct 3rd - Bologna - Food Tour booked (Parma/Modena/Bologna)....likely no big dinner but perhaps late night drinks/snacks

Thurs. Oct 4th - Bologna - no plans yet

Fri. Oct 5th - Private cooking class - perhaps a late dinner might be needed?

Sat. Oct 6th - Travel to Pesaro - no plans in Pesaro (staying overnight)

Sun. Oct 7th - Travel thru Abruzzo with stop in Palena (family history ties) - then on to Naples

Mon Oct 8th - Naples - no plans yet

Tues Oct 9th - Naples - no plans yet

(one of these days we will likely spend on Amalfi Coast - Ravello/Positano/Sorrento)

Weds Oct 10 - Travel to Rome - no plans yet

Thurs Oct 11 - Rome - no plans yet

Fri Oct 12 - Rome - no plans yet

Important details:

In Venice, we are staying in the Dorsoduro region in an apartment.

In Bologna, we are staying in the city center (Via Indipendenza at Piazza VIII Agosto) across from the Arena Del Sole theatre in an apartment.

No hotels booked yet in Pesaro or Naples.

In Rome we are staying in Trastevere in an apartment. I think we would likely want to eat at Felice e Testaccio one night during our stay in Rome. Although I think they serve a different menu each night and I was really hoping to eat the Cacio e looks like they only serve it on Tuesdays!!

Feel free to indulge us with suggestions, information, must-eats, must-sees, must-dos, don't-dos, etc.....

Your advice and expertise are much respected and appreciated!


Sep 03, 2012
smartini in Italy

Business dinner/presentation for 20 people near convention centre

Hello fellow hounds,

I'm a Vancouver, BC gal who is trying to arrange a dinner for some clients in Seattle in April. Preferrably somewhere relatively near the convention center if possible (but if it's anything like here the choices around the convention center aren't the best!) so if a short cab ride is necessary then so be it.

Will likely need space for a presenter (ie. screen and projector). We have an amazing list of standby restaurants here in Vancouver that are perfect for this sort of thing, and are some of the best restaurants in the city to boot. Not sure what you guys think or what you could recommend. A private room would be best.

Any suggestions or input would be great!


Mar 02, 2012
smartini in Greater Seattle

Restaurant recommendations for group of physicians - September near McCormick Place


I reviewed the post about restaurants near McCormick place and gathered that there are no Chicago Chow Gems within walking distance....

I will be attending a conference in mid September and will be arranging a dinner for 10-13 physicians. Was hoping for a great recommendation for a spot that we could cab to, that has excellent food (great steaks a must!) and will fall somewhere around $110-$130/head.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Many thanks in advance.

May 05, 2011
smartini in Chicago Area

BC Advice Needed - the Irish are coming.

Go and enjoy, grayelf! The sushi bar is not normally there - but they do some pretty cool things with the room and the space for functions. If I ever end up getting married - I'd definitely consider holding it there!

However, for now, instead of a diamond...I'm more than happy with their halibut!! :o)

BC Advice Needed - the Irish are coming.

Hi again SeeDee...

Bin 941 is totally hit or miss with respect to how long you'll wait for a table...but to answer your question about it being quiet on a Sunday night...I think it's safe to say that Bin 941 is never, ever quiet! You may have a BIT of a better chance on Sunday, but again, it's entirely up to the chance gods. If you're okay with chilling in the back (with about 1.32 feet of space on either side of you) and having some of their famous Bin-gria (their take on the classis Sangria made with Apricot Brandy ...then I wholeheartedly recommend you eat there. It's kind of busy on Sunday nights because it's full of the industry crowd - which in my opinion is always a great sign if they eat there! But for sure, without question, order the goat-cheese, house-dried tomato salsa with navajo fry bread. DO NOT SKIP THIS DISH!!! It's a smaller appy but you will need rehab afterwards and crave it for a very, very long time. Be prepared to deal with the addiction. I'm not kidding. My two other favorites are the Wentzel Duck dish and the phyllo-wrapped beef tenderloin choice. If you can handle the wait, the cramped quarters (it is VERY tiny) and the very loud music, by all means go. (And I personally recommend you do - it's VERY worth it!)

C and Blue Water are both excellent choices for seafood - but they are two of the priciest restaurants in the city. My personal favorite place to eat seafood is Coast Restaurant. It's on Hamilton street in Yaletown across from Rodney's oyster bar. They have a new chef there who they brought in from Easy on the 5th in Toronto - Josh Wolfe. He's incredible and I haven't had a bad meal there yet. He's changed the menu significantly and given it a much more serious seafood focus - which I think is a brilliant idea considering the restaurant is named Coast. Coast is actually my favorite restaurant in the entire city. (Followed closely by Parkside and Boneta...but I digress...)

He may not be there on a Sunday though...but you could call and see. They have a community chef's table that is a wonderful experience. The chef has his own elements built right into the table and cooks for you while you drink and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells. The table seats up to I think 16 people. I don't know if you'll be able to sit at the chef's table on a Sunday, but it's definitely worth a call.

Ciopinno's is another extremely pricey restaurant but is worth every last penny. Just be careful how many bottles of sparkling water they bring you - half my bill was water! :o) But I'll make the decision a little easier for you - they're closed on Sundays.

Hope that helps!


Even though I love eating in great restaurants, my favorite meal is admittedly still a kick-ass burger and fries. I'm a total sucker.

I have eaten at almost every "known" burger place in town...and here's my proverbial two cents worth:

Grayelf is 100% correct in the Modern Burger claim - however, that stupid place hasn't been open more than a week since I moved here - and that was over four years ago!! :) What the heck is going on there?!?!

Along the same lines as my Sophie's and Stepho's rants...I don't really understand the whole White Spot burger thing (and again I'm risking total ostracism from Vancouver CH'ers!). Don't get me wrong - I love that burger when I had too much Strongbow the night before - but I wouldn't say it's anywhere near what the city has to offer.

I was pleasantly surprised by a recent trip to the Templeton on Granville street. They recommended the burger and I tried it out - WOW. In my opinion it just may be the best burger I've had in the city - and that's saying ALOT. They use organic beef and I really noticed a difference in the taste of the meet.

Their gravy is also homemade.

And if you go on a Monday night - they show movies!!

BC Advice Needed - the Irish are coming.

Well then...if it's a shameless plug, I suppose you're allowed!


Good call on the VQA thing at Taylorwood - I totally overlooked that!


Good to hear fmed - I was worried before I wrote that!!

...don't even get me started on Stepho's...



Okay...I'm probably going to get shot for this. Well, maybe not shot. Maybe just frowned upon and dismissed by CHers in the know. Either's my opinion, right?!?! here goes....

I really don't get the whole "wait in line and spend a fortune for breakfast" thing that seem to have bitten Vancouverites and not let go. Don't get me wrong - I love a good brunch NOW AND THEN...but seriously, the reason I live here isn't to wait in line, then wait forever for food, then waste half the day....

I don't spend much time in Kits truthfully - perhaps I should spend more time there - but my absolute favorite place to eat breakfast when I am over there is Joe's Grill. I LOVE IT. They've got a location on Davie and one on Denman as well.

It does good, old fashioned breakfasts. Regular ol' bacon n' eggs or sausage n' eggs or pancakes or whatever floats your boat. And a seriously greasy, regular diner burger and fries if you're in the mood for that.

If you really want the whole "brunch" thing that everyone here goes nuts for, and you want it in that area, I guess I'd recommend the Sunshine Diner - does that count as Kitsilano??? They have great bennies.

My personal favorite if I'm going to have a real brunch is Provence in Yaletown. DEEEEEE-Lish.

Just my measly two cents!!

(But good call on the Granville Island sticky buns!)


Lots of great choices here. I'm not a personal fan of Sophie's...I think it's ridiculous to wait in line that long when there are a TON of other places you
could be eating!

I really liked East is East. Very cool experience and vibe there although the last time I went the service left a little something to be desired.
In keeping with the Indian theme, Maurya's is also an excellent restaurant.

If you want to go past Granville an eensie-weensie bit, then I'd highly recommend Cru as well. Great food, great service and a cool way to pair wines with dishes (each style of wine is given a square of colour on the menu...then each dish has a bunch of squares after it so you know which wines go with which dishes. Kinda cool)

BC Advice Needed - the Irish are coming.

May I be the first to welcome the Irish (or at least one of the first!) I love the Irish! The Irish rule! (Okay, so I'm part Irish). :o)

You definitely have some bang-on recommendations by all the folks on here. BobMac and fmed definitely know what they're talking about.

I second the recommendation on BC Pinot Gris. Lots of places are doing some good Pinot Blanc's now as well. Everyone here goes nuts for Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris. I like it - it's a good wine - but I am getting a little tired of it! If you've never had it though, it's a great introduction to the best-known white style of BC.

Someone recommended Joie - I second this as well. Their Noble Blend is fabulous. And they also do a great Rose - Rose is the new black, haven't you heard!? :)

If you can get your hands on any Twisted Tree wine - it's incredible (their whites, anyway). I haven't seen it in many restaurants but you may luck out at a local wine merchant like Taylorwood Wines in Yaletown - they are an exclusive BC retailer. I visited the Twisted Tree winery last weekend and was very impressed.

Whoever receommended Parkside is a genius - definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the city. Their menu changes almost, if not daily. It is a prix fixe menu and you can get three or four choices. Get a reservation in their courtyard for a truly memorable evening. And order their Negroni - especially if they're making it with blood orange sorbet.

I also agree with the Guu, Kingyo and Hapa Izakaya reco's. I don't think you'll have a problem ordering one dish and then leaving. But they are quite small - you could probably have at least two at each one and still be okay.

I recommend the Ebi Chili Mayo at Hapa, along with their blowtorch mackerel. They actually torch it at the table. Guu in Gastown has halibut cheek karaage which kicks ass. The cocktails at Guu are fabulous. They also had a steak-type-sirloin-shish-kabob thing when I was there last that was delicious, as well as a deep fried brie with mango sauce. (Then again, anything deep fried and anything brie should be okay, right?!) :)

If you're homesick, we do have a pretty authentic Irish pub (and I don't mean authentic because it starts with an O and has Guiness on tap. I mean really authentic - the only one in the city in my opinion!) It's called the Irish Heather and it's in Gastown. It's a great spot and they do a traditional Irish breakfast on the weekend complete with blood pudding.

Bison is DELICIOUS. 'Nuff said.

Have a blast!!! Slainte!!!

Near the Fairmount Hotel Vancouver

Hi there...

There's an Indian restaurant on Denman street (about a 15-20 minute walk from your hotel) called Desi Downtown. It's upstairs...and just opened last year. The original location is called Desi Junction and is located in Surrey - ask any cab driver or East Indian from Surrey and they'll all tell you that Desi Junction is their favorite place to eat. I was thrilled when they opened up a location downtown. (Warning: do NOT use them for delivery or takeout - they're still working on this!).

And I 100%, wholeheartedly, passionately, without question recommend Boneta. It's AMAZING. And with a team like that, how could it not be? The food is incredible, ingredients unmatchable, service impeccable, and cocktail list exceptional. They usually only have about 4 or 5 red and white wines by the glass, but some of the options are awesome. Don't you hate it when you want to have some white with an appetizer and a red with dinner, but don't want to get two whole bottles?? Boneta solves this common foodie dilemma (although some of the glasses are upwards of $20...but how else are you going to try a wine like that without getting the whole bottle?)

The bison carpaccio is life-changing. And if Jeremy is doing ANYTHING with duck - order it!!

Their desserts are so inventive - I'm not a chocolate person (probably the only woman on the planet!) but they do some really neat things with tapioca, pineapple cake....yum.

I'm going to make a reservation myself!

Calling all Manhattan-ers in the know!

Well, well, well....this trip keeps getting better and better!

I just found out that I got tickets to the Yankees game on Friday night. I'm so happy that we'll get to go to Yankee stadium before it closes. The tickets cost an arm and a leg but at least they're great seats!

The game is at 7:05...and Ali Baba's closes at 11pm. I don't think we'll have time to make it back for that meal - will we??

So - looks like things are getting even more "quintessentially" New York for us!! So now the question would be....where should we eat after the game??!!!??? I don't have the first inclination about restaurants in that area - HELP! We obviously won't be too dressed up....

And by the way - I am super excited about this BBQ event on Saturday - how perfect is the timing???

I cannot WAIT for this trip!

May 29, 2008
smartini in Manhattan

Calling all Manhattan-ers in the know!

Okay everyone - thank you so much for all your input!

I have reservations at EMP for Saturday evening, Ali Baba's for Friday evening and Lupa for Thursday evening. Believe it or not, Degustation is closed for the chef's wedding the night we were planning on going there!!

We are also planning on doing the LES tour from RGR (Thanks so much!) on Thursday during the day. Is a weekday okay for that tour??

I do have a couple of questions for you:
What do you think of Gotham?? Is it anywhere near the experience of EMP?
Lupa seems like a fantatstic restaurant. If you had to pick one restaurant in all of Manhattan that you would consider to be the most authentic, "rustic" Italian experience (with pasta just like Mama used to make) which would it be? My boyfriend LOVES italian food and there are some top notch, high-quality Italian restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver Canada, but we are always on the lookout for traditional, great italian. It doesn't have to be expensive - just really, really freakin' good!

Can any of you shed some light on that for me? I'm thinking along the lines of spaghetti and meatballs, kick-ass gnocchi, veal parmesean to die for, etc. Any suggestions along these lines would be appreciated.

Thanks again!

May 28, 2008
smartini in Manhattan

Calling all Manhattan-ers in the know!

...hi again...forgot to add that it's his 40th birthday (for whatever that's worth)...and no, I'm not expecting balloons or free food...just thought I'd give you a little more info about our trip! :o)

May 22, 2008
smartini in Manhattan

Calling all Manhattan-ers in the know!

Hi all,

I absolutely love this website. I read it all the time and am always interested in the lively banter and different opinions on food and restaurants. If anyone ever needs advice on the best places to eat in Vancouver, Canada - give me a shout...I have lots of input!!

I'm writing this post to request your input on a few things. I am taking my boyfriend on a surprise trip to NYC on June 5th-June 8th. We are both foodies and absolutely love dining out. I have a pretty good idea of most of the places I'm going to take him....

Babbo's/Lupa for sure - he loves Italian and idolizes Mario Batali...I've read enough on CH to know which dishes to order and am really looking forward to the experience!

Ali Baba - My boyfriends' favorite place in the world to travel is Turkey, so this was a no-brainer.

For lunch I would definitely like to check out the Burger Joint and le Parker Meridien...and maybe Otto's.

I'm stumped on my third dinner....I would love to try Per Se (good luck getting a reservation!) but I think he would prefer something a little less...well...."fancy". I've checked out Chanterelle's website and Aerole's based on some feedback I've read here...but neither of them seem to fit what I'm looking for....

To give you an idea of what I'm thinking...his last trip to NYC included a trip to the Gramercy Tavern...and there he ate a meal so wonderful that he still, to this very day, raves about the quality of food and service. He claims it was by far the best meal and experience he has ever had - and that's saying a lot coming from him!

I've thought about taking him back there...but figured maybe I should try something new. We like all kinds of food. I'd really like to be blown away by the whole experience, without it being too stuffy. I'm looking for great food, excellent service, and a very cool vibe (but not too loud or nightclubby). Does that make sense?? I'm hoping to ask you the following:

1. What do you think of my choices so far?
2. What other restaurant would you recommend for our third night there? (We'll be there for Thurs/Fri/Sat evenings...and I haven't given much thought to which restaurants on which night....
3. Any other great lunch suggestions?
4. Where should we have a fabulous brunch on Sunday? (I can't believe I just wrote "fabulous"...)

Finally...although I may be in trouble for asking this....I'm trying to decide on a hotel...and have looked at The Mercer, 60 Thomspon, Gainsevoort, The Bowery, The London, SoHo Grand and the Gramercy Park...I know they are all different and all in different parts of town...we walk EVERYWHERE so I'm not overly concerned with location....though I do really like SoHo and the MeatPacking district....any hotel input would be SO appreciated! (I'm struggling more with this choice!) Sorry for asking that question on CH....but I know you guys are experts in your city!

Thanks so much in advance...I so LOVE your city and cannot wait to make another trip there!

May 22, 2008
smartini in Manhattan

From the horse's mouth: Caffe Artigiano opening "around Feb 1"

Oh boy- you guys are SO lucky! I'm a Vancouver gal and I love, love LOVE Cafe Artigiano. It kicks serious butt. Unfotunately, I've never experienced the brunch, but my room mate SWEARS by the cranberry french toast with orange cream cheese. Have fun and enjoy!!