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Panama City and Bocas Del Toro

Hi there - did you find anything good in Panama City? I am a solo traveller heading there end of December and I would absolutely love to hear your experiences!

Quick Trip Report

Hi all, just wanted to share my three dinners with you since I so appreciated all of your posts when we were planning our first trip to Chicago in May. We didn't go as far as planning lunches, just the dinners.

Our first meal was Topolobampo, I had read quite a bit about Chicago's modern Mexican scene and although I always am a bit wary of a "celebrity chef" restaurant, we made reservations for our first night there. It was excellent, and such a treat to experience a type of cuisine that we are not adequately exposed to in Toronto. There were points where both my husband and I put our forks down and closed our eyes just to try to savour and pinpoint the complex flavours. We paired each course with a glass of the sommelier's recommendation, and would highly reccomend that as a way to go - maybe a bit more expensive than a single bottle but it certainly enhanced each course.

Second night was Sable Kitchen & Bar - we wanted a fun place, with good food, and i LOVE small plates - a chance to taste everything. Great atmosphere - hopping bar when you come in, busy but not too crowded, great energy. We ate in the back area and the service was excellent - tried cocktails, a New Mexico sparkling wine, and then moved on to the food. Food was FANTASTIC - and the small plates meant we were not overstuffed (although my husband did order a second round of devilled eggs). The creme brulee corn was a little too sweet for a main (for my tastes), but we ate and enjoyed every single speck of every other dish. A nice change from the quiet, more formal tone from the previous evening.

We ended up coming BACK to Sable for breakfast the next day because it was open at 8, we are early risers, and it was around the corner from our hotel. (and also because my husband saw fresh donuts on the menu and almost lost his mind at the thought). Egg dishes were very food, the oatmeal was very sub-par, the warm donuts were great.

Last night, my husband's big request was ONE steakhouse in Chicago, so we went to David Burke. Really, it was so merely adequate. The steak was good, so if you're there just for the steak, then you'll be happy. The lighting was bright and harsh, they had vinyl tableclothes, the "bacon bar" was one choice of bacon on a stick, they packed the tables in so tight that they couldn't wheel the "tableside caesar" cart to the table, and the "truffle fries" were like something you'd get at Chilis. For the money, we had far superior meals at the other two restaurants.

Thanks for all of your help planning, we LOVED LOVED LOVED Chicago , had so much fun our first time there, we will be back!

May 28, 2013
aparker in Chicago Area

Sushi in the Front & Spadina area?

Thanks everyone!

Sushi in the Front & Spadina area?

Anyone have a recommendation for a decent sushi place (not all you can eat, please) within walking distance of Front & Spadina? Most of the 'recommended' places seem to be on the east side of Yonge or north! Thank you

Review: The Copper Chimney 2050 Avenue Road, Toronto, M5M 4A6 416-850-9772

We've been there twice, tried veggie, lamb, chicken dishes, as well as onion pakoras, and every time the food was great. Service was wonderful, the staff are kind and attentive.

non-asian restaurants north of 407

Lemon, on Markham Main St, is pretty good - - although I don't know if they are open for lunch.

And it's nothing spectacular but I have always enjoyed every meal I have had at the Blacksmith's Bistro on Unionville Main St

Blacksmith's Bistro
166 Main St, Markham, ON L3R, CA

Main St Cafe
13 555 Simcoe S, Oshawa, ON L1H8K8, CA

Anyone been to Rosebud lately?

Ugh - I liked the old place (haven't been for prob 2 years though) and remembering my previous experiences I booked a table for 6 the other night. It has COMPLETELY changed hands - different feel inside entirely, totally different menu and approach. The food was truly merely adequate and not cheap for such boring, bland food. It felt like a menu your grandmother would like. Staff was nice, no complaint about them, but this is not the Rosebud it used to be.

La Regalade or La Regalade St. Honore

We have reservations at La Regalade (the original) in for one night in September based on it being a longstanding restaurant and that M. Talbott 's recommendation that it continues to do well. However... I read more and more about the new location at St. Honore performing so well.. and they are both around the same price it seems.

Would anyone recommend one over the other?

Thank you.

Jul 29, 2010
aparker in France

St Tropez

I had read about Grimaud and it was on my perhaps list, so thank you!

Jul 28, 2010
aparker in France

Les Papilles email?

THE MAGIC OF CHOWHOUND!! Thank you, I will try again in a few weeks...

Jul 28, 2010
aparker in France

St Tropez

We will be in France in September and have wonderful food plans for Paris, Champagne Region, Provence & some in Bordeaux, now just need to settle on St Tropez.

I realize St Tropez is touristy and, as I read here, 'one does not go to St Tropez for the food' but given that we're staying there I'd love to pick one or two places for dinner, and perhaps a nice meal in a village within a 30 minute drive?

In St Tropez the best bets appear to be Lei Mouscardins (for fresh fish), La Tour Joseph or Aubuerge des Maures. Spoon by Byblos seems very hotel-y. Has anyone had experience at any of these, or another place you may recommend?

In terms of type of food - seafood would be wonderful since we are on the coast, and price range we would prefer120 EURO and below pp. Thank you.

Jul 28, 2010
aparker in France

Les Papilles email?

First of all - thanks to everyone on this board, I have compiled a list of reservations that is *SO EXCITING* from your posts and I will post my report in return once I'm back.

I'm trying to make reservations via email for Les Papilles for a Wednesday night in September (cheap and close to our hotel for our first night and by all accounts has lovely food), I can't seem to get a response... I had read on here they are pretty good at responding via email, do I have the right one?

I tried to book via telephone but the person on the other end unleashed a barrage of words I couldn't understand, very quickly and hung up! Unfortunately my French is only enough to make a simple reservation... dumb question I know but any info you have would be appreciated (i.e. maybe they no longer take reservations?)

Jul 28, 2010
aparker in France

A place w sushi AND non-Japanese food?

Just in case anyone checks this: Ended up going to The Drake since they offer a 'raw bar' as well as regular food. All of our meals were good. The Spicy Tuna, the salmon make and the drake maki all thrilled my friend who had a craving for sushi (the sushi pizza was bland, but what do you expect from sushi pizza). I don't think this would be 'great quality' sushi held up to a standard from a traditional sushi restaurant, but for casual dining it was perfect. My non-Japanese-food-friend had a great burger and they allowed her to have a side of beet and pear salad as a side. She was very pleased.



Found a different type of greek yoghurt today at the Pusateri's on Avenue. It's no Fage, but it is 0 fat and the Skotidakis is full fat, so beggars can't be choosers. Chobani is the brand - today they just had small tubs with either honey or fruit, the honey was really runny. The plain tub was heavenly with sliced bananas.

Winnipeg rec?

Thank you everyone!!

Winnipeg rec?

We'll be in Winnipeg for one night next week - does anyone have any suggestions about the best local place to go? Any recommendations would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

Any good East End Pho?

And by East End I mean anywhere from Broadview over to Vic Park - not Scarborough as we don't have a car! The pho posts on here seem to point to Scarborough as the place to go. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Where to get your cheese for a wine and cheese party

I always go to the Alex Farms at the south east end of St Lawrence market. Knowledgable staff will suggest and let you try anything...

Downtowner needs 905 recommendation!

We're doing an informal school reunion and need to find a space for a Friday evening gathering of 15-20 people. Hopefully along the Yonge St corridor, Markham or North, that could accomodate this?

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I can give you details on West-End Toronto recs in payment!

Boho or Silver Spoon?

We need to make a decision for tonight, dinner for two. Both are similarly priced and just a few doors from each other. Has anyone been to either?

Recent Hawaii trip feedback & faves

Just got back from an unbelievable trip through Oahu, Maui, The Big Island & Kauai and thought I'd post some of our feedback because I appreciated the resources I found on this site during my pre-trip searching (excuse the spelling!):

We only spent one night on Oahu (I'm not crazy about Oahu but my husband wanted to see the North Shore so we went up there), we stayed one night at Turtle Bay resort - the resort was nice but both the dinner and the breakfast buffet we had at the 'medium priced' restaurant on the premises (called 'Palm Terrace' - the 'fine dining' restaurant was closed Mondays) were sadly lacking. The breakfast actually used 'edible oil' product as opposed to whipped cream for the waffles.

Spent 5 days on The Big Island. There's a great place that I think is called something like "The Coffee Shack" very close to Honaunau (the Place of Refuge) and an amazing spot for snorkling called "Two Step". Go snorking from 8 - 10 AM (spinner dolphins come swimming through and check you out) and then head up to the Coffee Shack on the side of the Queen K highway for an amazing breakfast with unbelievable sweeping views of the coast. Wicked Mahi Mahi Eggs Benny, good cinnamon buns, strong Kona Coffee, solid basic bacon & egg combo with great homemade bread. The views on the lanai would be good enough, the fact that the food is delicious is even better. We did this 2 days.

The only other dining out we did on the Big Island (we had our own kitchen at our B&B) was dinner at the Four Seasons and then the Brunch the next day - both at their Pahu i'a restaurant. Dinner was phenomenal - local, fresh, great service & right on the beach. It was expensive, but not blow-your-mind-expensive - I've easily spent more on dinner in Toronto. If you want a special dinner with a beautiful setting (the beach, and the restaurant) on the Big Island, you can't go wrong with this. I had fresh fish, my partner had the local grass-fed steak, a selection of appetizers and two desserts - not a sour note in the whole meal. We had the brunch there as well and it's far better than your average brunch for about the same price that you would pay at an average hotel. There are decent vegetarian and asian options if you're not big on eggs & bacon - whole wheat pancakes, fruit, waffles w strawberry compote & real maple syrup. The grounds are beautiful and it's worth it just to sit and soak up the ocean breezes while reading your complimentary papers and they don't rush you. You eat breakfast there and you don't need anything else for the rest of the day!

Didn't do much dining out on Maui except for one night at Kimo's in Lahaina (I was there when I was a kid so I wanted to try it again) and one night at Roy's in Kahana. Kimo's was your standard 'chain' restaurant. Cheesy decor, heavy-handed service by young and inexperienced waitstaff - but the food was decent. My partner had the prime rib, I had the mahi mahi. Nothing special, but not bad either. Nice view, overlooking the harbour, and a great ocean breeze sailing through. You felt like you were in Hawaii.

The actual meal at Roy's was far far superior, however the place had zero atmosphere. Although the atmosphere didn't scream 'hawaii' , it was nice to eat again at a place that had Hawaiian influenced food and used local, or close to local, ingredients. We had the appetizer platter and by far the standout were the potstickers and the short ribs. The poke and the shrimp cocktail were merely adequate. Do yourself a favour and just order at least one order of the potstickers - I'm swooning just thinking about them. The Maui Cattle company steak was very good - grass fed again, so a different flavour & feel than USDA - and my fresh fish was also much better than the average fish I'd had on the island - not only fresh but served with a well matched sauce and some local produce. Then we had dessert. And oh my, how it delivered. Hot banana cream cake and a molten chocolate cake. Heavenly till the last bite.

The next stop was Kauai where we ate out every night. I was hesitant to go to Duke's Canoe Club because it's run by the same chain that runs Kimo's in Lahaina. Duke's is on the Marriot grounds - a lovely walk there by koi ponds and extensive landscaping. The restaurant itself is divided into a downstairs bar and upstairs restaurant. Both were hopping - we had a drink downstairs while we waited for our table upstairs. Good music played, people were laughing, having a good time, it was a lively atmosphere. We went upstairs and got a great table by the railing overlooking the ocean (it was dark, but still nice). My partner had the wontons to start, which were fantastic. My calamari was crap - plain and rubbery with standard cocktail sauce. The salad bar was lacking. But the FISH. I didn't expect this - the fish was awesome!! It was pretty much the best we had on the island. Not only crazy fresh, but the preparation was a little different than the standard 'macadamia nut crusted' that you see everywhere else. Definitely worth going to on Kauai.

Went to Scotty's Barbeque in Kapa'a. Good food, big portions, good seating (in a tier so everyone gets a view of the ocean). Nothing regional but if you have a craving for some solid ribs or pulled pork, this is your place.

Went to Hamura Saimain in Lihue because the guidebooks all raved about it. It WAS good noodles (had the special and dumped my barbeque chicken skewer in there to add to it), but if you're like me - spoiled with an abundance of great Asian food & noodle houses in Toronto so it's not anything you're not going to find at home. If you like noodle bowls and don't have a lot of this at home, this place is a definite must. Fragant broth, loads of chopped green onion & egg, just enough pork & noodles. Make sure you make yourself a side dish of mustard & soy and dredge your noodles through before you slurp.

Went to Duane's Ono Char-Burger TWICE (in Anahola). You CAN'T miss this place. Get the Nui Nui with cheddar, an order of onion rings, and a chocolate milkshake, park yourself on a sunny table amidst the roaming roosters and cats, and enjoy a good half hour of heaven. Seriously, these burgers are AWESOME. Make sure you get the double burgers (the Nui Nui) because they're pretty thin. But they're sooooo tasty - and they really do have a great 'char' taste.

Bubba's Burgers in Kapa'a are good, but they don't hold a candle to Duane's.

Drove down for a fancy dinner in Poipu at the Beach House - because everyone was talking about it. It was okay, but you're really paying for the view there. It's set right on the ocean and is angled to take in the best view of the sunset. Overzealous service focuses on selling you extras, and while the appetizers, fish and beef, & dessert were good, they were no better than Duke's. You won't be disappointed, but you won't be blown away either.

Finally, last dinner was at Coconuts in in Wailuia. I wasn't expecting much when we walked in because it's got pretty cheesy decor, and it took forever to get noticed, get seated, and to get a drink. Our waitress preferred to look off into space rather than at us, they didn't have the wine we ordered, and no one arrived to take away our appetizers before they decended upon us with the mains, BUT - the food was some of the best we had there. Crispy calamari with a tangy sauce wasn't rubbery, not- too sweet coconut shrimp with a just-vinagary-enough dipping auce, Super fresh ono with a lovely herbed horseradish crust, I had the filet mignon with decadently creamy/cheesy potatoes. A wonderful last meal in Hawaii.

Last - but not least - we found enormous pleasure in visiting local markets and cooking some of our meals at home. If you're visiting Hawaii, consider getting a place with a kitchen/barbeque & lanai and experiment on your own with local ingredients. Some of my nicest memories are of early morning breakfasts on the lanai overlooking the coast, with roosters crowing, downing Hawaiian oranges, pineapples & local smoked fish.

Hope this is helpful for anyone doing their own reseach on an upcoming trip!

DC hound visiting Toronto

If you want a good view of the city from up high, try Canoe on the 54th level of the TD building, call ahead and reserve a window seat(not open Sat nights, FYI), but the food is better at North 44 (street level, Yonge & Eg).

LA Hound visiting Toronto, check list and need more recommendations.

I agree with Ach - lease please please go to the Rebel House - the food is sublime and they have a great little patio out back. There's lots of typically 'canadian' stuff there. Make sure you get an extra side of charred tomato mayo with your fries and dip away. The bison burger is wonderful, and the soups, cheese pennies & daily flatbreads are fantastic starters.

Good brunch at Aunties & Uncles at College & Lippincott. They use the best ingredients and the eating is excellent. Get there before 10AM on weekends because it gets PACKED.

I would also give Rosebud on Queen West a try. The ribs are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, the hanger steak makes you want to cry. We're picky picky picky restraunt frequenters and this place is worth the hype.

Visiting your great city...Help!

The Rebel House on Yonge St at the Rosedale subway station. Great little patio and the food is comfy and homey and beyond compare - bison, gourmet mac and cheese, amazing soups & flatbreads. I have NEVER had a meal there that was less than fantastic.

If you're into brunch, try Aunties & Uncles at College & Lippincott. Excellent ingredients, everything is made on-site. Service sucks, get there before 10AM On weekends.