Thanks for the posts oonth! I am going to be living in Maida Vale for the next 6 months or so, and that is unchartered Chow territory for someone who spent 7 years in super central London (Bloomsbury and Liverpool St). It certainly saves me a trip to Maguro, which is a shame, as I wish it were a sushi place I couldn't resist.
You are right on about uni in London - sometimes good, often just OK, even more likely that it is just plain unavailable. Plus if you have had uni don in Hokkaido, you are ruined for any other uni for life!
If you are still looking for a good sushi joint in London, I like Tajima-Tei in Hatton Garden, just north of Chancery Lane tube stop.
Although not 'romantic' per the original poster's requirements, but with plenty of atmosphere, we had a few great meals grazing at the nightly food stalls at the South Gate of Chiang Mai.
All sorts of delicious and cheap food is on offer - grilled fish with sticky rice, curries, noodles, steamed sweet potatoes, and the most delicious grilled pork over rice with sauce we had in all of Thailand. Even elsewhere in Thailand, we couldn't help but reminisce over that perfect porky goodness. If you are walking to the South Gate from within the city walls, the pork stand is across the road from the gate itself, near the center of the stalls.
Also fantastic were the mixed fruit shakes whipped up by a friendly woman in the corner of the stalls (opposite the gate). We had a whole lotta fruit shakes in SE Asia, and these were in the top 3, as attested by the constant line in front of her stall.
Look out for the roti lady with her roti-making cart just in front of the gate entrance itself - the banana, egg and condensed milk was our staple desert.
Handily, there is a Tesco Lotus supermarket on the gate side of the street where you can pick up beer or other drinks to go with your meal.
Chiang Mai is a great city for food!
I used to live next to the British Museum for many years. Some nearby spots for lunch are:
- Saffron Lebanese Cafe: on Sicilian Avenue, which can be accessed from Southampton Row or Bloomsbury Way, about 7 or 8 minutes from the BM.
Really good lamb, kofta, hummus and other middle eastern food, also some wraps and salads, with indoor and outdoor seating (if you are there in the one or two weeks of 'British Summer').
- Hummus Brothers: on Southampton Row, about 5 minutes from the BM. If you walk down Great Russell Street to where it dead ends into Southampton Row, and then make a right, Hummus Brothers will be just a minute down the road on your left hand side.
Hummus Bros does lots of jazzed up varieties of tasty hummus with piping hot pita bread, with chicken, grilled vegetables, avocado, beef, etc. They also have other sides and plenty of seating. Not as authentic as Saffron, but still very good and filling.
- Abeno Okonomiyaki: on Museum Street, just across the street from the BM.
A small Japanese okonomiyaki restaurant for a longer sit-down lunch. Here's a quick blip if you are not familiar with it:
Your clothes will come out reeking of grilled okonomiyaki, and it is not completely authentic in that the servers cook it for you, but it is delicious and tastes like the real deal. More expensive than it should be, but still mid-range.
- I second the Korean Bi Bim Bap restaurant for a quick lunch, also located on Museum Street. There are only two little tables (seating two each, if I recall), so this is more of a takeout place.
- Princess Louise Pub: on High Holborn, just across the street from Holborn Tube Station.
If you the time, or inclination, for nice pint of Samuel Smith beers, lagers and ales, swing by this beautiful pub. Lots of private nooks and crannies to drink in, and was recently refurbished with lovely decor. I have never eaten there, so can't vouch for the food.
Steer clear of any of the restaurants on Southampton Row other than Hummus Brothers Cafe. You may walk along this road to reach the British Museum if you are coming from Holborn Station, but the restaurants on Southampton Row itself are tourist traps and are not worth a look, especially the Hason Raja Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant and the pizza places.
Also avoid the Thai restaurant on Museum Street - the worst attempt at Thai I have ever experienced. I am actually writing this in Thailand right now, and the locals here wouldn't even recognise it as Thai food!
Enjoy the British Museum, one of the best in the world! Don't try to see it all in one day though.......I was in London for 7 years and just about managed to see every room and exhibit, some several times, but I'm sure there is more to discover.
We have spent the last week on Klong Dao beach, the northernmost beach on the island of Koh Lanta on the Andaman side of Thailand.
Quickly tiring of the watered-down tourist fare on the beach itself, eg. Banana Beach Restaurant (boring) and bbq at Hans Restaurant (downright awful and expensive), we set off down the main road in search of something tasty and authentic.
We stumbled across an Issan restaurant called Lap Royet, which has since been our daily spot for dinner and some lunches, it is that good. It is all outdoor seating under thatched hut-covered tables, with a menu in English as well. Prices are just a smidgen above street food prices, although we have yet to spend over 300 baht for dinner for two with several dishes, sticky rice and a big Singha beer.
Highights so far:
- Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) - fresh, spicy, with roasted peanuts and the perfect accompaniment to every meal. Lots of street places on the main road in Lanta sell this, but this is the freshest and zingiest som tam we found here.
- BBQ chicken with spicy sauce
- Boiled pork with ginger and lemongrass
- Bamboo shoot salad - slightly spicy with mildly fermented bamboo shoots, unusual and tasty
- BBQ beef
I am not sure all of the BBQ items are listed on the menu, as we just asked for the beef straight off the grill after seeing it for ourselves. The one disappointment was a pile of chewy, inedibe chopped pork fat, which seemed really to be nothing but BBQ'd fat, and not in a good way if you know what I mean. Maybe they are supposed to be more like beer snacks than an actual meal? My husband ordered it in a weak moment after downing a beer with the friendly BBQ cook, stuck there with our takeaway lunch after being trapped in an afternoon downpour.
I think the other side of the menu has more standard noodle and rice dishes, but we stuck with the Issan fare ourselves. Best of all, you don't need to ask for anything to be made spicy - but be sure to ask to have it toned down if you don't care for heat!
Lap Royet will happily do takeaway of everything if you want to eat it at your hotel/guesthouse, with all the usual side trimmings (basil, cabbage, etc) thrown in the bag as well.
Now, as for the location: it is on the main road which runs down the entire west coast of Koh Lanta, more towards the northern end of Klong Dao Beach. It is on the right side of the road as you head north towards the town of Saladan, just across the street from a place with a yellow sign called 'French Bakery'.
The sign for Lap Royet itself is in Thai and English, with a Coca-Cola logo in red across the bottom of the sign.
Probably the most well-known spot nearby is a place called 'The Pub'. If you ask any taxi/sidecar driver to take you to The Pub, then Lap Royet is about 5 minutes walking further north on the same side of the road.
We will miss it when we are gone!
Thanks for taking the time to write out your Vientiane recs. Makphet sounds like great food for a great cause - can't wait to try it when we are there in a few weeks!
My husband and I went to the Chote Chitr hole-in-the-wall restaurant for our first meal out in Bangkok. I had found it from a quick search on the CH boards, but I now understand that it has received a good deal of press from the New York Times, FT and several guidebooks.
Having gathered all of this international attention, and by default, foreign clients, I now think Chote Chitr is resting on its laurels and is not worth the trip.
Chote Chitr was within easy walking distance of our hotel, located just off of Tanao Road. Walking down this road, you pass several busy streetside restaurants and stalls. I understand part of the charm of Chote Chitr is that is a 'hidden gem' in an authentic non-touristy part of Bangkok.
However, it is hidden no more!
Every single one of the diners in the restaurant was a foreigner (all North Americans, in fact) which was a complete contrast to the other restaurants in the neighborhood filled with locals. I do not automatically subscribe to the idea that if a place attracts lots of tourists (or expats), it is necessarily bad, but it certainly detracted from the meal as we could have been anywhere back home in the States. It did not feel like we were in a foreign country at all.
I was really looking forward to the food, but I was somewhat disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I have had equally if not more delicious food in Thailand for MUCH less money. Bear in mind that the bill will be vastly cheaper than an equivalent meal anywhere in the US or Europe, but paying over the odds in Thailand is really unnecessary when there is such fantastic food to be had at very inexpensive prices (especially at an equivalent local hole-in-the-wall place).
Both of our curries were lukewarm, and the beef in my husband's curry was tough and chewy - he said it was simply spicy without being that tasty. Neither were particularly memorable. The banana leaf salad was the highlight of our meal. I did notice that the proprietor suggested the exact same dishes to all new customers who sat down - the shrimp 'sushi' curry and banana salad. Maybe they just make up huge batches of these dishes for the evening knowing that many new customers will simply go with these recommendations.
Ten minutes after leaving Chote Chitr, I attempted to make a purchase at a store down the street with the 500 baht bill which the Chote Chitr proprietor had given me as change for our bill. Upon looking at the bill, the store owner told me it was a counterfeit bill. He actually accompanied me back to Chote Chitr to inform the woman who had given me the bill that it was a fake. When confronted, the woman at Chote Chitr looked equally annoyed and sheepish, but promptly exchanged the counterfeit bill for a new (real) one.
I have no idea whether the Chote Chitr proprietor knew whether it was a fake bill or not, but the whole experience left a bad taste in our mouths.
I would not recommend Chote Chitr and will be looking for new places to eat in Bangkok, especially as I have realized the Dinso Road/Mahannop Road/Tanao Road is so rich in street eats.
Heeding another Chowhounder's reminder to sometimes 'follow your nose' for good food (rather than solely relying on the boards), I stopped in at Kyle's Seafood Market last week on a whim as I was driving down to St Augustine from Jacksonville. Lots of cars were parked there so I figured it must be good.
This place is the real Florida deal - helpful and friendly Florida locals working there with a great selection of locally caught fish and seafood. They told me that all of the fish was locally caught except for the salmon. There was also breaded and stuffed seafood and fish available.
One of the employees filleted a vermillion snapper for me that I prepared with Indian spices that evening - delicious!
There is also a bakery and fruit & vegetable store just next door for one-stop shopping.
Kyle's Seafood Market is down-home Florida - nothing fancy - just like it should be!
The shop is on US1, just north of St Augustine:
3874 N Ponce De Leon Blvd (US1)
I have managed to narrow down my 'last Paris dinner' to either Cinq Mars in the 7th or Le Bistro Paul Bert in the 11th.
I know these two places are somewhat different - Cinq Mars being smaller and more chic, with Paul Bert more of a traditional, jovial bistro.
Could anyone weigh in with their two cents' worth to help me paint a better picture of what an evening would be like at both of these places (food quality, atmosphere, price, personal recs)?
I think we may try to hit Chez Denise on our first night there, not as much for the food as for the lively atmosphere. Would dinner at Paul Bert merely be more of the same? Or a different enough experience altogether?
The dinner will be for four people, including my brother-in-law's girlfriend who has never been to Paris before, and I am trying to plan a memorable evening!
I understand from previous Chowhound posts that Le Vieux Bistro was recently closed for renovations.
Could anyone please confirm whether they are now reopened, or still closed?
An earlier post in this board mentioned that Le Vieux Bistro in Paris was currently closed for rennovations.
Does anyone know if this is still the case, or whether it has now reopened? I am hoping to book there for 3 people in early April.
Angelfalling, thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to report back on your find in Paris! I am planning a trip there now with some family from America and am actually staying in the Saint Michel area, so both the Beaux Arts and Creperie des Arts are perfect for us!
Thanks for spreading the dining dharma.......
Thanks for the well written and comprehensive post Meels.
I'm taking my husband to Rome this weekend for his birthday - I was looking for a nice place, not too fancy, but 'just right' with great food. Another Chowhound member had recommended Ditirambo to me for the birthday dinner, and this has just sealed the deal!
I had also factored in Sora Margherita for a Sunday lunch. Could anyone confirm if it is actually open Sundays for lunch, as well as opening times so we can try to beat the rush!
mbfant and hungry1234 - thanks very much for your comments and insight, especially on my choice of Roscioli for a birthday dinner. All very helpful.
I am thinking perhaps I will try lunch at Roscioli on Saturday (instead of dinner).
Which leaves me with the tempting suggestions of Pierluigi and Ditorombo for the birthday dinner, both sound great.
Hungry1234, if possible, could you elaborate on Ditorombo a bit? I know you mentioned it offers 'not typical pastas', but I would like to try to visit at least one place that does offer traditional roman dishes done well (although perhaps Armando or Fiori Imperialli will cater for this).
Worryingly, the weather report indicates rain for this weekend however, so we may not be sitting outside anywhere!
Well, I managed to answer my own question as to when Volpetti is open, in case you are interested!
Monday - Saturday: 8am - 2pm and 5pm - 8:15pm. Closed Sundays.
If anyone can help with the restaurants I have picked out above, that would be great.
Hi Everyone. I am taking my husband to Rome for 4 days this upcoming weekend for his birthday. After looking through all the helpful comments (here and elsewhere), I have come up with a tentative list of places to eat and savor our time in the Eternal City.
I am looking for a nice mix of traditional, enoteche, and tasty pizza places. Please could you let me know what you think of these places, whether you have been recently, whether they are worth going, any other places. Oh, and whatever you find delizioso at any of the places on my list!
- Dinner: Enoteca Cavour 313, followed by San Crispino Ice Cream
- Dinner: Armando al Pantheon
- Dinner: Roscioli Restaurant for my husband’s birthday. I am hoping this is a ‘nice’ place – good food, wine and service with a pleasant atmosphere without being over the top. Would this do the trick? Also, I have heard that the area near Campo de’ Fiori is overrun by drunken teenagers at night, so perhaps this is not the ideal spot for a romantic dinner?
I will be staying on Via Capo d’Africa near the Colosseum. Can anyone recommend a place for espresso/coffee that opens EARLY in the morning. I have an event to attend at 7am on both Saturday and Sunday, so anyplace nearby that opens from 6:30 or onwards would be a lifesaver!
Thanks so much for all your help.