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Upscale Dining for a Group of 18

Thanks Ruth and Carrie -- I appreciate it! --

Upscale Dining for a Group of 18

Looking at restaurants for a group of 18 (with a company that is in the wine business) for dinner on a Wed. Have the following list accumulated. Recommendations? thank you --

Spruce -- Laurel room, seat 40
Prospect -- Candace room, seat 50
Town Hall -- private dining room, seat 40
Benu -- private dining room seat 18
Farallon -- Sevruga room, seat 18
Quince -- private dining room, seat 18

Dining near Hotel Monaco [San Francisco]

Looking for upscale eateries near Hotel Monaco for a group of 20 that will be in town on April 17th. So far I've located Fish and Farm a couple of blocks away. Our international company is in the wine and agriculture industries to give you an indication of our interests. Thanks for your help!

Business Dinner Recommendations

I noticed on other threads that abbreviations/acronyms are used as compared to the U.S. What is DNA and le CCeP? Thanks --

Business Dinner Recommendations

Two of my bosses will be having dinner in Montreal on Wed., Oct. 19th. One of them asked me to research restaurants for them as I am his go-to person for that in the U.S. Unfortunately, I've never been to Montreal. I've done some searching on this board and several others -- am overwhelmed by the choices. Wondered if I could receive some recommendations possibly?

Their criteria would be:
- Not too far from their hotel, the downtown Intercontinental.
- Good wine list.
- Good food but not so gourmet they will go away hungry. Maybe upscale bistro would be a good description.

Below is the list that I've accumulated thus far:

Graziella (upscale? Italian)
Mas des Oliviers (traditional southern French)
Decca 77 (good wine list)
Au Pied de Cochon (may be too unique (i.e. "slabs of meat" review)
Lemeac (good wine list)
L'Express Bistro (also nice wine list)
Chez Queux (old fashioned French meal)
Toque (sounds like a VERY nice restaurant but maybe too gourmet? i.e. may go away hungry)
Les Trois Petits Bouchons (good wine list)
La Salle a Manger (alot of good reviews on Yelp)

Thanks for any comments!

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Av Duluth E, Montreal, QC H2L1A9, CA

L'Express Restaurant
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

Decca 77
1077, rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3B 4X4, CA

Chez Queux
158 St Paul E, Montreal, QC H2Y1G6, CA

Elkhart Lake / Crystal Lake Area

Yep, I printed that post before we went on the trip and used it to hi-lite restaurants we wanted to try. It really seemed geared toward higher end restaurants though and we had trouble finding moderate good restaurants. We couldn't afford to have a high-end meal every night (although I probably would, my frugal husband keeps me in check ; ) When I searched for posts about this area, there just weren't alot of reports about people's personal experiences with restaurants like you see in bigger cities.

I actually thought as I typed this post, I wonder if nsxtasy will see this? Or u-hockey. I love reading all your posts. : )

Aug 12, 2011
ParmLover in Great Lakes

Elkhart Lake / Crystal Lake Area

My husband and I vacationed for a week in the Elkhart Lake / Crystal Lake area Aug 1, 2011. It was a tough area to find much dining information about on the internet. So I thought I'd post our experiences for others who might be looking. (Hum this theme song as you read ;


Lake Street Cafe -- (Elkhart) Read good reviews about this place. Went here twice. The first time, we weren't dressed for the "nice" dining room at the back so sat in the front dining room which is good for families. It is a very loud dining room -- lots of families, lots of kids, music, people talking. So it is fun if you are in the mood for a caucophony of noise – we wished we had dressed nicer for the other dining room. Fortunately, you can order from the same menu in the front dining room so we had a very nice dinner. I am big on lobster bisque so had to get a cup after reading the raves on the internet. Very good -- nice rich color / taste from the dark roux and one little bit of lobster that I had not expected. My husband had your basic salad. They have very good bread also. I had the shrimp and scallop pasto w/ linguine in pesto cream sauce. Sooooo good -- I wasn't able to eat alot of it, it was so rich. My husband had a fantastic filet mignon that had a lovely crusty sear, some excellent roasted fingerling potatos, and asparagus. We had a slice of the cheesecake-of-the-day for dessert -- "smores" cheesecake -- which was just okay. Later in the week I saw they had double chocolate creme brulee on the menu which sounded heavenly but I never did get to try it. We never did get to eat in the nicer dining room as were trying to mix high dollar meals with moderate to keep from spending too much on our trip.

We went again another day for lunch -- after having Il Ritrovo pizza (see below) earlier in the week, Lake Street's pizza just didn't compare. It tasted like a cornmeal cracker crust, very unique. Neither my husband or I thought they were very good. Not inedible but wouldn't order again. They were also overwhelmed for lunch and service was very slow. (Had an appetizer bowl of homemade sweet potato and fingerling potato chips -- just okay, wouldn't order again.)

The Paddock Club -- oh my, loved this place. First of all, I loved their space -- exposed brick walls, high ceilings, cool paint color, modern fixtures, exposed kitchen. We wished we had sat at the high table by the exposed kitchen so we could have watched them cook. We started with an orange shrimp appetizer -- grilled shrimp w/ orange supremes on a bed of schmancy lettuce. Delicious. I then had the Caesar salad while my husband ate the schmancy lettuce. My Caesar salad was truly one of the best I've ever had and the fresh parmesan shavings were beyond yummy. Since my salad was quite large, I chose the half portion of pasta. Two of the pasta choices had either truffles or truffle oil -- I know it probably goes against the very definition of gourmand, but I am just not keen on truffles. I am a huge mushroom lover so figured I would love truffles, but alas ......... so went with the spaghetti bolognese. I was a tad skeptical as to whether I would truly enjoy the dish because I am not a big meat person and this sauce had three types of meat in it. But it was lucious. The three meats were tender, the sauce was fabulous with San Marzano tomatoes, and the spaghetti was al dente perfection. We were really longing for a fantastic homemade dessert but none of the three that night grabbed us. Went to Gesserts next door for ice cream -- review below. P.S. I always remember what I eat better than my husband ; ) -- he is pretty much a red meat / pork chop guy. Had another fabulous filet here w/ yummy mashed potatos and veggies. (Also, a little clear clasp type container of butter came with their bread – so creative and cute. Good bread too.)

Il Ritrovo -- Sheboygan. This should be in The Superlative category instead of The Good category. Oh my. So so so so good. Went there for lunch one rainy day. The wood-fired pizzas are fabulous - as in, eat every last bite of crust fabulous because the bread is that good. The menu says the cheese is buffalo mozzarella flown in fresh. We started with a bruschetta appetizer. What an explosion of flavor with the great bread, olive oil, the burst of bright fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Fabulous combination. I wished we could have gone back another day to try the ravioli. (I believe their pastas are only served at lunch.) We were seated right across from the oven so it was fun to watch. The store across from the restaurant is also fun to walk around and look.

Bo Mallies -- Crystal Lake. This place was right across from our rental -- given the convenience, I figured our luck it wouldn't be good but there were several good reviews. We ended up eating here three times! The first night, we were just kind of snacky from driving all day and didn't really want a big dinner. So we ordered tapas and salads. For a house salad, we were amazed at how good and how big the salads were. My husband had some jerk chicken skewers which were so spicy hot it seemed like lips/mouth were going to catch on fire. They were really too hot and (ahem) wreaked havoc on the digestive system. I had the seared scallops appetizer which came with a little bit of salad in the middle made up of things I didn’t like (which I can’t recall now) – all I wanted was the scallops which were seared perfectly. We skipped dessert here because we’d had Kopp’s Custard for lunch on our way through Milwaukee. Our second meal was gourmet finger-licking good – roasted chicken w/ some kind of heavenly dark reduction sauce w/ onions. It was a difficult thing to eat politely in a restaurant but so good. Excellent rough-mashed potatoes, nicely and richly flavored, and crispy thin green beans. We had some pork and shrimp pot stickers for an appetizer that I wasn’t so fond of. We shared a glass of vanilla gelato for dessert. Our last meal was the night before our departure. My husband had filet #3 for the week, he’s a creative diner. (But hey, he keeps me company!) He had their terrific garden salad again, and I tried their Caesar salad. It was good but Paddock’s was still better. I had the red pepper risotto (which was cheesey and delicious) w/ seared scallops. We had hoped on a Saturday night to finally come across some great homemade desserts (especially as I’d read one review that said someone had had pumpkin crème brulee here) but no luck again. Just a Guiness chocolate cake and gelato. We had that fine American dessert DQ instead ; ) (In Plymouth.) Bo Mallies is a terrific restaurant for this small town area.

Trying to get some moderate restaurants into the mix and not wanting to drive far, we tried the Irish restaurant in Plymouth, 52 Stafford. Hmmm. This seemed to get good reviews but…….. we joked that we need to come up with some kind of a signal when we walk into a restaurant and the first impression isn’t so great. Three pats on the head mean turn and run?! It was 6:30/7pm on a Friday night and restaurant was virtually empty. Not a good sign. We sat down anyway. I was tempted to try some of the Irish entrees on the menu but was scared to try after the bad first impression. Both of us just got fish & chips to be safe. Then, we ordered iced teas – husband takes first swallow, looks at me, and says – try your tea. I take a swallow. Our iced teas taste like cold coffee!!!! And we are not coffee drinkers, hot or cold. The waitress was mystified – my husband asked to switch to diet coke but apparently she didn’t hear and we both got two more glasses of iced tea. The second glass seemed like strong tea to me but my husband still thought it tasted like coffee. So, not sure what’s going on there? I’m guessing they tried to brew iced tea in the coffee maker?! The fish and chips were just okay – the husband thought the fish was a little too strong tasting. The entrée came with a cup of supposedly homemade cole slaw but it was not cold. I think I was just put off enough at this point to not want to eat. All in all, we were sorry we wasted our time/money here.

The second not-so-great restaurant was Brisco County Wood Grill in Sheboygan. We had really not wanted to drive back to Sheboygan from Crystal Lake again but just not a lot of moderate restaurants in the Elkhart Lake / Crystal Lake / Plymouth area. I thought I had read that this might be a barbecue place and we were really up for some BBQ given we rotate two really good BBQ places in our hometown every week. But it was really a wings place with charcoal grilled steaks / hamburgers, etc. The place seemed like a bar / wings place when we walked in, kind of old and dingy. We had some pork BBQ sandwiches that were in a BBQ sauce I’d heard of (Sweet Baby Ray’s) or something like that – they were fine but just not quite what we were looking for. We went a little late too – a few people still there but the restaurant was in shut-down mode so the putting chairs up on tables and vacuuming weren’t doing much for the ambiance. Oh well, you win some / you lose some on vacation in unfamiliar territory!

Also in The Ugly category, The Lake Deck beachfront dining area at The Osthoff Resort. So, if you’re at Fireman’s Beach and you didn’t pack a picnic lunch, where do you go for a fun/good lunch without cleaning up? Had read and heard this was a decent place and it appears to be a nice resort. Hmmm. We were not impressed. We had worked up an appetite after swimming – a grilled burger sounded great. I realize as a high schooler having to work at a beach restaurant while others are having fun is not so good – boy did they communicate their lethargia. None of them acted like they had any umph to do anything even though they were on the clock – everyone was lounging around while eating areas etc., need to be picked up / wiped down. I watched two employee kids walk up to get a drink from the bar and were literally dragging their feet as they walked. I watched one employee girl eating nachos directly from the serving area. The burgers were just the frozen thin patty grilled quickly w/ potato chips on the side. I’m not sure how much it costs to stay at The Osthoff but by the looks of the resort, they sure could try harder. Since they had grills going right there for the frozen patties, why not buy good quality hamburgers? And have a manager on staff who can keep the kids hopping – area cleaned up, etc. We did finish off our lunch with nice cold frozen Dove ice cream bars that were only $2.00 apiece which is amazing given what we pay for them in concessions at professional golf outings…… .

After no dessert at The Paddock Club, we walked down the street to check out Gesserts. It was like stepping back in time to an old soda fountain. But, unfortunately, that was the neatest thing about it. We met the older lady who runs it – saw the pictures in the display about her family, how her son had died in a tragic auto accident. She was very friendly and kindly took a picture of us as we sat at the counter – the only picture we have from the trip of both of us. But given all the other ice creams in the world – fabulous homemade churned ice cream, Kopp’s custard, Coldstone Creamery, our own local custard ice cream shop at home, etc. – the ice cream was just nothing to write home about and the waffle cone had seen better days. I’m sure the owner enjoys interacting with people (I think it’s only open on weekends).

I wished we had had time to visit Margaux in Sheboygan – really really wanted to go there but after spending quite a bit on dinners in the area where we stayed, it just didn’t happen. Schwarz’s Supper Club near Elkhart also sounded like it might have been good but we didn’t make it. Bruce’s in Elkhart Lake sounded like it had changed hands recently so we didn’t try it either.

Paddock Club
61 Lake St, Elkhart Lake, WI 53020

Coldstone Creamery
72 S Weber Rd, Romeoville, IL 60446

Brisco County Wood Grill
539 Riverfront Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Lake Street Cafe
21 Lake St, Elkhart Lake, WI 53020

821 N 8th St, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Hacienda Santa Rosa
3535 Calumet Ave, Manitowoc, WI 54220

Il Ritrovo
515 S 8th St, Sheboygan, WI 53081

52 Stafford
52 Stafford St, Plymouth, WI 53073

Aug 11, 2011
ParmLover in Great Lakes

Champaign-Urbana - Regional Recommendations

They have both on the menu -- walleye and catfish. I just looked up their menu to see -- sometimes I get a catfish sandwich and sometimes I get the "sea boat" walleye sandwich. On the sandwich list, cod, catfish, walleye, and tilapia are all listed. My favorite is the catfish sandwich. They are indeed very nice people. -- Chuck in IL

Mar 07, 2011
ParmLover in Great Lakes

Champaign-Urbana - Regional Recommendations

I would highly recommend Seaboat too. We are there every other week probably. The catfish sandwiches are superb. The okra in particular is really really good -- nice and crispy, not greasy. We have liked just about everything we've tried there, even the side spaghetti is good. The fried chicken is also good. One thing that is unique depending on what you like -- we like iced tea and tried theirs when they put it on the menu -- it must be a southern recipe, tastes like it has molasses in it or something? -- Chuck in IL

403 W Kirby Ave, Champaign, IL 61820

Mar 07, 2011
ParmLover in Great Lakes

Champaign-Urbana - Regional Recommendations

I've lived in C-U for 20+ years. I would suggest these favorites of mine - they're just some of my favorite places, not necessarily what you describe.

- If you are up for bbq, my husband's and my personal new favorite is Black Dog bbq. Hard to get into but worth the wait. We almost always get pulled pork but they have so many good things. Love the ribs, and the potato casserole. They brew their own iced tea too. Love the ambiance here too. Have yet to try the famous "burnt ends", always out when we are there. The staff there are so great.

- Silvercreek, Urbana. Love the atmosphere of this restaurant and their current chef is good. It's one of my favorites right now, it hasn't been sometimes in the past, but right now it's high on my list.

- Escobar, Champaign. My husband and I love, love, love this place. We would go here more frequently if we could afford it ; ) I believe it's Cuban influence. Very creative.

- Timpone's, Urbana. I would also go here more if I could afford it. This is our go-to restaurant every year for New Year's eve.

Also, would highly recommend Sunsinger for a cafe experience. Jarling's is also open now -- you should stop for some terrific custard. If either of you loves chocolate as much as I do, order my personal "concoction" -- a turtle "snowstorm" only made with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla. (and no nuts for me) Blow your head off chocolate. Their cold fudge sundae is also great.

Just some personal recommendations. Enjoy! -- Chuck in IL

P.S. Courier Cafe is also good for burgers, milkshakes, soups, etc. Neat atmosphere here too.

402 N Race St, Urbana, IL 61801

Timpone's Restaurant
710 S Goodwin Ave Ste 1, Urbana, IL 61801

Mar 04, 2011
ParmLover in Great Lakes

Non-Chain Restaurants - Champaign-Urbana

This is Chuck in IL from the original long post! I was surprised to see my old post come up. There's not usually much on this board for C-U and I don't tend to check often. I will have to work on updating my list. In the meantime, I had to post about my new favorite - Escobar. (


My husband and I tried it the first time after reading posts on the internet. With some negative and some positive comments, it was a test-dine for us for sure. But we just loved it. Have been back multiple times since and took my office there one day with the boss (based in another state) was in town. The menu is so creative. Bananas flambe sounds like a same ole, same ole type dessert but it is terrific at Escobar - the caramel sauce is made from scratch and comes out of the kitchen warm. w/ the bananas and ice cream, it is a dessert you want to just pick up the plate and lick every last drop of sauce off.

I must say that our recent experiences with Silvercreek have also been good. I am on their e-mail list so had heard they have a new chef and change their menu seasonally now. It has been very good both times that we have gone recently. We are glad because we love the interior of the restaurant but have stopped going numerous times over the years because of various things we didn't like about the restaurant. Service has never been the greatest at Silvercreek - not sure what is going on there. Examples: we were just there this past Friday. Did not have a reso, happened to be going by and they weren't busy. For the restaurant not being that busy, our server didn't keep drink glasses filled, no offer to re-fill the balsamic vinegar plate for our bread, and it's a good thing we liked our entrees because he never did come back to see if we were happy with everything.

Our favorite restaurants in town right now are Escobar, it's sister restaurant Milo's, and Timpone's. (And Silvercreek is hanging around on the edge as a possible 4th favorite ; )

-- Chuck in IL

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

Report from my boss on dinner at Andrew Blair's --
"Great choice! The food was great. The owner joined us for 30 minutes to discuss wine."

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

I just talked with Brandon at Andrew Blair's - very good first impression! He was able to reserve a private room for our group that seats 14 maximum so they are all set for a nice evening. I will post a review after my boss lets me know how it went. Thanks again!

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

The people from my office are staying where they are because it is near the company they are giving the presentation to. Yes, they are foodies, and willing to drive to get to good restaurants. Thanks for the tips! (And if I was going to the meeting, 20 minutes would be nothing to me as well to get to an excellent meal....)

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

There is a 360 of the dining room on their web site - you are right, does not look like they would have the option of a quiet table. Andrew Blair's is looking like my top choice........... thanks for the help!

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

Also on list LuLu's.

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

Also on the list: Ratcliffe on the Green

Dining near Hilton Charlotte University Place

Six members of our office will be at the Charlotte Hilton this Wednesday Feb 11th. They asked me to find a good and quiet restaurant for them to have dinner and go over their presentation. I have been looking through posts on and have come up with the following short list. Would anyone have any other pointers for me as I am doing my last minute research? Many thanks! --

Andrew Blair's
Fig Tree
Carpe Diem

Breakfast in Champaign!?

I would recommend the Courier Cafe in Urbana. Also, the Original Pancake House in Champaign (near Springfield/Mattis) has quite a morning following.

Savanna, IL

Yes, I found the COC site today but I was hoping to get opinions from people. I haven't had any luck yet for finding good camping forums. Thanks anyone for any thoughts!

Savanna, IL

Going camping at the Mississippi Palisades in a couple of weeks - would anyone have recommendations for places to eat at Savanna, IL? Anything at all, lunch / dinner / ice cream. Thanks!

Indianapolis - Steak Restaurants

Thanks for the replies - we tried Boulder Creek last year and it was a fine restaurant so that one can stay on the list. We may try Charbonos or Stone Creek to shake it up a little. Thanks again! -- Chuck in Illinois

Indianapolis - Steak Restaurants

A group of us (probably 8) will be in Indy for the 500 this weekend. We are a group of small-town Midwesterners looking for a good basic steak dinner the night before the race that doesn't break the bank like Mo's, Sullivan's, or Morton's does yet is a decent restaurant. I tried a search in Midwest Chowhound but didn't come up with much. Wondered if any locals could steer us towards good places that might be local favorites? We are going to be based in Brownsburg but will travel for places with good recommendations. Thanks for any help! -- Chuck from Illinois

One Nice Meal In Maui

I just had to add my 2 cents worth................ we just visited Maui in February. We loved loved loved our Roy's dinner. No view but a terrific meal from beginning to end.

Roy's - Kihei
(808) 891-1120 303 Piikea Ave., Bldg. 1
Kihei, HI 96753

Disney Wedding Dinner

Thanks for the tips - unfortunately, Charley's does not have their menu on the web. I'll call the restaurant and see if they can fax it to us. Hopefully as you suggested the Disney wedding planner could help out too. Thanks --

Oct 03, 2006
ParmLover in Florida

Disney Wedding Dinner

My sister is getting married in January at the Disney wedding pavilion. She has a party of about 20 total that she and her husband would like to take to an early dinner at 4pm. She's looking for a steak place that won't break the bank. We've checked into the Yachtsman restaurant but prices are fairly steep. Perhaps it is not possible to find anything with entrees less than that for a wedding party? Would anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any pointers.

Oct 03, 2006
ParmLover in Florida


"Also, as a couple who also drinks minimally, I always feel that the staff is aggravated at R Bistro when you do not order wine, since it drives the cost of the meal up substantially."

Had to reply to this comment in the post - as I said in my original post we are non-drinkers and always have been. I have definitely experienced "aggravated staff" as well because of not drinking. Most often it's displayed by lack of service - waiter doesn't make much effort to serve the table when he/she knows the tip will be affected by a smaller bill. One obvious experience we had with this was in Washington D.C. several years ago - I had as usual researched restaurants and picked several out. I looked forward to one in particular - at this restaurant our group (five people) were immediately told by our waiter as menus were passed out that "this is a wine restaurant". His disgust was obvious when we did not order wine and service was pathetic through the whole meal. We wondered at times if he would ever come back. I wonder, in his eyes was our patronage and expenditure at the restaurant worthless (should we have left?) because of not ordering wine? You would think every dollar spent at any restaurant would add to the bottom line profit, big and small......

Indianapolis Moderate Restaurants

As I posted earlier, planning a 20th wedding anniversary trip to Indianapolis Labor Day weekend. Got lots of nice tips about a good restaurant for the big night. Would also like to get recommendations for moderate restaurants in the city for lunch and dinner the rest of the time we're there - chain or non-chain. We're going to PF Chang's for lunch one day - I know, it's a chain, but we love it! Thanks for any recommendations.


Many thanks for all the comments - I'll be sure to post a report! I'd say right now I'm pretty much juggling the choices of R Bistro, Elements, and Oakley's. Thanks! --

.....there was a mountain made entirely of grated Parmesan cheese, on which lived people who did nothing but make macaroni and ravioli and cook them in capon broth. And then they threw them down, and the more of them you took, the more you had. And nearby ran a rivulet of white wine whose better was never drunk, and without a drop of water in it." Bocaccio (1313-1375) 'Decameron' (Day 8, Tale 3).


Thanks for the great replies. I read the reviews of Elements from the site link kindly provided - sounds like a terrific place. But without a web site, how bad would a dinner for two possibly be? We're both non-drinkers but would probably get an appetizer, two entrees, and two desserts. Thanks for the help!