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Five Parisian questions

Hey everyone,

A quick report now that I am sadly back in the UK.
We ended up only in 3 of the places discussed on the thread.
First up was A Noste on the Friday night. This was great late night idea. Funky place and rammed even at 10.30 so we sat at the bar. We over ordered ( hungry after journey ) as the portions were pretty generous.
We found the tapas were a bit of a mixed bag. I really enjoyed the squid served bizarrely in a clog ( not sure of the Parisian reference there ! ) Panis chorizo was deep fried joy whereas Croustill polenta ( about 8 between two of us ) would have been great if we were in a larger group but were a bit sickly after a couple each. I appreciate this sounds like we OD'd on the fried stuff but naively we didn't think that chorizo was deep fried so we ended up a bit fried out by accident !
Also had duck tartare with oyster which was delightful. I found the wine by the glass to be okay but nowt specatular. Other half ended up having Rioja as the burgundy had 'run out'. Eh ? On a Friday night in paris ? What is that about ?

Saturday night was hands down the best meal we had - at Loupi et Voila. Some of the TA reviews of the place are critical of the welcome for none French speakers and at first I could relate to that. The girl behind the bar/kitchen part told us we were sitting right by the main door ( bear in mind it was freezing last weekend ). When I asked if we could sit at a table which another couple had just vacated which was not near the door she said 'No' because it would take too long to set and clear. If we had not travelled 40 mins by tube to get there I might have walked out then or 5 minutes later when a French 'walk up' couple were promptly given that table before we had even been shown a menu or asked if we would like a drink !
Once we were no longer dealing with madmoiselle however things improved dramatically. I had octopus with avocado and fennel to start. I am not a huge avocado or fennel fan but this was a wonderfully fresh starter. For main i had monkfish which was succulent but not a patch on the duck my other half had. We shared a wickedly simple but effective 'cooked' yoghurt with Clementine sorbet nestled inside for dessert and a rather nice Muscat sec to go with it all. Afterwards one of the guys who runs the place was very friendly and chatty so it ended up being a wonderful evening. No clue what was going on when we arrived. The (in)famous Parisian warmth/chill factor ? The fact that we are English ? Or just a rude person ? Who knows but it would not stop me going back !

On Sunday night we went to Cafe Constant on Mr Talbott's advice. Sage advice too. No nonsense bistro food in a friendly place. I had the veal cordon bleu and m'lady had plaice. Small ish portions but great for a late post Eiffel supper.Strangely again, though, the wine by the glass was not much to write home about. Is that a regular Parisian thing, i wonder ?
All in all then a good trip. Much more consistency and a varied set of experiences than my pre Chow trips to Paris & Youpi a clear stand out.
Hope this report of some interest.
Thanks again for all of your help !

Feb 13, 2015
willowan in France
1

Five Parisian questions

Brilliant advice. Thanks for coming back so quickly, also !

Feb 01, 2015
willowan in France

Five Parisian questions

Hello again folks

One final question.
Anywhere good near the Eiffel Tower ( walking distance ) which will be open on a Sunday night ? Does not have to be anywhere glitzy. A small plates/simple bistro/wines by the glass place would be perfect.

Thanks again !

Feb 01, 2015
willowan in France

Five Parisian questions

Are they called Cafe Pouchkine too or something else ?!

Jan 27, 2015
willowan in France

Five Parisian questions

A.noste it is then.
On the chocolate front, both or either for other half, but chocolate chocolate for me !

Jan 25, 2015
willowan in France

Five Parisian questions

Hey folks

Thanks for all of the varied feedback

3 more questions

1.Another place has been recommended to me for squid or octopus - Lupi et voila - at 8 rue vicq d'azir. Any thoughts ? seems to get half amazing and half terrible reviews ( mainly for service ?)

2. Le Loubnane for Lebanese ?

3. Also for my chocolate loving other half - Angelina or somewhere less touristy but just as good ??

Thanks !

Jan 25, 2015
willowan in France

Five Parisian questions

Morning folks.

I will try to be brief.
Five specific questions for you

1. Is there anywhere near the Opera tube stop where I can get reliable post flight late night food. Nothing heavy. Just a nice glass of wine and something 'small plate ish '. If not, are there any light night delis or similar ? Talking 10-10.30 pm as opposed to midnight.I hope.

2. Where is good for breakfast take out ( stellar bakeries ? ) or leisurely brunch in this neighbourhood.

3. Where for lunch near Jeu du Paume/ Pl de la Concorde.

4. Have come across La Table d'Eugene
18, rue Eugene Sue, 75018 Paris, France (Montmartre)
in my perusal of this board. Any contra indications to the generally very positive reviews ?

5. Best places for small plates Spanish ( think Pizarro and Jose in London, if you know them ) or Lebanese/mezze food. Happy to traverse the city to be blown away.

Additional information.

Staying in the Opera area and conscious of the fact it probably not a chow hound dream. Any recs for places to browse for great food welcome. Looked at Rue Motorgueil but is that tourist trap ?

Not generally a fan of super rich or over fancy food service or ambience. Prefer solid quality at decent price without airs and graces.
If there is any craft beer movement on the rise in Paris, would be glad to hear of it.
Equally i love Alsace wines so if there is a super haunt for those, let me know.

Previous dinner eating experiences in Paris have ranged from comically surly service and awful skate wing to some Conran 'could be anywhere' place so some recs of 'real' places would be very welcome.

Oh and if there is anywhere great for fish ( espec squid and octopus ), which is not super stuffy, let me know. I am still to find anywhere better than La Paradeta in Barca, though some of the Greek places in New York come close !

Thanks for any help you can give. Let me know if you need more preferences information.

Jan 18, 2015
willowan in France

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Hello Erica and everyone else

Back home in the UK now and I can exclusively reveal that in 8 nights I had 5 squid dishes !

The best for me was the squid appetizer at Annisa. Amazing flavours, beautiful presentation - something different done brilliantly. This was not, by a long way, my best meal including squid, however. Why ? Well the main course I had ( duck ) was soooooooooo disappointing by comparison to the squid. Where the squid was innovative and fresh the duck was, well, just a bit dull and uninspiring by comparison.

Tied for best overall were Tavenra Kyclades on 1st ave and Hanjan. Hanjan was just a great experience all round. Loved the low lit room and atmosphere and the two squid dishes - pancakes and with spicy noodles were just perfect post theater with a beer or two.

The tavenra was best value hands down. We had squid and also octopus and greek salad. Both squid and octopus were delicious and fresh. Two appetisers plus salad was a big enough meal for two in itself.The place was almost empty when we arrived ( around 5.30.) By 6.45 when weleft to go to the theater it was rammed. Went on my last night and was so sad I had to leave the next day or I would have gone back. About $40 for two incl glass of wine. Ridiculously cheap. Staff were lovely too. A gem.

Finally had a squid appetiser at la Forcella , pizza place in Brooklyn. Shoddy, in a word. Pizza wasnt up to much either.

Finally on a none squid front I also went back to Candle 79 which continues to do wonderful vegan food with some interestingly enhanced looking fellow diners.

All in all a great trip. Thaks again for all of the squid hints ! Get in touch if you are venturing over to the UK any time

Oct 15, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Thanks

Did anyone have any views as to the respective merits/demerits of the four squid places I singled out from the article, in my post yesterday ?

Sep 24, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Thanks

Is the food in the NoMad bar good/great/amazing or just go for the bar experience ?

Sep 24, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Hi

What a brilliant article, thank you so much

Just a couple of questions...

From the article I like the look of

Peix bar,
Hanjan
L'Apicio

and

Annisa

most. Are these generally good places for the none squid obsessive in one's life ?

Are any of them pretentious at all ? Annisa perhaps ?

Also re Nomad - do you mean -
http://www.nomadny.com/Nomad.html
- which looks lovely !
Just that there are Nomad hotels and such so I dont want to go to the wrong place. I assume I would need a reservation for a pre dinner slot on a Friday in all of these places ? How about on a Sunday ?

Thanks again !

Sep 24, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

It alays been pink when I have had it - perhaps it was the pasta sauce !

Sep 24, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

The Whoopi Goldberg memory test...

That's great, thanks !

So, where else in that neighborhood should I eat, as a solo traveller, for a healthier lunch ? !

Sep 22, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Isn't totani usually pink too ? Or am I just further broadcasting my ignorance to the world ?

Any particular recs from you as to where to go ?

Sep 22, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Thanks for your reply.
On the squid/octopus front really all I am after is fresh grilled squid or fried octopus, with tentacles if possible. Super simple but hard to come by in the north of the UK where you usually get calamari rings deep fried - which can be fine but can also be like rubber. Totani I have only ever found in Positano, Italy and with ( heavenly ) pasta. I have googled it and only google images really give me anything. When I was in Boston a few years back I tried to get it there to no avail. Octopus I am keen on either the seared tentacle either whole (ish ) which I have sampled in Portigal or sliced ( spain )or little ones simply fried with lemon juice and a beer :-).

La Paradeta, the place I mentioned in Barcelona is set up like a fish market. You go in and all of the fresh fish is layed out before you. You can then choose if you want it fried grilled or a la plancha as your mood takes you and as your prefr each type of fish. You then order beer/bread/sides, pay and are given a numbered ticket. Your number is the called and you go up to the kitchen to collect. Its all wondefully fresh, very simple and ( for the quality ) cheap.

I have never come across the like anywhere else. So, I reckoned, if anywhere woudl have such a place it must be New York !

Hope this gives a bit more insight into what I was after. All further help gratefully recived.

Partculary wondering where is trending this year so I can check it out, whatever the cuisine or price bracket. New York is one of the few places which seems to get genuniely excited about food so I love tapping into that when I visit.

Thanks again,

Sep 22, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

The Whoopi Goldberg memory test...

Okay folks

A few years ago when I was in New York from the UK Whoopi Goldberg was on TV on my last morning in town... she was being interviewed at some pre awards do. They asked if she was looking forward to the meal and she said 'I would rather be eating at....'

She then named a hotdog place which i think was on or near Broadway and either on UWS or near Columbus Circle. I think. Thing is, i cannot remember the name of the place ....

But it did great cheap hot dogs and (mango ? ) lassi.

Can you remind me where it was, is it still there and is it any good ?

Google has proved useless. Only the 'Hounds can save me from despair !

While I'm asking... where would YOUR Whoopi place be, if someone asked you that question??

Thanks all !

Sep 21, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Restaurant or bar with a view?

Brilliant, thank you so much !

Sep 21, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Squid, totani or octopus....La Paradeta in the USA ?

Hello everyone

Am staying in New York for a week from next weekend. Have never found great squid - just grilled is my favourite - and never found totani at all - only ever had it in Positano ( there is probably a very good reason for this which someone will shortly point out but I will take that risk ! Sooooo, what re your top recs for all things squid/octopus in NYC. If there is anywhere like La Paradeta in Barcelona that would be my ideal.

Also, some other random questions while I am at it...

1. Is Bistango still good ? I see they are opening in a posh hotel too. has the original suffered ?

2. The new Pony bar on UES - any good ? Any other new craft beer places I should go to ? ( am staying in Brooklyn so happy to travel to get the best ! )

3. I have never been to Gramercy tavern or Union Square Cafe and want to treat a friend while in NYC. Is there much to choose between them ? Will I be too late to get a reservation now ? - am in town til 6 Oct.

4. Who or what is the new Shake Shack ? I fondly remember going and queuing in the Park in 2004 ( I think their second year of operation ? ) and it was a happy joyful buzz with uncommnoly good shakes. Where is creating a similar justified buzz this year ? Ideally American classic cuisine and an outdoor or food truck kind of place, please.

5. Candle or Cafe 79 I very much enjoyed on last visit- any new veggie/vegan places to compare ?

6. Any great Lebanese cafes for a shared plates extravaganza ?

7. Where best for solo lunches near High line and Lincoln center and ICP/ midtown. Nowhere fancy a friendly deli will do.

Thanks in advance folks. if I need to be more specific in my randomness, let me know !

Sep 21, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Restaurant or bar with a view?

Daft question time. Do you have to shell out to go to the Met itself or can you just go to the bar ??

Sep 21, 2014
willowan in Manhattan

Williamsburg. Manhattan Ave at Grand/Maujer. One week of neighbourhood haunts ? Verboten too ?

Thanks for this. Any of the many beer recs do great or decent food too ?

Sep 19, 2014
willowan in Outer Boroughs

Williamsburg. Manhattan Ave at Grand/Maujer. One week of neighbourhood haunts ? Verboten too ?

Hello folks

I will be staying with friends in Williamsburg for a week from next weekend.

Looking for recs for quintessential
-breakfast hangouts
-delis for take out picnic stuff
-dinner esp for a great burger experience ( whether like Shake Shack when it first opened or the full hit gourmet variety _ I used to like 5 napkin when they first started but assume they have now gone off the boil ? ) or ,by contrast great organic vegetarian food. Would be great to have a few contrasting places to try and I am open to most none US cuisines especially Lebanese, Spanish and Italian ( but only if its really melt in the mouth pasta good or wonderful thin, crispy wood fired pizzatastic )and of course 'only in Williamsburg' places. Budget - anything from 'what a sweet bargain ' to higher mid range $100 - $130 for two. So nothing silly but happy to pay if the food is worth it. Also if its in a wonderful, evocative or just strange space that is welcome. Nowehre too 'posh' or formal please.

Also interested in great bars serving what we Brits would call 'real ales' and you guys would call craft beers. American pale ale is a particular favourite so any specific brew recs most welcome too. And if they have live music on too, particularly folk-y type stuff ( yes I am in my 40's, no I dont have a beard ) that would be perfection !

Finally three specific and quite touristy questions, so apologies in advance, but here goes

- best bar to combine great drinks with knockout views of manhattan ?,and

- is Peter Luger still the best steakhouse to visit ? i have never been and see it is walking distance from where I am staying. I read some posts saying it is the best and others saying super snotty staff do not go there. What say you, Brooklynites ? I am also, of course, open to recs for great steak places without rude staff.

- is the diner http://dinernyc.com/ - still good ?- went about 4 or 5 years ago and loved the decor and the food - but is it worth a revisit ?

If any of your recs take me over the river into Manhattan please don't apply Board-demarcation - just tell me please !

Oh and one final finally - am going to a gig at Verboten. My assumption is to avoid the food there - is that right and if so where is good nearby ?

Thanks everyone and if you need me to be more specific on anything just shout.

Sep 19, 2014
willowan in Outer Boroughs

Manchester. Northern Quarter vs. Ardwick - late lunch/early tea for a Saturday

Evening folks

Heading to sunny Manchester this Saturday and hoping for recs pre a gig at the Apollo.

Will probably land around 4 ish and hopefully eat about 5.

Am looking at NQ bar & restaurant ( not been for years - still decent ?), or Superstore/Grocer ( mate has been and said it was okay - TA reviews are mixed )or Montpellier ( but am instinctively about sceptical about it for some reason).Please mercilessly critique this list !

All alternatives considered probably mid price range an something bistro-ish or good pub style. Nowhere that is gonna be sniffy about a be-jeaned appearance or which is too up its own ar*e please.

My ideal would probably be something like Marble brewery just on the other side of the city centre but happy to go a bit posher if the food is worth it !

Have blithely assumed that the NQ is my best bet but happy to corrected if there are better options closer to the Apollo.

All help very welcome.

Thanks

Sep 15, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Okay folks

A little delayed, but here goes !

Friday night we ate at Bell's Diner

http://www.bellsdiner.com/index.php

which friends told me was a 'Bristol institution' -only to discover that since they last visited it had become a 'small plates' place.Given that my other half's dad is a 'meat n two veg' kind of guy, this could have been very challenging. Happily both the food was great ( I was particularly keen on the salt cod fritters - as good as in Jose in Londontown - the squid - clearly fresh - and also the rabbit stew with pomegranate seeds - wonderful ! ) but the wine was also fantastic. Bro in law was even impressed with the gutsiness of the Dao we had.

Saturday lunch was unexpected find of the weekend - went to a little Italian place called Rosemarino

http://rosemarino.co.uk/

in Colston ( near Christmas steps ). Only stopped in for coffee but ended up having amazing tortellini with sweet potato and a crab and lemon bruschetta. Pasta was literally a melt in the mouth wonder. Best I have had for a loooong time. Would be intrigued to go in the evening when it may be less of an oasis of calm and loveliness.

Saturday evening was Bravas - of late recommended by Good Food Guide et al. This is trickier to be objective about - it was rammed so we sat at the bar. Near the antipasti holders to be precise, which = very little room to eat and/or food on jeans if you are a bit clumsy like me. Food was mixed - lentils with summer vegetables were sparklingly fresh and tasty - Iberico pork a la plancha was nice but a measely portion for £6.95 - essentially 7 pieces each smaller than a fresh anchovy - expensive particularly if you drop one en route to mouth like I did !! The fact that dropping one sticks in my mind says it all for me ( or perhaps about me ?!). Not great value. I would definitely go back midweek when it may be less frenetic, but on the evidence of last weekend Bell's is a better bet for quality food and a relaxed ambience.

Finished off the weekend at The Epicurean near Wrington <somerset.
http://www.walledgarden.co.uk/
for Sunday lunch.
I love this place - went en route back from Glastonbury on a sunny Monday in late June and it was just what the food doctor ordered. Fresh and earthy vegggies and decadent cheese on toast in an idyllic setting. Sunday lunch though was disappointing. First, prices are hoicked up to the £9 a starter £20 your main ( perhaps because it is small and delightful so people hang round all day...but that was the most expensive food we had all weekend). Second 'because we hadn't ordered starters' ( ??) our mains took well over an hour to rrive. Eh ? Is it just me ? this did not compute. To be fair they gave us free drinks. Fine for me as none driver on a sunny day sat in the garden. Less consolation for our DD.

Food when it came was lovely but, well, a bit lacking given the price tag, when we had already eaten so well elsewhere. None of that is to say do not go if you are in the area. It is a great place doing great organic food the right way. Just perhaps best avoided on a Sunday.

Would be interested, as ever to hear what others think.

Thanks again for your tips and help.

Sep 09, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

thanks all

I knew the 'hounds wouldn't let me down.

Will report back if of interest ?

If not, thanks again anyway !

Aug 28, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Thanks for this. Am now told that other half's dad will be joining us, so something more traditional may be in order. Someone has mentioned Bell's diner to me...any good ?
Any other thoughts ?

Aug 27, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Thanks Harters

At least its not just me ! Slightly off topic but you been to anywhere new you rated particularly in my own fair city of Liverpool or elsewhere in the NW recently ?

Cheers

Aug 27, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Hello folks

Down in Bristol this weekend and staying in Cotham.

Last time I was in the city I ate at Flinty Red and whilst it was good I didn't find it overly friendly... perhaps because there was a 'misunderstanding' with items appearing on our bill that we hadn't ordered... or because we booked and they still plonked us on the table right next to the door.

Anyway if best advice is to give it another try I will do, but what other places are there in this area (or across town) which are recommended?

Fairly relaxed cuisine wise (though Indian not a favorite unless amazing and fresh) but not into ostentation or 25 competing flavours when one or two quality ingredients get the job done better. Small plates approach favoured by my travelling companion but i am relaxed about that too. Happy to pay well for top notch grub, but nowhere up its own (insert preferred noun) please!

All suggestions gratefully received, thanks

Aug 26, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Lovely, thanks

Zum looks like a great place. Reminds me a bit of Renger-Patzsch in Berlin, fro how it looks. Would you recommend the bar or restaurant for lunch ? I assume the bar....

Mar 17, 2014
willowan in Europe

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Brilliant, thanks for your help.
Checking out your other posts I see that you recommend Demel as the place to buy chocolate as a gift. Is that still the best place to go, and if so what do they specialse in ?

Also where would you choose for a casual lunch ( burger, sandwich and a good beer ) in the city centre, near the cathedral or within 10 minutes walk or so ? Or what would quintessence Austrain lunch fayre be, and where should we go and try it, in that area ? Moderate price bracket and not too smoke filled, if possible !

Thanks again !

Mar 17, 2014
willowan in Europe

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Hello Sturmi

I wonder if you can help me

Have been reading, awestruck, your various comprehensive Vienna posts as I am visiting the city for the first time for three days in April ( Monday to Wednesday ).

The post above caught my eye, in particular as I will be staying at Kandlgasse, Vienna 1070 which seems to be right in this area where there seems to be an amazing choice of great places to eat.

I just wanted to check - are all of these places still as good as they were when you posted originally ?

Is there anywhere else you would add to the list now ?

Where would you choose to eat if you only had three nights ?

...and which of the three pizza places would you recommend, if my travelling companions insist on having none Austrian food ! My preference is for thin base margerhita only, with fresh basil

I also wondered what the microbrewery 'scene' is like in Vienna ? Any particular places you would recommend for dunkel style none mass produced beers ?

Hope these questions are specific enough. Happy to narrow down further if that would help !

Thanks in anticipation of any help you can give...

Mar 16, 2014
willowan in Europe