greatgatsby's Profile

Title Last Reply

Suggestions in (or close to) Alghero/Sardinia?

The best experience we had was Pedramare. Not sure whether they are open in May/June, though. Certainly comfortable solo.
If you can, please add your feedback here once you are back, there is too little info on Sardinia in the Alghero region right now, I feel. Thanks, pj26!

Mar 21, 2013
greatgatsby in Italy

Suggestions in (or close to) Alghero/Sardinia?

We are back from our trip, which was very nice, but in a nutshell, it is probably fair to say that we were not too impressed with food in and around Alghero generally. Very touristy, very average, slightly overpriced for what it is. We did not encounter a single restaurant that we thought was really interesting or oustanding.

We did not try Andreini in the end. Seemed overpriced.

We did try La Speranza, on La Speranza beach. The food was nice, but expensive and a bit too simple. The restaurant certainly is not nice and has no AC, which makes eating difficult in the summer (we probably had 35 degrees Celsius in the dining room, insane!).

We also tried Pedramare (mentioned in another post). Again, we found it slightly disappointing. Great view and good food, but not outstanding, and the service was clearly overwhelmed. Maybe we were also unlucky because it was a windy day, and because of little by way of protection, glasses kept falling of tables around us. It was also not completely clear to me whether we were actually eating in the restaurant or in the bar. If it was the bar, which I suspect, I would advise to eat in the restaurant (much more protection from sun and wind)

Finally, we also tried aperitivo at the fancy Las Tronas. That was a disappointment. The hotel is classy, but the setting feels almost dead, with barely any people around (and those that are, are busy with their Ipads and laptops). Aperitivo was okay quality, but atmosphere was really zero, despite the beautiful surroundings.

My guess is overall, i) there are far too many tourists and ii) Sardinia is an economically poor place, so cooking is less developed/refined than in, say, Liguria.

We had a fantastic time, but I would not recommend Sardinia as an explicit Chowhound destination, that it clearly is not. No wonder that there are very few posts about Sardinia on the board here, I guess.

Aug 23, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

Suggestions in (or close to) Alghero/Sardinia?

allende, thanks for these hints, much appreciated. I definitely have doubts about Andreini now and can easily imagine my own experience going like yours. It is very hard to find ambitious restaurants in Italy that in fact get things right, and are not just silly. Sounds to me as if Andreini is headed in the latter direction. But mbfant mentions a trattoria next door run by the same team, we will have a look at both and then decide.

The two places you mention sound excellent. If we manage to go that far we will give them a try. Much appreciated! I will report back what we managed and found.

Aug 03, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

Suggestions in (or close to) Alghero/Sardinia?

Thank you , mbfant. I saw your other post as well, I had guessed you meant Andreini, I think it still is the only starred place in town. We will probably give the adjacent trattoria a try then. And we will definitely try Las Tronas for aperitivo, it looks great. I hope to report back here how it went in a few days.

Aug 03, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

Suggestions in (or close to) Alghero/Sardinia?

My wife and I are going on a trip there on Sunday, and we would love to try any place that is noteworthy, for lunches or dinners. Alghero does not seem to come up much here on Chowhound yet, so any suggestions are much appreciated. Pedramare, a few kilometers south of Alghero was mentioned on the Italy board as being outstanding. That we have already booked.

Any other suggestions for Chowhound restaurants that would please Chowhounders? We will not have a car all the time, so within Alghero would be best, but outside Algerho (like Pedramare) would be interesting as well. We speak Italian, so language is not an issue.

And some specific questions:
a) Has anyone tried the aperitivo at the fancy Villa Las Tronas?
b) Is Andreini over the top or actually interesting and good value? Looks overpriced.
c) Where is the best gelato? Tripadvisor mentions Gelateria Igloo, is it indeed the best?

Thanks a lot for all feedback!

Aug 02, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

A MUST for Anyone Visiting Alghero, Sardegna

That sounds great. I am leaving for Alghero this Sunday and am tempted to try this place for Monday lunch. Are there any other places around Alghero that you would recommend?

Thanks florenceinsider

Aug 02, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

Milan suggestions for family

Near the Station (I assume you are referring to the Central Station, not the other main station, Cardona) is not ideal for restaurants, so I would suggest to venture away from there. One place you will love for breakfast (and you kids will as well) is stylish Bianco Latte, about 10 minutes on foot from the Station. A truly modern Milanese place.

For the special occasion, I would also consider Trussardi alla Scala and Nobu. Both are excellent, but keep in mind that over the top restaurants work better with non-Italian cuisine generally.

A suggestion for general lunch and dinner - Obika, on the top floor of the shopping center Rinascente. The restaurant is mozzarella themed, modern and good quality. The view (you are right on the Duomo) is unbeatable.

Jun 05, 2012
greatgatsby in Italy

Any ideas for restaurants in Fontainebleau (near Paris)?

Update: Croquembouche is closing/changing owners within the next few days. Bad news for Fontainebleau I think, with few or no alternative higher quality eating places around.

Dec 15, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Technical question: Why is ham sliced so thick in France?

Parigi, that is a good point and it probably explains a significant part of the variation.

But you know, I tend to think that independent of seasoning the taste of the ham and charcuterie is better the thinner it is sliced. I do not have a good explanation for why that would be the case, physical or chemical, but I bet you to try even with a regular cooked and lean ham, thickly sliced and thinly sliced, and you will be able to detect more flavour from the thinly sliced slices.

Oct 14, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Technical question: Why is ham sliced so thick in France?

Great, thank you for all your replies, that is really helpful. I will talk to the butcher then. Of course, there could be the element of selling more and spending less time cutting. But judging from your responses it seems that it is perfectly acceptable to ask whoever is doing the cutting to change it to "incredibly thin". And there are probably regional differences as well, if I remember correctly in the Sued-Ouest the Jambon di Bayonne is traditionally cut really thick.

Many thanks, greatgatsby

Oct 14, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Technical question: Why is ham sliced so thick in France?

It would be great if you can help me out with this one: We have recently moved to France from Italy. One of the arguably greatest assets of the Italian kitchen is its raw prosciutto and associated products (lardo, bresaola, etc etc).

If you buy raw ham in Italy, does not matter whether in a supermarket or a top butcher, slices will be typically VERY thin, equivalent to the second-lowest setting of commercial slicing machines (people typically order "number 2" or "number 1" slices, with number 1 being the thinnest technically possible setting. You may disagree, but I tend to think that the thinner the slice the better the aroma of a high quality dried cut of meat becomes. Most Italians probably would agree with this.

Now, in France we have found so far that ham (raw and cooked) is cut very, very thick. At least by Italian standards. So I have two questions:

1) Do the French really like their ham cut thick and if so why - or am I going to the wrong shops?
2) Is there a polite or smooth way in French to ask the butcher for truly superfine slices?

Thank you! Your help is much appreciated!

Oct 13, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Which Paris Chowhound favorites would you recommend as easy to use by 2 foodies w/2month baby?

Parigi, good point, yes and no! So far we have always managed to keep our baby very quiet while in restaurants (by feeding her immediately before going out), so my question is based on the (optimistic!) assumption of a sleeping baby.

You have an amazing memory! My apologies if I should have posted reviews and did not, I always read others reviews and feel humbled in how well they manage to capture what the restaurant is about!

I cannot comment on La Terrasse unfortunately, or I can only comment on why we did not go. The do offer a brunch on Sunday that we were interested in because of the beautiful and rare outdoor setting, but prices were close to EUR 100 per head and the way it was described by the guy over the phone seemed aimed at people with expense accounts more than for foodies.

Le Cinq was fabulous and I can see why it is one of the favourite restaurants of people here on the board. I do not think I can write a review that is REMOTELY as well written as some of the very recent reviews of Le Cinq that are here on the board, so I will simply say that I would include Le Cinq among my top 10 restaurant experiences ever. I would not include it in the same list if it is value for money, but that is more a Paris issue than a Le Cinq issue.

Oct 13, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Which Paris Chowhound favorites would you recommend as easy to use by 2 foodies w/2month baby?

My question is a pretty straightforward one, it would be great if you can help me out:

Which of your favourite Chowhound restaurants in Paris have tables/layouts that leave sufficient space so you could comfortably park a baby stroller at the table (without annoying owners or other guests) AND are not so noisy/lively that a small baby is likely to get too irritated? We are most interested in lunch options, but dinner would also be interesting.

From all your excellent reviews I can easily come up with long lists of places that my wife and I would like to try over the next months (we live in Fontainebleau until Spring), but the trouble is there is rarely any information posted about the very real problem that many restaurants will NOT have enough space for a large baby carriage, nor is it always easy to conclude whether a "lively" restaurant may actually be no problem at all even for a baby, because the noise is more "ambient" than "frenzy"...

Can you help? I know similar questions have come up on the board a while ago, but things change. This is precisely the knowledge only those who have actually eaten at a place have, so I am guessing Chowhound is the perfect place for recommendations! Thank you!

Oct 13, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Any ideas for restaurants in Fontainebleau (near Paris)?

Hi Jake Dear, I saw your post and have asked around with a few more people in Fontainebleau and I think we were unlucky on that night. We will give it a shot again in a few weeks and see whether the experience is different. Fingers crossed! :)

Oct 06, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Any ideas for restaurants in Fontainebleau (near Paris)?

Thank you, Jake Dear. By now we have arrived in Fontainebleau and last weekend we went directly to Croquembouche for dinner. Maybe we were unlucky. All in all, the experience was not great. We went for the 4-course menu which sounded very good, but somehow the whole thing did not meet our expectations.

The good: Food overall was good quality and nicely presented. The restaurant is relaxed and well-designed. Wine and champagne had the right temperature.

The bad: The service was incredibly slow. Really, incredibly slow. It took them 30 minutes to get us a menu and almost 60 minutes to get our orders taken. The waiters were very kind, but forgot that we had ordered water and took 1 hour to bring some bread to nibble on. The food was generally good, but one course was completely off - after the main course they served a cheese course, which was essentially two thin and slightly dry slices of brebis on a bed of tomato sauce. I am sorry. This is cheese country and the last thing they should have served is cheese with sauce. Come on, we are in France for heaven's sake! What made it worse was that the sauce was exactly the same as the one used in the amuse bouche served before the starter. Also, the course was so small that I would have counted it as an amuse bouche, not more. So, in effect the 4-course menu is a 3-course menu. Given that Fontainebleau is a little town far from Paris, that makes the menu price a lot less attractive.

Overall, we thought it was a bit of a disappointment and would probably not go back. So either we were unlucky or the place has gone downhill since your experience from 2 years ago.

Oct 04, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Any ideas for restaurants in Fontainebleau (near Paris)?

That would Be very kind chefjune! Thank you.

Aug 31, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Any ideas for restaurants in Fontainebleau (near Paris)?

Our family (all serious foodies is moving from Italy to Fontainebleau for few months and we are excited to get up close to all this fabulous food!

However, neither my wife nor me have any idea about restaurants in Fontainebleau itself or the area around it. We are pretty familiar with Paris and dining trips to there will be a great thing to do on weekends, but it takes about an hour to get to Paris and we are guessing that there must be great places also much closer by.

Funnily enough, all searches on Chowhound for "Fontainebleau" bring up Miami Beach (and the glitzy Fontainebleau Hotel there), but nothing on the French board...

Anyone familiar with the town or the area? All hints would be greatly appreciated and fill a gap here on Chowhound! :)

Thanks a lot, greatgatsby

Aug 31, 2011
greatgatsby in France

Quick Milan visit

jen, I would suggest to consider these three places. I have dined at all of them and would count them easily among my top 10 in Milan. The others are either more expensive than what I think you have in mind or require a car for access:
CANTINA DELLA VETRA - excellent food, excellent atmosphere. Try the gnocco fritto for antipasto, any pasta dish, and the veal steak with juniper for mains. $$
OSTERIA DI PORTA CICCA - most elegant of the three, tiny tiny restaurant with maybe 8 tables. Menu constantly changing, prices more elevated than Cantina della Vetra. $$$
INNOCENTI EVASIONI - most experimental of the three and a bit harder to reach. Go for the tasting menu, makes most sense. Very ambitious chef, a newcomer. Prices similar to Porta Cicca. $$$.

I hope this is helpful, greatgatsby

Feb 18, 2011
greatgatsby in Italy

Stresa on Lake Maggiore (or within 30km drive) - 2 NYC foodies need restaurant recommendations

I strongly have to second Kadath on Trattoria Monterosso. We went there a week ago and I have to say this is really an experience you should not miss. Restaurant is rustic, homey and solid, certainly nothing fancy. But the experience of GOING THERE! This must have been the steepest, bendiest road I have ever driven. If you drive up there at night it will be a thrilling experience and the food is a nice reward afterwards. We had a very solid St Valentine's dinner there, full range of courses, flowers for the female guest and all drinks included for EUR 30. Hard to beat this anywhere in the region.

Feb 18, 2011
greatgatsby in Italy

Restaurant Recommendations?? For Milano, Italia!

As DavidT said, lots of postings on this. Budget price excellent places are e.g.
Cantina della Vetra,
Trattoria Madoninna,
Ristorante Pirandello.
Pricier and excellent place: Osteria di Porta Cicca

Aug 04, 2010
greatgatsby in Italy

Champagne by the glass (in Paris) - what is your strategy?

Maximilien, I certainly did not write this to create false expectations about Papilles. I simply wanted to illustrate the possible outcomes to ordering a glass of bubbly, using my own experience.

But I have not been precise probably. On the one hand I am wondering about the rules, i.e. when can you expect it to be complimentary and when not, and your and Ptipois's posts explain that well. But on the other hand I am wondering whether if you suspect it is not free--the typical case, right--how to ask smoothly ask about the price, especially if you are not fluent in French.

Aug 04, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Champagne by the glass (in Paris) - what is your strategy?

This (at least for me) is a tricky one: Is there a smart, polite and friendly way to figure out whether you should order a glass of champagne in a restaurant in Paris, or indeed anywhere in France? :)

This SHOULD not create a dilemma... but it DOES, because you almost never know how much the restaurant is actually planning to charge you for the pleasure. Let me give two examples that really got me thinking about this:

1) Dinner at Les Papilles, we have two glasses of an unnamed Champagne. It turns out to be very decent. When we get the bill it lists two glasses and they are complimentary. Result? Happiness, and if anything was needed to want me go back to this place even more - that was the final reason!

2) Lunch at Le Cinq, we have two glasses of excellent Champagne (forgot the name unfortunately). When we get the bill it lists two glasses at EUR 30 each. 30? Result: Although I know I should not, I feel that I am being taken advantage of, because of this high price. Of course, I COULD have asked, and then decided against it, so it is not the restaurant's fault. But still, but still - they KNOW I am not going to ask, right?

So my question for you is - how to solve this dilemma, without the waiter making you look cheap? I have little practice with this situation. I live in Italy and it is rare here to charge sky-high prices for aperitifs, even at the priciest restaurants you can be relatively sure that a glass of prosecco is going to be within your budget.

So how do you French folks solve this? Really curious about your thoughts, thanks!

Aug 04, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Paris: Has anyone tried La Terrasse at the Park Hyatt..?

thanks, theskyflyer. We ended up not going, it turns out they only do a brunch on Sundays, for EUR 90. Way too much money!

Aug 04, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Paris: Has anyone tried La Terrasse at the Park Hyatt..?

...in an interview recently, Yannick Alleno (head chef of Le Meurice) mentioned he likes to go there for relaxed lunches on Sundays. Has anyone been to La Terrasse? Outdoor seating supposedly is very pleasant, but what about the food?

Your feedback please! :)

Jul 21, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Suggestions for Paris Saturday lunch menu needed (preferably Michelin-starred...)

Great, I just booked a table for Saturday. Quite excited about the place!

Jul 21, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Suggestions for Paris Saturday lunch menu needed (preferably Michelin-starred...)

Thanks a lot, I had missed Le Cinq. All the reviews sound pretty good. Have you possibly had a meal there recently? Is this really a strong candidate for a third star? That would be amazing value.

Jul 21, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Suggestions for Paris Saturday lunch menu needed (preferably Michelin-starred...)

I wish, Parigi, I wish! :)

Jul 21, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Suggestions for Paris Saturday lunch menu needed (preferably Michelin-starred...)

My wife and I will be in Paris this weekend, and we are looking for a Saturday lunch at a a really classy place, but without breaking the bank. So the idea was to pick one of the moon-priced restaurants that however offers a great lunch menu under EUR 100. I was thinking Le Meurice, where the lunch menu at EUR 78 looks quite nice, but it seems to be closed during this period?

Any suggestions? Our hotel is near Place Vendome, so being close to that would be an advantage, but not necessary.

All hints are much appreciated!

Jul 21, 2010
greatgatsby in France

Milan recommendations

cooking courses - try http://www.teatro7.com/. excellent place, good materials, good instruction (mixed english and italian), reasonable prices, very good equipment. i have done two courses there and was very impressed.

Apr 27, 2010
greatgatsby in Italy

Sunday dinner in Milan

cantina di vetra. midrange prices, outstanding atmosphere, great food. no way you will not like it.

Apr 27, 2010
greatgatsby in Italy