My wife and i spent our honeymoon last October in Sorrento and its environs and we can certainly reccomend IL Buco,L'Antica Trattoria and Caruso all in Sorrento.
IL Buco was outstanding,it is very formal but with fabulous food and excellent service on both occasions we ate there,book in advance as it is very popular.
L'Antica Trattoria was less formal but no less enjoyable in its own way,my wife had the meat tasting menu and i had the fish equivalent both were superb,a very funny fiddle player entertained the dining room as we ate.
Caruso probably falls between the two others,not as formal as IL Buco but more formal than L'Antica,we both enjoyed it very much and ate here three times during our stay mainly because the wine list here is nothing short of incredible.
It will be the Blue Haven Hotel in the centre of town which is excellent.
The Fishy Fishy Cafe is an absolute must for seafood lovers,it only opens between 12 and 4.30 and doesnt accept reservations but its worth joining the queue(there will be a queue!).
I would also reccomend Toddies restaurant above the Kinsale brewery and The Vintage Restaurant in the town,for upmarket pub food Jim Edwards bar is hard to beat.
For the best seafood in Ireland imho you would need to travel 100 odd miles west of Kinsale to Dingle where you will find the famous Out of the Blue restaurant which is a seafood only restaurant but check before you travel as they only open if the local fishermen have a fresh catch.
To be fair to Le Mont the actual food was excellent,it was let down by the funerial atmosphere and the pretension as you said.
The Modern is certainly an improvement ambience wise and the service,while still overly attentive at times,has been ratcheted down a couple of notches(no white gloved waiters hovering waiting to pounce if you attempted to touch your wine bottle!),as for the food,well in my three visits i have found that although its not as good as Le Mont was it is still very good,especially in this price range.
As i said earlier i have eaten at the modern three times now,once for lunch and twice for dinner,i dont like to judge a restaurant on one visit only,especially a newly opened restaurant,as there can be so many teething problems in the early days/weeks.
The room itself has been split into a bar area on the mezzanine level (6th) and the restaurant on the 5th level,the ambience has been improved immeasurably by the addition of the bar which gives the room a buzz that Le Mont never had.
The menu is pretty simple with a good selection of locally sourced ingredients and is reasonably seasonal.
The artichoke and rosemary soup starter is an utter delight,creamy yet impossibly light and fragrant,the oysters were as good as i've had away from the coast and the potted shrimp was another winning dish,i also tasted the ubiquitous scallop and black pudding starter which was fine and the smoked duck starter which was only ok.
On to the mains,the lamb entree was a little disappointing imho(I had it twice) but the Rib eye and especially the John Dory mains were excellent,in fact i would go so far as to say that the John Dory in Champagne sauce is as good a dish as i've had in Manchester for a long time,i also tasted the monkfish which was a lovely balanced dish and the Venison stew which wasnt my cup of tea but was a big hit with others at the table.My veggie friend is still raving about his pumpkin and goats cheese tart.
Im not a dessert person but my other half,who most definetly is a dessert person,proclaimed the quince tart as "divine" and the Parkin as"heavenly",she was less impressed with the marmalade sponge,others at the table vouched for the bread and butter pudding.
All in all the hits far outweighed the misses on the occasions we visited and The Modern is a welcome addition to the Manchester dining scene.
Hi folks,just back after twelve fantastic nights in Toronto with my fiancee and wanted to thank all you forumites for your suggestions,you guys/gals are really blessed to live in a city with such a wide range of quality restaurants on your collective doorstep,a few quick reviews...
Best starter-The Raw seafood bar for two at Canoe was outstanding we were both in complete agreement on this one,honourable mention to the excellent Foie Gras starter i had at Pangaea.
Best Main-Really difficult to pick just one but the rib-eye i had at Harbour Sixty was the best steak i've ever had,my other half plumped for the divine calves liver special she had at Pangaea.
Best Dessert-No contest for either of us here,mine was the incredible creme brulee at Harbour Sixty,hers was the even more incredible souffle(banana and chocolate)again at Harbour Sixty.
Best Cheese Board-My other half is the cheese buff and she reckons the cheese board at canoe was as good as anything she's ever encountered in France.
Best Wine List-The most surprising,and pleasing!,part of our culinary tour of Toronto was the depth and quality of the wine lists in just about every restaurant we ate in(even 360 at the C.N Tower has a very passable wine list for a tourist trap).
Best Service-I know we were in Toronto over the holidays and everywhere we ate was really busy but i must admit the only fault i could really find with any of the restaurants was with the service,it ranged from the outstanding(Harbour Sixty,Pangaea) to the sloppy(Canoe,Trevor Kitchen and Bar,Susur,360,Canyon Creek) to the downright shocking(Azure(i know its a hotel restaurant but the "service" in a practically empty dining room was truly unbelieveable),Ruths Chris Steakhouse),we both went for Pangaea by a whisker from Harbour Sixty.
Best Overall Dish-My rib eye at Harbour sixty was my favourite,my other half went for the souffle at Harbour Sixty as her favourite dish overall.
Worst Dish-I can honestly say that we didnt have a single bad dish in our entire stay,some werent as good as others but none were "bad" per se.
Best Overall Meal(based purely on the quality of the food)-A very close run thing between Canoe,Harbour Sixty and Pangaea but we both opted for Canoe by a whisker from Harbour Sixty in my case because i was a little disappointed with the crab cake starter at Harbour Sixty,my girlfriend was a little disappointed in her Filet mignon main so Canoe just edged it with the outstanding shared raw bar starter,my excellent pork belly main,her excellent lamb main and my melt in the mouth winter pudding dessert and her cheese board.
Best overall Dining Experience(including service,wine,ambience etc..)-Harbour Sixty was very impressive,top notch food,excellent wine list,attentive service without being intrusive and a lovely room,we really enjoyed it(didnt enjoy the bill though!),Pangaea was a close second and Canoe third purely for the sloppy,verging on poor,service.
Biggest Disappointment-Susur,style over substance imho,chaotic service at times ranging from the incompetent to the intrusive(practically hovering over our table as we ate),the food was good but not particularily memorable,maybe we just caught them on a bad day.
We had lunch/brunch/quick bites in a few different places over the 12 days,The Irish Embassy was pretty good as was Beer Bistro,Baton Rouge was decent for ribs(although my other half disagrees as she is still raving about the ribs in Canyon creek!),Lai Wah Heen was good and Mustachios do a mean sandwich.
Overall we were really impressed with Toronto as a "chow" destination and we will be back to try the many wonderful restaurants we missed out on this time.
Thanks a million folks,we will check out as many of your reccomendations as we can during our 10 days,go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Hi folks,my girlfriend(English) and I(Irish) are spending Christmas and New Year in Toronto and would appreciate any advice you seasoned chowhounds could offer first time visitors re restaurants not to miss during our stay,we are staying at the Intercontinental on Front Street and our taste is pretty eclectic so anything goes really also any advice on where to find a good pint of Guinness in the downtown area would be much appreciated,thanks,slan.