l

Lazo's Profile

Title Last Reply

Provence for honeymoon - Favorite Restaurants (any price level)

I ate at Xavier Mathieu just near Gordes last summer on the terrace and it was an absolutely amazing meal. Very highly recommended. Charming staff, delicate cooking. Deserts a particular highlight. The setting is truly memorable.

Apr 13, 2010
Lazo in France

Evaluation of Engagement trip to Paris

Can't add much to this (but I will anyway!), but I'm of a similar age and have similar restaurant preferences (though Australian) so you may find my opinion of interest. Anyway, I was at Le Cinq yesterday for a celebratory lunch of my own and can't imagine a better place to celebrate an engagement. Great choice. The setting isn't really buzzy but very grand and the service super-charming - more approrpiate for this meal I think. We were made to feel very special and totally comfortable - my general marker of great service.

I also ate at Le Gaigne a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure I booked through toptable or one of those other restaurant sites too so maybe look at that. It may not be the cool thing to do but sometimes its just easier from afar with time differences and language difficulties on the phone. We had no problem with our reservation there that way. No issue about being shoved to the back corner tourist table either - the room is tiny and you are all in one place.

I haven't really seen other threads with recommendations but the other great foodie things I've done in Paris are the patisseries and bakeries etc. Not sure where you are staying, but my personal favourites are pierre herme near st sulpice for macaroons (chocolate and passionfruit is my fav!) and on the off chance you are staying in the marais there is a little bakery on rue du pont aux choux about 100m west of the saint sebastian-frossard metro station that serves the best pain aux raison I have ever tried!

The locals may give you better suggestions for Sunday and maybe some of the other restaurants on your mid-week itinerary I don't recognise are much the same as this, but when I was at Le Comptoir du Relais on the weekend I thoroughly enjoyed my Sunday there and I think it might be the kind of place you like - certainly a buzzy atmosphere, mostly couples eating simple but fantastic food and lingering over a bottle of wine late into the afternoon.

I hope the trip goes well for you and am sure your GF is gonig to appreciate all the effort you've gone to in planning it!

Apr 13, 2010
Lazo in France

Anyone been to Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote? [London]

Been to both Marylebone and the city. It does exactly what it says on the tin - good (but not great) steak frites.

I like the city branch for lunch with mates or work colleagues but would probably look elsewhere if going for a top-end steak dinner or on a date.

Mar 24, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Post marathon meal in Paris

Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I especially like the idea of comptoir du relais. It seems they may stop serving at 3pm, so I could move a bit more quickly and get there for 2 or 2.30 - what do you think the realistic wait time on a sunday around then would be?

Mar 17, 2010
Lazo in France

Anniversary Dinner Suggestions [London]

I agree with the first post, it is difficult to find a great restaurant in London on the river. The river cafe may be great but it is also a bit of a hassle to get to out in Hammersmith.

A couple of options that fit the bill and spring to mind are:

(1) Oxo tower - great views, food is quite good but very expensive for what it is.
(2) Galvin at Windows in the Hilton Hotel provides good views but I've only ever eaten breakfast there so can't comment on the food.

Another compromise option to consider is the champagne bar called vertigo at the top of tower 42. Book early and request a table with a view of the river and st pauls and for me it is the best view in London. I often take friends and family that visit from out of town there to get the view and decent glass of champagne. From there you could eat at the gary rhodes restaurant in the same building (i have not done so though so can't comment) or head off somewhere else that may not have that cracking view but would give you a better chance at a great meal.

Generally around London for the newer creative cuisine the most renowned restaurants are probably Maze or Hibiscus. I was disappointed with Maze but found Hibiscus great. Hibiscus tends to polarise people. Both are in Mayfair though so close to where you are staying but quite a hike from the champagne bar I just suggested (about a 30 minute cab ride). Closer to vertigo but in that style you could consider the Eastside Inn in Farringdon which . I've eaten lunch there a couple of times (only the bistro side) but have been very impressed and would recommend it. It has received mixed reviews from critics though.

Anyway, probably a lot of waffle for not much actual direction, but hopefully it gives you a couple of helpful things to think about.....

Mar 17, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Post marathon meal in Paris

Well, seeing as you guys have been so helpful on previous requests I thought I'd try again for my next trip to Paris.

I'm coming over in a few weeks to run the marathon. I get hungry when I run marathons and I feel I deserve a good feed afterwards!!

Any suggestions for a late lunch around 3pm? Will lunch still generally be being served at that time?

The marathon finishes on Avenue Foch, but I will probably look to get back to our hotel in the 6th before heading out to lunch.

I'm happy to splurge a bit here and thinking michelin stars. possibly a good lunch deal at a relaxed 3 *.....?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Mar 16, 2010
Lazo in France

Dining in Wandsworth [London]

Co-incidentally had mothers day lunch at Chez Bruce on Sunday. Probably my best meal there yet (of 5 or 6). Is in great current form.

For me, its the best value restaurant in London, and one of the best full stop.

Mar 16, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Two Gastropubs, London

not sure if you're still interested in this, but i went to the compass about a month or so back.

i really wanted to like it but it just fell short for me. food was ok but only ok, and service was extremely slow to the point of being frustrating.

at nearly £50 per head (full 3 courses granted) i won't be rushing back.

for the same prices i'd stick with the albion. for a less expensive option the duccess of kent further down liverpool road is also excellent.

Mar 16, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

[London] If your boss gave you a little thank-you present of £350 to take your wife out for dinner where would you go?

Thanks for the further input everyone.

I am very keen to get down to Gidleigh Park, but the logistics are going to be a challenge. I'm also following this truffle discussion with some interest but haven't had much luck finding a truffle menu anywhere about...

Thanks also for the female input Helen, your analysis is scarily correct...... I have actually kept things to myself so far with a surprise in mind. We've eaten at the sportsman before so that one is probably out but there's a couple of other ideas forming in my head....

Jan 13, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

[London] If your boss gave you a little thank-you present of £350 to take your wife out for dinner where would you go?

Thanks a lot for all the suggestions guys.

Unfortunately I've already eaten at many of these places and we were really trying for something new for this meal. With the exception of Le Manoir (the most disappointing restaurant experience of my life), I totally agree with the recommendations though - have had some great meals at those restaurants!

One I haven't eaten at that could be worth a punt is Apsleys actually. Has anyone actually eaten there, or are we just going off the reviews, which I agree have certainly been "interesting"....

And these out of town suggestions have me thinking about Gidleigh Park again. I know it's a long way, but has anyone eaten there lately?

Jan 08, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

The Square or Hibiscus?? [London]

I'm confident you will have a great meal!! One other practical tip, if this super cold weather holds up get a cab there - it is a lengthy walk from the tube!

As a few have mentioned above, 1*, 2*, rising 2* etc doesn't really make any difference to your enjoyment of the night, the basic point is that they are all fantastic! It sounds like you'll be there the first week after the 2010 michelin guide is released anyway, so if the predictions come true and it moves to 2*, you may very well have the hottest table booking in town (unless Marcus Wareing goes to 3, which he surely deserves, but that's a separate post...)!

Also, someone mentioned above that the Ledbury is a sister restaurant of the Square - I also believe this is true. I like to think of it as the younger more energetic (and so for me, more attractive) sister. And whilst the restaurant may not yet have the iconic status or outrageous opulence of Banc (apologies for obscure Sydney reference (based on my check of the Australian board I think PhilD will remember this place fondly though), but I believe this was the restaurant the current Ledbury head chef started at and coincidentally the site of my first ever genuinely fine dining experience 10 or so years back so kind've appropriate....) I think the food is even better than that was and the reputation is certainly soaring!

You have got me reminiscing about some fantastic meals now....!

Jan 08, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Two Gastropubs, London

Have heard good things, but I remember it in its previous incarnation as a dodgy late night pub and have had a little trouble getting over that....!

I need somewhere local for this weekend though so might give it a go - will report back if I make it.

Jan 07, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

[London] If your boss gave you a little thank-you present of £350 to take your wife out for dinner where would you go?

We see going out for dinner as our main form of entertainment, so have eaten out extensively across London at all levels. I think if we stay relatively controlled on the wine we can keep most places within budget, with a few obvious exceptions.

I guess I am just wondering if anyone has had any really good experiences recently. Perhaps something a little bit different or that is a bit of a risk - you know, the kind of thing you might hesitate on if spending your own money...!

Look forward to hearing any suggestions. Thanks.

Jan 07, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Two Gastropubs, London

I live about 1 min walk from the Albion. A great pub (but only if you're organised enough to book in advance). If you want a heart attack on a plate try the pork crackling. The largest serving I have seen anywhere! So tasty but soooo bad!

Jan 07, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Romantic fun dinner rec, London.

Andrew Edmunds definitely fits your bill. It was the first restaurant I took my wife to when we arrived in London and she loved it. We've been back plenty of times.....

Jan 07, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

The Square or Hibiscus?? [London]

I would suggest Hibiscus.

Food is likely to be excellent at both (perhaps a little more classical at the square I guess) but I think the dining room at the Square is just a little corporate for your purposes. I always think of the Square as perfect for a work group or a group of friends who can be better behaved than than me and my friends, but not great for a couple, especially if you don't eat at formal high end restaurants all that often...

I know you've said this is a pretty strict list of two, but I would second the Ledbury suggestion. Similar quality and style of food, a little more affordable and I think a better atmosphere for a couple on a birthday dinner (just be careful of the table turn - make sure you clarify on booking).

Having said all of that, we are talking about some seriously good restaurants here so you are going to have a ball whichever way you go!

Jan 07, 2010
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Youthfully romantic...?

Many thanks for all of these suggestions. I think we likely to go for le Cinq. We've both wanted to go there for a few years now and it seems much more reasonably priced than I expected. Is 160 the full menu or a short version?

We both love our wine as well - I've looked into your suggestions along those lines below. Are these places likely to be open on Sunday lunch? Will they be humming or would it be unusual to eat Sunday lunch at such establishments?

Thanks again!

Nov 05, 2009
Lazo in France

Youthfully romantic...?

Hi guys - I'm taking my wife away for the classic surprise weekend in Paris. We both love our food (especially french!) and some of our best memories are beautiful meals in fine restaurants.

I know this kind of thing is asked a million times on this board, so sorry for the repetition, but I'm after a restaurant recommendation based on the following criteria (in order of importance):

1. Excellent Food. We are adventurous eaters, open to anything.
2. A room that makes you feel special, but not necessarily in the over the top grand ballroom style that seems to still pervade some of the top end of Paris dining.
3. A total bill at the end of the night under E500 all in (and that's going to need to handle at least one bottle of decent wine and a couple of apperitifs...).
4. Welcoming service to patchy French speakers. We can read menus and order fine, but will not get into in depth discussions with any comfort. No need to be formal (we're 30), but we are perfectly comfortable in formal environments if the food warrants it.
5. We're staying in Le Marais, but will be prepared to travel (by reasonable cab fare...).

I've been trying to read through all the previous topics but am having trouble working out what would be best for us! Really appreciate any suggestions. Many thanks.

Nov 03, 2009
Lazo in France

Need rec. for 2nd night in London

To be honest I haven't been to Borough Markets during lunchtime on a thursday (only walked past a bit later on and it didn't look its usual weekend self) but perhaps it is becoming increasingly popular to open up then (especially as we get closer to summer) - if you're in the area, then definitely check it out. Monmouth coffee is a rare provider of decent coffee in London (open every day) and the chocolate brownie stall is fantastic! I've also always had a soft spot for the chicken burger/wrap place just near one of the entrances but not sure how to really describe it now....

Not sure how many of you are going to St John - it is at its best as a big group but still definitely worth going to as a couple. If we're organised (ie once) we pre-order the famous whole suckling pig but if not we typically would just order all of the starters and a few mains. You get the best sense of the different food that way I think but in both cases you're going to need a few people to make it work.

Order at least a few madeleines for dessert - simple but delicious! Otherwise just be adventurous - some of the best dishes I've eaten there also came with the most challenging menu descriptions!

If you go for tayyabs - make sure you go really early - like 6pm if you can - even at that time there will probably already be a queue.....

Feb 19, 2009
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Need rec. for 2nd night in London

Sounds like some heavy eating in store...... if you're up for more and can handle a queue (if you're nice and early it wont be too bad) what about Tayyabs in whitechapel? Great Indian food and a real institution over here.

It is certainly not fine dining but is great food and I don't remember anything like it over in NY - make sure you order the lamb chops.

If you need something a bit more to the west, perhaps Arbutus in soho which is doing some interesting things at very good value, although has a tendency to get a bit st johnny with some of the cuts of meat....

Also - what day are you planning on going to Borough - a classic rookie error is to turn up mid week or Sunday - it is only open in the form you are looking for (ie stalls of food everywhere) on Friday and Saturday... just thought I'd double check.

Feb 17, 2009
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

4 meals, $600 and a big city....

Thanks a lot everyone for your helpful replies, they are much appreciated.

I have just managed a reservation at Babbo and am definitely going to stick with Jean George for lunch on Monday.

I will spend the next day thinking about Saturday night, might make a couple of reservations if I can get them and decide down the track actually.

I've started marking some of the casual suggestions onto my trusty fold-out map: Katz, Lombardi's, DiFaras etc - I'm going to try and cover the main areas with some of the recommended walk-in places I think. Yes, I am a control freak.

One other point - a colleague who lived in NY for many years has suggested Tartines in the West Village for brunch? Does anyone have any other views on that as an option?

Mar 06, 2007
Lazo in Manhattan

Babbo Reservations ... Help!

I just had exactly the same experience, but across from London - I must have made the reservation immediately before you!

Compared to the October 14, 0:00:01 email I had to send to El Bulli (and 2 months and 9 days it took them to get back offering a table for 2 a mere 9 and a half months later), it was a breeze.....!

Mar 06, 2007
Lazo in Manhattan

Quintessential SYD Restaurants for Entertaining with Great Food & Fantastic Views?

I have to say I am a bit suprised by this. Perhaps you are forgetting exchange rates?

For a meal for two, $300 Australian dollars is about typical at the top end for full 3-4 courses inc wine in Sydney. Tetsuyas full tasting menu and wine was about $500 last I went.

Take Paris for example - 600+ euros or $1000 for a top end meal. London £350+ or $900. New York - US$400+ or about $600.

In my experience in Paris and London food quality is about the same as Sydney with certain things done better in each place, granted, service is probably more attentive in Europe (it sounds like you had an uncharacterstically bad experience at Quay though) but rooms/fittings are of a similar quality. I am yet to eat anywhere in Paris or London that has a view like many of Sydneys top restaurants. Wine is overpriced in most fine restaurants all over the world, although I'm sure you would know better than me, I always understood that to be the way to cover the huge labour costs in preparing and serving the delicate meals that are expected in these kinds of restaurants?

I love going to Sydney to go out for dinner (inc at Quay), partly because I think I am getting such GREAT value.....!

Mar 02, 2007
Lazo in Australia/New Zealand

Moving to Sydney. Best Place to Live?

Balmain is nowhere near as convenient as it looks and initially seems. I can't actually believe some of the people above live there. I lived there for a year - buses are exceptionally slow (but this is true of all buses into the City, generally it is a method of transport to be avoided in Sydney) into the city and ferry is also slow - it takes a bit of a roundabout route.

I think whisp is closest in suggesting Woollahra. The inner eastern suburbs (inc Paddington and Surry Hills here) have the highest concentration of good mid range restaurants and cafes. There is a sliding scale of inner urban cool to more suburban grandeur as you head east from Surry Hills through Paddington to Woollahra. Some of the houses in Woollahra are amazing, and amazingly expensive. It is one of the most exclusive suburbs in Sydney, a similar feel to Mayfair, but in a more laid back Austrlaian way with more trees, and less extreme high end boutiques. Depends on your stage of life and person taste as to what you prefer. Just spend some time in those areas when you arrive. I would say Surry Hills is most like Islington.

I wouldn't dismiss Kirribilli as easily as some above. It is over the bridge but a genuinely convenient 6 min ferry to circular quay and a $20 cab into the city. It has a really nice community feel and plenty of decent restaurants. It is a bit annoying though if all of your friends are based in the east - which may well be likely if you work in the city. Cremorne and Mosman are OK on the ferry but a real hassle by road into the city.

Many other newly arrived Brits also like the idea of living at the beach - just don't do it in Bondi with all your compatriot backpackers - Bronte is my favourite. Again just spend some time in the strip between Bondi and Coogee to get an idea. Commute to the city is a pain from here though.

Also, the very best restaurants are actually most highly concentrated in the City - think Tetsuyas, Guillame at Bennelong, Quay, Aria, Rockpool, Forty-One, Bilsons, est. In my experience, for city workers Friday social life revolves around the city (inc king street wharf, cockle bay etc) and saturday will be eastern suburbs. There must only be a couple of 3 hat restaurants out of the city - Claudes and Marque (Woollahra and Surry Hills respectively) are the only ones coming to mind.

Over 10 years I lived Lower North Shore (kirribilli and neutral bay), inner east (paddington) and inner west (balmain and glebe). My favourite time was working in Circular Quay and living in Kirribilli - just be prepared to pay the $30 cab on saturday night to meet up with your friends in the east!

BTW, coming from London you are going to love eating out in Sydney. In my view the quality is similar (if not a little better - certainly with seafood and asian inspired food) but the cost is about half. Compare £400 at Gordon Ramsay to $500 at Tetsuyas. $40-50 mains were the very top as I left a year ago, try finding a top end main at £20 in London!

Mar 02, 2007
Lazo in Australia/New Zealand

East Coast Eats

Can't help you with all of those, but my favourite in Noosa is Sails for reliably good food and a great atmosphere right on the beach. It is actually on the beach side though, you will probably miss it if you just stroll down Hastings Street itself. From memory the surf club serves up decent food at good prices and has a lovely view over the beach.

Plenty of good restaurants in the Blue Mountains as well - but it is quite a big and loosely defined place, so probably depends where you are staying. Vulcans in Blackheath is great and has the biggest reputation up in the mountains - you will need to book well in advance. I think the restaurants at Lillianfels and Echoes are also supposed to be good, but haven't personally eaten/stayed there. My parents love lillianfels and tend to go up every couple of years.

Mar 02, 2007
Lazo in Australia/New Zealand

Trip to London- Please help NYC Chowhounds

Interesting dlicieux. I had dinner at the trattoria in fifteen 2 nights ago and was unimpressed, and this comes from a huge JO fan.

Agreed it is a great atmosphere, but it is overpriced by about 50%. The food was to be honest, just OK, the kind of thing you are happy to pay £15-20 for but not much more. All up we spent £60 per head inc wine.

The service was attentive but clearly inexperienced - when asking for a recommendation on a dry white I was recommended something that should've been a desert wine!

You can do much better in London at that price point. A good comparison is Bacchus nearby in Hoxton - similar price, but delicate food well cooked by a proper chef, not simple pastas mass produced by the apprentices.

Sorry to hijack.

Mar 01, 2007
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

Trip to London- Please help NYC Chowhounds

I second the Andrew Edmunds recommendation for moderate prices with good food and atmosphere. Very close to where you are staying too.

Perhaps for your splurge you could go to Richard Corrigan at Lindsay House, also close, and reliably great food in a nice, if somewhat formally decorated, old townhouse. Not exactly seafood, but personally I don't think that is a strong suit for London restaurants, especially in the mid range.

An alternative to the hampstead/primrose hill pub could be to go to Notting Hill (esp if in the evening) - I like the Prince Bonaparte, but it is quite expensive for what it is at £15 mains. A cocktail in Beach Blanket Babylon, Trailer Park of Happiness or the Lonsdale is always a good start in that area (just don't eat at BBB it's terrible!). Americans seem to feel right at home in Notting Hill.....!

An appetite for ethnic food in London probably means you should go to Brick Lane in Shoreditch (Liverpool St station) for a curry - quite cheap and colourful on a fri/sat night.

Don't be afriad to jump on the tube to get to other places out of Soho - you can be in most places you would want to get to in about 15 mins from Oxford Circus.

Mar 01, 2007
Lazo in U.K./Ireland

4 meals, $600 and a big city....

OK, I have been doing my research and trying to work out the best way to spend my allocation of about $600 across 4 meals in New York City. I will be there for 4 days, and am looking to have a couple of nice dinners, a nice lunch and a good brunch on Sunday. I will be with my wife and we would normally share a bottle of wine over dinner or lunch (or matching wines with a tasting menu).

My pet hate in life as a tourist is paying for overpriced tourist traps because you didn't bother to get the bookings in advance that you need to eat at the better places where the better informed locals are.

I will be there in early April across the Easter weekend. Other than the 4 big meals, we will just take light meals wherever we happen to be when we get hungry.

My current plan is:

Fri dinner: Babbo (~$250)
Sat dinner: Buddakan (~$200)
Sun brunch: Baltahzar (~$50)
Mon lunch: Jean Georges (~$150 - lunch deal seems too good to be true!)

What do people think? Any suggestions for change or backups if I can't get reservations? Are my price estimates above in the right ballparks?

We eat regularly in michelin starred restaurants through the UK and Europe with a preference for delicate food that is well cooked. We often go for the tasting menus when available.

We are in our late 20's, have never been to NY and have an image of a very cool city and would like to try and find some of the famous NY "scene" if we can. I know it is probably sacrilege on a board like this, but we would even be prepared to sacrifice the quality of the food (ok, only for 1 night!) to dine in the latest cool place in town....

Any recommendations for bars nearby to these or other recommended restaurants would also be gratefully received.

Apologies for the length of the post, but I am just so excited about the big trip and want to make sure I make the most of it!

Many thanks!

Mar 01, 2007
Lazo in Manhattan

Anybody been to Taillevent recently?

I ate at Taillevent about 6 months ago.

The style of the food is the key issue - expect very rich food, heavy on the cream, cheese etc. All superbly done and the service is the best I have ever experienced, but we went on our second night in France and wished we had of built up to the heaviness a little more slowly. Our personal preference is for the lighter foods of the molecular gastronomy approach.

Feb 27, 2007
Lazo in France