My yearly tradition. You know the routine, list places that you had a memeorable meal, preferably the first time you have been there (but not necessarily). I have used these lists in the past to find new places.
1) Federalist, Wash DC - in Jefferson Hotel, very nice
2) Fiola, Wash DC - excellent, had a nice Casanova de Neri
3) Elements, Primland Resort, Va - nice place in stunning resort
4) Theos, Pinehurst, NC - good Greek food plus other choices
5) Husk, Charleston, SC - highly acclaimed place worth the hype, Southern food made fancy
6) Chef's Table, Winter Garden, Fl - great food in a cozy setting; great craft beer selection
7) Beckett's Table, Phoenix - appetizers to die for, nice variety to menu
8) El Chorro, Phoenix - fun place with good food
9) Two Chefs, Phoenix - top of the line food in Royal Palms resort
10) Hash House a GoGo, San Diego - breakfast joint with over-sized portions
11) Hodad's, San Diego - burger joint on beach, really good (but probably not good for you)
12) Vanilla, Newcastle, Northern Ireland - one of best place's I have been, near Royal County Down Golf Club
It's been a great year for personal travel and some great restaurants. Some really good ones like Husk may not make the cut.
Without thinking of runners-up, most memorable meal of the year was at Momofuku-Ko in NYC.
Just one more sip.
Some which come quickly to mind:
3) Corner BYOB
4) Golden View Restaurant, Florence, Italy (rec'd by Wine+Art)
5) Trattoria Casalinga, Florence
99% of lawyers give the rest of us a bad name.
1) Schwa - Chicago, IL (repeat visit but still my favourite restaurant meal of the year hands down)
2) Eleven Madison Park - NYC
3) WD-50 - NYC
4) 10Tation Catering - Toronto, ON at the PLL/Cos offline - not sure if this counts as a reastaurant, but I'm including it anyway because the food was that good!
Show me a good loser, I'll show you a loser - Vince Lombardi.
11 Madison Park
Paley's Place (Portland, OR)
This was a really great year for dinners at restaurants. I'd like to single out the top 3, but this year I really can't. Here are the most memorable:
Koch und Kellner - Nuremburg, Germany
Le Hide - Paris
Ma Cuisine - Beaune
L'esplieglere at Les Tanneurs - Namur, Belgium
Tojo's - Vancouver
Barrington Country Bistro - Barrington, IL
Paese - Toronto
Thirty-six - Duke's Hotel, London
Fyra - Amsterdam
Man, those were some great dinners.
"Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste."
Osteria di Passignano in Tuscany
Life without wine?...... Yeah Right.
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living - Socrates
"Wine....offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than possibly any other purely sensory thing which may be purchased" ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1889-1961)
Vie in Western Springs, IL. Two offlines as well as a friend's 50th b-day all this year. Excellent food and service each time.
Prime NY strips in the kitchen of thelostverse. No two ways about it, he is the Meat Master!
Bill, you are too kind.
I was going to mention Vie - it is exceptional.
Going back to Balena tonight for my wife's birthday dinner and then to Book of Mormon. We ate at Balena before going to see Les Mis last month and enjoyed it so much we are taking the family tonight. We should do an offline here in the future.
Market at the One and Only Resort in Palmilla was spectacular. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten set up a wonderful menu with Euro-Asian cuisine in Mexico. Who'd of thunk it?
In Europe this Fall:
Sarl Jeg in Paris
A La Vecia Cavana in Venice
Sabatini in Florence
Girarrosto Fiorentino in Rome
Flying out to Rome tomorrow night, I'll have to add these to my dining options list.
I look forward to this thread every year Scbeerman. There are always new spots people list that I want to try.
For me 2012 was another good year in food and these were my favorites of the year:
1. Marea, NY – The top 3 could have all been #1 it was so close, but I chose Marea because it was so unexpected. I’m sure I’m over hyping this place now and others will have the opposite reaction, but it was just so good in its simplicity. Perfect crudo to start, an amazing pasta with octopus and bone marrow and a wonderfully prepared branzino. A truly great lunch and like I said, it was just simple cooking with the best ingredients you can find which is why I love Italian food so much.
2. L’Atelier, Paris – Our second time to this location and it was just as magnificent. Dish after dish on the tasting menu wowed us for the quality of the ingredients and the playful preparation. An awesome concept that is right in our wheelhouse.
3. Le Bernardin, NY – Second time here as well, but this was even better than the first. The kobe beef and langoustine tartar topped with an exaggerated amount of caviar was so decadent but light at the same time. Eric Ripert is the man.
4. Sushi Zo, LA – We eat a lot of sushi (probably 80% of our going out budget) and this was the best sushi of the year again. It is very traditional and they only use the very best ingredients at this tiny place in a random strip mall in LA. Actually better for lunch than dinner as it’s not as crowded so you get a little more personal attention from the chef.
5. Ledbury, London – I have probably been here over 50 times, but it was nice going back after a 2 year layoff. The cooking has not dropped off and we had another wonderful dinner here with good friends and great wines.
6. Aziza, SF – Dined her just last week and was really impressed. I would be there a couple times a month if I lived nearby. Modern take on Moroccan food that is really well done.
7. The Publican, Chicago – This place was really fun and accommodated our big group with ease. Best dish was roasted chicken with sausage and fries put all together on a big platter in the middle of the table. Another place I would be at all the time if I lived close by.
8. Dahlia Lounge, Seattle – Old staple of Seattle and for good reason. Local, seasonal food done right.
I’m sure there are more, but that is all that comes to mind for now. Lots of great local Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Korean places that deserve mention for their QPR, but the list is just too long.
Best single bites of food for the year were the pasta with octopus and bone marrow from Marea, the tartar from Le Bern and the oxtail and bone marrow fried rice from Blue Ribbon Sushi in NY.
Most disappointing restaurant experience by far of the year was Eleven Madison Park. Between my wife and I we had about 10 different dishes and I would not re-order any of them. There was just nothing about the cooking or presentation that we hadn’t seen many times before or had a better version of. Really odd considering all the great things we had heard about this place. I will say the service and especially the wine service was really excellent.
The restaurants that come to mind for me are as follows.
Osteria di Passignano, Tuscany. It has always delivered for me.
Golden View, Florence. The cheese and olive oil selection was wonderful, and we had the very table I would select.
Primo al Pigneto, Rome. A very young and energy filled place with a smart menu. My suckling pig was special.
La Pergola, Rome. Sole with white truffle, beautiful cigar lounge and great art. As good as it gets.
Acqua, Wolfsburg Germany. Texture is my lasting thought of this exquisite restaurant.
Da Marco, Houston TX. The finest white truffle risotto and parmesan I have enjoyed outside of Paris in my life.
Next, Chicago IL. I'm glad I experienced their offerings on Sicily.
Izzoz Taco, Austin TX. I had a perfect braised carnita pork taco from this trailer restaurant.
De Karmeliet, Bruges, Belgium. A very special pigeon with morels in one of my very favorite towns in Europe.
Le Bernardin, New York, NY. This is a place that has never disappointed, ever.
FT33, Dallas, TX. My pick as restaurant of the year in Dallas, and with great ease. The menu changes every few days, and always has so many options to try.
Great list w+a. Looking forward to trying some of those in the future.
La Pergola - Roma
Guy Savoy - Paris
Live simply, Laugh often, Wine a lot!!!
The responses on this thread never cease to amaze me. You guys have given the roadmap to dining for Paris and Rome.
Couple of new places this year we really enjoyed:
Cedar - Washington DC. Took wine, let the chef decide what we were going to eat. Now a favorite place to go.
Twenty Eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort - Fantastic meal for our 27th anniversary dinner.
Very nice lunch at Etoile at Domaine Chandon
Lovely lunch on the patio at Willi's Wine Bar in Santa Rosa.
Suprisingly fantastic vegan meal at Raven's on Mendecino. Wonderful bottle of wine too.
When in doubt, open another bottle.
other than that... a number of other places that get their share of fame, but two that really stood out for me enough to have forced me to go back at least 5 times this calendar year:
Ali's roti - Parkdale - the most insane duck paratha and delicious doubles i've ever had outside of the carribbean.
Faley's - Rexdale. Hakka heaven.
no wine list at either.
Didn't try too many restaurant this year, but INK is my vote to be the restaurant of 2012.
Exprienced many outstanding restaurants during a trip to southern England this year. Picking #1 is very easy, though:
Fifteen @ Watergate Bay, Cornwall, the best in all categories, food, originality, service, athmosphere
Without thinking of runners-up, Mélisse in Santa Monica.
"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields
I had to wait until I wrapped up my recent trip to Italy this week and confirm a couple of restaurants that I was sure it would make the Top 10.
1. Antica Osteria da Divo (Siena) - my second experience was as great as ever. Beautiful setting. Professional presentation and service along with well-prepared dishes. Had a '96 Bruno Paillard Assemblage for about 100 euros.
2. Passionfish (Pacific Grove) - my third experience was also excellent. Locally caught salmon was the best salmon I've eaten. Reasonably priced wine list and always a delicious meal.
3. The Old Pink House (Savannah) - a great space with different dining rooms. Southern- and low-country inspired dishes that were very tasty.
4. Upstairs at 21 (New York City) - a beautiful art-deco dining room with murals of NYC from the mid-20th Century. It was intimate space that probably can hold 35 people, but they purposely seated diners at different times so that they were only 20 in the room at one time. The menu was straight-forward but well executed on the night we were there.
5. Magnolia's (Charleston) - our best dining experience in the city. All the dishes we tried were delicious especially the fried-green tomatoes with cheese grits!
6. The Garden Court at the Palace (San Francisco) - one of the best dining spaces I've been in. We went for brunch which was typical high-end fare. The attraction was the space.
7. Hostaria dell'Orso (Rome) - had dinner on Xmas Eve. GF said she had the best pasta dish ever. I don't recall the name, but it was a thicker tagliatelle with eggplant and other vegetables. Great service. There were more Americans than locals, but the food was fresh and modern Roman.
8. The Fountain Restaurant (Philadelphia) - straight-forward but delicious menu. Large portions.
9. Gentleman Farmer (New York City) - BYO Sundays. Several offlines including one with MJAlbers and the NYC crew. Delicious menu. Great space.
10. G-man's House -- we had a pot-luck dinner with noiregonian and TPE. G-man's ribs, TPE's vintages of Dom Perignon, noiregonian's take on pulled pork in lettuce cups, lobster risotto were all fabulous. I would have ranked the experience higher had g-man not burned the pork belly in the oven.
11. Trattoria Marione (Florence) - typical Tuscan menu. Just order anything from their specials. It was crowded with a 50-50 mix of Italians and Americans. Service was still excellent.
It’s a great restaurant. Last time I was there I had an epic meal with gkapoor and his wife. I can’t remember if that was in late 2011 or early 2012. Either year, it would be in my top 10 of that year for sure.
I go up to this area every year and have not tried Passion Fish yet. I’ll give it a try next year for sure.
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