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I realize that this is a useless entertainment-type thread, but I'm curious, what are the best five restaurant meals (or six, or whatever) you've eaten. I realize that this thread will probably quickly descend to self-aggrandizing debates on whether Alain Ducasse deserves to be Alice Waters' dishwasher. But, at great risk and peril (most I've ever spent on a meal is about 100 bucks, w/out wine), here are the best restaurant meals I've eaten in my life, from nicer to funkier:

1. Las Mañanitas, Cuernavaca, MX. Sublime Mexican food. I ate there about a half dozen times in a month-long stay in the area, and from the peacock patrolled gardens to the impecable service, just amazing.

2. Tavola di Tosa (defunct). A 100% authentic Italian place in Indianapolis, that went under a few years ago (bad location). I'm friends with the chef, so might have gotten a bit of extra attention, but everything I ate there was stupid-good. Nothing else in Indy (with the exception of R Bistro) comes close.

3. Kyoto Japanese restaurant, Eureka, CA. The owners are friends of friends, and while I've only eaten there once, it was hands down, the best Japanese/sushi I've had. Great service, and amazing flair with presentation. FYI-don't go if you're a red-stater.

4. Silver Wing, Cupertino, CA. Only ate there a few times, in the mid-90s, but had several Yang Chow style items that made me realize how good Chinese food can be. I googled them, and the quality slipped so far that they went out of business, but I'll always remember them.

5. El Farolito, San Francisco. If your normal Sunday routine is turning the Kenny G up in your Z4 while cruising the PCH with the office hottie who's about to graduate high school with your granddaughter, you'll be clutching you purse/wallet the second you step in this Mission district greasy spoon. But, the veggie taco or burrito, plus avocado and horchata to drink, is one of the best things I've eaten, ever. Makes La Taqueria up the street taste like Taco Bell.

5 1/2. Blueberry and Strawberry tall stack at IHOP, plus whipped cream, when I was 5. Nothing could have been better.

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Not in order...

-Capitol Restaurant, London

-Vila Joya, Abufiera (Portugal)

-St. James Hotel (when Jean-Marie Amat was the chef), Bouliac (France)

-Taberna del Alabardero, Wshington DC*

-Fleur de Lys, San Francisco*

*multiple visits, at both restaurants one visit in particular stands out. None of the other visits would make it near my 5-best list (this is especially true of Taberna). Although even based upon the lesser visits, these are still both incredible restaurants.
oh gosh this is an unfair question...there are so many!!!

La Petite Grocerie (New Orleans)

Dick and Jennies (New Orleans)

Pascal's on Ponce (Miami)

La Campagna (Morristown, NJ)

San Angel inn (Mexico City) some of the best sweet breads if not the best I've ever had.

A place in Barcelona (las ramblas area)Don't remeber the name but some of the best sea food I've ever had.

Dragos (New Orlenas) the best char broiled oysters

La Petite France (Mexico City) escargot to die for!!!

So many more....

Just adding a couple more from 2010

Bern's Steak house in Tampa

Pujol in Mexico City
Last edited by redknife
Originally posted by Board-O:
Originally posted by redknife:
A place in Barcelona (las ramblas area)Don't remeber the name but some of the best sea food I've ever had.

Best seafood we had in Barcelona was at Botafumeiro, but it wasn't on the Ramblas. Wasthe place you are thinking of Els Quatre Gats?

I am not sure about the name... It's been a while. I remeber the place had a lot of "jamon serranos" hanging on the walls.
Originally posted by sebgrady:
1) French Laundry in Napa
2) French Laundry in Napa
3) French Laundry in Napa
4) French Laundry in Napa
5) French Laundry in Napa

There's a reason why people call this the best restaurant in the United States. For me best in the world so far and I've been to many.

I figured that this one would pop up at some point. Always wanted to try it.

Originally posted by Board-O:
jr, we loved Casa Botin. Did you sit downstairs? Order the lamb or the pig? Great food.

Yes, I was downstairs, such a great atmosphere. I can't remember what I had for an entree now that I try and recall it. My soup was an egg soup where it was broiled on top the the cheese in a french onion soup. And the lemon sorbet for dessert was simple bliss. It was just me as I was on the lastnight of my 6 week journey through Spain. The only thing that ruined the meal was a very stereo typical ugly Americans next to me. Loud, rude, and just left a bitter taste in my mouth (although I didn't hold that against the restaurant). It just appeared as if they were having the worst possible trip, but clearly they were bringing it on themselves. I had a partagas cigar after dessert, and I had no problems exhaling in their general direction in an effort to get them to leave.
I am only going to list three. While I have had many nice meals only three are the most memorable. The first is the only time that I ever took a bit of my entree and actually said out loud "oh my god is that good". This was at the Villa d'Este on Lake Como, a five star hotel with an absolutely superb dining room. Every meal that we ate there was wonderful, the wine list is extraordinary, and the service is impeccable. The second was at the Chantecleer in Dorset, Vt. The best restuarant in the area IMO. I've had many an excellent meal there but the one that I remember is the night that I proposed to my now wife. The third is some place in Montreal that I have no idea of the name of since it was a long time ago. My father picked me up at college at the end of my sophomore year and took me to Montreal as he had a business meeting there. He was to meet with clients that night and took me with him. Now at this time I had hair halfway down my back and sure as hell didn't have anything appropriate to wear. Never the less I was not left at the hotel to order room service, but instead he seemingly proudly introduced me as his son. I was treated like an adult all evening and knew to behave as one. Any man should be able to recall when his father first treated him as a man and no longer just his child.
Only 5! I'm sure as soon as I hit the post now I will think of others. My first thoughts are as follows.

Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence Italy.
Abacus, Dallas.
Jean-Claude, Dallas. (Best Dover Sole I have ever had.)
De Karmeliet, Bruges Belgium.
Bern's, Tampa FL. I'm sure it had something to do with the '47 Cheval Blanc. Cool

So many others coming to mind. Wink

1. French Laundry. By a large margin.

2. Guy Savoy. Ceasars.

3. The Herbfarm. Wild and gathered foods dinner. Tasted much better than the crap I ate during a number of wilderness survival training courses I completed.

4. Baily's Wine Country Cafe, Temecula Ca. A group of us had a "gone" party for a departing employee. A gone party is when you wait for them to leave and then you have a party to celebrate. I sent a winelist to the chef a week in advance and he spent the entire day making a special menu for eight. Still the best lobster bisque I've ever had.

5. Sizzler, Bishop, CA. After 14 days hiking the "High Trail", a little known alternate route to the John Muir/Pacific Crest Trail, we hit the showers and ordered two steaks, baked potatoes and drank cold beers. I know Sizzler sucks, but not as bad as dehydrated food.
Originally posted by amici dell'enotria:
Another - anywhere in Italy, except for Rome and Venice
I can't comment on Rome, however there are very nice places in Venice. Expensive, yes, but everything is there. Da Fiore was great, yet could never live up to it's hype. Antico Martini on the other hand was wonderful, far better then it's rep. The other nice thing about Italy in general is that wine in a restaurants cost about the same as retail here.
Yes, it's in Woodenville.

To be honest, it wasn't the most delicious meal I've had in a restaurant but it was one of the most interesting. It was a chance to eat food that was certainly out of the mainstream of normal restaurant fare. Each dish was different, well prepared, very tasty and even a bit odd. The 1885 vintage (not a solera) Madera they served with the desert course was an interesting finish to the meal.

If I go back, I want to go when they feature wild mushrooms. Mmmmmmmm.
Originally posted by wine+art:
Originally posted by amici dell'enotria:

Another - anywhere in Italy, except for Rome and Venice


I understand the sentiment. I've had so many good meals at family-owned restaurants in Florence and in the Tuscan hillside... I could say the same of Provence... There is a warmth and joy to it that transends the food. I almost put Trois Clef in Avignon on my list. I know, technically, I have had dozens of better meals. But being invited into a restaurant with 6 tables, where the husband is the chef and the wife the server, and they live upstairs with their cat who seems to be just as much an owner as the husband or wife, and they bring you out this wonderful earthy 5 or 6 course meal of true Provencal food... that is a terrific experience.
Last edited by winetarelli

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