Restaurant Recommendations

Howdy folks!

If there was one thing I kept going back to the other board for was places to eat. I am looking through here and noticed we do not have here is a good listing of restaurants in the various cities all over the globe.

So, please take a moment and lets build this part of the board up with a listing of good eats by city. I will try to create some starter posts once I get this travel grime off me.


I’m new here and haven’t worked my way around the board yet – is there a food/restaurant section? I ate at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega over the weekend and could post that review…

ETA - Ah, I see it. I am IN that forum spot!

You are in it!

Bottega has a pretty angry polenta under glass with roasted shroooms.

There is not a place on the board just for restaurants. “Over there” they would have a post titled with the name of the city and people would chime in with their picks, etc.

I agree, that would be a useful addition to WB. And I’m getting a little hungry neener

I just looked at your site. Next time you are up in Niagara or TO, drop me a note and we can break bread.

38 days between posts … were you on self imposed hiatus?

Try not to scratch it when your parking … unless

Waterbar - San Francisico Outstanding seafood combined with stunning up close views of the Bay Bridge. The pan roasted Blue Nose Sea Bass rocked." onclick=";return false;

Brix - Napa Valley - Not the latest famous chef restaurant but great food, a very cozy room and views of MT Veeder and vineyards. I know, no hype, judge for yourself. I love the place." onclick=";return false;

Some Las Vegas recommendations:

Komol, a nice Thai restaurant in the same shopping center as Lotus of Siam. Ted Erfer and I had dinner there and we agreed it is a satisfactory alternative to Lotus of Siam. Corkage was $5 a bottle. Stems were okay.

Monta Noodle House in Chinatown for first rate ramen.

Bachi Burger south of the Strip for a nice variation on burgers. most have an Asian theme and the one I had was really tasty. The salt and pepper fries were regular French frieds with jalapeno peppers. I don’t know what their corkage policy is but this could have some offline potential.

I know all the hype about LOS in Vegas but I never hear mention of Lemongrassat the ARIA. It is the fanciest Thai food I have ever eaten and some of the best. I am soon to go and try the New York version of LOS but i am waiting a bit until they hit full stride.

From a recent trip to Sonoma and Napa Valleys, I highly recommend Scopa in Healdsburg (unbelievably good Italian food in a very small space). The Nonni Chicken was incredible, as were all of the starters and the fettucine with wild boar ragu special. The Farmhouse Inn was also very good if you are staying close by. If you like rabbit, do not miss the rabbit, rabbit, rabbit entree. And the wild musroom and quail terrine was fantastic. In Napa, Celadon was very good also and a generous corkage policy where for each bottle purchased the corkage fee is waived for a bottle brought in. However, Press was forgetable. The “bacon bar” was a let down - 5 peices of bacon on a small, white plate with no accoutrements or adornment. My veal chop was good, but others that ordered steaks complained about the quality of the meat/preparation. Our server was obnoxious. The best part of the meal were the sides of truffled mac’n’cheese and the brussel spouts cooked in bacon fat.

I also like Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, CA and their rabbit, rabbit, rabbit entree although I ordered something else on the most recent visit. Also had a good dining and wine experience at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg.

On Monterey Peninsula my old standbys were Whaling Station in Monterey and Anton and Michel in Carmel-by-the-Sea but on my last two trips I have enjoyed Fandango in Pacific Grove. Also, great sand dabs at Sandbar and Grill on the Monterey Wharf and you can usually find sand dabs on the menu at Fandango as well.


Charlotte: The Fig Tree in a old house–good food, wine and service. My current favorite in Charlotte.
Barrington’s–French cuisine, small and bustling, reservations needed. Recognized as one of the better restaurants in Charlotte.
Pewter Bistro–on the second story of the building so be prepared to climb some stairs–usually rewarding place for lunch or dinner. Menu doesn’t seem to change often which can be good (for old favorites) or bad if you want something new.
Upstream in Phillips Place has seafood selections, a compatible wine list, and an interesting decor, but I don’t find their Sunday brunch worth the price.
Also in Phillips Place are The Palm, a classic steak house (I have never dined there), Dean and Deluca where I usually order a cheese plate and a flight of wines, and P.F. Chang’s for a chain Chinese restaurant with some good dishes. Dean and Deluca has limited patio seating which is good for people watching.
Bonterra–in a former church–has a small plates menu for matching with wines by the glass and full dinners. I like their starter of fried lobster tail with wild flower honey and soy reduction and sweet and sour aioli. Extensive wine list including the dessert wines.
Blue Restaurant and Sonoma are two uptown restaurants near theater, basketball arena, etc. Blue has some vegetarian choices on the menu.
Zebra Restaurant has some interesting wine choices in a more formal, clublike decor.
Sole Spanish Grill which I liked the one time I dined there has closed but for Spanish food you can consider Miro which is in the south part of Charlotte–bustling on weekends.
The restaurant scene in Charlotte changes rapidly so there are probably some new trendy places that haven’t crossed my radar yet.
Zink American Kitchen moved from uptown Charlotte to the South Park area replacing M5. M5 had one of the more spectacular restaurant interiors I’ve encountered but I understand it has been modified somewhat under the new concept. Patio dining available.

Triangle area–Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

The French scene is expanding. In Raleigh you have St. Jacques on Falls of the Neuse Road with Provencal cuisine and a French wine list including reasonable by-the-glass selections. Modest strip shopping center setting but elegant dining inside. Authentic Provencal recipes.
Durham has Vin Rouge which is more French bistro with huge bowls of mussels, an upscale mac and cheese with ham, etc. Nice French wines by the glass.
Rue Cler in Durham is on my list to try and comes recommended by some acquaintances.
La Residence in Chapel Hill is also on my list to try.

For Italian I usually choose Il Palio, upscale restaurant in the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill or the more casual Vivace at North Hills Shopping Center in North Raleigh. If weather is cooperating, I like to sit on the terrace at Vivace.

For tapas and locally grown produce I choose Zely and Ritz on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. One of the co-owners has a farm which provides many of the vegetables and proteins for the menu. Well-selected wines by the glass. Check if they have any special wine lunches or dinners going on during your time in the area. They host several “tomato dinners” each summer.

I confess that I haven’t been to An in Cary (Asian fusion cuisine under chef Andrea Reusing, James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast this year.) Still need to visit Revolution in Durham also (described as contemporary global cuisine.) Some rave about Buku in downtown Raleigh which offers “global street food.”

Poole’s Diner in downtown Raleigh is the venue for chef Ashley Christensen who wowed me at Enoteca Vin before it closed. Ashley was a finalist for James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast this year and has cooked a dinner at the James Beard House in New York.
The emphasis is Southern food.

Not fitting neatly into a category are Nana’s in Durham (one of my favorites for decor, food, wine and service), Magnolia Grill in Durham (past James Beard best chef awards) and offering local and seasonal dishes with perhaps a Southern slant, Frazier’s Wine Bar on Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, near North Carolina State campus, and Bloomsbury Bistro in Raleigh (fine dining with an eclectic menu of such entrees as wild boar, red grouper, pork osso buco, New York strip steak, ahi tuna or skillet roasted breast of chicken.) Second Empire in Raleigh has a very formal upstairs dining room and a more relaxed Tavern on the lower level. The food was very good there on my last visit. I prefer eating in the Tavern (unless it is for a formal occasion such as an anniversary remembrance or a prenuptial dinner, etc.)

There are also Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, German/Polish, and Thai restaurants–some of them authentic to the cuisine, some perhaps not.

Another famous restaurant of over 50 years’ history is Angus Barn in north Raleigh–known for its steaks and its wine list. I have attended special dinners in the wine cellar.

Winston-Salem Recently had lunch at Bleu Restaurant and Bar and would like to go back again to try the dinner menu. Impressive interior.

Pinehurst/Southern Pines I eat frequently (lunch or dinner) at Elliott’s on Linden. Nice wine list and creative cocktails. Interesting menu items such as bison, Jack Daniels glazed plank salmon, etc. I enjoyed a lunch at Theo’s (Mediterranean cuisine) but have seen mixed reviews of the food and service. I will try lunch there again this summer and perhaps sit on the patio if it is not overly hot and humid.
Carolina Dining Room in Pinehurst Resort does a good job with banquets and special events and is probably pretty reliable for regular dinners as well.

Fearrington Village near Pittsboro is a whole hotel/shops/restaurant complex with very good food. The restaurant in Fearrington Inn is worth a small detour for a special evening or event.

I don’t have enough experience with Wilmington or coastal restaurants to comment and it has been several years since I was in Asheville. On that last trip to Ashville I liked Flying Frog Cafe and was very impressed by the wine list and number of Ports and dessert wines available.

Jane, Fig Tree, M5, and Barrington’s are excellent choices! (HOLY CRAP, I JUST RE-READ YOUR POST…M5 IS GONE??? that sucks)

We are semi new to the Charlotte area, so we don’t have much to add, but a couple other suggestions: - fantastic beef short ribs, nice wine list, pretty cool/trendy place. - very cool/trendy hang-out with good Mexican. Nice tequila selection. - uber trendy Italian restaurant with very good food and an excellent Italian wine list. - this is up in the NoDa district just outside of downtown…very casual but amazing fish tacos. The BBQ MAHI TACOS and the TAVARUA (TAV–A-ROO) TUNA TACOS are other-worldly. - a greasy spoon with some of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Long lines to get in, but worth it.

I agree, however, in the past, I called Bachi Burger and they do not permit BYO and, as such, have no corkage policy. The wine they have is crap also, so the potential of this place will remain just that. Big mistake.

If anyone cares about Boston, here are a few gems…

For Chinese food, Gourmet Dumpling House is outstanding. Tiny little spot on Beach street in Chinatown, always crowded so expect to wait for a table. The soup dumplings are great as well as other styles of fresh, handmade dumplings that they have on the menu…I’d recomend the beef and celery steamed. The cuisine has Taiwanese and Sechuan influences…all sorts of funky stuff from tongue to intestines, hot pots, all of the standards, and killer lobster with ginger and scallions. Not to be missed!

One of my favorite restaurants in the city is Ken Oringer’s Toro, a spanish tapas restaurant. This place is probably not news to anyone who frequents Boston but if you’ve never been, its a must. Again, it’s small and always crowded but absolutely worth the wait. They have a very reasonable wine list, its small but fairly priced, and good sherry (I always drink sherry when I go there). The food is simple yet sublime, and one can certainly get their fill of bone marrow, sweetbreads, foie, tongue, and tripe, as well as more standard fair. Some of my favorites are the Razor clams, pork belly, sweetbreads, stewed beef tongue with lentils, and the Catalan sea urchin stew.

One more for now. I really love DeuxAve, located at the corner of Mass Ave and Commonwealth st. Artfully prepared food by Chef/owner Chris Coombs that is reasonably priced paired with a well thought out wine list put together by Jason Irving the GM/Sommelier. I have yet to have a bad experience here. The room is beautiful and the service is always right. you really can’t go wrong with anything you order, but some standouts are for apps, the lobster gnocchi, the crispy duck confit, and the duet of prime beef tartare and Wagyu carpaccio. For Entrees, I love the Trio of Moroccan spiced lamb, the marcona almond crusted Halibut, and the spiced long Island duck breast…

I hope this was helpful!


The best restaurant in the Santa Barbara area hands down is the Stone House located at the San Ysidro Ranch, a top quality resort lodging facility. They have a sister restaurant, Plow and Angel, directly below in the same building. Both have indoor and outdoor seating, weather permitting. The Stone House has terrific and well prepared food, class ambience, informed and proper service, quality stemware and a high end wine list with prices to match.

For many locals wanting to celebrate special occasions, it`s either go here or to LA or SF. My #2 restaurant in the SB area is not even close to this level and it is a good Italian restaurant, Olio e Limone.

Bon appetite.

The Mozzarella Al Minuto at his former place Tra Vigne is awesome.