Tag Archives: Restaurant

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is dedicated to a continued exploration of Cuban heritage, art, music, flavors and traditions. The open-air setting, tropical ambiance, vintage décor, upbeat Latin music and Concept Chef/Partner, Guillermo Pernot’s delectable menu of ‘Nuevo Cubano’ dishes and traditional favorites, make all of our restaurants a must-see, must-experience dining destination.

Figo Serves Up Good Italian

figo 38660129p1Technically named “Osteria del Figo” but simply called “Figo”, the Howell Mill edition of this popular metro-area upscale Italian chain plays well with both the business and leisure crowd. Casual and cool, Figo is modern with lots of Italian flair beginning with the walls bathed in amber and the wooden bar and tables. It’s more spacious than it appears, accommodating large and small parties alike. Orders are made at the front of the house with guests then receiving colorfully festive pepper shakers to place at their table for food delivery.

Simplicity is king here, with the build-your-own-pasta serving as the main draw. Make a ravioli, short or long pasta selection and then pair it with a sauce. For traditional fare with a pleasant kick, try the Tuscan Sausage and Apple Ravioli with the Arrabbiata sauce (spicy tomato sauce with garlic and chili peppers). The Spinach Penne with the Salmone con Piselli (oak-smoked salmon and English peas in pink vodka sauce) is also good but, with over a dozen ravioli and pasta choices and nearly that many sauces, the combinations are truly endless.

The Caprese Salad, prepared with buffalo mozzarella and vine-ripe tomatoes, is a nice jump-starter. Tiramisu is a given but Kenny’s Key Lime pie, from the locally-based super pie company, is a welcomed American indulgence.


If you’re searching for THE best coal-fired brick oven, New York-style thin crust pizza in the world, look no further. Grimaldi’s offers over 100 years of pizza-making traditions and the tantalizing aroma of pizza and calzones baked to perfection in the signature coal burning oven. Why coal-fired ovens? It gives our pizza and calzones a unique flavor and a crisp crust that is just not possible from gas, convection or wood burning ovens.

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg Dines at Colt & Gray

When Top Chef’s Season 5 winner- and Boulder resident- Hosea Rosenberg goes to Denver for a night out, he heads to new restaurant Colt & Gray.  Hosea told citybuzz, “They are cooking the food that chefs, like myself, like to eat,” which is always a very, very good sign.

For Hosea, the self-admitted key to his culinary heart is “all things pork,” and Colt & GrayPicture 8 holds that key with delicious dishes like the Long Family Crispy Pig Trotters Appetizer (a.k.a. pig’s feet!) and Grilled Long Farm Pork Chop Entree. But other dishes, non pork-related, have been receiving the same sort of praise in Denver write-ups, like the Potted Peeky Toe Crab Appetizer (a crab spread) and the House Made Ricotta Ravioli Entree.

But we all know there is so much more that makes a restaurant great, and Colt & Gray has that, too. The resident mixologist mixes up a mean spin on the classic Manhattan, the New 1920’s Cocktail, with absinthe as the special ingredient. And even the decor received attention for itself with a write-up in Elle Decor Magazine.

For such a young restaurant, the amount of amazing reviews is enviable, and the dessert of its meal of great press is making the top 10 of Denver Magazine’s 25 Best Restaurant Lists. Sure, Top Chef ‘s Hosea Rosenberg and all the magazines in the world can tell you it’s great, but just one meal at Colt & Gray will make you understand what everyone’s talking about.

*** Hosea Rosenberg was the Season 5 winner of Bravo’s top rated competition show Top Chef. Hosea is a resident of Boulder, Colorado and the Chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder. Besides his Top Chef title, Hosea has won many awards including Best Chef three years in a row at the Denver International Wine Festival, Guest Chef at the James Beard House, and his restaurant, Jax, has received the Best Seafood Restaurant in the Denver/Boulder area since opening in 1994.

Zocalo Cocina Mexicana

Zocalo Cocian Mexicana is a fast and friendly neighborhood restaurant. They feature authentic and delicious Mexican food based on the culinary traditions of Oaxaca and Veracruz. They prepare each dish individually, using only the freshest available produce. Visit zocalobackbay.com for more information.

Modern Mexican food comes to the East Village at The Black Ant

Black Ant, a modern Mexican restaurant, is slated to open in the East Village next month at 60 Second Ave. between Third and Fourth avenues.

The 2,800-square-foot location will have four different dining areas — a small lounge that seats 15 with an additional 15 seats at the bar, two dining rooms seating a total of 60 plus an open garden that will seat 40.

Black Ant also will feature a private dining room with 25 seats.

Owners Jorge Guzman and Mario Hernandez, the general manager and executive chief, respectively, are in talks to launch a Mexican restaurant in the West Village called Bacanora, which is named after a plant that grows in Mexico’s Sonora province. The duo also own Ofrenda in the West Village.

Shelter: Argentine & Italian food with a rustic winter feel

Williamsburg: not a place for asking questions.

It’s a place for sitting at a slab of oak tree beneath a stuffed goat, and digging on some scrumptious meat pastries…

At least it is at Shelter, a spacious Williamsburg lair of whiskey and Argentine-Italian edibles, now open.

El Almacen and Rosarito Fish Shack. Same folks behind those created this—a kind of hunting lodge of pizza and empanadas. Which… is a strange combination, yes. But after running the following equation—Pizza + Empanadas + Moose Horns + Whiskey = A Damn Good Time—mathematicians have determined the whole thing works just fine.

Rustic meets refined at Betony, a modern American Restaurant

Betony is a Modern American restaurant overseen by Executive Chef Bryce Shuman (Eleven Madison Park) and General Manager Eamon Rockey (Eleven Madison Park, Atera, and Aska). The restaurant features soaring ceilings, contemporary photos of New York City street scenes, a bar, lounge and dining room.

Omar’s La Ranita Restaurant

Omar’s La Ranita is a neighborhood eatery in Greenwich Village, NY, tucked away in a historic brownstone on West 9th Street. This legendary downtown Manhattan address was host to some of the most memorable nightlife landmarks of the last 50 years. La Ranita serves seasonal American cuisine inspired by superb produce found in local green markets.

Obao Restaurant

OBAO bridges the gap from the streets of South East Asia to the Streets of NYC, bringing you combinations of various Thai and Vietnamese foods with a twist. This Citybuzz pick takes traditional dishes from Thailand and Vietnam like Pad Thai and Pho Noodles and adds a touch of luxury and elegance without ever compromising on authenticity.

The Park 112

The Park 112 is located on Harlem’s ‘Restaurant Row’. The décor fosters a relaxed social approach to the dining experience with its grand tufted leather banquettes, light bulb chandeliers as well as an illuminated communal table and private dining area. This Citybuzz pick also offers a self serve wine machine.

Decisions, decisions…not at L’Entrecote de Paris

Sometimes all you want is a little simplicity in life and that includes not taking an eternity to decide what you’re ordering at your favorite eatery.

L'Entrecôte de ParisThat’s easily done at L’Entrecote de Paris, opening in the Brickell area Sept. 5, where they’ve perfected one dish, France’s legendary and signature Steak Frites. In fact, it’s the only entree on the menu but that’s alright because it’s done to perfection. A specialty select cut of meat is delectably prepared rare, medium rare or well done and the 7-ounce portion for lunch and 9-ounce dinner portion is elegantly fanned out on the plate and topped with the chef’s 21-ingredient secret sauce. The expertly prepared crunchy shoestring fries are the ideal topping.

_MG_4926All guests start off their meal with fresh mixed green salad featuring frisee and romaine with cherry tomatoes, walnuts drizzled ever-so gently with mustard dressing. And to finish things off choose from a light as air circular tri-color mousse of mint, white chocolate and chocolate drizzled with chocolate sauce. The traditional creme brulee, profiteroles and a selection of five macarons are among other dessert choices.

Aperitifs like house made quiches, cheese platter and pates are perfect starters and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a Left Bank Bordeaux are highlights of an extensive, carefully-chosen wine list.

Try this fantastic French Bistro for lunch, dinner or for an after-work cocktail at the polished wood and brass-accented bar.

L’Entrecote de Paris is at Brickell Plaza, 1053 SE 1 Ave., 305-759-9995 or click here to visit their website.

Pick Your Favorite Brew at Public House

If you could go to a bar where you can have any type of beer, which one would you choose? At Public House, it’s all about beer. Located in the heart of Chicago, this bar/restaurant has hundreds of different drafts of beer, a great food selection, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. It is a great place to not only eat and drink but also socialize with other beer-lovers. Only after one visit will you want to come back for more.

Andale to Huahua’s Taqueria for Mexican grub

Huahua's hot saucesAuthentic Mexican has come to Lincoln Road on South Beach by way of Chef Todd Erickson’s latest venture, a casual and pet-friendly eatery Huahua’s Taqueria set on the quieter side of the famous street. Chef Erickson knows his Mexican cuisine, hailing from Arizona and spending much of his childhood also traveling to New Mexico.

You’ll know you’ve found the place when you spot the adorable grey cartoon chihuaha with the blue Mexican hat, bright silver chairs and shelves brimming with hot sauces.

Huahua's cornThose 21 hot sauce varieties are perfect on their tacos and enchiladas. But start first with the grilled Mexican sweet corn topped with cotija cheese and fresh cilantro or the chips with queso blanco, a mild and flavorful cheese sauce perfect for dipping. It’s a nice change from the traditional tomato-based salsa. Then move on to either the chili rubbed shrimp taco topped with jicama, lime, cilantro and spicy mayo or the pollo al pastor taco with chicken topped with charred pineapple, cilantro, onion and lime crema.Huahua's chips

There’s a reason for the doggie on the signage too, because they’re welcomed here. With just limited seating indoors, tables and chairs are outside and all of them equipped with nearby silver bowls in four sizes to accommodate the tiniest to the largest pooch.

They’re at 1211 Lincoln Road. Call 305-534-TACO (8226) or click here to visit their website.

Benvenuto! Discover a modern, rustic Italy in Chicago at Siena Tavern!

Siena Tavern

The Siena Tavern concept was an idea born during a trip to Italy, where there was a little tavern with a good open kitchen and a kind of rustic look that the owners liked. They got that idea in Italy and brought it to Chicago, modernized it a bit, and created a modern-meet-rustic restaurant with a menu of homemade pastas and Neapolitan pizzas baked in a Woodstone oven.

The food is very local with its peak of flavor and freshness.

The restaurant has become a hit in the River North neighborhood. As Chef Fabio Viviani says, “When you see the same people ten times, with all the great selection and great choices around here, in this town, that’s a home run to me.”

Visit the website at sienatavern.com.

Look Restaurant Reaches Across The Aisle For Fun Times!


Who says K Street has to be Conventional?

LOOK Restaurant Lounge reaches across the aisle to bridge the gap between Socially Liberal and Tastefully Conservative. Located in the heart of the K Street Corridor, LOOK Restaurant Lounge sets out to shatter traditional stereotypes by taking the “boring” out of business lunch and the “corporate” out of corporate reception.

Enjoy world cuisine through a variety of over 30 small plates from our Executive Chef in a warm, dynamic, open setting. Our 150 seat dining room is open for lunch, dinner, private events, corporate gatherings, and any social events. The Event Director and Executive Chef will work with you to customize the perfect event experience for up to 300 seated guests or 800 standing guests.

Guests are strongly encouraged to be Socially Liberal, yet fiscally conservative in the belief that Washington needs to cut spending. With this thinking, HAPPY HOUR at LOOK starts at noon. From 12pm to 7pm, LOOK offers Absolut kocktails, House wine by the glass and our full beer selection at $5! Visit lookatkstreet.com for more information.



New York City is home to some of the hottest restaurants, hotels and nightlife in the world and no one knows that better than Richie Notar. The Queens native started his career in the hospitality industry as a busboy at Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell‘s Studio 54. After working as a chef in some of the city’s top restaurants, he served as the General Manager of the original Nobu — and only two years later, became the company’s Managing Partner for the past 17 years.

Notar recently partnered with Jim Pallotta, Jon Krasner and Michael Barrett to create Harlow, a full-service restaurant, parlor and café in midtown Manhattan. Located at 56th and Park, the European-inspired restaurant features a grand oyster bar, an interior wall of ivy in a conservatory that is flooded with natural light and contemporary art installations. The main dining room retains the original stained glass windows and chandeliers from the 1930’s, when actress Marion Davies used the space for personal entertaining.

Visit harlownyc.com for more information

City Lobster

City Lobster

Given City Lobster and Steak’s convenient location between Times Square and Rockefeller, we are the perfect stop before or after Broadway shows for the freshest seafood and highest quality steak!

At City Lobster and Steak, we specialize in delicacies such as Live North Atlantic Lobsters, fresh Alaskan King Crab Legs, and authentic Maryland Lump Crab Cakes.

We also feature a full raw bar with an assortment of oysters from the East and West coasts. In addition, our a la carte menu offers the finest contemporary New England seafood and Prime Angus Steaks!

Come early enough to enjoy happy hour with ½ dozen oysters and a pint of beer for only $12! Or our ongoing 99¢ Oysters special at our 45 foot bar and lounge! The 4700 square foot space is vibrant with live lobsters welcoming you at the entrance, a raw oyster bar beckoning your taste buds, and the lively wait staff ready to make your City Lobster & Steak experience an enjoyable one.

Visit citylobster.com for more information.

Taste of summer at Sardinia Enoteca

On the quieter side of South Beach, away from the clubbiness of Washington Avenue and the hawkers on Lincoln Road, many restaurants are popping up along Purdy Avenue in the Sunset Harbor neighborhood. Purdy is where the Italian eatery Sardinia Enoteca can be found, as well as their summer lunch and dinner specials running June and July.

Mimicking the popular early fall Miami Spice deals, Sardinia is offering a prix fixe $23 lunch and $39 dinner menu for the two months.

Cozze 2Owner Antonio Gallo and Executive Chef Pietro Vardeu have concocted several delicious choices. For lunch try their spaghetti carbonara, housemade potato gnocchi or Sardinian tuna fish as an entree and delicate mussels or a fresh caprese salad as an appetizer. Dinner selections include a few creative octopus appetizers and choices of housemade rigatoni or diver scallops as entrees. The Wine & Dine Special as they’re calling it, also includes 40% off select wine bottles.

In addition, they’ve launched happy hour specials  on drinks available Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. They include $7 wines by the glass of Bianchi, Rossi or Frizzante or well and featured Stoli cocktails. Corona, Miller Lite, Stella Artois, Heineken or Peroni are all $3.

Sardinia Enoteca is located at 1801 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach. Visit their website at sardinia-ristorante.com for a complete list of what’s available.


Lucky Chengs For A “Unexpected” Evening

Lucky Chengs

Lucky Cheng’s is the Drag Queen Capital of the Universe!

Outrageous drag queens serve up dinner and a show featuring interactive cabaret, comedy, and karaoke at the infamous Lucky Cheng’s Restaurant. The drag staff turns up the fun as your bartenders, waitresses and performers. After a 19 year run at its downtown location, the dinner show moved on up to its new Times Square Theater District location in the fall of 2012.

See the one hour show during a delicious 3-course Asian Fusion dinner packed with flavors, textures and aromas from all of Asia. The show is included in the dinner price, but menu surcharges, drinks, tax, and gratuity are not. Expect to see several talented performers and don’t be afraid to participate in the show. Tips for the show performers are optional, but greatly appreciated. This additional gratuity can be paid in cash or by credit card when paying your check.

Plan your evening so that you can stay for our notorious drag hosted karaoke after last show. And don’t forget, the more you drink, the better you sing. Visit luckychengsnyc.com for more information.

The Purple Pig: a meatovers paradise! Cheese, wine and veggies too!

Calling all meat lovers…pull up a chair and get ready to pig-out at Chicago’s The Purple Pig. Located on The Magnificent Mile, The Purple Pig is a collaboration of chefs Scott Harris, Tony Mantuano, Jimmy Bannos and Jimmy Bannos Jr. Featuring housemade charcuterie, cheeses and classic Mediterranean cuisine.

The Varsity – The World’s Largest Drive-In

The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, serving customers in Atlanta since 1928. People from all over the world come to experience The Varsity because there is nothing like it anywhere!


The original Varsity, located at 61 North Avenue, near Georgia Tech, opened in 1928 on a 70′ X 120′ lot with a white picket fence by a man named Frank Gordy; a man with a $2000 nest egg and “million dollar taste buds.” Through his dedication to freshness, superior quality, advanced technology and serving the best food fast, he gained a reputation that is known worldwide. The Varsity has hosted well known people from the entertainment industry, the sports industry, the Governor’s mansion, the White House, as well as visitors from all over the globe. Through Frank Gordy’s determination, the original Varsity has grown into a two-story “Lunching Pad” and there are now 7 sister locations. The Varsity has become an Atlanta institution known and loved by all.

There are now 7 locations in and around the Atlanta area. Stop by for some amazing food. Click thevarsity.com for more information.


Nestled on Randolph Street, Nellcôte has an ambiance that fits the bill; the chic space, a nod to a mansion in France once occupied by the Rolling Stones, drips with luxe details. Chef-shaken “kitchen cocktails”and well crafted Belgian beers also keep the pace hopping. The pillowy wood-fired pizzas, crafted with house-milled wheat flour, and the myriad small plates. Pastas and desserts leave you wanting more and more and more.

Little Bucharest Bistro


With a history spanning over three decades, Little Bucharest Bistro has opened with a new face in Chicago’s Old Irving Park area. Originally opened in 1970 and closed in 2004, the new Little Bucharest, which translates to “Little Paris of the East”, blends a touch of Romanian heritage with American contemporary fare in a vibrant and modern atmosphere.
“I wanted to bring the signature high-energy vibe of the old Little Bucharest into a new setting,” says owner Branko Podrumedic. “The bistro will present Romanian flavors in an approachable way to appeal to more of a mainstream audience.”

Visit littlebucharestbistro.com for more information.

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse

Bobby Van opened his first restaurant in Bridgehampton, New York, in the summer of 1969, where he tended bar and played piano. The restaurant quickly became famous with local musicians, writers, poets, and artists. Bobby Van’s legacy of quality food, service, and atmosphere quickly grew into a thriving year round restaurant in the Hamptons. Eventually after 20 years, Bobby would lose interest in running a restaurant and he sold his business to four Manhattan restaurateurs; Joseph Smith, Joe Phair, Rick Passarelli, and Joe Hickey. The new operators soon opened a second location in the Helmsley building on Park Avenue. Considered by many the “Original” because it was the first official steakhouse of the Bobby Van’s group, the Park Avenue Bobby Van’s is unmatched for location, food, and service among steakhouses in New York.

Lexington Candy Shop

Once in the luncheonette, notice the 1940 vintage Hamilton Beach milk shake mixer next to the 1948 vintage coffee urns. They date from a time when sodas and ice cream drinks were and are still made by hand with the skillful touch of the “Soda Jerk”.

When seated, take a moment to enjoy the decor’s authenticity painstakingly maintained. An original menu, original photos of the store in 1925, and pictures of our founders are on display. The staff will answer any questions you have about the menu or their long history. Picture taking is, of course, welcome.

Sit back (unless you’re on a stool) and enjoy our timeless food and beverages.

As you enjoy your meal and beverage, you will understand why their industry trade paper; The Restaurant News, calls us “A David among Goliaths in Gotham City, the LCS is like a page in food service history bringing to life the energy and attentiveness of a bygone era”.

The Publican

Featuring pork and fish/seafood preparations, the menu is best described by Kahan and Huston as “pristine product, simply prepared,” an approach to food Kahan has long espoused in all of his kitchens. The Publican boasts the simplest cuisine of all three properties, each dish stripped of adornment and containing only essential ingredients. The menu is presented in sections: Fish, Meat and Vegetables, each laid out from lightest to heaviest fare.

Pristinely fresh oysters, hand-selected for the restaurant from purveyors with whom the culinary team has formed partnerships over the past year, anchor the fish portion of the menu. From classic Belgian-style mussels to seafood stew to wood-roasted whole fish, the seafood is simple and straightforward yet eclectic in presentation.

Meat dishes center upon pork, all certified organic and sourced from Dyersville, Iowa. Anchored by a wide selection of housemade terrines and charcuteries, the menu changes daily to reflect the seasonal availability of products. Other hearty dishes, again, presented simply and stripped of adornment, include such seasonal items as black and white sausage, steak tartare, pork shoulder and pot-au-feu. Kahan and Huston plan to make the wood-roasted chicken a signature, “… with the best frites in town,” boasts Kahan.

A selection of vegetables rounds out the menu, including such seasonal items as daily aïoli, roasted broccoli, pine nuts and Italian buratta and cauliflower sformato with Marcona almond romesco.

Strong architectural lines dominate the space, which is large, airy and awash in earthy colors. Guests enter The Publican through a glass-enclosed vestibule, its 10-foot-high ceiling offering a glimpse of the restaurant’s 13.6-foot ceiling. Inside, the spacious interior is dominated by a large walnut communal table designed to recall 16th Century European banquets. Set up in racetrack fashion, the banquet table seats upwards of 100 people, side by side.

At the center of the banquet table stands eight English pub-style three-tiered cocktail tables where guests can stand, leaning comfortably on one level, with their beer and food resting on the other tiers. This interior space is large enough for guests who are waiting for tables or visiting the restaurant just for a beer and a bite. Against the east wall stand a series of four-top walnut banquette tables set up on platforms and privatized by table-height swinging doors.

The walls and ceiling are wrapped in a material reminiscent of antique pressed tin. Across the front of the space, 10-foot cafe-style doors open out onto the street. At the back of the restaurant, a partially open kitchen offers a view to the culinary action.

Ed Debevics

Orchestrated ’50s mayhem recalls the diner in the old television series “Happy Days.” Ed’s is jam-packed with action: period decor and memorabilia, deejays spinning gems from the ’50s-’70s (“Tutti Frutti,” “The Twist”) and gum-cracking waitstaff, who shtick it up by dishing out rude comments to all — don’t worry; the sass is all in good fun and part of the joint’s appeal . The “”Route 66” is available for private parties of up to 35 people, the “Elvis Room” handles groups of up to 40. The bustling corps of valet parkers outside are an amusement in itself. Ed’s is one of the city’s best bets for visiting families.


The Bristol and Boka Restaurant Group have teamed up for this rustic Italian restaurant in the Landmark space in Lincoln Park, where a wood-burning grill and roasting spits work hard to turn out dishes such as cherry and duck bruschetta, whole grilled fish, pizza and panzanella.

Harry Caray’s Restaurant

Located near the main entrance to Navy Pier, Harry Caray’s Tavern waterfront location, family friendly menu, and Chicago’s premier sports museum combine to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience for guests of all ages. The extensive menu includes flavorful sandwiches and wraps, pastas, fresh salads, and homemade pizzas. The Chicago Sports Museum, featuring beautifully crafted display cabinets, highlights a rotating collection of museum-quality sports memorabilia, including an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and vintage newspapers celebrating Chicago sports legends, past and present. Harry’s extensive patio offers the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and the excitement of Navy Pier. Click here for more information.

Ben and Jack’s

Ben and Jack, long-time waiters of Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, have opened a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. They offer prime, dry aged porterhouse steaks and a dazzling assortment of steakhouse favorites.
This is the brainchild of a group of former Peter Luger waiters who decided to try to recreate the magic of the legendary Brooklyn restaurant in Manhattan. They have succeeded and offer some of the most delicious steaks and seafood in town. Everything is mouthwateringly good, and here you can use your credit card!


Twenty five years ago, on this very street, Robert Colombo’s original Sfuzzi opened in Uptown Dallas. Known for it’s fresh, innovative italian foods, and lively social setting, Sfuzzi became a McKinney Avenue landmark for over 10 years. Even today it is remembered as one of Dallas’s most innovative and successful restaurants.
Now, Sfuzzi is back. The new Sfuzzi harkens back to the roots of an old New York City pizzeria, centered on our commitment to serving fresh pizzas and pasta, wonderful wine and beverages, and, oh yes, a dash of great music. Musically, you will hear everything from 80s dance songs, sing-a-longs of the 70’s, jazz and blues, current top 40 hits and classic rock of artists such as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

Sfuzzi’s wrap-around patio rekindles beautiful memories of the original Sfuzzi patio scene, which set the social standard for McKinney Avenue. Equipped with flat screen panels, pulsating music, glass-enclosed fireplace, and fabulous food and drink, the patio at the newly evolved Sfuzzi will rival those of Miami’s luxury venues and the family oriented venues of the Grand Caymans.

Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime is the culmination of a creative exercise we started in 2006 to define the best in culinary, beverage, service and atmosphere. Their team wanted to pair a great steakhouse with a great seafood restaurant. We imagined a place where our guests are greeted by name and partner with us in adventures of great food, wine and libation.

Ocean Prime was not developed overnight. Their executive chef teams traveled, tasted and compared notes to refine a menu that would ignite curiosity and surpass expectations. Their operations teams sourced the finest and the freshest ingredients to elevate every plate that leaves our kitchen. They curated a Wine Spectator-honored wine list for perfect pairings. And they poured energy with a fresh twist into the creation of our signature cocktails, expertly prepared by our well-trained bar chefs.


Nora Restaurant and Bar, opened in the summer of 2012, is the third restaurant by restaurateur and chef Matt Pikar. Matt began his culinary career in Washington, D.C. in 2001 when he opened Afghan Grill. His clientele included many senators, congressmen and diplomats.

After rave reviews and success in D.C., Matt moved to Texas in 2007 and opened the well regarded Afghan Grill in North Dallas. Determined to make Afghan food better known, he decided to open a new venture closer to Dallas proper.

Nora’s namesake, Nora Pikar was just three months old when construction of the restaurant began. She and her older sister Stella were along every step of the way from construction to decoration and opening. The goal of Nora Restaurant and Bar is to introduce Greenville Avenue to a type of food it has yet to experience. With our friendly service and atmosphere, we strive to be an exotic spot that feels like home.

Ereka Vetrini on Parm NYC: The ONLY place to get chicken parm.

No need to travel to Italy for the perfect Parm, just head down to 248 Mulberry Street and taste the goods! Classic chicken parm sandwiches with a little downtown new york twist. All of the ingredients they use are locally grown which is part of their Italian motto. Each piece of chicken parm comes with a side of lasagna which is hands down the best lasagna in all of the city. Their secret for making awesome lasagna? Easy: they toast each side of the lasagna so that every bite provides the necessary crunch.

Nikki Beach

Nikki Beach in Miami is the hidden jewel of South Beach, located at One Ocean Drive along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean amid swaying palms trees and warm sunny breezes. Nikki Beach Miami has established itself as the landmark nightclub and venue for ultimate private parties, large celebrations, and always lives up to its reputation as a South Beach Miami party playground for jet setters, celebrities, VIPs, guests and visitors alike.

The Hamilton

Strange and amazing, unlikely and enviable, the life of Alexander Hamilton could be a blueprint for the evolution of Washington, DC. This is a man who started off an orphan and ended up a lawyer, banker and founding father before dying famously in a duel with the Vice President of the United States. First built to house the federal government, DC is now a city where polish and sophistication have been charmed by a bohemian spirit yielding a new, thriving, artistic underground. Located just two blocks from the White House, the District’s newest destination for envelope-pushing, visionary music and talent defies convention, much like Hamilton himself. Visit thehamiltondc.com for more information.

The Dutch at the W epitomizes simple elegance

The Dutch at the W Hotel on South Beach is turning the chic, boutique hotel on its head offering an unpretentious menu and equally casual atmosphere. It’s easy to relax in the lovely, bright restaurant where the kitchen is expertly run by renowned New York chef Andrew Carmellini.

Of course, housed within a hotel, which is unusual unto itself given that most hotel restaurants really aren’t of such a high quality, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hazelnut crusted French toast amd crab cake benedict with asparagus and a kicky chipotle hollandaise elevate the breakfast standards while entrees like short rib ravioli, roast mushroom and taleggio fonduta and pappardelle, lamb ragu, sheep’s milk ricotta and milk are great for lunch and hefty enough they could be on their supper menu. Short ribs and sea scallops make a second appearance on that menu but are dressed up differently.

The Dutch is in the W Hotel, located at 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-938-3111, www.thedutchmiami.com

CVI. CHE 105: Peruvian classic with a hip twist


The small, mom and pop eatery in Downtown Miami is slowly disappearing, replaced by modern, hip restaurants and leading the trend is Cvi.che 105.

Chef/owner Juan Chipoco and sous chef and co-owner Luis Hoyos have created an incredible ambiance and menu that is indicative of their passion for traditional, delicious Peruvian cooking. The space is deceivingly large and inviting,  with a bright interior, open kitchen and ultra-contemporary furnishings and accents.

Chipoco blends sexy dishes like seafood orgy ceviche, a blend of marinated raw seafood including fish, calamari and shrimp served in typical Peruvian tiger milk with more traditional ones like Mama Ele Corvina Fish – his grandmother’s recipe of pan roasted fresh corvine fish served with a crab cake in a rocoto sauce and a homemade potato cake

 They also take great care in developing specific flavors for each ceviche depending which region of Peru it represents.

Cviche 105 is located at 105 NE 3 Ave., Miami, FL 305-577-3454, www.ceviche105.com

Salumeria 104: Midtown’s ode to the trattoria

Lovers of salami, cheeses, olives and the like are flocking to Salumeria 104 in Midtown Miami. It’s the latest addition to the area’s “restaurant row” and an ode to the Italian trattoria.

Sure there are fantastic pastas on the menu, but the star here is the salami after all, it’s billed as a “Salami Shop and Trattoria.” Those nifty wooden boards get plenty of use here, piled high with hard salami rounds and thin slices of prosciutto and truffle ham and a round ramekin filled with olives. It’s a veritable feast for those who love to nibble.

One of their most authentic dishes and one not easily found on Italian restaurant menus is the gnocchi alla romana. Unlike the traditional small round gnocchi, these are thick round homemade semolina gnocchi topped with parmesan cheese and crispy prosciutto and baked until it’s crispy and bubbling. Aside from the mouthwatering pastas, they’re also serving succulent roasted pork loin wrapped in crispy pork belly and slowly braised pork spare ribs.

Salumeria 104 is located at 3451 NE 1 Ave., #104, 305-424-9588, www.salumeria104.com

The Federal’s serving unique eats

The latest installation in the ever-growing MiMo (short for Miami Modern) section along Biscayne Blvd. is a funky, tiny little spot called The Federal. They’re serving up equally funky eats not normally found on most menus.

Just look at some of the dishes, especially the names:

Jar-o-Duck with candied sweet potato, charred fluff and slow-cooked Hudson Valley duck; diet coke and foie gras fritters with corn-nut mayo and velveeta foam; Crispy Niman Ranch pig ears with pineapple, radish, jalapeno and kumquat-apple vin; crispy beef bits bbq scented omasan, savory maple.

OK, there are some traditional items like cheese biscuits, chicken, steak, shrimp & grits, salads, collard greens and mashed potatoes.

The decor is as quirky as the menu, completely rustic with intricate wood sculptures along the wall and plain and simple seating. It’s all about comfort here, no pretense.

The Federal is located at 5132 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-758-9559 www.thefederalmiami.com

Tuyo’s spectacular view mirrors chef’s menu

Miami-Dade College Culinary Institute’s Tuyo Restaurant is a sight to behold, for everything from a spectacular Downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay view to the meticulously thought out menu by Executive Chef Norman Van Aken, considered the “founding father of New World Cuisine.”

Van Aken’s restaurant ventures throughout Miami have left an indelible mark on the culinary world and wherever he lands, fans and foodies flock. Tuyo, which is Spanish for “Yours” is on course to do the same with a farm-to-table concept and strict sustainability practices.

They use only locally or Southeast U.S. sourced ingredients like the salad of local lettuces, heirloom tomato and avocado, with salt roasted beets, pepitas and blue cheese. Or the pan-c00ked fillet of Key West yellowtail snapper served over mashed potatoes with citrus butter and malabar spinach.

Their commitment to their local and sustainable practices is outlined right on the menu where it states that “certain items on the menu may vary due to local availability and seasonality.”

Tuyo is located atop the Miami-Dade College Culinary Institute at 415 NE Second Ave., 305-237-3200, www.tuyomiami.com

The Forge: Miami Beach’s legendary eatery

The Forge Restaurant/Wine Bar has been the mainstay on the northern end of Miami Beach since the 1920s, known as an old-world steakhouse with matching elaborate decor. Current owner Shareef Malnik, who took ownership in 1990 from his father who owned it since 1969, has given the place a makeover, both in decor and on the menu. 

It’s still elaborate and decadent but instead of the dark wood, robust interior things have been lightened up in tone, lots of whites, silvers, mismatched chairs which give the place character and a wine cellar/selection that can only be described as massive.

Executive Chef Dewey LoSasso, a veteran of New York and Miami restaurants, has created a menu all his own with pastas and risottos, unique appetizers like smoked salmon croquettes and quinoa pancake stacks plus main entrees like steamed local snapper in a bag and to keep with tradition an entire section of select meats.

Eating at the Forge is an experience like no other. They’re located at 432 41 Street, Miami Beach, 305-538-8533

Seasons 52: A fresh take on seasonal faves

At Seasons 52, they pride themselves on offering fresh, seasonal ingredients with a casual and unique flair. Organic greens, vegetables, seafoods and meats command the menu as well as a wealth of eye-pleasing appetizers, flatbreads, entrees, salads and desserts.

Some of their tasty selections include an all-natural chicken cabernet with Lundberg organic wild rice, vegetables and red wine sauce; a lemongrass salmon salad with organic field lettuce, grilled pineapple, jicama and sesame dressing and flatbreads topped with garlic chicken, balsamic red onions, roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese, to name just one of five delectable ones offered.

And to match the casually elegant menu, the restaurant’s atmosphere is a pleasant cherry wood interior with warm lighting, an inviting bar and wood beams running along the ceiling.

Seasons 52 Restaurant is located at 321 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL

Try Not to Make A Mess at Masa 14

Everyone knows Masa 14 at the corner of U street and 14th street. It is that busy and upbeat Asian-Latino fusion restaurant with an electrifying vibe that everyone is willing to line up for, even after a long day of work!

With an interesting concept of blending Asian and Spanish cuisines, the menu offers a wide array of choices – you are not in a mood for Chinese? That’s okay, they have Korean and Japanesy tapas dish for you to try over fancy drinks with fancy names.

A few tapas and mixed drinks in, the atmosphere at Masa 14 only gets better!

Shhh… There are unlimited brunch plates and drinks Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 3pm for just $35!

The Forge Restaurant/Winebar: Classic with an upgrade

Originally known strictly as an elegant, upscale steakhouse with an old-world decor, The Forge has gone through a transformation. It now boasts an interior featuring eclectic furniture. One seating area evokes a living room/library feel with antique chairs, a contemporary couch, fireplace, bookshelves and stained glass, set alongside traditional dinner seating. Opulent chandeliers share the spotlight with quirky, lavender contemporary ones and yet another loungey spot features a fireplace with the cushiony rattan inspired couches and chairs that are commonly found poolside at any one of SoBe’s well known hotels.

The menu, by Chef Dewey LoSasso has also been transformed to include their well known classic steaks, chops and seafood but also incorporating short ribs, grilled shrimp waffle and chicken and duck alphabet soup.

432 41st Street at Royal Palm Avenue, Miami Beach, (305) 538- 8533, www.theforge.com

The Grill

On January 31, 1984, The Grill on the Alley, located steps from Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, opened its doors and became an instant hit. Its continued success has earned The Grill an international reputation for quality and consistency. The three founders developed a concept that still draws fans worldwide. The Grill today continues its legendary traditions in major United States cities by offering an extensive selection of superior quality classic American food served by dedicated professionals in a sophisticated, yet warm and unpretentious atmosphere.

The Grill (as it is sometimes known) was modeled after the great grills of New York and San Francisco; the founders seeking to maintain the tradition of those fine, old establishments by offering first-rate fare, attentive service, and a familiar, dignified atmosphere. The response was tremendous, as The Grill evolved into one of the Los Angeles area’s best known, “must-do” places.

The Grill’s second location was opened in May, 1998, at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California, in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

The Grill on the Alley in Chicago opened on downtown Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” in June 2000, and is just steps from Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Field’s, Water Tower Place, and

The fourth The Grill – known as The Grill on Hollywood – opened in Hollywood’s Hollywood and Highland Entertainment Complex in November 2001. This bustling center is home to the Kodak Theater which hosts The Academy Awards year after year, and attracts locals and tourists alike.

The Grill on the Alley in Dallas, Texas opened in July 2006, and is part of the Galleria Dallas, the busiest upscale shopping destination in the city. The sixth The Grill on the Alley is located at The Promenade at Westlake, a Mediterranean-styled outdoor shopping and entertainment center featuring some of the most well respected merchants in the world. And the most recent addition is The Grill on the Alley Aventura. Located in the Aventura Mall, which is ranked as the number one shopping destination among international visitors.

Living Room

The Living Room is located at 1055 Broadway in Denver (between 10th & 11th, next to Arby’s), and opened in August of 2009, with a fabulous wine and beer list, and a menu of mouth-watering small dishes along with an Enomatic wine sampling system allowing customers the ability to taste 24 varying wines by the ounce simply with the swipe of a card and a touch of a button.

Along with exceptional, friendly service The Living Room offers a warm, seductive yet

casual ambiance in this comfortable and stylish setting complete with high backed booths, hanging retro bubble chairs, low lights, great sounds, gathering bar, urban patio and just the right touch of downtown aire, all in a unpretentious setting that takes the intimidation out of wine tasting.

Osteria La Buca

Osteria la Buca is located on Melrose Ave, two blocks East of Paramount Studios on the outskirts of Hollywood. We celebrate the gift that is Southern California produce and grass roots Italian cooking. We have a focused list of Italian and California wines and offer a full bar specializing in boutique spirits from around the world. We represent handmade, whole beast, long braise, and farm fresh traditions. We welcome all to gather around our tables.

Lola’s Coastal Mexican

Named one of the top five establishments to drink tequila in America by Food and Wine Magazine, LoLa has also become one of Denver’s most acclaimed dining destinations, serving cuisine inspired by Mexico’s coastal regions. 5280 Magazine’s Chef of the Year and LoLa owner, Jamey Fader, mixes up Denver’s best regional Mexican cuisine with his ever changing, seasonally inspired menus.

LoLa now occupies what was the original home to the Ollinger Mortuary and the 1926 winter resting place of Wild Bill Cody in what is now our downstairs tequila bar, BeLoLa. With over 150 selections of tequila Lola has a sleek and sexy space that is conducive to an evening of serious study with Mixologist Jimmy Zanon. Denver’s very best brunch starts early and ends late with live music on Sundays.

Red O

A collaborative effort between Mike Dobson and Rick Teasta of Ma’Kai Lounge and Mexican maestro chef Rick Bayless. From top dishes representative of classic Mexican flavors, Pollo en Mole Poblano – grilled chicken, mole poblano, black beans, watercress salad — to the Carne Asada Brava – green chile-marinated Creekstone Natural ribeye, roasty salsa huevona, sweet corn tamales and grilled knob onions, the food here is amazing. The atmosphere is outstanding. Elegant, and modern, not over the top but enough to make you notice. Nothing is sparred here at Red O.

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante: That’s Italian!

The name is kind of long but oh so Italian — Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante on Miami Beach in the quaint area around Purdy Avenue. It’s becoming a hotbed of restaurants over here and no wonder, away a bit from the crowded South Beach scene which makes it a locals scene.

This gorgeous restaurant with pretty wooden tables and chairs, oversized tiles for flooring and an inviting bar that makes a great spot to eat too puts the wine front and center. The Italian wines are proudly displayed and elegantly lit in a bookcase looking case.

And if choosing between antipasti, soup, salad, entree, panini, pasta or any other of their wide selection perhaps the Tasting Menu is the best bet. For $65 there are plenty of seafood or landlubber selections along with a cheeseboard and dessert selection. It’s true Italian fare and because wine is so important here, they’re happy to offer diners a taste before purchasing. Very classy.

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante is located at 1801 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, FL 305-531-2228, www.saridinia-ristorante.com

Strip Restaurant

Strip Steaks and Sushi is located at Atlantic Station. Strip is Atlanta’s place to be when you are craving both style and substance. This multilevel steak house with lively bars and patios on each level takes on a new meaning in the world of steak houses. Strip allows diners the option of enjoying a great steak in a super hip environment. The in-house DJ plays the hottest tunes nightly; guests are welcome to step out on to the dance area at any time. Also enjoy the open air rooftop deck on level 3. Meet your friends after work at STRIP to see and be seen at Atlanta’s hottest place to MEAT, DRINK and EAT!

Legal Seafood

See fish. Eat fish. Legal Sea Foods is located in downtown Atlanta’s Hilton Garden Inn, across from the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola. Our two-story restaurant is double the fun for Atlantans who love seafood.

The buzz-worthy Oyster Bar is our street level lounge. Its close proximity to the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena makes it a popular lure on game days. Our second floor dining room features panoramic windows overlooking Centennial Olympic Park and Atlanta’s skyline, a balcony with outdoor seating and a wine room for semi-private parties. Guests can make waves in our Oyster Bar or restaurant or even in the two additional on-premise private dining spaces we utilize. 19 signature cocktails, 28 wines by the glass and countless varieties of fresh fish and shellfish will get you hooked.

Click here for more information.

Mooncake Foods

Mooncake Foods is home-cooked Asian comfort food, as interpreted by a food lover who grew up influenced by the yummy foods of his Spanish Brooklyn neighborhood and the addictive cooking of his Chinese Mom. They try to create a new kind of Asian restaurant. Mooncake Foods breaks all traditions – no woks, no unhealthy fryers, no processed meat entrees, and no heavy heart-clogging sauces. What you’ll find on their menu is innovatively grilled, steamed, or roasted plates, salads, and sandwiches.

They use premium quality natural ingredients, organic when possible, and always fresh every day. They work hard and make their dishes from scratch to ensure our quality. For example, they juice their own limes for the base of our sauces, roast their own bell peppers for our sandwiches, make their own chicken stock for the soups, and hand mix and roll every wonton and dumpling.

Meat Market: Sink your teeth into it

The name may be a play on words for a pick-up bar but rest assured, Meat Market on Lincoln Road in South Beach couldn’t be further from that. Executive Chef and Co-Owner Sean Brasel along with sommelier Sarah Almand are a pair of pros at their craft.

The menu features signature steaks and reserve cuts as the stars, with a great selection of sauces and butters specially created to accompany them along with classic salads that make great starters.  Pork, chicken and fish entrees and yet another classic, meatloaf make the grade here too.

For an even more unique experience, their monthly wine dinner series is a fantastic way to enjoy a unique culinary evening. The four-course meals include two appetizer courses, an entree course and dessert course. Each one is paired with the perfect wine. Succulent smoke-roasted duck breast with zinfandel and rugged dry-aged prime rib eye with hearty combination reds.

Meat Market is located at 915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 305-532-0088 www.meatmarketmiami.com

City Hall: No government here, it’s all about the food

City Hall's Steve Haas and Tom Azar. Photo courtesy of Mishael Fernandez.

The name could throw anyone off — City Hall. Government, clerks, parking tickets, etc… but at this City Hall, it’s all about the food. Owner Steve Haas, an icon in the Miami community, especially restaurants and his chef Tom Azar wouldn’t have it any other way.

They’ve created a masterpiece of Art Deco cool here and Haas has experience with that after all, he’s run restaurants on South Beach where that architecture style rules. Azar, a protege of famed celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, has put together a stellar menu of brasserie style favorites. Using a play on words throughout the menu (appetizers are called “Opening Statements” and entrees “Primary Decisions”) the food is serious here.

Seafood and andouille gumbo with steamed rice and butter fried croutons or Latin-inspired seared scallops with jalapeno emulsion, pico de gallo, a black bean and sweet corn salsa and fried plantains make great choices.

City Hall is located at 2004 Biscayne Blvd. 305-764-3130, www.cityhallrestaurant.com

Pretty in Pink’s Hot Dogs

From Celine Dion to Snoop Dogg, everyone’s favorite hot dogs seem to be Pink.

Though the actual color of the dog isn’t that pretty shade, Paul Pink who started his first hotdog stand in 1939 is the reason people wait in hour long lines for the delicious dogs.

If you ever pass by Pink’s, you’ll probably notice the crowds hovering around the hotdog stand waiting to place an order. With famous options such as the Bacon Chili Cheese Dog or Chili Cheese Dog, anyone who’s anyone will tell you the line is worth the wait. Though original options definitely make a splash, offerings such as the Guacamole Hotdog or The Three Dog Night, featuring three hot dogs wrapped in a tortilla with bacon and cheese, are all becoming favorites to Angelinos.

With great tasting hotdogs and prices to match, people from all over the world venture to Pink’s not only for the food but also for the experience. There is truly something about waiting in line and calling out an order that makes the experience rather than breaks it. Similar to the long lines, parking can be just as difficult.

If you truly want a Pink’s experience, it wouldn’t be the same without the difficulty of parking and the long, long lines.

All for a Pink.

Crumb on Parchment, Bernstein’s latest Design District venture

Design District darling and James-Beard award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein has launched  a new venture in the area and brought her Mom along for the ride. It’s called Crumb on Parchment and is a winner.

Just steps away from her well-known Sra. Martinez, she can shuffle back and forth from one place to the other and not miss a beat. As strange as that may sound it’s true, she is right there in the open area where the sandwiches, soups, sides, everything’s being prepared, alongside her staff working.

Definite must haves are the roasted veggie sandwich with creamy cheese and tasty aioli and the roasted chicken with goat cheese and peaches, each a winner. Tasty couscous or one of their homemade soups like red gazpacho, lentil and chilled cauliflower make great sides. And for dessert, Mom makes a mile-high coconut cake that’s a stunner, moist classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting as well as assorted scones and muffins which are perfect for breakfast.

Crumb on Parchment is located at 3930 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 305-572-9444, www.facebook.com/crumbmiami

Nosh on unique eats and craft beers at The Local

A new incarnation has arrived in Downtown Coral Gables and it’s called The Local Craft Food & Drink, an idea whose time was overdue in the area. At least that’s what the two young owners thought and so they tapped an experienced and equally young chef and created this place.

The menu is a blend of many components, some of which incorporate well known ingredients from the owners Hispanic backgrounds. For example, their unique take on some classic barfood, instead of chicken wings, they’re serving buffalo-style sweetbreads instead with blue cheese and a unique apple, chayote and celery slaw. Chayote? That’s all Hispanic. Those sound perfect too paired with one of their many craft brews. It’s bar food taken up a notch. They’re even serving charcuterie prepared on premises and as many fresh local South Florida ingredients as possible.

Photos by Sebastian Rusk / SocialBuzzTV.com

The Local Craft Food & Drink is located at 150 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables 305-648-5687 www.facebook.com/thelocal150

Jaguar’s ceviche, and so much more…

Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latam Grill is like a tour through Latin America and the cuisines that make each area unique. It’s what Chef Oscar del Rivero envisioned bringing to diners and he’s delivering.

Front and center is the ceviche spoon bar, a fantastic representation of unique bites representing Peru, where the dish is most popular, and some great variations. The Asian inspired ones have soy and ginger  while many others include cilantro. All of course include the freshest fish and lime which is what makes the dish what it is.

The Latam (short for Latin American) grill features a grilled organic chicken chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and pico de gallo verde, simple grilled fish entrees and steaks like filet mignon and skirt steak or “churrasco.”

The atmosphere complements the menu perfectly with warm-colored walls, unique bamboo styled lighting and dark wood chairs at the bar.

Jaguar is located at 3067 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove 305-444-0216 www.jaguarspot.com

Peacock Garden Cafe: Garden setting evokes Grove feel

It’s great to see a place like Peacock Garden Cafe open up in Coconut Grove especially nestled in a beautiful garden next to the historic Coconut Grove library on McFarlane Road. The claw-footed tub filled with dirt and used as an herb garden and colorful dangling orchids and potted plants make for a memorable entrance.

They’ve set the mood for what’s to come, an outdoor patio bursting with more foliage that surrounds the old-style furniture and umbrellas galore providing even more shade. Inside’s just as charming with mix and match tables and chairs, oversized windows providing plenty of sunshine and antique white glass chandeliers.

The atmosphere perfectly complements the menu. There’s a daily soup including fresh corn, potato-leek or fennel. A number of fresh salads like pear and bleu cheese or classic Nicoise salad and grilled items featuring roasted chicken, large shrimp or Atlantic salmon which come paired choice of salad or side dish.

The Peacock Garden Cafe is located at 2889 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove 305-774-3332, www.peacockspot.com Open everday at 11:30 a.m., close at 10 p.m. Sun-Wed and 11:30 p.m. Thurs-Sat

The Dutch

I would like to introduce you all to this new Soho gem: The Dutch restaurant. Located in the old Cub Room space on Sullivan and Prince, Dutch is charming, welcoming, and their dishes are fabulous. The fairly large restaurant is decorated with giant globe lights, vintage mirrors, wood, and an unique eight-stool oyster bar. The best part is the back room with a working fireplace, and a private dinning room in the basement (reservation are required). On the Dutch’s generous menu you will find seasonal green market salads, good steaks, delicious sandwiches, a great fried chicken, seafood, and amazing pies. The Dutch is great for dinner, but lunch and late nights also.

Dolores but you can call me Lolita: Good eats, hip scene

It’s about more than just the food at Dolores but you can call me Lolita in the heart of Miami’s thriving Brickell area. This is a compound that encompasses the restaurant, lounge, private room and even the Japanese favorite Sushi Maki next door. They go for the warm glow of candlelight in the restaurant where the wall border close to the ceiling brims with quirky and inspiring sayings.

Then there’s the menu which is brimming with delicious selections like the appetizer called Maybe, the Best Serrano Ham Croquettes you ever tasted or the Caesar salad was created in Tijuana Parmesan cheese and croutons. Those wacky names doesn’t mean they don’t take food seriously here, entrees include pappardelle with a Kobe beef bolognese or baja fish tacos of tempura fish filets served with a chipotle-guava cabbage slaw.

Eat or party or do both at the restaurant or lounge, the atmosphere’s great at both.

Capital Grille is the Capital Steakhouse of NYC!

The Capital Grille. Known for delicious dry aged steaks, chops and fresh seafood. An award-winning wine list. A relaxed, elegant atmosphere. And, to top it all off, it’s in the Trylon Towers of the exquisite Chrysler Center. Rich African mahogany paneling and warm lighting from one-of-a-kind art deco chandeliers set the tone for a comfortably elegant evening (unless it’s a lively, social atmosphere you seek, in which case our sophisticated bar might be your destination). Their impressive menu of nationally renowned dry aged steaks and the freshest of seafood will ignite your culinary imagination as our award-winning wine list of more than 5,000 bottles awakens your inner sommelier.

A secret supper club at Southport Grocery

Don’t let ‘grocery’ in the name deceive. Using some of the items it also retails, Southport Grocery & Cafe creates homemade-like brunch every weekend. The also sell-out spots to their monthly secret supper that takes over the restaurant as well as the super-secret upstairs bakery. With the menu already decided for every patron, the hardest thing anyone will have to choose is: white or red wine?

The secret supper includes three courses, including one dessert, and no one but the chefs and Southport wait staff knows what it is until they sit to eat.

Get in on the secret by joining the Southport Grocery mailing list or liking the store/restaurant on Facebook.


Scarpetta: Italian eats at the Fontainebleau


Chef Scott Conant’s empire of restaurants is ever-present in the legendary art deco Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel and his restaurant Scarpetta. His eats aren’t cheap but the taste is amazing and the ambiance unbeatable.

Housed in the star of Miami Beach’s Art Deco hotels, it’s done up elegantly in a creamy white motif and boasts incredible views, a cool bar also done in white with silver circles to add interest. But definitely the star here is the food.

Chef Conant’s belief in simple, delicious Italian food comes through in his menu. His pastas,  like the location, are legendary. Classic preparation with minimal ingredients make them delectable, like the black tagliatelle topped with lobster which is a thing of beauty. Pastas are plated elegantly in a lovely tight circle. They’ve also got a fresh made stromboli that puts anything found at a local pizza joint to shame. These are just some of the stars on the menu.

Scarpetta is located in the Fontainebleau Hilton, 4401 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Electric Pickle: Wynwood’s underground party

Event though it’s upstairs in it’s home building, the Electric Pickle/Bolero Room is the underground party everyone wants to be at in the Wynwood area.

Wednesday to Saturday nights, the party’s on here. DJ’s A-Train, Mr. Brown and Sire Esq. are joined by special guests on Wednesday nights as they play a mix of hip-hop, funk, soul, classics and reggae. Stop Drop ‘N Roll Thursdays DJ Gran Torino and guests play rockabilly, swing, twang, blues and dance jazz. There’s no cover this night and drink are half price.

For Disco Machine Fridays it’s deep house soul, heavy funk boogie and classic dance floor faves and also featuring live acts and DJ’s and on Saturdays live acts, international DJ’s and half-priced drinks are part of Get Some Saturdays.

Electric Pickle is located at 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL


Pubbelly: Simply stated, it’s hog heaven

The gastropub has come to Miami, Miami Beach that is, in Pubbelly located around the quieter end of South Beach around 20th Street. Smart move, the space has the perfect non-Art Deco-looking Chelsea New York reminiscent look and feel. It fits perfectly with what the trio of young hip owners are going for.

High ceilings, brick walls, rustic but city like, it’s the antithesis of bubblegum, neon, pastel South Beach and the unique menu is the perfect complement. Asian-inspired Gastropub’s the concept here, an unusual blend for sure but one that works.

Try the spaghetti and meatballs with lemongrass, sommen noodles, tomato and peanuts best described as tangy with a surprising addicting flavor. The McBelly with porkbelly, kimchee, barbecue, pickles and shaved onions is a must as is the pubbelly ramen with porkbelly, lemongrass broth and a poached egg. Menu’s divided into small plates (the first two mentioned here) and larger ones like the ramen, as well as veggies, raw/marinated/cured options and sides. Brews, sakes and wines are great here too with a huge selection.

Pubbelly is located at 1418 20 St., Miami Beach, FL

pubbelly 1

Gigi Restaurant: Small bites, big flavor

The latest incarnation in the ever-growing restaurant scene in the Design District is Gigi Bistro. Intimate and hip, it’s obvious they’re going for their own vibe here. Stool seating here outnumbers actual tables and that’s fine. Reaching for shared bites while sitting next to each other is easier than an outstretched arm across a table.

And that’s what they want here, lots of sharing. The small portions, I hate to call them tapas the term’s so overused these days, make for a great experience of sampling different dishes. It’s obvious Chef Jeff McInnis is always thinking up new menu items judging by the small two-sided menu that’s handed out upon arrival (and one side’s all drinks). He makes delicious Asian-inspired buns filled with either beef brisket or with shiitake mushrooms topped with sticky, icky sauce (yes, that’s what it’s called) and sesame. And the super refreshing homestead avocado and tomato salad with citrus, hearts of palm and crunchy rice is a true original.

Gigi is located at 3470 North Miami Ave., Miami, FL

New York City Restaurant Week Winter 2011 NYC Winter Restaurant Week runs January 24-February 6, 2011

Twice a year, in January/February and June/July, there is a unique opportunity to experience some of New York City’s finest restaurants for a fraction of the usual price. Throughout the city, restaurants participate in “Restaurant Week” where they offer a three-course lunch for $24.07 (& some even offer dinner for $35). Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try out a restaurant that may usually be out of your budget, or test some new restaurants with a little less financial risk. Check out my tips for enjoying Restaurant Week.


Chicago Restaurant Week February 18 – 27, 2011

Chicago Restaurant Week is a fantastic opportunity to get a taste of fine dining without breaking the bank, as over 130 restaurants throughout Chicago offer a 3-course prix-fixe meal at the same price.

Over 130 Chicago restaurants will be offering a 3-course prix-fixe meal for the same price — $22 for lunch, and $33/$44 for dinner. Beverages, tax, and tip not included. (subject to change)


Monty’s in the Grove: Waterfront nightlife party

The make-up of Coconut Grove has changed over the years going from hippie, granola, birkenstock in the 60s and 70s to an area to cruise in your car and party the night away from the 80s into the present although the scene has quieted down a bit. One place though that’s stood the test of time and is still a great place to party is Monty’s in the Grove.

This waterfront party spot is always a great place to stop in for cocktails, maybe a nibble and definitely some dancing. The deejays here are always playing the latest hits and live bands play here regularly too. The bayview from the giant open-air tiki hut here is unbeatable, it’s Miami all the way. And the boats and yachts that call the dockside home are just as enticing.

Monty’s in the Grove is located at 2550 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove

montysVAGABOND 007

Wall Lounge: W South Beach’s IT place


It doesn’t get any swankier than a W Hotel and with the crowds this place is attracting, especially on South Beach, a nightclub is pretty much a given so the Wall Lounge is where it’s at in this place.

Decked out to look like something out of the 1960s, with funky psychedelic lights, retro leather couches around intimate round tables, perfect for groups wanting bottle service and circular blacklight inspired images projected throughout complete the space.

DJ Irie plays the tunes here along with his other contemporaries like the legendary Paul Oakenfold who is known to make appearances here as well.

The Wall Lounge is located inside the W South Beach at 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL


Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill: Small bites, big flavor

The concept at Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill is to entice diners with a combination of flavors in a wide variety of small plates, known around Europe (particularly Spain) as “tapas.” They have robata, hot and raw bar kitchens.

Their eclectic menu is contstantly changing so it’s a unique and different experience everytime. Some of their most ambitious items include bacon wrapped dates with linguica and manchego, thin-crust flatbread with cured tuna, tobiko and sour cream and Kobe beef sliders with tonkatsu and quail egg. Their hand picked market greens with with crumbled goat cheese and cherry bing vinaigrette is a great starter, free range bulled barbecue chicken on brioche bread served with zucchini pickles and pommes frites (very fancy and tasty fries) is a great entree sandwich and the homemade el ray chocolate chip ice cream sandwich is a tasty dessert.

Inside, the place is colorful, industrial and edgy with a West Indies flair through their paddle fans, watercolor stained walls, a tall green hedge surrounding the outdoor patio and a killer bar with colorfully displayed wine bottles and alcohol.

Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill is located at 3250 NE 1 Avenue, Miami, FL


Second City’s Lauren Ash Brunches at Bongo Room

After a long week of wise cracks and improvised jokes, Second City star Lauren Ash hits up the sinfully delicious brunch at Bongo Room. Lauren’s must-have is the Nestle Crunch Pancakes, with bananas and crumbled Nestle Crunch bars baked into the pancake. If that sounds decadent, take a look at the rest of the menu. The Chocolate Tower French Toast is a favorite, with chocolate French Toasts piled high and topped with bananas and both chocolate and white chocolate shavings. For those who want to stay away from the carbs- although this is the place to divulge- Bongo Room has a phenomenal Lump Crab Egg Benedict that’s cooked to perfection, and a lunch menu filled with American favorites like BLT’s and classic salads, but all served in over-the-top portions. Bongo Room proves that not everything is bigger in Texas, because brunch is massive at Bongo Room.

*** Lauren Ash is a Canadian-born comedian and actor at Chicago’s iconic Second City comedy club. Lauren has received rave reviews for her starring role in Second City’s Taming of the Flu.

Authentic French Cuisine & Parisian Bar at Z Cuisine

Chef Patrick Du Pays wanted to make a “home away from home” with Z Cuisine & A Cote Bar a Absinthe- and he has succeeded. The restaurant has been awarded the Westword Best of Denver five years in a row. Using local and organic ingredients, the food is exquisitely done to perfection including classic French dishes that every palate can enjoy.

Going beyond the average bistrot restaurant, Z Cuisine has an added bonus of the A Cote Bar a Absinthe right next door. Taste real (minus the wormwood) absinthe that was illegal in the States not so long ago. If you’re not interested in some sugar and green liquid, there’s also an incredible selection of wines and cocktails to start, or end, your evening.

Wisteria: Award Winning Newcomer

To call Wisteria simply a restaurant is not to do it justice. By essentially cleaning up the AOL Citysearch Best Of Awards in over a dozen categories, everything from Best People Watching to Best American Restaurant, Wisteria takes quality to another level.

Wisteria is housed in a century-old  building, but the cuisine is contemporary American with a Southern Twist. It serves Southern classics like Fried Chicken and Pork Tenderloin alongside a sophisticated and award-winning wine list. Its homey atmosphere in the historic Inman Park makes this a romantic dining location.

The menu changes seasonally so you can come back and enjoy the delicious food at Wisteria like it was the first time.

Nora’s First for Organic Eating

Usually trends are set in New York or Los Angeles, but the Nora Restaurant started one of the best culinary trends as of late: organic eating. Being the first certified organic restaurant in the United States, Nora’s knows how to cook with the heart and body in mind. Not only is the food good for you, it is also really good. The Nora Restaurant was voted OpenTable.com’s Diners’ Choice Winner this year. At Nora’s, once you go organic, you can never go back.

Where Fulfilling Comfort Food Comes to Fruition


Fruition was named one of America’s Top Ten New Restaurants in 2007. Chef Alex Seidel didn’t create a new twist on asian fusion cuisine or use some molecular gastronomy tricks up his sleeve, he just made some seriously good comfort food. Chicken soup with homemade noodles, and even warm apple pie have never tasted so good than at Fruition. Enjoy a properly cooked meal that leaves you smiling from the stomach to the mouth.

Sushi Samba Dromo Fuses Peru, Japan and Brazil

The eye-popping, mouth-watering Sushi Samba Dromo takes fusion to a whole new level with an inspired threesome of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian tastes. You’ll feel like a world traveler in the hip, lounge-like dining area and bar. For the full global impact, be sure to sample the fusion drinks like Caipirinhas and specialty Sambatinis, Latin-inspired sushi a la the BoBo  Brazil Roll with kobe beef and the amazing meats of the “Rio Grande” Churrasco (Brazilian Barbecue).

Newsroom Cafe: The Other Robertson Hotspot

The Ivy may get all the paparazzi on Robertson, but Newsroom Cafe is where you’ll see the real LA locals and low-key celebs. Although it’s based around healthy, vegetarian-friendly dishes, Newsroom Cafe serves up burgers and wine and alcohol like the best of them. With a perfect location- complete with a people-watching patio, it is packed for lunch and dinner and at night, it turns into a hot bar scene. Newsroom is known for its freshly made juices, Veggie Burger, and, of course, a large magazine rack and wifi. This is the perfect place to stop for a break from all the trendy boutique shopping.

Wishbone Restaurant: Southern Eatin’ in the Midwest

Rockin’ comfort food since 1990 back when it was nothing more than a few stools and 23 seats, Wishbone Restaurant is clearly doing something right since they’ve now evolved to three locations.DOG_LOGO

Back before Wicker Park was an “it” neighborhood, Wishbone opened as one of the first chef-owned indie restaurants in Chi-town making it a fave locale for artists and hipsters. Today, Wishbone’s three locations continue to host artists and hipsters in the ‘hoods of Berwyn, Lincoln and West Loop.

The secret to their success? Chef and owner Joel Nickson and his brother, co-owner, Guy Nickson are indeed from the south so trust them on their southern take on good eats. Joel even schooled with Anthony Bourdain so let’s hope there was nothing on Kitchen Confidential on Wishbone.

Park Grill: 4 Seasons of Fun

Millennium Park bustles with tourists and locals in the soutdoor-summerummer gawking at art installations, music concerts and taking summer strolls while the winter hosts bundled up cuties of all ages circling the ice rink with their best moves. All seasons, this park swarms with action and the perfect place to tuck in to rest your feet in between park time is where else, but the Park Grill, found in the center of it all.

Lunchtime heats up with local business power lunches while happy hours revel in drink specials while dinners are posh yet classsic, top notch yet not over the top. In other words, Park Grill is always a safe bet and has been since it and the park’s debut in ’03.

Luna Park: Recreational Dining

luna park

Luna Park is what you think of when you think of Los Angeles restaurants: relaxed, good food, and fun.

Whether its groups of friends huddling around a table or a business lunch, the overall attitude at Luna Park is both inviting and exciting. Though the menus are packed with typical California finds, most people come to Luna Park to drink or order dessert.

The dessert menu features fun, D-I-Y options such as making your own caramel apples or s’mores as well as deep fried apples and coconut cream pie.

The popularity of Luna Park also falls in their drink menu and cocktail selection. The Kick A** Mai Tai is definitely the most popular as well as the Luna Park Mini Bar featuring three flights of the restaurant’s signature drinks.

Since the drinks at Luna Park keep the tables and outdoor patio filled, Luna Park created happy hour weekdays from 4-7pm as well as bottomless mimosas and sangria on Saturdays and Sundays.

Beware though: Miracle Mile locals and those living adjacent to Melrose might ask you to find another park to eat at.

Bowling Gets Classy at Bowlmor Lanes

Bowling has received a makeover thanks to Bowlmor Lanes. The bowling lanes that look more like a chic nightclub will change your perceptions of the old sport, where you can just as easily sip a martini and chat up the high-scorers as you can get down and dirty and watch a game.  300 Dallas offers all the technology and amenities you wouldn’t expect from a night out at the bowl-o-rama: state-of-the-art lanes, extra-large video screens, restaurants, billiards tables and an arcade will make sure you don’t strike-out no matter how bad your game. And if you’re not the best bowler, no worries, you can hit the gutter ball without anyone knowing at the semi-private lanes.

Distrito Serves Modern & Creative Mexican

13533_194338173155_178371218155_3869631_1576475_nDistrito serves modern Mexican food in a fun and quirky environment – Pepto-Bismol pink walls and VW bugs as booths to be exact. Located in University City among three of Philadelphia’s major universities, Distrito is always packed with the young and young at heart that are ready to have a good time. And Chef Jose Garces (of Top Chef and Philadelphia restaurant fame) is ready all the time for the taco-loving crowds: Distrito is open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch 5 days a week and dinner 7 nights a week.

The first floor bar and tequila lounge serves a fun cantina menu, full of all different types of tacos, enchiladas and especialidades, then when served alongside a house specialty margarita, you are good to go. For the heavier appetite or a night out with friends, it’s best to get a table and be prepared to share. All of the dishes are based on traditional Mexican ingredients but modernized – like the Fish Tacos with yellowtail, chipotle remoulade, avocado, red cabbage and lime juice, or the Skirt Steak Nachos with refried beans and queso mixto.

Tasting menus are also always available, with tequila pairings, which are not recommended for the faint of heart.

Calamari Restaurant: Where Italian Mediterranean’s alive

aMoMqUZNir3Pd6aby-v9yy-calamari-soho-restaurant-640x480Arrive at Calamari Restaurant in Coconut Grove and prepare to be tantalized by Italian dishes bursting with rich yet delicate flavors by Chef Alex Lopez, a technique he has spent years perfecting and continues evolving. With his training mostly in Italian kitchens around Miami, with some Asian and Cuban, his menu is a fusion of this trio.

The spacious restaurant is located on the quieter side of Coconut Grove, further down Main Highway. Lopez’ menu is a combination of original creations alongside classic Italian dishes. The molded tuna tartare topped with layers of fresh avocado and homemade crème fraiche, dollops of red and black caviar over chive and truffle oil and soy sauce is a must try. Grouper aqua pazza on a delicate tomato sauce surrounded by clams and mussels and chicken paillard are also great entree choices and coconut flan or panacotta with mixed berry sauce are awesome desserts.

Calamari Restaurant is located at 3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove

Mandolin Aegean Bistro: Charming with authentic fare

mandolin1It’s charm right off the bat at Mandolin Aegean Bistro, especially given that the restaurant is inside a historic 1940s house and is awash in white with traditional Mediterranean blue trim throughout. Quietly nestled between the hip Design District and Buena Vista neighborhoods, entering this place and then tasting their delicious offerings, diners are immediately transported to the Greek isles.

The food here is fresh, authentic and prepared with loving care. The Greek sampler is a great starter. Served up in a fancy trio of small containers it features tzatziki, smoked eggplant puree and tarama (a salmon puree). Gyros, pulled lamb and a lamb cheeseburger are part of the sandwich choices and for entrees there’s the village pasta of greek noodles with ground beef and bechamel sauce or a seafood stew with shrimp, mussels and calamari. Orzo pilaf, Aegean olives and wild greens round out some tasty sides.

Mandolin offers an experience to heighten the senses of tasting, seeing and  smelling to a whole other level.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro is located at 4312 NE 2 Avenue, Miami, FL

Fresh market, delectable menu at Perricone’s

The marketplace at perricones is just as enticing as the menu and the venue. Housed in a renovated New England barn, this charmer has been ranked tops by the likes of Zagat, Fodor’s and Forbes Magazine and it’s because of their fresh take on the best in Italian cuisine.

Although it’s located in the busy, bustling Brickell area near Downtown Miami, the garden seating and cozy interior make it unique from the other flashy competitors in the area. Worth trying are their delectable fresh sandwiches, especially their chicken salad, it’s homemade and out of this world. The selection of gourmet cheeses and fine wines are the perfect compliment.

In the restaurant, their oozy baked brie en croute is a cheese lover’s delight and the goat cheese salad is fresh and tasty. Pastas dominate the menu with classics like penne pomodoro, spinach-stuffed ravioli in a pink sauce and eggplant parmigiana. Rack of lamb, skirt steak and salmon join those on the menu and are spectacular choices as well. Atmosphere and great food, what else could a diner ask for?

Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe is located at 15 SE 10 Street, Miami, FL

Whiskey Blue Is the Place To Feel Like A Rock Star

whiskey blueThere’s no better place to feel like a rock star than Whiskey Blue. Of course the weekends are maddening but the weekdays aren’t too shabby either. Wednesday typically attracts the business crowd but there’s nothing boring about making dollars.

As a hotel guest, it’s easy to access the rooftop party from within the hotel but it might be worth entering it from the street just to ride up in elevator with the couch and cross the bridge to excitement.

The bar is a stylish slither so it’s only natural to meet people. Small bites like the yummy tuna spring rolls and lamb sausage pizza from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market downstairs are available until 10pm. Move past the bar and the space opens up slightly. Wood-paneled walls and yacht-club inspired furnishings create a warm and intimate vibe and then, the DJ is barely noticeable all the way in the back. There’s also seating parallel to the bar, hence the slithering gap.

Now if a city view and fresh air is a must, take the right just past the bar, through a glass door and behold a clear view of the city. To really soak in the al fresco vibe, though, go to the other side and stay awhile. Cabanas divided by a mini-garden of sorts, well shrubbery and other trappings of nature, work for all seasons thanks to heat lamps.

Drinks are seasonal and pretty standard for most bars in the Gerber Group stable. The Bubblicious, made with bubblegum vodka, is super fun. Mojitos come in multiple flavors, including strawberry, blueberry, mangomint and ginger. And, there’s lots of whiskey too.

It’s a nonstop party at Whiskey Blue. No wonder the beautiful people can’t leave it alone.

Five-Star Dining at Mandarin’s Azul Restaurant

Preparing a delectable menu that fuses Asian, Mediterranean and even some New Picture 65England influences, Chef Clay Conley makes dining at Azul in the five-star Mandarin Oriental an unforgettable experience. The bayviews alone from the restaurant could be considered inspiration enough, but the dishes are certainly prepared with a loving touch and passion for food that Conley’s been honing for years now.

Perfecting his culinary skills at famed chef Todd English’s restaurant, the food here is innovative, creative and of the highest quality, with many ingredients flown in fresh daily from around the globe. The variety is immense with offerings, like Nantucket Bay Scallops, Moroccan-inspired Lamb, Peruvian Style Ceviche and a catchy appetizer simply called A Study in Tuna that’s Asian-inspired.

In keeping with the classiness of the place, Azul is one of the few Miami restaurants offering diners a finishing cheese course in a variety of sizes.

Bistro One LR does American to Perfection

Swanky Bistro One LR at the Ritz Carlton on South Beach is doing contemporary American fare right and the food’s as beautiful as the oceanfront setting. Chef Bernardo Espinel brings his flair and passion to the creative dishes on the menu making for a delectable dining experiencePicture 57.

Chef Espinel’s been perfecting his culinary skills, working at several restaurants around Miami and New York, whose reputation and success earned him the present chef de cuisine status. It’s obvious he’s someone who loves to keep evolving in the kitchen as the menu is chock full of unique dishes, like Lamb Chop and Merguez Meatballs with Pear, Cardamom and Pearl Onions; Pan Seared King Crab with Green Papaya, Chilies and Lime; and Wild Scottish Salmon with Tomato Chutney, Basmati Rice and Brown Mustard. They even go the extra mile at Bistro One, suggesting wine pairings with each dish.

Insider’s Tip: On Sundays, make sure to wash away that wild Miami weekend of partying with Bistro One’s brunch, that includes a flowing champagne and Bloody Mary Bar.

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana Serves World Champion Slices

Home to a large Italian-American crowd, any old bloke will tell you that North Beach is the neighborhood to be in if you’re looking for a scintillating slice of San Francisco’s finest pizza. But with more than a dozen pizzerias within a five block 1radius, how can you tell the run-of-the-mill from the cream-of-the-crop? Leave it to the professionals. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is the dough and marinara of nine-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani — the first American and non-Neapolitan to ever claim the prize for “Best Pizza Margherita.”

With ingredients imported from Napoli each week alongside produce from local organic farmers and artisan cheese makers, Tony handcrafts his award-winning pizzas in the heart of Little Italy from the same 900-degree, wood-burning oven that catapulted him to fame. Just steps away from Washington Square Park, the full-service restaurant turns out a limit of 73 celebrated medium Margherita crusts a day, fresh-as-can-be ingredients permitting. If you’re not one of the chosen ones, you can take your pick of more than 25 other varieties, from truffle to quail egg and speck to the New Jersey-style “Original Tomato Pie.” If baked dough isn’t your cup of tea, praiseworthy antipasti, pastas, inslata, and dolci also await.


The letters “AOC” on a bottle of wine explain the origins of that particular bottle. In terms of the origins of this fantastic wine and cheese bar, you would have to thank Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin for their take on a French restaurant, combining a selection of various wines with equally perfect dinner pairings.

Located on one of L.A’s Picture 36most happening streets, AOC originated as a true culinary competitor. And thanks to its atmosphere, menus and unbelievable catering, they remain undefeated. Though AOC is only open for dinner hours, there are still many ways to enjoy what’s on the menu. Whether you are looking for a wine and cheese tasting or an actual sit down dinner with dishes such as Clams with Wild Mushrooms or Halibut with Carrot Puree, the end result has many diners becoming regulars.

If you can’t make it during dinner hours, not to worry: AOC can cater any party or event. And if you are looking for a little more than just a meal, AOC offers “Flight & Bite” night every Monday offering two flights of wine and bite size portions for you to enjoy.

Insider’s Tip: With such rave reviews, you may want to round up the troops and head right over, but the truth is, AOC is perfect for a slighter older crowd consisting of Hollywood types and couples.

It’s Comedy Central at Cobb’s Comedy Club

When it comes to comedy clubs, the question to ask isn’t Cobbsemptyroom“What?” or “Where?” it’s “Who?” In any case, Cobb’s Comedy Club has you covered. In its 25th year, the North Beach venue plays host to the finest funny men and women working today. From Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle to Ellen DeGeneres and Margaret Cho, Cobb’s rotating cast of headliners are Leno and Letterman regulars, many with a comedy series of their own. Let’s put it this way: a celebrated stand-up doesn’t step foot out of SFO without first making an appearance on this stage.

If you’re hungry for more than laughter, the 400-seat venue offers a full dinner menu of classic American pub food, like crispy fried calamari, marinated chicken sandwiches, and of course, a Cobb’s chopped salad. Just remember to come thirsty: with a two-beverage minimum, they mean business. Sobreity is no laughing matter.

A Touch of France at Bistrot la Minette

If you’ve never experienced France, try the next best thing and look no further than Bistrot la Minette. Even the most experienced French culinary aficionados will be impressed by the amazingly authentic creations by chef Peter Woosley, cooking up Picture 44classic bistro dishes, from Œuf du Pêcheur (mussels with a poached egg and tarragon cream sauce) and Escargots, to Roasted Chicken and Steak au Poivre. The equally divine dessert selection is the perfect end to an evening, with tartes and pastries galore (Oh la la!).

On a nice night, sit outside in the Garden Courtyard, whose dazzling European feel not only takes you away from the buzz of the city, but also won Best Outdoor Dining in 2009 from Philadelphia Magazine. Better yet, go on a Monday or Thursday night, when the Bistrot shows French films as you wine and dine in the courtyard. For larger parties, reservations can be made for the rustic farm-inspired private dining room, offering a separate menu for up to 20 guests. Could this place be more charming?

Le Bernardin for Award-Winning Seafood Perfection

A 4 star restaurant that has been named the #1 restaurant in New York by New York Magazine, New York Times and Zagat’s Guide; has won more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant; and has been awarded the highest number of Michelin stars: 3, Le Bernardin is the premier French restaurants in New York City – and arguably the world – and certainly one of the most elegant dining rooms in the country.

Picture 67The philosophy of Le Bernardin is, very simply put, the fish is the star of the plate. With the focus on seafood, Chef Eric Ripert (whose name and restaurant may sound familiar from multiple Top Chef appearances) has created an ambitious yet uncomplicated dinner menu that is broken into three courses: almost raw, barely touched and lightly cooked. Chef Eric Ripert’s favorite dishes are the Tuna made of Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin with Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette; the Crab with Stuffed Zucchini Flower with Peektoe, King Crab and “Fine Herbs – Lemon” Mousseline Sauce; and the Surf and Turf of Escolar and Seared Kobe Beef with Sea Bean Salad and Eggplant Fries.

Le Bernardin is one of those restaurants that is the special occasion as it will probably be the most memorable dining experience of your entire life.

Insider’s Tip: As Le Bernardin’s reputation precedes itself throughout the globe, make sure to make a reservation well in advance and bring a heavy wallet; such perfection is priced accordingly.

Wine, Pies, and Good Times at Coal Vines

Picture 77If you venture into the uptown scene in Dallas, you know that Coal Vines is the hip hangout where pizza and wine are accessories to a great time. For several years now, Coal Vines has provided a meet-up spot to grab cocktails and a slice of pie before a big night out or a late night patio date. Wines of cabernet, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir or sparkling…there is no shortage of the perfect sip to go along with coal oven baked pizzas. If pizza won’t hit the spot, perhaps Rigatoni or Fennel Crusted Salmon will do the trick.

Though it’s a small venue and there isn’t much room to move around, the space reverberates a neighborhood vibe that is comfortable and familiar. Whether it’s a first or last stop on your night out, Coal Vines can rev up or wind down any excellent time.

Yank Sing Delivers Dim Sum on the Ritz

Picture 61If the hustle and the bustle of Chinatown’s to-go only dim sum spots makes you feel “lost in translation,” but you still have a taste for the Orient, Yank Sing might be just the thing. One of only five restaurants designated “an American classic” with a 2009 James Beard Foundation award — the Oscars of the culinary world — this delightful dining spot is the definitive dim sum house.

With unflinching, rapid-fire servings of an exceptional variety of fried and steamed small plates wheeled around in carefully choreographed carts, your only worry will be to know when to stop. Luckily, you can get comfortable sitting back to overeat and taste your terrific tea at a luxe table dressed in white linens — a far cry from the flickering overhead lights and suspended poultry of Stockton Street. Better yet, with prime locations in both the Embarcadero and the Financial District, your hotel suite or business meeting may be just a hobble, skip or jump away.

Nob Hill’s Amélie Wins With Wine and Ambiance

When in San Francisco, wine and dine as the San Franciscans do. With its sleek, lacquered, red bar and dimly-lit, wine-bottle-shaped sconces, French-owned Aamelie sfmélie is a modern wine lounge with worldly flair. Its extensive wine list globe-trots from California to Europe to South America, and pairs off perfectly with delectable cheese plates, charcuterie, and favorites like Raviole du Royan — stuffed ravioli with chanterelles and Gruyère — and the indulgent grenadine caramelized onion flatbreads.

Get cozy on vintage theater seats with a glass of wine for a romantic rendezvous, mingle with chic locals at the bar, or sit down with a booth full of friends at this lively Nob Hill spot. Whether you go stag or you arrive with company, the engaging and lively international staff — all expert sommeliers — are reason enough to stop in for a wine and cheese pairing, and perhaps, sharpen your Française.

Macaluso’s: Homemade Italian Away From Home

Macaluso’s is reminiscent of a traditional Italian restaurant in Little Italy where the meatballs taste like they’re straight from Grandma’s kitchen. But there’s no red and white checkered tablecloths here, instead there are photographs of celebrity regulars like Gloria Estefan and Roger Federer, along with white linens and upscale decor all the way.Picture 10

Chef Michael Vito D’Andrea is as famous in Miami as his award-winning meatballs.  Chef D’Andrea is known for his no-nonsense, no substitutions attitude and the meatballs are known for their incredible taste, of course, especially with the homemade pasta. Mascaluso’s has plenty of other Italian faves, like sausage and peppers and meatball pizza, but the menu here is verbal only; it’s one way they keep the place feeling like home.

If you’re looking to take home some of the delicious meal, you’re in luck. Next to the restaurant is the market, Macaluso’s & Co., where lunch is served and the homemade meatballs and sausages are for sale.

Taylor-Made Refinement at Restaurant Kevin Taylor

Picture 58Luxury is Kevin Taylor’s middle name, so you can bet that his long-standing signature restaurant in the Hotel Teatro is a bastion of all the finer things in life. The elegant yet warm decor of this recipient of countless accolades (including the AAA Four Diamond and Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Awards) sets the mood for Taylor’s style of New French with Southwest and Asian flourishes: laden with traditional delicacies like foie gras, lobster, and truffles, it’s also graced with fresh, food-forward accents, from lavender flowers and corn shoots to maitakes and poppy seeds. Also befitting the upscale setting, all rich upholstery and silver sparkle, is formal, white-glove service.

It all makes for a prime spot to throw private parties, with seating in the extensive wine cellar- the list here is pricey but top rated- and a customized menu. Meanwhile, anyone who wants the full Kevin Taylor experience should consider the seven-course tasting- a veritable four-hour banquet to make any occasion special.

Simply Divine at Devon Seafood

In the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast and two blocks of the Magnificent Mile, Devon Seafood is the Devon3MidWest’s answer to the freshest daily catches, delicate flavors and all the wine you could want. With over 600 wines and Champagnes on the menu, including plenty of rare boast-worthy bottles, there’s absolutely no risk of not finding the perfect accompaniment.

Whether it’s Maryland style jumbo lump crab cakes, ahi tartare with fresh asparagus and herbs or scrumptious Georges Bank scallops, Devon Seafood has been mastering its changing menus since opening in 2006.

The chic interior competes with the “oohs” and “ahhs” gushing about over the cuisine. Looking like it could very well be an interior design boutique or hipster furniture shop with its lush velvet chairs, feather covered lamps, stone covered walls and perfectly colored wood floors, guests work up an appetite just by checking out the place’s digs.

When the plates arrive, however, it’s all about the catch of the day and yet, you’ll probably be back for the catch of tomorrow as well. For that, one has to thank executive chef, Scott Barrows. Thank you, thank you very much.

Tavern on Camac: Nightclub, Piano Bar and Restaurant in One

Philadelphia is known for pioneering on many fronts throughoutPicture 10 history, and not to be forgotten is the evolution of Philly’s Gayborhood and acceptance of gay rights in its community. The Tavern on Camac in Washington Square West is one of the premiere LGBT spots in the city and is proudly open 7 nights a week to anyone and everyone.

The Tavern on Camac (T.O.C.) is basically divided into three parts – the restaurant, the piano bar and the nightclub. The restaurant, called Terra, serves up new American cuisine with everything from arctic char to sliders and quesadillas. Ascend Lounge is the dance party upstairs, and the only thing you will be wishing is that the dance floor was a bit bigger to accommodate all the fabulous dancers.

Which leaves us with the Pièce de résistance – the piano bar. Whether you’re singing Britney Spears or the best of My Fair Lady, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the best choir ever to sing together. And whether it’s the stiff drinks talking or just the nostalgia from the piano riffs, you’ll be having a great time no matter what.

Buena Vista Bistro’s Revolving Menu

Don’t expect to be handed a paper menu when you enter this place, they’re non-existent. No printed wine list either, because everything available at Buena Vista Bistro changes daily. That’s why this place fits in perfectly with the bohemian Buena Vista neighborhood that neighbors the heart of the Miami Design District.Bistro food

Small, intimate, dark and moody, the restaurant’s interior suits the French-inspired cuisine. There are no menus, but there is a big chalkboard and mirror, so when something’s out, the eraser comes out and it’s off the board. What graces that infamous board? Goodies like the Endive and Blue Cheese Appetizer, and  Jumbo Scallops, Escargot a la Provencale, Ratatouille and Grouper in Beurre Blanc for entrees. Desserts are always a surprise, along with the daily delectable concoctions that are devised here.

At night, Buena Vista Bistro comes alive, being voted the Best Late Night Dining by the Miami New Times. So whether taking a little delicious detour from the Miami Design District or enjoying a reasonably priced French meal after most restaurants have been emptied, Buena Vista is that perfect French bistro.

Lacroix’s Haute Cuisine in Beautiful Rittenhouse Square

Every now and then you have one of those moments where you think “I don’tPicture 13 know what on Earth I just ate, but it was delicious and I want more!” And even when they tell you what it is (kampachi who?) just smile, nod and be thankful that the glorious morsel is in your mouth! Lacroix provides exotic flavor blends that will wow even the most adventurous of palates in one of the most luxurious and beautiful settings in Philadelphia.

Overlooking the haute Rittenhouse Square, Lacroix provides a serene loft above the bustle of the streets. The staff is exceptional, as is the sommelier (handsome and French, just the way he should be).

It seems futile to suggest entrees because everything will leave you speechless and thrilled. If you’re not in town for dinner, the brunch is legendary. From the towering raw bar with exceptional caviar selections to the crisped corn beef and potato hash with, ahem, poached egg on top (awesome!) all bellies will leave full and delighted.

Grill 23 Offers Serious Steaks

Step into the bustling steakhouse known as Grill 23 and you will be greeted with impeccable service and first rate steaks. Located across the street from the old John Hancock building and in what was once the commodities trading floor of the old Salada Tea Company, this award-winning and Picture 30nationally recognized Back Bay steakhouse has emerged as one of the city’s standouts.

The two-floored dining room focuses on an open-air kitchen where guests can watch Executive Chef Jay Murray prepare each signature dish. The a la carte menu at Grill 23 features quality steaks with even higher price tags ($40 to $50) such as a dry aged New York strip, Kobe cap steak, bone-in filet and ribeye, but returning diners believe it’s worth every penny. The wine list, which reads more like a book, is truly amazing featuring red reserves like a 1998 Screaming Eagle cabernet that goes for a handsome $1,400 per bottle. When the restaurant fills in on the weekends, expect the noise level to rise tremendously, so depending on your mood book a reservation early for a quiet celebration or later for a more lively atmosphere. Visit grill23.com for more information.

Top Chef’s Ryan Scott Dines at Tommy’s Joynt

San Francisco’s “Top Private Chef” Ryan Scott, whom may look familiar from the Top Chef: Chicago season, has strong opinions on what’s at the top of the Bay Area’s must-sees. “The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and Tommy’s Joynt should be on everyone’s list when visiting San Francisco,” Chef Ryan Scott told citybuzz.

Tommy’s Joynt may seem likePicture 12 the odd man out, but it’s got a legend to go along with its legendary following: Tommy’s Joynt is the place where Metallica met and first came together. Even as one of San Francisco’s older restaurants, lines are generally out the door for the simple, mouth-watering American favorites that even the most sophisticated chefs can’t resist. “They let you build your own plate with ingredients from roast beef, turkey, corned beef, braised lamb shank and spaghetti, with sides that remind you of Thanksgiving all year long,” Chef Ryan Scott says. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a bonus to this humble diner joynt: “Did I mention they have over 125  beers to choose from?” So whether it’s a liquid diet or a hearty holiday meal you’re looking for, Tommy’s Joynt has it covered.

*** Chef Ryan Scott is a San Francisco-based private chef who has honed his skills at some of San Francisco’s best restaurants: Gary Danko, Myth Cafe and Mission Beach Cafe. Chef Ryan Scott was featured on Bravo’s Top Chef: Chicago and makes frequent television appearances on The Today Show and Fox & Friends.

Amazing Views and Seafood at Barking Crab

If you’re visiting Boston, a must-see, albeit touristy, attraction is The Barking Crab located directly on the water in Fort Point Channel. Not your average clam shack, this casual seafood year-round hotspot boasts a funky nautical themed interior with wood burning stove. Fresh seafood is the focal point with items like Blue Point oysters Picture 12on the half shell, lobster and crab dip, steamers, shrimp cocktails and Old Bay crawfish.

In the warmer months, the restaurant opens the back deck complete with picnic tables, but closes the area in the winter. The interior section offers private tables and a small bar, but the restaurant is anything but formal. Don a lobster bib and your server will present you with a plastic bucket to deposit the shells from the gargantuan legendary and signature Neptune platter, which comes complete with a two-pound lobster and a four-pound mixed crab bowl, corn on the cob and coleslaw. The lobster ravioli here just may be the best in the city. The Boston cream pie is the perfect ending here.

Kids love to come here for the fun atmosphere and parents love the $7 kids menu, which even includes desserts for tots under eight. Check out the website at barkingcrab.com.

Decadestwo’s Christos Garkinos Eats at Tere’s Mexican Grill

Decadestwo co-owner Christos Garkinos, who is the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood of Fashion,” has access to some of Hollywood’s best closets, like Charlize Theron, Rachel Zoe and Selma Blair. When he’s not shmoozing with the rich and fabulous and filling his store with high-end consignment items at killer prices, Christos is at Tere’s Mexican Grill.

“It’s the best Mexican food in the city,” ChristosPicture 15 told citybuzz. At Melrose and Cahuenga, this popular and humble Mexican joint is just steps from his home, which as he explains is “a huge LA bonus.” The easy-to-miss restaurant may have tennis ball-footed chairs and orders are only taken at the bar, but who needs pizazz when the food does all the talking? Delicious handmade tortillas wrap the overflowing burritos and tasty enchiladas. A favorite meal is the Carne Asada Nachos that’s washed down with a fresh, traditional Horchata drink. The sunny, earthy interior as well as sidewalk seating make this a perfect spot to enjoy the LA sunshine, while chowing down on some of the best Mexican food North of the Border.

*** Christos Garkinos is the co-owner of the popular LA consignment boutique, Decadestwo, that has been featured on Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project. Decadestwo has high-end designer clothing, shoes and accessories from some of Hollywood’s most fashionable closets. Christos is also owner of LA’s Alpha, an all-encompassing men’s store, which GQ named as one of the top 100 men’s stores in the country.

Domo: A Country Japanese Jewel

Picture 8Domo hasn’t won Westword’s reader’s choice award for Best Japanese Restaurant fourteen years in a row for nothing. On the contrary, it’s a Denver treasure all the way around.

To open the heavy wooden door is to enter a rustic cottage in the feudal-era countryside, scattered with fascinating knickknacks like jars of viper wine and three-million-year-old chunks of rock salt; to exit out the other side is to discover a lush garden retreat, complete with a drum-bridged koi pond and a traditional shrine.

The menu is equally uncommon: chef-owner Gaku Homma’s so-called Japanese country fare comprises one-pot specialties such as donburi, nabemono, teriyaki, and the signature, chirashi-like Wanko sushi—all served with an array of sides and the fruity house sauce. Meanwhile, if there’s one thing Domo’s not known for, it’s efficient service—prepare to linger for a spell.

Spice Market Spices Up the Meatpacking

Few places command the same opening buzz and packed seats six years down the road, but Spice Market has become a mainstay destination in the ever-evolving Meatpacking district. A mega-restaurant – two floors of carved wood canopies and Southeast Asian inspired decor with a perfect people-watching patio- delivers food that’s as delicious and consistent as one would expect from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.Picture 19

Spice Market is technically inspired from the street food of Southeast Asia, but the cuisine, which taps the flavors of Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and India, is delivered with luxurious style. For a perfect meal, start off with the Chicken Samosas- a perfect blend of crispy outer shell and moist meat inside; favorite entrees include Steamed Red Snapper with Shitake Mushrooms, Ginger, Scallions and Tarragon or the Red Curried Duck, where a side of the sweet Coconut Sticky Rice Steamed in Banana Leaf takes the spicy curry to another level; finish off the meal with the Thai Jewels and Fruits with Crushed Coconut Ice for a cool dessert. Meals are meant to be shared, so don’t be afraid to order plenty for the table.

Reservations are highly recommended as Spice Market is one of the hottest dining options in its trendy downtown neighborhood, but if all else fails, make sure to grab a seat at the bar where mixologists whip up unique spins on cocktail favorites like the Saigon Cosmo, Ginger Margarita and Pineapple Mojito.

Five Courses of French Heaven at Les Nomades

Picture 11Ask a Frenchie in Chicago where he or she loves to go for la cuisine francaise authentique and you’re most likely to hear “Les Nomades.” Pourquoi? It’s simple, with amazing array of plats premiers like herb roasted Maine lobster, Chantenay carrot purée, sugar snap peas, Madras curry natural jus; main courses like Duo of Squab Breast and Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with mustard greens, quinoa, sauce d’épice;  fromage plates and desserts like chesnut bon bon mousse coffee ganache and Guanaja chocolate cremeux. After all this, you’ll wish the five hour, five course meal would never end.

Inside a chic brownstone just steps off of Michigan Avenue, Les Nomades is zee perfect place to rest your shopper’s feet while sipping back wine from the award winning list. From Forbes, AAA Four Diamond, Zagat to Wine Spectator, this place has won all the awards that count. The service alone speaks for its status.

Insider’s Tip: Pay the $130/person for the five course meal, you won’t regret it.

House: Not Your Average Hole in the Wall

Fail to pay attention and you’ll walk right by, but for those who know House it stands out like the TransAmerica building amidst the cliché dim sum depots that define Chinatown.  For over a decade, House has finely presented the best in East-meets-West cuisine for its loyal patrons.

Picture 7Always dramatic, Chef Larry Tse’s perfectly balanced towers of food are known to awe.  Set against a sleek neutral atmosphere with slate tiles and simply framed art, his presentations really stand out.  Don’t expect dumplings in a bamboo steamer, they’ll come out arranged around a delicate sauce on a paper-thin layer of beets, and it’s as pleasing to look at as it is to eat.

Of course, every restaurant has its signature.  For House, the miso-glazed black sea bass ($24) has a long-standing following; it’s a caramelized slab of perfect white fish draped with a long-biased cut of California roll.  House also performs every operation with military efficiency and precision so you can get in, get out, and enjoy your evening on the town.

Fratelli Lyon Takes Fresh to Another Level

Stroll along the heart of Miami’s Design District and discover a place where the decor is modern and the food is prepared with a heart. At Fratelli Lyon, the dishes are not only great tasting but made in the freshest way possible, with ingredients like grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood and organically grown produce. Even the water filtration system is special here, producing triple filtered still and sparkling waters that are used in the homemade sodas, beverages and bottled waters.

Picture 20Now that the standard’s been set, don’t think for one minute it’s all boring food here. The menus – both lunch and dinner – are full of Italian favorites. The extensive list of antipastos is impressive all on its own with three categories: cheese, meats, or greens and fish. Even the wide range of pastas have two categories: handmade fresh or artisanal imported dry. The wine list is beyond extensive with something for any taste and price range.

Pizzas, paninis, salads, house specials, and specialty Italian coffees round out the menu and for lunch there’s an irresistible $24 fixed price that includes a choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert or house wine.

2. Toast of the Town Wine Enthusiast Gala April 8

Picture 26This evening could very well change the way you think about a wine tasting forever. After all, that is the goal of Wine Enthusiast’s Toast of the Town. Several factors make this annual gala much more than a sampling of reds and whites: the global range of delicious beverages, the food, the music, the setting, and the way they all go together. Sip with the Fishes at a spectacular evening of wines, spirits and music, paired with culinary creations from Atlanta’s top restaurants, all in the spectacular Georgia Aquarium!

French Riviera Glamour at Award-Winning Palme d’Or

Picture 10Mention the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to anyone in the greater Miami area and the words classic, elegant, sophisticated and swanky will undoubtedly be repeated. So it’s fitting that the French restaurant Palme d’Or would be the hotel’s signature eatery. Featuring a menu brimming with French nouvelle creations by chef Philippe Ruiz, the cuisine is #1 with Zagat (it swept the Top Food, Decor and Service honors in the 2010 guide) and the Miami Herald critics have twice ranked it “exceptional.”

Stated clearly on the menu is the chef’s recommendation of at least three to four courses. Suggested options include sauteed Maine scallop, grilled duck foie gras, wild mushroom cassolette, seven-hour braised beef effilochee, and for dessert, a new twist on the strawberry shortcake.

Palme D’Or also has a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, an enviable wine list and a theater menu available only from 6-7 pm for those catching a show in the area. And how fitting since that’s what the entire Biltmore experience recalls, the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, where this restaurant deserves its own Palme d’Or for best restaurant experience.

The Buzz Around Cafe Bizou

With three locations and endless rave reviews, it’s no wonder that Café Bizou is popular all over Los Angeles, from Pasadena to Sherman Oaks to Santa Monica.

This French bistro is the perfect birthday, anniversPicture 15ary or first date location. Though elegant and intimate, it’s doubtful you can show up on a Friday night without spotting a sweet sixteen to your right and a newly engaged couple to your left. If mood lighting and a quiet atmosphere is your thing, then this place probably isn’t. The Santa Monica location may be beautiful, but with that beauty comes a whole lot of people.

Thanks to its two dollar corkage fee and prix fixe menus, the long wait you will experience without a reservation is most definitely worth it. Diners who swear by this café leave raving about the flourless chocolate cake and the Steak au Poivre as a few of their favorites.

Café Bizou truly takes French food to a whole other level, leaving the ritzy feeling behind and bringing family and friends together. With great food and great prices, don’t be surprised to find another location coming to a city near you.

Fleming’s Prime Affordable Steaks

Imagine finding a steakhouse in Boston that offers quality beef at affordable prices. That’s exactly what Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar does night after night and wins “Best Steakhouse” in Boston year after year. Located across from The Boston Park Plaza Hotel in the Theater District, this elegant restaurant that has a dark wood interior with high ceilings and an open spacious dining room, was the first East Coast location for the West Coast brand.

Start off with a glass of wine from itsPicture 13 Wine Spectator award-winning collection of 100 vintages by the glass to go along with some Blue Point oysters. There is a good selection of seafood for those who don’t like beef, but for the true carnivores, the bone-in ribeye and bone-in New York strip should not be missed. For the ultimate indulgence, try the house specialty, Fleming’s potatoes, served with cream, jalapenos and cheddar cheese, which are large enough to share with the entire table. The walnut turtle pie should be the grand finale of the evening. Visit flemingssteakhouse.com
for more information.

Insider Tip: If you sit at the bar, don’t miss the amazing deal of five for $6 until 7 p.m. promotion, which includes a choice of five cocktails, five glasses of wine and five appetizers.

Say “Oui” to the Dining Room at Hotel St. Germain

Picture 15Fine french cuisine isn’t always the easiest to find. That’s why the Dining Room at the Hotel St. Germain is such a Dallas gem; it boasts a seven-course gourmet experience that utilizes the freshest of ingredients and meats. Crystal and china accents make the tablescapes eye catching and exude a rich Parisian feel. The champagne bar is a delight when celebrating any occasion, or no occasion at all.

If seafood is your fare, try the pan-seared sea scallops with lobster sauce and caviar-an utter treat. If you are a meat-lover at heart, beef tenderloin with roasted artichokes and fingerling potatoes will have you saying “Merci!”.

If all this sounds very luxurious and refined, it is. Jackets are required for men, so prepare to dress to impress. Afterall, why not look tres chic while indulging in a little bit of France down south?

For Swank and Steak, It’s Always Elway’s

Picture 14Although it may have owed its early fanfare to the popularity of its namesake, retired Broncos quarterback and co-owner John Elway, this Cherry Creek steakhouse has endured on its own merits: a swanky white-cloth setting, a legendary local bar scene, and a solid (if spendy) repertoire of chops, luxury seafood, and other modern American classics.

In fact, its success has spread downtown, with an even fancier, leather-swathed and wine-walled outpost in the Ritz-Carlton—where the day begins with power breakfasts and ends with sightings of sports celebs hunkered down over ribeyes and crab legs.

Tuxedo Wearin’, Soprano’s Stylin’ at Acappella

Picture 11Ever wonder where those classic Italian restaurants that are always in gangster films exist? Look no further than Acappella. Featured in the first-ever Soprano’s episode, the food, service and ambiance make you feel like you are in a scene from The Godfather.

The menu is filled with authentic and traditional Northern Italian cuisine, from veal to lobster to pasta. Be sure to try the Bandiera Italiana, consisting of fettuccine with wild mushrooms, cavatelli with pesto, and green and white “hay and straw” pasta with fresh plum tomatoes and herbs. Everything is fresh, and the pastas and desserts are homemade. There are also seasonal specialties, such as wild rabbit, wild boar and buffalo meat in the fall or winter. The wine list is impressive as well, with plenty of domestic and imported wines, including specialty Italian wines.

With sixteen foot high beamed ceilings, oversized columns, brick walls, Italian tapestries, and tuxedo wearing waiters, the experience is unique and very Italian. Like the motto says, “We will make you a dish you can’t refuse!”

New Museum’s Lisa Phillips Dines at Gemma

As the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisa Phillips knows a thing or two about the “renaissance,” as she calls it, of Bowery Street. The New Museum, is after all, at the center of that explosion of art on Bowery with its Guggenheim-esque new building that opened on December 1, 2007.

Picture 6When Lisa isn’t at the forefront of all things innovative, she heads up a few blocks on Bowery to the New Museum’s antithesis, Gemma. “This is where I spend most of my time and eat most of my meals,” Lisa told citybuzz of the East Village area.

Gemma’s an Italian restaurant that’s as rustic as you can get in ultra-modern New York City. There’s the classic thatched red wine bottles, wooden table tops and copper covered bar that evoke a feeling that Dorothy is no longer in the East Village anymore. The menu is filled with tried and true favorites like delicious wood-fired pizzas and soft gnocchi with a hearty Bolognese sauce. The easy setting and reliable food leaves diners like Lisa Phillips with the impression that, as the New York Times stated,”Gemma has an unlabored panache that makes an evening go down very easy.”

*** Lisa Phillips has been the Director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art since 1999.

It’s All About Legs at Hugo’s Frog Bar

Chicago’s Gold Coast is a mecca of fine dining and celeb sightings. Where Rush Street turns into State Street- what Chicagoans call the Viagra Triangle for its reputation of older men with arm candy dates- is a scene of classic Chicago restaurants where Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House stands out above the crowd as one of the best spots for seafood you’ll find west of the Atlantic.

But before you even get to the mouth-Picture 15watering menu options of crab, lobster, oysters (for the aphrodisiac lovers) and fresh fishes, it’s all about the legs. Oui, les frog legs that is. Lathered in garlic and delicious spices, the frog legs at Hugo’s are so scrumptious that even the pickiest of eaters tend to become leg lovers post visit. If you save enough room after the legs, the menu is chalk full of more seafood options and of course, plenty of turf for meat lovers as well.

Equally as notable as the delicious cuisine here however, is the charm of the ambiance. The ol’ maritime interior and swingin’ vibe leave patrons in a jolly good mood as they sip dirty martinis and their conversations begin to spill from one table to the next.

Viagra not included.

Ooh La La, Le Provencal C’est Magnifique!

Picture 7The classics of French cuisine and wine are expertly represented at the beacon that is Le Provencal restaurant in Coral Gables. For years, the place was nestled in a corner of Miracle Mile, and now finds itself a new home in the center of the ritzy street. The menu though, prepared by Chef Christian Antoniotti, hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still chock full of traditional French fare including bouillabaisse du Provencal- a fish, mussels, sea scallops and shrimp stew; duck leg confit with chestnuts; endive salad with walnuts and roquefort cheese. Pair the meal with a wine from their impressive selection (the list includes reds, whites, and sparklings) from the USA and around the world. The look and feel, from the food and wine to the simple decor, is all French bistro done at its finest.

Chow Down in Style at Mr. Chow

Picture 7No matter where a Mr. Chow restaurant opens, it instantly becomes a spot where everyone must go, especially celebrities. In Miami – in South Beach’s swanky W Hotel no less- Mr. Chow is brimming with elegance and style.

The Asian food here has to be called cuisine, because of offerings like fresh steamed sea bass filet and fresh lobster noodles – lobster tails sauteed in ginger sauce served on a bed of  handmade noodles. The flair and creativity with which the dishes are prepared is unequaled and so stands the reputation of this hot bed of Beijing-inspired yummy. Don’t come looking for honey chicken, General Tsao’s or special fried rice here, it’s non-existent.

Grimaldi’s: New York Style in a Southern Locale

Just east oPicture 22f the West Village, Grimaldi’s Pizza can get you in a New York state of mind; it’s the closest thing you’ll find to New York style pizza this far south. The coal-fired brick oven pizza is cooked until the crust is delightfully crisp, and everything is homemade or shipped from back east.

With a range of toppings including jalapenos, artichokes and good old pepperoni, you can’t go wrong adorning your pie. Tomato Basil pizza comes highly recommended, as well as the nice selection of beer and wine. If weather permits, enjoy your meal outside and drink a bottle of wine from the Cork wine bar next door. With traditional Italian decor and Rat Pack music playing overhead, you just might forget you aren’t dining in the Big Apple.

Oyster House: A Philly Tradition for Aphrodisiacs

The Sansom Picture 13Street Oyster House, now known as just the Oyster House, is a classic staple of the food scene and has been serving Philadelphians fresh seafood at reasonable prices since 1947. Oyster Hour is the House’s version of happy hour, serving “Buck-A-Shuck” $1 Oysters of the Day and drink specials during weekday happy hour and late-night on Saturdays.

These mouth-watering little aphrodisiacs are a wonderful start to a night out on the town, chased down with the House’s quality cocktails. The Oyster House is also home to Philadelphia’s odd, but delicious pairing, fried oysters and chicken salad – an old 19th century tradition that started at The Union League and stayed in the city’s heart.

After being renovated a little over a year ago, the Oyster House now boasts high ceilings and industrial-chic flair; with the family’s dynamic collection of ceramic oyster plates speckling the walls, you’ll find just the right hint of personality that will make you want to come back for more.

Hotel Palomar – Luxury with a Twist

Picture 8After a long afternoon of flights, taxis and bustling streets, how do you feel about starting your stay with an in-room full body massage? The Hotel Palomar offers unique twists on the basic amenities most luxury hotels have to offer. For no extra change, you and your VIP (Very Important Pet, that is) can stay with you and also receive the pamper package via pet sitting, grooming, walking and massages.

Hotel Palomar is an eco-friendly hotel that up and down sets an example for a better environment. The hotel has been recognized for a multitude of green things, like design innovation, water and energy efficiency, and opening the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered restaurant in the city, Square 1682.

Sunrise to Sunset at The Mondrian

The best part about staying in a Los Angeles hotel is mixing your down time in the room with the best restaurants and nightlife this glamorous town has to offer. The Mondrian is the go-to hotspot for hotel guests and non-guests alike.

Picture 15Skybar at The Mondrian is constantly packed and never seems to lose its elegance or wow factor. Along with the great late night spots are even better places to eat. Asia de Cuba is one of the most popular restaurants right now and it’s the perfect spot to eat great food either on the patio or in a lavishly decorated dining room. The Mondrian is also infamous in the summer for hosting pool parties for people looking to catch some rays and celebrity sightings.

Due to its location on Sunset Boulevard, The Mondrian is the one-stop shop for all of your tanning, dining and nightlife needs.

Vetri’s Osteria is Italian at its Best

Marc Vetri’s name in Philadelphia is known across the city, whether you’re talking about his flagship and namesake restaurant, or the charming and rustic Osteria. Homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas, wood grilled meats and fish are always in season, making Osteria the perfect place to dine year-round – the ultimate perk being that the menu changes every three months.

Although the Italian menu may be a bit hard to read, the descriptions are universally delectable. Pizzas range from “le pizza tradizionale,” i.e. the Margherita, to Vongole Pizza, with cockles, cherrystone clams, mozzarella, parsley and anchovy pesto. Antipasti plates range from farm-fresh vegetables dressed with bright vinaigrette and local cheeses, to house-cured salumi. And pastas are endlessly creative, straying deliciously far from Momma’s spaghetti and meatballs.

This passionate food is served up along side a 100 bottle Italian wine list from every region of the country. It’s the perfect place to try Marc Vetri’s infamous Italian cuisine without worrying about a fully booked reservation list.

The Grub at Joe’s is ALWAYS in Season

Even though Joe’s Stone Crab’s famous stone crab claws are only iPicture 6n season for part of the year, this landmark spot has a menu to rival any place in town… and then some. Greats like baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, aviator Amelia Earhart and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor have all dined at Joe’s and Miami’s social elite still flock to the spot to get their fix of the freshest stone crab claws and a veritable smorgasbord of delectable sides like coleslaw, creamed spinach and hash brown potatoes.

Although they’re known for their seafood, the roasted chicken at Joe’s is unbeatable. By all means save room for dessert, the key lime pie is beyond incredible and is a perfect ending to the meal. The wait at Joe’s is long since reservations aren’t taken, but you’re in luck, because there’s always Joe’s Take Away.

Ravaging The Food World Like An Animal

With pig ears onAnimal Pic the menu and bacon chocolate for dessert, it’s no wonder this place is called Animal. The absurd combinations may have customers questioning, but it all turns to delight when they find themselves licking the bowl clean.

Powerhouse chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook took their friendship out of the culinary classroom and onto one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles. The two chefs who have taken the culinary world by storm delivering dishes full of ethnic flare and out of this world creations.  Eaters will vouch that everything is good on the menu and you truthfully cannot go wrong.

What makes this dining experience unlike the rest is that you find yourself in a trendy location with terrific food. Unlike happening spots with not so happening food, the ambiance and food go hand and hand and make this dining trip worth venturing to again.

Brenda’s Comfort Food Has French Soul

On the outskirts of the Civic Center district lies San Francisco’s favorite breakfast and brunch hole-in-the-wall, Brenda’s French Soul Food.  On any given day Brenda’s produces a line of adoring patrons around the block, waiting in anticipation among the smells of buttery Cajun shrimp and grits with salty warm biscuits.  ConsPicture 5idering this gem is among the Top 5 Bold Newcomers from the New York Times and one of Travel & Leisure’s Top 50 US Restaurants of 2009, the hour wait is no surprise.

Since 2007, Brenda Buenviaje has charmed the city with her closet-sized open kitchen, a total of seven tables, and an old-fashioned diner-style counter.  Her New Orleans fare never rises above $10 and the portions are served with a heavy hand and plenty of love. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here, along with the best beignets west of France (try the Godiva chocolate or paprika crawfish).  Wash it all down with Brenda’s special watermelon sweet tea and you’d swear you’re in the French Quarter.

54 Mint Wine Bar’s Italian Charm

SOMA’s new 54 Mint Wine Bar is technically a three-in-one punch of vineria (wine bar), ristorante, and alimentari (food store), but really it’s all imported deliciousness. As the only distributor of some of its Italian fine wines to the straight-from-Italy sheep’s milk cheese and handmade Italian plates, 54 Mint serves up an authentic Italian meal that tastes even better coming from the hand of the heavily accented servers.

This hotspot is the work of native Umbrian owners Alberto Avalle (of NYC’s Il Buco fame) and Claudio Ricciolini- and 54 Mint can’t be a better ode to their homeland. Even the famous Umbrian olive oil is sprinkled into nearly every dish and is even displayed beautifully for customers to buy.

During good weather, make sure to hit up the patio for some great people watching in the trendy SOMA district.

Wine and Dine on a Grand Ship at Moshulu

Picture 4This four-diamond restaurant and Philly favorite transformed a huge pre-war ship into a beautiful dining room and restaurant. Multi-level, open air decks give Moshulu diners an unparalleled experience of Philadelphia’s gorgeous skylines and some of the city’s most delicious dishes.

Chef Ralph Fernandez, who worked at the ultra-luxurious Pierre Hotel in New York City,  is one of the most talented chefs in Philadelphia. Using South Seas flair and cooking up entrees like Thai Filet Mignon & Shrimp and Moshulu Chicken Cobb Salad, Chef Fernandez creates a delicious new American menu with French, Southwestern, and American influences. Pair the entrees with a glass of wine from the 180 strong wine list that has won many awards.

Journalist Maureen Orth Seas BlackSalt is Best

Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist that has covered beats for the likes of Newsweek and Vanity Fair, but when she goes out to eat she only likes the best, BlackSalt Fish Market Restaurant. As the capital’s premier seafood restaurant, quality fresh fish is their pride and joy. Picture 6

One part fish market, one part restaurant, BlackSalt is your one stop gourmet shop for everything seafood. Rated one of the best restaurants in D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine, Chef Jeff Black makes each seafood item shine- from mussels to shrimp to lobster and grouper. Pairing the perfectly seasoned and cooked dishes with a crisp Chardonnay brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level.

The Fish Market is based on Chef Jeff Black’s desire to provide chefs-in-the-making at home with the best seafood possible. So whatever you choose is guaranteed to be delicious, but if you’re unsure of what to take and how to prepare it, Fishmonger Keith Slepper’s always there to lead you in the right direction.

Dine in or take out, Maureen Orth can attest to the fact that this is the place for seafood in D.C.

*** Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist who started her career at the prestigious Newsweek Magazine and is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the founder of the K12 Wired Foundation.

Puttin’ on the Ritz at Key Biscayne Hotel

Across the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge, flanked by a breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay, lies the posh island of Key Biscayne. There’s no better way to enjoy this land of luxury than at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Picture 7

This island is a virtual playground for the rich and famous with its luxury residences, world-famous tennis stars everywhere (a little thing called the Sony Ericsson Open is held there), and PGA golfers playing the premier course Links at Key Biscayne.

When all that activity is done, relaxing for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton isn’t a bad place to lay your head down. This hotel is a best of the best with one of the Top 10 beaches, best restaurants, and best spas in North America.

The resort’s ambiance is modeled after an island paradise, making it a difficult decision whether to enjoy the view from a swanky room or drift off to the ocean breezes on the beach or by the pool.

Everyone Wants a Bite at Tiny Vetri Ristorante

In the heart of Philadelphia lies an Italian hotspot that has been called Picture 2the best Italian restaurant in the country. Vetri Ristorante has foodies flocking in from all over, including famed Italian chef Mario Batali, to sample the culinary stylings of chef Marc Vetri in his tiny 35 seat restaurant.
Choosing the finest seasonal ingredients from local farm markets, Vetri keeps cooking to a minimum, using the simplest techniques, allowing the fresh food to shine. Highlights include the intense spinach gnocchi and the roasted goat that made New York Times critic Frank Miller say it was the best plate of food during his stay in Philadelphia.
With its loyal clientele and limited seating, it’s a great idea to make reservations in advance, this special place books up fast.

Any Given Glamorous Sunday at Fred’s of Barneys

Oftentimes brunch is a euphemism for hangover cure and a time when people aren’t exactly looking their most chic. Au contraire at Fred’s at Barneys New York on a Sunday, the hottest place for brunch in Chicago. Prepare to loChicago2ok smashing if you want to dine on the delights at Fred’s, because everyone else will be.

Dressed in their Sunday best, but not because they went to church, Fred’s is a see-and-be-seen, plush 5,000 square feet of Gold Coast property heaven (fifth floor ensures amazing views of the lake and streets below). On any given Sunday you can expect to see some of Chi-town’s biggest socialites and business mavens and maybe even a celeb or two. That along with your average slew of really, really, ridiculously good-looking people- albeit collagen-enhanced.

People-watching aside, you’ll actually want to eat. For just $25.00 enjoy the Fred’s brunch special which includes:

  • Bread basket of scones and focaccias
  • Salad
  • Entree of your choice
  • Dessert
  • Mimosa
  • Never-ending coffee

The service is impeccable in a dance of sorts, where more people than you’ll remember will have visited your table at a timely perfection to check on you, refill your coffee and keep the dance flowing.

Billy Dec’s Favorite Italian Restaurant is La Scarola

Even though restaurateur Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar & Grill may make the best burger in town, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have cravings for some good, hearty Italian fooPicture 7d. Whenever he’s in need of some pasta and marinara sauce, the Chicago social mover always heads to La Scarola.

The Italian restaurant is known for its low key environment that brings high-profile diners like Billy. It’s been awarded the Zagat Excellent Rating year after year for their gigantic proportions and delicious cannolis. La Scarola’s dishes taste like the ones from the Italian grandmother you never had.

Sure, Billy Dec is well-known about town, but La Scarola’s great because regardless of your residence, you’ll feel like a local. The place is small so everyone knows each other, and if they don’t, you’ll feel like they do after the meal is over. With a crackling fireplace and the likes of Billie Holiday setting the mood, it’s impossible not to relax and enjoy a great dinner at La Scarola.

*** Billy Dec is the CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago’s premier restaurant and entertainment development company. The company owns the new hotspot Sunda, The Underground club, and the award-winning Rockit Bar & Grill.

Genuinely Tasty Eats at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Whether the hunger strikes at lunch or dinner, sitting down for a meal at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District is a trip to culinary heaven. The crowds that flock there are proof positive of this and also a good sign that reservations areCrispy Sweet & Spicy Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchi & crushed peanuts_2 a must.

Chef Michael Schwartz quickly made a name for himself at the three-year old spot with simple bistro fare like steamed mussels with roasted tomato harissa broth, sticky black rice and garlic chips, and crispy sweet and spicy pork belly with kimchi and crushed peanuts. He prides himself on using the freshest organic ingredients available so his creations are top-notch in taste.

The indoor table seating is in an ecclectic, cool interior and there’s a welcoming bar where diners can watch their delectable eats being prepared. Being in Miami, of course there’s outdoor seating. The place is not to be missed and its a hot bed for celebs as well as notable locals.

Maialino is Danny Meyer’s New Crown Jewel

Picture 22Restaurateur Danny Meyer is known as the “King of Union Square” owning landmark restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe. With the very recent opening of his high-end restaurant, Maialino, in the chic Gramercy Park Hotel, it seems he has the new crown jewel to his empire.

Meyer has professed that it’s been his dream to open an authentic Italian restaurant and Maialino is the culmination of his hard work and vision. The name is actually Meyer’s nickname, meaning “roast suckling pig,” from when he lived in Rome in his early twenties. Of course, the signature dish at Maialino is the suckling pig.

One part wine bar, one part trattoria, the Roman-style restaurant serves dishes in true Italian style with primi, secondi and antipasti courses written in Italian. The dishes are simple, elegant, and fresh, using the local Greenmarket as its supplier. Just like the food, the restaurant reflects the juxtaposition between rustic Roma and modern NYC. The restaurant is outfitted in shades of brown and blue checkered tablecloths, but keeps its clean and modern lines.

In true Meyer fashion, Maialino serves consistently delicious food inside an elegantly designed restaurant. Yet this one has the added bonus of generous views of the private Gramercy Park inside one of the coolest hotels in Manhattan.

The Met’s Thomas Campbell Eats at Balthazar

Balthazar is owned by the same Keith McNally of the trendy, meatpacking hotspot Pastis, so it’s no wonder it’s always packed with a cool crowd. One of the Picture 9elite New Yorkers that frequents the French bistro in artsy SoHo is the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas P. Campbell.

Often quoted as a “masterpiece,” Balthazar is known for its fresh baked breads, delicious brasserie cuisine, and rustic Parisian-inspired decor. Favorite dishes include the short braised ribs, Portbello mushroom sandwich (for lunch), and the proudly named Balthazar salad.

No matter what time of day or night you head downtown, this brasserie is always buzzing with social New Yorkers like Campbell. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation. But if you just want to drop by, you can go to the Balthazar Bakery and grab some of their famous grains to enjoy in the privacy of your home.

Thomas Campbell has incredible taste in haute art and tasty cuisine.

***Thomas P. Campbell is the Director of the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before his role at the Director and CEO in January 2009, Campbell excelled as the Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and was the organizer of many groundbreaking and highly acclaimed exhibits at the Met.

Perennial Panzano

PanzanoswordfishrisottoThe hype’s as low as the loyalty is high at Panzano, a downtown fixture that’s so dependable day in and day out you could almost be forgiven for taking chef Elise Wiggins’s enormous talent for granted. But don’t. Even as it morphs from a power breakfast and lunch spot to a happy hour haunt to a pre-theater rendezvous, Wiggins’s creative energy never wanes, whether she’s popping out zeppole (doughnut holes), flipping her signature crespelle ai funghi (mushroom crepes), or whipping up ever-intriguing pastas (keep your eyes peeled for dried fruit). Meanwhile, matching her knack for contemporary Italian cookery is her passion for sustainability; going beyond organic, she launched a nose-to-tail steer program in mid-2009.

Yet another bonus: the bread basket’s one of Denver’s best.

Cool River Scores Big With the Little Things

Oftentimes, it’s the little things that really make a difference between a good time and a great time. Cool River in Las Colinas knows the little things count, and adds those extra touches to keepCool River Cafe patrons coming back for more. First little detail? A coat check. It might be old-school, but the class and convenience of a coat check is especially welcome on nights out when you want to dance and don’t want to be bogged down with accessories. Another interesting perk is the cigar room; choose any of the reasonably priced cigars off the menu and enjoy a relaxing smoke. If this all sounds a little too stuffy for your taste, don’t worry. A DJ spinning the latest hits or live bands, like the quirky “Space Rockers,” keep the dance floor moving until the wee hours.

Traditional food and libations of all kinds provide sustenance, and if you want to enjoy your meal in a quieter setting, the dining room is available as well. Cool River has something for everyone, and those little touches speak volumes about big atmosphere.

The Stars Are Always Out At Nobu Dallas

Picture 4Strategically located off the ultra-luxurious lobby of Hotel Crescent Court, and smack in the heart of Uptown, sits one of Dallas’ sexiest Japanese hotspots. But this isn’t your average sushi joint; this is Nobu Dallas.

A testament to the parking lot full of Bentleys, Maseratis, and Porsches outside, Nobu is prone to frequent visits from VIP guests of the hotel, as well as repeat offenders of pretty much any Dallas sports team from the Cowboys to Mavericks to Stars. And speaking of stars, A-list celebrities and Dallas elite have also been known to frequent their favorite tables, servers, and dishes right here at good ol’  Nobu Dallas.

Nobu offers something delicious for every palate- even those who tend to run from raw fish. Nobu also offers a variety of hearty fare; most notably the Wagyu beef (think Kobe or Washu), their very famous Black Cod with miso glaze, or Lobster Tempura for those with bigger appetites. And just say Omakase! if you have no idea what to order to let your knowledgable server map out your meal. Despite the reputation of most Japanese restaurants, we would suggest saving room for the desserts here.

Rioja: LoDo’s Mediterranean Mecca

RiojagnocchiFrom the moment its doors opened in 2004, handsome Rioja has been on the short list of candidates for Denver’s best restaurant not only among locals but in the national press (including GQ and Details).

Though Colorado is always in the background, chef-partner Jennifer Jasinski keeps her focus admirably sharp and tight on the cuisines of Italy and Spain, and the result is a seasonal repertoire as robust and colorful in flavor as it is precise in presentation. Handmade pasta is always a must, as is the signature appetizer of spiced pork belly in fresh chickpea puree—but then, so are the remarkably rich soups and fruit-based desserts. Perhaps the ultimate must is more than one visit.

The Bellevue: The Grande Dame of Broad St.

Nicknamed “The Grande Dame of Broad Street,” this historically-rich building has kept the same charm since her opening in 1904. Famous guests, including every U.S. President since Roosevelt (!), PHIbellevuehave stayed in the hotel segment of the building.

Besides the hotel, the Bellevue holds dozens of luxury shops (Nicole Miller, Tiffany & Co.), a food court with cuisine ranging from sushi to gyros, and a top-notch health club.

XIX (Nineteen) is one of the finest restaurants at the Bellevue and often has jam-packed happy hours after work. The restaurant is on the 19th floor, hence the name, and has some of the best views of Philadelphia.

Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland is in the main lobby as you enter off of Broad Street; the champagne truffles are bursts of decadent goodness. The shop is adorable and their chocolates are packaged beautifully, making great gifts for your return to home or the office.

3. Romance in the New Year at Nana’s 12/31/09

the_bar_at_nana.pngFeast your way into the New Year with an eight-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci at one of the “Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in America” as honored by ForbesTraveler.com.  The evening includes a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut champagne per couple, live entertainment, dancing, a balloon drop, and party favors.  Hilton Anatole’s award-winning Nana will host three different party options to ring in the New Year. We’ll put money on it that someone will get engaged when that ball drops!

Grafton Street Offers Authentic Irish Experience


Irish pubs in and around Boston are a dime a dozen, but authentic ones like Grafton Street Pub and Grille really stand out. Located in Harvard Square, this neighborhood hotspot was named after the cobblestone-lined shopping district in Dublin’s famed Temple Bar area. The restaurant relocated up one block in 2002 to a larger space in the heart of the square and now offers contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week, including a Sunday brunch. From casual fare, including rustic pizzas and paninis, to classics such as fork and knife chicken and ale battered fish and chips, you will be hard pressed to find a better place to stop by for a pint and a great meal. Visit graftonstreetcambridge.com/ for more information.

Bartenders are Friends at Jose Pistola’s

When considering Philadelphia bars, Jose Pistola’s gets the rare A++ for its bartenders. These guys will be your friend and laugh with you all evening all whilPicture 14e still managing to be unintrusive in your own conversations. The exposed brick walls, industrial-chic feel and long curving bars are a welcome surprise to the plain view of the outside.

Philly residents know Pistola’s for its beer list, which is long, lovely and always changing. If you get a good conversation going with the bartender, they’ve been known to pull some unique brews from the back for curious customers. Highlights of the menu are the nachos, which can be split for a table and are covered in some serious queso fresco, and the melt in your mouth, take me to Mexico empanadas. Whether you’rd singing work woes away at happy hour or hitting margaritas and burritos late night, Jose Pistola’s will be a good time.

Butter: Fine Cuisine To See and Be Seen

When Butter first opened it was the hot, new restaurant, and six years later it’s still frequented by Hollywood A-listers and sophisticated New Yorkers on a nightly basis.  With three rooms, each serving a different purpose, there’s something for everyone at this restaurant and lounge.

In The Great Room, indulge in the French-inspired, American-executed food while sipping on their Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.  After dinner head downstairs to The Birch Room where you will more than likely run into an Olsen Twin or two. If downstairs gets too crazy, at Butter you have a third option. The Gallery Room, located at the entrance to Butter, is equipped with red leather seats located in a series of nooks so you can cozy up to your date and drink in privacy.

Whether you’re in the mood for fine American cuisine or to see and be seen, Butter has it all.

Bones Gets to the Marrow

The name Bones is appropriate for such a spare, sleek space. It fits the streamlined menu, too. But the flavors of the Asian-inspired small plates and noodle bowls flowing from the tiny open kitchen? They’re anything but bare bones.

BmarrowKnown primarily for his simultaneously soulful and sly approach to contemporary Italian cookery at Luca d’Italia and Osteria Marco, chef-owner Frank Bonanno (who also owns the much-celebrated Mizuna) takes a no less playfully forward tack here—pulling short ribs for eggolls, ultra-refining ramen with poached lobster, and roasting the best, yes, bone marrow in town.

Dallas Does Art… Finally!

DSC00913adjustedThe long anticipated and well publicized Dallas Arts District is finally open! As one of the largest- if not THE largest- urban arts districts in the nation, it has put the Big D on the map as a major player in the art scene. The new Dallas Arts District in downtown Dallas is a sprawling 68-acre, 19-block area of performing and visual art utopia that brings an imaginative world of art this city has craved for for decades.

Incorporating over a dozen venues, the Dallas Arts District crosses all genres and functions to create a city within a city. From One Arts Plaza, where you’ll find a dynamic mix of corporate, residential, and retail space featuring some of Dallas’ hippest restaurants and bars to the Nasher Sculpture Center, highly regarded as one of the foremost collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world to the internationally renowned Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, where some of the world’s finest acts have performed. With a massive collection of new and old, classic and modern, the buildings themselves are masterful works of art.

And don’t forget the new ‘kids’ on the art block, the Margot & Bill Winspear Opera House and the Dee & Charles Wyly Theater, as they don’t mess around… unless, of course, it’s comedy.

Authentic Philly Favorites from Campo’s Deli

Located conveniently in Old City, Campo’s Deli is one of the best places for all those infamous, gut-busting Philly food favorites. Specializing in authentic cheesesteaks and hoagies (don’t you even try and order a hero or a sub in this joint), Campo’s has been serving the city since 1947 when it was opened by Ambrose and Rose Campo as a grocery store and luncheonette.

For Campo-virgins, go with the classics: Campo’s Italian Special Hoagie with Dilusso Salami, Ham Capacollo, Peppered Ham, Pepperoni, Prosciutto, Provolone; and a Classic Cheesesteak (wiz wit’ if you like onions). Other menu all-stars are the Caprese Sandwich with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Prosciutto, Sweet Roasted Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette Drizzle, or the Heater – a spicy cheesesteak with Jalapeno Cheddar and Buffalo Hot Sauce (you can get this killer sandwich at Phillies games, too).

If when you return home and your heart still aches for some beefy-cheesy delight, have no fear – just go on their website and order up from the shipping menu.

See & Be Seen at Parc

One of the newest editions to Stephen Starr’s empire- of Buddakan and Morimoto fame- is Parc. This chic restaurant allows a bit of escape while still soaking in the beauty and bustle of Rittenhouse Square. Parc pays homage to the brasseries of Paris, doing so with its own charm and style. Parc

In the upcoming winter, warm up at the large zinc bar inside with one of their signature and delicious cocktails. When the weather starts to warm, you’ll be lucky to snag a seat at the outdoor bistro tables that are prime for people watching.

Parc serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, and with everything from a delicious brioche french toast with apples and hazelnut butter to a classic steak frites, there’s not much you can go wrong with on this all-star menu.

No matter what time or what season, there’s no reason to miss out on this popular, chic café. Vive la France!

Sophisticated CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Chef Eric Ziebold, named one of “America’s Best New Chefs 2005” by Food & Wine Magazine, explores modern Picture 2American cuisine at this elegant D.C. restaurant. With three menus to choose from –  a three-course prix fixe, a six-course tasting menu or a vegetarian tasting menu – patrons have the opportunity to sample a wide array of what the menu has to offer.

In order to incorporate only the freshest ingredients into his dishes, Chef Ziebold changes the menu frequently. So come back for seconds and you’re likely to find new dishes for your sampling pleasure. High ceilings, an open kitchen, a warm color scheme and decorative lighting work together to create this sophisticated and chic top-tier restaurant.

New Saigon: An Old Standby

Picture 36Loyal locals have been thronging New Saigon for nearly 25 years—but even the most avid among them have yet to explore every inch of the menu: it’s that big. Denver’s first and foremost Vietnamese restaurant offers literally hundreds of options, from the obvious—pho, noodle bowls, and fresh spring rolls—to the obscure, be it frog’s legs stir-fried with grape leaves, goat cooked and served in a firepot with lotus and taro, or salad with squid, snails, chicken feet and pork ear. And if all that’s not adventurous enough for you, ask about the untranslated items (your server will try to dissuade you, so some persistence is required). Cheap and casual, it’s ever-popular, so go in the off-hours to ensure immediate seating.

Insider’s tip: For a take-home treat, buy a bag of the spicy sesame-cashew beef jerky from the large jars lining the back wall.

Eric Fischl & The New Gen of Odeon Artists

It makes perfect sense that artist Eric Fischl’s favorite restaurant is The Odeon Restaurant. The Odeon is the grandfather of the hot culinary scene that is TriBeCa today. It was the first to arrive on the scene, before TriBeCa got its moniker for being the Triangle-Below-Canal, and attractedPicture 8 the who’s who of the art world, including Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Odeon is known for its brasserie fare including the country frisee salad, trouffled poached eggs and sautéed cod.

At night, especially on warm summer evenings, the restaurant’s terrace sports the beautiful and fabulous of New York sipping martinis and cocktails.  And Eric Fischl’s keeps the Odeon’s artist attraction alive today with his frequent visits to this American brasserie pioneer.

** Eric Fischl is an artist and sculptor and native New Yorker. Fischl’s works have been featured at The Whitney Museum and sculptures in Rockefeller Center.

Guilty Pleasures at Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku Milk Bar is restaurateur extraordinaire Chef David Chang’s sweet tooth answer to his hugely successful group of savory eateries in the East Village (and now Midtown as well). With the help of Pastry Chef Christina Tosi, the Milk Bar serves up wild delights like Peach Tea Soft Serve, the classic Cereal Milk Soft Serve, Corn Cookies, and Compost Cookies – which unlike the simple but tasty Corn Cookie has a lot of ingredients in it including pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips. You can also get a bizarre variety of yummy and sometimes savory pies, cakes, breads, and buns here. And then there is the Crack Pie, which, as the menu informs, is made up of two components only: toasted oat crust and gooey butter filling. Seems a little vague, no? Though anyone that has tasted this confectionary delight knows that the title of the treat speaks volumes compared to the description. Coffee lovers will also be happy to hear that the only beans in house here – brewing and in the Compost Cookie – are Stumptown coffee beans.

Insider tip: visit the Milk Bar on a weekday if you don’t like to wait for your treats. Otherwise, come on a Friday or a Saturday night and wait in line with all the other Crack Pie addicts. The people watching is good and a couple of celebrities have been known to stop by for their fix too.

Michael’s Pre-Theater and Power Lunches

A midtown must, Michael’s is the talk of the town when it comes to power lunches and pre-theater dinner. Financiers, CEOs, suits, and celebs rub elbows while filling up on award-winning wines and expertly executed entrees ranging from lobster to duck and scallops to steak. Contemporary art by the likes of Jasper Johns and Frank Stella deck the walls of the airy Garden Room, not that guests need to notice anything other than the famed food.

Castagnola’s is San Francisco’s Waterfront Hotspot

This is undoubtedly Fisherman’s Wharf’s waterfront hotspot. Balmy breezes rolling right off the San Francisco Bay add to the sheer bliss of the seafood inspired menu at Castagnola’s Restaurant. Favorites include fresh specialties like the Cedar Plank King Salmon and Whole Main Lobster, but there’s also steaks, lamb, and veal for the meat lovers.

If you like a little sizzle to your meal, Castagnola’s offers entertainment like nightly live comedy and jazz during happy hour. There’s good food, great entertainment, and sophisticated cocktails-all with a beautiful view- at Castagnola’s.

Glamorous Dining at Livingston

Chef Gary Mennie’s unique twist on good ol’ Southern cooking makes Livingston Restaurant and Bar one of the most sought after restaurants. This glamorous Midtown getaway serves it up in a setting that recalls the charm and elegance of yesteryear. The fresh flavor of the food reflects a predilection for organic ingredients, and we could get poetic about the desserts until the sun goes down.

One & Only Square Sushi at Zento

Satisfy sushi cravings at this breakthrough contemporary Japanese restaurant. Home to the famous square sushi, Chefs Gunawan Wibisono and Sam Ho are masters of flavorful and innovative fare and Zagat swears by its roll specials and bento boxes. The intimate setting makes this eating enclave one of downtown Philadelphia’s foodie destinations.

Melting Pot

For over 3 decades, The Melting Pot has offered patrons a decadently different dining experience. This fondue restaurant follows its “Dip Into Something Different” slogan. A stately décor appeals to diners with a fondness for fondue, and tables are equipped with individual burners to keep the pot hot. Asian and French Quarter style fondue are also served here, and there’s a substantial selection of fruit, bread, and vegetables for your dipping pleasure. These vibrant dishes are almost too beautiful to eat, including the chocolate fondue. The Melting Pot promises a truly memorable meal time.

Sunda provides an atypical twist on Asian fare

Executive chef Rodelio Aglibot brings a tasty twist to traditional dishes from Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other Southeast Asian islands. Sunda is a creation of Billy Dec, Brad Young, and Arturo Gomez: the trio behind Chicago hot spots Rockit Bar & Grill and The Underground. And Executive Chef Rodelio Aglibot brings an extensive background in Asian cuisine and culture, recognized by several media outlets as the “Food Buddha.” With cuisine that is accessible, comfortable and fresh, you’re bound to rub your belly after a meal at Sunda.

Dovetail Restaurant

Dining out is delicious at this lovely little oasis nestled on the Upper West Side. Muslin-covered walls and exposed brick set an elegant ambiance for patrons with a passion for extraordinary eats. There’s a sherry cellar downstairs that dually serves as a private dining room, and the main dining area seats 75. Come for brunch, lunch, or dinner and prepare to be dazzled!

Rockit Bar And Grill

Executive Chef James Gottwald has taken the traditional bar and grill concept and given it a contemporary culinary twist. The Rockit Burger has won major acclaim, including Good Morning America calling it the top in the nation. The menu also features such other casual cuisine as signature pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Plus, the stylish setting here was designed by Oprah fave Nate Berkus himself, so you’ll be sure to dine in style. Open for lunch, dinner, and Saturday & Sunday brunch. And now, they’ve just opened a second location in Wrigleyville!

High Tea or a Night Cap at Alice’s Tea Cup

At Alice’s Tea Cup the air seems to be filled with ferry dust and sweet dreams. It’s actually just glitter and the scent of freshly baked cupcakes but when you are here in one of the exquisite tea rooms, the magic of Alice In Wonderland takes over and even the grumpiest adults can become kids again over the famous Pumpkin Scones and a pot of Birthday Tea. Or if you are more adventurous try the Chocolate Mint Tea, that’s Indian black tea with mini chocolate chips and peppermint leaves, and Alice’s Hamburger, it comes with Lapsang and Rooibos tea infused sauteed onions and mushrooms – yum! For the grown-ups in the group there is also the inventive menu of “Mar-tea-nis and Such” serving up creative libations like the Admiral’s Mar-tea-ni which is Rooibos tea, Kahlua, and Kettle One. You can’t go wrong with the restorative powers of tea and the ancient effects of liquor all in one! Now with three uptown locations serving a huge selection of teas and beverages, tea sandwiches and soups, treats and cakes, and other delights you should have no problem fitting a little afternoon tea into your afternoon.

Armani Ristorante

We love the Big Apple not only for the fabulous fashion finds, but also for its fantastic food.  And now, visitors to NYC can have both when they visit Giorgio Armani’s latest venture, Armani Ristorante.  The fashion heavyweight may cause you to expand your waistline;  his restaurant features tempting cuisine and is set atop his flagship store, with spectacular views of the city.  A day of shopping topped off with an indulgent meal while gazing out at the New York scene below? Sounds like the perfect NYC afternoon to us.

Embassy Suites Chicago – Downtown/Lakefront

Picture 15You’ll have plenty of room to stretch out and relax at this hotel where each expertly decorated suite includes a bedroom, an expansive living room, and not one but two televisions for your viewing pleasure. When your stomach starts to grumble, rely on room service or dine out at P.J. Clarkes. If you’re on the market for a to-die-for drink, check out the hotel’s bar, 511 North. So many options, so little time.

Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from O’Hare Airport, the convenient locatioPicture 10n is only one of this hotel’s many strong suits. Take off your shoes and loosen your tie in one of the markedly tasteful guestrooms or suites; print, fax, and copy at the full-service business center; wine and dine at one of the 3 on site restaurants; and take a dip in the heated luxury pool in the hotel’s all season atrium. This place is fit for a queen…or businessman.

Coi Is Not For The Shy Eater

Adventurous eaters, welcome! Coi is small and sleek and caters to foodies who want to sample new and exciting flavors. Chef Daniel Patterson’s unique dishes include Picture 26Yuba (soy skin) papardelle with coconut milk and curry, sea bream sashimi with white soy, yuzu and chives, caviar sautéed bone marrow with beet gelee, and soft cooked egg yolk with spicy onion relish bacon and parmesean foam. With dishes such as these, it’s no surprise he was voted San Francisco Magazine’s Chef of the Year 2007.

Coi prides itself in using only the best ingredients in the dishes. Coi searches high and low, locally of course, to find cultivated plants grown from heirloom seeds; wild-harvested leaves, flowers, barks and roots; seaweeds and coastal grasses, and more. Coi insists its guests are served nothing short of the best that San Francisco has to offer.

Soak in the Charm of Chinatown

Picture 7Chinatown has a unique character and charm all its own. There are a number of bargain furniture stores, banks, grocery stores here. Holistic healers often come here to shop the wide selection of Chinese herbs and medicines in some of the natural healing stores. But the big seller here, of course, is the food! More than 50 restaurants are scattered around the area, from Vietnamese, to dim sum to sushi.

The unique architecture of buildings such as Sing Chong Building and the Bank of Canton is what really gives this community its name. Being the city where the first Chinese immigrants arrived in America, it makes sense that SF is home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. You can’t help but think you’re not in Cali anymore.

Eat Your Way Through San Francisco on the Local Tastes of the City Tour

Picture 43Cappuccinos are to North Beach as tea is to Chinatown. San Francisco is a city known for fresh ingredients and its cultural melting pot translating into the kitchen. Local Tastes of the City offers an experience to taste it all in the diverse foodie neighborhoods of North Beach/Little Italy and Chinatown.

The North Beach/Little Italy Tour is so much more than a food tour, it’s a cultural experience. Not only will you find freshly baked bread that will send your senses soaring, but also discover quaint shops with handmade ceramic trinkets, intricately woven baskets, quilts, and more; uncover hidden authentic Italian cathedrals; and experience first-hand the coffee roasting process in these small shops. Locals come here for the fresh food, but they stay for the culture.

You’ll think you stepped into Beijing, but don’t be fooled, it’s just Chinatown. The cuisine will enliven your senses with new flavors and aromas. See artisans practice their crafts in back alleyways that can’t be viewed from a double-decker bus, watch as chefs fold fortune cookies by hand, and view the unique architecture of building such as the Sing Chong Building and the Bank of Canton.

Travel deep into the essence of these neighborhoods by trying different foods and drinks from the best and most authentic bakeries, restaurants and cafes in town. These stops are not typical tourist spots, yet places that the locals go to shop and eat. Taste pastries and breads in Little Italy, dim sum and tea in Chinatown, and much more.


Wines from around the world and meat that’s braised, roasted, and stewed are just two of the reason’s why Aria has us utterly captivated. Pastry chef, Kathryn King, churns out delectables like the Warm Chocolate Cheesecake, and entrees like the Zinfandel Braised Beef Short Rib are nothing short of heavenly. Open in the evenings only, the kitchen devotes the whole day to concocting dinner-time masterpieces.

La Belle Vie at Bistrot Margot

Strolling down Wells Street in Chicago’s Old Town, you’ll pass dozens of charming restaurants emitting delicious smells, but only one will stick out as appearing classic French: C’est Bistrot Margot! Its charming outdoor seating is filled with happy diners being served by attentive black aproned waiters below a classic red and black striped awning.

Inside this family-run restaurant, even more charming decor awaits. So French, so cozy, so magnifique! Any day of the week the slew of regular diners and newcomers alike take advantage of the items du jour from the rotating menu. Of course, a good ol’ Steak Frites is a top pick and rightfully so, but the options of fish, duck and chicken are equally as perfect.

Forget not when at Bistrot Margot that it is a French restaurant and therefore, you’ll want to eat by courses. So don’t overdo it on the first appetizer of tarte au brie, moules or risotto du jour (a must!), because you need to eat every last course, including the cheese! That said: ordering wine is also a must, it helps cut through the rich and decadent food. Bon appetit!

The Russian Tea Room

For over eighty years, New York’s defining cultural moments have taken place at Russian Tea Room. Ever since members of the Russian Imperial Ballet founded the restaurant in 1927, it has been a second home for boldface names and the intellectual elite—an exclusive enclave where actors, writers, politicians, and businessmen planned their next deals and feted their friends’ latest Carnegie Hall performances. The lively tradition and legacy of the Russian Tea Room is alive and well!

Merchants NY Cigar Bar

This classy and fairly priced restaurant is one of the few places you can still smoke in New York. Downstairs from their dining room, Merchants NY Cigar Bar features a ventilated cigar bar, which serves top shelf cigars and spirits. This lounge-like eatery is dimly lit, has two fireplaces, four different dining areas, an impressive drink menu and two bars. It’s a perfect place to go on a date, catch up with friends, or treat the family. Mention Citybuzz and get a free gift!

La Folie

This small french restaurant is just the right size. The intimate atmosphere is a great spot to take your family for a real treat. The dining room is a little bit of luxury with beautiful woodworking, plenty of mirrors and gorgeous drapes. Choose from french favorites like quail and foie gras lollipops, roasted rabbit or sauteed halibut. There are also plenty of vegetarian options if you’d rather stay that route.

Sushi Hai

Tucked in the Highland Area lies a restaurant that could only be described as the perfect juxtaposition between Denver’s art district and the Japenese Orient. View local modern art while the masters prepare your meal. Sushi Hai uses only the freshest ingredients to deliver the top-notch sushi to satisfy your cravings. Sip on hot sake or premium saketinis with friends in the Hai Bar. The atmosphere is perfect for an intimate evening.

Grand Lux Café

Inspired by the lavishness of European cafes, the Grand Lux Cafe has something for everyone. Influences range from Thai and Malaysian to American and European. Dishes include: Austrian-style Wiener schnitzel and Indochina shrimp and chicken, fused with Chinese and Indian flavors. The cocktail menu features enticing Mai Tais, spicy Bloody Mary’s, and Kicked Up Coladas.

Cliff House

The Terrace Room’s wall to wall windows reveal a delicious panorama of Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean to diners who can momentarily tear themselves from their plates. This House specializes in sure-fire seafood and serves up live harp music on Sundays, when brunch is more of a banquet with options like poached salmon and prawns.