Frenchette, New York City, 5/4/19

building
building

We visited Frenchette for a Saturday lunch, where they also offer brunch foods.  They opened about a year ago.  You enter into a good sized bar area that is comfortable and friendly and you can also snag a seat there to eat without a reservation.   The large dining room held closely set tables some of which were matched to booth seating along a mid-room dividing wall.  Service was friendly and efficient.  The menu is not large but offers a number of tasty options.  Eclectic music played in the background, the yellowish lights were lowered and the place was packed.  They make their own charcuterie in house as well as pretzel rolls.   Continue reading

Marea (update), New York City, 5/3/19

entry
entry

It’s been 4 years since we ate at Marea, a 2 star Michelin restaurant that specializes in seafood with an Italian influence.  The food here is all very flavorful with out dots or smears – just plain good and fresh.  It is a huge place, elegantly appointed but with closely set tables and some noise issues when it is full.  At lunch it was packed.  There is a lot of art on the walls and windows to the street on two sides of the large dining area.  They also have a long bar area with a beautiful yellow glass wall running behind the bar.  The wood on the walls is polished to a high sheen and you’re likely to spot some bold name people dining with you or in passage from one of the private dining rooms.  (I spotted Michael Douglas as he exited).  At lunch they offer a selection of primi and secondi courses with a fixed price of $63 for the two of your choice, however some selections will have a supplemental charge and a 5 course tasting menu for $99 with optional wine pairings offered.  The tasting includes dessert and although the menu is already set they were willing to make some changes for us and we did not have to get the same things, so that is the deal to get.  We ordered our own bottle of wine and had a cocktail and still beat the cost of buying the pairings, but just barely.  Service was excellent, friendly and efficient.  Put this place on your list if you can. Continue reading

Bozar Restaurant, Brussels, 4/27/19

one entrance
one entrance

Bozar is the one star Michelin restaurant in the Palais des Beaux Arts Museum.  Chef Karen Torosyan, the ‘Pie King’,  is noted for his pâté en croûte and in 2015 he was named the World Champion of Pâté en Croûte.  However be warned, if you want to try any of his crusts they must be order about a week ahead of time.  We ordered a Pithiviers a week before and tried to order a Millefeuille that evening and were told it was not possible.  They also offer 3 and 5 course tasting menus with wine pairings available.  It is a large place on multiple levels with bare marble tables closely set and appointed with bare wood armless chairs.  One end of the longer room is the open kitchen where there is a always a flurry of activity.  Karen Torosyan was there and very busy in the kitchen, with his name etched on the end of the huge stainless steel cooktop.   Lights are dimmed and the noise level is high.  Service was friendly, spoke good English and reasonably attentive.   Continue reading

Restaurant De Jonkman, Brugge, 4/27/19

entering
entering

De Jonkman was started in 2006 by Chef Filip Claeys and his wife Sandra Claeys.  It is a short train ride from Brussels to a shrubbery surrounded modern house in Brugge.   There are colorful and whimsical animals outside the windows and in some of the several dining rooms. Detailing of the interior and exterior design is lovely and lots of large windows to the lush grounds serve as walls for the dining rooms.  Art by Belgian artists and mirrors adorn other walls and the large white cloth covered tables are well spaced and fitted with comfortable chairs.  They have 2 Michelin stars and chef Claeys was on hand the day we were there to produce some wonderful dishes for us to enjoy.  He really stresses sustainable food sourcing and works to highlight local products that are not usually on menus, especially fish that would often be thrown back and he finds a way to turn them into something delicious.  It is worth a trip to Brugge; the food is outstanding.  The staff were all friendly and spoke great English.  The menu offered a la carte options as well as 5, 6 and 7 course tastings.  Working with the chef we were able to select a la carte options that would highlight what he thought looked best that day. Continue reading

La Paix (update), Brussels, 4/26/19

building
building

We last visited La Paix 2 years ago.  Since then they have been elevated to a 2 star Michelin rating.  The beautiful origami bird sculpture still graces the 1892 dining room built in a retired bank that processed the money from the meat slaughterhouses across the street.  Chef David Martin was in the kitchen and while he has changed the hours and days the food is still of great quality and flavor.  I recommend you visit here if you can.  The tasting menu changes every couple months but individual dishes  change with availability and seasons.  His staff, along with his partner Nathalie Obbiet, could not have made us feel more welcome.  They offer a 6 course tasting only on Thursday and Friday evenings and lunch Tuesday through Friday.  The large open kitchen is at the back of the room and one side is filled with an old bar that serves as a service area, not for seating, and stocks a full bar.  The large fish tanks have moved into the center of the room for all to easily admire the size of the crabs and lobsters.  The bare wood tables are nicely spaced and most include a side service table so crowding is not an issue.  The old wood floor is gorgeous and the lighting is lowered but far from dim.  Pacing was great as was the portion control of the tasting. Continue reading

L’air du temps, Liernu, 4/26/19

building
restaurant building

L’air du temps is in an old farm house about an hour train ride from Brussels and then a 30 minute cab ride from Namur station.   The good sized dining room is in one of the many buildings on the compound and had floor to ceiling windows on three sides that overlook some of the gardens.  I understand that some of the other buildings offer lodging if you want to stay out there.  The restaurant has a 2 star Michelin rating and the room has a contemporary feel with swirling wood decorations covering the ceiling and low pile gray carpeting, both of which dampen sound.  They had upholstered chairs that I did not find particularly comfortable – they felt too hard.  The good sized, white cloth covered tables are widely set and minimally decorated.  The back wall is mostly cabinets except for the glassed in passage to the kitchen.  Piped in bird sounds are in the background.  They offered 2 tasting menus and an a la carte menu.  There was a special smaller option for lunch only.  Pacing was pretty good and portion control was excellent.  Alcoholic and non-alcoholic pairings are offered.  We chose the smaller tasting and ordered our own wine.   Chef Sang-Hoon Degiembre was in house and came out to chat with guests as well as present some of the dishes.  He is from South Korea but is now a Belgian citizen.  The Korean letter that seems to be a symbol of the place is the first letter of his name and also the world for world in the Japanese alphabet. Continue reading

The Jane, Antwerp, 4/25/19

building
building

The Jane opened in 2014 in the former chapel of an old military hospital complex.  The building is well restored and already has 2 Michelin stars, however they did have a fire a few months ago and much of the kitchen had to be replaced.  It is a large dining room with one end being the open kitchen.  The balcony above is a bar and it gives a visitor a spectacular view of the room below as well as many seats at the bar to lounge and get ready for the meal.  It also serves an a la carte menu of bites to be shared.  The coved ceiling of the building has been restored to look old with a distressed paint treatment.   Stained glass windows have whimsical designs in them.  New age music plays in the background of the large white cloth covered tables which are closely spaced. Bench seating with lots of pillows is along some of the walls and the middle tables are outfitted with 4 chairs, but some are worked into built in partitions.  A huge overhead light fixture as well as a sculpture over the kitchen are centerpieces of the stylish design. Continue reading

Bon Bon (update), Brussels, 4/25/19

building
building

We last visited Bon Bon, a 2 star Michelin restaurant, 2 years ago.  The interior decorations of the old mansion haven’t changed much but now the whimsical sheep are also by the front door to greet you.  The white painted tree branch still extends into the room and the lovely old wood floors have nice rugs that provide sound absorption.  Tables are well spaced and with the ceiling sound panels, noise level is really not a problem, even with soft music playing in the background.  The large open kitchen is still humming and there are some counter seats for those who want an even closer view.  Windows around the perimeter look over the lush gardens outside.   They now offer a 6 course surprise tasting as well as a 5 course vegetarian one, in addition to an a la carte menu.  After a heavy lunch we chose the vegetarian option and ordered our own wine.  Pacing of the meal was good as was portion control.  Chef Christophe Hardiquest was in the kitchen and cam out to speak with each of the tables. Continue reading

Sea Grill (update), Brussels, 4/24/19

entrane
entrance

We were last at the Sea Grill in November of 2013, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.  The elegant dining room is located below the hotel lobby with widely spaced large tables set with lovely clothes and napkins.  The lighting is lowered but there are spots directed to each table so it’s good lighting for photos.  There were 2 adjoining rooms with larger tables for bigger parties. Wood walls are on either end with art on the other walls and music plays in the background.  The excellent service was provided by a staff that all conversed well in English.  An old school atmosphere did not provide my menu with prices but did provide a purse stool.   The menu offered a la carte options as well as a 4 course tasting, for which they were willing to do some substitutions (we substituted the Sole for the Sea Bass). Pacing of the meal was on the slow side but portion control was very good.  They did provide us with a printed menu of our meal however it was not exactly what we had. Continue reading

La table d’Aki, Paris, 4/13/19

buidling
building

We last visited La table d’Aki in February 2013, before I started this blog.  It’s a tiny place with about 8 tables for 2.  They do 2 seatings each night.  Classical music plays in the background and the small tables are very closely placed.  They are set with white tableclothes and nice sized cloth napkins.   The end of the room is the small kitchen where chef prepares all the food and cleans up too.  Each table has its own little light on it.  Near where the wall hit the floor was a piece of wood to prevent chairs from backing up too far and dinging the wall behind them. Chef is very particular and you can see him re-arrange things to his liking.  No tweezer action here but the food is precise yet simple.  It is good food but not earth shattering.  It is honest, clean tasting without dots, smears or 15 ingredients on one plate. It is only seafood and there are no amuse bouche or final treats.  The room has little ambiance and the staff spoke fairly poor English.  Everyone in the restaurant has the same tasting menu.  Pacing is rapid and portions size is on the small end of the scale. Continue reading

Coretta, Paris, 4/13/19

building
building

Coretta is a medium sized restaurant located near Martin Luther King Park, thus the name.  Two sides of the room are large windows to the outside.  The modern room has lots of wood accents and the small tables are of wood based with a metal tops set with leather chairs.  Some of the tables are high top and there is outdoor seating.  It was nice looking but not the most comfortable the way the legs on the table hit your legs.  Modern music plays in the background and an opening on one wall looks into the kitchen.  The menu is a la carte or sold with a 3 course or 2 course price.  Certain picks do have a surcharge for this method.  Some of the food was quite good but none of it great, however it is a very pleasant place for lunch.  Service was friendly, efficient and they spoke great English. Continue reading

Restaurant Alliance (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building (you can see chef through the window)

It’s been 2 years since we visited Restaurant Alliance, a small one star Michelin restaurant with Chef Toshitaka Omiya at the helm – someone who seriously knows how to cook.  If you have the opportunity to get there, do.  I give it solid thumbs way up.   The food is wonderful combinations of really flavorful ingredients that will leave you wanting more and then they’ll bring the next course that is just as good or better.  They offer 2 tasting menus, one a 7 course surprise menu selected by the chef or a Harmony Menu of set courses.  They do offer a smaller tasting menu at lunch but go at dinner if you can because you don’t want to miss any of the dishes this chef turns out.  Pacing is good, no lags and portion control great.  There are only around 7 tables in between the windows to the street and the large window looking into the kitchen.  Shades of gray and cream along with lower lighting provide a peaceful, cozy ambiance along with some cool circular overhead light fixtures.  Service is stellar, with welcoming and helpful staff that all spoke great English.  We were warmly greeted by  the chef and manager Shawn Joyeux, who is great at finding you a fun wine at your chosen price point. Continue reading

La Condesa (update), Paris, 4/12/19

building
building

It’s been just over a year since we visited La Condesa and this trip we tried lunch instead of dinner.  It is a really small one star Michelin restaurant that has been open about a year and a half.  There are about 8 closely set small bare wood tables.  The use of mirrors helps make the place seem bigger but it has a cozy atmosphere.  Music is in the background and the chef Indra Carrillo is in the kitchen but makes frequent trips to the dining room to bring food and check on diners.  The menu offers tastings of 3, 4, or 6 courses and wine pairings are available.  We chose the 6 course menu and ordered our own wine.  Portion control and pacing are both good and the staff is all super friendly, helpful and speak great English.   Continue reading

Le Clarence (update), Paris, 4/11/19

entrnace
entrance

We were at Le Clarence last fall for lunch and so this spring we tried their dinner service.  The physical location had not changed but it did feel different without the sunlight streaming in the windows.  The same menus cost more at dinner but they offer the same great and friendly service at both times.  Of the 3 tasting menus we chose the Menu Inspiration.  The meal was presented with groupings of different plates, sometimes presented together and others in succession.  It made for fun combinations.  We ended up at the exact same table, but that was fine because I think it is the prettiest of the rooms.  However with the large, well spaced tables, all the rooms offer a lovely atmosphere for dining.  Chef Christophe Pelé was in house and stopped by to say hello to Frankie, as did restaurant manager Cédric Servain.  Chef’s creativity and flavor intensity make this a place a must when you are next eating in Paris.  It is pure, relaxed elegance. I did take photos of a number of the old photographs in the menu and will place them throughout this post. Continue reading

Restaurant H, Paris, 4/11/19

building
building

Retaurant H is a small place of about 8 well spaced tables.  Soft music plays in the background, one wall has windows to the un-busy street and the back wall has a window into the kitchen.  The bare topped tables are set with lovely large napkins.  The modern room has wallpaper on some walls and others are decorated with arty photographs.  Decorations are minimal.  The menu is tiles in a box where you can pick how many courses you want.  They offer tastings of 3, 5 or 7 courses with wine pairings available.  We chose the 5 course omnivore menu and ordered our wine.  Service was exceptionally friendly and servers spoke great English and were helpful. The chef, Hubert Duchenne came out to visit with diners.  The restaurant currently has a one Michelin star rating. Continue reading

Cézembre Restaurant, Paris, 4/10/19

exterior
exterior

Cézembre is a small restaurant of about 10 tables that serves only a 5 course set menu at dinner.  For lunch they serve a 3 course menu.   There is no a la carte menu.  The small varnished wood tables are set closely and with paper napkins.  Painted beams in the ceiling, lowered lighting and pop music in the background set the tone.  Mirrored walls make it feel larger than it is.  The staff was super friendly  and spoke good English.   This is a very nice place with good food in a cozy setting in the heart of the tourist district. Continue reading

Restaurant Antoine, Paris, 4/10/19

street
exterior

Antoine is an enclosed patio with about 10 well spaced tables of various sizes.  Those tables nearer the windows to the outside were smaller whereas the ones along the kitchen wall were larger.  However those at the windows could have a view of the Eiffel tower and/or the museum across the street.  There is music in the background and the tables are covered with nice white clothes and set with good sized white napkins.  You are greeted at the table with the champagne cart – a wheeled “figure 8” table with the ice bucket of champagnes on top (later on it carries the cheese selection).  We were there at lunch time and they did have a special lunch menu as well as an a la carte menu and a 4 course lunch surprise tasting.  Wine pairings were available and they are known for their seafood.  We chose their 4 course lunch with our own bottle of wine.  They currently have a one star in the Michelin guide.  Servers spoke good English and were friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Restaurant AM, Marseille, 3/22/19

exterior
exterior

Restaurant AM is a small place that offers 3 tasting menus based on the number of courses (10, 15-20, 20-30) with the courses sometimes just being one bite.  The night we were there they did offer a supplemental courses with truffles (some were under a dome on the table to temp you) for 55 euros and a comté cheese with caviar for 35 euros.  We chose the longest tasting and the cheese course.  It sounds like a lot more food than it was;  it is easily manageable because of great portion control and a fairly rapid pacing.   The rustic bare wood tables with metal legs are set nicely a part and with comfortable ‘plastic string chairs’.  The open kitchen is one corner of the place and music plays in the background but sound panels in the ceiling control noise levels.  A few seats are available at the bar where you could interact more with the chefs.  A couple windows are open to the street and the light fixtures are set to give a warm glow to the room.  Servers spoke good English and were really helpful and friendly.  Chef Alexandre Mazzia was in the kitchen, as he has been for 5 years, and was awarded 2 Michelin stars last February, which are a good indication of the quality of the food you’ll find here.  The dishes are innovative and loaded with flavor.  You’ll want to lick the plate clean in many instances.  They were nice enough to give me a listing of the courses before we left but it is a surprise as you dine.  If you have the opportunity to go, I would suggest you take it! Continue reading

Le Petit Nice, Marseille, 3/21/19

exterior
exterior

Le Petit Nice is the only restaurant in Marseille to receive a 3 Michelin star rating.   It is in a luxury hotel that overlooks the water with Gérald Passedat as the chef.  The dining room has windows on 3 sides of its hexagon shape that overlook the water and lights of the city.  It was a lovely view even in the dark when you could’t see as much.  It was a bit hard to find the entry as we were walking to it.  A taxi would know to call at the gate to the parking lot but in the meantime we got to look into the kitchen from the passage way alongside the building.  The well spaced cloth covered tables are good sized and set with comfortable swivel chairs.  No music plays in the background, candles are on the tables and lights are slightly dimmed.  It is old school enough that the ladies menus don’t have prices.  They offer several tasting menus and an a la carte menu which is mostly seafood and vegetables. Service was good as was portion control of the tasting menu. Continue reading

Restaurant Saisons, Marseille, 3/21/19

exterior
exterior

Restaurant Saisons has about 8 tables in the main dining room, 2 seats in front of the kitchen window and a party room upstairs.  In the dining room there is a large window to the kitchen and a good-sized bar which is just for service not seating.  The front room or entry has some seats for waiting and a reception station along with the window to the street.  Modern music plays in the background but a number of sound dampening panels on the ceiling keep the noise level down.  The room has a modern look reinforced with the small tables of polished light wood and the concrete floor.   The menu offered 2 surprise tasting options and a small a la carte menu.  We chose the smaller 5 course menu.  For a one star Michelin restaurant the meal’s pacing was not even, with a slow down after the first two courses, like the kitchen wanted the whole room to catch up and be on the same course.  Service was friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Benu (update), San Francisco, 3/16/19

gates
gates

It’s been 3 years since we’ve been to Benu and I don’t know that I detected a lot of change in the interior, however they said it was completely re-done since we were there.  Classical music is in the background and completely fits the soothing peacefulness of the place.  The well spaced large bare dark wood tables are set with comfortable seats, exquisitely thin stemware and gilded flatware and chargers.  Service is friendly but totally professional, shown with their knowledge of our previous visits and orders.  You feel elegantly at home.  Everyone still has a tasting menu and the food is fantastic.  Pacing is spot on and portion controls allows you to really enjoy the meal with its amazing flavors and textures.  The spectacular visual affects (down to the presentation plates) of the food are not for show, they match the quality.  If you can, get there, you won’t be disappointed.   Continue reading

In Situ, San Francisco, 3/16/19

exterior
exterior

In Situ is the one Michelin star restaurant inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  It is a very modern large place with a separate entrance from the street, so you don’t have to be in the museum.  A couple of long wood tables with bar stools are up front opposite a painting created for In Situ.  The other tables are small blond wood and appointed with bench seating or wood chairs. It’s very bright and open and a really interesting ceiling sculpture of wood is a highlight of the decorating, as there is surprisingly little art on the walls.  Their concept is to present some of their own creations but also to feature some highlights from their ‘current collaborators’ or well-recognized chefs around the world.  We have been lucky enough to visit some of these places in their home countries and had the original take on the dish and when possible I have posted those pictures following the ones from In Situ.  The chefs do advise and approve of the version of their dishes and I thought they did a good job.  It’s a fun concept.  Service was excellent.  Our server Katerina, from Lithuania,  was most helpful and interested in seeing pictures of the corresponding dishes.  She even brought us an extra dessert, one developed by their staff, so we could get a real sample of what was going on there.  I would recommend the place for a fun lunch. Continue reading

Birdsong, San Francisco, 3/15/19

exterior
exterior

Birdsong is a good sized one star Michelin place that has opened in May of 2018.  Most of the space in the dining room is taken up by the large kitchen which is surrounded by a low counter and seats.  A few tables are on the outer edge of the place and we were lucky to snag a table right across from the kitchen action.  There is a comfy little reception area as well as party rooms downstairs that they were nice enough to give us a tour of after we ate.  Windows to the street are on one wall and the bare light wood tables are set with a large cloth napkin that houses the evening’s menu. Everyone receives the same tasting menu.  Clear glass ball light fixtures hang from the ceiling that add good lighting but most light comes from the glow of the kitchen which is filled with action.   Lots of plants, background rock music and wood beams soften the affect of the exposed ductwork.  Service was exceptionally friendly and helpful.  After they clear that there are no allergies or dietary restrictions the menu starts promptly and pacing continues at a good rate throughout the evening.  Portions are well done to not stuff you before the end. Continue reading

Nico, San Francisco, 3/15/19

exterior
exterior

Nico opened in May of last year at this new location.  It is a fairly small place with one Michelin star rating.  Windows to the street make up one end of the place and the open kitchen is opposite that side.  One wall has a bench seat with a line of small light wood tables opposite it.  Exposed brick is on the walls, rock music plays in the background, a wide plank wood floor are all the backdrop for a friendly staff.   The small menu has  series of smaller plates to share or snack on and 3 larger plates for main courses.  From talking to the waiter it sounded like a lot people just come to the 5 seats at the bar and enjoy the snacks with drinks rather than come in for a meal.   It was a nice place but the food had mixed results. Continue reading

Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, 3/14/19

exterior
exterior

Atelier Crenn is a small restaurant with only 8 tables.   It’s been several years (pre Frankie site) since we were there and since then Chef Dominique Crenn has become the first female chef in the U.S to attain a  3 star Michelin rating.  It is a warm setting with paintings by chef’s father Allain decorating the walls.  They re-modeled 2 years ago and now round polished wood tables are set off with dampened lighting and music playing softly in the background.  The presence from the street is very discreet with no name, just the number marking the place.  They have 2 seatings for a multi course tasting menu, for which wine pairings are offered.  The evening we were there it was a spring menu that featured many items now grown on their own farm and locally sourced other ingredients.  Dishes are complex yet simple with a depth of flavor and texture in each dish that is amazing.   Many had a tableside finish that was a nice show and added to the information about the dish.  A poem greets you at the table with each line symbolizing a part of the meal to come.  Afterward you are presented with a summary of your courses. Service is friendly and helpful and pacing and portion control of the meal are good.  Chef Crenn did come out and greet each of her guests and allowed time for a bit of conversation.  Continue reading

Angler, San Francisco, 3/14/19

building
building

Angler opened in September 2018 and is the newest venture for chef Joshua Skenes, however he has chosen to be a creative force rather than the chef.  It is a large place and lots of mounted fish and mirrors cover the walls.  The front of the restaurant is windows to the busy street outside with perfect views of the Bay bridge.  Opposite the windows is the large open kitchen and another wall is used to house a long bar with some seating.  Seating at tables is at fairly close-set small bare wood dark tables, some of which are served by bench/wall seating.   Many chairs are draped with small blankets which could either pad the chair, keep you warm or could just be a decorative touch.  Lots of flowers soften the steel structures and exposed brick and the large white cloth napkin is a nice touch.  A second room has stuffed mounts of warm blooded animals.  Rock music from the 80’s era plays fairly loudly in the background and it felt a bit out-of-step with the casually elegant setting, but is a known touch of Skenes.  The menu was small at lunch but several types of raw oysters were available.  Otherwise for a restaurant that is focused on fresh, local seafood there were surprisingly few local seafood options other than one type of oyster.  In fact for main plate options, there were 3 seafood and 3 meat.  Service was friendly, helpful and efficient. Continue reading

Ristorante Alle Corone, Venice, 3/2/19

interior
interior

Alle Corone has been the restaurant in the Ai Reali Hotel for 6 years and is set up over several small rooms.  Our room had about 6 tables and one side was windows looking over the adjacent canal with the boats and gondolas riding by.  The hotel was fairly elegant as were the dining rooms, set with white tablecloths and napkins, yet they chose a whimsical gnome to be the purse stool.  Tables each had individual small lights and the room was further lit by wall sconces, and overall the lighting was nicely lowered.  Decorations of masks and feathers were in honor of carnival season.  Music was in the background and ours had a beautiful terrazzo floor with an amazing border pattern.  The service was professional, efficient and friendly.  Most spoke great English but some of the student interns struggled with questions.   They offered a 6 course tasting, with wine pairing offered, as well as an a la carte menu.  We chose the tasting and ordered our own beverages. Continue reading

Trattoria da Jonny, Venice, 3/2/19

building
building

Trattoria da Jonny is a fairly large place spread over 2 rooms.  Exposed brick is on one wall corner and the small bare wood tables are set for 2 or 4 people with paper place mats and napkins.  Music plays in the background and the large menus contain both English and Italian.  The ceiling has exposed wood beams in part of the room and floor appeared to be a large plank wood but was really a type of tile.  The service was friendly and efficient even while a number of family members stopped by to eat and/or chat. Continue reading

Locanda Cipriani Torcello, Venice, 3/1/19

building
building

Locanda Cipriani is on the island of Torcello, a short water bus ride from the main island of Venice.  You enter into a tiny old looking lounge room with seating around a fireplace that is used for cooking and warmth.  From there you move into a large open room surrounded by windows to the outside gardens and views of the local churches.  The place backs to 1935 and is still owned by the Cipriani family.  Hemingway stayed at the associated inn and brought much fame to the place who was then followed by a number of famous visitors such as Queen Elizabeth II in 1938 and in 1985 the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana (who came for a private lunch a year after the Queen had brought the Queen Mother there), Maria Callas in 1952 and Marc Chagall in 1948 who left behind one of his drawings.  The list of famous people and acclaimed artists goes on and on throughout their 70 year history.  The nice sized tables are fairly closely spaced and covered with white linens with many of the smaller tables having a draped service table adjacent. Continue reading

Ristorante Local, Venice, 2/28/19

exterior, daytime
exterior daytime

Local is a fairly large place with very modern design.  Wood beams in the ceiling are opposite the place’s logo made into the terrazzo floor.   Many items also worked in the circular logo including coasters and seals on the toilet paper.  Bare wood tables are appointed with some bench seating and chairs.  No music was in the background until later in the evening and the lighting is lowered.  A counter area fills much of the first room that’s underneath portion is made of woven wood and it has a few seats that would have the best view through the window into the kitchen.  It also had windows to the street outside.  A second room for seating led into the bathrooms and window to the large wine cellar.   Service was friendly, helpful and they spoke good English.  They have an a la carte menu but we had pre-ordered the surprise tasting menu, which was not available in printed form.  The menu had good pacing and portion control.   Continue reading