Pascal’s Manale Restaurant, New Orleans, 3/23/22

building – 1838 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 

Pascal’s Manale Restaurant was started as just Manale’s in 1913 by Frank Manale.  Pascal Radosta, Frank’s nephew, was part of the original crew and took the place over in 1937 when Frank died.  Many years later he wanted to add his name to the restaurant but still wanted to honor his uncle and thus it became Pascal’s Manale.  Pas died in 1958 and his youngest brother Jake took over.  They are famous for their BBQ shrimp and raw oyster bar.  It is a large place with 2 main dining rooms and the good sized bar area that houses the oyster shucking bar.  The dining rooms have white cloth covered tables and windows to the street.  Some art is in the dining rooms but the bar is covered with lots of framed photos.  They offer a separate lunch menu, a parking lot and great service. Continue reading

Domilise’s, New Orleans, 3/22/22

exterior – 5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Domilise’s Po-boys and Bar was founded in 1930s by Peter and Sophie Domilise who lived in the house above. Sam and “Miss Dot” ran the place for over 75 years until her death in 2013.  The family evacuated in 2005, due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina but otherwise it has been continuously operated by future generations.  The single room place has been featured in numerous cooking shows and guide books like Food Wars and Chowdown Countdown – the day we visited there was a bit of chaos remaining from the filming there the day prior.  You entered on the side of the corner building and placed your order and paid at the bar.  You could wait there or claim one of the 5 indoor tables or one of the several outside.  The kitchen counter was at one end of the room and they called your name when your order was ready.  The interior walls were covered with photos and memorabilia.  Staff were friendly  and efficient.  The food was average. Continue reading

Commander’s Palace (update), New Orleans, 3/21/22

exterior – 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve been to Commander’s Palace.  The last meal was so disappointing I haven’t wanted to go back but enter Chef Megan “Meg” Bickford, who has worked in the kitchen since 2008 but in Oct. 2020 became Executive Chef, following the 18 year reign of Tory McPhail.  She has livened it up and tonight’s meal was the best I’ve ever had at Commander’s.   It has been in the Garden District since 1893 and is still owned by members of the Brennan family.  Chefs such as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse have worked there to present leading-edge haute creole cuisine.  The large building has a patio/bar area in back which is overlooked by the upstairs Garden Room.  Downstairs is a more traditionally elegant room.  Service was great, attentive and friendly – something its struggled with in my past visits. Continue reading

Mandina’s Restaurant, New Orleans, 3/21/22

street exterior – 3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Mandina’s Restaurant was first opened as a grocery store at 3800 Canal Street by Sebastian Mandina in 1898.  With the addition of his sons in the 1900s it became a pool hall that sold sandwiches to the many Italian immigrants and others living in the mid-city area.  By 1932 the sons turned it into Mandina’s Restaurant, with the family living upstairs. It is now in the hands of fourth generation family members and has benefitted from its proximity to the Canal St. streetcar.  Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters caused damage to the place and they had to close for 18 months to make repairs and now are trying to bring it back to the way it was in 1930.  Today the large pink house on a corner, has 2 huge dining room and a long bar with a footrail but no stools.  Windows to the street bring in even more light to the high ceiling room.  No music was in the background, posters are on the walls and some TVs run but are muted. Continue reading

Liuzza’s by The Track, New Orleans, 3/21 & 22/22

exterior – 1518 N Lopez St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Liuzza’s by the Track is a couple blocks from the New Orleans Fairgrounds, where the annual horse races and Jazz & Heritage Festival  are held.  It has been family owned and operated since 1996, but the 1930’s corner building is an historical landmark.  Liuzza’s is known for its signature BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy and other genuine New Orleans staples. Only closed on Sunday, except if the Saints’ are playing, it is quite popular.  Entering at the corner the room is filled with photos and memoriabilia.  A long bar runs the length of the room and you can eat and/or drink here as well as at the tables inside and out.  Windows to the street add extra light, music is in the background and parking is on the street.  Specials are on a board to supplement the menu.  Staff were super friendly, helpful and efficient.  We had to go back for a second visit and another of their shrimp Po-Boys.  Good place. Continue reading

Trillium Cafe and Inn, Mendocino, CA., 3/13/22

exterior – 10390 Kasten St, Mendocino, CA 95460

Trillium Cafe serves lunch and dinner Friday thru Tuesday with indoor and outdoor seating.  It is on the bottom floor of the Inn of the same name in the heart of Mendocino.  On the second floor are several hotel rooms for guests.  Small tables are well spaced in the interior dining room and the patio winds around with a good supply of seating.  When you make reservations you can specify indoor or outdoor.  As it’s in an historic home, there are lots of windows to the street and a fireplace.  Art for sale is on the walls and there ‘s plenty of street parking.  It has obviously been restored with the old wood floors in good shape and the light fixtures replaced with those made by local artisans.  A bar was in a room to the right, when we entered but I only saw 2 vacant stools in front of it.  Service was friendly and efficient but not particularly knowledgable about the history of the place.  There were no daily specials just the changoing soup of the day flavor.  However when I compared the menu we had to what was on line there were some changes. Continue reading

Rollerville Café, Point Arena, CA., 3/12/22

building – 22900 Shoreline Hwy, Point Arena, CA 95468

Rollerville Café is a classic café serving lunch and breakfast in Point Arena, CA.   It opened in 2007 and is adjacent to a Lighthouse Pointe Resort that both claim to be the last stop before going to Hawaii and for fueling up to tour the nearby lighthouse attraction.  The interior is small but there is a patio with additional seating outside.  Some of the well spaced tables have fun salt & pepper sets as decorations.  There was faint music in the background – possible a radio in the kitchen and plenty of light in the room from all the windows.  There were daily specials for breakfast and lunch but serving time seemed to be divided by 11:00 am or noon on the weekend.  Service was friendly and efficient. It’s worth a visit. Continue reading

Husk, Savannah, 3/3/22

building

Husk in Savannah is in the Landmark Historic District with Executive Chef Chris Hathcock using locally sourced products to showcase Southern cooking.  The 1898  building is purported to be haunted and after being built as a home served as an Elks Lodge and a performing arts school until it was abandoned in 1985.   In 2008 it was severly damaged in a fire.  The Neighborhood Dining Group, parent company of the Husk brand (you’l find other Husks in Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, SC.) bought the 10,000 square foot building and its 3 stories of event space.  It has a capacity of over 200 including a bar area room for 84.  At the hostess stand is the list of area farms and ingredients they use and it’s the same at the other Husks. Executive Chef Sean Brock helped develop the concept and this one opened in Jan. 2018.  I thought the Charleston one was much better.  This one is too large. Continue reading

Blue Heaven, Key West, 1/29/22

entrance

Blue Heaven is a well known destination in Key West serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – all al fresco.  The very casual spot does not take reservations but has a good sized bar across the street with chairs, tables, music stage and ping-pong table.  Roosters roam through the tables and lots of funky decorations give the place lots of character.  We got there pretty early and still had to wait 45 minutes – a fairly accurate estimate by the greeter –  but it was pleasant across the street and the drinks were actually a $1 cheaper.  They had a stage like the main dining area does but it was not active.  There is a window into the bakery that you could look into going to the bathrooms and also one to the gift shop.  An assortment of umbrellas and canopies help to provide shade in the dining area.  Some canned music was in the background before the band got started. Continue reading

El Siboney Restaurant, Key West, 1/28/22

exterior

El Siboney, named for an indigenous tribe and now a town in Cuba, opened in 1984, changing owners in 2004 but is still family owned and operated.  There are 2 locations in the Key West area.  We were at the one at 900 Catherine Street and it was good sized with a nice amount of parking around the building.   They are well known for their reasonable prices, family-friendly ambiance, large portions and tasty food.  The exterior looks like a brick house and inside seating is throughout numerous rooms with lots of decorations on the wood walls in each room as well as a bar in the front room.  Tables are well spaced and the oil cloth is covered with a hard sheet of plastic (must be lots of sharing across the table) and music is in the background.  The staff are friendly and efficient. Continue reading

Eaton St. Seafood Market, Key West, 1/28/22

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Eaton St. Seafood Market is in an old gas station building where in the market you can buy and take home to cook, or order from their menu.  Things like fish sandwich, tacos or salad can be made from any fish in the sales case – all with the same price from the menu.   Most items come with plantain chips but you can substitute potato chips or fries for an upcharge.  After you order and pay, you grab your number and beverage and wait out on the patio in front.  There’s lots of shade from tenting and umbrellas.  Beverages include wine and beer as well as soft drinks and juices.  On the patio you’ll find a station with extra hot sauces and utensils as well as roosters and chickens roaming the area.  Some music was in the background from a radio somewhere.   The counter person was very friendly and helpful in making selections. Continue reading

Café Marquesa, Key West, 1/27/22

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Café Marquesa, serving contemporary American cuisine, seats just 50 people in the restaurant associated with the Marquesa Hotel.  The corner location had several tables outside with most of them inside along with bar stools that offered drinks and food for walk-ins.  The lights were lowered slightly but the numerous windows let in lots of street light.  No music was in the background and the small tables were covered with white cloths.  Chef Graham Dailey (from the Peninsula Grill) stood in the dining room in front of the trompe l’oeil painting that surrounded the kitchen window.  He looked over all the food before it was served but never came around to the tables.  Lots of mirrors and art were on the wall and bench seating was along a couple of the walls.  It had an elegant feel and efficient service.  I would recommend giving it a try. Continue reading

Louie’s Backyard, Key West, 1/27/22

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Louie Signorelli started Louie’s Backyard in 1971 in his ocean front Victorian home that seated just 12 people.  In 1983 Phil and Pat Tenney renovated the place and transformed it into what is there today.   The chef of 30 years prepares each dish to order using locally caught seafood and produce specifically grown for them from Island Farms.  That commitment to quality makes them quite popular but there are many tables in the house and a huge patio overlooking the water to accommodate guests. The back of the house is where the dining rooms are and the back is a wall of windowed doors that allow everyone to enjoy the view and fresh air.  Even so, the tables are set with white tablecloths and napkins.  Service was very friendly, helpful and efficient. One small room in the front serves as an interior bar.  The lunch menu is slightly smaller than the dinner menu but also less expensive.  There was one special and it’s a place I would happily go back to. Continue reading

Seaside Cafe at the Southern Most House, Key West, 1/27/22

Southernmost House / hotel

The Seaside Cafe is on the grounds of the Southernmost House just a few steps from the Atlantic Ocean.  The Queen Anne style mansion looks over the large outdoor area with the walk-up cafe.  There are several seating areas and a large bar.  Some umbrellas and other cover are available.  Once you are seated the server will come take your order.  Meanwhile you can watch the ocean and be entertained by the roosters, chickens and other birds that visit the area.  They have a number of options but are primarily known for their lobster pizza or lobster salad on honey butter biscuits.  We chose the latter but did not sample the menu further.  Service was efficient and the view was nice.  The food was interesting but once was enough for me. Continue reading

Latitudes, Key West, 1/26/22

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Latitudes is Sunset Key Cottage’s signature restaurant – a 7 minute boat ride from Key West.   The boat ride is available about every 30 minutes and once there you have a choice of “island cuisine” in the interior Ernest Hemingway Room or al fresco on the huge grounds, both overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and the lighted palm trees.  Your reservation time is the same as your ferry time and parking is available for guests at their sister property Opal Key West Resort (remember to bring your ticket for the restaurant to validate).  It is a large place but reservations are a must and need to be made several months ahead for dinner.  The place has an elegant feel and great service but people were dressed fairly casually.  The view in the daytime is said to be wonderful but I enjoyed the lighted trees. Continue reading

Acadia House Provisions, Stonington, ME., 8/29/21

front door

Acadia House Provisions is on one floor of a house overlooking the bay in Stonington, Maine.  Ryan McCaskey from Chicago opened it in 2019 as a spin off of a Michelin starred restaurant there.  It opened in the site formerly occupied by Aragosta, which moved to Goose Cove.  Outside there is a large deck overlooking the active fishing area.  Lots of windows inside also take advantage of the view.   Inside there is much painted light wood on the walls, floors and ceiling.  Art is on the walls and music is in the background to make up a very pleasant room.  They have an a la carte menu and a full bar.  Food and service are both quite good. Continue reading

Captain’s Catch, Castine, 8/28/21

order window

Captain’s Catch is a little shack by the wharf area in Castine, ME.  The building was given by the Castine Community Partners for the greater good of the area.  It does a lot of ice cream and hot dog business but the also have an excellent lobster roll.   We found it walking around the shops and the boats for the Maritime School.  The roll came on a butter toasted piece of bread and was stuffed with lobster chunks in Mayo dressing.  The lobster tasted fresh and sweet and the butter on the bread added more flavor as well as texture to the sandwich.  Stop by if you’re in the area.  Can’t comment on any of their other items. Continue reading

Bagaduce Lunch, Penobscot, ME., 8/28/21

exterior

Bagaduce Lunch was opened as a roadside fish shack in 1946 in Brooksville Maine.  The original owner’s granddaughter and husband have run the place for 25 years.  They have a system where you order at the window and they call your number when it’s ready.  The area behind the restaurant is set up with picnic tables, outhouses and trash cans.  The site is on the water and so it is lovely backdrop.  The place states they serve only fresh and locally sourced seafood.  The cooking process has not changed since they opened and everything is fried.  It was a strange thing how each item worked differently with the same coating.  They won a James Beard Award in 2008 and are really popular. Continue reading

Perry’s Lobster Shack, Surry, ME., 8/27/21

service area

Perry’s Lobster Shack is in Surry, ME.   Everything here is outdoors with picnic tables on the grounds and out on a private peer.  Some have umbrellas for sun and others do not.  Parking is across the road. The place overlooks the waterfront and boats will pull up and sell their catch. This place seemed out in nowhere but was really popular.  The server brought a bucket to the table for shells and trash.  The seafood is outstanding, the service is efficient and the view is outstanding. Continue reading

F Street Station (update), Anchorage, AK., 8/1/21

exterior, 325 F Street, Anchorage, AK., 99501 / 907-272-5196

Frankie visited F Street Station almost 3 years ago and it hasn’t changed much. We saw the same chef in the kitchen and the place is very popular.  They have a number of beers, cocktails and wines by the glass and bottle.  The cheese hunk was back after having disappeared during the height of Covid, but it still wasn’t getting much action.  They offer lots of seafood and had our favorite fried halibut during our last trip and I’m here to tell you it is still excellent. Continue reading

Altura Bistro, Anchorage, 7/31/21

exterior

Altura Bistro opened in 2019 and serves New American cuisine in a less casual atmosphere.  Located in a strip shopping center outside of the downtown area they were still very much practicing Covid separation of guests.  Along one side of the room was bench seating for 2-top tables and opposite were booths.  A couple tables were in the middle of the room.  The tables were bare wood and set with black cloth napkins.  Windows to the outside were partially shaded but the sun streamed in for a good part of the evening, defeating the low light chandeliers.   The other room had the bar and a few stools facing the bar and a couple small tables along the wall.  It was not clear if these tables were for walk-ins.  Music was in the background.  Service was so-so, with timing issues, not clearing or wiping between courses and less than good advice on ordering. Continue reading

The White Spot, Anchorage, 7/30/21

exterior
109 W. 4th Ave., 907-279-3954

The White Spot is in downtown Anchorage and even though the street out front was closed for repair the place was still packed with customers eating in and picking up to go orders. There are several tables but the best seats are at the counter overlooking the small kitchen show.  They are known for the halibut sandwich but you’ll find lots of house made, fresh options here.  The current owners have had the place five and a half years but it obviously goes way back.  An interim owner was an Italian lady that brought the place to notoriety according to the current owner.  The cook, Frank, was an amazing show to watch as he freshly breaded mushrooms, onion and the famed halibut for the sandwich all while grilling whatever.  The staff were all super friendly and it was such a fun tasty spot to have on our agenda, I recommend you try it when you’re in the area.  They are only open for lunch and breakfast (for which I could find no menu). Continue reading

Ray’s Waterfront, Seward, AK., 7/29/21

exterior

Ray’s Waterfront is a seafood restaurant that offers views of the Seward small boat harbor and mountains beyond.  It is a large place on a couple levels, to afford everyone a view.  The walls are decorated with lots of mounted fish in between the numerous windows that overlook the water. Seward is the sight for many day cruises to go see wildlife, icebergs, etc.  They take no reservations and are fairly popular so you can expect a line to get a seat, especially now that they are short staffed due to Covid.  Music is in the background and it seemed to be a place for gatherings.  In addition to seafood they also offer chicken and beef items and there were a couple of daily specials.  The food here is good but fairly ordinary however it is made up for with the fun view of the active harbor. Continue reading

Local Ocean Seafoods, Newport, OR., 6/26/21

exterior

Local Ocean Seafoods specializes in sustainable wild seafood from Oregon and has a retail outlet downstairs with dining rooms upstairs.  Opening in 2005, the lively fish counter on the ground level notes which vessel caught the fish and the technique used.  Owner Laura Anderson is the daughter of a commercial fisherman and has a Masters degree in Marine Resource Management. The dining room has windows looking out on the working port (Yaquina Bay) with fishing boats coming and going.  When you visit know that there is dedicated parking in the lot adjacent to their building otherwise it is hard to find a free space.  In the dining room, small light wood tables are set with matching wood chairs, no music is in the background and there is a bar area with some high-top tables for seating. Continue reading

Restaurant Beck (update), Depoe Bay, OR., 6/24-26/21

sign at the inn

We visited Restaurant Beck and stayed at the beautiful Whale Cove Inn about one year ago.  The facility hasn’t changed but the town of Depoe Bay has revitalized with the dispersal of a vaccine for Covid.  Since there are the previous entries on this lovely place I thought I’d make one post of the 3 dinners we had there.  They still offer three and five course tastings as well as an a la carte menu (wine pairings are available). The first night we enjoyed the 5 course tasting menu, but last year we realized that with their small menu, changing what we get every night is not possible.  So the second two nights we ordered a la carte.  I will post pictures of the items but not repeat pictures if we had the same item another night.  They still have a limited bar as well as bottles of wine.  It is a beautiful and tasty place to stay and/or eat. Continue reading

The Schooner Restaurant & Lounge, Netarts, OR., 6/25/21

exterior

The Schooner Restaurant and Lounge is located at the boat launch for Netarts Bay on the Tillamook Coast.  The source of most of their oysters is from the bay next door and the rest of their seafood is mostly locally sourced.  During lunch we watched a number of small boats launch into the bay and clam diggers hunt for clams.  They are quite popular and there was a line when we arrived at the opening hour.  Most wanted to sit on the large outdoor deck but we chose inside where you could watch the kitchen and wood fired oven.  Indoor the bar is separate from the dining area that has a combination of copper topped tables and booths.  Service was hurried and poor – for example we were told when the server arrived that the daily special was all gone (15 minutes after they opened) then later were told it was still available but she could not change the order we placed. Continue reading

Side Door Cafe, Gleneden Beach, OR., 6/24/21

exterior

Side Door Café is in an old brick and tile factory building.  It’s the restaurant part of the 7,000 sq. ft. warehouse also home to Eden Hall that all opened in 2000.  Family owned and run it serves New American dishes in an eclectic space decorated with many re-claimed items from other Oregon buildings.  They have some daily specials to add to the already large menu.  Their hours are shorter now and tables well spaced due to Covid, so changes may be coming in those areas. Lots of windows in the building add to the lighting during daytime and instrumental music is in the background.  The high ceiling is filled with fans and decorations are everywhere.  There were 2 large rooms, the first one having some booth seating and the second strung with little lights. Continue reading

James Hook and Company, Boston, 6/12/21

sign on building

James Hook and Co. started in 1925 with a father and his 3 sons trucking their catch to Boston.  It is still a family run business with 4 of the third generation siblings.  Somewhere along the line they developed retail outlets while still selling to restaurants and shipping across the U.S.   We visited a retail site near the water that also had a food truck on premises selling options.  Inside the little house were a couple tables to eat but mostly had tanks containing various sizes of lobsters and shelves with memorabilia and cooking supplies.  The retail counter had a number of fish and shellfish but also the lobster rolls, which they are famous for.  They come in 2 sizes and are cold with mayo or hot with butter.  Outside at the truck you could get the mayo variety and whole cooked lobsters as well as soups and some sides.  There is a large outdoor seating area to enjoy your selections. Continue reading

Henrietta Red, Nashville, 4/14/21

sign at door

Henrietta Red is the dream of Nashville born Julia Sullivan with a focus on fresh, simple ingredients and a variety of raw oysters and seafood.  The name is in honor of her grandparent’s low-country hospitality.  It is a fairly large place with widely spaced tables over 2 rooms and an overall modern feel.  The entry room contains the large bar as well as a few tables in a less lit space.  The second room has more lights, lots of windows, sound panels in the ceiling, the opening into the kitchen, a large center table for service and the oyster shucking area.  There is a wood fired oven in the kitchen and a patio for seating.  The menu has a number of smaller plates, larger main course plates – but all seemed fine to split.  Our friendly server was helpful in making selections and willing to bring out in a spaced format to create our own tasting of sorts.  Overall the food was delicious and full of wonderful flavors with good attention to textures and fun compositions. Continue reading

Clancy’s Restaurant (update), New Orleans, 3/19/21

exterior

Frankie has been to Clancy’s many times but always finds a good meal there with excellent service.  It is important to ask to sit in the main dining room as the vibe is much better.  Tables have more space between them, due to Covid, and all the staff wear masks, as do guests when they are away from their table.  They have a bar in addition to the wine list and we enjoyed a Negroni as we decided what to have.  The servers are usually opinionated if you can’t decide and guide you in ordering, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Continue reading

Herbsaint Restaurant (update), New Orleans, 3/17/21

exterior

We last visited Herbsaint in the end of 2018 and it is just as good as before.  They still have white paper on top of the white tablecloths but now the well-spaced tables are also placed in the bar area.  Two walls of the front rooms are glassed looking out on the street with lowered lighting inside.  No music is in the background but there is a hum of conversation.  Service was masked, attentive and friendly. Continue reading

Galatoire’s (update), New Orleans, 3/17/21

It’s been a year since we visited (and 2 since I’ve written up) Galatoire’s and we were excited to be vaccinated and out once again.  The food is just as good but a few changes include well spaced tables, masked staff and required reservations – even for dining on the first floor.  Even with 75% dining capacity the room still got really noisy but part of the place is the energy in the room.  Less waitstaff are on for each shift so you also may need to stray from your usual person.  The menu is on line and in past write-ups but it hasn’t changed except for a price increase here and there.  The fresh catch is updated daily and the food and service is consistently excellent.  One caution, don’t fill up on the hot bread and butter while waiting, which is really easy to do. Continue reading

Hudson House (Lakewood), Dallas, 9/2/20

exterior

Hudson House recently opened their third Dallas location in the Lakewood area.  The restaurant is owned by Vandelay Hospitality and is said to be known for it’s East Coast oyster happy hour and burger.  It is open for lunch , dinner and brunch.  They offer curbside pick up as well as indoor dining.  Seating is in booths, tables and at the bar.  It is a pretty large place and people at the bar were well spaced but booth seating didn’t seem to be limited.  They also have a “Pineapple Room” available for parties and it was empty.  Reservations were necessary and there is plenty of parking in the lot out front.  All staff wore well fitting masks and were friendly and helpful.  Service was efficient but I didn’t feel rushed.  Inside there was a wood floor with bare wood tables.  Around the bar was a path of the tiniest tiles – very striking.  The walls held a lot of New York and sports based art.  Music was in the background and the place was well lit. Continue reading

Flying Fish Grill, Carmel, 7/29/20

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entrance and patio

The Flying Fish Grill website still lists Tina and Kenny Fukumoto as owners rather than Honza Prikryl who bought it 3 years ago but has not been able to get control of the website to change things.  The menu is correctly reflected on the website except they temporarily don’t offer Clay Pots as that was part of the indoor service.  It looked like a cozy place but currently dining was outside of the restaurant, along the bricked corridor of a shopping plaza, set off the street.  The good sized tables were unclothed metal ones some with umbrellas attached.   Service was friendly but with a few glitches, but then everyone is adapting to new rules and systems.  The inside restaurant was down a set of stairs so staff had to bring everything up to the “new” dining area.   The menu is all about Asian fusion seafood and a couple specials were also offered by the server. Continue reading

Tidal Raves (re-visit), Depoe Bay, OR., 6/26/20

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old photos

 

We liked Tidal Raves enough to come back again the next day for lunch.  Once again the view was spectacular and we were seated on a different end of the place so it gave us another perspective, too.  This day was sunnier and the waiter pointed out some gray whales that were making water spouts in the water in our view.  I thought the service was good yesterday and today’s was even better.  He was kind enough to let us order leisurely and enjoy the food and wine while we took advantage of the view.  I should have taken his photo but in these times I’m not sure how much personal handling Frankie wants or people want to partake in.  Since the virus looks to be with us for some time to come, I’ll have to figure out delicately how to proceed with things I took for granted before.  Nevertheless we were equally delighted with our lunch and highly recommend this spot if you are ever anywhere near by.   Continue reading

Tidal Raves, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/25/20

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building

Tidal Raves has been in business since 1990 on a beautiful spot on the central Oregon coast. Whales are a regular sight out the large windows that frame the good sized dining room.  They do have a tint on them that keeps the sun from being too intense but will also tint some of your outdoor photos.  It is primarily a seafood restaurant but a few meat choices are there for the those not in the mood.  The a la carte menu was supplemented by a fresh catch special that was on the chalkboard on both our visits.  The long room has well spaced large bare wood tables along the windows and another series of tables on a second level (separated from below by a plexiglass barrier)  that is just high enough to afford them a good view also.  Instrumental music was in the background, carpet was on the floor, ceiling fans helped to keep it a nice temperature, additional light fixtures add to the incredible day light and the friendly, efficient staff wore masks. Continue reading

Gracie’s Sea Hag, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/24/20

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sign

Gracie’s Sea Hag opened in 1963 and promotes itself as having the finest and freshest sea fare on the Oregon coast.  Gracie Strom and her husband Dic started the place but he died a few years after it opened.  From the reviews I read, she sounded like quite a character – playing the bottles behind the bar to create tunes and greeting all guests like they were long time friends.  Sadly in 2006 she sold the place and I’m not sure it has the same fun vibe, however that is hard to judge in this time of Corona virus.  It is a large place with large tables, booths on one side of the room and tables on the other.  The booths were all separated by panels of stained glass windows of sea life above the stuffed benches and got extra lighting via a hanging stained glass light fixture.  The bare wood tables on the other side are set with unstuffed wood chairs.  The floor is a mix of carpet and tile, the ceiling is of wood with exposed duct work running down the middle of the long room.  A counter at the front of the room had menus, souvenirs and a person who greets you and takes you to a table.  The other end of the room is a service area that leads into the kitchen.   Continue reading

Bar Los Diamantes II, Granada, 1/23/20

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There are several locations of the Los Diamantes tapas bar, but they all specialize in seafood and have different atmospheres.  This one was a little larger and brightly lit. As with most of the tapa bars in Granada, the place serves you food with each round of drinks.  It had different age groups but most all were drinking beer.  They had the small glasses lined up on the counter filled with ice water.  When you order a beer they pour that ice water in another glass and run the beer into the chilled glass.  The beers come in 2 sizes but you’re best to order small ones because you get the same food whether you have a large or small pour.  This place didn’t have a lot of decorations it mostly was decorated with tons of people at the long counter.  There were a few high top tables in the large part of the room and people gathered about them.  Along the narrow hall to the bathroom were a few wall shelves and people were there too.  The crowd came and went constantly but the pace was always busy and fast. Continue reading

Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME., 11/30/19

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Eventide Oyster Co. is a large place and was super busy even in the late afternoon.  There were a couple rooms, one more with tables and the other with a large bar with stools, window counter seating and a couple tables.  There was art on the walls, lots of light (but also lots of windows to the street) and an area where the fresh oysters were on ice.  The counters along the bar and in the windows are made of concrete, the floor is wood, there is exposed ductwork and above is a tin ceiling.  The server came to get our drink order and we talked about what food to order but were advised to wait till you get your drinks and they were right.  Food service is very fast and so it is wise to make sure you have a drink when it arrives.  Service was additionally very friendly, efficient and helpful.  The food is really good in a casual setting.  They do offer a number of draft beers, few wines and a couple drinks. Continue reading

Fischereihafen, Hamburg, 9/19/19

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Fischereihafen has been in business for 60 years.  It overlooks the port and feels very ‘old school’.  The food is simple yet tasty and satisfying.  The service was friendly and efficient with limited English.   The large place spans many rooms, most of it on the second level of the waterfront building.  The walls are painted dark red and lots of windows capture the view.  Many paintings are on the walls along with old photos of people who had been there.  The good sized tables were closely set and covered with a double white cloths and set with well starched napkins.  They offer a large menu and at lunch a special 3 course meal (which was only on the German menu), which we chose.  Otherwise, it is all a la carte.   Continue reading

GW Fins Restaurant, New Orleans, 8/28/19

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GW Fins is a large place in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  At the entrance there is a large bar area to the left and a several tiered dining space to the right, separated by a huge fish sculpture.  Booths are set in arcs around the room and tables are in the middle.  Wood pillars break up the huge space and art is on the walls, except for the one wall that is windows to the street.  No music is in the background and the lights are lowered in the room but spots accent many of the tables.  While there is noise in the room from the many diners, conversation at the table seemed easy and private.  Double white clothes and folded napkins are set at the good sized tables.  They have been in business for 17 years.   They have an a la carte menu but also offer a fixed price meal where you chose from 3 options for 3 courses.  Service was helpful, friendly and opinionated.  Various personnel stoped by often to check on everything.  It was nice, not intrusive. Continue reading

Crabshakk, Glasgow, 7/31/19

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exterior

The Crabshakk is a small 2 story place filled with closely set rustic wood tables of various sizes.  Music plays in the background and the bar takes up a third of the downstairs eating area.  The walls are of stone and tile, which has prices of some the daily specials on it, and the floor is concrete all in some contrast to the ornate ceiling.  A window to the street is set with a wide high top table.  The menu is mostly seafood and there are daily specials that are offered in small and large sizes.  Service was friendly and helpful and not at all pushy.  The place is very casual and open all afternoon.  It is perfect for a full meal or a mid afternoon snack.  The seafood was all wonderfully fresh and tasty.  Thumbs up here. Continue reading

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

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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

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

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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

Osteria Alle Testiere (update), Venice, 2/21/18

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There are several previous Alle Testiere write ups on this site so I’ve identified this as an update.  I had been a number of times and it was in fact one of my favorite places in Venice and I just couldn’t  not go whenever we visited Venice.  We often went the first day there and either the jet lag effect or just having been there enough to make you tired of going there,  made me declare I’d been there for the last time.  Either way, I’m glad I broke my word and went back to try it again.  I felt it had gotten too tired and too full of tourists but this time it showed the freshness and friendliness that brought me to love it in the first place.  It was a fine meal from start to finish, with the dessert being better than ever.  The only ding I’d still give it is the size of the tables and how close they are together however in their defense there is no room to have bigger tables nor to place them any further apart.   Continue reading

L’avant Comptoir De La Mer, Paris, 12/1/16

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L’avant Comptoir De La Mer is a small stand room only place next to Relais Saint-Germain. It is the newest addition to the series of restaurants that he has opened and this one serves only seafood snacks. Always full of friendly people, nice staff and tasty food it is a perfect place to pass a little time and enjoy good wine and snacks. We were there to try their oysters and the manager fixed us a tray of many different varieties.   All very fresh there were different textures but a similar brininess to all. If you want meatier snacks just pop next door. Continue reading