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

IMG_3391
exterior

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

IMG_5642
building

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

IMG_1804
exterior

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

exterior
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

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

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

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

street window
street window

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

img_7356
exterior
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