Cail Bruich, Glasgow, 8/2/19

exteriro
exterior

Cail Bruich has been in business for 11 years and is a medium sized place with bench seating on both sides of the wide room.  The bench is a little different in that they have back support cushions hanging from the top of the seat.  At the end of the room, opposite the entry, is the large service area that has a pass through into the kitchen and a bar with a few seats.  Music plays in the background and there are lots of plants decorating the brick walls.  There is a large rectangular ‘green’ painting (that turned out to be preserved rather than living) on one wall.  In addition a number of jars of vegetables and fruits line the counter tops.  They offer only a tasting menu on Friday and Saturday with some optional supplements (cheese, oysters) and wine pairings are available.  Tuesday through Thursday they also offer an a la carte menu and are open for lunch.  The staff spoke good English and were friendly. Continue reading

The Gannet, Glasgow, 8/2/19

IMG_8609
building

The Gannet is a medium sized place that opened in 2013.  It is named for the Gannet, a diving bird.  Sitting at the small wood tables guests can enjoy windows to the street, a wide planked wood floor and music in the background.  A corrugated steel bar is topped with wood and has some stools for seating.  The walls are a combination of stone and bricks and lined with a bench seat on the wall opposite the bar.  There is a second room in the back of the long narrow space.  The bathroom is downstairs.  At lunch they offer 4 and 6 course menus as well as wine pairings.  The menu changes regularly, but I hope Chef Ivan Stein, who is co-owner/chef with Peter McKenna, never change the dessert.  We got the 6 course menu and ordered our own wine.  The food here is fabulous in a comfortable casual setting.  Put it on your list. Continue reading

Bilson Eleven, Glasgow, 8/1/19

exterior
exterior

Bilson Eleven opened in 2016 in a townhouse building that dates to the 1800’s.   It was set up like a house on a quiet street, utilizing several small rooms over a couple floors to seat less than 30.  The name is representative of Chef/Owner Nick Rietz’s 2 children and the number of tables originally.  He, with the help of his father did much of the renovation of the building.  Small bare wood pedestal tables are set fairly close and appointed with large cloth napkins and padded arm and armless chairs.  Windows to the street are along the front of one room and the floors are a wide panel wood.  Ceilings have ornate detailing and the fireplaces in the room are covered with decorative items.  Minimal art is on the walls, music plays in the background and there are no flowers on the table.  They serve only a tasting menu and you chose how many courses you want when you make your reservation.  We chose the largest, eight course and had the wine pairings to go with it.  Our server was nice enough to line up all the bottles at the end of the meal for one “group” photo.  The staff spoke great English and were super friendly.  Pacing of the meal was good as was the portion control. Continue reading

Fauna, Dallas, 6/22/19

exterior
exterior

Fauna is the newest addition to Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe in the Dallas Arts District.  It only seats 16 in the smaller dining room off to the side.  The setting is dressier and quieter than the larger front room, with nice sized tables draped in lovely linens and appointed with comfy padded chairs.  The tables are slightly close but it is a small room and there is adequate space between them.  They have purse stools, music in the background, art on the wall, a tall candle on each table, dark curtains on the windows and TV screens above the serving window with scenes of fire and water.  It has the southwestern touches, that Pyles is known for, like antlers above the monitors and branches in the ceiling fixture.  The room is completely enclosed when the meal starts and serves only the same tasting menu of about 12 courses to everyone there.  Pacing is a little slow but portion control is good.  The doors nicely shut out the hum of the front part of the place.  They do pass out a printed menu for you to take home at the end of the meal.   The pass through window to the kitchen is below the monitors and everyone is served at the same time.  Plan to spend a couple hours.  When we went they had only been open 3 weeks, so I’m sure some changes have been made to the set up. Continue reading

Raymonds (re-visit), St. John’s, NL, Canada, 6/29/19

inteiror
interior

The second time we went to Raymonds we went for the smallest tasting menu, the 3 course.  This one you get more a la carte sized servings.  My impression of the place was even better the second time around.  It was earlier in the evening so it was still light outside and that changed the room and really brightened things.  Music still played in the background and I think we got the same table but it was different to see the harbor outside and have a shorter meal experience.  For each of the 3 courses you have 3 options to pick from.   We also opted for our own bottle of wine this visit.   Continue reading

Raymonds, St. John’s, NL, Canada, 6/26/19

from the front
from the front

Raymonds is one large rectangular room filled with large, well-spaced tables appointed with padded armless chairs, white tableclothes and large white napkins.  Three wrapped chandeliers and real candles provide the lighting when the sun goes down and the 3 sides of windows no longer let in light.  The windows looks out over St. John’s harbour and passing boats.  The floor is carpeted and the high ceiling is decorated with heavy crown molding.  The room feels elegant and the crowd is more dressed up, many celebrating special occasions.  However it is noisy when the room fills up.  The building dates back to 1915 and previously was home to a cable company.   They opened 9 years ago after a couple years of extensive remodeling.  The menu offers 3 tasting menus (3, 5 and 7 courses)  with the 3 course one having a la carte size portions and the others appropriately scaled.  All  the menus had optional wine pairings available and the server said they would accommodate allergies or aversions.  We chose the 7 course tasting with the wine pairings. Continue reading

Providence (update), Los Angeles, 6/1/19

exterior
exterior

It’s been 3 years since we visited Providence.  Since that time Michelin has issued a new California guide that reinstated the previous rank of Providence as a 2 Michelin star restaurant.  Also the restaurant has redone the dining space.  The new gray walls are in place of the patterned ones but are still decorated with the white flowers and the ‘netting material’ continues to cover the ceiling.  They retained an elegance in the room with a double white table cloth covering the large tables that are moderately spaced.  The bench seating is now covered with leather and dark velvet mated on the other side with comfortable chairs. Music plays in the background and service is friendly and very attentive.  They offer 3 tasting menus with optional pairings, additional options (oysters, caviar, uni, and spot prawns) and a full bar.  We chose the Chef’s tasting menu and ordered our own wines.  It was an excellent meal – full of wonderful flavors and textures.    This place gets 2 strong thumbs up from me.  Pacing started rapidly and then slowed down a bit.  Portion control was great. Continue reading

Somni, Los Angeles, 5/31/19

seating counter
seating counter

Somni means “dream” in Catalan and this place is the dream of Chef Aitor Zabala and Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup.  It is inside the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and offers a surprise tasting menu of about 20 courses.  The menu changes with the seasons and mostly as an individual item at a time and they did have a printed version of the tasting for you when you finished.  They received a 2 star Michelin rating in the new California Michelin Guide.  You entered into the hotel lobby, which felt more like a mini department store, where you waited to be ushered into the dining room.  The dining room is a lovely light wood curved counter with plush chairs for 10 people.  The large group of chefs work at the several counters in front of you and also in a back area that is less visible.  The white surfaces look pristine with the light woods and marble and small spotlights hang over every seat so you can enjoy the artistry of the dishes.  Some art is on the back walls but the real art is in the kitchen in front of you.  It felt elegant and serene.  Service was amazing along with questions easily answered by any of the chefs that served you.  It was a totally delightful and delicious experience.  I suspect that this is the work of manager Eric Jeffay (who we met at D.C.’s Minibar) and is well versed in providing the finest service.  I encourage you to go if you get the chance the food is gorgeous, as is the room, and explodes with flavor.   Continue reading

Tegui, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

entrance
entrance

Tegui is a medium sized place that is a surprise inside as its building is covered with graffiti and the entrance is marked only on the door.  The well spaced tables are set with nice white tableclothes and huge napkins.  A bench seat provides the seating along one wall for the smaller tables where as the 4-tops are next to large windows looking out to an area of lighted plants.  One end of the room is a wall of glassed in wine bottles and the other the open kitchen, highlighted by a huge stainless steel bull head on the end of the vent hood.  The lighting was mostly provided by candles and pop music played in the background.  The ceiling was a shiny black wood and the wood floor was painted gray.  They have been here 10 years.  The staff was all friendly, helpful and conversant in English.  They only offer a tasting menu, for which the course listing was at the table, and wine pairings are available, however we chose to order our own wines.  They featured a number of local items in their dishes. Continue reading

CHILA – Relais & Chateaux, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

CHILA is a larger place that offers only a tasting menu, but they do have a vegetarian option for it.  The night we were there they also offered an additional caviar option. Wine pairings (8 glasses for about 15 courses) are available and we opted for them this evening.  Pacing of the meal was fairly quick and portion control was good.  The staff were all very friendly.  It is a place with a modern look, bare wood tables set with huge linen napkins and comfortable stuffed arm chairs, and lowered lighting.  There is a wonderful view of the city through their windows. Continue reading

Roux Resto, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

Roux is casual medium sized place with white clothes and napkins.  There is a bar at one end of the room with a pass through window to the kitchen but no seating at the bar.  The small tables are fairly closely set and windows to the street are on two sides of the room.  The other walls are painted and decorated with art and mirrors;  the floor is a natural wood.  At lunch is was a light and airy feeling room.  American music plays in the background but sound tiles in the ceiling keep the noise level good.  The day we were there they offered a special Anniversary tasting menu but normally the menu is all a la carte.  Chef Martin Rebaudino was in the house and came out to visit with his guests.   All the staff were attentive and friendly although some had limited ability to speak English.  The portions were generous and the pacing good.  I did see an amuse bouche being served to other tables but it missed us. Continue reading

El Baqueano – Cocina Autóctona Contemporánea, Buenos Aires, 5/22/19

building
building

El Baqueano is a small place with about 6 tables, 8 seats at the counter and an open kitchen.  They have been open 11 years.  You must ring the bell to have them confirm your reservation through the grating before you gain entry.  Windows to the street are on 2 walls as it sits on a corner and comfortable armchairs are at the tables set with elegant clothes and napkins.  Instrumental music played in the background and the overall lighting was low, but each table had a spot light.  An enclosed wall of wine separated the main dining room from a room with a larger table.  Everyone is served the same tasting menu and no printed version is available.  It was an odd meal, made odder in that the place was empty except for us and one other table.  Pacing was really fast and portions too large for a tasting.  With little information about the upcoming food we chose to try their wine pairings with the meal.  They served many local items which the server had difficulty translating for us.  Continue reading

Aramburu, Buenos Aires, 5/21/19

entry
entry

Aramburu was a medium sized modern looking place that had been in this location just 3 weeks when we ate there.  The bare tables are of stone or wood and accompanied by different chairs.  The large open kitchen takes up one long side of the room which is opposite windows, to the alley/street, that were covered with blinds.  The painted walls are topped with a brick ceiling and hanging light fixtures.  The light fixtures are minimal as the place is fairly dark.  It has a casual feel but you have to ring the bell to get inside.  There are just 12 tables and some music plays in the background.  The staff were super friendly and welcoming and spoke great English.  They serve only a tasting menu and wine pairings are available.  There is no printed version of the menu handed out, however they volunteer to email it and they actually did.  Pacing started out quite rapid but then allowed more time between courses and portion control was good.  We ordered our own wines from the recommendations by the excellent sommelier. Continue reading

Momofuku Ko (update), New York City, 5/4/19

open kitchen
open kitchen

We visited Ko one year ago and the entrance changed positions but not much else has changed significantly.   The seats at the counter seemed better spaced but the loud music still makes conversation difficult.  They offer 2 seatings in a night and they are staggered slightly so waiting wasn’t a problem.  They offer only the same tasting menu to all and it was surprisingly similar to what we were served a year ago.  They probably offer wine pairings but we chose to order our own wines.  They do have a couple tables for larger groups but everyone else is seated at the wood bar in acceptable but not super comfy seats.  They have purse hooks under the counter but it was so far under you’d never be able to retrieve your purse if you need anything.  Pacing was uneven and portion control was on the light side.  You do receive a menu at the end but many of the things I well recognized from our last visit.  I mentioned this to the chef who was a bit defensive that they’d made changes but they were minor to the diner.  Unfortunately this similarity made the meal less exciting to me. Continue reading

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (update), New York City, 5/3/19

building
building

We were at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in the fall of 2015, back when it was in Brooklyn.  It has since moved into the city and relaxed a few of the rules.  Chef César Ramirez now allows note taking and photos but still does not permit jeans and requires coats for men in the dining room.  I was not a fan of such policies back then and still am not but was willing to try the new location that was more under my terms.  The new place in still in the back of a grocery store but the room is beautiful, softer than the old one with a lot less stainless steel and more woods.  It is also much larger with 20 seats at the counter and 20 at tables around the perimeter.  This allows larger parties to attend and the comfortable counter seats have backs and are now spaced between parties.  Shining copper pots hang above the large open kitchen that has lots of people making preparations.  The rock music in the background was a bit jarring for the otherwise elegant setting.  It still is a surprise tasting menu only but they do give you a copy of what you had at the end of the meal.  Pairings are available.  Pacing was good but portions tend to the large size and are fairly rich. 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

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

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

Chambre Séparée, Ghent, 4/24/19

exterior
exterior

Chambre Séparée is a u-shaped counter for 16 around a large open kitchen dominated by wood fired grills, which do all the cooking.   There is a comfortable space out front where you wait for your seat at the counter.  They invite you to come early to enjoy the space and a cocktail.  Our reservation ran a little late so they started with the snacks out there.  I don’t know if this was usual or not. Two seatings fill the spaces for this surprise tasting menu.  Wine pairings are available but we chose our own bottles of wine to accompany dinner.  Vintage rock records are played on a turntable, smoke fills the air ( which will also permeate your clothes by the time you leave) and lighting is pretty dim at the counter.  They have been in this location for two and a half years and hope to move the restaurant to the country in another year and a half when it would be time to remodel the building.  It is a several hour meal with good pacing, no lags, and great portion control.  At the end of the evening they have a written copy of the menu for you as well as a parting gift of housemade bread and butter.  Kobe Desramaults is the chef and he and the other chefs presented the food and described it well.  They were all very friendly, spoke good English and didn’t mind questions. 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

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

Alcyone, Marseille, 3/23/19

hotel
hotel

Alcyone is a one star Michelin star restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel.  It is a stylish dining room on the second level of the hotel with large windows overlooking the city.  The good sized room is filled with large well spaced tables draped with white clothes and set with large napkins.  Beige tones are in the chairs, curtains and walls and a stunning overhead fixture gives off muted light while music plays in the background.  There was a soundboard in the ceiling and the chairs were well padded with arms, so noise was not an issue.  Table decorations were different sizes of metal fish.   A modern rug is in the center of the room set off by the dark wood floor. The menu offers a 5 course chef selected tasting menu or a la carte selections. Wine pairings are available.  Pacing  started rapidly and then really slowed down and portion control was okay.   The staff was friendly and spoke good English.   We chose the tasting and a printed menu was offered to be presented at the end of the meal, but when that time came it was not ready or started. 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