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Thread: Tales from a Bon Vivant - The Really Good Restaurants Thread

  1. #1
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Tales from a Bon Vivant - The Really Good Restaurants Thread

    I couldn't see anything like this in here yet.

    I am an addict. I spend approximately half of my disposable income on my addiction. I have wild mood swings when I haven't recently indulged it. I've committed crimes to feed it. I am of course talking about fine dining.

    Some recent visits:

    The Fat Duck (expected spend - 250 a head)

    Just beyond awesome. Hyped to the stratosphere, but rightly so, the tasting menu (and accompanying wines) is out of this world. Hoping to go again later this year but at 250+ a time...

    Nobu (expected spend - 50+ but can be cheaper at lunch (~30))

    Very good Japanese fare. Main menu is overpriced but there are very good lunchtime deals on chef's boxes (a selection whatever they have lots of, different each time). Reminds me of Japan.

    Hawksmoor (expected spend - 50-70 a head)

    Best steak place in London. Go with a friend or two and split a kilo of, say, Porterhouse, cooked to perfection and all the sides are to die for (bone-marrow-battered triple cooked chips for example). Beats the crap out of Gaucho, the second best.

    Hakkasan (expected spend - 70+ a head)

    Michelin starred london Chinese/Dim Sum place. Was disappointed by the service (turned up 5 mins before booked time, was made to wait 45 mins at bar for table!) and food (above average dim sum but hardly worth several hundred quid)

    Astrid y Gaston (expected spend - 30-40 a head)

    Visited this on a whim while in Peru last October. Was blown away by the tasting menu which managed to make "10 different kinds of potato" into something magical. Also the guinea-pig confit was amazing. Can understand why it regulary gets ranked in the top restaurants in the world.


    Upcoming:

    Noma at Clairidges (expected spend - 150+ a head)

    Noma are putting on a few nights "pop-up" style at Clairidges in London next month. I'm on the waiting list for a table and am SO excited. Noma just won World's best restaurant for the third year running.


    Dinner (expected spend - 100+ a head)

    Heston Blumenthal's new place in London. Gets great reviews, will be interested to see how it compares to fat duck.


    Any other really special places (especially in London / South England) you have been and rate?

  2. #2
    FatFreddy's Avatar
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    There's a really good small asian place next to the university in vienna, bento for 6€ and the chef and owner is a chill dude

  3. #3
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatFreddy View Post
    There's a really good small asian place next to the university in vienna, bento for 6€ and the chef and owner is a chill dude
    Dont get me wrong, I love those places too

  4. #4
    Djan Seriy Anaplian's Avatar
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    I must recommend Pied a Terre on Charlotte Street, i've eaten at prey much all the high-end London restaurents and in my opinion this trumps them all. The average spend is about 70-100 a head and the service is impeccable, add an intimate setting and the best French food i've ever had and you've got an amazing place. They also do a set-lunch-menu which is more reasonably priced; 2 Michelin stars.

  5. #5

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    Tom Kitchinors place in Edinburgh , fuckin awesome food and reasonably priced. Think with masses of drink included we were under 50 a head for the 8 of us that went. Thats the tasting menu again , the a la carte one was "YOUR ARE GONNA CHARGE WHAT FOR FOOD ???? " type of pricing.

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    I can't stand the 4 star treatment, it makes me uncomfortable. So here is a collection of mostly family run restaurants that I've stumbled across that are really good.

    http://g.co/maps/k9uky
    Newly opened (2 years ago) half way between suttons bay and Traverse City. I forget what the restaurant is called is shared with the Chateau de Leelenau vintner which sells some decent wine. The restaurant is run by a pretty cool guy, and the cook is a little thai lady. The menu is slightly eclectic from standard American fair to awesome Thai dishes and oddly enough pizzas though they only make a certain amount per day after they run out of stock for their pizzas the stop selling till the next day. All of it is extremely good.

    http://g.co/maps/fydxz
    Owned by sisters who moved up to Michigan from New Orleans they make some excellent Cajun style cooking. My father and I religiously use the excuse of going sailing just so we can sail from suttons bay to Elk rapids and eat there.

    http://g.co/maps/p9jqr
    Herman's European cafe. Yes the guy's name is Herman, it's mostly German fare and is all extremely good. Don't be weird and get a hamburger like my brothers wife.

    http://g.co/maps/jqecn
    Doherty hotel has been the go to place when traveling between East Lansing and Traverse city. It won't blow your socks off but it does serve good food for good prices, and a salad bar that is fucking huge.

    http://g.co/maps/w4hku
    Excellent Indian food, but do yourself a favor go there for dinner avoid the lunch buffet. Owned and operated by near gourmet Indian guy who moved from India to New York City with no money in his pocket and worked in the food industry from dishwasher to owning his own restaurant (possibly plural by now). Interior is rather basic but don't let that fool you.

    http://g.co/maps/4y7we
    Omi Sushi, best sushi restaurant in East Lansing, previous holder of that was Murisaki which now longer exists.

    http://g.co/maps/86eza
    Dusty's cellar A great place to pick up good wines, and has an excellent restaurant. The menu changes week to week depending on what the chef is making so it's tough to narrow down. I have never been disappointed.

    http://g.co/maps/55dgh
    Fishbones, cajun food very excellent and a great place to go for lunch or dinner after, or before you go to see a Tigers, or red wings game, or lolLions if that's your thing.


    That's the list off the top of my head, there is more but effort.

  7. #7
    Donor Rans's Avatar
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    I've been to both Dinner and the Fat Duck and I liked Dinner a lot more. Get a few friends and take a reservation for the private room, it will cost you about 100-150/each depending on which wine you'll take, but I absolutely loved it.

  8. #8
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djan Seriy Anaplian View Post
    I must recommend Pied a Terre on Charlotte Street, i've eaten at prey much all the high-end London restaurents and in my opinion this trumps them all. The average spend is about 70-100 a head and the service is impeccable, add an intimate setting and the best French food i've ever had and you've got an amazing place. They also do a set-lunch-menu which is more reasonably priced; 2 Michelin stars.
    I've heard really good things but I need a special occassion to warrant the spend. Will do soon though.

    Today I got the Noma tickets I wanted but decided to bail on them because committing 800 upfront for a 4 person table WITHOUT wine was just too much of a punch in the ballsack. Not sure if right decision.

  9. #9
    Donor cheeba's Avatar
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    Im going to 'spice market' tonight at the new W hotel in central london/picadilly circus right next to china town. Ill let you know how it is

  10. #10
    kzig's Avatar
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    The best place I've been to lately was Bocca Di Lupo, near Piccadilly Circus. Expect to spend ~50 / head (I spent a bit less than that, but I don't drink). They serve some really good miscellaneous Italian food, and dining at the chef's bar is quite good fun (you can watch- and smell- everything being cooked a few feet away from you). I rarely spend that much though - what recommendations do people have in the 20-30 per head bracket (slightly more if including drinks)?

  11. #11
    Djan Seriy Anaplian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzig View Post
    The best place I've been to lately was Bocca Di Lupo, near Piccadilly Circus. Expect to spend ~50 / head (I spent a bit less than that, but I don't drink). They serve some really good miscellaneous Italian food, and dining at the chef's bar is quite good fun (you can watch- and smell- everything being cooked a few feet away from you). I rarely spend that much though - what recommendations do people have in the 20-30 per head bracket (slightly more if including drinks)?
    There's a very nice 'posh' tapas restaurant on Pentonville Road called Camino which suits your price range, the food is excellent and the place itself is nicely laid out. http://www.camino.uk.com/kingscross

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    Donor cheeba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeba View Post
    Im going to 'spice market' tonight at the new W hotel in central london/picadilly circus right next to china town. Ill let you know how it is
    Expensive but delicious. Reviews are apparently pretty meh but I found the food very good. service was a bit tempermental but overall Id give it an A grade.

  13. #13
    Donor Navigator Six's Avatar
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    Tom Kerridge won Great British Menu a coupla years in a row, and his gastropub outside of Maidenhead is top-notch (it's gotten a second Michelin Star since I was there): thehandandflowers.co.uk Prices were very reasonable; I don't remember anything about the wine list.

    If you're in Oxford area, then the 1-star Nut Tree Inn is a fantastic place to go. They have a very nice tasting menu that's not stupidly expensive (55 for six courses plus an extra 38 for the wine course) and is well worth it. If you're big into wine then the sommelier is really approachable and will talk your ear off (he busted out some predictably-expensive-but-quite-good wine from his "private cellar" last time we were there). (Tasting menu plus wine course should cover you: 93)

    If you're in Oxford proper, then The Magdalen Arms is the place to go. Simple food cooked very well, nice atmosphere, solid wine that I can recall. If you go, bring one or two friends and get one of the multi-person meals. It's usually possible to walk in and get a seat in the pub section in the front half, though they'll take reservations for the back if you call (the menu is the same either way). (generally something like 30 or 40 quid for a shared two-person main, or around 15 for the other mains)

    And finally, it should come as no surprise that Oxfordshire's only two-star restaurant is worth going to. I haven't been there in several years, but when I was the food was superb and the service was terrifyingly high class (as in when you would approach your table after visiting the loo, a waiter would appear from nowhere, pull your chair out for you, push it in after you, and then spread your napkin over your lap). (Set menus run from 75 to 150 without extras. I couldn't afford the wine when I was there. )
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  14. #14
    Movember 2012Donor ctrlchris's Avatar
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    Do people still go to dorcia?


    Your posting is medium, its not rare and its not well done
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  15. #15
    Djan Seriy Anaplian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctrlchris View Post
    Do people still go to dorcia?

  16. #16
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Since my last post I've taken my girlfriend to Pied A Terre (1-starred place near Goodge St) for a midweek lunch. Was excellent value and incredible food.
    (http://www.pied-a-terre.co.uk/home-Michelin-restaurant)


    I've also booked the private room in Dinner for my birthday in August! So excited.

  17. #17
    Moderator Moderator F*** My Aunt Rita's Avatar
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    I haven't been to a good living dinner is such a long time. In my defense, my city is better at the low-medium tier food.

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    Donor Mike deVoid's Avatar
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    I want to take my London gf out for an amazing meal in London, but she is veggie. Does this pretty much rule out these sorts of restaurants?

  19. #19
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike deVoid View Post
    I want to take my London gf out for an amazing meal in London, but she is veggie. Does this pretty much rule out these sorts of restaurants?
    Definitely not, but it would be worth calling ahead if you want to do a "set menu" kind of deal. Most restaurants will have 1 to 2 veggie offerings per course. Some more.

    If in doubt, call ahead - thats what the hostess/receptionist who takes bookings is there for.

    PS: It probably does rule out Hawksmoore and other steak-speciality places :P

  20. #20
    Donor cheeba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Since my last post I've taken my girlfriend to Pied A Terre (1-starred place near Goodge St) for a midweek lunch. Was excellent value and incredible food.
    (http://www.pied-a-terre.co.uk/home-Michelin-restaurant)


    I've also booked the private room in Dinner for my birthday in August! So excited.
    Nvm, had a look at the website and looks delicious.

    Also, ottolenghi have opened a restaurant in soho, menu looks good and I aim to try it out next week:

    http://www.nopi-restaurant.com/
    Last edited by cheeba; May 29 2012 at 10:36:46 AM.

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