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Published: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 01:06:22 GMT


Christmas in Brussels

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:05:32 GMT

Omniphile, wow, one month hence and no replies. I hesitated to post anything because my reply about my own home town Brussels usually puts people off: Brussels is not a foodie town. Very costly, few options and low quality service. If you are in Belgium around the year end, you ought to go to Ghent, Brugge and Antwerp. Those are the happening places for dining. Some restaurants will serve a fixed menu on 24 and/or 25, but might be hard to book. Xmas is basically a family holiday, celebrated at home. I do not know what is being served, but check the following places Nuance in Duffel Benoit en Bertrand de Witte in Zingem Boury in Roeselare Vrijmoed in Gent Ardent in Antwerpen-Berchem Seppe Nobels Graanmarkt in Antwerpen These are top class restaurants, just outside the Michelin bling bling dollar bracket. Regarding beer and wine, when you ask for drinks to be suggested glass by glass for each course, many of these places will actually include beer, or sake, or sherry, or cava. Adventurous cooking and drinking, but sadly not in Brussels. Enjoy

Only Dutch are welcome at Restaurant Huson Rotterdam

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:10:27 GMT

Hi Ivor, I'm sorry to hear this happened to you in my hometown! I've lived in Rotterdam a long time, but never actually went to Huson. Next time you're here, please use this board for suggestions and I'd happily chime in. Just curious though: which restaurant were you sent to?

Warsaw Restaurant Recommendations

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 07:51:41 GMT

Based on the 'glowing' and curious recommendation here, four of us tried Akademia for dinner one evening. It did not impress any of us. What a disappointment. The service was ho-hum slow, the servers screwed up several of the food orders, and the food was nothing special. Sometimes 'lost in translations' might happen if the staff does not speak English well and the diners do not speak Polish. But in this case, one of us spoke Polish and it was her order and another diner's that was not prepared properly. Perhaps when compared to a communist-style 'milk bar', people would think this restaurant is creative, modern and amazing. But for us, an international group of diners with plenty of food experiences outside of Poland, Akademia reminded us of a chain hotel restaurant. Unless they change or improve, none of us would return here or recommend it to anyone we knew. There are better places in Warsaw with fresh, seasonal ingredients, creative cooking, excellent service and better ambience.

3 Dutch Farmers Crisps / Hoeksche Chips

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:44:57 GMT

Running through Schiphol Airport a couple years ago, I spent some of my euro coins on a bag of 3 Dutch Farmers Crisps. Apparently this is the English-language branding that Hoeksche Chips uses for the potato chips sold at the airport. I opened them a few days after I got home and wished I had more. Very fresh and crunchy, intense potato flavor, delicate salting and a clean finish. These are fried in sunflower oil. While Spanish potato chips cooked in olive oil are still my favorite, I liked these very much.

Fancy-ish Dinner in Copenhagen

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 18:08:39 GMT

Thanks for the tips about 108. We have a reservation there next month and was gravitating towards the starters because we like sampling more dishes that way. Good to get confirmation they're stronger than the mains!

Raclette - Lucerne/Zurich

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 05:22:25 GMT

Long ago I spent some time with friends in Lucerne who took me to a great local spot for long ago I only remember how delicious it was. Am planning to visit Lucerne and Zurich May-June 2018 and would love to know of any places that might be recommended to enjoy that wonderful culinary experience again.

Where are the best Danish pastries in Copenhagen?

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 06:18:37 GMT

Glad you found your pastries! I did not have as good of luck at the airport two years ago. I spent my last coins at Lagkagehuset at the airport. My flight was very early. I suspect that these pastries were stale from the day before.

Amsterdam Restaurant Recommendations

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 19:36:11 GMT

Oh no! But the important thing is that you still got to try it.

Recommendations for Bratislava Restaurants

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 13:56:55 GMT

Back from my travels and, as no one posted any recommendations in reply to my OP, thought I would share our restaurant experiences in Bratislava: We ate at two traditional moderately priced restaurants for our first two dinners in Bratislava (picked based on TripAdvisor reviews, since we had no other data points): Zeleny Rodriguez (I know an improbable name) is located just outside the Old Town on the way up towards the Castle. It's next door to the Ibis Hotel. In retrospect, they had a pretty good wine list, including a Cote de Rhone red sold by the glass, but this was our first meal in Bratislava so we did not appreciate it. Instead I ordered a glass of a Slovak red, which was quite inferior. My husband ordered a beer, which is probably the safer choice of alcoholic beverage. The food here was better than average, but not great. Some of the shortcomings, in my view had to do with over-abundance of sweetness in both the starter & main course; I am not sure if this was an execution error or just typical of Slovak food. My starter was smoked salmon, served on a beautiful & plentiful bed of greens, but dressed with a honey mustard sauce that was too sweet. I had the pork schnitzel for a main, which was tender and tasty, but paired with a cold potato salad that was oddly flavored -- again too sweet. If I returned to Zeleny Rodriguez and ordered the schnitzel, I'd probably ask if I could substitute mashed potatoes (which were on the menu) for the potato salad. Service at Zeleny Rodriguez was middling at best: There was a long gap between our starters & mains. The 2 servers studiously avoided making eye contact with us or coming over to explain that gap, even though it was glaring. Prasna Basta - This is a traditional restaurant located in a back corner of a side street in the Old Town. It is popular and well-reviewed on TripAdvisor but we were disappointed. Service was very friendly and attentive, but food quality was below the level of Zeleny Rodriguez. The best part of my meal was the side accompaniment to my main course, which was described on the menu with the English translation "buttered dumplings," which turned out to be the Slovak version of spaetzle -- nicely al dente and copious quantity. Savoy -- After two nights of middling dinners, we decided to wandered around on our third day, looking at restaurants and menus. We decided to try this upscale restaurant at the Carlton Hotel (Radisson Blu), which is next door to the American Embassy. By Bratislava standards, the Savoy is expensive but not compared to equivalent restaurants in major western cities. The Savoy is set in a beautiful room with windows out onto a main plaza. The menu is an ambitious, creative take on Central European cuisine. I started with a smoked trout appetizer that was accompanied by beets and "horseradish gelato." The latter was a delicious aerated scoop of icy, chilled horseradish. Not only did it complement the trout perfectly, it was so tasty that I spread some on my bread in lieu of butter. I had a main course of roast duck, which was accompanied by "crispy polenta" -- also really good. Only weak link in the food were our desserts, which were sweet but had not other flavors. Decent wine list. Very professional service. I'd patronize this restaurant if it were in Chicago. It was that good. For lunch one day, we ate at Mondieu, which is a small Slovak chain restaurant reminiscent of Le Pain Quotidienne chain -- i.e., with a focus on baked goods but also offering sandwiches, salads, and simple entrees like quiche. I believe that there are 6 restaurants in the chain, 4 of which are in Bratislava. We ate at the location on Laurinska 7. I had a goat cheese salad, which was accompanied by delicious, hearty brown bread. Very good. A large number of the patrons -- a fair number of whom appeared to be l[...]

Help make a special birthday trip to Vienna!

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 02:25:42 GMT

Mr Autumm doesn't really do coffee so we didn't explore those. The ones we wandered past all looked great, at least the pastries did. I did talk him into one in Salzburg but I couldn't tell you the name.

Ukraine Report

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:47:16 GMT

First, a warning – or at least some perspective. Service levels in Ukraine are just different from those encountered in most of (Western) Europe. An ‘adjustment’ is necessary, otherwise very few places will meet ‘expectations’. When doing my preliminary research, I encountered several (actually ‘many’) reports of tardy, inefficient (and similar adjectives) service – and yes, the observations are true, but if one approaches as ‘different’ then sometimes the food can be well-prepared, despite what might be considered service lapses. In particular, the ‘tradition’ of bringing all parties meals at the same time is rarely honoured. Food comes out of the kitchen ‘when it is ready’ – on several occasions there were ‘huge gaps’ between the serving of different parties dishes (in the worst case over 60 minutes). Also, plates are generally cleared away as soon as one finishes – regardless of the status of other diners at the table. Payment is also ‘a variation’. Assuming credit cards are accepted (which they are at most upper-scale places), there will be two separate bills/checks; one for food, the other for all liquids (including water, coffee). Neither will enable a gratuity to be added – all tips are in cash. So, on to the restaurants (roughly in order visited). Lviv Another detour before the food itself. For some reason, many places in Lviv feel the need for a gimmick – I felt as if a deranged Disney had developed the restaurant scene here. Examples (by no means complete) include: A medieval restaurant with a live goose (penned) in the dining room A ‘chimney sweep house’ with a car parked on the roof so he can get to work over the rooftops. A ‘most expensive restaurant’ which has a false ’sitting room’ entrance and servers dressed in masonic garb (and a 90%off voucher which you need before attending the restaurant). A ‘bunker’ that ‘only serves members of the Independent Ukrainian Army (you will be interrogated before being granted admission – the password may (or may not) be “I hate Putin”. A place named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch – purportedly the servers offer to whip you during the meal. On to the gimmicks I actually visited: Arsenal – gimmick is no plates or cutlery – you eat with your hands off a paper covered wooden table that you share with other patrons. Plus (purportedly) only a single menu item - rack of ribs, cooked on a rotating wheel over a wood fire (they do actually have a few other items if you insist). This is participatory food. There’s a communal tap to rinse your hands before and after. The ribs themselves were ‘OK’ – with that volume they can clearly obtain good quality meat. But the cooking of the ribs is erratic – some are charred, some barely done. Seasoning seemed random. Despite being cooked over wood, surprisingly little smoke content – I’m guessing relatively short cooking time and probably boiled first as no dripping fat flare-ups. Texture was good, with still some ‘bite’. Great with beer. One person had fish – and the smell of that one portion swamped the aromas from the multiple rib orders. A salad came wrapped in flat bread. And the postscript – massive MSG reaction later. Coffee Mine – gimmick is a café that features a ‘coffee mine’ – you’ll need a hard hat to tour the cellar where they mine the coffee beans (if you visit this, do it after a salt-mine visit; the parody is actually quite good). Coffee was ‘acceptable’ – the beans were mostly Central American and South American – neither area is among my favourites – but a fun time. Vintage Nouveau – gimmick ‘the best wine list in Ukraine’ – indeed a good list – pity that 3 of the 4 wines I attempted to order were out of stock. Finall[...]

Brussels for 1 Day - 2 meals and best chocolates

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:58:48 GMT

Try Pierre Marcolini for chocolate.

Berlin at the end of August

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 05:34:50 GMT

The first time I visited Berlin was more than 10 years ago when one of my best friends still studying there. Then I made a return here (1-night transit) last May … I thought Berlin has undergone the biggest improvement among major cities in Germany in terms of top restaurants, hotels etc. (both quality and quantity). I didn’t really expect such dramatic ‘upgrade’, so it was not that easy to pick where to go for my only dinner opportunity here – note that there are currently 7 2-star Michelin restaurants in Berlin. Tim Raue would be the most popular and common choice but I skipped it since I found the food was “too (Southeast) Asian” – given I’m from that region. I prefer something more German/international and the choice fell into Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer as it’s also strategically located near Brandenburg gate area. The dining room of Lorenz Adlon was small (could accommodate at most 30 people) and divided into 2 rooms; I was seated in the ‘inside’ room, designed like a private library, near the corner and far from the window. The ceiling was not too high but the interior exuded luxury and intimacy; the space among the tables was comfortably distanced. The restaurant was nearly full; perhaps it’s of no surprise given the food quality and the fact that it only serves 4 dinners a week … even more “relaxed” than L’Astrance! The meal began with a pour of sparkling wine (sans alcohol), complimentary from the house. The bread had gorgeous presentation (served among the colorful stones inside a big bowl) and they’re delicious, pretty much all of them – pretzel, honey muffin, thyme roll and sourdough. The bread was served together with truffle mayo and chives salted butter. For the meal, I ordered a longer tasting menu but without the cheese (7 courses in total). The cuisine was a combination of traditional German with French technique and contemporary flavors using top produce. I found many of the appetizers often used too many ingredients on the plate hence lacked focus, but I admired the chef’s boldness. I liked it better when he put fewer things on the plate and let the main ingredient shine such as what happened in the main courses. The baked pork’s chin was flavorful, crispy outside and tender inside; it was nicely complemented by the glazed onions and potato cream. Likewise, the beef filet was perfectly executed and enhanced by the ‘yellow’ sauce and dark gravy containing its jus. Maybe since Hendrik Otto, chef de cuisine, is still “young” and has been here in less than a decade, he would still need to tweak the recipe and try to find his perfect style. The service was warm, friendly, and professional even though I was never served by the manager. Although at first, the basic was similar to what I often experienced in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong); I generally liked the hospitality I received in Europe better. Probably, it’s the tone, the body language and the face expression of the staffs here that I found to be more genuine, passionate and smooth instead of being robotic despite the young age of the staffs taking care of me. By the way, I also received an equally impeccable service by young gentlemen at Aqua. Overall, it’s a satisfying 2-star meal; great service and tasty food. I think Chef Otto’s creations were still work in progress … one day maybe he will receive the 3rd star? Pictures of the meal:

Recent trip to Stockholm- highlights

Sun, 03 Sep 2017 15:59:55 GMT

Belkisw, what a splendid, detailed post. I'm headed for my first visit to Stockholm in late September. I'm printing out your comments to take with me. Let me ask your advice on something else. While I'm in Stockholm, I'll be looking for food presents to bring back to the US--presents that are (1) not too heavy; (2) not too bulky; and (3) maybe in the range of $20-40 in cost. Would you have any suggestions of presents to look for, or stores to check out? If not, could you suggest any other source, either here on chowhound or elsewhere, I might consult? Thanks!!

Munich in the fall - Game menu suggestions

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 18:14:30 GMT

Halali specializes in game, and they're very good. That said, most traditional places will have at least one or two venison or wild boar dishes on the menu that time of year.

Best restaurant/foodie experiences in Corfu

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 21:43:27 GMT

Hi, What did you find in Corfu. We will be there in May 2018. Looking for good restaurants for dinners and lunch. JMG

Food gifts from Stockholm?

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 23:22:31 GMT

I'm going to be on my first trip to Stockholm in October. Any suggestions for presents to bring back to friends and family in the US? I'm really looking for presents that are (1) unavailable or not easily available in the US; (2) not super-bulky; and (3) not super-heavy. I'd welcome all advice! Thanks!

Berlin Trip Report

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 01:56:28 GMT

Thank for the great report. You ate at some of our favorites. When it comes to food, Berlin is a very under rated city. It still has some old stodgy restaurants serving traditional German food but some very talented young chefs have made it one of the most vibrant and exciting city for eating out. Besides some excellent Turkish food, there is good food from just about everywhere else, especially from Asia.

Joe & The Juice | Copenhagen & San Francisco

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 01:08:14 GMT

I have been to two of the nyc locations, the undeniable appeal here is the plentiful comfortable seating and wifi judging from the number of people with laptops who were treating as their mobile office.... I was disappointed both times by their coffee- first visit my double espresso was serviceable but without a proper crema on top and a harsh bite to the finish. Potentially just the fault of that specific barista, but too many other better options. Second visit i went with iced coffee that was a little weak although serviceable. They were doing a brisk business in smoothies and juices so perhaps that is their strength.

Hiša Franko - anyone been? (Slovenia)

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:58:48 GMT

Just in case anyone else searches for this place - the chef won best (female) chef this year(2017), which she absolutely deserves - maybe even without the "female" qualifier: Also I did end up eating here (in 2015), and it was one of if not THE most memorable meal of the trip.