Tag Archives: high quality

Al Capriolo

Ski season in Europe has almost come to an end – spend your last snow-filled days at the exclusive ski resort Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy. Outside the town of Cortina you will find the amazing wild game restaurant Al Capriolo, which is definitely worth a visit. The interior is warm and inviting, with hunting trophies, roe deer (capriolo) antlers and wine bottles throughout the space. The restaurant has been managed by the same family for over a century and they really set the standard for quality regional cuisine. There is a great selection of wines to complement the awesome game dishes; treat yourself Italian style!

Al Capriolo Vodo di Cadore / Cortina Al Capriolo Michelin

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Jewel Bako

Sometimes we feel that New York offers more sushi bars than you would actually be able to find in Japan. It is, however, still very hard to find a place that serves very fresh, authentic dishes in a modern setting; usually it’s one or the other. Jewel Bako might just be the place that combines both, although its East Village location is not necessarily ideal (and prices way too high for that area). Nevertheless, it’s worth the money and the trip down. “Jewel Bako” supposedly means “jewel box”, which actually describes the small intimate dining room pretty well. We highly recommend the Omakase (Chef’s tasting menu) to fully experience what this restaurant has to offer. If you like to stay in charge and choose your own items, at least try to ignore the Spicy Tuna or California Roll and go outside your comfort zone for a night; you won’t be disappointed!

Jewel Bako EntranceJewel Bako sushi sashimi Jewel Bako interior

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Brasserie Les Halles

New York with a hint of Paris: entrez-vous Brasserie Les Halles for a classic French meal in a fun setting. This Park Avenue location (there is another one downtown) opened in 1990 and operates continuously from 7:30am to midnight, seven days a week. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, but gets loud and boisterous at night – just like a true French brasserie! The setting is unpretentious and resembles a Parisian brasserie is every way: scarred wooden tables, tiled floors, stiff white table cloths and a waiting staff that’s friendly, but rushed. French classics such as onion soup, steak tartare, and foie gras are served with a simple salad or pommes frites. Thanks to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who ruled the Les Halles kitchen for over a decade (and is still referred to as the restaurant’s “Chef-at-large”), we can even try to prepare these dishes ourselves with the help of his cookbook.

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Il Tempio del Gusto

Located in the heart of Italy’s Umbria region, Spoleto is often chosen as a base to explore the area. It’s a charming, quiet little city located on a hill’s slide with its own ancient Roman acquaduct. But most of all…Spoleto houses one of Umbria’s best restaurants, Il Tempio del Gusto. This family owned restaurant is small and intimate inside but also offers outdoor seating. As Umbria is known for its mushrooms, black truffles and wild game, many of the dishes at Il Tempio del Gusto contain just that. Pair it with a glass of local Sagrantino wine to fully embrace the Umbrian experience. Owner Eros Patrizi is a passionate chef and carefully prepares the tasty and beautifully presented dishes while his wife Manuella cares for her guests in the most attentive way. An evening at Il Tempio del Gusto feels warm, welcoming and will prove to be the ultimate gastronomic experience at a reasonable price. Reservations are advisable, especially during weekends and/or in summertime. Do you want to take some Il Tempio home with you? They also offer classes from the Master himself.

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Het Pomphuis

The famous quote “location, location, location” definitely applies to het Pomphuis. This unique piece of history is located in Antwerp’s harbour, which has been the biggest harbour of Europe for centuries. The early 20th century construction has been used as a pump house for decades, draining water from the next door dry-dock where large vessels were repaired. Het Pomphuis (Flemish for “pump house”) has been there since 2002 and offers breathtaking views of the river “De Schelde” and all harbour activities. They did a truly amazing job at turning the old pump house into a classy restaurant whilst preserving all industrial elements – even in the restrooms! The dining room feels exceptionally spacious with huge windows and 30 foot high ceilings. The basement, which is visible from the main floor, still holds three authentic pumps. Amidst all this historical heritage, your food just tastes so much better! Don’t expect hearty Belgium food however; the portions at Het Pomphuis are small in size with complex mixtures of ingredients and a matching price tag. This is not a restaurant for cosy family gatherings or a casual Belgian beer; it is however the perfect place for special occasions, business lunches or a posh & elegant dining experience.

 

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Naia Bistro

Naia is an enjoyable bistro that is highly recommended by locals but fortunately not (yet) overly mentioned in tourist guides. It’s located on a charming cobblestone square in the Latin Quarter of Madrid. The outside terrace is very inviting and most groups tend to linger until late in the evening. Inside seating is just as delightful, with wooden floorboards and mismatched chairs to create a cosy, rustic ambiance. The menu boasts wonderful Mediterranean dishes such as foie shavings with Ruby port reduction, red tuna tartare with avocado ceviche and monkfish over truffle and egg risotto. Portions are generous and the food is presented beautifully – definitely not what you would expect for main courses that are all under € 20! These people definitely know their foods, which might explain the periodic table of food on the window… Make a reservation to avoid disappointment. You don’t want to miss out on that Cheesecake de “Oreo” now, do you?

  

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Eataly

Zagat’s survey 2011 research showed that Italian food is by far the most popular among New Yorkers. No wonder Eataly‘s founders decided to create a 50,000 square foot Italian food market place – or mecca if you like – in New York City’s Flatiron District. Eataly is the city’s perfect destination for (Italian) food lovers to find Italian delicacies and wines, a culinary educational center and a range of high quality eateries. But don’t even dare calling it a giant food court! One of the owners Mario Batali explains: “This isn’t a selection of restaurants under one roof. This is a retail store where we peddle the greatest of Italian gastronomy to people who want to eat it and know how to appreciate it.” Besides a great shopping experience, Eataly does offer several places to sit down. For a formal dining experience you can get a table at Manzo, which offers both traditional and modern Italian meat dishes. Or meet up with friends at Eataly’s enoteca La Piazza, with marble bars and standing tables where you can enjoy a glass of fine wine paired with delicious meats and cheeses. The most recently opened restaurant is Birreria, a laid back rooftop restaurant/beer brewery with a wide range of specialty beers and complimenting dishes. Buon appetito!

Besides New York, Eataly has stores in Italy and Japan, check the website for store locations!

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Excelsior Milano

If you could compose your favorite store, what would it look like? It would definitely be located in the heart of fashion capital Milan. And you would like the store to be filled with emerging fashion brands and some trusted classics. The design of the store would be an architect’s dream: courageous and innovative, making you feel like you’re shopping inside an art gallery. The beauty department must have a wide selection of exclusive brands that can’t be found elsewhere. And to top it off, you would throw in those colorful Ladurée macaroons that you love so much and – what the heck – a Tiffany’s. This must have been the trail of thought of the founder of Excelsior Milano, which is the name of your favorite store to be. With labels including Sergio Rossi, Proenza Schoeler, Christian Louboutin and contemporary American designers such as Rag & Bone and Theory, this store will most definitely be a success. In true Italian tradition, Excelsior also makes a tribute to food with Eat’s, a supermarket filled with the most delicious meats, fish, vegetables and wines. Excelsior Milano opened in september 2011 and is planned to open in several other Italian cities over the next few years.

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Blancaneaux Lodge

Paradise in the rainforest – there is no other way to describe this beautiful hideaway in Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Owner Francis Ford Coppola actually used Blancaneaux Lodge as a family retreat before opening it to the public. And we’re so happy he did. This luxury resort has 20 rooms but the staff and the quietness of the rainforest make you feel like you’re the only ones there. Next to “normal” cabañas (with private pools!), they offer larger family cabanas, a 2-bedroom villa with open-air living room and the enchanted cottage, where Coppola probably wrote many of his famous screenplays. The resort has both an Italian and a Guatamalan restaurant where they are more than happy to pour you a glass of wine from the Francis Coppola Winery. Is there anything this man can’t do?? If all this great service, relaxing pools and the flowing river get too boring for you, there are plenty opportunities to seek adventure. Take a tour across the Guatamalan border to see the Maya sites of Tikal, go horseback riding at sunrise or go tubing in the famous ATM caves. Blancaneaux Lodge is the perfect place to explore beautiful Belize in a luxurious and enchanting way.

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Corte Sconta

For some good fish cuisine Venice is the place to be. But! Be aware of all the tourist trap restaurants around San Marco square. Accidents soon happen. When it comes to fish, one of Venice’s best kept secrets is Corte Sconta. Don’t get lost in the small out-of-the-way Venician streets looking for this ‘strictly seafood’ restaurant. It’s not very out there, what makes it at the same time very well hidden for tourists and full of locals. On a nice summer day, there’s tables outside in the lovely courtyard. Don’t expect an English menu – or English speaking personnel for that matter – but don’t worry, it’s all just fish and pasta. Fresh from the sea and prepared with only high quality seasonal products. Try the frittura mista if you’re hungry for a huge plate of lobster, shrimp, calamari, soft shell crab and ginger clams.

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