Tag Archives: popular

Catch

Since its opening last fall, Catch has been a magnet for the good looking Meatpacking crowd of models, rock stars and business moguls. This three-level seafood restaurant with lounge/club area is loud, vibrant and happening! Don’t mind the looooong waits and snooty front desk girls; once you’re seated, you’ll love it! Seafood lovers will be treated to a surprising selection of sushi & sashimi, “big fish” (that serves two people),  raw bar items like oysters and “simply cooked” choices including sole, swordfish and tuna. Top Chef winner Hung Huynh runs the kitchen and with mouthwatering dishes such as crab-stuffed calamari, he affirms this title. The waiting staff at Catch is friendly and accommodating and knows how to deal with large groups. So bring lots of friends but don’t expect to “catch” up with them since the loud music and buzzing scene don’t really allow it. Overall, Catch is a great fish addition to the Meatpacking area and we recommend going there before it turns into just another has-been restaurant.

 

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Pasta e Basta

Imagine your waitress, after she just poured you a glass of wine, suddenly grabbing the microphone and filling the entire restaurant with her beautiful voice. This is just a regular night at Amsterdam’s entertainment hotspot Pasta e Basta. Located in a cosy, candle-lit basement, this Italian restaurant is all about its singers and its high amusement factor. The place is known to be a breeding ground for new talent and especially the arias performed a capella style are truly breathtaking. The restaurant’s name loosely translates into “Pasta and that’s it!”. After enjoying their delicious antipasti buffet served out of a grand piano, pasta is exactly what you’re getting. The simple and unpretentious dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients. Pasta e Basta’s owner, who possesses a strong passion for both music and Italy, proudly walks around the restaurant on most nights to greet customers like close friends. After being awarded honorary citizenship for organizing the city’s famous Prinsengrachtconcert (annual open air classical music concert), he is somewhat of a local hero. Book well in advance and bring a group of friends to enjoy the show. Don’t let the touristy vibe hold you back – there is a reason why Pasta e Basta is mentioned in most guidebooks!

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La Gelateria Frigidarium

Ice cream lovers, seek no further! Everyone knows Italian ice cream is the best in the world so when in Rome…do as the Romans do. The Romans’ favorite place to get their gelato is by far La Gelateria Frigidarium, a little place close to Piazza Navona. The choices are endless, the prices are reasonable and the ice cream is just to-die-for. What about fondante dark chocolate, creamy pistachio or their specialty Bacio, meaning “kiss”? Expect to stand in line around certain times but that just makes the whole experience so much better. (What is it about standing in line that makes us want it even more??)

  

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Cookie’s

Even though its name is a little misleading and its location is almost impossible to find, Cookie’s is by far the most welcoming, quaint and romantic little cafe in Bruges…once you found it. Locals love to recommend this place for the great atmosphere and tasty food. The dishes are tapas-size and made with a mix of Spanish, Italian and Belgium ingredients. You can’t go wrong with these three countries! Next to that, they offer a large range of wines, whiskeys and – of course – beers. The restaurant is small and cosy and perfect for a romantic night out or dinner with friends. Avoid the restaurants on the “Markt” where most tourists get trapped; Cookie’s is within 2 minutes walking distance (but hard to find). Reserve in advance as this small place fills up quickly and make sure you get detailed directions before you go.

 

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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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UNIQLO

The Japanese textile company UNIQLO is quickly becoming New York’s hottest retailer. Be sure to pay a visit to the brand’s flagship store in Soho to stock up on your favorite basics. Every (basic) garment you could possibly need can be found here and they are all made from the most huggable fabrics such as cashmere and merino wool. The best part is that it’s SO cheap that you can’t leave the store without at least one item. You can get a basic V-neck cashmere sweater for as little as $89,50 or a longsleeve natural skin T-shirt for only $12,90. With all those neat piles of colorful and touchable items, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store! The good thing is that you don’t necessarily have to make the trip to one of the 3 New York stores since UNIQLO is also coloring the streets of London, Paris, Moscow as well as many Asian countries.

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La Fonda

The expression worth waiting for definitely applies to this Barcelona classic! Since La Fonda does not accept reservations you are most likely joining the queue outside in order to get a table. For years this has been a popular place amongst locals for its cheap and tasty dishes, elegant interior and pleasant atmosphere. Even though La Fonda is located in the touristic Gothic Quarter and carries English menus, this place is far from touristy. Their specialty is Paella Mixta but all other Catalan classics they serve – all under ten euros – are worth trying too. Whether it’s because you get your money’s worth or the fact that you’re thrilled to finally get a table – an evening at La Fonda always turns out to be a success. To improve your chances, avoid the busiest times (between 9:00 and 10:00PM) to cut your waiting time.

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The Waverly Inn

This ordinary-looking restaurant seems to have the greatest appeal to everyone cool and famous. Why? – We’re not sure. Location: townhouse on a quiet street in Greenwich Village. Food: delicious but simple American specialties. Interior:  a lot of wood, chandeliers, paintings and a crackling fireplace to create a cozy atmosphere. One of the owners once explained: “The Waverly Inn is a neighborhood joint. Many of our neighbors just happen to be famous.”  At first glance, The Waverly Inn doesn’t appear to be the town’s most fashionable hot spot. However, if you manage to get a table you will instantly feel part of an exclusive dining club. This might be the reason why everyone from A-list celebrities to captains of industry have been fighting over reservations since the beginning. Luckily for us “rabble” it’s now possible to book a table online. The pricey menu is totally justified: anyone who fancies up a good old mac ‘n’ cheese with truffle deserves something extra!

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Bar Cañete

Bar Cañete is the perfect escape from all Rambla tourist traps. After shaking off all persistent – if not aggressive – restaurant owners you quickly flee into this quiet little street to discover tradional dishes in a great old-school decor. Most seating is directly at the bar, which forms the heart of the very long and very narrow restaurant. The lack of tourists just makes everything so much better. High quality food, the friendliest staff of all Barcelona and a perfectly organized chaos. Although at the bar you’re not able to look directly at the rest of your party, there are so many other details that catch your gaze. All dishes are tapas size and are prepared right in front of you where you have a full view of the kitchen. Their specialty is (shell)fish but the few meat dishes they serve are mouth-watering too. No wonder this place has become one of the most popular Barcelona restaurants in such a short time!


 


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Antiche Carampane

Want to dine with the mayor? Book a table at Antiche Carampane and chances are you will be sitting only one or two tables away from him (it’s a very tiny place). Very popular among Italian politicians and showbizz personalities, this typical Venecian cuisine restaurant carries the punchline: ‘No lasagne, no pizza, no menù turistico’. Fantástico!

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