We are often asked for Restaurant and Hotel recommendations. So here’s a list of places we like to go in London, Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Spain, California and Japan.
Many of you seem to have the impression that, on our buying trips, we drink fine wine from dawn until long into the night and eat wall-to-wall Michelin starred food. It doesn’t seem to matter how often we explain quite how gruelling these trips are, and how modestly we eat – no-one seems to believe us!
We love BYO (Bring Your Own) restaurants. What could be better than bringing our own wine to these restaurants? Please let us know if you spot more across London.
KANDOO – BYO – NEWSFLASH:CURRENTLY CLOSED
Our local favourite is 5 minutes walk from The Winery. Excellent Persian food, bread baked to order in the oven in the window. The staff are very friendly. Open continuously from lunch through to late dinner and in summer you can eat outside in the back garden. We hold our Wine Course Modules in Kandoo’s back room and go there a lot!
Kandoo Restaurant, 458 Edgware Rd, London W2 1EJ
Tel 020 7724 6769
CLOSED FROM 21ST DECEMBER 2015. OWNER, MOHSEN, SAYS THEY MAY RE-OPEN IN SPRING 2016. FINGERS CROSSED!
VIET PHO – BYO
Super-fresh Vietnamese Cafe in Soho. BYO. Can get very busy at peak hours but is definitely worth the wait. We love the starters, the noodles and their Special Pho (No.24) is benchmark.
Viet Pho, 34 Greek St, London W1D 5DJ
Tel 020 7494 9888
THE GOLDEN HIND – BYO
Proper Fish & Chips in Marylebone. BYO. Fast, busy, difficult to linger for long.
The Golden Hind, 73 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2PN
Tel 020 7486 3644
FEZ MANGAL – BYO
Turkish restaurant in Ladbroke Grove. BYO. Fresh, good Turkish grill. Busy and difficult to linger. Open daily 12.00-23.30h
Fez Mangal, 104 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PY
Tel 0207 229 3010
LONDON RESTAURANTS AND WINE BARS
Brilliant Gastropub in Kensal Rise. Jesse Dunford-Wood and his team produce an inventive, seasonal remix/mash-up of British cuisine. Extraordinary, theatrical Chef’s Table.
5 Regent St (NB not the one in the West End), London NW10 5LG
Phone:020 8969 2184
David Clawson (DC to us) worked at The Winery some years ago, and late in 2013 opened a great wine bar at the top of Cleveland Street (close to Gt Portland St tube), with Renato Catgiu, a friend he made while working at Terroirs. The food is very good. With an emphasis on organic, biodynamic and natural wines, the winelist is very good, broad and affordable.
The Remedy, 124 Cleveland Street, London W1T 6PG
Tel 020 3489 3800
A Soho institution. A proper, old-fashioned wine bar. Good, solid, fresh food. Broad, affordable winelist. A throwback to the Advertising business in 1970s and 1980s Soho when people would go to lunch and never return. We love it!
Shampers, 4 Kingly St, London W1B 5PE
Tel 020 7437 1692
Another Soho institution. Owned by Andrew Edmunds who is an expert on and dealer in Hogarth prints and has his print shop next door. Open for lunch and dinner every day. The food is punchy, fresh and of the moment. The winelist is very interesting. Andrew often squirrels away cases of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone and sneaks them onto the list years later with very favourable mark-ups. They take reservations just 7 days ahead.
Andrew Edmunds, 46 Lexington St, London W1F 0LW
020 7437 5708
The Loire winelist in London, nay, probably anywhere outside of the Loire valley itself. Incredibly reasonable mark-ups. Nigel knows his list inside out. We have been wading through all his Chinons and Bourgueils from the 1990s. Leave some for us, please! The food is unfussy, punchy, contemporary, fresh and equally reasonably priced. The largest part of RSJ’s clientele seem to be Radio 3 and Radio 4 listeners off to the National Theatre and the South Bank Centre. They head off about 19.15h, so the rest of your dinner is quite serene.
10 Lady Lawson St
Edinburgh EH3 9DS
0131 221 1222
Cutting edge, inventive food with an extensive, Natural orientated winelist. Superb, engaged, warm and knowledgeable service. We are are honoured to supply them with some of our German wines.
Valvona & Crolla
No trip to Edinburgh is complete without lunch at the original Valvona & Crolla. Pick a bottle from their wine shop (extensive Italian selection) and drink it with your lunch with a small corkage charge.
19 Elm Row,
Edinburgh, EH7 4AA
Tel: 0131 556 6066
COFFEE IN EDINBURGH
There seems to have been an explosion on the coffee scene in the city. Extensive research took us to Wellington, Brew Lab, Machina Espresso, Filament, Fortitude and Artisan Roast. Our favourites?
Filament (for their single origin coffees)
38 Clerk St,
Edinburgh EH8 9HX
0131 281 5140
33A George St,
Edinburgh EH2 2HN
0131 225 6854
RESTAURANT IN ANSTRUTHER
Another exceptional restaurant in Scotland.
24 East Green
Tel 01333 310378
In the Rheingau our absolute favourite place to eat and stay is Zum Krug in Hattenheim. Amazing winelist, brilliant food, lovely rooms. Book asap if you need a room.
If you can’t get in there you can go round the corner to
Or, even fancier, at Schloss Reinhartshausen in Erbach/Eltville:
Or, to the Rheinblick, opposite Hattenheim railway station. Modern, clean and functional.
There’s an English woman called Cathy Ferns who works at Zum Krug who has some holiday apartments in Hattenheim.
Adler Wirtschaft in Hattenheim is also a very good restaurant. Quirky set-up. Open Thursday-Monday from Lunch on. You have to take a menu and it’s cash only (unless you have EC cards).
Another restaurant worth a visit is Schloss Groenstyn in Kiedrich.
For visits, check out Kloster Eberbach – they are the big State Domain in a former cloister with a big visitor centre. Not small, but very well done and the wines are getting better and better.
Whether you are arriving or leaving The Rheingau, take the car ferry across the Rhein between Bingen and Rudesheim. It’s only €4-ish and an impressive view as you cross the river.
Making waves at the moment is the Reiler Hof in Reil. During the season, the restaurant is open from lunch through the afternoon and on to dinner. Very useful! The restaurant is extremely versatile and can deliver kids’ food, mainstream hearty German food and fancier more ambitious cuisine. The winelist has improved enormously and the rooms (many of which have been recently renovated) are comfortable too.
There’s a Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) Hotel in Traben-Trarbach with a good restaurant and winelist called the Hotel Bellevue. They have a new Chef from Italy and his menu straddles Italy, Germany and France very comfortably. Let’s call it Modern European, shall we?
By the Buddha Museum in Trarbach is Greifen. Very casual with good, fresh food. A short menu but always something delicious. Don’t go if you’re in a rush. The garden is a lovely place to eat in summer. If we could give them a briefing note, it would be about the winelist. The place is owned by the Dr Melsheimer winery – Thorsten Melsheimer’s Aunt. Thorsten makes her wines, so they are definitely good but it would be nice to sneak a handful of top local guest growers onto the list.
We also recommend the Moselschild in Urzig. The restaurant is very good and the rooms are lovely. Ask for one overlooking the Mosel.
Martin Conrad in Brauneberg is really friendly, makes great wine, speaks good English and his mother owns the comfortable Hotel Brauneberger Hof.
Lower Mosel (Koblenz End)
In Koblenz, metres from the Deutsches Eck (where the Mosel flows into the Rhine) is the fabulous Gerhards Genussgesellschaft.
You can find good coffee in Jesuitenplatz, slap bang in the middle of Koblenz at Aran – Brotgenuss und Kaffeekult. They also have nice rooms upstairs if you want somewhere central to stay, although parking and access are a bit tricky.
+49 261 201640
Further west along the Middle Mosel (towards Trier)
Wein und Tafelhaus – One of the best restaurants in the whole area. Not cheap, but very good. They now have guest rooms too.
Clusserath-Weiler have a fantastic house by the bridge, with very reasonably priced bed and breakfast:
+49 6507 5011
Helmut and his daughter Verana also make very good wine, Hilde (Helmut’s wife) runs the guesthouse.
When in Trier we stay at Eurener Hof. It’s not in the swankiest area, but it is a really German experience – a big old coaching inn type hotel with a good restaurant and excellent wine-list. And a swimming pool.
In Trier itself, check out the Brunnenhof Restaurant and Wine Bar, right by the Porta Nigra.
We quite like Bernkastel, although it’s quite touristy and very busy at the weekends. Avoid Cochem, it’s tourist hell and not the best part of the river for wine.
Imagine that you’re looking for a brilliant place to eat (with hotel attached) in Rheinhessen…OK, actually it’s worth making a detour.
Schloss Sorgenloch is in the middle of fertile farming country. And that’s an advantage! It’s all about provenance and freshness. Very engaged, easy-going, metropolitan couple run it – Thomas and Nicole. Thomas also really knows his wine and, chances are, there’ll be a handful of young, thrusting Rheinhessen growers at neighbouring tables.
Of course there’s the highly-rated Steinheuer Restaurant in Heppingen. It is very good and it is also very pricy.
Much more affordable is our new favourite hotel and restaurant in the Ahr valley, the Pruemer Gang which is in the centre of Ahrweiler. We found out that it is very hard to find the way to their car park without illegally driving in the pedestrian zones. The police seem fairly tolerant of foreign cars, but don’t rely on it!
One of our all-time favourite restaurants anywhere. Very professionally-run, family restaurant. Everything is to the highest level. Father, Jose, is less often in the kitchen nowadays and son, Jerome, more and more. Monique, the mother is Front-of-House, son Arnaud is the Sommelier, with a stunning winelist. Sensational Turbot with Hollandaise sauce. Looks dull, tastes sublime!
Restaurant Le Channel
3 Boulevard de la Resistance
Hotel des Remparts in Beaune.
We never stay anywhere else. Charming.
There has been a sea-change in the gastronomic landscape of Beaune. All our established favourites follow below but the hot news is a clutch of new openings.
Restaurant La Lune
Two man operation – Seiichi and Julien. A delicious, fresh fusion of Japanese and Burgundian cuisine. Make sure you book – it’s tiny!
32 Rue Mafoux, Beaune
Tel +33 3 80 20 77 42
Maison du Colombier
The hot new address, Tapas-style small plates, big wine-list (not cheap, but nowhere in Beaune is anymore). Bit of a growers’ and wine-trade hang-out.
1 Rue Charles Cloutier, 21200 Beaune
Tel +33 3 80 26 16 26
Bar du Square
Buzzy Wine Bar on the “Peripherique/Rocade” of Beaune. Another growers’ favourite. Mixed crowd, good food, broad wine-list includes plenty of more affordable wines from outside Burgundy.
26 Boulevard Maréchal Foch, 21200 Beaune
Tel +33 3 80 24 03 32
Established favourites in Beaune;
Le Gourmandin in Place Carnot
Ludovic – who seems to move between front of house, sommelier and kitchen duties – is a good guy.
Ma Cuisine (if they can be bothered to open…hahaha) is a real wine trade place. In terms of wine-celeb spotting, it would be the equivalent of The Ivy or Scotts. Many find Pierre a bit brusque or rude, depending on his mood. We’ve been lucky, just be super-nice and undemanding and you’ll be fine!
Le Petit Paradis
Caveau des Arches is good at the moment.
Le Table du Vieux Vigneron +33380240778.
Le Chassagne in Chassagne-Montrachet.
Don’t bother with real fancy places like Lameloise, Le Charlemagne or L’Ecusson – which are overrated in our opinion.
Of the Michelin-style restaurants, try Le Benaton.
You have to try Oeufs-en-Meurette – eggs poached in wine with lardons. Delicious. A regional classic along with Boeuf Bourgignon, snails and jambon persille etc.
If you suddenly get a craving for sushi after a prolonged period of warming Burgundian food, fear not, we highly recommend Bissoh. They also have an excellent winelist.
Restaurants outside Beaune;
Le Chambolle-Musigny in Chambolle-Musigny – classic, small.
+33 3 80 62 86 20
Route des Grands Crus
Also in Chambolle, the fairly new:
La Maison Vigneronne is good
1 rue Traversiere
It also has a wine shop attached.
Chez Guy is not bad in Gevrey-Chambertin.
Also a very good wine shop in Nuits-St-Georges called Cavon de Bacchus. Good stuff. Not crazy prices.
Our favourite hotel in the area is in Epernay, run by a lovely group of women. Absolutely charming.
If you can’t get in there, Villa Eugene is also good.
Unfortunately the wonderful young chef Fodil has sold Tout en Bulles so the search is back on.
Brasserie La Banque – Opinion is somewhat divided locally. Some say it is expensive and bad. Some say the service is bad. What is not in doubt is that it is great to have a place in Epernay that offers 27 or so Champagnes by the glass and, barring a few global brands, mainly from small growers.
It’s a metropolitan style brasserie with a bar set in a former bank right on the central Place. Service is not the most engaged, but perfectly adequate. The food is very good. Gillardeau oysters, excellent Tartare de Boeuf, Entrecote, cheese. Who needs surprises?
Locals rate La Grillade at 16 rue de Reims. We had a good straightforward dinner but wished for more small growers on the Champagne list.
La Table Kobus is good. We are hearing good things about the new chef.
Our mate Fodil rated Les Grains d’Argent just outside Epernay in Dizy. We’ll let you know when we try it ourselves.
Very, very occasionally we splash out on a meal in a fancy restaurant. We had an amazing meal at Les Crayeres recently. Not cheap, but sensational. Phillipe Mille is still young, so there can be little doubt the third star will be coming before long, although frankly, it’s as good a meal as we’ve had in France at the frou frou, 3-star level for a decade and a half.
We met Hideaki Umada when we were tasting in Champagne at Louis Casters back in May. He has lived and cooked in France for 25 years and worked in the kitchens of Les Crayeres in Reims for 20. He is No 2 to Head Chef Philippe Mille. He asked, “have you eaten at Les Crayeres?” No, it is crazily expensive. He countered “no, it really isn’t bad, particularly at lunch. You must come!” So, on the way back from Burgundy, we stopped for dinner. It was, quite simply, one of the finest meals (at the fancy, Michelin-starred level) we have had for many years. Shan’t bore you with the details but, if you get the chance, save up and go! To keep some kind of lid on budget you can check into one of the more affordable hotels in Reims, walk to Les Crayeres and stagger back.
Champ des Oiseaux
Very pretty, beautifully renovated historic hotel. Not cheap.
Hotel Mercure, chain hotel, more keenly priced.
Le Bistroquet – classic French Bistro. Classic Andouillette de Troyes. Good winelist. Champagne, obviously, also a raft of very well-priced old Bordeaux, the previous owner’s cellar.
Hotel and Restaurant.
Hostellerie la Montaigne
Near the de Gaulle memorial. Nice. Michelin star. Worth a small detour from the Autoroute on your way down or back from Burgundy or the Rhone.
Much more stripped-down and functional. We had a nice lunch here recently. Good local Champagne list.
Logis des Canotiers
We had an excellent dinner at Restaurant La Tour. Gently creative, provenance-led menus. Good local wine list and cheese trolley. Friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Restaurant La Tour
31 Place Nouvelle Place
+33 2 48 54 00 81
Somewhere to stay?
Hotel Le Panoramic
Basic, decent rooms but with fabulous views over the vines.
Rempart des Augustins
+33 2 48 54 22 44
Danish wine – yes, really!:
Arwen Lilleø – excellent dry white wine from a tiny island.
Nordlund wine, bit pricey but the best Danish red we have tasted so far.
THE COFFEE COLLECTIVE APS
2200 København N
T +45 60 15 15 25
The best. Hardcore. Worth the daily trip. Just the other side of the Cemetery where Hans-Christian Anderson, Niels Bohr and our Guitarist friend Hilmer Hassig are buried.
There’s also one more centrally located, at Torvehallerne, the new Foodie centre (which is also well worth browsing/eating in).
+45 60 15 15 25
Estate Coffee Shop
Gammel Kongevej 1
DK-1610 Copenhagen V
Had some great ones here.
Ved Stranden 10 – excellent, vibey wine bar. Very Copenhagen – overwhelmingly Natural Wine selection.
Opposite end of the spectrum, with a wonderful, broad non-freaky winelist and solid, enjoyable plates;
Vinbaren Vesterbro Torv
1659 København V
Tel +45 2140 8527
If you see Martin or Peter, please tell them we sent you.
Gammel Mønt 14,
1117 Kbh. K.
Tlf: 3314 9498
Classic Danish Lunch – Smørrebrød (open sandwich) places
It took us almost two decades to appreciate the Zen-like simplicity, purity and sheer Danish-ness of their national dish. We saw the light 5 years ago and have researched the subject thoroughly since then.
Sharing the No.1 spot are:
Øster Farimagsgade 10
2100 København Ø
Telefon:+45 3555 3344
1301 København K
+45 5648 2224
All their produce comes from the island of Bornholm. Excellent quality and an excellent winelist with several well-priced Bordeaux bought from private cellars and auctions.
Classic, Old School. Two sittings at lunch.
Hauser Plads 16
1127 København K
+45 3312 0785
Despite being in the mega-touristy Nyhavn section, Told og Snaps is v good.
Stor Kongensgade 56
1264 Kobenhavn K
Used to be slow (recently sped-up), but their Smørrebrød was (and is) very good. Used to have good winelist (which we notice is still online) but we drank all the good stuff. Stine Weber Marquart is charming and helpful.
Restaurant Sankt Annæ
Sankt Annæ Plads 12
1250 København K
+45 3312 5497
Our current favourite restaurant in Copenhagen. In the old meat market district. Casual, creative, exciting fish and seafood menu (great use of vegetables too). We tend to eat early, before it gets too noisy. Oh, and they usually have Denmark’s finest white wine, Arwen Lilleø, on the winelist.
Is it really considered the best on the planet?
We had a good, eye-wateringly expensive dinner there. El Bulli, to us, was in another league. Better than Fat Duck? Dunno. Joel Robuchon, before he retired the first time? Definitely not. Better than the French Laundry? Probably. Meanwhile, great winelist (if you can steer them away from the freaky end of it)!
Restaurant Le Saint Jacques
Sankt Jakobs Plads 1
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
+45 35 42 77 07
Excellent smoked salmon – good for brunch.
1310 København K, Denmark
+45 3332 2466
Small restaurant, off the beaten track in a residential street. All Organic, always very fresh. Good Eco winelist too.
Italian – very good winelist
43 Dronningens Tvaergade, Copenhagen
1175 København K, Denmark
We had an interesting meal here a couple of years ago. Quirky, modern
cuisine. Not cheap, but then nothing in Denmark is…
The first of the modern chefs from the late 80s.
On the north side.
We often stay in La Morra at Villa Carita. One of the most stunning views in the wine world. For many years it was beautifully run by Carita, a Finnish woman who married a Tuscan and set up this amazing Guesthouse. In 2011 they sold to Eugenio and Cinzia Bocchin, a young couple (who make Barolo down the hill in Santa Maria). We can confirm they are doing a very good job. Everything is as it was with two new refinements. Wi-fi and Credit Cards – woohoo! The only issue is that they sometimes have a minimum stay requirement.
If you can’t get in at Carita or you’re only passing through for one or two nights, or you need TV, Corte Gondina is highly recommended and very comfortable. Bruno is a charming host.
Where to eat:
La Coccinella in in Serravalle. 14kms from Monforte or Dogliani. Worth the drive. Outstanding.
Trattoria della Posta, outside Monforte. The best Agnolotti al Plin. Carne Crude. Bagna Cauda. Yum.
In the middle of La Morra you can buy a bottle in Gallo Wine Gallery (brilliant, well-priced range) and drink it with some very decent food in the Restaurant/Wine Bar next door.
Also definitely worth a visit is the relaxed Osteria More e Macine on the main street (entrance up the stairs on the street above).
via XX Settembre 18, La Morra
Tel +39 0173.500395
Casual, modern, friendly. Well used by local growers, you can drop in for a glass of wine or coffee or order food from their excellent short Piemontese menu. Check out the raw sausages, if they’re on that day. Winelist is excellent and fairly priced.
Mange recently opened in the centre of La Morra. This was the couple who, for many years, ran Le Torri (the only restaurant in Castiglione Falletto).
Osteria Vignaiolo, Osteria Veglio, both good.
For a big night out in Monforte d’Alba:
Le Case della Saracca
via Cavour 5 – 12065 Monforte d’Alba CN
tel. +39 0173 789222
cell. +39 333 1918060
The website is all about their hotel, but it’s also an amazing wine bar and casual restaurant. A very modern interior conversion built into the fortified walls of the town. Excellent wine list, also a great selection outside Piedmont. Amusingly, everything outside Monforte is described as “other regions”.
Albergo Ristorante Giardino “da Felicin”
Via Vallada 18 – 12065 Monforte d’Alba (Cn)
Tel +39 0173 78225
Reeeally good. One of the best in the area.
Without doubt, it is also worth a drive to Bra – Osteria del Boccondivino, the home of the Slow Food movement:
FUMANE near Verona, the heart of Valpolicella/Amarone country.
We have had several very good dinners here. The winelist runs deep in local wines and the staff know it inside-out.
MONFALCONE (Gorizia province)
Trattoria Ai Castellieri
via dei Castellieri 7,
+39 0481-475272 Tel
Run by two brothers. Excellent. Might have closed since we visited. Please let us know!
SAN GIOVANNI AL NATISONE (near CORMONS)
Ristorante Hotel Campiello
Via Nazionale, 40,
33048 San Giovanni Al Natisone UD
+39 0432 757910 Tel
Functional Rooms. Very good restaurant – extensive winelist.
MONTICHIELLO (between Montalcino & Montepulciano)
Osteria La Porta
Excellent Osteria with extensive winelist. Owned and run by the charming Daria Cappelli. She also has well-appointed rooms in two locations in the prototypical Tuscan hilltop village.
Via del Piano 1 53026
Monticchiello di Pienza (SI)
+39 0578 755163
Frazione Ponteromito S.S. 164
Tel +39 0827 67059
Via Pianodardine 112
83042 Atripalda (AV)
Tel +39 0825 626115
A great local winelist including loads of old Mastroberardino (who are in the same town)
Piazetta Sant’ Andrea 4
091 334 999
One of the great gastronomic restaurants of Italy. In the beautiful, old, lower town of Ragusa Ibla. Friendly, not cheap.
We adore Madrid. Watch out for a couple of things in most sit-down restaurants – they are (quite rightly) very proud of their fresh fish and seafood. If they bring a platter of arty looking shrimp/langoustine etc to the table, be super clear how much it’s going to cost. Some of the rare red shrimp are the price of gold! Safer to order from the menu where there is clear pricing. Also, Paella – if you’re tempted – is usually priced per person, not for the whole thing.
La Taberna de Laredo has moved to slightly larger, swankier premises a block away from their original location. It’s still brilliant! Worth the trek to the other side of the Retiro Park.
Calle Doctor Castelo, 30
+34 915 73 30 61
El Ventorrillo Murciano
Calle Tres Peces, 20
91 528 83 09
Jose María Munoz
Tiny back street Murcian restaurant. Friendly husband and wife team. Excellent salads, grilled vegetables, grilled sausages and the best Paella we have eaten so far.
The San Miguel Market, Mercado de San Miguel, a few steps from the Plaza Mayor is an excellent addition to the gastronomic landscape – a bit like London’s Borough Market or Torvehallerne in Copenhagen. We have friends who spent an entire weekend in there, just going to their hotel to sleep.
No trip to Madrid would be complete without a Tapas crawl along the Calle Cava Baja and Calle Cava Alta.
There are several Museo de Jamon dotted around central Madrid. Great for breakfast or a snack any time until late.
Calle de Echegaray, 7,
Unique, long-established Sherry Bar. They’re not super tourist-friendly despite being in a very touristy district. Don’t even think about taking a photo in there! But it is very atmospheric and beaten-up. Good sherries from the cask – don’t bother asking about them other than asking for either a Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso or Palo Cortado and some almonds, olives and/or anchovies (anchoa or boquerones).
C Ferraz 36
91 548 31 14
These Hotels got quite expensive, but we liked them before the price hike.
Hotel Villa Real Plaza del Cortes
Calixto Fernandez de la Torre, 5
Blue Bottle Coffee Mint St and in the Ferry Building
Is a bit less high-rent and people are generally a little more down to earth than in Napa.
Loads of great restaurants.
Dry Creek Kitchen
Everybody’s talking about it locally.
Unstuffy bistro on the main square.
Very fancy schmancy – expensive but more approachable than the French Laundry.
Willy’s Seafood and Raw Bar
Great for a sandwich at lunch
Or in nearby Alexander Valley
Hampton Suites Hotel
Classic US business hotel, very handy for Wine Country, friendly staff and big, comfy beds.
Syrah Bistro has been renamed Petite Syrah and it’s still very good.
This was the nicest hotel we stayed at in Napa Valley:
It’s walking distance to several good restaurants (including the very serious “French Laundry” which I wouldn’t say is a “must do”)
This is Thomas Keller’s diffusion bistro (Keller is The French Laundry chef – supposedly one of the best two or three restaurants in North America. We wouldn’t agree. It wasn’t bad, but there are way better restaurants elsewhere, in our opinion) His bistro is much more approachable.
Between Oakville and St Helena is
Mustards, which is a very popular, reliable all round restaurant. Always surprises me why it’s so hard to get in.
Great for a sandwich at lunch at the Oakville Cross:
In St Helena, we had a nice meal in Tra Vigne years ago:
Also at Terra
Great for a sandwich at lunch: Dean & Deluca
Here’s a useful list of Napa Valley wineries open to the public. By no means exhaustive…
Australian Wine Centre
Shop 3, Goldfields House
1 Alfred Street
Circular Quay, Sydney
Phone: +612 9247 2755
The Four in Hand
105 Sutherland Street
(02) 9362 1999
One of the great restaurants on the planet.
529 Kent Street
P: +612 9267 2900
King Street Store
67 King Street, Sydney
Ph: 612 9299 8828
Also outdoors at
Circular Quay (above the Australian Wine Centre)
1 Alfred Street, Sydney
Ph: 612 9252 7668
18 Whistler Street, Manly, New South Wales 2093
Gertrude St Enoteca
229 Gertrude Street,
+61 3 9415 8262
45 Collins St
+61 3 9654 8545
An institution. Fabulous winelist includes plenty of top Australians
161 Spring Street, MELBOURNE
Telephone +61 3 96540811
359 Little Bourke Street
Telephone +613 9606 0449
187 Gertrude Street,
+61 3 9417 6498
1-11-6, Sakurashinmachi, Setagaya-ku,
It’s called: Wakasushi (Young Sushi). It’s round the corner from the Sakura-Shinmachi Tube station in Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo. It’s small, neighbour-hoody and certainly the best Sushi restaurant I have ever eaten in. Although not as expensive as some, it’s still quite expensive. $150 a head probably and worth every cent.
Plenty of stuff in tanks. Sit at the counter and just let the Sushi Master or his boy (who is also brilliant) do whatever is good until you’ve had enough. If you are feeling adventurous, be prepared for live or twitching stuff. We make sure we always have one “live” or “kicking” experience.
Start with beautiful Hirame sashimi (flounder) with ponzu sauce. Definitely worth doing Amai-Ebi sushi (sweet shrimp) – raw shrimp straight from the tank. They are the texture of butter! There’s also an amazing blue-striped Tiger shrimp. You can have it raw as sushi (delicious) or hot. Abalone – quickly grilled. The salad is great (as I remember with some sort of crab). The best belly of Tuna sushi – light like veal. The squid is totally excellent – Ika sushi. Hey, it’s all good!
They don’t speak English, but there’s usually a posse of Music Business punters in there who can help – but frankly it doesn’t matter, they are really nice!
When we were there last they had a small selection of White Burgundy, but we always drank the proper cold Sake. You may know it already, but if not, ask for the white one – Nigori-Sake at least once. It’s cloudy like Coche-Dury Meursault. Actually it’s white, like milk. And it can give you a bit of a hangover if you overdo it.
In terms of card damage limitation, if you can avoid the Uni (Sea-Urchin piled into a handroll the size of an ice cream cornet), the Abalone, Fugu Fish (the poisonous one) and the Tuna belly, you might stand a chance of keeping costs down. Still plenty to eat – Hirame, Ika (squid – brilliant), shrimp, some of the big clams are reasonable too – Akagai, Hokkigai etc etc.
Depending on where you are staying, it could take 30/40 mins in a taxi from dead centre. Subway is the violet line. Very convenient. 30 seconds away. It’s in the Tokyo equivalent of Hammersmith. But it’s a bit closer to trendy Shibuya and even closer to Setagaya.
Great Sake Bar in Sangenjaya, Tokyo.