Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
5 Golden Spoons
A last-minute hotel booking turned into a culinary adventure. When we visit Chicago, we usually stay at the Waldorf, but this trip we decided to try something new and reserved a room at the Trump. After a day of travel, we arrived at the hotel in the early evening. We were tired and hadn’t made any dinner plans so we decided to stay in and dine at the hotel. There were basically two options for a meal; a snack type small bite menu in the bar or the hotel’s upscale dining experience, Sixteen.
After dropping our bags in our room, we took the elevator down to the sixteenth floor. Just steps after the doors closed, we were warmly greeted by a charming hostess, Sandy, who showed us menus for both restaurants. One option offered burgers, sandwiches, and diner fare while the other was an elaborate fine-dining tasting experience of what appeared to be a rather pretentious prix-fixe with dishes described in over-flowery detail. We opted for the prix-fixe. Sandy called over the Restaurant Manager of Sixteen, Jessica, who said she would check to see if she could find us a table and if the chef was prepared for additional guests. Hmm. I could see that Jessica took her position very seriously and that maybe, just maybe, we had stumbled into something spectacular.
4 Golden Spoons
Finally, we found it! The best little authentic Italian cafe for lunch in Rome. We literally stumbled upon this cafe on a side street near the Piazza Barberini. We were actually planning on having lunch at a chi chi rooftop restaurant at the Hotel Boscolo Aleph, but it was mysteriously closed. Disappointed, we wandered down the street and jumped out of the way of a bus to land in front of Locanda where a warm Italian gentlemen with a nice smile, Giuseppe, was standing and offered us a menu.
The dishes featured seemed very authentic to the area with classic rustic descriptions and the prices were exceptionally reasonable.There were also daily specials on a hand written chalkboard that sounded delightful. We asked Giuseppe for table for two and were promptly seated street side under a canopied seating area with acrylic walls just inches from the rushing traffic. It was a little unnerving when buses whooshed by, but a bit fun as well. (more…)
2 1/2 Golden Spoons
I had such high expectations for this restaurant, located in Rome’s most luxurious and prestigious hotel. I was even more excited as we had cocktails in the lounge two nights in a row with spectacular bar snacks prepared by the chef. However, when we decided to actually have a full dinner at Brunello, the experience was less than disappointing. We were seated in a much too brightly lit dining room at a table with barrel chairs too short to eat at the table properly. We needed pillows on our seat and behind our backs just to be able to sit up. Bad sign of design.
We almost walked out at this point, yet were so impressed by our server, Sylvia, that we pressed on. The menu was intriguing. A long list of specialties including a unique authentic country style selection. Prices ran from about $25-$35 for starters with entrees in the $30-$50 range. Definitely on the upper end.
3 1/2 Golden Spoons
A simple review of a simple and traditional street-side cafeteria in Rome. Just what you would expect. Quality food, reasonable prices, active bistro atmosphere. The Pizza Roma with mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and black olives was delicious. Crisp thin crust. Light tomato sauce. Everything fresh. We also shared a nice Cobb salad and a bottle of Brispal naturally effervescent water. A refreshing break from the glutinous meals we’ve been enjoying for weeks now. Thank goodness we walk everywhere or we would have hips the size of Parma hams.
Gran Caffé La Caffettiera
5 golden spoons
What a spectacular find. Just off Las Ramblas on a charming little placka, this gem of a restaurant has some of the most spectacular tapas on the planet. Every dish was sensational in presentation and palette. We started with the Padron peppers. Perfectly pan seared in olive oil and sea salt, this simply made dish was pure perfection and each bit a surprise due to the unpredictable heat of each tiny pepper.
Five Golden Spoons
I wish there were more than five stars to award to Spago! From the moment we stepped into the restaurant, the experience was outstanding. The hosts were warm and inviting, our waiter (Blaine) was sharp and knowledgeable, the manager and general manager watched over every service moment to assure it was perfect, and even our bread server (Robert) was engaging and experienced. The ambiance (we sat outdoors under the stars) was almost surreal, and the cuisine exceeded all expectations. Wow. One of the top ten experiences of my culinary adventures around the world. There was nothing to criticize and everything to praise!
Five Golden Spoons
Don’t let the theme-park like location fool you, this restaurant is serious cuisine for serious foodies. The atmosphere is elegant, yet lively, with art-deco inspired fixtures and furnishings complementing a spectacular view of the strip. The staff is warm and attentive, without being intrusive. And, the menu…an absolute delight. You can choose from Chef Joho’s exquisite seven course signature tasting menu or extensive a la carte selection.
Five Golden Spoons
Reviewed September 26, 2013
I had the pleasure of dining a Phillips just a couple of nights ago. Located on the harbor in the middle of the tourist area, I did not have great expectations. However, what a nice surprise! We were quickly seated by a congenial hostess in a booth in the hip warehouse style dining room near the open kitchen. The menu was extensive, filled with local specialties that our waiter, Aaron, was happy to explain in detail. Became difficult to make a choice as everything sounded wonderful. We started with the fresh shucked oysters on the half shell. Bright, clean, and absolutely delicious. Main courses followed. My husband had their famous crab cakes. Superb.