In the second of his features on his recent trip to China, food writer and restaurant guide inspector Stuart Walton examines the burgeoning restaurant scene in Beijing and Shanghai
Given that San Francisco is within two hours drive time from over 1200 wineries it is not surprising that one can savor great meals with delicious wines in any number of world class restaurants. But maybe fewer of you are aware of the opportunity to experience a food and wine matching experience without even leaving the City limits.
The more you travel, the more you eat out, the harder it becomes finding a place that is really special. It’s not just about how much money you spend though these places rarely come cheap. A great location helps, as does good service but the single most important factor, I’ve come to the conclusion, is that the people who are running the place are hands on.
There was a time when the best place to eat in Agde or its seaside satellite Grau d'Agde which lie between Montpellier and Ste on the Languedoc coast was the Michelin-starred La Tamarissire. After that closed two to three years ago it left a bit of a gastronomic black hole but a couple of new places have sprung up which have serious gastronomic ambitions.
Hawke’s Bay is a sunny, coastal province, situated in the east of New Zealand’s North Island. The region is gaining repute as a wine and food locale that marries delicious regional cuisine with a diversity of exceptional wines. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest producer of wine, after the South Island’s Marlborough region, known around the world for its herbaceous, tropical Sauvignon Blancs.
If you want to get away from your fellow tourists in Venice - and who doesn’t? - here are five very different restaurants to try. Three of them are on the Giudecca - one of the best places for avoiding the hoardes, especially at the weekend.
Eating out in Venice is not cheap, as we’ve discovered, but there are ways of mitigating the cost (essential if you’re spending a fortnight in the city!) Here are five of the more classic Venetian restaurants we’ve been to. Some less expensive and off the beaten track options over the next few days.
Last post (for the moment) from Paris! A quick run-down of the most interesting food and wine ideas I picked up for those of you who haven’t time to read the full reviews:Sardines - cheap, sustainable - this summer’s must-eat fish, it seems. Grilled (Le Temps au Temps), served with red peppers and black-eye beans (La Gazzetta) served whole in a tin with seaweed butter (Cristal de Sel)
Even if you’re the most enthusiastic gourmet you can’t eat in 3 star restaurants all the time. And for most of us the prices of Paris’s top restaurants simply put them out of reach. Here are four very varied alternatives, discovered by my husband, an assiduous researcher into places that are off the beaten track, which we ate in with great pleasure last week
Every trip to London should include afternoon tea but nowadays there are many more options than the Ritz. Here’s chef Signe Johansen’s pick of the best:
I’m embarrassed to admit that until last week I’d never been to Beaujolais - it was the one French wine region that had passed me by. I’d heard it was attractive and even on a bleak early March day it was - the famous villages are clustered improbably closely together in the middle of pretty, rolling countryside, spiked by soaring church towers.
For many foodies, Italy is way up there on the must-visit list. Not only are there world-class restaurants in all the big towns, even the smallest villages boast places where the chefs (who are often self-taught) take pride in bringing out the best in the ingredients they work with.
Those of you who are planning a spring visit to Paris (as we are) may find this mouthwatering update on one of my favourite restaurants Senderens from subscriber Lucy Bridgers useful:
With half an hour to kill I finally managed to get to Fortnum & Mason’s groundbreaking wine bar 1707 the other day. It’s situated in their very posh new wine department in the basement and offers an impressive range of wines by the glass with a modest menu of snacks that would make a good pre-theatre supper.
Last week I spent a couple of days in the Gers region in the south-west of France researching a piece on foie gras (for which you’ll have to wait a couple of months, I’m afraid, until it’s published in Decanter). But I made some other interesting discoveries.
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in a nutshell:
Last week I finally realised a long-held ambition to eat at La Maison de Marc Veyrat in Veyrier-du-Lac. Not a lot has been heard recently from Veyrat recently despite the fact that he is the only chef to have been awarded six Michelin stars for his two restaurants and score a perfect 20/20 from Gault Millau. Just under two years ago he had a horrific skiing accident that left him with multiple leg fractures and he now faces major surgery to break and reset the bones to try and regain his mobility.
You’re more likely to have heard of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry or Daniel Boulud’s Daniel but last year Gourmet magazine put a relatively unknown Chicago restaurant, Alinea, at the head of its Top 50 American restaurants, joining Charlie Trotter in making the city one of the US’s great dining destinations.
Yesterday we went to one of my all-time favourite restaurants Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham. It bills itself as a ‘restaurant Francais’ which might lead one to believe, given the modesty of its surroundings, that it serves simple bistro food. In fact it is French only in the sense of the total dedication of its chef/proprietor David Everitt-Matthias to the pursuit of three Michelin stars.