Rockstar Worldwide Restaurants and Lodging
Need to bone up on your formal table manners especially in Europe or international business meetings? Can't go wrong knowing the traditional manners of Galateo. There's an Italian saying "Come si sta a tavola, si sta come persona." How you are at the table is how you are judged as a person. Don't ask me I can't remember them either…. but doesn't hurt to do a refresher before entering a formal environment. :)
Vancouver, B.C. restaurants
- Don Francesco Traditional fine Italian cuisine, My friend, Doug, hosted me here. Rockstar wine list and service. Great bars nearby catering to the urban professional.
- Black and Blue Inspired by the classic steakhouses of Chicago, Black+Blue re-imagines the concept for a new generation. A massive dining room built around a custom-built meat locker, filled with the most exotic and precious cuts. A three-story temple dedicated to creating amazing experiences, expressly designed for the people who make Vancouver an amazing place to be. Eat on the roof top.
- Leaf Great vibe in the morning or late night with solid Wi-Fi right in downtown. Solid coffee and wine list.
- Trattoria Battibecco di Domenico Costa. Hands down a must visit spot in bologna, Italy, a city truly in my heart. Don't miss Bologna when visiting italy and stay near Piazza Maggiore and take in its charm. Battibecco is part of that charm just behind Piazza Maggiore and be sure to reserve ahead and tell them SonoPath recommended them. They are expecting the veterinarians after the meal we had there tat the IVUSS.org conference in September 2011. Tough to find a better meal or service in Bologna.
- La Capriata My favorite piazza in Bologna is Piazza santo stefano or the Piazza di sette Chiese (7 Churches piazza). Visit the 7 chruches one afternoon, have an aperitif in one of the outdoor bars in or near the piazza and stroll into this place hidden in the building to your left when looking at Santo Stefano church. you wouldn't know this mlittle series of shops were there but la Capriata is inside and the food and service was "rockstar."
- Cantina Bentivoglio From Piazza Maggiore head to the 2 towers and hang a wide left and walk down Via Zamboni into the university district and follow the rest of the way to this 'rockstar" hidden gem with jazz on the weekends with some solid history of excellent musicians and the finest Bolognese cuisine. getting a feel for the university district in Bologna is have the adventure en route to this culinary experience. eat later on a friday and enjoy an Amaro Di Montenegro after dinner over some cool sounds. :)
- The Capello Rosso hosted 50 or so IVUSS attendees without a hitch in September 2011 and its a perfect and reasonably priced boutique hotel behind Piazza Maggiore and even have bicycles to use to explore the city if you get tired of walking. This place allows you to grab a cab from the train stain or shuttle from the airport and not worry about transportation again til you leave. Tell Yarno I sent you. He will take good care of you and they all speak english well.
"4 pm stroll through dinner and beyond. Easy stroll so no hurry: Watch and walk the "runway" on via tornabuoni toward the river arno, turn left and walk to ponte vecchio to the opposite side of the Arno. Turn right, go up 2 blocks in the right alleyway towards the river to Hotel Lungarno. There is a tiny cafe bar there for a prosecco with the most amazing sunset view of ponte vecchio.
You can email me at email@example.com thanking me after you correct your dropped jaw. :) It's not cheap but worth it and get there a little early to sit outside. Only about 4 tables. Then go hang out with the locals. about a 15 minute walk on the same side of the Arno river to piazza santo spirito. Lots of great affordable cool places to watch where the locals go. Just look for the restaurants with real Italians. Ask one of them what their favorite place is; you may be there all night. :) Then walk back to across ponte vecchio to the near side of the Arno to Santa Maria; straight ahead. Make a left to my favorite medieval street in Florence via borgo santapstoli to piazza Santa trinita turn right on via tornbuoni where you started at 4 pm. Turn right on via degil strozzi to piazza degil strozzi and here is one of my favorite hangs-Colle Bereto. Vin santo and cantuci for tuscan dessert or if you are full from dinner, order my favorite amaro-amaro del capo from Calabria. Great place for a light elegant pastry breakfast as well and the staff and clientele are nice on the eyes. :) " E.Lindquist
- Buca Mario and Buca Lapi - I would recommend both of these great spots in the historic palazzo delgi antinori. Try both Buca Mario and Buca Lapi and see who wins the best Florentina steak.
Buca Mario Buca Lapi
- Godo Osterio - Best Florentine steak in Florence with a bottle of Brunello along with Buca Mario, this is the place in Florence. Less expensive here too. Get a cab it's in the periphery but worth the trip. Tell Gianni I sent you. :)
- L'Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco Review coming soon...
- Trattoria Casalinga Great local cuisine, inexpensive, house wine is solid.
- Bar Ponte Vecchio Of course, gelato and telemedicine a great combination.
A solid WiFi signal in a great location on the far side of pointe vecchio en route to piazza pitti. Yup that's my Mac on the cafe table; best place to read telemed!
- La Divina Enoteca For a light bite and fantastic atmosphere and fast wifi connection you may find me here blasting out forum responses for sonopath or reading cases with a prosciutto and crema di tartufo sandwich. This rapidly became a convenient stop for me when working in florence. 7 min walk form the station next to the market. Roll your bag off the train and stop for a bite and the supertuscan local wine.
- IL Borro For an elegant light bite and fine wine this stop is nice... Occasional car driving by but view is cool and cuisine is light and superb!
- Hotel Tornabuoni A nice, but affordable hotel in Florence on via tornbuoni. "Perfect position downtown near pointe vecchio and all great Florence. A 10 minute walk to the train station in a historic building. My affordable place to stay."
- Windows on Italy When travelling either for business or for pleasure when in Italy, stay in one of the privately owned villas all over Italy or fully furnished apartments for rent in the historical city of Florence.
- Hotel Londra Ok I fell upon this little gem after renting an apartment next door to have my own internet and not fight for bandwidth and the internet worked in my apartment for 4 hours and died. This was followed by gong show loss of time with the landlord trying to get the thing fixed for 4 days ….the cases kept coming in so had to get resourceful and Hotel Londra next door graciously helped me out having breakfast and dinner here or a late night glass of wine while downloading cases off their rock star wifi.
Hotel Londra is 5 min walk from station but a bit away from the usual train station environment. 15-20 min walk to center but 7 min walk to Arno river. I like this place because its a solid 4 star, great supportive staff, clean, very well prices (quoted $168/night on cheaptickets) but the best thing is rock star consistent boom the file is downloaded and I'm on my way internet!!!! If internet and downloading is your thing and you need to hop on the train in 10 minutes this is your place. Nice breakfast buffet and very solid restaurant. Its a bit of an inexpensive higher level oasis in a so so spot in florence but walk a bit or grab a 7 euro cab to the center of everything. Florence is very safe never had an issue here. Excellent value for price especially when you are downloading 30-40 200 mb files every day. :) For more Travel Tips click here.
- Its been so long since i have been to Procida but I know it well and its a gem of an island hasnt changed much and its the less traveled island,. Best times May/June and September. My favorite hotel is Albergo La Vigna where my whole family occupied the days before my wedding in Napoli. They used to have lemon trees where the vineyard is, but now you have a stellar view of Ischia out your window so be sure your room is on the Ischia side.
- This hotel is on the back side of the island which is better, but you can walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes and take the microtaxis when you arrive at the port to bring your luggage. Great swimming in the volcano crater looking out over toward Ischia but bring some old tennis shoes or rock shoes as its volcanic. There is also a nice beach 5 min from the hotel as well. September is my favorite month a little cooler for the Italians but will be blistering summer for northern folks and low crowds. I would stay here. Short walk toward the port facing Ischia is a great little restaurant with the hotel there and they have the best gnocchi a la sorrentina. Ristorante Vivara.
Get the limoncello there on the island its the best made from their own lemons. Wine is awesome too (try the greco white) and the pizza is phenomenal as its a tradition as good as any pizzeria in Napoli. They have to make it well or they don't survive :). On the main port side is where the lineup of restaurants and the best one is the one that looks like a big ship to the right of where the ferry boats come in. I had my dinner with my family (23 americans) the night before my wedding there. Awesome pizza and just let them take care of you. Calamari will be the best you have ever had and spagetti a la vongole!!! I only eat this dish in Napoli area because nothing compares to it. I would stay maybe 4 days there and then do a day trip to Ischia. Go visit the prison and the monastery. The view of the mainland from the port is the beach where we go for the summer; Capo Miseno.
A microtaxi tour around the island the day you get there will help you get your bearings, then you can walk everywhere after that point if you have a good pair of sneakers. Here is a good link as well: Procida_Island_Province_of_Naples
"Need a personalized tour of Rome when you get there? Don't just be a tourist but start your visit with a personalized tour to jump start your time in Rome. I still do this in many cities and I thought I knew Italy well. Believe me it will be euro well spent to get the inside approach to Rome from my friend Alessia."
- Da Augusto (Trattoria Romana), Piazza De' Renzi 15, Roma (Trastevere region). Grass roots roman cooking and grass roots prices. No frills, just paper checkered red/white table cloths and good local traditional roman food.
- Il Tettuccio (Frascati) Hidden up in the hills of Frascati 30 minute train ride from rome, walk up the steps in Frascati through the main piazza up to via Gioberti. Its a 10 minute walk from Frascati train station. Worth the trip down to earth family run trattoria with mainstream traditional Roman cuisine with a homestyle approach. Take your time here.
- Osteria di San Cesario - The best authentic Roman cooking around. 15 minutes south of Rome off of the A1 Highway, exit San Cesareo. Tell Anna Dente I said "Ciao."
- Pane e Tulipani (Frascati) Up the steps from the Frascati train station to the left on the side street via Mentana. Appetizers and wine in a cool little hidden indoor or outdoor setting. maybe a small bit here then go to Il Tettuccio in via Gioberti for a bigger meal:)
- Ristorante Pierluigi (1938). Piazza De' Ricci no 144. 00186, Roma.
- Elegant, beautiful spot, big price but worth every euro. 06/6868717
- Taverna Dei Mercanti (Ristorante-Pizzeria), Piazza Dei Mercanti 3/A Roma. Typical Roman food, Trastevere region, mid priced, great spot. 06/5881693
- Taverna Trilussa (Ristorante-Pizzeria), Via Del Politeama 23. Roma. Trastevere region. Mid level price, traditional roman food. 06/581891
Rome (Piazza Navona)
- Tre Scalini
This is the restaurant I had the 5 hour lunch killing time people watching and wondering what I was doing looking to study veterinary medicine in Italy. This was my second day in Italy armed with 5 words of Italian. But after a bottle of Frascati wine over a 4 hour lunch it really didn't matter what I was doing there...... it was just cool and liberating. July 2 1990. Fine food, great people watching, best restaurant in the Piazza Navona itself.
- Santa Lucia Ristorante (Next to Piazza Navona )
Face Tre Scalini restaurant next to the Fountain of 7 Rivers (Fontana di sette fiumi) where Tom Hanks pulled out the priest from the water in the film "Angels and Demons" and walk along the street that divides the two and make your first right (Largo di Febo number 12). About a hundred yards down at the end of this small street you will see a triangular raised patio (see photo gallery on the website). This is where I dine when in Piazza Navona if I want a little oasis away from the tourists. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts had a scene here in the film "Duplicity" and also in "Eat, Pray, Love." I'm not a fan of either film but I do love the scene and the restaurant and its solitude in the midst of tourist bustle. Have a Spagetti a la carbonara and a glass of Frascati wine. You will not be misled and you won't be rushed. Tell them the American veterinarian with the home in Frascati sent you:)
- La Taverna Di San Giuseppe (Siena, Italy). Go to piazza del campo, face the bottom of the piazza and walk down Via Dupre to the right of the town hall (Big facade building with the tower). Its about a 10 minute walk and they are on the right at the top of the hill on the right. This is where you need to go when visiting Siena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siena) (http://www.sienaitaly.com/). Siena is a must stop preferably overnight or a few days as a base when in Tuscany. Ask for Lorella when contacting the Taverna. She is a doll and her staff really bring it! Best meal I have had in a while and great for a group up to 45 or so. We did the IVUSS lunch here at the 2011 Bologna conference (www.IVUSS.org) and they were simply "rock star." Start with Prosecco and pecorino cheese in the cantina and ask Matteo to tell the incredible history behind the building and restaurant. You will not be disappointed i assure you.
- Cafe Colle Bereto(Firenze) Have a late night drink in piazza strozzi. They have free WiFi with a solid signal. Try the chianti reserve here of their own production-classic Tuscany in a glass.
- Rent an apartment. More economical and a better way to stay in Tuscany instead of a hotel. If I am staying more than 3 days this is what I do in Florence. I strongly suggest mapping out where you stay and 10-15 minute walks from ponte vecchio or il duomo or piazza strozzi put you in the heart of the city, very safe, and reasonable walking distance for the train station. Take a cab if you have luggage. If you want the best view over the city stay in Signorelli. 360 degree view of the city. A longer walk to Duomo 10-15 minutes but the view is awesome from the terrace and kitchen.
- Paella de la Reina Best paella in Madrid as judged by the locals.
- Relm (Carlsbad) I love this place, get the wine flight sampler and just have the bartender choose for you. Try the caprese stack. :)
- Sonoma Wine Garden (Santa Monica) Top floor view of the ocean, cool vibe, and a great selection of varietals... Wine and other. Go there an hour and a half before sunset. Ask for Roni to recommend a food and wine combo for you. I'm having the garden pizza with truffle oil and 2006 Rosso di Toscano La Cupole. Its as much of an olfactive pleasure as one of taste.
- Katy's smokehouse (Trinidad, California - 10 miles north of Eureka). This is a lost part of northern coastal California near where I went to undergrad (Humboldt State University). The invertebrate zoology lab is here in trinidad and as a starving student Ii couldn't afford much fresh smoked pacific salmon but what I could afford I remember like I ate it yesterday. I had the opportunity recently to stop in Trinidad (bay image below) (great place to hide away a few days) and stop at Katy's smokehouse en route to speaking for the Humboldt Del Norte veterinary Association. Order some smoked fish on line and pair it with Prosecco, Franciacorta, Greco di Tufo, or even Cannonau or Chateauneuf as medium body reds go with salmon as well (please link these to the respective wine recs). I brought this smoked fish to Italy and the Italians, very scrupulous in their taste for quality, keep asking for more. Its a great way to make friends and take the edge off any defects in our personalities. Just feed and wine your friends well and they well put up with your flaws:)
- Hey Juan Burritos - On your way south on highway 101 stop in Arcata, California and you must stop for a beer and burrito at Hey Juan Burrito at 1642 G street, Arcata, Ca. Don't blink you will miss it on the right side heading north (1 way) on G street. This is an Arcata icon and has kept starving students well fed for over 20 years. Take a walk around campus at Humboldt State University (www.humboldt.edu). The campus is actually a botanical garden in itself. See where I played football in the coolest little football stadium on earth: The Redwood Bowl. Oh the memories....
- Island Prime- Island Prime. A short distance from the convention center (cab ride), awesome food, a little pricey; great night out.
- La Siesta- Located in San Clemente. Rock status classic Cali-mex food. Guacamole is insanely fresh and good.
The O.C., Southern California restaurants
- Euro Caffe - The best coffee house in the area. Delicate panini with fresh ingredients and the best pastries I have ever tasted on this coast outside the finer restaurants. I have moved a number of emails and downloads over a double espresso and lemon tart here.Great for a casual business meeting. Say "Hello" to Staella, Aliki, and Sam for me! South Coast Plaza, Santa Ana, California.
Orange County restaurants, Southern California
- Marche Moderne - Outstanding refined cuisine. Bring your "A" game of dress because this crowd is refined in taste and fashion. It's on the 3rd floor of the South Coast Plaza of all places, but nestled in the Via Roma of fashion so be mentally prepared for potential credit card smoking should your date venture into Ferragamo or Gucci. Don't let the mall location fool you. This place is truly rock star!
- The Capital Grille - Great solid wine bar and menue. Good solid refined foodie hang if you are in the area. Classic architecture from the Rat pack days.
- Red Table Restaurant - Semi-formal laid back atmosphere with great food and a cool vibe. Kind of a mix between refined American and a surf house restaurant. This is the brother of the Yardhouse restaurant and surely a good hang for informal foodies without smoking the credit card. Huntington Harbor.
- Yardhouse restaurants -Costa Mesa, Irvine Spectrum, Long Beach and others statewide and nationally. Ok, so I am biased because the executive chef/founder is a close friend of mine from childhood. That being said..how can you go wrong with creative American cuisine with a healthy twist and 100+ beers on tap. They even have my favorite beer of all time from my college days; Humboldt Brewery Red Nectar Ale on tap. At least they had it the last time I was there. Try the macadamia crusted ahi tuna and your favorite draft. I hang at the Irvine Spectrum location when in town but the Long Beach location is the original. Celebrity sightings often at the Costa Mesa on occasion as it's right next to Newport Beach where many celebrities run under the radar and happens to be my childhood hangout (42nd street, great boogie boarding). Good hang especially if you're into sports with food and beer that doesn't bloat you like sports bar cuisine would.
Favorite neighborhoods in Chicago:
Gold Coast-upper east side, Lincoln Park-greniche, Downtown-Millennium park, Old town-soho
- Nomi- NoMI's cuisine is rooted in high quality flavors and ingredient-driven dishes while highlighting the best products from farmers, cheese makers, ranchers, bakers and artisans from the surrounding region.
- Topo Gigio- Solid wine classic Italian can't go wrong in old town Chicago.
- Sixteen- Located on the 16th floor of Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, the two star, Michelin rated, Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant Sixteen presents a truly unparalleled epicurean experience. To complete the fine dining experience, the restaurant's 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows afford panoramic views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Wrigley Clock Tower, complementing the team's cuisine with an equally awe-inspiring backdrop.
- The Roof- Located on the 27th floor of the Wit Hotel, take in various views of the city from the cabana booth on the Patio, a cozy enclave by the fireplace in the Living Room or a breathtaking table on The Hangover which jets out over the side of the building. Enjoy varied programming from acoustic guitar performances on Tuesday evenings to a high-energy club scene on Friday and Saturday nights and a whimsical afternoon experience.
- The Hubbard Inn- Featuring European inspired small plates, quintessential mid-century cocktails, and old world décor, this eccentric River North establishment one of Chicago’s preferred dining and nightlife destinations.
- RPM- a trendy, Italian-inspired restaurant located in the energy-filled district of River North.
- Fulton's on the River- Fulton’s on the River, located on the Chicago River with views of downtown, offers the best of classic seafood and steak. With an extensive wine and cocktail selection it's a great place to dine and relax.
- Berns Steakhouse (Tampa, Florida) You will never get a better wine list by the glass at this restaurant. My friend Dr. Mac Daniel highly recommends this venue. Judging by their wine by the glass menu alone, they have done their homework looking for the mainstream as well as obscure gems from Italy and South Africa.
- Christini's (Orlando, Florida) - Ask for David Garcia, Doug or Dimas and you will not be disapointed. Truly a rock star Italian experience and let David or Doug pair the wine for you. Handmade gnocci in bolognese sauce. Melts in your mouth like a fine gnocci should. The bolognese was paired with this barbaresco 2006. I asked Doug if he could order anything on the menu to pair with this Jarvis 2004 cabernet (simply awesome) what would he order? His choice was the veal marsala which was justifiably delicate and simmered over time which is the only good way to do marsala. Photo #1 | Photo #2 | Photo #3
New Jersey restaurants
- Andre (Newton, New Jersey) Best food in New jersey hands down. Family run intimate French bistro. Worth the trip up the hill 35 minutes northwest of Morristown. Decent wine list with an emphasis on French & California varietals but you can bring your own as well for a $10 corking fee and they will treat the bottle as if it were their own; Decanted and served as it should be. Tell Andre I say "Hello." My definition of culinary heaven is eating here every day.
- Dock's Oyster House (Atlantic City, New Jersey) It's mandatory every year at the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in October to have an evening at Dock's with your good friends and clients. During the conference you may see me there with 15-20 or so of my best clients from NJ mobile.
- Knife and Fork (Atlantic City, New Jersey) I could jump from Dock's Oyster House to Knife and Fork anytime I am in Atlantic City. Everyone else seems to commercial and predictable. This is respresentative of the historic soul of Atlantic City. Off the path and perfect in every way. One of my all time favorites anywhere.
- Due Terre (Bernardsville, New Jersey) New owners about 1 & 1/2 years ago and they really kicked it up a notch. Lots of hidden gems on the wine list. They have done their homework. I am a regular here and am never disappointed.
- L'Allegria (Madison, New Jersey) Great wine list and some hidden gems. Try one off the special list. Great hidden gem bottles for the value. Excellent traditional Italian food. Everything is good.
- Shanghai Jazz (Madison, New Jersey ) Great food, decent wine list and atmospheric "mojo." The music is always good and not overwhelming so you can still have a conversation. Live music every day but Monday.
New York restaurants
- The Striphouse - For a fantastic steak in the Manhattan with a solid wine list try The Striphouse. Ask for Tia or Ariel at the bar and give them my best!. I suggest the 1998 Taurasi red wine by Mastroberardino (Avellino, Italy an hour east of Napoli & Vesuvius whose volcanic soil gives the great taste to this wine) to go with the steak as its an amazing combination. But with a wine that old it would be best to purchase it ahead of time and have the staff decant it at least 3-4 hours before your reservation. This is a wine that never should be drank before its time... I suggest about 1 hour/4years of age.
- The Fig Tree Restaurant - Rock star wine list including some remote sleepers… they even had Mastroberardino Taurasi, well stored and tasting like it should. Service right on, fantastic cuisine, perfect for business or romance. Solid stop for appreciators of fine dining.
- Morning Glory Café - Awesome breakfast joint next to the train station…. your healthy mojo will having you walk tall after leaving here. This is a staple place for me when in Eugene.
- Excelsior Inn Ristorante Italiano - Great guitar music friday nights, excellent wine selection and solid italian cuisine for being in north america. This is a more refined interlude escaping the hippie vibe if need be to a bit of an more upper scale locale here… then go back to growing hair on your legs and have some fine quinoa elsewhere. Eugene, Oregon.
- Church Brew - I recently brought some Italians to Church Brew when visiting me for a Pittsburgh Steeler game this last fall. When in Pittsburgh, a stop at Church Brew as it's an essential "religious" Pittsburgh experience. The beer and food were "off" that particular night but usually this is a solid place for beer and upper level brewery food. However, you may want to go to confession when getting back to Rome like my Italian friends did after this experience. They went right from Fiumicino airport directly to the Vatican when they landed:). Regardless, good time had by all and definitely something to talk about. Church Brew is located back in the industrial area of Pittsburgh so grab a cab from the city center for about a 15 minute ride. Photo #1
- Etch - Etch restaurant: one if the best eats anywhere. Had 4 meals there in 3 days its a high end divine staple on nashville truly inspired rock star spot. Located in the ground floor of the Encore tower in downtown Nashville, Etch offers a private dining room, full bar and an open kitchen with bar-style seating, allowing guests to interact with the chef and her kitchen. The cuisine at Etch is complemented by a comprehensive wine list, featuring an extensive collection of wines from around the world. Goat cheese semifredo here at etch... has inspired me to coin the phrase "culinary f-bomb." its beyond a gem to accompany a salad. A "Culinary F-Bomb" is when you taste something truly inspiring to the palate that blows you mind to where your extremely busy mind stops completely to make u think in your head "@%$#"! :)