Café Rivas
Estados Unidos 302, San Telmo
+1 54 114 361 5539
Quaint, picture-perfect café/restaurant that serves food and drinks all day. This is the perfect spot to hit for a glass of wine after a day of shopping at the San Telmo market.

Café Tortoni
Avenido de Mayo 825
+1 54 11 4342 4328
Step back in time at one of the oldest and most beautiful cafés in Buenos Aires. Yes, Café Tortoni is touristy and the food is mediocre, but it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere alone. Inspired by turn of the century Parisian coffee houses, there are mahogany tables, stained glass windows, and walls filled with historical memorabilia. Avoid a meal but go for a coffee break and indulge in the fresh churros served by elegant, tuxedoed waiters.

Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca
A seat on the patio here at lunchtime is nothing short of paradise, so order an Aperol Spritz and take some time to peruse the menu—which will make you very, very happy. I can make it easy for you, though: Just get the Charred Leeks with Black Olive Dust and Egg Soufflé (I promise).

Posadas 1519, Recoleta
+1 54 11 4804 4944
This was our favorite steakhouse! It has a buzzy, vibrant ambience, excellent service, and delicious food and wine. The atmosphere is bistro-like with velvet curtains, checkered floors, and leather banquettes. Reservations are a must as this place is popular with tourists and locals alike.

La Cabrera
Cabrera 5099, Palermo
+1 54 114 832 5754
This always packed, classic steakhouse serves enormous portions of beef on wooden boards with a plethora of side dishes. The friendly, old school waiters deliver your steak accompanied by so many sauces, sides, and condiments that you’ll barely be able to fit them on the table. We ate outside on the lovely sidewalk tables, but the inside is equally charming with a cozy, dimly lit atmosphere.

Casa Cavia
Cavia 2985, Palermo
+1 54 114 809 8600

Behind a nondescript door in the tony Palermo Chico section of Buenos Aires lies one of the most gorgeous restaurants you will ever, ever lay your eyes on. No joke. I’m not even sure how to describe it, except to say that your jaw will drop from the sheer, simple beauty of it. Think Elle Décor meets Vogue meets Parisian splendor meets … I don’t even know. Just trust me — it’s good. And the courtyard is a place you’ll enter and never want to leave. Oh, and then there’s the food: Spectacular, varied and not at all obvious. The star here was the Quinoa with Mushrooms, Arugula, and Goat Cheese — much like the kitchen in which it was made, this dish makes simplicity taste indulgent.

Las Pizzaras Bistro
Thames 2296
+54 11 4775-0625

Pizzaras means chalkboards in English, so it’s no surprise that the menu — which changes almost daily — is written on chalkboards that cover the walls of this incredibly simple yet inventive Palermo Soho spot. There are an insane number of veggie dishes to choose from, but our favorite of the night was the Arugula and Radicchio Salad with almonds, pomegranate, and apricots.

MALBA, Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Buenos Aires
+54 11 4832-0070
Leave it to Buenos Aires to not only build the coolest-looking modern art museum (that would be the Museo de Arte Latino Americano de Buenos Aires, better known as MALBA), but to also include a café that is much more than your average museum quick-serve spot. In fact, Ninina is a restaurant all on its own; the vibe is laid-back cool, with a side patio that will have you drinking more Aperol at lunch than you may have intended.

Parrilla Don Julio
Guatemala 4691, Palermo Soho
+1 54 11 4832 6058

This traditional, old school Argentine grill has served some of the best beef in Buenos Aires for over 20 years. Complimentary champagne and delicious empanadas make waiting in line for a table festive. Once seated you’ll receive outstanding service and top-notch food from experienced waiters. At the end of the meal you can sign your winebottle to add to their walls of wine bottles finished by happy customers.

1676 Araoz
+1 54 11 4831 0027
Proper is the new-ish, super hipster, tapas-y spot located in an old mechanic’s garage. No surprise, then, that the service is somewhat Williamsburg-y and with a lineup of ingredients you’d definitely encounter in Brooklyn. There were a handful of standouts here, but for me it was all about the Grilled Corn with cashew cream, watercress and grapes.

Sotto Voce
Libertador 1098
+1 54 11 4807 6691
When you’ve overdone it on the steakhouses, take a break at this delicious Italian spot that was highly recommended by an Argentine friend. The food (we loved the homemade pasta!), service and wine were outstanding and we sat upstairs which made for great people watching over the chic, mainly local, crowd dining below us.

Hotel Fierro
Soler 5862
+1 54 11 322 0682

Located inside teeny boutique Hotel Fierro in Palermo Soho, Uco is one of the only restaurants in this ‘hood to offer a totally secluded outdoor courtyard — which is perfectly perfect. The food is straightforward and delish, and the Burrata (with roasted eggplant and oven-dried tomatoes) was smoky, creamy, and surprisingly filling.


Amsterdam is the land of cheese, pancakes and freshly cut French fries and you can wander in and out of little café’s serving them all day long. When you’re in the mood for a proper sit-down meal, try one of these favorites:

Amstelveenseweg 158-160, Amsterdam
+1 020 675 5000
Indonesian food is popular in the Netherlands and Blauw is one of the best. Try the traditional rijsttafel (rice table), a huge selection of sharable dishes, that is a really fun option for sampling Indonesian cuisine.

De Kas
Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, Grachtengordel 
+1 020 462 4562
For a unique, very cool experience, dine at De Kas in their chic greenhouse setting. They take farm-to-table to a whole new level by growing their herbs and veggies on site and offering a daily, changing menu. 

+1 020 674 7555
Adjacent to the Rijksmuseum this lively spot serves seasonal Dutch-influenced cuisine in a beautiful setting. Rijks was awarded a Michelin star in 2016.

Restaurant Visaandescheld
Scheldeplein 4, Amsterdam                            
+1 020 675 1583

This classic restaurant is the place to go for phenomenal seafood, seasonal cuisine, and a stellar wine list.

Ristorante Vasso
Rozenboomsteeg 10, Amsterdam
+1 020 626 0158
Cozy, quaint, authentic Italian (homemade pasta! Italian waiters!) tucked away in a charming alley in the Nine Streets area. 


27 Restaurant / The Broken Shaker
2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach
+1 786 476 7020

There’s a reason this spot is a favorite of locals and travelers alike.  With its homey, eclectic decor and it’s inventive and delicious dishes, it always delivers the perfect blend of cool and excellence. The focus is on local ingredients and the cocktail menu is not to be missed. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a family dinner of 10, you’ll always have a good time. For pre-or-post game be sure to hang and sip a libation in the courtyard or poolside where chill reggae rhythms and old school hip hop serenade a crowd that is every bit hip Miami and abolishes all the stereotypes of a typical cheesy South Beach Miami scene … in the best way possible. 

3101 NE 7th Ave., Miami
+1 305 702 5528

This new gem from chef Michael Schwartz offers not only amazing Latin fare but a spectacular waterfront location. Only opened in 2018, this spot has already been awarded Restaurant of the Year by Eater Miami and it’s no surprise why. Every detail from the decor, to the service, to the cocktail program are top notch. Dinner is a happening scene but not in an overwhelming way, while lunch offers a fantastic lighter fare menu and gorgeous daytime views of Biscayne Bay.  

Joe’s Take Away
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
+1 305 673 0365

While Joe’s is world famous and one of the most timeless eateries in Miami, it’s their laid back take away addition that is a favorite of locals. No lines and a far more casual affair, you can order at the counter and peruse the market-like vibe for drinks and dessert, then take your food to a bevy of self-serve tables both indoor and outdoor or walk to nearby South Pointe park for a picnic. Either way this is the stop to enjoy Joe’s legendary stone crabs, sides, and so much more (i.e. salad bar, soups, sandwiches, and a not to be missed fried chicken!) all day any day during their season from mid-October to mid-May. 

Matador Room
2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
+1 786 257 4600

Chef Jean Georges hits it out of the park at this elegant yet hip eatery that is a love letter to the fare of the Caribbean and Latin America. Taking inspiration from the glamourous by gone era of the 40’s/50’s the dining room itself is a showstopper without being too pretentious and the outdoor patio provides beautiful breezes and ocean views.  Be sure to make some time for a pre-dinner drink at the Matador Bar which provides the perfect intro into a truly exquisite dining experience. 

Michael’s Genuine
130 NE 40th St., Miami
+1 305 573 5550

Located in the booming Design District this local favorite has stood the test of time thanks to its welcoming vibe and fantastic fare. The menu is ever changing with the seasons while maintaining some beyond delectable staples. This is a great place for long and lavish group dinners alfresco or a quick drink and a dozen oysters at the bar. Open all day for lunch and dinner this is a perfect stop for those looking to check out all the Design District has to offer. Oh, and their Sunday brunch is not to be missed! 


Hen of the Wood
92 Stowe Street, Waterbury, VT
+1 802 244 7300
Chef Eric Warnstedt is the genius behind Vermont’s award-winning culinary masterpiece. Seven James Beard nominations, beautiful farm fresh fare, legendary wines and seamless service fill the 40 seats nightly, requiring reservations months in advance to secure a table.

Prohibition Pig
23 S. Main St, Waterbury, VT
+1 802 244 4120
Bacon and hooch are on the menu at this hip, casual-style eatery serving up stellar Southern small plates and BBQ dishes. The 20+ craft beers on tap will hold you over while you navigate the up to an hour wait any given day of the week.

The Bench
492 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT
+1 802 253 5100

Food aficionados will enjoy the Kale Caesar Salad and Moss Glen Pizza that come out of the open kitchen, while those in search of the perfect cocktail should opt for the Perry Merrill named after my favorite trail.

The Plate
91 Main St, Stowe, Vermont
+1 802 253 2691
This chic dinner spot is owned and operated by a Los Angeleno who now resides in Vermont. The Plate’s menu is a marriage between the flair and fire of Vermont flavor with the clean eating principles of California.

The Skinny Pancake
7416 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT
+1 802 760 6501

Bottomless cups of coffee, authentic crepes and abundant salads are sourced from more than 40 vibrant Vermont farms. But even better than the food is the fact that one percent of proceeds go towards not-for profit organizations dedicated to greening our planet.


Saks Food Hall

Saks Food Hall

Don Alfonso 1890

Don Alfonso 1890

La Palma

La Palma

The Drake Commisary

The Drake Commisary

Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's 
176 Yonge S
+1 416 365 3130

Trust us, this isn’t just any food hall. Nope it’s 25,000 square feet of amazing. Filled with aisle after aisle of the world’s most delicious delicacies, it gets extra points for having a champagne bar, as well as the fact that you can fuel up on whatever your heart desires  before heading upstairs to shop.

Don Alfonso 1890
19 Toronto Street 
+1 416 214 5888 

What should you expect from renowned Michelin Star Chefs Alfonso and Ernesto Laccarino? Everything. And you’ll get it! With incredible decor in a setting that can’t be missed (this new restaurant is located inside an historic building featuring soaring ceilings, moldings from the 1850 and artwork by Philippe Pasqua) and two Mediterranean tasting menus that will literally blow you away.

La Palma 
849 Dundas St
+1 416 368 4567
Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy, but La Palma has managed to fit right in. With amazing Northern Italian fare and a gorgeous ambiance, it’s well worth the carbs - we swear. Sweet potato agnolotti and fig pizza with tuscan kale and honey are just a few of the menu items being served inside the pastel-doused dining room. Oh, and the cocktails are just as dreamy with their signature La Palma featuring Montenegro, Aperol, orange, lime, egg whites, fresh mint and housemade bitters. 

The Drake Commissary 
128 Sterling Rd
+1 416 432 2922
Located next to MOCA in Toronto’s otherwise sparse Junction Triangle is the Drake Commissary. This creative culinary hub (in a past life the building was a pickle factory) now functions as a multipurpose space that boasts a restaurant, a bakery, a bar and a general store. Let Chef Jonas Grupiljonas, whose name you might recognize from his brief stint at San Fran’s Tartine Bakery, tempt you with everything from fresh sourdough to house-cured charcuterie and gelato prepared from scratch. 


As with its options for places to stay, Bermuda’s restaurant scene is vast and varied. From traditional Bermudian fried fish sandwiches to more upscale continental, and a few celebrity chefs thrown in, you could stay in Bermuda for a month and never eat at the same place twice. These are my standouts.


Fairmont Hamilton Princess
76 Pitts Bay Rd.
+1 441 298 2028

Great cocktails, ceviches, burgers and salads are served al fresco outside overlooking the Hamilton Princess’ marina. Sit back and enjoy watching the yachts float by.

Bailey's Ice Cream
Blue Hole Hill, Bermuda
+1 441 293 8605

With flavors inspired by Bermuda (yes, they have Rum Swizzle and Dark + Stormy), Bailey’s is definitely worth the stop (and the calories). It’s also across the street from The Swizzle Inn, so I think it’s perfectly acceptable to drink the drink and then eat the ice cream and call that lunch.

The Beach House at Blackbeards
5 Coot Pond Rd, St George's
+1 441 297 1400

I can’t say anything about the food here at this open-air café overlooking Achilles Bay, because I haven’t tried it. But I’m not sure it even matters, because the views are so spectacular that whatever they’re serving will taste that much better. It’s also the perfect place for a sunset cocktail.

25 Belmont Drive, Warwick WK06
+1 441 232 2323

The only negative thing I can say about Blu is that it’s only for open dinner, which is a shame because the views overlooking the Great Sound from its spot on the Belmont Hills Golf Course are spectacular. Come here for the sushi, which is always fresh, or if you’re feeling celebratory order a bottle of bubbles and an ounce or two of Osetra Caviar.

Bolero Bistro
95 Front St, Hamilton HM 12
+1 441 292 4507

Tucked into a narrow alleyway behind Front Street, Bolero is a family-run neighborhood bistro offering some pretty classic French dishes. What makes it a star in my book is the fact that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tourist in the place, which is always a good sign.

Bouchee Bistro
75 Pitts Bay Rd
+1 441 295 5759

With 7 varieties of Eggs Benedict, there’s no better spot for breakfast in Hamilton. And, on Saturdays and Sundays, they serve the island’s traditional Codfish and Potatoes which is hard to find and impossible to resist.

Food Trucks
Various locations
Food trucks have hit Bermuda in a pretty significant way, and this is where you’ll find real, authentic cooking. Look for Smokin’ Barrel near the ferry station in Hamilton for some insane BBQ and DeGraff’s at City Hall for their meat pies.

The Rosedon Hotel
61 Pitts Bay Rd, Hamilton
+1 441 478 2256

Huckleberry is everything I love about Bermuda in a nutshell: totally unexpected, incredibly charming and really, really good. Chef Lucy Collins who hails from Charleston via New York (she worked at Momofuku and Michael White’s Marea before heading back South to Bermuda) has a Michelin Star and a brilliant way of turning ingredients into magic. Her restaurant, located inside the uber-quaint and newly renovated Rosedon Hotel, brings farm to table to a whole new level. Everything on the menu is locally sourced, non-GMO and organic, and her menu manages to marry the flavors of Bermuda with her incredibly varied pedigree. Her avocado toast leaves all of the other avocado toasts you’ve choked down over the years in the dust, and her Tomahawk Pork Chop is so good you’ll likely be back for seconds. And this will sound insane, but I’m suggesting you do at least one breakfast on the front porch and one dinner in the dining room — both experiences are totally different and totally sublime.

96 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08
+1 441 292 5533

Overlooking Hamilton Harbor, Harry’s is a finer dining spot, but the lounge area — Harry’s Bar – is great and serves some good tapas-like apps. And don’t miss Harry’s special rum blend, which was made to the specifications of Harry Cox, the Bermudian for whom the restaurant is named.

Mad Hatters
22 Richmond Rd, Hamilton,
+1 441 297 6231

Rumor has it that when the owner of Mad Hatters told his grandmother he was planning to get into the restaurant business, she told him he was “mad as a hatter.” And that’s how magic gets made. Chef Ben Jewett turns out new menus on a weekly basis based on what’s fresh and what he can get from the local farms.

Fairmont Hamilton Princess
76 Pitts Bay Rd.
+1 441 298 2028

Inside the Hamilton Princess is celeb Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s airy spot with a gorgeous bar, a view of the marina and a menu of his greatest hits. Try the wings (I promise, this is NOT bar food), the jerk cauliflower, and any of his specialty cocktails.

Mickey’s Bar & Bistro
60 South Shore Rd.
+1 441 236 3535

This is another spot where I can’t attest to what you’re going to eat, but Mickey’s, which sits in the sand at Elbow Beach, is virtually the only restaurant in Bermuda where you can dine al fresco while you have your toes in the sand. So, does it really matter what’s on your plate?

The Ocean Club
The Fairmont Southampton
101 South Shore Rd., Southampton, SN02
+1 441 238 8000
If you’re in the mood to sit outside, eat oysters, drink wine, and stare at the clear blue waters of Bermuda, then The Ocean Club is for you. If you’re not, then I feel sad about what you’re going to miss if you don’t at least do a drive by for a quick snack on the giant patio.

Port O' Call
87 Front St, Hamilton HM 11
+1 441 295 5373
Probably the most refined of the restaurants on Front Street, Port O Call feels a bit like a breath of fresh air on a strip of restaurants that are decidedly pub-like and on the heavier side. There’s lightness to the room as well as the menu. You can’t go wrong with any of the offerings, but I’d recommend the fish of the day, which is delivered daily by local fishermen.

Red Carpet
37 Reid Street, Hamilton
+1 441 292 6195

This is about as far off the radar as you can get. In fact, it’s virtually unknown by tourists, and I almost feel bad letting the cat out of the bag. Word on the street is that they serve the best lobster in all of Bermuda.

Rock Island Coffee
48 Reid Street, Hamilton
+1 441 296 5241

Yes, I consider coffee to be a food group, especially if it’s as good as the coffee at this Bermuda-meets-Williamsburg café. They roast their own beans and have a cute patio perfect for sipping your morning cup.

Rustico and La Trattoria
38 N Shore Rd, Flatts Village FL03
+1 441 295 5212

23 Washington Lane, Hamilton HM11
+1 441 295 1877

Once you’ve had your fill of fish, head over to either of these long-standing Italian spots on either end of the island for some surprisingly good pizza.

Wahoos Bistro + Patio
36 Water St, St.George's GE05
+1 441 297 1307

The thing to order at this waterfront eatery is — you guessed it — wahoo. The tacos are amazing (and enormous) as are the wahoo nuggets and the simply grilled wahoo. If you’re really hungry, though, order the Bermuda Triangle: Wahoo three ways. Other standouts are the traditional rice + peas and the sweet potato fries.

Waterlot Inn
The Fairmont Southampton
Middle Rd, Bermuda
+1 441-238-8000
Great steaks and perfect sunsets make this upscale steakhouse worth the trip for sure. Go early and enjoy a cocktail at The Dock.


Strandgade 93, 1401
+45 32 96 32 93

When Noma chef René Redzepi closed his doors to relocate in February 2017, he turned the space over to German-born Danish chef Thorsten Schmidt, and to say that my meal here was extraordinary would not even begin to do it justice. For starters, the restaurants’ design is nothing short of perfect: all warm and woody and modern-rustic farmhouse. It’s a room you want to spend the day in (and actually, we did). The menu is small enough to allow you to order everything (we did that, too). There’s not one thing I would suggest you skip, but there are a few you cannot miss: Hot Smoked Herring (and I don’t like herring), the Ribs for Two (first choice) and Glazed Cod for Two (second choice) and the thing you REALLY can’t miss? The Belgian Waffle with Lumpfish Roe and Sour Cream. It’s so good you might even order it twice (guilty). Come for lunch when the light is soft and perfect and you can spend a decent amount of time, because I promise you won’t want to leave.

Guldbergsgade 29, 2200
+45 35350463

No matter how good it is, at some point, you’re going to need a break from Nordic food, and Bæst not only thankfully serves pizza, it serves what might be the best pizza you’ll ever eat anywhere. Lively, loud and packed at all times, the menu is great, simple Italian and you can’t go wrong with any of it. But I promise, the pizza is where it’s at. (PS: this is another spot by Christian Puglisi and Kim Rosen. See Manfreds + Relae, below).

Kongens Nytorv 8, København K, 1050
+45 33133713

Chef Bo Bech secured a loan to open his first restaurant, Paustian, by setting up a grill on the street outside a bank and making a leek dish for the bank manager. The next day he had the money. Paustian earned him a Michelin star and praise from the food world (Noma chef Rene Redzepi called him one of the world’s greatest chefs). Today he is in the kitchen at Geist, his sexy, urban eatery that checks all of the Copenhagen restaurant scene boxes: Great design? Got it. Beautiful staff. Yep. Inventive, New Nordic Cuisine? Of course. In fact, it’s the perfect marriage of modern cuisine with a hearty Danish twist. Don’t miss the Baked Silver Onions with Tamari, Ginger, Lime and Sesame or the Suckling Pig. Both are signature dishes and both are sublime. 

8, Per Henrico Lings Allé 4, 2100
+45 69 96 00 20

With three (yes, three) Michelin stars and a Chef who won a bronze, silver AND a gold in France’s Bocuse d’Or cooking competition, Geranium might very well be the best restaurant in Copenhagen. And what makes the Modern Scandinavian eatery even cooler is its location on the eighth floor of the country’s national soccer stadium. 

Gro Spiseri
Æbeløgade 4, 2100
+45 31 87 07 45

Really good family-style dishes served on a green roof just outside the city. The setting is as romantic as it gets, and the menu focuses on organic and local products.

Hija de Sanchez
8 Slagterboderne København V, 1716
+45 53 73 95 10

When it’s time for lunch and you need a taco (and who doesn’t?), this is your spot. Chef and Owner Rosio Sanchéz, a first generation Mexican-American from the Southside of Chicago, knows her stuff. And Mexican food in Copenhagen is sort of like finding an oasis in the desert. Sidebar: Sanchéz was the pastry Chef at Noma.

Nørre Farimagsgade 41, 1364
+45 89 93 84 09

Höst has won several International design awards, including the Worlds’ Best Designed Restaurant from the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards and the World’s Most Beautiful Restaurant from Travel + Leisure. And if you can believe it, the design takes a backseat to the food. With a menu based on seasonal Nordic cooking and a dining room that’s at once cozy AND airy, you cant go wrong with a meal here.

Jægersborggade 40, 2200
+45 36 96 65 93

Run by Chef Christian Puglisi and front-of-house head, Kim Rossen, who met at Noma years ago, this is the more laidback cousin to their high-end Relae. Part organic wine bar, part veggie-focused family-style restaurant (that also serves meat, to be clear), it’s cozy, intimate and super hearty. 

Høkerboderne 9-15, 1712
+45 22 27 58 98

Super casual pizza spot (with a Danish twist, obv). A great lunch option. 

Refshalevej 96, 1432
If you have heard anything abut dining in Copenhagen, you’ve likely heard about Noma, one of the most famous restaurants to ever grace this Earth. I won’t bore you with the details since I’m sure you know them already (and if you don’t, it’s been written about so many times I’d hate to even try to compete), but when we visited in January 2018, the new Noma was not yet open. We did tour the site, but alas missed eating there. All of this to say that I’ve included it not because I have first-hand knowledge of Chef René Redzepi’s brilliance, but because I firmly believe that every person who sets foot in Denmark should make a pilgrimage there. We did eat in the restaurants of many of Redzepi’s disciples, and the Noma movement is one that should not be missed. All of the food we had was extraordinary and inventive and worthy of all of the praise its been given, so I can only guess that the actual Noma will be even more spectacular.

Jægersborggade 41, 2200
+45 36 96 66 09

Choose from 4 or 7-course tasting menus that are chock full of sustainable ingredients and won’t break the bank. Run by Chef Christian Puglisi and Kim Rossen, two of Noma’s disciples, the feel is decidedly so. And while the cuisine is mostly New Nordic, it’s also something more with some Italian and even Asian inspiration.

Frederiksborggade 21, 1360
+45 70 10 60 70

One of the best food halls I’ve seen with over 60 stalls, it’s perfect for a stroll and a great, casual lunch. 

Istedgade 60, 1650
+45 31 11 66 40

She may have started with tacos, but Chef Rosio Sanchéz moved on to something between casual and fine Mexican dining and you should be glad she did. The perfect spot for a break from New Nordic. 

Strandgade 108, 1401
+45 32 96 32 92

Another of Noma’s siblings, this one with one Michelin star, the only way I can describe 108 is that it’s super cool. All steel and glass and concrete, the design is modern as is the menu. And it is GOOD. And yes, it’s New Nordic.


Norra Agnegatan 43, 112 29
+46 8 410 470 19

I would say that this was hands down our favorite meal in Stockholm. It’s a relatively new (June 2017), neighborhood spot that marries the best of Spanish-style Tapas with traditional Swedish dishes and don’t be concerned by the slightly unfocused menu — every dish we had (and I am ashamed to tell you we had them all) was spot on. Snag the Chef’s table if you can, where you can sit by the open kitchen and have a nice chat with the Chef while he cooks for you.

Roslagsgatan 6, 113 55
+46 8 509 022 24
Sometimes you need a break from Swedish food, and pizza, being the universal perfect food, is always a good choice. And the good news is that Babette's happens to be amazing.

Café Nizza
Åsögatan 171, 116 32
+46 8 640 99 50

Brought to you by former managers of Frantzén, Café Nizza is open 7 days a week  from 12-12 and is always busy. The three course lunch menu and four course dinner menu change daily, and both can be enjoyed in the huge outdoor area during the summer months.

Humlegårdsgatan 17, 114 46
+46 8 611 12 10

Chef Nikolas Ekstedt grew up cooking on a grill, but one day became impatient and couldn’t wait for the coals to get hot, so he pushed his pan directly into the flames, and that’s how magic gets made. Today, he cooks at Ekstedt his eponomous restaurant, in a fire pit, a wood fired oven and a wood stove. And that’s it. And it’s amazing. The Setting is New Nordic, as is the food, and if you can snag a seat facing the kitchen, you’re golden.

26, Klara Norra kyrkogata, 111 22
+46 8 20 85 80
This is Stockholm's (maybe even Sweden's) most celebrated restaurant, with two Michelin stars and celeb Chef Björn Frantzén in the kitchen. Book in advance, though , because the restaurant only seats 23, and some extra cash to cover the $375 tasting menu. It's well worth any trouble, though, because the space and the food are spectacular.

The Grand Hotel
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 6, 111 48
+46 8 679 35 84

Michelin-Starred Chef Mathias Dahlgren makes damn good food at all three of his restarants, but Matbaren is my fave. It’s laid back, locally focused and gorgeous. And the location inside The Grand Hotel can’t be beat.

Nytorget 6
Nytorget 6, 116 40
+46 8 640 96 55

Set on a quiet street in trendy Södermalm, Nytorget 6 is a cozy bistro known for its Swedish meatballs, which should be the first thing you eat when you land, because: Ikea. Seriously, though, it’s cute and feels super authentic and not at all tourist-y. We had our first meal here, and didn’t disappoint.

Oaxen Krug
Beckholmsbron 26, 115 21
+46 8 551 531 05
Oaxen opened 21 years ago by husband and wife team Magnus Ek and Agent Green. They've come a long way since the early days and today

Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45
+46 8 509 005 00

Located inside the city’s Museum of Photography (which is incredible, btw), this ain’t your average museum café. A well-known (and loved) restaurant in its own right, this is serious farm to table dining, with a focus on vegetables. Open for brunch (on the weekends) and dinner. 

Stureplan 2, 114 35
+46 8 440 57 30

Fish is the focus at this bistro located on the South side of Stureplan. Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it’s always busy and with good reason. Its vibe is Grand Central Oyster bar (minus the tourists) meets any of Paris’ best bistros and it’s the perfect spot for a bottle of wine, a plate of oysters or sautéed sole and some really good people watching.

Tulegatan 24, 113 53
+46 8 612 65 50

Everything here is made from scratch: They dry age their beef, smoke their own bacon, and base their stocks with bones from the same farms they get their meat (which is all locally sourced and butchered, btw). The menu changes daily but get a steak because it’s just that good.


A couple things about food in Cartagena: it's good, but not quite as good as you want it to be; street food can be amazing but can also lead to some stomach issues, so be smart and start a strong dose of probiotics a few weeks  before you go; and don't be afraid to ask for salt as it seems under seasoning is a city-wide epidemic. It's also important to remember that Cartagena has only become a popular destination in recent years and the food scene is still trying to catch up.  What they lack in food, though, they more than make up for in friendly service, lively atmosphere and great attitudes.

ALMA at Casa San Agustin
We stayed at this hotel and it's probably one of the most charming places I have ever been. And the courtyard restaurant doesn't disappoint either. Just stick with  the Aquachile which is fresh and light, the roasted sea bass and the shrimp skewers (and the Iberico ham is pretty good too). Stay away from what they recommend, though — the Sea Bass Chicharrones — which sound amazing but are actually just fried and under seasoned fish.

Centro, Baluarte Santo Domingo
+57 5 664 6513
I don't even know if they serve food here to be honest, but the drinks are good and the view at sunset from the terrace is not be missed.

Cra. 10 #29-29, Cartagena
+57 5 660 4226
Outside the walled city in Getsamani (think Williamsburg), Demente is super cool and super inventive Tapas-Italian-Colombian influenced food that is all locally sourced. The pizzas are great and it's awelcome change from the norm.

Cra. 7 #36122, Cartagena
+57 5 6641779
El Kilo is a relative newcomer to the Cartagena food scene and it's probably one of the younger and more hip-feeling places. The food is easy — ceviches, raw bar and skewers. The whole fish was one of the best we had.

Cl. 39 #7 14, Cartagena
+57 5 660 1492
The name says it all.

Calle Quero 9 58 Sandiego, Cartagena
+57 5 6646 222
perfect spot for lunch. Young, busy and full of locals.

Cl. 35 #4 - 42, Cartagena
+57 5 664 2157
Another Peruvian-style place that we didn't love, but have heard such good things about I have to hope they were just having an off night.  Regardless, the Tamarind Margarita was well worth the visit.

Centro, Calle Baloco, #2-01, Cartagena
The menu is authentic Cuban (!) and the atmosphere is worth the visit. It's pretty old school so make sure you're no traveling with anyone under the age of 16  — they won't be allowed in!

Cl. 35 #4-48, Cartagena
+57 5 664 4321
We did a cooking class here (See WHAT TO DO) and the food was great. Run by a husband and wife team (he's French, she's Cartagenian) who worked all throughout Paris, the food is a great combo of both if their backgrounds.

Candé is a fave for tourists and Cartagenians alike. The menu is 100% authentic with a few twists and the room is lovely: whitewashed and fresh. We loved it for lunch. Don't miss the traditional ceviches, the chicharrones and the crab rice.ing on menu.

In the Tcherassi Hotel + Spa
Centro, Calle Del Sargento Mayor, #6-12, Cartagena
+57 5 664 4445
This might have been the best restaurant we ate in, which is weird considering its Italian, but Chef Daniel Castano spent 12 years working in New York with Mario Batali, so there you have it.  The pastas were great and I had a fantastic Mediterranean salad with perfectly grilled artichokes and a perfect dressing. It's not easy to find a green vegetable in Cartagena, let alone a salad, so this was a welcome change.


A note on eating in Iceland: We love to find little local restaurants in our travels and had hoped that on all of our day trips outside of the city to see various natural phenomena we would land in some amazing spots for real, local, authentic food. This is not the case. There are roadside stops for gas, coffee, rest rooms and Icelandic clothing, and this is where you eat. It’s strictly soups and sandwiches, which are fine, but nothing to write home about. The only exception is the very small restaurant on the black sand beach in Vik. It’s called the Black Beach Restaurant and if you can snag a window seat, you'll have a pretty good view of Dyrhólaey and the ocean. The lamb stew is good, but the lamb chops are the thing to get, bizarre as it may seem. Another note: for a reason I cannot seem to determine, Icelanders love to add fruit to their savory dishes. Sauces are all a bit sweet and unless you love that, you just might want to watch out and ask for sauce on the side when appropriate.

Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík
+354 511 1566
This is the stand that sells the most famous hot dog in Iceland, and maybe the world. I’m told the line can take over 2 hours at lunchtime, so we opted for a pre-dinner snack and only waited a few minutes. So what’s so special about it? Well, it’s made of lamb for starters and somehow it has a much better “snap” than our regular all-American dogs. It also comes loaded – I mean loaded — with toppings: ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade and raw onions and fried onions, which might be a good thing, but I actually found the sauces to be so sweet I had ordering regrets.

Hverfisgata 12, 101 Reykjavík
+354 552 1522
Often compared to places like Noma and Per Se, Dill has earned the reputation of being the best restaurant in Reykjavik. And it actually is, if super high end, new Nordic cuisine is what you’re after. Chef Gunnar Karl Gislason creates modern dishes using only the freshest and most local ingredients making sure to stick closely with Icelandic traditions.  Options are a 5 or 7 course tasting menu with or without a wine pairing and often include things you have always heard about but probably never tasted like reindeer or whale. But fear not, they’re done in only the most perfect way.

FISHMARKET (Fiskmarkadurinn) 
Adalstræti 12, 101 Reykjavik
+354 578 8877
Here’s where you’ll find all that puffin you’ve been hearing about, but it’s likely smoked and it’s definitely delicious. Flavors skew towards Asian, which is a welcome twist and if you’re going to eat fish in Iceland. Which, of course, you are.

GRILLMARKET (Grillmarkaðurinn)
2a Lækjargata, 101 Reykjavík
+354 571 7777
The meaty brother of the below-mentioned Fishmarket, we happened upon this spot for lunch one day and loved it so much, we went back for dinner. The name says it all: grilled everything — meats, fish and vegetables and all to perfection. The bi-level space is Iceland industrial chic: cozy, glowy complete with lava rock walls and the service is as friendly as it gets. Please don’t miss the crispy duck salad (one of the few dishes where I actually enjoyed the use of fruit) or the ribs — and please bring me back a rack. Also, a note: it’s not that easy to find – while the address lands you on Lækjargata, the entrance is actually down a little alley around the corner next to the Nordic Store.

Canopy Reykjavik
Hverfisgata 30, 101 Reykjavík
+354 528 7050
My love for this hotel is endless and includes this restaurant, which is as perfect as everything else they do. The menu seems tricky, but it’s well worth it and the Chef is reportedly the best in Iceland at the moment.

Tryggvagata 8, 101 Reykjavik
+354 511 1118
There’s a serious lack of ambiance here, but the location on the harbor makes it a great spot for lunch. Some say it’s the best fish and chips in Reykjavik, and that just might be true. We also loved the salads, the Skyr dipping sauces and the oven baked fish. Just make sure to ask for a side of malt vinegar because it makes the meal.

Skólavörðustígur 40, 101 Reykjavik
Unsurprisingly, most of the entrees here are cooked in the coal oven (get it?). Opt for the seafood tower (because, seafood tower) and then if you’re not sick of them, the langoustines.

+354 420 8800
We had low expectations for our meal at Lava because as awesome as the Blue Lagoon is, it’s also one of the biggest tourist destinations (if not THE biggest) in the country, and good food and tourist traps don’t usually go hand in hand. I’m pleased to tell you we were totally wrong. Aside from the fact that many diners are still in various states of undress: bikinis, swim trunks, spa robes, the food is pretty freakin’ phenomenal and a great way to start your Icelandic adventures.  The fish is fresh, the rack of lamb tender and perfectly seasoned and the vegetarian options were inventive and delicious without being precious. The views of the lagoon are also pretty spectacular and the soaring walls of lava rock are something to behold.

Laekjargata 6b, Reykjavik 101
+354 546 0095
A relative newcomer, Messinn might win my vote for best fish we had while we were in Reyjkavik. A favorite among locals (always a good sign), the menu is 99% fish and 100% delicious. The pan-fry’s are just that – fish served in pans with a variety of set ups. My favorite was the salmon done with coconut, cashews and chili (the heat!) and in second place was the plaice with tomatoes, capers and garlic. For the non-fish eaters the giant pan of ratatouille and Israeli couscous is a delicious option.

Laugavegur 18, 101 Reykjavik
+354 519 6303
At some point you'll need a break from Icelandic food. You'll also need a break from the astronomical expense of eating out, so head to Nam, a Vietnamese noodle and dumpling bar set behind a tourist shop on the main shopping street. The menu is simple and the dishes fresh and refreshing. I know it sounds weird, but I promise you it's worth it.

Frakkastigur 26a, Reykjavik 101
+ 354 544 4443
Tucked onto the cutest street you’ll ever see, next to the famous Hallgrímskirkja Church, Rok serves an Icelandic version of Tapas, which after 5 days of eating Icelandic food, was a nice change. The menu when we were there was wintery (because, um, it was winter) and was pretty perfect: Christmas lamb chops with cumin, pulled pork, duck comfit and the like. We also had a ptarmigan soup, which was insanely good. What’s ptarmigan? I’m glad you asked. It’s a partridge-like bird that lives in Iceland. Who knew?

Skúlagata 28, 101 Reykjavik
+ 354 561 6060
Forget what you think you know about hostels because Kex isn’t that. This former biscuit factory overlooking the harbor is one of the hottest spots in the city, and its Gastropub is the perfect place for a cozy Icelandic meal.

Myrargata 2, 101 Reykjavík
+354 560 8080
Cool hotel, cooler restaurant. Especially if you like cocktails, like the Pippi Gonzales which is made with dill aquavit. The menu is made up of locally sourced ingredients and the room is as fresh as the menu.

Tulum | Where to Eat

A Note on Eating in Tulum: with the exception of one or two places, almost all restaurants are predominately outside, so dress accordingly: spots on the beach side which can get windy and those on the jungle side often require bug spray.

Cancun - Chetumal Mz 6 Lt 8, Centro
+52 1 984 114 6386
In Town

Cheap yet amazing tacos here, the best being the Al Pastor. Oh, and they’re .52 each.

Km.10 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
+52 1 984 803 2243
Beach Side

As much I love staying here (see Where to Stay), I love eating here even more. It’s almost gotten to the point where we often will do all three meals in a day. Tables are set right in the sand and the menu is traditional Mexican with incredible ceviche, grilled fish and amazing tacos.

Km. 8.5, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 1 984 806 2871
Jungle Side

They call it urban rustic cuisine. I call it delicious. It’s Argentine and most everything is cooked in the wood-fired oven and is all really, really good. Their craft bar program is also impressive.

Km 7.5, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
+52 1 998 222 2749
Jungle Side

It might actually be too hip for me, but Casa Jaguar is the darling of all the cool peeps who head to Tulum. More open-air lounge than straight up restaurant, the menu is inventive and the drinks even moreso. Make sure to stop by on Thursdays when it turns onto a dance club at 10pm.

Km 8.2, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
+52 1 984 171 0986
Beach Side

A bottle of rosé and a plate of fish tacos pretty much sums up what Casa Violeta means to me. They do breakfast really well here, too, and it’s one of the only enclosed restaurants (albeit in all glass), so a good option in the rain.

No website. No address. No phone. Lunch only.
It’s locals only and the menu is fish only. But it’s the freshest fish you’ve ever had. And the coldest beer. Make it at least once and bring cash.
Directions (from Mr. and Mrs. Romance): From Tulum you head north back towards Cancun on the main road (there’s only one!). When you get to a sign for Oscar & Lalo’s Restaurant, turn off. If you miss the turn, don’t worry. There’s a U-turn bay ahead so you get a second go at it. Drive down the unsealed road right to the end. And I mean right to the end. Go past all the hotels you’ll find there, nod and smile at the security guard halfway down, who’ll (slowly) unhitch the chain gate for you to continue. When you come to what looks like an abandoned parking lot and an old ship, you’re there. You won’t see any signs but you should see the white of the chairs through the palm trees.

Km 5, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 1 984 134 8725

Jungle Side
This was the first restaurant I ever ate at in Tulum, and it holds a very special place in my heart. Actually, it’s the lavender shrimp that holds that. Truly, everything served from the open-air kitchen is incredible, and the vibe is laid back and super friendly. The menu changes daily and is written on a series of chalkboards at the center of the dining room and it’s all fresh and delicious.

Km 7, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 1 984 188 2184

It’s like all of your Pinterest dreams come true. Chandeliers in the trees, tike torches along the path and bathrooms bathed in candlelight. And the food is spot on, too. Don’t miss the chorizo or anything from the bar.

Km 7.6, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
Jungle Side

Hartwood may very well be the most famous of all of Tulum’s restaurants which is sort of incredible considering it’s open only 4 days a week from 6pm-11pm (maybe less in the case of inclement weather), has no electric appliances (save for one lone blender), doesn’t take reservations and starts taking names at 3pm (in person only). But Chef Eric Werner’s (formerly of Peasant in NYC) food can’t be denied. Everything he makes is by hand, grilled or cooked in the incredible wood-burning oven and is the true essence of farm to table.  So take a beach break at 3, get on line and prepare to be amazed. And if you love the food as much as I think you will, you can make it home with the new Hartwood cookbook

Km 8.2, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila
+52 1 984 115 4726

The new chef’s table is where it’s. 8, 10 or 12 course tasting menus of traditional Mexican recipes with a twist. Chef Eliza Bonilla hails from Mexico and his cooking is pretty spectacular. If a tasting menu isn’t your thing, any regular meal at Le Zebra is far from regular. And the Sunday night Salsa party is pretty incredible, too.

Avenue Tulum MZA, 40 LTE. 1 Centro
In town

Amazing ceviches and hot sauces. One of Chef Eric Werner’s faves.

Km 5.2, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 1 984 179 4160
Jungle Side

The closest thing you’ll ever come to a sports bar in Tulum, it’s the perfect stop for a taco and a beer.  And breakfast is awesome here as well.

Km 1, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
Beach Side

Another hard sell is good Thai in Tulum, but here it is. In case you’ve OD’d on tacos and tequila, you can get your fix of high end pad thai and curries here. And it’s all really, really good!

Km 4.5, Crta. Tulum-Boca Paila
+52 1 984 801 8493
Beach Side

If traveling to Mexico for Italian food feels wrong to you, let Posada Margherita relieve you of that thought. Not only is it good Italian food, it’s AMAZING Italian food. The restaurant is owned by the perfectly gorgeous Alessandro Carrozzino who makes sure to sit down at each table personally and recite the short menu (usually 2-3 handmade pastas and 2-3 fresh fish dishes).  He sets the vibe for your meal – relaxed, laid back and chic as hell.

Km 6, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 984 168 1282
Jungle side

It’s a Vegan paradise here at Restaurare where everything comes straight from local farmers. Think mushroom ceviche and Mayan lasagna.

Km 9, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+52 1 984 151 6979
Beach Side

“Today … relax and eat some fucking tacos,” so says the chalkboard message in front of this beachside Taqueria. Um, you don’t have to ask me twice.

Km 5, Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
+1 52 984 877 8523
Beach Side

Crayola colored tables on the beach make for a happy place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

New Orleans | Where to Eat

I fear that although I only spent 4 days in New Orleans, my list of where to eat is pretty long. It's amazing how many meals you can fit into a day if you try hard enough.

800 Decatur Street
+1 504 525 4544

It's cliché, and not at all my usual preference to go onto the beaten path, but there is no way around it: you simply CANNOT visit New Orleans and not have beignets and chicory (drink it the way they suggest: au lait, half coffee, half hot milk) at Café du Monde. Both are sublime and if you ask me, the best way to do it is to take it to go, walk around to the side of the building and watch the beignets being made through the glass wall.

4330 Magazine Street
+1 504 895 9761

Oysters, oysters and more oysters. Oyster loaf, specifically, is what they are best known for, but anything done with seafood here is a sure bet.

6100 Annunciation Street
+1 504 895 1111

It's a bit of a trek to get there, but this former neighborhood bar and po'boy palace is now home to some of the best creole cuisine in all of Louisiana. It's upscale but far from stuffy and you can feel the history in every dish. 

930 Tchoupitoulas Street
+1 504 588 2123

Cochon is one of those places that you can't eat at just once. In fact in the four days we were there, we went three times (don't judge). Chef Donald Link is a fixture on the New Orleans food scene (see Herbasaint, below), and he has won all kinds of awards for good reason. It was here that I first ate alligator (fried with chili garlic mayonnaise) and everything from that to the wood-fired oysters, smoked pork ribs, rabbit dumplings,and, of course, the Louisiana cochon is sheer brilliance. It's a great spot for lunch in an area that feels more industrial than anywhere else in town, so it's a nice change of scenery. And don't miss a visit to Link's Butcher, a butcher shop, sandwich counter and wine bar, right next door.

1403 Washington Avenue
+1 504 899 8221

Nothing, and I mean nothing screams old world New Orleans charm like Commander's Palace does. It has been around forever (since 1880 to be exact) and has been home to some of the world's  greatest chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Jamie Shannon, and now ,Tory McPhail. My money is on Sunday brunch in the treehouse-like dining room where you can feast on what they call Haute Creole cuisine for hours while drinking Sazerac after Sazerac. Plus, it's located in the Garden District which makes for a great after-lunch walk.

2800 Magazine Street
+1 504 265 0421

Despite the fact that the building dates back to the late 1880's and has been everything from a grocery to an auto parts stores, Coquette is definitely on the more modern end of New Orleans style. The dining rooms (there are 2, one upstairs and one down) are airy and the menu which changes daily, focuses on locally sourced products. 

736 Dante Street
 +1 504 861 3121

The menu here was a surprise to me for some reason. I'm not sure what I was expecting (maybe the name threw me), but I was happy to find some really inventive cooking here - the escargot, boudin rouge and chicken under a brick were standouts - and they are also huge proponents of sustainable cooking. 

123 Baronne Street
+1 504 648 6020

I often find that the biggest challenge when traveling is leaving with no regrets: do not ever get on a plane saying to yourself,  "damn, I should have eaten that last (fill in the blank)." Unfortunately, it almost always happens to me. Domenica was one of those cases where it was our last meal in New Orleans and we had eaten SO much, but it's a don't miss from celebrated chef John Besh. His Italian fare is inventive and really incredible.

209 Bourbon Street
+1 504 525 2021

This very well may be the most famous lunch spot in all of New Orleans and the time to go, if you can, is Friday at noon, when you'll certainly have to wait in line, and the place to sit is in the downstairs dining room, but the pomp and circumstance is part of the fun (I have been told that they do actually have a wait list and take limited reservations, but we were not privy to that info on our trip). Waiters wear dinner jackets, and for the most part are Galatoire's lifers so their menu recommendations should be taken to heart. I have also heard that Sunday brunch is high on the list of things to do, but keep in mind that for men at that time (as well as every day after 5pm), jackets are required.

701 Saint Charles Avenue
+1 504 524 4114

This was our first meal in New Orleans and it set the bar really, really high. Donald Link, who I've now mentioned  a few times, is the chef here, and while Cochon is his down and dirty masterpiece, Herbsaint is the much more refined older brother. It is the first restaurant he opened and to say it is flawless doesn't even do it justice. I could talk about it all day, but instead I will give you some menu highlights and really, really insist that you make it your business to eat here. Some of our favorite dishes:  housemade spaghetti with guanciale and fried-poached farm egg,   muscovy duck leg confit with dirty rice and citrus gastrique and  louisiana shrimp and fish ceviche with cucumbers and pepitas to name a few. 

4238 Magazine Street
+1 504 891 3377

Sadly, we didn't get a chance to eat at La Petite Grocery, but we did walk by it and I have heard a ton of good things, mostly that it's a perfect stop for lunch when shopping on Magazine Street. 

3637 Magazine Street
+1 504 895 1636

Another Magazine Street spot, and like Coquette, Lilette is also a bit more contemporary and Chef John Harris' menu is focused on local and fresh produce. The room is classic New Orleans and the service can't be beat. And it's pretty versatile, or - casual enough at lunch for a quick stop while shopping and then feels more refined at dinnertime.

401 Poydras
+1 504 523 9656

As with so many of New Orleans' institutions, Mother's feels more cafeteria than restaurant, but it makes no apologies for what it is, and what it does, it does well - specifically the loaded po'boys. We happened to go to Mother's twice for breakfast while we were there and I have to admit that I fell in love with the no-frills feel and the super authentic food.
WILLIE MAE'S (no website)
2401 St Ann Street
+1 504 822 9503

Two words: FRIED CHICKEN. Yes, there are other things on the menu, but don't bother because this is, as they will tell you, America's best fried chicken. Please make it your business to get there!

Austin | Where to Eat

2027 Anchor Lane
+1 512 614 2260

Contigo is the brainchild of owner Ben Edgerton who grew up on his family’s 4,000 acre ranch of the same name in Jim Wells County, TX. He always wanted to open a restaurant and so created this incredible interpretation of the ranch in East Austin. We landed at Contigo on a perfect Sunday afternoon and were treated to cold beers and spicy margaritas in the open-air dining room. The whole place feels like a high-end state fair with string lights and glossy picnic benches, and the food is even better. Andrew Wisehart who was formerly at the Michelin-starred Le Toque in Napa runs the kitchen and while the menu is all Texas, it's also really inventive. Don’t leave without trying the rabbit & dumplings, pigs in a blanket or the strawberry doughnuts. We were there for brunch, which was pure perfection, but I’m guessing any meal here is a great one and at night the scene must be simply magical.

2402 San Gabriel Street
+1 512 220 0953

Visiting Austin and not eating barbecue is an unthinkable sin. There are many places to choose from, and while Freedmen’s is perhaps lesser known than some of the most famous (think Franklin’s or Salt Lick), I would argue that is superior in every way. For starters, it’s in the coolest building ever. Just a quick history: The building is a landmark, built in 1869 by a former slave named George Franklin. It became the heart of Wheatvale, one of Austin’s freedmen’s settlements (hence the name). Over the years the building served as a residence, a church and a grocery, and you can truly feel the history within its walls. So now that your history lesson is over, let’s get to the food and drink here. For starters, Freedmen’s is big into retro craft cocktails and their whiskey wall is also something you have to see. The food at Freedmen’s is straightforward barbecue and it’s really, really delicious. Go for The Holy Trinity (brisket, pork spare ribs & house-made sausage) and add some sides (the grilled cabbage slaw with cider vinegar is the perfect accompaniment to cut some of the fat in the meat) or starters (smoked beets with herbed goat cheese – not your typical bib item!) and do not leave without eating at least twice your body weight in the smoked banana pudding.

400A West 2nd Street
+1 512 499 0300

Maybe it’s enough to tell you that La Condesa has the largest selection of 100% blue agave tequila and mezcal in all of Austin, or that its bar program is run by Cocktail World Cup champion Nate Wales. Or maybe it’s enough to tell you that when it comes to modern Mexican fare, Chef Rick Lopez is so good he was nominated for a James Beard award for best New Restaurant. Or maybe it’s just enough to tell you that every single thing on this menu (I know because I really did try every. single. thing) is incredible – from the four types of guacamole (jumbo lump crab with apple and coconut vinegar? Yes, that’s true). To the zanahoria (roasted carrots, crispy quinoa and pickled currants with a carrot top chimichurri) to the huarache de nopal y chorizo masa (grilled cactus paddle) to the bistec asado (grilled hanger steak with garlic mojo, bone marrow, beef tongue & radish) and the carne torcida tacos (smoked brisket pastrami on a rye tortilla with horseradish). The room feels a little sterile, but other than that, this is a definite must.

507 Calles Street
+1 512 236 1022

This is the first (and only) place I have ever had vegan chicharrones. Yes, you read that right: VEGAN. CHICHARRONES. I didn’t understand it either, and I’m still not sure I fully grasp how they were made (tapioca, I think?), but they were DAMN good, and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between them and the real thing. And the most amazing part about them is that they are not all indicative of the menu at Mettle (meaning this is NOT a health food joint). Mettle is a bright, airy and a very cool bistro-type place in up and coming East Austin. The menu includes gems such as bacon tater tots (vegan what?), fried black-eyed peas, fried chicken and chicken fried beef cheeks. If fried isn’t your thing, there are lighter options (no judgment) including grilled scallops and yes, a vegan “soul” plate. 

1600 East 6th Street
+1 512 436 9626

Paul Qui is the resident bad boy chef of Austin. Born in the Philippines, he grew up loving to cook and went on to win season 9 of Bravo’s Top Chef. Over the past few years he has taken over the Austin food scene with a series of food trucks (East Side King) and this, his eponymous restaurant. Qui is kitschy and playful and can be scary. The menu reflects what Qui has always been about – a blend of French and Japanese cuisine with a little Texas thrown in, and I say scary because on paper a lot of it seems unlikely and maybe even inedible. But let me tell you: leave your judgments at the door. This food is off the hook insanely good. The offerings change often so it’s hard to pin down what you might have the pleasure of trying, but whatever he’s cooking, you should be eating.
*Note: Since we ate there, they have opened a Tasting Room that you can purchase tickets for in advance. From what we can tell it looks like a pretty insane option, so try and get in, and please let us know how it is!


← Back to Austin

Los Angeles | Where to Eat

By now it's pretty clear that much of my travels are planned based solely on restaurants I love or am dying to try. Los Angeles is no exception: there is so much great food happening there now, and it's such a great break from the New York dining scene. Here, some of my most recent favorites.

2121 7th Place, Los Angeles
+1 213 514 5724

The space feels more NYC than LA with raw, industrial finishes a raw copper bar top. The food, though, by LA-born, Israeli-raised Ore Menashe is multi-regional rustic Italian. Standouts are the Slow Roasted Lamb Neck with Arugula, Hazelnuts, Pickled Fennel, Dill, Salsa Verde and Pomegranate and the Cavatelli alla Norcina: ricotta dumplings with house-made pork sausage, black truffles and Grana Padano. And if you’re into sweets, they come courtesy of Menashe’s wife, partner and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis and they are spectacular.

1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+ 1 310 576 3474

Oysters, oysters and more oysters. And steamers. And lobster tacos. And bouillabaisse. You get the idea – it’s the perfect lunch spot: across the street from the beach in Santa Monica, plenty of outdoor tables and plenty of rose.
*NOTE: The same group also owns Blue Plate (1415 Montana Avenue) and Blue Plate Taco (1515 Ocean Avenue). Equally as good comfort food and tacos, respectively.

1810 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+ 1 310 394 5550

Capo is definitely on the fancier end of the dining spectrum, especially for Santa Monica, but the food - modern Italian - is as delicious as any I’ve had in Italy. Favorites are anything grilled in the fireplace and the pastas are perfection. The space, in a stand-alone house near the beach, is rustic yet elegant and the perfect place for a cozy dinner for two.
*NOTE: Dinner only

1314 7th Street,  Santa Monica
+ 1 310 393 6699

Part French Brasserie, part Asian eatery, Cassia has been getting RAVE reviews across the board and for good reason. The  menu is an eclectic mix of both countries: Chopped Escargot with Lemongrass Butter and Black Cod in Anchovy Broth, Chinese Romaine, Lychee Relish and Herb Salad are great examples of the perfect marriage of flavors and ideas.

8764 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
+ 1 310 432 2000

We ended up here because some members of our group who shall remain nameless refused to go to Sur, and this stand by is just across the street. Having been to the Miami outpost, we knew the Italian menu would be solid (go for the pizzas and the spicy whole chicken for two), but what I didn’t know was that the room would be so beautiful. Glowy, luxe and perfectly LA.

425 Washington Boulevard, Venice
+ 1 310 751 6794

We ate here on our first night in LA, and I have to say it set the bar REALLY high.  A neighborhood restaurant, but so much more. The Chef, Josiah Citrin has two Michelin stars at his other restaurant Melisse, but at Charcoal the white tablecloths have been replaced with communal seating and family-style dining. The menu, which changes daily, is cooked almost exclusively over live fire, wood burning ovens, over charcoal, in the coals or in a Big Green Egg (get it? Charcoal). We ate the entire menu, literally, and while choosing favorites seems cruel and unusual, I would beg you to have the Cabbage Baked in the Embers, Yogurt, Sumac and Lemon Zest; the Smoked and Grilled Bone in Short Rib; the Beef Heart, Pickled Mustard Seed, Charred Celery, and Chives and the Aged Lamb Leg.

8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
+ 323 848 5908

It’s not the food that’s memorable here. Yes, it’s fine, but the real deal is the patio at lunch with incredible views of LA, and more often than not, some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters.

6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles
There are stalls upon stalls upon stalls of food vendors at The Farmer’s Market serving everything from pizza to kebabs. The two standouts for me, though, are these:

Stall 322
+ 1 323 930 2211

The fare here is genuine Mexican, but it’s far from typical. The entire menu is unique, but the stars of the show are the tacos, specifically the new-style chicharron en salsa verde:  Pork Rinds stewed in a Spicy Tomatillo Sauce. Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco.

Stall 316
+ 1 323 761 7976

After you stuff yourself with tacos, you need something sweet to wash it all down, so walk over to Short Cake and order any of their sweets (I’m partial to the brownies). And their coffee is extraordinarily delicious.

1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
+ 1 310 450 1429

Dark, moody, delicious and oh so hip, Gjelina serves the kind of food you want to go back for time and time again. For starters, the menu is huge (it’s also printed in the smallest font on the planet, so bring your readers), and incredibly varied. There's an entire section devoted to vegetables (all of which are elevated to be more than just vegetables), a large selection of charcuterie and cheeses, amazing wood fired pizzas and a great mix of small and large plates. The food tends towards New American with great combos (think Santa Barbara Uni with Horseradish, Chive, Lemon and Sea Salt or Heirloom Bean & Herb Stew with Freekah, Crispy Shallot & Tomatillo Salsa). Lines are long and tables hard to come by, so make sure to make a res beforehand or prepare to be relegated to standing against the back wall until you can grab a seat.

320 Sunset Avenue, Venice
+ 1 310 314 0320

Gjelina’s little sister, this counter-service only café / bakery / deli has some of the best and most inventive food I’ve ever had. Top of the list goes to the Bialy Egg Sandwich with breakfast sausage, fried egg, cheddar and harissa ketchup; followed by the Porchetta Melt, a porchetta laden baguette with rapini, onions and fontina; and the Banh Mi Americano, with paté, testa, pickled daikon-carrot-cucumber, cilantro, chili dressing and garlic aioli. Breakfast is served all day.

10 Century Drive, Los Angeles
+ 1 310 552 1200

One of the things I love most about LA is the fact that some of the greatest restaurants are in the most unassuming places. Hinoki & the Bird is just that place: a fantastic travel-inspired eatery buried in the basement of a residential building in Century City.  But don’t be fooled: the indoor/outdoor space will transport you, as will the food, which is Asian-inspired, super flavorful and light. The Hinoki scented Black Cod with Dashi and Shishito is a signature dish and shouldn’t be missed.

844 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach
+ 1 310 318 2939

We made the drive to Hermosa Beach simply because the Chef  is the person responsible for ending the foie gras ban in the State of California, and anyone who has the balls to fight for foie gets our vote. What we found was surprising: a sort of sports bar meets fish shack on a non-descript stretch of Hermosa Avenue (although there’s a great tattoo parlor just next door). But the food – WOW. It’s all about the tacos (after the foie gras, of course) and what tacos they are! The menu includes over 50 choices, with plenty of standards mixed in with the much more adventurous such as The Hanukkah Taco (chicken, noodles, matzo balls and matzo), Fried Chicken (mashed potato, cornbread nuggets and gravy) or the Thai Pesto Cauliflower (roasted cauliflower, Thai basil pesto, peanuts and fresno chilis). It's well worth the drive and after lunch you can walk it off on th ebeach where you'll also see some killer beach volleyball.

1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
+1 310 451 2311

Huckleberry Bakery & Café is owned by the same people behind Cassia and the food, while totally different, is just as good. This is the perfect spot for breakfast, although with limited seating and long lines, I’d advise getting there early. You can’t get much more California than the menu here, and it’s all clean, healthy and delicious without hitting you over the head with virtue. We had Green Eggs & Ham with prosciutto, pesto and arugula on a housemade english muffin, Brisket Hash with two sunny side up eggs and arugula, Poached Eggs over farmers’ market vegetables with pesto, and Quinoa with Farmers’ Market vegetables with two sunny side up eggs.

1111 2nd Street, Santa Monica
+1 310 394 5454

I have no idea how the Huntley is as a hotel, but what I do know is that The Penthouse, the restaurant on the roof, is an excellent place for brunch. The food is good with all of the standard fare, but it’s the view that’s staggering. The hotel is probably the closest thing to a high rise Santa Monica has, and the dining room has views for days. Call ahead and ask for a booth overlooking the Pacific. I also hear it’s a fantastic spot for a sunset drink.

113 N. Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 (310) 274-8303

1535 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+1 310 393 3113

The Ivy is an LA institution. Long before I ever visited this city, I knew about The Ivy and it doesn’t disappoint. With a menu that runs the gamut from raw bar to my favorite grilled vegetable salad to ribs; from fish tacos to artichokes and pasta, it’s a little all over the place but the food is solid. It’s also THE place to see and be seen, especially on the terrace at lunch, which overlooks  N. Robertson with all of its incredible shopping and people watching.
*NOTE: Don’t miss the outpost, Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica, with the same menu, floral-clad waiters and old school clientele.

1447 2nd Street, Santa Monica, 
+1 310 747 6533

There are five locations around the city, but the one we ate at almost daily on our trip was in Santa Monica. Basically a Mexican-inspired diner, the menu is humongous and replete with every breakfast item you could EVER want (yes, they even offer s'mores pancakes). I’m partial to eggs in the morning and the huevos con pollo (with grilled chicken breast and salsa verde), is my idea of heaven. My other idea of heaven is having tater tots on the side.

246 26th Street, Santa Monica
+1 310 310 8064

8164 West 3rd Street, West Hollywood
+1 323 951 1210

Fantastic French Moroccan with two locations, and  if you like a good Couscous Royale (with lamb, chicken and morgues), then you’ll love Little Door.

pier café: + 1 310 456 1112
restaurant: +1 310 456 8850

When you think about Malibu, this is probably what you picture: a perfectly laid back, casual, super healthy café perched on a pier in the Pacific Ocean. Malibu Farm is really just everything you want it to be. There’s the café with counter service only (burgers, salads) and a new restaurant that is far from formal, but has an expanded menu and table service.

22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
+1 310 317 9140

It’s Nobu so there’s no need to talk about the food, which while I love it, is still stuck in the 90s. What I do need to talk about is the location, which is maybe the most perfect I have ever seen. Super sleek and modern and literally on top of the ocean, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I’ve heard it’s great for dinner, too, but my money is on lunch when you can sit in the sun, drink rosé and eat sushi until you burst.

The LINE Hotel
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+ 1 213 368 3030

Roy Choi is one of the LA cool kids, and all of his restaurants have an interesting edge to them. Pot, his newest in The Line Hotel, is yummy Korean, and based on – you guessed it – pots. They’re all great but my fave would have to be the Old School - marinated rib eye bulgogi, noodles, kimchi and scallion.

624 S La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles
+1 310 362 6115

All I can say about this place is pan drippings. Seriously – you can order bread and the pan drippings from their incredible roast chicken. Please, just do it. And when you’re done, eat the chicken, too.

With 10 locations across the city, you’ll never have to go without the freshest sushi around. It’s Nowzawa-style, which means the preparation is based on a commitment to a number of principles:

• Quality starts with the best fish every morning.
• Simplicity and balance should be used to accent the flavor and texture of the fish. Sushi should not be stringy, chewy, tough, or fishy.
• Rice should be warm and loosely packed so it melts in the mouth

I kind of think ALL sushi restaurants should abide by these laws. Don’t you?

606 N Robertson Boulevard,  West Hollywoo
+ 1 310 289 2824

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t eat here. But I wish we had for obvious reasons.

Milan | Where to Eat

I have to be honest - Milan was not my favorite city food-wise in italy. The typical Milanese dishes — Risotto Milanese and Veal Milanese — are both heavier dishes than  I  would normally be drawn to, and to me, milan seems to lack an true identity. Maybe because fashion has made its home there, or maybe because at it's heart it's an industrial city, but whatever the case may be, for me what was missing was the passion for food that you find in so many places throughout that country. Our trip was short, and knowing a bit about what to expect,  I  tried hard to find some places that would be exceptions to the rule, that would be a bit out of the box and, hopefully, prove my theory wrong. I have to say we were pretty successful, and here are my top recs for Milan.

Via Amadei, 1
+39 2 86 45 10 85

I feel weird saying this, but I actually think that Alla Collina Pistoiese might serve the best Spaghetti alla Vongole Veraci I have ever had. And that includes the Amalfi Coast. I know, not what you would expect in Milan, and that's just one of the reasons I loved this place. It's old school - has been off the Piazza Sant'Allesandro since 1938, and the waiters are as traditional as the decor. The cuisine is more Tuscan than Milanese, and the food is really, really solid - plus,  there wasn't another tourist in sight. We had a party of 13 for dinner here, so we were able to taste most of the menu but if you're dining with a smaller crowd, I would say don't miss the vongole, the grilled sole, the grilled veal chop and the fried mozzarella and zucchini. All winners. Oh! And dessert. Don't walk away without it.

Viale Pasubio, 10
+39 2 65 55 74 1

This one came recommended to me from four different sources, so I made a lunch reservation with some pretty high expectations. The location is great, near the Corso Como, and the restaurant is really charming. It's another oldie (this one dates back to 1880) and the feel of it is sort of refined Italian Grandmother's house meets Milan style - think white tablecloths with beautiful flower arrangements, dark wood and lots of windows covered with sheer white shades that filter the light perfectly. The food is also refined Italian Grandmother meets Milan chic: traditional enough to take you back in time, but refined enough to be interesting. The dish to have here is the Risotto al Salto, a crispy, buttery pancake made from yesterday's Risotto Milanese (the equally buttery, saffron risotto that is famous in this region) that will literally lose all of your arteries but you will die happier than you have ever been. If death by butter isn't your thing (I feel sad for you), then go for the perfectly simple rigatoni pomodoro e basilico or the fusilli alle erbe for pastas, and the veal milanese or grilled veal chop for your secondi. Lunch is the best bet here - the light in the room is spectacular and if you need to stretch your legs, you can shop around the area afterwards.

Via Solferino, 34
+39 2 65 52 141

After a morning spent at the Expo Milano 2015, we were ready to eat. Although the theme of this years world's fair was Feeding the World, we found that it was simply too crowded to actually feed ourselves. Luckily the Metro has phone service and the group was unanimous in their desire for pizza, so I quickly searched and found Da Cecco. We had no clue what to expect, but we were tired and hungry and at that point all we really wanted was to sit down and have a glass of wine. What we found, though, was so much more. Turns out Da Cecco has been making wood fired pizzas forever and the restaurant was packed when we arrived. It was a gorgeous day so we sat on the tiny back patio and proceeded to have one of the best meals ever. The pizzas were spectacular with literally dozens of combinations to choose from, and because it happened to be porcini season, we also had those simply grilled. But the kicker? They had PUNTARELLE! If you don't know what puntarelle is, or haven't read my entry on Palatium in Rome,  now is the time for you to discover this incredible green. Sometimes called Chicoria di Catalogna, puntarelle is picked when young and tender and is usually served in a salad with anchovies, garlic and olive oil. It's ridiculously good and isn't so easy to find, especially outside of Rome. Needless to say, I was in heaven. And the bonus here is that the jugs of house red and white were also perfect!  

Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 6
+39 2 76 02 33 13

So we didn't eat here. BUT, my eye doctor (Peter Odell - if you're looking for the best in NYC, he's your guy, btw), who might be a bigger foodie than anyone i know, told me about Da Giacomo the week AFTER we got back from Milan. As far he's concerned, this is the best meal he's had in Milan. Again, it's old school, and Giacomo has been cooking his refined Tuscan food in Milan since 1958, so I would guess Dr Odell's recommendation is spot on. We will definitely try it the next time we're in the area.

Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, 286
+39 2 87 38 07 11

I am not sure how I heard about this place, and my family was terrified when we took the Metro all the way to the end and the walked for 25 minutes to what I can only describe as the Milanese hood, but I promise you, the trek is worth it. Erba Brusca is all about being different. - but in a very good way. From the location to the vegetable garden that surrounds the property and provides all of the herbs and greens for the kitchen, to the soft lighting, outdoor terrace seating and super-inventive menu, it is a true breath of fresh air. The menu is small - 4 antipasti, 4 pastas and 4 entrees, and some of the combinations sound somewhat insane, but I promise you, this was the best meal we had in Milan.

Via Santa Maria, 11
+39 28 66 45 19 91

‪We landed in Milan and pretty much headed straight to lunch. I chose Trattoria Milanese for the somewhat obvious choice of the name, and the fact that it has been open since 1933, and I have to say we were not disappointed. The dining room was bustling and I didn't hear a single word of English, which is always a good thing. We sat down, ordered the house white, which was perfect and had a look at the giant menu. Here's what we ate (please don't judge - there were 8 of us): prosciutto and salami, troife al pesto, risotto milanese o al salto (their specialty), tortellini with pumpkin and sage, troife with porcini, meatballs in tomato sauce with mashed potatoes, veal meatballs, veal milanese, grilled steak and eggs, veal scallopine with porcini, roasted artichokes with potato and roasted radicchio. Sounds like a lot but honestly, I could do the whole thing all over again right this second.

Via Privata Cuccagna, 2
+39 25 45 77 85

Another spot off the beaten path, on the other side of town from Erba Brusca, Un Posto a Milano is something of a commune meets hostel with a fantastic Chef at the helm. Sound confusing? It is. An interior dining room, a few hotel rooms, a somewhat dilapidated-looking garden and a take out bakery and coffee counter (I think that's what it was) and a cute outdoor seating area, all make for a restaurant that feels as if you've just stepped onto a  movie set. It's all about the pizzas and foccaccias here, which they make with Polish leavening (manitoba flour, honey, orange or apple juice), potatoes (for the focaccia), brewer’s yeast and extra virgin olive oil, and they are all gluten and lactose free.


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