Category: Nat’s Restaurants

Since I arrived to NY, I have been quite lucky with the weather. Normally I am in search of great terraces in Geneva, who will think I will be doing the same in NY… especially when some terraces are not allowed to be open on specific dates.

Thanks God NY is full of Italian restaurants, and they don’t follow those official rules ;) So with this beautiful sunny day, Lady Fleur and I have decided to check Da Silvano.

This restaurant that opened 36 years ago, is serving Tuscan food and attracts not only the locals but lots of celebrities. The secret? Well to start with delicious food, great service and an amazing terrace.

We were lucky cause we found right away a nice breezy spot to sit. We decided to share an artichoke salad, then we both took pastas. I had the Penne Integrali al Pesto, which is whole wheat penne with basil pesto (trying to be healthy, lol). Lady Fleur took the Spaghettini Puttanesca, described on the menu as Spaghettini “whore style”, tomato, garlic, black olives, capers, anchovies.

They were both incredibly tasty and we finished with my favorite “Torta della Nonna”… miam.

The crowd was a mixture of the hip youth of Greenwich Village, some tourists, some “wannabes” and off course us, the hungry ones.

Let’s take a minute to describe the Greenwich crowd. The boys are young, with hats that look like condoms (but I guess it is stylish) and the girls are even younger, with very long legs and daisy dukes and ankle boots.

One thing is sure they are not eating pastas; or the water in the village has a special power to make them thin and tall… not very sure.

But one thing is sure, fashion or not, they should all wash their hair, and iron their clothes. I thought the grunge look was so last year, what happened? Did I miss the memo?

The service was great. Da Silvano himself came to check if we enjoyed our lunch. He fell in love with my bag hook, proposed me 100 usd for it. Then later when I tried to give him back his money, he wanted to purchase my necklace for 200 usd.

So maybe that is the secret of Da Silvano, you go there, you eat and you leave with money… especially when the hook and the necklace cost in total 55 usd, and almost left the restaurant with 300…

What can I say, besides, will go back and this time bring more accessories to be able to pay my rent;)

This year I have spent Easter in NY. Lack of my niece and nephew no egg fight, no egg hunt… but guess what? Easter brunch!!!!

To keep the good habits we decided to go to Westville, my favorite brunch spot in NY. This restaurant has two locations. I only go to the one in Chelsea. It is our spot with my boyzzzz. This time lady fleur joined us, as well.

As usual we shared the yummy dishes from the market. Grilled artichokes and fennels, brussel sprouts (don’t say “beurk”, I became addicted), and grilled zucchini with tomatoes and mozzarella.

Then I ordered my usual Sunday brunch fix: eggs benedicts with a side of crispy bacon. I am sure you all know this dish, but for the ones in the unknown of this dish, it is poached eggs on bread with hollandaise sauce on top. Everybody can do poached eggs; the secret is the hollandaise sauce. I think at this point I can write a “Zagat” of good and bad hollandaise sauce in NY. And the one at Westville is simply delicious.

No need to say it is very light… But believe me, it is worth every calorie of it.

The pictures will be added next week, as I forgot to take them, oops… I guess I was really hungry.

After our lunch, we hit the J&R Terrace (the amazing roof terrace of my boys) to play cards under the sun. Did u ever hear of this game called Americano? In Turkey everybody knows, for the rest of the world it is a kind of rummy, but to be able to open your hand each game has a different rule.

I think from far it is the most addictive card game… ask lady fleur who is infected and dreams about playing again.

We played for 4 straight hours, with some white wine and vodka, some food to nibble, and a helicopter in the sky. I guess it was there to film the NY Easter parade… or they were curious about our game, and stayed there to understand the game, lol.

Between you and me, they must have been confused, because of the weather changing we started at the terrace, continued inside to finish at the terrace…

Overall, best way to spend the Easter Sunday, no egg hunt, just tanning, playing cards and drinking with my peeps!!! And I am the Spring Bunny, so who needs the Easter Bunny anyway ;) ))))

In a big city like NY, restaurants have a life expectancy between 6 to 12 months. The restaurants that are still open after that period of time are definitely the winners.

Stanton Social is among those lucky ones. This three – level restaurant that is located in Lower East Side opened its doors in 2005. You will think after 6 years it will lose the hip and get less crowded…. Wrong!!! Not only it is still very packed; but it has so much success that the owners opened another restaurant with the same concept a block away called “Beauty and Essex”.

The concept is simple; you have a menu full of dishes to share from all around the world and a great selection from the raw bar. They have few famous dishes such as the French onion soup dumplings, the Kobe beef burgers, the Stanton social beef wellington, lobster roll sliders and duck empanadas.

When Lady Fleur and I, decided to have dinner there, I was salivating to the idea of the delicious dishes. Normally, I advise people to go with big groups so you can order a lot of dishes and share. As we were only two, we made a smaller selection.

We started with the Bistrot Salad (haricot vert, tomato, smoked bacon & poached egg) and yellow fin tuna sashimi. We also ordered spicy lamb souvlakis (Greek specialty where small pieces of lamb are grilled on a skewer), the crispy eggplant parmagiano, and had to taste the beef wellington.

What can I say the Chef/owner Chris Santos knows his food. Everything was delicious.

The place, as usual, was packed. I have one big, actually two big complaints about Stanton social. They have only one unisex bathroom on the main dining area, so you have to plan ahead if you want to visit it, as there is always a big queue.

The second complaint will be the noise. I understand it is a busy restaurant, but they must be able to arrange something, cause it is so noisy that you have to shout to be able to communicate.

At a point, I thought I should bbm lady fleur for better communication. Lol, just kidding.

The service was great as always. Our waiter was really helpful (although he could have washed his hair), and the maitre d’ brought us Potato & Goat Cheese Pierogies (fried dumplings of unleavened dough) with caramelized onions & truffle creme fraiche.

He said, I know you didn’t order this dish, but I know at some point during the night you are going to complain about something, so I prefer to bring this ahead to apologize… As my hubby pointed out the following day, I guess my face is in their kitchen with a warning: “be careful, she can be bitchy”. Lol

You see, being demanding sometimes help;)

Overall once again it was a great dinner, and how can it be bad with my lady fleur!!!!

I have already told you in my previous posts about my home town: Mersin in Turkey.

Mersin (population of 1.5 mio) is a major commercial city and shipping port on Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean coast, but not a major tourist destination.

It is a beautiful city near the sea, great weather with palm trees along the roads. It is also a city where nothing much happens. I love it, cause I have so many child memories, and I have my brother, niece and nephew who live there, as well.

There is another reason why I love Mersin: “Tantuni”.

Tantuni is a dish born in Mersin, and it became known all around Turkey. It is meat wrapped in lavash bread (a flat bread that is the equivalent of a tortilla).

It started to be a dish for people without much money, they will place the meat cooked with lots of lungs and fat into a roll and eat it. With time, this wrap became the most favorite street food of Mersin.

The preparation is a whole ritual. They grill thin strips of beef and keep them warm on the side of a massive circular pan with a concave depression in the middle. When they need to prepare a wrap, the cook scoops some of the beef up and reheats it in the middle of the pan in a steamy combination of oil and water, creating thin gravy.

He places the meat in the lavash bread (that he soaks with the meat’s juice), adds some tomatoes, onions (not for me), parsley and a combination of spices (sumac, red pepper, cumin…). Once all the ingredients are in the flat bread, he rolls it.

To the idea, I am salivating… I highly advise to eat it with some lemon on top.

If my friends from Mersin reads that, they will probably laugh cause everybody knows that I am hooked to Tantuni. I think whenever I go to the city, I have to have at least once a day that delicious wrap. I buy always from “Sabit Tantuni”, whom I believe does his yearly income thanks to me ;)

The good news is that I hooked up my niece as well; so besides the fact that I enjoy my yummy wrap, I share it with her!!!!

When I was a kid, every Sunday we will have family lunch. My father will keep a booklet and put grades on all restaurants. He loved to make new discoveries, and we will return to the ones we liked.

Those days, I wished I was hanging out with my friends, but now I wish he was still around so we could make the discoveries together…

The other high point of our Sundays was to be lost on our way to the restaurant. Off course, the GPS didn’t exist then, and let’s admit my father didn’t have a great sense of direction… I guess now we know from whom I inherited that quality ;)

This week-end with my mom we decided to give another shot to one of my father’s restaurant. Auberge Communale de Presinge. This Italian restaurant revives so many child memories, and the food was always very good. The owners finally decided to retire and sold it to an adorable couple.

Our first surprise was to arrive there, without getting lost… Thanks God I have my Tom Tom (GPS); even though she annoys me sometimes, and we have fights…. I have to admit she is very helpful.

The last time I was at that restaurant, my nephew wasn’t even born, so at least 6 years… So I was nicely surprised that the place didn’t change at all. The menu, well it actually changed a little. I didn’t see their famous risotto.

I decided to start with the beef carpaccio and my mom with the smoked salmon. I continued with the beef tagliata, and she took the sea bass again. I hate writing this but: “it was really bad”. My carpaccio was cut very thick, it seemed it was bought from the cheap super market. My mom’s salmon was not good either, it seemed to come from a package.

My beef tagliata was good beef quality, but had no taste what so ever, my mom’s fish was ok. We ordered a lasagna and gnocchi to go for my sister, she said they were with no taste..

The worst? We paid a lot for this food. I am sorry that the food doesn’t happen there anymore: they are a lovely couple, the terrace is great, and the restaurant is full of souvenirs. Such a shame.

Will I return, I seriously doubt…

As I am still craving for the filet of perches, I decided to go to the last place where I had the most amazing ones: Le restaurant du Lac in Versoix.

This restaurant situated by the lake has a great terrace, and you never get disappointed with their food or with the service. The sunny day made it even better.

The main inspiration of the menu is fish; although they offer an amazing selection of meat as well… All products are seasonal and fresh. We decided to start with red label smoked salmon marinated with citrus fruits and virgin oil. Then the sea bass and off course, I took my filet of perches….

OMG (oh my god) they were so good. You’ll tell me with that amount of butter even a shoe sole will be delicious… lol.

They brought French fries and veggies next to it. Normally I don’t like the French fries, but they were damn crispy and good. The sea bass looked very good and fresh, but I wasn’t into grilled healthy fish… I was more into buttery delicious mini fish with French fries ;)

We finished the lunch with a crumble to share…. Ahhh where is my chica ? My all time “crumble” partner ;)

The service was perfect; I guess our waiter noticed that we had some Lebanese blood in our veins, because he tried to bond and started to put Arabic words in his sentences, lol. I don’t speak Arabic, so his efforts were worthless.

The restaurant du lac is not cheap, but is worth every penny… I will definitely return there, actually I have a feeling it will be my summer great lunch spot ;)

With the beautiful weather that we had, the week challenge was to think to restaurants with nice terraces. Most of the classics like the restaurants in place du Molard were fully booked, so one had to be creative.

We opted for “Le Lacustre”. For the ones who don’t know it is situated just by the parking of Mont Blanc across the lake. The parking elevator is at the door of the restaurant… so not much for a walk to digest, lol.

Le Lacustre, makes part of Molino pizzerias, so you have all the pizzas and pastas… but you have a great selection of fish, as well. I was dreaming about the filet of perches; unfortunately, they didn’t have any.

After long hesitation for a pizza, I opted for the beef carpaccio, so I could take “la torta de la nonna” as a dessert. The others had the fish.

The service was very slow; they managed to take our order only 25 minutes after our arrival. Our waiter was lovely, but didn’t speak one word of French. You know I love Italian, but don’t you think it will help the communication if he could speak French… in the Frencg speaking part of Switzerland????

We are not in Lugano, but in Geneva… and even though sometimes it gives the charm of the restaurant when they throw you few words of Italian… People are at Lacustre to have a quick lunch before going to work… so they cannot pretend to be on vacation in Italy and lose their time in communication…

Thanks God, I don’t work in an office and I speak Italian… but my poor sis left without eating as it was too late for her.

She missed a good lunch. The carpaccio and the fish were good. My torta della Nonna was yummy. The best? We had the beautiful sun smiling at us…

So if you are looking for a great terrace with decent food in town, Le Lacustre is your address… just bring your Italian- French dictionary if you don’t speak Italian ;)

Geneva is a city where everybody likes to go to their same old places to eat. The classics never die… Everybody says they want new, but let’s admit we rarely give a chance to the new spots.

For few months now, I hear about this new Italian restaurant called “Asseyez-Vous”. The general idea is, the food is great (everything organic), but overpriced.

I finally decided to try it out; it was for the birthday of Patou. B & B girls, meaning my mom, sis, Patou and her mom are like me good restaurant critics, and let’s admit very harsh critics, lol. Whom else I could chose to try this new spot ;)

Although everybody is disappointed with the décor, I personally liked it a lot. The good thing is the menu changes every 2 -3 days; which shows that the cook gets inspired by the fresh products he buys. On the down side, when he decides a dish, you have no chance to change it… or our waitress is scared of him cause every time we asked for a minor change, she kept saying, “the cook won’t accept”.

We started with a cold salmon soup, and I think from far it was the best dish I had there. I liked it because it was very original and tasty. For the main course, we all asked for the pastas. We had the option between two pastas, spaghetti with lobster, and squid ink ravioli filled with mussels and grated bottarga on top.

We wanted to share both dishes and asked our waitress if she could split them and off course she refused… apparently it won’t go with the cook’s dish concept…

I opted for the one with lobster; it was too salty and garlicky for me. I tried the other plate which was a bit too dry and waaaay to salty as well. They say if the food is too salty, it means the cook is in love… actually it was right, because the cook’s love interest works there as well, and they don’t hide their affection ;)

They somehow caught up with the desserts; much better than the main courses, tiramisu and panna cotta.

I seriously don’t know if we made the wrong choices; the “cote de boeuf” (T-bone steak) looked amazing.

But let me tell you something, everybody is right… it is way too expensive. For a cold salmon soup and a pasta dish, with a bottle of wine and 2 desserts, we paid 100 usd per head. I guess if we had the t-bone, it will have been even more expensive…

I was so excited to try this new restaurant, but will I return there? I doubt.
I think the cook, should continue his love affair, but slow down on salt and be a bit more flexible…

Thanks god with the B & B girlzzz we always have a great time, so made the best out of it… Patou I promise you, next year I will make a better choice ;)

Have you ever heard of Comerc 24 in Barcelona? No??? Have you ever heard of El Bulli at Cala Montjoi? Well if you haven’t heard that one either than you should wonder what you are doing reading my blog…. Cause every foodie (and most of non-foodies) knows about El Bulli.

El Bulli is one of the best restaurants in the world where finding a reservation is more difficult than having tea with the Queen. Ferran Adria, the chef, has been acclaimed the best chef in the world.

Carles Aballan, chef of Comerc 24, used to work with Ferran Adria at El Bulli, until he decided to continue his own adventure. In 2001, he opened Comerc 24 in Barcelona which became rapidly one of the best known tables in the city.

His concept is simple; he took all the tapas, and revised them with his creativity and worldwide influence. The result? Amazing.

The Marmelades have already been to Comerc 24 during their vacation week. The experience was so great that, they decided to go back and share the yummy food with me.

Thanks to his social skills, Ring Ding managed to find us a table for Saturday night. I think I have never seen Magician and Twinkie so excited about a restaurant, lol.

When you first sit, they open your appetite with four different olive oils… Everybody already knew what they wanted. The parents and I took the festival menu, where you have the chance to taste a bit of everything. Twinkie and Magician opted for fewer plates, their tuna tartar looked amazing and when you see the speed it was gone, I guess it was delicious as well.

Let me tell you the highlights among the dishes…

Pizza 24, on a bread crust they put anchovies, mozzarella bites, ruccola salad, strawberries and some truffle oil… as the Magician pointed out “each bite is an explosion of different tastes in your mouth”.

The filo Parma, lemon and basil and the monkfish were also incredible. The famous “kinder egg” (not the chocolate with a surprise in it), was very interesting as well. It was filled with truffles and very interesting taste.

On the main plates, we had some seafood dish: the Dashi with cockles, razor clams Yakisoba and Lavaneres peas and potera squid. Then they brought us a rabbit and an ox sirloin.

My favorites were the seafood dishes… I don’t eat rabbit, and the sirloin wasn’t that impressive.

And also let’s be honest… even if the portions are tiny, after the 8th dish you are not that hungry anymore.

Well you will think that, but when the desserts arrived, the appetite came back…. My favorites among the five deserts (yes five… without counting the petit fours)?

Bread oil, chocolate and salt… I loved the combination of this extra virgin olive oil on the chocolate and the salt just made it better. As Twinkie and Magician pointed out, their “oreos” were amazing was to die for. Instead of two cookies they had two caramelized sesame toasts, and it gave another dimension to the “oreo”.

We accompanied our dinner with this amazing wine, Scala Dei Priorat Cartoixa 75. The sommelier took a good ten minutes to open it. And believe me, it was worth the wait….

While we drank our wine, Twinkie and Magician (especially Twinkie) finished their water reserve, lol.

After 4 hours of food festival in our mouth, we left the restaurant very satisfied.

I advise everyone to try Comerc 24, the décor is very modern and the service is impeccable. Some people say that it is too expensive; let’s say it is not cheap, but worth every penny of it.

One of the other attractions of Barcelona is the weather and the promenade by the beach. We decided to take a walk and have a nice lunch by the beach.

Magician and Twinkie wanted to rent bikes… Since 2007, the Barcelona city council launched the innovative bicycle borrowing scheme called “El Bicing.”. Unfortunately, these bikes are only for residents, the tourists need to rent from bike shops.

We finally found a shop, and they rented their bikes… why I didn’t rent a bike? Well, I am ashamed to announce that I don’t know how to ride one…. And seriously do you see me on a bike? Where would I put my purse, and how can I bike with heels? And then the bike has to be in matching colors with my outfit… too complicated.

The boys proposed me to teach (I guess they wanted to laugh), I proposed them to put a basket in front of their bike and sit on it (as I am so tiny, lol)…

We finally decided that it will be wise to skip biking for Nat, wonder why? Lol.

All the restaurants seemed to have the same menu, we opted for “Bestial” (thank you wifey for your advice). This restaurant situated near the beach with a great terrace offers Mediterranean cuisine with an Italian twist.

Our hotel told us that it was like a Mc Donalds…

I don’t know if the Mc Donalds are very fancy in Barca, or they have never seen one, but this restaurant was far from one. To start with the decor is minimalist and modern, and the food is far better.

I guess they don’t take a commission from the restaurant…

Anyway, as we couldn’t make up our mind, we didn’t do any reservations… we tried all the tricks to get a table, they restaurant side was full, so we sat on “the lounge side”.

Let me translate that, we couldn’t sit at a proper table and order from the menu, but sit at the comfy couches and order only appetizers. This is where I see, Barcelona has become very popular. In the past, they will do everything to be pleasant and helpful…. Now the attitude is: “you are not happy, you can leave”. If we were in Turkey, they would have even proposed the menu of the adjacent restaurant.

I decided for once “to not have” a fight and we ordered our food. We had mushroom and truffle croquettas, some Spanish ham, calamaris and two mini pizza, one of them with cheese the other one with sun dried tomatoes and ruccola. All this with a rose, that looked more “fushia” than rose…

Everything was delicious; the service …. nonexistent!!! I don’t know if you are considered as a second-class citizen when you sit at the lounge, but our waiter never came to see us. Once our plates were on the table, he decided that we were done… We had to chase him. The worst? When he literally told us that we cannot order the other dishes from the menu, he served them to the next table…. Guess what I finally had my fight!!!

Thanks God for them, the restaurant is well located with good food, and it was an amazing day and great company… Thinking about it, maybe that’s what the hotel was implying when they said it is Mac Donalds… it is a self service ;) )))