United States: California, Vinous Table
A San Francisco institution, Zuni Café has kept guests well fed since 1979, eons by the standards with which restaurants open and close in the United States. The cozy, two-story, rustic dining room is bustling with energy as we settle in for this mid-week lunch.
United Kingdom, Vinous Table
There are parts of London that I know like the back of my hand. Hanover Square in salubrious Mayfair is one. I know every paving stone. I’m on first name terms with every grand oak that lines its garden. You see, I worked here for over a decade when I was a wine buyer. Wine-Journal was essentially born here. Perhaps I should use the past tense, because this Regency square is unrecognizable since we parted ways in 2006, entire buildings demolished or disemboweled to make way for the new Crossrail line. The only features extant since my days here are the trees and the waifs going in and out of the Vogue office. My old office in Mimosa House is now an art gallery and what was a branch of “Thai Square” has recently emerged as “Stem”. Stem is the third restaurant opening for Mark Jarvis following the much-lauded “Anglo” in Clerkenwell and “Neo Bistro” (also in Mayfair). On this showing, just days after its soft launch, “Stem” might well be the best.
I live in Venice anywhere from one weekend to one week a month. There is nothing in the world I like more than a good “bacaro”, the city’s historic standing bars where patrons order and drink directly at the bar counter. Over the years many bacari have expanded, also offering table service more in the style of the city’s osterie).
Italy: North, Vinous Table
A small, spartan-looking spot, Le Bar à Vin a first-rate wine list and the ingredient-focused cuisine of Paolo Vai, one of Italy’s greatest chefs.
Vinous Table, United States: California
Charlie Palmer opened his Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant in the Hotel Healdsburg on the town’s historic plaza in 2001. A number of executive chefs succeeded him over the years with varying degrees of success, but when Scott Romano, veteran of the Palmer and Puck organizations, assumed the role in 2016, he re-established Dry Creek as a destination for foodies.
China, Vinous Table
The Peacock Room is a beautiful new restaurant in Shanghai that offers high quality, precise Sichuan cuisine in a remarkably supercool, sleek and modernist setting.
Italy, Italy: North, Vinous Table
Owner Stefano Enrico Sganzerla was born in a specialty food shop (literally) and so it is safe to say his destiny was sealed right from birth. From childhood onwards, Sganzerla’s life-beat has hummed along notes of food and wine. In his youth, he began working in the specialty food store, and then at his father’s coffee bar. That job description was not in tune with the young man’s aspirations, and so Sganzerla decided to open a trattoria, which is how he eventually realized his heart was in haute cuisine.
France: Bordeaux, Vinous Table
I wouldn’t ordinarily seek out Italian cuisine in France, but I couldn’t resist checking out TentaziOni, as I had heard many positive comments from locals. I was not disappointed. This fabulous dinner was a very nice and welcome break after two weeks of eating Bordelaise food.
Vinous Table, Italy: Piedmont, Piedmont
Repubblica di Perno, a favorite of locals and visitors alike, is a sure bet when it comes to good traditional Piedmontese cooking in the Langhe, with a fine choice of local and non-local fine wines to match.
I won’t soon forget this spectacular dinner at Ristorante Osteria Carletti, a cozy restaurant/inn located in Bedano, Switzerland. For the occasion, dear friends in Lugano surprised me with a number of stunning wines and personal favorites. What a lineup! The team at Carletti prepared a fabulous menu.