Wednesday, April 25, 2012

U Kucharzy

Warsaw, Poland

Fantastic and fun bar/restaurant in their downtown university area. There is a packed bar on the corner of the main street (Nowy...) but down on the corner on xxx is the restaurant entrance.  Reservations are hard to come by (according to my hotel concierge) but they will seat you at the bar for a table if you're willing to wait. A "10-15 minute" wait turned into about 35 minutes, but the maitre'd was fantastic and waited for a table facing the open kitchen to open up. In the meantime I got to enjoy the "orchestra" while I saw with my Campari and orange and glass of wine. The pianist, bassist, and drummer take their breaks, but live music is so fantastic

Inside, I saw at a high table with a view into the crazy kitchen. There was another pianist playing jazzy tunes in the small dining area I was in (there were multiple rooms). Waiters come to your seat with their saute pans and spoon the meat and dish directly onto your plate.

Definitely get the steak tartare - they come over with a cart topped with a chopping board and few thin slices of beef, that the chef then minces into tiny mush and adds onions, capers and other goodness before serving you beautiful spoonfuls on your plate. As the Polish dude next to me translated, slice and butter your roll and top with tartare for best results.

I also was recommended the veal medallions which were lovely, with a homemade pasta and beautiful sauteed carrots (which I ate despite the allergies, yum)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bali Laguna

Delicious Indonesian restaurant with fantastic ambiance inside of Jing'an Park.

The location is lovely, a stand alone house on a lake surrounded by trees and stone walkways. This also makes it quite difficult to find. My only advice is if you see any lion statues, walk through them, and you're probably on the right track.

We had the starter sampler with satays, crab balls, and spring rolls, as well as papaya salad. I loved the mushroom cream soup with coconut. The prawns were fantastic, as were chili crab (though messy as usual). Fried chicken in coconut soup was good as well.

They also have fantastic juices and desserty drinks -- I had a coconut (enormous).

Not inexpensive, roughly 850 RMB for three of us.

1649 Nanjing West Rd (inside Jing'an Park)
+86 21 6248-6970

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nanbantei 南蛮亭

Delicious new Japanese yakitori place in the great plaza next to Camel Bar. Nanbantei is a famous yakitori shop in Tokyo (Roppongi) and the feel of the place is authentically Japanese. Staff seemed to be mostly Chinese but clearly trained in Japan.

We started with some izakaya-type appetizers like shishamo, then straight for the yakitori. All of the traditional yakitori options like tsukune (ground chicken), negima (chicken and scallion), sunagimo (gizzard), and then other veg and meats like quail eggs, ginkgo (ginnan), and sirloin steak. Sausage was quite good too. We had one bottle of junmai ginjyo sake between three of us, yum.

About 150 rmb per person

1 Yueyang Road by Fenyang Lu and Taojiang Lu


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Century Avenue

I think Century Avenue is the best way to experience the World Financial Center in Pudong, Shanghai's tallest building (for now).

The restaurant and bar are on the 91st to 93rd floors of WFC in the Park Hyatt Shanghai Hotel. The observation deck is about 10 floors higher, but really at 90-100 floors above the city it doesn't really make a difference, you are still looking down on the neighboring Jin Mao Tower (#2 tallest). And for a few hundred kuai I'd rather get a bottle of wine.

Beautiful space and expensive but great food. My mom and I split the Chinese BBQ tasting plate and friends had sushi platter.
91-93 Floor, Park Hyatt Shanghai, 100 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area
+86 21 3855 1428, 3855 1429

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Lovely little Nepalese restaurant in SoHo run by Bim, a Nepaliese guy who also owns the bar across the street.

Nepalese food is closest to Indian food with spices and curries, but also the fire of folks across the mountains in Sichuan. We had some pretty firy dishes, starting with the bread that comes out which I didn't realize had fresh diced jalapenos. Naan is super. The chicken (#25) was amazing, softest juiciest chicken I can think of ever eating. I liked the okra. We did order one prawns dish from their list of "spicy dishes" which came out a fluorescent orange hue.

G/F. 14 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong

City Hall Maxim's Palace 美心皇宮

Delicious dim sum on the 3rd floor of City Hall. There was a 30-45 min wait when we arrived at noon on a Sunday, with people flowing out the stairs. There is a coffee shop on the first floor where you can chill for a while.

The enormous dining room is strangely British with igantic crystal chandeliers, tea cups with plates, and tea poured out of silver pots. The carts are strangely high tech -- while they are still carrying your typical few kinds of dim sum, some of them have video playing on the front of the cart!

2/F Low Block, City Hall, Central, Hong Kong
2521 1303

Mon-Sat 11:00-15:00, 17:30-23:30
Sun and holidays 9:00-15:00, 17:30-23:30

Hutong 胡同

Chinese/Sichuanese restaurant in a very sleek beautiful space on the 28th floor of TST. Wonderful views of the harbor and unique seating spaces.

Great bar upstairs with floor to ceiling windows with a view of the HK skyline and the nightly light show.

28/F 1 Peking Road TST HK
342 88 342

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lotus in Moonlight 荷塘月色

Lotus in Moonlight vegatarian restaurant is in Beijing at two locations.

We were recommended the one near Worker's Stadium, but the hotel concierge had us go to the Liufang NanLi one in Chaoyang, which may have been a mistake, as it is in the middle of a residential complex that no cabs will ever be able to find, even with a call to the restaurant (remember to bring that number).

Deck 4, inside the east fate of Workers' Stadium, Sanlitun
工人体育场东门内 4看台
6268 0848 / 6268 1318

Bldg 12 Liufang NanLi, Chaoyang District
6465 3299 / 6466 3114

You Xin Kao Ya 友鑫烤鴨

This place was recommended by a Shanghai friend who said it has the best Peking Duck she has ever had. The restaurant is across from main gate of 798 Art District (Dashanzi), which is a little off the Beijing tourist track. Kind of like 50 Moganshanlu in Shanghai, it’s a collection of art galleries and hipster community of artists.

The restaurant itself is located in an alley behind the main street, and is a local place without ambiance (think Chinese guys without shirts).

I don’t know my duck that well, but it was delicious. I ate half a duck, and they also give you a huge bowl of broth that they make with the rest of the parts that was just exquisite. Their menu looked great and I would have eaten a ton more meat and spicy food, but had a great dinner of vegetables as well. I think 150rmb for whole dinner (2 ppl).

Chao Yang, Da Shan Xi Bei Li 9 Lou

Again, it's located in the alley behind the main Da Shan Xi road across the street from 798. When you come out of 798, walk left to the closest overpass and walk down the little street with Semir clothes store on the corner. Take first right and it's a few houses down.

TEL is 6437-1602 but they don’t take reservations and definitely don’t speak English

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pure Lotus Vegetarian 净心莲

Delicious Chinese vegetarian -- this place did not have the fake meat that I enjoy from Chinese veggie places, but the food is good nonetheless and the presentation is fantastic.

The table is set with real lotus leaves and huge clam shell plates. Their menu is unique with many "words of wisdom" and the names of the dishes kind of made my roll my eyes a few times. Menus are also about 3 feet long and weigh a good 12 pounds.

Their genmai tea is great, as are many of their fresh drinks (had a great vegetable one, cucumber-tomato I think). Sushi rolls were interesting and good. We liked the papaya salad with a little spicyness. The dumplings were good and I liked the mochiness of the cheese balls (though my friend didn't). They brought us melons for dessert.

There are two Beijing locations. We went to the Nongzhanghuan Nan Lu one first, which is in this little alleyway that is impossible to fine (bring the phone number for your cabbie) -- very cool space. The one in the Holiday Inn is not so nice - it's on the third floor deep inside the hotel next to a bowling alley, much closer tables, and service was definitely not as good (or I might have been put off by the waiter who recommended one crappy little fake beef dish that was about 50% of the bill and tasted like rubber).

Chaoyang Park 朝阳公园
Tongguang Bldg, 12 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District

6592 3627, 8703 6669


Individual shabu shabu pots, all you can eat 88 rmb in Jing'an. We negotiated for AYC beer too. Fun with a big group, and I loved the carpaccio

841 Yan'an Zhong Lu, OOCL Building 1F (look for the building with green vertical lights)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Enoteca 2

Great wine bar a few blocks off of Xintiandi. Great space for a bottle (or two) with friends, and they have a nice menu as well. We liked the salad with warm goat cheese on baguettes. Very reasonably priced wines are available.

58 Taicang Lu, near Jinan Lu
太仓路58号, 近济南路

5306 3400

Sunday, August 15, 2010

People 7

Number 7 of the Taiwanese "People" franchise, People 7 has the signature sleek design, interesting dishes, and quirky entranceway (hint: make sure you arrive close to your reservation and bring the phone number!)

805号 Julu Rd near Fumin Lu, Jing'an, Shanghai
巨鹿路805号, 近富民路

+86 (21) 5404 0707

The Deli & Bakery

We came across this cute little cafe/bakery after lunch at Colabo on Hengshan Lu. They have a few tables and an upstairs. Nice place to have a chat over coffee (or milk tea with pearls for me!)

No. 150 Fen Yang Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200031

842 Lounge and Restaurant

Nice French restaurant on Hengshan Road set in an old house with patio seating (though too hot for that in August) as well as dining inside. All white setting and romantic, though not so full on Saturday night. The scallops were ok. Swordfish was well flavored and black cod was good.

842 Hengshan Road, Shanghai

Jujubetree Vegetarian Lifestyle

As their card says, "no smoking, no alcoholic beverage, no egg, no meat." Doesn't really sound like my kind of place, but it was amazingly delicious and I even forgot it was a vegetarian meal.

First time we went, we over-ordered by several dishes (three boxes of take home) and it was 250 rmb for two of us. Have been there three times since (yes in three weeks, though I did have a vegetarian visitor for two of them). Favorites are the sweet and sour pork, Malay chicken satay, tomato and tofu stir fry and their great selection of juices (melon-cucumber and watermelon are two good ones). Also some great teas like the brown rice and corn (which is kind of like creamed corn).

They have five locations total, three in Shanghai

No. 77 Songshan Rd by Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Note: walk under the arches up the driveway off of Songshan Lu, second restaurant on left



Italian place on Hengshan Lu
Lunch set menus
Had a great salad and vongole for ~80rmb
Old house so drafty and hot

156 Hengshan Rd near Dong Ping Rd

Four Seasons 四季亭

Japanese izakaya food and beer/sake. Pretty good and super cheap! Steak tartare, sushi, sashimi, age tofu, lots of selection. All you can eat and drink for 150rmb per person.

369 Xinhua Road by Pan Yu Road

They also have a few other locations


Friday, August 6, 2010


Cute French place on Dagu Lu. There's an outdoor patio space and cozy dining room (though it never seems to be full). Had a delicious steak tartare.

418 Dagu Road, Shanghai

Banana Leaf

The Thai restaurant in Dawning Center (where Cisco office is located)... fascinating and unexpected decour, kind of Waikiki-like. Service not so fast and food mediocre to ok. The food is also more Chinese than Thai really...

They started us with water that tasted like it was from a park fountain. The tea took a while but better. The closest to pad thai we could get were Thai rice noodles, which were a bit bland. Eggplant was good, and the green beef curry was great, and we went to town on that. We also went with the small appetizer plate, which generally was ok except we didn't finish it since it came last and we overordered (for three).

215rmb for the whole meal of four dishes, tea and tax.

Dawning Center, 500 Hong Bao Shi Road, 2F