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London Comeback: Polpetto

Polpetto

The tiny Polpetto made a big splash when it opened in Soho, in 2010, taking the nascent small-plates trend to new heights and making a star of chef Florence Knight. Its closing last year caused much rending of garments: what could ever take the place of her Venetian-style salt cod? Hunger no more, London: Polpetto is reopening this February on Berwick Street, with room for an open kitchen and a marble-topped bar. The brilliant Knight is back, after traveling in Italy and writing a cookbook, One: A Cook and Her Cupboard (Saltyard Books). She’ll tap the nearby market to create British bites (braised lettuce, cockles, and bacon) as well as Italian dishes such as gnudi with lardo and walnuts. Best of all: this time, they’re taking reservations (at lunch and for large dinner groups). That’s the sound of Londoners—and the rest of us—rejoicing.

Photo courtesy of Polpetto

Things to Do on New York's Upper East Side

Upper East Side: East Pole

Could it be? New York’s ever-genteel Upper East Side has found a decidedly downtown groove.

The team behind Lower East Side favorite Fat Radish keeps the focus on ingeniously prepared vegetables at their new uptown restaurant, the East Pole (pictured). Carnivores will find solace in the bacon cheeseburger with duck-fat chips. 133 E. 65th St. $$

Lauded gallerist Dominique Lévy just transformed three floors of a former bank building into a dramatic backdrop for contemporary and postwar art. Currently on view: photographer Boris Mikhailov. 909 Madison Ave.

Is Cesare Casella (Beppe; Maremma) the city’s most underrated Italian chef? His latest New York spot, Il Ristorante Rosi, makes a persuasive case, not least with a knockout pork lasagna. 903 Madison Ave. $$$

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6 Places to Eat in Washington, D.C.

Places to Eat in Washington, D.C.: Doi Moi's Bun Ho Hue

Our abridged meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.

Breakfast: Crème Brûlée Doughnut at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Line up early at the pint-size shop near the White House for its signature treat, stuffed with vanilla pastry cream and coated with a caramel glaze. $3.

Lunch: Grilled Octopus Causa at Del Campo
The Chinatown restaurant channels Argentina’s asados, with many ingredients finished on the grill—including the octopus, piquillo peppers, and avocado in this salad. $16.

Snack: Mushroom Tart at Le Diplomate
At restaurateur Stephen Starr’s D.C. debut, Capitol Hill elites make deals over French brasserie classics such as the flaky, rich pioppini-mushroom tart with truffle pecorino. $14.

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Business Trip Restaurants: Break the Chain

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As any frequent traveler will tell you, there comes a point when all the rental cars, airline seats, hotel rooms, and even cities start to blur together. Sure, business travel can take us to exciting new destinations, but it can also—and frequently does—take us to cookie-cutter suburban office parks and nondescript hotels.

For me, the solution to breaking up the monotony is to find good meals. Food can be very comforting, and restaurants often provide a chance to (pardon the pun) get a taste for local culture. 

One of my most memorable business trip meals came a few years ago in western Minnesota, near the South Dakota border. I was spending one night in a tiny prairie town surrounded by corn and soybean fields. Population: 740. Dining options: far fewer.

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Q+A: Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen

Ivan Ramen

The U.S. ramen scene is booming—and it’s about to get even more exciting with the arrival of one of Tokyo’s hottest noodle gurus, Ivan Orkin. The New York native—who earned serious food cred in Japan at his two Ivan Ramen restaurants—is returning to his roots, bringing two outposts of his cult brand to Manhattan. Here, Orkin, whose first cookbook is out this month, gives us the lowdown on the soup that made him famous.

Q: How did you break into the Tokyo dining scene?

A: It was a crazy idea for a white guy from New York to open a ramen restaurant there. But in Japan, people respect passion and a good work ethic, and I think that came across. Also, when I started, making your own noodles was very uncommon, and I decided to do mine in house.

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Opening: Denmark's Henne Kirkeby Kro Inn and Restaurant

Henne Kirkeby Kro

These days, you mostly hear about chefs in Copenhagen—not those who choose to leave. But in 2011, Paul Cunningham shuttered his Michelin-starred The Paul and headed to what he calls “Denmark’s wild West Coast,” turning the 200-year-old former coaching inn Henne Kirkeby Kro into a 12-table restaurant with five individually designed guest rooms. “It was the stress of city life,” he says. “I wanted something smaller, less mainstream.” Cunningham raises his own livestock, cultivates a kitchen garden, and serves whatever inspires him—from a simple, perfectly roasted lamb to langoustines with crushed tomato and garlic confit. Now he’s opened the first new building on the site in two centuries, Jægerhuset (hunters lodge). The seven rooms—including one named for Jóhannes Larsen, the renowned nature painter who vacationed here in the 19th century—are outfitted with pieces by iconic Danish designers (Hans Wegner; Finn Juhl). As for the handmade-brick exterior, Cunningham—ever the chef—likens it to blocks of nougatine. $$

Photo by Paul Cunningham

Boston Restaurants Celebrate the Red Sox World Series Win

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All eyes are on Boston this weekend as the city celebrates its World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Red Sox parade on Saturday, the city can expect over a million revelers downtown. That means a million hungry people. Luckily, Boston does not disappoint in the culinary department, and scores of restaurants are stepping up to the plate with Red Sox-themed specials.

Diners at classy-yet-casual Boston Chops can try the new MVP cocktail honoring Big Papi. Made with tequila, jalapeño, cilantro, lime and cucumber, its spicy Latin American flavors pay tribute to Dominican-born David Ortiz. Serving the usual cuts as well as “rarely celebrated” delicacies—oxtail, bone marrow, and heart are all on the menu—Boston Chops has been getting rave reviews both for the food and the friendly service. Don't miss the chimichurri butter sauce.

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Asbury Park Rebounding One Year After Hurricane Sandy

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This past summer, Asbury Park, New Jersey, was bustling. One never would have guessed that Hurricane Sandy—which hit one year ago this week—had wiped out the entire boardwalk and closed waterfront businesses for the better part of the year.

Downtown Asbury Park has organically sprouted into an urbanized pocket of culture buzzing with locals, foodies, and rockers. Its main thoroughfare, Cookman Avenue, is studded with gastropubs, mom and pop coffee shops, antique furniture stores, art galleries, quirky boutiques, and a newly minted independent movie theatre. A few blocks north lies the legendary rock 'n' roll music venue, The Stone Pony, and Asbury Lanes, a vintage bowling alley from the 1960s that was recently refurbished. Much of the current development momentum owes its success to the initial visionaries who began investing in the commercial district when it was still considered risky territory.

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Harlem's Newest Old Jazz Joint

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Harlem has a new (old) jazz joint. Ever want to get up and groove at a swanky jazz club, but the crowd is too stuffy to dance?

Just head to Minton’s in Harlem, a restoration of the historic Minton’s Playhouse that opened on October 21st.

With three seatings a night, guests can don their best attire (that means jackets only, men), graze on prix-fixe Low Country grub, and share a spontaneous dance in the aisle between the supper club’s two rows of seating.

The new joint lets you enjoy music as you please—just like the renowned jam sessions held at the Minton’s of the 1940's. A mural from the original Minton’s still hangs behind the stage, featuring Hot Lips Page, Charlie Christian, and a sleeping woman that’s supposedly Billie Holiday.

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Bake Your Favorite New York City Desserts at Home

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It's more and more possible to bake your favorite desserts—from NYC or elsewhere—at home.

Jet-setters travel worldwide for regional delicacies—Japan for sushi, Cuba for sandwiches, Vermont for anything maple. Whether craving a New Orleans Cafe Du Monde beignet, a batch of brownies or cups of chocolate, there are mixes for millions of foodie fans to enjoy without mulling over airfare, packing, and passports. Just add water (or a few other pantry items).

For the sugar-loving, New York City-enthusiast—here are some specialties that originated in Manhattan venues and migrated to kitchens near and far:

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