Tag Archive | restaurant review

Restaurant Review: Fou de fafa (Avignon, France)

My partner and I went on a 6-day road trip last Easter, visiting 2 countries (France and Spain) or 5 towns/cities and more than 12 restaurants. Without a doubt, this was our favorite restaurant in the entire trip.

I’m normally not a fan of number 1s in tripadvisor because they fail me most of the times. In fact, this is the first time I actually think the number 1 restaurant deserves to be the number 1.

Fou de Fafa is located in the Old the Town. We were staying at Hotel Avignon Centre Palais des Papes and it was just less than 10-minute walk from there. The location was pretty convenient for us.

Restaurant fou defafa

The photos here don’t justify how really good the food were. First was the wine option. My partner has issues on sulfites so we asked for a recommendation from the host. She recommended a bio/organic pure Merlot wine and it was very good. Then, there’s the food. The moment we had our starter, warm goat’s cheese wrapped in a pastry wrapper, we knew the rest of the food will be excellent. For the main course, I had the lamb wrapped in aubergine with mashed potato on the side. The aubergine was nicely seasoned, the meat was so tender, the mashed potato and the sauce balanced the flavours. For dessert, I had a chocolate cake – it was so good, I almost didn’t want to share it. The 3-course meal cost EUR 36 plus the bottle of wine we had. It’s a very reasonable price.

The host speaks fluent English and very welcoming. She took her time in explaining the menu and answering our questions.

Restaurant fou defafa

I know the common complain about this restaurant is that they weren’t entertained because they did not have a reservation or they were turned down because there were more than 4 of them. Three things about restaurants like this:

First, it’s a small restaurant with maybe even less than 15 tables. The empty tables you see probably belonged to someone who made a reservation but coming at a later time. I appreciate the fact that they don’t over book so that their guests won’t have to rush on their dinner because other people need the table.

Second, if I’m not mistaken, this is the type of restaurant who gets their meet and vegetables fresh of the market every morning. Meaning, they only stock fresh ingredients; therefore, they are precise as much as possible on the number of plates they can serve that day. I’ve been to several restaurants like this and I say it’s a style. Again, this style maybe the reason why they limit the amount of plates they serve per day. Quality over quantity – this is why the food was excellent!

Lastly, why not allow big groups? Aside from the food, what I really loved about this restaurant is its environment – it’s not loud. No background music, guests don’t need to shout at another to be heard, even the host spoke softly… it has a chill environment. I don’t know if this is the restaurant’s reason for limiting a party to 4 or if it’s more for logistics reason in the kitchen but whatever it is, not having a big loud group creates a lovely dinner environment.

restaurant fou defafa

Restaurant Fou de fafa is located in Avignon’s Old Town (17 Rue Des Trois Faucons, 84000 Avignon, France). Reservation is a must (in case I haven’t emphasized that enough). You can call them at +33 4 32 76 35 13 or write to them at restaurantfoudefafa@gmail.com.

Spoiling myself in Geneva with good food: Restaurant review on Café Papon

With my dance school still on Easter break, I decided to go to yoga class with my friends last night. The class wasn’t as advanced as our usual Tuesday or Saturday yoga class but we found ourselves starving like crazy after the class. Usually, we either treat ourselves to a steak or thai dinner after a hard yoga class. Last night, we decided to try something new. As we walked around the Old Town, trying to figure out a good restaurant, my friend remembered that a friend highly recommended Café Papon. We thought it was pretty pricy at first for a random after-yoga dinner. Nevertheless, we were famished and we saw foie gras in their menu.

The restaurant is perfectly situated in the Old Town with short walking distance to buses and tram lines (the closest bus/tram line I saw was Place de Neuve). It’s a bit of an uphill walk but it’s a short one if you’re coming from Place de Neuve/Parc des Bastions area. The restaurant has a classic and charming ambiance. We had our table inside the restaurant but I bet in the summer or on warmer days, their terrace would be amazing.

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

One of my food guilty pleasures is foie gras so, the moment I saw foie gras in their menu, I knew what to get for my entrée. The foie gras was big enough for 2 persons (there were 2 big slices of foie gras, sweet bread, and citron confit) and I unfortunately couldn’t finish mine because I was worried I won’t have space for my main dish. The foie gras was amazing – probably the best I’ve had in Geneva so far – but I wasn’t a big fan of the sweet bread. For my main dish, I had the sea bass fillet. It was perfect – it was light, perfectly-seasoned, and moist. I also like how they put extra effort in plating our dishes beautifully. For our wine, we had a Swiss sauvignon blanc – it was average but we didn’t really want to spend much on the wine since it was just a random dinner for us.

For the foie gras entrée, sea bass filet, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, we paid 80 chf each (there were 3 of us and we all got the same food). I know it sounds ridiculously expensive but considering the food we had and that the restaurant is in a good location in the Old Town, for me, it’s a normal price. I don’t mind paying for good quality food and excellent service.

Aside from good food, the service was excellent too. We had a friendly and very helpful waiter and the service was fast. We couldn’t decide what type of white wine we’d like to have and when we hesitantly ordered a bottle of a certain wine, the waiter offered to let us taste the wine first (usually, they open the bottle you asked and have you taste it but that puts you in an awkward position of saying no to a freshly opened bottle of wine you chose). Me and my other friend didn’t like the wine so our waiter brought us another one.

Overall, I definitely will come back to this restaurant and recommend it to others. I think this is a perfect restaurant if you have visiting friends or colleagues because you get to walk around the Old Town then have a nice dinner after.

Café Papon is located at Rue Henri Fazy 1 Geneva 1204.

Restaurant Review: Le Scandale

Le Scandale

24 rue de Lausanne

 

This is probably the first time I wrote a bad review on anything. I usually avoid ranting or complaining in my blog because basically, if a restaurant or hotel is too bad, I wouldn’t even bother writing about it at all.  However, I thought my experience at Le Scandale last night deserves an exception.

Although I’ve been to Le Scandale for drinks before, it was my first time to try their restaurant last night and I must say, I’m probably not going to go there again to eat.

Location and Accessibility (4/5)

Le Scandale is well located, probably 2 or 3-minute walk from Gare Cornavin (train station), along rue de Lausanne.

Food (3/5)

I had their 4 fromages pizza last night and for me, it was mediocre – it wasn’t bad but not worth CHF 18.00 pizza. I love pizzas and I don’t mind paying more than CHF 20 for a pizza before – but it has to be worth it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special about the pizza I had so, I was pretty much disappointed. For me, there are a lot more Italian restaurants in the area that serves cheaper but better quality pizzas.

Ambiance (2.5/5)

It’s a confused restaurant/bar. It’s a venue that has a restaurant on one side and a huge bar. The place can get packed and loud.

Price (2/5)

As mentioned earlier, I find that the pizza I had was quite expensive for its mediocre quality.

Service (1/5)

If there’s one award I can give to this restaurant, it will be the worst-service-I’ve-ever-had-in-Geneva award. In my 4 yrs in Geneva, I’m already used to the type of customer service they usually have here. With this, I always come to a new place with realistic expectations on customer service.

Last night, we waited for almost an hour for our food to get served because it seemed like the kitchen forgot to make our orders. This happens. What really upset me was how the waiters dealt with us. After waiting for a while, I politely (even smiling) asked one of the waiters if he can check our orders because it’s been almost an hour. The waiter told me “it’s not my problem. I did not take your order”. Then, he walked away from our table and vanished. Finally, our food was served to us and I told the waiter serving us (again, smiling) “merci. Was our order not placed earlier?” The waiter responded to me also with “well, that’s not my problem”. My friends and I were dumbstruck with the waiters’ rudeness. After a while, we heard one of the ladies at the table behind us arguing with one of the rude waiters and we can hear that she was totally upset on something and the waiter went to argue further with her. That’s when I realized that this place should be reviewed so that hopefully such unprofessionalism will be addressed by management.

Overall Rating (2.5/5)

Overall, I don’t recommend this restaurant based on our experience with its unprofessional waiters. If I’m going to spend such amount for mediocre food, the last thing I need will be such arrogant services. Perhaps, we caught them on a bad night but as a paying customer, that shouldn’t be an excuse for bad attitude.

Cantina Piemontese: Traditional Cuisine in 30’s Style

Cantina Piemontese is located at Via Laghetto 2, Milan

Cantina Piemontese is located at Via Laghetto 2, Milan

It’s been almost 2 months since my gastronomic trip to Milan but I’ve decided to still write a review on two restaurants I went to just because they were incredibly good. My friends and I discovered Cantina Piemontese from the hotel magazine. It was our first night in Milan and after driving for almost 5 hours, all we wanted was to have a great dinner. When my friend suggested this restaurant, I was skeptical at first since it didn’t really rank high up in the Trip Advisor. But then the magazine had a really good description of the place and we were in the area so I thought, why not?

Location and Accessibility (4/5)

Cantina Piemontese is located at Via Laghetto 2, Milan. It is conveniently located close to Duomo but far enough to the most “touristy area” in Milan to be ripped off – about five-minute walk from Duomo.

Food (4.5/5)

For the starter, I had the artichokes with mozzarella salad. The presentation was nothing fancy – literally just artichokes with a big ball of buffalo mozzarella in the middle… and it was amazing! The artichokes were perfectly cooked and the buffalo mozzarella was really of a good quality (the expensive buffalo mozzarella I get here in Geneva is not even close). I must say, it was because of this dish that I became obsessed with artichokes for a while.

For my main course, I had spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti noodles with clams). It is a very simple dish but I loved it. It was served without the shells, which I prefer. I had to mention this because I have a friend who won’t eat pasta alle vongole if the clams have been removed from their shells.

Lastly, a good discovery in this restaurant is the 2011 Piemonte Barbera wine. I love the smoothness of this wine and, for the lack of a better term, I find it flexible – some of us had seafood while some had meat and we all enjoyed the wine.

Ambiance (4/5)

Cantina Piemontese is described to have the classic 30’s style. I simply find it cozy. There was a big family who was having dinner when we were there and at one point, it looked like a scene from a classic movie. It is nothing fancy and not crazy busy, at least when we were there.

Price (4/5)

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the details of the prices anymore but I have a note in my phone that says that the prices were pretty reasonable – not expensive at all.

Service (5/5)

This is probably my first 5/5 rating for service. We had an excellent server, very friendly and very helpful (I believe her name is Rosie). She spoke English and she was patient in explaining to us the menu (the menu was in Italian). The kitchen was fast too, we didn’t have to wait long for the food to be served. After dinner, when we asked where we can get a cab, they offered to order a cab for us.

Overall Rating

This cantina is a 4.3/5 for me and I will definitely go back here again and bring my friends if we visit Milan again. The food and the service were particularly excellent when I went there. Cantina Piemontese may not be at the first top 10% in Trip Advisor but it is definitely to try in Milan.

 

CERVECERIA CATALANA: My All-Time Favorite

tapas at Cerveceria CatalanaCerveceria Catalana

Carrer de Mallorca 236

Barcelona, Spain

 

It was my second time to visit Barcelona, my favorite city in Europe, so I skipped the sight-seeing and decided to just relax and… eat. One thing about Barcelona is that you cannot visit this lovely city without having tapas, sangria, and cava. In Barcelona, I’ve only gone to a proper retaurant (and ate proper meal) 3-4x because I just enjoy the concept of tapas. I love the fact that I can have 3-4 different varieties of dishes in 1 meal, served in small portions (well, not exactly small because some dishes are good for 2 persons).

 

Since tapas are a must when in Barcelona, expect that all tourist areas, especially along La Rambla and Rambla de Catalunya, are packed with tapas bar. If you don’t know where to go, it can be pretty overwhelming and there’s a chance that you’ll end up in a mediocre, pricy tapas bar. Here, enters my favorite tapas bar in Barcelona, the Cerveceria Catalana.

 

Location (4/5)

Cerveceria Catalana is located at Carrer de Mallorca 236. Coming from Placa Catalunya, walk up to Ramblas de Catalunya (not La Ramba, the street directly opposite to it). It is a bit of a walk but Ramblas de Catalunya is a calmer version of La Rambla but full of shops and restaurants – I actually enjoy walking along this street more than La Rambla. On your left, you will eventually see a MAC store (the make-up brand, not the apple) – that would be Carrer de Mallorca. The tapas bar is just 2 establishments next to the MAC store. If you happen to reach the metro station for Diagonal, then better turn around because you’ve already missed it by 2-3 blocks.

 

Food (5/5)

Choosing a tapas bar is not the only overwhelming part you will go through on a tapas adventure. Choosing among the dishes in the menu and/or infront of you, for me, it is the most overwhelming yet exciting part. At Cerveceria Catalana, if you sit by the bar, right in front of the tapas, there is a high chance of you leaving the place in foodcoma.

For this visit at Cerveceria Catalana, I actually (and shamelessly) had 6 dishes (including a dessert). I had the fried green peppers, perfectly grilled veal, gambas, calamares, fried mozzarella, and their house cake.

TIP: Out of all the tapas I’ve tried here, I highly recommend the fried green peppers (wherever tapas bar you go, you cannot not have the fried green peppers), the veal, the shrimps, and the fried mozzarella (this one is perfect before heading on to your dessert plate).

 

Ambiance (3.5/5)

One thing about this tapas bar is it is quite famous. Therefore, this place is always packed. The first time I came here, I sat by the bar and it was quite noisy, in a festive way. In my last visit, I managed to get a seat outside, which was way better for me – I didn’t notice the chaos inside plus I like people watching. Keep in mind that tapas bar are not exactly restaurants, they are bars.

 

Price (4.5/5)

 With my 6 dishes, a glass of rosé, and a bottle of water with gas, my total bill was like € 21.00. I say, not bad at all! Their tapas range from € 3-11. Some of the tapas, such as the fried green peppers and the calamares are good for 2 persons (at least in my opinion). In one of the tapas bar in La Boqueira, I paid roughly € 16 for 3 tapas and a bottle of fizzy water.

 

Service (4.5/5)

 I’m a little bit biased on this part because one of the things I love about this tapas bar is the Filipino servers. They have always been friendly, engaging, and helpful with thier recommendations to me. However I noticed how other customers were pretty satisfied with their services as well. In fact, with my very little comprehension on Spanish, I noticed that they have a lot of local regulars based on their interactions with the bar staff.  Also, considering their volume of customers, I say they’re pretty quick in taking orders and delivering them to our tables.

 

Overall (4.3/5)

Cerveceria Catalana is not to be missed! This tapas bar remains to be my favourite among all the tapas bars I’ve tried in Barcelona. The quality of food they have is such a treat to those who travel for the love of food.

 They don’t take reservations so be warned of long queues during peak hours. I came in at around 13.00H, I only had to wait for 5 minutes to get a table outside. However, 10 minutes after I was seated, people started coming in and I heard they would have to wait up to 45 mins to get a table. Yikes! But don’t throw a fit if this happens to you. Remember, this is quite a small but popular bar so avoid peak hours if possible. My wild guess for their peak hours would be 13.30h onwards as Spaniards have their lunch quite late.

La Primavera : My Go-To Restaurant for My Lasagna Cravings

La Primavera is by far my favorite Italian Restaurant in Geneva. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a perfect restaurant – I’ve experienced bad service here but nothing that’ll stop me from coming back. Okay, I admit, this restaurant is just about 2 blocks from my apartment so convenience has a lot to do with it being my favorite Italian restaurant. Whenever I’m too lazy to cook or wash the dishes, I go to this restaurant. What I also love about this restaurant is their lasagna! I love their lasagna. I have been to several Italian restaurants in Geneva but I still find their lasagna the best (although I think their best sellers are their pizzas).

Location and Accessibility

This restaurant is located at Route de Meyrin 8, Geneva 1202. To get to this restaurant through public transformation, you can take the Tram 14 or Bus 3 and get off at the tram stop Servette (3rd stop if taking tram from the Gare Cornavin/Train Station). Walk further up a block along the tram line, passing by Domino’s pizza.

There are 2 things I like about this restaurant’s location: 1) As mentioned, it is close to my apartment; 2) It is not a touristy place at all

Lasagna from La Primavera

Food

Their food is pretty good. As I said, for me, they have the best lasagna in town and I always see a long queue of people ordering pizza for take-away on weekends. My favorites in La Primavera are the lasagna, carbonara, and Bolognese. For their pizza, I love the quatre fromage. They have a variety of salads, steaks, and sea food as well. But for the pasta and pizzas, I always find them good for 2 persons!

Ambiance

Well, if you’re looking for a restaurant with a good ambiance, this is not your place. As mentioned it not in a tourist area, therefore it has more of the “local pizzeria” vibe. It’s nice in the summer when you can have your meal at the terrace. Otherwise, during winter, it can get pretty crammed inside.

Price

The prices here are pretty good for Geneva’s usual restaurant prices. A pasta or a pizza that can be good for 2 persons costs between 17 – 20 swiss francs. This is also one of the reasons why I like this restaurant. A spaghetti carbonara is something like CHF 18.00 – usually, I eat half of its portion at the restaurant and take the rest home for packed lunch.

Service

The thing with this restaurant is that they don’t have consistency in their service. Twice, they got my order wrong (well, at the 2 instances when they got my order wrong, it was with the same waiter so it might be a person-thing rather than a restaurant-thing). At times, it will take them forever to take your order. But most of the time, they’re okay.

By the way, almost none of the waiters speak English at all so it might be a little challenging if none of you in the group can understand a little French or Italian.

Overall Rating

I’d give this restaurant a 4/5 despite of their lack of consistency in their services – for me, their location and food make up for it. This restaurant has become my go-to restaurant if all else fails therefore I must admit, I’m pretty biased here. For me, this is nice little place with good food and convenient location away from the touristy area of Geneva.

My quick recommendations in yes or no:

  1. If you have a visitor for one night, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? No.
  2. If you have a visitor staying in Geneva for 5 days and up, should you bring him/her to this restaurant? Yes.
  3. Should you have your first date in this restaurant? Yes.
  4. Should you celebrate your anniversary, birthday, or whatever special occasion  in this restaurant? Yes.
  5. Should you bring your kids to this restaurant? (kid, meaning 10 years old and below) Yes.
  6. Will I recommend this to expats in Geneva? Yes.
  7. Will I come back to this restaurant? Yes.

That’s it for now.

Ciao!

~I.