Restaurants

Tim Ho Wan – Hong Kong

[taq_review]

Location
Tim Ho Wan has various locations in Hong Kong, Singapore and now Manilla.  The non-Hong Kong locations are franchised.  Follow the links above for a Tim Ho Wan near you.

Atmosphere & Service
You won’t walk right into to a Tim Ho Wan. You’ll wait. And wait. We were fortunate enough one afternoon, to get in in less than 10 minutes. But most of the time, you’ll wait 30 minutes. 60 minutes. Maybe more. There are no reservations. The good news is the line moves rather quickly and they don’t let people linger over their food.  On some days if you go at extremely non-peak times, you may be able to walk right in, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Service is fast. Servers bring things out as they’re ready, to keep you eating and keep you moving. Ordering is just like sushi. You fill you’re order out on a piece of paper. With the places always packed, seating can be cramped. They try to pack in as many as they can, so the atmosphere reminds you of fast food.  This is not fine dining, even though they’ve won a Michelin star.

Food
Tim Ho Wan. There’s only three other words beyond that that you need to know.. Pineapple Pork Buns.

Tim Ho Wan has 28 dim sum dishes, but what got Tim Ho Wan their Michelin star were the BBQ pork buns. Phenomenally good. Sweet and salty exterior filled with char siu pork. It’s hard to eat just one order, but that’s what you’ll be relegated to at most locations.  The BBQ pork buns are just one of the Big 4 Heavenly Kings which also includes Steamed Egg Cake, Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver and Pan Fried Carrot Cake.

Prices are moderate and you definitely get what you pay for. But those BBQ Pork Buns, they’re pretty much worth anything you want to pay.


 

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(Original Location)
G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Hong Kong

+85 2 788 1226

MTR Station: Sham Shui Po, Exit B2

Other Hong Kong Locations
Singapore Locations  

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Open Rice
Facebook

Prices: $

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Stangeriet – Oslo

[one_half] Mathallen
Maridalsveien 17A
0178 Oslo, Norway

+47 2 138 0918

Stangeriet Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp

Prices: $-$$

[/one_half] [one_half_last] [mappress][/one_half_last] [review]

Chicken, chicken, chicken.  Unbelievable chicken!

Location
Stangeriet is located on the perimeter of the central seating area in the Mathallen, in the Grunnerloka neighborhood of Oslo.

Food
Stangeriet is chicken and chicken done right and just about any way you want it. While you can get your basic chicken parts fried or roasted, they also have a phenomenal chicken sandwhich. It’s not just a simple chicken breast, but a finely shredded chicken with special seasoning that really sets it apart. Served on a large, airy bun, with just a small dab of coleslaw, it was fantastic. These sandwhiches are definitely enough for two to share, unless you’re ravenously hungry.

Stangeriet chickens are raised on grain, without any antibiotics or hormones.  They’re also given plenty of space and allowed to grow in age far beyond the time that normal commercial chickens are grown, giving them exceptional flavor, taste and size.

The only bad thing about this place is that with large portions, you won’t have much appetite left to eat anywhere else.  But the good news is, that means you can always come back later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pearl Bakery – Portland, OR

[one_half] 102 NW 9th Ave.
Portland OR 97209

(503) 827.0910

Pearl Bakery Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Facebook

Prices: $

[/one_half] [one_half_last] [mappress][/one_half_last] [review]

Location
Pearl Bakery is located, appropriately, in the Pearl neighborhood of downtown Portland.  Just a block from the infamous Powell’s Books, you’ll find it on the corner of 9th & Couch.

Atmosphere & Service
Service here is great and it’s always well staffed.  You order at the counter and whatever is fresh out of the oven, is displayed in cases in the front.  There’s plenty of open space up front, with a tall counter along the windows for people watching and plenty of tables in the center.  It’s a lively place at most hours of the day.  If it’s raining (which it does a lot), it’s a great place to spend the afternoon taking in the delicious smells from the kitchen as you have a pastry or coffee.

Food
We’ve visited here several times and talk about awesome. If you’re into pastries, breads or baked goods it would be hard to find a better place in Portland. Pearl serves up the best of the best not only in their retail location, but also supplies most of Portland’s top restaurants with their baked goods.  In addition to baked goods, they serve a small selection of sandwiches and salads at both lunch and breakfast.  You need to get here early, because many of their popular items sell out quickly. Our favorites were the gibassier, croissants and pain auxe raisins. While the macarons weren’t as good as those you’d find in Paris, they’re definitely some of the best in the US. I don’t think you can really go wrong with anything here.

On our first visit, we were fortunate enough to tour the kitchen during a tour with Portland Walking Tours. This a place where almost everything is made by hand, using state of the art baking equipment. And you can tell.  The only disappointment here is that they don’t keep later hours. They close around 5PM each day. Since the Pearl is one of the more popular neighborhoods in Portland at all hours of the day, this place could make a killing if they were open a bit later.

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Olympic Provisions – Portland, OR

[one_half] 107 Southeast Washington Street
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 954-3663

1701 NW Thurman St
Portland, OR
(503) 894-8275

Olympic Provisions Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Foursquare

Prices: $$-$$$

[/one_half] [one_half_last] [mappress][/one_half_last] [review]

Olympic Provisions has two locations in Portland, one in the Southeast and one in the Northwest section of town. The menu at each is slightly different, with a few similarities. We visited the SE location for lunch.

Location
Located in a former warehouse district just across the river near the Morrison bridge. Olympic Provisions sits on the corner of a non-descript warehouse that’s been converted into offices. You’ll need to look out for the small sign over the door on the corner of the building, otherwise you’ll coast right on by.  Inside, the space reminds you of an old deli/meat market. The best thing here is that most of the tables are two tops, so they can easily be arranged for just about any size party. There is a small deli case, where you can buy house made kielbasa, bacon, sausage, wieners and more.

Atmosphere & Service
Inside Olympic Provisions, the space reminds you of an old deli/meat market. The best thing here is that most of the tables are two tops, so they can easily be arranged for just about any size party. Service here was very friendly and fast. There is a small deli case, where you can buy house made kielbasa, bacon, sausage, wieners and more.  This place is on the smaller side, so you may have to wait a bit if you don’t have a reservation. This is a sought out place to eat, so don’t think it goes unnoticed just because of it’s location.

Food
Fantastic. We went for brunch and sampled both lunch and breakfast items. We tried the hash, which featured house made kielbasa. Another item we loved was the Hot Capicola sandwhich. The soup of the day was some of the best we’ve had, as were the house pickled vegetables and house made goat cheese, jam and bread.  The drinks here were also good. We had the house Bloody Mary, which if you like ’em spicy, this is the place. They have a nice, but short selection of wines and other drinks as well. Just perfect for a place this size.

We wouldn’t hesitate to come back here. It’s definitely worth the 10 minute walk/taxi ride from downtown. It’s one of the places you don’t mind lingering the afternoon away with good drinks and good food.

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Andina – Portland, OR

[one_half] 1314 NW Glisan St
Portland, OR 97209

(503) 228-9535

Andina Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Urbanspoon
Zagat

Prices: $$-$$$

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Location
Andina is located warehouse-style building in the Pearl District in downtown Portland.  Located on a corner, you can’t miss it.  Directly across the street is the Keen flagship factory store.

Atmosphere & Service
Andina is a restaurant and bar combo, with an open kitchen in the center, restaurant to the left and bar area to the right. As you walk in, between the entrance doors and the kitchen is a courtyard that opens to the lower floor. The lower courtyard has seating as well as a couple of rooms for private parties.

This place tries to pack as many tables in the limited space as they can. The restaurant area isn’t quite as bad as the bar area. We sat in the bar area and tables were so close together, they could just as well push every table together and make it communal seating. In some corners, we saw people literally moving diners at other tables out of the way, so they could get in to their table. The noise factor is high, so this isn’t a place you’ll be having any sort of comprehensible conversation when it’s busy, which is most of the time. The noise in the restaurant area wasn’t much better.

Food
 The food here was exceptional. Mostly small, sharing style plates, with a few entree sized items. We loved everything we tried.  The seafood is super fresh and being Peruvian/South American food, everything was spiced perfectly.  Not too hot, not too bland.  Plates come out as they’re ready from the kitchen, so sometimes the small tables can be packed with food if you order a lot of small plates.  This isn’t a place where they want you to hang around. It’s drink, eat, get out and move on so they can turn the table.

Overall we loved, loved, loved the food. Loved the drinks. Noise factor, however, borders on unbearable. It’s also not a place to “lounge”.  They keep things moving and expect you to do the same.

Hello Good Pie – Oslo

[one_half] Mathallen
Maridalsveien 17A
0178 Oslo, Norway

+47  21 39 70 06

Hello Good Pie Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Foursquare

Prices: $-$$

[/one_half] [one_half_last] [mappress][/one_half_last] [review]

Hello Good Pie is a great little pie shop that serves pies both savory and sweet.  Pie selection changes from time to time, but the quality is nothing but the best.

Location
Hello Good Pie is located in the Mathallen, in the Grunnerloka neighborhood of Oslo.

Atmosphere & Service
The Mathallen is such a cool place that the atmosphere is perfect.  You can be meters away and you’ll notice the phenomenal smell of fresh baked pies wafting through the building.  Pies are served just minutes out of the oven.  Service was über friendly.  The staff is very knowledgeable about the ingredients and what’s in each pie.

Food
The pies here are nothing but fantastic.  Pies are made from scratch each day and the crust is perfect.  We tried the Cheeseburger Pie which couldn’t have been any more authentic.  The fruit pies are seasonal and remind you of pies your mom used to make.  Pies are perfectly sized.  If you’re hungry you can easily devour one pie.  Pies are also easily shared.  Once you see all of these delicious options, you’ll want to take friends so you can share as many of the great varieties as you can with friends.

While there are many unique and great choices at Mathallen, you need to make sure you save room in your stomach to eat at Hello Good Pie!

 

 

Smalhans – Oslo

[one_half] Waldemar Thranes Gate 10 A
0171 Oslo, Norway

+47 22 69 60 00

Smalhans Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Michelin
Dagbladet

Prices: $$$-$$$$

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On our last night in Oslo, we were looking for an out of the way spot that served a norwegian style meal. Smallhans was recommended to us by a person at Ma Poule at the Mathallen.  If you’re looking to be a bit adventurous and want some fantastic Norwegian food Smalhans is your place. Plus, you can avoid the tourists and eat like a local.

Location
Located outside of the city center near St. Haushagen park, Smalhans is a 20-25 minute walk from Oslo Sentrum (the city center). The restaurant is small and very popular with locals, so reservations are a good idea.

Atmosphere & Service
Smalhans has a very cozy atmosphere, with large wooden tables. You sit in fairly close proximity to your neighbors, but not so close that you feel like you live together. If you aren’t seated immediately, there’s a nice bar that spans the front of the restaurant.

Service here was excellent. Our server was very friendly and offered great recommendations on both food and wine, along with how much food we should order. Food was paired and coursed very well, with just the right amount of time between dishes.

Food & Drink
Menus here are only in Norwegian, so unless you’re bringing a local companion, the server will be happy to translate. Billed as a Norwegian tapas style eatery, you can order plates individually, or in a “small set” consisting of 6 plates or a “large set” consisting of 9 plates.

Our group of 4 ordered two large sets and two small sets served family style. It may have been a bit much, but if you have a healthy appetite after running around Oslo all day, it should be just right. There are also a set of small appetizer items, such as mixed nuts, jalapenos, kimchi and others to get you started while you wait for your meal to begin.  All of the nine courses were great. We started with a spanish meat and cheese plate, chicken pate, along with green salad. From there, we moved onto mussels, whale, potato salad, norwegian beef with parsnips followed by french cheese with fruit compote and a TDF rhubarb crumble.

They have a variety of Norwegian beers on tap, as well as a good wine list. They have a house label white and red wine which were very good.  Being in Norway, expect to pay around $20 per glass for a lower end wine and about $22 per bottle of beer.  Some local beers may be a bit cheaper.

Smalhans was priced well, considering that you’re dining in one, if not the most expensive city in Europe. You can expect to pay around $75-$100 per person, without alcohol or wine. You won’t leave hungry, you’ll have great food and be well taken care of.

If you’re looking to be a bit adventurous and want some fantastic Norwegian food Smalhans is your place. Plus, you can avoid the tourists and eat like a local.

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A16 – San Francisco

[one_half] 2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA

415-771-2216

A16 Website

Prices: $$-$$$
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Location
A16 in San Francisco is located on Chestnut Street in the Marina district.  It’s about a 15 minute cab ride (depending on traffic) from the downtown/Union Square area.  Chestnut Street is an interesting street with a wide array of shops, bars, restaurants and other small businesses.

Atmosphere & Service
A16 is long and narrow.  The bar area is right in the front of the restaurant as you walk in the door.  There are a few high top tables as you work your way towards the tables in the back.  In the far back, is small atrium that has tables as well.  The kitchen is open to the main dining area, as is the large wood burning pizza oven.  While A16 has a semi-formal vibe to it, it’s really very casual.  It can be a bit noisy when it’s packed (which is most of the time), but it’s not unbearable.

Service was great.  Very attentive without being cloying.  Our server and floor manager had a great knowledge of the wine list and food came out quickly once ordered.

Food & Drink
We’ve been to A16 a couple of times and the food has always been great.  The menu is Italian centric, but they always have a seafood special, along with a few others.  The wood burning pizza oven churns out great gourmet pizzas, which are fairly good sized for the price.  Two people could easily share a pizza and a salad and be satisfied.  The pasta shines here, as do the seafood dishes.  Most courses are available in small and large portions, so you can go in with just about any sized appetite and not worry about too much or too little food.  Prices for appetizers, entrees are dessert are moderate, especially for San Francisco.

The wine list here is extensive.  It focuses primarily on central and southern Italian, along with a few selections from California, which is to be expected.  There is a decent selection of wines by the glass and bottles of wine are priced well.  On our last visit, our server directed us to a great red wine from Stags Leap in Napa that paired perfectly with our meal.

A16 is a great place for Italian, especially outside of the downtown core area of San Francisco.  It’s located in a  great neighborhood, that begs you to stroll along the street after your meal.

 

Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace – Denver

[one_half]1801 California
Denver, CO 80202

(303) 293-8500

Guard and Grace Website

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Yelp
Zagat

Prices: $$$ 
[/one_half] [one_half_last][mappress][/one_half_last]

Location
Guard and Grace is located at the edge of “no-restaurant-land” in the far reaches of downtown Denver.  That’s not a bad thing.  For as good as this place is now after being open just three weeks, it’s sure to bring others in to the area shortly.  Located in the base of the Century Link building, the front faces California Street with a large outdoor patio that come spring, will be a great place to hang out.

Atmosphere & Service 
The entry door to Guard and Grace is just to the right of the office building door.  When you walk in, there’s a “living wall” behind the receptionist area.  The space is very open, the furnishings modern.  There’s a combination of community tables, individual tables, as well as “mini-booths”  along the glass, that actually move.  The kitchen is open to the dining room and you can see the open oak fire pit where they cook the meats on offer.  Towards the back are three large “fish-bowl” type party rooms.  As you head to the rest room, you can play hop skotch with the diagram on the floor in the hallway.  

Service was very friendly and while some dishes came out more slowly than what we would have liked, everything was great.  For only being open three weeks, it was far better than most.  

Food & Drink
All of the food at Guard and Grace was fantastic.  The oak-grilled bone-in ribeye was TDF (To Die For).  For appetizers the agnolotti was a great pasta starter, the black kale salad was one of the best kale salads ever  (and not a huge fan of kale, btw).  The wine list is a work-in-progress, but has a great starting list.  Drinks were up-to-par, especially the Garden Grace.  It’s a combination which has carrot and apple juice, gin, lemon, ginger shrub with sparkling cider.  You need to try one of these.

Overall, for being new, this place is already well on it’s way to being one of the best restaurants in Denver.  If you love TAG, TAG | RAW, TAG Burger Bar or any other of Troy’s projects, you’ll love this place.  

 

Narwama Restaurant – Marrakech, Morocco

[one_half]Ruel Koutoubia 30
Marrakech Médina, Morocco

+21 2 2 444 2510 

Other reviews:
TripAdvisor
Frommers 

Prices: $15 and up
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Location
As with most places in Marrakech, this place isn’t easy to find.  It’s easiest to look for the Les Jardines Hotel and then look for the Nwarma sign up above your head on the left.   You’ll see a long covered alleyway right below the signs.  Go down the alleyway, take a left, then a right.  At night, an attendant will be sitting outside the alleyway to take you to the front door of the restaurant.

Atmosphere & Service 
Once you walk through the front door of Nwarma, it’s like being transported to another place.  The bar is lit only by candles.  It has small tables and larger sofa style seating.  The dining room is a large glass domed atrium with a large fountain (which also spouts fire) in the middle.  There are over 40 tables, however, during high season, you’ll probably need a reservation. 

Food & Drink
We only had drinks at Nwarma and a small complimentary appetizer.  Happy hour start at 7:30 and runs until 9PM.  Since Marrakech is a “late dining time” city, we left at 8:30 and there were only a couple of other tables occupied in the entire place.  Drink prices are on the high side ($12 USD each) and while reasonably sized, don’t contain much alcohol.  You’re probably better off with a beer or wine if you’re looking for something of substance.  Nwarma has a wide array of Thai and Asian inspired dishes.  Even though we just stopped in for a drink on this visit, we’d definitely give it a go for dinner on our next trip.

[box type=”error” ]While some guide books say Narwama is open for breakfast and lunch, during our visit, it was dinner only service. Plus, dinner here usually doesn’t start serving until after 8PM.[/box]