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NYC Places with a scene

Catch, 21 9th Avenue, Meatpacking, Manager Chris Henessey, Hostess Nori Ann Riviera 212 392 5978

This is one of the hottest places in all of NYC.  Its above the Sephora store in the center of the Meatpacking district and is three floors of non stop action.  From the best looking hostesses in the city to celebrities everywhere, this place is great for entertaining.  The food…well its actually very good  as long as you like fish, seafood or sushi.  Everything is really good and the lobster rolls are fantastic. The sushi rolls are very imaginative and creative but solid, the whole crispy fish is marvelous and almost everything you order will be solid.  Its not a Michelin three star place but the scene, the food and the fun are worth the visit.  Alas, its not a cheap meal and the bar will set you back as well.

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Miami Restaurants

Osteria del Teatro, 1443 Washington Ave, South Beach – Gilbert, owner

This is our favorite place in SoBe.  Its a wonderful italian restaurant like the kinds you find throughout NYC.  Outstanding service, about anything you want to eat they will make, its all fresh and delicious and the prices are very fair.  All the pasta is made fresh in theor kitchen and the deserts are to die for.  A very small but solid wine list should meet your needs.  I love the lobster mango salad and the grilled tiger schrimp in garlic, lemon and herbs is just fantastic. This is a place that you should not judge a book by its cover, trust me.


Michael’s Genuine, 130 NE 40th (Design District) Miami, 305-573-5550

Considered by many ghe best Miami has to offer, its the go to restaurant is you want to know your going to have a super meal.  Michela is a star chef, delivers every time and has a very cool and fun restaurant.  We love the chicken, cooked perfectly, always moist and tender and the fries are great.  His fishes are always a hit a hit and never miss the brussel sprouts, not sure how he does it but makes them taste great.  All in all, you cannot have a baad meal here and try to sit outside in the courtyard so you can shop while you ait.

The Big Pink, 157 Collins (at 2nd), South Beach, 305-532-4700


The diner of diners, this place was on the Food Network several times and has a menu of moore than 200 items that you can get for breakfast, lunch or dinner and everything is masssive in size and always good.  They nake their own bread and make their own amazing deserts, but in the end, everything is really good and cheap.  The best place in town for breakfast, but just good fun and simple comfort food all day long and you can bring your dog and sit on their patio!

Fifi’s Place, 6934 Collins, Miami Beach, 305-865-5665

This one you will not find on your restaurant guides, its one of the hidden gems of the area.  FFifi started selling fish to restaurants then opened her own and has now expaneded a few times.  The make the best civiche in town (sorry Ola) and they have whole fresh fish three ways, fried, grilled or steamed and each one is better than the last.  And save room for deserrt, she will bring it to you on the house and you will eat every bite.




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Joseph Leonards

Joseph Leonards, 170 Waverly Place,  West Village

This is a very cool and hip place to go for a very good and fun meal.  Its basic American food, great fresh fish, aa selection of meat, you get the picture.  I had a great pork chop over grits, really terrific.  The winners here are the apps, they have a wonderful menu of many selections and I suggest you get them and share many choices.  This is a terrif

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Aspen Restaurants

Cache Cache

I still think that its one of my two favorite places in town.  The new expansion makes the place georgous and in the summer the outdoor patio is a fabulous place to eat. Eating at the bar might be as good as it gets anyplace.  The bartenders are supurb, know their business and can make you just about any drink and…they will serve you dinner.  The menu is almost perfect, fantastic salads, try the beet salad, a menu that appeals to almost every taste, fishes, meats and the single best rotisserie chicken and fries in the USA!  This is a don’t miss staple of the restaurant scene in Aspen.


My other favorite in town, this is the sister of the Nobu chain but owned by Nobu and Michael Goldberg vs Drew Neirporent and company. They do it great, yellowtail jalapeno, new style sushimi, rock shrimp tempura, roasted eggplant and the list goes on and on.  For strait sushi, there may be cheaper and other places just as good, but for the more extensive items, there is no place better.


I have never been a great fan, but we ate their this trip and decided to try their $35 prix fix bar menu.  In short, it was great, the breads were outstanding, the salads huge and delicious and our main courses, of which there were seven options, were also delicious.  I had the roasted pork and Holly had the salmon and we would go back for both again. Can’t tell you too much about the regular menu, but many consider this the best restaurant in Aspen.

Casa Tua

The sister of the South Beach original, its only been open for about a year and we gave it a try this trip.  To answer the question, we are going back again, it was that good.  The place is beautiful, they have a great outdoor seating area for the summer, but indoors is really cool.  The staff our so nice you cannot believe this is Aspen, go see Molly, the best hostess in town.  We had a simply wonderful meal. The chef is from Italy, just south of Tuscany were his family owns a restaurant.  We had soups and salads and each of us had something different and all raved.  My fettuccine bolognese was cooked perfectly and the sauce great.  This is now on the regular rotation for our family.

Wild Fig

A touch of Provence comes to Aspen, we always have a very good meal here. Soups and salads are wonderful and the main courses are all very good.  This is just a solid place to go for a change of pace and a supurb dining experience.

Campo di Fiore

One of the most energetic scenes in town, this Italian staple has figured out how to always deliver a terrific meal with lots of energy from a tiny kitchen. Salads, soups and anti pasti’s are all good and everything on the menu is generally excellent, fresh and well prepared.  So, if your looking for the New York type of italian, this is the best place in town.


This is one of the staples of the Aspen food and bar scene.  Maybe the busiest bar in town for the adult crowd, this place humms at night.  Jimmy is a transplanted New Yorker who has built a very solid following of regulars who like good steaks, chops, fish and killer sides.  If you want just good old American food, this will not disappoint. And one night a week they have salsa dancing.


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My Top NYC restaurants

Gotham Bar & Grill, 12 E. 12th, 212-620-4020, Alfred Portelli, Owner/Chef

Day and and day out this is my favorite restaurant in NYC.  It has everything, buzz, atmosphere, casualness, amazing service and just great food.  The bar is perfect for eating at if you can get a seat.  The food is just always great and they have the single best pork chop anyplace in america  The wine list is one of the best around and the wine stewards will steer you in the right direction based on your budget.  Vertical food invented here yes, but great food also delivered here!

Prune, 54 East First St, 212-677-6221

This east village tiny place is the chef’s restaurant of choice.  They have one of the biggest followings of people in the trade and deliver the goods to support it.  Its not for everyone but its not too far out either.  If you like bone marrow, and I do not, everyone that has ever had it here says its the best they have had.  So, if you can score a table, its worth the trip.  They are also famous for their sunday brunch, but I can say that i have never been able to score a table.

Minetta Tavern, 113 MacDougal St, 212-475-3850

Greenwich Village landmark, this is one of McNally’s best productions.  They say the black label burger may be the best in NYC, a special blend developed by the cities top meat provider, it really does melt in your mouth.  The Cote’ de buf is a steak for two people, over $100, but it really is fabulous and huge.  The fries are off the charts great and the drinks are what you would expect from a place Jimmy Braddock used to frequent decades ago.  Tough to get a reservation, but I have walked in and sat at the bar several times.

Daniel, 60 E. 65th, 212-288-0033

This may be the best “dining experience” of the bunch.  Its as elegant as it gets, cozy, quite and always, always great food.  People think they will walk away hungry because of the smaller portions, but there are so many of them its not an issue.  Great wines, amazing service and the best chef living in NYC.

PerSe, Time Warner Building, 212-823-9335

Chef Tom Keller’s New York outpost won’t fail to wow you with an extraordinary meal, as long as you can handle the check. Its a nine course tasting menu with killer bread all for $295 per person plus tip, tax and wines.  I know that is expensive, really expensive, but it is an experience and one worth trying atleast once.  Everything, and I mean everything, is fresh, locally sourced or produced by Keller himself and truly delicious.  If you have that one occasion and want to blow real serious money, give this a try.



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My favorite Pizza places

Motorino, 349 E. 12th St, 212-777-2644

Winner of several best pizza in NYC awards, was taken here by Ed Levine of Serious Eats who considers this the best pie this side of the East River (get it) and it will not disappoint.  Great crust, perfectly cooked and worth the schlepp to the East Village. (see listing:


Lombardi’s, 32 Spring Street, 212-941-7994

The oldest and some say the first pizza place in the USA, was opened down the street in 1897.  Its still has coal fired ovens that they keep on about 24 hours per day to keep them burning hot and perfectly.  You cannot get a slice, its whole pie’s and salads only and cash is the currency.  The pizza is great, I know many think of it as very touristy, but is is delicious and right now my favorite pizza.  The walk into the kitchen is fun, just ask them and they will take you back to see these ancient coal ovens at work.  Almost always a line, but truly perfect NY pizza.

Co.  230 Ninth Ave @ 24th, 212-243-1105, Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery – Owner

Cool and trendy with outstanding pizza’s of many kinds and terrific salads and soups, this is an offshoot of the Sullivan Street Bakery, so you know the crust is amazing. I love the Stracciatella pie, huge heapings of arugula. the Meatball pizza is great, loads of veal meatballs and lots of other toppings. Small but inexpensive wine list and everyone sits family style, all in all a solid place in Chelsea for fancy pizza.

Donatella, 184 8th Ave, 212-493-5150

She is a famous food celebrity and cookbook author who has a terrific little restaurant in Chelsea.  Cooked in wood burning ovens at 700 degrees, the very thin crust pizza is on many people’s list as the top in the city.  All of the pizza’s are great, I especially like the Diavola with spicy salami and a good kick in the sauce.  The menu is much more expansive than other pizza focused places, so your gluten free friends can eat quite well.

John’s of Bleeker Street, 278 Bleeker St, 212-243-1680

Since the 20’s, they have also been serving coal fired pizza in 850 degree ovens that is true New York pizza.  Again, no slices and no credit cards, located in the heart of the Village, John’s delivers a solid pie with a large house salad and that is about all you get.  But, you will love the place, the pie’s are terrific and the price will be right, so bring the family of the office staff, all will enjoy and walk away satisfied

Risoterria, 270 Bleeker St, 212-924-6664

The single best gluten free italian place in NYC, they have a full menu of everything you can think of gluten free, including pretty good cupcakes!  The pizza is the best of its kind in NYC, if gluten free pizza can be good.  They have a full vegetarian menu and offer pasta and other things also.  But, for gluten free pizza, this Greenwich Village restrauant is the best you will find.

More to come, I will be venturing to Brooklyn, reputed to have the best pizza in NYC in the next few months.

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Grand-Havana-Room-best-cigar-bar in city

Grand Havana Room, 666 Fifth Ave, 212-245-1600, Private Club

Without a doubt the single best cigar bar in NYC.  Located at the top of 666 Fifth, thirty nine floors above the city located between 53rd and 54th, this place is gorgeous, luxurious, cool and just one great room.  The bar has everything, the food is really good and portions large.  The wait staff are among the best trained around, pretty typical of a private club, but the staff treats everyone like VIP’s.  If you like to smoke a cigar or cigarette, this is the best place in NYC to go but….you must be there with a member, no unaccompanied guests, sorry