I tend to prefer mildly spicy food with complex combinations of tastes.
Southwest, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Fusion, Californian, and especially Pacific
Rim. I can enjoy classic French and Vietnamese, but the subtlety is sometimes
lost on me.
- A Pacific Cafe, Kauai. HA. Everything was excellent, but the pan-seared
mahi-mahi with garlic and sesame was unbelievably good when owner/chef
Jean-Marie Josselin was on-site. The meal was merely excellent when he was
minding one of his other establishments.
Tied for Second:
- Fresh caught Mountain Trout cooked over an open fire after a
ten mile hike up
the Big Horn mountains.
- Hole in the wall Uyghur restaurant in Urumqui, China. We asked if the
"chicken dish" was still on the menu. The owner walked out the
door. Five minutes later he returned carrying a freshly slain chicken by
it's claws. He said "Yes, I can make that for you." 30 minutes
later I had the best chicken dish in my life.
Tied for Third
- Canoe House, Big Island, Hawaii. Fish in an incredible sauce.
- Terras, St Helena, CA. French meets Pacific Rim.
- Pacific's Edge, Carmel, CA. Continental Cuisine.
Somewhat uneven. One visit was amazingly excellent, but other times the
food was merely good.
Bistro Jeanty, Yountville, CA.
Tasty French food at a reasonable price.
Trav Vigne, Saint Helena,
CA. Very good Italian food at a reasonable price.
- Jake's on the Lake, Lake Tahoe, CA. Part of a
chain based in Hawaii. Pacific Rim like.. but the fish isn't as fresh as in
- Tahoe House, Lake Tahoe, CA. Great bakery.
- Bella Vista, Skyline Drive, CA Continental
- Zibibbo, Palo Alto, CA. Seattle cuisine. Can be uneven... but generally quite good
- Strait's Cafe, Palo Alto/SF, CA. California influenced Singaporean.
Years ago I used to go to the SF branch which was tastier and more authentic.
- Spago's, Palo Alto, CA, Californian. Tasty, but over-rated.
- Oswald's, Santa Cruz, CA. Simple French country cuisine, superior
ingredients well prepared.
- Roy's at Pebble Beach, CA, Pacific Rim (Roy's in Hawaii much better, Try Flying Fish in Carmel)
- Montrio, Monterey, CA, Mediterranean / California. Ok, but over rated. Go to Stokes instead
- Tarpy's Road House, Monterey, CA, Modern American
- Stokes (Adobe), Monterey, CA. Mediterranean /
Californian. Consistently good.
- Flying Fish, Carmel, CA French meets Thai.
- Rio Grill, Carmel, CA. Southwest Grill
- L'Orangerie, Los Angeles, CA. Classic French.
Palm Desert, CA: Chef owned and run bistro. Good food. Friendly
atmosphere which is a relief from the general snootiness of Palm Springs /
Desert higher end eateries. You should try the fun crispy spinach appetizer.
Joe's, Palm Springs, CA:
Best Hawaiian fish I have had outside Hawaii (including the California branches
Palm Springs, CA:
- Roy's Kahana Bar & Grill, Maui. Chocolate cake
for desert a must. They treat children well.
- Spago at 4 Seasons Resort in Wailea,
Maui. Wonderful meal with great service. They treat children well.
- David Paul's Lahaina Grill, Maui. Interesting Pacific Rim
- King and I, Kauai. HA, Thai. Pad thai so/so, but
everything else was great. Rice noodles in prawns was excellent.
- Daniel Thiebaut, Waimea, HA. Pacific Rim. Very good.
- Merriman's, Waimea, HA, Pacific Rim. Over-hyped. Try Daniel Thiebaut
- Paolo's Bistro, Pahoa, HA
- Euro Cafe, Mesa, AZ. Eclectic
- RoxSand, Scottsdale, AZ. Southwest meet California.
- Christophers Bistro, Scottsdale, AZ. French meets California
- Rancho Pinot Grill, Scottsdale, AZ. Very good wine list. Very good
service. Brought out free champagne to celebration Libby's Au.D. Have a very
nice 2004 Pinot (Sonoma, Cavarious, B&W?)
- Cowboy Club, Sedona, AZ.
In the 1990s this was a great place. Interesting southwest food, has fun
serving staff that had fun attitudes and good food. Portions too large.
In 2007 we visited again was were disappointed. Food and service were only
fair for moderately expensive prices... I would skip it.
- Yavapai Restaurant, Sedona, AZ. Tasty but expensive southwest cuisine.
Very good service.
- Other Sedona Places to try: Gallery on Oak Creek, Robert's Creekside
Café and Grill, Casa Rincon & Tapas Cantina
- Anasazi, Santa Fe, NM, Lots of wild game, very nice breads
- Santacafe, Santa Fe, NM, New American / Southwest
- Paul's, Santa Fe, NM, New American / Southwest
- Coyote Cafe, Santa Fe, NM, Southwest. Over-hyped. Try Paul's, Santacafe,
or Geronimo's instead.
- Ambria, Chicago, IL. New French.
- K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, New Orleans, LA.
- Palm Court Restaurant, Cincinnati, OH. New American
- Gourmet Market, Columbus, OH. which has become the healthy (and almost
as tasty) Spagio.
- Grater's Ice Cream, Various, Ohio
- Back Porch Cafe, Outer banks, NC. Bourbon pecan chicken
- Dahli Lounge, Seattle, WA, Seattle cuisine
- Wild Ginger, Seattle, WA
- Kinkeads, Washington DC, Seafood
- Primanti, Pittsburgh, PA.
Wear. Overhyped, but good memories with friends.
Good Memories but now Closed :-(
- Ala Carte, Columbus, OH, European
- Shalom, Columbus, OH.
- Seva, Columbus, OH, Veggie
- Jocco, Los Altos, CA. Mediterranean/Californian - lamb & bread
pudding really good
- Benbo, Palo Alto, CA. Good kababs