Agape Substance, Paris

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Highest quality ingredients, prepared perfectly and elegantly plated. I’m usually not a fan of the tasting menu fearing that after eating 10 tiny plates, I’ll leave hungry and seek out the nearest Pizza I can find.  This was not the case at Agape Substance the tasting menu included several substantial courses that met your visual needs as well as fill your stomach. The plates were all painstaking prepared by the chef owner David Toutain. David actually personally handles every plate that leaves the kitchen for the tables.this is quite a feat considering the huge number of plates.

The service was excellent yet not stuffy and I really enjoyed the whole experience. The prices of the meals are very reasonable especially at lunch. This is a real value in a city were a fine dining dinner can set you back a thousand dollars.  I highly recommend you visit Agape Substance and see what surprises David and Laurent have in store for you.

Agape Substance

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Osteria La Porta, Tuscany, Italy

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Remotely located in the small village of Monticchello is this jewel of a restaurant,  Osteria La Porta. Traveling to this town requires a 30 minute drive off the beaten path.  If you follow your GPS you may end up on some unpaved roads.  Don’t worry about the unpaved road just drive slowly and enjoy the scenery.  Plan your route in advance and you can stay on pavement.

Once arriving at Monticchello,  Osteria La Porta is to your left as you walk into the town. I would plan on arriving during the daylight and strolling around the quaint town.  Try to get seated on the outdoor patio in time to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Once you’re seated you will be presented with a menu that includes fresh local seasonal ingredients.  For starters, the Burratta is amazing…. don’t pass it up.  The PICI is a favorite of ours.  It’s a thick rolled pasta that they make in-house.  I’d recommend any of the meat or tomato sauces on it(Cheese is a bit heavy).  The white Tuscan pork is also very interesting with a truffle cream sauce.   It’s hard to make a wrong choice at La Porta so be adventurous and try some of the local specialties .

 

We have been to Osteria La Porta several times and highly recommend it…

 

Osteria La Porta
Wine Bar – Enoteca – Caffetteria
Via del Piano 1 53026
Telefono e Fax +39 0578 755163
Ristorante La Cantina
Via San Luigi 3 53026
Telefono +39 0578 755280
Monticchiello di Pienza (SI)
email: osterialaporta@valdorcia.it

http://www.osterialaporta.it/monticchiello.en.php

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Taillevent, Paris France

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Truly a fine dinning experience in Paris. To say we enjoyed the food and the wine is an understatement. The wine sommelier helped us select some wonderful choices. A “Michelin 3 star” restaurant for years. I will refer you to a professional food critic Andy Hayler for his review.

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Ristorante Rinaldi al Quirinale , Roma, Italy

We were sent to try this Restaurant by some American friends of ours. Having been to Roma hundreds of times I am always a little reluctant to try recommendations from infrequent visitors but these were people who do travel a lot and know good food. Please be advised there are many places in Roma to eat however there are a lot of tourist traps with bad food.

Fish was exceptionally fresh and service excellent. For an antipasto we had the fish assortment it was excellent, pasta was homemade with a nice pink seafood sauce and the secondi of grilled seafood (sea bass and prawns) was also great. We had a side order of Puntarelle it’s a Roma specialty which was to excellent. The house complimentary dessert of  dough with powdered sugar cookies was excellent so I recommend stopping there, the 4 cake assortment looked great but did not taste as good as it looked.

The waiter was a little pushy towards expensive items on the menu and the wine was unreasonably high priced ( a 7 Euro bottle for 40 euro which I had at another ristorante for 20 later on the same trip, not that I’m opposed to paying 40 euro for wine it’s just the value that bothers me a bit).We had a good time and don’t regret going however I don’t think I would return. Although there was a good number of Italians’ I don’t believe they were locals. It’s a shame this would have been a great find if they did not have a tendency towards taking advantage of tourists. Lori on the other hand feels I’m being a little harsh and the fresh fish is worth a return.

Ivan Klugman : The Photo Gourmet

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