Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




2015 French Open

on May 27th, 2015
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Roland Garros 2015

Roland Garros 2015

by Sophie Gayot

If you cannot make it to Paris for Roland Garros, also known as the French Open, you can still follow the action on the tournament’s official website. There, you’ll find round-the-clock coverage of the two-week French Open running through June 7. Real-time scores, streaming radio commentary and a live blog of tennis’ largest and most prestigious clay-court competition are available 24/7, keeping you up-to-date with the latest news on the action.

Continue reading “2015 French Open” »

Where to Dine in 2014

on January 03rd, 2014
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How to find the best restaurants

Clockwise from upper left: The Church Key, Hakkasan (Beverly Hills), Lazare (Paris), Hôtel Plaza Athénée (Paris)

by Sophie Gayot
As 2013 has ended, aren’t you looking forward to know where to dine in 2014?
We have a few things that can help.
Listen to my latest interview on chef Jamie Gwen’s radio show, which is now syndicated throughout America, where we discussed (listen to show here):
– chef Michel Richard’s new restaurant in New York, Villard at The New York Palace;
chef Jeff Mahin’s new additions to the Chicago scene, Summer House Santa Monica and Stella Barra Pizzeria;
Michael Mina’s PUB 1842 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, and Sam Marvin’s Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse in Las Vegas;
– then we went to Paris to talk about the major renovation going on at the Dorchester Collection’s Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and chef Eric Frechon‘s new gourmet bistro Lazare;
– we finished the journey in Los Angeles at Hakkasan, the new Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills, and chef Steven Fretz’s The Church Key in West Hollywood, which is already so popular, it’s hard to get a table.

Continue reading “Where to Dine in 2014” »

Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

by Meryl Pearlstein

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are lots of interesting dining and travel-related experiences that make wonderful gifts for your sweetie. Here’s a round-up from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu.

Las Vegas

How about a twist on the usual Afternoon Tea found at many upscale hotels? The Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge in Las Vegas adds a romantic touch with their Valentine Afternoon Tea. Heart-shaped, house-made gourmet chocolates finish off the sweets selection. $45 per person.


Sit at the bar at the St. Regis for a special Valentine’s Day “Pink of Perfection” cocktail that is available all month. It’s made with one part tequila, ½ part simple syrup, 3 dashes orange blossom water, with fresh lime juice and soda. What gives it its name? The pink rose petals that sit on top. You can increase the aphrodisiac quotient with the Oysters and Caviar Pearls special, a sensual combination of tempura oyster frites and osetra caviar sabayon created by executive chef Joseph Trevino, paired with Heidsieck Champagne.

Continue reading “Celebrating Valentine’s Day From Coast to Coast” »



by Sophie Gayot

When Alinea owner Nick Kokonas came to my table for dessert, after I had already sampled seventeen dishes from chef Grant Achatz, I had to share with him my thoughts: “Your restaurant should not be called a restaurant.” Yes, there is food, but it’s nowhere close to what one could ever experience at other dining venues. Achatz’s creativity is without limits, and tolerates no restriction, so expect the unexpected. What should it be called? Hmm… considering the homage and respect he pays to food, I can not say “food entertainment,” maybe an “ode to culinary invention.”

Continue reading “Alinea: Dinner Extraordinaire!” »

Virgin Hotels logo

Virgin Hotels logo

Virgin Brand Continues to Expand

With the opening of PUBLIC Chicago, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago and Longman & Eagle, the Windy City seems determined to prove itself as the new mecca for hot hotel openings. This reputation is cemented with the announcement that Sir Richard Branson’s first Virgin Hotel is set to begin construction this May. Taking over the 1928 Old Dearborn Bank building, the sure-to-be-hip hotel will include 250 rooms, a pool and a rooftop venue — with terrific views, we assume, given the location. Continue reading “Sir Richard Branson to Open the First Virgin Hotel in Chicago – Travel News” »

by Sophie Gayot

We are always happy to see the addition of new restaurants to the culinary scene. You will find the ones that impressed us the most in GAYOT’s just-published Annual Restaurant Issue. Check out our 2012 list of the Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S., which includes notable newcomers like GT Fish & Oyster Bar in Chicago, then watch my exclusive video interview with its chef/partner Giuseppe Tentori. Perhaps some of these places will grace a future list of Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.

Continue reading “ Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S.” »

by Sophie Gayot

Watch this exclusive video with chef Jean Joho to find out why we just named him the 2012 Best Restaurateur in the U.S. It may be somewhat long, but you can bet that the chef who has earned the prestigious title of best restaurateur has a lot to say.

On Wednesday, we published our Annual Restaurant Issue, which includes:
the 2012 list of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., along with
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. – great places that opened recently
5 Rising Chefs – American chefs 30 and under who are making their mark
Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S. – which chefs serve the best steak?
Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in the U.S. – appearing in the Restaurant Issue for the very first time
Top 10 Insider Picks in the U.S. – reveals where to dine for a taste of local flavor, good food and good times.

Did You Say Donuts?

on February 24th, 2012
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Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon

Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon

by Sophie Gayot

I recently found myself in the Loop in Chicago in search of breakfast, a vital part of my three-daily-meal routine. I can recommend a tiny place which just opened: Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee.

For donut lovers, it is a paradise. For others, it’s a good way to rediscover the treats. Since they offer so many flavors, you’re sure to find one to your liking, or one so good that you will want to return. Add a cup of coffee, and you’ll have a good way to keep you warm in the Windy City. That’s all they have; in fact, the entire menu of Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee is in its name!

Go to the photo gallery to discover some of their exotic flavors (Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon, anyone?), and read the review for more information.

The Global Bistro

on December 09th, 2011
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A bust of Lenin on the bar at Pravda in Wellington, New Zealand

A bust of Lenin on the bar at Pravda in Wellington, New Zealand

by André Gayot

Installed in a former butcher shop, where not much has changed since the nineteenth century except for a few recently added scars on the wall to render it even more authentic, Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris must be one of the most bistro-ish bistros of the world and possibly one of the most emblematic. The bistrot — with a ’t’ or without — is now a part of our lifestyle and an indispensible component of a gastronomically civilized city. We are well used to its format: the zinc bar, banquettes, white marble top tables, chalkboard menu, waiters clad in black aprons, steak frites and blanquette de veau, and the house red wine.

A similar setting, and may we say philosophy of joie de vivre and conviviality, reigns in New York’s Millesime, Chicago’s Bistrot Zinc, San Francisco’s Chez Papa Bistrot and Los Angeles’ Bouchon. Traveling on the bistro trail around the world is one way to avoid feeling like a stranger far from home.

Continue reading “The Global Bistro” »



President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

by Jeff Hoyt

Is President Obama reading We certainly hope so. We named mk one of our top 10 Chicago Special Occasion Restaurants, and the President has decided to host a special occasion there tonight. The site of his fundraiser is also on our top 10 Chicago American restaurant list, which is important as he is already wooing voters for the 2012 Presidential election. It is also on our top 10 Chicago Romantic restaurant list, so we hope Michelle will be there!

Dinner will be a little pricier than usual tonight: a reported $35,800 a head. For that kind of donation, we’d expect to be named Ambassador to a Caribbean island nation. Here’s what’s on the menu that features only sustainably produced American food and wine:

Continue reading “Obama’s Dinner: A lot of Bread” »

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