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




The Tuscany Exhibition Kitchen at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

The Tuscany Exhibition Kitchen at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

by Bob Barnes

Earlier this month, the Bellagio began its Epicurean Epicenter Series with an exclusive four-course pairing of the wines of the Williams Selyem Vineyard from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. The sold-out event began with a reception of passed appetizers accompanied by the 2005 Blanc de Noir Brut Magnum. We were then escorted into the Tuscany Exhibition Kitchen, where Master Sommelier and director of wine Jason Smith partnered with Williams Selyem executive winemaker Bob Cabral in describing the wines that would be paired with Le Cirque executive chef Gregory Pugin’s creations.
Continue reading “The Bellagio Epicurean Epicenter Series” »

Cocktail Week in NYC

on June 20th, 2011
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A Chartreuse Swizzle, one of our Top 10 Cocktails

A Chartreuse Swizzle, one of our Top 10 Cocktails

by Jeff Hoyt

“Let’s meet for drinks!” Is there a better way to end the working day? Whether it’s a cozy one-on-one or a large group of co-workers, sharing cocktails and appetizers is great for both winding down and gearing up for the rest of the night’s activities.

Until June 29, New York City is celebrating its first annual Cocktail Week with specials that are easy on your wallet. At participating bars, restaurants, clubs and lounges, just ask for the NYC Cocktail Week menu. From Marcus Samuelsson‘s uptown Red Rooster Harlem to Employees Only in the West Village to Pegu Club in SoHo to Macao Trading Co. in TriBeCa, customers can enjoy two full-sized cocktails and an appetizer for just $20.11.

Besides making The Big Apple even more fun, the event is also raising money for City Harvest to fight hunger, and for The Museum of the American Cocktail.

Check out our cocktail recipes, including the top 10 craft cocktails in the US and how to make The Perfect Margarita. And keep coming back to for New York City restaurant reviews, restaurant news, NYC culinary events and wine dinners.

Our Top 10 Rosés and other light wines are featured in the current edition of our Quarterly Wine Newsletter's Top 10 Rosés and other light wines are featured in the current edition of our Quarterly Wine Newsletter

Summer is just around the corner, and with the warmer weather come pool parties, barbecues, and plenty of downtime just spent soaking up the sun — and perhaps a drink or two. In the latest edition of’s Quarterly Wine Newsletter, released today, you’ll find the perfect beer, wine and spirits to make your summertime celebrations a success.

While wine has been known to keep many a body warm during the winter, we’ve chosen to focus on lighter varietals that will help you cool down when the temperature’s up. On’s Top 10 Summer Wines and Top 10 Rosés lists, the emphasis is placed upon refreshing flavors ranging from dry and tart to tropical and fruity. And if you’re going to be grilling, you’ll want to check out our’s Top 10 Barbecue Wines for great libations to sip on with steak, ribs and grilled veggies.

Continue reading “Drink up! Our Quarterly Wine Newsletter is Here” »

Bar BLVD in Studio City, CA offers creative cocktails in a posh, lounge-style environment
Bar BLVD in Studio City, CA offers creative cocktails in a posh, lounge-style environment

by Cara Trump 

Craft beers and themed cocktails were flowing at Bar BLVD’s grand opening on April 13 at the BLVD Hotel & Spa in Studio City, CA. Although the actual bar can only seat about six guests at its counter, the space — shared by the lobby — provides lush couch seating in a lounge-style environment.

Attendees sipped specialty drinks named after famous Los Angeles boulevards such as the Venice Blvd lychee martini and the Hollywood Blvd (our personal favorite), a mixture of rum, fresh raspberries, strawberries and muddled mint. As guests mingled and nibbled on snacks provided by BLVD Café, a DJ was spinning a mix of dance music, adding to the chic ambience of the new bar.

Continue reading “Bar BLVD Grand Opening in Los Angeles” »



by Jennifer Olvera

Handcrafted cocktails aren’t exactly new to Chicago — look to The Violet Hour for proof of that. However, it’s safe to say Grant Achatz‘s soon-to-debut Aviary in the West Loop will ratchet things up further, what with its cocktail kitchen serving experimental, tincture-meets-classic cocktails, approachably hip, no-reservations vibe and potables that surprisingly top out at under $20. (Mind you, there’s no actual “bar” and labels can’t be “called.”) Future plans for Aviary include a haute, basement-level den that is said to be the antithesis of the main lounge. With room for only 20 guests, the exclusive space will serve luxuries like caviar by the ounce and a foie gras terrine.

Continue reading “Next Opening in Chicago” »

Brunch & Bubbly

on March 30th, 2011
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Israeli couscous at Silks restaurant in San Francisco

Israeli couscous at Silks restaurant in San Francisco

by Tiffany Maleshefski

What’s the best thing about brunch? Mimosas. And the best thing about mimosas? Champagne. So thanks be to the brilliant minds at Silks, the stunning dining room inside the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, which has given the world the build-your-own Champagne cocktail bar. For $20, guests can enjoy endless Champagne cocktails they’ve designed themselves at the restaurant’s Sunday brunch. Guests can create their cocktails from a rather lengthy list of recommended recipes or go rogue and put together their own bubbly concoctions with an impressive spread of accoutrements.

We took the bar for a spin and started out with the more traditional: a sugar cube, a few dashes of bitters, and a lemon twist.

Continue reading “Brunch & Bubbly” »

by Sophie Gayot

A few weeks ago, I headed to Nic’s Restaurant & Martini Lounge (aka Nic’s Beverly Hills) for a special dinner in which each course was paired with cocktails made exclusively with Grey Goose vodka, which graces our Top 10 vodka list. That was the perfect place to host the event, as Nic’s Beverly Hills is the only restaurant west of Las Vegas that has what chef/owner Larry Nicola and his son Luke, creative director, like to call the “VodBox,” a walk-in freezer filled with some of the best boutique vodkas in the world.

Continue reading “Grey Goose Vodka at Nic’s Beverly Hills” »

Epic Happy Hour Deals

on March 21st, 2011
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The Incider is one of many great cocktails available for only $5 during happy hour at Epic Roasthouse

The Incider is one of many great cocktails available for only $5 during happy hour at Epic Roasthouse

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Since it first opened its doors on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, Epic Roasthouse has hosted one of the city’s BEST happy hours. For three and a half generous hours, the restaurant’s upstairs lounge, Quiver Bar, slings $5 cocktails, $5 wines by the glass, and $3 beers. And did we mention the unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay and the sweet selection of snacks for $3? It’s awesome and usually draws a wide range of people, many of whom consider the full-service restaurant below to be way out of their price range.

Well, that coveted happy hour just got even better.

For starters, there’s a revamped cocktail menu. All-star bartender Camber Lay, who was responsible for getting Epic’s popular happy hour off the ground, parted ways with Epic late last year. Now, the collective bar staff is pitching in to keep the cocktail menu lively and updated.

Continue reading “Epic Happy Hour Deals” »



Rouge Tomate is one of several New York establishments participating in A Taste of Belgium Restaurant Week

Rouge Tomate is one of several New York establishments participating in A Taste of Belgium Restaurant Week

by Meryl Pearlstein 

The Irish have had their turn to celebrate this month, and now it’s time for the Belgians. Celebrate the new A Taste of Belgium Restaurant Week with Belgian goodies and beer and a chance for a free vacation. From March 23-30, authentic Belgian dishes and specials will be offered at the following restaurants:

B. Café East

An authentic Belgian café, B. Café East serves up favorites like moules frites, cooked six different ways, and an exceptional variety of cocktails and brews. During this special week they will feature boulets liégeoise with sauce chasseur with Belgian fries, salad and applesauce. In addition, diners will have a choice of Palm or Stella Artois, perfectly poured, to accent the distinct flavors sampled in this menu.

Continue reading “From Belgium to the Big Apple” »

Women in Film & Champagne

on February 28th, 2011
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Actress Halle Berry & Sophie Gayot

Actress Halle Berry & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Bubbles of Perrier-Jouët Champagne were floating in glasses during the 4th Annual Women in Film pre-Oscar reception hosted by Academy Award® Winners Halle Berry and Cathy Schulman. The star-studded event was held at the Soho House’s garden rooftop in West Hollywood on Friday, February 25th.

The few men who attended the party, including Halle’s new flame Olivier Martinez, were happy to mingle with Amy Adams, Kate Walsh, Gillian Jacobs, Melissa Leo, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Jennifer Morrison, Hailee Steinfeld and Malika Sherawat, among others.

WIF President Cathy Schulman reiterated the night’s theme when she said, “This organization is about women supporting women.” Halle also briefly greeted the crowd, speaking about how, as women, it is important to support each other and lift each other up.

Continue reading “Women in Film & Champagne” »

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