Hotel Restaurants

Pretty sweet view, right?

Lush, tropical landscapes. Gorgeous city skylines. Tempting mountain vistas. These are the reasons why we go on vacation, right? That, and being able to relax and let someone else do the cooking for a change. But why not have both? Hotels with top-notch restaurants know that pulling in diners is about more than just the grub. A destination restaurant has to have both killer cuisine and a view to dine for [Ed. Note: See what we did there?] in order to pull vacationers away from their lounge chairs. We’ve seen some of the most unique and breathtaking vistas, all while dining on the freshest cuisine, at these five scrumptious hotel properties.

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Credit: Courtesy of Jenny Kang

 

Jenny Kang is the practically the poster child for New York street style — she is the Fashion Editor for New York Magazine, after all. The Chicago native, who has described her style as “preppy sportswear with punches of fun,” knows how to pick out ideal spots to cool her heels between shows. We asked Kang to dish on her favorite hotels, and of course, her favorite designers. Right now she’s loving Proenza Schouler, Miu Miu and Givenchy, but is most looking forward to the Marc Jacobs show this NYFW. “The way he presents his collection is always innovative, almost like fashion theater,” says Kang. Check out her favorite New York City hotels (hint: there’s one she really loves) for New York Fashion Week after the jump.

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Credit: Courtesy of (the super-chic) Jen Ford


Jen Ford
is a serious player in the fashion game, having helmed up Lucky Magazine‘s Fashion News and Features department as its director for about seven years now. Twice a year, Ford packs her bags and spends a month traversing the globe to check out the next season’s latest looks. So there’s no doubt that she not only knows how to pack a mean suitcase, but also knows what to look for when it comes to hotels. Before she jumps across the pond to London Fashion Week, though, she stays local to her home base, NYC, checking out about a dozen shows daily for a week. (She’s most looking forward to the Derek Lam and Preen shows — they make her “weak in the knees.”) We grilled her to find out where the fashion elite dine, drink and sleep during the beast that is New York Fashion Week. Check out Ford’s favorite hotels after the jump, then tell us: Where would you want to stay for NYC Fashion Week?

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Credit: Marion Curtis/startraksphoto.com

We love our Anthony Bourdain over here at Oyster.com — not only does he entertain us with his hilarious quotables, but he’s also able to check out some of our fave hotels, too, on his new program, The Layover (check the Travel Channel — our BFFs! — for show information).

For this week’s stop in San Francisco, Bourdain frequented one of our favorite Bay Area hotels, The Fairmont San Francisco. We love the Fairmont for its iconic history (it was built back in 1907), modern room amenities — think oversize flat-screen TVs — and of course, location: The hotel is perched atop Nob Hill, an upscale area of the city that also affords most guest rooms with killer views. If it’s your first visit to the city, you needn’t go far to start touring — there’s a cable car stop right outside of the hotel. While the vibe of the Fairmont can feel stuffy to some at times, the hotel does offer a relaxed atmosphere at its Polynesian-themed tiki bar, the Tonga Room.

Although the hotel offers a decent main restaurant and coffee shop, no one discusses the Fairmont without talking Tonga Room. Dating from an early 1960s obsession with Hawaiian culture, the Tonga Room features faux straw huts, a floating band, and what it claims is the best mai tai in the city (served in a fake coconut, natch). On this week’s episode of The Layover, Bourdain and a few of his pals set up camp at said tiki bar, where after a few cocktails, he declared, “If you have no love in your heart for this place, you are a sick, twisted lonely f*ck with too many cats.” Drastic, perhaps, but we agree: A visit the Tonga Room is well worth the trip.


CHECK OUT PHOTOS OF THE TONGA ROOM AFTER THE JUMP >>

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The Meatball Shop's Spicy Pork Ball

The Meatball Shop's Spicy Pork Ball

People have always had debates about what is just BETTER in a given issue.

Up versus down.

Left versus right.

ESPN vs. Bravo…well, that’s a no brainer. Bravo OBVIOUSLY wins.

But a big issue for foodies is big versus small.  A huge yeast doughnut, or a diminutive doughnut hole? A meatball the size of your head or one only as big as a toddler’s fist?

That is the issue at hand.

ROUND 1: Doughnuts

Doughnut Plant’s Tres Leches Doughnut vs. Momofuku Milk Bar’s Birthday Cake Truffles (both located near the Hotel on Rivington New York City). Read More »

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Shops on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Shops on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Melrose Avenue is one of Los Angeles’ most famous shopping streets, and was at its height in the punk-driven 80s. But Melrose has undergone a resurgence, and this time, it’s an upscale shopping experience.

The original thrift stores and trendy boutiques are still there, alongside tattoo and piercing shops, in the area between Fairfax and La Brea. But closer to La Cienega, and on  Melrose Place (yes, this is a real street), are some of the city’s most interesting designer boutiques. It’s also the chicest few blocks in all of Los Angeles.

When Marc Jacobs opened his flagship store on Melrose Place, then a Marc store and then a men’s store, it changed the dynamic of this once quiet stretch of Melrose Avenue.  Soon to follow were Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenburg, Paul Smith (with it’s shocking pink exterior) and Oscar de la Renta.  Homes and furniture showrooms have been transformed into charming boutiques.  Balenciaga has a beautiful shop seemingly brought here from the future, with its silver tile and silver leaf work, not to mention the LED lighting.  The newly opened Vivianne Westwood store comes with big fanfare, and Decades is not to be missed for designer resale and vintage designer accessories and clothing.

If you’re an Entourage fan, then you’ll recognize the Urth Cafe’s outdoor patio, a great place to stop for lunch. You’ll also recognize Fred Segal’s cafe, which is a little farther east on Melrose.  A new addition to the area is Rick Bayless’ Red O mexican restaurant, right across the street from Fred Segal. Other restaurants not to miss on Melrose are Lucques, Home of James Beard award winning chef Suzanne Goin, and also Comme Ca, a great french brasserie in the middle of busy Los Angeles.

If you’re into shopping, then this area is a must.

- Lesley Bracker

[Photo Credit: Flickr/Ann Althouse]

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Duck prepared by Chef Lydia Shire, who helms Towne Stove and spirits along with Chef Jasper White

Duck prepared by chef Lydia Shire, who helms Towne Stove and spirits along with chef Jasper White

In the past two years, exceptional venues have cropped up all over Boston’s neighborhoods and gayborhoods, making the city almost as famous for its eateries as its renowned landmarks. Bostonians have commenced a raging cocktail and foodie revolution, throwing a Red Sox’s curve ball into the city’s resto/lounge scene. Read about two of the most notable new additions below.

Towne Stove and Spirits900 Boylston Street, (617) 247-0400

The foodie marriage between two of Boston’s most famous chefs, Jasper White and Lydia Shire, has spawned yet another beautiful offspring – this time an elegant, high-energy mega restaurant dedicated to comfort seafood and over-the-top worldly eats in the heart of Back Bay. Combining Lydia’s love for butter, lobster, global ingredients, and originality with Jasper’s love for New England seafood and a renowned equilibrium between home style cooking and haute cuisine, Towne Stove and Spirits boasts a menu as fun and busy as the crowds waiting on long waitlists to sample the latest White-Shire conception. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the 50-plus, family-style, savory creations; however, the “wood grilled lobster & corn pizza with honeyed ricotta,” the seasonal “razor clams a la plancha in baqsque alioli,” the “twice fried green beans with white soy and ginger juice,” and the “peking chicken and pot pie” should not be missed under any circumstances! Spread between a bustling bar in the front serving the best in mixology, a contemporary frenetic dining room downstairs, and a quieter, sparkling upstairs, this gastronomic trendsetter is currently one of the hottest seats in town! Towne is steps away from the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. Read More »

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Tomato soup at Filomena's in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

Tomato soup at Filomena's in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

For my husband’s birthday dinner, my parents offered to take our family out to Filomena, a Georgetown institution. We readily agreed. It’s funny how you can live in a city for years and think you know every landmark, museum, restaurant, or tourist spot. I was anxious to see what I had been missing all these years.

Filomena looks tiny from the outside. As we walked in to Filomena, I got that old country feel. I could see Tony Soprano and his crew heading there for a fancy dinner. Definitely the kind of place famous for Mama’s meatballs, I was certain.

As I peered through the window to see what the restaurant was like, I spotted a pair of ladies in white aprons hand rolling and cutting pasta. Wow. I was amazed at the trays and trays of gnocchi and tortellini. How did these ladies hand-make pasta that looked so much like store bought? Each piece was perfectly shaped by hand before being placed on a large tray. Filomena must go through trays and trays of pasta each day.

Once I descended the stairs I saw how large the restaurant really was. As a tuxedoed manager greeted us at the bottom of the stairs, I spotted the dessert counter to my right. Scrumptious! My children squealed when they saw the life-size Santa Claus in the downstairs lobby. It’s an understatement to say that Filomena decorates for the holidays. I spied more than a dozen Santas — vintage Saint Nick  rather than the Santas of today — displayed on shelves in the main dining room. Numerous Christmas trees were dotted about the restaurant. Our kids were largely silent during the early part of the meal as they observed and then mentioned the different Christmas decorations they saw. Read More »

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Smores at Masa's

Smores at Masa's

Hong Kong-born and San Francisco-raised, Maggie Leung is turning out irresistible modern interpretations of classic desserts at the elegant Masa’s restaurant in San Francisco, a short stroll from the Campton Place Taj Hotel, San Francisco.

Leung, who became executive pastry chef there this past summer, has given sophisticated spins to a chocolate walnut tart, made dainty and memorable with a fleur de sel flourish and a scoop of Earl Grey ice cream; strawberry pain perdu with a distinctive rose-geranium creme anglaise; and s’mores with housemade graham cracker ice cream, hot fudge, toasted marshmallows, candied hazelnuts and hazelnut powder between two chocolate cookies.

After studying molecular biology in college, she turned to the science of baking, enrolling at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After earning a degree in pastry art, she went on to work at Masse’s Pastries in Berkeley, where she focused on elaborate French pastries and intricate wedding cake designs.

Afterward, she joined the staff of Americano in San Francisco, before becoming executive pastry chef at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur (now the Tavern at Lark Creek), where her lemon-blueberry cheesecake parfait was featured in a story in Food & Wine magazine.

– Carolyn Jung of FoodGal

Photo courtesy of Masa’s

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The Blue Sea

Blue Sea at Delano Hotel is a leading sushi restaurant in Miami

Miami’s contemporary restaurant scene is a hit or miss of “sceney” hangouts, Northeast imports, jazzed-up seafood joints, and pimped-out steakhouses. A far cry from the predictable, recognizable chains and strip mall eateries, Florida’s glam revival has ushered in a new wave of more original eating establishments which merit bragging rights for both the food and the clientele. From boutique sushi counters to re-invented steakhouses to high-end Pan-Asian trendsetters that fulfill all your fat-kid fantasies, below are South Florida’s best bets for fabulous sushi, bloody steaks with decadent sides, and show-stopping super-sized portions.

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