Lazy Bear (San Francisco, CA)

Lazy Bear
3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Dining date: 11/24/17

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Lazy Bear is one of San Francisco’s most unique dining experiences. The restaurant began as an underground supper club in chef David Barzelay’s home; it was wildly successful and became one of the toughest seats in town. The success led to this brick-and-mortar location in 2014. Two Michelin stars later, the restaurant is still going strong.

The evening begins with cocktail hour on the second floor mezzanine. Guests are invited to mingle, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy a few small bites. After cocktail hour, dinner shifts downstairs where there are two large 40-seat communal tables. An open kitchen anchors one end of the tables, providing a close look at the food as it’s being prepared.

We managed to get tickets here for the day after Thanksgiving.

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Lasarte (Barcelona, Spain)

Lasarte
Carrer de Mallorca, 259
08008 Barcelona, Spain
Dining date: 9/29/17

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Lasarte is currently the only restaurant in Barcelona to hold three Michelin stars; it was upgraded from two to three in the 2017 version of the guide. This is the second three-star restaurant for Martin Berasategui after his eponymous restaurant outside of San Sebastián. Berasategui holds 8 total Michelin stars, the most of any Spanish chef, for his takes on modern Spanish cuisine. I didn’t get a chance to try his restaurant while in San Sebastian but had an opportunity to dine here for a lunch.

The restaurant offers two tasting menu options (185€ and 210€) but we went with a la carte for this meal.

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Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain)

Arzak
Alcalde José Elosegui Hiribidea, 273
20015 Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain
Dining date: 9/27/17

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Arzak was the first reservation I made in Spain on this trip. This restaurant has reached a legendary status in San Sebastián and has been on the forefront of modern Basque cooking for decades. The restaurant has garnered three Michelin stars since 1989 and has made the top 50 best restaurants in the world list every year it’s been published (since 2003). It currently sits at #30. Chef Juan Mari Arzak has been the driving force behind the restaurant’s success, and he now shares the kitchen management with daughter Elena Arzak.

I had a very hard time deciding between this restaurant and fellow three-star establishments Akelarre and Martin Berasategui. While the restaurant has plenty of accolades, I read a number of reviews with mixed feelings about the place. I ended up sticking with Arzak and am glad I did.

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An a la carte menu is available, as well as a 210€ tasting menu. We went with the latter for this dinner.

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Per Se (New York, NY) [3]

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/18/17

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This was my third time dining at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s Michelin three star restaurant in NYC’s Time Warner Center. My last visit was at the restaurant’s lounge having an abbreviated menu, but I returned to the dining room for the formal tasting menu on this visit. The tasting menu is currently priced at $325 (service-included) and we opted for the wine pairing at the $200 level.

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Le Bernardin (New York, NY) [3]

Le Bernardin
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/19/17

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For a weekday lunch in midtown, I stopped into Eric Ripert’s flagship restaurant. This was my third time dining at the restaurant and second time for lunch.

The restaurant’s lounge offers a prix fixe menu of 3 courses for $55 with two options for each course. $5 of each purchase goes straight to City Harvest, a local organization that “rescues” excess food from local restaurants, grocery stores and farms and distributes this food to community programs to provide meals to underserved populations.

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Marea (New York, NY) [2]

Marea
240 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 6/9/17

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I’ve been to Michael White’s seafood-focused Italian restaurant once a couple of years ago. I recall having a good meal there; in particular, there were some memorable pastas. The restaurant is known to have some of the best pastas in town, which was one of the primary reasons for returning (another was that it was so close to the hotel on an evening with scattered thunderstorms). The restaurant still holds two Michelin stars and is still one of the busiest fine dining establishments in the city.

While a la carte and custom tasting menus are an option, I imagine most people go with the 4-course prix fixe at $102 for dinner. That menu offers a lot of variety – diners can choose from almost any appetizer, pasta, main and dessert for that price. That’s exactly what we did here.

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