Saturday, January 02, 2010

Five best hotels 2009

Enjoy Food & Travel has visited and reviewed a great number of hotels in 2009. For those of you wondering what the best bargain was, here are the five best hotels reviewed last year. The ranking is however not only a question of facilities, and luxury, but more on character and service. The place number 1 was awarded to a classic business hotel, with an original design and with excellent service.

SAS Radisson Hotel Scandinavia, Göteborg (SE): BBBBB- (4,69 points)

Highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel.

A professional run business classhotel to a economy class price. A bargain in Göteborg.

2. Santa Maria Hotel, Sitges (ES): BBBB+ (4,38 points)

Santa Maria is still a great bargain in Sitges.

The lower score compared to the last one, is due to stricter and improved evaluation in the Bargain rating system. This to emphasize that our stay this year was as good as last year.

The Enjoy Food & Travel team will certainly return here again.

3. Stora Brännbo, Sigtuna (SE) (4,36 points)

Stora Brännbo is a professionally run hotel in a scenic setting. Both the tranquility of small town Sweden, as well as the Stockholm metropolitan area is within reach.

Good overall standard, excellent service, and a buffet breakfast to die for.

4. Hotel Acta Millenni Hotel, Barcelona (ES): BBBB+ (4,35 points)

The best stay I've had in Barcelona until now. Would particularly thank the very nice reception staff.

Would have been a great plus to have breakfast included in the price, and an air conditioning in working order.

5. Hotel Cathédrale, Strasbourg (FR): BBBB+ (4,34 points)

Hôtel Cathédrale is good choice when staying in Strasbourg. It has character, charm, and an unbeatable location.

A little low on indoor facilities, some needs of maintenance and certainly not suited for elderly or disabled.

Rating Hotel Armada**** in Istanbul

We stayed at Armada Hotel during our stay in Istanbul in December. This reasonably priced, four star hotel was definitely a good choice.

Location: BBBBB

Hotel Armada has a prime location, a stone's throw away from the Bosporus on one side, and facing the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia on the other.

Armada Hotel is within walking distance to the main historic attractions of Istanbul, the large mosques, Topkapi Palace, Constantine's column and the Hippodrome.

It is located in an old and very quaint neighbourhood, with a mixture of large and small wooden and stone buildings.

Service: BBBBB-

The staff at Armada Hotel provided great service, both from the reception and in the breakfast room. I would especially commend the charming gentleman at the service desk, that provided excellent service to us.

The only thing to put your finger on was that the staff was slow to clear the tables for new guests at the breakfast room. We often had to get napkins and cutlery at neighbouring tables ourselves when arriving for breakfast.

Room: BBBBB-

I had booked a single superior room, but I was given room number 227, a double room, with two separate beds. It had an average size, and a small, but very practical shower room.

It had a beautiful view over the Bosporus straits and the Asiatic part of the city on the other side across the strait, and could follow the busy traffic between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The only drawback was that the room was placed vis-a-vis a night club at the neighbouring hotel, and I experienced loud music from the club three nights during my stay. The music did stop around midnight all three nights

After the first night, I could not make up my mind whether the bed was comfortable or not. This, as the hotel offered extra mattresses if guests found the bed too hard. After the second night, I found the bed comfortable enough.

The room had a pleasant, traditional decor in shades of green and brown, and wooden floors. The marbled shower room was separated from the room with sliding doors in frosted glass. Spacious closets provided room for clothes for two.

All was immaculately maintained, not a scratch or a crack in sight and very well cleaned.

Other features in the room:
  • Free Internet access
  • Flat screen TV
  • Safety deposit box for valuables
  • Mini bar (very inexpensive)
  • Hot water kettle with coffee and teabags
  • Dry cleaning service
  • Room service
  • Hair drier
  • Cosmetic mirror

Breakfast: BBBBB-

The breakfast buffet was served at the Armada Sera restaurant, a room with glass walls and roof providing a breathtaking view over the Bosporus and the old part of Sultanahmet. We ere served good coffee and tea, and there were lemon, orange, and traditional sour cherry juice.

The buffet at Armada Hotel is very impressive, indeed. As Turkey is a Muslim country there are no bacon or sausages available. This was not sorely missed, as there were and abundance of different foods.

There were delicious omelets with vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and a delicious warm tomato stew with cheese.

There were a wide variety of pastries and breads, most of them white or made from filo pastry with cheese and other fillings.

There are many different cheeses, some marinated in oil with chili and dill. There were no meats or salads available, but you can choose from different jams and honey.

Health conscious guests may choose from a wide variety of fresh or dried fruits, cereals, and yogurts.

Facilities: BBBB-

Entertainment: Inhouse bar and restaurant.

Exercise: No facilities

Well being: Air conditioning, room service, rest area. Roof top terrace and bar.

Maintenance: Newly redecorated - immaculately cleaned and maintained.

Price: BBBB

I paid € 108 per night, including the breakfast. This was a good bargain for what was offered at Armada Hotel.

Rating the Armada Hotel Experience: BBBB+ (4,43 points)

Terrific location, good service, and a great breakfast buffet was offered at Armada Hotel. Newly decorated and immaculately cleaned and maintained. Armada Hotel is recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel.

Ahırkapı Str. No:24,
34122 Sultanahmet, Istanbul / Türkiye
Phone: + 90 212 455 44 55
Fax + 90 212 455 44 99
See hotel website here

See presentation on hotel on YouTube

Hotels stories on Enjoy Food & Travel 2009

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2009 on this page. Enjoy!

Highly Recommendable BBBBB: (5,00 - 4,51 points)
  1. SAS Radisson Hotel Scandinavia, Göteborg (SE): BBBBB- (4,69 points)
    Highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel. A professional run business class hotel to a economy class price. A bargain in Göteborg.

    Good BBBB: (4,50 - 3,51 points)

  2. Santa Maria Hotel, Sitges (ES): BBBB+ (4,38 points)
    Santa Maria is still a great bargain in Sitges. The lower score compared to the last one, is due to stricter and improved evaluation in the Bargain rating system. This to emphasize that our stay this year was as good as last year. The Enjoy Food & Travel team will certainly return here again.

  3. Stora Brännbo, Sigtuna (SE) (4,36 points)
    Stora Brännbo is a professionally run hotel in a scenic setting. Both the tranquility of small town Sweden, as well as the Stockholm metropolitan area is within reach. Good overall standard, excellent service, and a buffet breakfast to die for.

  4. Hotel Acta Millenni Hotel, Barcelona (ES): BBBB+ (4,35 points)
    The best stay I've had in Barcelona until now. Would particularly thank the very nice reception staff. Would have been a great plus to have breakfast included in the price, and an air conditioning in working order.

  5. Hotel Cathédrale, Strasbourg (FR): BBBB+ (4,34 points)
    Hôtel Cathédrale is good choice when staying in Strasbourg. It has character, charm, and an unbeatable location. A little low on indoor facilities, some needs of maintenance and certainly not suited for elderly or disabled.

  6. Economy Class, M/F Crown of Scandinavia: (DK) BBBB (4,29 points)
    Traveling budget in Japanese style. Tiny, but well organized room, at a low price. Good bargain for money.

  7. Radisson SAS Hotel Oslo Airport, Oslo (NO): BBBB+ - 4,28 points
    An excellent choice for those that want to catch an early plane. Very professionally run hotel comfortably located by the Oslo Airport terminal.

  8. Park Inn Arendal (NO): BBBB (4,19 points) Another good Park Inn hotel, providing good value for money on the south eastern coast of Norway. Recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel.

  9. Conrad Brussels Hotel, Brussels (BE): BBBB (3,83 points)
    A grand hotel experience in Brussels. Large, and very impressive lobby area. Location in major shopping area, but located 20 minutes away from the historic heart of Europe. Very expensive rooms, and you will have to pay extra for breakfast, internet access and to get admission to exercise centre. At this price, you could so much more in other, and more personal hotels in the European capital.

  10. Commodore Class, M/F Pearl of Scandinavia (DK): BBBB (3,79 points)
    Traveling in a Commodore class cabin is a very expensive experience, and by no means a bargain. This sum could have been better spent on two flight tickets to a European destination.

  11. Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge, Bergen (NO): BBBB- (3,57 points)
    A budget hotel at the lower end of the scale, budget as in feeling a little cheap, as well as inexpensive. Great location. Good breakfast you have to pay extra for. Low in inhouse facilities.

    Room for improvements BBB: (3,50 - 2,51 points)

  12. Apartementos Las Gacelas, Playa Del Ingles (ES): BBB+ (3,4 points)
    The Las Gacelas Apartments is a cheap accommodation at Playa Del Ingles in more than one sense of the word. I would hesitate to recommend it any other than to those who are looking for a inexpensive place to stay and do not care about comfort.
More hotel stories on Enjoy Food & Travel
  1. Bed & Breakfast Frogner, Oslo (August 30th 2009)
    Bed & Breakfast Frogner is one of the Oslo hotels offering free internet access for paying guests. This traditional Bed & Breakfast is located in the affluent Frogner area, close to the Vigeland Sculpture Park. It is offering accommodation at a reasonable price in the Norwegian capital.
    Read full story here

  2. Hotel Excelsior, Göteborg (December 19th 2009)
    The first time I stayed at Hotel Excelsior. It is an old classic hotel located in the Vasastan area. The impressive neo-renaissance and baroque style buildings in this area was built for the wealthy middle class in the second half of the 19th century when the city expanded outside the city walls.
    Read full story here

  3. Hotel Gothia Towers, Göteborg (December 19th 2009)
    When I revisited Göteborg in 2006, my friend Terje and I had booked a room at the ultra modern Hotel Gothia Towers. Staying here was the total opposite experience to Hotel Excelsior.
    Read full story here

  4. Hotel Luna Convento, Amalfi (November 11th 2009)
    Henrik Ibsen, the famous Norwegian playwright, loved the Amalfi coast. He wrote his famous play "Ghost" while staying at the Imperial Tramontano hotel in Sorrento. Another famous play was created on a hotel further down the coast.
    Read full story here

  5. Hotel Pera Palace, Istanbul (December 26th 2009)
    Room 411 at the legendary Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul is a shrine for a crime lover. That was the location where Agatha Christie wrote her crime novel "Murder on the Orient Express" in 1934.
    Read full story here

  6. Hotel Principe Eugenio, Rome (October 18th 2009)
    I got a mail from two friends, John Wroughton and Øystein Rian, with impressions from an out of season journey to Rome and the Amalfi Coast. If you consider staying at Hotel Principe Eugenio, here is a first hand account of the hotel, in their own words.
    Read full story here

  7. La Zorza, Riomaggiore (December 12th 2009)
    In August I helped my friends Laila and Gerd to book a trip to the scenic Cinque Terre area. I found a small hotel in the historic town of Riomaggiore. That was a great choice.
    Read full story here

  8. Lenox Hotel, Boston MA (September 18th 2009)
    On the picture above you see the sign of the prestigious Lenox Hotel, with the John Hancock Tower -Boston's tallest building, in the background. It was built in 1900 by the hotelier and impresario Lucius Boomer. When it opened, the Lenox was the tallest building in Boston. It is located in the busy Back Bay Area of Boston.
    Read full story here
Find other stories on Enjoy Food & Travel see our new page:

Enjoy Food & Travel - main index 2006-2009

Friday, January 01, 2010

Food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel 2009

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2009 on this page. Enjoy!!


Seafood at Merkat Santa Catharina

Merkat Santa Catharina is the second large food market in Barcelona city centre. It is less rustic than the famous food market by Las Ramblas, but is by no means less interesting. I was captivated by the selection of fresh seafood, and found a selection of frozen goods I would have loved to try.

Fresh seafood is by no means the best, but modern freezing techniques have provided frozen products of increasingly higher quality. At Merkat Santa Catharina there were are wide range of different seafood products offered. Fresh, salted, marinated in oil or frozen.

Mediterranean anchovies?

You can easily loose track of all the different species of fat fish harvested in the Mediterranean.

These neatly vacuum packet small fish shine like silver, suggesting that they may be anchovies or a related species.

Healthy, as they are full of good unsaturated oils, preventing high cholesterol and subsequent cardiac arrest.

Pintxos with anchovies and artichoke heart mousse and boiled eggs - see recipe here

Tuna - a versatile ingredient

There are few fish resembling meat as much as tuna. Fresh tuna should have a fresh red colour, and prepared like ordinary steaks, raw to pink in the middle. Tuna is also well suited to be eaten raw as sashimi, ceviche, or even very thinly sliced as a carpaccio

I am so envious of Catalan consumers that may buy tuna fish as fresh as this on their local markets.

Here they are displayed with smoked or possibly salted herrings and squid.

More on tuna sushi - see story here

Fried bait

Waste not, want not. When I was a kid, schools of small fish used to roam around in the fjord where we had our summer cabin. When we caught any, we used to use them as bait to catch bigger fish.

As I visited Barcelona for the first time, I and my friend Laila ordered something called "salmonetes", in our local restaurant. Believing we would get a salmon dish, we discovered that it were small fish, simply tossed in flour and fried in olive oil with head, guts and all.

If you want something more substantial as a meal you can also buy Chipirones limpios, frozen baby squid.

Here they are sold as pesquaditos, and I enjoyed a bowl of this fried small fish in Barcelona this summer. See story here.

Fish soup and Salpicón

Often you buy a package of frozen mixed seafood, use a little, then disappearing in your freezer. I would so much prefer to buy the exact amount for my purpose.

Here is a mix of different mussels, crustaceans and fish to be used as ingredients in a Sopa de Pescado , a delicious soup or a special mix for a Salpicón de Marisco.

A salpicón may be a refreshing mixture of chopped vegetables, fish and/or chicken, generally seved cold as appetizers. This dish is very popular in Hispanic culture.

Here you are also offered mixed frozen ingredients for a rice salad with pineapple.

Mix for fried spinach and vegetable soup

Spaniards love their salteado des espinacas - spinach fried in oil with garlic. It may be served as a starter or as main dish.

There are two salteado mixed offered here. In the front you can buy frozen spinach mixed with prawns, to be prepared in your skillet.

You may also choose to go vegetarian, buying frozen ingredients for a tasty sopa de verduras - a vegetable soup.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sights on Enjoy Food & Travel 2009

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the sights on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2009 on this page. Enjoy!!

  • Le Gruber, Strasbourg (February 8th 2009)
  • Loge du Change, Lyon (December 31st 2009)


View Sights around the world 2009 in a larger map

Ahrida Synagogue

December 25th we decided to explore the Balat district in Istanbul. This district used to be a stronghold for the Jewish and Greek minority in the Ottoman empire. There were, to our surprise, very little left of these cultures in the area. One of the oldest remains from the Jewish community is the Ahrida Synagogue built around 550 years ago.

Jews in Istanbul - a very short account

We know very little of the conditions of the Jewish community during the Byzantine era. It does seem to have lived in relative peace, escaping any pogroms like those regularly conducted at the communities in Western Europe.

As the Ottomans invaded Constantinople in 1453 much changed for the Jewish community. Sultan Mehmet II started the following years a giant reconstruction of the city. He issued a decree that ordered Jews living in the conquered territory to move to Istanbul.

This mass exodus of Romaniote Jews from the Balkans, Anatolia and Greece increased the amount of Jews in Istanbul to 10% of the total population. This exodus was further strengthened by a smaller Ashkenazi Jewish group from Western Europe escaping persecution between that immigrated between 1421-1453.

This mass movement was, however, not perceived as an anti-Jewish measure, and they have continued to live in relative peace in the country until the present day.

Read more on Jewish history in Turkey in Wikipedia

The Ahrida Synagogue - some background information

As we sat on the ferry up the Golden Horn, we hoped to get access to this ancient synagogue. When arriving we discovered, sadly that it was closed. As we studied our guide book, we discovered that visit was by appointment only.

We saw the brightly coloured, heavily protected gate with the inscription. The Ahrida Synagogue (Hebrew: אכרידה‎) was built around 1450 by Jews from the city of Ohrid in present Republic of Macedonia. They were Sephardic Jews, originating from the Iberian peninsula and ordered to leave when the Christians chased the Muslims out of today's Spain and Portugal.

It is the only Synagogue where Sabbatai Zevi (Hebrew: שַׁבְּתַי צְבִי), a famous teacher and kabbalist and founder of the Sabbatean movement and proclaimed as the Messiah by Nathan of Gaza in 1665. He later converted to Islam.

The synagogue was completely renovated in 1992, and its most characteristic feature is the boat-shaped tevah (reading platform) .

For those of you that want to see the interior of this remarkable building, consult your guide book, and make an appointment. I will most certainly do so, when revisiting Istanbul - and I will, soon!!

Le Loge de Change - Lyon

Le Loge du Change is a beautiful classicist building in Vieux Lyon. It once housed the city's stock exchange. Since 1803 it has belonged to one of Lyon's protestant congregations.

From the 14th century this location housed the headquarters of bankers merchants and financiers from all over Europe assembling at the Lyon fairs. By the 16th century this group had grown in importance to such an extent, that it was decided to build a lodge for them. The building started a century later.

The former stock exchange is located on the narrow rive gauche, under the steep cliffs of the Fourviere Hills.

The present building has the appearance of an 18th century building, but is in fact a century older. Underneath the classic exterior rests a building built between 1631 and 1653 after the design of architect Simon Gourdet.

By 1748 the building was too small for its purpose. The famous architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot was commissioned to convert the building to fit the needs of the expanding city. It was finished in 1750.

Soufflot had studied architecture in Rome, and when returning to France he introduced neoclassicism as architectural style.

He got Abel-François Poisson, the future marquis de Marigny, brother of Jeanne-Annette Poisson, Madame de Pompadour the maitresse of Louis XV, as his patron. In 1755 Marigny became the new Director General of Royal Buildings, and this gave Soufflot influence of the royal buildings in Paris.

His most famous design was that of the Panthéon in Paris.

Soullflot died in 1780, before his masterwork was finished, and his plans were not completely followed. He also designed the first opera house in Lyon, that was replaced by the present opera in 1831.

Soufflot's grave can bee seen in Panthéon in Paris

During the French Revolution the building served as an inn. In 1803 it was converted into a place of worship for the large Protestant congregation in Lyon.

(Photo: Bust of Soufflot by Loveless)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gourmet food at budget price by Placa Reial

My good friend, colleague Lena Holmström visited Barcelona this fall. When she returned she handed over a business card as she announced that she had found THE place to eat in the Catalan capital.

Placa Reial is among the most beautiful squares I know. Located by the famous La Rambla, Barcelona's most famous pedestrian area, you are in the middle of tourist trap land.

See more on Placa Reial here

In spite of this, I have had a few very good eating experiences here, but most have been over priced and mediocre. I have had an excellent meal at Santamonica, but was slightly disappointed by Les Quinze Nits.

Lena and her partner ran into La Crema Canela, and she returned home and declared that it was the best experience they had in Barcelona - at a budget price.

For those of you that plan a trip to Barcelona coming months, it may be an idea to drop in and test the food, and see whether you agree with Lena.


La Crema Canela
Ptge. Madoz 6
ES-08002 Barcelona
Phone: 93 318 27 44
See restaurant website here

Lena is a experienced diver

See her account of her Red Sea Diving experience here

Other restaurants close to Placa Reial?

See this map of the area here

Vis Barcelona and Catalonia on Enjoy Food & Travel i et større kart

Restaurants from A-Z 2009

View Bars and restaurants around the world 2009 in a larger map

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the rated restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2009 on this page. Enjoy!!

Highly Recommendable BBBBB: (5,00 - 4,51 points)
  1. Reviewed June 22nd 2008: La Nansa, Sitges (4,78 points)
    My favourite in Sitges. A five-star experience at a very decent price. Book a table and enjoy a terrific meal. Enjoy Food & Travel highly recommend La Nansa and will certainly return for another meal the coming summer.

  2. Reviewed September 3rd 2009: Winstub Au Clou, Strasbourg (4,77 points)
    Winstub Au Clou is no tourist trap. Top rating due to location, great interior and atmosphere, excellent service and first course. Main course disappointing, but I feel an encore possible, as it may have a few culinary treasures in store for future visits.

  3. Reviewed June 22nd 2008: Zodiaco, Sitges (4,72 points)
    We left completely satisfied. Absolutely one of the best experiences in Sitges. Highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel.

  4. Reviewed April 24th 2009: Fond Restaurang, Göteborg (4,70 points)
    Fond is a restaurant that deserves its Michelin star for a creative and interesting menu, excellent service, and elegant interior. We had a great meal at at very decent price, but found that the cooks did not manage to keep the same high quality and finesse through the whole menu.

  5. (3) RESTAURANT CLOSED JANUARY 2011: Reviewed January 18th, January 23rd 2009 and April 26th: M3 Mat & Bar, Oslo (4,69 points)
    Great traditional food and wine at a restaurant with great character. Highly recommended in downtown Oslo. A must for those of you that want to enjoy traditional Scandinavian cuisine.

  6. Reviewed May 3rd 2009: John Harvard's Brew House, Cambridge MA (4,63 points)
    A charming basement brew house and restaurant with a decent kitchen. Try a few varieties of their home brewed beer, it is absolutely worth it.

  7. Reviewed August 15th 2009: Tabibito, Oslo (4,62 points)
    High scores on location, interior and service, and NOK 398 for this meal is very favourable. Personally I found the six course to be a culinary roller coaster. It went from exquisite to mediocre. I would still recommend tabibito for an evening dinner. I would, however, compose my own dinner instead of choosing their menu.

  8. Reviewed March 7th 2009: Madam Reiersen, Arendal (4,56 points)
    Dejligt, as the Danes would say passionately. A Danish frokost is a meal with delicacies in abundance. If the stretch of sea called Skagerak did not separate Norway and Danmark, I would say that Madam Reiersen is a part of Denmark during weekends. Do not hesitate - try it, when visiting Arendal!!

  9. Reviewed March 25th 2009: Café Prag, Schwerin (4,53 points)
    Café Prag is a traditional yet informal café / restaurant in downtown Schwerin. Decent food at very nice prices. I recommend the toast of the house and the gravlax.

    Good BBBB: (4,50 - 3,51 points)

  10. Reviewed October 29th 2009: Ida Davidsen, Copenhagen (4,50 points)
    Still a recommendable place to enjoy the traditional Danish specialty. A little low on taste this time, but the open sandwiches served are still a feast for your eyes, and you get topping in abundance.

  11. Reviewed August 13th 2009: Riva, Scituate MA (4,44 points)
    Very high standard on food (4,86 points), but the moderate score is primarily due to low accessibility, as you will need a car to visit Scituate. The food at Riva is probably one of the best experiences of the last year. I will look forward to another visit.

  12. Reviewed January 10th 2009: Restaurant Valuta, Hamar (4,40 points)
    A good, borderline recommendable restaurant with a classy, but a little cold designer interior. Some room for improvement of service. Great food makes a visit to Restaurant Valuta worthwhile.

  13. Reviewed October 21st 2009: Restaurante La Lonja, Puerto Mogán (4,39 points)
    One of the best meal during our week on the Canary Island. Great location, but the terrace was overcrowded. Great, tasty seafood meal accompanied by delicious cold white wine.

  14. Reviewed June 28th 2009: Ristorante Pizzeria Claudius, Sitges (4,33 points)
    A climb down from the review in 2008. Even the gnocchi ordered by my traveling companions were of completely different character. Pizza was dry and not very good. Location, atmosphere, service and price saves it from even a lower dip in rating.

  15. Reviewed June 9th 2009: Mill Wharf, Scituate MA (4,29 points)
    A great place, sadly nearly out of bounce for those depending on public transportation. Good quality food served at a good price. If staying in Scituate a meal here is recommended.

  16. (20) Reviewed December 30th 2009: Eastman's Docks, Seabrook, N.H. (4,26 points)
    Great food off the beaten tracks in New Hampshire. If you happen to drive along the 1A from Newburyport MA to Portsmouth NH during the summer season, a stop at River street is recommended.
    See previous review here

  17. Reviewed November 23rd 2009: Holbergstuen, Bergen (4,24 points)
    A great place for a bite of traditional food in a rustic interior. in downtown Bergen. Extraordinarily delicious Christmas plate highly recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel. Sadly the rating could have been so much better, as the service was appallingly bad.

  18. Reviewed June 7th 2009: Samurai Sushi, Oslo (4,22 points)
    Samurai Sushi is definitely a place to consider if you want to eat sushi. Restaurant a little overcrowded, but Asian guests tend to prefer the place, - a sign of quality.

  19. Reviewed November 7th 2009: El Rincon del Artista, Barcelona (4,176 points)
    Lunch served on the pavement, with city traffic roaring only yards away. Decent service, but definitely the place for excellent Spanish tapas, offered at ridiculously low prices.

  20. Reviewed July 17th 2009: Den Danske Kro, Playa Del Ingles (4,12 points)
    Low on interior and location, but definitely the (and only) place for Danish grub in the neighbourhood. One of the best options at the Playa, good service - and open sandwiches.

  21. Reviewed December 23rd 2009: Ma Cuisine, Göteborg (4,11 points)
    An overall good French bistrowith a charming traditional interior in downtown Göteborg. Overcrowded when we visited it, affecting the service. Too many tables made it very uncomfortable.

  22. Reviewed October 3rd 2009: Rustic Kitchen, Hingham MA (4,05 points)
    Located outside Boston, you HAVE to have a car to visit the Rustic Kitchen at Derby Street Mall. It is therefore out of bounce for those of you visiting the city. Quaint interior. Delicious Lobster Club is a delicious treat, and this dish sets a high standard, and if the other food on the menu is as good as the club, then this is a highly recommendable place to eat.

  23. Reviewed December 20th 2008: Darbar Mat & Vinhus, Oslo (3,87 points)
    Good Indian & Afghan neighbourhood restaurant on Oslos East End. A little pricey, but you can eat worse Indian food else where. Darbar rarely fail to deliver good food. The interior needs a makeover.

  24. Reviewed May 18th 2009: Hviids Vinstue, Copenhagen (3,83 points)
    Great interior left after 300 years of history. Definitely a place to drink, but if you want to eat, go next door. At Skindbuksen you can indulge in the true Danish open sandwich experience. Hviids vinstue is a place to drink, nothing more.

  25. CLOSED OCTOBER 2010 - Reviewed December 17th 2008: Bangkok Thai, Oslo (3,77 points)
    Recommendable in Oslos east end. Good food at decent prices, slow service

  26. Reviewed February 9th 2009: Cactus Eck, Playa Del Ingles (3,72 points)
    Great location, good beer, medium service. Very uneven quality on food. I will never return here to eat!!

  27. Reviewed May 24th 2009: Nyhavns Færgekro, Copenhagen (3,71 points)
    Totally tourist trapped in Nyhavn. Read my warning on where not to eat, and you will find that Nyhavns Færgekro had many warning signs, that I did not see. If dining in Nyhavn, check where to eat. Café Zeleste is the one I would recommend.

  28. Reviewed September 17th 2009: Grill Martell House, Playa Del Ingles (3,59 points)
    Hardly a place that would please the noblesse, or ordinary food lovers, for that matter. The only decent thing was the food, and it would have been even better if it had been warm.

    Room for improvements BBB: (3,50 - 2,51 points)

  29. Reviewed January 12th 2009: Beijing Palace, Oslo (3,37 points)
    I have enjoyed decent dim sum and Beijing Palace, but my latest visit was a disappointing experience. If this is the overall level, I cannot recommend a visit here.

  30. Reviewed December 9th 2009: Venus, Barcelona (3,31 points)
    Venus Delicatessen provided the worst culinary restaurant experience in 2009. The 3 B's is due to location and price. The food was terrible, the interior looked worn and decayed. This is certainly a place to be avoided if looking for a late night snack.

    Bad BB: (2,50 - 1,51 points)

    Waste of time and money B: (1,50 - 1,00 points)
Other restaurant stories on Enjoy Food & Travel
  1. Auberge Nicholas Flamel, Paris (May 29th 2009)
    One of the places that I dream to dine, is in Paris. In Rue de Montmorency in the Marais district you may eat in a house that once belonged to one of the greatest alchemists in the world - Nicolas Flamel.
    Read full story here

  2. Au Bon Pain, Cambridge MA (September 7th 2009)
    This is a café with so much personal sentiment connected to it, as it has been there during my 21 years visits to the Harvard area.
    Read full story here

  3. Bagatelle, Oslo (December 16th 2009)
    If you plan to book a table at Bagatelle, Oslo's only two star Michelin restaurant, you may be too late. It will close down December 21st due to a conflict between its owner, investor Christen Sveaas and Eyvind Hellstrøm, its founder and head chef.
    Read full story here

  4. Bar El Jabali, Barcelona (June 24th 2009)
    First day - after lunch hunger!! We had a stroll to find a place to eat, and ended up at El Jabali after we had walked around the block.
    Read full story here

  5. Bartley's Burger Cottage, Cambridge MA (September 7th 2009)
    Last September I spotted the impressive sign outside Bartley's Burger Cottage.
    Read full story here

  6. La Crema Canela, Barcelona (December 30th 2009)
    My good friend, colleague Lena Holmström visited Barcelona this fall. When she returned she handed over a business card as she announced that she had found THE place to eat in the Catalan capital.
    Read full story here

  7. Hvide Lam, Copenhagen (January 30th 2009)
    I love old taverns, and in Copenhagen they are out of numbers. At Kultorvet, or the coal market you find one that has be open for business over 200 years. 1807 was a turbulent year.
    Read full story here

  8. Le Roi et son Fou, Strasbourg (October 24th 2009)
    I sat down at Le Roi et son Fou (The King and his Jester), a small bistro, looked over the menu and found just what I wanted - a sandwich with jambon or ham.
    Read full story here

  9. Moritz, Barcelona (June 24th 2009)
    Mediterranean culinary traditions and culture differs greatly from our Scandinavian. You are sometimes served the most unexpected foods, and we were slightly surprised at another small tapas bar in Ronda Sant Pau.
    Read full story here

  10. Nodee, Oslo (February 27th 2009)
    I and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne Koch met for an after work snack last Friday. We were both craving for sushi, and after a short deliberation we decided to visit Nodee.
    Read full story here

  11. Restaurant La Table du Gayot, Strasbourg (October 24th 2009)
    Alsace is widely known for its pies or quiche. The neigbouring province, Lorraine, has even one named after it. At place Gayot we found Restaurant La Table du Gayot, a small tavern and bar, and we decided to order to try one type of this Alsatian specialty.
    Read full story here

  12. Salisbury House of Pizza, Salisbury MA (December 1st 2009)
    Every year I visit my cousin in Salisbury, we order takeout pizza from Salisbury House of Pizza. There, they really know how to prepare this American-Italian specialty.
    Read full story here

  13. Tant Bruns Kaffehus, Sigtuna (November 15th 2009)
    Sigtuna is a quiet, quaint town an hour away from Stockholm. This hamlet is, however, another world compared to the busy suburban life. This is felt clearly when you enter the backyard of Tant Bruns Kaffehus, located in the oldest building in the town center.
    Read full story here

  14. Yenching, Cambridge MA (September 7th 2009)
    A nice place if you are in the mood for Chinese food. An informal Chinese restaurant in the heart of Harvard serving the most delicious food.
    Read full story here

  15. Z-Square, Cambridge MA (September 7th 2009)
    If you are looking for Z-Square at 14 JFK Street, you will search in vain. This place is out of business.
    Read full story here

Eastman's Docks revisited

I have one annual trip to Northern Massachusetts. Without exception I end up at Eastman's Docks to dine during my stay. This as I and Merrilee Eastman, the proprietor, have known each other for 20 years. The main reason is, however, the food. September 2009, I was spoiled rotten by Merrilee. The food was de-li-ci-ous.

Location: BBB+

Eastman's Docks is located between Newburyport MA and Portsmouth NH, and you need a car to get there. This is an area where there are practically no public transportation.

The nearest train or bus is either at Newburyport (suburban line to Boston / Bus) or Portsmouth NH (Bus). If you rent a car, you drive along 1A towards Portsmouth. and stop just as you leave the barrier island at Seabrook NH Once you are there you experience an area of beauty.

The restaurant face the salt marshes that separates the barrier island on which the communities of Seabrook N.H., and Salisbury MA rests from the mainland.

The restaurant is located away from the ocean, sheltering it from the sea and you can enjoy a view to Hampton Beach and the marshes, that flood during high tide.

Interior & atmosphere: BBBB

This is certainly not the posh refined dinner, rather the interior of Eastman's Docks reflects the relaxed atmosphere at the beach.

During peak season, it is packed with people. I usually visit around the labour day weekend, when Eastman's Docks close for the season, and most of the guests have left.

Eastman's has a rustic wooden interior. I usually prefer to sit outside with a view to the water. Here you can sit with the salt marsh as your nearest neighbour.

The are plenty of room around the table, and you are seated comfortably. This is however a place for informal dining. No table cloth, cutlery, or napkin. The table is stripped down to bare necessity. Here you get what is necessary when served.

Service: BBBBB-

As this is relations, I might get even better service than others, but friends that I have brought to Eastmans have loved the place.

This time I was the only person there, as this was the first weekend after end of peak season, and it was just around opening time. The staff here are genuinely clever, good at small talk, professional, and food is served quickly. Service at Eastmans is terrific.


The chowder sampler: BBBBB

Chowders are thick soups traditional to the eastern seaboard of the US. When visiting Boston, try the famous Clam Chowder.

As I arrived at Eastman's Docks, Merrilee Eastman - the proprietor, presented me with three different chowders as a sampler of what the kitchen had to offer.

The traditional clam chowder - rich, mild and creamy. As contrast there was a small cup of corral coloured lobster bisque, sweetened by sherry and the house's corn chowder. The latter had the very interesting taste derived from shrimps marinated in Cajun spices. All soups had that crunch from perfectly prepared vegetables, and well balanced seasoning, neither too sweet, sour or salty.

I can highly recommend all of the soups if on menu. For those faint hearted, I would hesitate to choose the corn chowder, as it has that additional heat from the Cajun spices. The other two, however, are well suited for any pallet.

Hot Buffalo Tenders: BBBBB-

Hot Buffalo Wings or Tenders are among my absolute favourites, and I certainly know how to appreciate a portion of this Northern New England specialty.

Buffalo tenders are supposed be a spicy experience - glaced with a hot sweet and sour marinade, then fried. The dish is served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

The Buffalo tenders at Eastman's Docks are a fiery experience. Well prepared, tender and succulent with a crunchy crust. It has that slight sour, sweet and salty aroma well balanced with the mild blue cheese dressing.

A real knockout of an appetizer. If you urge for a snack, try it with a freezing cold beer on a warm summer day. Irresistible!!!

Baked stuffed haddock: BBBBB-

The baked stuffed haddock at Eastman's Docks mirrors the culinary opulence of the Ottoman cuisine. The Ottoman rulers loved to create a cornucopia of meats or fish stuffed with different exotic fillings.

The baked stuffed haddock is such a rich dish. Under the crispy crunchy crust, you find the most deliciously tender and moist fish - flaky but still firm. Then you cut into the most delicious creamy seafood filling. It is served with homemade creamy potato mash and perfectly cooked broccoli.

The only down side to this dish is that it is simply too much of it. I did not manage to eat up all, and it is a shame to let food like this go to waste.

Beverage: BBBB+

For those of you that know your Monty Python, I know the comparison between "American beer and making love in a row boat - it is fucking close to water." In spite of this, there is no other choice for me to such food as one (or two) ice cold Samauel Adams Boston Lager. It is refreshing and soothing when eating the hot food, and does not interfere too much with the taste.

Rating the Eastman's Docks experience: BBBB+ (4,40 points - new average 4,26 points)

Another great meal offered by Merrilee and her staff. Excellent food in an informal atmosphere, right by the water - who can ask for more!

Eastman's Docks
7 River St, Seabrook, NH 03874
Phone: +1 (603) 474-7063
See restaurant website here

For more restaurant in Northern Massachusetts see this map

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