Riana’s Favorite Restaurant Picks:
Le Jules Verne Restaurant, Pilier Sud, Champ de Mars District 7ème – Invalides – Tour Eiffel 75007 Paris France. Phone 01 45 55 61 44 Fax 33 1 47 05 29 41 www.lejulesverne-paris.com
LeJules Verne: What could beat eating at the top level of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France? Well…….not much! Talk about Romantic and the view to die for! I must stress, this is NOT Romance at Reasonable rates — but it IS worth the money for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
This Fabulous Restaurant is called LeJules Verne; located in the southern pillar of the Eiffel Tower. A private elevator whisks you up 125 meters to the glorious restaurant of many private rooms – all glass enclosed for the ultimate view of Paris where ever you sit!
You MUST have reservations, and usually, there is a 3-month wait, 6 – 9 months for a window seat – however, dressed in our wedding attire, the Maitre D could not say no! You are required to get a full dinner, priced at about $300 per person, US; or $140 Euros. There is a luncheon menu for $75 Euros. There are breathtaking views in a room decorated by Patrick Jouin. Service is chic and professional, and the food (French Contemporary Cuisine) is refined and handled by Chef Alain Ducasse; so you can be assured that each and every selection is superb!
Afterward, you have a private viewing landing around the Tower that all diners have access to – so you can see all the areas of Paris at night.
Photos to come — and Hello to our dining friends, Ben and Katy Peake of London – who joined us on the viewing landing for pictures, and for drinks up on the Champs – Elysees afterward. What fun – absolutely Brilliant!
1) Harry’s Prime Steakhouse & Raw Bar: Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 14.2, Zona Hotelera, CP 77500, Q. Roo, Mexico Phone: (998) 840-6550 www.harrys.com.mx
I had a fabulous birthday dinner at Harry’s on the Lagoon in the Hotel Zone of Cancun! The Manager Stefan and our waiter, Ricardo – were both so accommodating. The food — we had the BEST steaks that we have ever tried – anywhere! They have a large selection of red meat, but we ordered: “the Happy Cow Colby Beef” which was Ricardo’s recommendation – this cow was organically fed, massaged, listened to soothing music, and treated to all the best. Could it possibly make a difference? Absolutely – go figure!
Our oysters were fresh from Japan, we had several servings of hot fresh bread, and a surprise birthday cake and blue cotton candy surprise after-dessert. The soft lighting, cool, sexy South-beach style music, and table overlooking the lagoon made for a very romantic, sexy dining experience. It was our best steak and seafood dinner in Cancun – and we highly recommend it!
2) La Habichuela Restaurant: Margaritas Street 25, downtown Cancun (884-3158); and in the Hotel Zone – Blvd. Kukkulcan. Phone: 840-6240 www.labichuela.com
We went to the downtown restaurant after shopping in the Kiwi market. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, with the outdoor courtyard romantically decorated in white tea lights throughout the trees. There for 33 years, it was recommended to us from one of the popular locals named Victor.
We had two waiters at tableside – Victor and Ascension. I started with the cold Avocado soup and my companion had the tomato hot soup. Then we split the favorite of the house – a hard coconut shell with a brown curry sauce with lobster, crab. white fish, bananas, pineapples and other delectable’s mixed in. For dessert, we had a Mexican coffee and flaming banana and chocolate crepes. Thank you to Santiago, the Manager, for being such a gracious host! What an incredible meal – this was our favorite, most romantic Mexican gourmet restaurant in Cancun – a must!
“The Green Bean” restaurant also opened in the Hotel Zone, but we did not see that one, although it is situated overlooking the lagoon. I’m sure it is as good as the original – featuring Caribbean seafood and Mexican specialties!
3) Lorenzillo’s Live Lobster House & Seafood: Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 10.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancun, Mexico. Phone: 883.1254 www.lorenzillos.com
Armando Granados, the Restaurant Captain and Head waiter were really accommodating to us when we visited Lorenzillos. A favorite of mine the past two times I visited Cancun, I wanted my companion to experience this wonderful seafood house on the lagoon. On a prior visit I shared a 4lb lobster with my date, but this time my companion and I had our own and both were tasty. David, our waiter, was very attentive, and we enjoyed our meal from start to finish. and the Key Lime pie was one of the best I’ve had (and I am a specialist of Key Lime pie!)
After dinner, Armando took us for a tour and called over his favorite pet crocodile- seems there’s a family living right in their lagoon, and they are spoiled and well-fed by the staff! Lorenzillos is romantically lit, and when you sit outside by the rail, you see all the amazing fish swimming by beneath you. Still one of my favorite places in Cancun, Lorenzillos has my vote for the Best Lobster dinner!
4) La Palapa Belga: Calle Quetzal #13 Int. Hotel Imperial Laguna Cancun Hotel Zone, Mexico. Phone: 883-5454 www.palapabelga.com
Hidden away on the lagoon within the Hotel Imperial, this totally outdoor restaurant with seafood and French specialties was a nice choice. Romantically lit, and very private, we had a fabulous white fish dinner with fresh bread, rice and steamed vegetables.
A nice choice for casual romance, but go on a mild afternoon or evening with not much humidity – as this is located on the water and totally outside. There are fans to help cool, but there is no ac. We will be back!
1) Tony’s Asian Bistro – Asian French Fusion food. What a fabulous meal, view, ambiance and family! I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Tullan Dichter, his lovely wife Linda, and one of their son’s Brandon, who treated me like both a VIP and family. The food and the view were amazing – you dine under the stars with the best view of Acapulco Bay. I selected the salmon dish which was so moist and perfectly prepared, and several appetizers – Fresh Tuna with Froi Gras, sliced almonds, and ginger goat cheese with marmalade jam on points – YUM. The perfect wine was suggested – LaLinda Malbec from Argentina. Everything I had made the taste buds come alive! This experience was the perfect first night in Acapulco – the night air was wonderful until the rain came, and the perfectly attentive wait staff took all of us into the covered room, and it became a family party! SO Fabulous. Afterward, they invited me up one of their nightclubs – the BEST Nightclub in all of Acapulco (The Palladium – See full write up under nightclubs) – which was right on the cliff above the restaurant – that also has an amazing view of the bay. For the PERFECT Romantic night in Acapulco, come to both of Tony’s establishments on Friday or Saturday night! Escentica Las Brisas, S/N, Acapulco, Pacific Coast, Mexico – Ph: +52 (744) 446.5492 – Ask for Tony or Brandon & please say Riana sent you! (Also rated #1 on Trip Advisor and recipient of the 5 star Diamond award!)
2) Becco Al Mare – A beautiful architechtural marvel on the hills of Acapulco. All you see from the street is a lit cube – once inside, you go down several flights of stairs as the restaurant has several levels. There is a beautiful view of the bay, with the city lights down below. The food was incredible – I had the creamy risotto with lobster, and there was lobster in every savory bite. The perfect chilled Cabernay wine – Ikus, was suggested by my waiter, Juan Francisco, who was just perfectly attentive. The Tiramisu was recommended for dessert, which just melts in your mouth. I did not get to meet the owner, Rolando, but was beautifully greeted by the restaurant Captain and Manager. Be sure to come here to eat and take in the view – it has such a sexy vibe and the most incredible food! Avenida Escenica 14, Acapulco, Pacific Coast, Mexico
1) Do Brazil – Overlooking Shell beach, on St. Barths island; this quaint beach restaurant was a real find! The food is delicious, and the view amazing, Shell beach, is all shells, so not the easiest to walk on – but taking the ferry to the island from St. Maarten, it is within walking distance from the main shopping area of St. Barths. So in one day, we had two, 1 hour-Ferry rides (very rocky- not for those prone to sea-sickness!), great shopping, a very romantic, delicious lunch, and a day on the beach. If you get to St. Barth’s do check out this great beach restaurant!
San Juan, Puerto Rico
1) Pikayo – 999 Ashford Ave, Conrad Condado Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907 (787) 721-6194
Delicious and Perfect! Everything we had was just amazing. Located in the Conrad Condado Plaza, The Pikayo is on the 2nd floor of the hotel in which we stayed. I read great reviews about it, so we decided to give it a try. The Dining Room Manager, Remi Acosta, made sure everything was to our delight, and after brought out the Chef to meet us. We started with the Duck Pate, which is so hard for me to find prepared as I found it in France… until now. We had two servings because it was just soooo good! My lamb dish was so delicious and my boyfriend had an incredible fish dish, and we shared the Chocolate Souffle at the end – a MUST do! Beautiful, romantic atmosphere, and impeccable service! I give this restaurant a 5/5 – it was the best meal we had in San Juan! We will be back! See photos at this link: pikayo restaurant in san juan
United States Favorite Restaurants
Delray Beach – Now my home as of April, 2014! Tons of great places to go and write up!
1) Cabana El Ray: 105 E Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach (561) 274-9090: A great spot on the corner which offers fine latin and Spanish foods. I had the baby lamb and my love had the steak – we both felt our dishes were just amazing! Service was impeccable – so polite! The prices very fair for the amount of food received. Really nice, relaxing ambiance, great wines, with Latin music in the evening. A sure spot to sit and enjoy while visiting Delray!
2) City Oyster: 213 E Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, (561) 272-0220. The BEST Seafood in town, this popular spot is always busy! Various oysters from all over (The west coast are the best!) and always incredible fresh fishes. We love Wayne, the bartender – so accommodating, besides, he read my LOVE book and tells all his customers about it! LOL. This bar is a great place to meet other singles, with Thursday night being especially active. Be patient to get a seat, this is a real local favorite and busy year round!
3) Cut432: 432 East Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, (561) 272-9898. YUM! The BEST beef and lamb you want to taste on the Avenue. The incredible wine list, and a cool, contemporary vibe with music and activity at the bar. Another local favorite, with friendly bartenders and indoor-outdoor seating. Upscale, but without the snob appeal. You have to try it – we love it here!
4) Deck 84: 840 East Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach (561) 665-8484. Voted for the BEST water view! Lovely to sit anywhere in this establishment and see the intercoastal waterway and boats going by. Casual, and a real lively and popular bar during football games. Great flatbreads and salads at the bar and Happy Hour starts at noon – nice! We love this after the beach because we enjoy the island music which plays in the later afternoon. Also, showing up in a swimsuit and coverup is just fine, everything goes! Come enjoy the food, the view, and the feisty crowd!
Miami South Beach –
1) Prime 112: 112 Ocean Avenue, Miami South Beach, FL. Owner: Myles Cheftez, a long-time friend of mine from the NY Hamptons; and owner of the most popular South Beach Restaurants; including Prime 112, Prime Italian, Nemos, and The Big Pink Diner. We had a fabulous meal at Prime 112 – my companion ordered the 8 oz Filet Mignon, and I had the lamb. Both dishes were amazing! Our side dishes were huge and extremely tasty; Sweet potatoes with vanilla bean accents, and asparagus. Ask for Kyle, my long-time friend for a waiter, he’s fabulous! Our meal was perfect, but we had over an hour and a half wait for our table – we asked for an 8 pm reservation, and got seated at 9:40 pm – so be prepared, and have a snack before you go.
2) Samba Sushi – 600 Lincoln Road, South Beach. Excellent food, ambiance, and a local favorite. A beautiful Sushi restaurant – with very cool music. Don’t miss this for a fabulous, romantic evening, then stroll down Lincoln and visit the shops after dinner. Enjoy!
Ft. Lauderdale –
1) YOLO & O Lounge on Las Olas: 333 East Los Olas Boulevard (954) 524-3884.
I really enjoy YOLO (You Only Live Once) restaurant which features indoor and outdoor seating, fire pits, an upscale vibe, and sexy music. Dress to impress here. Food is wonderful, and the wine list is great. Yolo has two bars – a more social bar, and the nightclub – O Lounge; all within the one property. The nightclub plays dance favorites, and all ages enjoy it there. The one bar is also open to the night air, keeping the club itself, cool with a breeze. The restaurant and dance club are two of my favorites in this city. Be sure to valet, and check out the scene. A must if you are staying in FLL. Ask for – Michael Savitt – General Manager.
2) LuLu’s Bait Shack – located in the Beach Place Mall, on AIA, in Ft. Lauderdale. Ph: 954-463-7425. Ok, this is NOT a romantic or upscale place, not in the least – but it is a down-to-earth bar and restaurant that serves the best seafood! Go extremely casual, and order the Mussels St. Charles dish – our favorite item on the menu – the bowel of mussels is huge and plenty for two. These yummy mussels are in a white wine creamy garlic sauce, with other “special recipe” items, as explained by Anna Dolge, the Manager. On weekends, there is music and a fun crowd. I never miss LuLu’s on my trips to Ft Lauderdale!
3) Aruba Beach Cafe – One Commercial Blvd, on the beach, Lauderdale By the Sea, FL Ph: 954-776-0001. Lunch and dinner are served daily, there are three bars, and live entertainment offered 7 nights a week – about the only place you can count on getting music in this area no matter the night! A tropical, dressy casual feeling, attire is comfortable for men, and sun-dress, skirts or slacks for ladies. Featuring seafood, steaks, pasta and salads, this is a fun spot to stop for happy hours or a casual dinner and dancing. Happy hour is Fridays, from 4 – 7 pm and there is a Sunday Breakfast Buffet from 9am to noon for $13.99. We always stop here at least once when we travel to FLL. Its a great spot for the beach too, if you can find parking! A local favorite.
1) Tommy Bahama Restaurant – 1220 3rd Street South, Naples FL 34102 PH: 239-643-6889
Visiting a good friend in Naples, she said we have a huge choice of restaurants to try – but we only had one night. We were on a mad hunt for a restaurant that had live music – a lively part of town. We decided to try Tommy Bahama and had a great table in the patio area, where we could hear the music (which was quite good). Our food and service were really terrific; I had a grilled white fish which was juicy and tender, and my friends enjoyed their meals too. Desert was on the house, so we tried three different ones; each better than the next. Stu Dickson, the General Manager came over to say hello and checked a few times to make sure everything was to our liking. It was excellent! A more casual than romantic spot, I still highly recommend this restaurant for his Great food, service, and of course, music!
1) The Capital Grill: 9101 International Dr, suite 1000 (401) 370-4393. Manager: Nick Hickton
Beautiful, classy restaurant in Orlando where I spent my birthday with my love. Incredible food, wines and service, and they delivered a beautiful rose to me at the dinner. We would definitely come back to enjoy another meal. One HUGE problem, my honey’s credit card number was stolen, along with others that evening. The management apologized, but very upsetting after a fabulous meal.
Atlantic City, NJ
1) Chelsea Prime – in the Chelsea Hotel – 111 South Chelsea Ave, 5th Flr, Atlantic City, NJ 08401; (609) 428-4545. Manager Michael King runs the prettiest, most romantic restaurant in town! Decorated in Art Deco Black and white, this very special restaurant features large, semi-circular booths, tiered flooring, a piano player along with 30’s style singers (on weekends, call for entertainment schedule), and a large bar area with intimate seating and a high-level view of the Atlantic Ocean. My companion and I went there for my birthday in September, and the food and ambiance was such a special treat! Known for its succulent steaks and meats, my companion had the Filet Mignon and I had the most wonderful Lamb Chops. Service was amazing – so attentive – just perfect. There is an intimate lounge and dance club also on the 5th floor that we enjoyed after dinner. Come to the Chelsea, and plan to stay awhile — it’s the Best!
2) Annata Wine Bar – 216 Bellevue Ave, Hammonton, NJ 08037 (609) 704-9797
Chef Matthew Brunozzi has made quite an impression with his wonderful cooking at The Annata Wine Bar. I had heard about this restaurant located about 40 minutes outside of Atlantic City, and my companion and I stopped in one night just off the cuff. We had a lovely seat, and there were 2 acoustic guitar players. The restaurant has a romantic yet comfortable ambiance to it featuring large tables with big comfortable chairs. The place was packed, but we were seated right away. Service was impeccable. It is best to call for reservations – it’s worth taking the trip!
1) The Sea Grille – in The Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowe’s Wharf, Boston, MA 02110 (617) 856-7744
What a lovely view from the glass-enclosed restaurant which sits right on Boston Harbor! We had a fabulous 2 lb. lobster, oysters, and wonderfully baked fresh bread. Everything was delicious, but we were a bit disappointed in the soups – my companion’s lobster bisk contained no lobster, and my clam chowder only had one clam – but it did not deter us from enjoying the entire meal experience. Just outside, was a great dance band located right down on the water. There was a hotel veranda that surrounded the entire marina area, so everyone could enjoy the water views and the band. Outdoor dining was more casual, so we recommend The Sea Grille restaurant for its seafood and romantic wonderful view!