Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ristorante Alla Rampa (Rome, ITALY) ★★★★☆

Located just a stone's throw from the Spanish Steps, Ristorante Alla Rampa serves up specialty pastas like penne Alla Rampa with Gruyère and spinach Ravioli with Ricotta. The restaurant has been around for nearly 40 years and is most famous for their homemade pastas. That's where we were heading for dinner tonight.

Despite being on a weeknight, the place was fully packed indoor so we ended up sitting in the patio right next to the staircase to the Spanish Steps.

They have an extensive chef's recommendation list here at Ristorante Alla Rampa and we wasted no time dipping into this list. First up was this lovely dish of risotto in creamy scampi sauce.

Equally impressive was their rabbit with polenta Tuscany style. The sauce with white wine provided the perfect finishing touch.


We were so full but how could we leave without trying their house specialty, tiramisu which they called their "Lift me up" here.

This interpretation of tiramisu looked very different from what we were accustomed to but don't be fooled by the look because it's "out of this world" good.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: €€€
Address: Piazza Mignanelli, 18, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 6782621

Website: www.allarampa.it/home.php?language=English

View Larger Map

Monday, September 10, 2007

Emperador (Barcelona, SPAIN) ★★★☆☆

La Barceloneta is best known for its sandy beach and beach-side cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. It's one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Barcelona especially during the summer.

We spent some time walking along the beach before finding Emperador besides the beautifully restored Catalan History Museum building. Looked like a perfect place to spend our last supper in Barcelona.


We decided to sit at the outdoor patio for its lovely view of the old port and the yacht club.

The food menu at Emperador mainly focused on fish and seafood with an added Mediterranean spin. But after having already eaten seafood on consecutive days, I decided to have a piece of grilled steak with some French fries instead.


The other main course was a grilled lobster with some bomba rice.

One last Catalan Cream before we called it the night. This one tasted a lot more like the French crème brûlée with the sugar glaze.

Forget about the food, this place is solely for tourists who just couldn't get enough of the beach!

Food Rating: 3.5/10
Price: €€
Address: Plaça de Pau Vila, 1, 08039 Barcelona, Spain
Closest Metro Station: Barceloneta
Tel: +34 932 210220

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (Barcelona, SPAIN) ★★★☆☆

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba (or bbrb) is a paella specialty cafe and restaurant located near the pedestrian street of Passeig de Gràcia. There are a number of different paellas in different sizes to choose from. We were glad that we have picked this seafood paella - it's delicious and the portion (including the scampi, prawns and mussels) was generous.

We had the opportunity to visit the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milàa, Casa Batlló and Park Güell after the meal. It's almost time to leave Barcelona and head to our next destination (Rome). Perhaps one day if I could forget about that robbery on our first night, we could come back to Spain for a more in-depth visit.


Food Rating: 4/10
Price: €€
Address: Passeig de Gracia 28, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Closest Metro Station: Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: +34 933 022129
Website: www.restaurantebbrb.com

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tapa Tapa (Barcelona, SPAIN) ★☆☆☆☆

Our Barcelona trip has got off to a painful start. Following a flight delay from London, we were robbed in the subway station on our way to our hotel in central Barcelona. As a result, we had to spend almost the entire second day in Barcelona at the police station giving our report.

And when everything was said and done, it was almost time for an early dinner. Tapa Tapa on Passeig de Gracia 44 was chosen for no particular reason other than the fact that we were just in the neighbourhood.

As the name would suggest, this is a Spanish tapas restaurant serving some 30+ tapas including some of the most popular ones such as bravas, croquette etc.

First, a trio of tapas including croquettes, a small paella with mussels and a bowl of small Spanish snails. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood after the robbery so everything seemed bland and tasteless at this point.

Catalan Cream was the only dish that managed to put a smile back on my face again. It's really just the Spanish version of the French crème brûlée but it's a little sweeter.

Running a little low on cash and with my credit cards all stolen, I think I probably need to cut back on my dining expenses now.

Food Rating: 3/10
Price: €€
Address: Passeig de Gracia 44, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Closest Metro Station: Passeig de Gràcia
Tel: +34 934 883369
Website: www.tapataparestaurant.es

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Maze (London, UNITED KINGDOM) ★★☆☆☆

This is our first look at Maze, the crown jewel of the Gordon Ramsay empire at Grosvenor Square. After capturing its first Michelin star, Maze was named 55th best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine this year so they've been on a great run so far. The success of Maze is largely credited to Head Chef Jason Atherton who is one of the fastest rising stars in the food scene of London in recent years. That got us all hyped up for this dinner.

A contemporary decor along with dim lighting provided the perfect setting for a romantic fine dining experience. Right? Wrong. While the service team managed to hold their own, the kitchen did not. There were a few decent dishes in the mix but throughout the night, there was a recurring theme of over-seasoning with the majority of dishes. The overall dining experience failed miserably to live to expectation.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ££££
Address: 10-13 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, UK 
Closest Tube Station: Bond Street
Website: www.gordonramsay.com/maze
S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 55th (2007)

View Larger Map