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Ralph’s – Paris, France

Imagine The Ivy transplanted to Paris and then add beautiful Parisian waiters – yes please!  I was first recommended Ralph’s by an acquaintance that lived in Paris for years.  And then I read mixed reviews online, some thought it to be overrated while others couldn’t give it enough praise.  I already had a reservation for lunch and thought best to make my own opinion.  It was lovely!  Everything about it.  Set in a beautiful outdoor courtyard in the middle of the Ralph Lauren store, it’s comfortable and so relaxing.  The food did not disappoint either.  We couldn’t resist the cute little lobster rolls for a starter (a special that day) and then I couldn’t resist the lobster salad.  Stunning!

I have a hard time recommending lunch spots in Paris to friends simply because I find it fun to just stumble upon cute little bistros while out and about.  This would be an exception though if you’re looking for a nice civilized break in the day.  Reservations recommended.  Enjoy!

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Frenchie – Paris, France

What a charming restaurant!  I’ve wanted to go here for a while now and wasn’t able to last year because our party was larger than six (their limit).  Now I understand why…with just eight tables and two counter seats, there’s not a lot of room to spare.  And rightly so, it’s a beautiful dinner meant to be appreciated whereas with a larger group, sometimes the conversation and laughs take over the spotlight.

At Frenchie (the nickname Chef Gregory Marchand was coined while working for Jamie Oliver at one of his London establishments years ago), you are presented a five course seasonal tasting menu along with an amuse bouche and two desserts (eat light during the day).  From start to finish the meal was outstanding!  So many pleasant surprises and originality.  Honestly, the strawberry gazpacho that was our amuse bouche is still on my mind.  Stunning yet delicate flavors with just the right acidity.  YES!  Overall it was definitely worth the hype.  And don’t forget to make a reservation well in advance, you’ll need it!

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Florilége – Tokyo, Japan

Wow.  What a stunning meal!  Florilége was voted No. 3 in the 2018 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants (No. 99 in the world!) I have absolutely no question as to why.  Chef Hiroyasu Kawate surprises you with both presentation and ingredients.  There’s one dish in particular that shines for it’s thoughtfulness and sustainability message – beef carpaccio using beef from a 13 year old cow versus meat you’d normally have from a cow slaughtered at 2-3 years old.

Surprisingly the portion sizes were much larger than I anticipated and when our server noticed me slowing down, he had the remaining dishes made smaller so I could make it through.  Say yes to the wine pairing – so good!  And if you don’t drink alcohol, the non-alcoholic pairing was even more impressive and beautiful.

You’ll definitely need a reservation far in advance (1-2 months) – well worth it!

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Costes – Paris, France

Our first day in Paris we were hot off the plane and needed some lunch pronto!  Our hotel recommended the terrace at Hotel Costes as it was just a block from where we were staying.  What a great find!  Super chic and trendy, I would love to sit here all day and just people watch while drinking my French rosé.

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Lapérouse – Paris, France

Do a little research on this place and you’ll quickly realize that it has some major history.  Established in 1766 how could it not?!  What we thought were vandalized mirrors in our room turned out in fact to be scratches from the diamonds that the “cocottes” (fashionable prostitutes) would make in order to authenticate the diamonds they got as payment and make sure they weren’t just glass.  All the history aside, the food was great! I’m still thinking about my salad with fresh truffles shaved on top.  I could honestly eat it everyday.

All in all this is a memorable and fun restaurant whether you’re a party of 2 or 12.  Check out their Instagram to see all the notable models and famous people that have dined there.

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Lettuce salad and black truffles – fresh leafs of lettuce, truffle shavings, pecorino cheese and garlic crouton

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The Victor Hugo lobster – salted butter roasted and avocado

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The Lapérouse soufflé – for 124 years, made from praline, served with caramel sauce

Divellec – Paris, France

I’m not exaggerating when I say this was one of the best meals of my entire life.  Truth.  One of the ladies in my group said had we gone there the first night of our trip she would have requested we go back the last night.  Everything made this meal perfect – from the decor to the incredible staff, the night really couldn’t have been any better.  I truly feel that Divellec is Paris’ best kept secret.  They earned their first Michelin star after only being open for 4 months and I think soon enough this place will be the talk of the town.

I have never felt so glutinous but I couldn’t help myself.  Started with the caviar, next the sashimi and then followed it all up with the classic sole meunière.  The sole might sound boring to some but let me tell you, boring it was not.  I rolled each bite of fish in the butter it was sitting in and moaned out loud the whole dinner.  This really could have been my last meal on earth and I would have been perfectly satisfied.  Although I felt like I needed to be rolled out of the restaurant…we ordered desert.  Who can pass up a beautiful chocolate soufflé?!  Not me apparently.  Go here and enjoy yourself!

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Saint Helens – Seattle, WA

Saint Helens is exactly what the North Seattle neighborhoods have needed for a long time. Located right off the Burke Gilman Trail on NE 45th, it’s the perfect location for all the surrounding neighborhood folk to meet.  Whether by bike or car, stop on by anytime of the day.  Summer days and nights will be perfectly spent on the outdoor patio area fit with a fire pit to keep you toasty at night.

Open morning to night, you can stop in for the most perfect coffee and pastry (the scones are to die for), tartine sandwiches, or linger at dinner with some wine and cocktails.  The patio/deck is the perfect summer hangout!

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