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Best Meals of 2019

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Shall we do this? Because I was in Barcelona this month, the answer seems obviously to be:

 

Hisop

Can Lluis

Can Sole (just for the razor clams)

 

But I will go back and look at my U.S. meals too. There were some good ones.

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We were very lazy this year (and also tonight, skipping our usual NYE at Gramercy).

 

Olmsted and Oxalis around the corner, that's it.

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Easily my weakest year for eating out in at least a decade, but maybe explicable by us having a baby on 2 January and me being sick for most of the summer. I’ve just realised 2019 was the first year since it opened that I didn’t visit The Ledbury...

 

The Hits

 

1. The Fat Duck

 

We hadn’t been in 10 years so most of it seemed fresh again. Fun and very delicious.

 

2. Endo

 

Maybe too high but London’s best sushi in a beautiful setting.

 

3. Brat

 

Why everyone else has said. Really very good.

 

4. Waterside Inn

 

It did what it needs to do so well. Lobster with port, impeccable Challans duck for two, perfect soufflé. And seemed surprisingly good value (admittedly after The Fat Duck the previous evening).

 

5. Ikoyi

 

Genuinely different, in a way that you can’t say about many high end restaurants these days. Loved it.

 

6. O Ya (Boston)

 

Some beautiful fish (fish from Japan really does make a difference) even if it felt like they were trying a bit too hard at times.

 

7. Clove Club

 

Good but not amazing meal earlier in the year. Some very good courses but overwhelmed by misses and borderline caricatured service.

 

8. Flor

 

One of my favourite casual openings in a while.

 

9. Brigadiers

 

I guess. Delicious Indian in buzzy environment.

 

10. The Nomad

 

Jeez it wasn’t a great year...

 

The Misses

 

The Ritz

 

Exactly, I mean to the iota, what you think eating at The Riitz

would be like. Huge dining room full of ancient diners. Soggy melba toast (really!) as an “amuse”. Rapacious wine list. Delicious crepes suzette.

 

Aska

 

Very unsuccessful meal, but it seems maybe I visited when they were going through a difficult patch.

 

Araki

 

Traditional edomae sushi but with relatively ordinary ingredients. 3*?!!!

 

Lyles

 

We loved Flor so much we decided to return to Lyles, and quickly remembered why we hadn’t been for a few years. Seems restricted by its identity, and we gave the all-natural wine list a fair run through without finding a wine we enjoyed.

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Che Fico    SF

Korus         Paris

Amarante     Paris     (frais de veau)

Piccino     SF     (strozzapretti)

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I'm pretty sure the frais de veau is the best dish I didn't have in 2019.

The morcilla was really great at Amarante as well. (Even on N.Year’s Eve I can be sadistic. There’s gotta be a resolution for that).

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Probably my best meal out of the year was at Bavel.

 

Which shows how pathetic this year was for me, eating-out-wise.

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We were very lazy this year (and also tonight, skipping our usual NYE at Gramercy).

 

Olmsted and Oxalis around the corner, that's it.

I had no idea you lived so close and also that oxalis was in Brooklyn. I have been told to go by so many people. Oh that’s cool

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We were very lazy this year (and also tonight, skipping our usual NYE at Gramercy).

 

Olmsted and Oxalis around the corner, that's it.

I had no idea you lived so close and also that oxalis was in Brooklyn. I have been told to go by so many people. Oh that’s cool

 

 

My (loving) years of exile in 212, preceded by (too often solo) years across the park, are ovah. Lovely spouse agreed to join me in Brooklyn if I found us a good subway. Our new dream kitchen is across from the museum. This year I resolve to cook in it.

 

She agreed with (I think) Pete Wells that Oxalis's menu didn't change enough to return to often. Though that belies our habit of falling into ruts of reordering, elsewhere, what we like the most.

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Thinking about it hard, what I think Oxalis shows me is that, for me, a large part of the appeal of "that kind of cooking" is premium ingredients. And that without them, to me "that kind of cooking" -- think Brooklyn Fare -- just seems precious and kind of empty.

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