The Bar Hemingway in the Hotel Ritz Carlton Paris | Bar in Paris

It's a fancy affair at the Hotel Ritz Paris. Come here for a fancy cocktail or dinner experience - but you must come and discover Bar Hemingway. The bar opens early in the evening, and there will always be a line. Approximately 25 people can fit into this charming establishment. Bar Hemingway (if you haven't already figured it out) was named after Ernest Hemingway. Back in the day, he apparently used to write some of his infamous works of literature in this particular bar. Filled with a unique persona and items that he admired, Bar Hemingway welcomes all.  The cocktails are all original and the bar tenders are extremely knowledgeable in mixology. Most of the cocktails we tried were quite potent - so one or two will already have you relaxed or get you ready for your upcoming dinner reservation. It is definitely a one of a kind experience! We highly recommend you take a sip or two at Bar Hemingway. Santé!

Location: Paris, France
Made by: The Bar Hemingway 

Etto | Dining in Dublin

A fantastic spot in Dublin, Etto serves great food in its cozy restaurant. This was a place recommended by my friend, Diala Canelo (who by the way has a fantastic blog, be sure to follow her on social media!). Etto had fresh ingredients that were well prepared and they have a great cocktail menu too. The choices are different between lunch time service and dinner. It's a great place to share your plates and enjoy a bottle of wine if your heart desires. 

The panna cotta was my absolute favourite dish both times I went when I was in Dublin last year (yes I tried lunch AND dinner - you had to!) 

They do deals for 2 courses and 3 courses for lunch time. A new menu almost every day.

Highly recommend this gem if you ever find yourself in Dublin. This is for foodies. 

Food: Vitello Tonnato, Cheese Croquette, Cheese Salad, Cold Cuts, Rabbit ravioli, Rabbit ragout pappardelle, Rhubarb pistachio panna cotta. 
Made by: Etto
Location: 18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2

One of a kind at the ECC | London, England

Hidden in London’s Chinatown, there lies a secret cocktail club… the ECC is one of many cool places to be sure to visit when you’re there. I’m sure there are many other cocktail bars that are just as fabulous as this one, but here are a few things you need to know:

The Experimental Cocktail Club is necessary to make reservations for on the busier days of the week; they are open from 6pm – 3am. Bookings are only by email and they have a certain time of day their reservation desk is open. There is a cover charge after 11pm, but I highly suggest going for a pre dinner drink in order to enjoy the atmosphere in this institution in a more comfortable manner. It is a one of a kind spot for that inventive cocktail you’re looking for. If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, ask your server. Or better yet if you get to be at the bar you can have in depth conversations about your favourite bitters and flavours from the bar tenders themselves. Perhaps they'll put a twist on your cocktail. 

Lastly, it’s not a knock on the door some days. When they are really busy and maybe full, the Maître D will be standing outside on the street – which you’ll be told to find through your reso that you’ve made.

But seriously though, for you cocktail lovers out there this is a bar you cannot miss. Every month, their menu changes and it’s always a pleasant surprise. 

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Cocktails made by The ECC in London.

West | Vancouver Dining

I hadn't been back to West Restaurant in a couple years.

West was packed and has definitely turned into a hip place for drinks. Turns out the bartender had one an award at some point in their career (I was impressed!) The Mint Julep was very tasty.  The other cocktail that you see below the julep is a signature cocktail made by the award winning bar tender. Check out the cocktail list here.

For dinner, I had all appetizers (as that's what seemed to catch my eye as I was going through the extensive list).  We started with an amuse bouche, followed by our courses we ordered:

pea soup, beef tartare, and lastly a seafood risotto of prawns. 

I highly suggest making a reservation, as West is one of the popular choices in Vancouver (it's also great if you don't have to cross a bridge into downtown to dine if you plan on having a beverage or two.)

I would definitely go back in a heartbeat (it is a little more pricy) but this is because West is fine dining in Vancouver (rare to find in the city these days...)

A take on canadian, western cuisine with a modern twist. West, thank you for a pleasurable dining experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the knowledge you offered about my dishes or the cocktails I got to try.

 

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Buvette | NYC

Who would have thought to stop into a cafe, on a summer's day in NYC... just about everyone. Checking out new places to eat and drink or boutiques is one of my favourite things to do while I'm in the big apple. Buvette is a little cafe on Waverly Place, that serves fantastic french cuisine. Their cocktails were what actually caught my eye on their website, as they offered classics, moderns, and completely new ones I had never heard of. My boyfriend had a refreshing cocktail made with lemons (can't entirely remember what it was but it was quite delicious). I felt like quenching my thirst after having been cooped up in the apartment and coming out into the hot and muggy city: a Pimm's Cup. It did the trick.

No reservations, but they serve all day: snacks and entrees for everyone. Feeling a little peckish, I decided to order their steak tartare. Very good! Slightly spiced and very tasty.

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner - take your pick! At around 4pm there aren't many people, but enough who are enjoying cocktails and or a light snack before dinner. You might even be able to do some celebrity spotting if you keep your eyes open!

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Cork & Fin

 It's all about being fresh. I love being home because you can get the freshest seafood, and have it turned into something delicious. Cork and Fin not only has a great cocktail list, but the food menu shows promise. The oysters (which were a dollar each during their monday event "a buck a shuck",) were super yummy and from the east coast. My mum had their seafood chowder, that came with fish too. For my appetizer, I had the salmon tartare with quail egg and caviar on top (seafood friendly). To finish, I had the lobster ravioli (a bit too thick of a pasta might I add but the lobster meat and cream were fantastic).   Of course we had to have dessert and we ordered the olive oil ice cream with fleur de sel. The ice cream was very different but loved it - except for that there was too much fleur de sel (there were moments where I was trying to have a conversation or enjoy the ice cream, but the immediate saltiness was quite overwhelming at times...)  Overall, I had a great experience at Cork and Fin, I highly suggest you go if you're in Gastown, Vancouver.

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Ohla

Barcelona has so much to offer. From the sites to the food, the drinks and the people - this buzzing city is the heart of Spain. Having stayed at a hotel with the number one bar in all of Barcelona, you couldn't pass on having a drink. The bar tender had been voted one of the best in the world - amazing! Max de la Rocca is renown for making the best cocktails and beverages at the Ohla bar. Many cocktails were tasted and shared amongst us one particular night. PicNic de Jalisco was a sweet and sour mix of passion fruit and marmalade - like a margarita but better. Then there was the Teasing Bee, made of 42 Below Honey vodka, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, ginger and pineapple juice. Raspberry Mule was one of my favourites. There was a specialty cocktail made with Lavender but he wouldn't tell a soul what he put in it. It was simply delicious (and not too floral might I add). Lastly, my dad's favourite libation is that of the G&T. He only likes it the one way, but Max only made it one way. He was up to try it out, and boy did he ever enjoy it! It was so unique and served in a large tumbler. You could imagine after two of them how you'd feel... My dad described it as, "the best gin and tonic I've ever had."

It was such an experience watching Max create concoctions - you just had to trust his taste. Although it was just him at the bar making the drinks (and it took a little while), it was worth the wait. Max, thank you for such a fantastic experience last summer. I love Barcelona and loved it more when I tasted your signature cocktails.

Campagnolo

Walk-ins are apparently not uncommon in Toronto when it comes to eating out. My uncle and I were able to walk into Campagnolo at around 7pm and got seats at the bar. We enjoyed a very fulfilling dinner that included pastas, mains, delicious cocktails and a yummy dessert. The bar tender also acted as our waiter and happily recommended his favourite dishes and drinks. The dining room is a decent size and evokes a homey and casual feel. There are two kitchens (one in the dining room and the other at the back). It is a bit loud but the music and ambiance with everyone inside makes the room come alive. The menu tends to change quite often, but we enjoyed a calamari dish, bone marrow with crostinis, two pasta dishes and a very sweet dessert.

Campagnolo was a memorable experience and I am glad I finally got to dine at this snazzy joint. The food was great tasting and presented very nicely. The service was wonderful. I highly recommend anyone in Toronto to dine here!

Ursa Minor? URSA Major!

URSA - relatively new to the restaurant scene in Toronto located on Queen St. West. A take on contemporary Canadian food, but also values the nutrients of its products. Very much like comfort food, the menu offers a variety of meats and fish and plenty of vegetables (as written up on Toronto Life: "Greens are compressed in a vacuum to create the texture and feel of blanching, without the nutrient-harming boiling water.") The dining room is dim and loud, accompanied the bar on your right as you walk into the restaurant. The cocktail menu is great - there's all sorts of cocktails for everyone. The service was fantastic - everyone was super friendly and if we had any questions about the menu, they knew their stuff! One thing that was memorable was a dish with crickets in a salad - wild and fun, and utterly creative. Some might be a bit shocked by the fact that bugs are on the plate but honest to God, they tasted like chips. Even more memorable, the desserts they had to offer were unique and delectable. Overall, I was impressed after the reviews I had heard from friends and family about URSA. I would definitely head back for a second time around. A great atmosphere and the food hits the spot.