Regular readers of my blog know that I love to do restaurant reviews utilizing a five-point scale with a "1" being, "I would not eat here again even if you paid for it............" to a "5" being, "I wish I had an apartment/condo above this restaurant so I could eat here more often........"
With that as background I wanted to share an initial list of the "Great Venues" for eating, drinking, or just socializing that really stand out for me after several years of travel along with some reasons why these establishments qualify as "Great Venues":
- "Ernesto's on Cozumel Island (Mexico) -- the Ernesto's near South Hotel Zone not the downtown one. A thatched roof, no walls to allow the Caribbean breeze to join you at the table, and great fajitas so what else do you need??!!! Really this is THE venue for post-scuba diving story telling and they serve an excellent "divers' breakfast" to get your day started.
- "Pink Flamingo" in Key Largo (Florida) -- located across the parking lot from Captain Slate's Dive Shop. They serve great conch chowder and one day I witnessed a fisherman bring a fish in which the chef cleaned and cooked for him. Now that is customer service!!
- "Elements" in Phoenix (Arizona) -- still the only "5" rating I have issued. I hope to return to this restaurant in December if scheduling allows.
- "Mickey's Diner" in downtown St. Paul (Minnesota) -- buckwheat pancakes and surly waitresses make for a great combination. A bit of a greasy spoon so don't overdress!!
- "Taco House" in Okoboji (Iowa) -- be sure to try their brown sauce on a soft shell taco. I love the place but not the long lines but that is the price for enjoying their successful menu.
- "Miro's Bistro" in San Jose (Costa Rica) -- near "La Luz Restaurant" assuming both places are still open. Costa Rica does not use USA-style street addresses opting instead for directions/land markers mentioned in meters away from each other. Great pasta dishes and the "bomba" after dinner drink is powerful. Miro's is known as a "Croatian-Italian" restaurant but I just call it "damn good."
- "Arthur's Cafe" in Brussels (Belgium) -- I love the woodwork and their range of food. This is a relaxing oasis in hectic Brussels.
- "Mad Dog Cafe" in Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) -- large, open windows that allow the Caribbean breeze to dine at the table with you. They have a limited sandwich menu but their location is top knotch and it is a completely relaxed atmosphere.
- "Casey's Coffee in Washington DC" -- a low key venue that is the polar opposite of StarBucks. Casey's has a nice range of unique sandwiches and a very friendly staff.
I plan to add to this list in a future posting as my recollections of past travels resurfaces.