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Vinous Table: La Gare, Le Mesnil sur Oger, France

Vinous Table, France: Champagne

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

La Gare is an ideal place to stop by for an informal meal while visiting wineries and vineyards in Champagne’s Côte des Blancs. Housed in a former train station, La Gare is full of old world, countryside charm.

Da wines

Vinous Table: Trattoria Al Pompiere, Verona, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

Readers spending time in Verona and looking for a hearty meal with well-cooked dishes and a fairly priced wine list especially rich in local wines of the Veneto (with some older vintages going back to 1995), would do well to check out Trattoria Al Pompiere. Super popular, Al Pompiere is always packed. Italians and foreigners alike fill the tightly spaced tables in two rooms decorated with exposed wooden beams, old photos of past and current patrons and host of other rustic charms. One caveat - the noteworthy din made up of happy chatter and laughs does not make for an especially romantic evening. The eye gazes over the cheese corner, where about 100 different Italian cheeses are in full view, before moving to the charcuterie corner, which is a filled with about 40 different salumi. As if that weren’t enough, prosciuttos and salamis hang from the rafters in true postcard style.

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Vinous Table: Da Fiore, Venice, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Mar 2017

In the eyes, mind and taste buds of many, Da Fiore is the best restaurant in Venice. A few of the city’s most famous recipes are tweaked with creative touches and lightened up, but the culinary wizardry of owner/chef Mara Martin is such that her traditional renditions of Venetian classics are hard to beat.

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Vinous Table: Guido Ristorante at Fontanafredda

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2017

Over the last few years, Guido Ristorante has become one of my favorite spots in Piedmont. Located in the stunning Villa Reale at Fontanafredda, Guido brings together a contemporary take on Piedmontese classics in a refined, striking setting. High ceilings and spread out tables add to an impression of airiness to the room. Guido is a perfect spot for a relaxed, leisurely dinner away from the hustle and bustle that is so common in other spots during truffle season.

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Vinous Table: Hana Japanese, Rohnert Park, CA

Vinous Table

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2017

A completely unassuming strip mall in Rohnert Park right off Highway 101 might seem like an unusual place to find top-notch sushi, but locals and well-informed visitors alike swear by Hana as one of the best spots in all of northern California.

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Vinous Table: La Tour d’Argent, Paris, France

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Feb 2017

The legendary restaurant La Tour d’Argent offers amazing panoramic views of the Seine and Notre Dame, a spacious, bright dining room, a monumental wine list and many classic food preparations. So I was curious to try the cuisine of new chef Philippe Labbé, who took over the kitchen from Laurent Delarbre in May 2016.

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Vinous Table: Philippe Gaertner Aux Armes de France, Alsace, France

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Feb 2017

Philip Gaertner walked away from the Michelin star rat race in 2005 and has never looked back. His family restaurant, which once held two stars,has been open for business since 1920, and remains a sure bet for precisely cooked Alsatian and French classics. In fact, it’s one of my favorite country restaurants anywhere.

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Vinous Table: Al Cacciatore de la Subida, Cormòns, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2017

La Subida is one of Italy’s best country restaurants. Hearty, but precise and flavorful renditions of Friuli and Slovenian classics are must tries for all serious foodies. The deep wine list rich in Friuli’s best wines adds measurably to the dining experience.

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Vinous Table: Allen’s, Toronto, Canada

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2017

For hearty food with flavorful twists, and interesting sweet-sour and boozy nuances, plus one of the best all-Canadian wine lists Toronto and Canada have to offer, run, don’t walk, over to Allen’s.

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Vinous Table: Restaurant Laurin, Bolzano, Italy

Vinous Table

Ian D'Agata, Jan 2017

Bolzano’s Parkhotel Laurin is not just the most prestigious and beautiful in the city but it also boasts the city’s most interesting restaurant. Rising star chef Manuel Astuto appears to have a great future ahead. A very good selection of fairly priced wines from Alto Adige and the rest of Italy makes dining here even more enjoyable.