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afghanhound's avatar

What is the best, most inspiring restaurant experience you've ever had, and why?

Asked by afghanhound (150points) February 19th, 2013

What was the best, most inspiring experience you’ve ever had at a restaurant? What made it special or unique? Was it the food? The atmosphere? The people you were with?

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12 Answers

Pachy's avatar

One of the best dinners I ever had, in the ‘70s, was at a restaurant in the Arizona Biltmore Resort called The Orangerie. Why? Because the food and service were superb, the decor was unbelievably beautiful (including a gold-leaf ceiling), and the outrageously large check was picked up by my agency.

However…something happened (I found out the next day) that made me totally forget that lovely dinner. Thirty minutes after my guests and I departed, Frank Sinatra and Lisa Minnelli, who had just finished doing a show somewhere in Phoenix, came in for dinner and wound up giving an impromptu mini-performance at the grand piano in the hotel lobby.

If you listen carefully, you can hear me still banging my head on my desk.

thorninmud's avatar

I remember one experience for the pure joy of it.

My buddy and I were doing an epic bike trip through Europe. We were on a very tight budget, sleeping in fields for the most part and eating whatever was cheapest in the local food stores.

Spain was the hardest leg of the trip. The roads were awful, it was very hot, mosquitoes ate us alive at night. For food we subsisted mostly on canned sardines, canned pork liver pate, some fruit and lots of bread.

After three weeks of Spain, we were pretty miserable. Finally we decided that at the next town, we’d treat ourselves to an actual meal at an actual restaurant. It wasn’t much of a town, but it did have a restaurant that looked just perfect.

We were encrusted with road dust, unshaven, our clothes rimed with the salt of our sweat, but they took us in and sat us down. Neither of us spoke much Spanish at all, and we couldn’t make sense of the menu, but it didn’t matter. The waiter would just show up, suggest something or other, and we would just say, in joyful unison, “Si”. That one magic word propelled a pageant of delights our way.

We just ate until we couldn’t “Si” anymore. It was like a wonderful dream.

deni's avatar

Silly’s in Portland, Maine. IT was just fucking awesome. A ton of amazing things all over the place, soooo fun, homey, delicious, and just really out of the ordinary and special.

The Dark Horse Saloon here in Boulder, Colorado is also pretty awesome. The food is just burgers and wings and whatnot and it’s also a huge bar but it’s an an old building with a ton of nooks and crannies and ancient books and paintings and crap everywhere and you can lose yourself for hours looking at the walls and hiding in little closets.

Bellatrix's avatar

We used to go to this local pub that has a restaurant and the manager there always made it a special meal. He remembered our names, what wine we drank, our favourite foods and so could recommend things we might also like. His personality and care about his customers made you feel like you mattered. He left and went on a sabbatical and we stopped going there. He is back now but I think they promoted him so you don’t see him if you go there. The service has suffered because of the changes.

Coloma's avatar

At a seaside cafe in Hualien Taiwan in 2010.
A beautiful and bizarre Mediteranian style resort in asia with a fleet of servers bringing course after course of exotic fruits, and fishes and rice steamed in bamboo tubes while the tropical breezes wafted through the open dining room with orchids growing from the roof.

Coloma's avatar

But ya know…nothing in this world beats the hole in the wall mexican food chain in San Diego back in my college age days. Robertos, Humbertos, Adelbertos, Jilbertos….on & on.
I had a crappy one bedroom apartment in a puke gold apartment building full of grumpy ancient people right across the street from the all night “Robertos.”

Many a party night where we wandered over at 3 a.m. for Carne Asada tacos and more beer. Bless you Robertos, I shall die with your memory forever etched in my brain. lol
Fuck…if only I knew their secret refried bean recipe. Mercy!

Unbroken's avatar

I was on vacation and I was so busy I hadn’t eaten almost all day. I was wandering around downtown on foot having parked my car. There were a ton of places to eat, but I wanted to find the perfect one. After wandering the streets a bit I was ready to give up and just hop into a random place.

I heard some music in the distance, it was piped outdoors something bluesy with a little jazz. I still had trouble filtering all the sounds and the building was tucked in the corner. So I walked by it a couple times, grouchy and tired and my feet were hurting.

But I found this amazing little bbq place. The light was shining through this picture window a glass door and a brick front. The colors the detail to the place was clean warm and homeyl. A musician was playing something soothed my soul. Delightful mouthwatering smells and just the right amount of murmuring. The ambiance was lovely. I stood in the doorway a moment to take it in. The chef was talking to some diners. He saw me, excused himself and welcomed me and escorted me to a table and recommended this amazing deep dish gourmet mac and cheese. That he brought out himself. The chemistry was undeniable. The food was mouthwatering. The music was calming friendly inviting. It was dreamy.

I went back the next night to spend eat and spend a little time with the chef. All the staff and patrons were just darling. But he was probably the most exceptional person there. And I stepped next door with a few others while I waited for him to close. He was quite the gentlemen.

That was at the end of my stay unfortunately. I forgot the name of the place but I know it has been feature on food network.

Crumpet's avatar

I went to McDonalds and asked for no gherkin on my quarter pounder with cheese, and when i got my burger i opened the bun and there was no gherkin.
It was a special moment.

Unbroken's avatar

^^What is gherkin?

Bellatrix's avatar

This is a gherkin. I think you probably call it a pickle.

Crumpet's avatar

A gherkin is what i believe Americans call a pickle.
Although if I’m not mistaken, that is an incorrect name to call it because lots of things are also pickled like onions, eggs, peppers…
I may be wrong though.

Unbroken's avatar

Thanks for the clarification. To me anything that is pickled is wrong. I suppose pickled cucumbers sound a bit awkward to our ears. And they are traditional burger fare so the (American) universal term is accepted without any thought.

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