The TripAdvisor “Rating” is based on the average of the reviewers’ total score. Some of the restaurants I score at less than a 3 Star were scored at a 5 Star Rating, which to me was just outrageously ridiculous!
– – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Santo Domingo and Juan Dolio
I’m starting here because it was part of my vacation last March and my first time back to the island in over 10 years.
El Conuco Restaurant, Santo Domingo, D.R. (TripAdvisor 3.5 Rating, My rating -0)
This was once upon an age the place to go for traditional Dominican food I however was not amused or even humored with the exceptionally bad food and even worse service. They couldn’t even get the orders correct or timely, oops, it took them 45 minutes to TAKE the order (though we did get our drinks promptly), with only 4 other tables occupied and 4 waiters.
My son ordered shrimp and 15 minutes later was told there was none. He then ordered the Grouper and got Roughy, burnt and salty. I ordered the traditional Dominican sausage (Longaniza) and was given @#$% – a disgusting flavored, full of flour POS! My daughter (a chef) wanted to tell them how bad things were and I told her to forget it ‘cause they’re not going to care or change anything!
You’re probably trying to figure out why we stayed as long as we did! Well, we were on vacation and with my kids that I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. My wife was visiting the D.R. (and Caribbean) for the first time in her life and we thought we’d let it go however we never thought the food and service would be so horrible!
Don’t bother spending your vacation food money here – there is nothing traditional anymore, you’ll be very disappointed and then you’ll remember this review!
El Con Con, Juan Dolio, D.R. (TripAdvisor 3.5 Rating, My rating 4.5)
Considering that Juan Dolio is a mainly tourist area (on the low key side and a bit boring), mostly catering to Italian tourist, I have to say that I was better than pleasantly surprised. They had just about everything I ordered (octopus ran out one evening), and based on other local places we eat at, this was the best of all.
The Octopus salad – great, the Chicharron de Pollo (chicken crackling) – great, stewed goat – fab! My kids and wife thought they had the best pizza outside of Brooklyn, NY. The shrimp were fresh and tasted of the sea.
Service was a bit stiff however but overall very efficient. The cost of the meal – compared to all others in the area (based on service, quality and quantity) – was very good. Over a two week period we ate there at least 6 times with no disappointments to speak of (except running out of octopus the one night I really, really wanted it). Actually there was one slight disappointment – the Russian potato salad was missing the one ingredient that makes it Russian: Sugar Beets! But nonetheless, it tasted real good!
– – MASSACHUSETTS
The Gloucester House Restaurant, Gloucester, MA (TripAdvisor 3.5 Rating, My rating -0) – One of the most disappointing portside, seafood restaurants I’ve ever eaten at!!!!
This restaurant is not only located in town famous for its fresh seafood, but also right next to fish docks! Fresh fish from the north Atlantic is coming off the fishing boats every day, right next door – but my seafood was still crud, wow!
Checked the ratings and reviews for all area seafood restaurants and The Gloucester House came in with high marks (for their seafood and pizza), so we (5 of us) decided on the restaurant. Upon arriving the décor was somewhat dated (not a problem) and they (like most restaurants that can) displayed a number of autographed celebrity photos (I didn’t think of it then however most of those autographs were over 20 years old).
We were taken to our table and a young female server (she appeared new) attended to us. She gave the usual shpeal and told us about the specials. Ordered the Seafood Fra Diavolo and the pasta was overdone and the sauce was – tah dah – pizza sauce! Actually, our group – those that didn’t have Pizza – had their sauces that were also pizza sauce! Someone odered Pizza and their sauce was no different from ours – talk about unappealling. Service was slow (though it appears the young lady was handling too many tables as they were understaffed that evening). Nonetheless, considering that Gloucester is a fishing town with lots of great fresh seafood, my seafood was hardly fresh, hardly tasting of the sea and overcooked. Maybe it was that one evening however I can not excuse the total failure in the seafood or the fact the sauce they used was the same red sauce for everything red.
Pizza sauce is only good for Pizza not for a base marinara, that should have been lighter and the pasta, well, was horrendous!
– – NEW JERSEY
Helmer’s German Restaurant, Hoboken
Old world, 21 German beers on tap, sausages, schnitzel, red cabbage, simple no-nonsense food! It has been a while since I was at Helmer’s but from what I remember, there was no better German in New Jersey, heck, even in NYC I didn’t think there was any better! This is a very old establishment and although it has its roots in Germany I am sure that a lot of their food has been a bit watered down for the masses. I have had the real thing, with home made everything and Helmer’s though not the best ever, is nonetheless a better choice if you are in New Jersey.
– – NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Alfanoose, Financial District
A no-nonsense Middle-Eastern semi-fast food joint (you’ll notice a trend in my selection of “no-nonsense” eateries, where the food is great without a lot of fluff) in the financial district of NY. There are a few very good restaurants catering middle-eastern menus however here’s a place where the food is just outstanding and a very reasonable price. Lamb and chicken is always on the menu, as is Kibbeh. The chickpea Falafel, Tabouli, pilaf is always fresh (they don’t make a day batch they make small batches at a time for freshness). The tahini sauce, yum!
Katz’s Deli, Lower Eastside (Over 100 years old, I believe the oldest deli in the new world)
I’ve eaten at Katz since I was 8 years old so you could say I am sort of an expert when it comes to this deli (but so are about 60% of their customers who like me have eaten at Katz all their lives). Two things I want to point out first – the disappointing stuff – 1) the sour pickles – they have changed their purveyor (at least 3 times) over the last 25 years, and though OK not the best ever; 2) the Mustard, originally they had a spicy hot and then they changed to spicy vinegar, still not bad however the hot brought out a better flavor from the meats.
Stuff you need to know: when you come in you’ll be given a ticket. The ticket (don’t lose it or misplace it!) is to be given to your carver and is your bill at check-out. Don’t use the waiter service (its horrible) do your own fetching! When ordering your meat be sure to be ready to indicate “juicy” or “lean,” I prefer juicy (no trimming of the fat!)! You have a selection of bread, rye, pumpernickel, and club. Always take the mustard on the side, and if you like sour pickles then ask for them, it is not automatic. The table where the scene from “When Sally Met Harry” was filmed is seldom available. The place is usually very crowded, if not mobbed! Parking is a real be-otch! However, the “F” train and M15 bus, are 2.5 blocks away.
Bring an appetite as the sandwiches are huge! Brisket (old world) is my favorite, the Pastrami is world renown, the Corned Beef delicious! There’s also Salami, tongue, hot dogs, Knoblewurst, Knishes, sauerkraut, steak frites cut potatoes (not French fries). Bottom line is that if you ever thought you have had a meat deli sandwich, you had better think again. For you Brits, this is an example of a true American hot Deli Meat Sandwich – its GIANT, bold and will require a whole lot of napkins!
Won Ton Garden, Chinatown
I believe this to be New York’s best Egg Noodle shoppe, a hole in the wall, bland eatery where the English language is very, very bad. The noodles are made fresh all day. And noodles should be on mind when you go here, sure, they have many other known Chinese dishes but it’s the noodles. This is a Cantonese noodle store. The wontons are also made fresh on premises. The vegetable dishes are simple (Chinese spinach, stewed mushrooms, vegetable medley, etc.). You can have your noodles dry or in a soup base. My favorite is the noodles with wontons and stewed beef. Though you may not see them, they also have Duck and Roast Pork. The cost is outrageously cheap!
The Oyster Bar At Grand Central Station, Mid-town
The Oyster Bar is world famous and doesn’t need a lot of write-up. If in New York and you seek great, fresh seafood, this is the closest you will get. They have oysters galore, Grouper, great shellfish in general, and many other options. One thing though, make sure you have a fat wallet ‘cause its gonna cost ya. However, the experience, atmosphere, service and quality will make it very easy to part with your money.
– – PENNSYLVANIA
– – MAINE
– – PUERTO RICO