2016 – My Top Ten List

2016top10.jpgDiners I thought it might be a nice way to finish of the year, by listing the Top Ten places we dined at this year.

These are listed in no particular order and are included for a variety of reasons.
If you hover over and click on the name of the restaurant, you will be taken to our blog entry for that establishment.

I’m sure you all know but I want to say again that these reviews are based on our experience on the day. There are so many variables that could change a dining experience but I can only comment on what happened to us the day we went into a certain place.

Carmel’s at McLaren Vale

carmels2Oh there were lots of reasons why we loved Carmel’s!

From the service to the menu, to the way our food was cooked and presented, it was just a fantastic experience.

Carmel’s is the place that gave me the courage to go from ordering my meat medium-rare to rare.

I will also admit that I’m charmed by the McLaren Vale region so that probably has an influence in including Carmel’s in our Top 10 list but even so, there isn’t too much that this restaurant does wrong.

The Unley

IMG_5499We loved The Unley because of many things, one of which was the way it made us feel as we walked in.
Decorated in a modern style, with friendly staff throughout; We really felt welcome here.

Besides all that, the food that came out was presented beautifully, tasted amazing and was generous in size!
Everything we want from a dining establishment!

Portobello

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I can’t go past Portobello as it was one of the first restaurants after I started reviewing, that really left an impression on me.

Even looking at that pasta is making my mouth water – I can remember and almost taste how beautiful that ragu sauce was.

I love when staff are passionate about the place we’re dining at too and the server we had definitely was – telling us about the history of Portobello.

It’s a shame that this restaurant is a little difficult to get to but I really hope people get down there and try it out for themselves.

Le-Riad

FullSizeRender (19)With Le-Riad we became a bit more adventurous.

Instead of the usual Pub or Italian restaurant, we visited a restaurant where the cuisine was Moroccan and we were definitely won over!

The staff treated us and each other like family (and I suspect they were) and were very proud of the food they brought out; and so they should be!

The meat, so tender, so full of flavour. Le Riad was a wonderful dining experience from the moment we walked in, till the moment we walked out.

Lockleys Hotel

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There were a few things that set Lockleys Hotel apart for us.

Firstly, the service was just amazing. We had arrived early and yet the servers went above and beyond to accommodate us, even when we said we didn’t mind.

We just weren’t expecting to be wowed and yet we were.

We were also impressed with the amount of diners who must have been regulars as many of them spoke to the servers as if they knew them.
Besides all of this, the food itself was amazing with such attention to detail that left us very impressed.

Two Bit Villains

FullSizeRender (80)With Two Bit Villains, I experienced my first Vegetarian Restaurant.

I’m certainly not opposed to having a meat free meal, in fact, I often do, but I’d never been to a place that was exclusively Vegetarian.

I loved everything from the decor, to the staff, the menu and those amazing soda selections!!

Again, you can tell that the staff are proud of the food they’re bringing out of the kitchen and all this good feeling is very infectious!

I’m so glad we went to Two Bit Villains. It’s definitely a little gem in Adelaide Arcade.

Coopers Alehouse

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We weren’t expecting much the day we went to Coopers Alehouse and it had been a bit of a stressful day, but all was forgotten as we relaxed into our surroundings.

It was busy when we were here and immediately we noticed that the food coming out of the kitchen looked amazing and they seemed to be generous serves.

We definitely over ordered by accident, but everything we had was cooked so well and I had to be impressed because there was a lot of staff, trying to do a lot of things yet it all worked really well.

This is definitely a place to visit.

Parlamento

par1Ah the good old Adelaide icon, Parlamento. Everyone knows Parlamento in the CBD! Most people have probably already been there too!!

I walk past there most days and had always wanted to try out the food because it seems to be always busy so they must be doing something right!!

And when I visited for myself I could see why. Again, the love of what they do shines. They are passionate about their food but not only that, they want YOU to be passionate about their food too!

We had a lovely rapport with our waiter and that made the whole night really special.
I still can’t stop thinking about Jacki Weaver and that carafe of wine though….


Nonna and I

fullsizerenderThis place is still recent in our memories and I’m still gushing over how good everything was here.

From Chef Khalil’s passion, to the food he served, it was absolutely a perfect dining experience.

Out of all the places I’ve reviewed, this is probably the one that I’m most keen to revisit.


Fedoras Restaurant

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Last, but certainly not least is Fedoras Restaurant, another place that took us completely by surprise.

Again, the attitude of all those working from the guy in the parking lot, to the people behind the bar and wait staff made an amazing different.

We were treated as if we were the only ones dining in that restaurant that night.

There were four in our party when we were at Fedoras and each one of us got an amazing meal – That’s not always something that easy to do!

So there you have it, the first Spoon You Fork Me Top 10 list!
I hope we’ve given you something to think about for the next time you’re looking to dine out.

There were many more places I could have mentioned but alas, there is only room for ten in a Top Ten list!

The Spoon You Fork Me team are going to take a little holiday break, but don’t despair, we’ll be back with you early in the new year with lots more views and reviews to come!!

We wish you much love and happiness as we enter this holiday season.
Stay safe, and eat well!!
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Till next we chow….

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Le Riad

neo_img_imgp5747.jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

Carpet and guns on the walls,
America Ferrera is now waiting tables and
Food that has us saying “we’re coming back” just after a couple of bites.

A “riad” is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.

Le Riad is a place that’s almost hidden even though it’s situated on a main road and right by a very popular pub/restaurant. This place had been recommended to me by someone I trust so I was eager to try the food.
They advertise as having real Moroccan cuisine and when I looked at the menu on line, I knew I was going to have trouble ordering as everything sounded good and new (to me)

I wondered if I should even make a booking but when we got there I was glad we did as there was only one table available and that was for us. The place was packed!

The first thing we noticed was the deadened sound. In other places we go to, due to modern decor, every clang and chink is amplified as sound bounces off every surface but at Le Riad, the carpet on the floor and the rugs on the wall deaden it all.
It had me feeling a little unsettled at first!
The next thing we noticed were the guns on the wall. Although this unnerved us a little too, there was still something homey and comfortable about the place. We couldn’t put our finger on it just then but later we noticed that there were both families and couples dining and not one person (bar me) had their phone out! Can you imagine that? In a crowded albeit small restaurant, no one was playing with their phone.
I felt like I’d been picked up and thrown into another time and country.

It was also very red and very dark in there. I tried to take some photos but they were all poor quality, as with pictures of the food I took, there just wasn’t enough light.
Having said that, if your aim is to have a nice romantic dinner and you have no need to photograph your food, then you are in for a treat.

We looked through the menu and on each page I changed my mind about what I was going to eat. Everything seemed so exciting to me! Lots of authentic dishes to choose from.
I ended up ordering the Goat Tajine – Goat and mixed vegetables gently cooked with a mix of Moroccan herbs and spices.
Hubby ordered the Mixed Grill – Lamb, chicken, kefta, merguez sausage, served with hummus and bread.
And just because we wanted to sample more, we ordered Lamb Couscous – A traditional Moroccan dish.Couscous is steamed over spiced lamb and vegetables
I also desperately wanted to try some of the Moroccan bread they had on the menu but sadly they were out.

Our waitress was so lovely, friendly and accommodating and bore a striking resemblance to America Ferrara.

We arrived at the restaurant just before 7.30pm. At 8.18pm I noticed that our food hadn’t arrived yet. In any other place I would have noticed this a lot sooner but there is a lot to take in on your first visit to Le Riad.
You can only see so many dishes of hot steaming food going out to other tables before food envy sets in.
At 8.23 and tummies are really gurgling now… but let me add, we were happy. We weren’t grumpy, we were just more excited to try what we had ordered.
8.26 and America Ferrara look alike comes and sincerely apologises for the wait and offers us free drinks. Now how lovely is that! We hadn’t complained, we were sitting there smiling and talking, yet she still came over with this lovely gesture! Double ticks for that!

Ten or so minutes later our food came. I just love it when the first thing you notice about your food is the smell! It was heavenly and not like anything I had smelt before so it’s a little hard for me to describe. I don’t know what traditional Moroccan spices are.
It was definitely hearty and rich and just what you’d want on a fresh Autumn night.

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Goat Tajine

 

My Goat Tajine was exquisite.

Again, I have to apologise for the picture quality as it was really very dark in there.

Hopefully you can imagine how wonderful this dish was. Rich with flavour and colourful it was very very inviting to eat. I felt like I’d been transported to deliciousness heaven.
The goat was amazingly tender and I had to wonder why we don’t eat this meat more often.

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Mixed Grill

 

Hubby, being a meat lover, ordered the mixed grill and he wasn’t disappointed either.

A nice sized dish with lovely elements. The meat and bread had a charred smokey taste
The hummus was fresh and lovely when eaten with that crispy bread.

.There really wasn’t anything we didn’t like!

 

 

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Lamb Couscous

Lastly we sampled our Lamb Couscous. I must admit, I found it hard to find pieces of lamb but even so, it was equally delicious. The cous cous was light and springy and I loved the burst of coriander I tasted every now and then. I wondered later if I had ordered a chicken cous cous, if it would have given me a different flavour throughout as I didn’t think the lamb taste was particularly strong however still a very enjoyable dish.

All in all we loved our time at Le Riad. The restaurant is comfortable, the wait staff are lovely and I’m pretty sure this is a family run business. They genuinely want you to have a good time and to love the food as much as they do.

On Saturday’s they also have a belly dancer come in and do some belly dancing. It’s a shame we didn’t go on a Saturday! That would have been a treat!

I’m eager to go back and try some more items from the menu.

Have you been to Le Riad?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…