Nat & The City's Blog
the key to the city's secrets….

Aug
01

Two days ago, tired of waiting for the dates of my friends for Turkey, I decided to go to Forte dei Marmi.
The best way to go there would have been to fly to Pisa, but as there were no direct flights, I decided to fly to Florence and rent a car for Forte (which is exactly 101km). so after an hour of Fly Baboo flight, I landed in Florence.

The airport in Florence is so tiny that the arrivals and the departures are almost from the same door. And the car rental place is two steps away. I don’t know if they give a better deal or simply with my luck, the only line was in front of Avis.

I had some good memories (by good memories I mean good food experience) in Forte so I was looking forward to go back and have some more 🙂 Unfortunately couldn’t find the restaurant on the beach that I loved last year, and believe me checked a lot of them…
So the first day we were my friend who invited me, her man and her baby daughter who is my new “friend” and we had some friends from Milan who joined us.

Our first lunch trial was at Bagno Graziella, we were all a bit disappointed as when we ordered our seafood spaghetti, we needed magnifying glasses to find the actual sea food… but after 2 bottles of prosecco, to be honest nobody cared about the food anymore.
We spent our afternoon at the beach where my “friend” of six months did her first sea experience; while another friend had her beach massage experience. And off course the rest of us continued our drinking experience…
Forte dei Marmi is a real family vacation spot, the thing that I love about it is that everyone, from 3 to 73 years old circulate with bikes… and f you go to restaurant with kids nobody looks at you, as if you committed a big crime… off course there are “playgrounds” for only adults: La Capannina di Franceshi and Twiga; or as I call them them Twingo and Copacabana 😉

Our first night we went to “Maito”. Honestly, even if you don’t want to go to Forte for vacation, you need to pass by Maito to eat…. I am still dreaming about their food. We started with a pizza Maito (pizza where each slice has a different taste), then everyone one took appetizers and entrees. The highlights???
“Crudo olio e limone” which is a mix of raw fish carpaccio, “The spaghetti ai scampi”, which is spicy pasta with scampi; “Filetto al aceto balsamico” which is a filet mignon that literally melts in your mouth with a balsamic reduction and also the”Cotolette alla Milanese”, which is a basic breaded veal scallop.
The only disappointing dish was the “Spaghetti all’arragosta”, lobster spaghetti, as it was too salty.

We went to eat it was 10pm passed and the restaurant was still full. The crowd… a bit of everything; some families with their kids falling asleep on the table, some people who were dresses to impress and some foodies like us.

After dinner we decided to choose the third adult playground: ” home” where we had the music we wanted and the drinks we wished… and believe me our party lasted way long after the others finished ;)))

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Jul
29

My friend wanted to invite me for lunch for my birthday, and as it was a kind of rainy day, we decided to not risk and instead of doing a terrace, eat somewhere inside.
“La table du 9” is a restaurant that I normally go in winter, as they have great starchy fresh food. And it always hits the right spot in cold winter days.

When we arrived a great smell was coming out of the kitchen, which didn’t help calming our hunger. Unfortunately 20 minutes later, no one had come to take our order, neither brought us bread.
I started to lose my patience… don’t mess with me when I am hungry. Every time she would say I am coming and would run to another table. With all the fairness she was the only one zig zaging and serving the room. The only help she had was someone just taking out the dishes.

When she finally came to our table, I told her that if she had came 5 minutes later; we wouldn’t be there as it had been already 20 minutes that we were waiting. She asked me to not “exaggerate” and continued by saying “anyway, what you want”. She was lucky it was already late and we were really hungry (and my friend had invited me), otherwise we would have left the place right that minute.
So I just replied to her that it wasn’t a way to talk to clients and thought that she can dream about any tip.

We shared an appetizer, and only then the bread decided to join our meal. She had taken a wrong order for the entree, so I ended up being the only one with a dish. My friend had to wait 10 more minutes before having hers…. Oh and no apologies!!!

The food is still good and fresh, although a bit too much olive oil in everything. I agree it gives a good taste, but don’t make swim my food in it.

So in summary, ok food, bad service, and “I don’t care attitude” which is the worst for me. Maybe they should make the staff live on tips like in the US. I am not saying the service would be better but at least they would work better to earn their tip, and even do it with a smile to have a bigger tip…

Jul
29

The opening is tonight, July 29th, it is located at the Quai Général Guisan / Geneva

From 6pm you can taste some amuse-bouche and enjoy the view of the jet d’eau.

Don’t miss it, it would last only 10 days during Geneva festivities…

Hopefully it won’t rain anymore, otherwise bring your goggles 😉

their website

Jul
20

Hello everyone, I know I know it has been a while that I didn’t give you news. And believe me there are lots of news to give. First of all thank you to all my friends for their wonderful messages for my birthday!!! You know it is really good to be me 😉

Now let me tell you what I have done the last few weeks. I enjoyed the sunny weather and went out a lot in Geneva. I did a crazy week-end in Milan, and I had an amazing week in Sardinia.
I will talk about my trips later; but for now let me talk to you about my birthday, and what I did …
Last year I did a big thing in Istanbul, so this year wanted to go mellower and I wasn’t really in the mood of organizing a big party. This year my sister, who kept asking me what I wanted to do, decided to stop waiting on me and called some friends and organize a small dinner at the Hotel President Wilson.

Hotel President Wilson is situated by the lake on the rive droite, and has a great lounge/terrace around the pool, and a restaurant called “Bayview”. This summer they do every Thursday night happy hour and they bring little canapés from their Lebanese restaurant, “Arabesque”. I never managed to go to any and I really wanted to try it, so I could talk about it.

The place is really beautiful; you have a great view of the lake. The only inconvenient; and this is more for the hotel guests, the “pool” view is actually “room” view. The pool is built in the middle of the building, so one side of it has the rooms with no tinted windows. This basically means when you ask a room with lake view, you have the pool and the restaurant view as well. And you have the opportunity to offer a peep show to the diners 😉 Joke aside I think it is a pity to have a beautiful view, but never enjoy it because you keep your curtains closed as you are scared people might see you in your room’s intimacy…

At my table I was sitting pool/room view side as I know how the Leman Lake looks like and I am more curious what happens in the rooms…
You can chose between two menus and a la carte dishes; as we like to be complicated, my mother asked the Maitre d’ to talk to the Lebanese restaurant and that we wanted some food from them as well. Yes yes I know, the apple never falls to far from the tree, why do you think I became whom I am 🙂
What I like about the restaurant is that instead of giving us the typical answer “oh we cannot do that, house rules”, they right away called someone from the other restaurant so we can be happy. Believe me, it might seem so what to some of you, but in Geneva, it is a big plus.

We ended up sharing few appetizers from the Bayview restaurant, and few dishes from the Arabesque restaurant. The food was quite decent, we had bubbles to celebrate. I think the only thing that I can criticize would be the service. They are all lovely but they should come and check on us more often. We ended up doing our own Champagne service, as we would have died of thirst waiting for them to pay us attention. I am happy that they were not like my water filler waiter (the one from La Finestra) but come on, find the middle. Especially when you consider that the income of a restaurant is based more on the drinks than on food….

Oh well, I had a good evening, great company and the most important great gifts 😉 and if you are still curious, no peep show from a hot guest, just someone who was very into dental hygiene (he brushed his teeth for at least 6 minutes)…

Thank you sis to organize, thanks mom to invite and thanks guys to be there!!!!

Jul
17

The rest of my trip in Costa Smeralda passed between shopping and tanning and having “Bellinis” which is a long drink where you mix prosecco and peach puree at the piazzetta in Porto Cervo.

I tried several beaches, but ended up most of the time at the beach of Hotel Pitrizza, with white sand and Liscia di Vasca Bay’s transparent water… do I need to add more? Well if you really insist, full of merchants who sell hats, jewelry, pashmina and beach dresses…
All my vendor friends come from Pakistan and besides helping to do my shopping fix; they let me do my bargaining fix as well 😉

At nights, after doing some more shopping in Porto Cervo, and believe me there are lots of temptations. My pleasure was to sip my Bellini while watching people, especially Flavio Briatore and his carefully selected guests (such as Valentino), followed by paparazzi. I guess Valentino Garavani is the reference person in Porto Cervo, as even when I would look for a jewelry, the owner would tell me with his Italian accent “you know Valentino Garavani bought this the other day”.
Happy for him, so would that mean that I need to color my hair like him as well? Oh wait my hair is colored like that already, although it looks more natural on me than him 😉

Anyway, and I tried some restaurants, nice fish restaurant in Poltu Quatu called Tanit. And my last night went to the most famous restaurant in Porto Cervo, “Gianni Pedrinelli”
Gianni Pedrinelli is when you want to indulge in the secrets of the sardic and italian cuisine. It’s not your usual bling-ridden eatery in Porto Cervo. Everybody is treated the same way. And you can enjoy the amazing food, while you see some celebrities with their families. I just saw Yamani celebrating his son’s birthday.
But girls, some sources told me that George Clooney loves it too.

It was the best way of finishing my journey. I fell in love again with Costa Smeralda, although I believe one week is more than enough. Looking forward to go back next year though 😉

Jul
13

In Costa Smeralda, you have few clubs that have been there forever, and Sopravento makes part of them. This yearthey have decided to give a new face lift and concept to it. The official birth date would be on July 23rd, but I had a sneak peak before…

I ended up there on my last evening with my friends. Someone had caught lots of tuna fish that day, so instead of cooking them home; decided to bring it to Cortes. The owner was happy to ask to his chef to cook it for us, and used the opportunity to have a pre-opening test run … And don’t worry I behaved 😉

The concept is simple; with over 2000 square meters, Cortes has a restaurant which is open for lunch as well; a show club where you can enjoy DJs as well as live music and shows; an art gallery and an exclusive luxury corner shops area.
So I can easily call it a “full option spot”!!!

As I was there before the grand opening, I can only say that the cook is quite talented and creative, because basing a whole dinner on tuna (3 courses plus desert), you need to have ideas. And believe it or not, we didn’t have it with pasta… The atmosphere was great, besides the beautiful setting, loved the live music accompanying the DJ.

My only concern was the trip to the bathroom; it is a good walk, so you have to plan ahead and maybe a pack a snack for the road… Joke aside, I wish I were still in Porto Cervo for the opening, so I could see and enjoy the night, and compare with my private one ….
And I guess the crowd would be more my type of crowd than the one Flavio attracts at the Billionaire 😉
So if you are around, you should definitely give a shot!!!

Jul
10

After a glorious first day and night in Sardinia, we decide to take our second day relaxed. So we spent the day on the boat getting tanned, and at night decided to walk around “Porto Cervo” before our dinner.

Porto Cervo is the main center of Costa Smeralda . It is surrounded by a marina, sport clubs, shopping promenade, luxurious boutiques, and nightlife of its own. I remembered from my last visit that they were great shopping spots, and you know me and shopping 😉
This time I just checked around as in few days I was supposed to stay at Cervo Hotel, so lots of time to shop.

After a short shopping session and a drink at the piazza, we went to a restaurant that my friends had already been couple of days ago, and couldn’t stop talking about.

It is called “Ristorante La Petronilla”, just a bit further of the bling bling of Porto Cervo. It is a small restaurant, that has a a big wine cellar, and the owner; Massimo Scardovi was the one who took our orders and served us. I am even suspecting that he even is the one who cooked.

If you are looking for a restaurant where you can see the “who is who” of the Italian and international jetset; then avoid La Petronilla. We were there for the food; we started with “vongole e mitilo”, which are clams and mussels cooked in a wine sauce, followed by pasta.
My friends were dreaming about their “spaghetti ai ricci di mare” (sea urchins spaghetti) and I went with “spaghetti al granseola” (spider crabs spaghetti). Result….. at the idea I am still salivating….

The restaurant was quite empty, I guess due to the lack of a decent terrace. Even though they say they have AC I have to admit it was a bit too warm; it must be the Italian way…. meaning a machine that blows the air that we the rest of the world call an “electric fan”.
You know me how I hate the heat, so if I am willing to go back, it means that the food was really delicious. And if you are around and want to spend a chill night with great food, give a chance to “La Petronilla” and please let me know how much you enjoyed the food 😉 Bon appetit!!!!

Jul
09

When my friend asked me to join them for her birthday week-end in Sardinia on the boat, I knew the only thing that could hold me in Geneva were the flights… First of all I knew it was gonna be a great group, and second haven’t been to Costa Smeralda (the Emerald Coast)for years, so it would be great to rediscover everything.

After checking all the options, I decided to go with Easy Jet to Olbia, otherwise I needed to change 3 flights.
For the people who don’t know Easy Jet, it is an airline that seems cheap. The flights are not expensive, but you have to add your luggage, which costs roughly 40 bucks; add that the “speedy boarding”, insurance and 16 bucks to use a credit card.
So basically when you add all the options it becomes more expensive then a regular company… and all this for a company who has delays 90% of the time, and also did I tell you that Easy Jet doesn’t assign you a seat, so it is like the bus, first come first served basis….. (why do you think I buy the Speedy Boarding???)
Oh well, as Easy Jet is the only company that offers direct flights from Geneva to Olbia, I shut up woke up at 4 am as the only flight was at 6.15am and made the best out of it… and come on it is only an hour and a half flight.

When I arrived to Olbia, took a cab to Cala di Volpe hotel so the tender could pick me up for the boat. This hotel which literally means the “Cove of the Fox” is by far the most expensive hotel in Sardinia. It has a great beach, and good restaurants. When I arrived it was empty, as the high season didn’t start yet and also I guess people don’t wake up at 8am in vacation…

That night we first hit “Phi Beach” for happy hour. Imagine a beautiful beach with a great sunset. Great music and hot Italians dancing… And you know me; I never go to a place in Italy without seeing a soccer player (the Italian celebrities). Didn’t miss it this time, next to us the yummy Lucas Toni with his girlfriend was dancing away, while paparazzi were trying to take his picture from a helicopter …

After the drink we had dinner at the boat and hit “The Billionaire Club”, famously owned by Flavio Briatore, former head of the Benetton Formula One racing team. This nightclub, used to be really happening couple of years ago when it opened, and Flavio tries to keep it that way by having extra expensive drinks, and asking his jet set friends to come and party.

The truth? Beside maybe few nights that you have someone interesting, it is full of little boys and girls spending the money of daddy. And when I say spending, I am not lying… as every time you open a mega magnum champagne bottle that costs thousand of Euros… (the regular bottle of Greygoose cost 1100 EUR, so I let you guess the rest of the prices), they make a huge fuss, with fire and music… these little kids, who have no idea about the crisis start a competition about who is going to open more bottles. I don’t want to see their families face when they see the credit card bills!!!
Beside them, you have few young ladies who are searching for a yacht owner or someone who will offer them a summer free of charge… but then again these special ladies are everywhere.

As we didn’t open a magnum, they tried to treat us like a second zone citizen, and take away one of our tables, but the minute they heard we were staying on a boat, everything went back to order 😉
Anyway, as usual we had fun, drank and danced… the top of my night? When I finally managed to cross the crowd in the heat and humidity and went to the bathroom, which had AC!!! Did I tell you that even the Billionaire uses the old trick of killing people with heat so they consume more?

Oh well, my first day in Sardinia was great and quite full and fun. Thank you to be born Frederique, so we had this great day. Happy birthday again!!!!

Jul
06

My friend decided to call some of us and get together in Milan, to celebrate her birthday. We all decided to not care about the famous heat of the city in summer, and go for the week-end.

I off course proposed Nobu to eat and then Prive to party the rest of the night. As I love the food and they have AC. But we thought that as we were in Italy, we should do an Italian restaurant.
So the final decision was to organize the dinner at “Just Cavalli”, then go to the open air night club that was above….

It is not located in center, so after a short cab ride, we arrived to destination…. The setting is beautiful, a great space in the middle of Parco Sempione… To arrive to the restaurant once they check if you are on the list is a good walk, and in the nature I might add, so at this point you regret a little to have high heels….

They gave us the option to sit inside or outside, it was soooo hot that we decided to stay inside with the supposed AC. They saw that we were a big group so brought these mixed anti-pasti that were charged more than 30 Eur for one mozzarella, half of a slice of prosciutto, and three pulps running after each other…
It was so hot that we couldn’t eat anything, so everybody went for Caesar salad after… I don’t know for the others, but I don’t call 5 little pieces of overcooked and over dry chicken on lettuce, with no dressing a Caesar salad.
So, no need to say that we were not really happy with the food…..

Later some friends needed to go and get the others who were stuck in the traffic on their way from Geneva, so we decide to wait for them upstairs at the Club, on our Super Prive table.
In order to have a table at VIP section called “Super Prive” ( I guess they wanted to do better than Armani…), we had to leave an imprint of credit card of 1000 Eur. Which basically means, you cannot leave the table without spending that amount of money, otherwise, they will charge it to your credit card.

So here we are waiting for the rest of the group, trying to sit on a tiny table, fighting so “the models” don’t eat our fruits or drink our bubbles… In Milan the “models” are like the “estheticians” in Geneva… they do house calls at night.

Well the rest of the group managed to come 45 minutes before the end of the night, as at the door they didn’t let them in… why? Because apparently their records show that we were already a full table (which was not right) but we didn’t use our 1000 Eur…

We didn’t use the whole amount, well first of all because we were waiting the rest to drink, and also drinking is dangerous in Just Cavalli. Because it means you need to use the bathroom… which means had to walk through the whole club, and wait in line for 45 minutes.
Oh yeah did I tell u that there are only two mixed toilets for 1200 people????

No need to say that I won’t put my foot there, and would highly discourage any person with sense to do sooo.

I think Roberto should stick to create beautiful clothes, and lose the idea of restaurant and nightclub…

Jun
26

“Roberto” is one of the known restaurants in Geneva center. It is situated near Rive, and attracts a lot of business men when they want to impress their client. My mother always would say, you know the quality of a restaurant by looking at their flower arrangements, and if you follow her logic, Roberto must be among the best.

I hate to criticize everything (I know it doesn’t look like) but I don’t agree; I would put it as one of the most expensive not the best. I gave so many chances, and 99% of the time I left broke and disappointed. So when my friend invited me to join them, I was more excited about the fact to have some material to write than the food…

I cannot deny, the atmosphere is beautiful and the place is packed, and the service with a smile. I ordered an artichoke heart, followed by scaloppini al limone (veal escallops in lemon sauce). So after 20 – 25 minutes I received two big hearts of artichokes and two green leaves with one little carrot in the middle… no dressing or vinaigrette. I completely understand that they let you dress it your way, but propose me vinaigrette on the side and let me chose.
Anyway the problems started with the entrees… They came exactly 1hour and 15 minutes after we sat. I had what I ordered, but my friend who ordered a grilled sole had a meuniere (cooked in a pan with butter); we had 4 orders of soles and only received 3. And instead of dividing them among four, they filled up three plates with the fish and the poor fourth person had a quarter of a sole.

And for the sides, no one got what they expected. Someone had ordered his dish with french fries, but as his plate was full of fish, only six sad fries made it. come on, when you pay around 70 USD for a plate of fish, you expect first to receive it, then to have the right side order and you also expect some visual… Don’t we say that we first eat with the eyes… well at Roberto they don’t know the concept, not only you are not satisfied with your food, your plate look sad as well…

There is a saying: “don’t judge a book by its cover”… well don’t judge Roberto by its flowers and decors and prices, it just doesn’t deliver what you expect from it. Nobody leaves the restaurant satisfied… but due to the lack of choices for a business lunch, they keep going.
It is sad because Roberto has all the elements to have satisfied customers, they just need to put it together and stop taking them for idiots!!!