Saturday, April 24, 2021

Welcome to ReviewSteak!

Garota Urca - Rio de Janeiro, Brasil


We are a young to middle aged couple with no young kids who love to travel, love adventure, and a good steak. We love all cuts and we love it medium rare.

Our love of meat, and in particular steak, has made us something like steak aficionados. We travel far and frequently and are always on the hunt for the best steak in town. Lately, we have branched out to steak offshoots, like beef carpaccio, beef tataki or, when there is no other steak around, steak tacos. We long mused about having a blog that chronicles the best, and worst, steak we encounter.

This blog was four years in the making and I finally published our first review in 2016. Covid-19 limited travel and eating out and afforded time to catch up on the reviews. This is why you will see a lot of posts from 2020 and 2021.

We have been to your run-of-the-mill steak houses and places most tourists would never find. I hope all of the amazing places we want to visit again are still out there. For example, a tiny bar in a remote area of Costa Rica that serves a steak with a mustard sauce that still makes me salivate when I think of it, eight years later. This will be a steak diary. And whether you like steak or just like to hear about new places, welcome to our page.

Now that we finally took the leap and set this thing up, let's get going!

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**For disclaimer purposes, I do not currently receive any monetary benefits from this blog. Any links I share are solely for your convenience. 

Salzburg, Austria 2019

Merida, Spain 2019

Madrid, Spain 2019

Biarritz, France 2017


Cancun, Mexico 2016



Hong Kong, China 2015

Tacoma, Washington 2015

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2014

Atlanta, Georgia 2013

Aruba 2012



Friday, April 23, 2021

Austria - Vienna, Salzburg

Schlumberger Sparkling Bar, Vienna

We have been fortunate enough to travel to Austria twice. Once in 2016 to Vienna, and a second time to Salzburg in 2019. Both stays were part of a multiday, multi country by train trip. Each city is beautiful and unique. Click the links or photos for the reviews and the steak!



Vienna is more urban and you can take the StraBenbahn all around the city. 










Salzburg, by contrast, is a city to see on foot as the old town is shut off to cars. We had excellent meals in both cities and would definitely travel back to either and stay longer. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mexico - Cancún



We have made a few trips to Cancún, Mexico over the years. We enjoy the laid back vibe, the beaches, and a few restaurants that have us coming back again and again. 


After staying at several hotels in Cancún, the place we have found that fits our expectations and never disappoints is The Westin Resort & Spa.  It's not hard to find things to do in Cancún. Throw a rock and you will hit a tourist excursion. 


You can also find good steak relatively easy. The typical chain restaurants like Ruth's Chris and Outback are widely advertised and thoroughly frequented by your average gringo. We do our best to avoid those places when we travel and seek out places that are quieter, quainter, and where we can rub elbows with at least a few locals. Sadly, while writing this blog during the era of Covid-19, three of the restaurants I was planning to write about have closed or changed ownership. Thankfully, the others are there and hopefully will remain so until we return...

Click on the photos below for the reviews:

Navíos






Tequila Grill


Bovino's Churrascaria



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Netherlands - Amsterdam



Several other posts have mentioned our first train journey around Europe in 2016. We initially booked a round-trip flight to Amsterdam because that was the cheapest destination from Seattle. We planned to start our trip in Venice, Italy, but the layover was several hours. Instead, we looked for a short flight that would take us within a quick train ride of Venice and had a bearable layover. We found a flight leaving within two hours of our arrival to Milan. After a night in Milan, we traveled to Venice, on to Vienna, stopped in Cologne, and finally went full circle back to Amsterdam. The trip from Cologne was just about three hours so we got to have lunch and enjoy some scenery while we coasted along at about 270 mph! 


We booked the final three nights of our trip at Radisson's Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam.  The hotel was originally opened in 1890. Inside it has the historic architecture, with narrow winding hallways and rooms with vaulted ceilings. It is situated across the thoroughfare from Amsterdam Centraal train station. We had an amazing view from our corner room. 


There are a lot of things that come to mind when one thinks of Amsterdam... art, coffee shops, canals, red light district, etc. What does not immediately spring to mind is a nice steak lunch or steak dinner. We managed to find three! Click the photos below for the full review.



Eetcafé Lusthof



La Estancia


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Canada - Victoria, Vancouver Island


Back in 2014, when we lived on the West Coast, we were in the Seattle area for business and decided to spend a long weekend in Victoria on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed it so much we went back for New Year's Eve that year.  The ferry runs from Port Angeles or Anacortes, Washington. We have taken both routes to downtown Victoria. Traveling to Victoria from Washington by ferry is easy and enjoyable.

On our first trip we stayed at The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa for one night. The resort is beautiful with mountain views. There is a huge terrace, along with private terraces, for wining, dining or just relaxing. Although in our case, it was a place for working that first day! 



 As much as we enjoyed the resort and the suite that was enormous, the location is pretty far from downtown Victoria. It is perfect for golfers and families.



What we were looking for was a central location from which to explore the city on foot. Luckily we had scheduled the next two nights at Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour. We had a corner room with a nice city view. We booked the same room our full stay there for the second trip.




We love Victoria for its people, its charm and its walkability. You feel as if you are in an old European city. It is also very safe. During our explorations we found amazing watering holes with views of the harbour and seaplanes, Cuban cigars, and of course steak!

In a small out of the way place on Trounce Alley, we wandered to The Tapa Bar. The staff was warm and accommodating. The menu has a wide array of items sure to please any diner and we tried several items! Our favorite (no surprise) was by far the New York Steak served with salsa fresca and pickled onions.



They grill the steak to the perfect medium rare. We tried it with white wine garlic butter sauce and the chimichurri sauce. Both were excellent and our usual order was one of each so we could share - the way tapas are meant to be! I also tried it with shrimp, which was great! We fell in love with this place and ate there every day.  The sangria is made fresh and met all expectations. Even when we tried to venture out, we would wind up back on Trounce Alley. If you love tapas, you should try The Tapa Bar and prepare to be transported to Spain.
If you love steak, you can't miss The Tapa Bar if you are in Victoria. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Deutschland - Köln (Germany - Cologne)

In 2016, we took our first train trip around Europe. We started in Milan, Italy and ended in Amsterdam, Netherlands. One of the stops along the way was Cologne (Köln), Germany. Cologne was a stop-over night at Courtyard Cologne to break up the long trip from Vienna to Amsterdam. Neither of us had ever been to Cologne or knew much about the city so we watched some shows like Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. We took time the following day for sightseeing before moving on to Amsterdam.


In our research we found and were delighted by the tradition involving Kölsch. Kölsch is a beer specific to Cologne and has an interesting history. In Cologne, if you order a Kölsch, you get continuous, bottomless, refills unless you place a coaster over your glass. 

We visited Max Stark because it had great reviews, was close to the hotel, and we wanted to try Kolsch. Let me tell you, they are not joking around. Servers walk with trays of glasses and as soon as you are dry, they do the switch. Somehow they keep up with it but you have no hope of keeping track.

We didn't visit for the steak but were thrilled to see a steak on the menu. After a starter salad, the food arrived fairly quickly but the people watching was great so we were thoroughly entertained. 




The steak was surprisingly good. It was tender and cooked a perfect medium rare. It was severed with a veggie medley, fries. It was nice to have a side that is not a root vegetable in Germany in the fall. 

I hope to go back to Cologne and spend the time needed to get to know the city. If you find yourself in Cologne, and I hope you do, Max Stark is worth a visit. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

France - Biarritz




 

In October 2017, we decided to take our first trip to Basque Country. Many people think first of Spain when hearing the term "Basque"but the Basque people call a geographic area that is located within both Spanish and French borders home. According to Britannica, "The Basque, who speak a language that is among the oldest in Europe, are ethnically distinct from the people who surround them in France and Spain, having preserved their identity among the waves of migrants who have passed through the region since prehistoric times." The region has not only a distinct language and culture, but also a distinct cuisine. Most of the traditional fare is fish based so I won't be doing a review of Basque dishes here. it was a highlight of the trip though!

On this trip we flew into Bilbao, Spain, and out of Madrid, Spain. We spent two nights in San Sebastian, Spain before traveling up the coast to Biarritz, France. Although the two cities are only 48.9 KM (approximately 30 miles) apart, traveling without a car is somewhat confusing. That is a story for another blog. 


Finally in Biarritz after figuring out the travel,we were happy to arrive and enjoy a glass of French wine at the first little cafe we came to.

Biarritz 2017

Biarritz is a beautiful city on the Bay of Biscay in the southwest of France. Well known for its world class surf, Biarritz is a mixture of a surf town and a resort town for the elite. Luckily, we traveled on the off season for tourism. We were told during high season it is impossible to navigate the narrow winding roads due to traffic. Surf town is more our speed and we found cafes and watering holes where the surfers gathered in the evenings. 


We booked two nights at Radisson Blu Hotel. We were given a corner room with a spectacular ocean view. The hotel has a rooftop area with panoramic views that were breathtaking. We normally try the restaurant when we stay with Radisson but on this trip we wanted to explore the city and dine like a local.



We dined at Le Café du Commerce which was trendy and overrated. 

Click the photo below for the full review.


Le Café du Commerce


California Kitchen Biarritz is a place to sit back, relax and dine like a local. We enjoyed the vibe and the food.



California Kitchen Biarritz

Click the photo above for the full review.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Italia - Milano, Lago di Como (Italy - Milan, Lake Como)

Before the world became frozen in time in 2020, we had the great fortune of traveling to Italy in September 2019. Back in 2016, we spent one night in Milan as a stop-over to Venice and always wanted to spend more time there. The first go-round we missed out on finding good steak. Instead, because it was our first time in Italy, we went for pizza in Milan at La Costiera. In Venice, known for seafood, it was some amazing salumi e formaggi at La Bottiglia and pasta at Ristorante Al Cavallo.

Charcuterie Board


The last time around, we were able to enjoy outstanding carpaccio in Milan before taking the train to Lake Como two days later. Lake Como offered some amazing sights and steak! Click the photos below for details...


Panino Giusto, Milano





Ristorante Kincho, Lago di Como