The first post of 2019 is again in good tradition about restaurants of 2018. Not a lot of travel this year (well, compared to last year), so a few notable additions to the previous list.

Brasserie Ambassade
Herengracht 339, 1016 AZ Amsterdam

A conventional French brasserie, which is a hotel restaurant. The highlights are the painting collection on the walls - the owner is the largest collector of CoBrA art and the walls are literally covered with Karel Appel and others. Food is very good, wine selection is a little amsterdamish covering the wines of the world, but French wines are very decent and not expensive. Come for the interior and solid cuisine.

Brasserie Excelsior Reims
96 Place Drouet d’Erlon, 51100 Reims, France

We started 2018 with a New Years dinner in Brasserie Excelsior in Reims. Again, another conventional brasserie with white linen, top seafood and meat. Not much to say here. Just very good.

Brasserie du Boulingrin
31 Rue de Mars, 51100 Reims, France

Also Reims. A slightly more conservative and more rustic place – go for rognon de veau, bone marrow, steak tartar, and pair with wines, which are very inexpensive there, especially compared to Amsterdam or Paris.

Le Pré Champenois
1 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 51100 Reims, France

The last place from Reims. Incredible food, a smaller and more culinary place, where traditional dishes are a little twisted. Highlight of the menu is Crêpe Suzette. Do it not just for the taste, but also for the show - prepared right next to your table.

Fratelli Briganti
Piazza Giovanbattista Giorgini, 12/R, 50134 Firenze FI, Italy

The Florentine gem in the middle of a residential area. A very local family restaurant, right in the middle of a residential area next to a couple other places. A little bit off the touristic attractions, and away from the buzz of the city. And still very buzzing, always busy and crowded, so prepare to call and make reservations in advance. Incredible food, awesome wine selection from inexpensiove local wines to Super Tuscans, heart-melting service. Went there three times, after the second time got a free piece of cheese, because one the the waiters saw how much we enjoyed it the previous time. The last time recieved the restaurant calendar and the book about the history of the family. A true true true gem.

Rozengracht 228-230, 1016 SZ Amsterdam

Back to Amsterdam for Japanese. Always busy, always great food: shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, sushi, sashimi and much much more. Not the cheapest place, but a traditional one. The highlight of the place is the wine list, which is very carefully selected and made to pair the Japanese cuisine perfectly. From rieslings to Aloxe Corton, all the wines are meant to make dining much more delightful. Also, begin with house sake from the wooden box.

Memorable mentions

Auberge Jean and Marie in Amsterdam,Cinq in Maastricht, La Couronne in Rouen, La Mere Poulard at Mont Saint Michel, Tamero in Florence, La Petite Maison in Nice.