What are Michael Voltaggio’s favorite restaurants?
The obvious ones like Noma. But there was one called Manfreds that I went to. That was really good. These guys have restaurants, one is Manfreds and across the street is Relae — I believe they own both of them. Manfreds is a more casual version, but it’s like a few guys in the kitchen. Basically, the kitchen is kind of right there where you’re eating, so it’s like going to a little wine bar. Most of the wines are indigenous to that area, so they have that orange wine quality, that oxidized, homemade kind of feel to them. The food was really delicious.
Everywhere I go, that’s what I do — I go out to eat. For me, it’s all the restaurants that I go to. I’ve only traveled for work; I’ve never actually taken a vacation. I’ve been all over the world, but every trip I’ve taken I can pretty much link to an event or something work related that I had to do to be there. So when I went on these trips, I was eating.
It’s kind of the obvious thing to say, but when I go to a different country, I definitely want to experience the culture of that country; so I certainly try to eat the food that best represents the area where I am. But then again, when I was in Mexico — I don’t remember the name of the restaurant — we went to their version of an American bar in Ensenada. I was almost embarrassed because their chicken wings and their sliders — that type of food that we think of here as something we wouldn’t eat — were better than what we do here. Fresh chicken wings — imagine getting a chicken wing that you know came from a chicken on a farm that was really close by. It was just delicious.