Using the Michelin Red Guide app to find a great restaurant

Road Warriorette has been compensated by Michelin for this post.

Michelin red guideWe’ve all heard of Michelin tires, and we’ve all heard of the Michelin restaurant ratings. I never put it together that they are from the same company, but they are! Michelin recently reached out to me with an invitation to join their Ambassador program. I am very excited to work with this diverse company to test and review some of their new and innovative programs.

One of their most well-known products are the Michelin restaurant guides. They are available for a number of US locations, including New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, plus several international guides. They include lists and reviews of the top restaurants in each locale. The guides have been available for years as books, but more recently have been released as an app. For a trip last month, I used The Michelin Guide 2013 Hotels and Restaurants: New York to find a restaurant for dinner for my sister and me.

At $3.99, the app is a steal—the book retails for $18.99—and includes restaurants AND hotels. The guide allows you to narrow by price, rating, and atmosphere. The reviews are well written and thorough. (The entire reason I picked Osteria Cotta was because of the way the review described the lasagna, which had my stomach rumbling in my plane seat.) While the app has many filters to help you find a restaurant, I couldn’t figure out how to narrow by cuisine. As the Michelin apps are fairly new, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is included soon. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who travels regularly to New York, and I’m sure the guides to other cities are similarly helpful. Business travelers, especially, will find it useful as you can quickly find an excellent restaurant nearby.

Based on the Michelin review, I chose Osteria Cotta, located on the Upper West Side, for dinner. It was lovely, despite the house/techno music blaring from behind the bar. We sat outside, as it was a beautiful night. The complimentary bread with olive oil and vinegar was fine, but not anything special. We enjoyed two wines—Nero D Avola  and Primitivo. The special ricotta balls of the day were with the house pomodoro sauce, which sounded delicious and intriguing. The sauce was incredible—fresh, simple, perfect. Our Caesar salad was delicious, with a hint of lemon. Our entrees were Pasta Pomodoro, and lasagna. The pasta was perfectly al dente, and tasted exactly how pasta pomodoro should taste. My lasagna was incredible, with creamy cheese, Bolognese sauce, and bright tomato.

If we had ended our dinner there, it would have been a great meal. We opted to try the Nutella Calzone mentioned in the Michelin review. What could be wrong? Warm pizza crust, oozing nutella and ricotta, and chopped walnuts. Alas, when we cut into the searing hot dessert it fell flat. Aside from Nutella, there wasn’t anything notable or memorable about this dessert. Lackluster flavor, overcooked crust, uneven spread of ricotta, and too large chunks of walnut. The service was friendly but slow. We waited too long for everything-the wine, the appetizers, and finally the check. Of the two hours we dined at Cotta we were waiting for half. Luckily for us, there was a nice breeze and great people watching, and we truly did enjoy our evening. If you’re in a hurry, maybe pick a different place. But if you’re on a budget and want to enjoy a delicious meal, make time for this Upper West Side Italian eatery. I’m so glad the Michelin app helped me find it!

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