1. Ford's Garage. The New kid in town: Absolutely a home run for the River District. They have taken over the old Morgan House space and created a first rate burger bar. The burgers are made with top ingredients and delicious. Excellent fries. Huge beer assortment on tap and bottle. Young staff needs some polish, but I think they will be very good. Old Ford Jalopy hanging over the bar, AhOooohGah, the horn sounds every so often. Also backfires...We had an excellent time, timing needs improvement but it's only been a week or so . Owned by group that owns the Edison down the street.
2. Cristof's. I wrote about this earlier and it is getting better. Excellent burger in their bar area and the food and service is quite good.
3. Cibo: This is one of our go-to favorites as it is close by. The food is great. The little bar area is trying for a elderly singles pick up place. Fun to watch!....or maybe not. Dining room is still too dark. I was an interior designer for years and did several restaurants but never understood owners equating dark with romantic. If you need a flashlight for the menu (nice app on my google phone) it is too dark.
4. Paris/Saigon Cafe: I haven't been here for years but recently had an excellent meal. I think their Vietnamese food is much superior to the french. Excellent fresh crunch spring rolls, Pho!! the real thing and delicious. I had the Vietnamese crepes which are as good as ever. Only complaint is the glacial pace of service. Owner and wife do the cooking, all to order, so this is no place for a quick lunch. Interior is ghastly but the pho is worth overlooking the ambiance.
5. Grimaldi's: only place we go for pizza anymore. I could care less if its New York or wherever...in fact when someone goes on about New York pizza I always remember some of the dreck I've had in NYC, passing as great pizza. Grimaldi's crust is thin, crisp and there is not too much sauce or cheese. Very fresh ingredients and the salads are superb as well. Well chosen wines and Pieroni beer are on the list.