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Porta is just one of the genius creations of the Smith group in Asbury Park, NJ. Their Cavolo Nero salad puts Tuscan kale center stage in a tangy lemon garlic dressing topped with sunchokes and watermelon radish, a touch of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and homemade chile-garlic crostini croutons. Porta is an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant at the Jersey Shore. When we say authentic, we mean the pizza ovens came straight from Italy to Asbury Park. But who says the magic is completely in the oven? Porta’s pizzas are superb because the ingredients are locally sourced and deliciously arranged atop a homemade crust that will make you sing. We adore the arugula pizza, topped with homemade mozzarella cheese, crisp, peppery green arugula, garlic, and truffle oil. We’ve fallen in love with the Autumn Betty, a seasonal pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, goat cheese, garlic, thyme, and fresh mushrooms. And when we feel its time to cheat from our mostly vegetarian diet, we turn to the 14 1/2, a pizza of homemade mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, hot soppressata, and Calabrian chiles. Ultimately, the 14 1/2 is our favorite Porta creation to date. While the food is magnificent, it is the people who complete Porta. The staff is always thoughtful and attentive, and most importantly, consistent. We love the culture Porta has created, and we love the amount of energy and devotion the Smith group has put into our little city by the sea.
about 1 hour ago
At the northern end of George Street, opposite Circular Quay and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Four Seasons hotel offers everything guests might need, right on the doorstep of the Sydney Harbour. It’s no surprise this is one of the most popular hotels among business and leisure travelers, and it books out a year in advance for New Year’s Eve. In typical Four Seasons fashion, the hotel is outfitted with caramel-colored furnishings, dark woods, and romantic lighting—exemplified by the lobby’s crystal overhead lights and the hanging lantern installation—and the top-tier suites are dressed to impress. They all offer an apartment-style ambience and incredible harbor panoramas from their perch on the 34th floor; the Royal Suite is especially beautiful, with parquet floors, an ornate wardrobe, and Roman blinds. Whether staying for work or pleasure, all guests will appreciate the fine-dining restaurant, the cherry-wood bar that specializes in boutique beers and wines, the full-service spa, and the 24-hour gym. The Four Seasons also puts together exclusive guest experiences, such as a harbor tour led by a renowned local photographer.
about 4 hours ago
Chiseled from a sandstone-and-brick wool factory on the site of Sydney’s first hospital, the Harbour Rocks Hotel is one of the most historic accommodations in the Rocks—and maybe the most haunted. Hotel staff say part of the building, named Scarlett’s Cottages after a well-known lady of the night, is watched over by Eric, a man who once lived here and who still searches for Scarlett in the labyrinthine corridors after she swore her love to him and then disappeared. Ghosts aside, the hotel’s 59 rooms are peaceful, with high ceilings, Georgian arched windows, brick walls painted dark gray, Old West–style textiles, and wool carpeting that recalls the building’s former life. The place is filled with fun artifacts, too, from the ancient luggage lift to old maps and letters framed on the walls. The early-20th-century history that pervades the building is also found in every direction outside its doors.
about 5 hours ago
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