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Chains you wished you had in the USA

dpan Mar 3, 2009 10:28 AM

Just got back from Hong Kong and have to admit I spent an inordinate amount of breakfasts and some lunches at the Cafe de Coral chain of Chinese fast food restaurants. Since returning, I so wished that we could have it here in the states to satisfy my cravings for those unique Chinese items on their large menu, and at their really low prices. What other non-US chains that you wish we had here?

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    sadiefox May 26, 2009 01:38 PM

    Ca Das Sandes in Lisbon. Interesting sandwiches on a choice of baguettes, and cheap beer!

    1. p
      picardsvintagelady May 16, 2009 08:56 AM

      We lived in Paris for two years, upon Ieaving i was asked what would I miss. The first thing was the great cooking schools I had attended and wanted to continue to attend and how I wished there was a chance that Picard's Surgeles (High end Frozen products) would open in Houston. This place is awesome for quality frozen food products. From a Fruit de Mer bisque to Foe Gras, fruit purees, and vegetables of the highest of quality. Such a great concept, a whole store. No freezer burn or ice crystals.

      1. u
        umbushi plum May 2, 2009 03:11 PM

        a fantastic burger place called grille'd has started to franchise in melbounre, lovely lean fresh burgers all obviously "grilled", chicken avacado and salad is lovely is lovely and a gourmet greek burger with lean lamb and babaganush eggplant and tabouli is fabulous,
        a lean kangaroo burgwr with bush chutney fresh tomato and salad or perhaps an aussie with fresh beetroot, sharp chedder lean beef, salad and a "grilled" egg yummy ;-)
        ooh and my fav a beautiful fresh salmon burger made with high quality salmon and ground chickpeas with avacado and tartar sauce plus a wedge of lemon to serve mmmmm

        1. bigtums Apr 18, 2009 01:11 AM

          I wish we had a Go-Go Curry in LA. I know they just opened one up in NY. I had it in Japan and it was some of the best curry at a great price.

          1. s
            shoo bee doo Apr 16, 2009 10:02 PM

            How about Wienerwald found on the highways in Germany and Austria? I remember some great chicken and very fresh salads. And some well-grilled spatzle with fried onions and cheese.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shoo bee doo
              mcsheridan Apr 18, 2009 08:15 AM

              We had Wienerwald in NYC back in the 60s-70s. Like many chains, they grew too far, too fast...and had a retrenchment, and the USA stores closed. Sure do miss it.

            2. mcsheridan Apr 14, 2009 05:51 PM

              Top of the list: http://www.toby-carvery.co.uk/the-car...

              1. u
                umbushi plum Apr 13, 2009 08:49 PM

                theres a wonderful fast food chain in hobart that my pescatarian brother who moved to amercia really misses, i can;t remeber its name but it has amazing free range chicken nuggets and free range chicken bugers plus fresh fish and chips grilled or fried or baked, plus fresh salads (think tabouli greek etc) and also wonderful fresh tartar sauce with real ingriedients. there isn't any meat on the menu so the vegetarian burgers are a speciality and are AWESOME they have a mix of cashews and lentils and chickpeas and some other stuff (killer spices taboot)

                another place is a fast food restaurant'chain king seafood in ballarat near melbourne that has fresh grillled fish free range rosted chickens (really nice tender ones) fresh oysters and take away home made cannaloni and pastas plus home made nothing added straight pumkin soup with dill (almost as good as my own) and to top that off i lived on their curried bean salad for about a year when i lived there yummmmy (fresh pungent but sweet and with just a hint of coconut milk!)

                1. sukekiyo Apr 10, 2009 08:10 PM

                  Speaking of Hong Kong - Hui Lau Shan. I think there may be stores in California and/or Hawaii but that doesn't help me much as I'm dying from withdrawal symptoms over here on the east coast. :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sukekiyo
                    AngelSanctuary Apr 13, 2009 06:36 PM

                    oh oh oh oh oh oh yes yes yes yes. I loved their mango drinks so much!

                    But then...unless it's in a warm place then it wouldn't work so well. I think there is one in Toronto but it pales in comparison. We only have mangoes like in the summer so rest of the time they have to use canned mangoes...and they taste like peaches...

                    1. re: AngelSanctuary
                      Humbucker Apr 14, 2009 07:25 AM

                      I've been to the one in Toronto, and I think it's an imitator using the same name. They have a much narrower range of mango desserts that aren't very good.

                  2. goodhealthgourmet Apr 10, 2009 09:11 AM

                    New Zealand Natural Ice Cream & Yogurt shops. i got hooked when i was in Australia...their dairy just tastes better/cleaner.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      mrbigshotno.1 Apr 10, 2009 01:13 PM

                      Man are you ever right on that. When I was in the military and our ship pulled into Wellington,NZ, the guy's that had been there before hit the ice cream parlors before they hit the bars, it is that good!

                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                        goodhealthgourmet Apr 11, 2009 05:36 PM

                        it ruined me - nothing has tasted as good since! i even did some preliminary research about franchising in the States, but it was too complicated at the time. of course now that i no longer live in SoCal, there are 3 locations there, with more on the way!!! i *really* need to move back ;)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          umbushi plum Apr 16, 2009 02:00 PM

                          another reason i am thankful to live in carlton melbourne, New Zealand Natural Ice Cream and Yoghurt shops mmmmmmm ;-)

                    2. b
                      brucekc Apr 10, 2009 08:56 AM

                      St Hebert's Chicken In Canada, 1o times better than Boston Market!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: brucekc
                        FoodyGirly Apr 10, 2009 01:54 PM

                        That's so funny you mention St. Hubert! I miss them here in Toronto. I have some very fond memories of my husband and I being stuck in a snowstorm in Montreal on New Year's Eve of all nights! It was a mess! The only place open for delivery was St. Hubert...so we ordered a feast, and ate in our hotel room. With, get this, $90 Laurent Perrier Rose! We've eaten in the best restaurants around the world, but somehow this food memory sticks with us as one of our all-time greats!

                      2. w
                        woot4fun Apr 10, 2009 06:46 AM

                        There was one that we frequented a lot when I was installing equipment in Germany called Nordsee. They are an upscale seafood counter with options from Salads, Soups, Baked and Fried fish.

                        1. NellyNel Mar 13, 2009 12:28 PM

                          There is a small chain in the UK called Deli-France - they served pastries and baquette sandwiches. The sandwiches were honestly the best I have ever had in my life. Better in fact than the very delicious baguettes that you actually get in France!
                          From tuna-sweetcorn to chicken mayo with big chunks of bacon...Ahhh I dream about those sandwiches....bacon and brie....one was more delicious than the next.
                          Yes, I wish we had DeliFrance here - but I'd probably be 20 pounds heavier!
                          I have tried so many times to replicate them - but nothing comes close....the bread, the mayo and the bacon that they used were of an outstanding quality...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: NellyNel
                            NellyNel Mar 13, 2009 12:35 PM

                            I just Googled DeliFrance - apparently they are a Dutch company and have franchises all over Europe.

                            1. re: NellyNel
                              pengcast Apr 11, 2009 04:49 PM

                              Deli France makes the most amazing tandori chicken salad sandwich. Just about got kicked off a British Rail for eating it. I didn't know eating was a no-no on Brit trains.

                              Also their almond puff pastry turnover is to die for.

                            2. j
                              Jacey Mar 12, 2009 09:40 PM

                              Nando's--DC actually has one but their menu and food is different than the ones in South Africa, as well as the UK. I wish we had their version (and their prices).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jacey
                                RealMenJulienne May 20, 2009 02:49 PM

                                Jacey, I agree 100%. I had Nando's chicken in Johannesburg and I can't think of a restaurant-prepared chicken I've enjoyed more. Crispy skin, juicy meat, doused in fiery piri-piri sauce....

                              2. BobB Mar 12, 2009 11:24 AM

                                Spain's Museo del Jamon. It would be great to get some real jamon iberico out there in middle America.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: BobB
                                  babaoriley7 Mar 12, 2009 07:57 PM

                                  I know they are in NY and potentially in DC at this point but I'm a huge fan of Pret a manger. Bring em across the states!

                                  1. re: babaoriley7
                                    BobB Mar 13, 2009 05:08 AM

                                    I like Pret when I'm in London, but their sandwiches are a bit skimpy by American standards.

                                  2. re: BobB
                                    Jetgirly Mar 12, 2009 09:10 PM

                                    Another Spanish one I like is Buenas Migas, which I think is just in Barcelona. THE perfect after-school snack! http://www.buenasmigas.com/buenasmiga...

                                  3. h
                                    Humbucker Mar 7, 2009 11:13 AM

                                    Maoz falafel. I can't believe the best falafel I've ever had was from a chain. Their toppings bar is awesome. I'm afraid it would be abused or made disgusting if they had it in America, though.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Humbucker
                                      vvvindaloo Mar 7, 2009 02:28 PM

                                      There are several of them here in NYC. I've never tried them, though.

                                      1. re: vvvindaloo
                                        Jacey Mar 12, 2009 09:39 PM

                                        One is also opening up in DC, too.

                                        1. re: Jacey
                                          Humbucker Mar 13, 2009 11:34 AM

                                          I wish they'd open one in the San Francisco bay area!

                                          1. re: Humbucker
                                            Delucacheesemonger Mar 13, 2009 01:19 PM

                                            On their website they seem to have a dot in SF area, but l cannot bring up address, maybe planned.

                                      2. re: Humbucker
                                        Delucacheesemonger Mar 13, 2009 05:22 AM

                                        Eat at the one in Paris weekly

                                        1. re: Humbucker
                                          lbmsw May 3, 2009 06:49 AM

                                          There are 2 here in Philadelphia. I go often.

                                        2. j
                                          junipersong Mar 6, 2009 09:56 PM

                                          Mos Burger from Japan!!! So good...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: junipersong
                                            John Manzo Apr 25, 2009 09:36 PM

                                            Oh yeah! I had Mos Burger in Singapore- not only was the Unagi Burger fantastic but the fries at this place were astonishing.

                                            I'd kill to have them here (meaning Canada).

                                          2. s
                                            salsailsa Mar 5, 2009 07:16 PM

                                            Lina's cafe- Ate at several locations in Paris and loved their salads.

                                            !00% Natural - the Mexican chain.

                                            1. LA Buckeye Fan Mar 5, 2009 03:34 PM

                                              I know I'll get flack for this but I really liked Wagamamas in the U.K.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                ImprovGal Mar 5, 2009 07:01 PM

                                                Is Wagamama the noodle shop? If so, there is one in Boston in the Prudential Center.

                                                1. re: ImprovGal
                                                  LA Buckeye Fan Mar 6, 2009 04:02 AM

                                                  Yes it is! I did not know that. Thank you. Yet another reason I'd love to go to Boston.

                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                    monkeyrotica Apr 14, 2009 04:25 AM

                                                    There's a Wagamama coming to DC, so there's hope for U.S. expansion.


                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                      nickdanger Apr 21, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                      It's been under construction so long, I wonder.... Would have been better to keep Olsson's book store there until they got it together.

                                                2. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                  dpan Apr 22, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                  I finally remember eating at the Wagamamas in London's East End about 7-8 years ago. Not bad food and certainly cheap enough for that area, and filling too. I guess bottom line is "it's okay" but nothing to write home about.

                                                3. s
                                                  srr Mar 5, 2009 01:45 PM

                                                  FEBO!!!!!! It's fun and the snacks are tasty.

                                                  1. Jetgirly Mar 3, 2009 05:16 PM

                                                    Definitely Brek. I could live off Brek forever and ever and ever. Salad + pasta + wine from the tap = love. I would also like to have a Maoz falafel place here, but it's the kind of place that I wouldn't actually GO to unless it was right outside my front door. Oh, but I am talking about Canada. I think there are a handful of Maozs in the States.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Jetgirly
                                                      Emmmily May 20, 2009 03:08 PM

                                                      There's one on Union Square in NYC - love their falafel. For me, I'd love a Naninni.

                                                    2. vvvindaloo Mar 3, 2009 03:16 PM


                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                        NiKoLe1625 Apr 20, 2009 12:25 PM

                                                        I LOVE Autogrill!!! That is always our first stop after getting off the plane in Rome and driving to Tuscany. Great paninis!!

                                                        1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                          alwayscooking Apr 20, 2009 12:30 PM

                                                          I miss Autogrill - so good and just what fast food should be.

                                                        2. p
                                                          punkin712 Mar 3, 2009 12:15 PM

                                                          I'd love to have a Brek or Autogrill in the US. I get spoiled by 90cent espressos and $4 pasta plates every time I go to Italy.

                                                          1. Glencora Mar 3, 2009 12:06 PM

                                                            I don't remember the name of the chain, but it was in Vienna and it offered all sorts of smoked and pickled fish. It was good and relatively cheap. I've never seen anything like it in the U.S.

                                                            1. Veggo Mar 3, 2009 11:59 AM

                                                              Sanborn's in Mexico would instantly be the best Mexican chain here, to the 5th power.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                alanbarnes Apr 16, 2009 03:11 PM

                                                                El Pollo Loco (I know, their US operations got split off, but still...) is one of the better Mexican chains, and they can't hold a candle to Sanborn's.

                                                              2. Sam Fujisaka Mar 3, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                                Bet you guys would like our Sandwich Cubano chain. Filipinos in the US want Jolibee. Someone mentioned that there are now a few Pollo Camperos from Guatemala in the US.

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                  Midlife Mar 3, 2009 11:17 AM

                                                                  More than a few Pollo Camperos (http://www.campero.com/restaurants/li...). Unfortunately I'm 5t0 miles of bad traffic from the closest to me.

                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                    superheartthrob Mar 3, 2009 11:37 AM

                                                                    there are quite a few Jollibees in California actually

                                                                    1. re: superheartthrob
                                                                      Midlife Mar 3, 2009 11:46 AM

                                                                      THANK YOU Al Gore...... for inventing the internet!!! Now get one of these interesting chains to open somewhere near me!

                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                      James Cristinian Mar 4, 2009 09:35 AM

                                                                      I live near a Pollo Campero and have only been there twice. I worked with a guy from Guatemala who said it wasn't as good, so he rarely went. Personally, I rarely eat fried chicken but if I do I go to a local Houston chain called Frenchy's where they do a creole chicken that I like much better.

                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                        Sam Fujisaka Mar 4, 2009 01:02 PM

                                                                        I've eaten there in Guatemala because: a) it was the only place to get a salad (with chicken that was not fried), and b) in Guatemala, each place has ladies who sell you fresh homemade tortillas right outside next to the doors (you can't get tortillas from the restaurant).

                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                          James Cristinian Mar 4, 2009 08:11 PM

                                                                          The Pollo Campero here has tortillas, but I'm not sure if they're made on the premises. One of my anglo co-workers saw tortillas on the sign out front and it blew his mind. I, personally, will put anything on a tortilla, lobster, crawfish, etc.

                                                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                        NYCkaren Mar 4, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                                        There's now a Jollibee in New York. In Woodside, Queens. Is it worth a special trip?

                                                                        1. re: NYCkaren
                                                                          alanbarnes Apr 16, 2009 03:10 PM

                                                                          We've got one here in Sacramento. I've tried it and wouldn't go out of my way to have it again. On the other hand, if you grew up on the stuff it might be a different story.

                                                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                          pitu May 27, 2009 04:10 PM

                                                                          The Pollo Campero in Sunset Park, Brooklyn NY tanked. There was too much good food, much cheaper, near by. It was not a very good Pollo Campero, btw . . . the one in Queens was much better, at least when it first opened. Is that still there?

                                                                          It's like the difference between a good Popeye's or Kentucky Fried...so many of the outlets of those in NYC are no good compared to other places.

                                                                        3. Midlife Mar 3, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                                          Now THAT"S a chain I'd frequent!

                                                                          1. j
                                                                            jeanmarieok Mar 3, 2009 10:33 AM

                                                                            I don't remember the name of the chain, but I really liked the donar kebab shops all over Germany and even Australia. Good food at a reasonable price.

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