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Dine at Famous Restaurants from the Movies

I derive a lot of joy from visiting the places I’ve seen contained within the four sides of a television set. Even the most banal observations, such as: “Hey, we’re in front of the parking garage from 'Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!'” or “This is where Clarence and Alabama get married in True Romance!” can really make my vacation.

But what truly thrills me is the tastier side of film tourism -- that is, eating in the very same restaurants I’ve seen in some of my favourite scenes in some of my favourite movies.

Below is my personal movie restaurant bucket list, compiled using some very precise criteria: the movie has to be dope; the restaurant has to be open for business; and it has to be in a cool spot.

  1. The Hollywood Diner in Baltimore, set of Barry Levinson’s 1982 masterpiece and grandfather of modern dialogue, "Diner." I long for a day full of fascinating museums, historic sites and overheard local idioms in Charm City, finished with a burger and passionate conversation about the moral and philosophical quandaries of burgeoning adulthood.

  2. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., where Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory literally talk for two hours over roast quail with raisins. Cleverly titled "My Dinner with Andre," this single-setting movie is somehow delightful and endlessly entertaining. As for the setting, Frommer’s declares Richmond “essential stop for every Civil War enthusiast” and the 18th century Jefferson Hotel as “stunning," “magnificent” and “an attraction in its own right.”

  3. New York City figures prominently on my movie restaurant bucket list, containing both The Carnegie Deli where the tale of Danny Rose is shared between comedians in Woody Allen’s underrated "Broadway Danny Rose" and Katz Delicatessen where Meg Ryan has her infamous diner scene in "When Harry Met Sally."

  4. Mystic Pizza is real -- it’s a REAL PLACE! Where authentic small town gals in Connecticut cultivate big dreams, slinging pitchers of beer and large pepperoni pizzas to locals. It’s like literally being IN the movie "Mystic Pizza." Mystic has more to offer though than just the opportunity to relive Julia Roberts’ pool victories. It’s a quaint seaside town replete with nautical charm and enough shops, restaurants and activities to get a solid taste of the East Coast. 

  5. Pat and Lorraine’s Coffee Shop in Los Angeles, also known as the site where Madonna lyrics and the principles of tipping are discussed in "Reservoir Dogs," easily the most memorable non-ear-related scene in the movie. Apparently this local favourite serves a mean Chile Verde omelet along with friendly service and big smiles that might even crack Mr. Pink’s wallet.

  6. Moe Pancer’s in Toronto, frequented by the subjects of one of the best Canadian documentaries ever made, "Anvil: The Story of Anvil," about a metal band who refuse to quit. The band’s founders and frontmen were born and raised in Canada’s most cosmopolitan city and the documentary follows them into this Toronto institution for matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwiches. 

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Toronto
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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Ainslie Hogarth