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This Week: New York, Chicago, Cape Town, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Liverpool

Hot List Restaurants - Sixteen at the Chicago Trump International Hotel TowerFodor’s latest restaurant and hotel reviews: Sixteen, Grand Hyatt, Platine, Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Ago Ristorante, Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Sixteen, Chicago

Uninterrupted views of the landmark Wrigley Building, Lake Michigan, and Chicago River make it easy to overlook the food at Sixteen– but you shouldn’t. Located on the sixteenth floor (hence the name) of the sleek Trump International Hotel & Tower, the restaurant serves chef Frank Brunacci’s unique fusion of European and Asian flavors. Dishes like Tasmanian trout or truffle lasagna are a treat for that special occasion, while coconut-lemongrass soup and upscale lobster rolls are perfect for a power lunch. The best deal might be at breakfast, when house-made crumpets, breakfast quesadillas with fried eggs, and freshly squeezed juices are an indulgent accompaniment to sunrise over the lake. 401 N. Wabash Ave., River North. 312/588-8030. Median entrée price: $39

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Grand Hyatt, San Antonio

After much anticipation, San Antonio’s newest mega-sized convention hotels opened in spring 2008 and changed its skyline forever. The Grand Hyatt provides San Antonio’s biggest array of amenities for convention-goers and family vacationers. Adjacent to the convention center as well as the River Walk, it’s sure to be the hotel of choice for business travelers, though even leisure travelers can enjoy flat-panel TVs and premium beds in every room. And a date with the “fitness concierge” in its premium gym might be just the thing to work off San Antonio’s famous puffy tacos. Pros: state-of-the-art amenities; brand-new look and feel. Cons: It’s just opened–so you’re the guinea pig. 600 E. Market St., Downtown, 78205. 210/224-1234. 940 rooms, 63 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), refrigerator (some), Ethernet, Wi-Fi. In hotel: restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, executive floor, public Internet, parking (fee), no-smoking rooms. Rooms start at $300.

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Platine, Cape Town

Chefs and foodies are raving about chef Matthew Kneipp’s ever-changing menu. Located in a modest Victorian home redone in a palette of taupes and silvers, Platine’s minimalist aesthetic and unpretentious service focus diners’ attention entirely on what’s on their plate. You wouldn’t want to miss a single taste of the oyster beignets with caviar, shallot puree, and red wine vinaigrette, or the perfectly prepared pan-roasted kudu with butternut squash puree and fig tart fine. The cold fondant of dark Belgian chocolate alone merits a visit. 6 Watson Street, Gardens, Cape Town. 021/424-6696. Closed Sun. & Mon. No lunch Tues. & Sat. Median entrée price: $230 ZAR for 2 courses (approximately $30 USD).

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Ago Ristorante, New York

Chef Agostino Sciandri’s Italian new hot spot adds a bit of pizzazz to restaurant-starved TriBeCa. Judging by the see-and-be-seen crowd packing the tables, he is well poised to develop a following in New York City after his previous successes in Los Angeles and South Beach. The large, airy space, attached to Roberta DeNiro’s Greenwich Hotel, has exposed brick walls, wood paneling and an open kitchen. The latter allows diners to get a glimpse of the non-stop action involved in turning out Italian classics such as antipasti, thin pizzas, pastas and seafood. Meat lovers shouldn’t miss their signature bistecca alla fiorentina, a 22-ounce Tuscan-style t-bone steak cooked in a wood-burning oven. As a sweet ending to every meal, patrons are sent home with mini biscotti. 379 Greenwich St., Tribeca. 212/925-3797. Median entrée price: $20.

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Trump International Hotel & Tower, Las Vegas

It took him a while, but Donald Trump finally broke into the Las Vegas market in early 2008 with this lavish, 64-story condo-hotel. Units in this non-gaming property are individually owned, but a majority of them are rented out like hotel rooms and managed by Trump. All rooms feature plush king-sized beds, Breccia Oniciata Italian marble bathrooms, and 42-inch LCD flat-screen TVs. One- and two-bedroom suites also come with full kitchenettes. In the lobby, the swanky DJT Restaurant and Bar serves up tasty meals and traditional cocktails. Spa treatments at The Spa at Trump are affordable and generally above-average. Pros: apartment-style rooms make you feel right at home; spa rivals the best on the Strip. Cons: a long walk through Fashion Island Mall to the nearest casino, especially at night. 2000 Fashion Show Dr., West Side, 89109.  702/982–0000 or 866/939–8786 (ph.) 1,282 rooms. In-room: safe, ethernet, dial-up. In-hotel: 2 restaurants, room service, 1 bar, pool, gym, spa, concierge, laundry service, parking (no fee), no-smoking rooms. Rooms start at $189.

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Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool

“Everything seems to be right” since the marble-columned office block on the corner of Mathew Street was transformed into a hotel in homage to the Beatles. Their music is played in the public rooms and their photos (many original) loom large on the walls, but it’s all done with finesse. A wide staircase spirals up from the humming brasserie and bar (the hotel’s hub), to sleek and luxurious guest rooms featuring original paintings. The moody red and black Hari’s Bar is the place to see-and-be-seen. Blakes restaurant provides the nourishment you need for all your touring of Beatles sites. Pros: welcoming staff; sophisticated rooms; close to Beatles attractions. Cons: rumbling trains heard in some rooms; breakfast costs extra; no parking. Central Buildings, North John St., City Centre, L2 6RR. 0151/236-1964. 108 rooms, 2 suites. In room: safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, room service, bars, concierge, laundry service, executive floor, no-smoking rooms. Rooms start at £170 (approximately $330 USD).

Contributors: Kate Hughes, Kate Leahy, Lee Middleton, Roger Slavens, Matt Villano, Shivani Vora

Photo courtesy of Sixteen.

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