New York, like most cities, is best seen on foot. Too often, when you're fixed on seeing a specific attraction, you get there the quickest way possible and don't always notice everything else on the way. Take time out to explore a few neighbourhoods, with no specific aim other than to get a real feel of New York. Check out lower Manhattan, starting with SoHo, and stop for a drink in O'Nieal's Grand Street (the bar filmed as Scout in Sex and the City). Then wander further down Mulberry Street into Little Italy and scoff a bowl of pasta in an authentic local restaurant, before sampling the chaos and colour of Chinatown. Or head to the Village to queue with New Yorkers for a cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery, before wandering down the tree-lined streets of mega-bucks brownstones for a glimpse of how the other half lives.
This attractive café on Hanoi’s famous Food Street (Tong Duy Tan) is an ideal place to enjoy a few beers after sampling some Vietnamese cuisine in one of the many eateries nearby.
Puku is advertised as ‘Western owned and operated’. While this might be the main appeal for some, for me its principal attraction is the fact it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s spacious and stylish, and the dim lighting and chilled ambiance make Puku a very pleasant place to forget the time and relax in this sometimes chaotic city. The other day I accidently stayed till sunrise after failing to notice the clock was ticking.
The crowd is mostly Western (both expats and backpackers) with a few trendy young Vietnamese folk too.
Large bottled beers go for 25.000 dong (less than £1). The food is also reasonably priced.
16-18 Tống Duy Tân, Hanoi, Vietnam
Google map: bit.ly/h1zT2f
I'd been in Morro Bay for less than a day when I realized it was the place I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
The three best things about Morro Bay are very easy to list. The first has to be the people. No matter who you are, what you look like or what you enjoy, they will love you. I have never had a bad day here and I've spent plenty. No one will ever put you down in this place. If you need to find somewhere, something or someone you can be sure they'll make sure you do. Never have I been anywhere more friendly.
The second has to be the weather. Here, you can escape the blistering heat of SLO town and find a cool ocean breeze but still wander around in shorts and a t-shirt. Even out whale watching, all you need is a light jacket.
Finally, you cannot fault the food. Top Dog cafe does the best coffee and cakes in the whole county and the staff will remember your name and your face even if you come back ten years later. My favourite restaurant is Taco Temple, a five minute drive towards Cayucos. The food is fresh and never fails to be the most flavoursome I've ever eaten in California. It's perfect for an evening meal but make sure you get there early otherwise you'll be waiting for a table all night! Of course, the little pizza place just down from Top Dog is awesome for lunch. The owner, a formidable woman, collects foreign coins and will always make sure you get something in return if you happen to throw one her way. I got a free slice of their excellent made-to-order pizza from their fantastic chef.
I'm seventeen now and I'm doing everything I can to ensure that Morro Bay is my home one day in the near future. It's safe to say that it is the only place I truly love.
Especially in cooler months, El Comercio is a popular afternoon meeting point for Sevillanos. It is well known for its Churros con chocolate - a fried, long donut-like snack which is dipped in rich, thick, hot chocolate. If you want to try them, don't arrive before 5pm at the weekend, as its likely that the machine won't have had chance to warm up! (Speaking from experience)
Liszt Ferenc tér (or Franz Liszt Square) is party central in Budapest. It is a tree-lined pedestrianised area in the heart of Pest, located in the VI district by Oktogon.
During the warmer spring and summer months, the square is packed with beautiful people and tourists sitting in the bars, cafes and restaurants and filling the terrace areas. You can do this in winter too, as all the cafes have huge heaters. Every kind of cuisine, cocktail and coffee is served here from pizza at Pompeii to retro Magyar dishes at Menza to French style at Cafe Vian to Cuban at Buena Vista cafe. There's also an Incognito jazz cafe, Karma restaurant for good vibes and a late night drinking den at Mediterran.
Liszt Ferenc tér
Metro No 1 (little yellow underground - Kisfoldalatti) to Oktogon, tram 4 & 6 to Kiraly utca or Oktogon.
Google map: bit.ly/hRTKZE
Petitou is a little French cafe/bistro with a huge green terrace on Choumert Road.
Choumert Road seems almost totally French: at the corner with arty Bellenden Road there's a French bistro and towards Peckham's Rye Lane there's the great Montpelier pub, recently refurbished and serving scrumptious organic Sunday lunch roasts. Even the name suggests a Gallic cabbage, and the street market at the Peckham end is a good place to pick up fruit and veg. The menu at Petitou is wholesome: salads, quiches and fresh juices as well as cheesy Marmite crumpets. The terrace is shaded by trees and a lovely place to while away a morning. It's out of the way for public transport, but that's part of its charm.
63 Choumert Road,London SE15 4AR
+44(0)20 7639 2613
Google map: bit.ly/geAZA7
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-5.30pm
Getting there: overground train to Peckham Rye
No.67 is a really great cafe, serving snacks, full meals, home made cakes, fresh lemonade, unusual beers, wines, you name it, in an arty setting. It's very, very hip but also very relaxed and friendly (these two are not exclusive, I suppose!) and a great place to chill out on the Peckham Road. The cafe takes up most of the ground floor of the uber cool South London Gallery and in warmer months, the terrace is a great place to sit and soak up the sun under the ancient 'tree of heaven'.
The lunch menu changes daily - today's offers included venison bresaola with rocket and parmesan, fish stew, celeriac soup or fennel marinated pork chop. I had a home made apple crumble tart (£3.75) - yum. The Spanglish breakfasts are legendary, but get there early at weekends as it's very popular.
South London Gallery, 67 Peckham Road
London SE5 8UH
+44(0)20 7252 7649
Google map: bit.ly/gC2LxH
Open Tue 10am-6.30pm, Wed 10am-9pm, Thurs-Sun 10am-6.30pm, closed on Mondays
Buses: 12, 36, 436, 345, 171 to Southampton Way
A recently opened gallery and cafe located almost opposite Camberwell Art College and a great place to chill out of a morning.
From the outside, along the vaguely grim Peckham Road, it looks a bit bleak and industrial inside but the welcome is really warm and there's free WiFi all day, cocktails, snacks and a licensed cafe and bar.
On Thursdays there are introductory food and drink offers, such as a buy one get one free 12" pizza, which can't be bad.
Conveniently close to the super cool South London Gallery and also supportive of The Sassoon Gallery (www.thesassoongallery.co.uk) NewGallery London is THE place to be seen on the Peckham Road.
Balettcipő means 'ballet shoe' and this place will set your toes a-tingling. Enjoy great salads and cakes on a sunny terrace on the recently pedestrianised part of Hajós utca.
Hajós utca 14, 1065 Budapest
+36(0)6 1 2693114
M1 Little (yellow) underground - Kisfoldalatti to Opera
Cafe Beeg is an old-school German cafe, formal atmosphere, delicious food, cakes and coffee. What makes it wonderful is that it is so welcoming to children - they warmed our daughter's baby meal, brought it out on a silver salver, with doily and her own spoon.
The adult meals were the best we had this trip and the cakes ... ah the cakes. To die for, with a selection of about 25 different kinds. Naturally including the region's speciality: Black Forest Gateau.
The Caracalla spa is the new spa in Baden-Baden and is sparklingly lovely. It has a creche for children. It's worth noting (Lonely Planet doesn't mention this!) that none of the spas in Baden-Baden let children under seven years old in as they all use the local thermal water, which is unsafe for small children.
When you arrive at Baden-Baden, switch off your satnav and follow the signs for the "Bädergarage" to park right underneath Caracalla. Entry for three hours is €17 per adult and parking costs €1 for 3 hours - bargain!
Cafe Beeg: Gernsbacherstrasse 44-46, 76530 Baden-Baden, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany +49722136760
Google map: bit.ly/fa274U
Caracalla: CARASANA Bäderbetriebe GmbH • Römerplatz 1, D-76530 Baden-Baden
+49 (0) 7221 2759-20,-40
Google map: bit.ly/dTHxkO
Only one hour south of Munich by car or train, nestled on the banks of the river Isar, 'Cafe Solo' is in the heart of Bad Tolz, Bavaria. This friendly English speaking bar and restaurant serves fresh dishes from around the world, I can recommend the enchiladas which are fabulous as is the 'steak vital' - succulent pork loins served with rice.
Alternatively just sit back and relax on the covered heated terrace overlooking the bridge and the quaint old town of Bad Tolz, sipping down an ice cold weisse beer.
Bad Tolz a spa town which dates back to the 12th century, is famous for it's beautifully painted murals that bedeck the shops and hotels on either side of the 'car free' main street. It is only a 10 minute drive to the ski slopes of Lenggries and views of the alps can be seen from several vantage points in the town.
There is plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation with fine hotels, guest houses and lots of self catering (ferienwohnung) accommodation.
Lovely cafe located in a cellar on the Town Hall square (Raekoja Plats). Nice coffee, cakes and beer.
Considering the ambience and location it is not surprisingly more expensive than other locations in town. (Beer about €4).
Lovely cafe ('Sweet Tooth' in English), owned by the Estonian Kalev chocolate company.
A great place to relax for some incredible value cakes and coffee.
It's the city's oldest cafe and dates back to the mid-19th century.
Just across from the Russian embassy just a few minutes away from the old town square.
Pikk 16, Tallinn
+372 64 64 079
Google map: bit.ly/hTrGJR
Café Loki is located up by the iconic church, the Hallgrimskirkja and is found upstairs above the craft Textíll shop.
Cafe Loki has a real buzz about it. Every visitor I met in Reykjavík was talking about it, either planning to go there or having had a great time.
The Estonian waitress/manager is very friendly and welcoming. The menu offers traditional Icelandic favourites like plokkfiskur, rugbraud and svidasulta.
Café Loki, Lokastigur 28, 101 Reykjavík
+354 466 2828
Google map: bit.ly/gsE4Xt
Average main course price 1,300ISK
Café Loki open Mon-Sat 10.00—18.00, Sun 12.00—18.00
Textíll open Mon-Fri 12.00—18.00, Sat 11.00—15.00, closed on Sun.
It's an amazing outdoor vegetarian cafe in the grounds of a beautiful temple in Chaing Mai. The name "Pan Pan" means "a thousand varieties" as the people who run it also have an organic farm and seed bank where they grow the produce for the cafe. The food is always delicious and fresh and the menu is pretty innovative with a Thai herb salad and a fried flower salad (tempura style) and they make their own tofu which is two tone black and white coloured by black and white sesame seeds. The food is very resaonable about 50 Baht (1 pound) a dish. They also have great smoothies and herbal drinks. It's open during the day but closed in the evening.
In the grounds of Suan Dok temple on Suthep road. Go into the temple grounds through the main entrance and passed the main temple building and it's in an courtyard area under a large tree in an area behind a building with a sign "Monk chat".
Google map: bit.ly/gQxrZ5
This café near the seafront in Hastings is spacious, welcoming and relaxed.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take small children, you couldn’t really ask for better. There’s a play area to keep them occupied while you sip tea and enjoy a nice slice of cake, plus baby-changing facilities, a children’s menu and plenty of high chairs.
For those visiting without youngsters, it’s still an enjoyable venue for a light meal or afternoon coffee. It might be wise to sit nearer the front, away from the kids’ bit, but the place is big enough for any noise to stay safely in the distance. The outdoor area out the back also looks as though it’d be a hit in the summer.
The veggie and vegan options are really impressive – you can even have your pizza with tasty vegan cheese. Soya milk and non-dairy margarine are available, as well as quite a few wheat- and gluten-free options. The menu is simple – panini, soups, jacket potatoes and salads, but it’s done well and the food is good value.
The artwork on the walls adds a classy touch to an already friendly and appealing space.
If you are in search of a vegetarian snack, Hendersons Of Edinburgh is split over two locations on Hanover Street as well as a bistro on Thistle Street in Edinburgh's New Town. The restaurant, bistro and deli offer a variety of vegetarian treats as well as other fair trade, organic nibbles. As a popular arts venue, in the evening you can sit back in the restaurant and enjoy musical performances or after your meal take a look upstairs around the contemporary art gallery.
Tucked away from Kendal's busy main shopping street in one of the few riverside locations in Kendal. The Waterside Cafe is hidden away on a traffic-free, pedestrianised area beside the River Kent, making it a longstanding favourite of many locals, but easily missed by visitors. It meets all the requirements of even the strictest veggies; there's a new menu everyday, vegan and vegetarian meals are cooked on the premises with Fairtrade and organic ingredients, served by very friendly staff. If the weather's good enough, eat at the outside tables and watch the river flow by. Then, after a quiet, healthy veggie lunch it will be time to get back to the shopping, or walk off your lunch with a hike across the river to Kendal Castle to see the view that makes Kendal the gateway to the English Lake District.
Roots & Fruits is a vegetarian institution. This unpretentious cafe in central Leeds offers a warm and homely welcome and a menu full of fresh and delicious fare which appeals to veggies and non-veggies alike.
My favourite starter has to be the goats cheese fritters with onion marmalade, and the full breakfast is equal to the task of conquering any hangover you care to throw in its path.
Situated in the Grand Arcade, and open until 7pm, it is also a good choice for a pre-theatre supper. The drinks menu includes an unrivalled choice of teas and fresh juice, but if you fancy a glass of wine then you’re welcome to take your own.
A European style cafe/bar, Tragos is a great place for a rainy day with children. It has a plentiful supply of board games, a community book swap, a children's menu, and child sized 'babycinos' (warm milk with marshmallows and dusted with chocolate) which our children love. Added to that, for parents there are newspapers, good coffee and tea (or alcohol) and very reasonably priced food which is excellent. It is full of character, so feels independent, but is actually part of a chain, mostly located in the Southwest of the UK. Check their website to see if there is one near you. I recommend their brunches, served all day, especially the "lounge eggs" - absolutely delicious.
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