Cafe Blikle on Nowy Swiat is a wonderfully, traditional cafe. The interior is smart with wood panelling, green walls, a big copper coffee pot and interesting curved lights.
The atmosphere is a mixture of conversation and contemplation, a good place to catch up with friends, debate and discuss but also somewhere to catch up with oneself, sit idly and read or simply watch people come and go.
The fare on offer includes a selection of teas, coffees (including liqueur coffees such as Honey Coffee with Krupnik and Cream and Cafe Bourbon with rum and cream) and other drinks, hot meals, snacks and a delicious tempting array of pastries and cakes (Chocolate Torte, Sweet Custard Slice with Flaky Pastry) which will set your mouth watering.
Nowy Swiat 33
Easton is a free spirited neighbourhood. Reflecting the outlook of the community is Kebele, a social centre that began life as an anarchist squat. It shows films, has a library, internet access and runs a bike workshop. Open from 6pm on Sundays, the hub is the cafe where you can engage in political and philosophical discussion to your hearts content. The food is vegan and the coffee is all from the Zapatista region of Mexico.
14 Robertson Road, Easton BS5 6JY
A narrow gauge railway of Edwardian vintage takes an hour to travel, literally, through the Tramuntana mountains, brooding for all the world like a stage set from The Sound of Music, via tunnels and gorges to the pretty town of Soller.
Along the way the solid mahogany carriages rattle and sway on their narrow gauge track for an hour until they reach a little station which here would be known as a wayside halt. The train takes a short rest while passengers are encouraged to stretch their legs and take a few photos.
Soller itself is pretty with its little Placa where there are some cafes and a church, I think it’s Saint Bartholomew’s, but we cannot find Saint Anthony anywhere inside to give him a few Euros.
Beautiful limes give a coolness of shade in the square to anyone who wants to sit and do nothing. A tiny toast-rack tram trundles through the square every thirty minutes, full of its own self-importance, and takes passengers down to the port. Essentially this was originally for moving oranges and lemons down to the coast, but now shifts crates of tourists instead.
Timetables of departures and arrivals may be printed on pretty coloured brochures, but when it comes to what time the train leaves to go back? Jump on the nearest one no matter what time it leaves. It doesn’t go anywhere else except Palma.
Tucked away in the middle of Split's old town, Cafe Nabeel is a curious but brilliant little local hangout where tourists also seem welcome. The kitchen rustles up hefty pies, best shared, and you can also fill up on toast. Late at night the cafe morphs into a lively night spot where the genial Nabeel can be seen showing off his 'bungra' dance moves - join in for a discount! Perhaps best of all is the decor - a bizarre mixture of local crafts and pieces of Star Wars Lego. An unmissable local oddity.
Head down Zadarska, off Narodni Trg central square in Split's old town.
One of the most loved places for hippies, lefties, backpackers and young artists: the Forest Cafe, run by a DIY collective of artists, is the best place in Edinburgh to hang out in a non-capitalist fashion and meet like-minded people.
With free internet access, an art gallery, vegan and vegetarian food and stunning entertainment and events during and outside of the festival, this is the craziest place in town for dissidents and thinkers.
No matter if you want to watch films, read the latest protesting leaflets, or drop off your clothes and old books in the free shop, the Forest is the space for you. Just around from the university, it constantly changes.
It’s usually open from about 11am -11pm, licensed - sometimes with bring-your-own bottle - and during August it’s open till 3am. Also, it sells famous organic heather ale and seaweed beer.
3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY;
tel: 0131 220 4538;
bus stop: 2, 42
Newly opened cafe. A pleasant, easy ambience and free of the rabid noise that characterises many other city centre eateries. Food is British/European, freshly made to order and the waitresses (often eastern European) are polite, friendly and swift. Oh and the prices won't burst your sporran either.
The cafe is a venture run by St Mary's Cathedral on Broughton St, past the Thistle Centre, near the top of Leith Walk. Entrance is on Little King St;
tel: 0131 523 0102;
Down towards the Botanics and Stockbridge end of town, Circle is a welcome addition to Edinburgh's cafe scene. Located in a tall, cool, stone-walled, slate floored room, Circle offers great morning coffee and cakes, and good well-priced lunches - though be warned, it can be hard to get a table at lunchtime. Simple, well-cooked dishes at reasonable prices in great surroundings.
Circle, 1 Brandon Tce, Edinburgh
0131 624 4666
This is a must. Rennie Mackintosh style with art deco interior, high back chairs and delightful teas. Revive with afternoon tea served by waitresses in rustling black satin uniforms with white aprons and tiny headbands. Dr. Finlay would have been at home here.
With its bright yellow interior, this cafe feels like being inside one of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings. Tucked away in a side street off the Royal Mile, near steps leading down to Princes St Gardens, it's the type of place where you can sit for hours and read the paper without being disturbed.
8 St Giles St, Edinburgh
A low-key 40s-style cocktail bar that specialises in killer Irish coffee (the bar staff make them in batches by lining 30 glasses up along the bar). Also noteworthy for having only opera on the jukebox. A hidden gem that never seems really busy and has a great casual atmosphere.
242 Columbus Ave (between Broadway & Pacific) in North Beach;
tel: 415 986 9651
Superb place for breakfast. I notice that one of the owners is a westerner: if he's not Australian, I'd be very surprised, because this place has a really Sydney feel about it. Decent coffee, papers from Bangkok to read, and a 'hang around as long as you like' vibe. Don't leave without trying the Bagel Egger: it'll set you up good for a day of cycling around temples.
Th Chao Fa Ngun (in the centre, and Luang Prabang is small, so you'll find it easily);
tel: 071 252292
Great cafe: hard to believe it's in Singapore. I don't know what this building was originally, but the owners have transformed it into some sort of organic-Scandinavian-modernist-but-not-too-new-looking environment, with eclectic furniture, fantastic music and a view across a small green valley which had me, as a one-time Singapore resident, scratching my head and going 'where the hell am I?' Highly, highly recommended for a weekend brunch or dinner any night of the week.
28B Harding Road, off Dempsey Road, which is off Holland Road in the direction away from town;
tel: 6479 3343
This cafe is situated in the North Beach area of the city which is renowned for its profusion of Italian cafes and restaurants. Famous musicians have visited and played there in the past and you can see photos of them on the wall. It has a proper Italian coffee machine and a relaxed atmosphere where you can while away a pleasant afternoon people watching the interesting and varied customers.
I discovered it whilst working in California and applying for a job in Trieste. A strange coincidence that I got the job and one of my
colleagues was the daughter of the original owner!
601 Vallejo Street
Tel: 415 392 6739
If you’re a foodie, find the ultimate deli: Valvonna and Crolla. This is for the serious gourmet. Squeeze past each other in the narrow tiled aisles and avoid the hanging salamis and hams overhead. Sample the succulent fat-laden mortadella. Be tempted by the transparent shavings of prosciutto freshly cut. Indulge your baser instincts in the creamy soft blue St Agur that slowly melts on the tongue to the gentle persuasion of Graham’s Vintage Port. And for a present to bring home? An estate bottled olive oil from Umbria? Some bulbs of roasted garlic from the Languedoc? And as for wine...
When the finest Italian food shop in the country only sells one fresh sausage, you know it's going to be good. Valvona & Crolla's Fonteluna doesn't disappoint. This is a solid, semi-cured sausage flavoured with chilli and fennel. As it is semi-cured it can be eaten raw as a salami or cooked. It can be cooked by either frying or grilling. As it is a dry sausage it really needs a wet sauce - I like it diced in a tomato sauce, thinly sliced and used as a pizza topping or with peppers.
It's not cheap at £4.95 for 265g but this is concentrated, strong tasting sausage with no water or cheap filler. Highly recommended! It would be a hard soul that would not come out of here the richer in taste and the poorer in pocket. Worth visiting on a Sunday morning, especially for their imported Indian peppercorns, or just to sit and have tea in their restaurant while the world muses and peruses. Blue Mountain coffee or green tea? Jalapenos peppers or habaneros?
Valvona & Crolla: 19 Elm Row, Edinburgh EH7 4AA
VinCaffè: 11 Multrees Walk, Edinburgh EH1 3DQ;
Such a restful place in the city. With beautiful landscaping and sculptures, this place is a real haven of peace and quiet. We only wished we'd got there earlier in the day (we arrived about 20 minutes before closing) so we could have taken green tea in the cafe, although it was more sparsely populated late in the afternoon.
Best weekend brunch place in the city. This very cool Mission eatery is where the club kids go to come down and where the bedheads go to get some coffee. The eggs benedict is a must.
3296 22nd St, San Francisco 94110 CA (nearest cross st is Valencia);
tel: (415) 824-4088
Back in the 1600s Catholics and Protestants discovered that they were living side by side and strangely enough for the time hadn’t slaughtered each other. As it seemed to work reasonably well they invented a concept called “tolerance”. This has percolated down the years to modern times so that nowadays the Dutch don’t care whether you’re gay or put mayonnaise on your chips.
This is a delightful city to browse around and watch the people. Everyone is so relaxed, and not just due to the effects of strange substances. Amsterdam has a policy of tolerating the sale and use of soft drugs. These activities are centred around the euphemistically called coffee shops. Easy to recognise if you’re trying to avoid them as they are usually dark, have a characteristic smell and have words such as free, high, happy, dreams etc. in their titles.
This was the largest public swimming pool and was ruined in the 60s. The ruins remain just at the entrance to the park. I went on a windswept day and was amazing.
Also, there is the Cliff House right beside it with shop, cafe and bar - amazing. I went after going to the Legion of Honour art museum. Very compact but sweet, and the best baristas - very friendly, in an incredible location
1090 Point Lobos Avenue, near Lincoln Park;
tel: (415) 386 3330;
Cafe located in the SF Art Insitute...but open to the public. Fresh-made decent food, relaxed environment, self-serve...but it is the view that is the thing. College is on the same hill as the Crooked Street (Lombard) and has a fantastic view of Fisherman's Wharf, the Bay, North Beach. There's also a wonderful Diego Rivera mural, usually a student art show going on...street parking only..sort of an Old California (before the gringos came) feel to the original building..patio, fountain...
800 Chestnut Street between Jones & Leavenworth
www.sfai.edu--look under Facilities for hours.
Closest bus line is #15 which goes near the Wharf.
Dottie’s True Blue Cafe dishes up the best breakfasts ever – don’t be put off by the queues and the slightly dodgy surroundings, their French toast/pancakes with a side of fruit salad, posh fry-ups and unusual baked goodies are well worth it. You’ll be back again and again!
522 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102-2008
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