Pub in central Brighton with enough brass and red carpet to still be called a pub - and not a bar. It has a great barn-like seating area, lots of little sections, a function/cocktail room upstairs and a great - and good value - menu. It's fab.
15 Black Lion St, Brighton; tel: 01273 329472
Located down a small alley this wee cafe serves the best cakes, especially the scones. I love the granny feel it has - particularly its odd pieces of crockery and doilies. Go there when you fancy a nice cup of tea and a treat.
4 Pool Valley, near the sea front (5 mins from Brighton Pier);
tel: 01273 327 380
This incredible food market is packed full of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, ice creams, pastas, cakes and much more. You can enjoy a huge variety of cuisine so make sure you arrive with an empty stomach or you'll be missing out. While the guide books tell you to take a bus or ferry, the walk along the waterfront from Science World is a pleasure.
Situated in False Creek, #50 bus
Get yourself down to Happy Valley racecourse (Causeway Bay MTR station) on a Wednesday night for the horseracing.
A one of a kind setting, and one of Hong Kong's favourite past times. Nearly everyone in this town loves a flutter. Minimum wager HK$10, less than a pound, and all profits are reinvested in the community, so you can soothe your conscience as well.
Good selection of food to suit western and Asian tastes, and beer readily available.
As expensive or cheap as you want it to be.
As mentioned Causeway Bay MTR station, Exit A, then a short walk to the race track. It's on the maps inside the station and is about a 5-10 minute walk
This new development officially called Quartier Bloom, but universally called the Italian Quarter is a great little slice of modern urban development. It's a private laneway built by a developer called Wallace with an obsession with all things Italian - so he has stuffed it with some great little Italian shops, wine bars and restaurants. The Enecotta della Langhe is particularly popular for its wines and anti-pasta. It's not generic Italian, most of the units are run by people from one village in the Lombardy region, so the food and wines are all from that area. The giant mural along one side is now a favoured landmark in Dublin - it's a reproduction of da Vinci's Last Supper, but featuring people taken at random off the streets of Dublin - Jesus is an Indian student in Trinity.You can amuse yourself by looking for the secret code in the picture revealing the artist's favourite football team.
Just north of the Millennium Bridge on the quays. Close to the Jervis Luas stop.
Every morning this gorgeous piazza hosts a food market. I am not going to be able to do it justice. It is full of tomatoes, chillies, fruit, garlic, onions. But not as we know them. The bland unripe unseasonal rubbish that you find on the shelves of British supermarkets bears absolutely no relation to the stuff you can buy (for pennies) in Campo dei Fiori.
For a cheap lunch just come here early, buy a few tomatoes and some foccaccia, stuff them in your bag, and eat them at a Bernini fountain in nearby Navonna while laughing at the fessi (gullible ones) who have paid through the nose to eat tourist junk at the inauthentic cafes.
At Campo dei Fiori of course. Just north of the Jewish ghetto along the east bank of the Tiber
You can spend a whole afternoon walking between Higbury and Islington and Angel tube stations. There are so many gorgeous boutiques and cafes. My recommendations for places to eat are Le Mercury (number 140a) for gorgeous French home cooking where all main courses are less than £7 and all starters are around £3.50 and the wonderful delicatessen Ottolenghi (number 287) which has the most mouthwatering window display with mounds of chocolate and raspberry meringues!
Then there's the shopping. Upper Street is perfect for Christmas present shopping as so many of its shops are crammed with "ooh, she'd love one of those" trinkets. There's After Noah at number 121 selling vintage telephones and wall clocks alongside unique pieces of jewellery and children's toys. Oliver Bonas at 147-148 has more of the same with a small selection of pretty outfits. Aria at 295-297 has some scrummy handbags and its interiors shop opposite sells furniture fit for a penthouse apartment.
On Sundays there is also a small but very good Farmers' Market behind the Town Hall and the independent cinema The Screen on the Green (number 83) is a great place to catch the latest arty flick.
An ideal place to sample the famous London nightlife. A cavernous bar/club under brick railway arches in Shoreditch, an unpretentious, friendly bar with an amazingly diverse music policy. Cargo is the place to sample some of London's amazing musical creativity from algerian folk to house nights, hotly tipped indie bands, MC battles and world music festivals Cago has it all.
If that's not enough you can recover on Sunday afternoons with brunch (their sweet potato chips are the best hangover cure around) in their garden.
Old Street tube
One of the world's finest Art Nouveau buildings: impressive outside, stunning within, right down to the light fittings and door handles. Includes bar, restaurant and cafe, as well as concert hall and other facilities (guided tours available). The ground floor cafe is an inexpensive place for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea in exquisite, stylish surroundings.
Metro : Namesti Republiky (straight across the square)
A cosy little bar and restaurant on the Shore, where you can curl up in winter with the papers over a great coffee and sit outside in the summer with a cool pint. The food's fab, whether dining in the restaurant or sharing a huge bowl of steaming mussels in the bar. And the best things... the unprententious and friendly staff, the jazz pianist, and the other clientele!
3 the Shore
Five Ways is a little intersection of, you guessed it, five streets. It's got a whole bunch of fantastic cafes and bars, while still maintaining a low-key feel. It's a great place for buying the Sydney Morning Herald and eating breakfast.
It's in Paddington, so you can walk there easily from Oxford Street
I should declare a vested interest first. I work as a VSO volunteer at KOTO; we are a restaurant that take in street kids and house, pay and train them to work in the hospitality industry.
The food is fantastic, trust me. Would we have had the likes of Bill Clinton and John Prescott dine with us if it wasn't?
If you like the concept and want to find out more - ask staff and we may be able to provide you with a short guided tour of the training centre too which is near Westlake.
61 Van Mieu Street - opposite the Temple of Literature. The training centre is at 72 Thuy Khue but ask first at the restaurant if it's OK to visit.
My blog on life in Hanoi and my time as a KOTO volunteer: www.ourmaninhanoi.blogspot.com
This little restaurant and tapas bar in Les Houches has been open scarcely a year, but has already built up a great reputation amongst the locals. The food is excellent and they cater well for vegetarians, but it's popular so you'd best book in advance.
Les Houches, Chamonix. Tel: +33(0)450915206
This is a hotel of the future. Facing a tranquil green park in the Kifissia area of north Athens, the hotel is boutique style with fluid design, soft style that mingles rounded forms with bright, lively colours. It offers internet TVs complete with cordless keyboards that come as standard. For more local interaction, guests can check out the hotel's two-level restaurant and bar, where the modern Greek, European and international flavours of the menu are mirrored in the cosmopolitan blend that make up the Semiramis' clientele. It is a must for those who love design hotels! ₤155 per night.
Harilaou Trikoupi 48, 14562 Kifissia, Athens, Greece Tel +30210 6284400 Fax +30210 6284499 www.semiramisathens.com
Every backpacker knows Bangkok's Khao Sanh Road, but running parallel to it is a much lesser-known alley with all the cheap hostels, bars, restaurants and shops you find on the main drag. Just far less crowded and frenetic.
Find your way to the Khao Sanh road in the Banglamphu area: Trok Mayom lies just to the north. Walkable also from Phra Athit river pier.
For a hearty meal of meatballs and potatoes (washed down with the odd beer and some brännvin) head for Pelikan in Södermalm. This is an old beer hall with a 'gritty' Swedish feel, for when the charm and smarm of Östermalm (in the centre) takes it toll. Entertainment is occasionally provided in the form of an ageing madman who climbs a chair and starts lecturing the hall in (very loud) Swedish. You should not leave without dipping into the vast number of schnapps available!
Simply the best Vietnamese food in London - and I've tried all the other Kingsland Road eateries. This one is next to the Viet Social Club. The char-grilled squid is amazing. The Sea Bass, at 6 quid, delectable! Go eat!
12-14 Englefield Road; te: 020 7249 0877
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