Foods to look out for are sate (meat skewers), nasi goring istimewa (special fried rice - with chicken and prawns) and martabak telur (stuffed savoury pancakes). The greatest risk to one's stomach is from the drinks, ice and uncooked vegetables so newcomers should probably avoid these. Most stalls serve bottled or canned drinks. £1.50 is an expensive feed.
A place to go for exquisite versions of traditional Mexican recipes in a lush renovated hacienda with golden chandeliers and flowery service.
Vasquez de Mella No 525, Colonia Polanco; Tel: 5096 3028; Mon-Sun lunch and dinner; Approx 400 pesos per person with no alcohol.
We love visiting Low Sizergh Barn a dairy farm just south of Kendal in the rolling hills of South Lakeland. Time it right and you can watch the cows being milked while you sip leaf tea at your table - there’s a glass panel in the tea shop and it overlooks the milking parlour. The food they serve is straightforward but delicious, with an emphasis on quality – the scones are fresh, the butter is good and there’s no spray cream here! The cakes and scones are made on the premises and you can buy more to take away from the shop downstairs. The ethical ethos permeates the whole visit - there is a social enterprise nearby called Growing Well (www.growingwell.co.uk/), where volunteers grow vegetables and support is offered to help them return to employment. You can buy their veg in the farm shop, which sells a wide range of other yummy local food, including cheese made from the farm’s dairy herd. Foodie heaven. You can also buy crafts and some lovely quirky gifts from the shop. Or there’s a two mile farm trail to work up an appetite and admire the free range hens whose eggs you have just bought. A lovely afternoon, or morning. And for southerners visiting the Lake District, it’s perfectly situated on the A591 between Kendal and the M6 for a stop off to stock up on Cumbrian delicacies for your way home.
I visited my sister in Bristol last week to see the Christmas lights turn on and catch up over a nice meal at The Square (we used a groupon voucher for the seven course taster menu). We'd never been before and were both pleasantly surprised! The staff were all friendly and very helpful, the food was A-MA-ZING and the building was really quirky and arty inside! I'd definitely recommend it for special occasions as it isn't cheap but it is definitely worth it. It has a real warm feeling about it and the food was as if we were in a top notch London restaurant - we felt very spoiled.
An artisanal bakery which boasts quality breads and cakes almost too beautiful to eat. There are various different breads to try, from traditional baguettes to olive, walnut, apricot and hazelnut; but I’m told that once they’ve found one they like customers tend to stick with it. Even the Neptune restaurant I’ve featured before buys its own particular type of loaf from here. The bread is made upstairs and allowed to rise 24 hours before baking. It’s a process that takes time and space, but here production is limited by the premises rather than number of personnel. So after 26 years with the shop and atelier in the same building, the Saint-Aulaye has just moved to a new building which has the same surface area, but will no longer require its 12 pâtissiers to traispse up and down four flights of stairs.
While most people head, not unreasonably, to the Hofbrauhaus, this provides a typically local experience smack bang in the city centre. Not to be confused with the Augustiner-Bräustuben or the Augustinerkeller (who sell the same beers), it manages to be both enormous and cosy and has traced its beery origins back to 1328. In the style of Munich's Art Nouveau period, it's a vast sprawling beer hall (including the gorgeous domed Mussel Hall) that stretches way back to a gorgeous courtyard - the Arcade Garden - that's particularly pleasant in summer. Service is ultra efficient and the beer is - appropriately enough for a pub linked to an abbey - heavenly.
Neuhauserstrasse 27, 80331 Munich
+49 89 23 183 257
Google map: bit.ly/QuzsTY
All S-Bahn lines to Karlsplatz/Stachus or Marienplatz
Underground: U4 + U5 to Stachus/Karlsplatz and U3 + U6 to Marienplatz.
While I tried a number of good restaurants in Barcelona during our recent holiday, I also had another great experience at a cooking class I took called ‘Papa Serra – Culinary Adventures in Barcelona’. I learned how to make what was quite possibly the best tapa I tried in Barcelona. It was chicken poached in wine and lemon then mixed with saffron yogurt, black grapes and toasted almonds. Then it was wrapped in a radicchio and lightly braised in the poaching liquid. Then we dipped it in a spice mix of fennel seeds, bee pollen and lemon zest. It was so delicious and a highlight of our holiday! I would definitely recommend it to anyone that loves Barcelona and wants to learn more about Spanish and Catalan food and culture.
Dined at this excellent restaurant just last evening, after attending an afternoon play at Stratford Shakespeare Festival. During dinner, I found out that it is currently their 35th year (they’re a seasonal restaurant). Cuisine, service and decor was noteworthy, concise, well executed; better than any fine dining restaurant to be found in Toronto, trust me! If you are going to Stratford in Canada to see theatre, then you should try to dine at Rundles. I’d go to Stratford again just to dine at this temple of Canadian gastronomy.
Among the burgers and burritos that dominate much of Austin’s eating out landscape, the Whip In’s Indian food with a Texas twist is a welcome alternative. The Whip In is ominously located just off the interstate highway that dissects the city, but the service station exterior should not put you off from experiencing the imaginative dishes and remarkable range of drinks on offer. Creativity and fresh organic ingredients combine to make the many mouthwatering offerings available on the menu. At six to seven dollars, the vegan rice bowls are not only a bargain and an escape from the meat centric diet of Texas, but they are also palate pleasing mixtures of intricate spicy Indian flavours that will fill you up too – I particularly recommend the Zambian corn and pepper masala in
spicy coconut curry. The combination of Chutneyfied eggs, corn tortilla, black bean masala and spiced basmati rice that constitute Mumbai migas offer the visiting breakfaster an unusual Indian- Mexican dish, which is very tasty and a great way to start the day. Indeed a core aim of the Whip In’s new chef, Claudia Alarcón, is to “Whip Indianze comfort food classics” and her curried ratatouille builds upon the project started by the general manager Dipak Topiwala, the inventor of such delights as the South Asian Frito Pie: Beef, beer-curried chili, fritos, black bean masala, shredded cheese, sour
cream, and cilantro chutney. I must stop myself from further lyrical waxing about the food, because the Whip In is much more than just a place to eat. Run by the friendly and ever present members of the Topiwala family, the Whip In has been evolving since day one, back in 1986: starting as a convenience store and gas station the space now remarkably accommodates a café, pub, liquor store, music venue, and grocery market selling organic locally produced ready meals and other snacks. They have over 60 beers on tap, but if none of these satisfy your curiosity then just wander to the open fridges and select something exciting from the astonishing number of beers and wine available in the store (they will open it for you at the counter). The interior café is intimate and comfortable with a small stage for music, wooden bar stools line the length of the extensive bar, and there is also a large outdoor seated area, which gets packed on Friday and Saturday nights as people gather to relax, chat, and be entertained by bands playing on the Mariposa Music Garden stage. The number of services offered at the mighty Whip In makes it a nightmare for a reviewer to condense – unbelievably an onsite brewery is being added in 2012 - but the sheer diversity also serves up something for everybody in a lively, relaxed and extremely fun atmosphere.
1950 S Interstate 35 Austin, TX 78704
+1(512) 442 5337
Google map: bit.ly/HkXIWo
* Mark Sheaves is our Been there local for Austin. You can read his profile and about Austin here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/austin-local-mark-sheaves.jsp and you can follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/MarkSheaves. Check out other locals here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp
Most people will argue that, while in Turkey, you should eat kebabs in all their different incarnations (İskender, döner, şiş, etc) or the pide, or baklava or any of the other amazing foods that Turkey has to offer.
However, if you truly want to get to the heart of Turkey’s crowning glory, Istanbul, there is no better nor faster way than the midye.
Midye, the little stuffed mussels with rice and lemon juice, are ubiquitous in most Turkish cities. But to walk across the Galata Bridge, eating midye, watching the sunrise, is another experience in itself. The rice in the overstuffed morsel, absorbs the saltiness of the sea and the sourness of the lemon, producing a combination much like Istanbul itself, that in the overcrowding of 11 million people and four empires, you can find peace in the calm waters of the Bosphorus, highlighted by the sharpness of the sun.
On this bridge, at this time, with this food, you can feel the overwhelming sense of beauty of the Queen of Cities.
Sold everywhere near the Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge.
Google map: bit.ly/GACD81
Great food market located in the centre of Cork city. Open as a market from 1788 and still thriving. When the British Queen visited Ireland in 2011, the English market was one of the places on her itinerary.
Quite a range here from exotic fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, handmade chocolates, fish and meat. Additionally there are numerous cafes in which you can take a pit stop.
I’m surprised this café hasn’t been reviewed before. My daughter had mentioned this place to me several times but I didn’t think I wanted to eat there because of its location on Westgate Road among the motor bike shops.
It’s a small café selling authentic Persian food with a special Persian dish of the day, including minced lamb skewered kebabs, saffron marinated chicken with rice and flatbread everything made fresh that day.
This is also the place for a big Sunday cooked breakfast (under £5) to cure hangovers, popular with those staying local for the weekend. Couples and families take over on a Sunday afternoon.
On my first visit I ate aubergine dip, which is to die for (you could taste the smoked aubergine and garlic). I could have eaten a whole plateful with flatbread - the flatbread is made to order and takes a couple of moments to cook. Then I had the special of the day, salmon in a green herb sauce with rice, mint and coriander salad.
My daughter ate mixed meats, saffron chicken on the bone, lamb chops and lamb kebab with rice and endless cups of Persian tea. Cost was £15 for both of us, bargain. (I’m working my way through the menu and have never been disappointed.)
It’s a café so don’t expect linen table cloths, the staff were friendly, the food tasted delicious, they explained the dishes are authentic and not adapted to the western palate and for that reason I love it.
233 Westagate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne
+44(0)191 232 0276
Google map: bit.ly/ttOngJ
A nice restaurant in the heart of Sofia, very close to the main landscapes. It is interesting with the ancient Roman wall passing through the restaurant and also with the nice paintings (the restaurant has expositions of Bulgarian artists). The food and the wines are very good, the service is quite attentive. They have also a nice bar to continue the evening ...
17 Al. Stamboliyski Blvd
+359 980 74 77
Google map: bit.ly/rU5YdS
MamaCoffee is a great example of the growing interest in Fair Trade in the Czech Republic. With five branches in Prague, MamaCoffee was the first Fair Trade coffee roaster in Central Europe and it is fair to say, remains one of the most popular.
Its largest café on Vodičkova off Wenceslas Square is always busy, its two stories frequented by locals, expats and tourists alike. Table service is offered by helpful staff who are will offer advice on their range of Ethiopian, Honduran and other coffee beans and Fair Trade Teas, which are all also available to buy. They are also happy to leave you to relax, or work on your laptop (offering free Wi-Fi upstairs).
MamaCoffee offers good quality snacks – cakes, brownies and sandwiches. I had the best spinach quiche of my life here, which was an unexpected perk.
Floor to ceiling windows and a non-smoking policy make this a lovely, bright place to relax or work, and offers high quality Fair Trade coffee at reasonable prices.
Vodickova 6, Prague 1
Nearest metro: Mustek
Nearest Tram 3, 9, 14, 24 or 91 (to Vodickova)
Mon - Fri: 8:00 - 22:00, Sat - Sun: 10:00 - 22:00
Google map: bit.ly/vgIibU
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
Cromwell's Tavern is a friendly local pub, found near the castle in the heart of Pembroke.
It's a great place to try Welsh bitters and admire all the music memorabilia: framed pictures of Kiss, Jimi Hendrix and others line the walls and we didn't dare take on the locals at pool, after spotting all the trophies in a glass cabinet!
2 Westgate Hill, Pembroke, Dyfed SA71 0NU
+44 1646 682718
Google map: bit.ly/qC3vOO
Charlie's Bar is the place to go for a great night out in Milford Haven. Situated near the docks and the marina, it's a small bar with several rooms, a pool table, pub quiz machine and very loud music blasting out on a Friday evening.
The Old Sail Loft, The Docks, Milford Haven, Dyfed SA73 3AF
+44 1646 690098
Google map: bit.ly/o1ndu7
We arrived in Swansea at 11pm, long after everything in Swansea, bar the kebab shops, had closed.
After several days of bland burgers and delicious, but samey fish and chips, Rose Indienne offered a wake-up call to the tired taste buds.
Everything about Rose Indienne breathes class. The service is polite and friendly without being overwhelming. The decor is delightful and the selection of starters contained some spices I had never experienced before. The vegetarian dishes were top-notch and I would dare to recommend this place as the best Indian restaurant in Swansea, maybe in all Wales?
Desperate for an early-morning, wake-up brew, we found this tiny cafe quite by chance on the corner of a back street, ten minutes' walk from Swansea town centre.
It's located in a sweet former cobbler's workshop, and you can still see the gorgeous greeny-yellow stained glass sign reading 'Leonard's, for good boots and shoes' while you're perched on one of the three high, tractor-style metal (but surprisingly comfy!) stools. The coffee maker in the window is an authentic Elektra and there are sweet touches like the cobbler's wooden shoe mould in a frame and the little boot holding the door ajar.
Oh, and did I mention the coffee?
Smooth cappuccinos, rich dark espressos, lethal mocchas...all you could ask for, plus panini, home-made browies and bacon butties.
A real find.
1 King Edward Road, Swansea
+44 7543 439 595
Google map: bit.ly/qW43nF
Recently stayed at the Royal with my wife for our wedding anniversary. The room was very well appointed and spacious, but the main draw for us was the outstanding food! We ate in every night!
Kadıköy is a bustling district on the Asian side of the city. There is a market and lots of small speciality shops, such as cheese, honey, herbal, gold, antiques and second hand books. This is the place to see the Istanbul of Istanbullus. After browsing for an hour or so sit down at one of the many small restaurants for some meze or fish. Try the "midye dolma", battered mussels. Çıya is a favourite restaurant of locals and visitors if you want to try unusual Turkish food. Keep an eye open for the fortune telling rabbits.
Take the ferry from Eminonu or Karakoy. Walk straight ahead, cross the road and dive into the side streets on your right.
Google map: bit.ly/n0pKUJ
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