La Habana's reputation is intriguing: it is said to have a rich history of being a hotbed for illicit meetings between journalists and politicians. The clientele, however, is pretty diverse: you are as likely to find yourself seated next to an old woman in floral dress and outrageous hair as you are to be near a scheming anarchist hack.
Guaranteed is one of the best breakfasts you're ever likely to experience. The spicy sausage omelette, for one example, is quite unbelievable. And the coffee is sensational. (You can also choose from a huge range of beans from an adjacent booth to take home). The 50s decor - a wide open space and high ceiling - provides a perfect setting to read the newspaper or plan your day.
Morelos #62 (On the corner of Avenida Cuauhtemoc and Morelos, at the eastern edge of the Reforma district)
I don't know if this is a Catalan speciality, but it is absolutely gorgeous (and I am not even a chocaholic, not by a long way). In some, but not all, cafes, the hot chocolate drink is thick, a bit like custard, so that you have to eat it with a spoon. You might think it would be too rich, but no - because it's not too sickly sweet, just chocolatey. Often served with 'melindros' - almondy cakes a bit like spongy macaroons. Or 'churros' - unsugared doughnut 'worms' that are delicious.
Found in all cafes, but some serve xocolata thicker than others.
A great local spot for that quick meal or snack before or after shopping or visiting the cinema.
One thing to note is that the Dendy Deli which is located at the Dendy Plaza in Brighton is not in Dendy St Brighton, it is in Church St.
Dendy Deli located at Dendy Plaza
Church St Brighton
(west of the railway line) tel: 9592 6233
The café is gone but the unusually flavoured chocolates thankfully remain. The chocolates are the stars, but the pastries are also gorgeous and the chocolate-themed gifts a lot of fun - chocolate beer anyone?
C Petritxol 11-13, 08003; tel: 93 3011197
This cool café, closed in winter, is in a pretty and surprisingly quiet square off the Ramblas and a great lunch spot. Locals and savvy tourists tuck into salads, pastas and quiches as their kids happily run around or go on the swings.
Plaça Vicenç Martorell, 4;
tel: 93 30 22 072
There is no shortage of good places to eat in Istanbul. Around Sultanahamet you will find many ‘tourist’ type restaurants serving a range of Turkish and western dishes.
Walking around any of the other neighbourhoods you will come across traditional Turkish concerns frequented by locals where you can try authentic food including kebabs at very reasonable prices. The roads leading up to Taksim Square from the Galata Bridge have many kebab cafes. There are several good seafood restaurants in the Kumkapi area, serving locally-caught fish.
Finally for the less adventurous, Istanbul has the usual array of global fast-food outlets scattered around.
Interesting authentic recipes from the Ottoman period - located next to St Chora (must see Byzantine mosaics and frescos).
So hip, it's bordering on tragic. Decor-wise it's all Philipe Starck transparent chairs with Hello Kitty-esque faces printed on them, huge geisha print on the ceiling, and a panoramic roof-top view of Paris from this ultra-stylish restaurant on the top floor of the Kenzo building by the Pont Neuf. My foie gras and steak were both superb, however you're more likely to be won over by the cool factor than anything else. Cocktails are very good, and yes, it was THAT restaurant in Sex & The City!
1, rue du Pont Neuf; nearest metro: Chatelet or Pont Neuf
Wonderful little Turkish restaurant doing simple but hearty kebabs. I have watched Gursel, owner and chef, carefully prepare his lamb, lovingly getting rid of all fat and gristle. It is then marinated overnight, with herbs wiped off before cooking to make sure they’re not burned and then added again. Delicious, big portions, very reasonable, dependable and friendly.
West Preston St; tel: 0131 667 4242
Two great restaurants in downtown Pest. Both cheap and with great menus. The Boheme is on Paulay Ede Utca and does massive portions of great food. The Kiskacsa is on the corner of Kazinsky and Dob Utca, just in the Jewish part of town and specializes, as the name would suggest, in duck. It also lets you throw dice at the end of the meal to get a freebie. I've never won it but it adds to the fun.
The Monro i think is famous for its weird food like ostrich, welsh buffalo but they now have a Pudding Club which is held every Monday! ]
The Monro is famous for weird food, such as ostrich and Welsh buffalo, but they now have a Pudding Club which is held every Monday.
The head chef and his team create the most amazing puddings I've ever seen and you get a light main course plus three desserts for just a tenner.
You've got to try it as it’s such a laugh - the restaurant atmosphere is superb as you can feel the anticipation as each pud is brought to your table.
It's so cool and I'm glad I joined it.
The Monro, 92 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AG
Try their pudding club website first:
Home of Whistler's best burgers, fries and ice cream. Everything is made fresh daily. Choose from over 20 different toppings and homemade sauces. The best burger you'll ever eat.
105-4369 Main Street; tel: 604 938 9300
The cafe at the top of Metz Department store has amazing views over the skyline. Its on the sixth floor (there’s lift access too) and has windows on three sides. The views are incredible. Wide selection of tea and cake too. Well worth it.
455 Keizergracht (on the intersection at Keizergracht and Leiderstracht)
Unbelievable tapas bar that we only visited by chance after being rudely barged out of the queue for the Fernsehturm cafe. I have never eaten tapas in Spain but I cannot believe it can be any better than this. The place is completely rammed in the evening but on a Sunday afternoon it was scandalously easy to get a table. Cross my heart I will never eat in La Tasca again…
Rosenthaler Strasse 37, U-Bahn Hackescher Markt; tel 030 283 912 13
Pizza is all you really get on the menu, but they range from a classic quattro staggioni to lamb with sultanas and fresh rocket, topped of with a Belgian chocolate pizza for dessert. Throw in the fact that this perfect pizza is just four bucks between seven and 10, Monday to Thursday and you're on to a winner.
Get there early to bag a table, enjoy the atmosphere and be treated to a different DJ every night, spinning anything from rare groove to funky house. The staff are friendly and if you're looking for that perfect holiday gift for granny, you can bag yourself a souvenir t-shirt sporting toy dolls enjoying a good spanking session. A very good, very Brunswick St kind of night out.
Brunswick St. The 112 tram from Collins St in the CBD will drop you right on the doorstep. Look for the ten-foot-high doll above the doorway, it's kind of hard to miss
Everyone likes to do some bargain shopping. In Chiang Mai, the night market is almost a “must see” place. But, if you can, save all your shopping for the Sunday market. When I was there (January - April 2004), it operated almost every Sunday. It is open from noon to late night.
It's just outside the Thai Pat Gate. The Nerve Touch Massage Studio is near the Gate entrance. You will be surprised what you can buy there
Café Rosenberg is one of the few places in Iceland where you can get a good meal at a reasonable price (reasonable by Icelandic standards, anyway). It's a pub, restaurant and the centre for live music in down town Reykjavík. Every Friday and Saturday night there is live music and sometimes also during the week. All kinds of music, from local troubadours to world famous musicians. Very popular with tourists as well as locals, so you may meet people from all four corners of the world in one night. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Café Rosenberg, Lækjargata 2, 101 Reykjavík
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