Teatriz restaurant in Madrid is a fantastic restaurant designed by Philippe Starck, converted from an old theatre. I had lunch there on Christmas Day with my family to celebrate my wife's birthday and it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
Calle Hermosilla 15, Tel.91-577-53-79
Set in the Museum Quarter, the restaurant is only a stone's throw from the city's most popular museums and makes an ideal dinnertime stop. It is also fairly reasonably priced in what is otherwise a rather pricey area. The service was friendly, personal and relaxed. More importantly, the food was divine. Good quality, carefully cooked - relaxed dining as it should be on holiday.
Willemsparkweg 6, Museum Quarter
Tel: 020 662 62 06
Full of character, situated in the trendy Jordaan area. Excellent Dutch apple cake, and a wonderful array of interesting lunchtime snacks with healthy options. Very reasonably priced as well. Sit outside on the canal and watch the world go by.
London hotels aren't as stuffy and formal as they used to be and you can find a selection of stylish designer ones in the west end. One Aldwych is great. It has plenty of facilities – business centre, gym, scrummy room service – and some attractive minimalist décor. It also has a lobby bar and pool (quite rare for London). If you're feeling particularly extravagant you can book Suite 410, 500 or the Dome Suite, all of which have private gyms and spectacular views of the London skyline.
Another great West End hotel worth paying a trip to is St Martins Lane. This one was famously designed by Philipp Starck and it has a really brilliant restaurant – Asia de Cuba. Its bar, Light Bar, is where all the beautiful people hang out and the basement houses an exclusive private members club (Bungalow 8).
Sketch Gallery, on Conduit Street, is highly recommended. The modern British/French food is divine (the beef tartare is astoundingly tasty) but it’s the interior design, walls adorned by electronic projections instead of wallpaper, that takes your breath away.
Situated just off Haymarket, Mint Leaf serves seriously good Indian food. It'd definitely in the same category as some of the more celebrated options like Veeraswamy and Tamarind. Get a mix of main courses to share to make the most of the experience – a combination of chicken curry, lamb stew, pulao rice, bread basket, yellow lentils and aloo will certainly not disappoint.
J Sheekey has long been part of London’s eating scene - it dates back as far as 1896. However, it's only since its relaunch by the people behind the Ivy that it's really been worth a visit. The freshness and availability of all Sheekey’s ingredients mean they have no restaurant set menu; instead, a wonderful selection of dishes of the day served by some of the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff you could wish for. It's definitely worth booking as far in advance as you possibly can.
Turkish Food Centre (also known as TFC) has a huge selection of Turkish and Mediterranean food that's high quality but at amazingly low prices. You get exotic fruits and vegetables at road market prices but at qualities comparable to major supermarkets. It also has a huge selection of chilled foods, tinned foods, herbs and spices, pulses, fresh Turkish breads, and even a butcher! You can get Filo pastry, stuffed olives, coriander, etc.
89 Ridley Road London, E8 2NH
Telephone: 020 72546754.
Nearest station: Dalston/Kingsland
Or bus 242 from Liverpool St station to Dalston Junction.
Fuzzy's Grub on Fleet Street, London, offers the most satisfying lunch you can imagine - just don't have too many meetings in the afternoon (in case you fall asleep). Fuzzys Grup offers you Sunday roast (even including the Yorkshire pud) for a very reasonable GBP4-5 and the packed queue each lunchtime attests to its quality and taste. Opened in 2002, this place has quickly become a London city worker institution and is often frequented by bankers, lawyers and other professionals on the lunch break. Service is quick and with a smile. It's close to the offices and therefore sets a good challenge to the also delightful Borough market situated south of the river by London bridge.
Fuzzys Grub can be found on Fleet Street, London, EC3V 3PD, 020 7621 0555
Italian owned (and staffed) coffee house and pizza/pasta place halfway along Byers Road in the West End.
Go there for the best pizza and coffee in the city, friendly and efficient service and a great perch to watch some of the weird and wonderful locals amble past.
Great to take a friend or sit with the papers and watch the world go by.
Good food can be quite hard to come by in London (particularly when comparing to Asia), however, one gem famed for both celebrity spotting and for its delightful high tea and breakfast is the Wolseley at Green Park. Located next to the Ritz, this restaurant is the premier destination for anyone who wants to enjoy good quality food as reasonable (around £50 a head) food.
One great tip is to start your business day off here with a meeting. Breakfast is sublime with excellent bakery from the kitchen. Its central location makes it great for anyone staying in the city. High tea is also a great treat. Speciality teas, fine finger sandwiches, moist scones and the most delicate pastries found this side of Paris.
Green Park, London
If you are around on Saturday mornings and want to explore some of London's finer markets, I can't recommend any more than Borough market.
Located just off London Bridge, you will find a busy hustle and bustle as tourists and locals alike taste and buy some of the freshest and most well-produced foods in the country. Key tip is to pop to Roast for brunch or a takeaway sandwich. The menu can change daily depending on the market freshness of the produce.
For a great dining experience on the Thames in East London, not far from the City, try visiting the Shad Thames area and Pont de la Tour. Great seafood, wine and atmosphere overlooking Tower Bridge. They have both a relaxed bistro and a more formal dining room for business dinners.
The Butlers Wharf Building
36d Shad Thames
London SE1 2YE
Tel: 020 7403 8403
Artisan, at The Westbury Hotel, is one of my favourite restaurants in London. Serving seasonal modern European food, the menu changes regularly. Don't let the fact that it is located within a hotel put you off. The decor is classic, the service is impeccable and the food fabulous. And whilst everything is to a high standard, the place doesn't feel pretentious. I have been there on business lunches, and for dinner with friends.
If you are in London for the weekend, try out Sunday brunch at Blue Elephant, Fulham Broadway (around a 15 minute tube/taxi ride from central London). Here you can experience some excellent Thai cuisine in an elegant setting. Various 'stations' have chefs preparing your food in front of you. The cost is GBP25 + service and is well worth the discovery!
Room 101 is a bar and restaurant in Dong Cheng district. It is one of the only foreign-managed places in Beijing which is open 24/7. They also have 24-hour delivery which is a godsend - their paninis are delicious! They also have lots of live music events, free wi-fi and a terrace with BBQ.
+86 (10) 6402 7532
Located 3 mins walk south of Andingmen subway station at 199 Andingmen Nei Dajie.
I'm a terrible cook and enrolled in a cooking course in Tuscany much to my husband's delight and I can honestly say I can now cook 'Italian' to a passable standard. I jumped on a mini bus in the centre of Florence at 9.30am and was driven just outside of the city centre into the beautiful green hills of Tuscany. We pulled up at a pretty Tuscan villa where we were introduced to our Italian chef. We got our aprons on and went outside to pick fresh herbs and veg from the gardens, the smells were amazing and the chef made me really think about the importance of using fresh produce for your cooking.
I learned to cook so many dishes and sauces, this course takes you well beyond the spaghetti bolognese. I can now cook a full three-course meal and many other side dishes to a passable quality. The wine flowed and the fact that it was produced from the vineyards in the grounds made it all taste so much better. I had a brilliant time and highly recommend it (so can my husband!). It's a brilliant add-on to a trip to Florence and I'll definitely go back for more lessons later in the year.
Pick up from Florence city centre at 9.30am, just 10 euros return which is well worth the money. Book it online, it's easy - everything works out brilliantly and you only have to pay a deposit.
Barretos, a small, sleepy, typical Alentejo village near Marvao, comes alive on the 2nd weekend in August with a bull run through the village, followed by a festa (festival) which continues well into the night. See the real Portugal and join the friendly locals in their tradition (they do not kill the bulls here in Portugal).
Casa do Pasto in the centre of Castel de Vide is a great place to eat. Every time we visit this area we always go here for dinner, homecooking at its best and fantastic value. Eat outside in the warm summer months and admire this ancient and historic town in the mountain range called the Serra de Sao Mamede. A place where you will discover some great walks.
Casa de Pasto: Rua de Santa Maria de Baixo, 10
Tel: 245 919 034
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