I have always wondered why it is so hard to find fresh and interestingly cooked seafood in our island nation!
Well, my search ended when I came across the Loch Leven seafood cafe sitting innocuously on Loch Leven just off the A82. The fish and seafood is caught fresh and locally.
My starter was a plate of oysters - which I can honestly say were the juiciest and plumpest one I've ever had. For the main course I had the razor clams cooked in herby white wine served with delicious bread.
There is also an adjoining shop that sells fish and seafood. If you like seafood you won't be disappointed.
It's about four miles off the A82 (the Glasgow to Inverness road) as the A82 passes in between Ballachulish and Onich (just south of Fort William). There is a brown sign on the A82 pointing you in the direction.
01855 821048 www.lochlevenseafoodcafe.co.uk
A friendly, bohemian cafe-bar in the Gothic quarter, just off Carrer de Ferran. Expect to be sitting alongside writers and artists - writing and drawing, no less - during your stay. Food is reasonably priced (eg soup and a main - the 'combi of the day' - for 6 euros). Plus the staff all seem to know English, but avoid speaking it if possible - usually a good sign.
5 Calle de Arai
The best steaks I ever ate. For over 36 years El Gaucho has served its guests with genuine, Argentinian angus steaks, prepared on a central, open charcoal fire. Watch and enjoy the taste of these Argentinian specialties - just like gauchos in the pampas. El Gaucho not only stands for quality dining, but is also a part of authentic Argentinian culture in Germany.
The El Gaucho is the first and oldest Argentinian restaurant in Germany.
Tel.: +49 221 246797
Fax: +49 221 2402936
The George is a hotel and resturant in Stamford. The food is amazing, and the historic setting is both relaxing and interesting. The rooms are full of character, and the personal wake up call with a cup of tea was spot on! I would recommend the Serene Sunday deal. Stamford is a stunning stone town, with lots of great shopping and places to eat.
The George Hotel of Stamford,
71 St. Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2LB, England
in the middle of Stamford by the river
Soak up the atmosphere before a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field with brunch at Uncommon Ground, a continental style cafe-bistro on a tree-lined avenue. Renowned as much for its contemporary local art and live music, as for the fantastic food (do try the omlettes) all made with local, organic ingredients.
3800 N. Clark Street, Chicago,
Nearest CTA station, Addison (Red-line).
For great, traditional and some unusual Vietnamese food, try Highway 4. The actual Highway 4 crosses the mountains and hill tribes (and ethnic minorities) of northern Vietnam, and this defines the cuisine (and the great fruit, herbal or medicinal flavored rice wine) of Highway 4 in Hanoi as well. All this can be had at reasonable prices, in a pleasant environment that evokes the highlands.
Recommended dishes: Nem Cá, or famous Highway 4 spring rolls with fried catfish and wasabi soy dipping sauce. But tell them to go light on the mayo inside the rolls.
Grilled chicken with lemon leaves (Gà Nương Lá Chanh) and the Bò Xào Dưa Chua (beef sautéed with local pickled mustard greens—translated as sauerkraut but it’s quite different).
A unique and wonderfully textured green that’s only available seasonally is Hoa Thien Lý Xào (sautéed Thien Ly vegetable/flower).
For seafood, try the soft shell crab roasted with Tamarind or Salt (Cua Dong Rang Me/Muoi) and Ca Kho To (fish simmered in clay pot). Also good: Green mango (Xoài Xanh) marinated with salt and chili; and for the pork lover—Thịt Kho Tộ (pork carmelized in clay pot with coconut—tourist places tend to use lean sliced pork, while more traditional places like Hwy 4 will use pork belly). Try the sampler set of their Son Tinh liquor.
5 Hang Tre, just east of the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake. For more restaurant recommendations (and travel itineraries and other great tips) go to www.savourasia.com - they really throw themselves into eating in Asia, and especially Hanoi!
Barril 1800 is almost an institution in Rio de Janeiro. Because of its localization, in the front of Ipanema beach, or maybe because it's been there for decades receiving everybody with great food and beer and lots of courtesy.
People go there straight from the beach, creating a casual environment. They serve traditional Brazilian dishes in huge amounts of food for great prices. And, last but not least, the sight of Ipanema beach is breathtaking. Don't miss it!
Avenida Vieira Souto, 110
Ipanema - Zona Sul - 2523-0085
A mere two kilometres off the Pennine Way in the moors above Oldham, The Rams Head is a 450- year-old-inn specialising in local produce and warm welcomes. Heat yourself in front of one of the log fires and treat yourself to some of the finest local game and seafood.
Wash it all down with some local beer or something from the extensive wine list while looking out over the moorland views.
As an extra treat pop into The Pantry shop next door and buy a pork, game or ploughmans pie to enjoy later.
The Rams Head Inn, Denshaw, Saddleworth, OL3 5UN, 01457 874802. www.ramsheaddenshaw.co.uk
Grid Reference SD977119
Bon serve Fucha Ryori cuisine, a form of Zen vegetarian cooking originating in China but developed in Japan. Small delicate and beautiful dishes are served in measured succession, in a private room on Tatami mats. We had about 11 courses (we lost count).
The service was immaculate: serene, polite and friendly, quite unlike anything European, and the whole experience was calm and almost meditative.
The restaurant is tucked away down a back street of old Tokyo houses. Booking is required.
Ryusen 1-2-11, Taito-Ku, near Iriya station (Hiriya line). Phone 03 (3872) 0375. Do not rely on the map provided by the restaurant, which is inaccurate. Get someone to look it up for you in the Tokyo street atlas.
Another place I'd recommend in York is Monty's Grill. I also mainly does steak and seafood, but it's not as up-market as Harvilles. I haven't been at the weekend, but apparently their Sunday lunch is particularly good.
St Peter's Grove, York.
Any bar on the piazzetta, the teeny town square, in central Capri is a memorable place to have a drink and enjoy the sometimes overwhelming spectacle that is Capri. Rich and poor, celebrities, fishermen and gigolos, whatever strikes your fancy, is on parade in La Piazzetta, the living room of the world. Al Piccola is a good one... well, all of them with outdoor seating are memorable. It is a very happy place and you do feel like you are a celebrity (undiscovered? in disguise?) to just sit there and watch the world go by. Try the bar at the top of the funicular. Delicious cheese sandwiches, good drinks and a view that will make you cry.
Surprisingly, and a very well-kept secret, Capri accommodations can be reasonable. Of course if you want to spend tons of money you easily can. Also the food can vie for the title of best in Italy. Fresh, and you have not lived until you've sampled the spaghetti al fruits de mer at da Gemma. Well, virtually any food is good and reasonable.
Probably the best restaurant we visited in a three-week trip to NZ.
Fish restaurant - excellent choice of fish, beautifully cooked and served. A real star restaurant. Fish-themed decor and very relaxed atmosphere. 5 stars from me!
Dined here April 2007
7 Beach St Queenstown
I'm absolutely crazy for Brazilian food and I've been around the country enough to be able to enjoy all types of different dishes, from carne de sol (sundried meat) to the Carioca famous feijoada. One of my all-time favourites though, is the moqueca de camarao, which is made from shrimp with milk-coconut stew. It's a typical dish that originates from Bahia, but you can find it in Rio, in an excellent restaurant called Azul Marinho.
It's right at the Arpoador in Ipanema, so you'll be privileged with a breathtaking view while eating this amazing food!
Avenida Francisco Bhering
This quality Italian place, focused on simply executed dishes based on fresh produce is a great new addition to the surprisingly limited St Albans dining scene.
Despite its affluence and increasing popularity as one of the nicest places to commute to London from, St Albans has a pretty disappointing range of places to eat out. Sure, there's the creditable Darcy's on Hatfield Road, a recent addition to the slick Loch Fyne seafood chain on Verulam Road (plus a great, unpretentious curry house in Mumtaj on London Road) but that's about it. Until now.
Cibo DiVino opened in summer 2007 and despite its central, if relatively unprepossessing location behind M&S and Boots there are treats in store.
Service is warm and welcoming, the room is cosy and well lit, homemade bread is offered with your apertif (we had a couple of glasses of appley house Prosecco).
The focus is on fresh regional Italian food (think modern Italian style championed by the likes of the River Cafe or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall). Some examples from the short but appetising menu are: antipasti (say, buffalo mozzarella with grilled vegetables, an autumnal lentil soup), pasta (I had a delicious rabbit and black olive ragu with fettuccine but there was also linguine with clams), fish (simply grilled whole bream, scallops with cauliflower puree), meat and game (guinea fowl with polenta, a veal chop), vegetables and desserts (honey semi-freddo, tiramisu).
Expect to pay about £50 a head for the works: aperitifs, three courses, a good bottle of wine, coffee. We were offered a complimentary digestif.
We really hope this charming place is a success - it fills a much needed space and does so really well.
Cibo DiVino Ristorante Italiano
4-5 Waddington Road
St Albans City (mainline/Thameslink) or St Albans Abbey (branch line from Watford/Silverlink)
The best Mexican food I have eaten outside the States. The interior is bright and used authentic Mexican colours and the food is fab. I especially loved the carnitas which took me back home to Santa Fe. Worth a visit.
64 Thistle Street Edinburgh, eh2 1en
0131 260 9699
I did not know what to expect when I went to CBF with my family, and may I say I was quite impressed! We were told at the restaurant that their main specialty was Portuguese food, from Portugal (duh!) aside from some Spanish dishes, like paella, very good. But the best by far was their cod fish with baked potatoes, olives and shrimp, just heaven! My kids loved it too, but my husband and I enjoyed it the most. It also seemed to have some of that atmosphere based on the country where the food originates from, Portugal. Anyway, quite a family-friendly spot for an afternoon lunch.
Praça Tiradentes 83, Downtown
We found this Parilla restaurant around the corner from the 4 Points by Sheraton hotel in the city centre. The service was excellent - the manager/owner speaks good English and the food was superb.
Complimentary shots at the end just added to the experience!
San Jose 1065
Tel: 903 2120
One of the classiest Indian restaurants in Liverpool, and one of the many different eateries in Lark Lane. The food is delicious (all of it), the service is second-to-none and the place oozes luxury, cleanliness and attention to detail. Large, exotic menu. £15 to £20 per head, so not especially expensive.
15-21 Lark Lane
Between Aigburth Road and Sefton Park
St. Michael's Station is 10 mins. walk away.
Tel. 0151 728 9728
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