An assault on the senses. Visually stunning vibrant street market, a photographers dream - fantastic produce market that starts on Saturday evening and runs until shortly after midday on Sunday.
There are fruits on sale you won't see anywhere else in the world - straight out of the rainforest...
off Jln Sator, Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo
This is a festival in honour of seafood. It is celebrated in O Grove (Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain) during the first two weeks of October and it is one of the most important festivals of Galicia.
Here, anyone can taste the different kinds of seafood: from oysters, mussels and cockles to prawns, crabs and barnacles. It is amazing how many different dishes there are for a good price. Moreover, there are also folk performances.
This year, there were more people than ever. The village was full of people from all parts of Spain, and even from outside. It was very difficult to book a hotel for those people who did it in the last days before the event because the occupancy rate was at the highest level.
Two of the main important characteristics that make this festival different are the fact that the seafood from this area is among the in the world; and the second fact is that it is awesome to have lunch in front of the estuary Ría de Arousa. It is a perfect location for this festival: you can enjoy this wonderful landscape while you taste the best seafood.
An established (since 1827) chocolatiers in the Barri Gotic. My god, talk about mouthwatering....not too sweet. Pierre Marcolini has some serious competition!
A truly original and stylish gift to take back for the descerning chocolate-lover (actually, I can take or leave chocolate, but these are special).
The ladies behind the counter even gift-wrap their cheapest bars of chocolate for you without the sort of attitude one might expaect from such an institution. Shopping the old-fashioned way. Not cheap, but what do you expect?
Carrer del Pi, 16 in the heart of the Barri Gotic
The most incredible non-haute-cuisine French food I have eaten outside of France. Excellent wine list, puddings to die for, great service - friendly without being servile - hits all the right buttons with just the right flourish.
Informal atmosphere, yet understatedly stylish and elegant. Loved it so much we chose it as the venue for our wedding reception meal. We couldn't have wished for a better organised and efficient team to take away every stress - I cannot recommend this place more highly.
42 North Audley Street, London. W1K 6ZR
Telephone 020 7491 9988
Facsimile 020 7491 7717
Amazing food, cooked in front of you. All ingredients sourced a few feet away as it is in the heart of the Mercat Bocceria. Quite intimidating having to wait behind someone sitting and eating - you have to 'bags' your seat in this very un-English way! But the food was gorgeous.
The prices are high - we had two beers (on tap, San Miguel) a basket of lovely bread, one plate of gambas in burnt garlic and chilli and four tiny but exquisite croquettas and it came to 25 euros...considering our dismal experience at Les Quinze Nits, worth every penny and the five euro tip! Real Catalan through-and-through.
Mercat Bocceria, just off La Rambla
So-called restaurant in Placa Reial. Rude service, hardly any Spanish staff or proper food, below-average food quality (pork undercooked, veg swimming in grease), not worth the minimum 40-minute wait. Such a shame as a great location. Avoid this place if you want service with a smile and decent Spanish/Catalan food. Never before not left a tip anywhere. Here was a very sad first, but well-deserved.
6 Placa Reial, Barri Gotic
We stayed at Jesmonds for three nights, Thursday to Saturday, and ate there two of the three nights - it would have been three if it hadn't been for the rugby!
The room was very comfortable, good value and breakfast was exceptional....quality ingredients the key as always. However, the restaurant for dinner was the best bit and I'm sure lunch is just as good.
The service from both the management and the young staff was spot-on - accurate, with a smile and an attitude that suggests they really do care that you enjoy your evening. Nothing was too much trouble. The food is excellent, and tremendous value. The wine list is extensive, perhaps they could do with a few more wines at the top-end, but we found some excellent wines in the £20-£25 range which fitted the bill perfectly.
You will struggle to find a better overall restaurant experience anywhere in this price-range. If you are looking for somewhere for dinner a deux, or in a larger group to celebrate a birthday I would not hesitate to recommend the place to anyone.
The chic Marais is the place to stay. Hotel Jeanne D'Arc is quite a lark. Close to Place St Catherine, where the prices are keen.
To start off your day, go to 'Au Levain du Marais'. The pain au chocolat will make you just weak, so buy quite a few and you'll have a pique nique.
Next, visit grand Pere Lachaise. Chopin and Piaf and dear Oscar Wilde - although they're now gone, you'll still be beguiled. To the Left Bank for dinner, a place called L'Ecurie, the locals eat here, run by petite Mini. Bon weekend!
For a quick Gallic culture fix, catch a morning Eurostar to Paris and head to Auberge d'chez eux, an unashamedly old school bistro in the seventh.
Enjoy the rich, generous cuisine of south-west France from a window table, complete with traditional red checked cloth, overlooking Les Invalides. President Chirac liked to impress foreign leaders with lunch here, such is its reputation.
Later take in a cognac or two at Lipp on sophisticated Boulevard Saint-Germain, followed by a peaceful stroll around Ile Saint-Louis, before catching a late train home with the feeling that all is well with the world.
For a formidable fondue feast, I recommend the Refuge de Fondues, 17 Rue de Trois Freres (near bottom of Sacre Coeur). It's a fab little restaurant with graffiti-covered walls and long tables where you eat elbow to elbow with other diners.
Love art? Love food? Overload your senses and combine the two. Le Georges sits like a crown at the top of the Centre Pompidou. Seat yourself next to the reflective pool and indulge in the beauty of the Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame.
The sleek modernist style seeps through from the galleries below and encourages a creative flair to the food. This restaurant infuses Parisian chic and fiery Thai flavours with an artistic hand. Enjoy an exquisite meal and a long stemmed rose to accompany your hedonists' view of Paris.
My top tip for Paris, especially if you’re a food lover, is to experience it like a Parisian and chose to stay in a self-catering apartment.
Paris has so many markets and beautiful specialist shops which you can’t take full advantage of if you’re staying in a hotel. You can have freshly baked bread and croissants for breakfast and then browse les marchés, boucheries, charcuteries, fromageries and other stores for fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, paté and cheese and prepare your own meals, including a tasty picnic for your return trip which will have your fellow passengers green with envy!
This brand new hotel has seven beautiful apartments, each with a stunning view in the front over the ocean and in the back over the sand dunes. We stayed in a two-person apartment, very clean, huge bathroom and a very nice atmosphere. Try their breakfast, it's delicious!
Rua as Dunas in Cumbuco, just 300 metres from the ocean and the town centre.
After being on the road for a month, my boyfriend and I actually had the best meal on our last night! It was in a unique and friendly restaurant called Ave Maria, 1 Rue Jacquard (Metro Oberkampf/Saint Maur), the decor was beautifully gaudy, the veggie curry I had was heavenly and the mojitos so good I almost had to be carried home!
The prefect way to end a day of wandering with a great meal in a really friendly atmosphere. They do a fantastic soup as a starter which is served inside half a crusty loaf of bread - ie the bread becomes the bowl - it really works and you won't end up with soup in your lap. Lively music and staff, with great artwork and writings all over the walls. Seek it out.
12 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, just south of the Marais.
In the bustling, attractive Place Georges Pompidou, there are some good places to eat. In the Rue St Martin, on the first floor above an art shop called ‘Images de Demain’, is a small, quiet, pretty café nestling among conservatory plants, and a good selection of clocks and attractive kitchen items for sale.
The café has tall windows overlooking the square, and serves teas, coffees, cakes and other delicacies. Nearby, on Rue Rambuteau, is Le Potager du Marais – a café/restaurant which has long refectory tables where the mainly local clientele lunch on reasonably priced, delicious organic, veggie food.
If, like me, you want on occasion to feel like a true Parisian and don't have an aversion to early mornings then why not try the Bastille open market on a Sunday morning.
The range of fresh fish, bread, vegetables, cheeses and wine is truly mouth watering and all at very reasonable prices. Your euro here goes a long way towards sampling the very best of French food.
The market is huge and the atmosphere intoxicating in terms of a real Parisian experience and can't be recommended highly enough to the discerning visitor.
Take Metro 11 (brown) to Porte des Lilas, walk down Rue Belleville using the Metro stations as your guide. Pass through neighbourhoods such as Jourdain, Pyrenees, Belleville and, passing canal St Martin, finish in Republique, the venue of many a Parisian Riot.
Alternatively, at Pyrenees, turn right on to Avenue Simon Bolivar and head for the surreal, landscaped Parc des Buttes Chaumont (19th Arr), complete with its own mountain, waterfall, temple and an incredible view of the Sacre Couer.
To finish the day, head to restaurant Au Pied du Sacre Couer, for fine yet inexpensive French cooking (metro Lamarck-calaincourt, 18th Arr).
Paris is the city of love but, whether you find yourself there with that special someone or on your lonesome, make your way down to La Coupole at Montparnasse.
The famous haunt of Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir has stunning internal décor and takes you back to another era. The food is delicious and if you are seeking the true Parisian experience then there is nowhere better to dine.
And, even if you end up alone there on Valentine's Day, indulging in their silky hot chocolate, at least the waiters know the way to a girl’s heart. Dessert on the house!
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