Best brunch in the city. Experience the real San Francisco - chances are you will be the only tourists. It's an easy bart ride to 24th street or better still get the J (Church) tram from the downtown.
3296 22nd St (cross street: 22nd and Valencia)
A great 24 hour vegetarian restaurant, the Naam has been around for thirty years, and is still going strong. A friendly comfortable atmosphere, hearty, satisfying meals and live music in the evenings. The Naam nourishes the spirit as well as the body. And if there's a lineup, don't be put off, just come back later; it's worth it. During the quieter times, like three in the afternoon, or three in the morning, it's a great place to grab a cup of coffee and some coffee cake, sit back, relax, and start that great novel you've been meaning to read/write.
2724 W. Fourth Avenue, Kitsilano (one block east of MacDonald);
tel: 738 7151;
This restaurant used to be a hospital and is the real-deal for stereotypical Bavarian food. The staff wear traditional Bavarian clothing and the menu is nearly 100% meat with cabbage and/or potato noodles. Also has good beer, but not one for the vegetarians.
tel: 0911 22 1761
Many non-Chinese restaurants in Taipei are either run or conceived by foreign expats, but not the Bistro. Instead it is run and head chef-ed by Maggie, a Francophile Taiwanese who cooks like she was born in a Paris brasserie.
This is good old bistro fare. If you want high end Provencale go to Le Jardin in TienMu. Yes you can have foie gras perfectly seared at Bistro L'Olivier, but this is the place for your down to earth French fix. Escargots followed by Cassoulet, Confit De Canard or table mixed Steak Tartare with crispy frites, for example.
If you've got room after that the warm chocolate cake is Maggie's speciality with chocolate sauce oozing from the sides.
OK, it's not very Chinese but then it's hardly TGI Fridays or the Outback Steakhouse either.
145 An Ho Road, section 2, (opposite Carnegies);
tel: 02 8732 3726;
open: 11:30 am-11:30 pm
The Café du Livre is a new place in the heart of Guéliz, the new part of town. It's a second hand bookstore, mostly English, great selection, with lots of magazines, newspapers, guidebooks for browsing and a very reasonably priced menu done by two michelin star chef Richard Neat of Casa Lalla (who hangs out there all the time, as do all writers and journalists because they have a wifi connection). It's hidden, very low key, very cosy and a great place to have breakfast, lunch or an early dinner as they serve non stop from 9.30 to 21.00. Not to be missed.
44 rue Tarik Ben Ziad (in the patio of Hotel Toulousain, just behind the old Guéliz market);
tel: 024 43 21 49
The Opera Bar, situated under the Opera House, has the most stunning views in the world. It could therefore serve bad food and drink and charge a premium for the pleasure, but it doesn't.
Food is bistro-style, very reasonably priced and of decent standard. Bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Cocktails are mixed without pretension but with care. My bloody mary was the best I've had outside my house.
Lower concourse level, Sydney Opera House;
tel: 9247 1666;
OK, so it's Sicilian and we're talking Rome, but Capricci Siciliani delivers the best baby squid in the known universe. Fantastic seafood, excellent wine list, including many native Sicilian grape varieties, reasonably priced, and a warm and inviting staff. Over an 8-day visit, we actually had dinner here twice, and our 14-month-old enjoyed both the delicious bread and unending attention. Two truly memorable meals.
Via di Panico, 83 (near Piazza Navona;
tel: 06 4543 3823;
I fell in love with Vancouver the second the plane banked and I caught a glimpse of the Capilano Mountain range. After a day experiencing a rather windy cable car ride, and boating in Vanier, I discovered the Blue Water Cafe. Oysters served with Vodka and Tabasco was the recommended dish. The staff are amazing and filled with tips and advice on time spent in their city. The terrace gives you yet another opportunity to pose. Which we did. My best advice; make your next holiday in Vancouver.
1095 Hamilton Street;
tel: 604 688 8078;
Famed for its Middle Eastern thali, the restaurant on the ground floor is generally packed - and for good reason. Despite the rather minimal decor, the waiters are turned out impeccably in smart bellhop outfits, and the food is very decently priced.
B1/107, Assi Ghat, Varanasi;
Apart from in the main station area, there are very few internet cafes in Nice, and this is the only place in the Old Town.
Serving food with fresh ingredients from the market, drinks and snacks, it's a very friendly cafe run by a young Englishman who has lived in Nice for 15 years. There are seven terminals in a separate room, printers and so forth, and ethernet and power sockets by each table in the cafe itself. Also has wi-fi and cable TV for main sporting events.
Happy hour for drinks from 5pm, and English breakfast is on the menu too.
8 rue St Vincent (corner of rue Pontin), 06300 Nice;
04 93 62 68 86;
Open 9am to 7-ish. Closed Sundays
I ate the most delicious ice cream I have ever eaten in my life at Angelo Brocato's ice cream parlour in Mid-City.
The experience of eating ice cream there lived up to every expectation I ever had of America. It was truly heavenly - I kept going back.
I tried blood orange, praline, hazlenut, chocolate and chestnut - completely incomparable!
This place is legendary. It's going to be a few months before the place is up and running again though post Katrina.
A beautiful bar just along the coast from the Sunset Strip. Great cocktails, good cheap food, a pool (with twice weekly foam parties) and fantastic music. The 'secret' parties are legendary. It has sun-loungers available for free, live football on an indoor big screen (great if you're away during the World Cup) and the best atmosphere of any of the San Antonio bars during the day. This is where the island's workers often go to chill out. Also hosts pre-parties for some of the big club nights.
Calle Soledad 53, Calo des Moro beach. It's orange canopy is easily visible from Cafe Mambo etc if you look along the coast away from San Antoni. Next door to Coastline Cafe/Sunsea Bar;
This restaurant in an old monastery is about as romantic as it gets. Great seafood and an outdoor terrace. Hard to believe it's on the outskirts of San Antonio.
San Antonia 07840, Ibiza;
tel: 971 34 0057;
The Dogs Bar in St Kilda is an institution and a great place to get a glass or 10 of red wine and a plate of cheap pasta on a Sunday afternoon. It's great in winter with a roaring open fire and people gathering to have a natter or play a game of chess. Uber cool, the crowd tends to be over 30.
A quiet resort on the island with the added advantage that it has loads of good eateries. You're bound to find something on Calle San Jaime and Calle San Vicente, where cafes and restaurants line the promenade.
Accessible by bus or ferry, but only 15km north of Ibiza Town so you can easily get a taxi.
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