In this respect São Paulo is truly exceptional. When you see these you begin to understand the city's culinary reputation. São Paulo's street markets receive fruit and vegetables from all over Brazil and from Chile and Argentina. What is more, ringing the city are thousands of Japanese-Brazilian market gardens.
The selection of greens alone is massive: mustard, many types of lettuce, chicory, fennel, rocket, bok choy, fresh melokias (not many places outside of the Middle East where you can get it), spinach, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, watercress...stalls and stalls of massive bunches of fresh herbs: dill, mint, basil (several types), lemon grass, rosemary, oregano, coriander, parsley, sage - basically everything you can think of.
As for the fruit, it ranges from Amazonian looking stuff, to tropical: pineapples, papayas, mangoes (palmer, Tommy Atkins, small green citrus-flavoured ones, and more) and jackfruit. A good pérola pineapple when in season will impregnate the flat and your hands with its aroma for the whole day. It will be very sweet, not sharp and not fibrous. It literally melts in your mouth. Similarly a perfect mango.
There is also plenty of fruit more associated with temperate weather: apples, pears, strawberries, blackberries, plums, as well as Mediterranean-climate fruit such as watermelons, grapes and so forth.
Also at the markets: fish stalls, meat stalls, spice stalls (you can find most of the basics you'll need for curries, for example), hardware, cheap toys.
The tradition is to drink a cane-juice (with lime juice) and eat a fried "pastel" (minced meat or palm heart are my favourites).
There are markets all over the city. The ones I've used are:
Friday: Rua Sergipe, in Higienópolis, opposite Zilana. Genteel. You can stop off for excellent coffee and sweetmeats before or after at "Dulca".
Saturday: Corner of R. Helvetia with Barão de Campinas. Far less genteel. The neighbourhood used to be the administrative center of the city. Now faded and nervously on the edge of crack-land.
Sunday: Amaral Gurgel, at Sta Cecília underground station. Huge, bustling, under the flyover (flyover incidentally closed to traffic on Sundays for pedestrians to amble).
Sunday: Praça Roosevelt. A smaller version of the Amaral Gurgel one, at the bottom of Rua da Consolação. Easier to handle, but very bustling nonetheless.
Although a chain, the Cheesecake Factory is an absolute must for those who love all things American and want to steep themselves in the local culture e.g. huge portions, great food. The Cheesecake Factory is located in the Prudential centre so it's pretty central, the bar's good with a range of cocktails and I would recommend the Cobb salad, surely the largest salad in the world!
Bakery. 120-years old, belonging to the Albanese family, originally from Calabria. Wood-burning ovens. The bakery bakes 2,000 loaves a day, but the outlet is a small shopfront. Sausages and cheeses hanging from ceiling. The best calabreza sausage-bread in the city, great aubergine bread. Great, crusty and chewy Italian bread. Sfogliatelli and Portuguese pastries, Italian wines etc.
Rua São Domingos, 330 Bela Vista.
Keep going down Augusta, center-bound, until it turns into Martins Fontes. Turn right at Martinho Prado. Keep going past impressive synagogue (incidentally opposite São Paulo's oldest Lesbian bar). Turn left when you reach Santo Antonio. First on right, then right again.
Not easy to find. Never mind there are a lot of similar bakeries nearby (Bexiga) that are nearly as good.
Deli. Santa Luzia and others are wonderful Beverly Hills/Harrods food hall style places to feel rich and maybe splash out. Zilana is a small and functional place, but full of merchandise not to be found in many of the other more chic outlets, and is usually cheaper. Several types of herring, pickles, salmon, even smoked haddock!!! Spices. Fresh horseradish. Good bread, tough rye and proper chewy bagels...
Lebanese ingredients, plus olives, dried fruit, hams, cheeses...
Good spirits on special offer. Arak, vodkas, slivovitz.
Lots of one-off promotions (the only place I've ever seen Stilton in São Paulo, but it didn't last) such as sudden gluts of Hungarian gherkins or cranberry juices.
Jewish food counter with Kreplach, stuffed chicken neck and so on.
Rue Sergipe, 231
Between Avenida Angêlica and Rua da Consolação, at the lower entrance to the cemetery.
Traditional pie shop with real ale.
A Reading institution. The best homemade pies. Specials every day.
Not to be missed. Just go there and find out for yourself.
10 Castle Street
Half a mile from Reading Station.
Travelling west, start at the Druid, a fine village local with keen young hosts, well-kept ale, good food. Move on to Tynllidiart Arms for more good beer (some brewed on site in world's smallest commercial brewery), longer menu but without compromising quality. Finish in Aberystwyth at Ship & Castle - no food at all, just constantly changing range of tiptop beers in buzzing streetcorner alehouse with trad music Wednesdays.
Three excellent but contrasting pubs, all linked by a daytime bus route.
Druid Inn, Goginan (01970-880650)
Tynllidiart Arms, Capel Bangor (01970-880248)
Ship & Castle, 1 High Street, Aberystwyth (no phone)
Lovely little pocket of restaurants and bars in a happy, well looked-after area of Manchester.
The parks are very enjoyable when hungover the morning after, before a bacon sandwich in one of the many coffee shops.
M20 area 15 mins from Manchester city centre
This was an area of industrial wasteland with some falling down buildings that has been converted into one of the cultural and artistic centres of Marseille.
It hosts exhibitions, concerts, film projections, dance shows, theatre performances, lectures, debates, recording studios and a restaurant.
There is something interesting on pretty much every day and it's not usually that expensive.
41, rue jobin, 13003 Marseille.
The food in Harry's bistro in nearby Cushendall has to be experienced. Cushendall itself is a small village with an old Georgian main street and guard tower. The bar across the road from Harry's, McColum's, was named by the Guardian as one of the top ten bars in the world.
10 - 12 Mill Street, Cushendall
Tel: 28 2177 2022
A breath of fresh air, literally. The UK's only independent family-run motorway service stations (north and south-bound on the M6 just on the edge of Lakeland) was built in 1971 by a local farmer and a baker on a site that used to be a farm and with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Howgill Fen. In summer, picnic tables overlook the ponds. Proper food, too, (I had steak pie) sourced from the farm and freshly-made sandwiches; there's even a farm shop to buy supplies if you're going self-catering. Eat your heart out Moto.
M6 Junction 38
Whilst you can ask for finest wines known to humanity in Penrith, you may be disappointed to find that Withnail and I's infamous afternoon tea wasn't actually filmed there.
You can however go to a little village about 10 miles away called Shap, where a cute shop on the main street will sell you amazing sandwiches and glorious home made cakes. Die hard fans may want to head to Wet Sleddale to see the derelict building (Sleddale Hall) which was Uncle Monty's holiday home but there are much nicer picnics spots. Get a map, a good pair of walking boots (Withnail's carrier-bag-over-shoe skills won't do) and explore.
Restaurant Nilo, located in the charmer Baixa of Lisbon (downtown), near the beautiful Rossio and Praça da Figueira, in a street with more than 20 restaurants, differs from the others for having delicious Portuguese typical food, with fresh and quality products with an honest and effective service.
Our favourite dishes included the delicious rice with seafood and the codfish or one of the typical dishes of the day like cozido à Portuguesa or feijoada à transmontana. And last, but not least, to drink the delicious Portuguese beer, Sagres.
Rua dos correeiros 217-219 1100-Lisboa-Portugal
Melbourne's famous cupcake shop situated in the Prahran Market. An array of beautiful little cupcakes served by friendly staff. Only for those with a sweet tooth! Try the jaffa!
Prahran Market, Commercial Road (off Chapel Street).
The best Chinese food in Melbourne. Simple surroundings, so the decor isn't great but the service is fast! Been there 21 years and I have it on good authority from a chef friend that lots of chefs in Melbourne go there to eat. Beware of the queue but if it's out as far as the door you won't be waiting more than 20 minutes.
15 Celestial Avenue (Chinatown)
Tel: 9663 4753
This is one of those country pubs where, upon first entering after a long day's hike, you wonder whether you've mistakenly barged into someone's front room. Sure enough, you do have to keep the house rules in mind: live music only (no jukebox); make an effort to chat with the regulars; and number one, real ales only. Anyone asking for a lager top or a snowball or something will be greeted with a disdainful stare that could dry up Lake Coniston...
But play the game at this very independent family-run venue and your reward will be a fine selection of beers at rock-bottom prices and a genuinely hospitable local atmosphere, where the folks know everything about the area and will give you far more tips than this site ever can. Lastly - if you're lucky - beyond the usual bar meals at lunchtime, plates of free pub nosh have been known to come out from time to time to help soak up the ale.
Foxfield, Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6BX
Tel: 01229 716238
Off the A5092 or opposite Foxfield station
This traditional village cafe uses mainly organic and local produce and the food is fresh, simple, and satisfying - they bake their own bread and you can really taste the difference.
Princes Street, Broughton-in-Furness
A small modern restaurant near the heart of Palma. Modern European cooking, reasonably priced and absolutely fanatastic flavours. Large board with specialities plus regular menu. Vegetarians catered for but the fish dishes are excellent and the sauces some of the best I have tasted. A truly memorable eating experience. Try it!
Caller Fabrica No 23, Santa Catalina area, Palma, Mallorca - Tel 971 91 93 23
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