If you want to find out what's going on in 'alternative' Manchester - go to the Basement. A space for people to meet, eat and take action on a range of social causes. There's also a shop stocking a range of ethical and vegetarian wares.
24 Lever Street, Manchester
Outstanding independent neighbourhood bakery. Their sun-dried tomato loaves rapidly disappear off the shelves as does most of the bread on sale here. There are cakes, pasties, pizza slices and sandwiches made on the premises if you just fancy a snack.
45 Gloucester Road, BS7 8AD;
tel: 0117 942 1654;
Take the Severn Beach suburban train from Bristol TM to Montpelier station. Number 75 bus from the city centre.
Japanese restaurant right by Bristol Bridge serving up excellent freshly made sushi. Also on offer is teriyaki, soups, salads and three types of noodle (soba, ramen and udon). The decor is minimalist, the service courteous and the sake in good supply.
69 Baldwin Street
0117 929 7392
This Sudanese place offers fantastic lunch wraps if you are into fresh, colourful and tasty food. Try a wrap with babaganush and/or hummous, falafel and sallad. Mine are usually too big to fit my mouth! Proper comfort food without the grease. Staff are lovely too.
0131 667 8200
6 Chapel St
Best tip - a bistro called Petit Paris on Grassmarket. The lunch deal is quite exceptional value for money, however get there early as there's very limited space and it's rather popular.
Failing this a picnic in the botanical gardens is also great on a sunny day.
tel: (0131) 226 2442;
This is a vegetarian/vegan Indian restaurant, run by a great, friendly elderly couple in a restaurant that feels a bit like you're in their front room. The menu is fantastic, the food delicious (even if you're not veggie), and very reasonably priced. Open 7 days, licensed.
45 St Patrick Square;
tel: 0131 662 1807
A vegetarian self-service place, huge portions, their trifle (slightly whole food but with lashings of cream) is to die for - and not that bad for the conscience. Closes about 10 pm; lovely atmosphere, nice staff, low(ish) prices.
Above it is their own shop with wholefoods, breads, some take-outs etc
94 Hanover Street, Edinburgh;
tel: 0131 225 2131;
Always best to eat where the locals do. This restaurant just up from Haymarket Station is one of the best in town for fairly priced, imaginative Scottish food with a twist. Book ahead as the locals love it!
99-101 Dalry Rd (up from Haymarket Station);
tel: 0131 313 4404
Dottie’s True Blue Cafe dishes up the best breakfasts ever – don’t be put off by the queues and the slightly dodgy surroundings, their French toast/pancakes with a side of fruit salad, posh fry-ups and unusual baked goodies are well worth it. You’ll be back again and again!
522 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102-2008
The Ferry Building farmers market must be the best way to spend a Saturday morning in San Francisco. The produce looks and tastes amazing and there are plenty of try-before-you-buy opportunities – and you will buy! Sit at the outdoor tables to consume your purchases while you listen to live music and admire the Bay Bridge.
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111;
tel: (415) 693-0996;
Fiskardo is a small (by British standards) local fishing port on the northern point of Kefalonia. With good restaurants and a good-quality chandlers at the far end of the port, it's very easy to spend a day relaxing there. The restaurants on the whole serve excellent traditional Greek and Kefalonian dishes.
Fiskardo is very popular in August, and is quietest at the beginning and end of the season. There's plenty to do, and plenty of seats if you just want to sit. There are also boats to nip across to Ithaka for some calamari, and a ferry to take you to the nearby islands.
It’s my favourite place in Kefalonia - I have often found myself spending a whole day there watching the world go by, enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few Mythos in between.
50km north of Argostoli. Catch a bus from there, or a ferry from Lefkada or Ithaki. N.B: The bus drops you off in a carpark. Walk down the steps to the left of the church and go straight ahead to get into the town.
Originally a place for Alentejans to meet, this restaurant has a lovely Moorish courtyard. Go upstairs for a cheap beer, and have a nosey in the crumbling ballrooms, and at the great tiles in the restaurant. It looks private, but just go in from the street - a small door and some tiny stairs lead you into the courtyard. The restaurant is nothing special. It's located in a muddle of tat shops and fish restaurants with pushy waiters outside trying to tempt you in to their overpriced places.
Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58,
behind the theatre in Rossio
If you want an idea of what Berlin looked like before the war then head to Prenzlauer Berg, which is a sort of mirror image of Kreuzberg. Like its West Berlin counterpart, Prenzlauer Berg kept its traditional tenements and has a working class district tradition. The wall defined the western edge of ‘Prenzl’ Berg, which was also a centre of alternative culture during communism. Now the district has become increasingly trendy and is seen by some as the ‘New Kreuzberg’. It’s a favoured spot among West Berliners, given the new trendy bars and restaurants that are opening up, particularly around Sredzkistrasse/Husemanstrasse/Knaackstrasse. But despite this, Prenzlauer Berg keeps its distinctive character.
U-bahn line U2 to Senefelderplatz, Eberswalder Str or Schonhauser Allee. Trams also run to Prenzlauer Berg from Hackesche Markt
The highly atmospheric district of Kreuzberg was famed for its squat scene, punks and alternative culture (which was partly due to its status on the very edge of West Berlin). Now that the wall has come down its status as an 'alternative' district has diminished considerably. But despite encroaching gentrification, particularly in the west, it still has its own special character.
For an overview of Kreuzberg take U-bahn line U1 from Schlesisches Tor to Gleisdreick. Trains run along an elevated section. West Kreuzberg is traditionally more upmarket, whereas the east is still more down-at-heel.
The main sights include the Jewish Museum and the Transport and Technical Museum. Typical Berlin tenements survive in Kreuzberg, and there are particularly interesting blocks at Chamissoplatz and Riehmer's Hofgarten, between Yorckstrasse and Hagelbergerstrasse.
Kreuzberg is also a good area for budget accommodation and has decent bars and restaurants.
Kreuzberg begins immediately south of Checkpoint Charlie so it's within walking distance of the centre. U-bahn lines U1, U6 and U7 run through the district, as do S-bahn lines S1 and S2.
Commercial drive is a piece of unique heritage in an area of the world that is dominated by chain stores and coffee shops. The Drive is bucking franchises in favour of amazing shops and stores that are complete one offs.
Start by stocking up with fresh breads, fruits, herbal remedies and more, punctuated by a few coffee breaks along the way in one of many of the NON franchised coffee shops. Then finish your experience in one of the fantastic restaurants (many with outdoor heated patios) dotted along Commercial.
La Grotta del Formaggio is a treasured local purveyor of the best new-world Italian Deli sandwiches and cheeses. If you like kitsch then Urban Empire is the place for you - a shop filled with wonders and surprises. Havana is a great restaurant for good (if not traditional) Cuban food and it has a great photo gallery at the back. Waazubee is also a good rest stop or even better dining experience with a wide range of veggie dishes.
This all comes from a person who doesn't even live in Vancouver. Guess it must be great eh?
Between Broadway and Venables;
Get on the little passenger ferry across False Creek to visit Granville Island. Former industrial buidlings have been converted into galleries, shops, craft workshops and restaurants. There is also a fantastic farmer's market and a brewery.
South Shore under Granville Street Bridge, catch the False Creek Ferry or Aquabus;
A beautiful complex designed by Moshe Safdi (he designed Habitat in Montreal). The courtyard is a great place to grab a snack and sit. There is a calendar of readings/performances, etc.
350 West Georgia Street;
tel: 604 331 3603;
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