Riga has lots of really excellent restaurants but they get very busy on a Saturday night. So book in advance. Perhaps because Latvian is such a hard language, most people speak some English. One really good place is Melnie Muki in Jana seta - one of the most detailed menus I've seen.
Melnie Muki is in Jana Seta ("seta" means street) which is in the old town. It looks a bit like a Swiss chalet from the outside.
Ornate,art nouveau hotel- excellent value for a cake and a drink and fabulous, if slightly worn surroundings- real character and a welcome break from all that walking and absorbing the sights!
Wenceslas Square- central prague you can get there by tram- the best way to travel around Prague.
The Seres hotel is a newly renovated hotel with a magnificient rooftop restaurant with views from the Bosphorus to the Blue Mosque. Centrally located in Sirkeci, the hotel can be used as base to walk to just about all of the famous sights in Istanbul or the tram travels right outside the front door. Helpful staff, nice rooms, this small hotel is a good spot to stay during your visit to Istanbul.
The rooftop restaurant offers amazing views and having breakfast there is a great way to start the day. Dining there at night with all the surrounding sights (mosques and towers) lit up is also a great experience.
Hudavendigar Cad, No49 SIRKECI
Istanbul. ph 0212 5193020
Everything a great pub should be - including an outstanding view across the harbour. With a range of finely brewed beers - from the Cascadia Cream Ale to the Ipanema Summer White and the delicious Coal Porter - you'll find a brew that will match your taste. And watch out especially for the seasonal ales - they may sound a bit weird - Great Pumpkin Ale anyone - but boy are they good.
375 Water Street, Gastown;
A brilliant restaraunt specialising in fish cuisine. Once we had discovered it, we ate there every night on our last trip to Paris. Our friends (who are well travelled in France) reckoned it was the best Fruit de Mers they had eaten away from the coast. Sensibly priced too.
15 rue Lagrange
We stumbled across this restaurant after it was misplaced in the Time Out guide but have remained thankful ever since. Ignore the handlebar moustaches, chainmail and handcuffs and enjoy the superb food at very reasonable prices. Highly recommended.
Tel: 93 323 67 84
A small, family run restaurant in Odeon/St Germain, with excellent food at good prices for the area. Main courses 10 Eur; starters and desserts about 6 Eur. Great lunchtime menu for 12 Eur including a choice of main meal plus a starter or dessert and a coffee.
It doesn't take reservations or accept credit cards.
3 rue Lobineau, 75006, Paris.
Metro Odeon (line4) or Mabillon (line 10).
On one side of the Marché St Germain.
It sounds like the worst, most British thing to do: go to Germany and eat Canadian. But I doubt you'll find a better breakfast in the whole city, and not a mountie in sight. Go for the walnut danish pastries.
Maassenstrasse 14, Berlin 10777; 30-2175-6960
A lot of people disdain 'Irish pubs' and on the whole they'd be right. Nonetheless, but for the extortionate prices (you're looking at 65RMB - that's five quid - for a Guinness), O'Malley's is still a great place to settle down for an afternoon. The place really comes alive when there's a big sporting event on, and in the covered beer garden on match night there's no beating the atmosphere.
42 Tao Jiang Road, Tel +86 21 6474 4533 omalleys-shanghai.com
Sometimes, when the mercury is nudging 40 degrees and there isn't space on the beach for a German to lay out a handkerchief, let alone a towel, escape from the heat and clamour of Rio can be a welcome relief. The traditional getaway route for Cariocas is to take the Washington Luis highway to the cool mountain cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo.
Recently though, some of a more enterprising nature have begun to open up the Serra Fluminense above the oil boom town of Macaé in the north of Rio State. The centerpiece of this area is the sleepy hill town of Sana, a bridging point across the crystalline, cascading waters of the Sana River, guarded by the majestic 3,700 foot Pedra do Peito do Pombo (Pigeon Breast Rock).
The best choices for accommodation in Sana are the town’s charming and inexpensive pousadas. Highly recommended is the pretty Repousa da Sana, with its mature gardens, restaurant serving tasty local dishes cooked in a wood burning oven (ask for the baked trout), shop selling local crafts and its comfy, tastefully decorated riverside chalets.
A big bonus here is that the owner, Antenor Sousa, speaks passable English, a rarity in this part of the world. He is a keen photographer and has spent the last 20 years documenting the town and its surroundings so there isn’t a lot he doesn’t know about the place.
For travelers with an eye on their budget, many pousadas also offer a camping option with bathroom and laundry facilities. From your base in town you can take guided walks to the dozens of waterfalls and natural swimming pools that dot the region, trek up some of Sana’s steepling granite peaks or enjoy a very agreeable couple of days’ pony trekking. There’s also enough rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, kayaking and white water rafting to keep the adventure sports enthusiast absorbed for days.
And after these strenuous calisthenics, what better way to wind down than in a hammock on your chalet deck, caipirinha strategically placed at arm’s length, with the calls of roosting flocks of parrots and the chattering of the river lulling you to sleep? Keep a weather eye on your drink though, as the local Micou monkeys, emboldened by human contact, are rather partial to those cachaça-impregnated lemons.
I should point out one small inconvenience. The nearest bank is 12 miles away in Casimiro de Abreu and, as telephones are a relatively new phenomenon in Sana, many of the town’s pousadas, bars and restaurants don’t accept credit cards.
However, carrying cash does not present the safety risks that it does in Rio. You are less likely to be mugged than savaged by a member of the town’s bovine community which outnumbers the human population by some distance, in other words, not very likely at all.
There is no direct public transport link between Rio and Sana. Take an air conditioned coach from the Terminal Rodoviaria Novo Rio to the town of Casimiro de Abreu (the journey last about three hours), from whence you can catch one of the large number of VW Combis that shuttle between Casimiro and Sana. Don't worry when you hit a dirt road as you wind your way up into the hills; the district council in Macaé has plans to pave it but it hasn't happened yet. The Repousa da Sana is about two kilometres before the town centre on your left. Ask the driver to drop you there. There are two websites in Portuguese that you will find useful, the general information site, www.portaldosana.com.br, and the Repousa da Sana's homepage, www.repousadasana.com.br.
Very good steakhouse. Bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. Very generous portions, good waiting staff. I had Steak Wollensky which comes with onions and mushrooms. Beware the size of the steak, they are large! We had the onion rings which were fab. I got my steak cooked exactly how I asked for it - very very well done. My mum had salmon which she said was beautifully cooked. The liquer coffee was not short in liquer and we had to take a cab back to the hotel as we were a bit squiffy!
49th and 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10022 www.smithandwollensky.com
Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, and now something of a Los Angeles cliche, it still passes the test for glitz, glamour and the unlikely culinary combinations demanded by visitors to LA.
Spago; 176 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210; Tel: 310-385-0880; www.wolfgangpuck.com/
Located in Beihai Park, once an imperial garden, the restaurant offers exquisite imperial food of former Qing Dynasty. Waitresses in period garb lead you to the dining room, which is splendid, with high painted ceilings and traditional Chinese art. 200-300 rmb per person.
Beihai Park, near the east gate; Tel: 010 6401 1879
Superior French restaurant, a stone’s throw away from the Brandenburg Gate. I have to admit I haven’t actually eaten here but it’s supposed to be good.
Unter den Linden 78; Nearest S-Bahn: Unter den Linden; Tel: 030 22652611
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