Dispenses with the usual k-tel classics you get in curry houses, and opts instead for an altogether cooler soundtrack, as well as fabulous live jazz nights on Wednesdays.
107 Alcester Road, Birmingham, B13 8DD; Tel:0121 449 3883
A traditional local Aussie pub - and with 24-hour opening you'll never need to leave! Forget the over-priced touristy restaurants at Darling Harbour and head to the 'PBH' for a $6 special, hours of fun on the video dukebox and plenty of well-priced alcohol! Prepare for sticky carpets though - this place is authentic!
Nearest metro station: Star City
This is a real find - a spectacularly good restaurant off the beaten track. We were lucky enough to be taken here by friends from Barcelona or we would never have ventured far enough into the Barri Gotic.
Tucked down one of the many winding, cobbled roads that makes up the old part of Barcelona, this is not the cheapest restaurant in Barcelona (not expensive by London standards though) but it's the best one we found. It's got a real character with a lovely mezzanine level, friendly staff and romantic decor. The food is so good my step dad was moved to ask to shake the chef's hand - whereupon he and my mum were treated to an impromptu cookery class! Now that's a good night out...
Carrer del Cometa
Recently renovated by French owner Christine Rio, Le Tobsil is set in a beautiful old riad in the Medina. Romantic, intimate, and richly decorated, the restaurant is considered one of Marrakech's finest. Guests are seated on two levels around an open courtyard, treated to the hypnotic songs of local gnawa musicians. The food is equally sumptous: a five course Morrocan meal, replete with vegetarian mezes, pastillas, tagine, couscous, pastries and fresh fruit. The set menu is 600DH a head, including apertifs and wine.
22 Derb Moulay Abdallah ben Hezzaien
R'mila, Bab Ksour
Tel: 024 44 40 52
If you've been in South East Asia for a while and are hankering after some very high-quality western food, this is about as good as it gets. Excellent modern cuisine, great bar, fantastic ambience. Prices are fairly reasonable too. Can't recommend it highly enough.
In the centre of the city close to the river (marked on any guide book map). There's another branch in Siem Reap which is just as good as the original.
Festive carnaval atmosphere at this Brazilian restaurant. Try the native bbq (churasco) and remember not to let go of the delicious fresh fruit caipirinha. Caliente all the way through the week, with special emphasis on carnaval-inspired electro at the weekends. Colourful decor and don't bring muddy shoes, it'll look out of place when you're dancing on the tables.
18 rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011: 00 33 (1) 40 21 38 14: Metro Republique
Just as you can't not visit the Eiffel Tower, you can't not dine at La Coupole when you're in Paris. Ridiculously big (some say the biggest restaurant in France), noisy, brash, overly lit, and the food ain't the best (though it's certainly not at all bad) - but these are all the very reasons why you have to go there.
Every famous Parisian has passed through its doors at some point, from Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to Jean Cocteau and Ernest Hemingway, and though its best days are certainly behind it, it's well worth dropping in, especially as it's open until 2am.
When I was there, we dined next to an odd couple - a poorly dressed old Italian man with a stunning combover and his porcelain-doll-like young companion - who helped us to choose from the menu, and then spent the rest of the night whispering sweet nothings to each other. Inevitably we ended up picking a seafood mix of langoustine, oysters and salmon, washed down with a couple of cracking bottles of white.
The waiters were also uncommonly friendly and generous about our stumbling attempts to order in French. Oh, and the profiteroles were great. You'll leave feeling fat, which is as it should be.
108 blvd de Montparnasse; Tel: 01 43 20 14 20; Metro Vavin
Small wooden hut selling genuinely fresh fish at good (but not great) prices. Not just a salesman, his knifework was exemplary. The two fillets extracted from an enormous seabass were absolutely delicious later that evening.
Far better to give your custom here than at the Tesco megabore on Church Road. And there is no chance of getting fish that fresh from the supermarkets.
Literally on the beachside directly behind the Bowls club at Hove. About 100 yards west of the King Alfred Sports Centre. A small wooden sign points the way down the footpath from Kingsway, between 2 of the bowling greens
A bit of an escape from Kowloon and Hong Kong island's north side, Sai Kung has great seafood restaurants where you can pick your fish, then see it killed and cooked before your eyes. Then try out the amazing dessert places nearby for real Chinese sweets.
East coast of Hong Kong on the mainland
A quaint and vibrant area, perfect for a sunday stroll, right on the seafront with a view across False Bay to Gordon's Bay and Strand. It is jam packed with brilliant restaurants (Brass Bell, Cape to Cuba, Polano to mention a few). And it has the best ice cream in town plus wonderful antique, art, jewellery and other assorted (but interesting) old shops to browse through (including a nursery) and, best of all, is easy to access by car or train.
It is on the route for a drive to Simon's Town/Cape Point and near to Muizenberg beach for those who want to swim or stroll on the sand. The best place for a meeting of old friends.
Road: Past Fish Hoek on Main Road (heading towards Simon's Town), just before Boyes Drive intersects with Main Road.
Train: the train track runs right past and there is (as far as I know!) a station at Kalk Bay
Once you take the Star Ferry from the main port, you (a) get THE most fantastic view of Hong Kong (aim to come back at night - and get your camera ready), and (b) realise how small the place is. Once you get on Lantau, take the bus to Po Lin. You get to see a snapshot of real life on the island, which is amazing, and then once you get to the monastery AND that seated Buddha - well it's awe inspiring.
I went for a meal at the 'worst looking' but tastiest restuarant on the island, about a ten-minute hike from Po Lin (avoid the large dogs). The food was good, as I was starving.
Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island
Lovely restaurant right in the centre of town, perfect for mid-shopping dinner, a first date (especially downstairs) or going out pre-club.
Fab decor and fantastically friendly staff, the service is fast and the food is great (the garlic bread with hummous is lush) and good value for money.
Oh, and they also have a cheap cocktail menu
7 Chapel Walks, Manchester. M2 1HN
The Globe is a cafe, bookstore, gallery, internet stop, live music bar and just all round nice place. It has good food (sometimes a real find in Prague) and a relaxed welcoming atmosphere.
Find the Globe at www.globebookstore.cz/ , or in Prague on Pštrossova, next to Národní Třída metro.
Stylish modern restaurant for beautiful food and pretty people. Great to laze away in the sun during the day or party with great music at night, all the while feeling the wind in your hair as you hear the surf break on the shore just metres away.
Mr Bartley's is a Boston institution, he has been serving great burgers for four decades now. It does fantastic burgers all named after different celebrities and politicians, one example being the Bill Gates - the best of everything! When you arrive at the restaurant Mr Bartley himself shows you to your table. The restaurant is a bit of squash but that just adds to the character of the place. Be warned they only take cash!
1246 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02138-3820 (617) 354-6559 Nearest Station - Harvard Square
The best place to watch the world go by is down at Cardiff Bay, which has witnessed so much pass by itself. Originally the site of the docks which exported Welsh coal worldwide, by the 1980s Tiger Bay was a mass of derelict land and abandoned buildings. The regeneration began with the controversial barrage which flooded the bay, and now the area houses a cinema complex, restaurants, piers, clubs, bars, museums, designer apartment complexes, the Welsh assembly and the Wales Millennium Centre, the home of Welsh opera and seven other arts and culture organisations. The coffee shops and bars which now line the water’s edge at Mermaid Quay are the perfect place to watch it all come alive - by day or night.
The Rival Hotel is a wonderful hotel part owned by Benny from Abba, located in the heart of Stockholm in Södermalm. The rooms are airy, affordable and complete with all the latest gadgets... a teddy bear even awaits you on the bed. The bistro downstairs is always bubbling and the bakery sells fantastic bread.
www.rival.se; Mariatorget 3
Watch the world go by and, if you have the courage, challenge for a game of chess. It is a chilled out park and people watching is the best pastime here. New Yorkers in a nutshell. After spending hours being nosey head down to John's Pizza on Bleeker Street (five minutes away).
When I went to NY I was visiting my partner and all his colleagues said this was the best pizza to be had. I enjoyed it (held to Sicily making the best pizzas but hey-ho) but definitely was part of the NY experience. Gets very busy so be prepared.
MacDougal Street and then a walk down Bleeker Street for dinner.
Le Parker Meridien is a hotel, Normas is where we went for breakfast. It is supposed to be one of the best places in NY to have breakfast and I would not disagree. You can have anything from Normas Eggs Benedict to the Zillion Dollar Lobster Fritatta which comes with 10oz of Sevruga caviar at a cost of $1000. Good waiting staff who refill your juice and coffee without asking, plus you normally get a 'free' taster of the smoothie of the day. Superb breakfast for a real treat. I had Eggs Benedict, it was lovely.
www.leparkermeridien.com/geats.htm 118 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019-3318
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