Unusual restaurant that brings you raw meat and a hot stone so you can cook it at your table. My partner and I did not realise until the food arrived, but after our initial trepidation it was good fun and certainly tasty. Not for the faint of heart or stomach but different, and not particularly expensive - as you would expect when you do all the work. Also serves the delicious local Brugse Zot beer.
Huidevettersplein - between Burg and Dijver, near Vismarkt.
Lovely bistro just off the main tourist drag, with smiling, friendly staff and a welcome modern twist on traditional Belgian food - for a start not everything comes with chips! It holds only about 20 people, so get there early or book ahead. It's worth it.
Tel: 050 34 01 22
A hotel and restaurant on Ieper's main square. Old Tom offers decent accommodation at an attractive price, and the restaurant does some of the best (traditional Flemish) food in town. Convenient for the local attractions, and the welcome is friendly.
You can find codfish balls (bolinhos de bacalhau) as snack food at bars and restaurants all over Rio, but those served at Rosa do Adro, a far-from-pretentious botequim on Real Grandeza in Botafogo, are exceptional - piping hot, delicious, and with an ample quantity (two dozen). Be sure to ask for the incendiary pepper sauce to dribble on top (caution is advised). The service is as friendly as you will find anywhere, and the bottled beer is "stupidly cold".
NB: they are only served on Friday nights (perhaps on Saturday - call to check).
Rosa do Adro: Rua Real Grandeza 74, Botafogo — 2286-7942
The guidebooks I read before setting off to Nice failed to mention Cagnes. I wanted to go to Renoir's museum so that's why I went. I was very taken with the place. I imagine it's like Brighton was in the 1960s but with a lot more class and a lot more sun. Pay this place a visit. There are restaurants a plenty and they are much cheaper than in Nice yet to the same standard. There are so many children here having fun in the sun too. A very sweet family holiday place which I intend to recommend to my niece's ma and pa.
This is a fantastic restaurant on Rue Lascaris just off the port. It's fantastic and well deserves its Michelin star. The chef is Finnish and it's just a little bit different to the usual whilst still tasting great. The menu changes every day and you can eat outside too.
Tel: 33 4 9708 1480
After almost three years in Buenos Aires I am pretty much sick of beef and the options for anything else are extremely few and far between. Any food other than red meat is invariably a disappointment no matter how nice the surroundings. So imagine my happiness at discovering a famous Argentine chef's new restaurant just up the road from my house. French trained Paul Jean Azema's restaurant is reasonably priced (although quite expensive by Argentine standards) and the food is fantastic; a mix of French, Indian, US and English and all cooked to perfection. This place is truly a keeper and if it weren't for the fact that i'm leaving BA in a couple of months for Valparaiso in Chile (another amazing place to live or visit) I'd keep my mouth firmly shut and the place to myself. Enjoy...!
Carranza 1875, Palermo Hollywood
Google map: tinyurl.com/nnb6m2
A one-stop shop for an adventure holiday:beautiful accommodation,
superb dining options and a choice and quality of activities like I have never experienced before.
Great value for money, myself and family are most definitely going back.
StarSailing & Adventure Centre, Dauros, Kenmare
Tel: 353 64 41222
Although "Goa trance" isn't really my music scene, I enjoyed Anjuna immensely. There are a whole lot of freaks out there and most of them travel into Anjuna at some point. There's a good choice of places to eat ranging from Tibetan, Indian and Chinese to Western.
Lots of bars abound on and around the beach areas and there's plenty of cheap accommodation for those on a tight budget.
The local nightclub is pretty impressive, even if it's all bang-gnab trance all night long.
The beach is medium sizee but really nice (just expect a lot of hawkers) and locals are as friendly as the tourists.
This is a really good place to relax on the beach by day and party by night. You also have a lot of options for exlporing the rest of Goa once you get there.
Anjuna beach, north Goa
Okay, so maybe you don't want to eat Indian food in Chile. But it is the most delicious Indian food in perhaps the entire continent, seriously. I ate there four times in two weeks, that's how lovely it was.
Calle Santa Domingo
Nearest station: Santa Ana
A great restaurant and bar right in the middle of Jardin de la Union. You can drink and eat outside and enjoy the people watching. The Jardin is beautiful and you also get a view of the incredible Teatro Juarez, whose front steps are always full of people and street performers.
As well as nearby music from mariachis, the restaurant often puts up its big screen TV so you can enjoy the big football games. Something for everyone!
Jardin de la Union (centre Plaza)
Set among palm trees, 500m away from Anjuna beach this is a great little place to eat when you need a break from Indian food. Stylish and comfortable with a wide ranging menu of world food created with love: perfect wood oven baked pizzas, delicious smoked Kingfish, baked mussels and seafood galore all served with excellent salads and healthy juices. The staff are helpful, nothing is too much trouble and they serve the best apple crumble and custard.
Head towards the flea market, they are on the right heading towards South Anjuna beach.
Palolem is a beautiful beach just about far enough from the excesses of the north. In six weeks the best food we found was The Cheeky Chapati: delicate fresh fish, great veggie food and the bet chilli jam in the world.
On the street running parallel to Palolem Beach.
Situated at the nothernmost point of Goa, Arambol is blessed with a fabulous combination of unspoilt beaches and a relaxed, easygoing vibe.
It's a far cry from the mania of Baga or Calangute and I had one of the most glorious curries of my life at one of its beachside restaurants.
Arabol, north Goa
O’Reagen’s pub is worth a visit. Dark, dingy and a toilet that is only to be used in desperation. But they do a great pint of Guinness. Slowly pulled, watched carefully, topped up - it’s a work of art. This is a tiny bar to be comfortable in. Other customers come in and greet you. “Hwarya?” or “Hwzitgoin?” Like old friends and by the end of the night they are.
If you’re feeling hungry, get some fresh hake or John Dory from the boats in the harbour, stuffed with lemons, limes and local butter. Wrapped in the Irish Times, soaked in spring water and twenty minutes on the barbecue, they’re served with soda bread from the village and spuds freshly dug from over the road. A veritable feast.
The Sheep's Head peninsula lies about 6 miles west of Bantry.
Baga beach down by the creek at the quiet end of the Candolim - Calangute stip, is just perfect as a base for exploring north Goa. There are some excellent hotels, guest houses, restaurants and night clubs in the area. You can walk around the cliffs to Anjuna if you don't mind a bit of a hike. Half way round is a small secluded bay and beach shack imaginatively called "Cliffs" perfect for stopping of for a mid moring snack or drink.
Calangute is within walking distance in the other direction should you need the exercise, but a taxi or Tuc-Tuc will take you anywhere within north Goa for less than £10! The views from the top of Chapora fort or from Arambol lake are spectacular at any time of day and Vagator beach is fantastic for sundown.
The capital city of Panjim is also worth a visit as is Old Goa for the architecture and churches - a 3 day trip to Hampi is also well worth the time and trouble.
Dabolim airport is 70 mins away and Mapusa Station is 10 minutes away.
A really great overnight trip is to the ruined city of Hampi in Karnataca. The highlights include sunrise and sunset over the city's pagoda like temples and drumming on the hollow pillars - they are like stone organ pipes inside the temples and when banged lightly, you can play a rhythm on them. The attached palace is interesting with its geometric buildings and elephant stables.
Hampi is popular as a school visit destination and the children thought my wife was Princess Di (trust me - my wife is lovely but there is no resemblance!) and would creep up to touch shyly as they had never seen a white European! They drove in from India's little tourist visited interior.
We took a taxi to Hampi from Dona Paulo and paid about £70 for the two-day trip. On the way we drove through a chilli farming region and the chillies were laid out on the road for passing cars to thresh.
A fascinating trip all in all - and we had our cheapest meal ever there - £1.80 for a three-course meal for both of us! Just what do you tip when the meal is so cheap?
Palolem in south Goa is a fantastic laid back beach. You can check out how beautiful it is by watching Matt Damon run along it during the opening 10 minutes of the Bourne Supremacy.
There are some great beach huts to rent (average price £7 per day). My favourite has to be Dreamcatcher at the north end run by Jacky and Walter. Jacky is from Liverpool via the asteroid belt while Walter is an ex Kerelan wrestling champion. They make you feel so welcome it feels like home after about 10 minutes.
The food the cook serves up is fresh and tasty (prawns the size of bananas and curries that are far tastier than anything you've had in the UK) while the bar will serve you anything from a lasi to a Kingfisher.
If yoga is your thing, Wayne (yes I know not the most mystical sounding name) does a sunrise (well 9am) class and a sunset one. There's also a variety of massage too.
The place is magical at night as it is lit by candles. You can either sit around the campfire or relax on a daybed by the bar.
If you're going to Goa and want a place that's not commercial, Palolem and Dreamcatcher is where you should head to.
Down at the harbour a modern stainless steel and glass building sells freshly caught fish (hake, plaice, sole, turbot, John Dory, etc) at a third of the price in supermarkets. They also serve fish and chips from five o’clock every evening.
A Sunday market flourishes on the foreshore, selling mainly crafts, plants and food. Breads of every kind fill baskets beside cheeses of every flavour. Especially good are the local blue cheeses made from goats’ milk. And of course the famous Durrus cheese from the town of the same name a few miles up the road.
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