An authentic fish stew served with aioli - succulent pieces of fish served in a tasty broth with little pieces of crusty bread topped with a rich garlic mayonnaise - try eating at the local fisherman's cafe rather than the tourist restaurants on the quay. It's cheaper, the taste is much more authentic and the locals are friendly and talkative - the portions are huge too!
Marseille fish quay
Google map: bit.ly/JvhIQ8
If you want to bask in the warm Mediterranean sea, but hate the crowds that fill much of France’s coastline, head to the vibrant, chilled out port of Marseille.
Get up early to soak up the sights and smells of the Vieux Port fish market. When the shouts of the fishermen trying to get rid of their sea urchins grows too much, take a navette (boat shuttle, €2.50 for a 40 minute journey) to Pointe Rouge, a sandy beach with great views across the harbour. Then take a stroll along the coastal path towards Callelongue, stopping off at whichever calanques (rocky coves) take your fancy, for a swim in the turquoise waters.
When you’re ready to head back to the bustle of the city, catch a number 20 bus to the end of the route and then switch to number 19. End the day with a bowl of bouillabaisse (Provençal fish stew) and a glass- or two- of pastis (anise-flavoured liqueur).
A perfect day out from Marseille or Aix-en-Provence is a trip to the beach followed by ice cream. But these aren't just any beaches and ice creams. The bay of local choice is the little fishing village of Carry-le-Rouet, 20 miles from Marseille. Happily spend a day on the beach, nestled at the bottom of burnt orange cliffs, with the garigue and pine trees providing a pretty backdrop or a great place for a shady stroll. When the sun becomes too much, head for the hilltop town of Miramas le Vieux and the most amazing ice cream parlour, Le Quillé, to enjoy the warmth, views and flavours of Provence.
Le Quillé, Chemin de Miramas Vieux à Lunard, 13140 Miramas, France
+33 (0)4 90 50 18 18
Google map: bit.ly/HKdYip
A rather surprising new, albeit temporary, addition to a previously bland building, the café on the ground floor of Veletrzni Palace seems more of a science laboratory than a traditional cafe. Large bowl-shaped test tubes and gargantuan funnels and filter papers combine to offer up fresh filter and siphon coffee brews. (From 70 czk for a filter coffee).
An incredibly modern cafe frequented by tourists and Prague hipsters - the perfect place to rest gallery-wearied feet.
Offers tea, coffee and a small range of sweet snacks.
Open throughout summer 2012.
Dukelských hrdinů 47, 170 00 Prague 7
Google map: bit.ly/HYoRvw
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
We have had breakfast and lunch here, essential to book. Quality food and laid back atmosphere.
A must but be prepared for a lot of yummy mummies and kiddies.
Chippy opposite Lobster Hatchery. Fish and chips and you have to queue for ages.
The fish is good, but the chips are quite anonymous.
Jimbaran Bay is famous for its many seafood cafes. Bawang Merah restaurant is at the northernmost section of Jimbaran beach and therefore offers a unique view over the bay, amazing! We dined at a table on the beach, enjoyed our grilled seafood and the magnificent sunset there. An unforgettable dinner next to the ocean.
Kelan Beach at Jimbaran Bay, Kelan 80361
Perched on the end of its own promontory off the from the unspoilt Gargano Peninsula, this ramshackle eaterie faces the sea on three sides. The real draw is its awesomely fresh fish, some of which is caught from the restaurant’s own trabucco, a Puglian contraption that drops nets into the teeming waters below. Ask the friendly staff for specials off the menu.
The short walk from the train station to the beach takes you past a variety of shops, restaurants and beautiful architecture. On arriving at the beach you will find at least three miles of golden sand propped up by many hip and trendy bar/restaurants. A day trip to Viareggio complemented our stay at the stunning nearby city of Lucca, which is easily accessed only 40 minutes away by train.
Google map: bit.ly/HKzSNa
We've been to half a dozen Michelin starred restaurants but this one has to be one of the best if not the best we've visited.
We went for the tasting menu which effectively amounted to 10 courses (including various amuse bouche) costing €140 in total including two glasses of wine each.
Service was very friendly and very relaxed.
The chef Nikos Karathanos won the Michelin star for the restaurant in 2009 and it from our experience will hold it for many years to come!
Interesting bar/cafe in the bohemian Exarchia area of Athens.
The Exarchia area has drawn intellectuals and students into it from the 19th century onwards and the area was headquarters of many left wing organisations.
This establishment on the square looks straight out of 1960s eastern Europe with every piece of furniture actually from the 1960s itself. Relaxed easy going crowd pitch up here.
A very popular fish restaurant on the shore that people keep coming back to. Always a good mix of locals and tourists. There is a bar area where locals come in for a pint or even a glass of champagne.
Had the fish platters and they did not disappoint!
Great quality fish as you come to expect. For two platters, bottle of house white, chips and glasses of port it set us back only £83.
In recent years while we were there we have seen the actor Stellan Skarsgard, cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw, Tom Kitchin (Michelin starred chef) and Celebrity Masterchef winner Nadia Sawalha to name but a few.
Decent food quickly at very reasonable prices.
We had two mains, one Coke, two bottles of beer for £12.80. It should have cost £15 or so but there was an automatic 20% discount (which seems to occur frequently).
This place serves decent Asian food and not surprisingly given the student population in the area is always busy.
It is quick and cheap and while it will not be garnering any Michelin stars it is somewhere we often go back to when in the area.
Don't believe they do reservations and you can always get a table though you might have to wait a few minutes.
45 South Bridge, Edinburgh , EH1 1LL
Google map: bit.ly/IL8nH4
Great bar on the Shore area of Leith in Edinburgh.
Extremely friendly and efficient staff. Feels like a French bar with dark wood and a fire in the corner.
This bar also has a separate eating area though you can eat in bar as well. We had a great fish pie (£8.50) and a steak and kidney pie (£9.50).
The bar, unlike some on the Shore area, is kids friendly.
3-4 The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6QW
+44(0)131 554 5666
Google map: bit.ly/HEVn49
A really decent pub.
This is part of the Belhaven chain and has a very good value drinks menu. Additionally the food menu is very reasonably priced and very tasty - a step above a lot of pubs.
In the less busy times of the week, there are great deals to be had on food and drink.
They even have a 'Man V Food' challenge on Tuesdays!
The pub is situated on the popular Shore area of Edinburgh (Leith) and feels like a pub that should be in a port with all the nautical memorabilia on the walls.
This seaside restaurant is the best I have eaten at in 11 years of travelling around Italy. Fresh fish, stunning scenery, it is Sicilian dining at its best. We were taken here by Sicilian friends, a testament to its excellent reputation.
The first thing that hits you is the view. Located overlooking Isola Bella, a lush island nature reserve below the chic resort town of Taormina, Il Gabbiano makes the most of its setting with several beautiful terraces.
Specialising in "frutti di mare" - fruits of the sea - Il Gabbiano serves up anything your seafood-loving stomach desires. We ate king prawns, sardines, squid, and beautiful fresh fish baked over charcoal and filleted at our table, served with fresh lemon, olive oil and herb dressing.
The service is delightfully attentive, but the atmosphere is completely relaxed. It typifies what I love most about coastal Italy: great food that is simple, plentiful and found in unassuming, roadside restaurants which hide stunning seaside views.
Via Nazionale n. 115, Taormina, Isola Bella, Sicily
+39 (0)942 625128
Google map: bit.ly/ImqaR7
It can be easily reached by car from the motorway, or on foot from Taormina centre via the cable car down to the beach. It is located 100m from the cable car station.
Nearest train station: Taormina-Giardini Naxos (taxi or bus to Isola Bella)
Just an hour from Nice in rural Provence lies the beautiful village of Villecroze. Blink and you miss it but situated on the main street is 'La Cascade'. Every lunchtime and evening, Martine cooks quietly in view of her lucky customers. Delivering Salade de Chevre Chaud, Daube Provencale, Creme Brulee and Tarte aux Pommes. Complimented by wine from the local vinyard 'Valcombe' not a mile away. Welcomed with a cold aperitif on a summer evening and waved goodbye apres cafe, you just can't get more French than this.
Rue Ambroise Croizat, 83690 Villecroze, France
+33 826 10 69 06
Google map: bit.ly/HJmJtU
This is the best meal I have had in Paris. It is near Gare de l'Est at 2 rue St Laurent 75010 tele. 42 05 98 20. It is not open at weekends. The menu is limited but the food is awesome. It is also a wine bar and the wines are as good (and as reasonably priced) as the food.
2 Rue St Laurent, 75010 Paris, France
+33 1 42 05 98 20
Google map: bit.ly/HdKad3
For some Bristol dwellers, cycling along the Bristol – Bath Railway Path is the first thought on waking up to a glorious summer day. This 13 mile route has a rather unpromising start, found by passing through an industrial and slightly insalubrious area of Bristol. However, once on it you’re soon away, leaving the city behind as you pass through the cool and dark Staple Hill Tunnel and emerge into the picturesque countryside of South Gloucestershire.
Along the way there are plenty of idyllic picnic spots and opportunities to cool off in the River Avon. You can also take a ride on a heritage steam train at Bitton, or just enjoy watching it puff past. A couple of decent pubs provide refreshments; it’s worth taking the turning for Saltford and heading to the Jolly Sailor to sit in the garden overlooking Saltford Lock supping a local ale. This can be a destination in itself, located 9 miles from Bristol. Otherwise, continue on to Bath and spend a few hours wandering around this pretty spa town. For those who feel this is quite enough exercise for one day, trains run frequently back to Bristol, taking just 10 minutes.
The path can get busy but never unpleasantly so as it remains at a comfortable three metre width for the duration. There are also no significant hills to contend with, meaning it has all the makings of a fun, free and active day out, suitable for all ages and levels – the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of longer days.
www.bristolbathrailwaypath.org.uk contains all the information about the route, history and attractions.
www.avonvalleyrailway.org has information about the heritage railway
www.jollysailorpub.com has menus and photos
Google map: bit.ly/GYAGhT
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