I can’t stop coming back for its delicious and copious food, but also because for me it seems to encapsulate what Brussels is about. There’s no name outside, no menus, no music and no website - and you may have to queue! Food choices are listed on a blackboard, the prices are strange and someone has chalked up “no visa”. You sit elbow to elbow at the bare tables, trying to catch what your companions are saying against the background noise, but instead find yourself listening to the conversation your neighbours are having, in some other language. Luckily you don’t have to keep this up very long for soon your food arrives; and it’s piping hot, meaty, tender and substantial. I’m a
particular fan of the carbonnades here, but in fact everything on the menu I’ve ever tasted has been excellent.
Rue des Chartreux 9, 1000 City of Brussels, Belgium
+32(0)2 512 51 23
Google map: bit.ly/jCJCV9
A lovely little corner cafe in San Telmo that serves everything from traditional Argentine food such as steak empanadas and medialunas for breakfast to sandwiches, chips and great coffee. In the evenings it has a buzzing atmosphere and local musicians come and play.
Chile 502, y Bolívar
+54(0)11 4300 7340
Google map: bit.ly/kDFq4V
Despite the name it's not a cafe, it's a restaurant which overlooks Blackheath and has al fresco tables if you fancy braving the British summer. Bustling and crowded without being claustrophobic, it had a great, vibrant atmosphere. Menu was dominated by steaks but there were also pizza and pasta options for veggies. I had roast lamb fillet with chimichurri sauce and spinach which was delicious. The prices were pretty reasonable for London and for the quality of the food - it came to about £25 a head including wine, starter, main and dessert.
I would definitely recommend this place. It has a lot of soul and ticks a lot of boxes - equally good for a romantic couple or group of friends
Baker Pascal Barillon won this year the prestigious Best Baguette Award for his baguette 'tradition'. He got a score of 19.5/20. He is also known for his patisserie creations such as L’Abbesse, a chocolate mousse and orange peel on a truffle paste. Now, run!
6, rue des Abesses, Paris (18th) 75018
Google map: bit.ly/ldezGo
Here is an authentic local café with formica tables and a tasty menu du jour. If you’re a football fan, you’ll be able to discuss with the sportive owner. This café sits on a very poetic corner of Paris, it is precisely where Rue de la Fidélité becomes Rue du Paradis. I often wondered if the Haussmanian city planners did it on purpose.
Corner of rue de Paradis and rue du Faubourg St Denis, Paris (10th)
Welcome to Campobasso, the capital city of the Molise lowlands. It is located in the high basin of the Biferno river, surrounded by the Sannio and Matese mountains.
You can visit :
The main attraction of Campobasso is the Castello Monforte, built in 1450 by the local Count, Nicola II Monforte, over Lombard or Norman ruins.
The church of San Bartolomeo is one of the many interesting churches in Campobasso. It is an 11th century Romanesque building, in limestone.
The Festival of Mysteries is one of the most significant regional events, centering around the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
Another manifestation of religious feeling is The Procession.
You may reach Campobasso by bus or train from Pescara Airport.
Simple cooking, which despite the changes and the progressive enrichment, has preserved an irreplaceable authenticity. Expect dishes such as
pork tripe with chili, garlic, fennel seeds and salt or scapece of anchovies - a typical recipe with anchovies in vinegar.
Other favourites include corn pizza, with garden vegetables and “Fiadone” , a rustic pie made of cheese and eggs.
Among the delicious traditional liqueurs are the “Nocino”.
Official website: www.italiantourism.com/molise.html
The first stop for vegetarians and others overwhelmed by an excess of Iberian ham, fuet –cured Catalan sausage– and all the other delicious local food that can be a little resource-intensive is Juicy Jones: great for Vegan salads and a variety of juices. Service is good, prices are too, and most people I know who’ve been there are keen to go back. The guacamole is very popular and the noodles and veg done in the wok are a great favourite. Try calling before going if you want a sit-down lunch, the place is quite small.
Cardenal Cassanyes 7, 08002 Barcelona
+39 93 302 43 30
Google map: bit.ly/jXp88r
El Filete Ruso’s mission is to return quality and dignity to the much-maligned hamburger.
The veal used is produced bio-dynamically, that is slowly and naturally in the rich, green pastures of L’Espunyola in the Pyrenees foothills. The animals are fed organically and given none of the hormone and antibiotic treatments common in industrial stock raising. The chicken is also free-range and fed naturally. Both are bought direct from the suppliers.
El Filete Ruso also tries to ensure all food and other supplies have the minimum carbon footprint by sourcing as much as they can from as near as possible.
There are thirteen kinds of hamburger: the more common variations of veal and bacon, cheese and so on, and some very unusual ones such as veal, wild mushrooms, wild asparagus and brie, or the vegetarian white beans, rice, mushrooms, tomato and lettuce. There is a wide selection of garnishes including caramelised onion or tomato, onion rings, roast potatoes with allioli.
Owners Alex and Claudio will be happy to suggest interesting combinations.
The low wooden tables are pleasantly comfortable, but most people prefer to eat
outside, if they can. Heaters will keep you warm if it’s unseasonably chilly. Well worth a visit.
This place cooks the best English breakfast as well as a vegetarian option in Bristol. There are two - one in Cotham Hill and one in Clifton Village.
If you fancy a real breakfast you should try this place.
Middle eastern restaurant in the basement of one of the coolest apartments in Melbourne. Local foodie, George Colombaris is part owner of this very swanky bar/restaurant which does terrific middle eastern fare with slick modern twists. Style and substance - quite a coup.
If you re looking for delicious and amazing cuisine, you ll be delighted to stop by here. Think about a whole chicken stuffed with rice, covered by salt and roasted in wood-fired oven for two hours, or baked hummus with excellent diced lamb. They have a wide range of menu, including great mezes, special kebabs(which are really hard to find anywhere else), so it is really hard to choose but I do loved all the things I ordered. I recommend you to try it if you ever visit Istanbul.
We stumbled on this excellent restaurant in Plaka and loved it because it's a real Greek restaurant for locals too, and beautifully set in a quiet little square with a huge plane tree (platanos.) All the food was great, but make sure you sit outside - indoors is a bit grim!
4 Diogenous, Athens
Google map: bit.ly/k5o5Pb
A small restaurant specialising in local foods, also a few Chinese dishes on their menu. We came over to this place because we had some treatment at their spa the day before. Ambiance was just okay but the food was tasty beyond compare. Best chicken we had in Bali (ayam sambal bawang, chicken with onion and chilli). And ask them for their herbal drinks (jamu). They freshly prepared for us this kind of medicine drink made of turmeric, honey and lemon and I'll never forget this health booster.
By Pass Ngurah Rai 96-B, Mumbul, Nusa Dua
Its a great Japanese restaurant close to the Santa Katarina food market. They have a child space called Kodomoo (child in Japanese) which offers babysitting after 1pm on Saturdays while the parents are eating. I found it unique and a great way to have a quiet lunch with our friends - meanwhile my son was playing and having a great time instead of suffering in a babychair by the table.
We’ve got some lovely gardens in Snowdonia, such as Bodnant and Portmeirion, but for me the walled garden at Maes y Neuadd is the best – it’s good enough to eat!
The 149 items of fruit and veg only just fit onto a sheet of A4.
Each morning, the head gardener reports to the kitchen, with the complete list of produce indicating what’s at its best. Armed with this knowledge, the chef finalises the day’s menu and the harvest begins - eight tonnes a year.
The vegetable garden is not just a culinary feast, but an aesthetic inspiration. What better than an afternoon stroll spotting the gaps from where tonight’s supper was plucked? Maybe some helpful hints and tips from one of the gardeners?
You never know who you might bump into – Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Senator Edward Kennedy and Jackie Onassis have all stayed here.
I had the most fab Sunday lunch here. When I walked into the pub, I went 40 years back in time to the smell of my mom's dinner cooking. The food was delightful, a real Sunday lunch. A lady in her late 40's, glasses dangling from her neck, came out to see if we were all happy (and to make sure the children had eaten enough before their treat). We told her to give our compliments to the chef, "no chefs here me love, just a cook" she said. She then went back and appeared in chef whites, and said "told you no chefs here." It was priceless, she was priceless and so was the 'dinner' as she called it.
Now, Casa Jaime is not the sort of place visitors normally go: it’s a workingman’s bar and lunch restaurant serving simple fare. However, Jaime, the owner, is from Soria and among the tapas you can try are his Iberian cured sausages and – my special recommendation – his homemade croquetas. Now a good croqueta is never born; it’s always made from scraps of meat and vegetables from other dishes, notably stews. At Casa Jaime, the croquetas are made from the meat and veg left over from the thick chicken and meat stew known in Catalonia as escudella.
Massive and misshapen, these authentic croquetas bear little resemblance to those industrial cylinders facetiously served as the real thing in unsavoury bars devoted to tricks on travellers.
Jaime’s octogenarian mom spends a couple of hours separating and shredding the ingredients, mixing them with a thick béchamel and coating them in crumbs.
Anyone wishing to experience the genuine traditional croqueta should drop in, order a couple and wash them down with a bottle of Moritz, Barcelona’s original beer.
Moritz appeared in 1856, disappeared in the late nineteen seventies and has now made a triumphant reappearance. Its distinctive yellow and blue label, fine graphic design and superb marketing knock the hell out of Estrella Damm’s pretentious efforts to be trendy. The beer’s great, too; Moritz brings spring water from the Montseny massif and uses only the finest hop flowers in its fermentation. The beer tastes fresh, clean and delicate.
Enric Granados 107, 08008 Barcelona
+34 93 218 10 55
Google map: bit.ly/jKeLAA
Start the day with freshly baked pastries at Cup and Cake located in the leafy pedestrian stretch of Enric Granados between Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer Paris.
As the name suggests, several varieties of cupcakes figure largely on the menu, alongside traditionally popular breakfast favourites such as toast, ham and other freshly made sandwiches.
All products are freshly handmade using the finest natural ingredients and there’s a strict no additives policy.
Coffee is 100% organic and the baristas are all qualified by the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, guaranteeing you a first class café con leche.
Cup and Cake has no terrace but there are cushions on a bench just by the window where you can enjoy your coffee and the bright Barcelona mornings.
Inside, the décor is a quaint mixture of odds and ends with a welcoming, informal feel.
Cup and Cake is open for breakfast and tea but closes at lunchtime.
The long, skinny street of Calle Verdi in Gràcia is dotted with cheap eateries and interesting bars. The restaurants are mainly Arabic (Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese) although there’s also a smattering of Japanese and the odd other ethnic eatery, from Mexican to Chinese. There are a handful of squares and each one seems to be lined with small bars that hum with the chatter of friends late at night. Locals head here around 9pm to eat although the bars don’t start happening until after midnight.
Calle Verdi, Gràcia
Google map: bit.ly/lTCrbU
The creative Catalan cuisine that you find in Barcelona makes the city one of the world’s best dining destinations. Not only is the food inventive, it’s also terrific value for the fine quality. You just don’t find food this innovative and affordable in New York, Paris or London. The most experimental and most affordable food can be found in the tiny ‘bistronomic’ restaurants where you can get superb tasting menus that you’ll want to savour. The most representative of this genre and my favourite is Cinc Sentits by talented chef Jordi Artal; his sommelier and maître d' sister Amelia is also a star. The dishes and menu change constantly so I can't recommend specific dishes, but if you’re only going to have one meal in Barcelona, have it here.
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