Restaurant Den Dyver appears as if it should be a decades if not centuries old Bruges institution, however, the restaurant actually opened in 1992 and since then has established itself as one of the favoured and most respected restaurants in the city.
What attracted us, and I dare say many who choose to visit the restaurant, is that the dishes are cooked using Belgian beer and served with a glass of local beer – or wine if you wish – as an accompaniment.
There is an a la carte menu, however, the set menu – which changes monthly – allows you to have 3, 4 or, at times, 5 courses plus a beer or wine selection for between 46 and 74 euros (extras such as aperitifs, coffee and water not included) per person, which represents very good value for the quality of food you are served.
That food is excellent, inventive and with wonderful mixtures of flavours, very well cooked and marvellously presented.
Inside the restaurant has a kind of smart country cottage (a large country cottage) look to it with a wood-beamed ceiling, brick and plaster walls and wooden furniture, however, the crisp white tablecloths, lovely ironwork chandeliers and large fireplace are more country manor house than country cottage. It is an inviting and attractive interior and the staff all of whom were attentive, informative and very friendly aids this ambience.
The restaurant only seats 60 so booking is essential, you can do this and gain more information about Den Dyver from their website www.dijver.be
I would certainly recommend this restaurant, the food and service are both excellent and the atmosphere convivial and relaxing. My one – very, very slight criticism – was that the gaps between courses were rather long. However, that did allow us to sit back, chat away and enjoy sipping some delicious Belgian beer.
050 33 60 69
Tucked away in the middle of Split's old town, Cafe Nabeel is a curious but brilliant little local hangout where tourists also seem welcome. The kitchen rustles up hefty pies, best shared, and you can also fill up on toast. Late at night the cafe morphs into a lively night spot where the genial Nabeel can be seen showing off his 'bungra' dance moves - join in for a discount! Perhaps best of all is the decor - a bizarre mixture of local crafts and pieces of Star Wars Lego. An unmissable local oddity.
Head down Zadarska, off Narodni Trg central square in Split's old town.
Best tip - a bistro called Petit Paris on Grassmarket. The lunch deal is quite exceptional value for money, however get there early as there's very limited space and it's rather popular.
Failing this a picnic in the botanical gardens is also great on a sunny day.
tel: (0131) 226 2442;
Great food, big portions, and reasonable prices. Free internet too, although no printing facilities. Try the chocoholic fantasy on the dessert menu! Mmmmmmm.
1a Market St, opposite Fruitmarket Gallery and Waverley Station;
tel: 0131 226 9560;
This steak and seafood restaraunt in Cape Town has two venues: one in Mouille Point and one on the Camps Bay strip. Both are excellent and do a fantastic steak. It's always the first place we go for dinner in Cape Town.
Other good places to eat are
Yindees in Tamberskloof (Thai), Posticino in Sea Point (pizza) and
Fine Dining - Mount Nelson (The Nelly)
New Cumberland Building, 163 Beach Road, Mouille Point and Victoria Road, Camps Bay
This restaurant is a true Roman restaurant. Its pasta is the best you will ever find. It’s a loud hustle and bustle kinda place - great for quick yet delicious dinners. I go to Rome every year and I have to tell you that if we stay for six days, we eat as Da Francesco on at least four of them. It’s truly great – trust me!
Piazza del Fico, No. 29, just off the Piazza Navonna, down the street from Piazza della Pace; tel. 66864009. No credit cards
... Is, in my opinion, in Broughton Street, and looks so posh from the outside that I hardly dare to go in. Everything is spotless, and it isn't even that expensive. They also sell award winning self-made ale pies and Haggis in one-person sausage-like portions.
The head butcher has a really big belly, which in my opinion is a quality trademark of good butchers, as they want to serve customers fresh produce but don't like to throw their high quality products away - so they eat it themselves. That's the same with my village butcher at home.
Apart from that, there is a wide variety of special sausages to try for free - from wild boar to beef with blackberries and Lucifer's matchsticks.
The butcher is also very friendly and chatty, and they have leaflets on their products such as the history of Haggis and Burn's supper, including a variety of poems. They might even recite them for you at the till to get you to hear them with the original Scots language.
Crombie's of Edinburgh: 97 Broughton Street;
One of the most loved places for hippies, lefties, backpackers and young artists: the Forest Cafe, run by a DIY collective of artists, is the best place in Edinburgh to hang out in a non-capitalist fashion and meet like-minded people.
With free internet access, an art gallery, vegan and vegetarian food and stunning entertainment and events during and outside of the festival, this is the craziest place in town for dissidents and thinkers.
No matter if you want to watch films, read the latest protesting leaflets, or drop off your clothes and old books in the free shop, the Forest is the space for you. Just around from the university, it constantly changes.
It’s usually open from about 11am -11pm, licensed - sometimes with bring-your-own bottle - and during August it’s open till 3am. Also, it sells famous organic heather ale and seaweed beer.
3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY;
tel: 0131 220 4538;
bus stop: 2, 42
French brasserie in Leith. Generous portions of high quality fare coupled with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Need I say any more? Probably pay £17 for two courses.
88 Commercial Street; Leith; tel: 0131 553 5933;
Directions: get very frequent no. 22 bus from Princes street off jump off one or two stops before Royal Yacht Britannia/Ocean Terminal.
Great selection of cocktails and smoothies, and not overpriced. Restaurant has a wide range of plates on offer, from 'comfort' foods such as fisherman's pie to more exotic/exciting dishes.
Probably the best value of all the George Street establishments (for those not from Edinburgh, George Street is the most upmarket bar area in Edinburgh).
113 - 115 George Street;
OK, another bar/hotel on George Street. However I think this is a little different to the others such as Le Monde. Not cheap for drinks but you have to go at least once! Staff are very friendly and not pretentious in the least. The interior of Tiger Lilly retains the basis structure of the Georgian house that it once was. Food is also good and not overpriced.
125 George Street (near Charlotte Square);
tel: 0131 225 5005;
This brasserie is a wonderful place for a romantic night out. The menu is limited and not 'cheap' (approx £20 for two courses) but it's a wonderful setting for an evening with a 'special' friend. The brasserie is located in the building which previously housed the Scotsman newspaper. There is a cocktail bar downstairs but if you go in, go to the upstairs gallery where, with the decor and soft lighting, you will quickly get into the romantic mood.
One bit of advice: order some side dishes as the mains portions are not overly generous, but 9/10 for creating that special atmosphere.
20 North Bridge (between Princes street & the Royal Mile);
tel: 0131 622 2900;
Self service with excellent range of vegetarian food and a good wine selection. Situated in a basement, the queues often extend up the stairs and down the street. Plenty of secluded tables - a good place to meet old friends.
94 Hanover Street, EH2 1DR;
tel: 0131 225 2131;
Restaurant on top floor with fabulous views of the city. The food is good too, and the lunchtime prix fixe menu is value for money. This is the place to take someone you want to impress and still have a good meal. Service is also good, and not too intruding.
Harvey Nichols, 30-34 St. Andrew Sqaure, EH2 2AD;
tel: 0131 524 8350;
Fabulous seafood restaurant. Wide range of dishes although the fish soups are best value. They are supplied by their own mussel beds - everything is very fresh. Good range of real ales and specialist whisky. Tends to be crowded at lunchtime but well worth the queue.
61-65 Rose Street, EH2 2NH;
tel: 0131 225 5979
La Camargue is a French brasserie in Leith not too far from the Royal Yacht Britannia. A large lobster hangs over the door which does give you a clue that it is very much seafood orientated. What do you expect? Leith is a port after all! It does however cater for meat eaters as well, so fear not.
A two course of starter and main costs £16 and is good value. Starters include lobster soup, mussels, oysters and salmon. Mains range from fish such as Dover sole and halibut to meat such as venison and steak. Check out the website for the menu, but for £16 it allowed me to try things I have never tried before such as oysters. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The bar next door, Cameo bar, is worth a visit as well.
23 Commercial Street, Leith; tel: 0131 554 9999;
Transport: take the (very frequent) bus 22 from Princes street to get to Commercial Street;
What can I say? Appearances are deceptive. When you walk into this place you think its just a dark bar with some pool tables. OK, it is but there's more to it. It serves great food at really great prices. Menu ranges from sandwiches, salads and burgers to goulash, cous cous and lamb in flatbread with hummus. Ideal as a pit stop for anybody looking for good food at good prices.
19 Blair street, in the old town (just off Royal Mile a few doors down from the IBIS hotel, behind the Tron);
tel: 0131 220 0125
This is a great little restaurant on the Royal Mile. The food is mainly Scottish produce and is always excellent, as is the service. It's not the cheapest restaurant in town, but they offer some of the best food I've ever tasted.
The restaurant is located on the second floor, so can be a little difficult to find. Look out for the green and white sign.
105 High Street, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh;
tel: 0131 558 1497;
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