This delightful corner café is off the beaten track, just off the seafront in Kemp Town. It's possibly named after Mr Hudson and Mrs Bridges of Upstairs Downstairs and indeed it has a little 'upstairs' perch complete with vintage decor. The foodie treats greet you as you walk in. Wonderful French macaroons, delicious cakes of all types, tarts, lots for choc-lovers and gluten free slices, all presented beautifully and in full view. Tea is served in pretty china, lots of choice. The interior is welcoming, friendly, little corners to sit and while away time in, they never rush you. Our favourite is a mirrored, kitsch, three sided, silk-cushioned, Fifties-inspired alcove. They open the big long windows at the front in the summer for an alfresco feel, a gem!
Oh and there are lovely fresh savoury offerings too, all home-made and yummy.
237 Eastern Rd, Brighton, BN8 4TD
Google map: bit.ly/KrfH9Y
Rather than going somewhere for tea and cakes, why not have Lulabelle come to you. She is a pink VW campervan, thought to be the oldest working in the UK, who, with the help of her owner, will bring delicious tea and cakes to you with a real vintage feel and flair. Perfect for parties and outdoor events, we spotted her last week at Malton Food Festival where her delicious cakes such as chocolate & Guinness and passion fruit & banana, along with tea served in vintage china, were a big attraction with the foodies.
The cafe at Jodrell Bank is used not only by those who've gone to explore the Observatory but also as a pit stop for passing cyclists in the Cheshire countryside. The decor includes clocks telling you what the time it is on Mars, Venus or in a black hole. It has an appetising array of cakes with lots of gluten free options too. Not only that but they serve you a huge pot of tea with whole milk from the local farm and, even better than this, the waiter came over and offered to top up the hot water for us- absolute bliss!
Jodrell Bank Observatory, the University of Manchester, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL
+44 (0)1477 571321
"A small place with great taste "
This rustic, traditional Portugese restuarant is the place to be if you want a real taste of the Algarve. Situated just off the main street, the "Green Door" never fails with its sparkling fresh fish, relaxed friendly staff and great prices. The service is excellent and I personally recommend the fish cataplana. Don't go if you want to dine privately because you can end up sharing a bench with other people, but for me this adds to the experience.
Rua dos pescadores, 25, Alvor 8500, Portugal
+351 282 458 528
Google map: bit.ly/J8dpem
Tea and cakes! - this converted station offers a warm welcome and not just to cyclists. it's at the point of the C2C ride where you begin the downhill swoop to Consett. A haven for those who want to rest sore muscles and they serve excellent home made cake - or broth, if its cold and you have cycled more up-hill miles than you planned.
Ulverston, a charmingly pretty market town at the southern tip of the Cumbria Way in the south Lakes, but not so charming on a cold, wet, gloomy Sunday at any time of the year. Thank goodness then for Gillam’s Tea Rooms in Market Street, a sanctuary for the damp and disorientated. Warm, steamy (on a wet day) and always welcoming, Gillam’s fayre includes the best selection of afternoon teas and the most indulgent welsh rarebit you can imagine. But best of all is the children’s afternoon tea, served on its own tray with a small-person sized tea set. Take the kids … but don’t tell a soul!
Portugal isn't known for its great gastronomy, and outside of Lisbon its hard to find restaurants without the decor of a UK public toilet with stark white tiling from floor to ceiling, though these restaurants run by their owners with the wife generally doing the cooking do delicious home-cooked food.
In the little visited Alentejo I would recommend Estremoz Saturday market in its large marble lined main square, where even the kerb stones are made of marble. Here little old ladies sell whatever is fresh in their vegetable garden and from their fruit trees, and their husbands sell their olive oil, olives and honey. Ask "posso provar" can I try in Portuguese and everyone will be willing to offer you a taste. The market is famous for its cheeses and cured meats all hanging on public display ripe for a tasting. After you have shopped try a tiny restaurant near to one of the old town gates, restaurant Azul, where every Saturday the kitchen offers three main meals, usually one fish and two types of pork, sometimes chicken served with plenty of homemade chunky bread, fresh olives, chips and salad. A main meal will cost around five euros without wine, hang your flat cap on the wall and sit down and enjoy!
Estremoz market, every saturday early until around 12.30pm, many buses from Lisbon or drive from Lisbon around 1 1/2 hours
Azul: Rua Victor Cordon n0 39, 7100-560, Estremoz, Portugal
Google map: bit.ly/LlaQ8W
This is probably the best "marisqueira", i.e. seafood restaurant, in the greater Lisbon region. It is located in downtown Vila Franca de Xira, a small city to the NE of Lisbon (about 24 km from Lisbon) known for its bullfighting tradition. You can reach the city by car (less than 30 min on the A1 motorway) or by train (Vila Franca de Xira station, from Oriente or Santa Apolónia stations in Lisbon).
The restaurant serves a wonderful "sapateira" (brown crab). Make sure you order the buttered toasted bread onto which you spread the paste that comes inside the crab's shell. Try the amêijoas à Bulhão Pato too. These are some of the best clams in Portugal. And, of course, try the typically Iberian "percebes" (goose barnacles).
Everything is fresh, good quality, and cooked to perfection. It is not touristy at all. Its clients are locals. I know the restaurant isn't open every day of the week, but cannot recall which day it isn't (so call before visiting).
Finding tasty and interesting food in the Algarve is a challenge, especially with a vegetarian friend to satisfy. Discovering Chicca's in Luz therefore has been a turning point. The host relishes describing and presenting the wonderfully designed and prepared dishes as much as we enjoy eating them. The dishes which are all fresh and seasonal, and mostly organic, are all are so divine it's difficult to choose and impossible not to return. The atmosphere is the digestif which will make you want to stay all day and night in this cozy and fun ethical gem of an eatery.
Rua da Varzea, 3, Luz, Portugal
+351 282 761 334
Google map: bit.ly/Lc4aNQ
With eclectic décor, wonderful service and fantastic food, The Dwelling House is a little slice of bygone Britain in the centre of Fowey. The amazing array of cakes and scones are freshly cooked in the homely kitchen and served on vintage crockery in the quirky tea rooms. The hardest part is deciding what to choose; but in the year of the Jubilee it’d have to be the scrumptious Victoria Sponge!
The warren of tiny streets in Alfama come to life after dark, covered with lanterns and streamers, makeshift restaurants spring up on every corner serving the local specialty – grilled sardines. There is a wonderful friendly atmosphere and the air is filled with live music and fragrant smoke. The freshly grilled sardines, served simply with bread and salad are delicious. Then wash them down with sangria or a beer, get lost in the crowd and dance the night away.
Alcohol is state controlled in Kerala and bars are kept strictly behind blacked out windows, or in international hotels. If you fancy a beer with the locals you'll have to head to one of the bars dotted around the city. Look for the big black and white diamond sign outside. The best of these is the Bar Oberoi on MG Road. It's not as dark and desperate as most of them, and is kept pretty clean (at least the rats and cockroaches are not visible). You'll be the only non-Indian in there, and if you're a woman you'll definitely be the only one. Between 5pm and 6pm most days the proprietor lights a series of incense sticks, each more smoky than the last, finishing with full-on frankincense that makes your eyes water, but smells nice. The food is average, freshly cooked, and has never made me ill.
MG Road, Ernakulam, 682035, Kerala
Google map: bit.ly/MAryGV
There are plenty of tourist restaurants in the chi-chi streets of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, some listed in the guide books, all expensive (by Kochi standards) and most serving up pretty good food. It's fun to pick a fish from the Chinese nets and to have it cooked in front of you. But for a flavour of authentic local food, at a local price, go to the commercial district of Ernakulam. The Hotel Saravana Bhavan serves the best vegetable thali in the whole of Kochi. (Like many restaurants in India it is called a 'hotel' when all it does is serve food, which can be a bit misleading as the hotels are usually called hotels too.) The non A/C section is always packed with local workers. For less than £1 they'll serve your meal on an ela (Malayalam for banana leaf) and keep re-filling it until you burst. There's an A/C section for posh people who like a bit of space, and cutlery.
As with all restaurants in India, get there early so you can pick up the food while it's still fresh and before the best dishes run out.
Banerji Road, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
+91 484 237 0153
Google map: bit.ly/LuzwlQ
When those ancient traders sailed from the Arabian Sea into the hectic spice port of Fort Cochin, they were greeted by rows of shore-based Chinese fishing nets. Crowding along the estuary, these primitive machines—like gigantic alien sentries from a Ridley Scott sci-fi film—have been in use for hundreds of years, and are found throughout Kerala's famous backwaters. Legend has it they came from the court of Kublai Khan, but the precise date is not known. Still in use today, the cantilevered contraptions stand around ten meters high, and about twenty meters wide. The nets dip in and out of the water all day, staying down for only five minutes before being levered back up. Fort Cochin is the best place to see them up close. Choose a fish straight from the net then watch it being grilled in front of you for a tasty supper.
River Road, Nr Vypeen ferry terminal, Fort Cochin
Google map: bit.ly/Ldl7Hy
With its sparkling lights, 24 carat gilding and huge wall mirror at the back it seems like Le Greenwich goes on forever. And now, freshly reopened and gleaming after a costly renovation, it just might.
For too long this historic bar had wallowed in its own smoky grime, trading on its reputation of years of epic chess matches, rumours of original tiled bathrooms, and its most famous customer, René Magritte. Coming back I’m astonished at the transformation: it’s almost too new, and so shiny that Magritte would probably not recognise it. It’s certainly no longer a place where I can imagine any scruffy artist at the window trying to sell paintings. I haven’t yet spotted any chess players, either.
It took a private Dutch investor and some regional subsidies to finally save this listed building from leaks and bring it up to modern standards. Sitting in here you feel like a drinker in the first class lounge on the Titanic. I’m told by one of the waiters that Magritte used to sit in the right hand window viewed from outside - in any case, that table is always occupied! Drink one - drink three - but I think the food is better elsewhere - best to head next door for that (or try one of the many other restaurants nearby).
Rue des Chartreux 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
+32 2 511 41 67
Google map: bit.ly/Ksb0N5
* Bec is our Been there local for Brussels. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/brussels-local-rebecca.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/Becinbrussels
I found this interesting website about the historic port city of Portsmouth, with many great photos. The site is quite informative for visitors (it lists accommodation, food and drink apart from the tourist sights) but what makes it special is the way it is presented and the beautiful pictures. Makes you want to go now.
A quirky little restaurant, with the walls plastered with foreign coins and banknotes, can be found down a tiny alleyway not far from the waterfront. You will be pleasantly surprised by this little gem that doesn’t even try to compete with the tourist restaurants along the seafront. It doesn’t need to!
Location and size it may not have, but it makes up for that with huge portions of authentic Portuguese dishes served in beautiful poteens , by friendly and happy staff.
If you love dining with the locals then take this diversion off the tourist routes.
Located in San Rafael with stunning views of the neighboring church, El Clodenis has been one of the locals’ and global jet sets’ favorite gourmet hot spots for a quarter of a century. After a relaxed day on the beach it is an absolute must do for Ibiza admirers to enjoy the delightful atmosphere and the amazing food of El Clodenis- a mixture of French cuisine and Ibiza flavors - on the flowered pool terrace.
If you prefer your art to be edible, the Mandarin Grill + Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is offering a special art inspired lunch and dinner menu until 20th May. Michelin-starred chef, Uwe Opocensky, has spent six months creating a multimedia menu with each course inspired by a different aspect of art. I have it on excellent authority that the food is outstanding and almost too exquisite to eat (but ultimately too delicious to resist). Book early to avoid missing out!
5 Connaught Road, Hong Kong
+852 2522 0111
Google map: bit.ly/JinZU4
* Natalie is our local for Hong Kong. You can read all about her here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/hong-kong-local-natalie-robinson.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/natalierobinson
She also has her own blog at: www.3badmice.com/
I was introduced to this restaurant by a holiday romance. He insisted it was the best place for seafood in Portugal - he was right. The fantastic but cheap food kept me here all evening, as well as the good selection of wines. It has a great atmosphere with a fantastic view of the coast. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in freshly caught seafood - a truly traditional Portuguese meal.
Estrada da Praia da Bordeira, Carrapateira
+351 282 973 119
Google map: bit.ly/KLjmj0
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