The Bäckerhof has a Thai restaurant downstairs and a bar upstairs. The building is unassuming from the outside but has a great space inside. The restaurant food is good and fairly inexpensive, with a small separate lounge area. Through the back there is a fussball table. Upstairs is a really huge bar with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Sofas, table service, cocktail waiters and a DJ make it a great place for a couple of pre-club drinks.
tel: 0911 801 3642;
I recently spent a week working in Stuttgart, and although I enjoyed the city, I was much more impressed with a neighbouring town called Esslingen, about 20 minutes away. A medieval jewel which used to be the regional capitol long before Stuttgart’s growth, Esslingen has a cosy, small town feel, with plenty to offer.
Relatively untouched from WW2, the first thing that strikes the visitor after anodyne Stuttgart is the magnificent architecture: Fantastic lanes and courtyards which take you back 500 years, all beautifully maintained. I found Stuttgart relatively quiet at night, but Esslingen has plenty of restaurants, bistros and bars - in a compact area - where even if you don't know any German, the locals will certainly make you feel welcome. It is very safe at night. The local red wines are not to everyone’s taste, but the regional sparkling whites - Sekt - are alone worth the detour.
It's no shoppers’ paradise, but has enough interesting little stores and cafés to make an afternoon worthwhile. There's beautiful countryside a stone’s throw from the town and the hillside woodland provides welcome relief in unspoilt nature.
The centrepiece is the church of St Dionysus, which provides postcard-perfect photo ops and has remarkable stained glass - see it in the morning for the best effect - and the restored altar. Roman and pre-Roman ruins are on display around the church. The tourist information office opposite can provide all you need. Ask about open-air concerts, usually free, which often take place in the surrounding areas. Certainly a worthwhile day trip.
Restaurant on Grand Place offering good-value bistro food. The mussels, maroilles tart, and the carbonnade were all very good, as was the service. Dinner for two with drinks costs around 50 euro.
44 Place General de Gaulle
Microbrewery opposite Lille Flanders station. The food here's OK (pub grub - go for the Flammekuche pizza) but the real draw is the beer, brewed on site. Try the tasting menu: four house beers in little sampling glasses. Also sells beer to take home - a three-pack of 75cl bottles is about 10 euro.
22 place de la gare, 59000 Lille;
tel: 03 20 06 4625;
Here’s a tip for those travelling in groups: abandon mutual chopstick dipping into various dishes served traditionally on revolving tables. We did this after eight of our 14 succumbed to stomach ailments. Unfortunately, it was in Shanghai that we were served the most commercial and unappetising meal of our seven-city visit.
This is the main shopping street in Stuttgart, and a great place to get your bearings. Buskers and locals jostle for space along the pedestrianised stretch, and it's easily accessible from many U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations. When the crowds get too much try exploring any of the little side streets.
Koenigsstrasse runs from the main train station to Marienstrasse.
This is a great cafe in central Bath. I go there whenever I'm in Bath (which used to be often) and it is my favourite place to eat there. They serve an excellent English breakfast all day, but not only that, they do toasted sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes and other more filling options. Jazz music is (as you might expect) played at all times. Take the kids here - they'll like it, as will you.
Kingsmead Square, Bath;
tel: 01225 329002
Amsterdam is hardly short of Turkish restaurants, but you could do a lot worse than this one. Housed in an old synagogue, the high ceiling and fairy lights give the gaff an unusual ambience. Food is great value, starting at about 6 Euros, though the best stuff is served after 5pm and is made for sharing.
Albert Cuypstraat 182;
Trams 16 or 24
This loungy bar has one of the best views of the Thames.
The cocktails and drinks are fabulous, and very reasonable for London!
2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 (between Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge);
tel: 0207 021 0085;
This is the unofficial heart of the pedestrian zone, surrounded by lots of restaurants and street cafés. It is the place where everybody meets, especially in summer. The bandstand has concerts every summer evening by visiting bands. Every second and fourth Saturday, a brocante (antiques/flea) market fills the square.
Place d'Armes is in the centre of Luxembourg City, between Neuve Rue Phillipe & Rue de Cure;
If you want to visit an authentic part of Cologne and don't want to go to all the touristy places where everybody else goes, visit the Suedstadt - a laid back quarter with pretty art nouveau buildings and friendly residents, most of them students and young families. Once you've passed the nasty construction site of the new underground line they're building at the Chlodwigplatz, you will find multi-cultural cuisine, nice cafes and pubs, and cute little shops.
A very special place is the Fiffi Bar, where the 1960's furnishing is decorated with kitschy dog accessories. If you fancy a nice park and beer garden, go to the Volksgarten 9 (Volksgartenstrasse). And if you're up for some football on the big screen during the World Cup, visit the Hammond Bar, a charmingly worn-out place where you can always have a glass of Kölsch together with incredibly nice, football-crazy people.
U-Bahn: Chlodwigplatz (Lines 6, 15, 16, 17);
Fiffi Bar: Rolandstrasse 99; tel: 0221 340 6211;
Hammond Bar: Metzer Strasse 25; tel: 0221 932 9229; www.hammondbar.de
The great thing about the Naschmarkt, at least on Saturdays, is the way it progresses from tidy little Austrian huts at one end to a thoroughly oriental flea market at the other end. It’s like walking from one world to another: the best illustration of Metternich's comment that the Balkans begin at Kärtnerstrasse. Mind your handbag, but have fun! If you are staying in a place where you can do your own cooking, this is the place to stock up. And if your feet get tired, you could have a coffee in the sumptuously mirrored and gay-friendly Savoy Cafe.
Naschmarkt, between the 'Wiener Zielen'. Closest underground: Kettenbruckengasse U4
Beautiful setting, under one of the arches of the Karluv Most. Most romantic restaurant in Prague.
Limited menu, but good wine and excellent hosts.
Cross the Charles Bridge from the Old Town, walk down the steps to your left down to Kampa Island, go under the bridge and it's round to your left.
There's no better place to sit for a late lunch, enjoying a bottle of chilled Rueda, than Bar Kiki, just off the Mirador de San Nicolas. Their food is good, the ambiance is great, and you can sample some typical Morisco specialties of the area.
For real foodies, check out the new Mediterranean Cooking School, which offers food market tours and multi-day cooking vacations. The School also has apartment rentals.
If you want an authentic economic and tourist-free experience, take the catamaran from Cais do Sodre to Seixal on the south bank of the Tejo estuary. It's cheap and fast.
When you get there, walk for about ten minutes past the shipyard and into old Seixal. There are numerous places to eat the little snails (Caracois) or slices of cuttlefish (Chocos) washed down with a couple of glasses of beer. The cheapest and best however, is the headquarters of the local communist party, which is friendly and open to all!
Take in the traditional boats that used to work the river and maybe the old cork factory just up the road. If you are desperate for internet contact there is free broadband and wireless access in the local library.
A wonderful cafe and restaurant serving a whole variety of different foods. The guacamole and fajitas are particularly good. There is also a small book store.
1517 Conneticut Avenue, NW
Metro: Dupont Circle (take the Q Street exit);
My favourite cafe in Vienna. For all who appreciate comfortable, well-used, elegantly scruffy interiors, in which a lot of the fittings are probably from the 50s or 60s.
The service is perfect Viennese tradition: efficient and quick (when the waiter isn’t on a cigarette break), skilled (the coffee is fine - rough and strong; the little trays fly around on improbable trajectories, but without spilling a drop) and with just that hint that you’re really bloody lucky to be getting served at all.
Have a grosser brauner: it'll set you up for the day (or night). The large mound of newspapers also meets the requirement of tradition, as does the classic Viennese breakfast of a couple of semmel and perhaps a boiled egg. Perfect for arriving in Vienna from a night train.
It’s opposite Westbahnhof train station, on the corner of Mariahilfer Straße and the Gürtel. When you come out of the main entrance of the station, head straight across the big road, crossing all the tramlines, going past the U-bahn hall, and then its just 10 yards to the right after you get across the last bit of pedestrian crossing. If you’re coming from the underground, there’s an exit right next to the door of the cafe; if memory serves, it’s labelled "innere mariahilferstr".
Mariahilfer Straße 128;
tel: 01 5233183
Not do they sell absolutely heavenly pastries, but buying them is a real experience - crowds of people clamouring for them as they come straight out of the oven. I had to push and shove to the front and then watch three batches be devoured before I got mine. The phrase "selling like hot cakes" must have come from this place.
Rua de Belém 84-92;
tel 21 363 74 23;
Tram 15, trains from Cais do Sodré, many buses
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org