Street in Taksim? If your answer is no, you should take time to see it. It’s a great place to people watch. In addition, there are buildings from the Ottoman period, bookstores, consulates, exhibitions, bars and cafes.
Amazing Italian restaurant, very reasonably priced, very central, amazing fresh food. It’s perfect when you are sick of being ripped off by tourist priced greasy tapas in the centre! It is in the main central shopping district. I went there for three meals in a row. Open every day 12.30pm – 4.30pm; 8pm – 1am.
Cl Tetuan, 15 (Pasaje de las Delicias) 41001, Sevilla;
Reservations (not necessary at all when I was there in November): 954 21 77 83
Sonic on the Rocks in Kaikoura is the most atmospheric restaurant we have ever been to. Eating superb pizzas beside a log fire overlooking the moonlit still Pacific Ocean is an experience we'll never forget. In fact we loved everything about this wonderful town and stayed on long after we had seen the whales.
P0 Box 72
Phone: 03 319 6414
To escape from the crowds in Sultanahmet and/or Taksim why not spend an evening (or two) on the Asian side of the city? Hop on a ferry from Eminonu, Karakoy or Besiktas and get off at Kadikoy.
For a great, quality meal of meze and grilled meat or fish head for the restaurants opposite the ferry terminal. Olympiat I and II are particularly good with muscle-bound waiters wobbling under trays piled high with a bewildering selection of hot and cold appetizers.
Only a short walk away (admittedly uphill) you can find a whole street of bars, full of the young, trendy and beautiful. Particular highlights are Isis (possibly Istanbul's only Egyptian theme bar) and Masal Evi (fairy house) a haven for couples.
When you're done, the hotels of Taksim are only a dolmus ride away, or taxi for the heavier of wallet.
Kadikoy - opposite the ferry terminal and then off Bahariye Caddesi
Situated in a peaceful, quite courtyard very close to Divan Yolu, Yerebatan Sarayi and Aya Sofya this is a perfect place to stop for lunch or a drink. The medresseh itself houses workshops and exhibition rooms highlighting traditional Turkish crafts such as calligraphy, ceramics, jewellery etc, which you can look round either before or after your meal.
The food was well prepared and very tasty with the menu reflecting more of a cafe than a restaurant feel, for example, lamb meatballs with chilli and spaghetti, a delicious dish of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and chilli plus bread
Also our kick-boxing, friendly and attentive waiter was great.
Caferiye Sokak, Sogukkuyu Cikmazi No 1
Quite easy to miss but is signposted from Caferiye Sokak
A chocolatiere. They have been making the best profiterole to my knowledge since 1923. The owner claims that he took the original recipe from either Paris or Vienna, and modified it. For anyone who cares for chocolate, it is a real treat.
Enter Istiklal Caddesi, aka Beyoglu, from Taksim. It will be on your right, after the French Consulate and some stores. It is a hole in the wall but any local will be happy to point it
Any restaurant in Kumkapi is great: a network of pedestrian streets and nothing but tens of restaurants. On hot nights, it’s almost impossible to walk around, with pavements full of tables of happy diners and small groups of musicians travelling from one restaurant to another.
There is no global pop there, but lots of Turkish songs sang along by all encouraged by copious amounts of raki flowing around.
Restaurants offer great selections of mezzes and main courses. Last time I was there, a friend wanted to eat a dish the restaurant we were in didn’t serve, so the waiter ordered it from the restaurant opposite. How‘s that for hospitality?
Down from Sultan Ahmet towards the Sea of Marmara coast
No matter how little time you have for visiting Istanbul, you have to take a boat trip along the Bosphorus. All boats zigzag the Bosporus stopping alternately at a European and an Asian port. The best time to take the boat is on a warm summer’s evening so that you get to see the sunset and, if lucky, full moon over the city.
There is a public service ferry that does the full length or privately run boats that also offer shorter routes
Interesting authentic recipes from the Ottoman period - located next to St Chora (must see Byzantine mosaics and frescos).
So hip, it's bordering on tragic. Decor-wise it's all Philipe Starck transparent chairs with Hello Kitty-esque faces printed on them, huge geisha print on the ceiling, and a panoramic roof-top view of Paris from this ultra-stylish restaurant on the top floor of the Kenzo building by the Pont Neuf. My foie gras and steak were both superb, however you're more likely to be won over by the cool factor than anything else. Cocktails are very good, and yes, it was THAT restaurant in Sex & The City!
1, rue du Pont Neuf; nearest metro: Chatelet or Pont Neuf
This pleasant little fishing village is the last stop on the excellent ferry ride along the Bosphorus, which you can take from Eminonu. This tour is an absolute must if you visit Istanbul. The houses and architecture along the Bosphorus are stunning. The idea is that you end up in Anadolu Kavagi with enough time to visit the ruined castle on the hill to take in the view of the mouth of the Bosphorus and enjoy a great meal in one of the many fish restaurants there. My favourite was the one immediately to the left of the Ferry Iskele.
At the north end of the Bosphorus, last stop on the ferry ride.
The name is - fortunately - nothing to do with János Kádár, Hungary's last Communist leader, the surname Kádár is quite common (and means 'cooper'). Kádár Étkezde (bistro) is a fabulous little lunch venue in the heart of the historic Jewish district in central Pest. It's packed with locals enjoying the non-kosher Jewish home cooking; great matzo ball soup, crisp duck leg with spicy red cabbage or boiled beef with a range of fruit sauces (gooseberry, sour cherry, horseradish) served on a ceramic all-in-one airplane style plates. Uncle Tibi personally greets regulars from the neighbourhood as they pile in and tots up the bill at the end. The walls of the crowded room are crammed with photos (many autographed) of Hungarian actors and athletes as well as other fans of the bistro including Marcello Mastroiani. Sip málna szörp (raspberry cordial) at this non-alcoholic eaterie or help yourself from the old-fashioned soda water bottles on every table. The waitresses are the kindest and most efficient in Budapest, the menu is only in Hungarian, and you'll have to share a table but that's part of the atmosphere. The last time I ate there, the elderly lady sipping soup at my table had numbers tattooed on her arm. This was a sudden, brutal, unexpected reminder of Hungary's shocking history.
Klauzál tér 9
Open Tues-Sat 11.30-15.30
Tel: (+36 1) 321 3622
To get there: Take tram 4 & 6 to Király utca stop.
Prices: Soup 300 forints, main dishes 500-800 forints, cash only, no CC.
Check costs before you order. Prices will vary greatly and seem to depend on what the staff think you are willing to pay. Upon questioning the bill they often justify the steep cost because you're from London and will therefore accept London prices. The guy beside you will pay the equivalent of £0.80 for a beer and you will get a bill of £2.90 for the same thing.
This gorgeous riverside restaurant compares favourably to any of Scotland's popular upmarket restaurants. Although it may seem pricey compared to some places in Inverness, the food is worth every penny and considerably cheaper than what you'd pay for similar quality in Edinburgh or Glasgow.
16 Fraser Street, Inverness
A wonderful cafe, offering really excellent food, great wines and very good service. This is not the cheapest place in Budapest, but it is by no means the most expensive. Top class international food but with a Hungarian slant. I lived in Budapest for three years and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Sas utca 17
Wonderful little Turkish restaurant doing simple but hearty kebabs. I have watched Gursel, owner and chef, carefully prepare his lamb, lovingly getting rid of all fat and gristle. It is then marinated overnight, with herbs wiped off before cooking to make sure they’re not burned and then added again. Delicious, big portions, very reasonable, dependable and friendly.
West Preston St; tel: 0131 667 4242
Two hour lunch cruise on Bateaux Parisiens, wine included, €50-70 per person. We chose the €70 option and had a table at the front of the boat, good quality food, good wine, excellent service and serenaded. What more do you want?
Quai below the Eiffel Tower; www.bateauxparisiens.com/english/fr_dejeuner.html
This branch of the Four Seasons opened about a year ago in the recently renovated Gresham Palace. The renovation is spectacular, and its one of the most impressive buildings in Budapest both inside and out. You don’t have to be staying there to enjoy the wonderful bar, café and restaurant. It is a great place to have a nice cup of tea and sit down after exploring the castle district and Chain Bridge.
Roosevelt Tér 5-6
For those of you who venture to the edge of the the Pest inner circle, you'll find a reward in the form of Stex, a cafe/bar/pub/restaurant.
Open from 8am till 6am you can get a good breakfast there, there's a cheap daily lunch menu and it's good for a coffee any time of the day.
But it's in the evening that Stex really comes into its own. There's good, cheap beer and a friendly, bustling atmosphere. A full menu of hearty Hungarian-esque food makes this ideal for a pub-type supper. The wooden plate of mixed grill, to be shared between two, is a rewarding challenge. Good wine menu too (with some Hungarian wines: definitely worth trying), if you fancy splashing out a bit. And, if you're feeling really classy, there's a cigar menu.
A curious thing about Stex is that it's very big, but still intimate. It's almost always getting along towards full, but you can still always find a table.
You can watch the football - but the place is big enough that you don't have to. You can play snooker or darts, and there’s a casino attached
And, by the way, remember to pronounce it “Shtecks”.
Corner of József krt and Baross utca (Tram 4-6, Baross utca stop)
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