This is a funky, decadent Belle Epoque style cocktail bar, that does really lovely snacks (Thai fish cakes, Tandoori chicken, etc) – and the cheese platter, with caramelised figs is just perfect with red wine.
405 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Get yourself down to Happy Valley racecourse (Causeway Bay MTR station) on a Wednesday night for the horseracing.
A one of a kind setting, and one of Hong Kong's favourite past times. Nearly everyone in this town loves a flutter. Minimum wager HK$10, less than a pound, and all profits are reinvested in the community, so you can soothe your conscience as well.
Good selection of food to suit western and Asian tastes, and beer readily available.
As expensive or cheap as you want it to be.
As mentioned Causeway Bay MTR station, Exit A, then a short walk to the race track. It's on the maps inside the station and is about a 5-10 minute walk
Jah Mama is a take-out restaurant (with minimal seating) located in the trendy East Village. The emphasis is on authentic home-style Jamaican cuisine with gourmet flair, a true sense of ethnic cuisine, influenced by the variation in culture and ethnicity of the people living in that region of New York. The menu is diverse and the prices are amazingly affordable for the quality of food provided. It is a great place to eat in a refreshingly clean atmosphere combined with its excellent and interesting food that is both tasty and healthy.
199 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B (Alphabet City);
Nearest train stations: Essex Street (J,M,F); 2nd Ave.(F,V); tel: 212 228 2663
Take the MTR (rail system) to Choi Hung station, then get a 1A bus to Sai Kung all the way to the bus terminus at the seafront. The restaurants are right there and all of them are good. Someone on the staff usually speaks English.
For coffee, wander along the front away from the terminus to where it meets the road, turn up the road and you'll come to a big square, where all the action happens. There are several cafes there where you can sit out. Jaspa’s coffee is the best.
Another way to spend the time (you could combine the two) is to take a taxi from Sai Kung (it costs very little) to Pak Sha Wan. Tell the driver you want to go to the pier.
On the pier, boat people will approach you. For HK$10, you can jump on one of the kaidos (little boats) and they'll take you five minutes to Trio beach. It's a government run one, which means it's shark-netted and has a loo and a very basic cafe. Walk along the beach from where the boat drops you to the second little beach – it’s always emptier. There's a kids playground up the steps beside it. The boats keep coming back and forth all day. Just keep an eye on which flag yours was carrying, as a way of identifying it.
It’s a lovely spot to watch the big sail boats and the tycoons’ yachts from.
Note: there are no places to stay in Sai Kung, but if you get stuck out late you're only a $200 taxi ride via the Eastern Tunnel from Central.
Although it is also called Rat Alley, there are rats and mice everywhere in Hong Kong so this shouldn't put you off.
The food is OK, and a lot cheaper than nearby Lan Kwai Fong. You also get to eat outside, which is not always possible in Hong Kong.
There are some nice western restaurants (Jaspa's, Sauce and Cru) in the main square with outdoor tables. The major dessert place is called Honeymoon Dessert and is located by the crossing and traffic lights just as you come into town.
To get to Sai Kung from Hong Kong Island take the MTR to Hang Hau, then take the 101 minibus. It's easiest if you get off at the terminus, otherwise alight just after the traffic lights by Honeymoon Dessert.
From Kowloon, take the MTR to Choi Hung, and take the 1A minibus
Start your evening in style with cocktails at The Felix Bar in The Peninsula (be sure to check out the view from the men’s toilet!). Cross the road to Chunking Mansions on Nathan Road. Be brave, hold your nose and take the lift up to The Khyber Pass Indian restaurant where you can have as much freshly cooked food to eat with beer for about $100. Two Hong Kong experiences not to be missed.
Felix Bar: 28th Floor, Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Kowloon;
Khyber Pass: Block E; Chung King Mansions, 36-40 Nathan Rd
Cool, stylish cocktail bar just off popular Leidseplein. The staff and clientele are easy on the eye and the toilets are dark with a nice flat surface to rest your cigarette or book or whatever. Sometimes the regulars can get a bit rowdy and it has been known for a slap or two to be administered, but in general the atmosphere is chilled, just like the drinks. The food is average but bearable and affordable.
Korte Leidesedwarsstraat 45, near leidseplein; trams 1,2,5,10
Run by the Norbulingka Institute, who provide assistance for newly arrived Tibetan refugees, the Chonor House is on the edge of town. You take your life in your hands scrabbling down the slippery path to the front door, but it’s well worth it. Each room has been decorated by a Tibetan artist, depicting themes of Tibetan life. The hotel is particularly good if you’re travelling alone, as people tend to congregate in the large, cosy TV lounge. It's safe, well maintained, clean and secure, and does the best food in town.
Edge of town. From the centre, head towards the Tsuglagkhang Complex, then take the left hand fork. tel: 21006
Casa del Papa, located on the outskirts of the city, is loosely themed on Ernest Hemingway’s life. And so you have an American Bar upstairs, a Cuban Club in the cellar, and in between a canopy-covered restaurant serving a mix of Spanish and African cuisine. Quite where the tiramisu fits is anyone’s guess, but one taste and you won’t be inclined to complain. Dance off those calories in the salsa club, enjoy the cocktails, and party until the bell tolls for you.
54 Celovska Cesta; tel: 386 1 4343158
Take the trip on the Manly ferry from Circular Quay. Walk down the Corso (directly ahead when you leave the ferry terminal), turn right along the promenade (ocean beaches) and walk to Shelley Beach. Stop off at Le Kiosk for Moreton Bay 'bugs' or sashimi.
Try to time your return for nightfall for great views of the city lights.
Manly ferry from Circular Quay
Located in Brookline, about 10 minutes outbound from Boston on the Green Line of the T (Brookline Village T stop), Matt Murphy's is an Irish pub and a quality place for food and drink. Why, you may ask, am I directing you there while you may be visiting America from somewhere with more than a few Irish pubs? Aside from genuinely yummy food, great drinks, and a great staff, Matt Murphy's has some fantastic - and free - live music. They've recently seen the launch of an independent record label (Pub Records) showcasing a variety of the excellent bands heard there in recent history.
This place is cash only, but no worries - there are a couple of cash points across the street. It's also non-smoking - but so is all of Massachusetts now.
If you don't now how to get there, just ask anyone when you get off the T at Brookline Village. If they don't know, they must be a tourist too, just ask the next person. It's about a three-minute walk from the T station if you take your time. Quietly sat between a doughnut shop and a real estate broker, you could easily walk right by without noticing it. That is, until the music comes on.
Does huge, delicious and cheap sandwiches and salads at lunchtime.
Corner of Via Vitruvio and Via Settembrini - with your back to Central Station, turn left down Via Vitruvio. Bar Piazza is about 100 metres down the road.
A beautifully decorated and spacious restaurant in what was the 1st class waiting room. The interior is late 19th-century, but the excellent food is a mix of traditional and modern Dutch. On my last visit there a quintet of feather-boa-ed musicians turned a great meal into a memory to treasure.
Platform 2b, Amsterdam Centraal Station; tel:020 625 0131
Santiago's very own revolving restaurant.
There is something very modernist about the whole revolving restaurant thing: a 60s/70s international style fad that has just about survived into the 21st-century. You can imagine Augusto Pinochet, fresh from one of his shopping trips to London, asking Santiago's city planners to come up with something that could replicate the GPO Tower dining experience.
Bizarrely, my main course at the Giratorio was like a Chilean riff on fish'n'chips: battered conger eel and a fried egg and chips. Not bad actually. And the wine was, as you'd expect in Chile, excellent.
Unlike with some revolving restaurants I have visited, the Giratorio building itself does not move, instead the restaurant is on a kind of giant turntable inside a rectangular steel and glass structure. With mountains on all sides, the 90-minute journey around Santiago is a picturesque and contemplative experience. Can the Muzak though please, guys.
Av. 11 de Septiembre 2250, Piso 16; nearest metro: Estacion Los Leones; tel: 232 1827/251 5789;
A recently opened, value for money, daytime haunt for office workers. As you would expect they specialise in tasty, made-on-the-premises soups such as tomato and basil, cream of cauliflower, carrot and coriander and minestrone, starting at £1.95. They also do a fine line in doorstop sandwiches using lovely seeded breads- including carrot and hummus, ham and salad and tuna- from £2.50.
There’s a weekly, daily changing menu of hot main courses (for both carnivores and vegetarians).
All this can be washed down with fruit juices, canned drinks, coffee (soya milk available) or tea (including fruit teas). Delicious home-made puddings like chocolate fudge cake and carrot cake for those who can find the space.
Punters sit at cafeteria-style tables and benches as well as barstool seating with a view out of the windows- or if you prefer they do everything to take away.
Owned by the same folks that have the wonderful Bay Horse pub just down the road on Thomas Street.
31-33 Spear Street (off Stevenson Square), Northern Quarter, M1 1DF; tel:0161 236 5100; www.soup-kitchen.co.uk
Source of arguably the best coffee in Quito, it’s the perfect place to get a day of sightseeing off to a civilised start. A little pricey by the standards of the Mariscal district, but worth every centavo if you have been on a steady diet of chicken and rice for several weeks. Real bacon, bagels, pancakes, fresh juices ... and that coffee. Let it work its magic.
Foch No 681 and Juan Leon Mera (by Ave Amazonas); tel: (593 2) 2566 181/2906 105;
Having once stayed in Recoleta, I discovered that Palermo is the only place worth staying in Buenos Aires. Tree-lined low rise buildings in the most fashionable trendy part of the city with all the cutting edge bars, restaurants and hotels.
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