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.
The Al Faisal Tandoori is one of the best places for a no frills Indian meal in Manchester. It's a tiny and basic place with fixed Formica topped tables and bright green chairs, each table adorned with a plastic jug of water. There's a menu handwritten on a white board, not a huge choice, but everything there is freshly cooked and delicious.
I would say that the Chicken Tikka is one of my favourite dishes at any restaurant anywhere (and I’ve been to a few), it’s nicely charcoaled on the outside, and tender and softly chickeny on the inside and served with a wedge of lemon, salad, rice and chickpeas. It’s about the best inter-shopping lunch you could hope to have.
I must also add that it’s as cheap as chapattis, we’re greedy and struggle to spend more than £15 for two. Also brilliant lamb curry, lamb tikka, soft and slightly brioche like naans and great daily specials. Don't be put off by the outside.
58 Thomas Street, Manchester, Lancashire M4 1EG; tel:
0161 834 3266
This is one of the hippest bars/restaurants in Amsterdam, with price tags to match. It is partly owned by the son of John de Mol (of Endemol and Big Brother fame) and is very popular with the type of Dutch person who features in the equivalent of Hello!. That said, the Chinese fusion food served in tiny portions in a dark and sexy interior is great, the margaritas alcoholic but delicious, the people watching, of course, fantastic and you can repair to the club downstairs when you have finished eating.
Don't go here for a romantic meal but do go to see the Dutch equivalent of Jodie Marsh and Rio Ferdinand at play.
A short walk from the Leideplein and the PC; Hoofdstraat at Hobbemastraat 2; tel: 020 616 6664; www.the-mansion.nl
This traditional Indonesian restaurant offers authentic Indonesian food at very reasonable prices, and therefore does get very busy at peak times. That said it is worth the wait, and the rijstafel is highly recommended in any of the offered versions.
Spuistraat 291-293; tel: 20 620 09 94; www.kantjil.nl/
A beautiful grade II listed pub with much of its original interior - a sloping mosaic floor and glazed tile ceiling. What's more, the Marble Brewery is entirely vegan and organic and brews five of its own beers.
73 Rochdale Road, Ancoats, M4 4HY; www.marblebeers.co.uk
Salad King out-Wagamamas Wagamama. It's one of Toronto's best Thai restaurants with ultra-quick service and cheek-by-jowl seating. Main courses are only $7.50.
www.saladking.com; one street north of Dundas and Yonge, slightly east on the south side of Gould
The best Italian in Liverpool - great food, great atmosphere, reasonably priced where you can rub shoulders with members of Liverpool FC and Everton FC, local actors and musicians. If your visit's an evening one, make sure to book.
Cook Street, a stumble from Matthew Street
This is one of the best restaurants in Berlin and you wouldn't know by the looks. From outside it's quite shabby and inside it's quite dark and dusty, but they serve excellent French cuisine there (especially the Tagliatelli with prawns) and the wine is amazing. Jacques, a jovial Frenchman with beret, accent and everything, is still serving all the customers in person.
Maybachufer 8, 12047 Berlin, U Schönleinstrasse
If not paying in advance, keep track of what you owe, or you may end up with Jason's breakfast on your tab. Apparently, it's a running joke amongst the staff. Good Guinness. Especially camp barman, can be humoured at length. The expat regulars are horrific and look like they never leave (or bathe), although I am told it does shut at one in the morning.
Overtoom, Tram number 1
A lovely restaurant, with a great atmosphere, hardly any tourists and excellent European cuisine with a twist. The wine list is great too. Situated on Nes, it's only a five minute walk from Dam Square but a world away from the stag parties.
It's a great open space, and housed in a converted tobacco warehouse. It can be a bit noisy but it's a bit of sophistication and something different from eetcafes and Chinatown.
Nes 67, about 5 mins walk from Dam Square; tel: 20 4282222; www.brasserieharkema.nl/
Great Middle Eastern restaurant with a difference. Belly dancers, henna tatoos and fortune tellers combine with great food and a very sexy atmosphere to make this a really special place to go in the Jordaans district.
Rozengracht 133-1, Amsterdam; tel: 020 344 64 01
This Vietnamese and Thai restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic meal. The decor is beautiful and tasteful, the food is absolutely delicious and there is a comprehensive wine list. It is also right in the heart of the old town making a walk there at night really picturesque. What really makes it though is the service, which is personal without being over-attentive; we found it by accident one year and paid another visit 12 months later and were amazed when the staff remembered us. Definitely worth a visit to Amsterdam alone.
Beulingstraat 9, 1017 BA Amsterdam; tel: 20 627 57 55
The best place to chill out early in the afternoon in true continental style. A grand café - with high ceilings to match its title - that is open all day as a café, bar and restaurant. Pick up one of the international papers and lazily drink your coffee with view on the canal. In the summer the terrace is open. Make a grand entrance by arriving by boat and hopping in for drinks.
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22, 1012 CP Amsterdam;
tel: 20 62 55 771; nearest tram: Muntplein;
This excellent restaurant is in the middle of the red light district - an oasis of peace and tranquility in one of the busiest parts of Amsterdam. It's a fantastic place to go after wandering the canals of the red light district at night for an hour or so. The food is excellent and the service even better in a calm and chic environment. Inside you can eat upstairs or downstairs but, if you go in the summer, try and book a table outside on the lovely terrace.
Join the crowds of people milling along the wallen, this restaurant is down a tiny lane opposite the Casa Rosso - at the end of a dubious alley you suddenly find youself in a tiny, leafy square.
Ouderzids Achterburgwal 99; tel: 020 330 2257
Sarphati Park is in de Pijp, a part of Amsterdam happily neglected by tourists. The park is small but joyous and you can enjoy the environs with a stroopwafel, which you can purchase at the Albert Cuyp Markt. There’s plenty of snazzy bars and shops in which you can flaunt the splendid wares acquired at the market. Watch out for the bears though.
South of the Heineken brewery - turn left or right along the Ferdinand Bolstraat
A great vegetarian restaurant in the Jordaan district, not too far from the Anne Frank Museum. Not the least bit touristy though, as it's a little off the beaten track. Food is all freshly cooked that day, and very reasonably priced, but get there early to get the full selection. The bean burrito sells out fast.
Its name in English? The Flying Saucer.
Nieuwe Leliestraat 168, Amsterdam; www.vliegendeschotel.com/
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