It is a fantastically old fashioned hotel with a great restaurant serving a great selection of British food. Perfect for a special occasion and a great location next to Buckingham Palace. It is privately owned so individual in every aspect.
Beeston Place, Grosvenor Gardens, SW1W OJW; tel: 0207 396 9000; www.goringhotel.co.uk/
Old-fashioned diner (in that converted-train-carriage stylee) in the centre of South Beach. Serves old-fashioned diner food at decent prices and is open 24 hours. Also serves beer, and has an outside terrace.
1065 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139; tel: 305 534 6373
Very friendly, although also slightly cool, bar in the supposedly fashionable 'South of Fifth' part of South Beach. Has excellent Jamaican food, a range of beers (could be colder, in truth) and a free pool table. Locals and staff very friendly and laid back. DJ most nights, playing unpretentious music.
423 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL; tel: 305 5324444
In the main room of this vegetarian restaurant is a Buddha shrine where diners can, if they wish, burn incense. I doubt that monks will eat as well as we did in this long-established Shanghai retaurant. The menu is huge and almost any kind of Chinese dish one can think of is listed, but the difference is that it is all vegetarian even if the description sounds carnivorous. For example, the roast chicken is beancurd in a chicken shape. If you are fed up with pak choi and doufu, you'll love this place. We went twice in one day because it was so good.
445 Nanjing Xi Lu; West of People's Square and close to the Art Museum
Lincoln Road, crossing Collins Avenue, is the place to see and be seen. It’s crowded with tourists and their (screaming) kids during the day, but as soon as it’s bedtime for them, the street gets busy and bustling. Restaurants are fully booked inside and outside, and bars, cafés and restaurants fill every inch of the street with their tables, comfy couches, parasols and heaters (during wintertime).
The variety of eateries, shops and galleries on Lincoln Road is worth visiting more than just once. Make sure you end up at my favorite Miami restaurant for a bite: Sushi Samba, which also has restaurants in New York and Chicago. In this loungey looking place you’ll find a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, music and design.
You may have to wait at the bar for about half an hour if you don’t book, but as soon as you seen the menu, you’ll know it was well worth it. Just a little food advice: the Tuna Tataki ($12) and the Green Envy Samba roll ($11.50) are amazingly tasty!
Sushi Samba Drome, 600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach;
tel: 305 673 5337;
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 12pm - 12am, Friday & Saturday 12pm - 2am
Samba brunch: Sunday 12pm - 5pm
Luden is a great restaurant in Amsterdam. It has a fixed price three-course menu for 26 euros and is excellent value. Unlike other fixed menus, you get a great choice (about 10 choices each for starter, main and dessert). Huge wooden tables and a great atmosphere. Highly recommended.
Spuistraat 304; 622 8979
Thousands of shoppers every day pass some of Leeds’ best kept secrets - the pubs in the little alleys off Briggate. Of these, the best two are Whitelocks (down an alley by the Northern Rock) a fantastic time-warp of a pub with walls covered in mirrors supplied by long since defunct breweries. Excellent real ale, and famed for its luncheons. The other highlight is the Angel Inn, a Sam Smiths boozer down an alley beside Dixons. Cheap beer and comfortable surroundings - the upstairs lounge is a great way to pass an hour with the papers away from the bustle of Briggate.
Briggate, Leeds city centre; nearest station: Leeds City.
Wow - this place is amazing. Who would have thought that a restaurant that from the outside looks like a newsagents and stuck in boring suburbs could be this fantastic. You must book in advance and you get offered either a 7pm or 9pm sitting - but do it because it’s worth it.
Quality food like this doesn't usually come this cheap - and given the name of the place, baked stuff is a bit of a speciality (and believe me those breads and biscuity pudding things are out of this world). It’s a case of bring your own with the booze - so get your self a fancy bottle of plonk and head there now.
293 Spen Lane, West Park, Headingley; tel: 0113 278 7255
The best of Melbourne can be eaten and drunk on a quiet block of Kerr Street in Fitzroy, between Brunswick and Smith Streets.
On the corner with Napier Street is Cafe Ici. Always crowded but without the lines-out-the-door like Bubka's on Brunswick Street, Ici's ideal for breakfast, brunch and, in the summer months, evening tapas. They run a special line in hot chocolate too, so be sure to check out the menu.
On the next corner of Kerr Street there's the marvellous Marquis of Lorne pub. Cosy, backstreet and quintessentially Fitzroy, the Marquis has a pool room downstairs, dedicated dining upstairs and a roaring open fire in the middle bar in the winter. All local beers and draught Guinness on tap. Why would you go anywhere else?
Kerr Street, Fitzroy, 3065; Take the 112 tram out of Collins Street. Get off at Johnston Street and walk down.
Cute 'boutique' winery in the Adelaide Hills. Not like some of the massive wineries that abound in South Australia - lovely vino and restaurant serving sunday lunches. I will be back.
The News Cafe is one of the most popular cafe-restaurant-bars on South Beach. It's open 24-hours and its all-day (and all-night) breakfast is excellent value.
Lots of people use it as a meeting point before a night on the town.
There's also a shop that sells newspapers from many different countries.
Ocean Drive (on corner of 8th Street)
a small cafe serving the best sandwiches and sweet treats in Amsterdam. It's run by an Australian and American, so it attracts lots of native English-speakers looking for a little taste of home.
Small World, Binnen Oranjestraat 14, Amsterdam; tel:31 (0) 20 420 27 74
A great all-rounder to finish off a day at the beach or Luna Park, the 'Espy' is bit of a Melbourne institution with a reputation for giving up and coming bands their chance - AC/DC played here when they first started and just about every other famous Aussie band has followed suit. Sit outside on the terrace overlooking the bay or find one of the many shady corners inside to watch the colour acts on the small stage until the big shows start in the main hall. Like most Aussie bars this one also has a slew of pool tables at the back, and serves top-notch food at in-house restaurant The Espy Kitchen.
Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Stylish waterfront shopping, eating and entertainment complex next to Bayfront Park. Some excellent restaurants, especially seafood, and classy individual shops and boutiques alongside some familiar big-chain favourites (Gap, Disney Store etc). There’s live entertainment most afternoons and evenings.
Bayside is also home to a number of boat tour operators, if you want a close-up view of the homes of Miami's rich and famous.
Next to AA Arena (where the Miami Heat play) on US1;
Though the annual Pragati Maidan Trade Fair is much larger, and you can find far better quality at the Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath, this little corner of Delhi is open all year round and is still a great place to come for gift shopping at fair prices. What’s more, it’s a good chance to sample a wide range of regional cuisines from Kashmiri to Bengali at the safe, well-run yet cheap food stands.
South Extension area, near ring road interchange
Something of an expat hangout, this is the place to come for electronics, books, magazines and other foreigner’s paraphernalia while avoiding the cons and chaos of the city centre. There’s a couple of decent little eateries too.
Subramaniam Bharti Marg area
A hidden restaurant/club/live floor show all in one. You are served a five course meal over a whole evening, while reclining on what can only be described as giant beds on two levels.
On the main floor there is a DJ and now and again one of the staff will get up and sing live often to music the DJ is playing. The entire place is white and has light and laser shows projected on to it. The toilets are an experience in themselves as they are labelled hetero and homo and have one way glass in them, but not the way you might anticipate. This may make it sound more depraved than it really is, my wife and I had a superb night there and would gladly go back next time we visit.
The food is very good and served on a strange ad hoc basis by even stranger people. One of the best nights I have ever had.
Jonge Roelensteeg 21, Amsterdam, it’s down a small alley, it’s easy to miss, so ask a local if you can; tel: +31 20 344 64 00; booking is recommended, this can be done at www.supperclub.nl/open/eng_index.html
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