Blue-and-white decor with giant fishtanks set in the walls. Set in a busy complex of bars and restaurants, this is a good place to sip local wine, order sushi and people-watch.
72 Waterkant Street; Tel: 30 204 36 32; www.the-tank.co.za/
Offers a panoramic view of Rome as well as some of the best food to be had in Italy prepared, ironically enough, under the supervision of a German head chef, Heinz Beck. In summer, you can get a table on the adjoining terrace, but book well in advance. The sampler menu (menu gustazione) costs €140-155 euro per head – and that’s without wine starting at €45 a bottle.
Via Cadolo, 101; Tel: 06 3509 2152; not open for lunch; closed Sun and Mon.
Once named by an Italian foody mag as the best value trattoria in Rome’s “centro storico” (historic centre), Matricianella serves good Roman cuisine at reasonable prices. It is always crowded, so best to book. In summer, there is a small covered terrace outside. A three-course meal with wine should work out around €45 per person.
Via del Leone, 4; Tel: 06 6832 100 (Closed Sun)
Cheap in Italy means pizza, but the pizza made in Rome, which traditionally has a thin base with crisp edges, can be disappointing. Pizza Re serves the spongier and altogether more appetising Neapolitan-style product. A straightforward pizza and a large beer costs €10.50.
Branches at Via di Ripetta 14 (06 3211 468) and Via Oslavia 39 (06 3721 173) share a website at www.pizza-re.it/
Oriental atmosphere, with a good range of Egyptian dishes. Go early or book ahead, because it can get full. The hubble-bubble pipes have their own menu, including capuccino flavour.
157, 26th July Street, Zamalek (but actually off the main road in a side street behind Maison Thomas); +20 2 735 9640
Wholesome home-cooking style, popular with Egyptians and tourists alike. Knick-knacks around the walls and ceiling provide lots of visual interest, but avoid tables near the caged birds. Waiter! There’s a feather in my soup.
15 Hoda Sharawi Street, downtown Cairo; Tel: +20 2 392 2833
Unsuitable for vegetarians and squeamish carnivores, Gomhouriya is THE place to eat pigeons. Cheap but spartan. Sample this favourite Egyptian delicacy in what al-Ahram’s restaurant reviewer described as a “Cold War ambiance”.
42 Falaki Street, near Bab el-Luc
A no-frills bowl of lentils, rice, macaroni and fried onions doused in a piquant sauce. Stuff yourself silly for next to nothing. If you’re still peckish after that, finish off with Umm Ali – a delicious and deadly pudding, with a million calories to the mouthful.
This is my favourite place to take visitors for a taste of nouvelle Mexican cuisine. The dishes are sometimes rather odd, but usually interesting and fun.
Durango 186, Colonia Roma; Tel: 5525 4920; Mon-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch only; Approx 250 pesos per person with no alcohol.
On Calle Santiago, 9, between the Plaza Mayor and the Plaza de Oriente. No booking, so get there early. This is Madrid, so early means 8.30pm. Fusion of Mediterranean and Eastern cooking. Ask for the cherry gazpacho.
Calle de Santiago, 9; Tel: 91 5422460
Paella deluxe or fideua (basically a paella with noodles) at the Champaneria Gala on near the Plaza Santa Ana. Book ahead and try to get a table in the conservatory greenhouse area. Great for lunch. Second lunch-time sitting is at 3.45pm at the weekend (really).
Calle Moratin, 22; Tel: 91 429 25 62; Metro: Anton Martin
A diner that serves alcohol and stays open late into the night? Sounds too good to be true. But on top of the quality food - solid breakfast fare and a standard array of Cali-Mex-Pacific Rim offerings - Swingers has a happening juke box and funky 70s decor. Dig those Warhol cows, cowboy!
Swingers; Lincoln Boulevard 802, Broadway,Santa Monica, California 90401; Tel: 310-393-9793; www.swingersdiner.com/
Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, and now something of a Los Angeles cliche, it still passes the test for glitz, glamour and the unlikely culinary combinations demanded by visitors to LA.
Spago; 176 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210; Tel: 310-385-0880; www.wolfgangpuck.com/
An LA institution open to the early morning. If you can withstand the heat and the queue, a monster chilli dog awaits.
Pink's Hot Dogs; 709 N La Brea Avenue; Los Angeles, California 90038; Tel: 323-931-4223; www.pinkshollywood.com/
Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard looks like it has seen better days, but then it probably seemed that way when it opened in 1919. A legendary Hollywood hangout (from Welles, Faulkener and Hemingway to Depp and Keith Richards) the bar and restaurant is renowned for its martinis and surly waiters.
Musso and Frank Grill; 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90028; Tel: 323-467-7788
Arguably Dublin's finest Michelin-starred restaurant, the best of modern Irish cooking, from oysters to cabbage, Dublin bay prawns to Irish salmon, in a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. Main courses up to €48, or three-course lunch for €45.
109a Lower Baggot Street; Tel: 00 353 1 6611919; www.lecrivain.com/
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