Lively place to eat in shadow of Porte St Martin [mini Arc de Triomphe] and close to several theatres. Menu presented hidden in a French novel! Good French country dishes served with speed and panache by friendly waiters. Busy atmosphere but quieter after 8.15 when theatre goers leave for their shows.
19 Rue Rene Boulanger 75010 Paris Tel 01 42 06 05 27. Metro: Strasbourg St Denis
Celebrated bar with waiters from the Manzanilla sherry producing town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Bustling with well-dressed Sevillianos. It serves good fish dishes and manzanilla at just over a euro a glass.
11 Calle Albareda
The best international-standard restaurant in town has an impressive old Europe setting and a strong Germanic influence. It’s not cheap by Bolivian standards, but a good excuse to dress up and mix with the local high society; the set lunch is a good value way to soak up the atmosphere.
Calle Frederico Zuazo #1905
Tel: 244 1660
Restaurant right on the harbour with views of Ithaka beyond. Really good dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and excellent lamb souvlaki (kebab). Very relaxed atmosphere, friendly service etc.
On the sea-front in Agia Efimia, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 26740.61739
Calamari that melts, absolutely melts, in the mouth. There is not a five-star restaurant in Cape Town that can beat them for fried/grilled calamari rings. Fish and chips that are the best in Cape Town because the fish is delivered quite literally off the trawler a mere two-minute drive away. Seafood platters include calamari, hake/snoek, mussels, prawns and loads of golden deep fried chips. Generous portions. Dirt cheap.
Unpretentious and not fine dining by any means, it's the best-kept secret in Cape Town. The locals don't tell you about it because they don't want the place overrun with tourists. I myself have even spotted the W Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool there, queueing like everyone else. Best to visit during the week as the weekends are insane. Only drawback is that they are not open at night.
Minato may be housed one of Cape Town’s more interesting buildings — decorated by artists Beezy Bailey and Koos Malgas - but this is no place for people who like their sushi served up in designer surroundings.
You are instructed to ‘order only once’ to avoid confusion and irritation but no-one adheres to this rule, so go wild with a superb selection of sushi, sashimi and tempura and a good selection of oriental beers. Surprisingly reasonable prices - makes a change from the more fashionable sushi restaurants in town.
4 Buiten Street, CBD. 021 423 4712
Lovely youth hostel near the coast on the island of Orust. Good accommodation, shared or family rooms (largest about 5 people) in old buildings, or hytter in the garden. Summer restaurant.
Walk down the garden to the sea, or into the village nearby to buy fresh fish, crab or lobster. Alternatively cross the road into the coastal woodland.
There are excellent public transport links to local towns (Ellos, Mollusund and Henan), and ferries to the islands of Gulholmen and Karingdon for swimming, sunbathing, walking and people watching or eating fresh Dublin Bay prawns.
Accessible from Goteborg by public tranport (bus stop 50m). If you arrive late (by car), they will leave your key to collect in the porch. It may be worth getting YHA/HI membership as the supplement for non-members is 45 SEK (£3.50) per night.
For most visitors to Cape Town, the Wembley – a legendary roadhouse which serves the tastiest Indian and Cape Malay food for miles – is a little out of the way. It's in the heart of Athlone, one of the city's largest suburbs, officially on the other side of the railroad tracks during apartheid (it was designated “Coloureds only”). But for those who live in Athlone and its own suburbs – Belgravia, Rylands, Gatesville, Surrey Estate and beyond – the Wembley is the center of the culinary universe of take outs.
The beauty of a roadhouse, of course, is that you don't really take the food out. You take it to your car, parked a few feet away, and gobble the delicious, piping hot food, which steams up your windshield as you watch the ebb and flow of the crowd around the take-out counter.
The Wembley is a beacon at night, a brightly lit temple. Cars of all types come and go, carrying happy families. It's their Friday night out. You can wait in your car for a waiter to appear at the window – he will take your order, dash off, and return with your food on a tray, and a smile of apology for being a little late.
Or you can step up underneath the take-out awning – don't be shy to push to the front – and order your meal from one of several harried-looking women who front the engine of the operation. The kitchen: a noisy, organised chaos. Note the colour of the post-it note which she writes your order on. The pink or yellow or green scrap will disappear into the kitchen, then resurface in 10 – 15 minutes next to foil-wrapped lumps, which is your food.
The place recalls 1950s America as seen in movies like Back to the Future. The difference, of course, is that you're in South Africa, in a township, and all the eats are halaal. Groovy. Over the years I've honed the perfect take-out order, which I recommend to all first-timers:
1 Masala Steak Sandwich (the supreme Wembley creation, with french fries on it)
2 mince samoosas (spicy ground beef triangular pastries)
1 koeksister (aniseed-infused doughnut)
1 small faloodah (indescribable – a sweet drink which requires both straw and spoon)
For vegetarians, the food is no less delightful: eat a vegetable curry with rice and 2 veg samoosas, then proceed to the koeksister. Vegans are not catered for – probably not even heard of.
To see what the Roadhouse looks like, check out the 2002 video, “Starbucks”, which the British band “A” shot in Cape Town. The Wembley was sacrilegiously transformed into a generic fast food joint for the shoot, and features throughout. See the video at Rock-Sound.net, among other sites.
The Wembley Roadhouse, 23 Belgravia Road, Athlone (at the corner of Denchworth), is open from 11am to midnight each day. Closed Friday 1-2pm for mosque; call for hours during Ramadaan. (021) 697-1435.
Near the gates to Golden Gate Park in the Haight Ashbury (hippy dippy) district, the Citrus Club serves wonderful noodle dishes and soups at very low prices.
Sit at the bar and watch the chef operating his magic wok over a flame-thrower of a hob.
Perfect for lunch before a long tramp around the park.
Get the bus to Haight Ashbury and walk down the main drag towards the park (lots of thrift shops to dawdle in on the way). The Citrus Club is on the right, about 200m. before the park gates.
A delightful seafood braai (BBQ) on the beach. A crayfish for everyone, and delightful fresh fish, mussels and home-baked bread. It's a bit of a drive up the west coast, but you could stop along the way at the small fishing villages like Ysterfontein, or visit Africa's only nuclear power plant at Koeberg.
If you are going to Madagascar, you will no doubt go to the park at Andisibe. Most visitors opt to stay at hotels outside the village but staying in the village is much better both from an experience point of view and for the locals. The ramshackle Hotel Orchidee is a good option and is cheap as chips. It is basic. I mean really basic. However this is as close as you are likely to get to living like a Malagasy on your trip. If going during the winter be aware that it is cold in the mountains so pack a good fleece. Check out the restaurant at the Buffet De La Gare as well. Great food. Slow service but everything in Madagascar is slow - get used to it.
French holiday park designed for families with younger children. Not really suited for singles or romantic couples. Fifth visit this year (over 15 year period). Have been to many others but this is still the best.
Bed and breakfast (Chambres d'hotes). Beautiful house. Formerly priest's residence. Church nearby with working (twice a day) bells. Lovely garden and interior. Stay in suites of rooms that sleep up to six people. Cost for four people for three nights b&b £234. Evening meal (highly recommended) 16 euros. Clean and extremely comfortable. House has good ghost. Home made mure or pommeau (or both by the fire before dinner). Hostess Claudia Lacroix is a brilliant cook. Nothing too much for this hospitable, helpful, fiercely independent, interesting woman. Good conversation, local gossip, plentiful interesting local information. Perfect environment in which to relax with friends. Lots to see (William the conquerer's birthplace in nearby Falaise), too.
Claudia La Croix 02 33 36 03 96
Caen or Argentan station.
Restaurant in Vieste. Super friendly service, authentic but lively food. Also the restaurants on the steps down to the main piazza. Cenarola was particularly fantastic for a long sunny lunch.
Il Dragone is in a cave 2m under the central Cathedral. So look for that, and then go down! Also very nearby (down some steps from Il Dragone) is Cenarola. Pass through the resto to the outdoor seating.
After its beer, Belgium is most famous for chocolates. If you're a chocoholic visiting Antwerpen, you'll want to try the city's own chocolate speciality; Antwerpse Handjes (little Antwerp hands). Some are chocolate all-through, others have various fillings, but all are in the shape of the familiar hand that's the symbol of the city.
The reason for the hand is a legend that a giant called Druoon Antigoon lived on the banks of the River Schelde on the site of what's now Antwerpen and he used to extract a toll, punishing anybody who refused to pay by cutting off one of their hands. He was finally defeated by a Roman soldier, Silvius Brabo (often claimed to be a nephew of Julius Caesar) who symbolically cut off Antigoon's hand and threw it into the river. Thus, according to the legend, the city was named after Brabo's throwing of Antigoon's hand into the Schelde, from the Dutch hand (as in English) and werpen (English: throw).
Available in shops all over the city.
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