This small, bright café serves Vietnamese sandwiches, baguettes and coffee at a bargain £1 a cup. Everything is freshly prepared and great value. The famous Bahn Mi sandwich combines delicious Vietnamese ingredients such as pickled cucumber and carrot, fish sauces, coriander, marinated beef and caramelized roasted pork with ingredients dating back to French colonialism in Vietnam; pate, mayonnaise and long crusty baguettes. A really great venue for morning coffee or a tasty lunchtime snack.
75 Denmark Hill, London SE5
+44 207 703 2531
Open Mon—Sat 09.00-17.00, for breakfast & lunch
Getting there: bus 35, 45, 68, 345, 468 to Denmark Hill
Google map: bit.ly/qDDJYU
A lovely walled Breton town sitting on La Rance. It offers good restaurants throughout as well as the usual high standard little cafés the French do so well. The town is dominated by a large viaduct over the river as well as it's own castle. For shopping there's the hilly Rue du Jerzual. The more active types can rent a small boat or canoes and explore the river. There's also a fantastic riverside cycle lane heading north towards the village of La Vicomte.
Google map: bit.ly/nlOnmI
For a hearty yet oh-so-simple meal with a French twist try La Creperie.
Slightly off the beaten track in Prague 7, this French-Czech owned cafe-restaurant does what is says on the tin. Crepes - lovely big ones with interesting fillings. Savoury crepes for lunch or dinner. Prices range from 70 CZK for a galette with egg and ham, to 125 CZK for the works - Galette Campagnarde (smoked ham, egg, potatoes, cheese and butter). Decedent sweet crepes follow (if you have any room left). Quiches and pastries are also available. Brittan cider is the drink of choice here, served in traditional earthenware.
The modest, low lit interior adds to the atmosphere and the staff are very friendly.
A stone's throw from the city centre and a very short walk from the National Gallery at Veletrzni Palac, this is my favourite post-gallery pick-me-up.
Janovského 1298/4 170 00 Prague 7-Holešovice, Czech Republic
+420 220 878 040
Google map: bit.ly/ofAMMm
Nearest tram: Strossmayerovo Namesti (1, 12, 14, 17, 25, 26 or 91)
Nearest metro: Vltavska (C line)
Open 0900 to 2300 every day
Oysters may be bought directly from local harvesters at the end of the Quai Admis en Chef Thomas. Among the freshest oysters you could get! However, make sure you know how to open them ("huitres sauvages" in particular can be quite tricky). You can also be lazy and try one of the numerous restaurants. Don't forget to try the Kouign Amann (literally butter cake and not plum cake as translated in Amelie) at Grain de Vanille.
Grain de Vanille
12 Place Victoire, 35260 Cancale, France
+33 2 23 15 12 70
Google map: bit.ly/pws04O
Rennes has got its own local version of the hot-dog: the galette saucisse. Not really French cuisine as you would picture it but perfect before a football match in the Route de Lorient stadium.
Any town/sports event in Rennes and its region
If you are fed up of galettes and crepes (I don't think this is possible but let's suppose so), go to Chez Dede, the pizzeria serving the largest pizzas in Rennes. The "tire-fesses" is particularly worth trying with reblochon cheese. Plus you get a Carambar if you manage to finish your pizza!
34, Rue Sainte Mélaine, 35000 Rennes
+33 2 99 87 10 83
Google map: bit.ly/qKOL5q
Right in the centre of the city, easily accessible by public transport (the Duchesse Anne stop on the tram/busway will put you right in front of the chateau), the newly refurbished Chateau is now a great space to visit, especially with kids. Lovely courtyard, lots of exhibitions and very accessible for disabled visitors - a must see! Take a wander into the fabulous Bouffay restaurant district - our family's favourite restaurant there is La Mangeoire with perfect prix fixee deals for all budgets and a good, classic French menu. Enjoy!
4, place Marc Elder, 44 000 Nantes
+33 (0)2 51 17 49 48
Google map: bit.ly/pxj8ss
16 Rue Petites Ecuries, 44000 Nantes, France
+44(0)2 40 48 70 83
Google map: bit.ly/q5Fr41
My girlfriend and I decided to visit Leeds Seventeen after receiving a recommendation from a friend. The reception by the staff was warm, and the menu was perfect for us (traditional English dishes with a contemporary feel).
I ordered a rib-eye steak (medium rare), and my girlfriend ordered the duck. Both meals were beautifully cooked and presented. The prices where very reasonable for what felt like a high-end restaurant. The side dishes were a bit small, but priced appropriately so we didn't mind.
We took advantage of their early bird deal, meaning we got 30% off our total bill. Highly recommended!
For the end of your stay in Prague when money is getting tight. Budget but very well prepared Czech cuisine (try the Old Prague Duck with white and red cabbage). Themed art nouveau restaurant centred on the life of painter Alphonse Mucha, The restaurant staff take a real pride in giving good service and you can enjoy local dishes here without breaking the bank.
Just off the main old town square in a street called 'Kozi', this place is damn near perfect. Reasonably priced, central European gourmet food in designer surroundings and impeccable, white gloved service. Inexpensive fine dining in a serene white and silver decor with a laid back lounge atmosphere.
Gallipoli Bazaar offers delicious Lebanese and Turkish dishes in a luxuriously decorated setting. The restaurant is long and thin but crammed to the rafters with shining lamps, mirrors, cushions, exotic paintings and dimly lit to give all diners a flattering hue. The daily specials - I had grilled red mullet - are highly recommended and they do a splendid falafel. Belly dancing is a new feature too ... and shisha pipes for puffing on outside on the pavement terrace.
Struggling through the hordes of tourists and shoppers in Portobello Road street market can be a pretty exhausting business. The newly renovated Organic Kitchen provides all kinds of healthy dishes and organic wines to aid recovery. It's a little haven of calm, decorated in tasteful shades of brown, with swift service, the best pizzas north of the Thames and the kindest, friendliest waitresses around. The Italian-inspired menu has salads, bruschetta, antipasti and soups for starters, then some favourites such as shepherd's pie, salmon and haddock fish cakes or braised pork belly with Savoy cabbage. Leave room for the apple and rhubarb crumble too.
207-209 Portobello Road, London W11 1LU
+44 207 792 7999
Open Tue-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
Nearest tube: Central or Circle Line to Notting Hill Gate
Google map: bit.ly/q0mvTB
Located in the Lake District, northbound and southbound on the M6 between J38 and J39, this motorway services is a new concept for roadside services. The local, family run company hold outside BBQ's on hot sunny days and supply the farm shop and butchers counters, selling a whole variety of products, from their adjoining farm on the southbound side and also from other local producers. Views across the Cumbria landscape are amazing and great as a break on a long journey.
There is also a delicious cafe/coffee shop, petrol station, dog walk, children's play area, duck pond and toilets.
This popular motorway services with a strong reputation, stands out from the rest, being locally owned and built from eco-friendly materials and has won many awards. It has a community type feel, and is always clean, tidy and friendly. A must stop-off point if you're heading past.
Nice quaint little cafe in Palermo that has quality cakes, muffins and coffee. An excellent choice for sitting outside and enjoying some sun.
Kadıköy is a bustling district on the Asian side of the city. There is a market and lots of small speciality shops, such as cheese, honey, herbal, gold, antiques and second hand books. This is the place to see the Istanbul of Istanbullus. After browsing for an hour or so sit down at one of the many small restaurants for some meze or fish. Try the "midye dolma", battered mussels. Çıya is a favourite restaurant of locals and visitors if you want to try unusual Turkish food. Keep an eye open for the fortune telling rabbits.
Take the ferry from Eminonu or Karakoy. Walk straight ahead, cross the road and dive into the side streets on your right.
Google map: bit.ly/n0pKUJ
Sauda is a floating swimming pool in the middle of the Bosphorus lined with huge beds and including a host of bars and restaurants that provide essential sustenance to guests. It's unmissable for its unique location and innate sense of calm.
Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme, Istanbul
+90 212 263 7300
Friendly small restaurant specializing in traditional Cordoban and Argentinian dishes.
In the old quarter within walking distance of the Mesquita but excellent food, and good prices. Welcoming, proud of their food and very friendly. Tables outside too.
Quite simply the best patisserie in the heart of old Istanbul. Eat your honey sweet Baklava while listening to the Blue Mosque's call to prayer. Or ask Çigdem's staff to wrap up your pastries so you can take them home for your friends.
Alemdar Mh., Divan Yolu Caddesi 62, Istanbul, Turkey
Google map: bit.ly/qTbE1r
If you're up in the tourist-packed Castle District (Varnegyed) on a steamy summer's day and long for a quiet sit-down and an authentic Hungarian lunch, stroll along Fortuna utca (street) to Pest Buda.
This traditional 'vendeglo' or local, family-run eaterie, dates back to 1948 and has been renovated to keep all the original features such as the wine bar in the cellar where you can see the cave walls (Buda Hill is almost hollow and riddled with caves and passages).
Diners enjoy Hungarian home cooking on red checked tablecloths and, while munching, admire the Pest Buda carpets; vignettes of old Budapest life which have been scanned in and made into wallpaper.
One of the favourites on the menu is 'kenyer langos' (a kind of 'bread flamed doughnut') advertised as Hungarian pizza and a substantial lunch of oven baked dough with Magyar toppings of sausage and lecso (ratatouille), duck breast and spinach or tomato and tangy sheep's cheese.
Pest Buda Vendeglo Bistro
Fortuna utca 3, Castle District, I. Budapest
Open daily 11.00-24.00
Metro to Moszkva ter (now called Szell Kalman ter) then Varbusz (Castle minibus) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/r3QEyc
Located next to the super-cool DiVino wine bar on Pest's trendy Szent Istvan ter (square), this cooling ice cream parlour serves up unusual and delicious ice creams.
The name 'Rosa' is not for nothing: the scoops for the cornets are artfully fashioned to resemble a blooming rose!
It might seem a bit kitsch, but actually it is beautifully done and the ice cream flavours are imaginative with such gorgeous creations as poppyseed (a Hungarian dessert favourite), lemon and basil, an authentic banana (usually a tricky ice to get right), and rich, dark chocolate.
1052 Budapest, Szent Istvan ter 3
+36 70 930 227
Google map: bit.ly/qiXR6j
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