Bored of the same old flocked wallpaper and run-of-the-mill korma combo? Anokha is the antidote. Meaning ‘unique’, this contemporary city Indian features leather chairs and low lighting. Classic regional curries sit side by side with an excellent selection of modern Indian fusion dishes, and Anokha prides itself on using only fresh, wholesome ingredients and no artificial colourings or preservatives.
Start with a delicate scallop puree, then move on to the bold sweet and sour flavours of Mali duck, cooked with mango puree, yoghurt, tamarind, garlic and ginger. An excellent wine list and friendly service.
9-13 Fenchurch Buildings, London, EC3M 5HR
0207 481 8556
This is a modern British restaurant near the river in Winchester. Its a converted pub with bare brick, wooden tables and a large fireplace. The food can be very traditional brought up-to-date, or things you don't find on menus often like wood pigeon and lamb sweetbreads. It has a nice atmosphere and looked popular with business people too.
And it's worth booking as it is very popular.
88 Chesil Street, Winchester, Hampshire.
Phone: 01962 844465
An Italian restaurant with an interesting menu that covers pasta and pizza but has much more interesting things too. Very friendly service, quite spacious, reasonable prices. I got a table easily on a Saturday evening without booking - a much more attractive option than the noisy and heaving Pizza Express next door!
11 St Benedicts St, Norwich, NR2 4PE -less than 5 mins stroll from City Hall and the market.
A cafe/teashop inside the old Guildhall building, situated in its old court room - an interesting and attractive space. Good food options, very pleasant service and, true to their chocolate making origins, a menu of hot chocolate options! Also sells Caleys chocolate bars, biscuits and other sweet temptations. Very convenient in the city centre, as it's right next to the big central market.
The Guildhall, Gaol Hill, Norwich NR2. Open Mon - Sat
Seattle is a long city with many neighborhoods some of them barely mentioned in the tour guides and yet still full of local colour. Columbia City is my neighbourhood and if you visit on a Wednesday afternoon between May and October, you’ll encounter the farmer’s market which draws producers from both west and east of the Cascades as well as local performers and organizations.
You can eat here, joining dozens of families picnicking on the sloping park ground adjacent to this weekly festival. The Sicilian style restaurant ‘La Medusa’ serves a Wednesday dinner that has been cooked up using only produce purchased fresh that day from the stalls in the market (book ahead).
Within a short radius Columbia City has a pub (great local microbrews), a bookstore (Bookworm Exchange), a gallery, restaurants, a bakery (which serves coffee and treats), a cinema, as well as ethnic and independent shops that beg to be browsed.
If you are in town on the first Friday of the month then come along to ‘Beatwalk’ which starts kicking in around seven in the evening; many of the places described above are open until late, each with their own band, one five dollar payment gives you the freedom to wander from venue to venue people-watching and relaxing (you might even enjoy the music too).
It’s a lot of fun and not set up with tourists in mind, many of my neighbours arrange to meet up or just wander down knowing they will bump into friends. The 'south end' is the 'social end'.
If you have a car (or ride Metro 39) go down to Seward Park and walk the perimeter path that follows the lakeside around this peninsula, looking across towards the downtown skyscrapers, it is hard to imagine that you are in a major US city. Within Seward Park there is old growth with the biggest Douglas fir inside city limits, bald eagles nest here and one particular nest is easily viewed from the internal drive that goes up by the amphitheatre.
I have lived in Seattle since 1989 and I love the south end, it doesn’t get the ‘travel show’ attention of other more northerly neighbourhoods but it’s a quiet gem of an experience waiting to happen.
Head south down Rainier Avenue
This rough and ready Vietnamese take out and deli is cheap, friendly, and very good. I have the feeling that without crossing the Pacific this is as close as I am likely to get to Vietnamese street food. Please note: do not be put off by the plain unloved frontage; it is the food that counts.
Just east of 12th and Jackson on the edge of the International District.
Pizzas are a speciality but the menu is great. Rossopomodoro is a chain (Maybe think Pizza Express?) around Italy. This one is in Largo di Torre Argentina, west of Piazza Venezia and three blocks south of the Pantheon. Go upstairs after entering the Tardis-like front door to a large, frantically busy local gem.
Google Map: tinyurl.com/6lwk38
Largo di Torre Argentina
Great place on Via Del Proconsulo, near the Bargello. As you walk from the Duomo towards the river you will do worse than to stop in Yellow Bar - the Nona making the pasta between the kitchen and the stairs alone is worth the price of admission (there isn't a price of admission). Very busy, locals and tourists.
Great food at low, low prices. We had dinner for 30 with wine (and not from a fixed menu!) that came to less than 20 euro per person. Wonderful spot.
Via Del Proconsolo, 39/R
50122 Firenze (FI), Italy
Brilliant and off the beaten track but packed with Florentines. The night we were there Cesare Prandelli (Fiorentina football manager) was there with his staff. They have a large central ebony table that can seat 30 but with a mezzanine level and a large room upstairs they even accommodated my group of 28 without a reservation on a Sunday night!
Great eclectic Italian menu with some southern as well as Florentine classics. Brilliant service. 30 euro per person
Via Pisana - west of Ponte Vecchio on the south side of the Arno...
Sells fantastic Vietnamese food and all profits from the restaurant and sales of postcards etc are given to the excellent Blue Dragon Childrens Foundation, who work with street children and children who have been trafficked in Hanoi and Hue.
I stayed around Baggot Street a few weeks ago. A great location, there are great pubs and restaurants and it's just a few minutes' walk from Trinity College.
I can recommend Dohney & Nesbitts pub, a very traditional pub and great fun and then across the street is Toner Pub, different crowd, but again traditional. Stayed in Baggot Court Townhouse and then for a change moved to Fitzwilliam Square and stayed at Fitzwilliam Townhouse, great places to stay, Georgian buildings and, most of all, good value.
It's in the heart of the theatre district and is an independently run venue. I've never seen an Indian restaurant and live music bar rolled into one - it's fab.
The Spice Lounge
No. 3, Savoy Crescent
Central Milton Keynes
Tours is the main town in the Loire Valley but there are lots of other pretty villages such as Saumur, Langeais, Luyns, Amboise, Blois and many more. You can find great local food and wine in La Touraine, now officially recognised by Sarkozy, and others I hope, as the gastronomic capital of France as well as the Garden of France. For couples or families it's a great French summer holiday without the crowds of the south.
Shakespeare was to rhyming couplets what this place is to bangers and mash. Mix loads of different sausages (from a fine local butcher in Hove) with as many different types of mash. Good job the bangers and mash is so good because it's the only food they do (aside from a smashing Sunday roast.) Top staff and great music seal the deal. I live in Mexico City now and miss this place massively.
Seven Dials, Brighton
This small restaurant, serving Thai food, is a great pick. The menu offers a wide choice of dishes and having tried a few different ones, I have to say they are all equally delicious.
The food is always perfectly cooked and offers exceptional value for money. The atmosphere is very friendly and the staff are delightful. An absolute must for those who enjoy Thai food. It is best to book ahead however, as they do get very busy.
83 High Street
Shanklin, PO37 6NR
Beautiful, stylish and the best hangover curing breakfast I've ever had... that could be because it included Buck's fizz in the buffet.
It's walking distance to the centre of the city but secluded enough within its diplomatic quarter to be quiet.
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