Where to start? This is a little, six-table, tucked-away Italian restaurant run by patron/chef Emil, a Bulgarian who spent 17 years in Italy.
The night four of us went it was empty (Sofia natives disappear in August). No menu, we willingly went along with whatever Emil proposed. After bruschetta, wonderful antipasti, then a ravioli (home made, of course) of spinach and ricotta with a gentle creamed tomato sauce with shrimps and courgettes. Each flavour given its proper due.
Then two of us shared a salt-baked fish, two shared a fillet steak with fresh peppercorns. Although we had no room for more, Emil suggested we share a tiramisu and a torta ricotta. How can I ever eat another tiramisu, now that I know how it can be? Both desserts made for the Gods. Limoncello on the house.
Only Italian wines here, so perhaps wine is a little more expensive than elsewhere. Each dish simple, each element a perfection of taste and texture, cooked with passion. What more could one want? This was a meal I will never forget. For such a memory, we spent 60 Leva each, about €30. Booking is essential. (I know, it was empty the night we went, but that was chance!)
ulitsa Lavele 11 - entrance in ul Lom
02 986 08 54
(between bul Todor Aleksandrov and bul. Aleksanser Stambolski)
open 11.30 - midnight
Perhaps one of the only restaurants of its type in Europe, this intimate little eatery serves up piping hot Japanese pancakes - imagine a big potato pie stuffed with fillings - and boasts a stunning location in the picturesque Jordaan. Mains from around 13 Euros: check out the 'dancing fish flakes' for added entertainment.
Tweede Eglantiersdwarsstraat 24a (a side street off Eglantiersgracht perpendicular to the west side of Prinsengracht)
+31 20 320 4447
I found this place whilst on holiday in Cornwall in July. It's a bar/ restaurant/ live music venue in the most beautiful idyllic setting literally yards from the beach on the edge of a nature reserve.
Great views, great food, great music, great service. And it seems to be open round the clock too!
Sandsifter Bar and Restaurant
Hayle TR27 5ED Tel: 01736 758457
We visit the Lizard regularly to stay with family and trips would not be complete without visiting Roskilly's Farm once or twice. Lovely walks around extensive ponds, woodland and the coastal paths and a working organic dairy farm. Children love seeing the cows being milked - followed by the Roskilly family's homemade ice cream made from the aforementioned Jersey cows.
The Croust House is their lovely cafe with wholesome food (meringue glace with homemade clotted cream, you can't beat it). We even stayed in one of their holiday cottages for a week one year, homely, comfy and very friendly. Also enjoy the Roskilly (grown-up) children's creative work in the furniture and stained glass that abound. Oh, and you can buy a little book on how to make clotted cream.
Just had a week down in Cornwall and enjoyed it as always (slowly uploading photos to flickr if interested).
I will recommend The Lugger Hotel, a lovely little hotel in the secluded fishing village of Portloe. I had the most fantastic crab sandwich and glass of white wine sitting in the sun on their terrace overlooking the slipway. Beautiful
A fine Indian restaurant with a €11.50 set lunch (not Sundays) and lovely decor. Something different from steak frites - and in a country where Indian restaurants are still a rarity, well worth finding.
Rue de la Clouterie, Chartres - old city centre, 5 mins walk from the cathedral
There are Irish pubs in the most unlikely corners of the world - I watched the Rugby World Cup final in one such in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
There are three in Sofia. Murphy's is typical of the breed, but has something extra - it is immaculately run by charming staff. On a crowded big match day the empty glasses were immediately removed, as were the used ashtrays.
The bar food (onion rings, chicken wings, chips) crispy and grease-free. There is a wider menu of comfort food such as shepherd's pie. The full glasses quickly arrived, with a smile. One large screen and several smaller ones make sure everyone has a view of the sporting action.
A credit to the genre, and I recommend it highly.
ul Kurnigradska 6
tel 02 980 28 70
Great food with a north African influence to it, and they serve wine by the jug. Great place to eat if you're travelling alone. Do book in advance though.
St.Andrews Street Bistro
16 St.Andrews Street
Tel: 01736 797074
Tempted by a guide saying this was "the best pasta in Sofia" we went to this Italian restaurant in a smart residential suburb.
In terms of decor and general ambience this is a stylish and elegant (two words not usually associated with Sofia) restaurant that would not look out of place in Beverly Hills or Belgravia.
Sadly, the food was less imaginative and not up to the cooking standards of the amazing cheap'n'cheerful Double Espresso in Balham. Spaghetti alio olio, my test for an Italian kitchen, had no evidence of garlic. Penne Arrabiata bland. At the upper end of prices by local standards. Sorry. Go for a stylish meeting or a drink - forget the food.
ul Atanas Dalchev 6 Sofia 1113
tel: 02 970 01 28
Simply one of the best places to eat fresh, local seafood on the south coast of England. I had my favourite ever dish here, hake, caught that morning, cooked with cornish yarg. Delicious.
1-3 Polkirt Hill
Cornwall PL26 6UR
Tel: +44 (0)1726 842174
1-3 Polkirt Hill
Cornwall PL26 6UR
Tel: +44 (0)1726 842174
A genuine French restaurant, French chef/owner and Bulgarian wife make it welcoming and familial.
The food is superb from the relatively small seasonal menu. Warm fig salad, duck with honey and balsamic vinegar, and desserts to die for, all make this a-little-above-average-priced restaurant worth every Lev.
Closed Sundays and in August (well, it is French!)
Open 12 - 10pm weekdays, 6pm-10pm Saturdays.
ul Tsar Simeon 78
(about four blocks north of pl Nezavismost)
tel 02 983 14 17 or 0887 523 376
Opened in 1926, timber beamed and clad, a large restaurant with many covers, but with several spaces inside and out, so that everywhere seems reasonably intimate. Tree shaded courtyards.
Traditional Bulgarian food of the highest quality - and huge portions! Plenty for vegetarians, and a meat-eaters heaven. My mixed grill was one of the best I have ever eaten. The large menu and extensive wine list are very reasonable. On a Monday evening, the restaurant was completely full, which would indicate essential booking. Highly recommended. Folk music on weekend evenings, which I haven't experienced.
ul Elin Pelin 1
tel: 02 866 50 53
open 12 noon - 1am
Apparently there are 161 monasteries in Bulgaria, and this restaurant has 161 dishes on the menu taken from them, made an even more lengthy read with its anecdotes, proverbs and cooking tips.
The traditional food is superb, with many dishes not usually found even in other "traditional" menus. An extensive wine list, a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere make this an ideal place to go for a leisurely meal. Like most restaurants in Sofia, it is open all day, in this case from 11am-2am.
In the heat, the courtyard is a delight, with trees and a water mist system that keeps it wonderfully cool. Be warned that in this and most restaurants in Bulgaria, the portions are more than generous - sharing is fun! Booking absolutely essential.
Ed's note: see updates by same author.
ul. Han Asparouh 67
tel 02 980 38 83
Off 6 Septemvri Str, one block from Patriarh Evtimrii Bld.
Churros con chocolate is a great Spanish traditional breakfast. There's a little churreria stand on the square between the Alcazar and the Caliphal baths.
Order your churros (sort of long doughnuts), watch them being fried, and eat them on the hoof. Much better than a slice of toast and coffee.
A massive beer hall and good, monk-brewed beer. But, to get the best out of it, you need to know the ropes.
Buy your food from the little shops that line the corridor; sausages and roast pork; olives; cheese spread and stuffed peppers. Remember, the bread comes from the bakery, the butter from the delicatessen!
Then queue up to pay for your beer, and collect your receipt. Next, grab a mug and finally, present it for filling at the tap. Then relax and enjoy!
Lindhofstrasse 7, Muelln, Salzburg
Good food at any time, but especially the breakfast. Best Sunday breakfast I know in the UK.
Forget about breakfast in your hotel, cooking your own toast and lukewarm coffee. The Kings Wark do not just do a fantastic fry up, but a wide variety of other options as well (veggie, kippers etc).
Great staff, and the food is excellent, freshly cooked rather than sitting around under warming lights. Plus as much freshly made coffee as you can drink.
36 Shore, Leith, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH6 6QU. Telephone: 0131 554 9260
Raadhuskafeen is an old restaurant right across from the city hall which serves traditional Danish food. For lunch, choose from a huge menu of open sandwiches or old-fashioned warm dishes, or go for an evening meal and savour plentiful traditional warm dishes. The perfect way to explore typical and traditional Danish cuisine. Reservation required - it is a popular place!
Sønder Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Tel: +45 8612 3774
Famous old hotel in Kangaroo Point with a fantastic view across the river of the CBD. Good tucker in three different bars or in the adjoining steak house (Deery's Restaurant). Annual cockroach racing on Australia Day.
Converted Liverpool-built steam tug boat that plied its trade in Cape Town, now forms a stylish, excellent restaurant and bar, specialising in great local seafood, with views to match.
Positively cheap by European standards.
Seafront at Swakopmund, a delightful historic german port and popular seaside resort to get away from the desert heat
A much praised (in the guides) Galician restaurant with a Michelin star. Deperately snooty. Desperately contrived. We should have been suspicious because we walked in and got a table without a reservation. Both other tables were visitors like us. Neither the food nor the service lived up to the star rating (not our first visit to a starred place.) Tasteless Croquetas de Mariscos (we had better in a small bar in Padron the following day for a fraction of the cost.) Pointless sugar flourishes, adding nothing. Appalling unhelpful and begrudging service of courses in the wrong order. Freezing cold cheese platter - explained to us by the chef herself "the Spanish don't eat cheese so we have to keep it in the fridge..." What???? Chef (in civvies) and waiter (with blocked nose - hay fever or a cold?) pacing the floor impatiently throughout the meal - not helpfully, but as if desperate for us to be out of the way - and this was before we had indicated we were not entirely delighted. If you have money to spend on good food, go somewhere else.
Rosalía de Castro, 24 - 15706 Tel.no.: 981 594 100
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