Francis Tea Rooms are redolent of a more elegant era, when women wore lace gloves and indulged in afternoon fancies.
On a quiet back street behind Scarborough's Esplanade you will find 1930's wood-panelled booths (the tea room was once a barber's), vintage mismatched china, and embroidered lawn tablecloths.
A full range of Taylor's teas are served by the pot with lemon or milk, and there are a plethora of savoury dishes and home-baked cakes to tempt the tastebuds. The rarebit is particularly good, but my all time favourites have to be the lemon meringue and the cream teas.
7 South Street, Scarborough
Google map: bit.ly/JIbj4C
A lovely wine bar. Not being much of a connoisseur of wines, I can only say that there is an extensive list. For me the food is by far the most important! There is a vast choice of dishes and the menu interestingly (for this neck of the woods) indicates vegetarian options (the online one doesn't really do it justice). My favourite dish was marinated tuna on a bed of seaweed, with wasabi dressing. Tapas are a little more expensive than in bog-standard bars, but are quite generous portions. Some patience needed with waiters when bar is busy. I am eager to return to try more of their delicious food.
Paseo de Catalina de Ribera, 4 41004 Seville, Spain
+34 954 41 06 00
Google map: bit.ly/JrgVoY
* BecomingSevillana is our Been there local for Seville. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/seville-local-kim.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/BecomingSevillana.jsp
She also has her own blog: becomingsevillana.blogspot.com/
Everyone in Portugal eats cake - it's a national pastime!
I developed my passion or perhaps obsession with cakes when sailing the Algarve. Apparently there are 365 different types of cake in Portugal and I did my best to try as many as possible.
Broa castelar – Sweet potato cakes
Mini Cenoura – mini carrot cakes
Pastel de Nata A type of egg custard cake with a thin multi layered pastry sprinkled with cinnamon (best if warm)
Carrot cake gateau
Mini almond cup cakes
Mini orange and almond cup cakes
Heavy cake - a very heavy cake(My least favourite)
Lemon swiss roll cake (a sort of heavy cake)
Baked crusty fruit bread
Apple strudel pastry
Bolo de aroz (muffin type cake)
There's still a lot of tasting to do upon my return.
Shops, bars, cafes, markets, bakeries
Hugely popular with Reykjavikers seeking an affordable spot for lunch who come for its fresh baked bread, home made soups, and its fantastic fish of the day (fish cakes on the day I went), Ostabúðin doesn't seem to be on the radar of the tourist guidebooks.
Ostabúðin’s little hidden secret is its cosy restaurant on the bottom floor, open during lunch hours, (from 11:30 to 14:30). The small space only has a couple of seats and usually fills up quickly every day, but as the service is fast you don't have to wait long.
A little better on the food side than De Koffie Salon, with a very fine coffee in its own right, is Anne & Max. The feel here is less retro and artistic than the Koffie Salon and perhaps more generic, but you still feel the ambience (gezelligheid, in Dutch) of Amsterdam when sitting by the window or at the big brown tables upstairs or downstairs. The food selection, with breakfast, lunch, even high tea on the menu, is quite nice and reasonable. You'll find them in Haarlem and Alkmaar as well. The Amsterdam location is well-placed just a block from the "bottom" of Vondelpark, away from the tourist hordes.
Zijlstraat 68 zw, 2011 TP Haarlem
+31 (0)23 7074535
Google map: bit.ly/Kw4FAh
* Jeff is our Been there local for Amsterdam. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/amsterdam-local-jeff-funnekotter.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/jefffunnekotter
Our daughter in Lagos proudly brought us here on the day we met the boyfriend. Tucked away in the mazy old-town, the name means little house of delicious morsels. The tables cosy up to a cooking area where the blur of white is chef Luis. The fare is traditional Algarve and Luis’s special is his Cataplana - steamed amêijoas (clams), chouriço sausage, pork, tomato and potato and you may need to join a queue at busy times. Thank you Phoebe and Alberto.
On Rua da Oliveira between Rua do Ferrador and Rua Professor Luís Azevedo. Two minutes walk from the river. In high season if driving, park near the marina and enjoy the walk.
Google maps: http://g.co/maps/gu3sq
It is a great place to eat if you are a hungry expat longing for a decent western meal. I recommend the steak fajitas, best in China.
9, First Ring Road South, Section 1, Lower Level, Chengdu
+86 138 8178 2604
Despite the bi-lingual menu and proximity to Lisbon's premier roundabout, this isn't tourist food - our fellow diners are ageing tango-partners and Benfica FC's faithful, fortifying themselves for the night to come. A poached egg floats on a raft of toast, in a broth teeming with scallions. Rupture it and watch the yolk form into little pebbles, bumping against globes of olive oil. Salt cod is muscular and tarry from the overhead grill, the vegetables glinting in garlic butter. As a 'Padaria' or bakery by day, dessert can be chosen from the luminous cases of pastries and sponges around the bar.
244 Avenida de Liberdade, Lisbon
Metro Station: Marques de Pombal
Google map: bit.ly/Lcl3Fj
Vegan-friendly, organic, international, Portugese, gourmet, salad bar, buffet, juice bar, beer/wine, take-out. Terra, meaning "earth", serves vegetarian meals made from mostly organic ingredients with many vegan options. The kitchen relies on the riches of ethnic vegetarian cuisine of the East as well as flavours of Portuguese and Mediterranean traditions. Specialties are presented in a buffet consisting of dishes like sushi, curry, veggie kebabs, and shoarma by way of salads and vegetarian versions of traditional Portuguese. Natural juices, bio soft drinks, beer, Mevushal and non-Mevushal kosher wine, and desserts. Set in a charming old building with a private garden, eat inside the cozy restaurant or al fresco in the shadow of century old trees, sometimes with live music. English spoken. Also a shop selling fair trade artifacts, bio snacks, incense, handcrafted soaps.
Park next to Llyn Geirionydd, and take a walk across Mynydd Deulyn – "mountain of the two lakes" - into the beautiful Crafnant Valley. Follow the easily accessible path around Llyn Crafnant, and then before you head back, stumble across this unassuming cafe, tucked away on the banks of the lake (table cloths pegged down just in case!). Take in the beautiful and unspoilt scenery, with a proper cup of tea and a very generous slice of delicious home made cake. We sit and linger and day dream, until finally heading back over the mountain.
After a day spent being a literary tourist at Hill Top Farm and tracing Wordsworth's footsteps, I thoroughly recommend a visit to Baldry's Tea Room in Grasmere. Though at first it's shabby-chic appearance may not appeal, you really would regret not trying Baldry's world famous Lemon Meringue Pie. I can understand why it's world famous, it is a gluttons dream! My companions Victoria sponge (also delicious) came served on a vintage bone china tea plate, my lemon meringue pie was so huge it had a cake plate all to itself. Delicious pastry, zingy creamy lemon filling, and clouds of chewy, caramelised meringue abound. As for the tea, it was loose leaf, in a proper pot with proper china cups and saucers, what more could you ask for? And the staff are lovely. They serve breakfast and lunch too, but I still have daydreams about the pie. It's the ideal spot to sit in the Lake District sunshine (if you're lucky!) and watch the world pass by while writing a postcard home. Oh, and don't forget to pick up some of the (also famous) Grasmere Gingerbread for the journey home.
Red Lion Square, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9SW +44(0)1539 35301
Google map: bit.ly/K7rFH1
La Fourchette is a charming, very French cafe on the Church Rd in Hove, just off the seafront and a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the promenade. It is comfortable and authentic, with leather chairs plus more formal seating. It serves the most delicious patisserie this side of Paris, beautiful, individual cakes which are simply a delight to behold as well as eat. Large selection of teas and coffees plus 'citron presse'. A nice alternative to the traditional Sussex cream tea
This delightful corner café is off the beaten track, just off the seafront in Kemp Town. It's possibly named after Mr Hudson and Mrs Bridges of Upstairs Downstairs and indeed it has a little 'upstairs' perch complete with vintage decor. The foodie treats greet you as you walk in. Wonderful French macaroons, delicious cakes of all types, tarts, lots for choc-lovers and gluten free slices, all presented beautifully and in full view. Tea is served in pretty china, lots of choice. The interior is welcoming, friendly, little corners to sit and while away time in, they never rush you. Our favourite is a mirrored, kitsch, three sided, silk-cushioned, Fifties-inspired alcove. They open the big long windows at the front in the summer for an alfresco feel, a gem!
Oh and there are lovely fresh savoury offerings too, all home-made and yummy.
237 Eastern Rd, Brighton, BN8 4TD
Google map: bit.ly/KrfH9Y
Rather than going somewhere for tea and cakes, why not have Lulabelle come to you. She is a pink VW campervan, thought to be the oldest working in the UK, who, with the help of her owner, will bring delicious tea and cakes to you with a real vintage feel and flair. Perfect for parties and outdoor events, we spotted her last week at Malton Food Festival where her delicious cakes such as chocolate & Guinness and passion fruit & banana, along with tea served in vintage china, were a big attraction with the foodies.
The cafe at Jodrell Bank is used not only by those who've gone to explore the Observatory but also as a pit stop for passing cyclists in the Cheshire countryside. The decor includes clocks telling you what the time it is on Mars, Venus or in a black hole. It has an appetising array of cakes with lots of gluten free options too. Not only that but they serve you a huge pot of tea with whole milk from the local farm and, even better than this, the waiter came over and offered to top up the hot water for us- absolute bliss!
Jodrell Bank Observatory, the University of Manchester, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL
+44 (0)1477 571321
"A small place with great taste "
This rustic, traditional Portugese restuarant is the place to be if you want a real taste of the Algarve. Situated just off the main street, the "Green Door" never fails with its sparkling fresh fish, relaxed friendly staff and great prices. The service is excellent and I personally recommend the fish cataplana. Don't go if you want to dine privately because you can end up sharing a bench with other people, but for me this adds to the experience.
Rua dos pescadores, 25, Alvor 8500, Portugal
+351 282 458 528
Google map: bit.ly/J8dpem
Tea and cakes! - this converted station offers a warm welcome and not just to cyclists. it's at the point of the C2C ride where you begin the downhill swoop to Consett. A haven for those who want to rest sore muscles and they serve excellent home made cake - or broth, if its cold and you have cycled more up-hill miles than you planned.
Ulverston, a charmingly pretty market town at the southern tip of the Cumbria Way in the south Lakes, but not so charming on a cold, wet, gloomy Sunday at any time of the year. Thank goodness then for Gillam’s Tea Rooms in Market Street, a sanctuary for the damp and disorientated. Warm, steamy (on a wet day) and always welcoming, Gillam’s fayre includes the best selection of afternoon teas and the most indulgent welsh rarebit you can imagine. But best of all is the children’s afternoon tea, served on its own tray with a small-person sized tea set. Take the kids … but don’t tell a soul!
Portugal isn't known for its great gastronomy, and outside of Lisbon its hard to find restaurants without the decor of a UK public toilet with stark white tiling from floor to ceiling, though these restaurants run by their owners with the wife generally doing the cooking do delicious home-cooked food.
In the little visited Alentejo I would recommend Estremoz Saturday market in its large marble lined main square, where even the kerb stones are made of marble. Here little old ladies sell whatever is fresh in their vegetable garden and from their fruit trees, and their husbands sell their olive oil, olives and honey. Ask "posso provar" can I try in Portuguese and everyone will be willing to offer you a taste. The market is famous for its cheeses and cured meats all hanging on public display ripe for a tasting. After you have shopped try a tiny restaurant near to one of the old town gates, restaurant Azul, where every Saturday the kitchen offers three main meals, usually one fish and two types of pork, sometimes chicken served with plenty of homemade chunky bread, fresh olives, chips and salad. A main meal will cost around five euros without wine, hang your flat cap on the wall and sit down and enjoy!
Estremoz market, every saturday early until around 12.30pm, many buses from Lisbon or drive from Lisbon around 1 1/2 hours
Azul: Rua Victor Cordon n0 39, 7100-560, Estremoz, Portugal
Google map: bit.ly/LlaQ8W
This is probably the best "marisqueira", i.e. seafood restaurant, in the greater Lisbon region. It is located in downtown Vila Franca de Xira, a small city to the NE of Lisbon (about 24 km from Lisbon) known for its bullfighting tradition. You can reach the city by car (less than 30 min on the A1 motorway) or by train (Vila Franca de Xira station, from Oriente or Santa Apolónia stations in Lisbon).
The restaurant serves a wonderful "sapateira" (brown crab). Make sure you order the buttered toasted bread onto which you spread the paste that comes inside the crab's shell. Try the amêijoas à Bulhão Pato too. These are some of the best clams in Portugal. And, of course, try the typically Iberian "percebes" (goose barnacles).
Everything is fresh, good quality, and cooked to perfection. It is not touristy at all. Its clients are locals. I know the restaurant isn't open every day of the week, but cannot recall which day it isn't (so call before visiting).
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