I cannot recommend one place only to enjoy the best cuisine that Turkey has to offer, solely because there are thousands of wonderful places to eat all over the country. I can however recommend that you head to any restaurant/cafe/street stall with the suffix "ci". Kofteci, cigerci, pideci ...
These are the places that specialise in one type of food, meatballs, liver, turkish pizza etc. They know their food, source locally and will serve you their dishes with great pride.
Every city, town and village in Turkey
For all the ageing hippies who headed east in search of enlightenment The Pudding Shop in Istanbul is still there, still acting as a meeting point and still serving good food at a reasonable price. Opened in 1957 the restaurant became a place to stop off for travellers in the 1960s who were heading out towards the cultural nirvana of India and Nepal. In a pre-electronic age its bulletin board acted as a communication hub passing on messages offering and asking for lifts. Today it is a self-service café offering decent Turkish food in Sultanahmet close by the Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. Don’t go for a gourmet experience. Go for a nostalgic experience. Remember the days when travelling meant hitch hiking, VW vans and Citroen 2CVs not easyJet and Ryanair.
Canyamel is a gem of a place, in a fantastic location, which my cousin says "should be kept secret".
It has two beach bars, completely different in style and ambience but both special in their own way. They serve excellent meals, cold beers and good wine.
One is very modern with moulded chairs and tables, lobster evenings, and food and (sometimes live) music 'till late.
The other is more traditional in style, serving lunches, snacks, cervezas, coffees, pollo and fritas.
Both overloook a tranquil secluded bay beneath the Caves of Arta and Cap Vermell and have the feel of old Mallorca about them.
You can sit late into a warm summer's evening listening to the waves on the shore and watching the lights go out on the villas high up on the cliffs which shelter the bay, while eating lobster or locally caught fish.
Canyamel Playa, Capdepera, Mallorca
Google map: bit.ly/x5KuAw
This is the place we come to first when we visit Spain. We leave Malaga airport and make a beeline for Chiringuito beach. The food is always the same which makes it a local favourite and everything is quintessentially Spanish. Gambas Pil Pil, Calamares, Migas and simple grilled meat/fish, all packed full of flavour and riddled with garlic. Antonio a member of the family who owns the restaurant is always on hand with a friendly welcome. The setting is magnificent on a small cove next to Cerro Gordo on a two mile beach in a horseshoe shape - hence La Herradura. It is as cheap as chips but no stinting here on portions or quality. The chips themselves are cooked in olive oil and are divine. Best bit - an early evening tinto de verano (summer wine) watching the sun go down over the headline. Magnifico!
Paseo de Andres Segovia, 18697, La Herradura
+34958 827 550
Google map: bit.ly/z0xJV2
There are a few other nice bars and restaurants nearby but CDLC is by far the best choice. This place serves as a cool, swanky and fashionable eaterie by day and a trendy bar/club by night. Decked out in a fusion of Oriental and Mediterranean decor and ornaments, it's hard not to be drawn in. It's a great place to go for lunch after a stroll/swim at the beach. During the day we took in the glorious sunshine and relaxed on the huge outdoor loungers - the size of a double bed - at the front of the restaurant. It's very much a casual yet chic dining experience. The food was great and elegantly presented. I'd recommend the rice dishes or club sandwiches if it's a light bite you're after. It's a bit pricey but you're paying not only for the food but also the ambience and experience. We came back here later on at night. The atmosphere was completely different, but in a good way. By night CDLC is transformed into a slick, sophisticated and enchanting club where you can reserve individual indoor lounges which are partitioned by long white drapes - it has an almost mystic Middle Eastern feel. Opposite the lounge area is the bar which served a wide range of cocktails. Further back is the dance floor - music policy ranged from chart/dance/electronica/hiphop, so something for all preferences.
Istanbul's skyline is magical at night and one of the best places to enjoy it is from the restaurant on the rooftop of the Adamar Hotel in Sultanahmet. Just a stone's throw from the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, the rooftop terrace has a 360 degree panoramic view, great food and a romantic atmosphere. The Bosphorus Bridge twinkles with ever-changing colours, the commercial district sparkles with modern skyscrapers, and the mosques and minarets glow with golden light. High above the rooftops, the sounds of the muezzins' evening calls to prayer echo and collide in the night sky around you.
And If the weather is less than kind, there is an indoor restaurant on the floor below with equally good views.
The Chef’s House is the first restaurant of its kind in Canada. It’s run by the famous George Brown College Chef School, with students training to cook, bake and serve the public in an open-concept kitchen. Housed in a 3,200 square foot heritage building, the 70-seat space offers daily lunch and dinner menus, food and wine workshops, as well as special food events.
Everything in the restaurant is made from scratch, including breads, salad dressings,
condiments, and ice cream. The menu changes every few weeks, all while taking advantage of local produce and the best available seasonal ingredients. The restaurant promotes local, sustainable food and is an advocate for the Slow Food Movement.
215 King Street East, Toronto, Canada
+1 416 415 2260
Google map: bit.ly/zI4cV8
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/GiuliaFalsetti
For stunning views of seven kilometres of unspoilt, golden sand and sparkling blue sea, look no further than this family-run bar with real Spanish atmosphere and a great selection of meat and fresh fish from the BBQ. Grilled and split langostinos in season are great value and an absolute must, and there's a terrific selection of tapas served from about noon onward. Elevated slightly from the beach, and with a partially glassed-in area to protect from sea breezes, it provides a perfect area to relax over a cerveza or the excellent house wine. Late evening it's buzzing, often to the accompaniment of live music.
This is a really nice little restaurant serving unpretentious Lyonnais food.
The service was good, although obviously being a bit away from the tourist area there was no English spoken. This did lead to us ordering calf's brain by mistake, but we couldn't really send it back, and it was actually quite tasty.
The wine good, as expected, and the bill was fairly reasonable.
One I would recommend, although it might be worth looking out your phrase book if you're not confident of your French.
Over the past ten years, Jeffrey Street’s La Garrigue has steadily built up a loyal following of regulars who don’t need Gordon Ramsay’s endorsement to tell them that this is French food made to the highest order. And then 12 months ago, La Garrigue opened a sister branch on the other side of town, so I popped along to see if the food there was up to scratch.
There is a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and La Garrigue’s whole ambience is similar to sitting in a friend’s front room. Offering wonderful service and mouth-watering dishes, three courses for £30 is exceptional value for the fine ingredients and culinary skill. Be sure to take your appetite.
14 Eyre Place, Edinburgh EH3 5EP
Google map: bit.ly/ydGkYf
* Rachel is our Been there local for Edinburgh. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-local-rachel-brown.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/RachelBrown
If you want authentic high-quality cooking by one of France's greatest chef's, but for a fraction of the price, then make sure you book a table at Alain Ducasse's traditional bistrot in Paris, Aux Lyonnais. As the name suggests all dishes are traditional Lyonnaise fair, including Quenelles a la Lyonnaise, sauce Nantua (yum) and Tarte et île flottante aux pralines roses (even more yum). With set menus for lunch costing as little as 30 euros, this really was a gem of a find. Tucked down a quiet side street, the 1890 decor makes for a sumptuous setting that was clearly good enough for Hollywood, as it recently featured in Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris.
Great little local restaurant in Kennedy Town - an up and coming area in HK, that's 20 mins from Central. Good service and a nice relaxed atmosphere.
Shop 7 Ground Floor, Grand Fortune Mansion, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong.
Google map: bit.ly/zXZysC
Great little local restaurant in Kennedy Town - an up and coming area in HK, that's 20 mins from Central.
Good service, nice relaxed atmosphere.
Shop 7, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
+853 2818 2727
Google map: bit.ly/xrXcSJ
I recommend Brula as an authentic and exquisite French Bistro experience in St Margarets, south west London. It has an amazing interior with stained glass windows and original block wood flooring. A delicious seasonal menu of traditional French classics with a twist keeps things fresh. If you're with a group I'd book the private dining room upstairs. I had a great evening with all the family on the eve of my wedding as they do a superb set menu and on a warm summers evening with the sash windows flung wide open, candles lit and champagne flowing. Magnifique!
This is a warm and friendly French bistro that we found by accident when walking away from the tourist crowds through the back streets of Montmartre (we almost walked past the wooden frontage of the restaurant!) It's a lovely little spot with a great atmosphere, reasonably priced and very tasty classic dishes (around 15 euros for a main course). The wine list has a good unpretentious selection of wine too. Make sure you try the chocolate parfait for dessert! We went around 9pm when it was quite buzzy, and it seemed to go on until quite late - we loved it as the clientele were pretty much all French with the odd tourist dotted around (presumably they had got lost and found it by happy accident like us!)
Karim's is a legendary 100 year-old Mughlai restaurant in the Jama Masjid area of old Delhi. The Roti and Kebab's are unbelievably delicious. You haven't visited Old Delhi until you eat at Karim's or at least enjoy some take-away food.
Typically we stumble on the best restaurants on the last night of our trips, and invariably they are right under our noses. Such was the case with Le Basilic. It is intimate, atmospheric, inviting and affordable with a three set menu for 23 Euro's or the Parisian staples of escargot and duck from the a la carte menu. After feeling ripped off in the majority of Parisian eateries, Le Basilic restored our faith in French bistros, especially considering its location within a mile of Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur (both of which are worth a post dinner stroll). We first found Le Basilic in 2000, were delighted that it was still open when we returned to Paris in 2008 and we make a beeline for it whenever we are are near Montmartre.
A fantastic stop off on your way down through France. A beautiful village in the Beaujolais region. The bistro is situated in the Georges Dubœf Wine Museum serving all the latest wines from this amazing French wine king. The food is simple yet delicious, the cleanliness of the restaurant is exemplary and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is just a step off the TGV station or not far from the A6 Autoroute. The museum is also well worth a visit if you have time.
It is a small welcoming French bistro in a side street in the 11eme, a bit off the tourist track
The menu is short and the food good and the wine list has something for every pocket.
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