Sometimes it is the joy of the unexpected which surprises. Driving around the Bracknell/Ascot/Windsor area we came across a country pub at Newell Green in the parish of Warfield. From the outside it looked pretty plain but once through the door it was a big surprise.
An old fashioned English pub (claims to be over 500 years old), it has been taken over and beautifully refurbished as a bar and restaurant. It is a clever mix of old and new inside and the atmosphere is at once one of warmth, professionalism and high expectations. Tables were beautifully set with white cloths, starched napkins and gleaming glasses and cutlery.
The menu was excellent and featured local produce and game, all cooked to order. I had a brilliant local shot venison burger with quite simply the most fabulous hand cut chips I have ever tasted. I'd return for the chips alone!
My colleague and I, having paused for a quick bite to eat, found ourselves relaxing and enjoying the tranquil atmosphere and excellent food. We lingered on a bit but at no time whatsoever did the staff make us feel our time was up and they wanted us out!
We drove away well fed, well served, well relaxed and marvelled at coming across such a hidden gem. If in the area it would be well worth driving for a meal. Might be best to check if tables available at night. I'd bet this place is well known to the locals and very popular at night. It's a true find!
Pizara café in Oviedo, the best value tapas and wine we had in the Asturias. Try the montaditos - slices of freshly cooked pork on bread, delicious. Also the sausages are very good along with the glasses of dry white wine. Just ask the bartender for a recommendation and you wont be disappointed. Trendy modern tapas café/bar in the plaza de la Catedral.
I fully endorse Amy Jenkins recommendation of Cadbury Hill (Travel, 14/08/2010) but take a tip from a local: good food and drink is available at the bottom of the hill in South Cadbury at The Camelot (01963 440448, thecamelotpub.com), where a permanent display by Somerset County Council gives visitors a glimpse of artefacts from the hill and insight into its occupation from 4000BC to AD1000. You’ll see reconstruction drawings and paintings of the ancient landscape by Jane Brayne (Meet The Ancestors) and the original designs for the film “Arthur”. It’s a pub which gives a friendly welcome to locals and visitors alike at reasonable cost.
Backpackers have been going to Dahab on the Sinai for years and although the town has grown now it is still a great place to meet people and really chill out by the sea.
Diver's House is a really friendly pension that is in the southern part of the town which is far quieter than the northern end which is starting to get "touristy". You can get a double room, but many are triples or sleep four people. The acommodation is basic but you're not there to spend time in your room as you can just walk out onto their sun terrace or that of the Jasmine Restaurant (and Pension) which is opposite. Both have stunning views of the Gulf of Acqaba and the staff there will get your drinks and keep the tab going all day without hassling you to buy more or move on. The bedouine cushion seating there makes it very easy to stay all day!
If you do manage to prise yourself from this laid back cafe the diving instructors and guides with Diver's House are well qualified and friendly. You can though just rent a mask, snorkle and some fins cheaply from any of the stalls along the road and snorkle on the coral reef which runs directly infront of the cafe.
Mashraba Street - Dahab - South Sinai
+20 69 3640885
Google map: tinyurl.com/2wbo993
Mashraba St.- Dahab - South Sinai- Egypt
+20 69 3640 852
From Sharm El Sheik or Cairo there is an East Delta Bus Service that runs regularly during the day and overnight (Cairo to Dahab is 50LE per person).
September 2009 I stumbled across this Japanese/Catalan fusion restaurant just by the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona. Tasty and exotic for a decent price!
C/ Jaume Giralt, 53 08003 Barcelona
Google map: tinyurl.com/3az62mt
Just north of the main SNCF station is the Place Liberation. It's a pretty if busy traditional square opposite the facade of the old Gare Du Sud (the new station has relocated a few hundred yards west). There's a terrific market that's a lot cheaper than the tourist trap that is the Cours Saleya and there's a proliferation of non-touristy cafes and bars as well as an excellent seafood brasserie on the corner of the Boulevard Jean Garnier. For a taste of real urban France in a city obsessed with bling, it's a real find.
The new tram stops there although it's perfectly walkable from the SNCF station.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2vqqhe6
An easy and varied day out for the family.
Leamington has something for almost everyone and all in easy reach of London, Birmingham and all towns in the Shires.
Enough shopping and food not to be thought of as a "hick town" , two decent parks with paddling pool, river, swings and general prettiness. The town is Regency period with the Pump Rooms art gallery and museum with children's activities section as well as a Damien Hirst and Mark Quinn and current Halfway to Heaven iconic photography exhibition.
Take the Chiltern Railways off peak train from Marylebone and arrive an hour and a half later.
Select from the above but my personal recommendation is to visit the Pump Rooms, then hire a boat if it's not raining and then walk up the Parade to Rhubarb for lunch and then explore the little independent shops in Regent and Warwick Streets.
Hire a rowing boat or kayak or pedalo and picnic on the River Leam. If you get as far as the Radford Road allotments ( you can only go one way because of the weir) admire the Russian style riverside dashas and envy those who have been around long enough to get a riverside plot.
Walk up the Parade which is the main shopping street with the ususal chains but cut off along Regent Street to find smaller independent shops such as Cologne and Cotton for lovely colognes and cottons, and independent coffee shops like Corleones (pretty garden at the back.)
Park Street, running north linking Regent and Warwick Streets has posh end shopping as well as a Fair Trade shop and cafe. Roots shoes is good.
Rhubarb for lunch or tea or even dinner if you decide to book in to the dirt cheap Travel Lodge situated right by the Town Hall.
Mill Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 1BE, 01926 889928
The Parade, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
CV32 4AA, 01926 742700.
50 Warwick Street, CV32 5JS, 01926 425005
Google map: tinyurl.com/39pphte
It has a ruined castle, a rocky coast to explore, its own “king” and best of all it’s small enough to feel like a real island. You can walk from one side to the other in minutes. The island’s only habitation is a pub, the Ship Inn, whose landlord traditionally holds the title 'King of Piel.' In summer it is served by a ferry from neighbouring Roa Island, or you can walk across the sands at low tide from Walney Island. Since the last 'King' was installed the pub has been renovated and there is a programme of events over the summer to tempt visitors who want more than just the splendid experience of being able to explore the coast and castle.
The small, picturesque village of St Margaret's Hope is well worth a visit just to experience the food which is conjured nightly in this award winning restaurant. The freshness of the fish is guaranteed as the restaurant changes its menu daily to reflect what has been caught that day, and there is a meat option available for non fish lovers. I would return to Orkney in an instant for no other reason than to dine here again.
Honest food at honest prices. "Real" beef or chicken or bacon burgers, traditionally with bun or healthily with salad, with thick shakes...or Fentimans Ginger beer, and on the Roral Mile,too. Rightly poular with families, locals and tourists.
217 High Street, Edinburgh
Google map: tinyurl.com/3y697ea
No need to extol to Guardian readers the virtues of hummus, but this small New York chain might turn it into your favourite food.
The sheer variety of cheap, nourishing and delicious meals that they make out of the gloopy stuff is incredible. Plus, the restaurants tend to be in trendy places so you won't be short of fun things to do after dinner.
Tucked away in one of Edinburgh's most famous streets, this culinary gem is the perfect place to escape the Festival crowds without leaving the centre of town. Situated on the upper floor of 30 Victoria Street, opposite the fabulous Bow Bar (perfect for a pre or post-dinner drink), it is easy to miss from the street which lends a visit a pleasantly "in the know" feel. Once you're in, the low vaulted loft setting is intimate, charming and very romantic; the food is imaginative, unfussy, beautifully prepared and, (the best bit) excellent value.
The team at Sweet Melinda's genuinely care about ingredients with a focus on seafood and game the dishes are interesting and delicious - all sourced locally, cooked on site and served in the cosy restaurant filled with old quirky photos. Don't miss it if you're a festival goer or just a city visitor
Chop Chop has to be the best Chinese restaurant ever! The dumplings are to die for at this family friendly, family run business. If you visit Edinburgh you have to visit Chop Chop. Right next to Haymarket Station. PS: they've just opened one in Leith.
Elegant boutique guesthouse and restaurant in the most unspoiled part of Turkey. The interior design is exquisite, rooms are comfortable and the food rivals that in any of the best restaurants I have eaten at in Paris, London, Istanbul, Melbourne or New York. The price is very reasonable considering the excellent quality.
L’Artichaut is a warm and welcoming place, simply but charmingly furnished with gorgeous Tim Stead chairs. Their food is seriously sensual, imaginative, beautifully presented, and as seasonal and local as possible.
Service is knowledgeable, with many wines available by the glass, and Cattriona’s wine advice is excellent: on one occasion, my dining companion said he normally drank only white wine, but tonight he wanted a red "which won’t make me feel all shivery." Catriona’s choice was perfect.
I normally find puddings overly sweet and cloying, but L’Artichaut’s pink peppercorn and lime meringues with lemon curd and bitter chocolate sauce is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. So was their polenta and shiitake mushroom terrine with sauce soubise. And their tomato fritters with olive salad and basil and caper pesto. And their chicory and walnut terrine. And their twice-baked wild garlic and gruyere soufflé with chargrilled artichoke and herb cream sauce. (Incidentally, it’s vegetarian, but if you’re not, you won’t even notice because the food is so fabulous - and half the price you’d pay in London).
Escape the tourist hordes and take a short walk from Place Kleber, along Rue de l'Outre, to Brasserie Flo, a cousin of the famous Paris institution, ironically one of the original fin de sicle "Alsatian" Brasseries which transformed the eating habits in France's capital. It attracts Strasbourgers for lunch and dinner inside a faithful copy of the Paris original, from cafe chairs outside to leather booths, stained glass panels and ceiling inside. The main menu replicates the original too, and the changing seasonal menu is an attractive deal at two courses for under €20, or €26 for three, the starters include a slab of delicious foie gras served with sweet mango ‘chutney', or choose oysters, rillettes or goats cheese. The mains offer a freshly chopped steak tartar, spiked with shallots and capers, a substantial and tasty lump of raw beef, served with chips and salad. The choice runs to choucroute, bouillabaisse, lamb chops or salmon followed by - if you have room - a selection of traditional desserts and cheeses.
In the heart of the old town a popular local haunt, small enough to be intimate and decorated in the local wooden style. Almost everything comes with rosti, the ubiquitous Swiss 'hash brown' (grated, pan-fried potato) such as steak, sausage, kidney and liver, plus there's a viable selection of vegetarian courses, a pasta (described as dumplings) with Swiss cheese and mixed vegetables was delicious. Wines are by the glass and carafe and feature Swiss reds.
Marktgasse 19, 8001 Zürich,
+41 (0)44 251 29 91
Google map: bit.ly/9gNw6o
I go here a lot, it's one of my favourite places in Edinburgh for music, drinks and food. The food is really excellent for a bar/restaurant and although the menu is quite limited they do have specials on to supplement choice. I think the food offers pretty good value for money too, although the drinks are certainly approaching typical George Street prices.
19a West Register St, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA
(above The Cafe Royal) which is located on small (and quite dingy) side street accessed from either Princes St or St Andrews Square. Note that there are quite a lot of steps to get up there.)
Google map: tinyurl.com/2uzhc6d
The Chesil Rectory is a beautiful restaurant in the lovely centre of Winchester. Although the prices put it in the "special occasion" category, the menu is incredibly well put together and the food tasty and locally sourced. The restaurant itself is in an old tudor building.
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