This modern Indian restaurant is tucked away on Rose Street North between Princes and George Street. Not a salubrious location but well worth seeking out. The food is sublime, tasty, imaginative, well presented and unlike any Indian food I have ever been offered. Both food and wine prices very reasonable.
70 Rose Street North Lane, Edinburgh. Tel 0131 225 1233
This great vegetarian restaurant has been running in Totnes for at least 20 years. It has a warm relaxed atmosphere with some communal tables. In the back, there is a pretty garden and a children's area. There is a great selection of organic, seasonal food, including a large variety of casseroles, quiches, soups and salads at lunch time. There's also wonderful choice of gâteaux, wheat-free munchies and yummy puddings, plus fair trade coffees, teas and a good variety of organic beers and wines. The Willow is open from 10am until 5pm and again in the evening. Wednesday night is curry night (very authentic) and Fridays is live music.
87 High Street
Tel: 01803 862605
Four-star, central, very clean, business rooms (£40) have free internet access. Restaurant does weird western food if you can't face Chinese for the 17th night in a row. I had fish fingers and chips with a blob of jam and my partner had mushrooms on toast with a little pool of lemon curd. Gorgeous.
No.55, Section 2, Ren Min Nan Ave, Chengdu, Sichuan 610016.
It's fish and chips for me from French's at Wells-on-Sea. Such a bore when the queues out the door, but well worth the wait. Open or wrapped? Eat in or take out? Cod, plaice or rock salmon? Mine's always haddock. Divine crispy batter, lips greased by chips. Watching that waistline? What does it matter! (Closed Monday to go fishing.)
10 The Quay
Tel: 01328 710396
Intimate in the way only tapas bars can be intimate, prices here are very reasonable and the atmosphere is suitably Mediterranean. The scratched-on-with-a-knife graffiti decor is not, however, to everyone's taste.
0031 20 422 62 50
Toss the tikka masala and go to eat where Indians eat Indian. Ignore the Harvester-style decor of this pub-turned-curry-joint in a corner of London that is forever India, and prepare to be dazzled by the East African-influenced cuisine that makes most curries taste like the runt of a Big Mac litter. Slobber down crunchy chilli-fried cassava and stunning moushkaki. Add a chilled Kenyan Tusker beer or two. Try the chilli chicken masala, and I warn you — you'll need a Tusker with that baby...
Honeypot Lane, Stanmore
Tel: 020 8206 1024
Tooting is curry heaven and Kastoori is its nirvana. The restaurant is run by the Thanki family (from Gujarat via Uganda). For vegetarians, like us, this is the best of all restaurants. Start the meal with delicate, filled puris, follow up with marsala dosa (filled super-thin pancakes) served with spicy sambar. Mr Thanki and his staff will help you choose your meal. This ensures that you do not over-order, which is easy to do. Finish off with kulfis (Indian ice cream) and the final surprise of a modest bill for such a wonderful feast.
188 Upper Tooting Road, SW17
Tel: 020 8767 7027
Lovely park to go to when you're a bit sick of the often touristy Englischer Garten (however nice it is there too). Little lake in the middle, with a good restaurant and biergarten, where you can regularly catch a bit of live music, in the middle of that.
Described as 'the finest Indian cuisine on planet earth', this restaurant, part of the Sheraton hotel in New Delhi, is truly fantastic. The menu focuses mainly on North Indian cuisine, with an open kitchen so you can see the chefs at work.
Bill Clinton has dined here, (there is a dish named after him - a mixed Indian platter he apparently said was exquisite), and it is often frequented by Indian celebrities. Having said that, the prices are not too steep (compared to an equivalent meal in a similar setting in Europe or the US, it truly is a bargain), and it is certainly worth a visit.
Hotel Sheraton, Diplomatic Enclave, Sadar Patel Marg, New Delhi 110 021
Tel: 91 11 2611 2233
Fax: 91 11 26113333
Hands down the best Gujarati restaurant I have ever been to. Choose from a varierty of sumptious thalis, and eat to your hearts content as you are continously served freshly cooked specialities by traditionaly dressed waiters.
Ajmal Khan Road
OK you need to know someone who is a member to get invited to the Habitat Centre Restaurants, but if someone offers to, just grab the opportunity. They are faboulous and reasonable. The Indian, Chinese and the Bar serving snacks, are all equally good.
Habitat World at the Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Tel: 91 11 4122 0000
This is a popular restaurant serving great South Indian food. It's always busy and you'll probably have to queue to share a table, but its worth it. It was the place to be and be seen last year, and the owner of the hotel I stayed at who is always on a mission to find the best new place to eat took me there. He thought it was so good he made me promise not to send a review in to the Lonely Panet. It's been nearly a year and the 'it' crowd has probably moved on, so I think it's now safe to spread the word. Go for the masala dosai and if you are missing the fantastic South Indian coffee, decoction, they have it here!
46 Janpath, New Delhi 110 001
Tel: 011 2331 7755
After years of experimenting all over town with other Asian restaurants, this is the restaurant our 'swimming club' has settled on. Fusion may be pushing it slightly (trendy lilac and silver interior) but the food is vastly more modern than most Asian restaurants and we have had puy lentils as dhal. Superb. Fish tikka with chilli sauce like a salsa and the kahari bindi gost (lamb and okra) are a couple of favourites. Excellent vegetarian dishes. The portions are huge and often there is an extra dish to try. No lurid colours, plenty of spice and garlic. The owner has said he would like to do proper Pakistani food and we would like to see a specials board.
489-491 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, M21
Tel: 0161 881 7200
Classiest décor? Reputation? Food? For the Chinese, it is only the food that counts, with a serious nod to value for money. A recent meal at the Kwok Man showcased cooking of rare quality in decor that was the opposite. Eating off the handwritten Cantonese menu, a dish of steamed minced pork with salted fish was sublime. We also ordered earthy deep fried pigs intestine stuffed with minced prawn meat and dau mui (tender mange tout leaves) stir fried with crushed garlic. Both were very fine indeed. Good Chinese food, real Chinese food - a class act in Manchester.
28 Princess Street, Chinatown
Telephone: 0161 228 2620
Whether you’re after wild boar sausages (with sauerkraut, tomatoes and onion to dollop into the bap), fishfinger sandwiches (slabs of prime, fresh cod in breadcrumbs) or soup of the day ('Help yourself to bread'), this cafe offers a simple but mouthwatering selection of fare bought fresh from Borough Market. The open frontage allows the diner to watch the market hustle and bustle, while the patio heaters inside keep the elements at bay. The cosy setting of mixed chairs, shared tables and a sideboard of jams, pickles and bread throws the customer into a farmhouse kitchen. And they sell bread.
Borough Market, 8 Stoney Street, SE1
Rani serves the most wonderful Gujarati vegetarian cuisine and prides itself on making all the items on the menu. The owner is invariably on hand to welcome you into the warm and friendly environment. Waiting staff are knowledgeable, attentive and, if needed, will help you work your way to making the difficult decision as to what to choose from such an extensive, well-priced menu. If this is too difficult, they have a yummy range of set menus, or go on Sunday when it is buffet lunch. They are child-friendly, too!
7 Long Lane, Finchley Central
Tel: 020 8349 4386/2636
One of the best-kept secrets in north London, the Raj Villa specialises in fish dishes as well as providing outstanding examples of the usual fare at affordable prices. You must try the Goan fish masala - fresh sea bass simmered in tomato, turmeric and lemon grass. And if you like it hot, then it has to be the fish Bengal – with plenty of fresh chillies. Service is superb with just the right attention to your needs – none of that awful fawning that seems de rigueur in some places. And if you are lucky the owner might let you touch his football signed by the Arsenal team: enough recommendation in itself for one part of north London.
148 Colney Hatch Lane, Muswell Hill; 020 8815 0707
The Spaghetti Factory is a quirky restaurant that is excellent value for money - a loaf of freshly baked sour dough bread, free refill soft drinks, starter, ice cream and tea and coffee, are included with the price of your main course. Fantastic for feeding a whole family!
The restaurant itself is a treasure trove of Tiffany glass panels and lights, mismatched furniture means you may be seated on a grand wooden throne or inside a reclaimed streetcar, and should you glance up check out the many artefacts and trinkets that adds to the family atmosphere.
#54 The Esplanade
Parking available; Meter & pay parking
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