Unspoilt Gümüşlük, stubbornly refusing to allow any concrete tourist developments within its tiny bay, is the prettiest fishing village on the Bodrum peninsular. And just a short walk away, hidden along the road towards Yalıkavak, is Limon Café, the region's most picturesque restaurant. From the road you walk through an unprepossessing series of shacks, past the art shop and kitchen through to the outside bar and terraced garden. Under the sky an assortment of wooden tables, chairs and sofas sit higgledy-piggledy, lit with candles or low lights, and decorated with home-made ceramics. Oversized cushions artfully tumble down the hill, inviting you to lounge and admire the view across the ruins of ancient Myndos. The food, often flavoured with lemons, is predictably fresh, scrumptious and authentic. Try the home-made lemonade or lemon cocktails before you eat. It is all made just that bit more magical by the nightly spectacular sunsets over the Aegean.
Beautiful Fethiye, on the edge of the Lycian coast, is a spectacular bay. With the wild snow-capped Taurus mountains as a backdrop it is one of the dreamiest places to spend the winter. On the harbour, just in front of the ancient theatre by the marina, is Fethiye's best local restaurant. Unlike the fish market and other harbour-side restaurants frequented by Fethiye's summer tourists, Ocakbaşı Iskele stays open all year round. The local community – and holiday makers who want authentic Turkish dishes made from local produce – come here for its tasty meat dishes and that morning's catch. You can sit outside in the summer and watch the turtles swimming in the harbour, or go inside where they'll cook flavoured şiş kebaps in front of you while you wolf down the best mezzes in town.
Prices are better than the average over-priced restaurants in most Turkish sea resort towns, with starters from 4TL for the unmissable aubergine mezze. Wines are not cheap (but then they are not cheap anywhere in Turkey) and at 7TL for a glass it is better value to go for a bottle. Beer is 5TL.
In the winter they close up the floor to ceiling windows in the front and light the log fire, creating a simply perfect atmosphere to while away the cold, dark evenings over coffee and whatever else tickles your fancy. We spent many happy hours here during our stay from October to April lingering over mezzes and rakı.
Corner of Fevzi Cakmak Cad,
(By the marina, overlooking the harbour)
(Nr Telmessos Ancient Theatre)
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.
You’ll need to arrive earlier than the Spanish to ensure a table and tapas in this thriving,
buzzy Asturian community centre, open Friday to Sunday evenings and staffed by volunteers for the last 20 years. Inside older community members prop up the bar, and tables of Spanish speakers alternate with other nationalities, all happily gorging on generous plates of gambas, ham, cheese, sardines and calamares – washed down with beer for 1 euro or Asturian cider, poured from a great height to get the air into it. Past the bar with its photos of landscapes and Asturians proudly wielding their prize-winning cabrales cheese, the centro gives way to a village hall atmosphere, complete with functional tables and plastic chairs. Last time I was convinced our table of seven had over-done it: we’d ordered nearly everything on the menu, twice! But we still managed to finish everything – and three bottles of rioja - for the princely sum of 20 euros per head.
Open Friday and Saturday evenings and for lunch on Sunday.
171 rue Haute/Hoogstraat, 1000 Brussels
+32 (0)2 511 05 59
Google map: bit.ly/ysbmVR
Bec is our Been there local for Brussels. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/brussels-local-rebecca.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/Becinbrussels
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!
A lunch time visit to La Cigale enroute back to the UK lifted our post vacation spirits. La Cigale dates back to the 1890’s and the décor is truly breathtaking.
Ornate tiling between the wooden panels and gorgeous mosaics. The white-aproned waiters were straight out of Allo, Allo.
The Cigale can be seen in various poses in the tiles and mosaics. Apparently the cigale plays and eats all summer, a creature of the moment. The ambiance of La Cigale coupled with the delicious food, sea food is a speciality, encourages you to live in the moment.
After winding your way through the Marais district, behind the Place des Vogues on the corner of a street, is a small bistro bursting with colour, ambience and delicious food. You can wait for a table by the bar, which has a fabulous range of Provencal wines and then nestle into one of the chairs or benches, under large bright prints with scenes from the French Riviera. Starting with some tasty olives, the food is fantastic, especially the classics such as the mussels, steak and duck; somebody at your table (even if it’s for one!) has to have the chocolate mousse. Although very popular, this bistro seems to be off the tourist track, humming with local chat and is so quintessentially French, it has become a favourite place to visit in Paris.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org