Never mind a great restaurant in South Africa, this is one of my favourite restaurants in the world. It's upmarket South African cuisine with Bobotie starters, Ostrich steaks and a superb South African wine list.
Vegetarians - don't worry. They can cater for you as well.
The decor is warm and candlelit in the evening making it a romantic place to go. The staff are efficient yet friendly and really make you feel like you are dining at a friends restaurant. Even the clientelle are set on making you feel welcome - when we retired outside after the meal with our coffees, a regular at the restaurant insisted on buying us an after dinner drink and even invited us the next day to visit his local vineyard. I've eaten in a few swanky places in my time, but none of them are a patch on this place and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
If you're staying in Swellendam as a staging post on the Garden Route, I can recommend La Sosta Italian restaurant.
It's run by a former Milanese optician and his ex-banker wife (he's front-of-house, she's the chef) who decided to down-size their lives and move to South Africa.
The peasant-style food is as good as you'll taste in SA or anywhere else. Try the tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms, or the pork with apples and prunes.
We took our own wine along and they charged us a nominal sum for corkage.
They have rooms to stay, so you don't have to stagger too far to bed.
Aubergine is a fine dining restaurant, regularly rated in Cape Town's top 10. It's in the Gardens area, so walkable if you're staying in Oranjezicht.
We treated ourselves to dinner there on our last night in Cape Town and enjoyed it immensely.
We had a delicious rack of lamb, accompanied by a serious red blend from Springfield Winery ('The Work of Time'), recommended to us by the very friendly (and unintimidating) sommelier, Dom.
It's not cheap - we paid R900 for two courses (for two of us).
Well worth the visit though!
How about this for an authentic French meal?
A starter of goats cheese salad, a main course of steak frites (with an absolutely fabulous piece of steak) followed by a cheese platter and rounded off with a crème brûlée dessert. At the end of the meal we’ll have an espresso coffee and during the meal two glasses of pleasant local wine. Well, this was what was on offer last week at our local bistro for an unbelievable €12! This isn’t an isolated example and around our local area of the Loire Valley, just north of Saumur, we are close to at least ten restaurants, which offer us amazing lunchtime feasts. Head down to Saumur and though on the main tourist route, you can still find great lunchtime menus for less than €15.
The secret is to always go for the set Menu of the Day – ‘Le Menu du Jour’, the Dish of the Day – ‘Le Plat du Jour’ or the Workers Menu – ‘Le Menu Ouvrier’. As well as providing great value, you can be assured that the meal is prepared fresh that day. So, choose carefully and you can eat like a king. However, stray off the ‘Menu du Jour’, ‘Plat du Jour’ or ‘Menu Ouvrier’ and onto the ‘a la carte’ dishes and you will end up with a bill that is closer to 35 Euros per head once you have added in wine and coffee.
How do you uncover these great deals and have a great value and great tasting meal?
In a large town just trawl the streets and read the blackboards describing the Menu du Jour and Plat du Jour along with the prices. In more rural areas either head for the nearest village or keep your eyes open as you travel around – some of the restaurants seem to be in the middle of nowhere! When you do find an establishment, don’t judge the restaurant from the outside. Some of our favourites are nothing to look at from the outside, some even look a little run down. One local eating spot has a tobacco kiosk at the entrance end then a traditional bar and the cosy restaurant, which serves exquisite food, is hidden at the back – you’d never know unless you went inside. Discovering these places in all part of the adventure. Don’t discount the restaurants that may look like lorry stops – these can be real hidden gems offering what seems like unlimited buffet starters, cider and wine! Take a look at the number of cars parked outside – there will be a mix of tradesmen’s vans, trucks, large lorries and family cars, reflecting the mix of clientele inside. If the place is pretty full with this mix then you are on to a winner – the locals don’t patronise a poor menu!
Once inside, just stick to the ‘Menu du Jour’ – even if you are presented with the ‘a la carte’ menu. The proprietor is just chancing his or her arm to see if you will pick one of the more expensive dishes. Sometimes you will have to specifically ask about the ‘Menu du Jour’, especially in more touristy locations where the assumption is that you will choose something more expensive! When you are asked for water don’t be afraid to ask for a ‘carafe D’Eau’ or ‘eau de robinet’ (tap water) – bottled water is not mandatory and if you look around the other tables you’ll find the locals, in general doing the same.
Don’t discount some of the more exclusive restaurants, either. Those that position themselves at the upper end of the price bracket still need to bring in the lunchtime diners, so they will also offer a ‘Menu’ or ‘Plat du Jour’. One of the most expensive restaurants in Saumur can costs you an arm and a leg in the evening, but at lunchtime you can have an upmarket starter and main dish of the day for €16 Euros. The wine however, isn’t included in this price!
Eat like the French and you are benefitting from one of France’s great traditions. Whatever a person’s occupation or status a meal at lunch is an important part of the daily routine. No shorter than 1 ½ hours, lunchtime eating starts at an early age in French schools. Many primary school children will receive a starter, a main course and a dessert for school dinner, followed by ten minutes ‘repose’. Only then are they unleashed into the school yard for the remainder of lunchtime. So the pattern is set for life! To ensure this tradition doesn’t die out, in 2009 the French government reduced the rate of sales tax on certain items in the Menu du Jour. Lunchtime dining in France is big business, is widespread and a massive employer and as we can see, great value. So make the most of it and enjoy!
L'Art Obase, Mouliherne, Maine et Loire
Le Boufftard, Hommes, Indre et Loire
Les Menstrels, Saumur www.restaurant-les-menestrels.com
Brilliant little bakery-cafe run by a passionate baker-couple. Great place for brunch. Most hefty steak sandwich I've had anywhere.
A small restaurant in La Balme, recently converted from a series of old cow sheds. It's near the bottom of the Aiguilette (a short red run with a button lift). There's a lovely sunny terrace and they do great value lunches for around €10. Try the assiette de pisteurs, a huge plate of salad, rosti, goats cheese on toast and lardons.
00 33 683 33 86 61 (Booking is essential)
A rustic restaurant in Les Houches, just off the Col de Voza run (accessed on a signed track through the trees). It's an old farmhouse lovingly converted by an Australian woman, Julie, and her French husband, Claude. Excellent homemade slow-cooked dishes; about €15 for mains
I went here the other day and felt like I just had to post about it. It is a great little pizzeria / deli, but if you love great pizza you should really check it out. We had a pizza with wild boar (£8) which was delicious! I can't wait to get back to Brighton just to try out the rest of the menu. They have a great oven in there too.
High above Colares lies the white washed village of Penedo. A pretty village with excellent views to the Atlantic Ocean, the Sintra Mountains and the Pena Palace.
Wander around the cobbled streets, walk into the shaded pine forests, rest for a chilled drink with 'Paulo' at the Cafe - 'Refugio de Cyclista.'
Lunch is served in a hidden restaurant behind the cafe daily 12.00 - 14.00 (not Sundays). Traditional Portuguese dishes served from the BBQ, or try the dish of the day - which could include rabbit, curry or fish pie - to include dessert and drinks only 5 - 7 euros!! (depends what you eat and how much of the local wine you drink!
A taste of real Portugal!
Penedo - Colares - SINTRA
Google map: tinyurl.com/yb5sqo2
Southern cusine is America's most distinctive. I've found few better places in Dixie than Arnolds to experience the genuine article. The mystery of all those obese folks you've observed will be solved.
605 8th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 256-4455
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybgqesu
Go to Horno de San Buenaventura for breakfast.
We stayed in a hotel nearby where the breakfast was 20 euros each. As a family of four we decided to explore an alternative and found this great place. Great food, great value and the best coffee we have had in Spain.
The cost for the four of us was only about 16 euros.
Avenida la Constitución 16. Sevilla, 41002
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycumrpp
A day trip to fantastic Siena and an excellent lunch at this osteria. It made our day.
Great Italian food, great Italian wine and great atmosphere.
Arrive early or book as this is a popular restaurant.
We had to wait a half hour for a table, but it was definitely worth it.
Via del Porrione 33, Siena, Italy
Google map: tinyurl.com/y8dhz2j
What great Italian food and service at this Trattoria situated in a small back street.
Just ask the owner Carlo what is the special today, relax and take your time sampling the excellent food and wine.
This is a must for anybody who likes fresh genuine Italian food.
Vicolo del Popolo, 9, 05018 Orvieto, Italy
Google map: tinyurl.com/y9vaxed
Semi-classy African bush themed restaurant, where you can try game meats such as warthog, crocodile, kudu, ostrich etc.
If you don't want to commit to a large expensive game steak, try the smoked venison platter starter.
267 Long St
Google map: tinyurl.com/ylbhnu7
First constructed in 1866, the Vue Grand is a superb historic hotel in Queenscliff about 90 mins from Melbourne. With very good accommodation in modernised old rooms, the Vue Grand is the place to stay while looking over the sights of Queenscliff or visiting the Historical Museum or discovering the local area of Bellarine. The Vue Grand has a number of cafes and eating areas as well as bars but the highlight is the Grand Dining room.
Just a nice place to stay in provincial Victoria.
One of Australia's best rural restaurants is Athelstane House in the historic maritime village of Queenscliff. The dining experience we had was superb, with amazing food backed up by a very good list of local and regional wines (as well as imports from France etc) and very very good service. Dining can be done in the restaurant or on the balcony or in front of the fire. Athelstane House also provides high class accommodation as well as a very good food store. Athelstane House is the winner of many dining and good food awards. We were impressed.
One of the city's oldest restaurants enthusiastically recommended by the owner of the guesthouse we stayed at. What a treat! A beautiful Georgian townhouse with a wonderful ambience. The food is modern British and delicious. All the food is freshly prepared and locally sourced and the waiting staff are gracious and knowledgeable. They told us all the best places to visit and where we could buy some of the cheeses from their magnificent cheese board.
We loved this special place.
I recently went on holiday to Ibiza and found this amazing secret hideway restaurant called Amante, set on a clifftop overlooking the beach. The staff were really friendly, the location was stunning and the food was outstanding.
Sol den Serra
c / Fuera Sn
07849 St Eulalia, Ibiza
+34 971 196176
The third largest of NZ's islands is what New Zealand would have been like pre-Maori and pre-European. Thick bush, golden sands, blue water, more wildlife than anywhere I have ever been on the planet. The Best place to go kiwi spotting in NZ!
The only settlement on the island is the tiny town (pop 300) of Oban/halfmoon bay. The rest of this quite sizeable island is bush. Hire a canoe and paddle over to one of the many other islands in the area. I recommend Ulva Island, with its history and wildlife. The island is now designated predator free so many birds flourish. It was incredible.
Also have a night out at Gary's Church on the hill restaurant and sample some delicious sea food made by the friendliest chef in NZ. Wash it down with a few handles at the pub down by the hotel with all the locals.
The ferry ride over from bluff is an experience in itself ... massive waves toss you around and loads of people are sick! You would pay 200 dollars for that in Queenstown or Rotorua!
If you are there mid winter be sure to check out the Singles Ball for some great food, drink and some company ;) Just remember that everyone on the island will know who you hooked up with and will taunt you about it for the whole of your stay!
This is one of the original fish and chip restaurants in the town. All the people i have spoken to both on holiday and locally, say they are the best they have ever had. The staff are fantastic, it is so clean and the fish and chips are to die for. All this with 10 star views of the harbour, it is a must for anyone visiting St. Ives.
The Kingfisher Fish and Chip Restaurant.
Wharf Road, St. Ives, TR26 1LF
Google map: tinyurl.com/ydmcncj
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com