Less deli, more full-blown food emporium, Zabar's is perfect to get supplies for picnics in nearby Central Park. The choice and quality are staggering. If you happen to be staying in the Upper West Side, the breakfasts are great, too.
2245 Broadway (at 80th Street) New York, NY 10024 / www.zabars.com
It may be on most tourist itineraries, but Katz's Deli is deeply rooted in New York delidom. It’s all there – old-time locals, surly waiters and most importantly, delicious sandwiches full to bursting with juicy meat. Not to be missed.
205 East Houston, NYC 10002 (on the corner of Houston & Ludlow St) / www.katzdeli.com
The neighbourhood to be in Berlin. Typically East German buildings now house “multi-kulti” inhabitants.
Rents are relatively cheap so it’s the preferred area of students, making it very lively and full of bustling clubs and cafes.
Berlin’s equivalent to the Tate Modern, housed in a beautiful old train station. A great place to while away a few hours surrounded by an extensive mix of German and international modern art.
A local tells me it’s always a great night at Week12end - certainly the case on my visit. This club is located on the 12th floor of an office block on Alexanderplatz so the views can’t be beaten. It is very trendy, yet unpretentious, and the quality minimal house is played by well-known DJs.
Alexanderplatz 5, Mitte
This little takeaway with tables, located in the happening area of Kreuzberg, is unbelievably cheap.
The Bavarian style “pasta” it serves (comfort food at its best!) is freshly prepared in many different ways which all sound delicious. According to a local it’s as good as the one Mutter used to make which is surely a compliment.
It sounds worse than it is, but this concoction of hot, thick wurst slices topped with aromatic spiced tomato sauce and a sprinkle of curry powder must be close to sausage heaven. Try the best in Berlin at Konnopke’s Imbiss or Witty’s and be converted!
Konnopke’s Imbiss - Schönhauser Allee (under the arches)
Witty’s – Wittenbergplatz 1 (in front of KaDeWe)
Beautiful and eerie, this church is deeply scarred by war and hasn’t been reconstructed so as to serve as a reminder of the past. The added modern buildings are very impressive and bathed by an electric blue light inside. One of the best sights, and photo opportunities, in Berlin.
Near the Ku’damm
Dottie’s True Blue Cafe dishes up the best breakfasts ever – don’t be put off by the queues and the slightly dodgy surroundings, their French toast/pancakes with a side of fruit salad, posh fry-ups and unusual baked goodies are well worth it. You’ll be back again and again!
522 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94102-2008
One of the best views in San Francisco is to be found in the financial district, at the top of the Bank of America building (of Towering Inferno fame). Its bar/restaurant (Carnelian Room) is open to the public after three in the afternoon and has some breathtaking views of the bay.
Bank of America Building
555 California St. (Kearny St.)
San Francisco, CA 94104
The Golden Gate Bridge is very impressive. Walk along it (it takes about an hour), then either walk back or go on to Sausalito (all pretty houses and greenery) and take the ferry back to San Francisco from there.
Golden Gate Park – you could literally spend days there. A good idea is walking from the Eastern to the Western end, stopping off on the way to check out a few highlights, like the flower conservatory, Japanese Tea Garden (as featured in Memoirs of a Geisha) and the De Young museum. Your reward at the end: the waves of the Pacific and the Beach Chalet, a restaurant/brewery where, if you time it right, you can have dinner with lovely sunset views over the ocean.
Alcatraz is definitely worth a visit. From the ferry trip to the atmospheric walk round the prison buildings, it’s a great experience not to be missed. The audio tour, narrated by ex convicts and guards, is excellent.
In the unlikely event you should get tired of San Francisco, Incredible Adventures organise day trips to places like Yosemite or Muir Woods/Wine Country (the latter being particularly recommended). You get picked up at your hotel by a knowledgeable guide driving an eco-friendly van run on biodiesel, where you join the small group you’ll be spending your day with.
Cable cars are handy but also a lot of fun, so jump on even if you’re not going anywhere in particular. Although the queues at Powell St turnaround can be off-putting, they move quite quickly - if you try to get on at the next stop often the cars come already full.
The Ferry Building farmers market must be the best way to spend a Saturday morning in San Francisco. The produce looks and tastes amazing and there are plenty of try-before-you-buy opportunities – and you will buy! Sit at the outdoor tables to consume your purchases while you listen to live music and admire the Bay Bridge.
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111;
tel: (415) 693-0996;
The Helmand hasn’t been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in San Francisco for nothing. The Afghan food is tasty and surprisingly good value, and the simple but warm room, friendly staff and good wine list add to a pleasant experience.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Zuni Cafe is a classy yet unpretentious restaurant in Civic Center. The atmosphere’s buzzing and the food is gorgeous and fresh, California cuisine style. And if you liked the food, you can buy the recipe book. Booking is recommended.
1658 Market St
San Francisco CA 94102
City Lights is a great bookshop in North Beach, founded and owned still by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti – quite rightly it is a literary landmark, stocking some real gems.
261 Columbus Ave (between Pacific Avenue and Broadway Street)
San Francisco, CA 94133-4519
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