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Restaurant of the Week Archive

 

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Amsterdam

 

De Compagnon - this restaurant, a few minutes from Centraal Station, is a little difficult to find but make the effort and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best French cooking in the city. It specializes in classic Bourgondian dishes accompanied by an excellent selection of wines. The service is friendly and attentive, as you'd expect from a restaurant at the expensive end of city dining. Ask for a window table overlooking the canal. Closed Sun and Sat lunch - 0031 (0) 206204225. Map Oct 18

 

Bazar - whether you’re in the Albert Cuypstraat area for the market and want an inexpensive and tasty meal somewhere nearby, or you’re just in the mood for something a bit different, Bazar fits the bill on every count. It’s set in a vast converted church and decorated, Arabian nights style, with giant lanterns, chandeliers and murals. The seating arrangements are basic but comfortable enough, the service is brisk, and the middle-eastern and Mediterranean food is excellent value for money.  Albert Cuypstraat 182 - 0031 (0) 206750544. Map Aug 18

 

Van Vlaanderen - this cosy and sophisticated restaurant near the Rijksmuseum is the perfect venue for a romantic evening, a celebration or just any time you fancy a superb meal. And with two-course set lunches from around €30 the French/Mediterranean menu won’t break the bank. The impeccable and friendly service is attentive but unhurried and there’s also a terrace for alfresco canal-side dining. Closed Sunday and Monday - 0031 (0) 206228292 Map April 18

 

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Barcelona

 

Taller de Tapas - there are several branches of this excellent tapas bar and restaurant in the city centre, all serving excellent Catalan cooking with plenty of mouth watering daily specials. The prices are reasonable, the house wines are good value, and there are multilingual menus if you don’t trust your Spanish. The original Taller opened in Plaza Sant Josep Oriol, a short walk from the cathedral in the historic Barri Gòtic, and is still our favourite - 0034 933018020. Map Sept 18

 

Irati - this inexpensive eatery off La Rambla - Cardenal Casanas 17 - was reputedly one of Barcelona’s first tapas bars. In the stand-and-eat bar you simply ask for a plate and help yourself to the delicious food. Everything comes on a cocktail stick and these are used to calculate the bill. As the floor is always littered with sticks, this system is clearly flawed. There’s also a restaurant area at the back. Closed Sun - 0034 902520522. Map July 18

 

Tossa - you’re unlikely to find this unassuming but excellent tapas bar by accident, but if you’re hungry after visiting Sagrada Familia it's just seven minutes walk away. Even if you’re not sight-seeing locally, it's worth visiting for their delicious Catalan bread, and the amazing croquetas: they do a sample plate with one of each variety in case you can’t decide what to go for. Eating and drinking here is wallet friendly and there’s outdoor seating if you don’t want to miss the sun. The service is friendly and attentive but it’s not a place to go if you’re in a hurry - 19 Avenida Marquès de l'Argentera. Closed Sundays - 0034 934 576 510 Map  April 18

 

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Bruges

 

De Visscherie - this excellent seafood restaurant in Fish Market square is well known by discerning Bruges food lovers as one of the best eateries in the city. It’s run by a husband and wife team who obviously love what they do; the attention to detail is evident everywhere from the contemporary décor and attentive service, to the stunningly fresh and seasonal dishes. Fixed-price menus from €35 - closed Tuesday - 0032 (0) 50330212. Map Aug 18

 

Bistro de Pompe - step through the door of this charming old house just off the Markt in the heart of the city and you’ll find a diminutive and cosy bistro with a modern interior serving good food with a wide range of influences. The varied menu gives you plenty to choose from including excellent meat and fish dishes - especially the steaks - tasty pastas and tempting salads. Three- course menus from €30. Closed Monday - 0032 (0) 50616618. Map May 18

 

De Stove - a couple of minutes from the Markt, in the historic centre of the city, you’ll find this atmospheric little husband and wife restaurant which seats around 20 people. The French and Flemish cooking is fabulous and if the food got any fresher you’d have to hold it down. Everything is homemade including the bread, cookies and ice cream. Try the herb-encrusted cod or the Flemish fish stew. Set lunches from €44 - 0032 (0) 50337835. Map Jan 18

 

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Lille

 

Clément Marot - you want to take your partner or friends somewhere special for lunch. Somewhere they’ll have the kind of gastronomic treat they’ll enthuse about every time someone mentions the words Lille or France. Somewhere welcoming and relaxed where the bill won’t bring tears to your eyes. Take them to this temple of wonderful food and wine round the corner from Grand’ Place in the heart of the old city - 0033 (0) 320570110. Map Aug 18

 

La Terrasse des Remparts - even if your only criteria for judging a restaurant is the quality of the food, it’s still hard not to be impressed by the dramatic setting of this Lille institution. The restaurant is part of the 1620 Porte de Gand gatehouse in the historic centre and has a wonderful terrace and glazed veranda. The food is also very good - modern French cooking with Flemish and Mediterranean flourishes. Set menus from around €25 - 0033 (0) 320067474. Map April 18

 

lL'Ecume des Mers - this modern and stylish brasserie with its striking décor and white table linen is a favourite with local seafood aficionados, and it's not hard to see why. The menus change daily to reflect the catch of the day and you’d be hard pressed to find an inland restaurant anywhere in France serving fresher fish. The best tables are in the upstairs gallery and set lunches start at a very reasonable €18 - 0033 (0) 320549540. Map Jan 18

 

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Milan

 

Sadler - whether or not you need a special occasion to blow around 200 euros on a meal, this stylish and contemporary two-star Michelin restaurant in the Navigali district of the historic centre will certainly turn your visit into an unforgettable gastronomic experience. It is quite simply one of the best places to eat in the city thanks to the wonderful cooking of Claudio Sadler, one of Milan’s top chefs. Via Ascanio Sforza 77, closed Sunday - 0039 0258104451. Map Sept 18

 

Casa Tua - for good quality food at reasonable prices head for this busy osteria near Porta Romana in the south-east corner of the city. It specializes in Tuscan cuisine and you get a free plate of delicious antipasti while you peruse the excellent menu. The wines are also Tuscan, and the subtly fizzy house red and white are such good value it's rude not to drink them. Pleasant surroundings and friendly staff. Closed Monday - 0039 (0) 25514269. Map July 18

 

Joia - although Joia is a vegetarian restaurant, even committed carnivores will leave this gourmet and Michelin starred establishment with a satisfied smile and a determination to go veggie more often. The food is beautifully prepared and presented by its Swiss chef and owner, and there are four distinct seasonal menus. There's also an extensive wine list.  Set menus start around €80 and wines from a few sips over €20. Closed Sunday - 0039 (0) 229522124. Map June 18

 

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Paris

 

Brasserie Bofinger - this wonderful restaurant is said to be the oldest brasserie in the city and is everything you’d expect from a traditional French brasserie - tiled floors, leather banquettes, vast mirrors, miles of wood panelling, and smartly dressed waiters in a hurry. The beautiful art nouveau interior and stained-glass dome are a protected national monument and it's worth eating here just for the view. Set menus start at around €30 - 0033 (0) 142728782. Map Oct 18

 

Astier - there are two very good reasons why this charming little bistro near place de la Republique, just north of the centre, is always busy - the food is excellent and it's superb value for money. And for cheese lovers there’s an additional bonus, Astier has one of the best and most generous cheese platters in Paris - and a great wine list to go with it. Three-course set lunches from €27 and bottles of wine from €20 - 0033 (0) 143571635. Map Aug 18

 

Jules Verne -  the award-winning chef Alain Ducasse is in charge of the Eiffel Tower’s two restaurants, but the Michelin-starred Jules Verne on the tower's second level is worth visiting just for the amazing panoramas. You’ll need to book in advance, especially if you want a window seat. There’s a private access lift in the south pillar so you can avoid the queues and fixed-price lunches start at around €80 - 0033 (0) 145556144. Map March 18

 

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Rome

 

Osteria dell’Ingegno - a modern wine bar and trattoria just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon. It's a great place for a casual drink, a snack in between sightseeing, or a romantic evening meal. The food is delicious and inventive without being fussy, and the service is relaxed and friendly. The outside tables overlook the massive columns of Hadrian’s temple and are a great spot for people watching. Mid-price and up. 45 Piazza di Pietra - 0039 0667806622. Map Sept 18

 

Vecchia Roma - this wonderful ristorante in Piazza di Campitelli - near Teatro di Marcello - is a city institution with a long history and provides fine dining in elegant and historic surroundings. Superb food, excellent service and an extensive wine list make it perfect for special occasions. There’s also a large outdoor terrace. Expensive but well worth it. The only credit cards accepted are Amex and Diners. Closed Wednesday - 0039 (0) 66864604 Map July 18

 

Baia Chia - if you’re in the vicinity of Santa Maria Maggiore or the Colosseum and fancy some good seafood this Sardinian ristorante is a good bet. They also do some delicious cheeses and cured meats, and wonderful antipasto. There are several set menus that include wine, water and coffee, and red or white house wines are a very reasonable €10. Budget to mid-price. 5A Via Macchiavelli - 0039 (0) 670453452. Map June 18

 

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Toulouse

 

Emile - this great city-centre restaurant overlooks one of Toulouse’s most picturesque squares - Place St. Georges - and has a terrace for alfresco dining in the summer. It serves wonderful and beautifully presented local cuisine including cassoulet, duck and foie gras; and is famous for its excellent and interesting wine list. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and the staff are unobtrusively attentive. Fixed-priced lunches start at around €20. Closed Sunday & Monday - 0033 (0) 561210556 Map Sept 18

 

Le J'Go - this busy mid-priced bistro and (upstairs) restaurant opposite the indoor market in place Victor Hugo is spread over two floors, several rooms and an outdoor terrace. It serves tasty, good-quality food but as it specializes in meat dishes, particularly lamb, it’s probably not a good choice for vegetarians. Service is friendly and attentive, and there are fixed-priced menus and a reasonable choice of wines - 0033 (0) 561230203. Map May 18

 

Brasserie Flo Les Beaux-Arts - forests of wood panelling, mirrors everywhere, waiters in black waistcoats and white aprons, this restaurant - part of the Flo group - is every inch the traditional French brasserie. Oyster fans will love the different varieties on offer and if you like crepes, the Grand Marnier flambé is a must. A great location, attentive service, excellent food and wine, and fixed-price menus from around €25 - 0033 (0) 561211212. Map Feb 18

 

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Venice

 

Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal - there are several good reasons for eating in the Grand Canal restaurant of the beautiful 17th-century Hotel Monaco including the faultless service and excellent food. But the best reason of all is the waterfront terrace with its spectacular views of the mouth of the Grand Canal and the Santa Maria della Salute church. It’s expensive but you’re getting more than just a great meal, you're getting an experience - 0039 (0) 415200211. Map Oct 18

 

Cantinone Storico - if you fancy getting away from the crowds and eating in a quieter and less frenetic Venice, head for this traditional trattoria in Fondamenta Bragadin, close to the Guggenheim. The menu is mid-priced and typically Venetian, so there's plenty of fresh fish on offer. You can also dine al fresco by the Rio de San Vio canal and the seafood risotto with seasonable vegetables is superb. San Vio - closed Sunday - 0039 (0) 41 5239577. Map July 18

 

Vini Da Gigio - this cosy canalside trattoria is tucked away from the crowds in Fondementa San Felice and specializes in fish and traditional Venetian cooking. The dishes, from starters to puddings, look as good as they taste; the service is attentive and relaxed; and there is an extensive wine list. Unfortunately, and with good reason, it’s very popular, so it’s best to book. Set menus from €45. Closed Monday & Tuesday - 0039 (0) 415285140. Map June 18

 

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