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Restaurant of the Week Archive

 

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Amsterdam

 

De Gouden Reael - this cosy restaurant and bar in the north of the city - about 20-minutes walk from Centraal Station - serves unique and distinctive food that is a delicious, innovative blend of Dutch and international influences. There’s a standard starters-and-mains menu, but on both trips we opted for the wonderful sampling menu: a series of starter-sized dishes (best shared) that allows you to try a wide range of the chef’s culinary brilliance. It also has one of the most extensive wine lists in the city and starting prices are very reasonable. Tel: 0031 (0) 20 6233883 - Map April 19

 

Café Americain - this beautiful art deco restaurant opened its doors in 1902 and has been described as Amsterdam’s living room because of its relaxed atmosphere. It’s located in the heart of the city and is Holland's oldest grand café and a listed monument. It's part of the American Hotel and apparently where the spy Mata Hari held her wedding reception - 0031 (0) 205563010. Map Jan 19

 

Tujuh Maret - if you haven’t tried Indonesian food yet, Amsterdam is a great place to give it a go and this small mid-price restaurant south of the centre at Utrechtsestraat 73 is one of the best in the city. If you are a first timer, an ideal introduction is a rijsttafel, a banquet of 18 delicious and spicy dishes that range from mild to just shy of pass me a bucket of iced water. It includes a chicken satay that is so good you won't want to share it with anyone. 73 Utrechtsestraat - 0031 (0) 204279865. Map Dec 18

 

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Barcelona

 

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 May 19

 

7 Portes - this stylish restaurant serves some of the best Catalan food in the city and offers an excellent selection of wines. It has the added attraction of serving from 1pm to 1am, seven days a week. It opened in 1836, making it one of the oldest eateries in the city, and it’s certainly one of the best known. It’s always busy but if you don’t have a reservation and they’re full, you probably won’t have to wait long for a table - 0034 933193033. Map March 19

 

Qu Qu - this lively tapas bar and restaurant is just a couple of minutes north of Plaça de Catalunya. You can eat at the bar, in the restaurant, or even get a takeaway, but whatever you decide the food is excellent and the house wines are great value. Even though the place is always busy, the bionic staff work at light speed, so you won’t have to wait too long for your food. Great for a snack or a full-blown meal - 0034 933174512. Map Feb 19

 

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Bruges

 

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 & Tuesday - 0032 (0) 50616618. Map May 19

 

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 Feb 19

 

't Huidevettershuis - set in the former Tanners Guildhall, which dates back to 1450, this charming and friendly restaurant specializes in Flemish and seafood dishes. Its four intimate dining rooms are spread over two floors and a window table will give you picturesque canal views as a backdrop to your meal. Service is attentive but relaxed and the excellent food and wine are very reasonably priced. Set lunches from €22. Closed Tuesday - 0032 (0) 50339506. Map Nov 18

 

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Lille

 

L'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 Feb 19

 

Le Barbue d’Anvers - this charming and rustic estaminet is not a place you’ll find during a casual wander around the city but it’s definitely worth seeking out. It’s tucked away down a cobblestone alleyway a couple of minutes from Grand’ Place in a lovely sixteen-century brick building. The restaurant is arranged over three levels, and serves tasty and good-value local dishes. Two-course set menus start at €24 and the small wine list has bottles from €21 - 0033 (0) 320551168. Map Nov 18

 

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

 

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Milan

 

Hostaria Borromei - this family-run restaurant in Milan’s business district, and close to the Civico Museo Archeologico, specializes in cooking from the Montova region of Italy. It’s a favourite of the business community and not just because of the excellent and reasonably priced food. It also has a charming vine-shaded courtyard, which makes it a great venue for al fresco summer dining. Set menus from €30. Closed Sunday - 0039 (0) 286453760. Map March 19

 

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 €90 and wines from a few sips over €25. Closed Sunday - 0039 (0) 229522124. Map Jan 19

 

Bice - there are about 40 Bice restaurants around the world, including one in London, but the original opened in Milan's historic centre in 1926. Like its stylish cousins, it’s a favourite of the rich and famous, but you don’t have to be loaded to eat here: set lunches start at about €25. A good wine won’t break the bank either. The extensive menu is traditional Tuscan and Milanese, and the food is excellent. Closed Sunday - 0039 0276002572. Map Nov 18

 

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Paris

 

Aux Crus de Bourgogne - if you closed your eyes and tried to picture an old-fashioned French bistro, it would probably look something like this wonderful family-run restaurant north-west of the Pompidou Centre. You can even sit outside on the terrace without being choked by Paris traffic because it’s in a car-free zone. Specialities include lobster and foie gras, and set meals start at €25. Closed Saturday & Sunday - 3 rue Bachaumont - 0033 (0) 142334824. Map March 19

 

Restaurant Lapérouse - this romantic and evocative restaurant has had some illustrious patrons over the years including Alexander Dumas, Emile Zola and Víctor Hugo. The scratches and graffiti on some of the mirrors were supposedly the work of suspicious women testing the diamonds given to them by their lovers. River views, intimate private rooms, good food and unforgettable surroundings. Fixed price menus start at around €45 - 0033 (0) 143266804. Map Jan 19

 

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

 

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Rome

 

Il Bacaro - tucked down a narrow side street near Piazza Navona is this intimate and diminutive Roman bistro serving modern and inventive Italian food in romantic candlelit surroundings. The food is superb and so good you may want to book your next visit before you leave. The service would put a dinner party thrown by your best friends to shame and the substantial wine list has something for every pocket and palette. There's also a pleasant vine-shaded terrace outside the front door - 0039 066872554. Map April 19

 

Da Giggetto is a wonderful and busy Roman-Jewish restaurant has several rooms, two outside terraces and a very impressive setting, the Portico d’Ottavia. Specialties include fried artichokes (carciofi), dry-salted cod (baccala) and the extremely moreish courgette flowers filled with cheese and anchovy (fiore di zucca). In the Summer you can escape the heat by having an aperitif in the cellar tasting room. Friendly service and a good selection of wines. Mid-price and up - 0039 066861105. Map Feb 19

 

L’Antica Birreria Peroni - you don’t have to be a beer lover to enjoy eating and drinking at this basic and budget beer hall at 19 Via di San Marcello. The simple but delicious food has Roman and Teutonic influences and the house wines are very good value. It’s a favourite with local businessmen at lunchtime, and gets crowded and lively. You might have to share a table with other diners but that's part of the fun - 0039 066795310. Map Dec 18

 

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Toulouse

 

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 May 19

 

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 March 19

 

Michel Sarran - set in a lovely 19th-century building with a charming indoor garden, this two-star Michelin restaurant is run by master chef Michel Sarran and his wife, Françoise. The food is superb, and it's probably the best and the most stylish eatery in town. A three-course set lunch, including wine and coffee, is unfaultable value at around €60 and there are also tempting €100 and €132 menus. Closed Sat/Sun & Wed lunch – 0033 (0) 561123232. Map Dec 18

 

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Venice

 

Corte Sconta - this oasis of calm and wonderful seafood trattoria is a hidden gem and one of the best places in Venice for an alfresco meal on a sunny day. It doesn’t have a canal or lagoon view but walk through the main restaurant and you’ll find yourself in a vine-shaded courtyard and the perfect spot to enjoy some of the best cooking in the city. Mid-price and above. Calle del Pestrin 3886; closed Sunday and Monday - 0039 (0) 415227024. Map April 19

 

Trattoria alla Rivetta - for a taste of real Venetian cooking at budget prices - and only a few minutes from Piazza S. Marco - head for this lively and friendly seafood restaurant at the foot of Ponte S. Provolo in Salizada S. Provolo. It’s a favourite with locals, especially gondoliers, and always busy. It's quite small, so you may have to share a table, which only adds to the experience. But the food is well worth the squeeze - Salizada S. Provolo 4625. Closed Mon - 0039 (0) 415287302. Map Jan 19

 

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

 

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