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Restaurant of the Week Archive

 

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Amsterdam

 

Sumo - the phrase “all you can eat” is something we’re wary of in a restaurant but in the case of this sushi and grill eatery, we’re glad we gave it a try. The food is excellent value for money: lunch is €19.95 per person. There’s a small supplement for things such as the moreish salmon sashimi, but most dishes fall into the all-you-can-eat category. It's ideal for trying new things and there are plenty of dishes we’d not come across before. It’s part of chain and we've tried two of the three in Amsterdam and found them consistently good. Map July 19

 

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

 

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Barcelona

 

Irati - this inexpensive eatery off La Rambla 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 Sunday. 17 Carrer del Cardenal Casañas - 0034 902520522. Map July 19

 

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

 

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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 July 19

 

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

 

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Lille

 

Le Sebastopol - next to the wonderful Théâtre Sébastopol in the town centre is this relaxed and unpretentious restaurant, which proves that Michelin-star dining doesn’t always require a second mortgage. Whether you opt for the €55 menu - including two glasses of wine - or the €70 seven-course gourmet extravaganza, your taste buds will still be thanking you days later. There are also some good value wines on offer. Closed for lunch Saturday and Monday - 0033 (0) 320570505. Map June 19

 

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

 

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Milan

 

Trattoria Milanese - this mid-price trattoria is a little hard to find, but well worth it. The Milanese certainly seem to think so because the place is invariably heaving with locals. It’s everything you’d expect from a family-run trattoria with over 70 years cooking under its belt. The classic regional cuisine is simple and delicious, the surroundings are basic but pleasant, and the house red is excellent value. Via santa Marta 11, closed Tuesday - 0039 0286451991. Map June 19

 

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

 

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Paris

 

Jules Verne - the Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Anton is in charge of the Jules Verne restaurant on the Eiffel Tower’s second level but it's worth visiting just for the amazing panoramas of the city. 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 €105 - 0033 (0) 145556144. Map Aug 19

 

La Tour d’Argent - this restaurant was opened in 1582 to cater for aristocrats tired of slumming it with the proles. It became so popular that people fought duels to get a table. Luckily you no longer have to reach for a weapon to eat in this plush Michelin-starred eatery. It's famous for its duck and vast wine cellar, and has wonderful panoramic views over Notre Dame. Set lunches from €105. Closed Monday and Tuesday lunch - 0033 (0) 143542331. Map May 19

 

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

 

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Rome

 

Colline Emiliane - tucked away down a quiet side street near Piazza Barberini, and easy to miss, is a family-run ristorante that specializes in classic Bolognese cuisine. It serves some of the best pasta and cured meats in the city, as well as a wide choice of delicious Italian dishes. The house wines are good value and they do a superb Zabaglione. Budget to mid-price - via delgi Avignonesi, 22. Closed Sunday evening and Monday - 0039 (0) 644817538. Map June 19

 

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

 

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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 July 19

 

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

 

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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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