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Restaurant of the Week Archive

 

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Amsterdam

 

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 17

 

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 Feb 17

 

De Gouden Reael - this cosy restaurant and bar in the north of the city - about 20-minutes walk from Centraal Station - was so good we had to make two visits. The unique and distinctive food 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 Dec 16

 

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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 June 17

 

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 April 17

 

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  Feb 17

 

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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 - 0032 (0) 50616618. Map May 17

 

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 2017

 

'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 16

 

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Lille

 

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 17

 

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 Jan 17

 

Le Barbue d’Anvers - this charming 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 16

 

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Milan

 

Boeucc - there can’t be many restaurants with a 320 year history but this stylish and expensive eatery set in the stable block of an 18th-century palazzo is one of them. Just a few minutes walk from La Scala, it’s a favourite of Milan's bigwigs, high-fliers and people who like good food. The Milanese and Italian dishes are wonderful, the wine list extensive, and the service friendly and efficient. Closed for lunch Sat/Sun - 0039 0276020224. Map May 17

 

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 - 0039 (0) 229522124. Map March 17

 

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 Jan 17

 

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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 April 17

 

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 Feb 17

 

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 Dec 16

 

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Rome

 

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 May 17

 

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 March 17

 

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 Jan 17

 

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Toulouse

 

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 March 17

 

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 Jan 17

 

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 €55 and there are also tempting €100 and €132 menus. Closed Sat/Sun & Wed lunch – 0033 (0) 561123232. Map Nov 16

 

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Venice

 

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. Closed Mon - 0039 (0) 415287302. Map May 17

 

Fiaschetteria Toscana - despite what the name might suggest, there’s nothing Tuscan about the cooking in this mid-price ristorante in Salizada San Giovanni Grisostomo near the Rialto Bridge. The name derives from its former life as a Tuscan wine shop but the food is typically Venetian and there’s plenty of fish on the menu. Everything is cooked with high-quality ingredients and there’s a huge choice of wines. Leave room for one of their moreish home-made puddings. Closed Tues/Wed lunch - 0039 0415285281. Map March 17

 

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 Jan 17

 

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