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Restaurant of the Week Archive

 

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Amsterdam

 

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 Nov 19

 

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 Aug 19

 

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

 

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Barcelona

 

El Pintor  - this former painter’s workshop in the Barri Gòtic, just around the corner from the cathedral, specializes in traditional Catalan cooking. The restaurant is spread over two floors and the rustic décor - exposed brickwork and wooden beams - is cosy and relaxing. The food is distinctive and delicious, and whatever you order you'll want to sample your companions' choices as well. Good wine selection, friendly staff, and good value. 7 Carrer de Sant Honorat - 0034 933014065 Map Oct 19

 

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

 

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Bruges

 

'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 €25. Closed Tuesday - 0032 (0) 50339506. Map Oct 19

 

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

 

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Lille

 

Club Marot - this gastronomic gem just round the corner from Grand’ Place in the heart of the old city is one of Lille’s best kept secrets. The food is beautifully cooked and presented, and excellent value for money. Set meals start at around €30 but when you see the rest of the menu, and how the other diners are enjoying their food, you might be tempted to spend a lot more - 0033 (0) 320570110. Map Oct 19

 

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

 

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Milan

 

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 Sept 19

 

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

 

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Paris

 

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. 44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 0033 (0) 143571635. Map Dec 19

 

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

 

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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 Sept 19

 

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

 

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Toulouse

 

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. 21 boulevard Armand Duportal - 0033 (0) 561123232. Map Nov 19

 

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 Aug 19

 

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

 

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Venice

 

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 Sept 19

 

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

 

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