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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 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

 

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 Feb 18

 

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Barcelona

 

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

 

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. Map Feb 18

 

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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 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

 

'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 17

 

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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

 

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

 

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 May 18

 

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Paris

 

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

 

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 Dec 17

 

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 Oct 17

 

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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 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

 

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 May 18

 

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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 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

 

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 17

 

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Venice

 

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

 

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 May 18

 

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