Love to eat well in Europe?
For me, dining is one of the great joys of life – especially while traveling.
I dined at a number of excellent restaurants and cafes as well as in friend’s homes during my three week trip to Europe in January 2012. Here are the highlights of my dining experience in Wales, England, Paris, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Brugge and Brussels (they are in order of country visited):
- Fiona’s Home, Caerphilly, Wales – Not a restaurant but the home of a new friend, Fiona, whom I met in Caerphilly. Fiona made a delicious parsnip soup. Afterwards, we ate Mince Pies and vegan muffins made by my good friend, Mab Jones.
- Madame Frommage, Cardiff, Wales – Mab and I had lunch in this french cafe located in an old shopping arcade near Cardiff Castle. Mab and I shared a baguette sandwich with brie bacon and fig jam as well as a green salad at this cozy cafe.
- Radha Krishna Bhavan, London – South Indian restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Kerala. Glenn, James and I enjoyed a number of delicious small plates including Fried Banana with Mango. I can’t recall having a better Indian meal in a very long time. The owner told me I should try their sister restaurant in NYC.
- Le Grand Colbert, Paris – My friend Benjamin and I dined at this popular, classic brasserie near the Bourse. My first course was Escargots Bourgundine (giant snails). The second was Blanquette de Veau (Veal stew). Delicious dishes, friendly, and unhurried service and great ambiance. I recommend this restaurant if you are looking for classic french cuisine.
- Cafe Des Musees, Paris – I dined at this rustic brasserie in the Marais with my frenchy friend Loic who recommended it. We chose the three course “menu”. First up was roasted leeks, the second course was duck and the final course was Frommage Blanc tarte. We paired our dinner with a white Burgundy wine. One of the best meals of my trip. I highly recommend this restaurant for the cuisine, ambiance and great value.
- Pho Duong Huong, Paris – my good friend Nasser and I had excellent Vietnamese Pho (soup) and crispy spring rolls at this superb hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Oberkampf. Very satisfying meal at avery decent price.
- L’Estaminet, Paris – I loved the atmosphere and food at this causal estaminet (bar) in Paris. The highlight for me was chatting about French culture with Nasser over a bottle of Cotes du Rhone. I also very much enjoyed the charcuterie plate and my second course (which I can’t remember!).
- Am Tiirmschen, Luxembourg – I wanted to try Luxembourgish cuisine but didn’t know where to go. The concierge at my hotel suggested I try out this restaurant in the old city. This rustic restaurant is in a restored medieval home. My appetizer was pate a la maison, the first course was green bean soup with bacon and the second was smoked porker shoulder with potatoes, fava beans and bacon. One of the most memorable dining experiences ever!
- Cafe de L’Europe, Amsterdam – I had green tea and a lemon meringue tart at this recently renovated grand hotel overlooking a canal in the city. Great experience.
- ?, Brugge, Belgium – I can’t remember the name of this restaurant located on the main square of the very picturesque city of Brugge in western Belgium. I do recall the excellent fish soup and Leffe Brune beer that I consumed in this tiny, cozy restaurant with an excellent view of 17th century buildings.
- La Roue D’or, Brussels – I sampled classic Belgian cuisine in this brasserie located near the Grand Place. My starter was Canard a la Maison (chicken pate) and the second was Stoemp a la Saucisse (mashed potatoes and vegetables with sausage). Another highlight for me was sharing a bottle of red burgundy with the french couple next to me.