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April 14, 2014

Cheap eats guide to Venice

 

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It’s been almost 12 years since I first visited Venice. Everytime I’ve visited this city, I’ve grown to love it a little bit more.

There are still some things that I guess the passage of time will never make easier for me when it comes to Venice. Like the problem of finding cheap accommodation in Venice. Encountering hordes of tourists almost everywhere. Plus everything is …just really expensive. The food especially. Expensive and often not of the best quality.

My recent visit to Venice represented something of a quantum leap in terms of my appreciation and understanding of the city.

The stay was made enjoyable thanks to the recent launch of the stylish Generator Hostel in Giudecca, Venice. The triple room set us back by around €90 but the location of Giudecca (peaceful, quiet ) with fantastic views of St Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace from across the water, made this the perfect location to base ourselves.

The other major discovery from the trip was discovering this hidden network of ‘cicchetti’ bars (pronounced chi-KET-tee) across Venice.

Cicchetti” is a form of Venetian tapas, inexpensive snacks served all day in bars around the city.

Locals usually start nibbling ‘cicchetti’ over glasses of local fine Prosecco, often late in the morning, or as an afternoon snack or in the evenings when locals will go on their version of the ‘pub crawl’- the ‘giro d’ombra.’ (Giro means stroll, and ombra, slang for a glass of wine, refers also to the shade cast by the domes of San Marco) The cicchetti is served at at bàcari (“Bah-car-eeh”), small, local bars tucked all over backstreets of Venice. You can order at the Bacari, a spritz, Aperol or Campari at a fraction of the price of what you would pay in the piazza,  The cost of each chichetti can vary ranging from as little as €1 ( if you are eating ‘verdure’ vegetarian options ) to €3 for those which are meat or seafood based.

To help me navigate this hidden world of ‘cicchetti’ bars across Venice, I enlisted the help of the fantastic Walks of Italy who introduced to me to their local foodie expert Christina.

These are the cicchetti bars we visited

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1.) Al Merca

Campo Cesare Battisti, San Polo 213, Venice  +39 (0) 347 100 2583

Al Merca . As one of the smallest and most popular wine bars in Venice, this hole-in-the-wall bacaro serves a simple but delicious selection of Venetian cicchetti and great regional Italian wines and proseccos by the glass. Situated on a picturesque square within the bustling Rialto Markets area, feast on their bite-sized selection of fresh seafood antipasti, homemade panini and delicious cured meats while drinking a “spritzer”, i.e. a local aperitif with aperol mixed with either prosecco, white wine or soda. We had tasty polpetta melanzana, panino crudo, robiola & tartufo- price for chichetti starts here from just €1.50. Don’t be surprised to see the city’s workers lining up here throughout the day for a casual snack and a drink, where you can either pull up a seat on one of Al Merca’s wooden barrels out the front of the bar, or sit on the nearby waterfront steps overlooking the Grand Canal.

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2) Cantina Do Spade

Calle Do Spade 19, San Polo 30125 Venezia, Italy

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Located in the San Polo neighborhood, this Cantina lies incognito on a narrow alleyway on the way to the Rialto Market.

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You can enjoy delicious variety of cichetti like Polpetto in Umido ( Meatballs in a tomato sauce, €1.50) or Calamari Fritti ( €2) or Zucchini flowers fried in a light batter (€1.80) Accompanied with a glass of Aperol Spritz ( €1.50) this is a great place for a bite, morning, lunch or night.

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3) All’Arco

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Calle Arco, San Polo 436, lunchtime only

Across the Rialto bridge, tucked down one of its alleyways, Father-son duo of Francesco and Matteo conjure up some of Venice’s best cicchetti daily with Rialto Market finds in the magical All’ Arco.

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This cheap and cheerful bacaro offers some amazing plates of cicchetti served at the bar. Sardines with onions, anchovies with blue cheese, finely sliced salumi or stuffed octopus, raw ham, salted pureed cod all served on slices of bread. Prices can vary from €1.50 going upto €3.

4) Caffe del Doge

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609 S. Polo, Venice, Italy 30125 caffedeldoge.com

“Coffee is a platonic academy…..where no lessons are taught, but where one learns to socialize and to be enchanted. One can chat and gossip but it is forbidden to preach, lecture or instruct.”

Claudio Magris’ Micronismi

Finding decent coffee is a real drag, especially in Venice. Coffee lovers should pay a visit to Caffè del Doge (The Duke’s Cafe) that serves up a brew that really is fit for any human or Duke, a few steps from the famous Rialto Bridge.

You can choose from upto 8 single origin espressos as well as their 100% arabica and 50% arabica/50% robusta espressos and a decaffeinated one. Portion of all profits form the tasting is donated to help children who work on coffee plantations. All the ingredients are specially produced just for the Caffè, so you are sure to get the best cup every time. Plus if you dare, the grappa here is out of this world…and bound to blow you away.

Other places not covered on the Walks of Italy tour worth checking out…

 

Banco Giro.

Campo San Giacometto, San Polo 122. 

This lovely Bacaro is situated at the bottom of the Rialto Bridge, very close to the market and offers a dreamy view over the Grand canal. It offers a variety of chichetti- mainly meat and a variety of cheeses. There is also an amazing piece of history behind this little known bar- it’s formerly the site of the first giro bank where credit was born back in the 12th century when the Venetian empire was one of the world’s most wealthiest traders and it’s wealth was concentrated around the Rialto market.

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Cantinone Gia’ Schiavi 

Fondamenta Nani, 992, 30123 Venezia 041 523 0034

Another little bacaro in Accademia , you can discover a variety of delicious chichetti on bread like pureed baccalà (salted cod), cold meats and creamy cheeses or the polpettine (little meatballs)

If you want to dine, drink and eat like a local in Venice,  I throughly recommend taking the Walks of Italy Venice Food tour which covers the cicchetti bars mentioned and includes a tour of the Rialto market.

Have any other cool cicchetti bars or cool cheap eats in venice to recommend? 

Please note : While the tour with Walks of Italy was complimentary, the views represented here are entirely my own.

March 31, 2014

Cheap eats guide to Bari

 

It is my pleasure to welcome Ezio Totorizzo, proud native of Puglia and editor of the travel blog Spezio as the latest guest editor of the Cheap Eats Guide column. Today he’s taking us on a virtual tour of the best street food of his home town, Bari.

 

bari

Bari is one of the most important cities in Puglia which lies at the southern tip of Italy  (the tip of the boot) With its busy thriving port and also the newly opened Aeroporto di Bari ‘Karol Wojtyla’ , the city is the gateway for discovering this beautiful region.

One reason to enjoy a day in Bari, is of course the food and in particular, the street food.

Yes, it sounds unusual but in Bari it is possible to get the most amazing and tasty speciality of the Apulian Food.

Behind the food there is a world of stories, culture and lives that you can better to know just by eating.

I want to share with you the tips and secrets of what you can’t miss in a street food tour of my town.

Orecchiette

ORECCHIETTE

This is the type of pasta made in Puglia. In front of Castello Svevo, in the “Old town”, you’ll find a street where a lot of old ladies sell hand made orecchiette. It’s really nice because they show you how to do and they can prepare it in the moment. I suggest you not to buy at the first stop, but walk and talk with all of them (body language is well known). The price depends on the types of grains or the size but with more and less 5-8 euros you’ll have some to try.

SGAGLIOZZE

SGAGLIOZZE

These are slices of fried cornmeal mush with a little bit of salt.

They are really good and I’m going to share with you the best secret in town. There is an old lady who makes the best Sgagliozze- she is known as ‘Maria of Sgagliozze’

Maria delle SGAGLIOZZE

She is about 85 and she cooks them in front of her house at the price of around 1-3 euros. She is a living legend and knowing that people are more interested in local food she allows you to take a picture with her frying a SGAGLIOZZA.

She is really famous and Newsweek put her in the list of 101 best places to eat street food in the world.

POPIZZE

POPIZZE (brittle)

These are types of frittelle made with the same dough of pizza. They are not so big and you’ll buy in bags cooked at the moment. The price is almost the same of Sgagliozze and usually you can find it together, made by the same lady.

FOCACCIA is one of the most famous kind of food in town.

FOCACCIA is a flat oven-baked Italian bread product, made by flour, water, salt, oil and yeast, with tomatoes, olives or herbs (sometimes with potatoes), and other delicacies.

Panzerotti

PANZEROTTI, that are similar to POPIZZE, but filled with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese or minced meat or what you like most.

If you are in Bari, maybe you’d like to know some places where buying some food for a quick meal. I suggest you the best places in town

Panificio Milanese di Visaggio

Via Quintino Sella,43 (Almost at the end of the famous  street Corso Vittorio Emanuele)

Ask for Focaccia, panzerotti and rustici. Everything is so good and genuine. This is a family bakery.

Panificio Fiore

Strada Palazzo di Città 38, Bari (just beside the “Saint Nicola ” Cathedral) One of the oldest bakery in town.

Pizzeria Di Cosimo

via Giovanni Modugno 31, Bari For a really big and local Panzerotto.

I just wanted to share with you some stories about my city and I really suggest you to come and visit Puglia, because it is a really charming place for people, architecture and above all food.

If you need some tips about Puglia just tweet me  @eziomrlifestyle or search news on my travelblog  www.spezio.it

Hope you enjoyed Ezio’s fantastic guide. If you are visiting Italy don’t forget to check out the cheap eats guide to Florence  , Cheap eats guide to Rome , Cheap Eats Guide to Catania plus my guide to Parma and the 48 Hour Guide to Bologna

February 11, 2014

Cheap eats guide to Barcelona

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Barcelona based travel blogger Meritxell Garcia Roig from Tourism With Me  gives us the lowdown of her favourite cheap eats in the city

 

1.) Nostrum – Mum’s food to takeaway

Provença 209  and Rambla Catalunya, 20

Cost: Dishes from just €1

Nostrum is a chain of take away food, very much used by busy workers. You also have the possibily to eat in and they have microwaves available in the same shop with some tables and chairs to enjoy the food.

I like the food and they have a wide variety of dishes: soups, pasta, rice, veggies, meat, fish, croquettes and desserts, fruit etc.. The price is very good, I like their salads and pasta dishes. They have delicious croquettes as well.  If you download their app in your mobile you can join the Nostrum fan club where you can get dishes for  €1  to €3. Great deal, huh? Healthy and cheap as chips.

It is a franchise. On their website you can find different shops around Barcelona. I have listed the address of two of them above.

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

 

2.) Grup Andilana Restaurants- La Rita & Miu 

Miu: Carrer de València, 249, 08007 Barcelona

La Rita: Carrer d’Aragó, 279, 08009 Barcelona

Cost: Between €10-€15 euros per person

They have a few restaurants in Barcelona, I have tried many- my favorites are La Rita and Miu. They have dishes from €5 with wide variety of dishes on their menu with fish, meat, rice, veggies…

Miu  is a Japanese restaurant in the city center with lovely sushi, my favorite flying fish roe and amazing desserts. I loved their green tea tiramisú. La Rita is a Catalan food restaurant in the city center . My favourites here are their bravas with chistorra , red chorizo,  cod with sanfaina and a catalan sauce. They also have a daily lunch menu from Sunday to Thursday for €15 per person with a starter , 2 main dishes, dessert, a drink and bread included.

Miu Miu

Miu Miu

 

3.) La Boqueria market

La Boqueria: Rambla, 91

Cost: Between €5-€15 euros per person

La Boqueria is the most famous market in Barcelona and is a jewel in the city center where you can find any kind of food, gourmet ingredients and great quality of fruit and vegetables. It has become very popular among tourists as well and there are stalls that have take away dishes of fish, meat, fruit, veggies etc… It is a cheap and an authenhic option to try out catalan food and maybe buy some food souvenirs as well. The most famous bar in la Boqueria is Bar Pinotxo, a classic. If you have the chance stop by to see the dishes and the atmosphere it not the cheapest place to eat in the market but nevertheless worth stopping by at least. (stall 466-470).

fruit to take away

La Boqueria -Fruit to take away

 

Catalan food dishes

La Boqueria: Catalan food dishes

4.) Las Fernandez

C/Carretas 11

Cost:- Dishes from €5 

The perfect stop in El Raval to have some typical food from Leon . The amazing dish you have to try here is the Papa don’t preach- fried potatoes with a spinach sauce. Very tasty. My favorite is bacon rolls -shoulder of pork- stuffed with avocado au gratin. You can have a full dish or half, depending if you decide to go for different tapas. I love to share dishes and for this is the perfect place to go with friends.

5.) Tacos Tacos

Poble sec. C/Tapioles 9

Cost: 1 taco from €1,70

A new discovery of this year is Tacos Tacos, a cheap mexican restaurant. Great burritos and of course tacos, the name of the tacos are swear words which makes it fun to order!

My recommendation is Tinga de pollo (chicken burrito) and the tacos are all very good, my favorites are: Gilipollas! (onion black pudding) and Hijo de la chingada ( chicken with mole). They have great nachos with guacamole too!

Tacos Tacos: C/Tapioles 9

Yummy tacos

Tacos Tacos: Yummy tacos

 

About the author

Meritxell is a tourism professional and a traveller from Barcelona, she loves her city and Catalonia, and in her blog Tourismwithme she explains how to know better Barcelona and Catalonia like a local. You can download her mobile Barcelona guide for free.

Visit her Blog and find her also on Facebook and Twitter.

February 3, 2014

Cheap eats guide to Tenerife

 

Warm sunshine all year, pints of lager for a euro and lots of sunburnt Brits – that’s Tenerife.

Although a small part of the largest Canary Island can squeeze its bulging beer belly into that description, most of Tenerife is a different island altogether. It’s not difficult to eat cheaply in the purpose built resorts, but it’s not so easy to do so and get quality food.

Outside of the resorts, where the Canarios live, you can eat very cheaply and extremely well simply by going local.

These are some popular authentic places to enjoy cheap eats on Tenerife.

Octopus-El-Cine-Los-Cristianos-Tenerife

 

El Cine

Hidden in an alley near the harbour in Los Cristianos, El Cine clings defiantly to the resort’s fishing village roots. It’s a no frills joint selling fresh fish and seafood the way abuela used to cook them (there’s one chicken dish for those who don’t worship at the seafood shrine). Canarios, and anyone  who knows El Cine, happily queue to get their turn to tuck into whole octopus or chunky hake fillets with papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes, a Canary Island speciality) at €7 a plate.

Address: C/ Juan Bariajo, 8
Opening Hours: Daily from 11am to 11pm

 

Garlic-Chicken-Otelo-Adeje-Tenerife

 

Otelo

One reason to visit Otelo in Adeje Town is for pollo al ajillo (garlic chicken), a local speciality that is so lip-smacking tasty it could put a certain colonel out of business if it went viral on the world’s culinary scene. Another is that Otelo sits at the mouth of the Barranco del Infierno, a beauty spot and one of the most popular walking routes on Tenerife. Tell the waiter a number (depending on how many people are with you) and wait for a mountain of crispy garlic chicken to appear.

Address: Calle Los Molino 44, Adeje
Opening Hours: Open 11.00am to 11pm, closed Tuesday

Cost: €5 a portion

 

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Tasca La Oficina

Huge, herby, beefy burgers in a popular restaurant district in El Sauzal that few visitors know about. With a rustic design and furniture as chunky as the burgers, La Oficina serves the best of Tenerife’s fast food scene at crazy prices; cheeseburgers are €2.70. Pair burgers with papas locas (French fries with cheese, ham and lashings of ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard) for the full La Oficina experience.

Address: Carretera General del Norte, 19
Opening Hours: Open Tues to Saturday 1 to 11pm; Sunday 1 to 5pm, closed Monday

 

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La Cueva

Way off the beaten track is La Cueva, a restaurant set in a cave in the Anaga Mountains. La Cueva attracts hikers and sharply dressed city folk from Santa Cruz, making for an odd mix of clientèle. The food is good quality, country fare and includes fried goat, rabbit in sauce and filling stews. To really go local try gofio escaldón, a thick paste of flour ground from toasted grains mixed with stock. It’s an acquired taste and dirt cheap.

Address: Chinamada, 14A
Opening Hours: Open 11am to 7pm Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday; 11am to 10pm Friday & Saturday; closed Monday & Tuesday.

Cost: Courses average €7

 

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Humboldt’s Mirador

A stylish café and restaurant with knock-out views of the La Orotava Valley and Mount Teide that wowed the German naturalist and adventurer it’s named after. Humboldt’s serves Canarian themed breakfasts with names that has locals smiling but mean nothing to anyone else. The bocadillos (filled baguettes) are delicious and different – think goats’ cheese and avocado or calamari with fried egg – and the black pig burger is something else.

Address: Carretera El Pinito, Las Cuevas, La Orotava
Opening Hours: Open daily 1.00 to 4.00pm & 7.00 to 11pm (1 to 4pm on Sunday)

Cost: Bocadillos are €2, special breakfasts €8

 

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The Kiosko

They could serve mediocre food at the Kiosko in Santiago del Teide and the location, a eucalyptus scented picnic zone opposite a pristine church, would make it taste great. But they don’t, they have some of the best arepas on Tenerife. These are fried, or toasted, Venezuelan corn pancakes. Avocado and chicken arepas are delicious but even better is carne mechada (spiced shredded meat). Perfect paired with an icy Dorada cerveza.

Address: Zona Recreativa, Santiago del Teide
Opening Hours: A mystery

Cost: Arepas are €2.50

 

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Santa Cruz Bus Station

The cafeteria in the main bus station in Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz, is where guagua (Tenerife’s buses) drivers eat because a) it’s good value and b) it has excellent tapas. For a serious carb hit, try the tortilla bocadillo otherwise check out whatever tapas is on offer that day. The churros de pescado (fish in crispy batter) and albóndigas (lightly spiced meatballs) are top choices.

Address: Estación de Guaguas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Opening Hours: As long as the bus station is open

Cost: Tapas average €3 a ración

 

Tapas, Sirmiri, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

 

Sirmiri Vinos & Pintxos

Puerto de la Cruz is the tapas capital of Tenerife; Sirimiri, in the fishermen’s district, is one of the latest additions. Over thirty, orgasmic Basque tapas such as mushrooms stuffed with ham, garlic, cheese and quail egg or smoked salmon, prawn, egg and mayonnaise are an irresistible €2.50 each. Whilst there’s a good selection of vino, the house wine from the owner’s small vineyard in La Orotava is seriously drinkable.

Address: C/San Felipe, 15
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3.30pm and 7pm till it closes.

 

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Guachinches

The ultimate budget, local cuisine is found in a guachinche. These are unique to Tenerife and the most authentic ones are in the north of the island. Their roots go back to the days when Victorian traders bought fresh food and wine from roadside stalls along the stagecoach route. Guachinches are rough and ready makeshift affairs that can only open for three months at a time and sell a limited selection of traditional food (e.g. spicy pork kebabs, ribs with corn), plus the wine must be their own.

How do you find one? Look for a home-made sign with an arrow and ‘Guachinche’ scrawled on it (usually nailed to a tree or pasted to a wall) and follow for a dining experience to remember.

 

Jack is a travel writer/blogger currently living in a banana plantation in the north of Tenerife who blogs about the the island that exists beyond the resorts on his website therealtenerife.com. He also writes about hiking & dining on and off the beaten track in other parts of the world on buzztrips.co.uk. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

January 27, 2014

25 top cheap eats in Munich

cheap-eat-guides

Excited to have onboard, good friend and local Municher Julia Pawelczyk as the latest guest contributor to my cheap eat guides series. Today she’s giving the lowdown of her 25! favourite cheap eats in Munich, sorted by the town’s districts. Guten appetite! ( PS If you’re visiting Munich, worth checking out also my 48 Hour Guide to Munich for €120 )

Local muncher and avid foodie, Julia Pawelczyk dining at one of her favourite cheap eats in Munich: Jai Ma

Local muncher and avid foodie, Julia Pawelczyk dining at one of her favourite cheap eats in Munich: Jai Ma

Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt

1. Pasta e Basta

Pasta e Basta is an Italian style pasta restaurant. Cheapest dishes (spaghetti Napoli with tomato sauce) are for less than €4. Delicious pizza starts at the €4 mark as well. The atmosphere in the restaurants is simple but corresponds with Italian style.

Jai Ma

Jai Ma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ja Mai

Hoang and her two colleagues are preparing homemade Vietnamese food – it feels like coming home to your Vietnamese mum! Main courses are €6.50  during lunch time, €7.50 in the evening.

3. Schnelle Liebe

This is a tiny bar with great organic burgers, pasta and huge, delicious salads for less than €10. Schnelle Liebe is also great for party and drinks with friends. Cool music plus you get to hang out with cool crowd from the Glockenbach neighborhood.

4. Cihan

Cihan is a turkish restaurant in the Ehrengut quarter. In the summer, you can sit outside and watch the people go by.

Best dish? Choose the grilled octopus with potatoes and salad for less than €9. Sometimes, the boss is playing Saz, the Turkish guitar and you will have lots of Raki as well…

5. Bergwolf

The first place for Currywurst in Munich, Bergwolf is a very popular and brilliantly located in the Glockenbachviertel party quarter. Perfect place for a late night sausagefest.

Extra-long opening hours on Friday and Saturday.

6. Punkto

The pizza place in Müllerstraße in Glockenbachviertel is very cheap and has brilliant pizza directly from the wood oven. Many Munich people call it Party-Italiener- “party Italian place.” Equally a good place to get drunk there or drop in later at night.

7. Westend-Café

Cafe Westend hosts an excellent cocktail happy hour every evening between 9 p.m. and midnight. Great cocktails start from just €5.50.

Maxvorstadt 

8. dean& david

dean & david have 10 locations in Munich. Motto: “Create your own salad!” They also offer tasty sandwiches and awesome smoothies. Or you can choose one of their big, delicious salads for €6-9. Warning: While the salad is the best in town, you might be disappointed about the curries – not hot and spicy enough for me!

9. Pho

Pho is an excellent vietnamese restaurant with a modern atmosphere. Portions are sufficient and prices are quite reasonable. You can choose the medium size portions – they are huge!  

Au-Haidhausen

10. Feinspitz’s Hot Dog

 dscn7275

They have 2 branches in Munich. A great variety of different hot dogs plus vegetarian or vegan options. It’s a tiny restaurant with nice staff and reasonable prices. Also they are located in Müllerstraße/ Glockenbachviertel.

Neuhausen-Nymphenburg

11. Café Neuhauser

Cafe Neuhauser are all about enjoy delicious pizzas, baked in a wood-burning oven. Every Tuesday pop in for their famous giant night pizza where you get XL pizzas for the price for the normal size. We would say: One of the best pizza places in town! If you come for lunch, the huge and delicious lunch pizza (daily offers) only costs €5,50 ! Several Happy Hour offers for cocktails.

12. Restaurant Pardi

Turkish restaurant with quite pricey dishes at night but for lunch, they have a great menu with 3 courses for less than €10. We can recommend the Cocktail happy hour every evening between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. Great cocktails for 4.90 Euro each. Big and good cocktails.

13. Radha

Nice Indian Restaurant. Every Monday is ladies night. Two ladies get one of their main courses for free!

 

Altstadt-Lehel

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt

14. Viktualienmarkt 

Breakfast or lunch, while the prices for groceries at the Viktualienmarkt are really high due to the extraordinary quality, you can have a delicious and cheap meal to go or to stay here.

15. Try Rostbratwurstl at Schlemmermeyer’s in the Viktualienmarket ( €2.60 )

16. Bäckerliesl Munich´s best bread – the owner is 83 years old. Some people come from far away just to get her bread.

17. Münchner Suppenküche

Münchner Suppenküche..is Munich´s soup place – homemade soups directly beside the Bäckerliesl. They also serve Bäckerliesl´s delicious bread.

Untergiesing-Harlaching

18. Schinder Stadl

Schinder Stall is a beer garden located directly at the Flaucher, a great spot to swim in the Isar. Reasonable prices, it is actually only a kiosk, but has also a beer garden which is open all year round. In winter, you can sit on lamb fur and have hot wine. Super cheap prices for typical Bavarian specialties like Obatzda (cream cheese with pretzel) or Bratwürste. Scenic nature surrounding even though it is only 400 metres from the next metro station (U-Bahn Station Thalkirchen).

19. Lucullus

Lucullus is the cheapest Greek restaurant in town with HUGE and delicious portions. It is simple and cosy, but not fancy at all.

Schwabing

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20. Condesa Gourmet Tacos

Condesa Gourmet Tacos is the best Burritos in town for a reasonable price: at the Münchner Freiheit – don´t miss it.

21. Pepe Nero

Pepe Nero is an Italian style pasta restaurant. Delicious pizza. The atmosphere in the restaurants is simple but corresponds with Italian style.

22. Ben’s Bar

Ben’s Bar is a cosy and stylish location. The quality of the drinks is very good and you get super cocktails for a fair price. On Tuesday and Friday the bar offers a Happy Hour all night long


Beer Gardens & Barbecue & Picnic!

English Garden, Munich

English Garden, Munich

23. Beer Gardens

In all beer gardens in Munich it’s allowed to bring your own food (Brotzeit) – you are only asked to buy the drinks. Get your own Brotzeit, buy a beer and have a great time in one of Munich´s “outdoor living rooms”.

Some examples with a great atmosphere are:

Augustiner Biergarten

Hofbräukeller at the Wiener Platz

Beer Garden at the Viktualienmarkt 

Chinese Tower in the English Garden 

24. Barbecues

Barbecue Munich people LOVE barbecues at the Isar river. In summer, they do it every day.

The best spot therefore are by the Isar’s river banks, especially at the gravel banks of the Flaucher (please note: Barbecue is only allowed from Brudermühlbrigde down South, because of the heavy smoke everywhere in the city center, they had to prohibit barbecues at the river banks from Brudermühlbrücke up North until Deutsches Museum Insel. If you need any more food or beverage you’ll find two kiosks at the Flaucherbrücke – a nearby bridge over the Isar.

25. Fancy a picnic?

One of the loveliest places is Gärtnerplatz – great to go there on a warm evening to have a drink and picnic with friends. Just bring your own food and beverage and if anything runs out, Kirk Bar is just around the corner.

 

 

December 27, 2013

Cheap Eats Guide to Oslo

cheap-eat-guides

 

To add to my earlier post on the BudgetTraveller of how to enjoy Oslo on a budget, I am excited to have Norwegian food blogger, Elin Reitehaug from the Taste of Slow blog onboard today to share her favourite cheap eats from Oslo. God appetitt!

Note- Below we’ve created a Google Map of all the cheap eats listed below.

 

1. United Bakeries

This is a chain of bakeries which you can find all over Oslo.

Note that they are in general not cheap, but they have one good deal: a bread roll with homemade strawberry jam and butter for just 27 NOK (less than €4). You can find them in several locations across Oslo.

Food Bakery
Address: Several locations- City center – Karl Johans gt. 37-43. Majorstuen – Valkyriegata 9-11. Adamstuen – Brageveien 1. Bislett – Ereses gate 52

 

Mogador-1

2. Mogador

This is my favorite restaurant in Oslo!

I love the ambience with soft light and quiet music and the food is pretty cheap. You can choose between a main course and a good selection of meze dishes (the meze is small dishes, so you will need at least 3 for a dinner). They also have the best mint tea in town, served in charming silver cans. This is my favorite place to chill out to read a book or do some writing.

 

Mogador-2

Food Afghan and Morrocan
Address Toftes gate 41
Price example Meze and tapas dishes from NOK 40 ( €5 )

3. East Kitchen

This tiny, little restaurants with less than 10 seats has some of the best sushi in town. They also serve other Asian food and the veggie spring rolls are recommended! It is situated in the middle of Grünerløkka, an area full of restaurants, cafés and clubs.
Food Asian and sushi
Address Markveien 50 A
Price example Maki rolls (6 psc) from 40 NOK (5 Euro)

 

4. Punjab Tandoori

This is a fast food Indian place with good and cheap food. They have a selection of sauces and stews and the nan bread is always fresh and tasty. Main courses from 80 NOK (10 Euro).

Food: Indian
Address: Grønland 24

5. Krishna Cuisine

Krishna cuisine

 

Krishna Cuisine is not a place you will stumble upon since it´s quite hidden away in a small shopping center close to Majorstua. They serve great vegetarian food and all meals can be made vegan. There is usually one soup and one dish of the day – and if you buy dinner of the day you get a free refill!

Food Vegetarian/vegan
Address Sørkedalsveien 10 (close to Colosseum cinema)
Price examples Soup with rice or papadam: 65 NOK , Todays dinner: 145 NOK (with free refill - Stew with rice, savoury and chutney served with a small side salad and soup)

 

6. Oscars Pizza

 

Oscars-1

This place is situated at Teaterplassen, only 10 minute walk from the central station, and just opposite Oslo Mekaniske (where you can bring your own food if you buy drinks. See below ). They serve delicious pizza for €10-15.

Oscars.2

Note that the rest of their menu is not on the cheap side – so stick to the pizza if you´re on a budget.
Food pizza and tex-mex
Address Teaterplassen

7. Falafel and kebab

In Grønland and in the eastern part of Torggata you will find a wide selection of fast food stores who serve kebab and falafel in pita or roll. The portions are usually large , and the prices starts from 40 NOK (€5).

8. Oslo Mekaniske

 Bring your own food

OsloMekaniske-1

This is one of the most charming cafés and pubs in Oslo – I love every little thing about Oslo Mekaniske! It is very busy at weekends, especially Fridays after work hours. This is the only place I know of in Oslo where you can bring your own food. All they ask is you is to buy a drink from the bar and clean up after yourself. It is not the cheapest or most expensive beer in Oslo. It is only a 10 minute walk from the central station, just opposite Oscar´s Pizza.

Address: Tøyenbekken 34

9. Picnic in a park?


If your budget is really tight – why not have a picnic in the park? Then you can bring your own drinks (which is much cheaper than in restaurants).

Note that drinking alcohol in public is not allowed in Norway – but nobody will bother as long as you are discrete and don’t make any trouble. You can buy food from the grocery store and make yourself a picnic – or even cook your own meal on “engangsgrill” (the disposable grills they sell everywhere during spring and summer) 

 

10. Vegetable shop in Smalgangen

In this busy vegetable shop you will find just about anything you need and what is called “immigrant shops” in Norway. They are easy to spot because you see stacks of vegetarbles and fruits outside and is usually cheaper than going to the supermarket. One of my favorites is the one in Smalgangen where you can buy veggies, olives, fruit, bread, cheeses and  børek (20 NOK).
Address Smalgangen

 

11. Rice Bowl

Ricebowl-3

 

Rice Bowl is a very popular restaurant in Oslo because of the good value meals – they serve tasty Thai food in huge portions. It is often busy, so you may have to wait to get seated.

 

Ricebowl-2

The service is good and quick though, so after you have ordered it won´t take long before your food is ready. I love their red curry with tofu! All the dishes on the menu can be made vegetarian.

Address Youngs Gate 4

Price example

Kaeng Kuasapraros (thai red curry with tofu served with rice): 140 NOK
Kwutiew Nua (Noodle Soup): 95 NOK

12. Noodles

Noodles, Oslo

Noodles, Oslo

 

This is a new concept in Oslo: Noodles, a fast food noodle bar. Choose from different noodles, choose your sauce, add meat or tofu – and your noodles are ready in a few minutes! Their concept is fast food the healthy way. The price is also nice: 99 NOK (€12)
Address: Henrik Ibsens gate 90

13. Café Q (Mono)

Cafe Q, Oslo

Cafe Q, Oslo

Mono has the coolest music scene in town. In the American style diner in the back they serve the most delicious veggie burgers. Make sure to pass by Saturdays at 18.00pm for the free concert!
Price example Soup of the day: 80 NOK (10 Euro), Burger 120 NOK (15 Euro).
Address Pløensgate 4

 

14. Illegal Burger

 

IllegalBurger

This is the hottest burger spot in Oslo, serving charcoal grilled homemade gourmet burgers – and there are always people hanging around waiting for their tasty burger. The service is fast though – so you won´t wait too long. All burger varieties may be served with beef burger, fish burger or vegetarian – single or double. Prices starts from 90 NOK (€12).
Address Møllergata 23 (just above Youngstorget)

 

15. Curry & Ketchup

Great Indian food and not a boring moment during your meal – this place is filled with curiosities of all kinds.

The waiters are barely ever smiling, but they are efficient. Curry & Ketchup is all about the delicious food for a nice price. Mains from 100 NOK (12 Euro)

Note: cash only!
Address: Kirkeveien 51

 

About the author

Elin Reitehaug (aka Taste of Slow) is a former scientist, now taking a gap year to study journalism, travel, blog and soak up sweet moments. She is from Norway, for the moment based in Ghana. She loves people, veggie food, travel, reggae, lazy days, culture shocks and dancing.

Visit her Blog about travel and vegetarian food, and connect at Facebook and Twitter.

September 2, 2013

Cheap Eats Guide to Rome

cheap-eat-guides

 

One of the top destinations in Europe, Rome can be a challenge for those traveling on a budget, and this is certainly true when in search for a decent meal. With its share of restaurants catering to visitors in the historic center, it can be difficult to find good value for money. Here are some places to eat in Rome that will ensure you eat well and not spend a fortune.

 

1. Pinsere 

Pinsere: Different toppings but all delicious!

 

You’ve probably heard of pizza but what about pinsa? It’s an ancient type of pizza that’s oval-shaped and with toppings on top. One of the best places to try pinsa is at Pinsere where you will be spoilt for choice. From a plain pinsa (no toppings) which costs €3 to fancier toppings of pears, gorgonzola, walnuts and honey (costs €4), this is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch bite. They also offer some limited selections of pasta and rice salad. The place is small and mainly for people to takeaway but there are some bar stools and a wall bar table to enjoy your pinsa.

Located close to the main train station, Termini, it’s about a 12-15 minute walk. Alternatively, you can take Metro A to Repubblica or Barberini stop and it’s a shorter walk.

Address: Via Flavia 98
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 8.00am to 4.00pm

2. Forno Campo de’ Fiori

Heavenly pizza bianca from Forno Campo de’ Fiori

 

Located as its name suggest in Campo de’ Fiori, it is renowned for its pizza bianca (plain pizza without any toppings) which is delicious as it is or it can be filled like a sandwich with cured meats, vegetables, or cheese. Here the pizza, including pizza bianca and pizza rossa (with tomato sauce topping only) is sold by the weight. Let them know how big of a slice you want and usually, it won’t cost you more than €6. The place is popular with locals and tourists alike so expect a crowd at lunch time.

Address: Campo de’ Fiori 22 / Vicolo del Gallo, 14
Opening Hours: Campo de Fiori 7.30am-2.30pm and 4.45pm-8.00pm
Vicolo del Gallo 10.30am-4.45pm
Closed on Sundays (Note: In July and August, there are also closed Saturday afternoons)

3. La Renella

The aromas of freshly baked bread and pizza will lead you to La Renella.

 

If you want pizza for dinner but got to Forno Campo de’ Fiori a touch too late, fear not. Enjoy a nice stroll across the Tiber to Trastevere where you’ll find La Renella, an excellent alternative. You’ll be drooling over the display of pizza with a wide range of toppings, and don’t be surprised if you find it challenging to decide on just one slice! Average price €5.

Address: Via del Moro 15, Trastevere
Opening Hours: 11.00am to 11.00pm

4. Pastificio

Crowds at Pastificio during lunch hour. Well worth the wait.

 

Tired of panini and pizza? Then head to Pastificio to get some hot freshly prepared pasta dishes for under €5. There’s nothing fancy about this place despite being in the vicinity of Piazza di Spagna. Pastificio sells dry pasta but at lunch it offers one of the best deals in town.

For €4 you get to choose between two dishes and it includes water and the house wine. Your heaping pasta will be served on a plastic plate and expect to be using plastic utensils and cups (told you there’s nothing fancy). The place is small with some chairs and wall bar tables and when it gets crowded, you might have to wait for people to clear out.

Alternatively, on a sunny beautiful day, you can get the pasta to go (not the water and wine though) and enjoy lunch in Piazza di Spagna, a prime spot to just soak in Rome. Since it is also popular with locals, head there just a touch before 1pm to beat the crowds.

Address: Via della Croce 8
Opening Hours: Lunch from 1pm-2pm

5. Trattoria Vecchia Roma

The specialty at Trattoria Vecchia Roma: Bucatini all'amatriciana

Situated in the Esquilino neighborhood is only a short walk from the Metro A Vittorio Emanuele stop. Their specialty is bucatini all’amatriciana which they flambe and mix it up in a pecorino wheel. Portion sizes are generous and dishes start at €9. As its popular place, reservations are highly recommended.

Address: Via Ferruccio, 12
Tel: 06 446 7143
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 12.30pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm

6. Kathmandu Fast Food

Tired of pizza, panini, and pasta? Head to Kathmandu

If you want a change from pasta, panini and pizza, make your way to Kathmandu Fast Food also in the Esquilino neighborhood, where you can get a mix plate of rice, vegetables and meat curry for not more than €7. A hole-in-the-wall but you won’t be disappointed.

Address: Via Michelangelo Buonarroti 38
Opening Hours: Every day of the week from 10.00am to 11.00pm.

7. Hamburgerseria / Burger Bar 

Menu at Hamburgerseria

Craving for a burger or a late night snack? Close to Piazza Navona, you will find this burger bar tuck in a corner. They offer a choice of beef, turkey or veggie burger served with tomatoes, lettuce, and BBQ sauce for €7. It doesn’t come with fries which would be an additional €3. On the menu, you will also find hot wings, salad and chicken quesadilla, each at €6.

Address: Via Del Teatro Pace 35/3
Opening Hours:  Mondays to Fridays 6pm to 2am / Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2am

And here’s a bonus!

Gelato is not made equal in Rome! In general it is an affordable treat, if you know where to go! Here are a few gelaterie that offer excellent gelato and for €2-€3, it will be money well spent.

Sweet and inexpensive treat!

Sweet and inexpensive treat!

 

FataMorgana: Various locations in Monti, Trastevere, Prati. Check their website for more details.

Gelateria del Teatro: Via dei Coronari 65-66 and Lungotevere dei Vallati 25

V-Ice: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 96

Gelateria Corona : Largo Arenula 27

Come il Latte: Via Silvio Spaventa, 24/26

Il Gelato: Viale Aventino 59

 

Biography

Diana has made Rome her home for the past 7 years. Consequently, she has found herself sharing her experiences on the blog BrowsingRome.com where she now also writes about about her adventures beyond the Eternal City. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

PS: If you are visiting Florence, don’t forget to check out our cheap eats guide to Florence 

July 25, 2013

Cheap eats guide to Madeira

 

cheap-eat-guides

 

Visitors fly to Madeira Island for its mild climate all year round, breathtaking views and a warm welcome.

But how does it fare for cheap places to eat?

Local blogger, Ana Vasconcelos shares with us her 5  favorite cheap eats in Funchal.

 

1. O Castelo dos Hamburguers

image-1

A family business, for 32 years the formula for these delicious, homemade burgers have remained unchanged.

It’s located just a 5 minute walk away from the “Dolce Vita Shopping center” right in the city downtown.

A warm bread wraps up a delicious combination of lettuce, tomato, meat and a secret sauce which you accompany with one of their excellent homemade milkshakes or juices.

An unforgettable taste!

Cost of hamburgers range from €2.50 to €3.10

The most popular milkshakes flavors are avocado, passion fruit, mango and strawberry.

Cost of milkshakes range from €1.90 to €2.10

It opens daily except on Sundays and closed for the month of August.

Rua da Carreira nº 304 – São Pedro 9000-402 Funchal : +351 291 756 616

 

2. O Calhau

PicMonkey-Collage

More than a shop, a lounge, a restaurant or a terrace, this recently opened hotspot is situated right beside the Cathedral Sé and has a great personality.

Painted in a vibrant blue with white sofas and chill out music, this is a place to hang out alone or with friends, enjoying quality food and drinks at any time of the day.

Kitchen is opened 7 days a week from 9am -11pm.

Several menus are available for lunch, dinner where you can choose from their freshly prepared sandwiches, tapas, drinks and  excellent Nespresso coffee. Nice staff and service is good.

My tip? Try the tuna steak cooked on the Calhau (Typical pebble you find in Madeira’s beaches) It literally melts in your mouth.

Cost: €8,50

Rua João Gago, 2 C 9000 – 071 Funchal :+351  291 221 717

 

3. Mercearia Dª Mécia

merecearia-d-mecia

With it’s eyecatching interior décor, this is definitely a place to drop by, mingle with the friendly staff, enjoy their home made snacks and just relax.

It also doubles up as a shop where you can purchase genuine Portuguese creations, such Ach Brito soap,  ceramic swallows of Bordallo Pinheiro, Emilio Braga’s notebooks and objects that can be considered collectible but still continue to be produced, such as the ‘Tricana’ canned sardines.

As a place to eat, I loved the fresh lemonade and the “quiche” of the day: chicken curry, peas, carrots and soy cream, accompanied with sliced tomatoes. Delicious!

Cost for both: €4

They also offer the exclusive queijadinhas made with fresh cheese and lemon.

Rua dos Aranhas, n. 26, 9000 Funchal

 

4. A Capelinha Caffé

capelinha-cafffe

XL or XXL?

That’s the question you have to decide when ordering the tasty toasties from here.

Located on the top floor of Centromar shopping center and blessed with a stunning view over Cabo Girão (one of Europe’s highest cliffs), Capelinha Caffé, is definitely worth a visit!

You can enjoy their popular huge toasties with shrimps, squid fish, meat or vegetarian.

They are delicious and their average cost is €5,65.  The XXL size easily serves 2.

Centro Comercial Centromar, piso 1, loja 67

+351 291 625 043

 

5. Ateneu Café

ateneu cafe madeira

The building in the centre of Funchal originates from the late 19th and is where the popular annual Flower Festival was born.

It was refurbished in 2012, reborn as restaurant with a terrace, a small bar in the patio and also functions as an art gallery.

The café is open on weekdays and dinner is by reservation only.

There’s always a dish of the day. This day I enjoyed spicy pork with rice and salad washed down with the local passion fruit drink, Brisa Maracujá .

Cost: €5,50

Rua dos Netos,9000-084 Funchal
+351 964 514 818

For more tips of things to do in Madeira please hop over to the Maderia Tourism website

Note: This post was produced courtesy of Monarch Airlines who fly to Funchal from Birmingham and London Gatwick airport. 

April 10, 2013

Cheap eats guide to Bremen

 

cheap-eat-guides

 

Following the popularity of the last series of cheap eats guides, I am excited to be kicking off another series of guides starting with Bremen , a city I recently visited as part of my ongoing mission to discover the coolest emerging youth hotspots across Germany. Germany has some great cheap eats and I’ll be sharing more of my finds from the tour in the next few weeks on the blog. So stay tuned.

Here are my finds from my food spotting safari across Bremen-guten appetit and feel free to share you tips in the comments section below.

 

Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei

Bremer Knipp at the Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei

 

1. Bremer Knipp at the Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei

 

To have a very authentic experience of Bremer beer and cuisine avoid the touristy Ratskeller and visit Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei

There you can sample their excellent beer and also the very unhealthy and very tasty Bremer Knipp.

Knipp is a local sausage made of unwanted bits of pork & oat groats plus seasoned with salt, pepper and all spice.  To top that off it’s served also with fried potatoes, bacon plus gherkins!

Talk about a heart attack on a plate! So tasty though…

Cost: With 0.2 l glass of beer came to 9 euros which is really affordable.

Tip: From 5 till 8pm they run a happy hour where you get small glasses ( 100 ml) of beer for 1 euro and the Maß (1l) for 5€ -Bargain!

 

Address

Hinter dem Schütting 12  28195 Bremen

 

Coffee Corner, Bremen

Coffee Corner, Bremen

 

2. Coffee Corner, Ostertorsteinwag-Das Viertel.

 

For past 11 years, this has been the place for bagels and good coffee in Bremen.

Comfy sofas upstairs, downstairs grab a window side stool & get a birds eye view of the action in Das Viertel.

They do great soups, salads and awesome bagels.

I enjoyed the Chicken Curry bagel.

Cost: 2.80 euros.

Free wifi is excellent. Grab tram 2 or 3 from Aldstadt.

Address

Ostertorsteinweg 1, 28203 Bremen

 

rollo bremen

Rollo- Kismet ‘New Generation’ , Bremen

 

3. Must local eat: The ‘Rollo’ @ Kismet “New Generation’

 

For lunch on my first day I was hovering around the Hauptbhanhof area checking out the hive of budget eateries in this place and eventually settled for the Kismet ‘New Generation’ Turkish restaurant. I wasn’t sure what to order and asked for a recommendation. They suggested I try the local Durum Doner- it’s called the ‘Rollo’ , like Durum. but with cheese!….

It tasted fantastic.

Cost:  Just 3 euros.

Address

Sogestrasse 72.

 

Marianne, Bremen

Marianne gib mir ein stuck Kuchen- ‘Marianne give me a piece of cake’

 

4. Marianne

 

Tucked away off the main drag of Das Viertel, Marianne’s is great place for kaffee und kuchen. Expect lots of hipster nerdy cultural types clamouring for the limited table space here.

They do awesome chocolate tart ( in picture ) here and New York Cheesecakes. The other great thing is that they have significant range of vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free cakes and pies.

Cost: Chocolate tart and capuchinno: €5

Address

Berliner Strasse 22, Bremen

 

Angolino, Bremen

Angolino, Bremen-great spot for lunch

 

5. Angolino

 

Das Viertel has a hive of great places to eat out and Angolino’s is a lovely cosy Italian trattoria that serves good Italian food at decent prices. I ate the excellent Spaghetti aglio olio e pepperoncino ( Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli flakes ) with a glass of refreshing San Pellengrino lemonade.

Cost: Spaghetti (€6.5 ),  Drink – €2

Address

Vor dem Steintor 11, 28203 Bremen

 

Big thanks to the German National Tourism Office , their partners for the ‘Youth Hotspots’ campaign – Jugendherberge : The German Youth Hostelling Association and Deutsche Bahn  ( Worth checking out their Facebook page  for special deals ) for sponsoring my ‘German Wanderlust’ tour.

Also a big thank you to the Bremen Tourism Board , local blogger Carolin Hinz ( who blogs at http://www.esel-unterwegs.de/ ) and local Birte Stadtlander for their awesome tips and support for my trip to Bremen.

I’m touring Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’

Find out more about these hotspots at their website , feel free to add your own and also do download their free youth hotspots app that is now available on the Apple Store & Android Store .

Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.

 
December 10, 2012

Cheap Eats Guide to Catania

cheap-eat-guides

By Kate Bailward 

 

So, now you know what to ask for - where to go? There’s a great selection of places and even the most expensive foreign restaurants will rarely cost you more than €30-35 per head. I’m going to be recommending trattorie as the top end of my scale, however (up to €20/head), as well as mentioning the best bars for aperitivi and late night munchie attacks. Oh, and if you’re here in Catania, get in touch

 

Trattoria da Andrea

 

1. Trattoria “da Andrea”, Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 89/91

 

Lunches can be difficult if you want anything more than an arancino or light snack in Sicily, so this place is a godsend. It’s only open at lunchtime, and is always full of locals, which is the best sign ever. You won’t find a written menu here – it’s just whatever is being cooked in the kitchen that day.

 

Primo at Trattoria da Andrea

 

 

There is a certain amount of choice, but don’t expect to get anything exotic: this is well-cooked, local food and the expectation is that you’ll have a pasta primo, then some form of secondo, with the choice being basically between meat, fish or vegetarian. Coffee comes from the cafe over the road with no extra charge – the waiter will head out with a tray and return 5 minutes later with your dose of bean juice, piping hot from the espresso machine. Puddings are also available, but – word to the wise – if you want something sweet, go up the road to Dulcissima (Via Dalmazia, 81) instead, because their granita is out of this world.

Expect to pay between €17-20 per head for a full meal with wine and water.

 

2. Trattoria di Fiore: Classic Sicilian fare, Via Coppola, 22

 

The service is often slow here, because it’s a two-person operation – mamma in the kitchen, and her son waiting tables – but the food is worth waiting for. Go with friends and enjoy chilling out over local wine and conversation as you watch the world go by. It might be best not to go when you’re already starving hungry, though, as you’ll end up killing each other. A full meal with antipasti, wine, water and mains shouldn’t cost you much more than about €12-15 a head.

 

 

3. U Fucularu, Piazza Ogninella, 6

 

I went here recently with a large group of my neighbours to celebrate our street’s Saint Day (yes, seriously!). We all had the antipasto buffet (caponata highly recommended) and carne secondi (polpette di cavallo, sausages and cipollate, plus horse steaks and involtini for those that still wanted more). On top of that there was local red and white wine, still and sparkling water, fresh fruit (melon and pineapple), and brownies and vanilla ice cream.  All this for €17/head. Pretty flipping amazing. I’ve also eaten pasta dishes here, but I’d recommend going for the grilled meats, as they’re seriously good.

 

4. Missori Living Space, Via Mario Sangiorgio, 10

 

Aperitivo is one of the best Italian inventions ever: buy a drink in the early evening and you automatically get given food. Missori does one of my favourite aperitivi because it’s perfectly possible to have a full meal, as opposed to some bars where you just get crisps and snacks. All the food is freshly made on the premises and just keeps appearing out of the kitchen until you can’t possibly eat any more.  Then you can dance it off as the DJ plays until he’s told to stop. I’ve had many a great night out at this bar without coming anywhere close to breaking the bank, with wine at about €4-5 and cocktails at €6-7.

 

5. Agorà Hostel (aka Ostello): Piazza Curro, 6

 

Ostello is one of the liveliest places to go for a drink outside of the main bar crawl area of Catania. It’s pretty much always packed and you can get cocktails for €4-5 while listening to the regular music and performance events. Monday night is couscous night. If you’re staying in the Hostel itself, evening meals (which aren’t expensive to start with) are subsidised on the basis of a limited (but good) buffet selection of the main menu.  Don’t forget to check out the downstairs restaurant, which is set in an underground cave formed by an old lava flow, and has a river running through the bottom of it.

 

6. Ruyi Chinese Restaurant, Piazza G. Verga, 7/B

 

Sometimes you just need a break from Italian food, and this is a good place to get well-cooked, great value Chinese. You won’t find this restaurant on Trip Advisor, but more fool everyone who follows their advice, because Ruyi is streets ahead of the Chinese restaurant that’s top rated in Catania on TA. It’s right next to the Excelsior Hotel and the Courts of Justice, the service is friendly and the food’s great. Expect to pay about €7-10 per head for a starter, mains and rice without wine.

 

7. Via Plebiscito / Via Nino Martoglio junction

 

The best horsemeat is to be found on Via Plebiscito. It’s not the most salubrious area of town, but keep your wits about you, don’t act like a flashy idiot and you’ll be fine. At this junction you can take your pick from any number of places and they’ll all be good, which is why I haven’t recommended any particular one. Take a seat at a table or just get your food cooked and put into some bread to eat at the side of the street. Either way it will be cheap, hot, and fantastically good. The speciality is horse meat, but if you’re squeamish about such things then you can go for cipollate or involtini instead. Expect to leave smelling of charcoal smoke and having had a great meal for significantly less than €10.

 

 

8. Dopo Teatro: Via Coppola, 4

 

When the Sicilians talk about a panineria, it’s probably not what the English are expecting. Sounds like a sandwich shop, right? In fact, a panineria in Sicily is more like a kebab shop. Often they’re streetside, just outside a butcher’s shop, but Dopo Teatro has its own premises. On entering, there’s a display case of the various meats on offer. Whatever you choose, it’s done to order. Point at the meat you most like the look of, then choose from dense, round, Sicilian bread, or soft, chewy sub rolls to hold the meaty filling, as well as whatever salad you want. Thin-sliced horse steaks are flash-grilled on hot bars, while chicken or veal involtini and horse burgers are cooked more slowly. Add chips, mayonnaise and ketchup for the full late night eating experience, and perch on a stool inside the tiny shop, or a bench just outside and watch the craziness of the nightlife in Via SanGiuliano and the Teatro Massimo area.

 

9. Etoile D’Or: Piazza Umberto, 6/7 and Via Dusmet, 7

 

If you’ve got the late night munchies but don’t want grilled meat, this is the place to go. It’s a pasticceria (bakery) that’s open all hours, but more often than not I seem to find myself there post-bar and karaoke at 3am, stuffing my face with white chocolate cornetto for the princely sum of €1.30. It *will* explode and dribble down your chin (prompting the following comment from a male friend one evening as I wiped hot chocolate off my chin and then licked it off my finger:  “Some guys would be really turned on by that …”)  but it tastes amazing, so it doesn’t matter if you look like an idiot / porn star. AND, there’s a friendly guy on the cash till who will join in with renditions of bad 80s pop songs at 2am. The perfect place to finish your night.

 

Biography:

Kate Bailward (aka Katja) is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver, writing and eating her way through life in Sicily as a straniera.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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