Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Favorite European Restaurants

To me, travel isn't travel without good, local food. I've eaten at quite a few restaurants all over Europe, but some rose high above the rest. Here are my top picks: 

1. Chartier | Paris, France

Paris did not steal my heart the way I hoped it would, however the Boullion Chartier restaurant stole it in ways I'd never expected. The seating area of the restaurant used to be a ballroom - dinner in an old Parisian ballroom? Why yes! The prices are unusually low for the city and it is always packed to the brim, dare I say with more locals than tourists. Check out this charming video to see the restaurant in action.

2. Les Quinze Nits | Barcelona, Spain

My father (who has passed down to me his love of food and has travelled so much he needed to have pages added to his passport) once told me that if you're having trouble choosing a restaurant, pick the one with the longer line. His mentality is that if this many people are waiting, whatever they are waiting for has to be good, right? This idea proved itself to be true when we came across the very long line for Les Quinze Nits in the Placa Reial in Barcelona. After waiting forty five minutes (on a hot, beautiful summer night...we really didn't mind waiting at all) we were seated at about 9:45 PM. The great Spanish food, location, and service all came together for a fantastic eating experience. I'd recommend this place to anyone!

3. Catalana | Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona gets two thumbs up from me when it comes to food. Catalana was right down the street from our apartment in fab neighborhood of Xiemple. Its convenient location to us and out of this world Tapas resulted in us eating there three different times. One of those nights was so crowded that we actually just stood at the bar to eat! It's that good!

4.  Lokal | Prague, Czech Republic

I have this weird obsession with eastern European food. I love it! It is hearty and greasy and terrible for you and I would probably be on my knees begging for vegetables after a week or so, but man is it good. I sat at the Lokal with my new Australian hostel mates and enjoyed some really awesome Czech food - and it's CHEAP, guys. REALLY CHEAP, and traditional as it gets; they didn't even have an English menu!

5. Aux Deux Fondue - Montpellier, France

Aux Deux Fondues is definitely the most bizarre and memorable restaurant I've ever been to. There is lingerie hanging from the ceiling, and the drinks are served out of baby bottles, waiters were passing out free shots all night, and when they serve ice cream they may use a banana and awkwardly placed whipped cream to make your desert resemble something...private. I don't understand this place. I just don't get it, and that is precisely what makes it SO AWESOME. The fondue is good and fun and moderately priced (for France, at least) considering the amount of food you get. Go with a large group of friends, be loud, be crazy and drink your wine (or in my case, coke zero) out of baby bottles until you can't drink no mo'. Just embrace the weirdness, it makes everything more fun.

6. Elaia - Athens, Greece

Hands down, the best Moussaka I've ever had. The atmosphere at Elaia only made it better: In the heart of the plaka, you climb up to the roof and have a view of the acropolis in one direction and a stunning view of Mount Lycabettus in the other. We were there in late October and it was warm and breezy. I'd go back in an instant!

7. Wagner | Frankfurt, Germany

Just looking at this photo makes me miss Frankfurt so much. If you're looking for traditional German food, Wagner is the place to go. It's always packed to the brim, waiters carrying glasses of Frankfurt's famous "Apfelwein" (Apple Wine) out to the tables four and even five at a time.

Have you eaten at any of these places? What are your favorite European eateries?? Please share!!


tiarenie said...

woohoo! I've been to one of them - Les Quinze Nits. Not many know, but they have a sister restaurant around the corner in one of the alleyways that fewer people know about. It has the same menu but if you don't get their early you have to wait as well! I love their black rice!

ifs ands Butts said...

I'm always so terrible about writing down the awesome places I eat, and then I'm like oh there was this great place in Berlin but I have no idea where it was or what it was called but their chicken tikka masala is fantastic! and then everyone's like sounds great but I don't get any now. Sigh.

I did go to a baby bottle place once though in Paris, such a fun experience!

Katie Foster said...

Oh, all those places look absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!


Jenna said...

I've eaten at Les Quinze Nits in Barcelona and also had a wonderful experience! But, also loving the rest of these recommendations... the place in Montpellier sounds awesome!!!


Alysha Doan said...

Everyone bags on English food as being "boring" but it's what I crave the most when I'm looking for seriously delicious bad for you comfort food. When I was pregnant, all I wanted was a battered sausage with beans and chips from the fish and chip shop just around the corner from my Nan's house. And a deep-fried Mars bar. And tea & scones. Oh the tea-times! I still want to travel to more foreign places, but sometimes I think people overlook England because it seems a 'safe' travel choice!

Meli said...

Wow - so amazed you picked Wagner!
I'm German, and this is definitely as German as it gets!

Just found your blog via Olive&Ivy - I'm really interested in your travel theme!

Caroline said...

This is so cool! I'm hoping to study abroad in Oxford next winter and really want to travel around Europe, so I'll be bookmarking these for then! :)

Ginny said...

i have been to sooo many places, but by far my best experience was "fashion afternoon tea" at the berkeley hotel in london (i´ve blogged about it here:http://ginnyandthecity.blogspot.co.at/2012/01/pret-portea-berkeley.html)! it was perfect!!!
this year we are going to copenhagen and venice and i have already started to look for great restaurants! :-)

Jackie DesForges said...

Man all of these look so good, especially the ones in France. Especially the weird baby bottle one. Embrace the weirdness indeed!

Selma @ Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

Haha, I have been to Chartiers, Les Quinze Nits and Catalana. ;) The rest I have yet to try.

Happie Reading said...

AHHH I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Food & travel make my heart happy, therefore your blog is currently rocking my world! Love it and am a new follower!

xo, Kelsey Belle



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