After walking around Mercat De La Boqueria, the famous market just off Las Ramblas, my Mum and I decided to get some lunch. There are lots of gorgeous smells around the market with various different restaurants. We chose Bar Central La Boqueria, a restaurant which is part of the market with bar stools and high tables along the side.
The seafood on ice at the front looked so fresh and the aroma from their grill was so mouthwatering that we had to just get it all. We chose octopus (Polpo), snails, and scallop and some padron peppers. The snails were a little more rich and stew-like than we had expected, but the rest was absolutely delicious and writing this makes me want to eat it all over again.
One to check out if you are ever in the market and needing a bite to eat.
One of my current favourite cuisines is Vietnamese. It is fresh, healthy, full of goodness, but also it is so full and rich in flavour. I will finally let you in on my current favourite Vietnamese restaurant – it is called Que Me on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park.
It is really well priced, always busy so the food is always fresh, it is absolutely delicious and it is so authentic. The owners are Vietnamese who have been eating pho since they were 3 years old and who use a family recipe – and you know I love a family run, independent restaurant where people are really passionate about their food.
I would recommend: The “Mama” Rolls, the Prawn Summer Rolls, the Vietnamese Pancake, the Lemongrass Prawn Bun, and the Special Beef Pho. I have tried all of these here and they are all amazing!
I know I have written about Fink’s previously, but I only wrote about brunch there. Plus it is such a gorgeous little independent cafe that does such simple fresh foods and I just love it in the sunny weather as it is on such a pretty little street tucked away from the busy roads. It is also great in the winter if you are looking for a great place for a good slice of cake and a coffee in a cozy, homely vibe.
We recently came on a sunny day and sat outside with our salad and sandwich just taking in the weather and taking our time to enjoy our freshly made food.
Lezzano is a quiet, rural, colourful little town right next to Bellagio – this is where we stayed during our visit to Lake Como.
We rented a little apartment with a terrace that faced the lake and right under our apartment was Stone House Restaurant, so on our last evening at Lake Como, after the last couple evenings of just ordering drinks to take over to the beach with us where we would sit and watch the sunset, we finally ended up eating here.
The restaurant had a very rustic feel to it but also has a lot of subtle decor that relates to boats, ferries and sailing. At the far end of the restaurant there is a wine cellar which is full of wines from all over Italy.
I had a steak tartare starter as a main, Jack had a steak, and we shared fries and a side salad. It felt like a feast but because it was so delicious, we managed to eat it all and even went for an ice cream sundae for dessert!
After dinner we took a stroll down to the quiet beach and it was breath taking to see all the towns lit up in clusters around the lake.
We stayed in Desenzano, which is a colourful, seaside-like, small Italian lake town on Lake Garda, and on our first night we walked around the streets looking for somewhere that wouldn’t be touristy and unauthentic. We wondered through all the small, winding, colourful streets and stumbled upon Trattoria Alessi.
It was exactly what we were looking for! We very happily sat down outside in the colourful, little, wonky, side street.
We were given the usual basket of bread and bread sticks. Now, I have a couple things to say about these baskets of bread. Firstly, they absolutely love their bread sticks before dinner. I don’t think we went anywhere in Lake Como or Lake Garda where these were not given to you. Secondly, they love to give you bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, but not any dish to put the oil and balsamic onto, so you will need to ask.
We ordered our favourite Italian dishes. Jack had the Lasagna and I had the Spaghetti Pescatore – both absolutely delicious – which we washed down with bottle of a simple Pinot Noir.
Once we had finished our meals we still had some wine to finish off but this area of the restaurant was closing up, so the waiter showed us into another area of the restaurant which lead into a (what we thought was a secret) garden area. It was a buzzing little atmosphere with everyone finishing off their last drinks from their dinners.
An absolutely hidden away gem – and so glad we stumbled across it!
I am back from Italy and all carb-ed out. I will be writing about my adventures and food finds for sure though – don’t you worry!
Another Italian restaurant post to stick to the current Italian theme – Franco Manco’s – one of my favourite pizza places in the world. Number one pizza I have had would have to be Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy and Franco Manco rates second on my list.
They have six pizzas on their menu and they do them very very very well!!! I love a simple menu where everything on there is done perfectly!
Their chewy sourdough bases are absolutely what makes this pizza a hit! I find the base of a pizza just as important as the fresh toppings that are added to it.
They started off as a small little pizza bar in Brixton Market and now have a few spots around London. Definitely worth a try if you like a good pizza.