Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Restaurants of the World



National Geographic's travel/food photography contest has got me thinking. Almost everywhere I visit, I end up with one or two new favourite restaurants. It can be tricky to find good veggie food in places you don't know, so maybe these will be useful to someone (arranged in alphabetical order by country).

~~~ Please add your own recommendations in the comments! ~~~

Canada
Ottawa

The slogan of Zak's Diner, "Don't Starve!", struck me as a little bit negative to start with - but endearing enough that I bought myself a mug to remind me of many happy breakfasts (with endless mugs of coffee). Enough variety to keep me occupied for a week and still not try all the breakfast options.

The Green Door, a little way out of town, is an outstanding veggie restaurant where food is sold by weight - so you can help yourself to a little of whatever you fancy from their hot & cold selections.


The sign at Museo del Chocolate, HavanaCuba
Havana

Museo del Chocolate in Havana is not so much a museum as a cafe & chocolate shop - not somewhere to go for food, but you can't beat their hot chocolate which really is just like drinking melted chocolate. Mmmmmm.....


France
Paris

Maoz falafel has got branches elsewhere, but their Paris branch - where I discovered them - will always have a special place in my heart.

It's a few years since I was in Paris so I haven't been to Krishna Bhavan (website in French) since they updated their menu - it used to be a question of picking your favourite Indian bread, and they would serve it with a selection of whatever sauces they'd made that night. You can probably get the same sort of effect by trying the thali on the new menu; it still looks like excellent value.


Soup at Luna Blanca, UlanbatarMongolia
Ulanbatar

Luna Blanca is an incredible vegetarian restaurant in the centre of Ulanbatar - they have an annoyingly flashy website but if you can be bothered to wade through the animation you can get to the menu, which is delicious and inexpensive. Their house special soup, with loads of tiny dumplings, was particularly tasty - as were the noodles.

Russia
Moscow

Jagannath (website in Russian) is fully vegetarian, and one of the easiest places to eat if you don't speak Russian because all the food is laid out buffet-style in the cafe at the back - just point at what you fancy. There's also a health-food shop, useful if you're self-catering, and a couple of computers with cheap internet access.

Starlite Diner seems to be opening new branches across Moscow; striving for an all-American feel with comfy booths and CNN, free English-language newspapers, and short-skirted waitresses. The menu is in English. There's not a huge choice for veggies but the Mediterranean Omlette from the all-day breakfast menu is so good I had it twice - and the coffee is bottomless if you go at breakfast time.


Lasagna & potatos at Troitskiy Most, St PetersburgSt. Petersburg

The vegetarian chain Troitskiy Most (website in Russian) has a board of ever-changing specials in each branch, and if you're lucky you'll find one or two of the staff speak English. Portions are small but cheap - order two for a decent-sized meal, or save space for cake!

Gauranga is St Petersburg's Hare Krishna restaurant - a sligtly strange place, which only opened its door after we hammered on it for a couple of minutes despite having been supposedly open for an hour. Tiny bowls, and not cheap - but the food really was exceptionally tasty.

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