Top restaurants in European cities (ranked by Yolek) – Part 1

Caveat emptor: This is a list compiled from our travels around Europe which are not comprehensive by any means. However, we have come across some absolute gems across our travel and want to share these with you. Picked on the basis of the taste and are mostly non-fancy places (and can be a dessert place only). Part 1 is West-western Europe (Iceland, UK, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain, France)

coverage

Coverage map for Part 1

We would love to hear you Europe recommendations, drop us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you! All city titles link out to the specific city guide in a new tab (if you wish to read more).

How we search for restaurants: Look at Google reviews, far more accurate than TripAdvisor  (the latter’s better for location, hours, etc). We generally have 4* as our lowest rating. We also search for Bib Gourmand / Michelin Plate restaurants in the Michelin Guide especially in France (lower than 1 Michelin star but represent excellent value).

Country list

Portugal

Michelin Guide Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Lisbon

Cantinho Do Bem Estar (Bairro Alto) TripAdvisor

Stumbled into this gem just by chance. All portions are served for 2 people and they are still too big. Our meal was seemingly simple, a black pork dish served with tomato rice and chips but turned out to be an unparalleled explosion of flavour with perfectly cooked tender pork.

Cost (lunch): 20 EUR for 2 people.

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The best pork dish we’ve ever had!

Honourable mention: Cervejaria Ramiro (stunning shell-based seafood) in the Intendente area.

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#noCaptionNeeded

France

Michelin Guide Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Paris

Any good neighbourhood bistro

Super-wimpy answer but picking a favourite Paris bistro is physically impossible. We have a couple of specific recommendations, Le Bistrot du Dome, Montparnasse for seafood and Le Chansonnier near Canal St. Martin for lamb (also our 1st bistro). The general quality of food in Paris is very good, trust the Google reviews.

Cost (lunch): Go for the formule (set menu) that’s generally less than €20.

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A beautifully cooked fish at Le Bistrot du Dome

Honourable mention: Pierre Herme, a dessert place famous for its macarons. We recommend the 6th Arrondisiment branch because it does desserts which are decadent (pic below).

Epernay

Le Cave a Champagne (central Epernay) TripAdvisor

Another non “top-rated” restaurant on our list with some spectacular food. The place was packed with locals which is always a good sign. The flavours packed in some of the sauces was some of the best we’ve had in France, example is the dish below, looks unassuming but tastes so flavourful. The pick of the dishes was Foie Gras with wine and grapes, our mouth is salivating just thinking about it. Try the Gourmand menu if you can (€40).

Cost (dinner): €30 per person without Champagne.

Food at Cave a Champagne Epernay

The looks don’t show the explosion of flavours

Perpignan

Casa Sansa (near Castillet) TripAdvisor

Though Perpignan is in France, the food is very unique due to the proximity of the Spanish border. Case in point is the gambas dish below, though it has the same ingredients as the New Orleans gumbo, it tastes totally different (much sweeter). Nice ambience as well.

Cost (dinner): €50 for 2 people including wine

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French-Catalan gambas, a unique dish

Spain

Michelin Guide Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Barcelona

Can Mano (near Barceloneta beach) TripAdvisor

This place is a freaking gem for seafood lovers. We’ve eaten here twice and cannot describe how happy we were eating fresh grilled and fried seafood at a very affordable price a few minutes away from the Barceloneta beach. It definitely has gotten popular with time as there was a small crowd waiting to have lunch during our 2nd visit so get there by 12:30 pm for lunch.

Cost: Just above €10 per person including a bottle of house wine.

Honourable mention: Xiringuito Escriba for its beachside location and its paella.

Palma de Mallorca

Mercat de l’Olivar (central Palma) TripAdvisor

The recommendation for most Spanish cities is going to be its local food market but Palma’s Mercat de l’Olivar has this cozy feel to it which being a great place to both get lunch at as well as buy some exquisite Gran Reserva jamon from. We have some nice fresh oysters and fried seafood for lunch there but might be worth checking the stall listing to see if something appeals to you. It’s a must-visit if you’re cooking during your trip.

UK

Michelin Guide Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

London

Kanada-ya (St. Giles) TripAdvisor

The UK has a serious dearth of good Japanese food and as lovers of Asian cuisine, we have to pick this Fukoka ramen chain’s London branch as our favourite. We eat here every time we go to London and that too for the Tonkotsu. Very legit.

Cost: £15 for ramen + extras (namely Hanjuku egg and Kaedama)

Honourable mention: Lunch at the Borough Market, a London institution. Our faves include Rasoi (Gujrati Indian food), the pad thai place, scotch eggs (better than what we’ve had in Scotland) and drunk cheese.

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Drunk cheese matured with wine, you can taste it!

Birmingham

Peach Garden (near Bullring) TripAdvisor

We came to know about this place from one of our favourite blogposts of all time titled “Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle II“. We picked Peach Garden based on its value for money and must say that such a fulfilling meal (3 roast rice) for less than £8 is impossible to find in the UK. Their Char Siu is our least favourite part while being quite good which speaks volumes about their roast duck and crispy pork. We take family and friends here all the time and are thankful of its existence. Come for lunch when the meat is the freshest.

Cost: £8 a person will leave you unable to move post-meal. Cash only.

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Super crispy pork (left) and roast duck (right) @ Peach Garden

Honourable mention: Apna Lahore in the Balti Triangle does classic dishes like Nihari and Haleem just right!

Oban

Oban Seafood hut (near Oban station) TripAdvisor

The only #1 rated restaurant on this list as per TripAdvisor fully deserves its ranking. The seafood is so fresh that we saw fishermen placing their crab into their tank. The sandwiches are big but the big draw is the Seafood platter pictured below, contains everything that makes Scottish seafood great (lobster, langoustines, hot smoked salmon, mussels, etc).

Cost: £40 fed 4 of us very well (£27 for the platter)

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Awesome seafood platter

Honourable mention: Lorne just outside the centre does all the Scottish classic comfort foods quite well.

Malak take-away baguettes (near the Moorish castle) Facebook

One of the top contenders for the best sandwich we’ve ever had has been obtained from Malak. We almost never repeat restaurants when we travel but Malak is one of the few exceptions, everything on their menu is packed with flavour. This place is very popular among the office goers so get here early.

Cost: £4 for a filling baguette (ridiculously cheap for its quantity & quality)

Honourable mention: Blue Anchor has great seafood, loved the razor clams.

Reykjavik

Valdis icecream (near the harbour) TripAdvisor

Ending this list on a sweet note is the Salted Liquorice icecream served up in Valdis. We did not expect a cold country to specialize in icecream but they take it very, very seriously. It was a cold, rainy February night when we bought a cone of this delicious flavour a bit after midnight and walked back to our AirBnb, it was quite a nice experience.

Cost: 400 ISK for a cone

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Honourable mention: Saegreifinn (Sea Baron) near the harbour for their lobster (langoustine) soup, grilled fish sticks and a taste of minke whale. 4700 ISK for that meal.

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Apparently Iceland’s best lobster soup

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4 thoughts on “Top restaurants in European cities (ranked by Yolek) – Part 1

  1. Joy Generoso says:

    Hi guys! I can tell that you did a lot of serious eating during your travels. And you love seafood. Hahaha. Those food photos kinda made me hungry.

    I’ve never been to the countries you’ve mentioned here, except France. I remember we had a great experience at Restaurant Paul in Place Duaphine in Paris which cost us 90 euros for two (without wine). Quite expensive to be honest but love the food.

    If you guys happen to be in Salzburg and looking for Asian restaurant, I highly recommend Asia Kitchen Buffet Restaurant. The price during weekdays is 9 euros and 13 euros during weekends. The food selections were delicious and a lot of choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yodandalek says:

      Our Seafood bias shows because we want what we cant have which is affordable and fresh seafood (we got some in Scotland but not in other countries). Thanks for the Salzburg tip, we’ve been once and Sternbrau was really good but slightly on the expensive side (Part 2 will cover east Western Europe) ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Erin C. says:

    I’ve never been to the Japanese restaurant you mention in London, but I’ll have to check it out because I can’t imagine anything beating out Borough market! We eat there at least once every time we go to London and have never had a bad meal. I agree, the Scotch egg place is incredible!

    I also love that you said any cafe in Paris. It’s so true! Pick a restaurant with a handwritten chalkboard menu and it will be delicious no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yodandalek says:

      We generally go to Borough Market for atleast 1 lunch as well, agree about the Scotchtails eggs, better than all the ones we’ve had in Scotland! Have you tried the coconut pancakes from the Thai stall and the drunk cheese too? But yes, Kanada-ya does beat it only because there’s no good ramen in the UK. Japanese Londoners eat here which is always a great endorsement ☺☺

      Like

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