Nov 22, 201608:33 AMCity Beat
Food for Thought
I’ve been to some wonderful places when I studied abroad a year and a half ago in Cheltenham, England. I traveled to a variety of different locations throughout the United Kingdom and across Europe when we had school breaks, and I can say with absolute certainty that the food was outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the experience of trying food in restaurants that were completely un-American. Might as well immerse myself in the different cultures while I’m traveling. Here are my five favorite restaurants I ate at when I was in Europe.
#5: Spencers Café, Cheltenham, England
Did you know that a scene from BBC’s “Sherlock” was filmed here? But that’s not the only reason I liked this place in the small English town I studied abroad in. The food there, to put it one way, was very quaint and what you would expect from a typical English diner. I had the English breakfast, which consisted of bacon, sausage, eggs, grilled tomatoes, and black pudding. Sometimes, English breakfasts also include beans, fried mushrooms, and hash browns. The meal I had was delicious. The bacon in England is more like ham, but it was a lot less salty and fatty than what you would receive in America. And if you haven’t tried black pudding yet, I recommend it, though you might not like the main ingredient – pig’s blood. To me, it tasted a lot like meatloaf. This café is for anyone that wants the typical English dining experience.
#4: The Quays Bar, Dublin, Ireland
Basically the type of setting you think of when you picture Irish dining. Located in the Temple Bar district, this Irish bar and restaurant serves a variety of traditional Irish food – while singers and musicians play music. I had a great meal of the Shepherd’s Pie, bangers and mash, and Irish Coffee. The Shepherd’s Pie is a meat pie, usually made with lamb or mutton, and has a thick, savory potato crust that I loved. Bangers and mash are typically from England and are sausage links and mash potatoes. If you haven’t tried Irish Coffee yet, I recommend it. It’s hot coffee, brown sugar, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. It was a little strong for me, but certainly a drink to have! The atmosphere in the restaurant was amiable and relaxed. It was a setting that I would feel comfortable bringing children to.
#3: Ristorante Alfredo, Rome, Italy
This restaurant had some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. It was located in a short walking distance from the hostel I stayed at, The Four Seasons, making it the perfect location for every meal. The first time I went, it was for il pranzo – lunch. I had the Fettucine Alfredo, which may seem typical and boring, but the amount of pasta I received versus the amount I paid for was totally worth it. I had enough pasta on my plate for at least 2 meals. The second time I went was for la cena – dinner. I had gnocchi. Thick, potato dumplings in rich tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese – so tasty! The desserts there was fantastic too. I lived for the canoli and the tiramisu, and of course, the cappuccini. The restaurant isn’t too boisterous of an environment, either, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to eat somewhere more low key.
#2: Eddie’s Diner, Cardiff Bay, Wales
After living abroad for a few months, you start to miss American food. The diner in Cardiff is a fun, retro, ‘50s-style American eatery, that was the filming location of a couple of episodes from BBC’s Doctor Who. Embrace Elvis and Marilyn Monroe – they’re all you’ll be seeing as you eat your burgers and fries, and share milkshakes, while listening to those jukebox tunes. It was a very family-friendly and lively place to eat when I visited. My burger was delicious and tasted like America. While eating, you can look up at the counter and see a life-size Marilyn Monroe figure poised as though she is about to break into a dance. It made me a little nostalgic for home, and I felt transported back in time 60 years. It was a great experience eating there, especially since it’s on a boardwalk overlooking the water.
#1: Lokál Dlouhá, Prague, Czech Republic
By far my favorite restaurant that I’ve eaten in, this eatery in Prague served some of the best svíčková I’ve tasted in my time there, and it marked the first time I tried the Pilsner Urquell, a traditional Czech beer. Maybe the food tasted more delicious because I was there with friends, but there was something about the taste of svíčková that I still think about today. Svíčková consists of potato dumplings that look like small slices of bread, beef sirloin, and cream sauce. The dumplings are sweet, especially lathered in the cream sauce, and the beef sirloin is tender and juicy. Pilsner Urquell was a great beer to have with the meal. You can choose between glasses of the beer that have less foam, a moderate amount of foam, and more foam. The drinks with more foam were less strong, but I enjoyed the sweet flavor that balanced with the taste of beer. They also had a large silver cylinder in a glass encasing in the middle of restaurant that held the famous Pilsner Urquell beer. The restaurant itself had wooden walls and drawings on the walls that at first looked like graffiti, but were engraved into the wood as part of the decoration. Some of these drawings were cats, dogs, deer, and some were messages in Czech. It was a nice artistic touch for the restaurant, and helped give it a cozy atmosphere.