Traveling the world, you get to see a lot of things. But, more importantly, you get to eat a lot of things. Even though I’ve eaten at probably every Hard Rock Café that I have ever seen, I find that the best cafés and restaurants are not the ones you can read about on a travel website or in a guidebook. Little culinary hideaways are tucked away in corners or just places you might not think to look. They have great food and a charming atmosphere to match. Here are 7 interesting restaurants from around the world that are sure to curb your appetite and tickle your fancy (one for every day of the week, if you really feel like traveling).
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Quite familiar to local Brisbanimals and unheard of by tourists is the little laneway café Brew. Though it is in the heart of the city, Brew is located down what looks to be an abandoned alley to nowhere, with no signs out front. The atmosphere fits with the typical indie vibe of the city. Dim lighting, mismatched furniture and quirky, cool staff bring Brew that distinct hipster feeling that matches well with its menu. Brew is great retreat from the heat during the day with the best of all cold beverages, alcoholic or just organic and funky. They love to serve normal dishes with a twist like “truffled shoe string fries with house spiced salt and aioli” or “grilled prawn skewers marinated in lime chilli and cilantro.” If you head there to grab a bite a night, you can also catch an array of local artists acoustic performance with your meal. So get to Brew and satisfy your inner hipster!
Cape Town, South Africa
“The little slice of café that delights young and old at the same time goes by the name of Mimi. Mimi is located in the ever-vibrant area of Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa. The neighborhood of Observatory has always been a haven for art and hippie culture, where all races could meet and mingle, even during the troubling times of apartheid. Mimi is a gourmet sandwich and coffee café, which offers spectacular sandwiches and coffees. Go and enjoy a breakfast while you are still hanging from the ‘jol’ (South African slang for a party!) from the night before or enjoy a slow paced casual lunch with your best mates. After you enjoy this delightful little café why not go out for another bash, in the ever vibrant and lively, Observatory, hey.”
-Troy Healey ‘14, International Studies Major
Panzerotti di Luini
http://www.luini.it/ – (Careful this one is in Italian)
“Tucked on a tiny side street next to the Duomo in Milan, Italy is Panzerotti di Luini. A big attraction for the locals and starving university students alike, Luini’s provides cheap and delicious panzerottos. The panzerotto originale is a traditional Sicilian dish made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, & basil, then fried into an easily eatable half sandwich that resembles the shape of a scone. The best part? It only costs around four Euros. They also offer types like Spinach & feta, and other options with ham. The long gets pretty long around lunch time (there’s no place to sit down, it’s only grab and go) so I would suggest getting there a little bit early!”
-Danielle Bartholomew ‘14, International Business Major
Common Ground Café
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia
Perched high up in the Blue Mountains (not too far from Sydney), the Common Ground Café is a little slice of home. In a town with only one main street, the façade of the building blends nicely, but the inside, the food, and the staff certainly stand out. The inside would best be described as an indoor tree house, with nearly every inch made of carefully carved wood. Secluded nooks with hanging baskets providing a warm, enchanting glow surround the massive, stone fireplace. The food is the best of everything homemade. Any sort of melt you can imagine, “Mountain breakfast”, “Prince pancakes”, and delicious fresh hot coffee are just a few items on the menu. The friendly wait staff rounds out the magical experience with their incredible ability to be accommodating in every way possible. A must see if you are in the Blue Mountains!
The Mix Café
“My culinary hideaway is a place called The Mix Cafe in Jeffersonville, Vermont. My wife and I lived up here over a decade ago and now try to get back for a visit at least once a year. When we do, we eat breakfast at the Mix each morning. It’s the Beet & Kale Hash that keeps me coming back. Potato, caramelized onion, carrots, kale with two poached eggs on top, and of course red beets. A coffee and some rye toast (baked on premises) and you have an awesome meal before a day of fishing and hiking. My wife usually goes for the blueberry pancakes. Great mellow atmosphere in the place. And the owners and good folks who work there remain the same kind people time after time.”
-Jeff Ingram, Professor of English at Arcadia University
Rangoon Burmese Restaurant
“Go to Rangoon Burmese Restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown and eat the Asian Tea Leaf Salad. Known as “lephet thoke” in Burma, this traditional dish mixes fermented green tea leaves with chopped cabbage, chunks of tomato, garlic, dried shrimp, toasted lentils and sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, topped with fried onions, and a squeeze of lime. It feels good in the gut, and stimulates the brain too. Other menu notables include the Thousand Layer Bread with curry potato sauce and sticky sweet rice with mango for dessert. And the staff is always kind.”
-Chad Crisp, Professor of English at Arcadia University
Down on Spring Garden Street, about a 20-minute walk from the Market East station is a peculiar little restaurant called Llama Tooth. Just far enough from the center of the city that doesn’t draw a huge crowd, Llama Tooth exudes the artsy flair of Philly through its menu and its aesthetics. Though the indoor dining area is much like any other dining facilities with heavy padded chairs and wooden floors and tables, it is done simply and elegantly. The real treat is the outdoor portion strung with lights and surrounded by giant murals. The brightly colored umbrellas in the big backyard BBQ attract you from across the street. Grab Brunch, dinner, or drinks here with crazy takes on all your favorites. Try the “bonsai mac and cheese,” the “pulled pork mountain,” “beer and blue fondue for two,” or even the “Llama-tata” and be sure that your taste buds will be more than satisfied. Don’t forget to stop at Llama Tooth on your next venture into Philly.