As our small propeller-powered plane begins its descent into Ilulissat I’m glued to the small porthole-shaped window mesmerised by the breathtaking views. Once we break through the stationary clouds and snow-capped mountains, the sea reveals itself for the first time.
Twenty-four hours after departing a chaotic and densely populated London Heathrow, I touch down in Greenland on what appears to be the only patch of land that isn’t blanketed in white for as far as the eye can see. The reason I’ve come to this predominantly uninhabited and perilously cold country is to learn as much as possible about its mysterious and unique food culture.
In Italy, a good bit of advice when it comes to eating out is to avoid the large touristy piazzas, occasionally though this rule doesn’t isn’t applicable and in this particular instance it couldn’t be further from the truth. Trattoria da Leo is a small family run operation just off one of the main piazzas. Serving traditional Lucchesi classics, plus a few Italian favourites, it is a great place to mix with the locals and sample some amazing traditional fare.
Street food is finally starting to make its mark on London and with the growing popularity comes a wider range of food to choose from. The Pit Cue Co is the latest food wagon to gain major applauds and its easy to see why. Specialising in no nonsense American BBQ food, it is a hickory smoked, slow-cooked meat lovers paradise.
In England we generally associate ‘bring your own’ with restaurants that don’t have an alcohol licence. In Osteria del Sole, a family run restaurant that has been open since the 1940’s, it’s the other way round. Here you supply the food and they supply the drink, all of which are alcoholic I might add.
It seems like this cosy little osteria is one of the most universally loved places I have ever read about, sadly I don’t think I can agree. It’s certainly cheap and cheerful, and in its defence the staff and atmosphere are great too, but if your’re looking for good Bolognese food, I would recommend paying a little bit extra and going somewhere else.
A few year’s ago this place was a closely guarded local secret, hidden away in the corner of a secluded courtyard, only a select few people were lucky enough to know about it, but all that has changed thanks to an American food writer called Anthony Bourdain. Since he featured the restaurant on his TV show, No Reservations, the place has become a tourist Mecca and they all go for the one thing, the best bowl of Cacio e Pepe in Rome.
As I recently discovered on a trip to Bologna, if you’re looking for something to eat after 10pm you’ll have a very hard time finding anywhere that will serve you. Luckily after a lot of searching I stumbled across To Steki, a Greek style taverna that stays open until the early hours. What was more surprising though was the standard and the price of the food that was being served. I realise that eating Greek food when you are in the home of Italian cuisine is somewhat sacrilegious, but the meal actually turned out to be one of the best of the entire trip.
Despite the large Greek community in London, somehow this hasn’t translated into a wealth of good quality Greek restaurants. Apart from Lemonia, a solid but overpriced Greek-Cypriot restaurant in Primrose Hill there really aren’t any places worth a particular mention. I’ve found that if you want the best Greek food you’re better off checking out the various London markets, here you can find far better food and at a fraction of the cost. My favourite, is a small stall on Chatsworth Road Market specialising in freshly made Greek pies.
There are two Roscioli’s in Rome, one is an upmarket restaurant selling some of the best, most innovative food in the city, while the other is a slightly more modest forno (bakery), which sells breads, pizzas, pastries and at lunchtime some amazing sandwiches, Roman pasta dishes and typical salads of the region.
London is awash with Japanese restaurants but they generally fall into one of two categories. They are either extremely expensive or they are one of the many characterless, uninspiring chains currently taking over the high streets. A good Japanese meal is actually surprisingly hard to come across in London unless you are willing to pay for it, but thankfully there are still a select few places, if you look hard enough, that sell incredible Japanese food and at a reasonable cost.
Located just a few paces from west London’s bustling Edgware Road, hidden down a characterful side street, Patogh is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall Iranian restaurant selling some of the finest kebabs, grilled meats and authentic meze dishes I’ve ever tasted. Downstairs seating is very limited and bookings are only taken on the day, but turn up without one at your own risk, you could be in for a long wait.
Italian Enoteche, known in English as wine bars, are some of Rome’s most lively places to spend an evening, and out of all the ones I’ve visited, this is the best. Located just around the corner from Piazza Navona, Cul de Sac boasts a wine list in the region of 1500 different wines. The vast selection which covers the walls and fills the cellar is truly phenomenal, and the accompanying food menu is very impressive too.
Yet another pizzeria in Naples’s Centro Storico district, Pizzeria del Presidente would be a heavily revered restaurant anywhere else in the world but on this particular stretch of road it is simply one of many places serving incredible pizza at a ridiculously low price.