My Foodie Guide to Europe

I think it goes without saying that both myself and TFT take food (as part of the culture while traveling) very seriously. As the semester draws to a close and my time abroad is unfortunately almost over, I have been reminiscing on all the great meals I’ve eaten in each country. Whether I stumbled upon them or they came highly recommended, I have compiled a list of my favorites for anyone who may be traveling to Europe soon. Disclaimer: I am in no sense a qualified food critic, so enter at your own risk…but the pictures should be convincing enough :)

TRASTEVERE

Ahhh home sweet Rome. Don’t miss this trendy neighborhood on your next trip to the Eternal City! I made sure to cover the 3 P’s (pizza, pasta, panino) + gelato, aka the staples of any good Italian diet.
aristo
AristocampoI’ve written about it before and I’ll write about it again, the oldest panini house in Trastevere never fails to disappoint. Make your own or choose from the menu, you can never go wrong with the freshest ingredients and made to order panino. My suggestion is to go for their specialty: Porchetta. (Piazza della Scala, 53 + 6 other locations throughout Rome)
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La BotticellaFor a nicer dinner in the neighborhood, don’t miss La Botticella. The sibling trio of cook, waiter, waitress gives this family run restaurant the perfect feel. The antipasti is admittedly my favorite part- zucchini flowers, tomato bruschetta, a big fresh bufala mozz ball, and fried artichoke. Ask for a sampling of pastas and they’ll bring it out on a platter so the whole table can share! Make sure to get the Gnocchi Gorgonzola and Mushroom and Truffle Ravioli. Don’t be surprised if they send you home with some beautiful pottery as Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 8.48.01 PMwell! (Vicolo del Leopardo, 39)

Old Bridge GelateriaHands down the best gelato I’ve had in Italy. I really truly try to like it elsewhere, but NOTHING compares. Maybe it’s the nice guy who always has a smile on his face when scooping ice cream, or the fact that they give you double the amount of any other place for the same price- but the creamy, smooth, delicious gelato simply cannot be beat. Don’t miss the Nutella or Arachidi (peanut), and you can never go wrong with some classic Stracciatella. (Via della Scala 69 / 70 + 2 other locations in Rome)

Forno la Renella (no link because no website, so obviously it’s amazing): I have debated for months whether or not I would ever reveal Forno’s (as I fornosaffectionately call it) to anyone, let alone the internet world…but since I have definitely had my fair share of heaven by now, I suppose I should let others in on my best kept secret. Tucked away down a quiet street in Trastevere, Forno’s fresh bread can be smelled from a mile away. There is truly no other pizza like this, thanks to the homemade bread baked daily that supplies half the city’s supermarkets, restaurants, and stomachs of very happy customers. Everything is good here, so go ahead and choose away. But please, to make me happy, try to at least fake some Italian when you go here. This is a very local place, and I want to keep it that way! Some words for the wise: questo, pezzo, caldo, piccolo, portare via (Via del Moro, 15)

ISTANBUL

istanbulCafe PrivatoI will truly never forget this meal and it is one of the reasons I know I will return to Istanbul one day. For all my fellow breakfast lovers out there, the Geleneksel Köy Kahvaltısı (Traditional Village Breakfast) will change your life. Don’t be alarmed when they bring out dozens of plates for only one order, because they are filled with exquisite jams, fresh fruit, local cheeses, and top it off with eggs, turkish sausage, their famous grilled halloumi, and the classic gözleme. Don’t forget to compliment this heavenly experience with some Turkish tea!MANTI (Galip Dede Caddesi Tımarcı Sokak No: 3, Beyoğlu — right by Galata Tower)

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.40.31 PMSayla MantıYou can’t leave Istanbul without trying some Mantı, aka the Turkish version of dumplings! Sayla Mantı is the place to go, in Kadıköy on the Asian side. They speak zero English there and by the looks of their reaction to two Americans- they don’t see very many tourists, which makes it even better in my opinion. (Caferağa Mh., Nail Bey Sk No:32, Kadıköy)

Karaköy GüllüoğluThe best baklava in town! I was lucky enough to be with a local guide who ordered for us the first time, but you really can’t go wrong. The people there are really nice and mostly speak english, so they will help you. (Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mh. Mumhane Cd. 34425 Beyoğlu)Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.43.47 PM

VERONA

Pasticceria Barini: Perfect stop on your way into one of my favorite cities in Italy, grab a cappuccino and one of the yummy pastries. I have a hard time adopting the Italian way of eating sweets for breakfast, but I couldn’t pass these ones up. Right before the arch way with the clock as you enter town/Piazza Bra. (Corso Porta Nuova, 8)

VENICE

Pasticceria Bar Targa di Rizzetto: This bakery made up for the overpriced and undercooked tourist trap pizza I ate in Venice. Enjoy a “zabaione” (or two) for me! And good luck finding it on the winding streets..although it is pretty clearly marked with a sign and about a 5 minute walk from the Rialto Bridge. (Sestiere San Polo, 1050)

NICE

nice pastriesPatisserie Serain Cappa: More pastries! The vanilla macaroon knocks it out of the park. Anything here is good, we ended up going back pretty Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.45.16 PMmuch everyday in Nice and tried a bunch of different things- all good enough to write home about. (Place Garibaldi 7)

Granny’s: We stumbled upon this place walking around down by the flower market, and the crepe (egg, ham, mushrooms, cheese) was so good that I surveyed the area via google earth when I got home to remember the name. Low and behold, this adorable little place is none other than “Granny’s,” how perfect. (Place de l’Ancien Sénat, 5)

BRUSSELS

fritlandFritland: I somehow was under the impression (or the internet lied to me) that this place closed at 1pm, so when we landed in Brussels I dragged my roommates right from the airplane, through the old town with suitcases, and straight to Belgian fry heaven. No one was complaining though, once we had the mitraillette in our hands. This classic Belgian dish actually originated in Brussels and it is what I like to call a sandwich on steroids- baguette, meat, fries, lettuce, onions, and a sauce of your brussels wafflechoice. Now that I think about it, maybe the Philadelphian in me liked this resemblance to a hoagie….;) (Rue Henri Maus, 49)

Maison Dandoy: We obviously had our priorities in order for the day trip to Brussels (Belgian waffles, Belgian fries, Belgian chocolate) and heard this is the best spot in town. My ice cream, chocolate sauce, and powdered sugar heaven in liege waffle form proved the rumors right. (Rue Charles Buls 14)

AMSTERDAM

stamppotCafe Sonneveld: As I struggled to find anything but fast food and chains near Dam Square, I finally had the traditional dutch meal I was looking for to thanks to a local tour guide who brought us here. Get your stamppot here in the adorably quiet and picturesque neighborhood of Jordaan, my favorite area in all of wok to walkAmsterdam. (Egelantiersgracht 72-74)

Wok to Walk: Although this Thai inspired fast food chain can be found in 10 European countries, I first discovered it in the city where it all began. The “Chipotle of Asian food” as I call it, Wok to Walk offers your choice of noodles, toppings, and sauce creating the perfect personal stir fry. Trust me on this one- always go for the Udon noodles and never be fooled by the wannabes (“Wok to Go”) you may see down the street, Wok to Walk is the best! (Five locations in Amsterdam, check them out online)

LONDON

scotch eggBorough Market: Because an entire blog post dedicated to this place wasn’t enough! You have to find the scotch egg place at my favorite food market in the whole world. Also make sure to sample some cheeses, meats, and try a wild boar sausage sandwich if you’re feeling…well, wild. (8 Southwark St)scones

High Tea at St. Paul’s Cathedral: One of my favorite things we did in London, and the scones were out of this world. A fun activity if you want to relax and act all posh for a couple hours. Pinky’s up! (It’s kind of hard to miss but…St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD)

SEVILLA

ovejas negrasOvejas NegrasI still daydream about this meal, to be completely honest. My favorite Spanish tradition in my favorite Spanish city, the tapas at Ovejas Negras are one of a kind. You are absolutely required to get the: risotazzo (mushroom risotto), patatas bravas (with out of this world sauce), hamburguesa sliders, chicken wings, and whatever else you desire despite the alarmed look on your waiter’s face (we’re americans, come on). Make room for a postre: raspberry cheesecake that comes in adorable little jar with crust crumbs. (Calle Hernando Colón, 8)Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.59.24 PM

KRAKOW

Restauracja & Pub Grodzka: Imagine my surprise when my vegetarian roommate received her potato pancake and we found out what “goulash” is (convenient as it was our first of ten days in Eastern Europe). Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.01.01 PMI gave her my boring (kidding) mushroom sauce and took the mouth watering meat sauce with a side of potato pancake. Not bad for our first meal, and just steps away from enjoying it in the main square. There are hundreds of potato pancake places and this one might not be the most important, but I can confirm that it great. (Grodzka 6)

Miód Malina: Pierogi heaven. Get the sampler and thank me later. Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.01.39 PM(Grodzka 40)

PRAGUE

Old Traditional Goodies: While I didn’t manage to find any outstanding places for Czech food, I was sure to discover the best trdelnik. The adorable woman who works there and the delicious, warm, rolled dough dipped in cinnamon sugar and filled with chocolate make this place worth seeking out. (Seminářská 2) 

BUDAPEST

BUDAPEST BREAKFASTKiskifli: We asked our caving guide who barely spoke a word of English (*local alert*) where she likes to eat and I assume she sent us to her friend’s house. This was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had abroad.  This woman literally runs a restaurant out of her house, with only the bar and 2 tables in the whole place. When we asked for a menu, she told us as nicely aslangos humanly possible that she didn’t have one, and in that moment I was sold. I don’t even know what I ate but it was amazing. It you want true a Hungarian breakfast, eat here. (Báthory utca 22)

Metro Langos: I don’t have a name for this place because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have one. Another suggestion from a local that blew our minds. It’s literally a little hole in the wall on the outside of a metro station, but an unforgettable one at that. Langos is a Hungarian dish so good I went twice in 3 days- fried dough topped with cheese, sour cream, and meat or veggie toppings of your choice. We were unsure how to eat it, so we tried to observe the locals as we sat there in awe and watched them pick the whole thing up and take a bite out of it just like that. One of them also got the stuffed langos, which is essentially like our calzones but better, and topped with sour cream- really great for anyone who may get as excited about melted cheese as I do. (Arany János metro station – M3. great hall marketNot actually inside, just one of the storefronts outside of it)

Nagycsarnok 
(Great Market Hall): I’m a firm believer that markets always have the best local food in a given place and the Great Market Hall in Budapest did not disappoint. The food stands are on the top floor and you can just wander down the aisle until you find something that looks good. I hit the jackpot with this “Hungarian pasta” (think of it more as a rice) with goulash and paprika potatoes (with sausage). (1093 Budapest Vámház körút 1-3)

 

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TAORMINA, SICILY

Osteria da Rita di Bille: Resort towns are tough when trying to avoid the tourist menu, but the trusty taxi driver opinion paid off for this one. Rita’s had delicious pizza, salads, and a pasta dish that was so good we finished it too quickly to snap a picture. To top it off, Rita’s daughter Alessandra is hilarious and so personable…we went there twice in one weekend and enjoyed chatting with her both times. Make sure you get whatever pasta special Papà is making that day and if you’re craving a salad the insalata kriminale is so good it should be illegal :) (Via Calapitrulli 3)

bam barBam Bar: It’s true…there is a little place on this universe on an island known as Sicilia where Italians eat ice cream and whipped cream with sweet bread every morning for breakfast, and it’s called Bam Bar. When my parents came home from their first granita experience at the little place next door to our AirBnB, you would have thought the world had ended. Then I tried it for myself, and was sold. Granita is a Sicilian specialty, a frozen dessert somewhere between water ice and gelato topped with cream so smooth and sweet you could die. Bam Bar is of course famous for it, and we quickly joined in with the locals eating there every morning and dipping our brioche in this special treat. Chocolate, strawberry, arancia (orange), almond, or whatever flavors they have that day- your taste buds will be happy. (Via di Giovanni 45)da cristina

da Cristina: Famous for their arancini and rightfully so, da Cristina also has delicious pizza which reminded me alot of the aforementioned Forno’s. The eggplant and cheese arancini is a must have, staying true to Sicilian specialities. Another very local place that was almost overwhelmingly packed with Italians, just how I like it. It’s worth it sticking out like a sore thumb tourist when the food’s this good! For some really hard to find on a map, but not so much in person- it’s right off the Corso Umberto and Piazza Duomo. (Via strabone 2)

CINQUE TERRE

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 6.01.17 PMFocacceria Antonio: Can’t hike the 5Terre without carbing up after on their specialty- focaccia. While the trails were technically closed (read: we’re lazy) when we went, we still managed to help ourselves to a lot of focaccia. This place in the new town of Monterosso is the spot. Once again all the choices are great, but my go-to picks were the mushroom with gorgonzola and just plain cheese. (Via Fegina, 124 – across the street from the playground/park)lancora

L’ancora della Tortuga: I will forever question whether places on the water really are tourist traps or not after eating here. With a beautiful view of the cliffs and blue sea set in a little alcove between the new and old towns, this was by far the best meal we ate in 4 days. The fish was fresh, delicious, and the meal started off on a fantastic note: fried dough in the bread basket(!!!!!!!!). Definitely get the cod fritters, fried squid, broccoli orecchiette with mussels and tomatoes, and house special which is a manicotti type pasta dish stuffed with fresh fish. (Salita Cappuccini, 6)

 

Buon appetito ragazzi!

Christy

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