Part 2 of the annual awards. Restaurants.
I’m really spoiled for choice in this department.
My week in Toulouse produced several possibilities – just what you’d expect from a week in that city. But how did I manage a week there in March without eating cassoulet?
The day trip to Dublin gave me the “most expensive pizza in the world” memory. €14. It’s only bread! Dalkey is an expensive part of the city, but still.
We had several excellent dinners in the Ingostadt area over the year. Greek, Spanish, Italian and Bavarian. The local pizza place is worth an award, as is the nearest Biergarten. We even a had Franconian Keller lunch, near Treuchtlingen. A Keller is what they call a Biergarten in Franconia.
We had wonderful homestyle food on our two Hütte stays in the Alps – local dishes cooked really well and enjoyed in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
My ice hockey jaunts to England produced nothing memorable as far as food was concerned. That’s the way it goes with ice hockey road trips.
Dinners in Findhorn are usually high quality – the Kimberley is one of my all time favourites. I ate there several times over the summer. Seafood.
The Bakehouse had delicious lamb köfte on the menu – I succumbed twice.
The dinner we had in Portrígh was enjoyable – the Pier Hotel. Seafood. 10 metres from where the fish is landed.
Lunch at the Stein Inn was excellent, for the location as much as the food itself. Remote. Way up north on the Bhatairnis peninsula. Seafood, again.
Lunch in the Douglas Hotel in Brodick (Arran, Scotland) was a real highlight. It wasn’t about the food (which was very good) or the superb views over the water, but because I worked in the hotel for a while when I was 19 and hadn’t been back since. A real sentimental journey.
Ultimately, I’m left deciding between three Toulouse places. Well, it’s not just France it’s the culinary heart! Le Retour du Marché gets the award for all kinds of reasons, but it wasn’t an easy decision. Here’s what I wrote at the time (for Virtual Tourist).
“Great dinner. It was wet, so somewhere close to the apartment was ideal. This place is only 100m away. Perfect.
The food, service and atmosphere were all wonderful. It’s small. 7-8 tables inside and two on the pavement. Staff comprises the chef and a waiter. They must be good at what they do.
I had foie gras, then duck breast, with crême brûleé. Sounds rather mundane, but the way it was served made it all quite special. A bottle of Bourgueil to wash it down. Coffee & Armagnac to aid the digestion.
Highly recommended. Best to book. €84 for 2 people. 3 courses each. “
© iain taylor 2014