Foodies abroad: Aussie cafés in LA
For a little slice of home (and a few slices of avo toast).
Move over Paris and Rome – we’ve seen enough of your croissants and pizzas to last us a lifetime.
It’s time to move on to bigger and better things – and by things we mean the European cities where brilliant food scenes have been quietly developing without fanfare, and better yet, without Michelin Star level price tags (lookin’ at you London).
By all means, include a stop at the likes of Copenhagen and Vienna on your next European adventure – but make sure you save your real appetite for these less-lauded foodie cities.
If we say Hungarian food, your mind probably immediately jumps to goulash, but there’s so much more to eat (and drink) in this riverside city. This is the country that invented market fave langos and chimney cakes, so they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to cooking up drool-worthy fare! One speciality that may surprise you is hummus so good you’ll be eating it with a spoon, preferably at Mazel Tov, thanks to a sizeable Jewish population in the city. Street food fans should head to Karavan, where multiple vendors will inevitably lead to overeating. For drinks to wash it all down, Szimpla Kert is a bonkers ruin bar where you’ll find yourself sipping cocktails underneath disco balls, ancient computer screens and whacky art.
We might not know how to say it, but in Slovenia’s pocket sized capital city all you really need to know is “okusno!” (that’s delicious in Slovenian). More than just a stopover on the way to Lake Bled and the impressive Triglav National Park, Ljubljana’s city centre is small enough that you can spend a day or two walking from hipster brunches at Ek Bistro to craft coffee at Kavni and parmesan gelato at Romantika. The best way to try everything if you’re short on time is with a food walking tour – Ljublanajam will make sure you end the day with a full belly – and might even tell you how to say Ljubljana right.
These days, everyone seems to bypass Spain’s capital for Barcelona, it’s bigger, rowdier sister, but you’d be making a mistake if you don’t at least stop in for layover – especially if, like us, you’ve got a bit of an obsession with tapas. In the Mercado de San Miguel, rows and rows of stalls filled with single serve tapas mean you really can try one of everything, while others, like Mercado de San Ildefonso and Mercado de San Antón, offer up flavoursome street food dishes and plenty of sangria to wash it down. Don’t leave without eating at least half your weight in churros at centuries-old churrerias like Chocolateria San Gines.
Bring your best appetite to Bucharest, because not only is this city home to some seriously good cafés and restaurants, but you’ll be wining and dining at about a third of the price you would at home – which means you can eat three times as much! Get out of the central tourist area and seek out the locales tucked away in venues like like Simbio Kitchen & Bar, where you’ll find creative brunch plates being served up with hipster vibes behind a very gothic doorway. For lunch, hit one of the many hole-in-the-wall bakeries around town for Romanian pastries before a cup of specialty tea at quirky tea house Camera din Fata, while for dinner, bread and wine bar Pâine si Vin plates up one of the most epic cheese boards you’ll ever see – it’s so gouda you’ll be ordering another.
So you’ve tried (and loved) Portuguese custard tarts, but what about everything else Portugal has to offer? One can’t live on pastry alone (trust us, we’ve tried), so before you gorge on flaky tarts at Pasteis de Belem, make sure you check out the rest of Lisbon’s food scene. From mountainous plates of cheese and cured meats at the Mercado da Baixa, to spicy seafood dishes ordered off a hand-written chalkboard at Taberna da Rua da Flores (don’t attempt to translate – just close your eyes and point), and street food sampling at the Time Out Markets, Lisbon is a jam-packed foodie city with enough hills to burn everything off as you go.
Bristol’s gone hipster! If you land in London and discover that between the exchange rate and price tag you’ve just paid $23 for a toasted cheese sandwich at the Camden Markets, it might be time to head for England’s most livable city instead. This scholarly city has recently stepped up its culinary game, with egg-celent brunches at The Crafty Egg, endless farm to table restaurants like Bulrush and Birch, shipping container degustations at Box-E and brilliant coffee and baked goods at the like of Little Victories and Elemental. Eat your heart out London.
Bring on the international food baby.