Best and worst food culture in Europe?

Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:04 AM
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I never eat pizza in Italy because it's a regional dish and it's much more sensible to eat regional dishes in their own region, so you eat pizza in Naples.
For example, in Venice, you know that if a restaurant has a large "Pizza" sign outside, that it is aimed at tourists and the food is going to be mediocre at best.
There is a little Venetian restaurant that has a notice "No pizza and no lasagne" ;-)

The best thing about food in the UK is the variety, especially in big cities.
It is getting increasingly difficult to find really bad food in the UK although I recently encountered it in Scotland when we went into a cafe in on the "any port in a storm" criterion.
Not only was the food revolting but they tried to overcharge us.
The next day, we found an excellent restaurant and several good tea-shops.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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It lays limply on the plate at an English B&B

Goodness, I have heard of genetic modification, but bacon that can lay on the plate.
What sort of eggs does it lay, and how long does it take?

Seriously, streaky bacon has its uses, but you really can't beat a piece of good back bacon.
It isn't the same as Canadian bacon. I've lived in the US and know of what I speak.

I think that some of your specialist shops may have Irish bacon.

The thing with the English/Scottish/Irish breakfast is that it is much better in small hotels and B and Bs where you sit and wait for it to be cooked freshly for you.
Many big hotels have buffets when it is cold and greasy unless you get to the dining room early
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:19 AM
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The thing about not having a great food culture, as in Holland, is that people are not hung up about only eating their own traditional food. I do love Italian food, but try to eat anything else in Italy, if you're in the mood for some good Asian food, for example. Or try to find non-spanish food in Spain. At least in Amsterdam, it's not mandatory to eat overcooked vegetables (unless you visit your Dutch mother-in-law of course).
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:19 AM
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"Salty and dry in Spain?????....have you really traveled in that country?"

I lived there for 18 months and that was certainly my impression. It's not that I hated the food, but it was nothing special bar paella and a few other dishes. I don't like dry sandwiches, plain potato omelette etc. I was an au pair for some of that time and ate Spanish home cooking and didn't think it was great either. I didn't like how much oil they used to fry absolutely everything, I didn't like the 'tomate frito' they seemed to use in every dish. I like tapas, all the fresh fruit and veg, olives, gherkins and things like croquettes but overall I wasn't impressed by the food. I thought the food in Italy and France (where I've also lived) was much 'better', as in I liked it a lot more.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 02:25 AM
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I live in Belgium and I like the food here, but the old stalworths do become a bit repetitive. It's hard to find restaurants here with a new twist on traditional favourites. But I have to say the quality is very good. I had wonderful lobster belle-vue yesterday evening - no complaints.

I'm partial to Austrian food because of its many influences and variety. However it is very heavy.

I quite like spanish food too. In fact I love food full stop.

I wouldn't knock the dutch - they have adopted Indonesian cuisine as their own which is great. It certainly makes a change from the frikandellen.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 03:03 AM
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Lawchick; that's exactly how I feel about Belgian food. All very good, but so many restaurants have the same menu; sometimes one wants something besides dame blanche or creme brulee for dessert.

Opinions about food and restaurants are very different from a tourist or resident point of view. My favorite restaurants in Antwerp are not always the ones I would recommend to a first time visitor from the US, for example. I suppose that if you visit Belgium, you are not going to want to eat sushi.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 03:57 AM
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I had Dame Blanche last night for dessert Tulips.

And............guess what I had as a starter....

croquettes aux crevettes grises.......

Quelle surprise!
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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Lawchick; you could have been at any restaurant in Belgium! Occasionally, croquettes de crevettes and dame blanche are just what you want though.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Croquettes aux crevettes ... mmmm ... anytime!
Tulips & Lawchick, I don't quite agree that our food becomes repetitive. At least in many restaurants in Antwerp do quite innovative things with traditional ingredients, IMO. La Riva, Het Pomphuis, De Koopvaardij ("l'alliance de produits belges, frais du jour, de haute qualité, avec les épices connues et moins connues&quot. A trend I like very much.
I still prefer local cuisine, be it in Belgium or abroad. I cannot imagine being in Italy and eating Chinese food for example. Or visiting Belgium and going to the Irish pub ...
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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"I never eat pizza in Italy because it's a regional dish and it's much more sensible to eat regional dishes in their own region, so you eat pizza in Naples."

Last time I checked, Naples was in Italy..Rome also has some delicious pizza.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I am aware that Naples is in Italy.
I omitted to mention that I always go to Northern Italy.
Food obviously brings out the beast in some posters.

I think that you'll find that an awful lot of places just put pizza toppings on ready prepared bases.
Some will inform you of the fact, but others won't.
The fact remains that in most parts of Italy, pizza is tourist fare.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Expanding the debate. Lebanese cuisine is undeniably the best in the world, and I'm not Lebanese!
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Since James (above) expanded the "debate"..I will chime in with Moroccan. Clifton may back me up on this one, as will EKscrunchy. My wife and I agreed wholeheartedly on the food we experienced throughout Morocco...now we dine on Moroccan food here in L.A. every now and then. Yeh, I know, African Forum...but just to add a few more thoughts.

Here's my parting words for for my fellow independent travelers....always go to the "mom and pop", neighborhood eateries first...the "continentals" are not serving you indigenous choices.....and they're twice or three times the price.

Stu T.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Stu (Hi!) I agree with you that Moroccan food is suberb. I also generally agree about the smaller places.

I have to take exception, again, to the poster above who denigrates Spanish food. I think, Irishgirl, that you did not eat at the "right" places and by that I do not mean "fancy" spots...I will conceed that it is perhaps not as easy to have great Spanish food on a tight budget, as it would be to have great Italian food in Italy, for example. But tell me, IG, have you done any eating in Barcelona in the past 10 years? Or on the northern coast? Not to mention my beloved Pedraza/Segovia/Sepulveda axis.....
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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For what it's worth, everyone speaks ill of British food, but DH and I had some amazing meals there. With one or two exceptions including excellent pizza, we were underwhelmed by the food in Rome and Florence. We would have expected the opposite. Of course, it all depends on whether you try the right places, so I don't take it to mean one is better than the other. We had bad luck in Rome, I think.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Moroccan is good, not so keen on the cous-cous tho'.

Bringing this back to Europe, when studying in Montpellier my favourite take out restaurant was honestly called MacKhalid's. Fantastic kebabs (gyros to our colonial cousins)

At the lower edge of the old town, I wonder if it is still there.
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Italian to me is above and beyond anything, and it's also what I grew up with.

Having said that, Hungarian food to me is absolutely amazing. I ate my way through Budapest for sure!

(I also love Indian food, to expand things further.)
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Old Jun 9th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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@I have to take exception, again, to the poster above who denigrates Spanish food. I think, Irishgirl, that you did not eat at the "right" places and by that I do not mean "fancy" spots...I will conceed that it is perhaps not as easy to have great Spanish food on a tight budget, as it would be to have great Italian food in Italy, for example. But tell me, IG, have you done any eating in Barcelona in the past 10 years? Or on the northern coast? Not to mention my beloved Pedraza/Segovia/Sepulveda axis....."

I ate in many different places, as well as peoples' homes all over Spain - surely a more 'typical' experience of Spanish food than a tourist visiting upscale restaurants or whatever you consider the 'right' places? And if you have to find the 'right' places in order to have a decent meal, doesn't that tell you something? I'm talking about everyday fare - as I said, I find the typical everyday food in France and Italy better than in Spain. It's not that I don't LIKE Spanish food, I just wouldn't go out of my way to eat it.

I agree the food is better in the north of Spain (I lived in Andalucia most of the time) but again I didn't feel it was anything special. Yes I have eaten in Barcelona (many times), Bilbao, San Sebastian, and other places in the north. I loved the tapas in SS, and pa amb tomaquet in Barcelona but overall I wasn't bowled over by the food. In Andalucia I found it bland and boring for the most part. 'Salty and dry' is not an inaccurate description, in my opinion. I wouldn't say Spanish food is the WORST in Europe, but for me it most definitely isn't the best. What do you find so amazing about it, since you are so quick to disagree with those who don't love it?
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Old Jun 9th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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All depends:
One of the very best meals of our lives was at Hambleton Hall, Rutland, England.
My younger son's/DIL's wedding dinner.
Close was scallops and river fish in Riquewihr, Alsace, FR - lots of local Pinot Gris.
Three different venison varieties and scores of mushrooms at Hot JagdSchloss Niederwald, Rudesheim, Germany.
The Olympic Restaurant on the Celebrity Millennium, just off Sicily.
An ancient place in Brussels in '91 - lost my notes when I moved to MX.
Lola; or Iris in Dallas.
Years ago, the Mansion in Dallas.
The Tasting Room; Hearth and EU in NYC.
202 and Nicole in NYC.
Our former house in Dallas and San Miguel de Allende, Gto. and chef DIL's house in Battery Park.
Bit surprised that the food in Sicily and Ravello was somewhat bland - quite good, but not realy spectacular.
Ah, the Peccorino in Palermo's Mercado Vucciria was superb - 1 Euro for 200 gms - he knew Lady "L" was Napolitana, lol.
Look and ye shall find.
Buen provecho.
M





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Old Jun 9th, 2007, 02:25 PM
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I must admit I wasn't a fan of Spanish cuisine. I echo IrishGirl's conments - "I don't like dry sandwiches, plain potato omelette etc". I thought even the paella was a "ho hum" dish. The tapas and seafood I loved (as for the rest of Spain). The best cuisine (after Ialian of course) is Turkish. Absolutely suberb and of a great variety. It must be healthy because I did not see alot of obesity in Turkey.
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