Wherever I go on a holiday or even a shorter trip, I am doing a research. Observing and tasting, I am looking for new things to offer and to design new programs based on our strengths and other nation’s experiences. Comparing tastes and values is also a big part of that research.
This November, we decided to go to Paris and London for 8 days.
Both places, particularly Paris, are known for number of great restaurants but, since this was my first ever visit to Paris, I wanted to taste “regular” offer, affordable food most of travelers experience and can afford.
We did very little research on restaurants just for this reason!
So we walked around checking out the restaurants that were full for lunches and find some room at George V at Champs Elysees.
Not so affordable but still not that bad considering a fabulous location.
Beef bourguignon, some chicken and toasted sandwich were not that good… Mediocre. The waiter also persuaded me to take a glass of wine and it was 12 Euros and far from good.
So, George V: AVOID!
Rest of the restaurants were ok but still nothing to write home about…
Now sweets were a different story!
A did a VERY thorough research on best patisseries and bakeries and narrowed my selection to four of the best with accent on Pierre Herme and his AMAZING macarons!
Here is more for those readers not familiar with this heavenly sweet: http://www.alifewortheating.com/paris/laduree/
Macarons are unbelievable! Pricey, at 80 Euros per KG, but worth every dime!
My favorite are double vanilla and pistachio although I can not say that I had a bad one!
We also enjoyed some interesting pastry as well, but it looked better than it tasted which is a common thing this type of pastry has…
Besides eating in Paris, we also bought some wine and cheeses not available in Croatia to enjoy. Overall, Paris was a great experience and the food was great although I expected a notch better.
What I really enjoyed was the fact that French are so proud of their food and just looking at the food stores and reading the menus was already a huge pleasure!
Next time I am planning a much better and more demanding itinerary!
Then we took the Eurostar to London.
What I like in London is the fact that every cuisine on the planet is represented, unlike Paris, which is primarily focused on French cuisine.
To me, London is just an unbelievable place!
We spent days enjoying museums and stores and evenings in the wine bars which Croatia lacks so desperately.
One of my favorites is a lovely Carvosso’s at 210 in Chiswick where we stayed with our friends from Vis.
For Sunday lunch we decided to have a meal there and it was quite ok but will stick to wines. What is interesting is the fact that this place is located in the former Police station!
Since we come from a “burger free” country (well, almost), I always stop at some fancy burger place just to enjoy a nice patty in a fresh bun. Carnaby Burger Co:
Unbelievable tasty and with huge sides, this was our only meal of that day!
Overall, we ate and drunk good. Both cities are fabulous and well worth visiting several times a year (if possible). Next time I will plan my routes better and try to squeeze in one Michelin star restaurant in the itinerary.
What I learned is that our food is so delicious and so simple that we have so much room for improvement! Ok, I knew that even before, but we have to work very hard on presentation and pairing of our food with wines. So far, only Pelegrini is working on various twists possible when creating new dishes from old recipes but located in Šibenik, I think my friend Rudi should relocate to offer his creations to more appreciative audience of i.e. Hvar, Dubrovnik, Split…
We also need more diversity in our restaurants: long gone are the days of same menus from Istria to Dubrovnik starting with Bečki odrezak (Wiener Schnitzel) and ending with something like simple ice cream or crepes.
We have fabulous ingredients almost everyone raves about! Just a bit of imagination, more education and simple will to make changes, can make a huge difference!
We should also have more international restaurants that would expose us to different tastes and techniques of cooking.
But, still only shy signs of improvement as years are going by…