Located in the heart of Les Halles, Le Comptoir de La Gastronomie shines the spotlight on the south west of France. A gourmet grocery store and restaurant famous for its duck foie gras, terrines and cassoulet. With stunning marble bar tops, tiles underfoot and walls laden with gourmet products, a visit here is a must. Get in early and reserve a table and don't miss the foie gras carpaccio with honey sauce and sea salt like we did.
You can't miss Grand Hôtel Amour. A grown up version of the original Hôtel Amour. By day, you'll spot the tell-tale blue, red and white frontage and by night, the hotel's bar Petite Amour bursts with bodies across the road, glowing under the flickering neon.
Located on rue de la Fidélité in Paris' 10th Arrondissement in a hip part of town and designed by graffiti artist cum nightlife kingpin André Saraiva (Le Bain and Cafe Henrie in NYC, The Friend in LA, Le Baron in London). You'll find 42 unique rooms (and one apartment) inspired by travels from across the globe and a hip bistro just made for Insta-envy.
The Apartment felt like a home away from home, just with room service and a risqué portrait of Vivienne Westwood.
You can't help but smile right? Just Falafs! Jokes aside, this little joint in Fitzroy North serves up damn fine Israeli eats. Inspired by falafel bars in New York, the mother and son duo saw that the area is crying out for good takeaway and casual eateries. Turning Middle Eastern staples into pretty plates. Go for the Haloumi served with crispy falafel, cauliflower, pickled cabbage and tahini. If the suns out, grab a Picnic Pack for two and head over the road to Edinburgh Gardens to feast in the fresh air.
High on Monte Tauro on the east coast of Sicily sits the resort town of Taormina. With sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, Mount Etna as its backdrop and an ancient Teatro Greco ‘Greek theatre’, this seaside location is the perfect escape for a taste of Sicilian dolce vita.
We packed a lot into our three nights in Taormina thanks to travel tips and recommendations from friends. I hope this list keeps you satiated.
STAY | HOTEL VILLA BELVEDERE
📍 via Bagnoli Croci, 79
Hotel Villa Belvedere has all the charms of a traditional Sicilian private villa with its terracotta floors and parlour rooms. Nestled on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naxos and Mount Etna and only a short walk to the town. We loved our three night stay here. Read my review here.
SEE | PIAZZA IX APRILE
📍 Corso Umberto
The main square of Taormina is Piazza 9 Aprile, the heartbeat of the town. Named after an important date, 9 April 1860, when mass in the Taormina cathedral was interrupted to announce that Garibaldi had landed at Marsala to begin his conquest of Sicily. Avoid the overpriced cafés that line the square, find a bench and enjoy some people watching whilst taking in the views.
SEE | TEATRO GRECO
The ancient Greek amphitheatre hosts almost all cultural events in Taormina. What a spot for a film festival?! HEAVEN.
The construction of the Teatro Greco dates back to the third century BC and is an awe-inspiring historical sight. Plus you'll love the stunning backdrop of the Calabrian coast, the Ionian coast of Sicily and Mount Etna.
SEE | VILLA COMUNALE
📍 Via Bagnoli Croce
Wander through the stunning public gardens to escape the hustle. Created by English aristocrat and conservationist Lady Florence Trevelyan in the late 19th century. Take a book and enjoy this lush paradise overlooking the sea.
SWEETS | GELATOMANIA
📍Corso Umberto, 7
Look, I’m no gelato expert but I’m about two years into my Chicho Gelato addiction. That weekly hit of the good stuff has certainly refined my palate. Of all the gelato I tried in Taormina, Gelatomania was by far the best. Nearby town Bronte grows the best pistachios in the world, so make sure you get a scoop!
SWEETS | PASTICCERIA MINOTAURO
📍 via di Giovanni 15
A local pointed out this little pastry shop. The glossy fruits will dazzle you if you’re a marzipan fiend. Otherwise go for the stuffed cannoli and keep going back until you are dead certain you’ve found your fave flavour.
SWEETS | BAM BAR
📍 via Giovanni di Giovanni, 45
An absolute must. This bright and lively granita bar is a favourite with locals and tourists. Endless granita flavours with in-season heroes. Order the Granita con Brioche… eat like the Sicilians by tearing off the brioche and dipping it past the cream into the granita below to get the full experience. YUM!
EATS | TISCHI TOSCHI
📍 via Francesco Paladini, 3
Cutest name, best little spot! My friend Alicia raved about this hidden gem. Tucked away from the main tourist drag, Tischi Toschi is a family-run trattoria with a focus on slow food. The limited menu changes with the seasons and you’ll find an interesting take on regional specialities. Dive into the wine list and let them steer you towards the local Sicilian winemakers. You have to order the baked goat cheese. Out of this world… salty, stringy, hot and loaded with garlic and herbs.
EATS | TIRAMISÚ TRATTORIA
📍via Cappucini, 1
Another gem from my friend with the good tastebuds. Tiramisu is located nearby Porta Catania and has an intimate and cosy vibe.
Staff were hilarious… this guy thinks he is a dead ringer for Vin Diesel. Go for the jokes, Risotto alla Marinara and Linguine Polpa di Ricci (sea urchin) and stay for its namesake, the tiramisu.
EATS | PIZZERIA VILLA ZUCCARO
📍 5 Piazza Carmine
This open-air pizzeria was absolutely heaving. Love the bustling vibe and watching pizza pans fly by. Beautiful big pies cooked the Neapolitan way. I have a soft spot (yep that jiggly bit around my waist) for cheese, so the quattro formaggi was my pick. Loved the prosciutto and pistachio number too. Wash it down with an Aperol Spritz. Mangia mangia!
WINE | AL GRAPPOLO D'UVA
📍 via Bagnoli Croci, 6
You'll find charming enotecas dotted through the town. We stopped in for prosecco at Al Grappolo D'Uva before dinner. Highly recommend having an early dinner and then settling in for the evening, letting the staff talk you through the local and natural wines.
Hotel Villa Belvedere has all the charms of a traditional Sicilian private villa with its terracotta floors and parlour rooms. Run by the Bambara-Pécaut family since 1902, Belvedere occupies a 19th century villa, nestled on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naxos and Mount Etna.
Right next door to the stunning botanic gardens ‘Garden of Villa Comunale’ and only a short walk to the town centre, made it the perfect launchpad for our three nights in Taormina. Our seaside room was set for three which made it a little tight but comfortable. We could peer out to the ocean and look down upon the sprawling gardens and azure pool from the Juliet style balcony. By day, we soaked up the sun poolside so a simple room was all we needed for afternoon snoozing (and digesting).
We booked direct (€455 per night) and scored a complimentary lunch which we enjoyed on the first day. Whilst third party booking sites can lure you in with cheaper prices, try to book direct as hotels will generally price match and dangle a bonus or two.
Staff were uber friendly and the vibe was chilled and approachable. If we had more time, I would have curled up with a book in the lounge areas every afternoon after pool-time. I loved waking up with the sun, watching the seaside slowly rouse and leisurely walk downstairs to breakfast. There’s nothing like that morning reminder... yesssss, I’m on holiday. The buffet breakfast was overflowing with sweet and savoury options and hit the spot.
Thinking of a few nights in Taormina? Highly recommend staying here whilst you tackle the town and all the eats on offer. Check out my travel guide hit-list here.
Owned by doughnut dreamer Jordan Cash and Executive Chef Rags, Cartems has grown from an idea, to a pop up shop that simply couldn't keep up with demand to the donuterie is is today, boasting three locations in Downtown, Main Street and Kitsilano.
Artisanal doughnuts galore! Including glazed, cake, raised-yeast and huzzahhhh gluten-free! I loved the cakey Honey Parmesan for glutards and the seasonal Christmas beauties. You haven't been to Vancouver if you don't walk around with a beautiful red box full of the good stuff under your arm.
Paris' oldest patisserie opened in 1730 by pastry chef Nicolas Stohrer, the pastry chef for Louis XV of France and his wife, the daughter of the king of Poland. Centuries on and Stohrer remains one of the city's most distinguished. We stocked up on an eclair, strawberry tart, cannelle and mille feuille and enjoyed back at le apartment.
Proud Mary fans... you'll love Nolan Hirte and Chris Hamburger's little bro Stagger Lee's. Located on the main drag in Fitzory, it's stripped back and a little rock n roll. You can expect great coffee and satisfying comfort food that hits all the right places.
Shortstop Coffee & Donuts has become an institution. Drawing inspiration from a year-long donut hunt in the US and Canada, owners Anthony Ivey and Sinye Oo brought fresh ideas back to Melbourne. Donuts are created fresh on site throughout the day, using high-quality, natural ingredients dabbling in interesting flavours. You'll find all sorts... stuffed, cake and the legendary crullers. Get amongst it.