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Women Report on 150 Great Eats Worldwide

 

  AUSTRALIA

Heather from Brisbane, Australia...
Lefkas is a cheap and cheerful Greek cafe with a no-decor feel. Located in a busy restaurant strip on Hardgrave Road in Hill End, this place is filled to bursting nearly every night of the week and no wonder. Dishes like chicken yiros come to the table mounded over a heap of fresh salads, herbs and a round of grilled flatbread and topped off with a splash of yoghurty dressing. Vegetarians are well catered to with stuffed tomatoes, zucchinis and mushrooms, marinated white beans with a lemony dressing and grilled haloumi cheeses. Most things are AUS$10.00 or under and the servings are generous and very very good.

The most authentic Thai cooking in Queensland can be found at Thai Wi Rat in Duncan Street (no. 20) Fortitude Valley, only strolling distance from Brisbane's best club venues. Duncan Street is known as Chinatown Mall, which runs parallel to the Valley Mall on Brunswick Street. The food is great - Australians have a sweet tooth in general and the majority of Thai restaurants have adjusted their cooking to suit. Not Thai Wi Rat, however! The usual suspects are on offer, prepared and cooked far better than anywhere else you will find in Brisbane. There are also a number of more unusual dishes on offer on the eccentrically spelt menu, like various offal in Thai spices. Thai Wi Rat is truly awesome - a must if you are sick of "Australian-ized" Thai cooking. This is no expense-account restaurant - most dishes are under AUS$15 and you queue to order your meals.

 

Naomi from Canberra, Australia...
My favourite neighbourhood eatery is Happy's Chinese Restaurant in Civic, Canberra, Australia. Located in a basement in Garema Place, it is cheap, cheerful and very yummy. The service is quick if you want it to be (especially as the cinemas are just around the corner) or you can linger with a book if you're solo or arguing life, the universe and everything with friends. I discovered this place when I was a student almost 20 years ago. You can get a satisfying meal for the family for under $50 and for a single the combination soups and rice noodle dishes make a good meal for under $10. Jason and his family have run the restaurant for as long as anyone can remember and if you go there more than a few times they will remember your name. Booking is not essential, especially if you eat early or late (kitchen closes at 10pm), but it's advisable on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy's is Canberra's best kept secret.


Michelle from Melbourne, Australia...
I found the small, bustling Il Solito Posto restaurant quite by accident. This Italian treat is located off Collins Street (#113), in a basement, down St. George Parade, one of Melbourne's many little lanes. It's actually two little restaurants in one -- a moderately priced cafe with the day's specials on a chalk board, and in the back, a trattoria with more formal service and wider menu. I chose the cafe and enjoyed it tremendously. There were lots of younger people and a smattering of older couples here and there -- everyone, including the servers, laughing and joking from table to table. The decor definitely adds to the easy atmosphere -- brown lacquered tables, metal and wicker chairs, tiles in earth tones and exposed painted pipes running along the ceiling. IL Solito Posto serves swell crusty bread, the by-the-glass wine selection is good, and pricing is fair. I chose a chicken salad on greens with a delicious balsamic dressing, my lemon tart dessert was yummy and coffee just right. The folks to my right were enjoying Spaghetti Carbonara with great gusto. Highly recommended as a solo dining experience.


Lisa from Melbourne, Australia...
First and best local restaurant in my books is Cicciolina (130 Acland Street, St Kilda), the place where I first met my sweetheart nine years ago. Named after the stripper voted into the Italian Government it has been our special place (and many other Melburnians, too) since then. We love the superb attention you receive from the wait staff, the divine food and the fact that you CAN'T book. Now that might put some off but we always get in and not because we're 'regulars' but we usually go earlyish (before 7pm) or for lunch (early again 12pm). They have a bar at the back (and there's no smoking at all in restaurants or bars here now). Owned by three women, two of whom are the chefs, we eat the most gorgeous meals (faves are the thai fish cakes with lime mayonnaise, ceviche of tuna with dill, olive oil and crusty toasted bread, with a lovely glass of bubbly and ended with a luscious dark chocky pudding with hot chocolate inside, cream and persian fairyfloss on the side! Phone: (03) 9525 3333. This restaurant doesn't have its own website, check this review that I found: http://www.miettas.com.au/Australia/Victoria/St_Kilda/Cicciolina.html) Enjoy everybody!

Teena from Sydney, Australia...
Lavender Blue Cafe
is located in McMahon's Point near an exquisite bay called ... you guessed it, Lavender Bay. It's a fabulous summer meeting point for lunch or dinner or coffee with friends. Sitting outdoors you are surrounded by lots of huge trees in one of the oldest parts of Sydney. The excellent menu is peppered with fabulous Aussie seafood and delicious crisp white wines.

The Thai Connection Restaurant (Fitzroy Street., Kirribilli) is within walking distance of the park at the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sitting on the upstairs balcony in the balmy summer air, you can treat yourself to Laksa - a spicy coconut sauce with noodles, bean sprouts, lemon grass, chicken and candle nuts. A true taste sensation!

As for eating and drinking in the Rocks, try the Thai restaurant called Sailors Thai located at 106 George Street. There is an expensive version (downstairs) and a cheaper version where guests eat at one long table community style at street level. This spot is fun, innovative and delicious. If you're a solo traveller just introduce yourself to the diners on either side of you. Aussies are extremely friendly.

Christa from Sydney, Australia...
Another convenient and delicious place for lunch if you are sightseeing near Macquarie Street is the Courtyard cafe, actually located right in the courtyard of Sydney Hospital. A lot of tourists don't know it's there -- so let's make this our secret. Courtyard Cafe serves great pasta, other Italian goodies, huge servings, all reasonably priced.

* For more information on Australia see: http://www.journeywoman.com/girltalk/girl_talk_oz.html

 

  NEW ZEALAND

Megan from Auckland, New Zealand...
A great place to eat in Auckland, New Zealand is the Canton Café, 477 New North Rd, tel: 0-9-846 7888. It is about a 15 minute bus ride from the central city in a funky inner-city neighborhood called Kingsland. It serves Chinese food from the Canton region using only the freshest, tastiest produce and meat at extremely good prices. The Canton Café is always packed with large Asian families enjoying feasts and you'll have fun joining the crowd. Or you can order their takeaway to enjoy either in the local park or back in your hotel room. I guarantee a taste sensation.

 

Kirstin in Christchurch, New Zealand writes...
Cook'n with Gas is my favourite restaurant in Christchurch serving New Zealand cuisine. The cost of a main meal ranges from $NZ32 to $NZ38 but it is well worth the money. At the moment they have Pork Belly, Prime fillet of Beef, Hallmark of Lamb and Escalope of Turkey on the menu. The restaurant is set in a beautiful old Christchurch villa just across the road from the Arts Centre (which used to be the University of Canterbury in a previous life). Address: 23 Worcester Boulevard. Bookings are essential. Website: www.cooknwithgas.co.nz

 

Susan from Whangarei, New Zealand...
There is a restaurant here (in the Kensington area ) called Deco. The food is wonderful, the service exquisite, the art deco atmosphere a nice change from the usual decor favoured by today's restauranteurs. An appetizer will run you $4 to $8 USD. Main courses $10 to $16 USD. Desserts $5 to $6 USD. This is fine dining with the freshest ingredients and best of all you don't have to "dress to the nines" for dinner. This is after all, New Zealand!

 

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