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 Our Favorite Places and Things

Here are some of the places we enjoy in Europe beyond France (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Spain, U.K.)  Click here to be taken to Our Favorite Places and Things in France.
 
For a complete listing of Meril Markley's articles about wine, food and European travel for the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter), click
here.

Eating and Drinking

Austria

 

Café-Konditorei Heiner (Vienna)
www.heiner.co.at

A favorite treat since student days in Vienna, head upstairs to the second floor to graze the offerings in the pastry case and order your mélange.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Café-Konditorei Schatz (Salzburg)
www.schatz-konditorei.at

A favorite treat since student days in Salzburg, this café near Mozart's birth house is not only great for coffee and a pastry but they make their own Mozartkugeln.

Meierei im Stadtpark (Vienna) 
www.steirereck.at/wien/meierei

The more casual and modern sibling of Steiereck in the Stadpark, this restaurant serves updated versions of Viennese classics and some wonderful Austrian wines.

Humers Uferhaus (Orth a.d. Donau)
www.uferhaus.at 

A restaurant on the banks of the beautiful blue Danube outside Vienna, offering fish so fresh they may have slid right from river to frying pan.

Bio Restaurant Weinbotschaft (Vienna)
www.weinbotschaft.at
This restaurant and wine bar in the heart of the 1st District offers distinctive organic foods and wines but enjoyable for a wider audience.  

Weingut Jordan (Pulkau)
www.weingut-jordan.at 

Served at Francouzska Restaurace in Prague (see, below), Jordan's Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt Rubin were exceptional.  To read more about the event where this wine was featured, click here.

Meril Markley's Articles on Austria for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

New Wine in Old Venues and Tales from the Vienna Woods

Austrian Wine Worth its Salt

Meril Markley's presentation on Austrian wines

A Trip to Austria without the Jet Lag

Belgium

 

Breydel-de-Coninc (Bruges)
www.breydeldeconinc.be 

Mussels we love, but read more in our article about the restaurant, by clicking here.

Belga Queen (Ghent)
www.belgaqueen.be

The Ghent version of Belga Queen is in a 14th century grain warehouse along a canal.  Sourcing most everything (except the wines) in Belgium, cuisine is innovative and outstanding.

Meril Markley's Article on Bruges for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

Musseling in on Trips to Belgium

Czech Republic

 

Café au Gourmand (Prague)
www.augourmand.cz/

Home of the legendary tarte ŕ l'orange.  To read our article about it, click here.

Hergetova Cihelna (Prague)
www.cihelna.com

Scrumptious duck, spaetzle, while dining by the river with a breathtaking view of the Charles Bridge at twilight -- what's not to love?   To read our article about it, click here.

Francouzska Restaurace (Prague)
www.francouzskarestaurace.cz/

This 100-year old restaurant in art-deco Municipal House serves first-rate continental cuisine and memorable Austrian wines. To read our article about it, click here.

Café at Lobkowicz Palace (Prague)
www.lobkowicz.cz

One of the world's great cheeseburgers, or did it just taste fabulous due to the view of the city from the Cafe's terrace or the inclusion of Czech pickles?  To read our article about it, click here.

Meril Markley's Article on Prague for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

Czeching out Oranges and Austrian Wines in Prague

Germany

 

Ratskeller (Bremen)
www.ratskeller-bremen.de

As traditional restaurants in the cellars of German city halls go, this must be one of the best, along with a very historic wine cellar.  To read our article about it, click here.

Meril Markley's Article on Bremen, Lübeck, and Hamburg or the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Gerater Houston Chapter)

Sipping the Bounties of a League's Final Hold-Outs

Hungary

 

Kacsa Vendeglo (Budapest)
kacsavendeglo.hu

It's not just a memorable restaurant featuring duck, it's an event with music and a vast array of Tokays.  For more about our visit, click here.

Gerbeaud (Budapest)
www.gerbeaud.hu

Afternoon tea or coffee and one of their scrumptious pastries offers a window into fin-de-sičcle Budapest in all its 19th century elegance.

Meril Markley's Article on Budapest for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

A Hungarian Rhapsody of Duck and Tokay in Budapest

Italy

 

Simon Boccanegra (Florence)
 
www.boccanegra.com

One of our most memorable meals in Italy on a cold winter's night; to read more about it, click here.

Pulcinella Bistro (Naples)
via S. Giovanni Maggiore Pignatelli, 1/C (no website)
email
pulcinellabistro@gmail.com

Co-owner Eduardo and his passion for fresh, innovative offerings caused us to eat here all three nights we were in Naples.  No pizza in sight and no website yet, but just off the Spaccanapoli near Santa Chiara.  To read our article about it, click here.

Ecomesarŕ (Naples)
 
www.ecomesararistorante.it

We loved this place so much we ate lunch there two days in a row and got to know its passionate owner, Cristiano, and his team.  To read our article about it, click here.

Ristorante Vecchia Roma (Rome)
www.ristorantevecchiaroma.com

Dine outdoors in a quiet piazza in the heart of Rome on seafood, organ meats (veal kidneys and liver).  Lunch is great but a dinner at twilight is unforgettable.  To read about our visit there, click here.

Ristorante Leon D'Oro (Rome)
Via Sistina 9 (no website)

In 2012, with Antonio as charming host and Chef Matteo in the kitchen, we were treated to seasonal Roman specialties.  Sadly, Matteo has moved back to Sardinia, but to read about our visit there, click here.

Vicolo Colombina (Bologna)
www.vicolocolombina.it

This remarkable eatery serves traditional Bolognese specialties but with a creative and modern twist.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Volpetti (Rome)
www.volpetti.com

Not a restaurant but a temple of gastronomy for take-out at the foot of the Aventine Hill; definitely take all the staff's recommendations, especially for cheese!

Meril Markley's Articles on Italy for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

A Winter's Tale from the Black Mouth of Florence

Venice Conjures its Wintertime Magic with Vivaldi and a Mandolin

Enchanted by Umbria -- Perugia and Beyond

Pining for Porcini after a Roman Holiday

Recalling Icons of a Bygone Era on a Trip to Bologna

Avoiding the Staples of Naples

Malta

 

Sale e Pepe (Portomaso)
www.themarinarestaurants.com

A short walk from the big hotels in Saint Julian's, this family-run restaurant offers some of the best fresh fish and seafood we have ever tasted.  To read about our visit there, click here.

Meril Markley's Article on Malta for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

Crossing Malta Off the List

Spain

 

El Obrador del Café de Oriente (Madrid)
www.groupolezama.es

A specialty food store across from the Teatro Real, offering the world's best sangría; part of Grupo Lezama's stable of remarkable eateries.

Restaurante El Puchero de Baralantra (Barcelona)
Muntaner 103 (corner of Mallorca)
www.elpucherodebaralantra.com

We thoroughly enjoyed an evening of local tapas specialties and regional wine at this neighborhood restaurant very close to hotel Dante.  To read about our visit there, click here.

Meril Markley's Articles on Spain for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

Up in Smoke in Gaudí's Barcelona

United Kingdom

 

La Poule au Pot (London)
www.pouleaupot.co.uk

Headed to London without a stop-over in France? This 30+ year fixture in Belgravia (on Mozart Square) is the next best thing to dinner in a rustic restaurant in the French countryside.  To read about our visit there, click here.

Racine (London)
 
www.racine-restaurant.com

Just a few steps from the V&A in London, this elegant and traditional French restaurant is the perfect finish to a day of communing with the V&A's treasures.  And they serve Echiré butter!!!  To read about our visit there, click here.

 The Goring (London)
www.thegoring.com

Our favorite place for posh tea in London, reserve a table in the Conservatory or, on a warm sunny day, in the Garden.

Neal's Yard Cheese
www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk

Heaven for cheese lovers, this shop stocks our all-time favorite, Colston Bassett Stilson (which pairs superbly with Don Luis Texas Tawny Port from Val Verde Winery).

Meril Markley's Article on London for the Quarterly Newsletter of the Wine Society of Texas (Greater Houston Chapter)

A Fowl Visit to London with a French Take on 'a Chicken in Every Pot'

Our Favorite Hotels

Austria

 

Hotel Römischer Kaiser (Vienna)
www.bestwester.at/roemischerkaiser

A short walk from the Opera and St. Stephen's, this family-owned hotel, in a Baroque jewel of a building, is our favorite in Vienna.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Hotel Kaiserhof (Vienna)
www.hotel-kaiserhof.at

If there's no room at our favorite, this hotel is a great alternative; a short walk from the Ring, in the grand style of Vienna in all its late 19th century imperial glory.

Belgium

 

Pand Hotel (Bruges)
www.pandhotel.com

A small, romantic, family-owned hotel furnished with antiques and the perfect location from which to explore Bruges.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Germany

 

Die Vier Jahreszeiten (Hamburg)
www.hvj.de

Old world sophistication, traditional luxury, and a prime location make this hotel a dream destination in Germany's capital full of really, really tall and elegant people.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Hungary

 

Kempinski Hotel Corvinus (Budapest)
www.kempinski-budapest.com

Superb service, great location, best breakfast buffet on the planet -- all are reasons we hope to return to Budapest and this marvelous hotel.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Italy

 

Palazzo Sant'Angelo sul Canal Grande (Venice)
www.palazzosantangelo.com
 

We stayed here in the magic of Venetian wintertime, our room filled with antiques and overlooking the Grand Canal.  To read more about our stay, click here.

Villa San Pio (Rome)
www.aventinohotels.com 

Perched on the Aventine Hill, this small hotel is an oasis of quiet in the chaos of the Eternal City.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Hotel Canada (Rome)
www.bestwestern.com 

We have stayed at this hotel twice and look forward to returning. Convenient location near (but not too near) the train station, quiet and comfortable, terrific staff and super breakfast.

Hotel Brufani Palace (Perugia)
www.brufanipalace.com

Sister property to the Palazzo Sant'Angelo, the Brufani Palace in Perugia is the ideal headquarters for a visit to Umbria.  Great views of the city, antique furnishings, helpful and gracious staff.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Decumani Hotel de Charme (Naples)
www.decumani.com
 

Ignore the run-down courtyard and elevator -- just head to the 2nd floor of this palace and you will be captivated by a modern, classy establishment.  We loved it!  To read more about our visit, click here.

Spain

 

BW Hotel Dante (Barcelona)
Mallorca 181 (Eixample)
www.hotelesdante.com 

This quiet, comfortable hotel is ideally located in the Eixample section of the city and a short walk from the main tourist areas.  To read more about our visit, click here.

United Kingdom

 

St. Pancras renaissance Hotel (London)
www.sttpancrasrenaissance.co.uk

If you love Gothic Revival, this is the place to stay. Although the guest rooms are not in this style, the common areas are magnificent and location is ideal for hopping the Eurostar back to Paris.  To read more about our visit, click here.

The Randolph (Oxford)
www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/randolph 

Memories of the Vassar Madrigal Singers' stay at the Randolph, mixed with scenes from Inspector Morse, make this place special.

Museums and other Great Places, Stuff to Do, Websites to Visit

Austria

 

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna)
www.khm.at

A roomful of Breughels is the highlight for us in one of the world's great collections of paintings; they'll print a poster version to take home with you, on the spot. To read more about our visit, click here

Schloß Hof (Marchfeld)
www.schlosshof.at 

The hunting lodge built for Prince Eugene of Savoy, recently restored with magnificent gardens and a white peacock, is a great day-trip from Vienna.  Don't miss Bellotto's views of it in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Belgium

 

Groeningemuseum (Bruges)
 
www.brugge.be

For lovers of Northern Renaissance painting, a wonderful museum with a great collection and a chance to see incomparable virtuosity up close and personal.  To read more about our visit, click here.

St. John's Hospital Museum (Bruges)
www.brugge.be

Thrilling to experience the interiors and exteriors of Bruges and its local population as painted by its most famous artists in this collection housed in a building from their time.

Czech Republic

 

Lobkowicz Palace (Prague)
www.lobkowicz.cz 

Spend some time with Breughel's masterpiece, the Haymaking, and stroll through during the daily afternoon concert.  Excellent museum shop for hard-to-find CDs of Czech Baroque music.  To read more about our visit to Prague, click here.

Italy

 

Villa I Tatti (Fiesole)
www.itatti.it

Bernard Berenson's estate, now owned by Harvard University -- need to request a private tour far in advance, but well worth it.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Villa Farnesina (Rome)
www.villafarnesina.it/

For grotesque decoration on steroids and a Raphael fresco to boot, don't miss this tiny gem of a palace in the heart of Rome.

Museo Nazionale dell'Umbria (Perugia)
www.gallerianazionaleumbria.it 

This well-organized and viewer-friendly museum affords the lover of Renaissance painting a rich feast of Peruginos and other artists.  Inexpensive guidebook in English is outstanding on collection in the museum and Renaissance painting in general.

Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte (Naples)
cir.campania.beniculturali.it/museodicapodimonte/

Possessing a remarkable collection of Renaissance and later art and tapestries, we recommend visiting while reading Robert Edsel's Saving Italy.  To read our article about it, click here.

Capella Sansevero (Naples)
www.museosansevero.it/en/

We first glimpsed the sculpture, the Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino, on the TV series Francesco's Italy Top to Toe and knew we had to visit Naples one day.  Absolutely worth the trip!

Anne's Italy (Assisi and Beyond)
www.annesitaly.com

Anne Robichaud, superlative guide, was key to our enjoyment of Assisi and Spello on our first trip to Umbria. Authoritative, engaging, tireless in her ability to inform and delight about Italy in general and Umbria in particular.  To read more about our visit, click here.

Umbria Walks
www.ktucitywalks.co.uk

This website was indispensable in planning our trip to Umbria, and especially the stay at our base of operations in Perugia.

Maioliche D'Arte Gina Pelli (Deruta)
www.maiolicheginapelli.it

The latest generation of her family to be involved in ceramics in Deruta, Gina carries on the traditions of exquisite craftsmanship in this ancient capital of "maiolica," where you can watch her work and admire her output (and ship it back to the U.S.)

F&F Antichitŕ (Perugia)
www.fefantichita.com

A few steps fro the Hotel Brufani Palace in Perugia, we found F&F Antichitŕ owned by Fabio and Francesca Mearini.  We admired their expertise and loved wandering the shop -- a veritable tour through the history of Umbrian furniture styles and paintings.

Libreria Betti (Perugia)
Via del Sette, 1

The knowledgeable folks at this bookstore near the Hotel Brufani Palace had the hard-to-find items that even the museum shops could not supply -- the definitive monograph on Pinturicchio and a book on Umbrian antique furniture.

Ennio e Piero Riccardi Antichitŕ (Assisi)
Via del Torrione, 2

This antique gallery should be a destination unto itself, the shop being built under the flying buttresses of the ancient church of San Ruffino in Assisi.  Theirs are items from the 18th century and before, amazing armoires and tapestries.

Cartoleria Pantheon dal 1910 (Rome)
www.pantheon-roma.it

With three locations in Rome, including one on the street running next to the Pantheon, this leather shop is a treasure for bags, luggage, wallets, even mouse pads!  Don't see the item you want in purple?  Halyna will make a call at it will arrive in minutes.

David Saddler (Rome)
www.david-saddler.com
(website is a disaster -- just go to the store!)

Although he's cut back substantially on the women's line (now at the store on via Nazionale), this is our HQ for tailored suits in Italy.  See Anna, a genius of both fashion and fitting, who will assure the alterations are down before you leave town.

United Kingdom

 

Victoria and Albert Museum (London)
http:/www./vamc.ac.uk

See our page dedicated to the V&A.

Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)
http://www.ashmolean.org

A great museum, especially Dutch still life collection, and a rooftop restaurant that's worth a visit.