Browsing through the beautiful images on our “fabulous for foodies” Pinterest board has got our stomachs rumbling. Before we dash off in search of a Michelin star worthy snack, here’s 10 of our favourite i-escape places for a gastronomic treat…
ABaC, Tibidabo Hill, Barcelona, Spain
Our reviewer described this indulgent Barcelona hotel using the words of Mary Poppins: “practically perfect in every way”. With a 2-Michelin-star restaurant, stunning boutique bedrooms, an Elemis spa and a super-cool cocktail bar and lounge, it’s impossible not to feel spoilt here.
What we ate: sweet and salted oyster tartar with sorrel, coriander and marine sprouts; tuna belly with ponzu sauce, kumquat skin, crispy artichokes and spicy root purée; followed by pickled lemon with yoghurt snow, flower nectar and violet ice cream.
Hiša Franko is a wonderfully theatrical restaurant-with-rooms filled with art and sculptures. A similar concept to England’s The Fat Duck restaurant, the food is a spectacular explosion of flavours and a real showpiece. People travel from far and wide to eat here in the beautiful Soca Valley.
What we ate: a series of taster dishes… wild herb and flower salad with tarragon, mint, watercress, blueberries, edible flowers and a peanut sauce; a glass box which let out billows of dry ice to slowly reveal smoked tuna, potato foam and pepper coulis; strawberry sorbet with fresh fruit and elderflower foam.
Llys Meddyg, Newport, Pembrokeshire
Food is at the heart of this restaurant with rooms in the stunning Pembrokeshire National Park. There’s a cosy cellar bar for pre-dinner drinks; a beautiful Kitchen Garden room for summertime dining, and a wood-fired oven for casual pizzas.
What we ate: wood pigeon with beetroot mousse; slow-roasted pork belly with saffron fondant and 5 spice jus; and chocolate delice with salted caramel ice cream.
La Sommita, Ostuni, Puglia, Italy
La Sommita is a historic palazzo set on the summit of the beguiling white hilltown of Ostuni in Puglia. Rooms are calming and minimalist, views are stunning, and the food served in the Michelin-starred restaurant is superb and lacking pretension.
What we ate: fish cakes in an onion reduction, washed down by the house prosecco; seared tuna steak with borlotti beans and onions; and a homemade white chocolate mousse on a cocoa wafer.
With a menu featuring innovative Cretan cuisine, the restaurant is widely known as one of the best on the island. But that isn’t Avli’s only highlight: it also has 12 divinely romantic suites with traditional features like wooden floors and beamed ceilings mixed with modern flamboyant chandeliers and mosaic-tiled Jacuzzis.
What we ate: skewered shrimps with avocado, lime and parsley vinaigrette; and rabbit and spring onion pie.
Owned by the co-founders of the highly successful Hotel du Vin chain, this 11-room hotel certainly lives up to high expectations. Nestled in The New Forest, it is comfy, stylish and efficiently run by warm and friendly staff. Plus, it has the most amazing wine cellar.
What we ate: cucumber and crab cannelloni with beetroot and lime gel; lamb shank with smoked potato and burnt aubergine morels; followed by pineapple gel and crisp with pepper marshmallows.
Hotel Du Clos, Le Rouret, Côte d’Azur, France
First came the restaurant, followed by a Michelin star, and then a small hotel to accommodate diners who didn’t want to leave. As you’d expect, the food is fabulous and the rooms in this newly renovated 17th-century farmhouse in southwest France don’t disappoint: fancy bathrooms, beautiful linen and excellent beds.
What we ate: quail served with forest mushrooms; a fantastic piece of beef with new potatoes roasted in olive oil; a plate of delicious cheeses; then a fig tart with yoghurt ice cream.
21212, Edinburgh, Scotland
At 21212 you’ll find fabulous bed linen, state-of-the-art bathrooms, dreamy views over the city rooftops and deliciously over the top décor. Chef Paul Kitching, who owns and runs 21212 with his partner Katie, has a mischievous sense of fun, which infuses both his rooms and restaurant. The draw for most, however, is the Michelin-starred food. Be prepared for a gastronomic adventure, with no 2 mouthfuls the same, the taste storm has just begun.
What we ate: Sicilian-style ‘pink trout’ with artichokes, shimezi and shitake mushrooms, giant pasta shells, almonds and chickpeas, warm coleslaw, dried courgettes with argen oil and grated feta cheese, followed by a divine apricot and coffee tiramisu concoction.
This is a very special place with panoramic views over the steep forested hills around Manuel Antonio National Park, sleek interiors, a superb spa and a rooftop restaurant to rival any in New York for the standard of its food and service. The style is modern Pacific Rim inspired, with lots of typical Costa Rican ingredients like yucca and plantain, and a few dishes to please the North American market, such as rib eye steak and pork tenderloin.
What we ate: Ceviche of mahi mahi served with homemade tortillas and cayenne aioli, tuna tartare, tangy with ginger; and tilapia en papillote with coconut sauce (fish cooked in paper).
Hotel San Roque, Garachico, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Could this be the best hotel in the Canaries? Ideal for those looking to discover the real Tenerife, this 18th-century mansion conversion is set in in the sleepy fishing village of Garachico, nestled between the mountains and the ocean on the north west of the island. Inside, you’ll find luxury, chic style and peace. Rooms are strikingly simple but comfortable with designer chairs, Spanish modern art and all the gadgets you need. Candlelit dinners by the pool offer some of the best cuisine on the island and the food on our 2013 visit was outstanding – modern and inventive, a real rarity in the Canaries.
What we ate: juicy beef tenderloin with Stilton-infused mash; and strawberry soup with mascarpone ice cream.
Exciting UK foodie news…
The Halkin in London’s Belgravia has opened Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. This new Basque restaurant is spearheaded by the award-winning Arzak family, whose restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, holds 3 Michelin-stars.
Hartnett Holder & Co has opened at Lime Wood in Hampshire. A joint venture between Lime Wood’s Luke Holder and high-profile chef Angela Hartnett, their menu focuses on British dishes with an Italian twist, made from locally-sourced ingredients.
The Beckford Arms (crowned Best UK Dining Pub 2012 by The Good Pub Guide) has opened its first sister property, The Talbot – a gorgeous old country pub with 8 modern rooms in rural Somerset.