First Timer’s Guide to Tokyo

Where to eat in Dublin

Last weekend I went to Ireland with my friends and I was extremely excited to have Guinness beer and Jameson whiskey in their home country. I was sure the drinks were going to be the highlight of the trip, but little did I know delicious the food was!!
Tasting different dishes turned out to be the favourited activity and one of the most delicious foodie trips I’ve ever had!

Every dish kept getting better – all with rich flavours and high-quality ingredients. And it wasn’t just authentic dishes that the Irish perfected, even international foods like burgers and toasts were also top notch.

Here are all the delicious places I tasted this weekend:

1. SoMa – Brunch and Burgers
This cute restaurant is full of delicious dishes perfect for brunch. Complete with burgers, avocado toast, club sandwiches, juices, milkshakes and fresh coffee. 
One of their locations is right in front of the Spire monument, at the centre of the city, a great place to watch the street life.

I had the delicious avocado toast with poached egg and grilled potatoes.

2. Leo Burdocks Fish & Chips

This Irish restaurant chain has been serving fresh fish and chips since 1913. It has become a favourite by locals and highly recommended to anyone who’s craving a classic fish and chips.

The reason for their popularity is that fresh fish are cooked on coal-fired pans that give that special taste. The fries are perfectly done and the cod is also equally perfect cooked inside and crispy on the outside.

3. Bunsen – Straight Up Burgers

In all seriousness, this is the BEST BURGER I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. And trust me I’ve had a loot of burgers in search for the best burger and no ground beef has ever come close to this flavourful and crispy burger. 

Their success is expected from a joint that has dedicated to only specialising in burgers and fries. Visitors get to choose exactly what they want in their burger from a business card-sized menu and three different types of crunchy fries (including sweet potato fries!!).

If you have to pick between one of these restaurants to visit, this is definitely the one. 

4. O’Neills

This historical bar/restaurant/lounge/pub is over 300-years-old and is the perfect place to spend a typical Irish afternoon where you can have a delicious homemade dinner and have drinks all in one huge place!

Every nook and cranny (Irish slang for part of a place) is beautifully decorated creating a cosy atmosphere local beers and whiskey. When hunger strikes, head over to the restaurant where all the traditional food is cooked there. If you are in the mood for something lighter after all the beers, there is also a fresh salad bar right next to the restaurant. 

5. Third Space

This authentic Irish breakfast chain cafe is located in several locations of the city where you can taste the traditional all Irish breakfast in two different sizes – the large (hungover and hangry) and normal size.
The interior of this place makes you feel at home with big windows to let the sunshine in and books and tables everywhere.

The brewed coffee was also delicious and if you don’t have time to stay, you can also take it to go!

6. The Seafood Cafe by Niall Sabongi

This fresh seafood restaurant has won the 2018 and 2019 Irish restaurant award for its rich and fresh dishes and quality of ingredients.

The place is quite small, which could make it hard to find a spot (so make sure to book your spot as soon as you read this), but it also creates a cosy atmosphere and it gives you the perfect angles to watch the magic in the open kitchen happen.

I had the local oysters as appetizer then the fish taco and the clam chowder as main dishes. All incredibly delicious!

Overall, this foodie trip to Dublin was one of the best and most successful food trips I’ve ever had. Not a single bad or meh dish. Even the sandwiches I bought at the Guinness museum and at the airport were delicious!

Note: Although every dish was delightful, the prices were not as much. Judging from the cheap flight and hotel prices, I assumed the food prices wouldn’t be too far off. Although, everything was completely worth it for the quality and quantity of every food.

Top 5 Things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay

Season: Winter – June to August   Weather: Cold, cloudy & windy

Average temperature: Highest 18-16°C Lowest 10-8 °C

Montevideo is a popular summer destination in South America, but it is just as incredible during the winter as it is during the summer. The food, wine, cultural street art in almost every neighbourhood and the beautiful beach coast will make you forget about the cold.

I was in town for just two days, but it was enough for me to fall in love with the city, and here are my top five things to do.

1. STREET ART

Montevideo is overflowing with beautiful street art spread amongst the city’s neighbourhoods. Each with its own unique style, history and atmosphere. Especially in Barrio Sur, where vibrant graffiti tells the story of the first Africans that migrated to the city and the history of tango dance and music.

As I said before, I wasn’t in town for too long but honestly, I didn’t miss much, because the city is so full of cultural art (including statues and monuments) on almost every street that by just walking around the city’s history is told.

2. EAT, DRINK & REPEAT

To avoid the strong outdoor winds that feel like they are slapping your face, you can spend your trip inside trying authentic cuisine and drinks all day long, because you are on vacation! So why not, right? 

Uruguayan cuisine is so diverse that you will never run out of delicious dishes to taste. Particularly, the asado steak grilled on wooden parillas, the Milanese breaded steaks (similar to schnitzel), meat empanadas and freshly baked corvina fish. If you are looking for something simpler and faster the Chivito and Choripan sandwiches are fantastic choices.

Before my trip, I was told Argentina was going to have the best steaks and grills in South America, but after this trip, I must say that Uruguayan steaks were much more impressive. I don’t know if it was because I was luckier with restaurants in Uruguay than Argentina, but every meal was more delicious than the next!

As for the drinks, make sure to try the national Tannat red wine.

3. HAVE LUNCH AND/OR DINNER AT THE MERCADO DEL PUERTO

Fresh off the boat from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, I headed straight to this cuisine haven market for some late lunch. Unknowingly, we picked the prominent El Palenque restaurant that serves both authentic steaks and seafood, which turned out to have one of the best seafood spaghetti I’ve ever tasted!
The pasta itself was delicious but what blew my mind was the variety, quality and quantity of the seafood. The asado steak was equally delicious, of course, since you can’t go wrong with any juicy meat in Uruguay.

Make sure to save some space for desserts with dulce de leche, which is added to many of the traditional desserts such as pudim, crepe or just taste it straight from the spoon full of creamy caramel.

4. WALK ALONG THE COAST

The most fun activity I did during this trip was to just walk around from coast to coast along the Rambla Promenade. It is also an excellent first-day adventure to do so you can get familiar with the city and know where you would like to explore more in the next couple of days.

If you are not too tired from the walk, head towards Avenida 18 de Julio, for some shopping where you can buy leather and wool goods.

 My walk journey started at Playa de los Pocitos, walking along the Rambla Promenade all the way to the west coast and ending at Ciudad Vieja, where many historical places are such as Plaza Independencia, Theatre Solís, Puerta de la Ciudadela, Palacio Salvo and many others.

5. TAKE A YERBA MATÉ TEA BREAK

Drinking maté tea is probably one of the most beloved Uruguayan traditions and a very unique experience to try in Montevideo.

The local herb drink is made from the yerba mate bush and it is served with hot water on a beautiful leathery and metal cup called Gourd. Many cups come with its own metal straw called bombilla.

The reason why the gours and bombilla are made of metal is to make it easier for locals to carry them around and have anywhere you go! It’s the perfect souvenir for tea lovers.

6. BONUS: ARRIVE/DEPART IN A BOAT

This one is not exactly an activity to do in the city, but rather a fun way to get to or leave Montevideo. From Buenos Aires, I took a boat by Colonia Express that takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. It’s not every trip that you get to arrive on a boat!

Brunch Places in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities in the world to brunch. As an entertainment city, the Dutch capital is full of delicious restaurants, cafes and bakeries where you can try authentic sweets like stroopwafles (caramel syrup crunchy waffle) and other international desserts, covered in Nutella.

Note: Majority of the brunch cafés in Amsterdam are “first come first serve”, which means visitors can’t make reservations, so make sure to show up before you get hangry. Luckily the waiting doesn’t usually take long.

Get ready to drool over these brunch heaven spots that will sway you to go visit Amsterdam just for the food.

1. Bakers & Roasters

Address: Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54
First come first serve – Opening hours: 8:30AM to 4PM

Starting off with my ultimate favourite cafe in the city, this Kiwi and Brazilian infused place offers everything you could ever wish for a hungover brunch. Rather you are looking for a detox juice cure, healthy dishes or a plate full of carbohydrates to suck up everything from the previous night.

My go-to dishes are always one of the egg benedicts accompanied by a plate of pancakes to share and a fresh cup of Brazilian brew.

2. Water & Brood

Address: Nieuwe Kerkstraat 84 First come first serve
Opening times: Tuesday – Friday 9AM to 5PM
Saturday – Sunday 10AM to 4PM

If you are opting for a less crowded place to brunch, Water and Brood is the destination. Located in the business area of the city, this minimalistic cafe is a great place to have a relaxing meal out. Everything about this place – the jazzy music, friendly staff and cosy decor create the perfect atmosphere.

With a shifting menu, this place serves different styles of egg dishes, truffled fries, waffles and chicken and many other heavenly dishes.

3.  The Pancakes Amsterdam

Address: Prins Hendrikkade 48
Opening times: Every day from 8AM to 8PM

Pancakes are one of the most popular breakfast and brunch dishes anywhere in the world, but it is also a beloved traditional Dutch dish.

There are numerous pancakes places but this particular cafe has both the classic and thin Dutch pancakes, plus the thick and fluffy American style with lots of side combinations. 

Another reason to visit this place is for the interior decoration, with big Dutch windows where you can watch the canal in front and the blue and white Delftware design.

Note: This pancake house is located in several areas of the city but I usually eat at the same one in the city centre.

4. Zoku

Address: Weesperstraat 105, 1018 VN 
Opening hours: Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to 2PM

Not only does this place have delicious fresh pastries and healthy lunch buffet every day of the week, but they also have four delicious weekend brunch dishes for the weekend. If you are in the mood to go all out, there is also the all-you-can-eat breakfast spread which includes unlimited coffee and juice.

The restaurant is located inside the Zoku hotel’s rooftop where you can enjoy the charming city view at one of their multiple terraces decorated with comfy sofas and an incredible glass-garden. 

5. Sumo

Address: Vijzelstraat 26, 1017 HK 
Opening hours: 12pm to 10:30PM

What better way to beat the weekend hangover than with an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet?

Their chain restaurants are always beautifully decorated with Japanese interior and sakura (cherry blossom) trees. Their menu includes a large variety of fresh warm and raw dishes.

This Japanese cuisine restaurant is another chain that I always go to when in Amsterdam. I actually crave for the days until I can eat all the amounts of sushi possible.