Winter is here, and foodie destinations London, Paris and Amsterdam – all accessible in less than four hours with Eurostar – are bursting with delicious dishes to ward off the cold. Here are nine exceptional food and drink specialities that are worth travelling for this season.
Start the journey in London
Mince and potatoes, Dean Street Townhouse
Hotel Restaurant, British, $$$
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The interiors at Dean Street Townhouse ooze sophistication | Courtesy of Dean Street Townhouse
A sophisticated hotel, Dean Street Townhouse has a buzzing atmosphere and a restaurant with a strong British flair. The standout dish is the mince and potatoes. While it might sound boring, this traditional British dish is incredibly rich and decadent, and is exactly what you need on a long winter’s night: a comforting bowl of warming, flavoursome mince accompanied by a generous portion of potatoes.
Irish coffee is the perfect late-night drink | Courtesy of Swift
This leading cocktail bar is an ideal spot in which to while away the hours of darkness until spring comes. There are two bars: one upstairs (serving classic cocktails and light bites), and one downstairs (which specialises in whisky and has a lengthy drinks menu full of surprises). We recommend the downstairs bar; its red leather, dark wood and low lighting makes for the perfect nighttime drinking den. Our pick is the Irish coffee, a drink that’s sure to warm you from the inside out.
Rules, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in London, specialises in oysters, pies and puddings. However, most diners are there for the grouse, a must-try meat served with bread sauce, game chips and redcurrant jelly. Rules is one of the few places in London that offers this dish, but the restaurant only serves it during shooting season (August to December). If the grouse isn’t available, the curried lamb shank garnished with coriander, pilau rice and pumpkin chutney is an excellent choice.
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie is the place to go if rich French classics are your thing – and they should be. Once you’ve tried the foie gras (one of the restaurant’s specialities), move on to the main event: the cassoulet. Stuffed with duck, multiple kinds of sausage and silky beans, it’s the kind of dish you dream about when it’s freezing outside. Just don’t forget to order one of their delicious French wines to complement your meal.
This cosy spot is the traditional French brasserie that you’ve always tried to find down a hidden alleyway somewhere, except this one is bang in the middle of Boulevard Saint-Germain, the main avenue in Paris’ Left Bank. And it just happens to have been a favourite of famous Parisian residents Hemingway, Proust and Sartre. Everything on the menu will taste delicious, but we recommend the pot-au-feu if you visit during cold weather. A famous winter dish in France, this beef stew will warm you as it has warmed generations of illustrious patrons at Brasserie Lipp.
If you’re looking for the quintessential French neighbourhood bistro, this is it. Tucked away down a quiet side street off Boulevard Saint-Germain, the red checked tablecloths and cosy wood panelling of Chez Fernand let you know exactly what you’re in for. The menu is short but perfectly executed, with beef bourguignon being a solid choice for your main course. The dessert menu is where it’s at, however, with the rum baba sure to heat you up.
Eat, drink and be merry at Ice* Amsterdam's winter market | Courtesy of Ice* Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s best winter market transforms the city’s Museumplein (Museum Square) into a wonderland of ice, shopping, drinking and eating. After a relaxed skate around the ice rink, head over to one of the bars to grab a cup of deliciously warming mulled wine.
This little restaurant serves only one thing: pancakes. It’s just the place to head during the year’s colder months with its ridiculously cosy dining space (the restaurant, whose name means ‘Upstairs Pancake House’, claims to be the smallest in Europe). The cute decorative teapots adorning the walls only add to its charm.
Moeders Restaurant is known for its traditional Dutch dishes | Courtesy of Moeders Restaurant
Moeders Restaurant serves wholesome family recipes in a homely and inviting setting. The walls are decorated with vintage family photos, antique plates and cooking utensils. This restaurant’s speciality is traditional Dutch food, with menu highlights including the ideal comfort dish stamppot, a robust stew-like dish of potatoes and vegetables (with some chefs adding sausage, meatballs or bacon for added flavour). Don’t miss it.