For us foodies, one of the best bits of a holiday is sampling the local grub. From Copenhagen’s seafood to Bordeaux’s classic French cuisine, Europe’s restaurant scene is the envy of the world. But these cities don’t only have incredible restaurants sparkling with Michelin stars: they have plenty of wonderful rentals, too, with kitchens and dining areas to die for.
So, will you eat out or dine in? Book a table or browse the market stalls? Either way, in these European foodie capitals, you just can’t lose…
With more Michelin stars awarded in 2016 than London, Copenhagen’s food scene is riding high. Geranium is the top-performing restaurant with three stars, while establishments with one star include Kiin Kiin; the only Thai restaurant outside Thailand to have a Michelin star.
But when you see the dining area on this gorgeous Copenhagen houseboat, you may be tempted to eat in. Visit the Torvehallerne market and pick up some fresh lobster (jomfruhummer) or cod (torsk), and relish the flavours along with the riverside view.
Copenhagen Houseboat, sleeps 8, from £475 per night
Say “Michelin star” and “France”, and most of us would think immediately of Paris. But Lyon, a sophisticated city nestled in the Rhône and Saône river valleys, is standing up to let its Michelin stars be counted. For a spectacular dining experience with a price tag that won’t make you choke on your soufflé, Les Trois Domes is tough to beat. With panoramic views of the city and river, the setting is as unforgettable as the food.
However, this classic country kitchen might tempt you to shun the city’s restaurant scene and instead create a Lyonnais-inspired meal in the comfort of your own home-from-home. You could even have dessert on the balcony afterwards.
Le Chateau de Moiré, sleeps 15, from £300 per night
The original groundbreaking restaurant elBulli made Catalonia the capital of creative cuisine. It closed in 2011, but Barcelona continues to be awarded with a constellation of Michelin stars. Cinc Sentits is a foodie’s paradise, using the freshest Catalan produce to create its trademark menus: line-caught fish from traditional coastal villages, organic beef from the Pyrenees and artisanal cheese from local producers. Drooling yet? Wait until you see the desserts…
But there’s nothing stopping you from gathering the same incredible local ingredients yourself and eating al fresco in this luxury villa’s outdoor dining area. We can’t think of any Michelin star restaurants with their own hot tubs…
Villa Victoria, sleeps 16, from £863 per night
Surfing hotspot, beach haven and culinary capital, all set against a magnificent mountainous backdrop… Most visitors to San Sebastián find themselves powerless against its charms. Just how good is the food here? Well, in the whole of Spain just six restaurants have three Michelin stars, and three of those are in this small city. Impressive stuff. Discover local pintxos, bite-size morsels traditionally enjoyed standing at the bar, with a glass of txakoli (a local dry white wine).
After a day spent surfing on La Concha beach, you might not have the energy to get dressed up for a fancy restaurant visit. If that’s the case, a laid-back supper looking out over this fabulous ocean view is ideal:
Luxury 1st line of La Concha beach, sleeps 10, from £199 per night
In a city of diplomats, it’s perhaps not surprising that the level of fine dining is interstellar in Brussels and has been for decades. The most coveted tables in the city are surely those at Comme Chez Soi. Wryly titled ‘Like your own place’, it offers North Sea lobster and Royal Belgian caviar (and while we’re fans of Masterchef, we don’t exactly have those sitting in the fridge at home).
The city itself is a wonder to behold, with one of the finest squares in Europe if not the world, the Grand Place, and a blend of architecture that will leave you open-mouthed. (Preferably when there’s a tasty forkful going in the same direction.)
If you’re on a group holiday and not everyone’s keen to sample the city’s Michelin stars, this light and roomy kitchen (complete with island) is just the place for everyone to enjoy a meal together.
The Cambre House, sleeps 7, from £216 per night
Where better to establish a Michelin-starred restaurant than the home terroir of arguably the world’s finest red wines? Bordeaux’s beauty is as intoxicating as its most famous export: vineyards stretch towards the horizon in perfectly parallel lines and the sunsets glow red over rural rooftops. L’Hostellerie de Plaisance is a leading gastronomic light in the region, with two Michelin stars and a location to die for: the picturesque, World Heritage site of Saint-Emilion village.
If you’re a foodie and planning a family holiday, complex Michelin-star menus might not be to everyone’s taste. So why not enjoy a relaxed family meal in this chateau rental with charming outdoor dining area? It looks out over the same fields of stunning Saint-Emilion.
Montazeau Chateau, sleeps 16, from £108 per night
Prague is becoming a coveted destination and it’s not hard to see why. Its quaint cobbled streets, historic buildings and enchanting bohemian spirit capture every visitor’s imagination. But in recent years, the city’s restaurant scene has been gaining momentum. Field achieved its first star in March this year, impressing with artful presentation and creative but crowd-pleasing flavour combinations. Dinner here will be something to brag about if (or indeed, when) it wins another one.
But for utter romance, the dining area in this central apartment is tough to beat. Sumptuous and cosy, it’s the perfect place to relax over dinner after a day’s sightseeing in Europe’s bohemian capital.
Romantic apartment, sleeps 2, from £35 per night
So which of the magnificent seven will it be? Whether you choose to stay in or go Michelin stargazing, your tastebuds will thank you for it.