Europe offers a wealth of exquisite restaurants in some of the most spectacular countryside in the world. Although Michelin-starred restaurants are undeniably at the upper end of the market, sampling haute cuisine doesn’t have to be a treat reserved only for special occasions. Europe is full of fabulous gourmet restaurants offering their delicious fare for incredible value, and at Oliver’s Travels, we’ve made it our mission to seek them out – just for you, of course!
If you’re planning a relaxing stay in the beautiful region of Tuscany, opt for Villa Ciabattoni and you’ll find yourself wonderfully close to a modern Michelin-starred dining spot. Head to Florence, the region’s capital, to sample the €70 tasting menu at the restaurant Ora D’Aria. Arched ceilings, mirrors and windows create a light and airy dining space, delicately scented with local chef Marco Stabile’s updated take on traditional Tuscan cuisine. Starters include a delectable wild salmon with ginger and compressed watermelon, while mains include an equally enticing tomato tortelli, with herby aubergine cream and a tangy prawn tartare.
The pretty Georgian town of Marlow is home to one of our favourite Michelin-starred restaurants in the United Kingdom: The Hand & Flowers, run by Tom and Beth Kerridge. This a quaint, cosy restaurant oozes countryside charm with its wooden-beamed ceiling and bare brick walls, and has two coveted stars to its name. Here, you can embark on a fabulously priced set lunch menu for just £15 for two courses. The delicious main dish features salt-baked ox cheek with smoked mash, chilli faggot and brassica stalk, but save room for dessert – you won’t want to miss the blackberry fool.
If you’re crossing the channel and heading to France for a stay at one of Bordeaux’s luxury French holiday villas, you must make a visit to Bistrot du Gabriel. Climb to the building’s third level to enter chef Francois Adamski’s traditional French gastronomic paradise, where you can enjoy a three course menu for just €29. Try the succulent fillet of sea bream with fennel and white wine sauce, or, if you’re after something a little heartier, the tender roasted duck breast. Return to the Chateau La Roque to recline in suitably luxurious surroundings – or work off your dinner on the tennis court!