Old-fashioned tiled floors, lots of mirrors, bustling waiters, and unbelievably enormous servings (thankfully half serves of most dishes are available). Pickled herrings with potato salad is a stone crock large enough to serve four, house-cured salmon is the best I’ve ever had, and the apple tarte fin rivals Guillaume Brahimi’s.

Top 5 Paris Bistros - Food Wine Travel with Roberta Muir

If you do want to splash out on one Michelin-starred meal in Paris without going too crazy, consider the €105 3-course weekday lunch at Jules Verne atop the Eiffel Tower – a world-class experience with the added bonus of a private elevator ride to the second level viewing deck, bypassing the otherwise very long queues.

A pilgrimage to Paris is a food-lovers rite of passage, but Michelin-stars add extra zeros to the bill - here are my favourite inexpensive Paris bistros

If I only had one night in Paris, this ornate dining room is where I’d eat. From the generous bowl of herbed cheese and little sack of dark bread on arrival, to the excellent desserts, this is typical Alain Ducasse: wonderful service, setting and food. I love the charcuterie plate with pickles jar and wooden tongs, crisp fried frogs legs, and famous seafood quenelles with Nantua (shellfish) sauce. From €35 for 3-courses.

Top 5 Paris Bistros - Food Wine Travel with Roberta Muir

A pilgrimage to Paris is a rite of passage, but all those Michelin-stars can add a couple of extra zeros to the bill. Thankfully Paris is also the birthplace of bistros, casual restaurants serving traditional dishes at great prices. They almost always offer an exceptional value 3-course menu-of-the-day and are as much a part of the history of this most foodie of cities as are the Michelin-starred temples of gastronomy. Here are 5 of my favourites.

Top 5 Paris Bistro (the heart of authentic French food at prices everyone can afford) - Food-Wine-Travel with Roberta

Everyone says Venice is expensive … but that’s not my experience, at least not for eating and drinking. Go in winter when it’s relatively tourist-free, stay in the best hotel you can afford (preferably on the Grand Canal) and eat in the cheapest, out-of-the-way, holes-in-the-wall you can find (often in Cannaregio at the back of the island where many of the real Venetians live) - called bacari (bars) or osterie, they are everywhere, but to get you started here are five of my favourite finds.

Everyone says Venice is expensive … but that’s not my experience, at least not for eating and drinking - here are my favourite Venice cheap eats

I had my favourite meal of a three week trip to Italy in this wonderful old-fashioned cellar restaurant close to the heart of the city. This is the place for classic Tuscan cooking and the bistecca Fiorentina for 2, carved tableside, is really what it’s all about … though the dessert trolley’s pretty special too.

I love Italy for its wonderful regional diversity & friendly, hospitable people who know how to enjoy life - here are my 5 favourite restaurants in Italy

This simple, family-run osteria on a cobbled piazza in Bohemian Trastevere serves Sicilian and Roman dishes. Seafood arrives daily from the south coast and desserts, including an authentic cassata, come from Sicily twice a week. I dream of the deep-fried artichokes (carciofi alla giudìa), superb tiny tuna meatballs in a tomato and smoked provola sauce and spaghetti ricci di mare.

Top 5 Restaurants in Italy - Food Wine Travel with Roberta Muir

Perched high on a cliff edge just north of the town of Amalfi, this family-run trattoria sources much of their produce from the family farm in Scala, high above the coast that provides their daily seafood. Spaghetti with tiny vongole veraci and olives cooked ‘in cartoccio’ and served tableside is worth it for the theatre of the service alone. Fish is chosen from an iced tray rather than a menu, always cooked whole and also served tableside with the flesh expertly lifted from the bones.

Top 5 Restaurants in Italy - Food Wine Travel with Roberta Muir

Skip the gondola ride and take one of the wonderful old wooden speedboats across the lagoon to the colourful island of Burano. Allow Max, the third generation of his family to run this restaurant, to guide you through the menu full of seafood fresh from the lagoon - including sweet, garlicky razor clams. Save room for excellent tiramisu.

Top 5 Restaurants in Italy - Food Wine Travel with Roberta Muir

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