I’m not going to lie, I had pretty low expectations of Chisinau in terms of food. The thought of getting happygut eats seemed almost impossible. It was for this reason that I was nothing less than stunned when we discovered Caravan, an Uzbek restaurant a 10 minute walk from our hotel!
First of all, the ambiance was just fabulous!
And, although there weren’t TOO many options on the menu, the restaurant was willing to personalize dishes for us!
I had a salad (of course!) to start, followed by salmon and rice for the main course.
There were very few veggie options for Irfan and so the chef made Japanese soup just for him. Who would have ever thought you could get Japanese soup at an Uzbek restaurant in Moldova? The world is small my friends…..
He also ordered a side of delicious roasted vegetables
We actually went to Caravan twice during out 4 day stay in Chisinau! I ordered the trout the second time which was just succulent! If you ever find yourself in Chisinau my friends, make sure to check out this place for a happygut eat 🙂
Although, not totally happgut related, I also need to point out just how awesome our hotel stay was. We stayed at the charming Art Rustic, a quaint hotel with family friendly B&B feel. The staff was excellent with the best customer service we experienced the whole trip! Breakfast was included in the price (which was only 65 Euros per night!) and when I mentioned my dietary restrictions, they custom made me oatmeal with fruits and granola and brought it to my room! It was amazing! Thank you Art Rustic, you made made our stay incredibly pleasant 🙂
We had two very equally fabulous meals in Berlin. One was super expensive with mediocre service, the other was super cheap with amazing service. We justify the first expensive meal because it was my birthday! Happy birthday to me!
We went to La Mano Verde for my birthday meal. It is a vegan restaurant with plenty of raw choices. The meal was so expensive and delicious that we decided to take our sweet time eating – we had a 4 hour dinner folks!
Irfan ordered the Lime-Almond-Gazpacho soup with avocado, chilli and coconut. It was pretty darn good.
Jemila got the Ravioli Rouge & Blanc with chioggia beetroot ravioli made with cedar nut cream on a bed of fennel, apple and horseradish salad. It was alright. Not incredibly flavourful but an amazing presentation.
Our friend Chris, who we stayed with Berlin, opted for the Quiche Mano Verde made with fennel, mushrooms, pine nut cream and a Kalamata olive and thyme crust. It was quite tasty.
I ordered the safe Garden Fresh Mixed Salad with nuts and seeds and olive oil. It was a good, predictable salad.
Irfan ordered the BBQ Seitan Steak served on grilled eggplant and a nut sauce. Irfan liked its crispy texture but thought it was a bit too dry.
Jemila ordered Cappelletti del Autunno home made ravioli filled with pumpkin and chestnuts, served with a sage and blue poppy seeds glaze, topped with home made nut Parmesan. It looked delicious but tasted a little bit bland.
Chris ordered the Mille-Feuille Lasagne with seasonal vegetable layers, bell pepper & cashew nut antipasti. It was good, although we had higher expectations based on its appearance.
I ordered the Risotto Melange de Champignons with arborio rice, mixed mushrooms, herb pesto and a white wine sauce. It was yummy although a tad too sweet for a main course in my opinion.
Jemila had the Apricot Cheesecake with berry sauce and lemon zest. It was delicious.
Irfan ordered the Golden Orange Creme Brulee with ginger, lemongrass, served with candied kumquats and fresh fruits. Although it looked like creme brulee, it tasted more like a custard.
Chris ordered the Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake topped with hot chocolate sauce. Although this beauty was NOT gluten-free it was sooo delicious (yes, I cheated on my birthday! so sue me already :P).
I ordered the Cheese Cake Mano Verde with mango cashew and lime, served with a berry coulis. It was really good.
If you’re a raw foodie with deep pockets, I would definitely recommend this place. If you are like the rest of us who are a bit more thrifty, I would pass.
Our second happygut eat in Berlin was Bejte Ethiopia, a hidden gem by Berlin’s red light district.
We ordered the veggie platter which was soooo delicious! It was hands-down the best meal on the trip. The food was bursting with flavour, the price was right and the service was excellent. The ambiance was festive and the environment was so warm and friendly. And, even though the place was packed the owner still made a point to personally take our order. If that wasn’t good enough, there was even complimentary tea and fresh popcorn! We loved this place! Please do make sure to check out Bejte Ethiopia if you are ever in Berlin!
I ate a lot of salads in Zagreb. Europeans love their inflammatory gluten-filled pastries and so I didn’t have many options eating out.
Me being unimpressed with what seems like my 78th salad in Zagreb while Irfan and Darjan have pizza 😦
So let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to find Delizie Libanesi, a Lebanese restaurant. The meal was delicious! We were starving and so we ordered a ridiculous amount of food and, to our surprise, finished it all! Unfortunately, I think we were too hungry to remember to take pictures of all the dishes. We managed to take a couple of shot of our appys though, here they are!
Irfan ordered a red pepper hummus which was de-lish!
Darjan ordered a traditional Lebanese dish with herbs and rice.
I ordered a flavourful lentil soup with tandoori chicken and rice (maybe not sooo happygut friendly but I was so sick of salads man!).
Hence, Delizie Libanesi was a good option in a place with few options. The waitress was super happy and bouncy, which was an added bonus. Worth an eat if you’re ever in Zagreb!
We were lucky enough to stay with Vijay Uncle, Irfan’s close family friend, in his apartment in Marsascala, Malta. He really downplayed his place. We were expecting a small flat. That’s all, we had no expectations beyond that. Needless to say, our jaw dropped when we entered this huge gorgeous flat with a beautiful view of the sea. Someone pinch me, I get to live here for a whole week?! Hollaaaa 🙂
Vijay Uncle repeatedly insisted that we check out the restaurant just below his flat, Zonqor Point. We waited until our last night there to finally check it out and I wished we had discovered it sooner! The service was amazing and the food absolutely delectable.
Jemila and I had the red snapper which was caught the very same day! It was cooked to perfection with garlic and dill. The owner, Jason, made it a point to visit each of his customers personally to ensure that they were properly cared for. Make sure to check this place out if you are ever in Malta!
After London, Irfan went to Amsterdam while I went straight to Malta. He raved so much about this Terra Zen Vegan Cafe that I decided it was a must-blog.
He loved the down-to-earth-homey-family feel. The owner’s toddler son was running around with a water gun while his 10-year-old daughter helped with taking orders.
Irfan had the vegan burger plate with avocado on the side and ginger tea.
When the dessert that Irfan wanted from the menu was no longer available, the owner said he did have another cake in the back that wasn’t on the menu. “What kind of cake,” Irfan asked. “A cake made with the best flours, filled with nuts seeds and banana. I call it the Survivor Cake,” the owner answered. “Why is it a survivor cake?” asked Irfan. The owner smiled and stated, “It’s for me, because I’m surviving.” Irfan loved the cake. It even came with the “special sauce” made from heating chocolate soy milk with cane sugar.
The owner is loved dearly by his customers. One of the customers came up to Irfan’s table and said that he has been in Amsterdam for 30 years and has been waiting for neighbours like these and had found a family here. He says he comes there every day for a meal! Bravo Terra Zen Cafe, you take “family restaurant” to a whole new level 😉
Although, I must admit that I am incredibly envious of the British accent (omigodness, me and my sister-in-law Jemila had WAY too much fun trying to speak with the accent while we were there, they should never allow us into their country again), London is NOT my favourite place on earth. It’s grey and rainy and cold. The English also tend to be, as my friend Darjan (who lived in London for 15 years) so eloquently noted, “emotionally constipated”. Now, this is probably an unfair stereotype and I apologize to all the Brits out there who are emotionally regular (get it?! like regular bowels? bahahahaha!) but we all have live with stereotypes. Some are true (e.g. Canadians love to say “I’m sorry”), some not so true (we pronounce about “aboot”, I have never heard anyone say “aboot” ever, in my whole life).
As usual, I’m getting off track. Back to London and happygut food. So, I wasn’t SUPER excited to be in London but the city quickly redeemed itself whenever I discovered this little gem the first day we arrived!
Luscious Organic is a quaint cafe with superb service!
The food was excellent! I had a delicious coconut lentil soup for dinner the day we arrived and muesli with fresh ginger tea for breakfast the next day.
They even had a selection of gluten-free vegan cupcakes!
Do check out Luscious Organic if you are ever in London!