European cuisine is extremely varied, reflecting the multitude of different countries and regions spread across the continent. The Mediterranean diet is listed as an 'Intangible Cultural Heritage' by Unesco and has a number of variants, including Italian, Spanish and Greek. French food is practically a religion. Nordic food is the trendy new upstart of the culinary world. The UK excels in cosmopolitan Asian flavours and has invented its own brand of spicy Anglo-Indian cuisine. Wherever you go in Europe, eating is not just a pleasure, but a valuable insight into the local history and culture.

The Basics

Europe has a huge range of eating options, and booking isn't usually necessary. For popular or top-end places, reserve anything from a day to a month in advance.

  • Restaurants The European staple – from Michelin-starred to affordable fusion.
  • Cafes Vary from grab-and-go places in northern Europe, to more relaxed table-service cafes with outdoor seating in the south.
  • Family-run restaurants From Italian trattorias to Greek tavernas these more affordable and places are common in smaller towns and rural areas and usually have a more local flavour.
  • Pubs and bars Pub grub is still alive and well in the UK and Ireland. Spain specialises in tapas bars.