Tobias Buck


Tobias Buck
© Charlie Bibby

There is a strange little expression in Spanish that captures something of the carefree spirit of a sweltering Madrid summer: estar de Rodríguez, which literally means “to be Rodríguez”. What it describes is the state of the (male) city worker who is left behind while his wife and children spend August at the beach. A staple of 1960s Spanish comedies, being Rodriguez implies being freed from family obligations, ready to hit the town and — possibly — engaging in some extramarital dalliance. It is the latter aspect that explains the phrase’s origin, or so my Madrilenian friends claim. Rodríguez is, after all, one of the most common names in Spain — making it a useful alias when engaging in illicit flirtations.

Yet even for today’s morally robust city dweller, male or female, the phrase still has meaning. Scraped of its chauvinistic undertones, it hints at that peculiar delight of being alone in a vast, deserted, oven-hot metropolis, moving slowly from one shady terrace to the next, a cold cerveza, vermút or tinto de verano never far from reach.

Tartan Roof

The Tartan Roof terrace at Círculo de Bellas Artes
The Tartan Roof terrace at Círculo de Bellas Artes © Peter Eastland /Alamy

Once a rarity, Madrid is now bursting with rooftop bars and restaurants, some with a swimming pool attached. The most stunning views, however, are to be had on the roof of Madrid’s iconic Círculo de Bellas Artes, an exuberant 1920s arts centre located right on Calle Alcalá. This is a place to drink, not eat, though the kitchen does produce a small range of dishes. If it is too hot to go out, you can also try the ground-floor café and street terrace, which is cooled by water mist. No reservations;

Restaurante Rafa

On a hot day in Madrid there are few greater pleasures than a lunch of Galician seafood, coupled with a glass of well-chilled Albariño. One especially summery dish is salpicón de bogavante — cold lobster tossed in oil, vinegar, onion, peppers and parsley. There are hundreds of good, unpretentious Galician restaurants and pulperías all over town. For a treat, head to the street-side terrace of Restaurante Rafa, close to the Retiro park, which has been preparing first-rate seafood since 1958.


A StreetXo chef preparing a vaporised club sandwich
A StreetXo chef preparing a vaporised club sandwich

StreetXo is the most informal and summer-friendly outlet of David Muñoz’s Michelin-starred culinary empire. Located on the rooftop of the Corte Inglés department store in Calle Serrano, you can either sit at tables outside or at the bar that surrounds the hyperactive open kitchen. The cutlery is plastic but the dishes are fantastically inventive (and delicious): try octopus cooked on a Chinese barbecue, Korean lasagne, ray in banana leaves or — for the truly adventurous — a vaporised club sandwich with quail egg and shichimi.No reservations;

Naia Bistro

A personal favourite for the last few years, Naia is located on one of the most beautiful (and quiet) squares of La Latina, Madrid’s traditional going-out neighbourhood. It has a few tables scattered outside as well as an airy, all-white indoor dining room. The cooking is a few notches above the already impressive Madrid standard but neither is it overly frilly or ambitious. The menu changes often but usually involves a clever twist on Spanish classics such as presa Ibérica (marbled cut of pork) or pulpo braseado (grilled octopus).

La Venencia

Tucked away in a side street of Madrid’s Barrio de las Letras (literary quarter) is this gem of tradition and simplicity — a place where you stop by for glass of cold Manzanilla, and end up staying (and drinking) for much of the night. La Venencia serves only sherry (five kinds) and a tiny selection of low-cost tapas such as eggs, chorizo, cheese or anchovies. Many decades of drink, talk and smoke have given the walls and ceiling a coating of caramel-to-black patina. The waiter scribbles your bill right on to the wooden bar with a piece of chalk.

Calle de Echegaray 7, 28014 Madrid, +34 914 29 73 13 (no reservations)

Heba Saleh


Heba Saleh
© David Degner

Cairo can be scorching in the summer, but there are many evenings when the temperature cools down and balmy bahari breezes come from the north. Though on summer evenings it often seems that all of Cairo is out on the streets in search of recreation, this is not a city generally known for the culinary excellence of its restaurants. Poor families often take picnics to eat on the grass in central reservations of major avenues. Another especially Cairene practice is for those who want a cheap outing to sit at improvised cafés on bridges on the Nile. Even as the city’s notorious traffic flows, every evening vendors appear out of nowhere to place plastic chairs along the sides of bridges, where they serve customers hot and cold drinks prepared in specially built carts, often with coloured lights and pretty displays. There are many delicious Egyptian dishes (some Arab neighbours would dispute that they are Egyptian of origin) but they are mostly to be had in the homes — or preferably on the balconies — of friends.

Takeaway on a felucca

Waiting to board a traditional felucca
Waiting to board a traditional felucca © David Degner

For pure enjoyment on a summer evening, nothing beats a picnic on a felucca sailing up and down the Nile right in central Cairo. A kebab and salads takeaway from Abou Shakra, picked up at its downtown outlet or delivered anywhere before you embark, can only add to the pleasure. No matter how hot it is in the city, it will be cooler on the boat, and most large feluccas have a table, so you can spread your feast and eat comfortably. You can usually hire a felucca for less than $15 per hour.

Kebabgy at the Sofitel El Gezirah

If you just want to watch the feluccas sail past while eating an excellent grill, delicious mezze and freshly baked bread, the Sofitel El Gezirah’s Kebabgy, with stunning views of the Nile at the southern tip of Gezira Island, is the right place to go. However, it is not cheap.

The promenade at the Cairo Marriott

Also on the island of Gezira, the Marriott exudes grandeur with a lot of gilt furniture and mirrors. The long promenade is a great people-watching place. Food is served but this is an excellent place to relax with friends in the early evening, sipping fresh mango juice or a tangy lime juice with mint.


Mezze at Kebabgy
Mezze at Kebabgy © David Degner

There is no place to sit at Saber, an ice-cream and dessert institution which grew from its Alexandrian base and now has branches in Cairo and elsewhere. Apart from traditional Oriental pastries and delicious ice cream, the one speciality which sets Saber apart is its own very decadent concoction: a rich rice pudding topped with nuts, raisins and mastic-flavoured ice cream. There is even a variation called “Full Option”, which includes cream.

El Fishawy

This fabled café in the Khan el-Khalili bazaar may be something of a tourist hang-out but it is also very popular with Egyptians. Notable patrons have included the late Naguib Mahfouz, the novelist, who reportedly did some of his early writing there. More than two centuries old, according to its owners, it sits amid architectural gems in the old Islamic heart of the city.

The walls are adorned with oversized mirrors in arabesque frames and the seating area spills out into an outside alley, where waiters ply customers with drinks and assorted fruit-scented tobacco water pipes. Khan el-Khalili Alley; +20 2 2590 6775

Chris Bryant


Chris Bryant

Frankfurt winters can be so drab that a colleague felt compelled to affix a large circle of yellow paper to the office window in lieu of the long-absent sun; Frankfurters therefore greet the arrival of summer with gusto. The banks of the Main river, which bisect the city and are overlooked by the European Central Bank’s gleaming new headquarters, are transformed into a bustling procession of bikers, in-line skaters and runners. Ice-cream parlours — a peculiar German obsession — have lines round the block from early spring. Cafés along the low-key but trendy Berger Strasse invite guests to linger outside on warm summer evenings and the once shabby Bahnhofsviertel, the red-light district adjacent to the main train station, now boasts a thriving al fresco bar scene, where hipsters and bankers rub shoulders. The Brentanobad, a huge outdoor pool, provides respite when the temperatures really start to rise.

Friedberger Markt

A Frankfurt institution, this market sees hundreds of locals shopping on Fridays to start their weekend. Riesling and Sekt flow at the wine tent and various stalls sell vegetables, meats and cheeses. Due to complaints about noise, the festivities end at 10pm; then head to Eckhaus, a pub/restaurant along the street. Friedberger Platz, Nordend

Long Island Summer Lounge

On the roof at Long Island Summer Lounge
On the roof at Long Island Summer Lounge

Wandering into this multistorey car park, you’ll think you’ve taken a wrong turn. But take the elevator to the roof and behold an open-air lounge that provides unrivalled views of the Frankfurt skyline. Sip a Hugo cocktail from a deckchair or cool your feet in the paddling pool.


On a sunny summer evening order a beer or glass of wine at the Maincafé, on the south bank of the river, and watch the world go by. In late July cross the river to the Sommerwerft arts festival, near the new ECB building. An unpretentious mix of music, dance and poetry awaits.

Eis Christina

Germans are prolific consumers of ice cream and this is the premier address in Frankfurt. Located in Nordend, a couple of Metro stops from the centre, the Italian owners have been serving home-made creations for more than 40 years. There is usually a queue but the portions are large and there are tables outside.

Joe Leahy

São Paulo

The city’s winter months, which roughly correspond to the northern summer, are the time to visit Brazil’s biggest city, when there is usually beautiful sunshine without excessive heat or cold. On weekends, “Paulistanos” cram into their great park, Ibirapuera, or cycle on the ciclofaixas — lanes of major roads that are reserved on Sunday mornings for bicycles. They then crowd the sorveterias, or ice-cream joints, and fruit-juice bars. In a city where work rules and there are few other distractions, Paulistanos take their eating and drinking very seriously.

Frutaria São Paulo

After checking out Ibirapuera Park, pop out the side exit and walk to this high-end fruit-juice bar. Cyclists welcome.

Skye Restaurant & Bar

Close to Frutaria São Paulo is the Skye Bar on the top deck of Brazilian architect Ruy Ohtake’s boat-shaped Hotel Unique. Enjoy a cocktail on the terrace and see São Paulo in its best light.


The terrace at Skye Restaurant & Bar
The terrace at Skye Restaurant & Bar

One of São Paulo’s top Japanese eateries and recently awarded a Michelin star. The Michelin guide recommends its oyster okura shot — a shot glass of oysters with quail egg yolk and ponzu sauce.

Terraço Itália

Located on the top floor of the Edifício Itália, come here after visiting São Paulo’s museums. Try the Italian cuisine or just have a glass of wine and enjoy the view.

Veloso Bar

Veloso Bar is said to have São Paulo’s best coxinhas — shredded chicken wrapped in batter and deep fried — and caipirinhas. Come if you like a crowd.

Restaurante Santinho

The stately Museu da Casa Brasileira is a haven of quiet right on São Paulo’s main banking street, Avenida Faria Lima. Its hidden secret is Restaurante Santinho, set in a beautiful rear garden.

Henry Foy


Henry Foy
© Charlie Bibby

Every city looks better in the sunshine. But in Warsaw, a city with such a reputation for grey and grim that some might assume The Pianist is a documentary, summer marks a wholesale transformation. Canopies spring forth from every café to convert pavements from parking spaces to sun-dappled meeting places; ski jackets and hiking boots are replaced by light skirts and loafers. Vodka no longer is just for keeping warm, it also makes a decent Cosmopolitan. It is such a remarkable change that many say the city has two populations; one for winter and another for summer. On the banks of the river, in one of the city’s parks or outside the bars springing up everywhere in the revitalised city centre, summer in Warsaw is a microcosm of an emergent new modern Poland: a youthful, confident, energetic and cultural city making up for lost time.


Food at the ever-popular Charlotte
Food at the ever-popular Charlotte

Oft-imitated but never bettered, Warsaw’s trendsetting French bakery, café and wine bar attracts a constant throng of socialites, politicians and creatives. The city’s fickle zeitgeist makes and breaks bars in weeks, yet Charlotte’s popularity appears indefatigable. Come for the homemade marmalade and be prepared to queue for Sunday brunch.

Targ Śniadaniowy

A pop-up breakfast market that takes over Warsaw’s local parks at weekends: come for the freshly baked pastries, stay for the impromptu sitar concert. The organisers say 12 new friendships are made at every event and every 40 seconds someone bursts into laughter — but even if you don’t meet a new soulmate, the food is worth it. Check the website for locations.

Poniatówka Beach, in central Warsaw
Poniatówka Beach, in central Warsaw © Adam Pańczuk

Poniatówka Beach

It is rare to find a European capital city with a wild river running through it but in the summer, Warsaw makes the most of the undeveloped eastern bank of the Vistula. On sandy beaches in the heart of the city, sunbathers gather, crates of beer arrive, fires are lit and spontaneous dancing breaks out in the hazy dusk. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle opener.

Cud nad Wisłą

On the river’s western shore, the renovated promenade has brought a flurry of new beach bars, with enough deckchairs, mojitos in plastic cups and David Guetta to get you through any Saturday evening — or Sunday morning. Begin at the venerable Cud nad Wisłą and wander, as the river does, north.

Soho Factory

Some Warsaw snobs might still refuse to cross the river, but more fool them. The city’s industrial eastern half is rapidly ditching its decrepit, dodgy and dangerous reputation thanks to places like Soho Factory. An old ammunition foundry, it now houses shops and bars where trendsetters lounge around under canopies sipping cocktails, before dinner at one of the city’s few 24-hour restaurants.

Shannon Bond

New York

Shannon Bond
© Brian Ferraro

New Yorkers lucky enough to have a terrace, back garden or roof deck luxuriate in their apartments’ seasonal doubling in size. Those without make do with front stoops, the green lawns of Central and Prospect Parks, the piers lining the Hudson and East Rivers and, at a pinch, the closest fire escape. On the hottest nights, streets stay bustling as dusk falls, punctuated by children running through a sprinkling hydrant as the bass notes of someone’s music float down the block.

Lavender Lake

This former stable, set by a drawbridge spanning the Gowanus Canal, is Brooklyn’s version of pastoral. A flood line on the bar’s wall, marking how high the waters rose during Hurricane Sandy, does not dissuade flocks of Brooklynites. On weekend afternoons the picnic table-studded backyard feels like a barbecue at your friend’s particularly large apartment, complete with toddlers underfoot.

Brooklyn hotspot Lavender Lake
Brooklyn hotspot Lavender Lake

Untitled at The Whitney

At Danny Meyer’s latest venture, dining indoors feels much like dining outside: the corner space at the new Whitney Museum is wrapped in a glass curtain wall. For drinks and a shorter version of the menu, head up to the Studio Cafe, boasting a terrace with views of the Empire State Building and Hudson river.

Tacoway Beach

Tacoway Beach’s famous fish tacos
Tacoway Beach’s famous fish tacos

Hipster favourite Rockaway Taco has a new name and home this summer at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. The lines for fish tacos and a new breakfast menu are still long, but extra seats and the addition of the Surf Club’s bar make it a good spot to end (or start) a day by the ocean. Twitter: @tacowaybeach

Hammock Grove, Governors Island

Pack your own lunch and picnic in the 10 acres of this grassy former military base in the middle of New York’s harbour, where red woven hammocks offer close-up views of the Statue of Liberty.

People’s Pops

The ultimate ice-cream treat, these can be found in stores across the city and on the High Line park. Fruit from nearby farms results in intense flavours like red plum with blueberry and raspberry rose.

Jeevan Vasagar


© Charlie Bibby

In summer, Berlin heads outdoors: swimming in the lakes, windsurfing using wheeled boards on Tempelhof Airport’s abandoned runways, beer and grilled sausage in open-air bars. The season is short and therefore intense; on the finest days many Berliners simply cancel appointments and head for their favourite bathing spot.

My ideal summer day would be spent on the shores of one of Berlin’s lakes. The sandy beach at Plötzensee attracts an amiable crowd of local families and there are sausages and chips for your post-swim snack. But my favourite lake for enjoyment of nature is Schlachtensee, on the edge of the Grunewald forest. I love going for a shoreside run followed by lunch at the lakeside biergarten.

Zollpackhof Biergarten

A classic biergarten — drink in the shade of one of Berlin’s oldest chestnut trees, and enjoy steaks cooked outdoors. Bundestag politicians come here for drinks but don’t let that put you off.

Prater Garten

This friendly biergarten in Berlin’s hipster district, Prenzlauer Berg, has a crisp house lager on draught. It’s also a good place for traditional food such as Königsberger Klopse — meatballs in a white sauce with capers.

Café am Neuen See
Café am Neuen See

Café am Neuen See

Cycle through the Tiergarten, go boating on the lake, then grab a perfect pizza — wafer-thin and cooked in a stone oven — to eat under the trees. I come for dinner on warm summer evenings, or for an afternoon beer and pretzel on a Saturday. Avoid hectic Sunday brunch.


This is a classic west Berlin café, with starched white tablecloths and a dizzying choice of cakes. Good for a late breakfast while people-watching on the Ku’damm, Berlin’s main shopping street.

Club der Visionaere

A waterfront bar and club in the artsy district of Kreuzberg. The DJ plays techno at a volume discreet enough for conversation.

Josh Noble

Hong Kong

Josh Noble

Summer in Hong Kong is gruelling. The heat begins to kick up in May and, by July, the temperature rarely dips below 30C, even at night. The humidity can be oppressive, and is beaten back only by tropical downpours and typhoons. In summer many Hong Kong residents seek shelter in air-conditioned malls or head abroad.

However, many also take advantage of the plentiful beaches, some just a short cab ride from the city centre. Several beaches offer free barbecue pits so you can grill your lunch before taking a dip in the South China Sea. Hong Kong has many much-loved outdoor seafood spots, such as the islands of Cheung Chau and Lamma, both a half-hour ferry ride from downtown.

Gage Street market
Gage Street market © Getty

Juice stalls

Street-side juice stalls abound in Hong Kong. Summer brings fruits from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan; it’s also lychee season. Street markets criss-crossing Gage Street and Graham Street in Central, where fruit and veg stalls jostle with fishmongers and butchers, are the best place to find them.

Honeymoon Dessert

Graham Street market
Graham Street market © Getty

In Hong Kong, dessert has a culture all its own. Summer options include shaved ice topped with fruit syrup, red bean paste and ice cream, sago pudding, grass jelly. Try them all at Honeymoon Dessert, which has locations across the city.

Good Spring Company

People have been coming from across Asia to this herbal tea and Chinese medicine shop since 1948. Chinese herbal teas, which are typically dark brown and bitter in taste, are believed to help cool the system when the mercury rises. The on-site doctors offer remedies for almost any ailment. 8 Cochrane Street; +852 2544 3518

Kathrin Hille


Kathrin Hille

The best thing about summer in Moscow is watching Muscovites enjoy it. Although Russians are famous for rarely smiling at strangers, the capital’s residents turn into a happy and boisterous crowd once the sun comes out and the days get longer. In mid-June, it doesn’t get dark until after 10pm, and the air is balmy. Combined with Moscow’s incredible density of theatre, music and art, Russia’s high esteem for culture and education and a penchant for dressing up and showing off, this brings the city’s parks to life with sports, children’s games and picnics during the day and very long nights. The bean bags, rocking chairs and swinging pods put up by the municipal government transform the city centre’s parks into something like an outdoor living room for everybody. And Muscovites treat them like that: amazingly, the public furniture gets neither stolen nor vandalised.

The full range of this is on display in Gorky Park, a green belt stretching along the Moscow river as it snakes from the city centre all the way to Sparrow Hills, wooded heights crowned with the Stalinist building of Lomonosov University. On one end is Fallen Monument Park, an open-air museum where discarded Soviet-era statues mix with modern sculptures. Then come ergonomic wooden benches and rocking chairs, a fun fountain and little stalls selling tacky paintings. Further along, there are ponds with rowing boats, a rose garden, beach volleyball pitches, stages for open-air concerts, a theatre and a skating range. On the other end, middle-aged women sprawl on the low walls like seals, interrupting their day-long sunbaths only for a dip in the river or a bite from their home-made sandwiches.

But you don’t really know it’s summer in Moscow until the smell of barbecue starts wafting through the streets. Much of this comes from shashlik meat skewers made at home and grilled in the courtyard of an apartment building or just on the edge of a parking lot. When eating out, the best choice for barbecue are the many good Georgian restaurants. The most refreshing drink to go with this is the delicious homemade lemonades on offer in so many Moscow eateries, ranging from ordinary lemon to lime green tarragon.

Veranda 32.05

This airy restaurant is the heart of Hermitage Garden, a small park crammed with three theatres, a big playground and open-air stages. You don’t come for the food: Veranda’s bar menu offers the best sangria in town, well-made cocktails and a decent wine list. This is best enjoyed while people-watching — ideally from one of the deck chairs outside the south-facing wall.



This is expat central but still Moscow’s most comfortable beer garden, in a courtyard just off Tverskaya Street, Moscow’s main thoroughfare. Make it an early dinner — after 7pm, all tables are likely to be taken. For a more formal setting, make a reservation on the balcony under white awnings.


This restaurant belongs to a farmers’ co-operative, and offers fresh local ingredients, still a rare treat in a city long obsessed with sushi and pizza. The menu tells you where the produce for every hearty dish comes from. My favourite seats are on the wooden deck in the far corner of the courtyard. If it gets too chilly, retreat into the refectorium-style hall with brick walls and wooden tables.


Strelka Bar

Whether for a champagne brunch or late-night clubbing, Strelka’s location on an island in the Moscow river is unbeatable. Next door is Red October, a former chocolate factory with restaurants and clubs. When the sun sets, secure a spot on the rooftop, where across the river the golden dome of Christ the Saviour Cathedral and the Kremlin are in view.

Kana Inagaki


Kana Inagaki
© Toshiki Senoue

I can taste the summer’s arrival in Tokyo when aesthetically appealing and refreshing seasonal dishes start appearing on menus. Summer in Japan begins with the rainy season, and once the downpours bring the humidity, my husband and I often join the long queues outside restaurants that specialise in unagi, or Japanese eel, hoping to combat the heat with its minerals and vitamins. In some neighbourhoods, weekends will become noisy with the drumbeats of a matsuri, or local festival, mixed with rhythmic cries of wasshoi, wasshoi!, the phrase men and women repeat as they carry portable shrines. In the evenings, the fireworks begin and people will come out wearing yukatas (a more casual version of kimonos), stopping at food stands along the way to grab beer and snacks. If you want to avoid crowds, an alternative is a tempura party inside a yakata boat that cruises around Tokyo Bay.

Saryo Tsujiri

Saryo Tsujiri’s shaved ice with green tea ice-cream
Saryo Tsujiri’s shaved ice with green tea ice-cream

If you need a quick refreshing break, try the exquisite mountain of shaved ice topped with rich green tea ice-cream and red beans at this café. For an afternoon snack, it is expensive but you get a taste of Kyoto, famous for green tea, right outside Tokyo station.

Yaesu north exit of Tokyo station, 10th floor of Daimaru department store Ukai Toriyama I would recommend stopping by this scenic restaurant after a hiking trip to Mt Takao in western Tokyo to enjoy great food surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden. In the summer months, you can taste a special course of grilled chicken, beef or fish and go watch fireflies at night. But do reserve early.


Eel is the speciality
Eel is the speciality © Toshiki Senoue

My favourite summer dish is grilled Japanese eel, which is increasingly becoming a delicacy. Located near the Tokyo Tower, this is one of the country’s oldest eel houses, dating back nearly 200 years. Try grilled eel without sauce but my pick would be sauce-covered grilled eel over hot steaming rice.

T Y Harbor Brewery

This place does not feel like Tokyo with its spacious interior and American-style dishes. But it is one of the few locations in my neighbourhood where you can sit outside and drink quality beer on the waterfront. After lunch or dinner, you can walk around the canals and enjoy the summer breeze.

Tim Bradshaw

San Francisco

Tim Bradshaw
© Thor Swift

When I moved to the FT’s San Francisco bureau at the end of June 2012, I confidently put all my winter clothes in a slow-boated container and packed a light, summer wardrobe. But I hadn’t reckoned on Karl. San Francisco’s all-consuming summer fog is so familiar to residents that it has a name and even its own Instagram and Twitter accounts (@karlthefog).

I quickly discovered that the so-called summer months in San Francisco are, in fact, among the coldest of the year, from June Gloom right through to Fogust, before Karl does eventually let the sun out again in September and October. So while San Franciscans are grateful for all the blue corn and heirloom tomatoes that flood farmers’ markets over the summer, for actual sunshine they tend to flee over the bridges to the East Bay, north to wine country and Stinson Beach, or down Highway 1 to Big Sur. In the city, meanwhile, the summer fashion can be summed up in one word: layers.

Chill out in Dolores Park

There is no better place to watch the fog roll in from the west than this park in the hipster-central Mission district, which usually escapes Karl’s reach. Dolores’s steep banks are packed with beautiful hipsters and overpaid techies, tended to by roaming dealers of chilled Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, rum-spiked coconuts and, if you aren’t yet relaxed enough, semi-legal chocolate truffles.

Humphry Slocombe

Even on chilly days, San Franciscans are willing to queue for up to half an hour for ice-cream. The biggest lines tend to be at the two Bi-Rite groceries that neighbour Dolores Park and Alamo Square. But I prefer the eccentric flavours of Humphry Slocombe, such as Secret Breakfast, whose magic ingredients are cornflakes and a dash of bourbon.

Off the Grid, San Francisco
Off the Grid, San Francisco © Gamma Nine

Off the Grid

San Francisco has elevated street food to haute cuisine, from Senor Sisig’s Filipino burritos to the self-explanatory Bacon Bacon. Off the Grid gathers the best food trucks at Fort Mason on Friday nights and for Sunday picnics at the Presidio. Even bricks-and-mortar restaurants open stalls at mid-August’s Street Food Festival in the newly trendy Dogpatch neighbourhood.

Outdoor drinking

San Francisco suffers from a dearth of outdoor drinking venues but for those rare warm evenings downtown, Jones is a concrete oasis in the otherwise sketchy Tenderloin neighbourhood. Beer gardens are either German, as in Hayes Valley’s Biergarten, or old-school punk, at Zeitgeist. Across the bay, the waterfront patio at Sam’s Anchor Café in Tiburon makes a perfect spot to end a long bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge before catching the ferry home.

Anne-Sylvaine Chassany


Anne-Sylvaine Chassany
© Charlie Bibby

If, in July, Paris is all jazzed up by festivals, food markets and busy terrasses, come August a strange quiet descends upon entire arrondissements. Welcome to the lull of les grandes vacances. Imagine: cheese shops close for their three-week annual leave, as well as half of the bakeries. It can feel surreal, and slightly depressing if unlike everybody else, you’re not tanning on a Corsican beach. If you want company, I suggest you have brunch with the last remaining hipsters by the Canal Saint-Martin, or wander along the riverbank. If you’d like to feel truly Parisian, pack a blanket and a bottle of wine and travel to the northern Parc de la Villette to watch a movie under the stars at the open-air cinema.

La Pâtisserie des Rêves

Located between the Invalides and the Jardin du Luxembourg, this pâtisserie is indeed a dream. Its lemon cakes are close to perfection but the shop is worth visiting even if you are not hungry: tartes aux fruits, mille-feuilles and Paris Brests are presented under glass bell jar covers, like luxury jewellery or fine pieces of art.

Mint tea at the Grande Mosquée

The restaurant of the Grande Mosquée de Paris is the ideal hang-out on a hot day. Have some mint tea and a corne de gazelle by the fountain, after a walk in the Jardin des Plantes nearby. 2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 5th arr

Le P’tit Fernand

Copper Bay, Paris
Copper Bay, Paris

This restaurant is an institution and one of my favourite dinner spots after a stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg or shopping near Saint-Sulpice. Open every day for lunch and dinner — even in August — it is easy to miss if you walk by because the place is tiny. A tip: replace the main course with another starter — green bean salad and foie gras, for example. 7 rue Lobineau, 6th arr

Copper Bay

Copper Bay is a newcomer on the young Parisian cocktail scene but it is already a winner. Opened earlier this year by three thirtysomething cocktail experts, the place looks like the wooden deck of a cruise liner. Try the Wonderland Iced Tea or the Garden Party, before or after a play at the numerous theatres nearby. 5 rue Bouchardon, 10th arr

James Crabtree


James Crabtree
© Daniel Jones

Summer in Mumbai means only one thing — rain, lots of blessed rain. After steadily creeping humidity during April and May, the monsoon breaks finally in June, washing away months of accumulated dust.

Those early downpours see India’s financial capital transformed, as residents delight in the heavy showers and celebrate by cavorting on Marine Drive, the city’s main promenade.

Once those early celebrations subside, however, the longer haul begins. The city becomes lush and green, and people are quieter and more relaxed, as if the breaking of the heat drains tensions out of this teeming city of 21 million. But there are still two months of dark skies and dodging rainstorms to go — meaning many weekends spent hunkered indoors, watching films and drinking chai, waiting for the downpours to stop.

Café Marina

Cafe Marina, Mumbai
Cafe Marina, Mumbai

Many rooftop bars close during monsoon but some such as this one at the Sea Palace Hotel instead erect a temporary carapace of bamboo and tarpaulin to protect intrepid drinkers, providing a perfect spot to sit with a cool beer and a platter of tandoori vegetables to watch the rains pour down over the harbour.

Verandah in the Forest

The best monsoon escape is a trip out of town to the Western Ghats, a range of hills around two hours inland from the city. The drive is hair-raising, on treacherous rain-soaked highways, but the end result is magical, with gorgeous views of newly formed waterfalls roaring down pristine green hillsides. The Verandah in the Forest heritage hotel in Matheran, a hill station, provides an especially fine spot to wile away long afternoons on the balcony, before a meal in the grand colonial dining room.

Ice Cream Works

It doesn’t rain all the time so when the heavens close, head out for an evening stroll along Chowpatty Beach at the far end of Marine Drive, where you might even be lucky enough to see a hint of sun set through the monsoon clouds. If not, cheer yourself up by ducking into Ice Cream Works, a local favourite, for kulfi, a traditional Indian ice-cream often flavoured with either saffron or pistachio.

Vincent Boland


Vincent Boland
© Charlie Bibby

The moment I realised I was happy to be back in Dublin after a long time away was during dinner one early summer evening at Marcel’s, a restaurant about five minutes from my newly rented apartment. We dined in an upstairs room, with a view of the spire of St Mary’s church bathed in moonlight.

The theme was French but the food was Irish. Local produce, attention to detail, value for money: Marcel offered all of them. They encapsulate the dining scene in Dublin. Dubliners, it seems to me, are rediscovering the things Ireland does well — excellent food and drink — after the embrace of the novel, the foreign and the frankly mediocre, during the economic boom of a decade ago.

Dublin has narrow sidewalks and indifferent weather; it can be difficult to dine al fresco. But the city also has long, bright summer evenings. On the narrow streets around South Great George’s Street visitors will find some of the best restaurants (Rustic Stone, Fade Street Social) and pubs (The Long Hall, The Stag’s Head).

Alongside the food revolution, there is a new wave of distilleries and craft breweries. You can still get the world’s best pint of Guinness in a Dublin pub. But there are now 50 microbreweries across the country, and some of them (Galway Hooker, for example) are selling their beers and ales in the capital’s pubs. Five new distillers are due to begin production by the end of the year.

Rooftop Bar and Terrace, Marker Hotel

Dublin does not have a skyline, alas. But rooftop bars are starting to appear, and this is the best. If the weather permits, it is the best place to see the city from above. Booking advised.

Chapter One

Dish from Chapter One, Dublin
Chapter One, Dublin

This Michelin-starred restaurant may be the best in Dublin. Other formal restaurants can be a bit snooty; here the atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, and the staff don’t talk down to the customers. Pricey, but it is Irish dining at its best.

Il Valentino café and artisan bakery

As the character of Dublin changes and becomes more European, its coffee gets better. This is one of the best cafés in the city, next to Silicon Docks, the area where Google, Facebook and other tech companies have set up their operations.


Gorgeous French-style restaurant in a former espresso bar in a lovely part of Dublin that is well worth seeing. There are also some good pubs on Upper Baggot Street, just around the corner.

James Politi


James Politi

Rome used to descend into torpor in summer, as the heat drove many of its three million residents to the seaside, shutting down restaurants and shops. But that is no longer the case — partly due to the economic downturn, which has forced more Romans to stay home, and partly thanks to a cultural revival that has swept through the city in the past decade.

There are now outdoor concerts in stunning settings almost every night, from opera at the Caracalla baths to classical music in the ancient Marcellus theatre near the Jewish quarter. During the day, it’s about staying cool. Make use of the more than 2,000 public water fountains; pick a hotel with a rooftop pool. And don’t forget to sample a few classics of Roman cuisine: fried squash blossoms, stewed chicken with peppers and perfect bucatini all’amatriciana.

Indigo Hotel

You can’t leave Rome without having a cocktail — un aperitivo — on a terrace overlooking the city’s beautiful rooftops and church domes. The five-star Indigo Hotel on Via Giulia — one of the most charming cobblestone streets in the historic centre — will do the trick.

A meal in Testaccio

Ristorante Consolini, Rome
Ristorante Consolini, Rome

The Testaccio neighbourhood is the hub of traditional Roman cuisine. A fancy option is the outdoor terrace of Ristorante Consolini, which boasts that Federico Fellini used to love its pasta cacio e pepe, with pecorino cheese and black pepper. A more down-to-earth choice is Ristorante Da Bucatino. And while you’re in the area, drop in for a glimpse of the quintessential Italian deli: Volpetti on via Marmorata.


When the heat gets to you and all the frescoes start to meld into one fuzzy image, head to Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, not far from the Spanish Steps. The granita — semi-frozen flavoured crushed ice — at the Ciampini bar will refresh you like nothing else. On a recent visit, I had a peach granita, but the most classic choice is coffee. The gelato at Ciampini is also superb and without the queues of other places.

Casina Valadier

On the southern end of the Villa Borghese park, Casina Valadier delivers stunning scenery and fine dining. The prices are high but the menu is sophisticated: a typical first course is tagliolini with asparagus tips, a scent of lime and black truffle. With luck, a breeze will be blowing through the air, with all of Rome at your feet.

Katrina Manson


Katrina Manson
© Pete Muller

Once the May thunderstorms melt away, June, July and August bring the coolest times of the year for Kenya’s elevated capital. So the best way to spend summer in the city is beside a fireplace with a glass of scotch come first chill of evening. Sometimes grizzled and grey by day, with temperatures topping 21C, it is also hardly the stuff of complaint. Even so, city residents start wearing bomber jackets, four hats and shivering on greeting each other.

Kenya is better known for its sandy beaches and chasing down the world’s wildebeest but as capitals go, Nairobi has a surfeit of escapades on offer. Despite the high-rises and new developments, it is still packed with green spaces, lively music events in extraordinary locations — from buses to museums to train yards — and, once in a savannah moon, a lion really does stop traffic.

Explorers/The Talisman

Nairobi’s colonial-era homes have never gone in for central heating and air conditioning. So settle into a big leather sofa beside the fire at Explorers, a whisky bar and local favourite, or head out to The Talisman for fireside dining in the leafy suburbs. Their “Taliban” hot chilli sauce might not be in the best taste for a country beset by terror threats — “It’ll blow your head off,” explains the chef — but it will certainly ward off the cold. Explorers, Ole Odume Road; +254 20 2308769

The Juniper Kitchen

The Juniper Kitchen is a boho newcomer on the urban drinking scene that has won the hearts of musicians, expats and the city’s in-crowd. Cocktails, from G&Ts to Kenya’s trademark dawa — Swahili for medicine and packed with vodka, honey and lime — are served in jam-jars under a roof of trees in an outdoor yard. The crowd will keep you warm. Kabarsiran Avenue, next to house No 23

The Train Yard Boogie

What better way to toast a city that started out as a railway depot in 1899 than to party atop an old steam engine at the Nairobi Railway Museum? Come July 11, the museum’s yard of rail relics fills with the best local bands, live DJs and lovers tap-dancing to strobe lights on carriages in the rain. As the organisers say about their event: it’s off the rails. City Square

Picnic in Arboretum Park

Right beside State House is a museum of trees — established more than a century ago in a hurry to cultivate fast-growing exotic softwoods for fuel wood. But the joy of packing your own picnic in this 30-hectare park is less the greenery than the people-watching: grown women fall about giggling as they task themselves to outsize sack races; religious circles convulse in prayer; and lovers disappear hand-in-hand into the bamboo. For a classic Kenyan twist on what to pack in your hamper, don’t miss out on a Thermos of masala chai — hot milky tea with a ginger kick, samosas (a staple of Kenyan snacks; try the glamour option with feta, coriander and sweet chilli jam) and nyama choma (roast meat).

Photographs: Charlie Bibby; Alamy; Adam Pańczuk; David Degner; Getty; Toshiki Senoue; Thor Swift; Gamma Nine; Daniel Jones; Pete Muller; Barry McCall

Richard Milne


Richard Milne
© Charlie Bibby

Oslo is that rare capital city with both ski slopes and beaches. Norwegians are outdoors fanatics at any time of the year. But summer — with its 19 or so hours of sunshine and a sea warmed by the Gulf Stream to be surprisingly warm for northern Europe — is especially pleasant for visitors to Oslo.

Just bear in mind that summer in Norway tends to refer to July, which is almost a communal holiday in the country with everyone from factory workers to politicians taking pretty much the whole month off. August, by contrast, is sometimes known as the unofficial start of autumn — particularly if the rain comes.

Like many European cities, Oslo has rediscovered its waterfront in recent years and it is not unusual to find tourists diving off the opera house into the sea on a sweltering day. If you are lucky you might meet an ice cream boat sailing around the Oslofjord selling cornettos and ice lollies to beachgoers.But there is plenty to do away from the sea too with hundreds of kilometres of trails in the beautiful forests to Oslo’s north and east.

Eat shrimps by the sea

Stratos, Oslo

Buy fresh shrimps (reckon on about half a kilo of “reker” per person) from a fishing boat at Aker Brygge and a loaf of bread and then head out to one of the dozen or so islands in Oslofjord to eat them. Hovedøya has a ruined monastery, Gressholmen wild rabbits, and Langøyene good beaches and grass for ball games. Oscarsborg Fortress in Drøbak is perfect for a longer cruise.

Al fresco drinking

Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin
Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin

Youngstorget in central Oslo is known for housing the headquarters of the centre-left movement with both the Labour party and LO trade union there. But it also has plenty of trendy bars, including the rooftop of Stratos (which brands itself “the roof of Oslo”) and Internasjonalen.


Oslo’s latest hip waterfront district, Tjuvholmen has a little of everything from culture (contemporary art in the Astrup Fearnley museum), swimming in the sea, and plenty of food and drink options such as Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin and the rooftop bar at The Thief, the exclusive but expensive hotel.

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