This summer has been rich with travel for us at Notable.ca, and not necessarily to your typical young professional (YP) summer locations of choice. We’ve seen one of the world’s best wine regions, savouring Apothic along the way, a pearl in the Middle East, and two diamonds in the rough at the heart of Europe, wining and dining our way through the rich culture each destination offers. Here are some of our favourite places to discover and where to go when you’re there:
Discover Pismo Beach, California:
When you think California, you think the usual suspects: Hollywood, Los Angeles or San Francisco. We recommend hitting up the classic beach town of Pismo Beach for a scenic and quintessential California experience, especially for the wine lover. Located on the stunning central coast, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along Pacific Coast Highway and 101 highways, Pismo Beach is a must on your list for your next California trip. Think long white beaches, spectacular sunsets and fabulous wineries.
Edna Valley Vineyard, San Luis Obispo, CA
A trip to California isn’t complete without a winery visit. The Edna Valley Vineyard is known as one of the Central Coast’s top wineries. A short (and scenic) drive from Pismo Beach, Edna Valley Vineyard is nestled along California’s Central Coast, in San Luis Obispo County, and boasts the state’s longest growing season. The wines, namely the flagship varietal Chardonnay, are uniquely complex and truly offer the best of California’s Central Coast. The winery also features a variety of reds, most notably their pinot noir. Highlights include a wine tasting room with a breathtaking view of the rolling hills, welcoming and friendly staff, reasonably priced tasting options and well-deserved tranquility.
Lido Restaurant is a must for the YP with a refined sense of taste and a love for wine. Overlooking the ocean, this perfect date venue offers a romantic vibe and food to savour. They also do a great brunch; the crab Benedict is a favourite. Added perks for wine lovers include the Chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings and no corkage fee.
If you’re in town for the wine, you must hit Vino Versato wine bar, featuring boutique hand-poured tastings of exclusive wines and a hip, bustling vibe. The private patio along Price Street on Pismo’s “Restaurant Row” makes it the perfect place to people watch over a late afternoon glass of pinot. Come for their Five at Five Happy Hour special, where you can get a $5 glass of premium wine from 5 – 6:30pm.
Discover: Berlin, Germany
Ah, Berlin… the hidden gem of Europe. First, the most important advice: stay at least five nights and definitely a weekend. The German capital’s five most central hoods – Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Neukoelln, Prenzlauer Berg – command at least 24 hours to fully experience, each with their own kiez areas (social districts, let’s call them) brimming with bars, restaurants, clubs, cafes and street-level social life. While the city’s world-leading nightlife scene is reserved more for the younger set, ever-growing international interest in the once-divided city has attracted some refinement to balance its gritty 24-hour party cycle. Some spots to keep on your itinerary…
A lack of world-class Japanese cuisine has often been the ire of Berlin residents… we’re guessing that was about half a decade ago. Prenzlauer Berg’s Sasaya sushi restaurant offers a long list of rolls, sashimi plates (chef’s choice) and hot dishes along with a rotating menu of specials in a narrow, vibrant space with full view of the action behind the counter. We recommend reserving a spot on the floor for a more intimate, authentic eating experience.
Side tip: Take a short walk after dinner to grab a White Russian at Mangelwirtschaft (best we’ve ever had) and then peruse the social scene on Oderbergerstrasse/Kastanienallee.
Lux 11 Hotel
Lux 11 was a former Stasi building (how’s that for history?) refurbished in 2005, right around the time the city began major refurbishment itself, and offers a very noteworthy Italian restaurant (Luchs), playfully modern accommodations, close proximity to one of the city’s main shopping districts and walking distance to Alexanderplatz (Berlin’s central transport hub). It’s also right around the corner from the Soho House, which, if you’re not actually spending the night there, is always a great option for post-dinner drinks before hitting the town.
It might be a bit of a challenge to find, but there’s a reason for that: in a city that attracts travellers converging every weekend to party for 72 hours straight, it’s nice to find a place to feels a bit “exclusive.” You won’t see a sign, bell or light; you’ll know you’re at the right place when a strict doorman goes through his routine to try to weed out those that don’t quite fit the mould – don’t let it be you. Confidence is key. It’s one of Berlin’s renowned see and be seen venues, with killer cocktails, bottles popping and an interior that demands your gaze.
Discover: Warsaw, Poland
Though it may not be easy to fall in love with the Polish capital at first sight, Warsaw houses some of the best cafes, galleries, architecture and night life in Europe. Some of our favourites?
Bistro Charlotte is a French-style Cafe that serves breakfast all day from 7am until late and is always buzzing no matter the time of day. You can sit outside and enjoy a glass of French wine or eat one of their delicious meals while looking at piece of history, the Saviour Square. Great for people watching.
U Kucharzy is a unique restaurant located in the heart of Warsaw. The entrance of the restaurant is through the staff door and you are taken to your table through the kitchen (how notable!). The cooks prepare your meals in front of you, and you must try their take on Polish food. It’s not cheap, but a major – if not the biggest – staple in Warsaw’s culinary scene.
A place with a vibe like no other, Sketch night is full of Warsaw’s “coolest kids.” The interior is chic, with a combination of white, black, grey and gold that stands out against their master lighting system. With plenty of room to play, the space features two bars and a large covered terrace that functions as an integral part of the club. Sketch is also a leader in cocktails, and features the best DJs in Poland.
Discover: Tel Aviv, Israel
Amidst a region constantly under international scrutiny, the second largest city (in terms of population) of Israel is known as “the city that never sleeps” – and it’s completely true. This is a must-discover city. Do it before the rest of the world catches on to just how notable this city is. Residents of Tel Aviv, known as Tel Avivim, are well travelled, educated, mostly bilingual, and exceptionally attractive. Seriously attractive. Tel Aviv is all about wining and dining at hard-to-find, off the beaten path cafes, as well as sexy, beat-pumping mega clubs and beachfront lounges. You can’t go wrong.
You’d walk right by this new hot spot if you didn’t know where it was located on Allenby. The indoor/outdoor space features amazing wine, cocktails, and tapas. An added bonus? You must be 25+ to enter.
Herbert Samuel is arguably the nicest and classiest restaurant in Tel Aviv. Located beachfront, it will be remembered for its exquisite wine selection and cuisine from award-winning chefs from all over the world.
If you like a massive open-air club that is on the beach, this is your place. It couldn’t be any closer to the water and features beat-thumping music, with international DJs constantly flown in. You’ll meet and discover people from all over the world; this is the one of the “go-tos” for everyone travelling in Tel Aviv. Though we’re kind of “over” the pretentious set that you’ll inevitably find here, you just can’t beat it location-wise.