Travel Secrets

Know Before You Go!



How Not to Eat in Florence, Italy

Posted By Travel Secrets Editor Shubhra Krishan

As someone who believes in stumbling upon great places, I decided to ditch the guide books/blogs/local advice, and plunged straight into Florence.

Big mistake.

Stepping out of the magnificent Santa Maria Novella Railway Station…


I wended my way through the crowded streets of the city…


asking for directions to  The Gallery Hotel Art


Along the way, hunger pangs hit. Hard. And since I was in Italy, the fragrance of herbs and the aroma of baked bread was everywhere. Honestly, I could hardly wait to drop my bags at the hotel and get back on the streets for a bite.


Strung along a pipe-thin lane, I spotted a string of eateries that promised big meals at incredible deals. Smiling restaurant staff stood outside their outlets, handing out colourful pamphlets that promised a free drink with pizza and seemingly endless menus.

Photo: Used here for representational purposes only


I succumbed.

And regretted it minutes later. The pizza was cold and leathery, with about 3 olives that tasted as if they had been glued atop the bread a month ago. Sure, it cost me “just 4 euros” for pizza and coke, but I would rather have spent a few bucks more to get a better bite.


I am sure the giant plastic chef standing outside the restaurant, holding that huge menu card, giggled a little when I walked in.

Moral of the story: do your research when you are going to Florence. Read helpful advice such as this. And this.

Bon Appetit!


Food Review: Kylin Sky Bar, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Reviewed By Apoorva Mohan

Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese, Thai

On The Menu: Assorted Vegetable Dim Sums, Assorted Chicken Lamb & Prawn Dim Sums, Tiger Prawn with Teriyaki & Egg Roll Yolk Sauce, Mushrooms Yakitori, Claypot Vegetables with Tofu & Rice.

The Experience: Perched on the third floor of Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj, Kylin Sky Bar has an exclusive approach. In accordance with the oriental theme of the restaurant, the interiors exude art and sophistication. With back lit walls and lovely dim lighting, the space makes for a warm and cozy setting.


My friend and I chose to take our place in the sought-after terrace area of Kylin Sky Bar to figure out what sets it apart from other terraces in the NCR.

We were escorted to a table adjacent to the beautiful gazebo that makes for an exclusive gathering space for a group of friends, family and coworkers. The courteous staff helped us decide a diverse menu for the evening so we could try an assortment of their delicacies.

While we waited for our starters of veg and non veg assorted Dim Sums to be served, the bar in-charge stirred up special drinks for us. The cocktails, a Cucumber Martini and a fruity Cosmopolitan were served with a twist of basil, which made them delectable without being too sweet.

We started our gastronomical trip with the delicately wrapped Dim Sums that were served at the perfect temperature. Veg Dim Sums were carefully steamed with a variety of corn, spinach and black mushroom fillings with ginger lending a subtle flavor to each.

Dimsums, Chicken and Coriander
Dimsums, Chicken and Coriander

The Kylin Siew Mai open Dim Sums are a surprise treat. The non veg Dim Sums were wrapped with stuffing of chicken, lamb and prawns. While the lamb and prawn stuffing was well cooked, the chicken was carefully kept slightly chewy, much to my friend’s liking. Priced at Rs. 575 for veg, Rs. 675 for chicken and Rs. 695 for prawns, the Dim Sums are value for taste and money.

Next we tried Tiger Prawn with Teriyaki & Egg Roll Yolk Sauce and Mushrooms Yakitori as recommended by the chef himself. The well grilled and seasoned prawns dominated the meal with a strong flavour of the Teriyaki sauce that makes it a must try for seafood lovers. The mushrooms on the other hand were grilled tender and juicy. At Rs. 695 for prawns and Rs. 345 for veg, the Yakitori range is a mouth watering delight that cannot be missed.

Bang Bang Style Angry Chicken
Bang Bang Style Angry Chicken

The main course ended with a serving each of a bowl meal of Bang Bang Angry Chicken and vegetables with tofu and rice that are cooked and served in a claypot. The chicken is tender and just as spicy as the menu describes it; definitely not for the faint-hearted. For Rs. 795 it is a fulfilling meal in itself. The vegetables and rice on the other hand are infused with oriental herbs and the subtle influence of the clay. Priced at Rs. 795, it is a gastronomical treat.

Kylin boasts of innovative tongue-tantalising desserts such as Fried Chocolate and Fried Ice Cream along with the traditional Chocolate Fondue that delightfully satiates the sweet tooth.

The Verdict: The soothing ambience, classic meets commercial mash ups, smiling and efficient staff and service make Kylin a worthwhile experience. Exuding warmth, it is an apt choice for a romantic meal or a family get together alike.

Address: T-302, 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi -70.

Phone: 098717 57744

Timings: 12:00 PM – 12:30 AM

Meal For Two : Rs. 3000 ++

3 Point Impression: Gracious, Relaxing, Indulgent

5 Restaurant Secrets you probably didn’t want to know

You may want to be a little careful on your next visit to a restaurant. Here are a few secrets spilled by veteran waiters to Readers Digest magazine, USA.

Soup of the Day

Waiters secrets, soup of the day

The ‘restaurant special’ or ‘soup of the day’ is often special only because they are trying to finish it off before it goes bad.


Lemon Slices

lemon slice, waiters secretThat slice of lemon in your drink—looks lovely, but isn’t clean. Everybody touches it, and nobody washes it. Cheers!


Same Stock

waiters secrets, vegetable stockIf you ask ‘Is this dish made from vegetable stock?,” many waiters will say ‘Yes,’ which is a lie. The truth is, you cannot tell the difference, so they don’t bother clarifying.


Waiter’s Choice

Waiter's secrets, favourite dishIf you ask your waiter ‘how’s this dish,’ and she says, ‘It’s one of our most popular,’ chances are she hates it, but isn’t supposed to tell you that. Ask her to recommend a good dish instead.


Kitchen = Loo

Waiter's Secrets, LooIf you’re worried about how clean the kitchen is, visit the restaurant’s loo. If that is dirty, you can be sure the kitchen is much worse.


Got a few secrets to spill? 
Write to us at

I’m going to Nicosia, Cyprus. Point me to some good eateries, please.

We can recommend three with confidence, since we ate there quite recently.


Erohia Lounge Bar & Buffet Restaurant, opposite Hilton Hotel: We arrived at around noon from Bahrain, hungry as horses. It took about an hour to reach the hotel, and soon after checking in, we walked down to the restaurant. The buffet was a wake-up call to the eyes and the taste buds. The salad greens and reds and yellows sang with freshness and colour. The corn was juicy, the lettuce crunchy, and the extra virgin olive oil, well, virginal in its purity. Being vegetarian, I was a bit unsure of finding enough options, but I need not have worried; there was plenty to choose from. Paired with delicious local wine, the meal was perfect. Do eat at Erohia if you’re in Nicosia.


Flocafe: Located in the city’s hippest and blingiest quarter–Ledra Street. Walking around here is sure to make you ravenous, and Flo Cafe is a great place to enjoy hot pizza with beer. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate of Cyprus, the weather is almost always perfect for sitting outside.

Ikea cafe

Ikea Cafe inside the Ikea Mall:  it’s quick, cheap and tasty fare; very welcome after you’ve burned up your energy and money roaming through the vast swathes of space inside Ikea. The brightly coloured eatery offers interestingly laid out spread, which you keep picking off the counter and onto your trolley until you reach the pay counter. We loved their potato and broccoli cutlet–a simple and good-looking snack that tasted great. And don’t miss the fantastically fresh orange juice: you’re in Cyprus, after all!



Q: Where can you find the best Kababs in Mumbai ?

Short answer:  Bade Miya in Colaba. The not-so-tiny road side stall that opens its kitchen every night to thousands of hungry Mumbaikars is no longer a secret, actually. But it is the best in Bombay, without doubt.  Open from 7 am to 1 am. Located on Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder, Behind Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai – 400039


But let’s not forget  the many other places that serve equally great kebabs and some that even offer greater variety. TS intern Sarita Santoshini takes you on a tasty tour.



Located in the bylanes of Fort in South Mumbai, this  small food joint has a loyal customer base for its Chicken Sheikh Kebabs and the Reshmi Chicken Kebabs that are also offered as rolls. The kebabs here are extremely affordable: a hearty meal for two will cost you around Rs.300.

Where: 43, Dr VB Gandhi Marg, Fort, Mumbai



Mega popular stall located in Byculla. 90 years and still going strong. No sign board; just ask around and follow your nose. . The signature Sheek Kebabs, both chicken and beef, have been nominated as hot favorites by many foodies, chefs and websites. Head there early in the evening and shell out Rs. 200 for a tummy-full of these bestseller kababs.

Where: 184/196, Dimtimkar Road, Opposite Nagpada Police Station, Byculla, Mumbai

Read more :



Located in a neighborhood packed with restaurants and clubs, Ayaz dishes up  Chicken Reshmi Kebabs that beat competition hollow. A plate will cost you Rs.90. For the same price, you can also try the Mutton Seekh Kebabs.

Where: 16th Road, Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai

Delhi Zaika


Known for drawing a large crowd until 3 am during Ramzan, the small restaurant serves a delicious Tandoori version of its Tangdi Kebab. You could also try the Chicken Reshmi Seekh Kebab, two pieces of which cost you a mere Rs.50.

Where: 4, Pakmodia Street, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Near J J Hospital, Sandhurst Road, Mumbai

Izzy’s Kebab Kona

This food cart will go onto your list of best food discoveries once you have eaten there. Served with cream cheese, caramelised onions and green chutney, both the chicken and mutton kebabs are a complete steal. You could order a platter for two for Rs.300.

Where: Outside Wallace Apartments, Slater Road, Tardeo, Mumbai

Pali Bhavan


The restaurant opened a few months ago and is already famous among locals for its delicious and filling Gilauti Chicken and Lamb Seekh Kebab. A meal for two would cost you around Rs.1000.

Where: 10 Adarsh Nagar, Next to Costa Coffee, Pali Naka, Bandra West, Mumbai



Known for hosting the likes of Richard Gere and Paul McCartney, Khyber will spoil you for choice of Kababs. If you are confused, we suggest you simply go ahead and order the Kabab Platter for two that is available in vegetarian, chicken and mutton as well as sea food varieties.

Also recommended: a plate of Tangdi Kebab (Rs. 400) or Mutton Boti Kebab (Rs. 500).

Where: 145, MG Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai


Kebab platter at Peshawari Image:
Kebab platter at Peshawri Image:

A little heavy on the pocket, but the perfectly marinated and grilled Peshawri Kabab and  Murgh Malai Kabab here are worth every penny. A lavish meal of kababs will cost you Rs. 2000 at this restaurant.

Where: ITC Maratha, Sahar Road, Andheri East, Mumbai

Kakori’s Kebab house


With outlets in Mahim, Sakinaka, Oshiwara and Bandra West, the restaurant is well known in the city and beyond for its Kakori Kabab, Mutton Galawati Kabab and Murgh Kastoori Kabab. All three plates can be savored for Rs.750.

Where: 3, Sag Baug, Near Times Square, Andheri Kurla Road, Sakinaka, Andheri East, Mumbai

Happy eating!

You could visit for a better look at the menu and reviews.

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