Restaurants: Bites - Making your mind up

Austria to Israel: Caroline Stacey awards the (culinary) points from the British jury
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Europe as defined by the Eurovision Song Contest does not incorporate all the culinary high spots of the Continent. Italy, for example, is not taking part. We defy you, meanwhile, to find somewhere to eat Lithuanian, Slovenian, Icelandic, Maltese or Estonian food in the UK. Here's a line- up of more unlikely competitors for the restaurant top spot.

Austria The Berghof Brandstatter, Cross Stones Road, Todmorden, West Yorkshire (01706 812966). Mon-Sat dinner, Fri-Sun lunch. All furniture, fixtures and fittings come from Austria, there's gingham everywhere, the waitresses wear dirndls - you get the picture. Richly sauced food ranges from beef soup with liver dumpling to seven sorts of schnitzels. A thigh- slapping night out and girth-expandingly filling for around pounds 10 a head without drink.

Cyprus Vrisaki, 73 Myddleton Road, London N22 (0181-889 8760). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner. Of north London's many Greek-Cypriot restaurants, this has particularly high standing among the community. Behind an unassuming exterior is a large restaurant that gets packed out with regulars. The meze's the thing, starting with cold dips, salads and nibbles, then seafood dishes including calamari, cooked with a light touch, and finally meat such as souvlaki - all of which should cost you around pounds 15 a head.

Denmark Lundum's, 119 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 (0171-373 7774). Mon-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun brunch. An attractive newcomer which claims to be the only Danish restaurant in London. Lunch consists of open sandwiches and light dishes, or three courses for pounds 15.50; dinner is pounds 19.50, or a la carte for pounds 25, without drink. No Danepak, but Danish organic pork - a fillet with leek terrine and spicy sauce, or meatballs with potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. Fish gets up-to-date twists, too, such as cod carpaccio. On Sundays there's a buffet for pounds 14.50.

Israel Solly's, 148A Golders Green Road, London NW11 (0181-455 0004). Mon-Thur, Sun lunch and dinner, Fri lunch, Sat dinner. Food and decor is Middle Eastern, the staff are Israeli, and everything's kosher, including French and Israeli wines. The first-floor restaurant, Solly's Exclusive - above the take-away counter and snacking tables - serves great hummus and falafel, shish kebabs and shawarma, with halva to round things off sweetly. Around pounds 15 a head without drinks.

Poland Wdka, 12 St Alban's Grove, London W8 (0171-937 6513). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat, Sun dinner. A long-established but revived, modish restaurant. Besides pierogi (dumplings) filled with wild mushrooms, potato and bacon, there's herring salad; smoked eel; kulebiak; wild rabbit with peas, peppers and celeriac; and venison with red cabbage and plum compote. A brilliant selection of vodkas gives it an edge, while the interior has an appealing, slightly undecorated appearance. Lunch is pounds 10.50 for two courses, pounds 13.50 for three; pounds 22 or so for three courses a la carte.

Portugal A Cozinha, 33 St Stephen's Street, Bristol (0117 922 5505). Tue-Fri lunch, Thur-Sat dinner. This is run by a husband and wife who aren't Portuguese but who fell in love with the simple, fresh cuisine and incite their customers to do likewise in their front-room restaurant. When the lid comes off the cataplana (copper pan), setting free a stew of pork, fish and shellfish, peppers and green beans and fresh coriander, it is hard to resist. There is also caldo verde soup; lamb casserole with olives and vegetables; pork with paprika and pickled vegetables. Portuguese wines and puds maintain the illusion. Around pounds 20 a head without drinks.

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