Love food? Love film? Dr. Foodle’s been scouring Europe for the restaurants and cafés featured in some of his favourite movies…
Film: Amélie (2001), dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Location: Café des Deux Moulins
Where you’ll find it: 15, Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
As the place where central character, Amélie (Audrey Tatou), works, we see the Café des Deux Moulins on numerous occasions throughout this enchanting film. This is where the painfully shy Amélie beings to realise she has a gift for bringing happiness into other people’s lives. And it’s at the café where she rewards herself for her good deeds with her favourite desert, Crème Brulee, which she delights in being able to crack open with the back of a spoon.
Film: Bitter Moon (1992), dir. Roman Polanski
Venue: The Frog and Rosbif
Where you’ll find it: 116, Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris
In this film about two couples experiencing marital problems, whose lives (and bodies!) become entwined, we find one of the central characters, Nigel, gazing out of the window of a Thai restaurant as he thinks about making love to other women. The Thai restaurant is no longer there, but you can still gaze through that same window – though perhaps with some rather more pure thoughts than Nigel’s!
Film: Midnight in Paris (2011), dir. Woody Allen
Venue: The Polidor
Where you’ll find it: 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris
As was the case in real-life 19th century Paris, The Polidor is the place where all the city’s great minds meet, in this film about how we can each create our own “belle epoche.” The protagonist, Hollywood scriptwriter Gil (Owen Wilson), visits the city with his complaining fiancé and her unbearable parents, but slips into a typically Allen-esque dreamworld, where he makes acquaintance with fellow artists and literary figures such as James Joyce, Antonin Artaud, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, and Ernest Hemingway, with whom he shares drinks at The Polidor.
Film: Eat, Pray, Love
Venue: Santa Lucia Ristorante
Where you’ll find it: Largo di Febo 12, 00186, Roma, Lazio, 00186 Rome
The first of three countries where the main character, Elizabeth (Julia Roberts), lives during her belated “year out” (following a messy divorce from her husband of ten years), Italy provides countless mouth-watering food scenes in this romantic comedy. Perhaps the most memorable of all is the huge dinner Elizabeth shares with friends at the Santa Lucia Ristorante – and if the online reviews are anything to go by, the food there is as good in real life as it appears on the screen!
Film: To Rome with Love (2012), dir. Woody Allen
Venue: Caffè della Pace
Where you’ll find it: Via della Pace 3-7, 00186 Rome
The Caffè della Pace provides the setting for a meal enjoyed by one of the four characters whose stories are told as separate vignettes in this romantic comedy. John Foy (Alec Baldwin), along with his wife and friends, is seen sitting outside the café, which is close to Piazza Navona and has long been a popular meeting place for artists and opinion formers.
Film: Don’t Look Now (1973), dir. Nicolas Roeg
Venue: Ristorante Roma
Where you’ll find it: Cannaregio 122, 30121 Venice
In this haunting and surreal tale of loss and memory, based around the experiences of a bereaved couple, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie), we find a most beautiful location for one the film’s scenes – although the area where we see them eating (and talking to a strange pair of sisters, one of whom claims to be psychic) is, in fact, now used as storage space for the restaurant.
Film: The Crying Game (1992), dir. Neil Jordan
Venue: Clifton Restaurant
Where you’ll find it: City Spice, 138 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU
Set amongst the vast array of eateries found on London’s famous Brick Lane is City Spice – once the Clifton Restaurant, which featured in this psychological thriller about the IRA. In the film, Irish terrorist Jude (Miranda Richardson) spies on fellow IRA member, Fergus (Stephen Rea), who’s fallen in love with the girlfriend of a man the IRA is holding prisoner – and it’s this restaurant she does it from.
Film: The Dark Knight (2008), dir. Christopher Nolan
Venue: The Criterion Restaurant
Where you’ll find it: 224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HP
Whereas most film characters are seen eating at cafés and restaurants, here we see Bruce Wayne (Christopher Bale) – aka Batman – telling his fellow diners that he owns the restaurant in order to allay their fears about pushing two tables together. You don’t need to be a multi-billionaire like Bruce Wayne to dine at this exquisite, Neo-Byzantine-style restaurant in real life, but it might help!
Film: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1995), dir. Mike Newell
Venue: Café Rouge
Where you’ll find it: 34 Wellington St, Convent Garden, London, WC2E 7BD
Few people escaped seeing this hugely popular 90s romantic comedy and, aside from the funeral scene in which Auden’s poem Funeral Blues is read aloud, one of the most memorable parts of the movie is when Carrie (Andy McDowell) gives Charles (Hugh Grant) a full run-down of all her former lovers. The venue? The Convent Garden branch of Café Rouge.
Film: Sliding Doors (1998), dir. Peter Howitt
Venue: Fatboy’s Diner
Where you’ll find it: Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Pl, London, E14 0JY
This impressive 1950s-style diner was used as the setting for a friendly date in this film about the effect small moments in our day-to-day lives can have in the long-run, and how one simple thing can trigger a whole chain of events. In one “version” of her life, central character Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow) meets up with James (John Hannah) after splitting up with her boyfriend and orders herself a comforting milkshake – well, what’s a girl to do?!
Dr. Foodle would love to hear about any other European restaurants and cafés you’ve visited that are featured in movies – please leave your comments below!