Travelling the world and exploring new places is particularly memorable if you can make a special connection with your destination. One way to create such a unique bond is certainly by trying the local cuisine of each country and finding a personal favourite dish – we all know that the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, and that applies to both the next Tinder date and the next travel destination. If you now manage to combine this concept with some well-preserved memories and nostalgia, the mix will be perfect. We’ve put together a list of our top 7 favourite cafes and restaurants from film and TV that you can visit for a trip down memory lane.
MacLaren’s – How I Met Your Mother (New York)
MacLaren’s Pub is the soul of the hit TV series How I Met Your Mother, first broadcast in 2005. Although MacLaren’s does not really exist 1:1, it is heavily based on McGee’s Pub in New York, whose red-padded booths quickly became the iconic centrepiece of the series.
If you drop by on Tuesdays, you will have the opportunity to test your How I Met Your Mother knowledge in a trivia battle while enjoying a ‘Slutty Pumpkin’ or ‘Pineapple Incident’.
New York Bar – Lost in Translation (Tokyo)
New York Bar located on Park Hyatt Hotel’s 52nd floor features elegant floral arrangements, deluxe dining and drinks and a breathtaking view of Tokyo. The classic atmosphere of the bar with its mix of cocktails, jazz and Japanese whisky will transport you with ease and elegance to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film Lost in Translation.
The question of whether the bar is just as stunning as in the film can be answered with a resounding “yes”. You surely won’t have any trouble channelling your inner cocktail-sipping Scarlet Johansson.
Central Perk – Friends (Beijing)
At this point, you are probably wondering how Friends and Beijing fit together. Well, although one of the most popular television series of all time, broadcast from 1994-2004, is set in New York and was mainly shot in studios in California, a serious obsession with the show led a Beijing man to create an exact replica of the legendary Central Perk cafe in China’s capital. The interior of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross’ favourite hangout matches the original from the brick wall down to the ever-present orange couch.
The menu features dishes and drinks from the show, and screens show Friends episodes with Chinese subtitles. Friends lovers get ready for a generous helping of nostalgia paired with the accurate madness of this establishment. (Speaking of obsessive, if the cafe doesn’t do it for you, the owner has also built an exact replica of Joey’s apartment next door…)
Double R Diner – Twin Peaks (Washington)
Outside the show, Twin Peaks RR Diner was known as Mar T Café and served American classics at North Bend, Washington. After a devastating fire in 2000 that was the result of arson, the cafe reopened, still retaining the same exterior that is featured in Mark Frost and David Lynch’s 90s hit series.
Although the interior has changed completely and won’t remind you much of the noir Americana backdrop it represented in Twin Peaks, you can still order the iconic ‘Twin Peaks Cherry Pie’, one of the show’s mysterious motifs. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, today’s Twede’s Cafe will surely serve you ‘a damn fine cup o’ ‘coffee’.
Café des deux Moulins – Amélie (Paris)
Café des deux Moulins (‘Two Windmills’) is a typical French cafe in the heart of Paris, located in the Montmartre area. Its appearance in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie, whose protagonist works at the cafe as a waitress, has led to increasing popularity among tourists who don’t mind paying a little extra for their coffee in exchange for a taste of ‘real’ Parisian charm.
Nevertheless, the small-town atmosphere seems authentic in Montmartre, and who are we to claim that the quintessence of Paris is not, indeed, hiding somewhere here?
Los Pollos Hermanos – Breaking Bad (New Mexico)
Los Pollos Hermanos is Breaking Bad’s favourite fast food restaurant specialising in fried chicken, money laundering and illegal activities. The building in which the Los Pollos Hermanos scenes where shot for the show is actually a branch of Twisters, a fast food chain in Albuquerque New Mexico. In January 2018, while the fifth season of Breaking Bad was on air, the original Albuquerque location was once again transformed into Los Pollos Hermanos and was serving customers for a limited time.
Today Los Pollos Hermanos can be visited as Twisters with 15 branches in New Mexico and two in Colorado. It serves delicious green chili cheeseburgers and burritos and is definitely not used to cover a crystal meth empire.
Cole’s Restaurant – Forrest Gump (Los Angeles)
Cole’s Restaurant opened its doors in Los Angeles for the first time in 1908, making it the city’s oldest operating restaurant. Robert Zemeckis’ film success of 1994 pictures Forrest Gump and wheelchair-bound Lieutenant Dan welcoming the year 1972 rather raucously behind these very doors. Even if you won’t be able to join in on their fun anymore, it won’t be unlikely for you to run into your favourite celebrities here, as many actors come to Cole’s for a snack or dinner after shooting.
In the almost impossible event that the thought of Forrest does not instantly take you back to your personal 90s but you still can’t seem to shake off the déjà vu feeling, this might be the case because Cole’s is a popular filming location that has previously been used for LA Confidential, Se7en and Face/Off.