Bon Voyage!

Hi! I’m Arabella, a former travel editor whose bonafides include being Digital Director of AFAR and Editor in Chief of Fodor’s. I used to write Rough Guides for a living, too.

Friends, family, and associates of all kinds often ask me for travel recommendations. Every time I get a request, I put together a customized cheatsheet by email. This “Black Book” is my attempt to put all those recommendations in one place and update & add to them whenever new places cross my radar. A few things to note:

Most of the included cities are places I visit often.

These picks aren’t intended to be comprehensive—that’s what guidebooks are for.

I only recommend experiences that I feel are tried-and-true. I also make a point of going to local restaurants and bars more than once to ensure they’re consistently good.

These picks aren’t regularly checked for their open or closed status. (I’ll trust you to do that!)

In a departure for a travel editor, I’m also trying not to worry about my actual prose. It’s the recommendations that count, not the words that accompany them.

Check back regularly as I’ll be adding new destinations over time.

Finally, should you discover something that’s not here but you think it should be, I’d love to hear about it. Please also feel free to drop me a note to tell me if something has closed for good or you think it’s gone downhill. You’ll find me at

Happy travels, wherever you go!

PS — If you find this Black Book useful, you can support this project by buying me a beer.