Best Restaurants in the World
Jo Keohane brings you a whistle stop tour of the very best restaurants in the world right now…
Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
You’d have to have been foraging on Mars for the last few months not to have heard of this Danish upstart, which has knocked Spain’s legendary El Bulli off the number one restaurant in the world spot. Chef-owner René Redzepi’s aims are to showcase the very best of Nordic food – and foraging is the way they do it. Never have twigs, buds and shoots been made to taste so good. His team of chefs are also experts at preserving, pickling and salting and it’s they – not waiters – that bring your food. I could recommend a dish but everything is so seasonal and local it will have been replaced by something equally amazing by the time you get there.
Strandgade 93, 1401 Copenhagen, Denmark
Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York City, USA
Anything that makes David Chang’s amazing food empire more affordable has to be a good thing. Described as Asian-American fusion, this simple noodle bar takes ramen to a whole new level – with belt busting pork-based broths and a poached egg per dish providing extra richness. The ‘must have’ from the menu is the pork belly steamed buns with hoisin, spring onion and cucumber.
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
“Capturing local ingredients at the peak of their seasonality”
Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
Massimo Bottura is one of the most famous chefs in Italy – no mean feat – and is part of a new breed keen to shake up the classics. With amazing local ingredients (this region is, after all, home of prosciutto di Parma, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar, to name but a few) he uses bang up-to-date techniques to create a new twist on traditional dishes. Anyone for deconstructed seaweed tortellini?
Via Stella, 2241121 Modena, Italy
Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
It seems Tokyo is having a culinary moment. The latest Michelin Guide has given its highly sought after three star rating to no less than eleven restaurants in the city – while Paris only got ten. This eatery is actually billed as contemporary French – only with an adherence to the very Japanese philosophy of ‘shun’ – capturing local ingredients at the peak of their seasonality. Smash the piggy bank for the ten course tasting menu, which changes monthly. Highlights include baby sweet fish with sugar coated cherry blossom petals.
Minami Aoyama 2-6-15 Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
Not necessarily the first destination that springs to mind when you think of fine dining – but Mexico City is becoming a culinary heavyweight in its own right. Food at this hip restaurant is offered under two menu headings – creative and traditional. You might find yourself eating foie gras cotton candy or rib eye steak with pigs’ ears depending on your preference. Dress like a Mexican high roller and you’ll fit right in. Just don’t ask for nachos.
Presidente Masaryk 407 Metro Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City.
“Mixes the very best of east and west”
The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
Not content with supplying the nation’s Christmas pudding, Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant still more than holds its own against the toughest competition worldwide. Those that can afford it say the £150 tasting menu is well worth it for an amazing eighteen dishes – with flavour combinations ranging from wafer thin carrot and orange lollipop to sardine on toast sorbet. If the bill would make you choke on your snail porridge, remember there’s always the Hind’s Head next door. This pub, also owned by Heston, allows you to sample his genius cooking with a more traditional menu – and price tag.
High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AQ
Quay, Sydney, Australia
Quay is often described as Australia’s best restaurant and their dishes look as beautiful as the food tastes. Executive Chef and uber-greenfingered Peter Gilmore is all about the produce and he even has a test garden on site. With a supporting organic farm in the blue mountains they create their dishes ‘from the soil up’. Expect to spot native violets, white broad beans and blossoms of carrot on the menu.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney 2000
The term fusion is overused – but really does describe the free style of cooking at this restaurant, which mixes the very best of east and west. To make it onto the menu food has to be best in class so expect lamb from Wales, beef from Japan and just about everything in between. Signature dishes include ocean trout wrapped in black rice and tarragon oil and wagyu beef cheek. Locals eat at the bar to get a first hand view of the chefs at work.
The Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Road, Level 3, Singapore 238883.
“A magical ‘self-saucing’ white chocolate pudding”
D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chef Alex Atala was a DJ in a previous incarnation. He is now just as well known as Brazil’s biggest culinary star. With the Amazon on his doorstep he blends his classical training with obscure new ingredients. Some of which have to first be tested to see if they are safe to eat (never on guests though, we’re assured!). Expect to see local ingredients like manioc root and cambuca fruit take centre stage. They’ll sit alongside more traditional food like homemade gnocchi and oxtail.
Rua Barão de Capanema 549, Jardins, São Paulo
Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa.
Who’d have thought this little town tucked away in South Africa’s wine country, would be home to some of the world’s best restaurants? And the good news is Le Quartier offers a laid-back bistro (aptly titled ‘The Common Room’) as well as a more pricey tasting room. Firstly, don’t eat all day. Then try the local favourite – goats cheese soufflé. Another speciality is the whole chicken, baked in a wood-burning pizza oven. Not forgetting dessert – the magical ‘self-saucing’ white chocolate pudding. Enough said.
16 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, 7690
And some a bit closer to home worth a look…
Locals followed this restaurant in droves when it moved from Ludlow to London in 2007. Critics and diners agree it serves amongst the very best food in the capital.
29 Maddox St, London, W1S 2PA
Zettar Bistro Bruno Loubet at the Zetter Hotel, London
This innovative bistro has found many loyal followers. Tucked away inside the hip Zettar Hotel it fuses classical fare with Asian and North African spice.
St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RJ
Terre A Terre, Brighton
The south coast’s vegetarian favourite just goes from strength to strength. It features such unusual cooking they’ve practically had to invent a new language just for the menu.
71 East Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1HQ
Just down the road, this restaurant serves up nationally acclaimed cooking at local prices. It now also offers rooms in an adjoining boutique hotel if you want to make a weekend of it.
Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham, NG1 6GN