Best Specialist Restaurants – Great Dishes Around the World
10 great dishes from around the world – and where to track them down…
We’ve all got a favourite – whether it’s that off-the-beaten-track country pub serving secret gastro-excellence, the deli with the killer fillings or the local chippy that gets that fish batter just right. But what about the real, world-class food standard bearers? On: Yorkshire Magazine’s food writer Jo Keohane presents a whistle-stop tour of the globe’s best-of-the-best specialist restaurants…
You wouldn’t expect to find a great burger hidden away behind a curtain in the lobby of a hotel, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Le Parker Meridien in New York. The Burger Joint is a well-kept secret among the locals, so much so that they don’t actually want you to know about it. Simplicity is the key here, only hamburgers or cheeseburgers are served, cooked to your liking with a choice of only lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles – no ostrich burgers with beetroot in this joint!
The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, 118 West 57th Street, NY
Naples is the spiritual home of the pizza and if you want to be super-authentic then the margarita is the only one to have. In fact the EU has given the margarita a DOC which means an authentic one must be a certain shape and size and be made up of mozzarella from the southern Apennines, local tomatoes and basil. A meat-feast it ain’t. One of the best pizzas is made by local hero Pasquale Sivo at the award-winning La Sorrentina Pizzeria. Just don’t ask for chicken tikka.
La Sorrentina, 37 Via Domenico Pirozzi, Naples
“Wood-oven-roasted Bresse, served with rich, hot gravy”
Best Roast Chicken
Poulet de Bresse is a speciality breed of chicken with a stronger, gamier flavour than regular birds. The French prize the breed highly and one of the specialities at Chez L’Ami Louis in Paris is the wood-oven-roasted Bresse, served with rich, hot gravy. Regulars recommend ordering the Potato Gallete to go with it – a golden crispy potato cake which is cooked in goose fat then garnished with chopped garlic and parsley.
Chez L’Ami Louis 32, rue Vertbois, Paris
Best Fish & Chips
Finally a point to the UK! Not really surprising as we seem to be alone in the world in our love for the battered fish and chips combo. Scotland has this one sewn up as The Atlantic Fast Food won 2009/10 Fish and Chip Shop of the Year competition making it three in a row for Scottish chippies. Owner Giovanni Fionda says haddock and chips is the most popular order.
Atlantic Fast Food, 155 Calder Street, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
“The crab is served whole at the table”
Best Steak Frites
Where better to go than a restaurant that serves nothing else? This Paris institution has since opened branches in London, New York and Barcelona but the menu remains resolutely the same. A simple salad to start, steak served with a top-secret herby sauce and crisp skinny French fries, and a couple of desserts. They even have a rule for the perfect width of each hand cut frite. All branches are regularly rammed so book ahead or be prepared to queue
Relais de venais, 271 Boulevard Pereire, Porte-Maillot, Paris
Best Chilli Crab
There’s only one place to eat chilli crab: Singapore – in fact they’ve based a whole tourism campaign around it. And it really is worth traveling to get your hands on a platter. Whole crabs are cooked in a thick, sweet and slightly spicy red sauce. The crab is served whole at the table to be cracked and picked open either by you or, usually, the waiter will do it for you. Either way, say yes to the bib they offer! Head to the East Coast Lagoon Food Village which has plenty of hawker stalls and restaurants to choose from.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, Singapore
“Ribs are slowly pit-cooked and smoked”
Best BBQ Ribs
Southern USA is prime BBQ country with different states adopting different styles for their ribs. Dry and wet ribs, smoking and huge varieties in BBQ sauces means there is no one definitive rib. But one of the best is served at Luling City Market in Texas where the ribs are slowly pit-cooked and smoked until falling off the bone then served with their famous sticky finger-licking sauce.
Luling City Market 4726 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77027
Best Crispy Duck
Also known as Peking duck this specialty originates from Beijing, and that’s where you’ll have to go to get the best. Established heavyweights Quanjude and Bianyifang have been fighting it out for decades but the smart money seems to be on Da Dong, the restaurant Heston Blumenthal visited when perfecting his own crispy duck recipe.
Da Dong Building 3 Tuanjiehu Beikou, Dongsanhuan Lu, Beijing
“Order the Woody Allen, a pastrami and corned beef on rye”
Best Deli Sandwich
Katz’s Deli in New York often gets the plaudits. Especially after starring in THAT scene with Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. But, across town, the Carnegie Deli is the place people go to for double-doorstep size sandwich. They come with just under half a kilo of slice deli meats. Order the Woody Allen, a pastrami and corned beef on rye, and remember, sharing is encouraged.
854 7th Avenue at 55th Street, New York, New York, 10019
Best Steak and Kidney Pudding
It’s good to know there’s somewhere you can go and eat Heston Blumenthal’s grub without having to take out a second mortgage on your house. His restaurant, The Fat Duck regularly tops best-in-the-world lists but he also owns the pub over the road, The Hinds Head which serves classic British dishes without a whiff of the usual molecular gastronomy he’s famous for. His update of the steak and kidney pud, using slowly braised oxtail, is a beast of a dish. It has never been off the menu since day one – the fans simply wouldn’t allow it.
Hinds Head, High St, Bray, SL6 2AB