Il piacere del classico: i cento migliori ristoranti del mondo. Primo Bras, i Santini al sesto posto!
Una classifica particolare, quella dei grandi classici fedeli a se stessi da almeno 25 anni. E’ l’idea OAD (Opinionated About Dining ) di Steve Plotnicki rilanciata con la consueta pronta attenzione da Eleonora Cozzella. Noi ve la offriamo come lettura perché ci piace e vi diciamo che notiamo l’assenza di almeno due campani: il Don Alfonso e l’Oasis di Vallesaccarda. Ma che ci fa tanto piacere vedere gli altri, in particolare Romano e Tassa.
Michel Bras Toya, located in the Windsor Hotel Toya, has become a must-visit restaurant for those who want to sample the finest French cuisine in Toya, Hokkaido. Simone Cantafion, the chef and director of the restaurant, continues to showcase the heart and soul of Michel Bras’ cuisine in each dish, complemented with local Japanese seafood and produce. Patrons often find themselves completely seduced by the breathtaking view of Lake Toya, the flawless and attentive service and, most importantly, the stunning food, presented with the attention that might be devoted to a piece of fine art, with flavors to match.Windsor Hotel Toya, Shimizu, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido Toya, Japan +81 01 42 73 111 www.windsor-hotels.co.jp
As much of a culinary shrine as a fine-dining destination, this restaurant has been operated by the Troisgros family since 1957. Michel Troisgros practices a style of cooking known as cuisine acidulée. But regardless of whether you are pursuing one of his creations, or one of the house classic dishes that date from his father’s reign as chef, or a bottle from one of the best and most fairly priced wine lists around, it is well worth making a special trip to this hotel/restaurant an hour east of Lyon.
place de la Gare Roanne, France +33 4 77 67 72 72 www.troisgros.fr
Local fish that has arrived in port that morning and vegetables that have been bathing in the Provençal sunshine until they are ready to be picked are just two of the reasons to visit Alain Ducasse’s opulent dining room in Monte Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris. The amazing bread and cheese carts, and a wine list that is packed with more cherries than a tart, are a few others.Place du Casino Monte-Carlo, Monaco +33 377 98 06 88 64 www.alain-ducasse.com
4 Régis et Jacques Marcon
People say the best time to visit this modern hotel/restaurant located just north of the Ardèche is at the height of the mushroom season, when you can enjoy the all-mushroom tasting menu that Regis Marcon and his son Jacques offer their guests in all its glory like a mushroom tea flavored with tansy flowers served with ravioli stuffed with Burgundy truffle.The wine list is likewise glorious and features cherries from producers like Raveneau and Dujac.
Larsiallas St. St. Bonnet-le-Froid, France + 33 4 71 59 93 72 www.regismarcon.fr
Reviewers say this kitchen, overseen by octogenarian Michel Guérard, a founder of the nouvelle cuisine movement and the inventor of the belt-tightening cuisine minceur, can still cook with the best of them. May we suggest that you pay his hotel/spa a visit while you still have an opportunity to experience his “spare, simple and highly terroir-driven” cuisine?Place de l’Impératrice Eugénie les Bains, France Eugénie les Bains, France + 33 5 58 05 06 07 www.michelguerard.com
Her daughter and grandson now do most of the cooking at this classic house in a remote part of Lombardy, but the majestic Nonna Bruna still visits the restaurant’s kitchen on a daily basis to make sure the brodo that the tortellini is served in is perfect. We assure you that if you are lucky enough to sample her cooking, you will want her to adopt you.
Località Runate Canneto Canneto Sull’Oglio, Italy +39 2 7231 4640 www.dalpescatore.com
The restaurant’s name translates to “house in the Black Forest.” Those fortunate enough to have ventured into the heart of the forest in order to sample Harald Wohlfahrt’s German take on haute cuisine will understand why a long line of talented young chefs began their careers in the kitchen of his wonderful restaurant. It is located in a luxurious hotel and spa, and those who have spent the day working on their physiques often opt for Wolfhart’s 10-course vegetarian tasting menu.Tonbachstrasse 237 Baiersbronn-Tonbach, Germany +49 74 424-9260-4 www.traube-tonbach.de
8 per se
Unlike other celebrity chefs who open additional locations and take the easy out by licensing their name and letting someone else run the restaurant, Thomas Keller wanted Per Se to be every bit as good as the French Laundry. Eli Kaimeh runs Per Se’s kitchen, and while all of Keller’s signature dishes like Oysters and Pearls are on hand, where Kameih really excels is with seasonal offerings like herb-roasted sturgeon with an onion beurre blanc and a roast cap of beef with crispy bone marrow and trumpet mushrooms. The service staff looks after diners with the proficiency of a well-oiled team at a top restaurant in France, and the view, overlooking Central Park and the East Side skyline, is “one of the loveliest in the city
Time Warner Center, 10 columbus circle, 4th fl New York, NY + 1 212-823-9335 www.perseny.com
Getting on in years and in the process of turning over his pots and pans to his son Mathieu, Bernard Pacaud is known for being a fanatic about ingredients and a perfectionist in the kitchen. Serious diners continue to flock to this restaurant in Paris’s Place des Vosge in order to enjoy some of the most precise traditional French cooking in the world.9, pl des Vosges Paris, France 01 42 78 51 45 www.ambroisie-paris.com/
10 Robuchon Au Dôme
The word “grand” can be easily applied to every corner of Robuchon Au Dôme, even to the hotel it is located in, as it is situated at the circular dome of Grand Lisboa Hotel. From the ultra-high ceilings, gold color cladded furniture, crystal chandeliers and full window view of Macau, giant bread and dessert trollies; everything about this restaurant is designed to impress. The food is as luxurious and extravagant as the setting, and there are no shortage of dishes featuring caviar, foie gras, truffles and langoustines on the menu. You will also find many of Robuchon’s classic dishes, such as sea urchin with lobster consommé jelly and cauliflower cream, or roast pigeon served with Robuchon’s famous mashed potato. And you can top it off with one of the most impressive wine cellars in Asia, if not the world. Given the restaurant’s location, the clientele comes from every corner of the world for what is clearly a splurge meal for most people. However, during the day they offer a very reasonably priced menu, resulting in seats at lunch being highly sought after.
Grand Hotel Lisboa, 2-4 Avenida de Lisboa Macau, China +853 8803 7878 www.grandlisboahotel.com
It’s difficult enough running one of the top restaurants in the country, let alone two restaurants in the Top 20 . . We could allot this entire review to writing about Keller’s signature dishes, which include Oysters and Pearls, truffle custard with black truffle debris, cauliflower panna cotta topped Ossetra caviar and many others. But beyond the lengthy list of creations, what makes the French Laundry so special is the second-to-none attention to detail that the restaurant has exhibited since the day it opened. It’s wildly popular with some of our reviewers, many of whom make annual pilgrimages and nearly two-thirds of the people who reviewed the French Laundry traveled from outside California order to eat there. We even had one reviewer who wrote of having paid more than 40 visits to the restaurant.6640 Washington St. Yountville, CA 707-944-2380 www.frenchlaundry.com
12 Waldhotel Sonnora
Helmut Thieltges is the quiet star among Germany’s top chefs. He never worked at fancy restaurants or chased fame and fortune, instead spending his time developing his own cuisine— classic, but never boring—which stands out for its product quality and precision cooking. Diners can expect signature dishes that are unforgettable.
Auf dem Eichelfeld Dreis, Germany 65 789-8220 www.hotel-sonnora.de
One of the most iconic French restaurants in Tokyo, Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon has been serving high-quality French cuisine here since 1994. Starting with the castle-like exterior and luxurious décor, it goes on to dazzle diners with every detail and impresses them with extravagant and pristine ingredients, prepared in meticulous fashion. The classic Robuchon dishes are served here, along with new ones incorporating the finest Japanese produce, seafood and meat. This is one of the most expensive French restaurants in Tokyo, but well worth the price.1-13-1 Mita Meguro-ku, Japan 03-5424-1347 http://www.robuchon.jp
L’Osier was established in Ginza, Tokyo, in 1973, making it one of the oldest French restaurants in Tokyo and a throwback to the nouvelle cuisine era. Management recently appointed executive chef Olivier Chaignon to oversee the kitchen, a change that has not had a negative impact on the food. Chaignon has maintained the historically high standards: Every stunningly presented dish is a perfect composition offering layers of mouth-watering flavors. Reviewers often comment about the luxurious space and flawless service.
Chūō-Kyo Tokyo, Japan +81 3-3571-6050 http://losier.shiseido.co.jp
One of the most difficult things for a well-known restaurant to do is to carry on after its founding chef has departed. But this classic house in the northern part of Burgundy has managed to stay the course, even though its namesake passed on back in 2003. Credit Bernard’s ex, Dominique Loiseau, and executive chef, Patrick Bertron – whose menu offers a number of Loiseau’s classic dishes, like frogs’ legs in a purée of garlic with parsley juice, as well as his own creations, such as a filet of Challans duck that he serves with a spiced fig and hibiscus sauce and preserved turnips – for maintaining such a steady hand and keeping the Loiseau brand alive.2, rue d’Argentine Saulieu, France + 33 3 80 90 53 53 … www.bernard-loiseau.com
16 Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros
In this restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, Michel Troisgros has done an exemplary job of transporting his signature cuisine acidulée from Roanne, France, to Tokyo. The impeccable service allows diners to enjoy long meals without feeling suffocated. The restaurant is perfect for business and casual lunches alike, and is especially wonderful when the sunlight streams through its giant windows. This is a perfect example of what can be achieved when a chef marries nouvelle French cuisine with superior-quality Japanese ingredients.
Hyatt Regency Tokyo, Nishishinjuku, 2-7-2, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan +81 3-3348-1234 http://www.troisgros.jp
Nestled in the lovely village of Søllerød – 15 minutes from the Copenhagen airport – this 17th-century auberge offers diners a change of pace from New Nordic cooking. Using first-class local ingredients, the kitchen delivers both traditionally styled dishes, like veal sweetbreads with a sauce of carrots and morels, and dishes that incorporate more creative notes, like langoustine with cauliflower, pink grapes and dill. The icing on the cake is a service team led by the restaurant’s manager, the legendary Jan Restorff, and a wine list long considered the best in Scandinavia. Even reviewers who normally reserve their praise for modern kitchens seem to have made an exception for this “little jewel for food and wine lovers,” calling it “one of the best places to eat in Denmark.”Søllerødvej 35 Holte, Denmark + 45 45 80 25 05 www.soelleroed-kro.dk
18 Le Duc
Though it has been open since 1967, it was during the 1980’s that the Minchelli brothers who attracted attention to this restaurant. More than thirty years after this restaurant pioneered the concept of nouvelle cuisine fish cookery, Pascal Hélard continues to serve diners “ultra-fresh fish” that includes Belon oysters the size of your fist and house classics like an escalope of monkfish with Vodka butter and the signature homard à l’orange,, a reminder of the days when pairing fish and sweet fruit was thought of as revolutionary.
243 Boulevard Raspail Paris, France +33 1 43 20 96 30 restaurantleduc.com
Le Bernardin is a must visit for diners who are looking for a serious French meal based around fish and seafood that are treated with the utmost respect and care. Eric Ripert continues to serve what is called, “hands down the finest, most exquisite seafood served this side of the Atlantic,” which arrive at your table in creations that include a progressive tasting of Kumamoto oysters en gelée, sea urchin risotto with toasted nori and a citrus emulsion and a surf ‘n’ turf of escolar and Kobe beef with eggplant fries, pesto and anchovy sauce. Oenophiles could spend an hour or two poring over award-winning wine director Aldo Sohm’s list. The attractive new dining room is the result of the restaurant undergoing a complete renovation back in 2011.155 W. 51st St New York, NY +1 212-554-1515 www.le-bernardin.com
20 Pierre Gagnaire
Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo, located on the 36th floor of ANA InterContinental Hotel, is no doubt the best of the three Pierre branches in Asia (the other two are in Hong Kong and Seoul). In addition to a gorgeous view from a window table, one can enjoy reinterpretations of legendary Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s recipes with the incorporation of pristine local Japanese ingredients and personal touches by Chef Yosuke Akasaka. The dishes here are crafted with precision and perfected through the Japanese spirit of attention to details. Lunch is reasonably priced, but even dinner is not overly expensive when you consider that you are eating in a hotel with exemplary service and getting a taste of one of the world’s most renowned French chefs without having to fly all the way to Paris.
ANA InterContinental Hotel, 36th fl., 1-2-33 Tokyo, Japan +81 3-3505-9505 www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp
Known for its refined cooking, pleasant service and a charming location along the banks of the Yonne river, Jean-Michel Lorain’s restaurant continues to be an important stop over for diners who are traveling along France’sNorth/South autoroute.. A little more than 90 minutes away from Paris, it’s close enough for a day trip or a quick overnight stay.14, Faubourg de Paris Joigny, France +33 3 86 62 09 70 www.cotesaintjacques.com
22 Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia
Back in 1962, Aimo and Nadia Moroni opened a simple restaurant on a quiet street in a residential section of Milan. Fifty years later, a dining aficionado no less significant than Michael Tusk, chef of San Francisco’s Quince, the highest-rated U.S. Italian restaurant in our 2012 survey, says this remains one of his favorite places to eat in Italy. And with dishes like risotto with Nocellara olive oil, baby squids and their ink, capers and lemon along with smooth and crispy suckling pig from Umbria served with rosemary and apple honey, who could blame him.
via Montecuccoli 6 Milan, Italy +39 0241 6886 www.aimoenadia.com
Jean-Claude Vrinat was considered the consummate host. Although he is no longer with us and the restaurant is now owned by the family who operates Chateau Phelan Segur, this restaurant located in a splendid hotel particulier in the center of Paris still offers refined food, a fabulous wine list and what some argue is the best service team in the world.15, rue Lamennais Paris, France +33 1 44 95 15 01 www.taillevent.com
24 Alain Ducasse au Le Meurice
If anyone misses the old Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée, book a table in this dining room that reviewers describe as “luxurious, opulent and majestic.” The kitchen is lorded over by Jocelyn Herland, who has taken the reins after a successful stint running the kitchen at the Dorchester in London. According to a plan devised each day by the Ducasse corporate offices, Herland offers diners such options as the five-course Collection Menu, where a meal consisting of vegetables cooked in a salt crust, sea bream with caviar and beetroot, lobster with Jerusalem artichoke and guinea hen with black truffles weighs in at a whopping 380 euros.
228, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, France +33 (0)1 44 58 10 55 http://www.alain-ducasse.com/en/restaurant/restaurant-le-meurice-alain-ducasse
By serving dishes like duck liver with green apple and venison with purple curry and a Port wine sauce, Heinz Winkler was the first chef in Germany to build an international reputation. His restaurant, located an hour south of Munich and a similar distance from Salzberg, has remained the premier dining destination in southern Bavaria for more than 20 years.Kirchplatz 1 Aschau im Chiemgau, Germany +49 8052 17990 www.residenz-heinz-winkler.de
26 Château de la Chèvre d’Or
Ever since Breton-born Ronan Kervarrec took over this kitchen in 2010, he has reinvigorated this restaurant, according to our reviewers. Of course, any commentary on this restaurant has to begin with “the fabulous views of the Mediterranean” and the “unbelievable setting,” described as “secluded and romantic.” But reviewers report the cuisine “is every bit as good as the view”; one person said, “Even if you are facing a wall the food can stand on its own.” Kervarrec’s classic French cuisine features dishes like local zucchini served three ways—dressed with orange peel and curry-flavored squash seeds, the flower stuffed with mozzarella and fried in a tempura batter, and crushed with truffles – and red mullet scented with an olive purée and served with a stew of vegetables and almonds.
6 Rue du Barri Eze, France +33 4 92 10 66 66 www.chevredor.com/
Serving “perfectly executed” dishes based around Irish ingredients, like a glazed fillet of Wicklow lamb, a pressé of game birds and pan-roasted native red deer, Patrick Guilbaud’s restaurant has been the anchor of the Irish haute cuisine movement for the past 33 years.
21 Upper Merrion St Dublin, Ireland +353 1 676 4192 www.restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie
28 Château les Crayères
After spending many years cooking at one of France’s top restaurants during the era that Gérard Boyer was running the kitchen, Philippe Mille has done a commendable job of filling GérardBoyer’s big shoes at this classic house in Reims that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. While the list of Champagnes is probably the greatest you will see in your lifetime, it’s important to note that you can use it to wash down dishes like with radish, beets and turnips.
64 Boulevard Henry Vasnier Reims, France +33 3 26 24 90 00 www.gerardboyer.com
Terrines of foie gras, salmon soufflé with Riesling sauce, Bresse chicken with truffles stuffed under its skin and then poached, andbottles of Alsatian wine with some age on them: A leisurely lunch with the Haeberlin family at their charming restaurant by the side of the river Ill remains one of the most enjoyable gastronomic experiences in France.rue de Collonges au Mont d’Or Illhausern, France 03 89 71 89 00 www.auberge-de-l-ill.com
Giancarlo Perbellini’s careful cooking, along with some well-sourced fish and seafood, can be sampled at this elegant restaurant, located in a business park 30 minutes south of Verona. Giancarlo and his wife, Paola, are among the most gracious hosts in Italy.
via Muselle 130 Isola Rizza, Italy 04 5713 5352 www.perbellini.com
Responsible for carrying the torch lit by his father-in-law, legendary chef Pierre Wynants, Lionel Rigolet continues to meet the high standards that this magnificent art nouveau dining room, located a few hundred yards from Brussels’ Grand Place, has always been known for. Don’t miss their signature dish of gray shrimp with oysters and a Riesling and potato mousseline.pl. Rouppe 23 Brussels, Belgium 0 25 12 29 21 www.commechezsoi.be
32 Kong Hans Kaelder
While Noma usually comes first to mind when people think of the Nordic culinary revolution, the underpinnings for the regions culinary ascent actually occurred in 1976, when Lene and Sven Grønlykke opened this restaurant. In fact, René Redzepi was working in the kitchen here before he opened Noma. Mark Lundgaard runs the kitchen at Kong Hans Kaelder, and his menu is laced with a French tinge, as seen in dishes such as fresh Norwegian scallops with smoked butter and caviar, Danish black lobster in an onion nage with tomato and artichoke and turbot baked in salt served with its roe, potatoes and a Champagne and mussel sauce.
Vingårdsstræde 6. Copenhagen, DK 33 11 68 68 www.konghans.dk
The building that houses this restaurant-a mansion that was once the residence of Raymond VII, count of Toulouse-is where one of the deans of French cooking, Michel Trama, has been serving a contemporary version of his native Gascon cuisine for the past 35 years.52 Rue Royale Puymirol, France +33 (0)5 53 95 31 46 www.aubergade.com
In the ’80s and ’90s, when it was located in the 17th arrondissement on the Avenue Villers, Jean-Pierre Vigato’s restaurant was popular among both local and international diners. After a bit of a down period, interest in his cooking has been rekindled since he moved the restaurant to an exquisite mansion off the Champs-Elysées.
20, rue d’Artois Paris, France 01 43 80 19 66 www.restaurant-apicius.com’,
Luisa and Angelo Vallaza’s low-key place is not as well known or as flashy as some of the more famous restaurants in Italy, but you will find fabulous cooking and top-class ingredients at this restaurant located just south 45 minutes east of Lake Maggiore. The wine list contains numerous majestic bottles from every region of Italy, but most of all from the restaurant’s own Piedmont region.via Roma 18 Soriso, Italy 03 2298 3228 www.alsorriso.com
36 Peter Luger
When it comes to places to eat corn-fed beef, anyone who tells you they know of a steakhouse in New York City that is serving better steak than Peter Luger doesn’t know what they are talking about. That’s because whenever a shipment of short loins arrives at any of the top meat wholesalers in town, Luger’s is given “first pick,” meaning that their buyer is allowed to walk through the wholesaler’s cold box and choose the ones that look the best before the competition does the same. In addition to the “ethereal porterhouse steaks,” the menu offers quirky starters and side dishes, and one of the city’s best hamburgers, made from the trimmings of 28-day-aged steaks and priced at an über-bargain $9.50, is available at lunch.
178 Broadway Brooklyn, NY 718-387-7400 www.peterluger.com
Those in the U.K. who are looking to recreate the type of regional dining experience that is common in France, where a chef and his family run a restaurant in a renovated chateau, should visit Raymond Blanc, “the dean of French cuisine in Britain,” at this lovely manor house outside Oxford, where they raise their own produce and serve dishes like veal kidney, alliums, lovage and red wine jus.Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Great Milton, United Kingdom +44 1844 278881 www.manoir.com
38 De Karmeliet
One of the most classic houses in Belgium. Dishes like roasted French scallops with leek; sea urchin and cream with seaweed; and “Sole meunière,” with Belgian endive and sabayon with lemon grass show that Geert van Hecke knows how to take advantage of the wonderful products from the nearby North Sea.
Langestraat 19 Bruges, Belgium +32 50 33 82 59 www.dekarmeliet.be
With a location 30 minutes west of Alba, Gian Piero Vivalda’s restaurant is not as well-known as it would be if it were in the heart of truffle country. But there is no doubt in our mind that the restaurant is a must visit for anyone looking for an authentic Italian regional experience filled with high-quality ingredients and careful cooking. If you go during truffle season, try not to miss the house signature fonduta, topped with what seem like endless shavings of white truffle.Via Fossano, 13 Cervere, Italy +39 0172 474132 www.anticacoronareale.com
40 Restaurant Bareiss
Most people travel to Baiersbronn, a charming spa town in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest, in order to take the cure. But we wonder: After spending a day slimming down at the spa, how many people have supped at this elegant restaurant and thrown it all away on a dinner of foie gras with pears and port, followed by some braised veal of suckling calf with celeriac foam, organic egg and Perigord truffle? If that describes your visit to the town, we will understand if you want to lay the blame for the whole affair on Claus-Peter Lumpp, whose refined cooking harks back to a time when it was commonplace for men to wear a coat and tie for dinner, and when the notion of pampering meant a grueling schedule of workouts, mineral baths and massages by day, followed by a bottle of Champagne and thinly sliced scallops topped with Ossetra caviar at night.
Gärtenbühlweg 14 Baiersbronn, Germany +49 7442 470 www.bareiss.com/
Le Grand Véfour is set alongside the gardens of the Grand Palais, and when it opened in 1794, it was the first example of a formal French restaurant. Today a visit affords diners the opportunity to enjoy Guy Martin’s vegetable-oriented cooking while sitting on cushions once warmed by the likes of Napoleon and Victor Hugo..17, rue de Beaujolais Paris, France Paris, France 01 42 96 56 27 www.grand-vefour.com/
42 Kaia Kaipe
Though it doesn’t have the same vaunted reputation as the more famous Elkano, which is run by cousins, diners looking for prime specimens of fish like turbot, hake and tuna should consider this classic asador facing the port in Getaria. You can wash the tasty fish down with a bottle from one of the best cellars of old Rioja in the Basque region.
Calle del General Arnao, 4 Getaria, Spain +34 943 14 05 00 www.kaia-kaipe.com
The opening of Tantris in 1971 marked the beginning of the German Küchenwunder, a movement that changed the evolution of German high-end cuisine. The current chef, Hans Haas, offers straightforward, delicate creations in which no element is redundant. The restaurant’s1970s-style interior, beautifully preserved, is considered holy ground by the German dining community.Johann-Fichte-Str. 7 Munich, Germany 89 361-9590 www.tantris.de
If you are looking to eat fish that is so fresh that it has never touched ice, reserve a table at this restaurant, where the fish the Sordello family serve only come from local waters. This is also where you will find the most refined version of bouillabaisse on the coast.
664 Boulevard de Bacon Cap d’Antibes, France +33 4 93 61 50 02 www.restaurantdebacon.com
Joceleyn Herland leads a team that utilizes the Alain Ducasse playbook to create one of the most refined dining experiences in London. May we add that the posh location in the Dorchester Hotel certainly doesn’t hurt the overall experience? Perfect for business or to celebrate a special occasion, especially on a nice day at lunch when the sun flows into the room from the large windows overlooking Hyde Park.53 Park Ln London, United Kingdom +44 20 7629 8866 www.alainducasse-dorchester.com
46 La Mere Brazier
It is rare when a restaurant so closely associated with its founder survives a complete changing of the guard. That task can be even more daunting when the founder in question is the iconic Eugénie Brazier. Mathieu Viannay managed to overcome those odds, and after a period of years in which this classic house fell into decline, he has restored it to its former status. At the heart of Viannay’s success are his “gentle twists on the classics of French cuisine,” and his versions of Lyonnais stalwarts like poularde demi-deuil and lièvre à la royale “are so good that Viannay has created one of the rare occasions where both classical and modern food lovers will be in agreement.” One reviewer described Viannay as “a terrific ambassador for the cuisine of Lyon” – high praise indeed, given that the city’s culinary history is replete with chefs the likes of Paul Bocuse and Alain Chapel.
12 Rue Royale Lyon, France +33 4 78 23 17 20 www.lamerebrazier.fr
With the iconic Can Fabes now shuttered, those who want to reminisce about the late Santi Santamaria’s cooking can do so at this beautiful restaurant in the Hotel Hesperia Madrid, where his influence can be felt in dishes like roasted Figueras’ onions with cockles, apples and celery.Paseo de la Castellana, 57 Madrid, Spain +34 912 10 88 40 www.restaurantesantceloni.com
While Daniel Boulud’s cuisine has the reputation of being traditional French, it is actually far more modern than people realize. Dishes like Louisiana shrimp with Ibérico ham and a tasting of melons or halibut baked on Himalayan rock salt with curried yogurt and Thai basil are in the same vein as what you would find at top contemporary restaurants in Paris today. While the dishes can be innovative, the experience contains the sort of fussy, fawning service that is geared towards a combination of socialites, visiting dignitaries, Upper East Side families commemorating special occasions, a celebrity or three and out-of-towners who want to dress up for a fancy night out. The wine list is “out of this world”, complete with out of this world prices.
60 E. 65th St. New York, NY 212-288-0033 www.danielnyc.com
David Bouley is responsible for a number of firsts. He was the first American chef to utilize natural sauces made from fresh fruits and vegetables in his cuisine, the first to cook fish with the proficiency of the chefs from the Basque region of Spain, and the first to incorporate Japanese and American cuisine in a way that wasn’t fusion. And if that isn’t enough for you, the number of great young chefs who have come out of his kitchen are almost too numerous to count, and include the likes of Blue Hill’s Dan Barber and Brooklyn Fare’s César Ramirez’s. But maybe the most impressive thing about David is that after 25 years, his cooking isn’t dated and he remains one of the country’s greatest chefs.163 Duane St. New York, NY 212-964-2525 www.davidbouley.com
50 Enoteca Pinchiorri
Forty-four years is a long time. But it was 1972 when Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Féolde opened this restaurant in a converted palace that dates back to the 1800s. These days you will find the duo greeting guests in the dining room, while the capable Ricardo Monco has assumed the cooking duties from Féolde. Monco has maintained the restaurant’s tradition of serving a Frenchified version of Italian cuisine that includes dishes such as an escalope of foie gras with fruit, vegetables and Amaretto and Mora Romagnola pork with spiced salsify. You can’t mention the restaurant without noting that it has one of the world’s greatest wine cellars, featuring numerous offerings from every country in the world.
via Ghibellina, 87 Florence, Italy +39 055 242757 www.enotecapinchiorri.com
51 Paul Bocuse
Whether you like this “classic house where nouvelle cuisine was invented” depends on whether you want to step back in time in order to enjoy dishes like the truffle soup Bocuse created for French President Giscard D’Estaing in 1975. At this point, it’s as much a museum as a restaurant
40 Rue de la Plage Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France +33 4 72 42 90 90 www.bocuse.fr
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Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 120 Viareggio, Italy +39 0584 31382 www.romanoristorante.it/
Robuchon is now a brand instead of a chef, but reviewers still enjoy securing a stool at the counter of the original Atelier location, in order to enjoy superbly done versions of Robuchon-esque classics like caviar with cauliflower gelée and thyme-scented lamb chops with a side of the maestro’s world-famous pommes purée .5, rue Montalembert Paris, France +33 1 42 22 56 56 atelier-robuchon-saint-germain.com
54 Joël Robuchon
Parisian diners a more casual version of the Robuchon experience, the most formidable chef of the nouvelle cuisine movement headed south to the opulent confines of Monte Carlo’s Hotel Metropole and hired Jacques Garcia to design an appropriate dining room for his world-famous fare. Twelve years later, Robuchon disciple Christophe Cussac is still heading the kitchen and turning out a cuisine that leans toward the Mediterranean, featuring dishes like a croustillant de langoustine with basil or bomba rice that has been cooked with the flavors of paella.
4 Avenue de la Madone, Monte Carlo, Monaco +33 377 93 15 15 10 www.metropole.com
One doesn’t expect to find such high-quality seafood and shellfish in a posh resort town. But twice-a-day deliveries of items like sea bass, red mullet and scampi make Lorenzo Viani’s restaurant one of the top seafood restaurants in Italy. The restaurant’s beautiful modern art collection is nearly as spectacular as the ingredients they serve.Via Giosuè Carducci, 61 Forte dei Marmi, Italy +39 0584 89671 www.ristorantelorenzo.com
It’s tough to find a restaurant that has been serving food as long as this one: People have been enjoying eating food at this address since 1648. Add in the fact that the building somehow survived the Allied bombing of the city in 1945, and it is easy to conclude that you are dining in a truly special location. This incarnation of the restaurant was opened in 1989 by Andree Köthe, who along with compatriot Yves Ollech offers a cuisine that relies heavily on herbs and spices. The duo describe the result as Gewürzküche, which features dishes like poppy, carrots and dill and lake trout with cauliflower.
Weinmarkt 3, Nuremberg, Germany +49 911 22 51 31 www.essigbraetlein.de
Marcos and Pedro Morán have demonstrated that it is possible to update Spanish regional cooking while maintaining its soul. Unfortunately, Asturias doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as Madrid or Barcelona, so people who don’t venture from the beaten path risk missing the Morans’ wonderful cooking.Crtra AS-19 km 8,5 Prendes, Spain +34 985 88 77 97 www.restaurantecasagerardo.com
58 L’Ami Louis
Diners have been giggling about the obscenely large portions of high-quality ingredients that, sourced from the southwest of France and roasted to a turn, this restaurant has served since it opened in 1932. It’s a tough reservation to get, as the place is generally filled with an assortment of celebrities, elites, captains of industry, and the occasional table of lucky tourists.
32, rue de Vertbois Paris, France +33 1 48 87 77 48
Shrimps from Denia, turbot from Getaria, percebes from Galicia: Juan Carlos Iglesias is a fanatic when it comes to sourcing high-quality fish. If you visit his restaurant, you will dine on perfectly chosen specimens of fish and seafood from every region in Spain and select from one of the best wine lists in the country.photo credit:
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Carrer de Lleida, 7 Barcelona, Spain +34 934 248 152 www.riasdegalicia.com
60 Oustaù de Baumanière
While this restaurant will likely never return to the level of greatness it reached when the legendary Raymond Thuilier was running the kitchen, our reviewers tell us that neither should it be dismissed as a restaurant for unknowledgeable tourists, a reputation that it acquired after Thuilier left. It’s set in the old walled city of Les-Baux-de-Provence, and dishes such as Provencal-flavored red mullet with a parmesan biscuit, pigeon from Nîmes coated in green olives, and spit-roasted suckling lamb studded with anchovy and garlic hold their own in the spectacular setting.
D27 Les-Baux-de-Provence, France +33 4 90 54 33 07 www.oustaudebaumaniere.com
Though 67-year-old Pierre Koffmann does not turn out the same level of food that he served when he was running the kitchens at the legendary Le Tante Clare, our reviewers tell us that it is worth booking a table at this handsome restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel in order to enjoy Koffman’s luxury-brasserie cuisine. Reading the menu – featuring dishes like ravioli d’escargots with Bayonne ham, pig’s trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and morels and a roast chicken with parsley croutons for two people – is enough to make your mouth water.Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Pl London, UK +44 20 7107 8844 www.the-berkeley.co.uk/knightsbridge…/koffmanns
If we had to recommend only one restaurant on the French Riviera that people absolutely need to visit, it would what someone called, “the chicest fish shack in the world.” What you are there for is what is the most famous tureen of bouillabaisse in the world, which you enjoy with three different servings of seasonal fish that include sea bass St. Peter’s fish, red mullet, sea bream, crab, rockfish and whatever else might be fresh that day. You ladle the broth into your bowl, add some croutons that you have dabbed with garlicky aioli, and place chunks of fish in your bowl. The result is a heavenly blend that can send you into a state of bliss. The menu is spare, and it is likely the only choice you will have to make is whether you want to include langoustine. Located a mere ten minutes taxi ride outside of Cannes, every famous movie star since the 1950’s has found their way to this small piece of culinary history.
8 Avenue des Frères Roustan Golfe Juan, France +33 4 93 63 71 16 www.tetou.fr
Opened in 1976 by Ezio Satin, this classic house benefits from an exceptional setting alongside a bridge that dates from 600 A.D. and traverses a canal dating from Roman times. The menu is a laundry list of the classics of the Lombardy region, including dishes like cappelletti in capon broth with black truffles, pumpkin ravioli with chestnut paste and slow-cooked veal cheeks braised in Chimay Bleue served with stone-ground polenta and glazed onions and borettane balsamic vinegar beer.Piazza Gaetano Negri, 9 Cassinetta di Lugagnano, Italy +39 02 942 0034 www.anticaosteriadelponte.it
64 Le Pré Catelan
Wonderful ingredients, precise cooking from a chef who did his culinary training with Joël Robuchon and Gerard Boyer, and a finale of exquisite desserts, served in a mansion in the middle of Paris’s Bois de Boulogne: We can’t think of anything better than to spend a Sunday in the park with Frédéric Anton.
Pré Catelan (Le) Paris, France 01 44 14 41 14 www.lenotre.fr
When visitors to London are in the mood for traditional French cuisine, their initial instinct usually is to phone up a place like Le Gavroche or one of the city’s other classic houses. But our reviewers tell us that the sleeper in the crowd is the restaurant at The Ritz. John Williams is in charge of the kitchen, and his cooking is anything but the usual hotel cuisine that one expects from an establishment like The Ritz. The menu is long on British ingredients – Scottish beef tartare topped with a mushroom purée and quail egg and grouse served with celeriac purée, caramelized salsify, lardons, salted grapes and caramelized walnuts.150 Piccadilly London, United Kingdom +44 20 7493 8181 www.theritzlondon.com
Ever since he opened this seaside restaurant in Piraeus in 1987, Lefteris Lazarou has visited the agora each morning to source the best possible fish to serve in preparations like grilled cuttlefish with caramelized lentils and orange sauce and sea bream with cauliflower mousse, vegetable ratatouille and a sauce of cuttlefish ink.
Akti Koumoundourou 52, Piraeus, Greece +30 210 5228400 www.varoulko.gr
FritzThe Regent Hotel, which hosts this restaurant – arguably Berlin’s best classic dining room – is located a block and a half off the Unter den Linden, the city’s most famous boulevard. There you will find Christian Lohse, who has been running the kitchen since 2005. Lohse’s cuisine alternates between dishes that have a Middle Eastern tinge – like a date and green bean falafel with preserved lemon and parsley – to more classical preparations, such as grilled Corrèze veal chops served with black chanterelles, Bio-Linda potato fondant and sauce béarnaise, which Lohse serves for two people.Charlottenstraße 49 Berlin, Germany +49 30 20336363 www.fischersfritzberlin.com
68 Le Chabichou
Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron run the kitchen at this posh ski resort in Courchevel. The menu fits the grand setting perfectly, featuring dishes like a cold pot-au-feu of scallops from Brittany topped with Ossetra caviar; white fish slow-cooked with smoked butter in hay and served with creamy potatoes along with duck gizzards and beef from Salers; and beef tail with croutons, truffle, marrow, pan-sautéed shoulder blade and duck foie gras. The prices fit the setting; the least expensive dish on the a la carte menu rings the bell at a whopping 90 euros -perfect for the oligarchs and socialites who frequent this town.
Rue des Chenus Courchevel, France + 33 (0)4 79 08 00 55 www.chabichou-courchevel.com/
ParkAfter spending 20 years running the kitchen at what seems like everyone’s favorite hotel for a weekend away from London, the highly respected Michael Caines has moved on in order to open his own restaurant. Filling Caine’s tall shoes is the talented Michael Wignall, who decided to trade in the green grass at the Latymer in Surrey for the even greener grass of Devonshire. Wignall’s menu – featuring dishes like Cornish salt cod with Beesands crab, chorizo, samphire and lemon purée and Devon beef fillet and cheek with a shallot and horseradish confit – indicates that it will be a smooth transition.Newton Abbot Chagford, United Kingdom +44 1647 432367 www.gidleigh.com/
The fifth generation of what is now the Paniego family runs this classic hotel/restaurant in the heart of Spain’s Rioja region; it was opened in 1898 by Pedro Garcia and Andrea Echaurren. The menu reflects the restaurant’s Basque heritage, offering dishes like kokotxas of hake “al pil pil“ served with potato and onions, tripe and lips of beef served “Riojan style” and partridge stewed in red wine with shallots, pear and glazed fruits. Visitors should not forget which region they are dining in; Haro (the center of Rioja wine production) is just down the road and the restaurant’s wine list is filled with local gems.
Héroes del Alcázar 2 Ezcaray, Spain +34 941 35 40 47 www.echaurren.com
A mere 15-minute drive from Alba lies this classic house. The cuisine straddles the line between regional classics – like an onion baked with sausage from nearby Bra and topped with fonduta and veal cheeks slowly braised in Barbaresco – or more modern creations such as creamy mantecato risotto topped with foie gras and sprinkled with cocoa or a piccolo fritto featuring fried lamb chops stuffed with cheese. And you get to wash it all down with one of Italy’s most famous cellars holding over 60,000 bottles sourced from 450 different producers.Piazza Baracco, 7 Treiso, IT +39 173 638333 www.laciaudeltornavento.it
Since Hamburg is not en route to the many other dining destinations that our reviewers frequent, reviews of this restaurant overlooking the Elbe River are not so easy to come by. Fortunately, between locally based reviewers and people who travel to Hamburg on business, we were able to amass enough reviews so that Jacobs could earn a well-deserved spot on our 2016 Top 100+ Classic & Heritage list. Thomas Martin helms the kitchen, and his menu is filled with traditional preparations, such as a duck liver terrine with dried prunes and sauterne jelly and a pigeon étouffée with truffle, parsley and mushrooms.
Elbchaussee 401-403 Hamburg, Germany +49 40 822-5540-5 www.hotel-jacob.de
Despite the urban setting in the heart of Brussels, the garden terrace at Pascal Devalkeneer’s restaurant will make you feel like you have taken a trip to the country. The cuisine is in keeping with the setting – the sort of haute bourgeois cuisine you will find at a place like Paris’s Le Pre Catelan or Grande Cascade, dishes like a tartare of Gillardeau oysters with Petrossian caviar and broccoli flowers and seabass with a crust of black truffles from Carpentras, a winter salad and ratte mousseline.Drève de Lorraine 43 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 374 54 16 www.lechaletdelaforet.be
Unlike other chefs who possess an elevated level of skill, Jean-Paul Abadie has never strived for an international reputation. Instead he runs a regional restaurant in his native Brittany that features exceptional local ingredients and a high standard of classic French cooking.
Chemin de Gramont Lorient, France +33 5 61 15 55 55 www.amphitryon-abadie.com
Open since the 1950s, this classic house, located on the coast road north of Barcelona and run by the Rexach sisters, features a menu of more than 70 classic Catalan preparations like langoustine stewed with potatoes. It’s the type of grand regional gustatory experience that has always made dining in Europe so much fun.Carretera Real, 54 Arenys de Mar, Spain Carretera Real, 54 www.restauranthispania.com
76 Joel Robuchon at The Mansion
While he spends most of his time dishing out small plates at sushi-style restaurants all over the world, you can still enjoy the full-on Robuchon experience at this restaurant described as, “virtually flawless in every respect.” And why not, the price tag is $385 per person before beverages so it better be good. Fortunately for that price you get an avalanche of foie gras, caviar and truffles, along with a service staff that takes care of your every need.
3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S Las Vegas, NV 702-891-7337 www.wynnlasvegas.com
When this restaurant first opened, dishes like the signature smoked salmon pizza and pepper-crusted flash-seared tuna caused a sensation. Today, despite operating restaurants all over the country, Spago remains the flagship of Wolfgang Puck’s empire. The menu mixes New American fare, like a layer cake of roast Chino Farms beets with goat cheese and hazelnuts or Virginia striped bass with a ragout of Littleneck clams and fava beans, along with contemporary European classics like the house take on spicy beef goulash, which are served with a side order of; “some of the best celebrity spotting in the country.” The wine list is “over-the-top loaded” with some of the greatest bottles ever, and a steady stream of front of the house people are ready to attend to your every need.176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA +1 310-385-0880 www.wolfgangpuck.com
78 Restaurant Albert 1er
Nothing caps off an arduous day on the slopes like an opulent dinner at this luxury resort in Chamonix. The kitchen, the longtime mainstay of Chef Pierre Carrier, is now in the hands of his son-in-law, Pierre Maillet. The menu is long on dishes that are focused on local ingredients, such as a boudin of pike from Lac Léman that Maillet serves with quinoa, fennel and a foamy shellfish sauce, or snails from nearby Mont Blanc, which he serves with polenta and parsley. Those who are thirsty as well as hungry can pore through the offerings of one of Europe’s best cellars – 19,000 bottles spread over 646 different choices.
38 route du Bouchet Chamonix-Mont Blanc +33 4 50 53 05 09 www.hameaualbert.fr
With Frédéric Blanc now in charge, the fifth generation of this legendary culinary family now mans the stoves of this restaurant. But despite the generational shift in the kitchen, a quick look at the menu reveals that the restaurant still maintains a focus on tradition. Which means if you are someone who enjoys dishes like frogs’ legs in parsley sauce, breast of Bresse chicken with its liver in a Champagne sauce and duck served Rossini-style (topped with foie gras), you should seriously consider visiting this restaurant, located a mere 65 kms from Lyon.Place du Marché Vonnas, France +33 4 74 50 90 90 www.georgesblanc.com
80 Colline Ciociare
The region between Rome and Naples is anything but abundant with culinary treasures. But those who would like to enjoy a good meal while traveling between the two most animated cities in Italy should consider stopping in Acuto, 81 kms southeast of Rome. Salvatore Tassa’s cuisine spans the last 30 years of dining with one menu that harks back to the nouvelle cuisine era, featuring dishes like fettuccine with grilled tomatoes, vanilla and creamed Pecorino cheese and a downright classic tagliolini with veal ragout, cardoons and truffles.
via Prenestina 27 Acuto, Italy +39 7 7556 049 www.salvatoretassa.it/ristorante
82 Le Gavroche
It’s hard to think of fine dining in London without thinking of Le Gavroche: An entire page of their website is dedicated to the awards they have won since the restaurant opened its doors in 1967. With that type of history, it is not surprising that the menu features dishes like lobster mousse with Aquitaine caviar and Champagne butter sauce, a darne de turbot with heritage carrots, radish and chive butter sauce and a roast Goosnargh duck with a second service of crispy legs, beetroot tatin and port jus. The wine list is filled with shockingly good selections at what someone who is not a member of the aristocracy would consider shocking prices.
43 Upper Brook St London, United Kingdom +44 20 7408 0881 www.le-gavroche.co.uk
Though this is one of the Lombardy region of Italy’s most famous tables, if the food at this restaurant located on the outskirts of Brescia seems distinctly French, that’s because its chef, Philippe Léveillé, is a native of Nantes. Léveillé started in the restaurant’s kitchen in 1992, and his menu is not for the fainthearted. A typical meal – which might consist of a tartar of prawn, scallop and porcini blended with oyster mayonnaise and caviar, savory pumpkin cream served with waffles and grilled pigeon breast served with foie gras and black truffles – should make even the most stalwart of diners want to take a nap afterward.via Crosette 34, località Costorio, Concesio, Italy +39 3 1308 080 www.miramontilaltro.it
Every major city has a restaurant that serves as a clubhouse – a place where during the day the local politicians and businessmen discuss business, and in the evening where they take their wives to discuss the latest production at the ballet. Kronenhalle has been filling that bill for Zurich society since 1924, serving a high version of brasserie cuisine that features throwback dishes like consommé with herb dumplings and bone marrow, veal steak with morel sauce and spätzli and the rarely seen beef “Stroganov.” And how can we forget the dining room filled with works by the likes of Chagal, Matisse and Giacometti.
Rämistrasse 4 Zurich, Switzerland +41 44 262 99 00 www.kronenhalle.ch/
If you are tired of eating haute cuisine in Parisian hotel dining rooms that are filled with non-Parisians gawking over their food, consider booking a table at this classic house that sits on the leafy part of the Champs-Élysées, just west of the Place de la Concorde. There you will find a combination of bankers and socialites enjoying preparations like a pot-au-feu of duck liver with truffles and celery and a saddle and loin of baby lamb from the Pyrenees served with a moussaka of eggplant. A cave filled with 30,000 bottles makes it one of the most revered cellars in Paris.41, Avenue Gabriel Paris, France +33 1 42 25 00 39 www.le-laurent.com
Once upon a time, before Juan Mari Arzak modernized the cuisine, fine dining in the Basque Country meant menus filled with dishes featuring rich, creamy sauces and lots of roasted fish and meat. Hilario Arbelaitz’s restaurant is a throwback to that era, and we guarantee that after a meal consisting of dishes like a risotto with truffles, foie gras and a roast pigeon sauce, hake in green sauce with clams and roast suckling pig with mashed potato and a cumin-flavored fruit compote, you will feel like you are going to explode. Great fun, and a style of dining that is unique to the Basque region.
Araneder Bidea, Barrio Iturriotz, s/n, 20180 Oiartzun Gipuzkoa, Spain +34 943 49 12 28 www.zuberoa.com
One would imagine that Venice’s most famous restaurant would be located in an ornate dining room that dates from the era of the Doges. Instead it can be found at this out-of-the-way location, which the food critic Patricia Wells once called the world’s best casual restaurant. Seafood is the attraction here, and there are rumors that the best fishermen in the region stop at Da Fiore before they make their way to the Venice fish market with the rest of their catch. Not surprisingly, the menu is filled with delicacies that come from the nearby Adriatic, like spider crab with a sauce made of its own coral, risotto with mantis shrimp and fennel and wild eel roasted with laurel.Calle Seconda del Cristo, 2207 Venice, Italy +39 041 524 0016 www.dafiore.net/restaurant
88 Le Moissonier
While the center of nearby Dusseldorf is lined with shops selling all sorts of luxury goods, Cologne is more of a working-class town. But those in the mood for a bourgeois meal who do not want to make the 40-km trip typically choose Vincent and Liliane Moissonnier’s restaurant with its lovely Art Nouveau décor. Eric Menchon mans the kitchen and prepares dishes such as lightly sautéed wild cod served with a creamed spinach and risotto with Parmesan and herbs and caramelized sweetbreads flavored with geranium-scented balsamic vinegar, a chutney of butternut squash and a giblet gravy.
Krefelder Strasse, 25 Cologne, Germany +49-221 72 9479 www.lemoissonnier.de
After Paul Bartolatta left in order to open up his eponymous restaurant in Las Vegas, there was a period where Spiaggia seemed to be adrift at sea with no one steering the ship. Tony Mantuano was brought in to set the place back on course, and it wasn’t long before the kitchen was once again stirring the organic risotto properly. One way Mantuano accomplished this task was by lending his personal touch to the Northern Italian fare, apparent in dishes like a terrine of rainbow trout with tawny port and bay leaf gelée; agnolotti with fennel pollen and crispy veal breast; and Santa Barbara spot prawns with polenta, sea urchin and Italian osetra caviar. The experience is enhanced by a voluminous wine list, along with a dining room that offers beautiful views of the lake.980 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 312-280-2750 www.spiaggiarestaurant.com
Caino opened in 1971 as a shop selling cheese and salumi, but it was when Valeria Piccini took over the kitchen from her mother-in-law that this classic house in southern Tuscany that it turned into a formal restaurant. You will find traces of the nouvelle cuisine era in Piccini’s kitchen, apparent in dishes like a crudo of beef from Maremma that Valeria pairs with a myrtle and strawberry sauce, a pig’s trotter with tangerine, cauliflower and caviar and hare with a roasted pumpkin cream and foie gras. Valeria’s husband, Maurizio Menichetti, is in charge of the dining room and lords over one of the best lists of Italian wines you will ever find.
Via della Chiesa, 4, Montemerano, Italy +39 0564 602817 www.dacaino.it
Madrid is the only European capital that doesn’t border a large body of water or have a river running through it. Yet for reasons that defy both geography and logic, the city offers a number of outstanding restaurants that are seafood specialists. Combarro is the best of the bunch, and the display in the restaurant’s front window might be the greatest amalgamation of high-quality fish and seafood you will see in your lifetime. Regulars will order “raciones,” shorthand for a multi-course menu that features tasting size portions of seasonal shellfish like oysters, goose barnacles, sea cricket, shrimps and langoustines, followed by servings of fish such as eel, sea bass, hake, sole and turbot.Calle de la Reina Mercedes, 12 Madrid, Spain +34 915 54 77 84 www.combarro.com
92 Auberge de l’Ile
More people would know about Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex’s wonderful restaurant if it was located in one of Lyon’s bustling commercial areas instead of a medeival building on an island in the middle of the Saone River. The name doesn’t help either as many people confuse the restaurant with the better known Auberge de L’ill in Alsace. But mention the restaurant to someone who has been there and they immediately perk up and start raving about Ansanay-Alex’s cuisine mentioning dishes like a foie gras terrine with a fig and raising compote, langoustine with a panna cotta of almonds and Osetra caviar and Challons duck stuffed served with sweet and sour baby turnips.
Ile Barbe Lyon, France 04 78 83 99 49 www.aubergedelile.com
Some restaurants are all about the food. Others are about the ambience and the décor. Rekondo is clearly about the wine. The restaurant’s cellar is not to be believed and includes vintage rioja dating back to the early years of the 20th century and every important vintage of Vega Sicilia. And owner Txomin Rekondo has not overlooked the restaurant’s close proximity to France, and he has a significant list of first growths, DRCs and other French wines on offer. The best way to describe the food is well-prepared but plain; the menu features basic Basque specialties, such as rice and clams, grilled steaks, turbot, etc.Igeldo Pasealekua, 57 San Sebastian, Spain +34 943 21 29 07 www.rekondo.com
94 River Café
When Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray first opened this Tuscan restaurant in a wonderful space across from an inlet of the Thames River, no one suspected that 27 years later the restaurant would still be serving wonderfully prepared versions of dishes like half a spatchcocked Anjou pigeon roasted with thyme and Marsala, potatoes, black olives and radicchio.
Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London, United Kingdom +44 20 7386 4200 www.rivercafe.co.uk
There are three good reasons to visit Antonio Mellino’s restaurant. The first is a dining room that offers a magnificent view of the sea. The second is a wine cellar that is oozing with the type of hard-to-find cherries that make experienced wine collectors happy. But the most important reason to visit the restaurant can be explained in three words: pasta, pasta, pasta! Mellino’s pasta dishes span a variety of styles and complexities, like a mezze paccheri with cherry tomatoes in a San Marzano tomato sauce that is good enough to make your head spin and more contemporary lobster dumplings with grilled banana and ginger. Diners can finish their meal with some of the highest quality fish in Europe.via A. Vespucci, 13/N Massa Lubrense, Italy +39 081 808 1271 www.ristorantequattropassi.com
96 Carré des Feuillants
Alain Dutournier’s elegant but simple dining room is located within earshot of the majestic Place Vendôme. A son of France’s Southwest, with his shock of gray hair and goatee Dutournier might easily be mistaken for one of the Three Musketeers. The menu caters to the gourmandizing crowd. The dishes are filled with the type of luxury ingredients that bourgeois diners gravitate to, like Perigord truffles cooked in a truffle shell, pheasant with chestnut and truffles from Alba and sweetbreads in a casserole of macaroni with oyster juice and barigoule artichoke. You can also order a few choice bottles from what might be the best wine list in Paris to go with your meal.
14 Rue de Castiglione Paris, France +33 1 42 86 82 82 www.alaindutournier.com/wp/carredesfeuillants
Avignon’s magnificent, Palace of the Pope, was built during the 13th and 14th centuries. But if you think that it’s an old building, you haven’t seen anything yet as restaurant Christian Étienne, which overlooks the palace, is housed in a building that dates back to 1180. For many years, Chef Étienne lorded over the stoves, where his menu always featured the best ingredients Provence had to offer. Now Christian’s long time second, Guilhem Sevin, has run the day in and day out business of the kitchen for the past 16 years, has purchased the restaurant from his old boss. Though Sevin has freshened the place up, making it a bit more modern in the process, he has assured everyone that he will continue many of the long term traditions that the restaurant is known for. Like the special lobster menu, or the restaurant’s signature all-tomato tasting menu that they serve every August.10, rue de Monds Avignon, France +33 4 90 86 16 50 www.christian-etienne.fr
98 Le Dôme
Back in 1898, when this restaurant first opened its door as a mere café, the corner of the Blvds. Montparnasse and Raspail was more or less in the suburbs of Paris. Le Dôme started out as an artists’ hangout, a place where intellectuals could enjoy a cheap meal along with a multi-lingual argument. Today, the fin de siècle décor remains, but it is has become an upscale seafood restaurant serving exquisite specimens of fish that are trucked in from Brittany and other parts of France on a daily basis. Among the treasures on offer are oysters from many of the top artisans in France, and a house version of sole meunière, using fish that is sourced from the Île d’Yeu, the most prized sole in France. This is one of the best places in Paris to enjoy a quiet dinner on a Sunday evening, when most restaurants in the city are closed. , :
108 Boulevard du Montparnasse Paris, France +33 1 43 35 25 81
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this restaurant in the history of dining in New York City. Opened in 1974 by the then 42-year-old Sirio Maccioni, the restaurant was the bridge between an era when dining was mostly a social event and one where a plate of food was scrutinized with an eye usually reserved for a Chagall. While the restaurant has had a number of highly accomplished chefs running the kitchen, it was between 1986 and 1992, when Daniel Boulud was in charge, that it reached the height of its fame. There have been a number of location changes since then, and while the restaurant has lost the reputation it once had with the destination dining community, the ingredients are as luxurious as ever, and the classic French cooking is still top notch. The front of the house, ably run by Sirio’s son Mauro, remains among the best in world. And if you’re lucky, you might even see Sirio stopping by to say hello to a longtime customer.151 E 58th St New York, NY (212) 644-0202 www.lecirque.com
In this restaurant set in a spectacular location overlooking the Cantabrian Sea (aka the Bay of Biscay), a lunch of rice with snails and periwinkles topped with a tomato and basil film, followed by wood pigeon with a touch of mole and cocoa, is a lovely way to spend a day. Don’t forget the Rioja.
Paseo Padre Orcolaga, 56 San Sebastian, Spain +34 943 31 12 09 www.akelarre.net