Richard Milz with Foodie Top 100 Restaurants

Richard Milz with Foodie Top 100 Restaurants

  • Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée 

     
    • At Alain Ducasse’s opulent dining room glowing with a 10,000-crystal “decomposed chandelier,” Chef Christophe Saintagne interprets fine dining in a fresh, even earthy way through a streamlined menu that makes exquisite ingredients the main event. Complementing the meal, the service by absolutely charming Maître d’Hôtel Denis Courtiade—one of the best in Paris—is tailored to each table, while sommelier Laurent Roucayrol helps navigate the impressive wine list.
  • L’Ambroisie

     
    • French haute cuisine doesn’t get much more altitudinous than at this regal establishment where the most expensive and revered meal in France is a direct reflection of its perfectionist chefs Bernard and Mathieu Pacaud. Eschewing the cutting-edge for the classic, the menu focuses on excellent products tended to with perfected techniques and unmatched attention to detail. Décor, like the food, is unpretentiously luxurious and elegant Maître d’ Pascal Vettoux adds the finishing polish.
  • L’Arpège

     
    • While Chef Alain Passard’s menu is not strictly vegetarian, you will never have more exciting vegetable dishes than you will here because Passard grows many of his own ingredients in three nearby gardens and often serves them the same day they’re harvested. Be prepared for creative experiments on the plate, as nothing here is done in the “usual” way, and an extensive wine list, exceptional cheese plate, and desserts to complete a surprising dining experience.
  • L’Astrance

     
    • While Chef Pascal Barbot and partner Christophe Rohat opened this restaurant in 2000, their wildly creative cuisine continues to outdo itself. With no written menu, each meal is carefully choreographed by the talented Chef Barbot according to what’s freshest and in season. Often tinged with notes of citrus, spices, and herbs, with added depth of flavor from a variety of Asian ingredients, his surprising globally influenced French fare is as stunning on the plate as it is on the palate.
  • L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Saint-Germain

     
    • After Joël Robuchon closed his flagship restaurant in Paris, his L’Atelier quickly became “the next best thing.” Eschewing fine-dining convention, Robuchon takes reservations for only the first seating; the rest of the night is first-come, first-served. Here tables face a dramatically lit black-and-red counter behind which chefs in black uniforms can be seen whipping up culinary revelations under the watchful eye of Head Chef Axel Manes, and on some days, Chef Robuchon himself.
  • Carré des Feuillants

     
    • Using many of his native region’s best ingredients, Chef Alain Dutournier offers updated takes on the traditional cuisine of France’s southwest. His reverence for each ingredient is apparent even in a simple bouillon, which enamors with its scent of chestnuts and white truffles. An exciting 3,500-bottle wine list pays homage to the greats of Bordeaux and well-priced treasures of the southwest, but it also features international offerings and superb Armagnacs.
  • Le Coq Rico

     
    • Alsatian Antoine Westermann’s rotisserie-meets-bistro is a single-ingredient concept focused on gourmet interpretations of pedigree poultry. Within the modern white-on-white space with an open kitchen and counter, the whole bird is celebrated, from farm fresh eggs that can be ordered any way you like to gizzards to guinea fowl. While the kitchen, presided over by Chef Thierry Lébé, is known for its whole rotisserie-roasted farm-raised chickens other signature dishes merit consideration as well.
  • La Dame de Pic

     
    • Located near the Louvre, Anne-Sophie Pic’s sensational fourth restaurant—and first in Paris—shows her at the top of her game. Intending to surprise and delight, each selection of set menus features a striking and sensual concept, such as “Vanilla Amber” or “The Sea & Flowers.” Throughout, ingredients are impeccable, preparations are complicated but not overdone, and the taste theme is one of softness and smoothness with a requisite touch of crunch.
  • Epicure

     
    • Set in the famed Bristol Hotel in the fashionable 8th arrondissement, Epicure is as luxurious as it gets. Recently relocated within the property to a new Pierre-Yves Rochon–designed space with an exquisitely manicured courtyard garden, it offers one the best examples of modern French food. Chef de Cuisine Eric Frechon, who hails from the Parisian kitchens of Taillevent, La Tour d’Argent, and Le Crillon, oversees inventive cuisine that’s simultaneously modern and classic.
  • Laurent

     
    • Set in the glorious Champs-Elysées gardens in a pale pink 19th-century former Louis XIV hunting lodge, Laurent is the sort of special restaurant that makes Paris Paris. Grand, timeless, and utterly romantic with a gorgeous (and rare) outdoor terrace shaded by chestnut trees, the captivating environs are matched by the upgraded classic French cuisine of Alain Pégouret, who insures a meal is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds.
  • Pierre Gagnaire

     
    • In his eponymous and serenely decorated Right Bank restaurant, Chef Pierre Gagnaire lets stellar ingredients command diners’ attention. The menu changes with the seasons, but Gagnaire is always original. Eating food crafted by the man many critics consider the bravest, most exciting, and most original chef promises to be a revelation.
  • Le Pré Catelan

     
    • Chef Frédéric Anton, Joël Robuchon’s first studen to rise to culinary superstardom, offers romantic summer-alfresco and winter-fireside dining, ever-inventive French cuisine, and some of the city’s best service in this stunning, marble-columned venue. Having championed market-driven fare before it was fashionable, Chef Anton has long organized his menus by ingredients—crab, foie gras­, lamb, and more. As the diner, you need only decide on a main ingredient and let the chef present several variations.
  • Restaurant Guy Savoy

     
    • Chef Guy Savoy is as known for stellar French cooking as he is for providing what many consider the best service in Paris. Singularly innovative, his menu changes seasonally to highlight the freshest ingredient and simultaneously bows to and transcends tradition, as evidenced by his meltingly moist roast jarret de veau (veal knuckle) followed by rectangles of shiny fresh salmon “cooked” tableside on a bed of dry ice by a waiter. An expert staff helps perfect the experience.
  • Restaurant Jean-François Piège

     
    • After a career that includes stints at Paris’s Plaza Athénée and Hôtel de Crillon­, Jean-François Piège is clearly having fun. His tongue-in-chic restaurant with plush, midcentury furnishings and animal-skin throws invoke a Palm Springs speakeasy circa the Rat Pack era, while his cuisine is best described as “consistently provocative.” Daily menus offer five ingredients from which to choose as many as you wish, depending on price, and the remarkable wine list does justice to it all.
  • Rino

     
    • Experience at Paris’s L’Arpège, Le Chateaubriand, and La Gazzetta paved the way for Chef Giovanni Passerini to reinvent bistro dining with this modern, relaxed “le fooding”-style restaurant. Light seasonal flavors and decidedly unfussy preparations are cornerstone to the series of set menus, which change daily based on availability and Chef Passerini’s inspiration. Despite ongoing risk-taking in the kitchen, impressive training and innovative instincts mean that culinary missteps are rare.
  • Saturne

     
    • Chef Sven Chartier’s restaurant featuring modern and gastronomic dishes reflects his Scandinavian and French heritage, Basque training, and time spent at Paris’s L’Arpège and Racines restaurants. While the interior reminisces a posh Scandinavian loft, the menu answers diners’ burgeoning desire for fresh, inventive fare that is simultaneously familiar and surprisingly new. In keeping with the contemporary cuisine, sommelier Ewen Lemoigne presides over a list of mostly natural, organic wines.
  • Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel

     
    • Tucked away in the Shangri-La Hotel, Chef Frank Xu has set the bar high with his expertly prepared Chinese food complemented by flawlessly attentive and informed service. The resplendent and ornate interior is a perfect ambassador for Chinese culinary classics such as Peking duck, lion’s head meatballs, wonton soup, and barbecued spareribs. But it’s the dim sum that truly captivates.
  • La Table d’Aki

     
    • In 2010, after working for 20 years under Bernard Pacaud at Paris’s famed L’Ambroisie, Tokyo native and master poissonnier Akihiro Horikoshi opened his own tiny restaurant where he does it all with the assistance of just one server. As a result, the pure, simple, ultra-fresh food not only has the “Aki signature,” but also the echo of Pacaud’s sublime perfection.
  • Taillevent

     
    • Frequently acknowledged as the pinnacle of modern French haute cuisine, this monument to classic culinary perfection is as timeless and revered as the nearby Arc de Triomphe. A favorite choice for celebrations of all kinds, its understated clublike dining room is accompanied by the elegantly updated cuisine of Chef Alain Solivérès and his pastry chef Sylvain Pétrel as well as outstanding service. Combined they result in a virtually flawless classic French dining experience.
  • yam’Tcha

     
    • In a tiny, 24-seat space near Les Halles, Chef Adeline Grattard takes her classic French training due east, inflecting her cooking with influences from her husband’s native Hong Kong. The price-fixed tasting menu changes daily, wholly dependent on what the chef fancies at each morning’s market. A veteran of Paris’s L’Astrance restaurant, Grattard wields her wok to great effect while her husband, Chi Wah Chan, acts as tea steward, pairing earthy, smoky, and sweet teas with each dish.
  • Ze Kitchen Galerie

     
    • After making a name for himself at Paris’s Bistrot de l’Etoile and Les Bouquinistes, Chef Ledeuil now combines his classical French training with a passion for all things Asian in his own loftlike space. The minimalist décor and contemporary art provide ideal backdrops for the fireworks Ledeuil creates in the kitchen. As one of our critics rightly promises, “Flavors here are always enticing and always exciting.”
  • La Grenouillère

     
    • After growing up in his father’s restaurant and working in establishments throughout France, Chef Alexandre Gauthier made it his mission to revive his family’s La Grenouillère in a small town outside of Calais. At the helm, he challenges and reinterprets traditional French cooking with notably gastronomic, modern, and surprising results, while a recent makeover by notable French designer and architect Patrick Bouchain infused a sense of postindustrial minimalism.
  • Maison Troisgros

     
    • Troisgros has been synonymous with fine French cuisine for more than 80 years. Current Chef/proprietor Michel Troisgros is the third generation to successfully champion the family’s legendary culinary heritage, crafting cuisine that he describes as a playful mix of traditional French cooking with more experimental styles. With more than 2,000 wines in the cellar and helpful guidance at the ready, finding an ideal dinner companion is effortless.
  • Régis et Jacques Marcon

     
    • Perched atop a hill in France’s south-central Haute-Loire, the hotel and restaurant of father-son chefs Régis and Jacques Marcon are worth a detour. Both born and raised in the tiny village of Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid—and trained in the kitchen from an early age—they exhibit their long-standing passion for the best of the region’s bounty through the use of fresh herbs, locally raised meats and poultry, lentils from neighboring Puy, and the cornerstone of Marcon cooking: freshly foraged mushrooms.
  • Flocons de Sel

     
    • Paris-trained Emmanuel Renaut, who launched his career in the Crillon Hotel’s restaurant and later became sous-chef to French molecular gastronomist Marc Veyrat, takes modern French cuisine to great heights—literally—at his restaurant attached to a luxury resort in a popular ski area not far from Monte Blanc. Showcasing the flavors of the region, his menu features ingredients gathered from nearby markets, cheese shops, bakeries, distilleries, fishermen, beekeepers, and the natural surroundings.
  • Auberge du Vieux Puits

     
    • In a charming cottage in a quaint mountain village of less than 150 inhabitants, Chef Gilles Goujon and his wife, Marie-Christine, exemplify the rustic, hearty character of French country cooking to perfection. So much so, in fact, that the cuisine is best described as elegant stick-to-your-ribs food that perfectly expresses this chef’s Rabelaisian style. The menu is heavy on seafood, so expect salmon roe, caviar, oysters, and other fruits from the sea—as well as a spectacular cheese course.
  • Bras

     
    • Inside a tasteful, ultramodern dining room with its panoramic views of the plateau de l’Aubrac, self-taught chef Michel Bras and his son Sébastien elevate everyday herbs, flowers, and vegetables from their bucolic surroundings into shockingly pure yet refined regional dishes that astonish, delight, and accentuate a true sense of place. While meat and fish are done beautifully here, it’s their accompanying vegetables that truly awe, perhaps in the form of heirloom tomatoes transformed into seasoned, colorful tubes.
  • Mirazur

     
    • Italo-Argentinian Mauro Colagreco doesn’t merely offer picture-perfect views of the sea and marina in his four-level, 1930s-style restaurant perched on a hillside near Monaco; the highly acclaimed chef presents a modern taste of the surroundings. The creative and decidedly French menu with Mediterranean and molecular gastronomic influences makes best use of local fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers from his garden and his vast cooking experience in Paris’s best restaurants.
  • Le Louis XV

     
    • The dining room within Monaco’s opulent Hôtel de Paris, Le Louis XV is food legend Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant. Here co-Chefs Franck Cerutti and Dominique Lory use their proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and Provence to execute Ducasse’s flamboyant sophisticated style of modern French cuisine. Like the restaurant’s namesake, the neo-Baroque-style and gold-tinged interior are fit for royalty, as are the service and wine selection.
  • Esquisse

     
    • This French newcomer helmed by Frenchman and former Maison Troisgros chef Lionel Beccat quickly established itself one of Tokyo’s top restaurants. Like an expert watercolorist, Beccat blends Japanese seasonal ingredients with French techniques to create dishes that are visually arresting works of art. Desserts are also a delightful surprise of compositions, flavors, and presentations. Appropriately for a French restaurant located in Japan, guests can pair their meal with wine or tea.
  • Gentoushi Nakada

     
    • Leveraging an unexpectedly diverse selection of ingredients and his past experience as a chef of French cuisine, Chef Noboru Nakada balances Japanese and European cooking techniques and a less-is-more aesthetic to craft his seasonally appropriate Japanese fare. Though deceptively simple in appearance, his dishes achieve exemplary results through meticulous and often time-consuming preparations. However tasting them can be challenging, as the restaurant only accommodates regulars or their guests.
  • Ishikawa

     
    • In a black wood building tucked behind Tokyo’s Bishamonten shrine, Chef Hideki Ishikawa elevates the traditional, multicourse Japanese kaiseki dinner for guests seated at his four tables and seven counter seats. Every one of his kimono-clad servers can tell you the provenance of your meal and they may even produce an encyclopedia to illustrate unusual ingredients, making an evening here a complete cultural experience.
  • Iyuki

     
    • Chef Masao Ueda, the thoroughbred of the Japanese chefs, was born into a Kyoto family that’s long run one of the top traditional local ryokans (traditional inns) and boasts decades of experience in Japan’s famous restaurants. At this traditional establishment he leverages his experience and skill to blend Eastern and Western cooking techniques into a truly spectacular and wholly original dining experience that combines classic Kyoto cuisine with Tokyo influence.
  • Kanda

     
    • Proprietor Hiroyuki Kanda worked in world-class kitchens in France and Japan for years before opening his highly celebrated kaiseki hidden in a residential apartment building near Roppongi Station. True to kaiseki style, this contemporary Japanese cuisine is presented in an ever-changing set-course menu, one guided by the season and the chef’s inspiration. But it always consists of a series of raw and cooked dishes presented with a simple aesthetic that belies the kitchen’s exacting efforts.
  • Kawamura

     
    • With only eight seats at a small counter and a global reputation, Kawamura is one of the most difficult reservations to get in Tokyo. But there’s another reason: Chef Taro Kawamura’s way with Japanese beef is virtually unparalleled. Kawamura does everything here, from smoking salmon for appetizers to making his own foie gras paté to selecting the cuts of Kobe and Wagyu beef, which he grills for more than an hour and “rests” multiple times along the way to coax maximum flavor from each bite.
  • Kozasa

     
    • Not to be confused with Ginza’s Kozasa zushi, this unmarked nine-seat sushi bar hidden down an alley has a devout food-connoisseur following for one reason: Chef Shigeki Sasaki does not compromise. Whether securing the best catch of the day at the Tsukiji fish market or personally handcrafting and presenting every morsel, the modest proprietor-chef tirelessly works to maintain his tiny restaurant’s reputation for exceptional, fresh, never frozen, sushi.
  • Kyo Aji

     
    • Run by the legendary Chef Kenichiro Nishi, Kyo Aji is indisputably Tokyo’s top traditional Japanese restaurant, offering the penultimate rendition of Kyoto-style kappo cuisine. Though the Shinbashi-neighborhood destination only offers one menu a day, no meal is ever alike. The biggest challenge to enjoying a meal at Kyo Aji is similar to that at many of Tokyo’s finest: you’ll need to be invited by a regular or employ the aid of a connected hotel concierge to secure a seat.
  • Sushiso Masa

     
    • Tucked in the basement of a Nishiazabu office building, Sushiso Masa is one of the best-kept secrets in Tokyo. Although the seven-seat destination presided over by chef/owner Masakatsu Oka has all the trappings of better-known sushi temples—no printed menu, counter seats only, and a showman sushi master—it’s a personal favorite of insiders and critics who consider it more welcoming, more leisurely in pace, and a better value than its contemporaries.
  • Mikawa Zezankyo

     
    • Tokyo may be rife with tempura houses, but Mikawa Zezankyo stands apart. Covered from floor to ceiling with art and pottery commissioned by National Living Treasure artists, European antiques, and a giant copper ceiling fan in the shape of Saotome’s trademark hat, the four-floor converted home is a virtual museum of tempura, where meticulous attention is paid to everything from the type of oil and ingredients used to the final presentation and tableware.
  • RyuGin

     
    • A meal at RyuGin offers diners the chance to taste ultramodern gourmet Japanese fare. While Chef Seiji Yamamoto was once known for exploring Spanish molecular gastronomy, the cuisine in his surprisingly casual twenty-seat Roppongi Station restaurant has matured into well-executed, brilliantly conceived Japanese dishes. The tasting menus still employ cutting-edge cooking science, but they now also take direct inspiration from traditional seasonal kaiseki menus.
  • Sukiyabashi Jiro

     
    • Hailed a natural treasure and immortalized in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, 86-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono is as busy as ever in his Ginza district restaurant. Considered by some as the ne ultra plus of sushi temples, it’s in the basement of an office building. Still, the 10-seat counter-only sushi-ya is sought after by legions of fans clamoring to watch Chef Ono turn out gleaming cuts of fish draped over warm, perfectly seasoned rice at breakneck speed.
  • Sushi Nakamura

     
    • Chef Masanori Nakamura’s sushi features only what’s in season and fresh that day, and that might mean more than a dozen different kinds of seafood in a given meal. With deft motions and expertly applied seasonings, the chef makes each course soar, whether it’s simple but exquisitely fresh tuna, salmon, or uni (sea urchin). The combination of supple texture and bracing flavors proves astonishing, particularly in contrast to the traditional, rather humble surroundings.
  • Sushi Saito

     
    • Despite its humble Akasaka office building car park locale, sparsely decorated seven-seat Sushi Saito is one of Tokyo’s best sources for exquisite sushi sliced to order with ninja precision by young and surprisingly gregarious Chef Takashi Saito. Lauded for its amazingly pristine Tsukiji fish market seafood and perfectly seasoned rice, Saito makes it impossible to order wrong. In true sushi-ya spirit, a small selection of sake and wine is available to pair with the meal.
  • Gôra Kadan

     
    • Located two hours from Tokyo in Hakone National Park in a stately half-timbered mansion that was once the summer palace of the imperial family, Gôra Kadan is one of Japan’s most exclusive traditional Japanese inns. Although the rich and famous ostensibly come to this mountain retreat to take the famous hot springs, food lovers make the trek for the world-class Kyo-ryori (Kyoto-style) kaiseki dinners by chef Makoto Kobayashi.
  • Gion Sasaki

     
    • Often booked a year in advance, this Kyoto institution has established itself as one of the top destinations for unparalleled kaiseki dishes as elaborate in presentation as they are bold in flavor. Chef Hiroshi Sasaki presides over the counter-style seating, ensuring an intimate, exclusive audience for his traditional fare. Increasing the attraction, this top-quality experience in kaiseki cuisine comes at less than half the price of those offered at larger Kyoto establishments.
  • Hamasaku

     
    • Hamasaku has been impressing visitors, dignitaries, and celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Prince Charles for more than 80 years with its exemplary rendition of classical Kyoto-style cuisine. Equal parts kaseiki (multicourse dinner), kappo (Japanese counter fine-dining), café, and cooking school, the third-generation family-run restaurant set in a traditional two-story teahouse in Kyoto’s Higashiyama-ku area continues to attract food lovers with its diverse selection of dining options.
  • Kappo Masuda

     
    • Diners lucky enough to secure one of the nine counter seats or four tatami rooms at this Kyoto landmark will be mesmerized by chef-owner Takashi Masuda’s masterful Kyo-ryori cuisine—Kyoto-style food known for its distinct sophistication, visual beauty, and subtlety of taste. Often referred to as the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, it celebrates fresh seafood and Japanese beef, all ceremoniously prepared and presented in 10 to 12 courses by Masuda-san and his son, Satoshi Masuda.
  • Kikunoi Honten

     
    • Within a traditional Japanese ryōtei (luxurious Japanese restaurant), Yoshihiro Murata—one of Kyoto’s most famous chefs, undisputed master of kaiseki cuisine, and the third-generation chef-owner of renowned Kikunoi—anchors his kaiseki dishes in their 16th-century culinary origins while evolving them with the seasons and latest culinary trends. Enjoyed in a private dining room, a meal consists of 14 or so courses, each more expertly crafted than the last.
  • Kinmata

     
    • Run by fifth-generation owner and Head Chef Haruji Ukai, one of Kyoto’s most well-preserved traditional Japanese inns is also home to some of the region’s most inventive kaiseki fare. The multicourse menu is strongly guided by traditional and contemporary influences and the freshest ingredients, yet a stringent sense of history and authenticity are evident in everything from the environment in which the food is served to the museum-quality ceramics its served on.
  • Kitcho Arashiyama

     
    • Set against a backdrop of the Arashiyama Mountain and the Ōi River, Kitcho Arashiyama is an oasis so captivating that it commands attention despite its breathtaking surroundings. Not only a restaurant but a museum of Japanese culture, this destination’s heritage-inspired food, kimono-clad servers, individual garden-view tatami rooms, and antique serving dishes underscore Chef Kunio Tokuoka’s commitment to offering the best of traditional Japanese luxury dining.
  • Kodaiji Wakuden

     
    • In the shadow of the 17th-century Kodaiji temple, Wakuden offers its own taste of Japanese history. From the building’s streamlined traditional décor and its counter seating to the handmade ceramics that vary with the seasons and the lovingly prepared local cuisine, Wakuden evokes both a simpler time and an authentic Japanese experience.
  • Miyamasou

     
    • Nestled on Mount Miyama in a traditional country inn an hour-long drive from Kyoto, Miyamasou offers the quintessential classical Japanese dining experience. Each morning, Chef Hisato Nakahigashi forages the neighboring fields, forests, and rivers for ingredients for his kaiseki dinners prepared in tsumikusa-ryori (young herb cuisine) style. Seated at a rectangular-shaped chestnut counter, guests watch the chef meticulously prepare a series of little dishes artfully arranged on lacquerware.
  • Mizai

     
    • Located in an old teahouse in Kyoto’s Maruyama Park, Mizai is hailed as one of Japan’s best practitioners of tea-ceremony-type kaiseki cuisine. The short walk to the restaurant, guided by an apprentice holding lanterns, is the first hint of the drama to follow. At the lacquered 14-seat counter the theater truly begins as Chef Hitoshi Ishihara, who trained at Kyoto’s highly regarded Arashiyama Kitcho, displays his showmanship via a parade of sophisticated dishes on beautifully handcrafted ceramics.
  • Sakurada

     
    • Despite its hidden location down a pedestrian back alley in an unmarked house, Sakurada is one of the Karasuma district’s most well-known restaurants. Its owner, Chef Isuzu Sakurada, hails from the venerable ryōtei-style Shofukuro restaurant where he honed the craft of tea-ceremony-style kaiseki, a procession of courses inspired by and meant to evoke the seasons. At Sakurada, traditional kaiseki style is honored in an understated dining room.
  • Shuhaku

     
    • Small and simple, yet one of Kyoto’s top Japanese restaurant, this intimate counter-seating-only establishment is owned and operated by Chef Nobuhisa Yoshida, who spent his early years in the kitchens of French restaurants in Kyoto. As a result, his enchanting evolution of traditional Kyoto-style fare is a wholly new and impressive version of Japanese cuisine that integrates French technique. As with the best of both cuisines, dishes are seasonal, highlighting the freshest local ingredients.
  • Hajime

     
    • Despite its incognito location on a backstreet in Osaka, this supremely innovative modern French restaurant named after the young chef-owner Hajime Yoneda hardly flies under the radar. The four-year-old restaurant quickly shot to fame as one of the city’s finest for its spontaneous high-end tasting menus that marry the creativity of molecular gastronomy, classical techniques of French cooking, and Japanese cultural devotion to the natural world.
  • Kigawa Asai

     
    • With more than 100 dishes listed—only in Japanese—on the kitchen wall, no other restaurant of this caliber offers such an array of dishes to explore à la carte. Despite its vastness, Koreto Kubo’s menu changes daily, based on the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available and Eastern and Western influences. Still, Chef Kubo tries to evoke a strong sense of Osaka, from the cuisine highlighting local, seasonal ingredients to the classic décor.
  • Kokin Aoyagi

     
    • Perched above the Naruto Strait in Setonaikai National Park near Tokushima, Kokin Aoyagi doesn’t simply offer stunning views of the surrounding gardens, sea, and islands; it’s the very expression of the region. A favorite of many critics and the training grounds for many now-famous Japanese chefs, it’s the flagship of one of Japan’s most celebrated chefs, Hirohisa Koyama, who took it over from his grandfather and presides over the almost too-pretty-to-eat kaiseki offerings.
  • Le Bernardin

     
    • More than 25 years after opening, this French seafood mainstay continues to hold its four-star status longer than any other New York establishment. Co-owner/Chef Eric Ripert has an encyclopedic knowledge of classical French culinary technique, as evidenced by his price-fixed menus featuring flawlessly and faultlessly creative dishes that are heavily influenced by global flavors and are simultaneously simple and sophisticated.
  • Blanca

     
    • Tucked in the back of Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s, Chef Carlo Mirarchi’s uniquely sought-after dining experience is found within his 12-seat “tasting room” open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Each night’s take-it-or-leave-it menu, which is never the same, features 12 unconventional, often exhilarating dishes that meld flavors and textures in unexpected ways. Though Mirarchi’s food is influenced by Italian cuisine, his reinterpretations catapult the familiar into new culinary territory.
  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns

     
    • Located in New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley, Blue Hill is a total farm-to-table vision that was realized by brothers Dan and David Barber long before the concept became trendy. Rather than one set menu, Chef Dan Barber offers diners a choice between a five-, eight-, or 12-course “farmer’s feasts,” each of which reflects the day’s on-property harvest. Not surprisingly, vegetables are outstanding. Pastoral enchantment is ensured thanks to the old dairy barn dining room and countryside views.
  • Brushstroke

     
    • A collaboration between New York chef and restaurant mogul David Bouley and Yoshiki Tsuji, the president of, Japan’s revered Osaka-based Tsuji Culinary Institute, Brushstroke emphasizes Japanese small-plate multicourse meals, artfully crafted from seasonal ingredients. Head Chef Isao Yamada, a master of the traditional cooking style, offers fixed-price menus as well as an omakase (chef’s choice) menu, the latter of which he tailors to the diner’s individual palate.
  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

     
    • At this diminutive Brooklyn eatery, Chef César Ramírez and his crew create an ever-changing tasting menu of Japanese cuisine with French influences from the freshest ingredients available. Diners seated at one of the 18 counter seats are privy to Ramírez’s advice for each of his petite dishes, from the best utensil to use to the optimum number of bites it should take. The Eurocentric wine list is, like the menu, stellar.
  • Daniel

     
    • Within the formal silvery gray and chocolate brown Adam D. Tihany-designed dining room, Chef (and owner) Daniel Boulud and Executive Chef Jean François Bruel present perfectly prepared modern French food in an absolutely classic manner. For this reason many critics agree Daniel is perhaps New York’s most reliable restaurant for great food and service. That reliability extends to the ambitious wine list, which includes a spectacular selection of wines under $100.
  • Degustation

     
    • One of the more diminutive jewels in restaurateur Jack Lamb’s East Village empire, this 19-seat spot evokes the tapas bars of Spain. However, Chef Nicholas Licata’s style is more international: it’s Spanish with touches of French, Japanese, and even modernist cuisine. All the seats around the U-shape blonde-wood bar face a gleaming stainless-steel kitchen, providing perfect vantage points from which to watch the culinary transformations happen.
  • Jean Georges

     
    • Despite his far-flung restaurant empire, French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten continues to turn out exciting food in his flagship restaurant, which is one of New York’s most appealing dining rooms. The airy space with magical natural light and Central Park views is the perfect backdrop for Chef Vongerichten’s shockingly original contemporary dishes, all of which underscore his mastery of French technique and his passion for seasonal ingredients and Asian influences.
  • Kurumazushi

     
    • Expect no bells and whistles here. Rather, whether at the simple, blonde-wood bar, the handful of additional tables, or in the small private dining room, simply indulge in top-notch edo, or nigiri-style sushi and sashimi that’s best described as superb. You can order à la carte, but if you select the omakase, or chef’s choice, Chef Toshihiro Uezu will, with little fanfare, astonish you with an array of fresh dishes.
  • Marea

     
    • In his paean to fresh pasta and seafood, revered Chef Michael White marries the two in spectacular fashion and in an equally alluring setting. The long list of oysters, caviar, and creative crudo and seafood antipasti changes seasonally, but a meal might kick off with octopus crudo with chili oil, lemon, and parsley or sea urchin wrapped in lard and sprinkled with sea salt. Even more exciting are the renowned pastas, which are made in-house and by hand.
  • Masa

     
    • In contrast to the bustling upscale mall in which it resides, Manhattan’s greatest sushi restaurant is serene and singular in its focal point—the ten-seat counter made from a $60,000-slab of imported Japanese hinoki wood and lit to showcase the intricate, opulent presentations of Chef Masa Takayama. He and his staff craft the day’s offerings from what’s freshest and in season and serve them on handmade pottery, some of it cast by Chef Takayama, who works with a Japanese potter each year.
  • Momofuku Ko

     
    • This tiny, twelve-seat laboratory remains the most intimate and ambitious enterprise in peripatetic Chef David Chang’s ever-expanding oeuvre. Relentlessly experimental and entirely market driven, Momofuku Ko combines French, Korean, Japanese, Scandinavian, Italian, and more in a cuisine that’s thoroughly global, often memorable, and offered as 10 courses of successfully adventurous combinations.
  • Per Se

     
    • Considered by many as “French Laundry east”—a reference to owner-chef Thomas Keller’s other temple to the art of food in California’s pastoral Napa Valley—Per Se, doesn’t offer a mere meal, but a sense-provoking culinary oratorio orchestrated with great aplomb by Keller and Chef de Cuisine Eli Kaimeh. The menu features French Laundry classics, seasonal variations, and new creations, each exquisitely presented, finished tableside, and exemplifying Keller’s perpetual strive for perfection.
  • Soto

     
    • Inside the simply elegant white room marked by a blonde-wood sushi bar, white-tablecloth-draped tables, and a large inlaid red circle on a wall, Chef Sotohiro Kosugi and several assistants craft an inventive, modern menu that emphasizes fresh fish. Whether you come for sushi, small plates or “kitchen” menu or the multicourse omakase menu, uni (sea urchin) is a must. Chef Kosugi has a masterful way with tartare as well. The wine list offers an impressive array of artisanal sakes.
  • Alinea

     
    • Everything about Alinea is revolutionary, as if Chef Grant Achatz wants to redefine what a restaurant can be. Consequently, an evening here feels more like a performance in which the kitchen, servers, and diners are all participants. The star, Chef Achatz, is a master of molecular gastronomy who astounds with a surprisingly balanced and satisfying, indescribably creative menu. Accentuating the dinner theater trope, rather than accepting reservations, Alinea sells tickets for its tasting menu.
  • L20

     
    • Behind the scenes at L2O, in two different tanks that mimic different bodies of water, Chef Matthew Kirkley houses everything from Brittany blue lobsters to geoduck clams to California abalone, all in the name of fine dining. Consequently, two seafood-heavy tasting menus are impeccably and artfully composed each night, while Wine Director Richard Hanauer presides over an extraordinary collection of vintage Champagnes and a list rich with white Burgundies.
  • Benu

     
    • Tucked into a tiny lane in San Francisco’s SoMa district, Korean-born chef Corey Lee produces some of the city’s most modern, inventive, and artfully crafted cuisine. Formerly at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, Lee shares Keller’s exacting standards and mastery of French technique. But his Asian-influenced American fare is entirely original. Midweek, an à la carte menu is offered, but to get a true sampling of the next generation of culinary sophistication, opt for the tasting menu.
  • Chez Panisse

     
    • This Berkeley landmark has been a gastronomic destination for 40-plus years. Menus, which are overseen by chefs Jérôme Waag and Cal Peternell change nightly, feature gorgeously pristine, straightforward preparations of organic and sustainably grown and harvested ingredients. Though chefs have changed over the years, founding chef Alice Waters’s guiding vision and passion, verging on obsession, for procuring the best possible local ingredients keeps the restaurant and its upstairs “café” on course.
  • The French Laundry

     
    • Though Thomas Keller’s Napa Valley, California, jewel might be one of the most difficult restaurant reservations to get in the country, for serious food lovers it’s one of the most worthwhile. Within its intimate Wine Country setting, Keller and Chef de Cuisine David Breeden continue to parlay classical French culinary techniques into utterly rich and luxurious multicourse meals—all of which are plated to perfection, finished tableside, and explained in elaborate detail.
  • The Restaurant at Meadowood

     
    • Pastoral surroundings provide the culinary inspiration and backdrop for Chef Christopher Kostow’s inventive Wine Country cuisine. With no menu, guests are presented with a card listing ingredients included in the evening’s daily-changing eight- to nine-course fixed-price affair. Each meal begins with a parade of whimsical one-bite amuse-bouches, but it’s courses, featuring the freshest, in-season products plucked from nearby farms and the restaurant’s gardens, where Kostow’s talents truly shine.
  • Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

     
    • Famed chef Alain Ducasse brings his signature French haute cuisine to a stunning London setting. Patrick Jouin designed the sumptuous space around a sparkling centerpiece, the “Table Lumière”—a table for six shrouded by a ceiling-to-floor veil of 4,500 shimmer fiber optics. Though dramatic texture and flair are the cornerstone of the restaurant’s design, pure, elemental French cuisine championed by Chef Jocelyn Herland is the focus on the plate.
  • The Fat Duck

     
    • After nearly two decades, this British stalwart still annually receives the highest accolades—whether as “Best Restaurant in the UK” or even in the world. Much of this is due its self-taught chef-owner Heston Blumenthal, who is widely praised for helming the molecular gastronomy movement—though he proclaims to loathe that term. Call it what you will: Blumenthal uses modern technology and a multisensory culinary approach to create sometimes-revolutionary dishes.
  • The Waterside Inn

     
    • After more than four decades serving spectacular French food in a stunning Thames River waterfront setting, the Waterside Inn is no less than a national treasure. Founding chef-owner Michel Roux’s magnificent attention to detail has resulted in a dining room both formal and relaxed, a place where classic cooking, formal presentation, and astute combinations of taste and texture are celebrated. Alain Roux, who inherited the throne from his now-retired father, maintains Michel’s lofty standards.
  • Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

     
    • Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons may occupy a windowed dining room in a 15th-century English manor house turned boutique luxury hotel, but it might as well be in France. Here, imaginative French food is crafted from fresh local produce picked from the property’s two-acre garden at its prime by chef-patron Raymond Blanc and his executive head chef, Gary Jones, whose Old-World-meets-New-World style is evident throughout the seasonal menu.
  • Noma

     
    • Located in a converted 18th-century food warehouse, this foodie Mecca is where Chef René Redzepi performs oversees the collision of modernism and locavorism. Redzepi puts to rest the myth of Scandinavia as produce deficient; along with an on-staff forager, he searches for and plucks much of what he serves in his seasonal, daily-changing tasting menu, which might include live ants or tiny fjord shrimp, deep-fried lichen, or sautéed moldy barley terrine—all startling yet superb.
  • Aqua

     
    • Located inside the Ritz-Carlton in Germany’s industrial town of Wolfsburg, Aqua is one of the region’s main draws, primarily due to the artistry of its renowned chef, Sven Elverfeld. Elverfeld’s singular genius and mission is reflected in the strikingly graphic contemporary German dishes he creates: at once incredibly simple yet cleverly refined, and exploring a decidedly German taste spectrum of smoke, sourness, and salt tempered by occasional Italian or Spanish inflections.
  • Steirereck

     
    • One of the finest places in Vienna to experience modern Austrian food, Steirereck is located in an opulently restored light-filled German art nouveau pavilion in the city’s Stadtpark, gorgeously situated along the river bank. The landmark setting is a fitting backdrop for Chef Heinz Reitbauer and his wife, Birgit, who elevate their country’s traditional cuisine through the use of contemporary techniques and sustainably produced local ingredients, some of which are grown in their own gardens.
  • Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia

     
    • Aimo and Nadia Moroni have been steadily turning out some of Milan’s most notable dishes for more than half a century. The couple’s 40-seat restaurant is dedicated to the best seasonal ingredients, which Chefs Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini transform into classic Italian cooking tweaked in the most marvelous ways. Among the restaurant’s many charms are Aimo’s daughter, Stefania, the “soul of Aimo e Nadia” and their exceptional wine list.
  • Le Calandre

     
    • Chef Massimiliano Alajmo took over his longstanding family business just two years after he was old enough to vote, and in less than a decade he turned it into one of the world’s top food destinations. His seasonal fare is hearty and often traditional, but always with a notable and original twist. Underscoring the ingenuity of today’s generation, Le Calandre’s 100-plus-page wine list is presented on an iPad and organized by grape varietal, origin, and price.
  • Osteria Alle Testiere

     
    • The rustic atmosphere at this tiny trattoria tucked into a quiet Venetian street near the Campo Santa Maria Formosa belies the sophisticated dining experience that accompanies it. Nine simple tables are virtual blank canvases for Chef Bruno Gavagnin’s extraordinary seasonal and local Italian fare prepared with a hint of modernity in his impossibly tiny kitchen. Together with co-owner and sommelier Luca Di Vita, Gavagnin serves straightforward, yet consistently delicious coastal favorites.
  • Osteria Francescana

     
    • In a land steeped in tradition, Chef Massimo Bottura turns the institution of Italian food on its head. With nods to both the noble local ingredients and the greats of modernist cuisine, he combines a bit of art and theater, classic Italian, and modernist cooking techniques to create food as whimsical as it is satisfying. He often employs deconstructivist tactics, but there are nods to the past. Still, in Bottura’s hands, everything old is entirely new.
  • Mugaritz

     
    • Mugaritz is one Spain’s finest practitioners of “techno-emotional” molecular gastronomy. Nestled in a rustic farmhouse in the Basque countryside about 10 miles outside of San Sebastian, it’s run by Andoni Luis Aduriz, one of the country’s most inventive young chefs who, along his battalion of cooks, is constantly pushing the envelope, turning out thought-provoking deconstructed cuisine that’s designed to evoke emotion and a sense of place.
  • Asador Etxebarri

     
    • In an old, stone building in the tiny Basque village of Bizkaia, self-taught chef Victor Arguinzoniz presides over a stove-free kitchen, using two wood-fired ovens and his custom grill to cook everything from appetizers to desserts. Taking this simple notion and method to its extreme, he combines only the best, seasonal ingredients and a variety of woods—olive, oak, apple—to infuse his dishes with sublime and very subtle hints of smoke to create astonishingly complex food.
  • El Celler de Can Roca

     
    • Run by three brothers—Chef Joan, patissier Jordi, and sommelier Josep Roca—and located in an old stone villa sixty miles north of Barcelona in the medieval town of Girona, El Celler de Can Roca serves some of the finest, modern, yet never overwrought regional food in Spain. The triangular wood-and-glass dining room oriented around a minimalist atrium creates a warm and inviting canvas for the wildly creative Catalan cuisine coming out of the kitchen.
  • Family Li Imperial Cuisine

     
    • Family patriarch and restaurant founder Li Shanlin’s son, Li Xiao Lin, cooks recipes his great-great-grandfather collected while running the household for the imperial court of the Qing Dynasty. Though the recipes were later destroyed by the Red Guard, Li memorized hundreds of them and spent years re-creating them. In an elegant space decorated with ornate, carved-wood screens and damask tablecloths, Li and his progeny pride themselves on serving faithfully executed Imperial Palace cuisine.
  • Fook Lam Moon

     
    • The flagship and original location of what is now a string of outposts in China and Japan, Fook Lam Moon has been a Hong Kong institution for more than four decades. Of its many famous Cantonese dishes, the restaurant’s signature crispy chicken is more than enough to lure diners from around the globe. But regulars know there’s much more to enjoy within the unassuming old-world second-floor dining room, including some of the best dim sum in Hong Kong.
  • Sun Tung Lok

     
    • For more than four decades, Sun Tung Lok has been famed in Hong Kong and beyond for both its delicate, traditional Cantonese dim sum and its handling of the triumverate of Chinese luxury staples: shark’s fin, abalone, and bird’s nest. Family run since 1969, the restaurant currently resides in a strip mall, a humble address that hides an elegant interior where dim sum (daytime only) and à la carte menus are an embarrassment of riches.
  • Bukhara

     
    • New Delhi’s most venerated restaurant has been a favorite of restaurant critics, well-heeled travelers, and heads of state since its 1978 opening. The wood-and-stone-wall dining room offers a fittingly rustic setting for traditional yet upscale Northwestern Frontier cuisine. The restaurant prides itself on serving the same menu since the day it opened, and for good reason: its signature kebabs are considered the best tandoori food in India.
  • Indian Accent

     
    • In a minimalist setting, northern Indian-born chef Manish Mehrotra offers adventurous and internationally influenced riffs on Indian street food. He mingles Asian flavors and inspirations from far corners of the globe into his dishes. Naan might arrive with melted Stilton. Chilean spareribs could be accented with dried mango. Another Mehrotra specialty—deep-fried soft-shell crab with spicy south Indian gunpowder masala and coconut—won India’s top TV food competition, Foodistan.
  • Karavalli

     
    • Karavalli is one of the first restaurants in India to serve the type of food enjoyed in the southwest coastal belt stretching across Goa, Mangalore, and Kerala. Presiding over the refined southern cuisine is Chef Naren Thimmaiah, who spent more than two decades collecting recipes from locals throughout the region. Amidst environs resembling a traditionally tiled Mangalorean house, seafood is the star, with freshly caught baby lobster, squid, prawns, and ladyfish often among the offerings.
  • Iggy’s

     
    • Though born and bred in Singapore, globe-trotting sommelier Ignatius Chan is clearly a citizen of the world. His eponymous, hometown restaurant provides a platform for the flavors and techniques he encountered during his exhaustive travels. Housed since late 2010 in the city’s Orchard Road Hilton, the small dining room’s chic, streamlined décor is an apt backdrop to Chef Akmal Anuar’s adventurous food presented with modern European flair.
  • Tetsuya’s

     
    • Run by Australia’s most famous celebrity chef, Tetsuya Wakuda, this high-end Japanese-French restaurant in the center of Sydney is unparalleled in popularity. The serene dining room alone—with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a Japanese-inspired garden filled with bonsai trees and waterfalls—provides an urban oasis worthy of a visit. But the 10-course set tasting menu presided over by Tets, as the Japanese-born chef is often referred to, continues to be the main draw.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s