So much to eat, so little time. In this world of Tony Roma’s and Olive Gardens, it’s hard to know which world-class eateries are worth a shot. Fear no more, the next time the task of choosing where to fine dine while traveling proves daunting, refer to this mini-guide of sorts. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
First on the list: El Bulli Ristorante in Cala Montjol, Roses (for those who don’t know, it’s in Spain). With “the Salvador Dali of cooking,” a.k.a. Ferran Adria in the kitchen, conventions in cooking are thrown out the window. Adria has a cult-like following of foodie adventurers (some two million would-be diners to be exact) who cry for a reservation at El Bulli, which is only open half the year; for the other half, Adrià retreats to a workshop to perfect dishes like the “red mullet mummy.” Bring it on, Ferran.
The next restaurant on our list is The Fat Duck in the English Village of Bray. The Michelin three-starred resto is run by Heston Blumenthal, who subverts traditional notions of taste and texture with ingenious dishes like smoked bacon-and-egg ice cream and cauliflower risotto accented with chocolate jelly. Deep down, we know the Brits come up with the most delectable cuisine.
Pierre Gagnaire in the Hôtel Balzac in Paris is like the Holy Land to top chefs around the world. Perhaps that is why said top chefs make pilgrimages every year to the eponymous resto, to experience his daring and technically dazzling takes on French classics, like braised veal with raspberry and sorrel. That is definitely why it is number three on the list.
Number four on the list: Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. The most esteemed chef in America is worshipped for his whimsically refined dishes at the Napa Valley resto. Among his most heralded dishes is the luxurious Oysters and Pearls: oysters and white sturgeon caviar laid on a bed of tapioca pearls and sabayon.
Last but definitely not least, we have our friends from the East who have so graciously provided us with Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo. Head chef Seiji Yamamoto’s blend of traditional kaiseki with the avant-garde is so innovative, its had superstar chefs like Ferran Adria travel east to sample the delicious cuisine. To make his signature hamo eel soup, Yamamoto studied the eel’s anatomy on a CT scan before carving the fish’s flesh into delicate flowers.
Everywhere you go, there’s a quality restaurant calling, waiting to be at your culinary beck and call. So what are you waiting for?