Some travel to a city to visit the monuments, museums, and other tourist attractions. For others, you must travel to experience culture and life. Wherever you end up, you must find the top restaurants to eat at. For the second annual World’s Best Restaurants list. A collaboration between Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, restaurant critic Besha Rodell set out on another ambitious global research trip. But when the world screeched to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, She found her reporting cut short. And an industry facing unprecedented challenges. Here, some hopeful meditations on the future of dining.
Guy Savoy Monnaie de Paris, France (Paris), Chef: Guy Savoy / Score: 99.5:
The eponymous restaurant of the man Gordon Ramsay calls his mentor. Guy Savoy opened his first place in the French capital in 1980. And has been at the Monnaie de Paris – the Paris Mint – since 2015. His focus on flavor has produced signature dishes. Such as artichoke soup with black truffle. And layered truffled mushroom brioche; iced poached oysters. And red mullet ‘swimming in the sea’ with a courgette garnish. At every lunch service, one table is reserved for (relatively) less wealthy clientele. Thus, can choose three courses for €130 ($145).
Situated in the 6th district, Guy Savoy is truly an artist. He scrupulously selects his French fine dining ingredients according to their origins. And pays them the utmost respect: orchestrating extraordinary variations on flavors and textures. That has earned him his golden reputation. The end result is some of the finest fares in the world. Classics reinterpreted with cutting-edge culinary techniques. Its splendid dining-room is a showplace for modern art.
Le Bernardin Restaurant, USA (New York), Chef: Eric Ripert, Score: 99.5:
Completely refurbished in 2011, the dining room is comfortable. Hence, Modern space with waiters in Nehru-style jackets carefully presiding. Thus, over the white tablecloth dining room’s well-heeled clientele. Established in Paris nearly 50 years ago my brother and sister Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze. Hence, Le Bernardin expanded to New York in 1986. Decorated New York chef Eric Ripert has run the kitchen for more than 20 years. Thus, following the untimely passing of Gilbert.
However, Le Bernardin offers several tasting menu options. The classic four-course menu is split into three sections. Almost Raw, Barely Touched, and Lightly Cooked – with dishes marrying French. And global influences, especially those from Asia. Think kampachi sashimi with Niçoise olives and a Greek-inspired salad. And seared octopus with tomatillo salsa and red wine-mole sauce. In a restaurant like this, I wasn’t going to mess around with choosing things off a menu. Give me your best, and give it to me now, Chef. It’s a one-way ticket to tasting menu town. This menu was $225.00 per person, which is not cheap. But, well, it was a celebration and a special night. So I went all-in on the Chef’s Tasting. A step above the regular tasting menu.
Nihonryori Ryugin, Japan (Tokyo), Chef: Seiji Yamamoto, Score: 99.5:
The dragon has always played an important role in Japan. People believed it protected against evil and brought good fortune. So the dragons can be seen in many places around Japan. Ryu means dragon in Japanese and RyuGin stands for the singing dragon. The dragons play an important symbolic role for Chef Patron Seiji Yamamoto. And you will see them all over his fantastic restaurant.
Chef Yamamoto was only 33 years old when he founded his RyuGin. And he was completely unafraid of combining all. He has been taught about traditional Japanese kaiseki with the latest cooking techniques including molecular gastronomy. His work resulted in many new creations. And a touch of avant-garde and the Chef’s curiosity. And daring style has continued over the years. Even if he is a bit more modest nowadays compared to his younger years.
The seven tables with less than 20 seats are quickly filled up. So an early reservation is essential. If you like to enjoy all the intelligence. The humor, and creativity offered at the Singing Dragon. The menu is often changed. Thus divided into cold and hot dishes. A hot rather exotic dish is the Japanese turtle tofu with green onion oil. And a cold dish can be the premium monkfish liver from Hokkaido. Hence, with a variety of vegetables in special miso soup. There are loads of more or less high-end created cuisine. Thus will be a wonderful challenge for all your senses.
Sugalabo Restaurant, Japan (Tokyo), Chef: Yosuke Suga, Score: 99.5:
Yosuke Suga spent 17 years working with world-renowned chef Joël Robuchon. Beginning as his personal assistant, Suga moved through the ranks. And eventually became the executive chef of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Tokyo. He went on to help launch L’Atelier outlets in New York, Taipei, and Paris. Stepping into Sugalabo feels like entering a friend’s sleek home kitchen tricked out with all the latest gadgets. The restaurant, divided between a dining counter, one large table. And a small private dining room offers just 20 seats.
Eating out in Tokyo can be tricky for visitors. Due to Japan’s culture of introduction-only dining. Some restaurants only accept reservations from guests. However, who knows or has a connection to, the chef. Sugalabo is precisely that. For those who gain entry, the next step is to find the actual restaurant. That located in Tokyo’s Azabudai neighborhood. Look for a sign that reads Orange Coffee. Hence, the restaurant lies directly behind it. Sugalabo’s days of operation are anything but regular. That’s because Suga takes monthly trips. Throughout Japan to search for new, inspiring ingredients, tableware, and tools. When he’s on the road, the restaurant closes.
Kitcho Arashiyama, Japan (Kyoto), Chef: Kunio Tokuoka, Score: 99:
Founder Teiichi Yuki opened this famous restaurant in 1948. The rooms are decorated with seasonal furnishings. And the garden against the borrowed background of Arashiyama creates a unique world of beauty. Third-generation owner Kunio Tokuoka puts together plates featuring colorful layouts of choice ingredients. That harmonizes with the beautiful serving dishes. He carries on the spirit of the founder. Thus, providing an all-round sensory experience.
Kitcho Arashiyama is also well-known for its hiking prices. Among the 43200 yen (lunch only), 48600 yen, 54000 yen. And the unknown $$$ chef’s menu. All the menus have merely differences in the number of dishes. But higher-quality ingredients are used in the more expensive courses. The first appetizer was Ise Lobster with Vinegar Sauce, Summer Vegetables, and Jyu-sai. The lobster has a rarely touched center. And hence, a slightly seared on the outside. The juicy texture matches well with the refreshing summer tastes of the local vegetables. A lovely dish to start with.
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