These are the 5 restaurants in the world where I would really like to eat at. Let's be clear here - these are going to be fine dining establishments which cost, well, they're not cheap. My listing of these places certainly does not mean that I like to eat in these sort of restaurants exclusively, nor does it mean I disdain hole-in-the-wall, street-side dining, neighborhood joints, fast food places, or hot dog carts. But if I had the means and the money, I would like to have a meal at these 5 places. Yes, they're almost all the result of media - but also word-of-mouth.
El Bulli - Roses, Spain
Chef Ferran Adria's restaurant on Costa Brava on the Southern side of Spain is world famous, impossible to get reservations for, basically inspired the entire molecular gastronmy movement (although Adria has said he's moved well beyond foams now) and has been voted restaruant of the year multiple times from multiple media sources. I'm really interested in this place - of course driven by media coverage - but it really seems like Adria has an eye on changing what people's preceptions of food and eating and what a meal is - and I've eaten at a few places in Barcelona and Madrid (and elsewhere) run by El Bulli alumni. Now I'd like to try the source. (Wikipedia says that rumors that El Bulli are closing are false -and the restaurant will re-open with a two season break between 2012 and 2014)
Masa NYC, New York City, NY, USA
Probably the most absurdly priced restaurant on this list, with the omokase menu at $400 before drinks. But Chef Takayama when he was running Ginza Sushi-ko in Beverly Hills had the best sushi restaurant in the best sushi city outside of Japan. I ate there once (with my venture capitalist cousin) and the experience was amazing. I can still remember the texture of the uni to this day, about 15 years later. In fact, I write about it now, and I have a pavlovian response. Plus, Masa NYC is supposed to be the most expensive table in the US.
Dragon Well Manor, Hangzhou, China
I'd only heard of this place via theNew Yorker article describing it as the "Chez Panisse of China" From the article:
From the article:
Dai is the owner of the Dragon Well Manor, a restaurant in Hangzhou, the provincial capital. In an age of industrialization, dire pollution, and frequent food scares, the Dragon Well Manor is committed to offering its guests a kind of prelapsarian Chinese cuisine. Dai assures them that everything he serves will be made from natural ingredients, untainted by pesticides or melamine, and with no added MSG. Each morning, his buyers drive out into the countryside to collect the best of the season’s produce. Often they make several trips in a day: a quick dash to a nearby farm to pick up freshly harvested vegetables; a longer journey to inspect a pig or collect a consignment of eggs; an evening excursion for freshwater fish, shrimp, and eels. At other times, they will drive into the mountains, hike for hours, and then stay overnight before returning to Hangzhou with, say, a batch of wild shiitake mushrooms.
Peter Lugar, Brooklyn, New York City
If New York City is the best place in the world for steak (arguable, but its on the short list at least - along with Chicago, Kansas City, Tokyo and Buenos Aries .. . maybe Paris) and Peter Lugar is often voted best steak . . .well, its at least gotta be pretty high on the world's list for best steaks.
via www.nycgo.comAlina, Chicago, USA I read a crazy story once about Grant Achatz, the chef/owner in an airplane magazine once about how he broke down trying to make a menu and meal for 10 distinguished chefs. Anyone who goes to that length to provide a memorable experience can cook for me anytime. Also, the way he plays with flavors (supposedly) is mind-boggling. French Laundry, Yountville, CA Blah blah. 6 months for reservations. Keller is a maniac. All I know is that I've been to Bouchon in Vegas, and it was one of my favorite meals of all time. I'd like to go to the mother ship please.