Traveling is surely one way to see the world and to learn about life in ways that are extraordinary. For me personally, one of the best things about traveling is getting to try the food in different countries. I’ve had a few memorable meals, and as I embark on a new trip soon, it feels like now is a good time to look back at some of those wonderful restaurant experiences I’ve had from across the world.
Here is my shortlist, a quick guide to some of the best restaurants I’ve had the privilege of dining in:
Cape Town: Rust en Vrede
Rust en Vrede in Cape Town, South Africa, is well known for its fine dining French restaurant and as an award winning wine estate. The restaurant is part of the Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants of the World (2015), just one of its several accolades.
When we went to check out this winery, we were able to try their “Winemakers Lunch” — something not quite advertised but worth knowing about. That day, the main attraction was the Mild Curry of Lamb with Couscous. It was served with the freshest heirloom tomatoes I’ve ever tried and quite a simple coriander salad. The meal was paired with a glass of their Estate’s Red Wine ’03. I loved the simplicity (and deliciousness) of the whole meal that highlighted the slow-cooked and oh-so tender lamb mixed in with the bold flavors of the rich curry sauce! I loved this dish so much that I created my own version as soon as we got home!
*To read about my beautiful trip to Cape Town, click here.
Rust en Vrede
Annandale Road, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
Tokyo: Sushi Mizutani
Sushi Mizutani is a must-eat destination in Tokyo. But I have to say that it is also one of the most difficult places to get a reservation in, as this restaurant can sit only 11 diners at a time. It was upon an invitation by a friend that I was finally able to go. Sushi Mizutani is a 2-Michelin-starred restaurant managed by the skillful Chef Hachiro Mizutani, one of the disciples of the famous Chef Jiro Ono. It is one of Tokyo’s oldest sushi places to boot.
I have no photos of my meal there as I was not allowed to take them. The Japanese believe that the art of sushi making is to be respected and revered, thus it was important that we paid attention to the sushi master chef without any other distractions. That night there were 14 different kinds of sushi served, most of which were won from an auction earlier that morning at Tsukiji market.
*To read more about my Tokyo adventures, click this link.
Juno Ginza Seiwa Building 9F, 8-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku
+81 3 3573 5258 (Reserve via your hotel’s concierge)
Tokyo: Le Chateau de Joel Robuchon
The restaurant is situated inside a beautifully-decorated chateau and can I just say that the gastronomic menu was as impressive as this historically lovely venue, which is right in the middle of a bustling city!
Everything I had, from the Deep Fried Egg served with Caviar and Cream with Smoked Salmon, to the Roasted Lobster with Fresh Morels and Asparagus (photo), to the amazing The Cheese Board with different kinds of cheeses from all over the world, and the Coffee and Mascarpone Mousse served with a Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream, were simply unforgettable. Now wishing I can go back there soon! 🙂
Yes I really love going back to Tokyo! Find out why through this link here.
Joel Robuchon Restaurant
Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-1, Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0062
This restaurant always makes it to my personal list of bests. Narisawa is a French-contemporary and Japanese-inspired fine dining restaurant, which until now remains to be one of my top favorites in the world.
Chef Narisawa’s cooking philosophy is fresh, simple and clean. He uses nature’s bounty for its main ingredients. Everything in the menu spells nature conservation which explains the names of some of his dishes like “Soil Soup,” “Water Salad,” and “Forest Dish.”
During our last Tokyo trip, we made sure to stop here for a one-of-a-kind feast:
Narisawa’s innovative fine dining cuisine, with a big focus on nature, has earned it a host of recognitions: it has recently been awarded San Pellegrino’s The Best Restaurant in Japan and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants No. 2!!
Minami Ayoyama 2-6-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062
+81 3 5785 0799
Shanghai: The Fifty 8° Grill
The Fifty 8° Grill at Mandarin Oriental Shanghai is a modern French grill restaurant.
I like that it’s not the typical, pretentious fine dining place like what one would expect from a French restaurant housed in a five-star hotel. Instead, it’s a casual but classic French resto with a contemporary twist.
It specializes on grilling wood-fired dry aged meats and offers hand-carved charcuterie and freshly baked breads. The restaurant is run by no less than the Michelin-starred chef Richard Ekkebus (of Amber, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong — also on this list- part 2!) who makes sure that ingredients are top quality and always at its freshest state upon serving.
*Read about my post on the Best of Shanghai here.The Fifty 8° Grill
111 Pudong Road (S), Pudong, Shanghai 200120, China
Jaan is recognized for its contemporary take on classic French cuisine while introducing top ingredients from all over the world. It uses the freshest produce and, with every course, the chef’s ingenuity and creativity are showcased.
I found that the artisanal menu created by Chef de Cuisine Julien Royer is indeed a spectacle. Every dish I tried was beautifully presented. I enjoyed the varying tastes, flavors and textures of each plate that wonderfully complemented each ingredient. One of the best restaurants in Singapore is no doubt, awarded one of the best in Asia too: it ranks No. 29 in 2016 Asia’s Best Restaurant!
I wrote about this wonderful experience in Jaan here.
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore
There are so many other best restaurant experiences that I want to share with you… So stay tuned for Part 2!