10 Per Se – USA
Per Se, Thomas Keller’s “urban interpretation” of his French Laundry in California, has changed its menu every day of its nearly eight years – that’s something like 30,000 different dishes, some re-introduced from prior seasons but continuously refined.
With three Michelin stars it has succeeded as much by consistency as by creativity and remains one of the US’s true destination restaurants.
- Address: 4th Floor, Time Warner Centre, 10 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, New York, 10019, USA
- Telephone: +1 212 823 9335
- Web Site: www.perseny.com
9 Le Chateaubriand – France
It’s hard not to be excited by Le Chateaubriand. It is effortlessly cool, understated yet accomplished, democratic, affordable and, perhaps most importantly, fun. Its lack of airs and graces – hard chairs and bare tables, the take-it-or-leave-it five-course fixed-price menu and the championing of natural wines – is not to everyone’s tastes, but Le Chateaubriand doesn’t really care.
- Address: 129 Avenue Parmentier, Paris 75011, France
- Telephone: +33 (0)1 43 57 45 95
8 Arzak – Spain
If you like your food pretty, this is the place. Father-and-daughter team Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina’s plates look fantastic: striking, colourful and imaginative, yet for the most part unfussy.
The pair run the kitchen as equals and are a major presence in the dining room. Like the food, it pulls off the neat trick of balancing tradition and innovation, with warm, familiar service.
- Address: Alcade Jose Elosegui 273, Alto de Miracruz 21, 20015 San Sebastian, Spain
- Telephone: +34 943 278 465
- Web Site: www.arzak.es
7 D.O.M – Brazil
D.O.M has become a priority destination for all globe-hopping gastronomes, not that chef Alex Atala is resting on his laurels. Instead he scours the Amazon to pepper his with indigenous ingredients, from the staple manioc tuber and its tupuci juice to Amazonian herbs and the huge white-fleshed pirarucu fish to ensure his restaurant is unlike any other on the list.
- Address: Rue Barao de Capanema, 549 Jardins, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Telephone: +55 113 088 0761
- Web Site: www.domrestaurante.com.br
6 Alinea – USA
Alinea represents one of the most radical re-imaginings of fine food by any chef in American history and has propelled Grant Achatz to chef superstardom.
Everything about his restaurant is unique, from the deconstructed food, unfamiliar flavour combinations and theatre to the tableware, with dishes served in and on all manner of implements: test tubes, cylinders, multi-layered bowls that come apart. It’s boundary-shifting stuff.
- Address: 1723 North Halsted, Chicago 60614, USA
- Telephone: +1 312 867 0110
- Web Site: www.alinea-restaurant.com
5 The Fat Duck – UK
Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous, but still tiny restaurant in Bray, has blazed a trail for experimental cooking in this country, but one of its enduring features is also that it is brilliant fun. Sure, guests’ sensory perceptions are challenged, their notion of possibility expanded, but never in a po-faced way.
Instead, gourmand pilgrims can be witnessed smiling and laughing their way through a foodie marathon.
- Address: 1 High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AQ, UK
- Telephone: +44 (0)1628 580333
- Web Site: www.thefatduck.co.uk
4 Osteria Francescana – Italie
Much of the food at Osteria Francescana takes its inspiration from the art world, but this is only half the story.
The unrivalled culinary heritage of the Emilia-Romagna region is chef Massimo Bottura’s other great muse, and the kitchen offers a menu of traditional food alongside more left-field creations. The cooking is exciting and gratifying, the overall experience progressive and relaxed.
- Address: Via Stella 22, Modena 41100, Italy
- Telephone: +39 059 210118
- Web Site: www.osteriafrancescana.it
3 Mugaritz – Spain
Mugaritz has two dégustation menus that change daily according to what chef Andoni Luis Aduriz can get his hands on at the street markets and what’s growing in the restaurant’s herb garden.
Whatever happens, you can expect to sample the team’s intricate dishes that seek to reconnect diners with nature. His self-dubbed ‘techno-emotional’ approach sees the appliance of science and a rigorous understanding of ingredients jostle with produce-driven cuisine.
- Address: Otazulueta Baserria, Aludura Aldea 20, 20100, Errenteria, Spain
- Telephone: +34 943 522 455
- Web Site: www.mugaritz.com
2 El Celler de Can Roca – Spain
El Celler de Can Roca is possibly the least well-known restaurant to have ever held the much-vaunted number-two spot on the list, a quirk which, far from being a hindrance, has allowed the three brothers Roca to get on with what they do best. Their ’emotional cuisine’ with different ingredients and combinations can trigger childhood memories or take you back to a specific place in your past.
- Address: Can Sunyer 48, Girona 17007, Spain
- Telephone: +34 97 222 21 57
- Web Site: www.cellercanroca.com
1 Noma – Denmark
Noma is best known for its fanatical approach to foraging but there is much more to this ground-breaking restaurant than the mere picking of Mother Nature’s pocket. It’s the entire package, from its ingredient ingenuity to flawless execution, that makes it a beacon of excellence and which leads to an emotive, intense, liberating way of eating, unlike any other. Many have copied chef Rene Redzepi’s approach, most have failed. For the best in class, Noma really is the number one place to go.
- Strandgade 93, 1401 Copenhagen, Denmark
- Telephone: +45 3296 3297
- Web Site: http://www.noma.dk