A Ques­tion Of Good Taste

Forbes Middle East - - CONTENTS -

Taste buds at the ready! Here are The Top 10 Restau­rants In The World. When it comes to food, taste is a very per­sonal thing, but when more than a thou­sand in­dus­try ex­perts all agree on a lineup of the best eater­ies on Earth, who are we to dis­agree?

TASTE BUDS AT THE READY! HERE ARE THE TOP 10 RESTAU­RANTS IN THE WORLD. WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, TASTE IS A VERY PER­SONAL THING, BUT WHEN MORE THAN A THOU­SAND IN­DUS­TRY EX­PERTS ALL AGREE ON A LINEUP OF THE BEST EATER­IES ON EARTH, WHO ARE WE TO DIS­AGREE?

The World's 50 Best Restau­rants or­ga­ni­za­tion has been rank­ing the globe's top fine din­ing des­ti­na­tions since 2002, and this year has been no dif­fer­ent, with a for­mi­da­ble panel of chefs, restau­ran­teurs, food crit­ics, writ­ers and well-trav­eled gourmets, all cast­ing their votes. There are no pre­de­fined cri­te­ria. Rather, what con­sti­tutes “best” boils down to the judge­ment of a group of ex­perts with decades of top-notch in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence.

With the votes all in, the top 50 list for 2019 was re­vealed at an awards cer­e­mony held in Sin­ga­pore this sum­mer. The event, which is one of the big­gest nights of the year in the culi­nary world, saw restau­rants from 26 coun­tries on five con­ti­nents walk away with a cov­eted award and con­fi­dence—if it were needed—that their din­ing rooms would be fully booked for some time to come.

Here is the crème de la crème of that list; the 10 stellar din­ing des­ti­na­tions that topped the rank­ing of the World's 50 Best Restau­rants 2019.

1. Mi­razur (Men­ton, France)

From a unique 1930s struc­ture nes­tled at the foot of a moun­tain over­look­ing the Mediter­ranean Sea, chef Mauro Co­la­greco and his team can be found cook­ing up a storm at the Mi­razur. El­e­gant and spa­cious, the restau­rant spans three lev­els to match its three Miche­lin stars: a sun-drenched din­ing room with sea views, a lower-ground bar where guests can ob­serve the kitchen team hard at work, and an or­chard gar­den filled with the scent of herbs and cit­rus fruits. Ac­cord­ing to the restau­rant, Co­la­greco's cui­sine is ultra-fresh and show­cases the best fruit, veg­eta­bles, meat and seafood that lo­cal grow­ers have to of­fer. The Mi­razur of­fers two dif­fer­ent menus, a Thurs­day to Satur­day lunch menu priced at 160 euro ($177) and a lunch and din­ner menu de­scribed as a “sen­sory trip” for 260 euro ($288).

2. Noma (Copen­hagen, Den­mark)

Noma is a two Miche­lin-starred restau­rant lo­cated in a for­mer ware­house on the seafront in Copen­hagen's Chris­tian­shavn dis­trict. Un­der chef Rene Redzepi, the restau­rant is known for rein­vent­ing and re­defin­ing Nordic cui­sine. The din­ing space is light and airy with ex­posed wooden beams and a rus­tic yet mod­ern feel.

As for cui­sine, the restau­rant di­vides the year into three sea­sons—veg­etable, game and for­est, and seafood—dur­ing which the menu changes to match the in­gre­di­ents that are at their best at each time of year. Cur­rently, the menu is priced at 2,500 Dan­ish Krone, or just over $372.

3. Asador Etxe­barri (Atx­ondo, Spain)

Asador Etxe­barri can be found at the foothills of the An­boto moun­tain in the Du­rango re­gion of Spain's Basque Coun­try. Far from the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life, the restau­rant and its head chef Vic­tor Ar­guin­zoniz draw in­spi­ra­tion from its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings and pre­serves an­cient grilling tech­niques us­ing care­fully se­lected fire­wood that com­ple­ments the lo­cally sourced pro­duce used in all its dishes.

Choices about the menu are made ev­ery day, based on which sea­sonal prod­ucts are most freshly avail­able. The cost of din­ing out at Asador Etxe­barri av­er­ages at 180 eu­ros ($200), drinks aside.

4. Gag­gan (Bangkok, Thai­land)

Gag­gan is the name­sake restau­rant of In­dian chef Gag­gan Anand and its dishes have been de­light­ing din­ers in Bangkok, Thai­land, since 2010. Be­fore es­tab­lish­ing the restau­rant, Gag­gan Anand worked at the triple Miche­lin-starred restau­rant, El Bulli, in Spain. To­day, Gag­gan it­self en­joys Miche­lin star sta­tus and of­fers a mod­ern “pro­gres­sive” take on In­dian cui­sine.

The restau­rant is lo­cated in an old 19th cen­tury town house and, much like the menu, the in­te­rior dé­cor is a fu­sion of mod­ern shades of white and beige high­lighted with a burst of vi­brant In­dian color. The Best of Gag­gan tast­ing menu is priced at 4,000 Bhat (ap­prox. $130) plus ser­vice charge and VAT. 5. Gera­nium (Copen­hagen, Den­mark)

The sec­ond Dan­ish en­try on this year's list, Gera­nium is a gourmet restau­rant lo­cated on the eighth floor in Faelled-parken—or Com­mon Gar­dens— in the cen­ter of Copen­hagen. From way up high, din­ers can gaze out across tree­tops to the city's green cop­per roofs that lay be­yond and the wind­mills of Oere­sund far in the dis­tance.

Un­der head chef and co-founder Ras­mus Ko­foed, the culi­nary team at Gera­nium is on a mis­sion to cre­ate meals that “in­volve all our senses”, of­fer­ing din­ers an ex­pe­ri­ence that the restau­rant de­scribes as restora­tive and en­rich­ing, yet chal­leng­ing. Gera­nium's Sum­mer Uni­verse menu is priced at 2,600 Dan­ish Krone, just over $387.

“To me, lux­ury means us­ing bio­dy­namic, sea­sonal veg­eta­bles from a lo­cal farm. It's im­por­tant to take care of na­ture as well as our health in or­der to live life to the fullest in a beau­ti­ful place. It's also a lux­ury to me to be in the restau­rant, to do what I en­joy do­ing, to hope­fully make a dif­fer­ence and to be a part of a very cre­ative world,” – says Ko­foed.

6. Cen­tral (Lima, Peru)

Cen­tral Res­tau­rante is lo­cated in the Bar­ranco Dis­trict of Lima, Peru, and is the flag­ship venue of Peru­vian chef, Vir­gilio Martínez Véliz. The restau­rant is known for its con­tem­po­rary in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the coun­try's cui­sine, with dishes that in­tro­duce lit­tle-known indigenous in­gre­di­ents from Peru's coastal re­gion, the An­des high­lands, and the Ama­zon rain­for­est.

More than a restau­rant, Cen­tral strives to con­nect with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. There are cur­rently two menus that of­fer jour­neys through Peru's ecosys­tems: the Mater El­e­va­tions menu priced at around $175 and the Mater Ecosys­tems menu, priced at just un­der $168.

“To me, lux­ury is tightly con­nected to the con­cept of time. Lux­ury may be of­fered by places or mo­ments that will pro­vide hap­pi­ness, a large dosage of real­ity, and the pos­si­bil­ity for in­tro­spec­tion,” says Véliz. 7. Mu­garitz (Guipuzkoa, Spain)

Mu­garitz is lo­cated in lush green coun­try­side on the bor­der be­tween the two Basque towns of Er­rente­ria and Asti­gar­raga. The restau­rant opened in March 1998 un­der the man­age­ment of chef An­doni Luis Aduriz, one of Spain's culi­nary pi­o­neers. A meal at Mu­garitz com­prises as many as 20 cour­ses, which are of­ten served in the tran­quil­ity of the restau­rant's gar­dens.

In true Basque tra­di­tion, Mu­garitz com­bines moun­tains and sea, with oys­ters, lamb loin and lo­cal cheeses count­ing among the many fresh, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents used in the kitchen. But the tra­di­tion ends there; at Mu­garitz, the cui­sine is cre­ative and con­tem­po­rary, with dried hy­drangea of co­coa count­ing as one of the stand­out dishes. The Mu­garitz menu is priced at 220 euro, just over $244. “In to­day's world, where ev­ery­thing is chang­ing so fast, by the time we think that we know what is mov­ing the world, it changes. In this liq­uid post-moder­nity, I dare say that to be able to en­joy the un­cer­tainty is a lux­ury,” says Adoriz

8. Ar­pège (Paris, France)

Chef Alain Pas­sard opened Ar­pège in 1986. The venue had pre­vi­ously been home to a restau­rant run by his own men­tor Alain Sen­derens un­der the name Arches­trate. Chef Pas­sard chose the name Ar­pège as a trib­ute to mu­sic, his sec­ond pas­sion, and dec­o­rated the restau­rant in an Art Deco style. The three Miche­lin-starred restau­rant cur­rently of­fers three tast­ing menus as well as an a la carte menu where dishes range in price from 46 euro ($51) to 210 euro ($233).

Flame cooked meats and fresh seafood fea­ture at Ar­pège, but it is veg­eta­bles that take cen­ter stage. The restau­rant has its own or­ganic veg­etable gar­dens tended by a ded­i­cated team of gar­den­ers.

“To me lux­ury means not to have ev­ery­thing but to give ev­ery­thing, this is the real lux­ury,” says Pas­sard

9. Dis­fru­tar (Barcelona, Spain)

Chefs Ma­teu Casañas, Oriol Cas­tro and Ed­uard Xa­truch opened Dis­fru­tar in Barcelona's Eix­am­ple dis­trict in De­cem­ber 2014. The trio had pre­vi­ously trained and worked to­gether at Miche­lin-starred El Bulli on the Costa Brava un­der chef Fer­ran Adrià. To­day, Dis­fru­tar it­self boasts two Miche­lin stars.

Re­spect for the his­tory and legacy of the Mediter­ranean are the in­spi­ra­tion for the de­sign at Dis­fru­tar, with white walls, nat­u­ral light and ce­ramic mark­ing the restau­rant's in­te­rior. As for the gas­tro­nomic of­fer­ing, dishes re­volve around the tast­ing menu con­cept. There are four menus to choose from, with prices rang­ing from 155 euro (ap­prox. $172) to 195 euro (ap­prox. $216). Dis­fru­tar, which means “en­joy” in English, de­scribes its cui­sine as dar­ing, fun, mod­ern and cen­tered on taste above all else.

“To us, lux­ury means time. It means do­ing what you want with whom you want and in the mo­ment you want,” says Casañas, Cas­tro and Xa­truch

10. Maido (Lima, Peru)

Maido is the flag­ship restau­rant of chef Mit­suharu “Micha” Tsumura and counts as the sec­ond Peru­vian en­try on the World's 50 Best Restau­rants lineup. In a stylish room dec­o­rated with col­or­ful ropes sus­pended from the ceil­ing that form the shape of the Ja­panese flag when viewed from be­low, the chef serves up a fu­sion tast­ing menu as well as a la carte and sushi op­tions.

Chef Tsumura was born in Peru but trained in the US be­fore trav­el­ling to Ja­pan to hone his skills and learn more about his her­itage. Maido, mean­ing “wel­come” in Ja­panese of­fers a menu that cel­e­brates Nikkei cui­sine—a blend of Peru­vian and Ja­panese in­flu­ences—with dishes in­clud­ing a fish hot dog and sea urchin rice. The Nikkei tast­ing ex­pe­ri­ence costs ap­prox. $130.

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