Not necessarily the world’s best restaurants, these are simply my personal favourites of all those in which I’ve had the pleasure to try. So, if you find yourself in any of these cities, I am happy to recommend these to you. Bon appétit!
1. My number one favourite restaurant in the world is in Madrid. Funnily enough, it’s not a conventional restaurant: by day, it’s an Asian-style interior decoration shop; by night, an intimate eatery. The food is a mix of Mediterranean and Asian to create a fusion, which is simply divine. Each dish of the eight-course tasting menu is a surprise both to the palate and the eye. It is not easy to get a table in this restaurant – three to four weeks waiting time is the norm – so book early if you are planning a trip to Madrid!
Travesía de San Mateo, 4
Tel: +34 91 310 09 65
2. My second favourite, or certainly a restaurant we have been visiting for many years any time we are in London, is the Emporio Armani Caffé. My husband and I are big fans of Italian cuisine and finding good pasta is not so easy . . . even in Italy. The café sits on the first floor of the Emporio Armani store. They serve pasta, fish, meat and salads using authentic Italian recipes and the best ingredients from their homeland.
Emporio Armani Caffé
191 Brompton Road
Tel: +44 20 7823 8818
3. Copenhagen is a favourite city and so is the Nimb Louise restaurant (not Noma) with a delightful restaurant and terrace overlooking the magnificent Tivoli Gardens. Housed within the contemporary interior of Nimb Hotel, this Michelin star restaurant serves traditional Danish gastronomy with a very modern twist from chef Allan Poulsen (who took over from Thomas Herman). The menu changes with the seasons, but expect the likes of langoustines, smoked duck and veal sweetbread and a few surprises along the way.
Tel: +45 88 70 00 20
4. Milan, a city which we visit at least twice a year for shopping, we always eat in an old favourite called the Osteria Stendahl –where you can expect to find good quality local Milanese food. What is likely to make a trip to Stendahl memorable is the playfulness of the waiters, as much as the food itself. The restaurant is a favourite of well-to-do local business people as well as many concierges, who recommend it to guests for its ambience and the food quality consistency.
Ristorante Antica Osteria Stendahl
Via Ancona 1,
Tel: +39 02 657 20 59
5. Further afield, in New York, is the Spice Market in the Meatpacking district, serving Asian fusion food. An impressive interior, usually packed with a seriously cool crowd, makes for an interesting evening. You can have an aperitif at the bar while waiting to be seated. The price is not overkill and fans of good Thai food will love this restaurant.
403 W. 13th St.,
New York City
Tel: +1 21 675 2322
6. Another favourite in New York is Tao – which became seriously famous when scenes for Sex in the City were shot here. Tao is the largest Asian restaurant in New York (by now you have probably figured out I’m a big fan of Asian food!) with non-stop action to keep you entertained. When you arrive you are given a pager which alerts you when your table is ready. As well as the buzz (it is super-loud in here) keep an eye out if you enjoy celebrity-watching, as you are very likely to spot Nicole Kidman, Robert de Niro or any lesser-known mortal in this Asian temple.
42 East 58th Street,
Tel: +1 (212) 888-2288
7. A favourite cuisine is Swiss – I could live in Switzerland for the food alone! A restaurant we had the pleasure to try on a recent visit was the Ecco on Snow at the Hotel Giardino Mountain in St. Moritz, run by the youngest two-star Michelin chef in Europe, Rolf Fliegauf, who normally resides at the Giardino in Ascona but moves to the mountains in winter. The restaurant is small and intimate, the food certainly innovative and creative and the attention to detail was quite overwhelming. We visited the restaurant with our 6-year-old daughter, who was made very welcome by the friendly, attentive staff.
Ecco on Snow,
Giardino Mountain Hotel
T: +41 (0)81 836 63 00
8. Closer to home, on a beautiful country estate of 300 acres of parkland, in the small village in which I grew up, Arthurstown, there now resides a celebrity chef by the name of Kevin Dundon, who has transformed Dunbrody House into a world-famous getaway. He appears regularly on the Irish national TV station and has more than a few cookery books to his credit – so we are fortunate when we visit home to stay nearby. The chef is rated as one of the best in Ireland and a visit to the stately Harvest Room Restaurant is sure to convince you that he is worthy of such high praise.
Dunbrody Country House Hotel
Tel: +353 51 389 600
9. On a recent visit to Rio de Janeiro we stayed at the world-famous Copacabana Palace Hotel and ate in the Italian restaurant The Cipriani while we were there. There is an air of nostalgia about this hotel which makes it unique – you feel like you have stepped back in time. The food is good quality authentic Italian and you lap up the ambience, the excellent service and the mellow music playing in the background.
The Cipriani Restaurant
Copacabana Palace Hotel
Avenida Atlântica 1702
Rio de Janeiro
Tel: +55 21 2548 7070
10. The Murano French restaurant on board the cruise ship Celebrity Constellation, when we sailed from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg. The Murano serves classic French cuisine with a contemporary twist – with excellent service and, as one would expect, a first-class sea view! The warm goat’s cheese soufflé was one of the best I have ever eaten and the variety of desserts is simply too much having savoured all the other courses.
Celebrity Constellation Cruise Ship
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The official top 10 restaurants in the world:
1. Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark
2. El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, Spain
3. Restaurant Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain
4. Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy
5. The Fat Duck in Bray, the UK
6. Alinea in Chicago, USA
7. D.O.M Sao Paulo, Brazil
8. Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain
9. Le Chateaubriand in Paris, France
10. Per Se in New York, USA