Whether you like this “classic house where nouvelle cuisine was invented” depends on whether you want to step back in time in order to enjoy dishes like the truffle soup Bocuse created for French President Giscard D’Estaing in 1975. At this point, it’s as much a museum as a restaurant.
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40 Rue de la Plage Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or, France +33 4 72 42 90 90 www.bocuse.fr
Romano Franceschini and Franca Checchi opened this restaurant with the idea that Romano would source the best fish and seafood available, and Franca would come up with delicate ways of preparing them. Now, with the help of their son Roberto and daughter Maria Cristina, they are on the verge of celebrating their 50th anniversary.
Robuchon is now a brand instead of a chef, but reviewers still enjoy securing a stool at the counter of the original Atelier location, in order to enjoy superbly done versions of Robuchon-esque classics like caviar with cauliflower gelée and thyme-scented lamb chops with a side of the maestro's world-famous pommes purée .
Parisian diners a more casual version of the Robuchon experience, the most formidable chef of the nouvelle cuisine movement headed south to the opulent confines of Monte Carlo's Hotel Metropole and hired Jacques Garcia to design an appropriate dining room for his world-famous fare. Twelve years later, Robuchon disciple Christophe Cussac is still heading the kitchen and turning out a cuisine that leans toward the Mediterranean, featuring dishes like a croustillant de langoustine with basil or bomba rice that has been cooked with the flavors of paella.
One doesn't expect to find such high-quality seafood and shellfish in a posh resort town. But twice-a-day deliveries of items like sea bass, red mullet and scampi make Lorenzo Viani's restaurant one of the top seafood restaurants in Italy. The restaurant's beautiful modern art collection is nearly as spectacular as the ingredients they serve.
It's tough to find a restaurant that has been serving food as long as this one: People have been enjoying eating food at this address since 1648. Add in the fact that the building somehow survived the Allied bombing of the city in 1945, and it is easy to conclude that you are dining in a truly special location. This incarnation of the restaurant was opened in 1989 by Andree Köthe, who along with compatriot Yves Ollech offers a cuisine that relies heavily on herbs and spices. The duo describe the result as Gewürzküche, which features dishes like poppy, carrots and dill and lake trout with cauliflower.
Marcos and Pedro Morán have demonstrated that it is possible to update Spanish regional cooking while maintaining its soul. Unfortunately, Asturias doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as Madrid or Barcelona, so people who don’t venture from the beaten path risk missing the Morans’ wonderful cooking.
Diners have been giggling about the obscenely large portions of high-quality ingredients that, sourced from the southwest of France and roasted to a turn, this restaurant has served since it opened in 1932. It's a tough reservation to get, as the place is generally filled with an assortment of celebrities, elites, captains of industry, and the occasional table of lucky tourists.
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32, rue de Vertbois Paris, France +33 1 48 87 77 48
59Rias de Gallicia
Shrimps from Denia, turbot from Getaria, percebes from Galicia: Juan Carlos Iglesias is a fanatic when it comes to sourcing high-quality fish. If you visit his restaurant, you will dine on perfectly chosen specimens of fish and seafood from every region in Spain and select from one of the best wine lists in the country.
While this restaurant will likely never return to the level of greatness it reached when the legendary Raymond Thuilier was running the kitchen, our reviewers tell us that neither should it be dismissed as a restaurant for unknowledgeable tourists, a reputation that it acquired after Thuilier left. It's set in the old walled city of Les-Baux-de-Provence, and dishes such as Provencal-flavored red mullet with a parmesan biscuit, pigeon from Nîmes coated in green olives, and spit-roasted suckling lamb studded with anchovy and garlic hold their own in the spectacular setting.
Though 67-year-old Pierre Koffmann does not turn out the same level of food that he served when he was running the kitchens at the legendary Le Tante Clare, our reviewers tell us that it is worth booking a table at this handsome restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel in order to enjoy Koffman's luxury-brasserie cuisine. Reading the menu - featuring dishes like ravioli d'escargots with Bayonne ham, pig's trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and morels and a roast chicken with parsley croutons for two people - is enough to make your mouth water.
If we had to recommend only one restaurant on the French Riviera that people absolutely need to visit, it would what someone called, “the chicest fish shack in the world.” What you are there for is what is the most famous tureen of bouillabaisse in the world, which you enjoy with three different servings of seasonal fish that include sea bass St. Peter’s fish, red mullet, sea bream, crab, rockfish and whatever else might be fresh that day. You ladle the broth into your bowl, add some croutons that you have dabbed with garlicky aioli, and place chunks of fish in your bowl. The result is a heavenly blend that can send you into a state of bliss. The menu is spare, and it is likely the only choice you will have to make is whether you want to include langoustine. Located a mere ten minutes taxi ride outside of Cannes, every famous movie star since the 1950’s has found their way to this small piece of culinary history.
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8 Avenue des Frères Roustan Golfe Juan, France +33 4 93 63 71 16 www.tetou.fr
63Antica Osteria del Ponte
Opened in 1976 by Ezio Satin, this classic house benefits from an exceptional setting alongside a bridge that dates from 600 A.D. and traverses a canal dating from Roman times. The menu is a laundry list of the classics of the Lombardy region, including dishes like cappelletti in capon broth with black truffles, pumpkin ravioli with chestnut paste and slow-cooked veal cheeks braised in Chimay Bleue served with stone-ground polenta and glazed onions and borettane balsamic vinegar beer.
Wonderful ingredients, precise cooking from a chef who did his culinary training with Joël Robuchon and Gerard Boyer, and a finale of exquisite desserts, served in a mansion in the middle of Paris's Bois de Boulogne: We can't think of anything better than to spend a Sunday in the park with Frédéric Anton.
When visitors to London are in the mood for traditional French cuisine, their initial instinct usually is to phone up a place like Le Gavroche or one of the city's other classic houses. But our reviewers tell us that the sleeper in the crowd is the restaurant at The Ritz. John Williams is in charge of the kitchen, and his cooking is anything but the usual hotel cuisine that one expects from an establishment like The Ritz. The menu is long on British ingredients - Scottish beef tartare topped with a mushroom purée and quail egg and grouse served with celeriac purée, caramelized salsify, lardons, salted grapes and caramelized walnuts.
Ever since he opened this seaside restaurant in Piraeus in 1987, Lefteris Lazarou has visited the agora each morning to source the best possible fish to serve in preparations like grilled cuttlefish with caramelized lentils and orange sauce and sea bream with cauliflower mousse, vegetable ratatouille and a sauce of cuttlefish ink.
The Regent Hotel, which hosts this restaurant - arguably Berlin's best classic dining room - is located a block and a half off the Unter den Linden, the city's most famous boulevard. There you will find Christian Lohse, who has been running the kitchen since 2005. Lohse's cuisine alternates between dishes that have a Middle Eastern tinge - like a date and green bean falafel with preserved lemon and parsley - to more classical preparations, such as grilled Corrèze veal chops served with black chanterelles, Bio-Linda potato fondant and sauce béarnaise, which Lohse serves for two people.
Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron run the kitchen at this posh ski resort in Courchevel. The menu fits the grand setting perfectly, featuring dishes like a cold pot-au-feu of scallops from Brittany topped with Ossetra caviar; white fish slow-cooked with smoked butter in hay and served with creamy potatoes along with duck gizzards and beef from Salers; and beef tail with croutons, truffle, marrow, pan-sautéed shoulder blade and duck foie gras. The prices fit the setting; the least expensive dish on the a la carte menu rings the bell at a whopping 90 euros -perfect for the oligarchs and socialites who frequent this town.
After spending 20 years running the kitchen at what seems like everyone's favorite hotel for a weekend away from London, the highly respected Michael Caines has moved on in order to open his own restaurant. Filling Caine's tall shoes is the talented Michael Wignall, who decided to trade in the green grass at the Latymer in Surrey for the even greener grass of Devonshire. Wignall's menu - featuring dishes like Cornish salt cod with Beesands crab, chorizo, samphire and lemon purée and Devon beef fillet and cheek with a shallot and horseradish confit - indicates that it will be a smooth transition.
The fifth generation of what is now the Paniego family runs this classic hotel/restaurant in the heart of Spain’s Rioja region; it was opened in 1898 by Pedro Garcia and Andrea Echaurren. The menu reflects the restaurant’s Basque heritage, offering dishes like kokotxas of hake “al pil pil“ served with potato and onions, tripe and lips of beef served “Riojan style” and partridge stewed in red wine with shallots, pear and glazed fruits. Visitors should not forget which region they are dining in; Haro (the center of Rioja wine production) is just down the road and the restaurant’s wine list is filled with local gems.
A mere 15-minute drive from Alba lies this classic house. The cuisine straddles the line between regional classics - like an onion baked with sausage from nearby Bra and topped with fonduta and veal cheeks slowly braised in Barbaresco - or more modern creations such as creamy mantecato risotto topped with foie gras and sprinkled with cocoa or a piccolo fritto featuring fried lamb chops stuffed with cheese. And you get to wash it all down with one of Italy's most famous cellars holding over 60,000 bottles sourced from 450 different producers.
Since Hamburg is not en route to the many other dining destinations that our reviewers frequent, reviews of this restaurant overlooking the Elbe River are not so easy to come by. Fortunately, between locally based reviewers and people who travel to Hamburg on business, we were able to amass enough reviews so that Jacobs could earn a well-deserved spot on our 2016 Top 100+ Classic & Heritage list. Thomas Martin helms the kitchen, and his menu is filled with traditional preparations, such as a duck liver terrine with dried prunes and sauterne jelly and a pigeon étouffée with truffle, parsley and mushrooms.
Despite the urban setting in the heart of Brussels, the garden terrace at Pascal Devalkeneer's restaurant will make you feel like you have taken a trip to the country. The cuisine is in keeping with the setting - the sort of haute bourgeois cuisine you will find at a place like Paris's Le Pre Catelan or Grande Cascade, dishes like a tartare of Gillardeau oysters with Petrossian caviar and broccoli flowers and seabass with a crust of black truffles from Carpentras, a winter salad and ratte mousseline.
Unlike other chefs who possess an elevated level of skill, Jean-Paul Abadie has never strived for an international reputation. Instead he runs a regional restaurant in his native Brittany that features exceptional local ingredients and a high standard of classic French cooking.
Open since the 1950s, this classic house, located on the coast road north of Barcelona and run by the Rexach sisters, features a menu of more than 70 classic Catalan preparations like langoustine stewed with potatoes. It's the type of grand regional gustatory experience that has always made dining in Europe so much fun.
While he spends most of his time dishing out small plates at sushi-style restaurants all over the world, you can still enjoy the full-on Robuchon experience at this restaurant described as, “virtually flawless in every respect.” And why not, the price tag is $385 per person before beverages so it better be good. Fortunately for that price you get an avalanche of foie gras, caviar and truffles, along with a service staff that takes care of your every need.
When this restaurant first opened, dishes like the signature smoked salmon pizza and pepper-crusted flash-seared tuna caused a sensation. Today, despite operating restaurants all over the country, Spago remains the flagship of Wolfgang Puck’s empire. The menu mixes New American fare, like a layer cake of roast Chino Farms beets with goat cheese and hazelnuts or Virginia striped bass with a ragout of Littleneck clams and fava beans, along with contemporary European classics like the house take on spicy beef goulash, which are served with a side order of; “some of the best celebrity spotting in the country.” The wine list is "over-the-top loaded" with some of the greatest bottles ever, and a steady stream of front of the house people are ready to attend to your every need.
Nothing caps off an arduous day on the slopes like an opulent dinner at this luxury resort in Chamonix. The kitchen, the longtime mainstay of Chef Pierre Carrier, is now in the hands of his son-in-law, Pierre Maillet. The menu is long on dishes that are focused on local ingredients, such as a boudin of pike from Lac Léman that Maillet serves with quinoa, fennel and a foamy shellfish sauce, or snails from nearby Mont Blanc, which he serves with polenta and parsley. Those who are thirsty as well as hungry can pore through the offerings of one of Europe's best cellars - 19,000 bottles spread over 646 different choices.
With Frédéric Blanc now in charge, the fifth generation of this legendary culinary family now mans the stoves of this restaurant. But despite the generational shift in the kitchen, a quick look at the menu reveals that the restaurant still maintains a focus on tradition. Which means if you are someone who enjoys dishes like frogs' legs in parsley sauce, breast of Bresse chicken with its liver in a Champagne sauce and duck served Rossini-style (topped with foie gras), you should seriously consider visiting this restaurant, located a mere 65 kms from Lyon.
The region between Rome and Naples is anything but abundant with culinary treasures. But those who would like to enjoy a good meal while traveling between the two most animated cities in Italy should consider stopping in Acuto, 81 kms southeast of Rome. Salvatore Tassa's cuisine spans the last 30 years of dining with one menu that harks back to the nouvelle cuisine era, featuring dishes like fettuccine with grilled tomatoes, vanilla and creamed Pecorino cheese and a downright classic tagliolini with veal ragout, cardoons and truffles.
Though he is only 42 years old, Christoph Rüffer has been in charge of the kitchen at this restaurant in Hamburg's Vier Jahreszeiten Hotel for 14 years. It makes sense, as Rüffer's cuisine is a good match for the opulent setting, featuring dishes like Norwegian lobster with an Indonesian salad and kaffir onion cream, codfish from the Polar Sea with parmesan truffle foam and wild hare served with marjoram black pudding. An interesting way to experience the meal is to book the chef's table, which can seat up to eight people and is situated in a glassed-in room overlooking the chef's stations.
It's hard to think of fine dining in London without thinking of Le Gavroche: An entire page of their website is dedicated to the awards they have won since the restaurant opened its doors in 1967. With that type of history, it is not surprising that the menu features dishes like lobster mousse with Aquitaine caviar and Champagne butter sauce, a darne de turbot with heritage carrots, radish and chive butter sauce and a roast Goosnargh duck with a second service of crispy legs, beetroot tatin and port jus. The wine list is filled with shockingly good selections at what someone who is not a member of the aristocracy would consider shocking prices.
Though this is one of the Lombardy region of Italy’s most famous tables, if the food at this restaurant located on the outskirts of Brescia seems distinctly French, that’s because its chef, Philippe Léveillé, is a native of Nantes. Léveillé started in the restaurant’s kitchen in 1992, and his menu is not for the fainthearted. A typical meal – which might consist of a tartar of prawn, scallop and porcini blended with oyster mayonnaise and caviar, savory pumpkin cream served with waffles and grilled pigeon breast served with foie gras and black truffles – should make even the most stalwart of diners want to take a nap afterward.
Every major city has a restaurant that serves as a clubhouse – a place where during the day the local politicians and businessmen discuss business, and in the evening where they take their wives to discuss the latest production at the ballet. Kronenhalle has been filling that bill for Zurich society since 1924, serving a high version of brasserie cuisine that features throwback dishes like consommé with herb dumplings and bone marrow, veal steak with morel sauce and spätzli and the rarely seen beef “Stroganov.” And how can we forget the dining room filled with works by the likes of Chagal, Matisse and Giacometti.
If you are tired of eating haute cuisine in Parisian hotel dining rooms that are filled with non-Parisians gawking over their food, consider booking a table at this classic house that sits on the leafy part of the Champs-Élysées, just west of the Place de la Concorde. There you will find a combination of bankers and socialites enjoying preparations like a pot-au-feu of duck liver with truffles and celery and a saddle and loin of baby lamb from the Pyrenees served with a moussaka of eggplant. A cave filled with 30,000 bottles makes it one of the most revered cellars in Paris.
Once upon a time, before Juan Mari Arzak modernized the cuisine, fine dining in the Basque Country meant menus filled with dishes featuring rich, creamy sauces and lots of roasted fish and meat. Hilario Arbelaitz’s restaurant is a throwback to that era, and we guarantee that after a meal consisting of dishes like a risotto with truffles, foie gras and a roast pigeon sauce, hake in green sauce with clams and roast suckling pig with mashed potato and a cumin-flavored fruit compote, you will feel like you are going to explode. Great fun, and a style of dining that is unique to the Basque region.
One would imagine that Venice’s most famous restaurant would be located in an ornate dining room that dates from the era of the Doges. Instead it can be found at this out-of-the-way location, which the food critic Patricia Wells once called the world’s best casual restaurant. Seafood is the attraction here, and there are rumors that the best fishermen in the region stop at Da Fiore before they make their way to the Venice fish market with the rest of their catch. Not surprisingly, the menu is filled with delicacies that come from the nearby Adriatic, like spider crab with a sauce made of its own coral, risotto with mantis shrimp and fennel and wild eel roasted with laurel.
While the center of nearby Dusseldorf is lined with shops selling all sorts of luxury goods, Cologne is more of a working-class town. But those in the mood for a bourgeois meal who do not want to make the 40-km trip typically choose Vincent and Liliane Moissonnier's restaurant with its lovely Art Nouveau décor. Eric Menchon mans the kitchen and prepares dishes such as lightly sautéed wild cod served with a creamed spinach and risotto with Parmesan and herbs and caramelized sweetbreads flavored with geranium-scented balsamic vinegar, a chutney of butternut squash and a giblet gravy.
After Paul Bartolatta left in order to open up his eponymous restaurant in Las Vegas, there was a period where Spiaggia seemed to be adrift at sea with no one steering the ship. Tony Mantuano was brought in to set the place back on course, and it wasn’t long before the kitchen was once again stirring the organic risotto properly. One way Mantuano accomplished this task was by lending his personal touch to the Northern Italian fare, apparent in dishes like a terrine of rainbow trout with tawny port and bay leaf gelée; agnolotti with fennel pollen and crispy veal breast; and Santa Barbara spot prawns with polenta, sea urchin and Italian osetra caviar. The experience is enhanced by a voluminous wine list, along with a dining room that offers beautiful views of the lake.
Caino opened in 1971 as a shop selling cheese and salumi, but it was when Valeria Piccini took over the kitchen from her mother-in-law that this classic house in southern Tuscany that it turned into a formal restaurant. You will find traces of the nouvelle cuisine era in Piccini's kitchen, apparent in dishes like a crudo of beef from Maremma that Valeria pairs with a myrtle and strawberry sauce, a pig's trotter with tangerine, cauliflower and caviar and hare with a roasted pumpkin cream and foie gras. Valeria's husband, Maurizio Menichetti, is in charge of the dining room and lords over one of the best lists of Italian wines you will ever find.
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Via della Chiesa, 4, Montemerano, Italy +39 0564 602817 www.dacaino.it
Madrid is the only European capital that doesn’t border a large body of water or have a river running through it. Yet for reasons that defy both geography and logic, the city offers a number of outstanding restaurants that are seafood specialists. Combarro is the best of the bunch, and the display in the restaurant’s front window might be the greatest amalgamation of high-quality fish and seafood you will see in your lifetime. Regulars will order “raciones,” shorthand for a multi-course menu that features tasting size portions of seasonal shellfish like oysters, goose barnacles, sea cricket, shrimps and langoustines, followed by servings of fish such as eel, sea bass, hake, sole and turbot.
More people would know about Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex’s wonderful restaurant if it was located in one of Lyon’s bustling commercial areas instead of a medeival building on an island in the middle of the Saone River. The name doesn’t help either as many people confuse the restaurant with the better known Auberge de L’ill in Alsace. But mention the restaurant to someone who has been there and they immediately perk up and start raving about Ansanay-Alex’s cuisine mentioning dishes like a foie gras terrine with a fig and raising compote, langoustine with a panna cotta of almonds and Osetra caviar and Challons duck stuffed served with sweet and sour baby turnips.
Some restaurants are all about the food. Others are about the ambience and the décor. Rekondo is clearly about the wine. The restaurant’s cellar is not to be believed and includes vintage rioja dating back to the early years of the 20th century and every important vintage of Vega Sicilia. And owner Txomin Rekondo has not overlooked the restaurant’s close proximity to France, and he has a significant list of first growths, DRCs and other French wines on offer. The best way to describe the food is well-prepared but plain; the menu features basic Basque specialties, such as rice and clams, grilled steaks, turbot, etc.
When Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray first opened this Tuscan restaurant in a wonderful space across from an inlet of the Thames River, no one suspected that 27 years later the restaurant would still be serving wonderfully prepared versions of dishes like half a spatchcocked Anjou pigeon roasted with thyme and Marsala, potatoes, black olives and radicchio.
There are three good reasons to visit Antonio Mellino’s restaurant. The first is a dining room that offers a magnificent view of the sea. The second is a wine cellar that is oozing with the type of hard-to-find cherries that make experienced wine collectors happy. But the most important reason to visit the restaurant can be explained in three words: pasta, pasta, pasta! Mellino’s pasta dishes span a variety of styles and complexities, like a mezze paccheri with cherry tomatoes in a San Marzano tomato sauce that is good enough to make your head spin and more contemporary lobster dumplings with grilled banana and ginger. Diners can finish their meal with some of the highest quality fish in Europe.
Alain Dutournier’s elegant but simple dining room is located within earshot of the majestic Place Vendôme. A son of France’s Southwest, with his shock of gray hair and goatee Dutournier might easily be mistaken for one of the Three Musketeers. The menu caters to the gourmandizing crowd. The dishes are filled with the type of luxury ingredients that bourgeois diners gravitate to, like Perigord truffles cooked in a truffle shell, pheasant with chestnut and truffles from Alba and sweetbreads in a casserole of macaroni with oyster juice and barigoule artichoke. You can also order a few choice bottles from what might be the best wine list in Paris to go with your meal.
Avignon’s magnificent, Palace of the Pope, was built during the 13th and 14th centuries. But if you think that it’s an old building, you haven’t seen anything yet as restaurant Christian Étienne, which overlooks the palace, is housed in a building that dates back to 1180. For many years, Chef Étienne lorded over the stoves, where his menu always featured the best ingredients Provence had to offer. Now Christian’s long time second, Guilhem Sevin, has run the day in and day out business of the kitchen for the past 16 years, has purchased the restaurant from his old boss. Though Sevin has freshened the place up, making it a bit more modern in the process, he has assured everyone that he will continue many of the long term traditions that the restaurant is known for. Like the special lobster menu, or the restaurant’s signature all-tomato tasting menu that they serve every August.
Back in 1898, when this restaurant first opened its door as a mere café, the corner of the Blvds. Montparnasse and Raspail was more or less in the suburbs of Paris. Le Dôme started out as an artists’ hangout, a place where intellectuals could enjoy a cheap meal along with a multi-lingual argument. Today, the fin de siècle décor remains, but it is has become an upscale seafood restaurant serving exquisite specimens of fish that are trucked in from Brittany and other parts of France on a daily basis. Among the treasures on offer are oysters from many of the top artisans in France, and a house version of sole meunière, using fish that is sourced from the Île d’Yeu, the most prized sole in France. This is one of the best places in Paris to enjoy a quiet dinner on a Sunday evening, when most restaurants in the city are closed.
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108 Boulevard du Montparnasse Paris, France +33 1 43 35 25 81
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this restaurant in the history of dining in New York City. Opened in 1974 by the then 42-year-old Sirio Maccioni, the restaurant was the bridge between an era when dining was mostly a social event and one where a plate of food was scrutinized with an eye usually reserved for a Chagall. While the restaurant has had a number of highly accomplished chefs running the kitchen, it was between 1986 and 1992, when Daniel Boulud was in charge, that it reached the height of its fame. There have been a number of location changes since then, and while the restaurant has lost the reputation it once had with the destination dining community, the ingredients are as luxurious as ever, and the classic French cooking is still top notch. The front of the house, ably run by Sirio’s son Mauro, remains among the best in world. And if you’re lucky, you might even see Sirio stopping by to say hello to a longtime customer.
In this restaurant set in a spectacular location overlooking the Cantabrian Sea (aka the Bay of Biscay), a lunch of rice with snails and periwinkles topped with a tomato and basil film, followed by wood pigeon with a touch of mole and cocoa, is a lovely way to spend a day. Don’t forget the Rioja.