Hotels and restaurants. They go together like — well, like nothing else, really. The first restaurants were hotels, more or less, and even now the best of both are frequently found under the same roof. It’s a big culinary world out there, but with some help from our global team of editors, we’ve rounded up some can’t-miss favorites, in our various hometowns and beyond.
If you can make it here, as the song says, you can make it anywhere — hoteliers and restaurateurs alike are at the top of their game in New York, resulting in an embarrassment of riches. Fortunately, it’s Tablet’s hometown, so we’ve submitted this list to rigorous field testing.
Another hit from the duo behind Eleven Madison Park — one wonders, can they do wrong? In any case, they’ve read their surroundings right; though the NoMad trades in Belle-Époque-meets-Rolling-Stones glamour in a series of intimate dining rooms, rank elitism has no place here. Epicures, fear not: they stuff their whole roast chickens with foie gras and black truffles, and suckling pigs are yours for the ordering.
At Dirty French, the name’s more than apropos: Messrs. Torrisi, Carbone, and Zalaznick could make Baudelaire blush with their decadent hijinks, and to drive the point home, they enlisted Julian Schnabel to besmirch a massive French flag with ink. It’s very much indicative of the new Lower East Side — waiters in priceless Jordans, post-colonial haute-bistro experiments, and an uber-competitive reservations list.
Nothing gets us to Midtown quicker than David Chang, especially when it comes to his absurdly appetizing fried-chicken sandwiches. More of a joint than its broom-closet East Village prototype, Fuku+ doesn’t skimp on the spice and also offers menu packages for larger parties, a smart move for a hotel-lobby affair. Try out Má Pêche (communal small plates) or the Milk Bar stand (sweets) while you’re at it.
John Fraser helms Narcissa, reason enough to book a stay at this particular Standard. The man’s an alchemist with produce. The hype is real when it comes to the menu’s diva, Carrots Wellington; exactly what it sounds like, it’s that rare dish that sounds like someone forgot to place an order with the butcher, yet ends up making the reputation of a latter-day toque. The rest of the California-via-Hudson menu performs admirably, of course, but we’ll never forget those carrots.
Paris’s dining culture, as you no doubt know, is somewhat singular, as is its hotel culture. The two don’t mix as much as you might think, except at the very high end — some great Parisian hotels don’t have restaurants at all. We’re lucky to have our French editor on hand to make sense of it all.
Some reverence is in order: in the grand pageant of real-deal haute cuisine, this is the heavyweight champion. Call it “Versaillescore” luxury: silver trays, white cloth, snooty waiters, the works. If the three (count ’em) Michelin stars and Alain Ducasse’s past mastery don’t do it for you, you’re truly beyond help. Doubtful, though; in these hands, lobster could make a statue weep.
Here, however, you can still hope to grab a table. Julien Montbabut has certainly earned his stripes: sous chef when Le Restaurant earned its Michelin star in 2008, he’s back and better than ever as Head Chef. His plates are French through and through, but refreshingly light and contemporary in execution with many a 21st-century gastronomic flourish. Don’t tap out early — the desserts bring down the house.
A Little Egypt mainstay, Restaurant Edgar has made quite the splash with its inventive plates, expertly prepared by Xavier Thiéry and his team. Foodies and design junkies alike will delight in the décor, converted from a textile workshop into a vision in copper, vintage upholstery, and nostalgic photography. People-watch at your leisure from the expansive terrace.
In typical Shangri-La style, there are no less than three restaurants on-site, not to mention the bars and lounges. Go ahead and explore, but start at Samuel Lee’s Cantonese fantasy; they do some wickedly delicious things with wok-fried squid and beef. Then there’s “Buddha jumping over the wall…”
All the old stereotypes about British cooking are finally just about dead and buried — this increasingly cosmopolitan capital has access to the best culinary talent from around the globe, and it shows. [Update: an eagle-eyed correspondent has notified us that one of our picks, Grain Store Unleashed at the Zetter Hotel, is now closed. In its place she recommends the Typing Room at Town Hall Hotel, which, as it happens, is another Tablet favorite.]
Ian Schrager scores again, this time with an unapologetically old-world ode to gilt-framed artwork and stucco ornamentation, though illuminated here and there by otherworldly recessed lighting. Jason Atherton runs the show, diligently doing his part to overturn the timeless curse on British cuisine with inspired takes on comfort staples in jars and mini-saucepans.
Knightsbridge is still fusty, and the Berkeley still has its two Michelin stars to preserve, but you’ve got to hand it to Marcus Wareing and his head chef Mark Froydenlund for doing their part to galvanize palates around these parts. The continuously evolving, flexible-course menu helps quite a bit; so do the handful of opportunities (Blue Bar, Caramel Room) to take tea, cocktails, or starter dishes beforehand.
The titular Boundary Restaurant excels at Francophile fine dining, and the rooftop bar and grill is a very pleasant surprise, but Albion, the cafe, wins the award for completely unpretentious, outstandingly prepared Anglo bites. (Or so says our editor, who makes a point of stopping in for mushy peas and sticky toffee pudding whenever he’s in town.)
Like London, a city that wasn’t always known for its food. But the world capital of creativity is steadily broadening its palate, as our German editor was happy to explain:
Alan Micks has real prestidigitative talent, transforming basic German ingredients like blood sausage and potato puree into captivating, delicate plates. Pair that with copious options for vegetarians and vegans for a must-see (taste?) experience — at a Berlin-friendly price point, no less.
A depth charge in a sea of worthy competitors, NENI has quickly established itself as the buzzworthy destination of 2015. Think huge, shareable plates weaving Germanic flavors with (among many others) Russian, Spanish, Israeli, and Moroccan notes. Then there’s Monkey Bar, Woodfire Bakery, and Burger de Ville. You’ll eat well, alright?
Nowhere is Japan’s passion for expert craftsmanship on clearer display than in Tokyo’s restaurants. Here you’ll find every foreign cuisine under the sun, and it’s typically better than it was back home.
Why go to a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo, especially when another restaurant in the hotel is Michelin-starred? The delectable, beautifully presented Cantonese food by Albert Tse, that’s why. Or the expansive view of Tokyo Bay and the waterfront, planned site of the 2020 Olympics. Or: don’t be such an absolutist, try both!
Don’t blame us, there are no less than three Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from here. Signature starts with French haute cuisine and injects a dose of adventure and risk. Sense serves modern Cantonese plates, recalling the hotel group’s roots in Hong Kong. And Tapas Molecular Bar practically sells itself: the cappuccino, for example, comprises candy floss swathed in a freeze-dried mantle of coffee and creamer.
On the 52nd floor, of course, you’ll feast on the unrivaled views of Shinjuku and beyond as hungrily as you will on prime steak cuts, both Japanese and imported. Nothing less than the sumptuous best when you’ve reached this level (pun intended) — spring for a bottle from the massive cellar or the set courses. The jazz cooks, too.
This 1915 building just oozes charm, even after its recent renovations. It’s a fine spot for Masahiro Ishihara to ply his trade, notably at Blanc Rouge, where he can show off the culinary chops he built for years in France. And this one comes with a bonus suggestion: don’t leave without visiting Tokyo Ramen Street — unassuming though it may seem, this is a greatest-hits family of eight noodle purveyors buried in the retail labyrinth of Tokyo Station. Eminently worth the wait.
We’ve got a definite hometown bias, no denying it, but it didn’t make sense to limit ourselves to our stomping grounds. When we’re gallivanting around the globe, these are the hotel eateries in the back of our minds.
Stateside, The LINE Hotel in Los Angeles hosts Pot, Roy Choi’s Korean-American brick-and-mortar outlet complete with poolside delivery, as well as the Commissary, a produce-forward greenhouse restaurant with a complex illustrated menu. Heading north, park yourself at Auberge du Soleil’s restaurant for what might be Napa’s finest wine list — and the upscale California-Mediterranean fare to match them.
Tucked into the New Forest National Park in Hampshire, Lime Wood Hotel’s Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder concoct Anglo-Italian “forest dishes” in grand country-hotel style. (Late summer provides a life-changing Eton mess.) And moving on to the continent, Michel Guérard answers with his peculiar brand of rustic, Atlantic-coast grandeur, a chef’s-chef enterprise at Les Pres d’Eugenie.
Jet-setters will love Bluespoon at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht for the incredible early-bird breakfast buffet and packed lunches. May we suggest that you direct your flight to LiLac Family Cuisine at Le Sun Chine in Shanghai, for modern Shanghainese cuisine in delightfully anachronistic Edwardian-style digs; they specialize in champagne, an appropriately congratulatory glass for a world-traveler gourmand like yourself.