NOMAD HOTEL, New York
Cool and class collide at this hip eatery, which has been virtually booked out since it opened last year. Each of the restaurant’s separate spaces has its own vibe, from the buzzy Atrium to the cosily opulent Parlour and the romantic Fireplace.
The menu has the finesse you’d expect of chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, the team behind the revered Eleven Madison Park restaurant.
There’s enough foie gras and truffles to suit the expense-account diner, while more inventive vegetable-based dishes showcase Humm’s modern approach.
For a perfect night out, grab a seat in the Parlour and start with a salad of fresh, sweet young brussel sprouts done three ways – steamed, shredded and fried leaves -with accents of hazelnuts, apple and lemon.
MANDARIN-ORIENTAL HOTEL, London
Few things are what they seem at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the celebrity chef’s outlet in London’s Mandarin-Oriental Hotel.
Those light fittings? They are actually jelly moulds. That mandarin? It’s made of foie gras.
This a wonderland of a restaurant, with an inventive menu and superb service.
From the warm welcome when you arrive, to the meal’s grand finale, ice-cream made at your table, the experience is seamless.
More than any other hotel group, Mandarin-Oriental has perfected the art of destination dining. With Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, they have trumped themselves.
WHARE KEA LODGE, New Zealand
It’s a rare hotel where you feel comfortable popping into the kitchen in the morning to ask for a coffee, but then, staying at Whare Kea Lodge feels more like staying with super-wealthy friends.
Which is what you are doing, sort of: the six-bedroom lodge was once the Myer family holiday home and has retained that laidback vibe. Meals are served at a communal table and feature whatever chef James Stapley feels like serving up. That could include delicious Bluff oysters, a salad of West Coast crayfish and homegrown heirloom tomatoes, wild Fiordland venison, or the bite-size beignets. Best of all, Stapley likes to please: following our raptures over the beignets served for dessert, he whips us up another batch the next morning.
LA MAMOUNIA, Marrakech
Some chefs think they know everything. Rachid Agouray is not one of them. When he was asked to add a contemporary twist to the classic Moroccan dishes for which La Mamounia’s Le Marocain restaurant was famous, he turned to the experts: local women. It’s the women who keep Morocco’s culinary traditions and his team of specially recruited females has created some of Morocco’s most interesting cuisine.
Whether it’s a phyllo cigar stuffed with chicken or a reinvented pastilla, the traditional pigeon replaced with lobster and salmon, the dishes are a delight.
Throw in a torch-lit terrace, carved cedar screens, tinkling fountains and the scent of jasmine – and it’s an Arabian night.
ANANTARA XISHUANGBANNA, China
You don’t have to eat the bamboo worms if you don’t want to, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t.
Bamboo worms don’t feature on most Chinese menus but Xishuangbanna is a very particular pocket of China. It’s the Chinese equivalent of the wild west, closer to Thailand than to cities such as Shanghai and Bangkok, and known for its vast rainforests, wild elephants and majestic centuries-old tea trees.
Top marks to the hotel for showcasing the cuisine of the local Dai tribespeople, full of fresh herbs and indigenous specialties such as ganba (air-dried beef), river snails, river weed, and rice dishes cooked in bamboo.
And the bamboo worms? The local equivalent of crisps, flash fried and perfect for munching on as you pull on a beer. Ganbei!
LE ROYAL MONCEAU RAFFLES, Paris
Here are some reasons why we love La Cuisine, one of two Michelin-starred restaurants in this Parisian pleasure palace.
There’s the decor: a funky updating of the traditional grand restaurant that is not in the slightest stuffy. There’s the attentive service, in which no detail is neglected: order steak, and you will be invited to choose from a selection of nine knives, each with its own history.
There’s the menu, which offers both traditional and innovative approaches. Atlantic cod, for instance, comes as both a traditional confit option, or an Asian-influenced version with braised black rice, honey, ginger and lemon.
Just be sure not to peak too early: once the cheese sommelier has had his way, you’ll still need room for the made-to-order Pierre Herme millefeuilles combinations such as fig and foie gras.
Call our free concierge service on 1800 908 254 and one of our travel experts will be happy to assist you with your booking!
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Resource references: Traveller.com