Food in our time is an ever-increasing art form, luxury item and expression of cultural values.That’s what makes traveling for it so special and this year in review we have been wowed by a great range of places and styles.
This is probably the most broad and subjective experience to reflect on, but as always we are giving our impressions based on places we have traveled to this year where quality, creativity and presentation left us with the impression, that such a restaurant is a place worthwhile for discerning travelers.
The Indian subcontinent has Twenty nine states and each of these have many subregional dishes, so the list of dishes to try is nearly inexhaustible. Thankfully however you can have a tour of some of the highlights with an excellent tasting menu at Indian Accent. The food is intricate and artistic, portioned just right so that you can sample a 7 course meal in an upscale environment for veg or meat lovers and leave just satisfied. This is the most memorable Indian meal we have ever had and its popular, so be sure to make a reservation.
La Canonica: Castiglion del Bosco
This rustic gem is located at the Rosewood Hotel and UNESCO Heritage castle ruins called “Castiglion del Bosco.” This restaurant captures everything that is enchanting about Tuscany. With vineyards, ruins, an herb garden in view and savory Italian dishes based on the simplest flavors served with wine from the property vines, it is farm to fork at its finest.
San Jose, Costa Rica
The suburbs of Costa Rica’s capital may seem unlikely for fine Italian cuisine, but its no surprise, as the city and the country have been cultivating culinary talent due to the ever expanding tourism market. The beautiful open air setting with colorful artwork immediately set the mood. The menu seems as if designed by a wise Italian grandmother who knows what favorites are in demand. The food is an authentic experience of Italy and the wines and cheeses are creative and collaborative, coming from near and far. The price is excellent and the service immpecable.
Sitting atop one of the newest buildings in the city’s skyline and the posh address of the Four Seasons Jakarta, Alto aims to land you among the heights in every way. The décor of the restaurant is a striking splash of red with balcony and inside table views. We heartily enjoyed funghi porchini soup and whiskey flavored risotto. The creativity of the chef and kitchen are on full display and having the best ingredients from around the world is the cornerstone of this restaurant. The main theme is Italian with separate lunch and dinner menus but the weekend brunch is famous across the city, as almost every imaginable luxury food item is available in a buffet style.
Ritz Carlton Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi Kitchen may sound like the generic restaurant at this resort, but it is the best restaurant experience we had on the island of Langkawi. With sea views on one side and elevated in jungle canopy the mood was relaxing. It had an excellent selection of wines and we settled on a great Australian Shiraz. There were abundant vegetarian options with a blend of South Asian cuisine that encapsulates the melting pot of Malaysia. The staff were attentive and intuitive during the entire meal.
Bukhara is a Tandoor style restaurant that is celebrated by tourists and locals alike. Outside in the hotel corridor we saw pictures of all the famous celebrities who have visited and the interior décor matches the Northwestern style of India, but the experience is never cheesy in a touristy way, it is as authentic an experience as it gets. The meals are eaten with hands and so there is no cutlery around unless you specifically ask for it. The traditional dishes are more like dipping sauces of various types of spiciness and lovely Naan bread is provided to help consume it. We found our waiters very attentive in spite of the crowd and found that the portions are really made for sharing. The slow cooked lentils (dal makhni) were some of the best we’ve had.
Hailed as Colombia’s top restaurant and among the top three in Latin America we heartily concur with the critics. The venue itself is spectacular, outside it looks like a quaint, European styled traditional home made with bricks and wood. There’s a small front yard garden and it looks like you are pulling up to a friend’s house with traditional bay windows and a chimney. The menu features Colombian influences of Arabic food, homemade delights like empanadas and grilled meats. Vegetarian options are found across the menu as well. There is an eclectic selection of wines, which range from ever country, varietal and price point. The restaurant is large and was packed with people yet still it delivered quality and intimate service. It is best to call ahead for a reservation and the price point is way more affordable than you might imagine.
Many people make a required reservation at Chicha to experience the genius of Gaston Arcurio, the chef who turned Peru into a foodie sensation. While he’s often away at one of his other 44 restaurants, the quality control here is amazing. The unique methods of Andean cooking, Peruvian ingredients and fusion cuisine made this a place we can still close our eyes and taste. The tour of Andean potatoes is a must get appetizer and the centerpiece bar is a great place to have some eponymous Chicha cocktails as well. A meal for two with drinks costs less than $40 USD.
Coriander Kitchen: Conrad Hotel
The main restaurant of the Conrad Pune outshines many other all day dining hotel venues. The menu is a conglomeration of Asian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine served in a street food style environment either a la carte or at live cooking counters and with market style food displays. We recommend the menu as it has some really delightful stuff. The Italian Burrata is absolutely mouth watering while the Samosas are exquisite. The high ceilings and natural daylight were all part of the inspiration to come back and enjoy the restaurant on several occasions.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Even though it is now a worldwide “chain” every Eataly is a little bit different and has its own delightful quirks. We’ve been to several: Istanbul, New York, Los Angeles and while Dubai is a bit smaller, it has a delightful menu with unparalleled views of the ever expanding skyline. The. Food service was quicker here than any of the others we have been to and the prices slightly more affordable. The pasta’s were rich and creamy with many good vegetarian options and the desserts were some of the most memorable too, we recommend you save some room!