One of my greatest passions is food and I could happily spend hours talking to someone about recipes and techniques.
I was taught how to cook from an early age by my South African mother & Greek grandma and a couple of years ago, I won Tesco’s Young Cook of the Year and national food writing competition WriteIt!
But my passion for food isn’t just in creating it, it also lies in being inspired by some of the incredible restaurants and chefs around the world.
One of the best showcases for outstanding restaurants is the annual San Pellegrino list. Here are my 10 favourites from this year’s top 50:
#1 – The French Laundry
Set deep in California’s Napa Valley, The French Laundry prides itself on its daily changing menu using ingredients from its in-house garden. Head Chef Thomas Keller says he wants his food to be an ’emotional experience’.
Tasting Menu: $270
#2 – Noma
Last year’s ‘Best Restaurant’, Noma has pioneered a new wave of Scandinavian cuisine based around nature’s bounty. Head Chef René Redzepi’s dishes are beautifully crafted from foraged ingredients to reflect the Danish landscape. This is culinary innovation at its finest!!
Tasting Menu: DKK 1,600
#3 – Test Kitchen
Set in a Cape Town’s Woodstock district, Luke Dale-Robert’s Test Kitchen is unique in its industrial décor and inspired takes on international dishes. This restaurant is a new venture for Luke, but it’s already establishing itself as a casual but brilliant place to eat.
Tasting Menu: R 520
#4 – Schloss Schauenstein
Schloss Schauenstein offers an exquisite take on regional Swiss cuisine, set in the walls of a medieval Alpine castle. Head Chef Andreas Caminada remarks that he loves to play around with ‘clean flavours and vibrant colours’.
Tasting Menu: CHF 245
#5 – L’Astrance
Pascal Barbot’s L’Astrance is set in the back streets of Paris, but its food couldn’t be further from traditional French cuisine. L’Astrance’s dishes experiment with French flavours to create modern fusion dishes, both extravagant and beautiful.
Tasting Menu: 220 Euros
#6 – Alinea
Alinea is a restaurant that continues to push the boundaries of gastronomy. If you’ve ever fancies a plate of food incorporating helium, apples & a balloon, then this is the perfect restaurant. Grant Achatz’s food has wowed Chicagoites since its launce in 2005.
Tasting Menu: $210
#7 – Mani
Mani is run by husband & wife team Helena and Daniel and delivers beautiful contemporary Brazilian cuisine in the country’s largest city. The restaurant itself merges contemporary with rustic Brazilian furniture to create a unique and authentic experience for the diner.
#8 – Fäviken
Surrounded by a 20,000-acres of land and on the same latitude as Iceland, Fäviken is one of the world’s most remote restaurants. Head chef Magnus Nilsson is a master forager and uses only locally sourced produce to make inspired versions of Scandinavian classics from scratch each day.
Tasting Menu: $250
#9 – Quique Dacosta
Following the closure of the famous elBulli, Quique Dacosta has become one of the leaders of avant-garde cuisine in Spain. He has a passion for ecology and research, reflected in his strikingly minimalist food.
Tasting Menu: 165 Euros
#10 – Mirazur
Mirazur not only makes the ‘Best Restaurants’ each year for its elegance, simplistic cuisine, but it provides some of the most memorable vistas of any of these restaurants. Its fresh and floral dishes are a perfect tribute to the blue hues of the Mediterranean sea.
Thanks again for reading my blog!! Which restaurant would be your pick?