Mr. Harper's Travel Guide
Even in an age of globalization, the great cities of Europe are more than mere tourist destinations; they are integral to American history and culture. Many of us fall hopelessly in love with the street market on the Rue de Buci, Sunday strolls through the ...
Even in an age of globalization, the great cities of Europe are more than mere tourist destinations; they are integral to American history and culture. Many of us fall hopelessly in love with the street market on the Rue de Buci, Sunday strolls through the Jardins des Luxembourg and the incomparable view upstream from the Pont des Arts. But for others, it is the shimmer on the surface of the Venetian lagoon, or the wisteria-draped townhouses of London’s Georgian squares that generate the same visceral attraction. But despite the ancient stones, time on the old continent moves at the same restless pace as elsewhere. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Europe has changed dramatically. Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic States are now part of the European Union, the boundaries of which stretch from Portugal to the western edge of Russia. For the American traveler, this has brought a wealth of new opportunities. There are now luxury hotels in places as far apart as Tallinn and Dubrovnik. And Berlin itself, the Reichstag now crowned by Norman Foster’s extraordinary glass dome, has recovered its place as one of the continent’s most important and culturally vibrant cities.
Recommended Luxury Hotels in Europe
Best Restaurants in Europe
The “modern classic cuisine using Irish produce in season” at this art-filled restaurant has earned an international reputation. The menu abounds with appealing dishes such as the starter of croquettes of suckling pig with a fried quail egg, foie gras, pancetta and a red pepper mostarda. Among the fish courses, wild North Atlantic halibut is enlivened with tandoori spice, pink grapefruit, carrots and turmeric. And the gently spiced Wicklow lamb comes with a Basque pepper stew, bergamot condiment and Taggiasca olive jus. I recommend concluding with a selection of French and Irish farmhouse cheeses. Closed Sunday and Monday.21 Upper Merrion Street (Next to the Merrion Hotel) Dublin Prix Fixe, US$100-$140. Four-course tasting menu, US$110; eight courses, US$200 http://www.restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie/
With a charming décor created by soft lighting, old beams, oil paintings and seasonal bouquets, this cozy restaurant stands on the site of an old convent where King Louis XIII was crowned in 1610. Before buying the establishment in 1996, chef Manuel Martinez cooked at many of the great restaurants of France, and this impressive background informs the precision of his delicious classical cooking. This place is ideal for a tête-à-tête.8 Rue des Grands Augustins Paris (6e) http://www.relaislouis13.fr
Located a half-hour by boat from Venice on Mazzorbo, the twin island to Burano, this charming hotel restaurant is a favorite of Venetians in search of a great meal in a setting far removed from city-center crowds. Chef Paola Budel cooks with local seafood, and produce from an on-site walled vegetable garden; menus run to dishes such as cuttlefish cooked in a broth of baby artichokes and tomatoes, spaghetti with sardines and spring onions, and roast cod in a sauce of beetroot and green apple. Open March through November.Fondamenta Santa Caterina 3 Isola di Mazzorbo Venice US$120. http://www.venissa.it
With red-and-ivory-checked tablecloths, waiters in white aprons and a menu that runs to delicious dishes such as pâté de campagne, foie gras, duck confit and blanquette de veau, this is a classic French establishment with excellent service. A textbook example of the much-loved traditional Parisian bistro, a species that is sadly becoming endangered.129 Rue Saint-Dominique Paris (7e) US$70 http://www.fontainedemars.com/
This sumptuously decorated establishment sets the bar for Cantonese food in London, and has maintained a Michelin star since 2003. Terrific dim sum are always available, plus the imaginative menu includes the likes of stir-fried spicy venison, jasmine tea-smoked chicken and Alaskan king crab in a black bean sauce.17 Bruton Street W1 London US$130 http://www.hakkasan.com/
It can be a challenge to find good food in popular seaside vacation towns such as Costa Rei, which is why L’Aragosta comes as a very pleasant surprise. The English-speaking owner is committed to using the best local seasonal produce. Seafood is the specialty, including dishes like spaghetti with arselle (tiny clams), and tuna steak with a crust of three types of pepper. Reservations are essential.Via Cristoforo Colombo 20 Cagliari http://www.laragostacostarei.it/en/
This intimate place in Mayfair was the pioneer of upscale Indian cooking in London, and it won a Michelin star in 2001. Try delicious dishes such as potato cakes with a sago crust (a flour made from tropical palms) and spinach filling, and slow-cooked lamb shank with turmeric, yogurt and a mix of freshly ground spices.20 Queen Street W1 London US$75 http://www.tamarindrestaurant.com/
Many Athenians consider chef-owner Lefteris Lazarou’s establishment, with its pleasant waterfront location in Piraeus, to be the best seafood restaurant in the city. The catch of the day varies, of course, as does the menu, but look for dishes such as grilled cuttlefish with caramelized lentils and orange; and orzo cooked with crayfish or shrimp, Limnio wine, dried hot red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. Be forewarned that the fish here is sold according to weight, so it is usually wise to ask the price to avoid an unpleasant surprise.Akti Koumoundourou 52 Mikrolimano, Piraeus Athens US$95. http://varoulko.gr/
Innovative New Austrian and Styrian specialties are offered here in stylish surroundings overlooking the Vienna River and the Stadtpark. Expect dishes such as Chioggia beets with rose, porcini and verbena; quail with nasturtium root, green beans and sesame; and venison with pumpkin, baby artichokes and orange blossoms. Superlative wine list. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Am Heumarkt 2A/im Stadtpark Vienna US$130 https://www.steirereck.at/
If you happen to be in Paris on a warm summer’s day, the first thing you should do that morning is to book a terrace table at this restaurant in a corner of the Palais Royal. Dining alfresco here is unforgettable, as restaurant patrons can stay in this lovely urban garden after it has been closed to the public. Soigné service and a chic crowd add to the pleasure of a meal here.110 Galerie de Valois Paris (1e) http://www.restaurantdupalaisroyal.com
Since he took over his family’s simple auberge 18 years ago, chef Olivier Bellin has won two Michelin stars for his contemporary Breton cooking. His menu evolves constantly, but dishes such as langoustine with girolle mushrooms and apricots, sea bass with onion ravioli, and seaweed-infused pear tart with verbena ice cream are typical of his style. Closed Monday and Tuesday all day and Sunday evening.7 Rue de la Plage Plomodiern Prix fixe menus, US$110 to US$215 http://www.aubergedesglazick.com/
After a successful stint in Tours, young chef Olivier Arlot took over an established restaurant (La Chancelière) in nearby Montbazon and transformed it into one of the finest in the Loire Valley. His prix-fixe menus follow the seasons, but dishes such as shrimp with avocado and grapefruit, cod in red wine sauce on black rice with girolles, and peaches and raspberries in a Vouvray foam show off his inventive style. Closed Sunday and Monday.1 Place des Marronniers La Chancelière Montbazon http://www.lachanceliere.fr/
I was wary of this auberge in the town 45 minutes north of Paris where Vincent van Gogh spent the last few months of his life, since I expected it to be a tourist trap. Instead, the dining room has been beautifully decorated to approximate what it may have looked like when Van Gogh was a boarder here, and the food — simple, hearty and generously served — is good. Try the pistachio-studded duck terrine, leg of lamb slow-cooked for seven hours, and chocolate mousse. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.52 Rue du Général de Gaulle Auvers-sur-Oise http://www.maisondevangogh.fr/
Overlooking a quiet square in El Poblenou, one of the city’s larger districts, this restaurant is much loved by the locals, who flock here for dishes such as duck foie gras in salt crust with truffle and tarragon; Iberian pork with broccoli cream; salt cod with romesco sauce (tomatoes, garlic and almonds) accompanied by creamed spinach; and a chocolate honeycomb-and-lemon cloud with a touch of lime and rosemary honey. Be sure to try the delicious white Priorat Catalonian wines.Plaça de Prim 1 Barcelona US$70. http://www.elspescadors.com/index_en.html
Paolo Paroli is a gracious host at this osteria near the Piazza Santa Croce. The cooking is excellent; I have enjoyed dishes such as ravioli stuffed with veal and buffalo-milk ricotta, and grilled Chianina beef. Closed Saturday lunch and all-day Sunday.Via dei Lavatoi 1/3R Florence US$85. http://www.osteriadeipazzi.it/
In the heart of Beaune, this local institution has a bustling atmosphere reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie. The menu features a host of expertly prepared classic recipes such as scrambled eggs with truffles, and duck breast with wild mushrooms. The selections accompany what may be Burgundy’s top wine list, with many highly coveted bottlings available for a fraction of their retail market value. Save room for the bountiful cheese selections. Reserve well in advance. Closed Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.Passage Saint-Hélène Beaune US$75
This simple place on a craggy point surrounded by the Mediterranean at the edge of Alghero is a favorite with the locals, who come for the impeccably fresh catch-of-the-day menu. Shrimp, langoustines, rock lobster, sea bass and other fish are served grilled, with good olive oil and lemon quarters on the side. A bottle of the local Vermentino pairs perfectly with lunch here.Via El Trò 44 Località Grotte di Costa Alghero https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quintilio-Ristobar/792848120745256?sk=timeline&ref=page_internal
Just across the street from the western wing of the Louvre, Le Fumoir is a great all-purpose address: a combination bar, café and restaurant. Inside, you’ll find bare wooden floors and a handsome mahogany bar imported from a Chicago speakeasy, and there are sidewalk tables when the weather is decent. The staff is young, alert and friendly, and the drink list is reasonably priced and expertly mixed. There are also complimentary newspapers, a good assortment of wines by the glass, and a generously served brunch on Sundays.6 Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny Paris (1e) http://www.lefumoir.com
This romantic restaurant on the Isola dei Pescatori, one of the Borromean Islands, offers a wonderful night out on Lake Maggiore from Stresa. Standout dishes have included terrine of duck with pistachios, grilled octopus with burrata cream, and ravioli stuffed with rabbit and black olives. There is a complimentary boat service from Stresa.Via del Marinaio 1 Stresa US$70. http://www.isola-pescatori.it/
Avant-garde chef Ferran Adrià created an intriguing gastronomic adventure at this London men’s club-style restaurant in Madrid’s 19th-century casino. His disciple, Paco Roncero, now heads the kitchen. Men still wear jackets and ties, but the buttoned-down atmosphere notwithstanding, the contemporary Spanish cooking is bold, and sometimes silly, but often very good. Therefore, this is a fine choice for anyone willing to brave the wilder shores of gastronomy as seen in dishes that have included “false” calamari risotto with Thai spices; and roast suckling pig with mango, mascarpone and pumpkin salad. Closed Sunday, Monday and the month of August.
Chef Paul Michelli is one of the most famous fish cooks in Paris, and after running a swanky eponymous seafood house in the 7th arrondissement for several years, he moved to this cozy, clubby little place in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés a few years ago. It’s since become a real insider’s address with local gallery owners and antique dealers, many of whom dine here daily, because they love Minchelli’s minimalist cooking style—he believes that really fresh fish should never be overwhelmed by sauces or garnishes.21 Rue Mazarine Paris (6e)
This elegant limestone townhouse near the Assemblée Nationale on the Left Bank houses a Latin American cultural center. For knowledgeable locals, it also has one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris, where dinner and lunch are served during the summer months, weather permitting. Closed August.217 Boulevard Saint-Germain Paris (7e) http://mal217.org/fr/restaurant-bar_2/restaurant
For fine traditional Swiss fare, look no farther than this remarkable spot that has been in continuous operation since 1551. Pine-paneled walls, heavy white tablecloths and the soft glow of candles provide an evocative setting for dishes such as pheasant consommé with Armagnac, truffle and quail egg; and the signature macaroni and beef liver cooked in a casserole. Impressive list of Swiss wines. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Schlüsselgasse 8 Zurich US$90 http://www.veltlinerkeller.ch/
This seafood restaurant, which is owned by former noma manager and sommelier Anders Selmer, pulls a fashionable crowd with an outstanding menu by chef Jamie Lee. Relaxed and casual, it’s an ideal place to sample dishes such as blue mussels in herbed apple cider, or fish and chips in the form of lightly smoked cod with fried potatoes and remoulade. An excellent selection of oysters and other fresh shellfish is also available. Lunch Saturday and Sunday only.Flæsketorvet 100 Copenhagen US$75. Seven-course chef's menu, US$75. http://www.fiskebaren.dk/en/
The interior of l’Ecrivain is particularly striking, with a cathedral ceiling, a white wood staircase to an upper level, a subtly striped carpet, tables set with white linens and sparkling glassware, a backlit wall of Mackintosh-esque glass panels and an accent wall of deep red. Chef-owner Derry Clarke trained in classical French cooking, but he has created an innovative menu that can feature dishes such as Lambay Island scallop with fermented cabbage, apple and an oyster emulsion; wild turbot with carrot, gingerbread, buttermilk and lardo; and dry-aged Irish beef fillet with chanterelles, onion, beef jus and a mushroom purée. Closed Sunday.109A Lower Baggot Street Dublin US$80. Tasting menus, US$100 http://www.lecrivain.com/
Chef Daniel Achilles won two Michelin stars for his Continental cooking served in a chic dining room within the renovated former workshops of the AEG electrical company. Expect unusual and dramatic dishes such as scallops with radish seed pods, sorrel and aloe vera; and lamb steak with chorizo, red pepper, mugwort and chervil root. Closed Sunday and Monday.Edison Höfe Schlegelstrasse 26c, Mitte Berlin US$130 - US$225 http://www.reinstoff.eu/english/restaurant/index.html
An outdoor setting and contemporary Italian cooking make this lakeside establishment an ideal choice on a warm summer evening. The menu changes seasonally, but dishes I have sampled — such as delicate ravioli stuffed with perch, and rack of lamb with a pistachio-crumb crust — illustrate the kitchen’s undoubted talent.Via Regina 73 Brienno US$75. http://www.crottodeiplatani.it
Diners here enjoy some of Lisbon’s finest seafood — as well as game — in a masculine atmosphere engendered by paneled walls, stained glass and dark leather chairs. You can always be sure of finding a wide selection of shellfish. Additionally, look for sea bass cooked in a tomato sauce with ham, onions and white wine; or turbot in a rich broth. Superb partridge and duck are served with rice in the local style.Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 23 Lisbon US$95. http://www.gambrinuslisboa.com/
Chef Jordi Esteve won a Michelin star for his contemporary Catalan cooking at this calm, elegant dining room. Dishes such as lobster salad with shiitake mushrooms and a mandarin orange dressing, and grilled squid and artichokes with a honey sauce show off his style.Carrer de València 28 Barcelona US$100. http://www.nectari.es/
Chef Mark Hix’s place in Soho is perfect for a pre- or post-theater meal. The kitchen works exclusively with British-sourced produce, as seen in dishes such as grilled Bantry Bay razor clams with Trealy Farm chorizo and sea purslane, followed by seared Isle of Mull scallops with Peter Hannan’s sugar pit bacon and butternut squash, grilled lemon sole with Hollandaise, or hanger steak with baked bone marrow.66-70 Brewer Street W1 London US$75 http://www.hixsoho.co.uk/
Talented young Swiss chef Marco Hartmann serves excellent Mediterranean-and Asian-inspired dishes made with mostly organic produce at this stylish hotel dining room in an arty district of the city. Hartmann’s menu changes often, but dishes such as herbed tagliatelle with creamed mushrooms and Belper Knolle cheese, cod confit with grapeseed salsa and Champagne sauerkraut, and Poschiavo Valley venison in a garlic-parsley crust with red cabbage and chestnut spätzle show off his style. Closed Sunday.Herman-Greulich-Strasse 56 Zurich US$90 http://www.greulich.ch/greulich/de/restaurant/essen.html
A local favorite since it opened in 1951, this family-run seafood restaurant is mostly supplied by the owners’ two fishing boats — which explains the spectacular freshness of the catch-of-the-day menu. Start with pasta with sardine sauce, a Palermitan specialty, then enjoy some locally caught prawns or a grilled fish. Closed Sundays.4 Piazzetta Mulino a Vento Palermo
Perhaps the most classical of Spain’s great chefs, Berasategui presents a menu that follows the seasons but includes dishes such as mille-feuille of smoked eel, foie gras, spring onions and green apple (a combination as delicious as it is surprising); and young pigeon charcoal-roasted at a low temperature with potato and truffle bites and heirloom vegetables. Closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday.
The Schwarzwaldstube at the Hotel Traube Tonbach has held three Michelin stars since 1980. Chef Harald Wohlfahrt’s cooking is remarkably light and inventive. His menus change with the seasons and his inspiration, but dishes we enjoyed included pheasant consommé with enoki mushrooms and wontons filled with pheasant meat; marinated wild duck breast cooked with pine-tree honey and black peppers; and bitter-orange soufflé with a gelée of figs and pistachio sorbet.Tonbachstrasse 237 Baiersbronn Baden-Baden http://www.traube-tonbach.de/en/schwarzwaldstube-restaurant
If all you want to eat when you come to Paris is foie gras and boeuf bourguignon, this stylish restaurant with a loft-like décor isn’t the right place. If, on the other hand, you want to sample some excellent and inventive contemporary French cooking, you might enjoy chef William Ledeuil’s very popular restaurant in Saint-German-des-Prés. Ledeuil is fascinated by Asian ingredients and recipes, and he creates unusual but unfailingly delicious hybrid dishes. It can be noisy here, and the friendly young staff lack a bit of polish, but Ze Kitchen Galerie has a lively atmosphere and attracts an interesting crowd of artists, antique dealers and gallery owners.
4 Rue des Grands Augustins Paris (6e) http://www.zekitchengalerie.fr
This pretty and fashionable restaurant has a large terrace with wonderful views. Start with the swordfish caponata, then try the delicious seafood couscous, which reflects the Arab occupation of Sicily from the ninth to the 11th centuries.5 Via Scauri Porto Pantelleria http://www.altamareapantelleria.it/
The specialty of this friendly and popular white-tablecloth restaurant in the heart of Vienna is tafelspitz, the favorite dish of Emperor Franz Joseph I. It’s a hearty meal of beef simmered with root vegetables and spices in beef bouillon accompanied by side dishes of fried potatoes, creamed spinach and applesauce with horseradish. In warmer months, request a table on the bright covered patio.Wollzeile 38 Vienna US$50 http://www.plachutta.at/de/plachutta_wollzeile/
In December 2014, three chefs who had previously worked at the celebrated elBulli came together to create a wonderful new restaurant. Reflecting the surrounding neighborhood, the interior of this Michelin-starred restaurant brings together a delightful interplay of wrought elements and ceramics, all brightly illuminated through skylights. As you would expect, the menu is full of an ever-changing array of inventive dishes. Look for such creations as the red mullet with pork belly and eggplant gnocchi; dashi semolina with sea urchin; macaroni carbonara; and razor clams with seaweed in salt. Disfrutar is Spanish for “to enjoy,” and that is just what this stylish restaurant inspires in its guests. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Conveniently located in the central Eixample neighborhood, this attractive modern tapas bar takes reservations, and most of its staff speak English. Try the rich assortment of Iberian sausages; cod fritters; fresh prawns with garlic sauce; oxtail stew with potatoes; and deep-fried baby squid.
With an ornate traditional French décor of oil paintings on ochre walls and lavish floral arrangements, chef Orsi’s stylish restaurant has an old-school elegance. Expect formal service and classic dishes such as foie gras ravioli with a Port-truffle sauce, gently spiced lobster with artichokes, and roast pigeon with preserved garlic, along with an excellent cheese tray and sumptuous desserts. By reservation only. Closed Sunday and Monday.3 Place Kléber Lyon Menus, US$110, US$135 and US$200 http://www.pierreorsi.com/uk/index.php
The 1930s villa housing this restaurant has pretty dining rooms, but the garden patio is its real glory. There we had an unforgettable lunch, starting with shelled escargot in a ring of fluffy garlic cream sauce. In the center, a hollow, falafel-like sphere contained more escargot bathed in butter infused with garlic and parsley. Just as good was the juicy Charolais beef with red wine sauce, mushrooms and a side of “mashed potatoes.” This crock of potato purée tasted ethereally light, and yet it was so rich with butter and cream that I have no doubt this dish has a place of honor on the dinner table in heaven. Closed Sunday and Monday.10 Rue de l'Hôtel Dieu Beaune Tasting menus, US$75-US$85 http://www.le-jardin-des-remparts.com/fr/
Perennially popular thanks to its riverside terrace beside the Charles Bridge, this gracious restaurant offers a menu that includes roasted quail with truffled potato purée, glazed grapes and vanilla sauce; and venison loin with green lentils, foie gras ravioli, salsify purée and a juniper demi-glace. The wine list includes a selection of notable Czech vintages.Na Kampĕ 8b Prague US$100 http://www.kampagroup.com/en/restaurants/kampa-park/
I love the food of southwestern France, which is the specialty of this discreet restaurant not far from the Gare de Lyon (it’s a great place for lunch or dinner before you hop a TGV to the south of France). Though I liked the dining room better before it was redecorated several years ago, they had the good sense to leave the beautiful wedding-cake moldings untouched, and it’s a quiet, comfortable place for a meal. Desserts aren’t especially memorable, but there is a superb collection of Armagnacs.40 Rue Taine Paris (12e) http://www.autrougascon.fr
Argentine-born chef Mauro Colagreco is a rising star on the Riviera at this dramatically located restaurant that has beautiful views looking over the Mediterranean. Colagreco is a poetic cook who delights in using fresh herbs, vegetables and seasonal fruits in tasting menus that have included dishes such as shrimp carpaccio with a raspberry and blackberry purée, citrus and elderflower; and squab with risotto, strawberries and gizzard confit. Closed Monday and Tuesday.30 Avenue Aristide Briand Menton Prix-fixe Menus, US$60, US$95 and US$160 http://www.maurocolagreco.com/
After a Sunday afternoon stroll around the Marais, I inevitably end up at this popular bistro featuring a simple décor, casual but correct service and an excellent chalkboard menu of seasonal French comfort-food dishes. It can be a bit noisy (the crowd is young, and the room is rather bare), but it is a bona fide neighborhood restaurant. I enjoy dishes like the smoked garlic soup, smoked salmon or homemade country pâté to start, followed by a fine steak tartare, grilled Bigorre pork or maybe some game in season. Note that this place is very popular, so bookings are always necessary.49 rue de Turenne Paris (3e) http://lecafedesmusees.fr/en
Located in a building that was once the archive of the Duchy of Amalfi, this celebrated restaurant specializes in regional seafood dishes on a daily-changing menu that might include lemon risotto with raw and cooked shrimps and mullet roe, and whitefish gratin stewed with Greco di Tufo wine with fennel julienne and sun-dried tomatoes. Notable list of Campanian wines. Closed Tuesday.Via Matteo Camera 12 Amalfi US$85. Nine-course tasting menu, US$130. http://www.ristorantelacaravella.it/
A short walk from The Chedi, this excellent Italian restaurant with a chic modern décor is a firm favorite among skiers, so it is often crowded and reservations are essential. Try the ravioli stuffed with rabbit, the tagliatelle with a wild boar/Chianti sauce, and the saltimbocca pork served with risotto.Gotthardstrasse 137 Andermatt http://www.baeren-andermatt.ch/
By shrewdly modernizing classic Venetian dishes and adding a few favorites from other Italian regions to the menu, the kitchen here has turned a simple dining room into one of the most popular restaurants in the off-the-beaten-track Cannaregio quarter. The menu will change with the market, but look for the risotto with shellfish, and the superb fritto misto of shrimp, fish and vegetables. Closed all-day Monday and Tuesday lunch.
Paneled walls and plaid fabrics foster a warm, clublike atmosphere at this hospitable seafood restaurant. The menu offers classics such as sole stuffed with gray shrimp, and bouillabaisse of North Sea fish, as well as an impressive service of Petrossian caviar.Rue Bodenbroek 18 Brussels US$120. http://www.lecaillerdupalaisroyal.be/
Popular with a well-dressed younger crowd, Olé Lola is one of the best and most creative of the new-style tapas bars in Madrid. The menu of chef Juan Pablo Barila evolves constantly, but crowd-pleasers have included mushroom-stuffed lamb rolls with red pepper sauce, salmon tartare, and chicken “lollipops” with soy-honey sauce.
Hidden in a side street in Evora, this pleasant, old-fashioned establishment with a vaulted white ceiling serves excellent and very reasonably priced Portuguese comfort food. Start with some melon and Chaves ham, then try the arroz de tamboril (rice with monkfish) or pork stewed with clams, before flan or homemade semolina cake for dessert. The wine list is small but well-chosen.
Located on an island in the Bois de Boulogne, the vast park on the western edge of Paris, this romantic good-weather-only pavilion is surrounded by flowering gardens and towering pines. You will have to take a cab to get here, but it’s a delightful outing on a warm day. A stylish crowd of Parisians enjoys an open-air terrace that is set with well-spaced tables and is candlelit at night.Bois de Boulogne Paris (16e) http://www.chalet-des-iles.com
This justly renowned establishment is housed in a 16th-century baronial villa with sweeping views over the lake. It features highly innovative modern Swiss cuisine, with dishes such as beef “Bearnaise” tom yam soup, and langoustines with coconut, curry, figs and Campari. Extensive wine list. Closed Sunday and Monday..Rue du Château 2 Vevey US$255 http://www.denismartin.ch/
This restaurant has an idyllic garden-and-mansion setting, like the more famous Jardin des Remparts, but an edgier menu. I had an appetizer of tangy and intense mackerel escabeche with pickled fennel and dots of carrot purée and fish sauce. For my main, a tender slice of leg of lamb came with crispy lamb sweetbreads and savory kidney, as well as fresh corn kernels, baby corn, corn purée and corn foam.10-12 Boulevard Maréchal Foch Beaune US$65-US$105 http://www.lecedre-beaune.com/fr/
Located between Castle Hill and the Danube, this charming traditional restaurant specializes in duck (kacsa means “duck” in Hungarian), the signature style being crispy roast duck with sour morello cherries. Other Hungarian/Continental dishes include saddle of lamb with walnuts, and heirloom beef steak in a red wine sauce with pearl onions. The ambience is hospitable and the service attentive.Fő utca 75 Budapest US$55 http://www.kacsavendeglo.hu/
With a prime location near the bustling Spice Bazaar and a wonderful view over the Bosphorus, this busy restaurant is a great place to sample some of the kebabs that are a classic of the southeastern Turkish kitchen. The fistikli kebab (ground lamb with pistachios) is especially delicious.
The three-star table of chef Eric Frechon is one of the best and most reliable top-of-the-heap restaurants in Paris. It formerly migrated between a beautiful oak-paneled dining room (winter-fall) and a glass-walled space overlooking the hotel’s lovely courtyard garden (spring-summer), but has recently moved into a new marble-floored dining room with a slightly bland décor by French decorator Pierre-Yves Rochon. Service is impeccable; it has one of the best wine lists in Paris; and Frechon, an amiable Norman, is a superb cook. His menu evolves constantly, but dishes not to miss include macaroni stuffed with black truffles, foie gras and artichokes; the poularde de Bresse in two services — the breasts in a sauce of vin jaune with asparagus, crayfish and girolle mushrooms, and the thighs with a truffled leek-and-potato bouillon — and any of the chocolate desserts.Le Bristol 112 Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré Paris (8e) http://www.lebristolparis.com/#/restaurant-gastronomique
Chef Kolja Kleeberg presents a creative Continental menu in a gleaming setting of steel, glass and slate. Representative dishes include roasted codfish with bean ragout and Saucisson de Lyon, and crispy suckling pig with Riesling sauerkraut, potato confit and watercress. The wine list is exceptional. Closed Sunday.Jägerstrasse 54-55 Mitte Berlin US$150 http://www.vau-berlin.de/en/
This stylish steakhouse is where Berliners go for first-rate beef. Start with some oysters, lobster bisque, fennel salad with pear and Parmesan, or salmon tartare with dill and cucumbers, then opt for the beef, which is offered in different weights and with a choice of sauces, vegetables and potatoes.Friedrichstrasse 105B Mitte Berlin US$90 http://www.grillroyal.com/
This friendly trattoria is located in one of the region’s prettiest villages. Look for delicious simple dishes such as poached eggs with goat cheese and black truffles, and venison “osso buco” with Nebbiolo wine.
This is a lively spot with tightly spaced tables, but as soon as your first course arrives, you’ll understand why it’s worth putting up with the raucous atmosphere of this popular Left Bank bistro. Chef Stéphane Jégo’s food is delicious, and includes dishes such as baby scallops in their shells with tiny croutons and flat parsley, or fricassee of guinea hen cooked with thyme, rosemary and girolles mushrooms. Closed Sunday and Monday.27 Rue Malar Paris (7e) US$60 http://www.amijean.eu/en/index.htm
Located in the city’s Lycabettus neighborhood, this excellent seafood restaurant has fine views of the Acropolis and serves one of the best catch-of-the-day menus in Athens. Follow one of the outstanding starters — maybe Aegean shrimp sautéed in garlic, hot peppers and olive oil; or octopus with sun-dried tomatoes, thyme honey and homemade potato chips — with grilled grouper fillet with summer truffles, potatoes and Santorini wine sauce.Voukourestiou 47 Athens US$75.
Located on the first floor of the Trussardi boutique, adjacent to La Scala, this refined restaurant is an excellent choice for lunch. The offerings change daily, but the intelligent and creative cooking runs to dishes such as Sicilian shrimp with lemon and capers; spaghetti cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) with shellfish; and veal cutlet Milanese-style with Béarnaise sauce and crystal potatoes. Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday.Piazza della Scala 5 Milan US$110-US$170. http://www.trussardiallascala.com
Anyone who is curious about the Milan fashion world might want to try this insider’s address popular with designers, as well as with journalists and photographers. They come for simple but delicious pizzas, Lombardian dishes and fish, including a delectable grilled branzino. Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday.
Overlooking the sea, this hotel dining room is a fine destination for lunch, especially as a stop on an easygoing drive around the lovely Crozon peninsula (much recommended). Order one of the well-priced prix fixe menus, or go à la carte for fish soup, langoustine with homemade mayonnaise, grilled lobster, turbot with a buckwheat crust, or beef tenderloin with foie gras sauce and potato pancake. Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday evening and Monday. Closed all of January.11 Quai du Fret Crozon Prix fixe menus, US$35 to US$85 http://www.hostelleriedelamer.com/
Regional Bavarian cookery is enlivened by international fusion techniques at celebrity chef Alfons Schuhbeck’s remarkable restaurant. Innovative dishes run the gamut from Alpine salmon atop potato mousseline and baby spinach to grilled fillet of local ox with Tasmanian pepper, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin marzipan. Attentive service and a distinguished wine list add to the pleasure of eating here. Closed Sunday.Platzl 6+8 Munich US$90-US$135 http://www.schuhbeck.de/
The more upscale Halali is similarly inviting and congenial. Fortunately, tourists have yet to discover it, and the clientele appeared to be almost exclusively local. Here, the chefs deftly update classic Bavarian cuisine, accompanied by wines from a list particularly strong in Austrian selections. I savored an appetizer of eel with a truffled egg atop fresh whole-grain bread, and a main course of venison in juniper sauce with light spätzle (egg noodles) and red sauerkraut. Closed Sundays.Schonfeldstrasse 22 Munich http://www.restaurant-halali.de/
Martin Wishart brought Edinburgh its first Michelin star. Set in the docklands of Leith, this sophisticated restaurant has wood accents, muted colors and gentle lighting. Look for starters such as ravioli of Borders partridge with cabbage and truffle cream. Main courses might include roasted breast and pastilla of Goosnargh duck with red cabbage, beets, macadamia nuts and red currants. Closed Sunday and Monday.54 The Shore Leith Edinburgh Three-course à la carte menu, US$105. Six-course tasting menu, US$115 http://www.martin-wishart.co.uk/home.aspx
This historic trattoria is run by Antonio De Angelis and his American wife, Aurelia, and features local and regional products. Delicious, unpretentious dishes include stuffed squid, and linguine with red scorpionfish. Be sure to save room for the famous torta caprese with mulberry crêpes. Closed November to late March.
Legendary restaurateurs Livia and Alfonso Iaccarino and their sons oversee this elegant establishment (which includes an eight-room hotel). The changing menu features the light, healthy food of Campania given gentle updates in dishes that have included ravioli stuffed with Caciotta cheese and marjoram, topped with a simple and flavorful sauce of Vesuvian tomatoes and basil; seared amberjack; and the extraordinary pasticcio di melanzane (an eggplant dish, in this case a dessert with chocolate sauce). A sensational wine collection of 25,000 bottles is stored in an ancient cellar of Etruscan origin. Closed Monday and Tuesday, also November-March.
Sadly, this storied restaurant has never been the same since the passing of Claude Terrail, the dapper owner and maître d’hôtel par excellence. Yet it still serves up one of the loveliest views in Paris (the back of Notre Dame, the Seine and its banks) and its famous roast caneton (duckling) in orange sauce. Service is serious and cordial in the best old-fashioned traditions of Gallic gastronomy. To be sure, the kitchen has had some ups and downs during the last few years, but my last meal here was excellent. It’s still a grand experience to daydream over the vista and be coddled in an elegant dining room. Come for lunch to get the view at its best, and also perhaps to take advantage of the good-value prix-fixe lunch menu.15 quai de la Tournelle Paris (5e) http://www.tourdargent.com
Overlooking the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, this excellent Michelin-starred restaurant showcases the modern Breton-Japanese cooking of chef Raphaël-Fumio Kudaka, a native of Japan who previously worked with Olivier Roellinger. Kudaka’s cooking is delicate, precise and subtle, as seen in dishes such as lobster dumplings with pine nuts, Lepage Farm pork-and-morel gyoza, braised shiitake mushrooms and a clear yuzu broth; and fillet of fried John Dory with pointed cabbage, clams and a cabbage-and-garlic-oil broth. Excellent wine list. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.7 Quai Thomas First Floor Cancale Five-course menu, US$85; eight courses, US$150 http://breizhcafe.com/fr/
Located in a pretty 18th-century pavilion in the Royal Danish Horticultural Society’s Garden, this restaurant has a whimsical modern décor and serves excellent contemporary Danish cooking. The ever-changing, offbeat prix fixe menus run to dishes such as monkfish foie gras, smoked scallops with onion and coconut, and venison prepared two ways. The food is fascinating, but it is best suited to the gastronomically adventurous. Dinner only; closed Sunday and Monday.Frederiksberg Runddel 1 Frederiksberg Menus, US$120, US4145 and US$170. http://www.mielcke-hurtigkarl.dk/
Be sure to try the great mushroom dishes in season at this rustic auberge near Canale. The list of Roero wines is excellent.
The Palais Coburg’s gourmet restaurant serves exquisitely presented and memorably delicious cuisine, but the audacious wine pairings stood out on a recent visit. The sommelier exploited the breadth of the restaurant’s cellars, matching, for example, an acidic and smoky Zierfandler (a grape found only in Austria’s Thermenregion) with a rich dish of tête de veau and liquid quail yolk topped with artichoke and shiitake mousse. Equally unforgettable was the Swiss Pinot Noir paired with a dish of dove breast, cranberry, beetroot and Savoy cabbage cream. Closed Sunday and Monday.Coburgbastei 4 Vienna Menus, US$195 - US$250 http://palais-coburg.com/en/culinary/silvio-nickol/
Founded in 1903 by the Austrian pastry chef Antoine Rumpelmayer, this elegant tearoom is famous for its lusciously thick hot chocolate and Mont Blanc pastries. These rich meringues, topped with spiced chestnut cream, are a delightful treat after a walk around the Tuileries Garden across the street. Leather armchairs at green marble tables and elegant wall murals create a genteel atmosphere, and you’ll spot many a grandmother here with her happy grandchildren. The lemon and strawberry tarts are delicious, too, and this is an excellent place for afternoon tea.226 rue de Rivoli Paris (1e) http://www.angelina-paris.fr/fr/
Occupying a loftlike space with an open kitchen and a black granite counter, this spot has proved to be an immediate hit. Contemporary food is served as tapas-style appetizers and priced-by-the-weight main courses. Starters have included aged Iberian ham, St. Jacques-style scallops, braised bacon and citrus mousseline, and a mini-burger of wagyu beef with foie gras mayonnaise and Belgian cheese. Among recommended main courses are the braised octopus with julienned vegetables, pineapple and hummus; and Iberian pork loin with fried sweet potatoes and caramelized onions. Closed Sunday and Monday.Place Sainte-Catherine 8 Brussels US$65. Six-dish "Discovery" Menu, US$55. http://www.evanrestaurants.be/
Housed on the somewhat unfashionable north shore of the Liffey by the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, this charming place is reached by a twisting staircase above a bookstore of the same name. Inside, you will find a classic loft space with high ceilings, bare wood floors, big windows, bentwood chairs and uncovered café tables. Starters could include the wonderful fish plate with a selection of artisanal products from the country’s finest smokehouses; a main course might be the char-grilled Hereford sirloin with onions and roasted garlic butter with homemade fries. For dessert, the bread-and-butter pudding with whiskey sauce is tops. The wine list is eclectic, with daily recommendations and wines by the glass posted on a blackboard.40 Lower Ormond Quay Dublin US$55 http://www.winding-stair.com/
A temple of Parisian haute cuisine since 1946, this celebrated power-broking establishment occupies a grand 19th-century townhouse off of the Champs- Elysées. Current chef Alain Solivérès presents elegant dishes such as sea bass with leeks, Champagne and osetra caviar; boudin of Breton lobster with an emulsion of tarragon and aniseed; and spit-roasted Bresse chicken for two with morel mushrooms and pats of butter infused with Jura wine tucked under the skin. Closed Saturday and Sunday, and from late July to late August.15 Rue Lamennais Paris (8e) US$175. Tasting menu, US$240; seasonal menu, US$310 http://www.taillevent.com/
Chef Jordi Artal grew up in Canada before returning to his parents’ native Catalonia and opening this excellent restaurant with low-lit contemporary décor. Artal uses only the finest local produce to create seasonal dishes that are beautifully presented, such as pork belly with sweet potato purée and grilled spice bread, shrimp and carrots with mustard and licorice, and sea bream with green-bean broth and roasted tomatoes, all of which we enjoyed at our most recent meal. Closed Sunday and Monday.Carrer d'Aribau 58 Barcelona Prix fixe menus, US$110 and US$130. http://www.cincsentits.com/
Chef Josean Alija’s food more than lives up to its spectacular setting in Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Alija is a great vegetable cook; at our most recent meal, I loved his foie gras-like avocado, steamed over a bouillon made with conger eel. Other wonderful dishes include red mullet soup; velvet crab broth and red curry; and veal sweetbreads roasted in black butter, mustard and spinach. And for dessert, apple, almond cream and yuzu ice cream. Closed Monday and the first 2½ weeks of January; lunch only Sunday and Tuesday.Avenida Abandoibarra Bilbao Prix fixe menus, US$120-US$190. http://www.nerua.com/
Situated in the former Jewish ghetto, this charming and informal spot is famous for its carciofi alla giudia (fried artichokes, “Jewish style”). Also try any of the wonderful dishes with fresh-made pasta, the fritto misto vegetariano, and the first-rate stuffed zucchini blossoms. Tables spill out into the quiet piazza, which provides a magical setting in summer. Closed Sunday evening and Monday.
This family-run gastronomic mecca features a striking art nouveau dining room that serves classic dishes such as sole fillets with a mousseline of Riesling and shrimps; or young pigeon from Poitou with smoked curry and cubeb pepper, tarragon and sherry vinegar. Closed Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday for lunch.Place Rouppe 23 Brussels US$135. Four-course menu, US$115; five courses, US$170; six courses, US$225 and US$270. http://www.commechezsoi.be/
Located in an unspoiled medieval village, Bruno Cirino’s restaurant has elegant dining rooms that spill out onto a sunny terrace. The Mediterranean cuisine is essentially French, but it draws on Italian, Spanish and Greek culinary traditions. Cirino searches the local markets and fills his menu with dishes that reflect what is best and in season with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Typical dishes could be grilled St. Pierre fish with stewed potatoes and olive oil, or roasted boneless squab with a black olive reduction and Bandol wine. Closed Monday and Tuesday September-June.20 Rue Comté de Cessole La Turbie (five miles north of Monaco) Prix-fixe Menu, US$90; Tasting Menu, US$155 http://www.hostelleriejerome.com/
Chef Tanguy Laviale’s cozy restaurant with limestone walls has the added draw of an excellent wine boutique up front. With an impeccable haute cuisine pedigree, Tanguy creates such appealing dishes as smoked tuna and duck foie gras, a fine roasted Pauillac lamb, and scallops with creamed wild mushrooms. Lunch offered Tuesday-Friday, dinner Thursday and Friday.62 Rue Abbé de l'Épée Bordeaux Prix fixe five-course dinner, US$80 https://garopapilles.com/
This romantic hillside restaurant has stunning views of both bridges over the Bosphorus and is one of the most stylish (and expensive) in Istanbul. On our visit, we eschewed the more modish fusion offerings on the menu and ordered the Turkish dishes, which included standouts such as grilled octopus with white bean and tomato salad, and lamb fillet with smoked eggplant. It also has one of the best lists of Turkish wines in the city.Adnan Saygun Caddesi Ulus Parki Içi 71/1 Istanbul US$85. http://www.group-29.com/
The only seaside restaurant in Pantelleria, this popular trattoria is better at lunch than at dinner. Start with a pasta Pantesca, with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic and capers, then choose a grilled fish — the tuna, swordfish and amberjack are reliably excellent — with an insalata Pantesca composed of potatoes, tomatoes, capers and olives dressed in olive oil and fresh oregano. Reservations are essential; service is often slow, so relax and enjoy the views.Contrada Scauri Scalo Pantelleria
If you want a sushi fix while you’re in Paris, this small, quiet bar overlooking the Seine on the Ile Saint-Louis is the place to go. It doesn’t have a lot of atmosphere, but chef Katsuo Nakamura works behind the counter with the freshest fish in Paris, and most of the other clients are likely to be Japanese. Pricey, but so is the finest fish, and the Zen calm here makes it a pleasant place for lunch during a wander around the islands (Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis). Reservations are essential. Closed Sunday and Monday.4 Quai d’Orléans Paris (4e) http://isami.zenchef.com/
The Adam Tihany-designed restaurant of chef Daniel Boulud on the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is ideal for lunch after shopping in Knightsbridge (Sloane Street, Harrods and Harvey Nichols). Diners enjoy delicious charcuterie, coq au vin, salads, grills and hamburgers.66 Knightsbridge London US$75 http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/dining/bar_boulud/
With a charming terrace on one of the side streets leading up from the port, this is one of the best and most reasonably priced tables in busy Bellagio. Owner Armando Valli is an engaging and hospitable host. The menu changes often, but a variety of lake fish is always on offer. Alternatively, try a dish such as the delicious risotto with sausage, red wine, sage and Parmesan shavings. Reservations not accepted. Closed Tuesday.Salita Mella 13 Bellagio US$60. http://www.ristorantebarchetta.com/
At the Hotel Sackmann, the charming Schlossberg restaurant has won two Michelin stars for refined and creative dishes such as foie gras with caramelized sheep’s milk yogurt and apple-and-ginger compote; porcini mushroom soup with peas and baby leeks; and rock lobster with pine nut cream and broad beans.
For a terrific catch-of-the-day menu in this seafood-loving city, try this casual and authentic place. Aside from superb fish from boats operating out of the port, it offers a spectacular setting overlooking the Mediterranean from a craggy promontory. Closed Sunday and Monday.2 Boulevard de la Libération Marseille http://www.laboiteasardine.com/
Expect authentic Hungarian cookery at this handsome brasserie, which opens onto a wonderful garden patio. Specialties include crispy duck leg with ginger-dried plums, and Mangalica pork in a creamy cep mushroom sauce.Budakeszi útca 5 Budapest US$45 http://remiz.hu/en/
The opulent food hall on the sixth floor of this venerable department store is a terrific place for a quick lunch. Counters serve different foods, so you can opt for oysters, sushi or smoked salmon — or experiment with some 1,200 varieties of sausage and cold cuts. Closed Sunday.Tauentzienstrasse 21-24, Schonenberg Berlin Prices vary http://www.kadewe.de/en/shops-stops/gourmet-floor/
This fashionable Swiss/Continental restaurant is housed in a grand five-story Biedermeier building with an interior adorned with original works by Miró, Matisse, Chagall and Picasso. Regional specialties include air-cured beef and a wonderful veal sausage salad. Representative main dishes might be veal steak in a morel sauce, and turbot in Riesling sauce with sauerkraut.Rämistrasse 4 Zurich US$110 http://www.kronenhalle.ch/
Since there are only eight tables at this popular little osteria, book before you travel to Venice. Choose the second service at dinner for more relaxed dining, and from the catch-of-the-day menu, expect dishes such as grilled razor shell clams, spaghetti with clams, and John Dory with sautéed mushrooms. Closed Sunday and Monday.Calle del Mondo Novo Castello 5801 Venice US$80. http://www.osterialletestiere.it/
This glamorous restaurant with a streamlined modern décor and fine views from a hillside location is one of the most fashionable in the city. A renowned chef in Lyon, Christian Têtedoie serves delicious contemporary French dishes such as wild John Dory meunière served for two; beef entrecôte with Beaujolais sauce, Pont Neuf potatoes, eggplant and Béarnaise sauce; and a blueberry soufflé.Montée du Chemin Neuf Lyon US$75-US$146 http://www.tetedoie.com/
This simple but cozy tavern with vaulted whitewashed dining rooms and wood floors is a wonderful choice in the heart of the city for anyone who wants to sample authentic and delicious Viennese comfort food. Try dishes such as rindsuppe (rich beef bouillon garnished with finely sliced pancakes), schnitzel, faschiertes (veal meatballs with mashed potatoes) and apple strudel. Closed Sunday.Singerstrasse 28 Vienna US$40 http://www.zuden3hacken.at/index.html
On a magical terrace overhung by lemon trees, waiters wearing vests embroidered with lemons weave among the candlelit tables. Here, a chic international crowd feasts on Caprese dishes such as mozzarella grilled inside lemon leaves; seafood antipasti; risotto with lemon, shrimp and arugula; linguine with lemon; grilled sea bass; and an array of lemon tarts. Closed from November to mid-April.Via Palazzo a Mare 11 Capri US$100. http://www.paolinocapri.com/
Though it’s located in the heart of the city on the busy Rue Réaumur, as soon as you step inside this simple, cozy bistro, you’ll think you’re in the French Basque Country. Garlands of red Espelette peppers hang from the ceiling, and the welcome is very warm in this casual room with a vintage mosaic floor, a long service bar and framed posters on the walls. Chef Bertrand Guéneron, who was once sous chef to Alain Senderens, turns out delicious renditions of Basque classics such as axoa, a hearty veal stew.38 Rue Réaumur Paris (3e) http://www.au-bascou.fr
This vintage wine shop in a chic corner of the 17th arrondissement feels almost like a film set: lacy curtains in the front window, a big zinc bar, mosaic tiles, and cornices overhead. It can be a trifle stuffy, but I enjoy the atmosphere and the seriousness of the well-heeled crowd here. The pours by the glass change weekly, but you can also purchase a bottle from the shop as long as you’re willing to swallow the steep corkage fee (worth doing, in my opinion, as the list is impressive). The menu features well-made French comfort food such as foie gras, duckling with green peppercorns, rabbit in mustard sauce, a superb cheese tray and a fine crème brûlée.30 Bis avenue Niel Paris (17e) http://www.cavespetrissans.fr
Stylish but relaxed, this popular restaurant offers an appealingly eclectic menu that ranges from falafel to shrimp with lemon risotto. Children are welcome at this family-friendly spot, and the menu features many dishes intended to appeal to a younger generation.Gotthardstrasse 91 Andermatt http://www.restaurant-toutoune.com/
This delightful osteria is an ornament to the stylish sailing town of Salò on Lake Garda. The fine home cooking is exemplified by dishes such as beef carpaccio with arugula and shavings of Parmesan, and tagliatelle with a rich duck ragù. The fine cellar contains selections from the length of Italy but emphasizes local wines such as Valtenesi, Lugana and Franciacorta. Closed Wednesday.Via Butturini 26 Salò US$60. http://www.osteriadellorologio.it
Owner René Loven’s mission is to offer the sort of Dutch comfort food that his mother made for him. Start with the grilled sandwich of Frisian sugar bread with layers of duck liver terrine and a garnish of homemade apple syrup, then try a hearty main course such as roasted lamb chops with Nicola potatoes from the oven. You’ll find an excellent sampler of Dutch cheeses. Friendly service adds to the pleasure of the meal.Peperstraat 23-25 Amsterdam US$65. Prix fixe menu, US$60. http://www.restaurantgreetje.nl/
Dal Corsaro, considered Cagliari’s best restaurant for many years, now offers a bistro, Fork, at the same address. In my view, the cooking at the bistro is much more appealing. Start with Pecorino flan, or maybe spiny lobster in tomato sauce in season (summer), then try the spaghetti with crabmeat, or bream with spiny artichokes.28 Viale Regina Margherita Cagliari http://www.stefanodeidda.it/fork.html
Working in an open kitchen, talented chef Oldřich Sahajdák serves a six-course tasting menu daily: Continental, market cooking and traditional Czech. Expect dishes such as pumpkin with cream and Prague ham; pigeon with elderberries and apricots; and pike with kohlrabi. International wine list, plus bottles from Moravia and Slovakia.Haštalská 18 Prague US$105 http://www.ladegustation.cz/en/
Located in the attractive little village of Mora, this simple restaurant is a fine place to discover the hearty country cooking of the Alentejo. It opened in 1954 and specializes in dishes such as partridge cooked with rice, grilled local pork with garlic sauce, and the delicious little almond cookies known as queijinho do céu de Mora.
Located in the atmospheric, canal-laced Brera neighborhood, this handsome Tuscan trattoria pulls an arty crowd with dishes such as ribollita soup (made with bread, potatoes and barley) and sliced Florentine-style steak with sautéed potatoes. Ideal for a quiet, relaxed meal.
Chef Alexandros Kardasis presides over this deservedly popular restaurant in a renovated house on fashionable Plateon Street. His menu changes regularly, but don’t miss the salt-cod doughnut with seasonal greens and a lemon sauce; split peas from Santorini with caramelized onion and tomato; and the delicious grilled dentex fish with glazed seasonal vegetables and a fennel-scented sauce. Also consider the baby lamb with celery root, wild greens, avgolemono (egg-lemon) foam and dill oil. Closed Monday.
After becoming one of the most famous chefs in the world with his restaurant elBulli (now closed), Ferran Adrià has opened this high-concept tapas bar with a cracked white-tile floor and a showbiz-themed décor. The modern Spanish tapas are excellent and may include dishes like tuna belly with salmon eggs and green-apple bread, grilled quail with honey and mint, and rabbit ribs with foamy garlic mayonnaise. However, it is noisy, and service can be uneven. Closed Sunday and Monday.
In addition to an excellent selection of wines by the glass, friendly Casa Lucas offers an intriguing selection of idiosyncratic tapas. If it’s available, try the delicious “Madrid” — an intricate canapé of tomato, scrambled egg, blood sausage, pine nuts and raisins.
Tucked away in Montmartre, this attractive restaurant with a stylish modern décor serves one of the most original menus in Paris. Chef Antoine Heerah is from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, and his distinctive cooking marries its culinary traditions (French, African, Chinese and Indian) to fresh French produce with intriguing results. During the summer, you can dine on one of the prettiest little terraces in Paris.52 Rue Lamarck Paris (18e) http://www.chamarre-montmartre.com
Innovative chef Juan Pablo Felipe has won an enthusiastic following among adventurous Madrid diners with dishes such as Norwegian lobster with Iberian ham in parsley sauce, barbecued pigeon with corn and truffles, and a chocolate and lemon “volcano” dessert. His sleek, contemporary restaurant is also notable for its well-spaced tables and excellent list of Spanish wines.Hotel Aristos Avenida Pío XII 34 Madrid US$110. http://www.elchaflan.com/
This formal gastronomic restaurant is housed in a handsome old villa on the Fontanafredda wine estate. Look for locally inspired dishes such as pasta with truffles and porcini, pumpkin gnocchi with a ragout of sausage and radicchio, and delicious roast veal.
This strategically located café just across the street from the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés takes its name from two “magots,” or Japanese statuettes, in the main salon. Its large terrace has been an excellent spot for people-watching since it opened in 1885. Much like its erstwhile rival the Café de Flore, it has attracted many artists and notables over the years and is very expensive. Les Deux Magots and the Café de Flore are the salt and pepper of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, eternally paired but also very different. Though Les Deux Magots also awards a famous literary prize, it pulls more shoppers than the Flore, and the crowd is often more international than Parisian.
6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris (6e) http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr
This bustling bistro offers not only a fine array of traditional dishes but also a delicious dose of eternal Paris. It originally opened to feed the hungry stall-holders and workers from Les Halles, the central market of Paris, which was once just down the street. That market, sadly, is long gone (it moved to suburban Rungis in the ’70s and the original buildings were demolished), but the raucous, jolly mood of this place harks back to an era when farmers and merchants arrived in the middle of the night to peddle their wares. I can’t think of any happier cure for jet lag than a 2 a.m. feast at this place, which serves until 5:00 a.m., especially since it offers some of the best rib steaks in town with huge sides of crispy golden frites (a meal best washed down with the house Brouilly, still decanted from big barrels up front). Other good dishes include wonderful pâtés, mutton with white beans, andouillette (chitterling) sausages, and offal for those who don’t find it awful. Service is brisk and wisecracking, and there’s a lot of chatting between tables.5 Rue des Prouvaires Paris (1e)
Located in stylish Nişantaşi, this restaurant specializes in Ottoman cooking and recalls the days when the empire spread from the Caspian Sea to Algiers. Recommended dishes include yellow lentil soup with croutons and lemon; baked stuffed eggplant and stuffed cabbage rolls; hünkar beğendi (“the sultan’s delight”), a rich lamb stew with eggplant purée; and lamb shanks with orzo in a light tomato sauce.Mim Kemal Oke Caddesi 21 Nişantaşi Istanbul US$55. http://www.hunkar1950.com/
Celadon-colored wainscoting, molded archways and a striking mosaic floor provide a memorable setting at this discreetly chic restaurant frequented by the fashion and business communities. I come here for the simply prepared seafood dishes, such as linguine tossed with scampi and zucchini flowers, and sea bass baked with artichokes.Via Pasquale Sottocorno 6 Milan US$90. http://www.giacomomilano.com/
Self-taught chef Hervé Bourdon has developed a remarkable network of local suppliers, and he respects the quality of their produce by cooking it simply and precisely. This excellent seafood restaurant is where we celebrated the end of our cure with a superb meal of mackerel sashimi on cauliflower purée, and sea bass with artichokes and ginger.11 Quai Saint-Ivy Portivy Saint-Pierre-Quiberon http://www.lepetithoteldugrandlarge.fr/
Few places are as charming on a warm fall day as this well-run old tavern, with its wonderful wine list and a terrace with a view of the Langhe Hills. Try dishes such as tajarin (taglierini), an egg-dough ribbon pasta, with a ragout of rabbit, pork and veal; and veal braised in Barolo wine with peppercorns.
Formerly known as Pavillon Ledoyen, one of the oldest restaurants in Paris occupies a pretty pavilion in the gardens of the Champs-Elysées. There are lovely views of the surrounding chestnut trees from the first-floor dining room, which has an elegant Directoire décor. The restaurant and its design were refreshed with the 2014 arrival of chef Yannick Alléno (formerly of hotel Le Meurice), whose cooking received three stars in the 2015 Michelin Guide. A superb talent, Alléno has dazzled diners with dishes such as tronçon of turbot roasted with bone marrow; and wagyu beef served with crispy raviolis, olives and green tomato jam. This restaurant is as perfect for an important business lunch as it is for a romantic dinner. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Carré des Champs-Elysées 8 Avenue Dutuit Paris (8e) US$220. Prix-fixe Menu, $270 http://www.yannick-alleno.com/restaurant/le-pavillon-ledoyen/
Smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwiches topped with a variety of delicious ingredients, are a Danish passion. Chef Ida Davidsen is locally famous for serving the best of these quick eats at her Copenhagen restaurant. Try the smoked salmon with lungfish caviar, or maybe the “Hans Christian Andersen,” named for the famous children’s writer and piled high with liver pâté, bacon and tomatoes. Open for lunch only; closed Saturday and Sunday.Store Kongensgade 70 Copenhagen US$45. http://www.idadavidsen.dk/
Englishman Mark Williamson launched the modern Parisian wine bar when he opened this still very popular place near the Palais-Royal in 1980. Small, convivial and stylish, it attracts a fashionable international crowd who enjoy the excellent pours by the glass and a good chalkboard menu that runs to dishes such as artichokes with marinated onions and foie gras, and pan-roasted guinea hen with girolles. A great destination after a stroll and some shopping in the Palais.13 Rue des Petits Champs Paris (1e) http://www.williswinebar.com
What began as a well-received exploration of new concepts by bright young chefs almost careened to ruin at formel B. But, two of those talented chefs whipped things into shape, and now the restaurant enjoys an exalted reputation as a place to find superb cooking rooted in French technique and using Nordic produce. In this sleek setting, look for such dishes as salted Danish cod with crudités, creamy mussel foam and lovage; langoustine à la nage with carrot purée and local vegetables; and free-range Danish pork with glazed beets, yogurt and harissa. Dinner only; closed Sunday.Vesterbrogade 182 Frederiksberg C US$105. Prix fixe, US$130. http://formelb.dk/en/
This Catalan take on a French bistrot à vins, or a bistro specializing in wines, reflects Barcelona’s obsession with design. A high-tech interior allows patrons to peruse some 3,600 available bottles on a computer screen. The list includes everything from local Priorat wines to French Condrieu and Italian Chianti, and there are also wines from California, Lebanon, South Africa and England. The menu is wine-friendly and runs to tempting small-plate dishes, such as prawn carpaccio with lemon and basil, along with substantial main courses like charbroiled entrecôte in a Béarnaise sauce with crunchy potatoes. Closed Sunday, dinner only Saturday and Monday.
Chef Sylvain Martin’s innovative and modern French cooking has made this stylish contemporary restaurant a local favorite. The menu changes often, but it always features a dependably good assortment of charcuterie to start and dishes such as trout with polenta in langoustine sauce, and crème brûlée with vanilla bourbon. Lunch only Sunday.114 Cours de Verdun Bordeaux US$55 http://www.gravelier.com/
Located in one of Zurich’s oldest buildings, which incorporates a magnificent beamed Gothic chamber built in 1348, this Swiss/French restaurant offers substantial traditional cooking. Representative dishes might include air-dried beef and ham; goose liver escalopes with apple, malt beer sauce and amaretti cookies; and veal steak with a cognac and pepper sauce. Superb views of the Limmat River and Old Town. Closed Sunday and Monday.Limmatquai 42 Zurich US$100 http://haus-zum-rueden.ch/
Anyone who is curious about avant-garde French haute cuisine should not miss Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant. His astonishingly elaborate dishes change according to market and season, but they have included langoustine tartare with green mango, gooseberry-mustard syrup, black radish and potato purée; and rack of lamb poached in oregano bouillon with a crust of fresh herbs accompanied by shrimp cooked in prune brandy. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Hotel Balzac 6 Rue Balzac Paris (8e) US$175 http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/
Run by Vitor Sobral, a Portuguese food celebrity, this friendly, good-value restaurant is perfect for a casual but delicious meal of Portuguese comfort food. Starters are made for sharing, and among those not to miss are the selections of cured hams, cheeses (the Portuguese cheeses are particularly wonderful), olives and croquettes, while excellent main courses include sautéed shrimp with garlic sauce. Dinner only Monday and closed Sunday.Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C Lisbon US$45. http://www.tascadaesquina.com/en/
Hidden away in a lounge of the historic Schauspielhaus (State Theater), this restaurant draws smartly dressed locals for elegant pre-theater dining. The Semper Opera House is just a five-minute walk away through the courtyard of the Zwinger, making william ideal for a pre-opera dinner, as well. I relished my appetizer of a soft-boiled egg with Meissen ham, creamy mustard foam, crunchy dried capers and potato purée, an upscale take on the classic (and much-maligned) Senfei. My main course of crispy-skinned pike-perch with tender asparagus and barley risotto was light and delicious. Interesting wines such as a Hensel & Schneider blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris from the Pfalz paired beautifully.Theaterstrasse 2 Dresden http://www.restaurant-william.de/
The modern French comfort food at this friendly bistro is excellent, and it includes such dishes as foie gras, sole in lemon butter, and slow-cooked lamb. It also has one of the more interesting and reasonably priced wine lists in the city; hence, its popularity with the wine trade and local antique dealers is no surprise. Closed Sunday and Monday.45 Rue Notre Dame Bordeaux US$50 http://www.chez-dupont.com/fr/restaurant_chez_dupont_bordeaux.html
Indonesian food is to Amsterdam as Indian food is to London — a much-loved edible souvenir of the colonial past. The best place in the city to sample this intriguing cuisine is Tempo Doeloe (a Dutch phrase borrowed from Indonesian that means “the old days”). For the uninitiated, the best introduction to this sophisticated cuisine is a rijsttafel (rice table), which is a sampler buffet of many individual dishes including gadon dari sapi (beef in a gentle coriander-flavored coconut sauce), ajam roedjak (chicken in a spicy chili-coconut sauce), and sambal goreng oedang (baby prawns with Indonesian spices). Closed Sunday.Utrechtsestraat 75 Amsterdam US$60 http://www.tempodoeloerestaurant.nl/
One of the most interesting restaurants in Amsterdam is the oddly named &samhoud places, which earned two stars in a recent edition of the Michelin Guide. Israeli-born Dutch chef Moshik Roth serves exquisite little cameos of food, such as goose liver with raspberries, lychees, roses and almonds; turbot with vanilla, kaffir lime, orange and black rice; and Anjou pigeon with liver, Chinese cabbage, plums, orange and angelica. I increasingly dislike such complex, finicky menus, but Roth’s is brilliant from start to finish. Closed Monday and Tuesday; dinner only Saturday and Wednesday-Thursday.Oosterdokskade 5 Amsterdam US$140. Prix fixe menus, US$150 and US$195. http://www.samhoudplaces.com/
Chef Paco Roncero does particularly imaginative tapas at the glamorous Estado Puro, where the ceiling is decorated with peinetas, the hair combs once worn by Spanish women. Look for the fried artichoke with quail egg and trout roe, Galician octopus with potato foam, and porcini croquetas.
Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, the restaurant of chef Joackim Salliot is the best address for a memorable meal during a visit to Giverny. Salliot’s creativity is displayed in dishes such as grilled langoustines and squid in green tea-flavored cauliflower cream, and lamb fillet with baby leeks and pistachio oil. There is also a good-value prix-fixe lunch menu. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.1 rue du Milieu Giverny http://www.lejardindesplumes.fr/
For excellent southern French cooking, don’t miss this Marseille institution, perched on rock at the entrance to the old port of Vallon des Auffes. Chef Guillaume Sourrieu makes a superb fish soup, along with more elaborate dishes such as sea bass in caviar butter, John Dory with Swiss chard, gnocchi and black olive sauce, and chocolate soufflé with black-pepper ice cream. Closed Sunday and Monday.Vallon des Auffes Marseille http://www.l-epuisette.fr/
Located on the banks of the Loire, this popular restaurant has three dining rooms — two modern, one traditional — and offers dishes such as foie gras marinated in Muscat wine, roasted guinea hen with pistachio butter, and mille-feuille with passion fruit caramel. Closed Monday.17 Quai Charles Guinot Amboise http://www.leliondor-amboise.com/
This relatively inexpensive country auberge offers delicious rustic food such as tagliolini with porcini, roast shank of veal, and pears poached in wine. The wine list is superb.
Young chef Marek Šáda produces fine contemporary Czech cuisine at this delightful restaurant next to the Charles Bridge. Šáda cooked in New York, then attended Culinary Institute of America classes in California. This experience explains his worldly style, including dishes such as butter-seared sea bass with ponzu, tapioca pearls, radishes, beans, bok choi and butternut squash risotto; and veal fillet mignon à la Schnitzel with potatoes, celery, chive mayonnaise, pickled carrots and veal jus. The wine list offers a superb selection of little-known but excellent Czech wines, which are described by the charming, English-speaking sommelier.Novotného lávka 9 Prague US$45 http://www.mlynec.cz/
Fish from the nearby port of Liguria features extensively on the menu of this friendly restaurant with a vaulted brick ceiling. Look for dishes such as octopus carpaccio with orange sauce, and black rice with shrimp and vegetables. Meat specialties include rabbit with capers, and guinea fowl cooked in Port wine.
Chef Alexis Gauthier has opened a terrific restaurant in a handsomely renovated Georgian townhouse in Soho. His menus change with the season, but run to dishes such as Scottish scallop with mushy Jerusalem artichoke, crunchy almonds and an acidic apple marmalade; and Welsh lamb two ways — pink-roasted loin and thyme-braised shoulder with Parmesan and herb celeriac, all with lamb jus. Closed Sunday and Monday21 Romilly Street W1 London Prix Fixe, US$65-95 http://www.gauthiersoho.co.uk/
An 18th-century townhouse provides a luxurious setting for one of the city’s loveliest restaurants. Attention to detail and the freshest ingredients produce superlative dishes such as grouper in mussel broth with portobello mushroom, red pepper and spinach; and terrine of suckling pig with rösti potatoes, broad beans and tomato stew. Closed Sunday.Travessa das Amoreiras 1 Lisbon US$85. http://www.casadacomida.pt/
This chic brasserie with its buzzy atmosphere and post-industrial setting has a slightly louche glamour that draws people from the Dutch arts, cinema and showbiz. Start with the terrine of foie gras, then try the blanquette de veau, or the roasted chicken before enjoying a superb crème brûlée for dessert. Closed for lunch Saturday and Sunday.Ruysdaelstraat 54-56 Amsterdam US$65. Prix fixe menus, US$45 and US$55. http://restaurantlegarage.nl/
This pleasant but unexpectedly simple Michelin-starred restaurant in a residential corner of Saint-Brieuc occupies an old granite house. Talented chef Jean- Marie Baudic changes his menu daily according to the season and the markets, and the only choice is whether to have two courses or three. Baudic has a particular love of seafood and vegetables, as seen in dishes such as a starter of dressed crab with quinoa, piquillo peppers, baby vegetables and shellfish jus; and a main course of brill with vegetables and a luscious deeply reduced meat sauce. Perfect for lunch. Closed Sunday and Monday.5 Rue Palasne de Champeaux Saint-Brieuc Two-course menu, US$40; three courses, US$60 http://www.youpala-bistrot.com/
Perched on a hillside with fine views over Lake Maggiore, this rustic osteria has conspicuously charming and friendly service. Try local dishes such as lamb prosciutto, and white polenta with Gorgonzola. I finished up with a warm slice of red-fruit crostatta, the open-face jam tart made by all Italian grandmothers.Via per Comnago 30 Lesa US$50. http://www.alcaminolesa.com/
Run by the same family for several generations, this seafood establishment on the outskirts of Villasimius is perfect for lunch. Feast on homemade fregula served with baby clams, spaghetti with rock lobster sauce, or grilled sea bass.Località S.P. 76 Solanas
For an experience of vintage Parisian elegance, this white-orchid-filled dining room with its small army of courtly waiters can’t be bettered. It occupies the first floor of a refined townhouse in the heart of the city, where a doorman escorts you from a small elevator to your table. The menu offers a superb selection of house classics such as the Challans duckling for two with cherries. Other dishes might include the classic beef Rossini with puffed potatoes, or line-caught John Dory with fennel and candied lemon. Closed Sunday and Monday; dinner only except Thursday and Friday.17 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt Paris (8e) US$235. Tasting Menu, US$220 http://www.restaurant-lasserre.com/uk/index.php
Reviving a famous restaurant such as La Mère Brazier is fraught with challenges, but chef Mathieu Viannay’s shrewd makeover of one of the best-loved tables in Lyon has been rewarded with two Michelin stars. While retaining dishes that date to the restaurant’s founding by Eugénie Brazier in 1921, Viannay has also introduced some of his own excellent creations, which have included a classic Grand Marnier soufflé; and wonderful Bresse chicken for two with crayfish, which features the breasts served with a classic Nantua sauce, while the legs and thighs are grilled and served with a tomato-based sauce vierge with crayfish oil. The excellent wine list features the best of the Rhône Valley. Closed Saturday and Sunday.12 Rue Royale Lyon US$120. Tasting menu, US$180 http://lamerebrazier.fr/
Chef Carles Abellán trained alongside Ferran Adrià before opening this restaurant with its steel beams and dark wood tables. Experience his clever cooking as part of a 10-course tasting menu inspired by the cuisine of Catalonia, Andalusia, Asia, Italy and America. Expect dishes such as marinated sardines with balsamic vinegar, blood sausage layered with mashed potatoes, black rice with aioli, and curry-scented banana soup.Carrer de Comerç 24 Barcelona US$60 http://comerc24.com.mialias.net/
This popular seafood restaurant just across the street from the main market in the busy fishing port of Olhão offers huge portions of freshly caught shellfish and fish, and also has a pleasant sidewalk terrace for outdoor dining. Try the grilled octopus, monkfish skewers, grilled squid and John Dory. The service can be slow. Excellent value for the money.
This attractive restaurant serves both French and German dishes in a dining room adorned with art nouveau mosaics. Start with oysters from the North Sea island of Sylt, then try the excellent Wiener Schnitzel with hot German potato salad, a steak or salmon. Open late, this is a particularly useful address for supper after a concert or ballet.Französische Strasse 47 Mitte Berlin US$110 http://www.borchardt-restaurant.de/en/
After cooking at the famous Le Chantecler in Nice and several other well-known tables along the coast of France, talented chef Alain Llorca has opened an auberge not far from Saint-Paul de Vence. The shaded terrace offers fine views of Saint-Paul and the distant Mediterranean, and the menu runs to sophisticated southern French country dishes such as zucchini flowers stuffed with black truffles in mushroom butter; and stuffed Dover sole in a fine, niçoise-style ragout of mussels and langoustine.350 Route de Saint-Paul La Colle-sur-Loup US$130. Prix fixe menus, US$80-US$160 http://www.alainllorca.com/
Open fires, a checkerboard floor and a palette of cream and gold create a refined setting for chef Christopher Naylor’s French/Continental cuisine. Notable dishes have included poached lobster with rhubarb and avocado; halibut with roasted carrots and black garlic; and beef rib with cranberry-shallot chutney, Swiss chard and red wine beef jus. Closed Sunday.Prins Hendrikkade 59-72 Amsterdam US$80. Prix fixe menus, US$75, US$85 and US$100. http://www.restaurantvermeer.nl/
Located just around the corner from the Campo de’ Fiori market, this is a favorite place for casual dining. The snug space is tucked away behind a gourmet grocery shop. Start with burrata, the creamy mozzarella-like cheese from Puglia, with anchovies, or delicious Sicilian caponata with dried fruit and nuts, then try the best spaghetti carbonara in town. If you don’t want pasta as a main course, the black cod with spring onions, carrot purée and Maldon salt, and meatballs with smoked ricotta and chestnut polenta are excellent. There is a superb assortment of cheeses and one of the city’s best wine lists. Closed Sunday.Via dei Giubbonari 21 Rome US$60. http://www.salumeriaroscioli.com/restaurant/
This minimalist, 20-seat Japanese restaurant in Beaune is a break from the typical Burgundian establishment. Its 10-course tasting menu delivers world-class quality and creativity. The salted prawns and foie gras tempura stole the show, especially when paired with a glass of Meursault. The eclectic wine list offers noteworthy selections at reasonable prices. Book well in advance.42 Rue Maufoux Beaune US$110
This engaging, low-key bistro in the heart of the city takes its name from the fact that its cosmopolitan quartet of chefs hails from around the globe, with members from Japan, Israel, New Caledonia and France (via Vietnam). The worldly food prepared in the open kitchen reflects this diversity and includes excellent dishes such as monkfish with smoked chestnut purée, pork loin with vanilla-flavored celery root purée, and hibiscus-roasted figs with halva ice cream. Closed Sunday and Monday; dinner only on Saturday.33 Rue du Cancera Bordeaux Five-course Tasting Menu, US$55 http://restaurantmiles.com/
This appealing contemporary restaurant is the rare Copenhagen newcomer where you can also order à la carte, perhaps selecting dishes such as oysters with passion fruit vinaigrette; scallops with Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, Niçoise olives and truffles; or a delicious dessert of strawberries, macadamia nuts and chocolate. You can elect to enjoy a different wine with each course of the tasting menus.Borgergade 16 Copenhagen US$100. Three-course menu, US$175; five courses, US$250; seven courses, US$300. http://restaurant-clou.dk/
Beyond the pristine white façade of the neoclassical Kurländer Palais is my favorite restaurant in Dresden, the seafood-focused Kastenmeiers. The interior of the palace burned during the bombing of the city, but it has only been minimally restored — colorful contemporary paintings hang on walls of exposed stone and brick, where just a few bits of the original plaster coating remain. In this supremely atmospheric space, we enjoyed light and flavorful dishes such as grilled black tiger prawns with arugula and Parmesan, and perfectly cooked sea bass with tomato confit and wild garlic couscous. The excellent wine list has a large by-the-glass selection and numerous options from Saxony.Tzschirnerplatz 3-5 Dresden http://www.kastenmeiers.de/
Set right by the water and occupying part of a renovated boat shed, this atmospheric restaurant offers a nautical feel and terrific views. The food is modern Nordic, or in the words of Magnus Ek, one of two chefs, “We cook our ingredients in a modern way, but old and traditional techniques are the foundation of our approach.” Look for dishes as lukewarm trout with sturgeon roe, grilled parsley and rhubarb; and Linderöd pork glazed with garlic and cabbage with roasted almonds and sage. Dinner only; closed Sunday and Monday.Beckholmsvägen 26 Stockholm Six-course menu, US$190; ten courses, US$245. http://oaxen.com/oaxen-krog/
Featuring a glamorous dove-gray décor and a ceiling glittering with 10,000 suspended pieces of cut crystal (the work of young French interior designer Patrick Jouin), the Paris restaurant of globe-trotting chef Alain Ducasse offers a grand slam experience of contemporary French haute cuisine, with some of the best service in the world and a remarkable wine list. Ducasse himself is not in the kitchen, but his lieutenant Romain Reder creates delicious dishes. A real pomp-and-circumstance address with an international clientele, it’s also ideal for a special-occasion meal or a long, leisurely lunch. Jacket required. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Hôtel Plaza-Athénée 25 Avenue Montaigne Paris (8e) US$250, with fixed menus priced higher http://www.alain-ducasse.com/public_us/plaza_athenee/fr_atmosphere.htm
This innovative restaurant is set in a restored Georgian townhouse. Chef Paul Kitching’s menu changes weekly, but representative dishes include a risotto with spinach, morels, assorted other mushrooms and pimento; salmon and Welsh rarebit with mustard, leeks and lentils, along with halibut with black olives and figs; and beef fillet with pecans, parsnips, goji berries and garlic-dill capers. Closed Sunday and Monday.3 Royal Terrace Edinburgh Prix Fixe, US$80-US$100 http://www.21212restaurant.co.uk/
Finding a restaurant in Rome on Sunday night can be a challenge, which is how I discovered this delightful spot. Reputed to be the oldest trattoria in the city, it might not be the most elegant, but the food makes it a must-go. Pastas are excellent — nowhere does a better take on the simple cacio e pepe, with just tonnarelli pasta, ground pepper, butter and pecorino cheese — as are the lamb dishes. The service can be perfunctory, but come on Sunday for lunch to see happy Roman families enjoying every bite. Closed Monday.
Though it’s off the beaten track, young chef Bertrand Grébaut’s bistro is worth discovering for his imaginative contemporary French dishes. Grébaut trained with chef Alain Passard at L’Arpège, a background that shows up in starters such as risotto with watercress and sorrel, and main courses like cod steak in a jus de poulet with fennel bulb shavings, or succulent pork rib with radishes and carrots. Friendly service in an attractive, loft-like space and an interesting wine list make this a great choice for casual dining. Closed Saturday and Sunday.80 Rue de Charonne Paris (11e) US$75 http://www.septime-charonne.fr/
The most famous literary café on the Left Bank has been a gathering place for writers, artists and glamorous eccentrics since it opened in 1887. Today, there are at least as many tourists in the crowd as there are creative types, but the Flore continues to be a bastion of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés intelligentsia and popular with fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel. The locals tend to sit inside the pretty art deco salon or, if they’re doing business, to head upstairs for extra discretion. Yes, it’s very expensive, but the price of a coffee is your ticket to one of the greatest shows in Paris. It remains the very definition of a great (many think the greatest) Paris café.172 Boulevard Saint-Germain Paris (6e) http://www.cafedeflore.fr
Pink tablecloths, lemon-colored walls and antique furniture create a gracious setting for chef Annie Féolde’s cucina nuova and traditional Tuscan cuisine at this renowned Michelin three-star establishment. Look for dishes such as John Dory in squid-ink pasta with spinach, Béarnaise sauce and lemon chamomile jelly; spaghetti alla chitarra with seafood, bread crumbs and bottarga; and Mora Romagnola suckling pig with salsify and spices. The remarkable wine cellar contains more than 4,500 Italian and foreign vintages. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Located inside the Hotel Brosundet and overlooking the harbor, this attractive bistro with an open kitchen is the most popular table in town. The tasting menu evolves regularly but stars freshly landed cod, halibut, monkfish, scallops and shrimp. Desserts run to waffles with Norwegian brown-cheese ice cream.Apotekergata 5, Alesund http://www.brosundet.no/en/restaurant-maki/restaurant-maki
Occupying a pretty white pavilion in the gardens of the Champs Élysées, Laurent has a dual personality. It is a popular power lunch venue for French politicians and business people in the afternoon, and then it becomes quieter and more intimate in the evening. During the summer, weather permitting, they serve outside in one of the prettiest gardens in central Paris. Chef Alain Pégouret is a talented classicist with a deft culinary imagination. Excellent wine list and very good service.41 Avenue Gabriel Paris (8e) http://www.le-laurent.com
This charming osteria is located at the headquarters of the Slow Food movement in Bra. Typical dishes include broccoli and cauliflower flan with a fondue of Raschera cheese, and brasato al Barolo (beef stew cooked with Barolo wine and served with polenta).
Situated just off Bétlemské Square in the Old Town, this popular spot flaunts an extravagantly floral and feminine décor. Bohemian specialties include roast rabbit stuffed with garlic, onions and Parmesan; and fillet of venison with a cassis/mustard sauce and artichoke purée.
Budapest’s touristy Castle District has only recently acquired restaurants of note, including Pierrot, which has an excellent wine list and an enchanting garden, and Alabárdos, which has a stronger menu. There, favorite dishes include pumpkin cream soup with crayfish risotto and sea buckthorn vinaigrette, Tisza River catfish with celery gnocchi and tomatoes, and venison with thyme-roasted semolina and port-poached figs. Closed Sunday.Országház utca 2 Budapest US$65 http://www.alabardos.hu/site.php
A short walk from the Hôtel Brittany, this contemporary brasserie has a seaside setting, cordial service and an appealing menu of good, simple French dishes prepared with first-rate local produce. These dishes include excellent oysters; mussels served three different ways; and yellow pollock with buckwheat stuffing, baby vegetables and beurre blanc sauce.37 Rue de l'Amiral Courbet Roscoff US$45 http://www.les-alizes-roscoff.com/
The best place to experience the sophisticated New Swedish style of cuisine is at Gastrologik in the city’s Östermalm district. This intimate spot is the creation of Executive Chef Jacob Holmström and baker Anton Bjuhr. The daily tasting menu is a suite of surprises, but what is consistent is the use of local seasonal produce (a hallmark of New Swedish cooking) as seen in dishes like oysters with fermented cucumber, and braised oxtail with beer gelée and dried beetroot. Odd as the dishes here may sound, they’re delicious. Open for dinner only; closed Sunday and Monday.Artillerigatan 14 Stockholm Prix fixe menu, US$170. http://www.gastrologik.se/
This wonderfully old-fashioned restaurant is one of my favorite places to dine in Paris, and I never leave town without having a meal here. The cozy dining room decorated with red velvet banquettes, smoky mirrors and 1950s French ceramics has a preserved-in-amber charm, the service is charming (most of the waiters have been here for years), and its clubby atmosphere derives from the fact that this is one of the most enduringly elegant beau-monde addresses in Paris. Jackets advised for gents—this place is very chic in a casual and very Parisian way.27 Quai Voltaire Paris (7e)
After cooking at Lasserre for several years, talented chef Jean-Louis Nomicos opened this strikingly modern restaurant in the 16th arrondissement, and immediately began attracting a well-heeled neighborhood crowd who appreciate his inventive contemporary cooking. Nomicos is from Marseilles, and many of the dishes he serves have a touch of the south in them. Attentive service and a dressy but relaxed atmosphere.16 Avenue Bugeaud Paris (16e) http://www.lestablettesjeanlouisnomicos.com
In his waterfront restaurant, chef Tom Kitchin offers imaginative fare using seasonal produce in surprising combinations. Starters might include hand-dived Orkney scallops baked in the shell, served with a white wine, vermouth and wild herb sauce; or a rich game terrine served with celeriac and winter fruits. Among the main courses, look for dishes such Highland lamb served with roasted artichoke, raw artichoke and black olives. No children under age 5. Closed Sunday and Monday.78 Commercial Quay Leith Edinburgh US$105. Seven-course tasting menu, US$105 http://www.thekitchin.com/kitchin/home
On a day when the weather precludes skiing, or if you just want a break from the slopes, this restaurant makes for a satisfying day trip. In Geschinen, 50 minutes by train from Andermatt, it is the place to come for a classic Swiss raclette. Heated over a wood fire, the cheese has a delicious smoky taste.Wiler 1 Geschinen http://www.baschi-goms.ch/
Chef Eberhard Lange presents contemporary German cooking with international influences at this glamorous restaurant on the top floor of the Hotel InterContinental. His ever-changing menus run to dishes such as pan-fried sea bass with celery and caramelized whey, and grilled veal with oxtail tortellini and truffles. Closed Sunday and Monday.Budapester Strasse 2 Tiergarten Berlin US$180 http://www.hugos-restaurant.de/
After many years working in celebrated Paris kitchens, including Pavillon Ledoyen, Epicure and Arpège, young chef Stéphane Cosnier returned home and opened this modern French bistro, which is a perfect place for lunch after a visit to Carnac. His menu changes often, but runs to dishes such as roasted langoustines with crushed grilled peanuts, John Dory in mussel sauce, and a buckwheat waffle with stewed peaches and verbena ice cream. Closed Mondays.36 Avenue de la Poste Carnac http://www.cotecuisine-carnac.fr/
Set in a splendid vaulted dining room, this atmospheric restaurant is under the demanding supervision of Giuseppe Aversa, a renowned authority on Campanian wines and olive oils. Try the steamed lobster on crisp local bread with buffalo burrata cheese; linguine and lemon-scented scorpionfish with roe and a sun-dried tomato sauce; and fillet of beef with roasted potatoes and a Parmesan-eggplant sauce. Closed Wednesday.2A Rampa Marina Piccola 5 Sorrento US$85. Six-course tasting menu, US$100. http://www.ilbucoristorante.it
Chef Jordi Cruz was the youngest Spanish chef ever to win a Michelin star, at the restaurant Estany Clar. In this sleek and stylish space, Cruz, a culinary celebrity in Catalonia, showcases local produce in dishes such as dried tomatoes with grilled sardines, garlic confit and chargrilled bread; pine nuts “carbonara” with egg yolk and truffle; and sea bass with caviar, buttered potatoes and Bataks berries.
No trip to Munich would be complete without a visit to one of its legendary beer halls. This one overlooking the charming Viktualienmarkt, or main food market, is our favorite for its veal goulash lightly seasoned with paprika, accompanied by handmade butter noodles; Bavarian sauerbraten with red cabbage and handmade bread dumplings; and a hearty platter of beer-seasoned bratwurst, veal sausage and pork sausage with sauerkraut, diced bacon and creamy potatoes.Viktualienmarkt 15 Munich US$35 http://www.der-pschorr.de/
Elegant surroundings on the second floor of the leading Käfer delicatessen enhance a menu of traditional regional cooking. Seasonal dishes might include roasted free-range duck with caramelized red cabbage, rösti potatoes and apple purée along with a lamb’s ear salad with bacon croutons; saddle of local venison with mushrooms and leeks, a blackberry jus and spätzle with sour cream; and hazelnut-crusted halibut with pumpkin risotto and baby spinach. Closed Sunday.Prinzregentenstrasse 73 Munich US$75 http://en.feinkost-kaefer.de/index.php?id=196
This stylish Cagliari restaurant surprises with an outstanding sushi bar. (The tuna caught off Sardinia is of such high quality that it commands astronomical prices at the Tokyo fish market.) In addition, chef-owner Luigi Pomata’s modern Sardinian menu features dishes such as octopus roasted with sweet vinegar and fresh chickpeas, and fregula (tiny balls of semolina pasta) with rock lobster. The wine list is arguably the best in town. Pomata worked at Le Cirque in New York and with Marco Pierre White in London, a resume that explains the urban chic of this place.Viale Regina Margherita 14 Cagliari http://luigipomata.com/
A legendary seafood restaurant since 1851, this was a particular favorite of 007 creator Ian Fleming and allegedly is the place where he discovered that martinis were better “shaken, not stirred.” A 10-foot-long display of crustacea includes a wonderful selection of oysters. The smoked fish is marvelous, and for main courses, watch for delicious dishes such as smoked haddock with Colcannon potatoes, poached egg and mustard; or slip sole with potted brown shrimp butter.20 Mount Street W1 London US$95 http://www.scotts-restaurant.com/
Chef Dominic Jack has worked in some of Europe’s top kitchens, including as a sous chef at Le Taillevent in Paris. The restaurant is a model of comfortable contemporary style, and Jack makes full use of fine Scottish produce. Representative dishes might include seared hand-dived Orkney scallops served with a light curry sauce, and saddle of roe deer with celery, celeriac, apple and caramelized walnuts. No children under age 5. Closed Sunday and Monday.33/35 Castle Terrace Edinburgh US$90. Seven-course tasting menu, US$105 http://www.castleterracerestaurant.com/
Old-fashioned bistros are rarer in Paris these days, especially ones that are conveniently located in the heart of the city. This relaxed and quietly chic spot just off the Place des Victoires was a favorite of Julia Child, and the excellent traditional cooking makes it one of mine as well, especially for dishes such as chicken liver terrine, and grilled turbot with Béarnaise sauce. Closed Saturday and Sunday.1 Rue du Mail Paris (2e) US$60
The three Troiani brothers temper their culinary imaginations with respect for Roman tradition. Several dining rooms (one frescoed, and another hung with classical oil paintings) provide memorable settings for the refined gastronomy. The ever-changing menu might include roast quail with black truffle, artichokes and a mixed salad; and Norwegian “morua” salt cod (aged for four years) with beet sauce and artichoke carpaccio. Dinner only. Closed Sunday.
This cozy bistro in the residential 11th arrondissement is where you’re likely to find Paris food critics eating on their nights off. The blackboard menu changes daily but runs to dishes such as coddled eggs with wild mushrooms, cod with chanterelles, excellent steaks, and homemade seasonal fruit tarts. The wonderful wine list is especially strong on Côtes du Rhônes. Closed Sunday and Monday.18 Rue Paul Bert Paris (11e) US$65
Conveniently located in the heart of the Côte de Nuits region in the La Rôtisserie du Chambertin hotel, this bustling brasserie has a casual ambiance that belies its sophisticated cuisine. Featuring food rooted in local tradition, our mouthwatering meal included a hearty coq au vin, which was a splendid match with the Grand Cru Pinot Noir from the nearby Clos de Vougeot vineyard, and the most sublime profiteroles in recent memory. Closed Sunday and Monday.6 Rue du Chambertin Gevrey-Chambertin US$75 http://www.rotisserie-chambertin.com/bistrot-lucien/
Chef Pedro Subijana was one of the founders of the New Basque cooking movement. Look for dishes such as rice with snails and periwinkles in a tomato-basil “film”; cardoons with artichoke and black garlic; very thin and light beef tartare with a soufflé of new potatoes, plus aromatic herb bread; succulent Iberian pork; a palate-cleansing “gin and tonic on a plate”; and warm red fruit cake with candied fennel. The contemporary dining room offers memorable views of the Bay of Biscay. Closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday January to June; the last two weeks of October; and much of February.
At this delightful family-run restaurant, renowned chef Mara Martin serves innovative seafood dishes such as crostini with shrimp in bacon fat with rosemary, and swordfish on a crispy pistachio crust with citrus sauce, chicory and pepper. Begin with one of the superb pastas, such as the ravioli stuffed with whitefish, sweet potato, ginger and lobster sauce. Reservations are a must. Closed Sunday and Monday.San Polo 2002 Venice US$110. Six-course menu, US$150; seven-courses, US$170. http://www.dafiore.net/restaurant/
As real bistros are becoming hard to find in Saint-Germain-des-Prés — the rent is too high for most to make a go of it — it’s great news when a new one opens, especially if it’s as good as this snug, stylish dining room just off the Rue du Bac. Chef Guillaume Monnet, who previously cooked at Apicius, creates an ever-changing menu of delicious contemporary French dishes that has included starters such as oxtail ravioli with foie gras, and steamed eggs with smoked salmon; mains like poached John Dory with rutabaga purée and hazelnut butter, and grilled pork belly with salsify Tatin; and desserts such as a perfectly delicious chocolate soufflé.10 Rue de Saint-Simon Paris (7e) US$65 http://www.laffable.fr/
Also owned by Avillez, this popular bistro specializes in hearty Portuguese comfort food, including appealing starters such as tartlets with partridge, bacon and chive; and chicken liver sautéed with onion and Port marmalade. The far-ranging main courses include lamb tagine with vegetable couscous and yogurt sauce, and giant red shrimp from the Algarve with Thai seasonings.Rua dos Duques de Bragança 7 Lisbon US$55. http://cantinhodoavillez.pt/?lang=en
The freshest catches of the day from Holland’s North Sea ports have made this stylish seafood restaurant enormously popular. The menu, which changes constantly depending on what’s available in the market, varies between classic European preparations and those from countries farther afield (especially Asia). Closed for lunch Saturday and Sunday.Scheldeplein 4 Amsterdam US$70. Prix fixe menus, US$50, US$65 and US$75. http://www.visaandeschelde.nl/
Chefs Johan Andersson and Johan Jureskog’s intimate, casual bistro is one of the most popular restaurants in Stockholm. This is where the city’s chefs come on their nights off to dine on cosmopolitan comfort food. In addition to classics such as fish stew with shrimps, clams, cream and aioli, the menu also offers more inventive dishes, including cavatelli with scallops, pork belly and chanterelles; and roast of lamb for two with cream, tarragon and cabbage. The long bar is ideal for solo dining. Dinner only Saturday and Sunday.Tegnérgatan 41 Stockholm US$95. http://www.rolfskok.se/
The restaurant at Les Etangs de Corot won a Michelin star this year for chef Rémi Chambard’s excellent contemporary French cooking. Working with seasonal, often local produce, Chambard creates dishes such as wild sea bass carpaccio with beets, apples and caviar; and sole with Swiss chard, baby onions and gnocchi. The Grand Marnier and saffron soufflé makes the perfect finale to a fine meal. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.55 Rue de Versailles Ville-d'Avray http://www.etangs-corot.com/fr/restaurant-le-corot-etangs-de-corot.html
Located in the Bairro Alto, this lively restaurant draws a well-heeled crowd for the modern Portuguese dishes of Bosnian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic. Stanisic creates tasting menus that change constantly, featuring dishes such as cuttlefish cappuccino; trout tartare with tapioca, tomato gazpacho and onion pickle; and European lobster with red mullet, caviar and foie gras.Rua do Teixeira 35 Lisbon US$75. Tasting menu, US$65. http://www.restaurante100maneiras.com/
Recommended to us by the concierge of the Taschenbergpalais, this restaurant in the basement of the Coselpalais is known for its 18th-century vaulted cellar. It struck me as rather kitschy, but I did very much enjoy our lunch on the outdoor patio facing the Academy of Fine Arts and the Frauenkirche. My cream of asparagus soup with julienned ham tasted rich and smoky, and the fresh char fillet came with delectably crispy skin, creamed leeks and savory potato rösti with pumpkin seeds. In poor weather, opt instead for the vaulted cellar of the Altmarktkeller, a Saxon and Bohemian beer hall I discovered on a previous Dresden visit.An der Frauenkirche 12 Dresden http://www.pulverturm-dresden.de/
I am not in the habit of recommending hole-in-the-wall places, but this restaurant is exactly that. Buca literally means “hole,” but the entire phrase can be translated as “goldsmith’s cave.” You will find the modest entrance to this subterranean restaurant just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio. Owned by the Monni family, this charming place serves comfort food of a high order. Closed all-day Sunday and Monday lunch.
Housed in a renovated mansion, this lavish and elegantly appointed shrine to gourmet food sits on the fringes of the verdant Bois de la Cambre park. The traditional French menu might include dishes such as poached foie gras with strawberries, rhubarb and a hibiscus jus; and wagyu beef with anchovy tempura, artichokes and broad beans. Dining outside on the garden terrace is recommended during the summer. Closed Sunday and Monday.Avenue du Vivier d'Oie 75 Brussels US$140. Five-course menu, US$130; seven courses, US$175. http://www.villalorraine.be/
Arzak is one of the finest restaurants in Spain. The menu changes daily; however, our most recent meal began with superb hors d’oeuvres, the best of which was a pâté of mushrooms in a sandwich of puffed and curried rice wafers. Tiny langoustines were exquisite with a purée and kernel of corn, as were oysters mounted on rounds of potato under a veil of “cellophane” made from evaporated seawater. Sole came with broiled lemon, and a tasting portion of tender Galician beef was garnished with a chorizo-glazed potato. Closed Sunday, Monday, the last two weeks of June and most of November.
With a handsome Belle Epoque interior, this friendly restaurant with professional service is where I come for local comfort food such as risotto al salto, a crispy pancake of saffron-flavored rice; osso buco, or veal shank; and a first-rate cotoletta alla Milanese. Desserts include caramelized apple cake, and an excellent zabaione (an alcoholic drink with egg yolk). Closed Sunday.
Fans of Wiener Schnitzel and tafelspitz won’t miss meat for a second at vegetarian TIAN. With a stylishly decorated interior, this Michelin-starred restaurant serves creative and satisfying dishes such as dashi broth with local carrots, rose and sesame; al dente lentils with wild garlic-leaf rolls and puntarelle chicory; and deconstructed Sachertorte. Closed Sunday and Monday.Himmelpfortgasse 23 Vienna Menus, US$100 - US$135 http://www.taste-tian.com/en/restaurant/at/vienna/
Set on the charming piazza in front of the rococo façade of the Santa Maria Maddalena church, this lovely small restaurant offers many pleasures. The cooking draws on the traditions of Rome, Emilia-Romagna and Puglia. Look for satisfying starters such as a cake of salt cod and potatoes with chickpea cream; pastas like the classic Roman homemade maccheroncini with tomato, bacon and sheep’s cheese; and main courses such as lamb chops with potatoes and rosemary.Piazza della Maddalena 4 Rome US$70. http://www.clementeallamaddalena.it/
Set in the heart of town, this Michelin-starred restaurant is known among Zurich’s more demanding gourmets for great creative cooking. The menu varies constantly, but runs to dishes such as veal-filled ravioli with rosemary butter and chili oil, skate wing strips on crab risotto with black pearl tomatoes and fresh herbs, roasted fillet of beef from Schrofenhof on shiitake mushrooms with duck liver toast and fresh corn, and regularly changing riffs on veal, a local favorite. Closed Saturday and Sunday.Schützengasse 5 Zurich US$110 http://www.zuerichsein.ch/
Located on the banks of the Seine in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this romantic restaurant occupies a townhouse that dates to 1766 and has a long and fascinating history; the great French gastronome Auguste Escoffier was once the chef here. The main dining room has real Old World elegance, with low lighting, oil paintings and wood paneling, and they also have several private dining rooms where the scratches in the mirrors are said to have been made by ladies testing the veracity of diamonds newly offered by their suitors. It is also very quiet and ideal for a tete a tete.51 Quai des Grands Augustins Paris (6e) http://www.laperouse.fr/restaurant
Cristina Bowerman ran a catering company in Austin, Texas, before taking over the kitchen at this handsome restaurant in the Trastevere district. In a city that is notably conservative when it comes to food, Bowerman has won a reputation for inventive dishes such as her potato gnocchi with sea urchin, black-garlic bagna càuda and salted lemon. On the often-changing menu, watch for dishes such as sumac-scented lamb with Stilton cheese, carrots and fennel pollen. Excellent wine list. Closed Monday.
After working at Quique Dacosta and Martín Berasategui in Spain, young chef Mikael Svensson returned to Scandinavia and won a Michelin star this year for his sleek restaurant near the Mathallen, Oslo’s trendy food market. His tasting menus change regularly, but a superb summertime dinner included scallops with peas and horseradish, brown-crab pudding, and chanterelles with miso.Maridalsveien 15e Oslo http://www.restaurant-kontrast.no/en/
This cozy traditional Swedish restaurant in the medieval Gamla stan area of Stockholm is perfect for anyone who wants to sample local specialties such as smoked pike perch with potato terrine, horseradish, apple and rye bread; or Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, cucumbers and lingonberries in a cream sauce. The wood-floored dining room has an old-fashioned charm — service is courtly, and the wine list is excellent. Closed Sunday.Österlånggatan 51 Stockholm US$85. http://www.gyldenefreden.se/
This animated trattoria serves generous portions of Tuscan classics such as spaghetti dell’ubriacone (pasta cooked in red wine and sauced with a mixture of sautéed garlic, parsley and peperoncino). Don’t miss the charcuterie that includes sublime fennel-scented salami and Parma ham.
After cooking at Les Ambassadeurs in the Hôtel de Crillon for a time, chef Dominique Bouchet opened his own establishment in the early 2000s. This dining room, with its exposed stone walls and contemporary art, has since become one of my favorites in Paris. Bouchet is one of the most experienced chefs in town — he also cooked at Jamin when it was run by Joël Robuchon and at La Tour d’Argent, among others. This impressive gastronomic history informs his menu. Start with the king crab with avocado, mango and green apple, or try the imaginative sake-marinated foie gras with black cherry jam, quince and toasted brioche. Then, sample sea bass with crushed ratte potatoes, vanilla-flavored olive oil, capers and lemon; rack of lamb roasted with thyme flowers and served with black olive polenta and stir-fried chanterelles; or a perfect fillet of beef. Service is precise, and the atmosphere is dressy but low-key. Closed Saturday and Sunday.11 Rue Treilhard Paris (8e) US$120. Tasting menus, US$120 and US$160 http://www.dominique-bouchet.com/en/index.php
I have to admit, I dislike the name, but the food is as imaginative as you'll find in town and has garnered the restaurant two Michelin stars. The setting is lovely, in a neoclassical building with a serene contemporary dining room. Look for such dishes as the surprising granita (a semi-frozen dessert) that captures the tomato, cucumber and feta flavors of a classic Greek salad; and Greek bottarga (cured and salted fish roe) tartlet with white chocolate. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Occupying a stone house in Alghero’s old town, this restaurant takes itself rather seriously, as the framed but yellowed articles from publications such as The New York Times in the vestibule attest. The stiff prices and formal service notwithstanding, it does serve some of the best seafood in the city, including outstanding Catalan-style mussels, fettuccine with tuna sauce, and grilled sea bream.Via Maiorca 113 Alghero http://www.altuguri.it/
The formal Restaurant Königshof overlooks the bustling Karlsplatz. Typical dishes might include turbot with Jerusalem artichokes, pine nuts and smoked eel; wild duck with red cabbage and hazelnut potato noodles; and veal cutlet with sweetbreads, kidneys, sweet mustard and black rice. Imaginative sommelier and unusual wine list. Closed Sunday and Monday.Karlsplatz 25 Munich US$150 http://www.koenigshof-hotel.de/en/restaurants-bars/restaurant-koenigshof.html
Set in a beautiful townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green, this fine restaurant provides an oasis of tranquility in the bustling city. Chef Graham Neville oversees the appealing menu. Look for satisfying dishes such as the starter of smoked salmon with crab and Granny Smith apple, and main courses like fillet of wild sea bass with crushed artichoke, mortadella and a Noilly Prat sauce. Closed Sunday and Monday.41 St. Stephen’s Green Dublin US$70. Seven-course tasting menu, US$80 http://www.residence.ie/restaurant-fortyone.html
Among the bouchons (a local style of bistro), this one has been a local institution since 1726 and is notable for its wonderful atmosphere engendered by beamed ceilings and traditional furniture. Try dishes such as the house terrine made with pork and chicken livers, saucisson de Lyon (pork sausage with pistachios) with a side salad of lentils, and the celebrated poulet aux morilles à la crème (chicken with morel mushrooms). Closed Sunday evening.25 Rue Guynemer Lyon US$50 http://www.cafecomptoirabel.fr/
Owned and run by the same family since 1936, this simple and deservedly popular restaurant in the old quarter of Cagliari serves delicious local seafood at very reasonable prices. The atmosphere is hectic and bare-bones, with white marble tables, bright lights and busy waiters. Try specialties such as spaghetti with bottarga (mullet roe) and clams. Other good choices include grilled red mullet or squid. For dessert, don’t miss the delicious sebadas — flat fritters filled with ricotta cheese and drizzled with honey.78 Via Sardegna Cagliari
A perfect riverfront location provides views of Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. The Czech/Continental cuisine is consistently well-prepared, and typical entrées include fillet of veal with carrots, green peas, chanterelles and potatoes; and North Atlantic wild cod with saffron spaghetti, clams and chervil.Smetanovo nábrezí 18 Prague US$65 http://www.bellevuerestaurant.cz/
Brick walls and low light create a warm, relaxed setting in which to discover contemporary Tuscan cooking. Chef Matteo Fantini changes his menu regularly, but dishes I have enjoyed — such as grilled calamari with potato-lemon cream, capers, sesame and arugula pesto; and crispy veal with tuna sauce, puntarelle and lemon — show off his culinary imagination. Closed Sunday.Borgo San Frediano 167R Florence US$60. Prix fixe menus, US$45-US$60. http://www.io-osteriapersonale.it/
This restaurant set in a Georgian townhouse is the vision of chef Agnar Sverrisson. Using British produce as well as that from his native Iceland, Sverrisson has created a menu featuring the likes of yellowfin tuna with ginger, soy, bonito and coriander; and wild organic Icelandic lamb with red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and lamb jus. The restaurant has a Champagne bar and a well-considered wine list. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday lunch.34 Portman Street W1 London US$90. Tasting menu, US$125 http://texture-restaurant.co.uk/
Located in the silk-stocking 7th arrondissement, not far from the Eiffel Tower, chef Arnaud Pitrois’ stylish contemporary bistro is a soigné address popular with well-heeled locals and travelers in the know. I’ve been coming here for a long time, and always appreciate Madame Pitrois’ welcome and her husband’s inventive but reliably light and delicious contemporary French cooking. The menu follows the seasons, but dishes such as chestnut soup with chicken gnocchi, sea bass with black truffles and arugula sauce, and mandarin orange soufflé offer a good idea of the chef’s style. Good wine list and amiable service.16 Avenue Rapp Paris (7e) http://www.closdesgourmets.com
This unpretentious restaurant is located next to the Sant’Ambrogio food market. Chef-owner Fabio Picchi presents a menu of traditional Tuscan fare with dishes such as pappa; salt cod with garlic bruschetta; and his signature ricotta, pesto and potato soufflé. The less expensive Trattoria Cibrèo next door is also worth a lunchtime visit. Closed Monday.
This very popular place with a rustic décor of arched paneled walls and wooden tables overlooks the opera house on Max Joseph Platz and serves delicious Bavarian comfort food. Try dishes such as beef carpaccio and an arugula salad with Parmesan, lemon and olive oil; crispy suckling pig with potato and bread dumplings and cabbage salad with bacon; and boiled beef with horseradish, creamed spinach and roasted potatoes. The street level is more casual and less expensive than the upper floor.Residenzstrasse12 Munich US$60 http://www.kuffler.com/en/spatenhaus.php
The best Indian food outside of the subcontinent is generally reckoned to be in London. Once, the restaurants were mostly simple and the menus restricted. No longer. Elegant Amaya draws a well-dressed crowd, and chefs working in the attractive open kitchen prepare wonderful dishes that might include lobster in masala sauce, chicken biryani and a sublime pomegranate sorbet for dessert.Halkin Arcade Motcomb Street, SW1 London US$70 http://www.amaya.biz/
A favorite of the country’s royal family, this elegant restaurant is also a popular choice with visiting celebrities, who come for its gracious service and delicious traditional Spanish cooking. Try dishes such as huevos estrellados (broken eggs) served over fried potatoes, and the excellent steak, baby lamb chops, and baked merluza (hake). Closed in August.
Even if you’re not staying at this dramatically modern hotel in the countryside near Evora, its excellent restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday (Monday and Tuesday are for hotel guests only). Chef Miguel Laffan worked at several restaurants in France before returning to Portugal, and his cooking is refined, original and beautifully presented. Laffan is especially talented at inventing modern takes on traditional Portuguese dishes, such as wild bass with summer vegetables, and chorizo with an oyster vichyssoise.
After working at Le Meurice in Paris, chef Jacques Guillaumat took over this auberge outside of chenonceaux and now serves reasonably priced modern French cuisine. Expect dishes such as langoustine-and-crab-stuffed cannelloni with avocado mousseline, and pike-perch in vanilla sauce. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.30 Rue Nationale Chisseaux http://www.auberge-duchevalrouge.com/
This delightful art deco restaurant in the 18th-century mansion that houses the Hôtel du Parc des Eaux-Vives overlooks the lake and showcases seasonal cuisine. Among the typical dishes: Mediterranean mullet with a tapenade of Taggiasche olives and olive oil, and Aubrac beef in a Syrah reduction with caramelized onions and rösti potatoes. Glorious summer terrace. Closed Sunday and Monday.Quai Gustave Ador 82 Geneva US$110 http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/parc-des-eaux-vives/dining/la-brasserie/
Though it is located in fashionable Fitzrovia, Dabbous has a post-industrial style more in keeping with evolving East London neighborhoods. A committed locavore, chef Ollie Dabbous strives to make the natural tastes of his produce as eloquent as possible. Dishes you might find on the changing set menu could include grilled octopus with taramasalata, potatoes and fennel; and glazed Iberico pork with turnips and apple vinegar. Closed Sunday.39 Whitfield Street W1 London Four-course menu, US$85 http://www.dabbous.co.uk/
Chef Søren Selin has an intriguing gastronomic imagination and a peerless command of culinary technique. His menus change often, but they are always made almost exclusively with Danish seasonal produce and run to dishes such as lumpfish roe, veal and cranberries; and beef with bone marrow, nettles and cep mushrooms. The vaulted white dining rooms are quietly dramatic, and service is excellent. Closed Sunday and Monday.Dronningens Tværgade 2 Copenhagen Prix fixe menus, US$200 and US$245. http://www.restaurantaoc.dk/home
On arrival, I invariably eat first in a casual Wirtshaus (tavern), such as the friendly Wirtshaus im Fraunhofer, a short stroll from the old center. The cozy room has an ornate plaster ceiling, wall-mounted antlers and well-worn wooden tables illuminated by candles. Our cheery bilingual waiter served us asparagus cream soup, followed by plates of pork cutlets with bacon-infused roasted potatoes and onion mustard, washed down with a refreshing Maibock (a strong pale lager).Fraunhoferstrasse 9 Munich http://wirtshausinderau.de/en/startseite/
Chefs Gilles Dupont and Thomas Byrne preside over a grand gourmet restaurant where they prepare French haute cuisine with imagination and flair. Of particular note is the superb veal cutlet for two roasted on a bed of rock salt with sage and lemon and served with house-made pasta. Magnificent selection of wines.Place Pierre-Gautier 5 Cologny US$160 http://www.dupont-byrne.ch/
To discover the ultimate barbecue cookery, stop for lunch at chef Victor Arguinzoniz’s cheerful country inn located between Bilbao and San Sebastián. Everything is cooked on a grill, and the results are spectacular. The menu changes frequently, but typical dishes include cod grilled over green oak coals and presented with a pepper condiment, squid grilled with onions and served with a sauce of its own ink, and grilled porcini mushrooms in a mushroom cappuccino. Lunch only except Saturday, when dinner is served as well. Closed Monday and the month of August.
With a striking modern dining room of white walls, charcoal banquettes and a dark plank floor that overlooks the leafy Fælledparken (Common Gardens), Geranium offers intriguing New Scandinavian cuisine. The creative, ever-changing menu by chef Rasmus Kofoed runs to dishes such as salted, gently smoked haddock with crispy fish scales and clarified buttermilk with parsley stems and Finnish caviar; slow-cooked Danish pork neck with young cabbage leaves, pickled young garlic, pine oil and black currant leaves with pork jus; and elderberry jelly for dessert. An organic vegetarian menu is also offered. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.Per Henrik Lings Allé 4 Copenhagen Prix fixe menu, US$305. http://geranium.dk/#/en/restaurant/welcome/
After working as chef at formal El Club Allard, where he was awarded two Michelin stars, talented chef Diego Guerrero has opened his own restaurant, DSTAgE, in the city’s Salesas neighborhood. Relaxed and stylish, it also has won two Michelin stars and offers an appealing new take on contemporary Spanish cooking with tasting menus that may feature dishes such as ravioli filled with Tolosa bean purée in cabbage broth, and Galician beef with roasted chile pepper relish.
A good choice on a day when the restaurant at Le Jardin des Plumes is closed (Monday and Tuesday), this well-run auberge 10 minutes from Giverny in Gasny serves appealing traditional French dishes such as soft-boiled eggs with creamed morel mushrooms, and steak with perfectly made sauce Albuféra. Closed Tuesday nights and Wednesdays.1 Place de la République Gasny http://aubergeduprieurenormand.com/
This two-star restaurant in the heart of the city serves some of the most inventive cooking in Milan. Chef Carlo Cracco was trained by Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi, and he also studied with Alain Ducasse and Lucas Carton in Paris. His subtle cuisine makes for a fascinating change from traditional Milanese fare. Try dishes such as squid-ink risotto with sea urchin and zucchini, marinated salmon with foie gras, and shrimp marinated in Campari. Closed Saturday and Monday lunch, and all day Sunday.Via Victor Hugo 4 Milan US$160. http://www.ristorantecracco.it/
Chef Antonio Colaianni may have Italian roots, but he grew up in Bern, and his cooking offers a delicious synthesis of the styles he has mastered on both sides of the Alps. The vegetarian menu, which includes dishes such as ravioli with smoked vegetable jus, and potato dumplings with porcini mushrooms, is deservedly renowned, but Colaianni also displays a deft hand with veal. Closed Sundays and Mondays.Weinbergstrasse 75 Zurich http://www.mesa-restaurant.ch/
Located in the heart of Palermo, this attractive, well-run restaurant with cordial service is widely considered to serve the best food in the city. An outstanding recent dinner began with tastings of several pastas, including cuttlefish ravioli stu"ed with potatoes and Sicilian sa"ron, and main courses of roasted tuna with basil mayonnaise, and pork saltimbocca. Closed Sundays.6 Piazza Croce dei Vespri Palermo http://www.osteriadeivespri.it/
Here, high ceilings and a beautiful 19th-century bar create a potently Parisian atmosphere. The modern French cooking — innovative without straying into the realm of the overly odd — makes this exactly the kind of place where you’re happy to settle in for a relaxed meal and a good bottle of wine. Starters include the likes of shredded crab meat with carrot-ginger mousse and Dublin Bay prawn foam with lemongrass; main courses run to roasted turbot with stuffed piquillo pepper, sweet onions and chorizo. An excellent wine list, and a jazz pianist on occasion, help the well-dressed crowd of corporate-types and others unwind. Closed Saturday and Sunday.8 Rue Volney Paris (2e) US$65. Tasting menu, US$75
This popular osteria with a modern setting offers excellent casual dining. Try dishes such as vitello tonnato (chilled veal with creamy tuna sauce); ravioli stuffed with veal, pork and spinach; guinea fowl with chestnuts; and panna cotta with pears cooked in Muscat wine.
Located in a remodeled Saracen tower on the edge of the sea, this delightful restaurant has two small terraces, for fine-weather dining, and an open kitchen where you can see notable talent chef Gennaro Esposito at work. Try dishes such as shrimp in its own sauce with a black-rice biscuit; linguine with welks and sea urchins; and fillet of turbot with oyster cream and onion. Excellent service and wine list. Closed Sunday evening, all Monday and lunch Tuesday.
To be perfectly clear, the main reason to dine at Le Jules Verne is that it offers spectacular views over Paris from the city’s most famous landmark. So if you come here with tempered expectations and are prepared to pay dearly for the privilege of these magnificent panoramas, you’re likely to enjoy yourself. This restaurant is now part of the Alain Ducasse stable. The food is generally good, but not the best, and the wine list is predictably overpriced. Because of fire regulations, most of what you eat is actually prepared in a ground-floor kitchen and transferred to a service kitchen in the Eiffel Tower.Eiffel Tower Avenue Gustave Eiffel Paris (7e) http://www.lejulesverne-paris.com
Not all restaurants and cooking styles in Copenhagen stand on the edge of the culinary horizon — this lovely, romantic restaurant makes its home in a building that goes back 700 years and was once where Hans Christian Anderson lived. Set in the cellar, it is an intimate series of spaces defined by vaulted arches, softly lit to cast a warm glow over the white-linened tables. French tradition pairs with Nordic ingredients on a menu that features such dishes as the signature roasted black lobster, which is served with delicate white asparagus and is accompanied by an asparagus-lobster mousse with a light and frothy asparagus sauce. Dinner only; closed Sunday and Monday.Vingårdstræde 6 Copenhagen Five-course menu, US$230. http://www.konghans.dk/
This one-star restaurant also offers a great sense of place, being housed in the gymnasium of a former Jewish girls’ school. Dishes such as rich Bavarian-style pork belly with fried snails and smoked onion purée, and a deeply flavored but light main of turbot with crisped veal and fried oysters exemplify New German cuisine.Auguststrasse 11-13 Mitte Berlin US$90 http://paulysaal.com/
This stylish restaurant has a lovely walled terrace, which affords fine views while protecting diners from the wind. The owner takes great pride in sourcing the best of Pantellerian and Sicilian produce for dishes such as fritto misto; spaghetti with bottarga (dried pressed tuna eggs), pistachios and lemon; and grilled squid or stewed octopus. The wine not to miss is the superb SP68 Bianco 2012 from Sicily’s Occhipinti vineyards.Strada Punta Carace Pantelleria http://www.principeepirata.it/it/
The unassuming appearance of this place belies its high reputation. New head chef Jonathan Tam is constantly revising the menus. Two tasting menus are served at dinner with the focus on vegetables, but the menus are not strictly vegan — one is for omnivores, the other is for vegetarians. Closed Sunday and Monday; lunch available Friday and Saturday.Jægersborggade 41 Copenhagen Four-course menu, US$75; seven courses, US$135. http://www.restaurant-relae.dk/
At his low-key establishment on the Royal Mile, chef and co-owner Paul Wedgwood combines the atmosphere of a French bistro and the superb produce of Scotland. Look for starters such as Isle of Mull cheddar-and-onion bread and butter pudding with tomato confit, fennel ice cream and soused fennel; or lobster Thermidor crème brûlée with smoked dulse Bloody Mary sorbet, Parmesan shortbread, caviar and lobster oil. Among the ever-changing mains, keep an eye out for Scottish beef fillet with new-potato fries, bone marrow fritter and seasonal vegetables served with a choice of haggis, brandy and pepper cream or truffled jus.267 Canongate Edinburgh US$60 http://www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk
Presiding over a mini-empire of well-regarded restaurants, chef-owner Eamonn O’Reilly has become one of the capital’s most prominent chefs. Tucked away just off St. Stephen’s Green, One Pico is a handsome place with tawny walls and flattering lighting. O’Reilly is known for techniques rooted in the French tradition, but he relies heavily on Irish produce. Look for starters such as brown shrimp and chanterelle risotto with vadouvan butter and sorrel; and confit of suckling pig shoulder with langoustines, burnt apple and a quail egg. Main courses might include John Dory with an artichoke purée, roasted fish velouté and tarragon; and fillet of beef with an onion purée, oxtail croquette and roasted shallot, all with a Bordelaise jus.5/6 Molesworth Street Schoolhouse Lane Dublin Three-course menu, US$55 (one of Dublin's best deals) http://www.onepico.com/
An enchanting 15th-century stone manor surrounded by vineyards is the setting for chef Philippe Chevrier’s extraordinary “New French” cuisine. Representative dishes include crab rillettes with herbs, vichyssoise and osetra caviar; roasted Breton lobster with a fricassee of borlotti beans and tomatoes in an emulsion of rose Champagne and black pepper; and a roasted Bresse chicken for two with tarragon cream and a fricassee of potatoes, artichokes and cep mushrooms. Closed Sunday and Monday.Chemin de Châteauvieux 16 Peney-Dessus Satigny US$225. Prix-fixe menus, US$180 and US$305 http://www.chateauvieux.ch/
This fascinating restaurant offers a dynamic interplay of the traditional and the contemporary. Housed in an old Danish navy barracks dating to the 1600s, the interior is soothingly minimal but handsome, and the food embodies a mix of Danish and European traditions and ingredients. The offerings bring together pristine elements in beautiful presentations, and they have included cod with beets and capers, Jerusalem artichokes with cep mushrooms and watercress, scallops with pears and verbena, and pork with celery and parsley. Dinner only; closed Sunday.Kronprinsessegade 64 Copenhagen US$115. Prix fixe menus, US$130 and US$180. http://kokkeriet.dk/
Everything at Onyx is over the top, from its silvery Cubist-meets-Versailles décor to its all-too-tempting bread cart, with more than 20 varieties of baked goods. The “Hungarian Evolution” tasting menu seeks to elevate traditional recipes to the level of haute cuisine, and it never falters. The foie gras encased in prune gelée was among the silkiest I have ever sampled; the veal tartare topped with a crispy ribbon of green apple had marvelous textural interplay; and the goulash soup tasted exceptionally rich and beefy. Generously poured Hungarian wine pairings rise to the occasion. Vegetarian menu available. Closed Sunday and Monday.Vörösmarty tér 7-8 Budapest US$125 http://www.onyxrestaurant.hu/
This friendly and casual bar à vin near the Palace of the Popes in Avignon is an excellent address for lunch or a light dinner. Owners Nicolas Martin and Véronique Bonnemer know their wines and serve a good selection by the glass. I especially recommend their take on shrimp tempura, and the lamb chops with pea purée. Closed Sundays.46 rue de la Balance Avignon http://www.cartesurtables.com/restaurant/avignon/le-46/
One of only two Michelin three-star restaurants in Scandinavia, this minimalist place is the most sought-after table in Norway and must be booked months in advance. The menu evolves constantly, but chef Esben Holmboe Bang has a reverence for Norwegian nature that is displayed on his tasting menu in dishes such as langoustine glazed with pickled spruce juice, cod with aquavit jelly, charred scallops and butter-fat sauce, and fried rye-bread cream with mead gelée. The occasional dish can be a challenge, however — anyone for porridge with reindeer heart and butter?Schweigaards Gate 15b Oslo https://maaemo.no/
The unassuming appearance of this place belies its high reputation. Two tasting menus are served at dinner. One is for omnivores; the other is for vegetarians. At “Table 0” (for four people), you can sample 10 to 12 experimental dishes, which might find their way onto the main menu one day. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.Jægersborggade 41 Copenhagen US$125 http://www.restaurant-relae.dk/
Young Madrid-born chef David Muñoz has earned three Michelin stars for his avant-garde restaurant. The casual dining room is run by serious young staff, who cordially guide you through one of the tasting menus. Muñoz’s delicious cuisine represents an unusual but successful meeting of Iberian and Asian produce and cooking techniques, as seen in dishes such as curried green coconut-milk soup with clams, scallops, flying-fish eggs and garnishes of whitebait; and beef with herring, tomato, peanut butter, yuzu, lime and cider. Closed Sunday.
This welcoming restaurant in an old lodge adjacent to the Château de Blois serves intelligently updated French classics such as boned frogs’ legs in lettuce cream with goat cheese gnocchi, veal sweetbreads with mustard sauce, and Grand Marnier soufflé. Closed Sunday and Monday.1 Avenue Jean-Laigret Blois http://www.orangerie-du-chateau.fr/
Anthony Genovese, who formerly worked at the Tokyo branch of Florence’s Enoteca Pinchiorri, is one of the most innovative chefs in Rome. This stylish place offers an eclectic menu of Italian classics and fusion food, with dishes that might include scampi with rice cooked in coconut milk and rum; amaranth spaghetti, sea urchin and mantis shrimp; and beef with a brûlée of leek and marrow. Closed Sunday and Monday, lunch only Tuesday.
On a cobbled street beneath Bratislava’s castle, the “Blue Star” serves traditional Slovak dishes in its bright, wood-beamed front room and in candlelit brick vaults. I tried a duck liver-stu!ed pasty served atop thyme-infused caramelized spring onions and crunchy apple slices, and a remarkable dish of whole fresh trout stu!ed with bacon and mushrooms, accompanied by expertly roasted potatoes. When I attempted to add a tip to the check, the waitress firmly replied, “No. Service is already included.”Beblavého 292/14 Bratislava - Staré http://modrahviezda.sk/en/vitajte/
This friendly, mostly seafood restaurant on a spit in the pleasant resort town of Saint-Lunaire (near Dinard) has spectacular sea views. It offers dishes that are perfectly sourced and cooked, such as grilled sole, cod steak with ratatouille, and a frangipane tart topped with preserved oranges. Closed Monday July and August; closed Monday and Tuesday April to June, September and October; open Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch February and March.1 Pointe du Décollé Saint-Lunaire Prix-fixe menus, US$35 and US$50 http://www.restaurantdudecolle.com/
This light, airy restaurant with a beautiful terrace is located next to one of Istanbul’s great but relatively unsung sights: the Kariye Museum (also known as the Chora Museum), a former church with some of the finest Byzantine mosaics in the world. The kitchen is dedicated to preserving the recipes of the Ottoman Empire; I enjoyed the wonderful baked whole calamari stuffed with a blend of rice, pine nuts and currants flavored with cinnamon and fresh mint. For my main course, I opted for minced lamb-and-veal patties that were flavored with anise, cinnamon and pistachio then wrapped in phyllo dough and grilled on charcoal. Closed Wednesday.
This chic restaurant is located in a 17th-century building in the heart of Chambolle-Musigny, a tranquil hamlet a few miles off of Autoroute 31, north of Beaune. The sumptuous fare features modern interpretations of traditional cuisine such as foie gras with smoked eel and leeks, and slow-cooked veal. Dishes are paired with selections from the excellent wine list. Closed Sunday and Monday.1 Rue Traversière Chambolle-Musigny US$60 http://www.restaurant-le-millesime.com/fr/chambolle-musigny-bourgogne-site-officiel.php
The latest upscale Indian place is Karam Sethi’s clubby establishment in Mayfair. The décor may be British Raj but the menu is extremely imaginative. For example, delicious game dishes feature ingredients such as grouse, quail, pigeon, rabbit, roe deer and muntjac (wild Indian barking deer). The wild boar vindaloo is outstanding. Closed Sunday.42 Albemarle Street W1 London US$75. Seven-course tasting menu, US$85 http://www.gymkhanalondon.com/
This is one of the city’s iconic bouchons. Since some of these dishes are acquired tastes — chitterling sausage, calf’s head, and tripe, for example — we suggest you come for lunch and opt for dishes such as saucisson de Lyon, chicken in vinegar sauce, Saint-Marcellin cheese, or tarte pralinée. Closed Saturday and Sunday.7 Rue du Garet Lyon US$40
Despite being off the beaten track, this is the place to discover beers from the Matuska brewery, served to accompany hearty dishes such as grilled sausages, rabbit terrine, and veal shoulder with homemade noodles. The recycled factory décor of exposed brick walls and framed black-and-white photographs creates a relaxed atmosphere. Closed Sunday.Mikovcova 4 Prague US$30 http://www.notabene-restaurant.cz/
With gracious service, reasonable prices and fine views over the Bay of Cancale, this charming restaurant is a perfect choice for a traditional French seafood meal. Diners might try the ravioli of langoustine, or roasted ormeaux (a very rare and succulent conch caught off the Channel Islands), followed by cod with celery mousseline, or grilled lobster. Don’t miss the delicious chocolate tart with raspberry marmalade. Closed Wednesday; Sunday evening September to June; Tuesday evening October to June.4 Rue Ernest Lamort Cancale Prix fixe menus, US$50 and US$60; tasting menu, US$70; seafood platter, US$100 http://www.restaurant-cotemer.fr/en/
This fine trattoria provides a warm welcome and uncomplicated food. On a recent visit, we began with fettuccine hidden beneath fragrant shavings of white truffles. For the main course, I opted for bistecca alla Fiorentina, a thick T-bone. The steak was grilled rare, sliced and served with sautéed porcini mushrooms. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.Borgo San Jacopo 57R Florence US$90.
This family-run trattoria offers delicious regional food and outstanding service. The seasonal menu generally features dishes such as mixed antipasti of veal-stuffed olives, deep-fried zucchini and soft sausage. Another specialty is tortino (small flan-like cakes made with vegetables). Rabbit dishes are also a focus, and if it’s on the menu, try the luscious timballo di coniglio con patate, a casserole of rabbit with potatoes. The clientele is always well-turned-out, and reservations are essential. Closed Sunday evening and Monday.
Located in the leafy Uccle quarter, Bon Bon follows an atelier de chef format, meaning that young chef Christophe Hardiquest decides daily what to serve. Hardiquest produces Mediterranean-inspired cooking with the finest European produce — on the ever-changing menu, dishes have included veal from the Corrèze department of France; king crab from the Barents Sea; and line-caught wild turbot, sea bass and John Dory. Among his creations have been sea bream on a bed of Swiss chard and baby mussels, and roasted pigeon with chanterelles and tarragon gnocchi. Closed Monday lunch and all day Saturday and Sunday.Avenue de Tervueren 453 Brussels Five-course menu, US$195; Chef's menu, US$250. http://www.bon-bon.be/
Located in a loft-like space in Bergen’s museum district, this candlelit bistro has been a hit ever since chef Christopher Haatuft returned home after stints at Alinea in Chicago and Per Se in New York to cook what he calls ‘neo-fjordic’ cuisine. This runs to dishes like roasted scallops with leeks and beets.Rasmus Meyers Allé 9 Bergen http://lysverket.no/
Located next to the little white lighthouse at the entrance to the fishing port of Sauzon on Belle-Ile, this simple seafood restaurant serves the excellent local catch of the day, including langoustines, mussels, oysters, lobster and sea bass. An enchanting terrace overlooks the harbor. Open April 1st through September 30th.Quai Guerveur Hôtel du Phare Sauzon http://en.hotelduphare-belleile.com/244-hotel/462-.html
For a tamer and more affordable experience of New Nordic cooking, this center-city tavern is ideal for a casual meal. Try small plates like spaghetti with bleak-fish roe and melted butter; reindeer tartare with beets and tarragon; and basmati rice with apple and caramel.Mariboes Gate 7 Oslo http://www.arakataka.no/
The Moselle Valley has an abundance of fine restaurants. A standout of our trip was Rüssel’s Landhaus St. Urban in Naurath Forest, which serves contemporary German cuisine in a converted mill. Brook trout with cucumbers, sour cream, roe and “meadow herbs” tasted memorably buttery and smoky; the local Serrig chicken with spring vegetables was light and fresh; and a combination of veal, venison, white asparagus, bacon “purée,” egg yolk and lovage sauce delighted with its savory flavors. I was also impressed by the cheese cart, which contained a fine selection of raw-milk varieties.Büdlicherbrück 1 Naurath (Wald) http://www.landhaus-st-urban.de/de/web/index.php?kapitel=1
Stylish Parisians hankering after a taste of the food they enjoyed during their Iberian holidays have made this sleek beige dining room on the banks of the Seine one of the most popular foreign restaurants in Paris. It is especially busy on Saturday and Sunday nights, when the locals come for the excellent paellas that emerge from chef Alberto Herraiz’s fogón (oven). Start with an assortment of tapas or some Spanish charcuterie before the mostly rice-based main courses. Service is friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed but fashionable in a very Saint-Germain-des-Prés kind of way. Good Spanish wine selections.45 Quai des Grands-Augustins Paris (6e) http://www.fogon.fr
Exposed brick walls create a warm atmosphere at this Italian-style steakhouse and pasta place in the heart of Prague. The food — an appealing selection of antipasti, pastas and grills — is excellent, including linguine with crabmeat, and steaks or veal chops with creamed spinach and roasted potatoes. In addition to a fine list of Italian wines, there are some interesting Czech bottlings.Platnéřská 13 Prague US$75 http://www.lafinestra.cz/en/uvod/
Set in The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Thornton’s has large windows with views of St. Stephen’s Green. The dining room is a stylish contemporary space with high ceilings, cream walls and oversize photographs taken by chef Kevin Thornton for his book “Food for Life.” Thornton’s food is French-inspired but employs Irish produce. Look for starters such as peat-smoked organic Atlantic salmon with a sashimi of salmon. Among the main courses, consider the roasted loin of Wicklow Sika deer with sweet potato purée, potatoes Maxime and a Valrhona sauce. Closed Sunday and Monday.128 St. Stephen’s Green Dublin Three-course tasting menu, US$80; five courses, US$100 http://www.thorntonsrestaurant.com/
Conveniently located in St. James’s, this traditional English seafood house is just the place to sample indigenous pleasures such as native Maldon oysters, smoked Scottish salmon with scrambled eggs and brown-bread toast, Dorset crab and Dover sole meunière. It has a nice selection of wines by the glass. Closed Sunday.36 Duke Street SW1 London US$75 http://www.greens.org.uk/
Even among food-savvy Romans, this spot remains a bit of a secret. The interior looks like a classic trattoria, albeit a refined one, with ocher walls hung with old prints. The food is first-class, with dishes that might include fresh-made chitarra pasta with marinated anchovies and fried artichokes, and main courses like a variation on the classic Roman dish of steamed salt cod with a purée of broccoli and warm ricotta infused with cocoa beans. Ask for recommendations from the interesting wine list, which is full of selections from Italy’s smaller producers. Closed Sunday, dinner only Saturday.
Just a short walk from the Hagia Sophia, this excellent restaurant is known for its kebabs. Secure a streetside table and begin with a small selection of mezzes. From among the appealing main courses, consider the outstanding grilled lamb ribs served with tomatoes and peppers.Divanyolu Caddesi Ticarethane Sokak 39/41 Istanbul US$50. http://www.khorasanirestaurant.com/
This small restaurant with plush seating and white linen tablecloths just off St. Stephen’s Green has some of the most delicious and inventive cooking in town. Chef Mickael Viljanen gives Irish produce intriguing twists. A generous series of amuse bouches starts the meal. Starters could include roasted scallop with Jerusalem artichokes, pear, hazelnuts and a brown butter sabayon. Among the mains, you may find turbot with shellfish, broccoli, lettuce, buttermilk and a potato blini; and fillet and cheek of beef with truffle, salsify, onions, mushrooms and oxtail jus. Closed Sunday and Monday.Dawson Street Dublin Three-course tasting menu, US$75; four courses, US$85; six courses, US$100 http://www.greenhouserestaurant.co.uk/
After a stint at Tavares, one of the oldest restaurants in Lisbon, brilliant young chef José Avillez moved to Belcanto. Avillez creates intricate dishes with mysterious names such as “A Horta da Galinha dos Ovos de Ouro” (“The Garden of the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs”), a lovely starter of eggs with crunchy bread and mushrooms; or “Mergulho no Mar” (“Dip in the Sea”), which is a succulent composition of sea bass, seaweed and shellfish. Other dishes not to miss include the excellent suckling pig with fried potatoes, orange and salad. Closed Sunday and Monday.
It is worth overlooking that this cozy restaurant in Geneva’s Old Town is a little touristy to enjoy its excellent Swiss specialties, especially fondue. Start with a plate of assiette valaisanne (Swiss charcuterie) and then try the delicious fondue with bolets (wild mushrooms), or the raclette. The Swiss white wine Fendant goes well with these cheese classics.Hôtel Les Armures Rue Puits-St-Pierre 1 Geneva US$70 http://www.hotel-les-armures.ch/en/restaurant-geneva
Young South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s stylish bistro is one of the most popular restaurants in Nice. Before opening it, Jan studied design and worked as a food writer and as a chef on a private yacht. These diverse experiences explain the cosmopolitan style of his cooking, which changes according to the market. Jan's menu has included dishes such as boned rack of lamb with lamb sweetbread croquettes; and a luscious dessert of malva pudding, a South African specialty of caramelized sponge cake. Closed Monday.12 Rue Lascaris Nice Prix fixe menu, US$90; Tasting menu, US$110 http://www.restaurantjan.com/
Overlooking the Praia (Beach) de Mareta in Sagres, this simple seafood restaurant has fine views of the sea and is as good for lunch — maybe a salad — as it is for dinner, when you can order dishes such as sautéed squid, grilled sardines or grilled lobster.
West Zurich, formerly an industrial neighborhood, is rapidly gentrifying and attracting a young, arty crowd. This Michelin-starred restaurant atop the Prime Tower offers great views and excellent contemporary cuisine, such as Mediterranean-style fish soup, and Oriental lamb stew with couscous. Closed Sundays.Maagplatz 5 Zurich http://www.clouds.ch/#Restaurant.aspx
Many of the best new tables are simple little places, a reflection of the Marseillais dislike of formality and pretension, and one of my favorites is Le Grain de Sel, located on a side street near the Vieux-Port and perfect for lunch. The chalkboard menu changes regularly, but runs to dishes such as green gazpacho with baby clams, and roast veal with polenta and anchovies. Closed Sunday and Monday.39 Rue de la Paix Marcel Paul Marseille
Just a few miles outside of Uzès, chef Julien Lavandet and his partner Jennifer Henriksen have created a delightful and deservedly popular restaurant with excellent market-driven Provençal cooking. The menu changes regularly, but dishes such as herb-garnished red tuna and shrimp tartare, and yellow pollock with Swiss chard, artichokes and spinach show off his style. Several large terraces provide venues for fine-weather dining.12 Route d'Uzès Montaren-et-Saint-Médiers
It is always a pleasure to feast on a first-rate catch of the day at this Victorian-style seafood house in Covent Garden (which also makes it ideal for pre- or post-theater dining), with its softly lit, wood-paneled décor. Look for English classics such as potted shrimp and fish pie.28-34 St. Martin's Court WC2 London US$95 http://www.j-sheekey.co.uk/
Chefs Marek Sztukowski and Diego von Büren jointly oversee the kitchen, where they use fresh market produce to give a stylish turn to regional Swiss dishes. Since they shop daily, the menu changes regularly, but look for dishes such as homemade roe-deer terrine served with apple-potato rösti and pumpkin-cranberry chutney, and pan-fried sturgeon marinated in whisky and served with homemade potato mash and creamy sauerkraut.Stauffacherquai 1 Zurich US$90 http://www.hotel-helvetia.ch/
With a chic Left Bank address near the Rodin Museum, chef Alain Passard’s L'Arpège, a pear wood-paneled dining room with Lalique glass inserts, is one of the more controversial haute cuisine establishments in Paris. Some adore Passard’s minimalist style and his love of vegetables, most of which come from his own farms in the Sarthe and Brittany, while others find dishes such as onions baked in rock salt and garnished with Parmesan overpriced relative to their simplicity. A brilliant choice for vegetarians or adventurous diners, it’s likely to disappoint if you love the grandeur of traditional French haute cuisine. For my part, I respect Passard’s talent and like his food, especially at lunch, but find the prices a bit wilting. Don’t miss the sautéed chicken with shallots, onions and potato purée — it’s great comfort food at the top of the Gallic food chain.84 Rue de Varenne Paris (7e) http://www.alain-passard.com
Once a louche Montparnasse café frequented by writers and revolutionaries, today Le Dôme is one of the best seafood restaurants in Paris. The original art deco interior survives, with its stained-glass windows and cozy booths. This clubby restaurant is popular with French politicians and corporate brass. Service is precise and formal, and the catch of the day is one of the best in Paris, including excellent oysters, pan-roasted turbot with Hollandaise sauce, and excellent bouillabaisse. Finish up with some roasted figs and vanilla ice cream or maybe a cheese plate composed of fine cheeses from the Bras family (as in Michel Bras) in the Auvergne.108 Boulevard Montparnasse Paris (14e) http://www.restaurant-ledome.com/
This centrally located wine bistro is perfect for lunch during a day of sightseeing, and is also ideal for a casual dinner. It serves excellent Hungarian wines by the glass, and the cheerful English-speaking waiters are happy to guide you through the menu of delicious Hungarian comfort food, including venison ragout soup, a first-rate pork schnitzel, and delicious saddle of rabbit with “royal” dumplings. Closed Sunday.Erzsébet körút 43-49 Budapest US$45 http://www.bockbisztro.hu/
A well-prepared "catch of the day" menu makes this friendly seafood house a good choice for lunch. There’s a nice selection of white Bordeaux to accompany dishes from the menu, which has at times included fish terrine, herring and beet salad, grilled razor shell clams, and croaker (a species of ray-finned fish) with herb butter.22 Rue du Parlement Saint-Pierre Bordeaux US$55 https://www.facebook.com/LE-PETIT-COMMERCE-151929008218963/timeline/
For many years, La Villette, the old slaughterhouse district in the 19th arrondissement, was the place to go in Paris for really good meat. Ever since I found this place on the Left Bank, however, there is no longer any need to make a long journey for a memorable carnivorous meal. Owner William Bernet presides over this French version of a great steakhouse and its excellent wine list. There is a wonderful assortment of charcuterie from Laguiole in the Auvergne to start, and then the large, beautifully cooked steaks arrive. The best is the rib steak, which is big enough to feed two or three and comes with a side of excellent fries. This insider’s address doesn’t look like much, but it pulls a well-heeled crowd that often includes a well-known face or two, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Closed Saturday and Sunday.8 Rue des Plantes Paris (14e) US$100
Tucked away in the back streets of the San Polo district, this superb seafood restaurant is a favorite of Venetians and in-the-know visitors alike. Start with the succulent baby clams cooked in white wine and olive oil and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan, and don’t miss the tagliolini with granseola (spider crab), a house specialty. It also serves an outstanding fritto misto of prawns, squid and vegetables, and a hearty dish of cuttlefish cooked in its own ink and served with white polenta. The wine list is excellent. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Off the beaten track near the Smithfield meat market in East London, chef Fergus Henderson’s restaurant serves sustaining traditional English food. You might start with the roasted marrow bones and parsley salad, a house classic; then try one of the superb beef dishes, or maybe the skate. Don’t miss the currant-filled Eccles cake or the bread pudding and butterscotch sauce. Closed Sunday dinner.26 St. John Street EC1 London US$100 https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/smithfield/
One of Berlin’s newest and most anticipated restaurants, Nobelhart & Schmutzig is religiously devoted to local and seasonal ingredients, going so far as to avoid anything not produced in the region, including citrus and black pepper. I feared the food might be gimmicky, but almost every course on the tasting menu was delicious, as were the ambitious wine pairings (thankfully not confined to the immediate region). One of my favorites was a dish of char roe and sour cream served atop rapeseed flowers instead of blini. I also loved the savory blood pudding with barely bitter radishes and refreshing parsley purée, and the wonderfully clean celery broth enriched with beef fat and crunchy leeks. Almost all seats surround a long counter facing the open kitchen. Closed Sunday and Monday.Friedrichstrasse 218 Berlin http://www.nobelhartundschmutzig.com/
Chef Ross Lewis cooks in an inventive contemporary style that relies on Irish ingredients but draws on the flavors of other cuisines. For example, cured organic salmon shares the plate with Atlantic crab, smoked salmon cream and cherry blossom dressing. Look for meat dishes such as prime strip loin of Hereford beef with creamed cavolo nero, stuffed Roscoff onion, smoked bacon, pickled garlic and king oyster mushrooms. For dessert, try the sour cream and barley mousse with oat and clove ice cream, prune-and-whiskey purée and rye whiskey caramel. Closed Sunday and Monday.18-19 Parnell Square Dublin Four-course menu, US$75; Eight-course tasting menu, US$100; Eight-course Kitchen Table Menu, US$110 http://www.chapteronerestaurant.com/
Young chef Pascal Barbot is one of the rising stars of French cooking, which is why reservations at this tiny dining room with metallic walls and a handful of comfortably spaced tables are very difficult to obtain. Dishes typical of his imaginative cuisine have included a signature “ravioli” of avocado slices stuffed with crab, a small cake of mushrooms and foie gras, and a chocolate biscuit with milk sorbet. Closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday.4 Rue Beethoven Paris (16e) Prix fixe menus, US$170 to US$260. http://www.astrancerestaurant.com/
A superb menu of Spanish-continental cuisine is presented at this refined establishment that has been a gastronomic mecca for over 30 years. Dishes such as classic fish soup with rouille, and sirloin medallions with wild mushrooms and goose liver are complemented by a virtually unrivaled list of Spanish wines. Closed Sunday, Saturday lunch and most of August.Calle Alvarez de Baena 4 Madrid US$95. http://www.restaurantezalacain.com/
Though the atmosphere at this establishment — within an easy walk of the château de Verrières — can be a little stuffy, the contemporary cooking is delicious. The menu changes often, but runs to dishes such as shiitake mushroom soup with bacon, goat cheese éclair with arugula emulsion, and duck breast with a cashew nut crust. Excellent cheese selection and a notable wine list.6 Rue de Lorraine Saumur http://www.lalchimiste-saumur.fr/
Amiable service, a good wine list and the excellent cooking of chef Christophe Poirier make this intimate restaurant in a 1768 vintage half-timbered inn a perfect destination for lunch. Try dishes such as broccoli flan with shellfish or foie gras mille-feuille to start, then perhaps the duck breast in pastry with morel mushrooms, or sea bass with fennel and capers. Fresh strawberries in a vanilla dressing make an ideal dessert.27 place Isaac Benserade Lyons-la-Forêt http://www.hotel-licorne.com/licorne-332/les-restaurants
The brilliant contemporary Italian cooking at chef Enrico Crippa’s three-star establishment makes this the best restaurant in Piedmont.
Given its location on the tourist-infested Piazza San Marco, this excellent contemporary Italian restaurant is a welcome surprise. The two elegant dining rooms, lit with Murano chandeliers, overlook the great square. It is a deliciously romantic experience to dine here on dishes such as cappuccino di laguna, an imaginative dish with small Venetian shrimp, crab, mantis prawns and clams, all from the local waters; and turbot with Adriatic shellfish and red beets. Gracious service and an outstanding wine list. Closed Monday.
Located just off the Royal Mile with wonderful views down Victoria Street, this restaurant takes full advantage of Scotland’s superb seafood. Chef Roy Brett’s menu includes starters such as a gorgeous platter of roasted seafood with Newhaven lobster, Tarbert langoustines, Mull scallop, rock oysters, razor clams, Shetland mussels and East Coast cockles and clams. Main courses might include lemon sole with brown shrimp, lemon, parsley and capers; and a fine grilled rib of Orkney beef with chanterelles, Béarnaise sauce and thin-cut French fries. Closed Sunday.2 George IV Bridge Edinburgh US$75 http://www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk/