7 Top Food Experiences Worth Travelling For

7 Top Food Experiences Worth Travelling For

Gourmet food in fascinating destinations – find out which restaurants are really worth the air fare.

We travel, we eat, we travel some more. Sometimes though, we travel specifically to eat! We excite our taste buds with new flavours, learn about spices, herbs and unique cooking techniques. We return home with photos not just of stunning landscapes, but also beautifully presented plates of food.

While I’m just as happy in a buzzy food market as in a Michelin starred restaurant, there are a few meals from my travels that would make me hop straight back on the next plane…

Disfrutar

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Without a doubt, this is my favourite restaurant in the world! Dishes are creative, colourful, and served with a touch of magic. Things aren’t always what they seem, whether that’s an exploding liquid-filled olive or ceviche transformed into ice cream. Service is attentive but relaxed and the buzz of the open kitchen spreads throughout the dining area. Two visits and one Michelin star later, I’m already contemplating returning for a third time.

The signature olive dish at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona
The signature olive dish at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona
Elderflower amber at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona
Elderflower amber at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona
Cotton of cocoa and mint at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona
Cotton of cocoa and mint at Disfrutar Restaurant, Barcelona

Ravintola Olo

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Scandinavian flavours, a relaxed ambience and another Michelin star made my visit to Olo one of the highlights of my time in Helsinki. Favourite dishes included pan-fried arctic char with asparagus, broccoli puree and a brown butter sauce, and juniper ice cream pops covered in white chocolate, served on smoking twigs – evoking the scent of Finnish summer houses.

Pan-fried arctic char with asparagus, broccoli puree and browned butter sauce at Olo Restaurant, Helsinki
Pan-fried arctic char with asparagus, broccoli puree and browned butter sauce at Olo Restaurant, Helsinki
Rhubarb with sorrel, yogurt and buttermilk at Olo Restaurant, Helsinki
Rhubarb with sorrel, yogurt and buttermilk at Olo Restaurant, Helsinki

Hakkasan

Location: London, England

Hakkasan’s brand has well and truly gone global, and with its delicious menus of gourmet Chinese food, it’s easy to understand why. At their Central London restaurant, their Dim Sum Sunday menu is a delicious, generous and downright boozy way to round off the weekend. After a starter of crispy duck, a huge menu of colourful, beautifully presented dim sum filled the table. That’s before generous main courses, cocktails, champagne and desserts leave you wishing every weekend could finish like this!

Delicious dim sum at Hakkasan, London
Delicious dim sum at Hakkasan, London
Lemon dessert at Hakkasan, London
Lemon dessert at Hakkasan, London

The Singular

Location: Santiago, Chile

While Santiago is home to several five star hotels with gourmet restaurants, one of my favourite experiences was at The Singular. Seated in a small courtyard, with candles flickering and swing music playing softy in the background, I felt wonderfully relaxed. Highlights included the Taste of the Sea – a photogenic and evocative dish presented on a black slate, along with the indulgent beef fillet medallions served with buttery mash.

Taste of the Sea at The Singular Restaurant, Santiago
Taste of the Sea at The Singular Restaurant, Santiago
Steak at The Singular Hotel, Santiago
Steak at The Singular Hotel, Santiago

Ekstedt

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

The key ingredient at Niklas Ekstedt’s gourmet-yet-trendy Stockholm restaurant is fire. In an attempt to revitalise traditional Scandinavian cooking techniques, there is no electricity in the kitchen. Just fire pits, wood-burning ovens and griddles. I’m not talking about a BBQ join though, this is fine dining with a tasting menu that features oysters, scallops and reindeer.

Peering into the wood burning oven at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm
Peering into the wood burning oven at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm
Oysters Flambadou at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm
Oysters Flambadou at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm
Oysters Flambadou at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm
Oysters Flambadou at Ekstedt Restaurant, Stockholm

Lapostolle

Location: Colchagua Valley, Chile

While wine tasting in a spectacular setting in Chile’s Colchagua Valley is already appealing, the meal at Lapostolle was something I’d love to relive. Seated at a table under anent vines, looking out over fruit-bearing vineyards we tucked into smoked salmon served with beetroot, mixed leaves from the garden, mustard seeds and a tart passion fruit dressing. Following that, a tender beef loin with roasted pumpkin puree and cherry tomatoes, and finally a vanilla panna cotta topped with passion fruit. With house wines paired with each course, it was a menu to remember.

Salmon starter at Lapostolle, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Salmon starter at Lapostolle, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Picking out my favourite wine in Lapostolle's wine cellar (Photo @BackpackerMacca)
Picking out my favourite wine in Lapostolle’s wine cellar (Photo @BackpackerMacca)
Stunning infinity pool at Lapostolle Residence
Stunning infinity pool at Lapostolle Residence

Rakar

Location: Trebnje, Slovenia

The food in Slovenia REALLY impressed me. It’s not a country known for fine dining, but that’s partly because the Michelin star system doesn’t run there. A lot less famous than many on this list, Rakar is a family-run restaurant, which has been serving delicious gourmet food for 14 years. Using 70% local ingredients, the chefs’ plates are incredible creations, including rich mushroom and courgette barley balls, smoked trout with caviar and fennel, and pork with crackling and beetroot powder. One of the highlights was a tarragon ice cream – creamy, flavoursome, and different to anything I’d tried before.

Starter at Rakar, Slovenia
Starter at Rakar, Slovenia
Dessert at Rakar, Slovenia
Dessert at Rakar, Slovenia

Do you have a favourite restaurant experience from your travels? Let me know in the comments below.

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