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