Fine dining at its best
Source: Pixabay

Wish lists and bucket lists have been around  people started to treat life less like a casino and focus on setting their personal goals.

Many of these bucket lists contain at least one ideal travel destination. Somewhere exotic, somewhere far away from the everyday – and that includes food. The announcement of The World’s 50 Best restaurants every year has palates salivating the world over; why not add one to your bucket list too? Let’s take a look at the World’s Top 10 Restaurants 2019:

1. Mirazur – Menton, France

Hot-blooded Argentina-born chef Mauro Colagrec worked with celebrated chef Bernard Loiseau as well as chefs Alain Passard at Arpège and Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athénée before opening his own restaurant, Mirazur in 2006.

Colagrec serves seasonal Mediterranean food inspired by the sea with produce fresh from the restaurant’s three levels of luscious cascading vegetable gardens. Stand out dishes include salt-crusted beetroot from the garden with caviar cream, eggs from the chicken coop (keep a look out for prize hen, Tina Turner in the garden!) Who could resist smoked eel and hazelnuts or a brioche of potatoes with melting egg and white truffle?

2. Noma – Copenhagen, Denmark

René Redzepi’s creation of the New Nordic genre of cuisine has rightly earned Norna the coveted title of being the World’s best restaurant no less than 4 times.

Redsepi’s cuisine explores untrumpeted foraged products as well as an almost alchemical study of fermentation. The restaurant offers three menus per year, each roughly 20-courses, based on the top seasonal ingredients. The Seafood Season runs 9 January through 1 June; Vegetable Season runs 25 June through 21 September; and Game and Forest Season runs 15 October through 21 December

3. Asador Etxebarri – Axpe, Spain

King of the barbecue, Spanish chef Victor Arguinzoniz brings us mouth-watering dishes made with the best ingredients the Basque region has to offer.

Self-taught, Arguinzoniz hails from the farming community of Axpe. His love of authentic flavours which he manages to coax out on his famous adjustable-heat grills reflects his dedication to unpretentious cuisine. Both vegetables and meats are cooked on a range of charcoals that he makes from different woods, giving most dishes at least a delicate suggestion of smoke.

4. Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand

If the Best Restaurant in Asia (2014-2018)  is on your bucket list and you have a yearning for a signature Yoghurt Explosion or licking a delicious Lick It Up curry straight from the plate, best you get yourself there as chef Anand has pledged to close his flagship progressive Indian style cuisine restaurant in 2020. He plans instead to open a small restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan, with fellow Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants chef Takeshi ‘Goh’ Fukuyama of La Maison de la Nature Goh.

Gaggan in Bangkok
Source: Bangkok.com

5. Geranium – Copenhagen, Denmark

Rasmus Kofoed is the first Scandinavian chef to have ever earned three Michelin stars. His progressive tasting menu: 17-plus inspired, artful courses comprise of both organic and wild Scandinavian ingredients. Kofoed combines nature and technology to produce true culinary works of art such as fragile, near-translucent leaves made from a Jerusalem artichoke purée, or deceptive razor clams that are actually dough painted with squid ink!

6. Central – Lima, Peru

Husband and wife team Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s restaurant celebrates everything Peruvian, including many interesting and unique ingredients sourced from the land, sea and mountains of Peru.

Old favourites include Land of Corn and Extreme Stems, with innovative new dishes such as Waters of Nanay featuring piranha fish served in a complete, razor-tooth filled piranha head! In 17+ courses, the menu explores every altitude, from 20m below sea level to 4,100 metres above it!

7. Mugaritz – San Sebastián, Spain

Described as Techno-emotional Spanish cuisine, Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz creates a theatre of a dining experience, some of which might take you right out of your comfort zone!

Dishes change throughout its eight-month season and bear thought-provoking names such as How Long a Kiss Lasts or Depends On How I Look At It. On the 20-30-course menu expect to have your mind opened…think crab served on a frozen tongue, or raw pork heart or bellota ham plated on musical dish ware that’s timed to precision so that all diners eat and create music together?!

8. Arpège – Paris, France

A true master of French cuisine, Alain Passard has remained at the top of global fine dining with three Michelin stars at Arpège for decades.

Unusually, vegetables are the stars of Passard’s menu…since 2001 announced that Arpège was turning vegetarian. Arriving daily from Passard’s own farms they appear on diners’ plates soon after.

Although his menu is constantly evolving, Passard has signature dishes that are so sought after those diners’ book months in advance for the first taste of white asparagus in spring or the arrival of black truffles in autumn or the chance to savour the langoustine carpaccio with caviar.

One of Alain Passard’s restaurant L’Arpège's speciality dishes.
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9. Disfrutar – Barcelona, Spain

Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruch  create a parade of unexpected and seemingly contradictory dishes that intrigue and tantalize. Think gazpacho in sandwich form? Crispy egg yolk? Liquid salad? Hare bonbon?

Since receiving the 2017 Miele One To Watch Award from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and in 2018 making its debut on the list itself as the Highest New Entry at No.18, this restaurant has gone from strength to strength and should most certainly make its way onto your own bucket list.

10. Maido – Lima, Peru

Voted The Best Restaurant in Latin America in both 2017 and 2018,  Maido-Lima is all about Nikkei – a fusion Peruvian and Japanese cuisine! When it comes to Nikkei, chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura reigns supreme.

With an emphasis on seafood and citrus based sauces, expect your taste buds to be tantalised by dishes such as cod marinated in miso with crispy nuts, nigiri sushi, sea urchin rice, or the legendary 50-hour-cooked beef short rib and tofu cheesecake ice cream.