Let’s face it: we’re all in search of that next great meal. But walk down just about any block in New York or Paris and you’re confronted with seemingly endless options. How do you decide?
Sure, you can whip out your iPhone and consult a slew of restaurant apps with screens and screens of user reviews. But were they written by real customers or the restaurants themselves? More important, if you’re planning a daylong urban foodie tour, app-checking isn’t necessarily the most efficient way of culling and assembling a can’t-miss itinerary.
That’s where we come in. From a spectacular sashimi breakfast in Tokyo to a plate of after-hours fish and chips in London, we’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s top tables and scheduled hours of overindulgence.
So the next time you visit New York, consider yourself one of the city’s in-the-know eaters. In the morning, head straight to TriBeCa’s Locanda Verde for chef Andrew Carmellini’s dreamy breakfast menu (sheep’s-milk ricotta drizzled with truffled honey; olive-oil coffee cake). At lunch, Midtown’s Má Pêche — the latest restaurant from the city’s burgeoning Momofuku empire — is a must. Try the pork ribs in lemongrass caramel or the tender skate with brown butter and pea shoots. And if you’re a seafood addict with time for only one Big Apple dinner, look no further than Marea on Central Park South: here, chef Michael White works his magic on frutti di mare, with jewel-like crudi and fusilli with red wine–braised octopus.
Fortunately, culinary greatness doesn’t always come with an expensive price tag. In Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic neighborhood, La Plata is a humble, tile-walled bodega that former El Bulli pastry chef Albert Adrià considers one of the finest examples of classic Catalan cuisine. Traditional dishes such as fried sardines or tomato-and-onion salad are sources of inspiration for Adrià’s popular Inopia tapas bar, but you won’t pay much more than $15 for two people.
Great restaurants can also become an integral part of their communities. San Francisco’s Nopa — a favorite hangout among Bay Area chefs, including Daniel Patterson of the city’s two-Michelin-starred Coi — exudes a casual conviviality that has helped transform its namesake neighborhood (North of the Panhandle) from an emerging area to a vibrant community. Other businesses have since grown up around Nopa, but locals still consider the pioneering restaurant the neighborhood gathering spot.
So whether you’re prowling through Paris or scoping out Sydney, read on to find your next great eating experience.