This list for my favourite restaurants I have had the delectable pleasure of experiencing across the parts of the world I have travelled to. All these restaurants below hold special food memories for me. Disclaimer: This list is subject to change at any time
- Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
- Cape Lodge, Margaret River, Western Australia
- Irati, Barcelona, Spain
- Yin Yang, Wan Chai Hong Kong
- The Press Club, Melbourne, Victoria
There are many, many fabulous restaurants and cafes that I’ve dined at – and many that I haven’t – but the ones I have listed have stood out from the crowd. Here’s why:
Astrid y Gaston: This restaurant was highly recommended in the trusty Lonely Planet under the heading “Splurge”. Mum and Dad happened to be in Lima the same time Hubs (long time buddy) and I were there (it was a weird fluke – check out this post for more). The restaurant ambience was oldy-worldy formal with a dedicated entrance reception and waiters wearing white gloves in the main dining area. The service was impeccable and every dish that our party of six had made everyone ooh-and-aaah with delight. This restaurant is one that we keep talking about over and over again.
Cape Lodge: Conde Naste Traveller magazine voted this one of the top ten boutique hotels in the world and it’s easy to see why. It is fine dining done with understated elegance. Tables nicely spaced apart, the wait staff are well briefed and carry out their duties like European professionals, and the restaurant is beautifully appointed with views over a little lake (aka a dam). Head Chef Tony Howell changes the menu daily to reflect the fresh produce he has been able to source that day. It is magnificent for dinner and breakfast.
Irati: This tapas bar with a restaurant out the back was a recommendation given by a local more than 12 years ago and it was so good back then we ate there twice. When Hubs and I were in Barcelona in 2010, we went back and it was so good, we ate there twice! The tapas are delicious and plentiful. The restaurant has modern exquisitely executed dishes that won’t disappoint. Price point was higher than average, but not hideously expensive.
Yin Yang: After reading a review in Gourmet Traveller or Conde Naste where the Australian critic named this restaurant as serving “one of the best meals of my life”, I made Zorba and I a reservation. Classed as a private kitchen, owner Margaret Xu grows her own organic produce that she prepares sophisticated five course meals with. The restaurant is tiny with only four tables on the ground floor. The staff were attentive, each course was delicious yet unusual – think waterless soup – and the complete dining experience was one to savour. Zorba also surprised me by proposing at a jewellery store in Hong Kong an hour before our dinner, so really, we could have eaten baked beans on stale bread and loved it. There as a lot of love in the air that night. Yin Yang is expensive (especially when you have two bottles of wine with your meal!). It has had some vastly mixed reviews on Trip Advisor recently, but it gets a big thumbs up from me.
The Press Club: Owned by Australian-Cypriot celebrity chef George Colombaris, the Press Club is a wonderful experience. Fine dining, sophisticated menu and dishes, and a buzzy happening atmosphere. Angie, the maitre de, has been there for years and it excellent at her job. The elements of each dish are vastly complex – some a little unnecessary (like liquid chips = lines of mashed potatoes, oh come on!). The Sommelier was really helpful with our wine choice. We had the degustation menu over five hours. It is a real night out. Expensive, but worth it. Just once (or twice).
This list is likely to change after our trip to the Mother Country in a couple of weeks. In fact, it is hard to believe that there aren’t any restaurants in Italy that feature in my top five. I guess because there are so many great classic honest trattorias and restaurants all over Italy, choosing one would be near impossible. Still, I’ll be doing some research to update this list soon
I’d love to hear your favourite food experiences and why – leave me a comment!