TRUTH IN TRAVEL
E AT I N G O U R WAY A R O U N D T H E WO R L D T O K YO • T E L AV I V JA M A I CA • M I A M I • I R E L A N D A ND OF COURSE ... I TA LY
F E AT U R E S
80 Tokyo Counter Culture
Peter Jon Lindberg ﬁnds that, in the city’s best restaurants, the last place you want to sit is at a table.
At Tokyo’s Bar BenFiddich, they mix a mean gimlet.
Fish Forage Feast David Prior heads to Ireland’s wild Connemara region for a lunch that’s as hard-won as it is delicious.
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How an island known for its jerk shacks became a food paradise. By Lucinda Scala Quinn.
New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer returns to Tuscany for a master class in hospitality. By Matt Duckor.
A (More) Perfect Union
The Cover Tortellini and rigatoni at Taverna del Sette, in Trevi, Umbria; shot by Oddur Thorisson.
photograph by BR IAN FINK E
W H E R E + W E A R (15)
WO R D O F M O U T H (27)
What I Pack
Isabel Marant pretty much just needs her bikinis—and a deck of tarot cards—in Ibiza.
Where the gypset stays in Bali; two Miami hotels with restaurants that live up to the hype.
At Australia’s Brae, you’ll be reminded at “brekkie” that this restaurant is on a 30-acre farm.
Braking for startlingly good seafood along Sweden’s west coast.
Houston’s most plugged-in barmen show us a good time.
How to navigate Tel Aviv, Israel’s food and party capital.
Novelist Fatima Bhutto remembers Damascus, her adopted hometown.
The Upgrade If you take just one piece of jewelry, make it purple.
On Location Mod-inspired pieces that channel London’s slickest hotel bar.
Plane Clothes Café Henri’s Camille Becerra hits a new restaurant as soon as she lands—without changing clothes.
Where in the World to Eat The dream list you’ve been waiting for— our 147 favorite restos around the globe.
Editor’s Letter 106
Condé Nast Traveler
Clockwise from top: Photographs by Andrew Hetherington; Weston Wells; Chip Riegel; Sivan Askayo; Linda Pugliese
Novelist & memoirist
Losing Damascus, p. 54
Tokyo Counter Culture, p. 80
Where in the World to Eat, p. 58
The airplane of your dreams comes equipped with? A
Favorite spot in Tokyo?
What scent takes you back? Hibiscus always
printer. Planes are good places to work.
Best room service? In Toronto, years ago while I was on a book tour, a waiter at the Fairmont noticed I had a sore throat and brought me hot water, ginger, and tea. In my fever and ﬂu haze, I was very grateful.
Best souvenir? A blue-and-white djellaba from a tiny shop in Aswan, because it reminds me of my childhood in Syria, where everyone wore them around the house.
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Bar BenFiddich was amazing for its attention to detail. It takes ten minutes to make a single cocktail.
What taste brings you back? Old Bay Seasoning reminds me of Maryland steamed crabs and summer on the beach with my family.
Do you prefer to travel by land, sea, or air? Air. I like being in a totally diﬀerent place after a short amount of time.
What city surprised you?
reminds me of Kauai and ﬂying over the Na Pali Coast’s jagged emerald cliﬀs by helicopter.
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Food on Film
Most memorable restaurant? Kagaya in
At video.cntraveler .com, Philly chef Michael Solomonov schools us on Tel Aviv street food from inside his hummusiya, Dizenghoff, in N.Y.C.’s Chelsea Market.
Shimbashi, Tokyo. It’s standard izakaya fare, but the proprietor surprises patrons with plush toys, sometimes in a frog suit.
Favorite souvenir? A huge 48-star American ﬂag from Santa Fe Vintage.
Melbourne. It had great pop-up restaurants and stylish people—like a cooler version of Brooklyn.
Talk to Us
Where are you going this year? Email your photos and tips to letters@ condenasttraveler.com.
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Jamaica’s Food Moment Get a behind-thescenes look at writer Lucinda Scala Quinn’s trip to the island, this month on Instagram.
Where to Eat in the U.S. For stateside recommendations our pool of experts swear you can’t miss, go to cntraveler .com/best-restaurants.
From left: Photographs by Michael Turek; courtesy Brian Finke; Jimmy Fontaine; Mikkel Vang
The fruit that comes after a meal at Lo Scoglio is almost too beautiful to eat.
The Meals That Matter “You can’t afford minimalism,” our Swedish architect pronounced in her characteristic Scandinavian deadpan. With limited funds, my husband and I were renovating our ﬁrst apartment—a nineteenth-century Victorian wreck within which we naively hoped to carve out a John Pawson–esque interior. She was, in fact, right. As with all things—architecture, design, fashion, and, yes, food—the simplest, most irreducible approach is often the hardest to nail. Think about the ﬁrst time you had a plain omelet in France and marveled at the disconnect between the native custard-y consistency and that of its American counterpart, a dry, overstuffed futon of eggs accompanied by a slice of melon and half an anemic strawberry. There are a handful of transformative meals savored on foreign soil that you dream about forever after. Not because they are fancy or esoteric, quite the opposite. Because you ﬁnally get what, say, every upscale terra-cotta- tiled Italian restaurant in West L.A. has been going for since the ’80s, when Americans ﬁrst caught wind of (and subsequently abused) balsamic vinegar and angel hair pasta. Like the time when, traveling through Italy after college, I coaxed a best-kept-secret restaurant out of a reluctant desk clerk at a small hotel in Camogli. A complicated set of directions, requiring bus and boat transport and a considerable hike through a residential neighborhood, landed my friend Laurence and me on the patio of a modest home turned
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seasonal restaurant in the hills shared by two elderly sisters. From a tiny kitchen with a doll-size four-burner stove, the mustachioed spinsters with identical heavy eyewear brought out course after course of homemade chestnut troﬁe, fresh anchovies drizzled with olive oil, local cheese and salumi, and panna cotta. It wasn’t until I tore off a corner of a misshapen thin-crusted bread that I understood what focaccia was supposed to taste like—this one, just out of the oven, was almost croissant-like in its ratio of crust to ethereal inside. Add to that a slathering of algae-green pesto made extra velvety, one of the sisters told me, by the addition of a tiny pat of butter. Two decades later, “the sisters’ pesto” serves for Laurence and me as shorthand for a certain culinary benchmark. The simple preparation of spaghetti with yellow tomatoes and garlic at Lo Scoglio, a modest seaside family-run restaurant in Marina del Cantone, on the Amalﬁ Coast, was another of these epiphanies. While in both instances it’s nearly impossible to separate the natural beauty of the surroundings from the meal, the common thread remains the primacy of—and conﬁdence in— restraint. (Not to mention in the peak ripeness and local cultivation of fresh produce.) It’s a lot easier to hide behind a mess of spices, sauces, or even the visual drama of anything in squid ink. But as Danny Meyer attests in his inspiration tour through Tuscany (p. 96), the most intangible part of any perfect meal is the cultural ethos of generosity that comes with every bite.
Pilar Guzmán, Editor in Chief @pilar_guzman
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THE LITTLE THINGS NEVER SETTLE FOR PEANUTS— EVEN IF YOU’RE FLYING COACH
Cartier Drive de Cartier watch ....... $6,250
Pro tip: Next time you’re leaving Paris, stop by the legendary Publicis Drugstore on your way to Charles de Gaulle for Petrossian’s TSA-friendly mini bottle of vodka and tin of caviar. Ask the ﬂight attendant for a bag of chips and you’re good to go.
THE T H I N G S W E C A N’ T L E AV E WITHOUT
photograph by MATT HR ANEK
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
W H AT I PA C K
“I did those crazy backpacking trips you do when you’re young,” says Paris-based fashion designer Isabel Marant, rattling off destinations like Sri Lanka and Thailand. These days, however, as the creative force behind six annual collections, she has no time for long-haul ﬂights (in the coming months, Marant will also open her twentythird boutique, in Miami). Most weekends, she and her husband, accessories designer Jérôme Dreyfuss, and their 13-year-old son, Tal, escape to their rustic cottage in Fontainebleau, 35 miles southeast of Paris. Come summer, the family decamps to Ibiza for several weeks (it’s just a two-hour ﬂight from CDG). The house they rent is on the “quiet side,” local-speak for the northern
clockwise from top: Isabel Marant Knock Knock necklace ............... $290 Isabel Marant Étoile Starla bikini top and Sukie bikini bottom.................... $135 each Visconti Tarots deck ........ $26 SensiStudio straw bag ....................................... $270 Dr. Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil ......... $29
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part, which is a world away from the clubs on the southern side. Her itinerary is simple: She paddleboards with her son most days and has friends over in the evening for grilled ﬁsh and rounds of Uno. When not in the water (Cala Xuclar Beach is great for snorkeling, Sa Caleta for secluded swims), she’s shopping local markets (try Las Dalias, the best one for straw bags and hats). Her one suitcase, a nylon Eastpak duffel, is ﬁlled with bikinis, chiffon silk dresses that never wrinkle, and one pair of espadrilles, which Marant dubs “basically the sneaker of Ibiza.” K A R I M O LVA R
Clockwise from top: Photographs by Josephine Schiele; Karim Sadli; Tom Gorman (3); Josephine Schiele (2); Andrew Hetherington. Necklace and bikini top and bottom, Isabel Marant, N.Y.C.; tarot cards, Namaste Bookshop, N.Y.C.; bag, net-a-porter.com; body oil, dr.hauschka.com
ISABEL MARANT STAYING CLOSE TO HOME, BUT GOING OFTEN.
THE UPGR ADE
Counterclockwise from top left: Rings, select Dior boutiques nationwide; necklaces, 800-845-6790; watch, Hermès boutiques nationwide; rings, pomellato.com
NATURAL BEAUTIES FROM THE VENDAGE TO THE FARMERS’ MARKET, PURPLE IS THE COLOR OF THE SEASON
counterclockwise from top left: Dior Fine Jewelry Pré Catelan Double and Single Rose rings .... $18,000, $6,200 Bottega Veneta Pepita necklace ....................... $2,350 Hermès Slim d’Hermès watch.......................... $14,750 Pomellato Nudo rings ................ $3,200, $5,800 Bottega Veneta Pepita necklace ....................... $2,350
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
photograph by MATT HR ANEK
O N L O C AT I O N On Our List After a six-month reno, the Berkeley hotel’s iconic Blue Bar proves it’s still one of the most opulent places in town for a proper cocktail. The Design Museum reopens in November at its new Kensington High Street location, three times bigger than the original. And French food is having a moment in London, thanks in part to the bouillabaisse at Sardine on Micawber Street.
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clockwise from top left: Bulgari Serpenti Forever bag................................. $6,300 Michael Kors coat . . . . . . $2,995 Michael Kors pullover.... $950 Michael Kors shirt . . . . . . . . $495 Roberto Coin earrings ........................ $5,300 Nicholas Kirkwood Bow Beya loafers ........... $525 Tom Ford Neroli Portoﬁno Forte Eau de Parfum .... $290 Gucci GG sunglasses ..... $470 David Yurman cable bracelets ................. $850 each
Far left: Photograph by Julie Falconer. Still lifes by Tom Gorman. Clockwise from top left: Bag, bulgari.com; coat, pullover, and shirt, michaelkors.com; earrings, Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide; loafers, nicholaskirkwood.com; eau de parfum, tomford.com; sunglasses, Solstice Sunglasses; bracelets, davidyurman.com
LONDON, ENGLAND THIS FALL, NOD TO MOD WITH THESE STANDOUT, GO-ANYWHERE PIECES
PLA NE CLOTHES
“AS SOON AS I LAND, I GO STRAIGHT TO A RESTAURANT ...”
I travel with just one pair of shoes— like these Coclico boots, which basically work for a hike or dinner. I’ll wear a long skirt on a plane, such as this leather one from Apiece Apart, so I can sprawl out while sleeping and still be covered. And I always pack this hand-dyed indigo fabric that I use as a pool towel, sarong, or blanket on the plane.
As soon as I land, I go straight to a restaurant I’ve been dying to check out. I don’t even stop at the hotel to drop my bag. I do the same when I get back to New York. Recently, I landed at JFK and went straight to Wildair. Before a trip, I get restaurant recommendations from photographer friends who are always traveling. Then I look at them on Foursquare. If they get rave reviews, they make my ﬁnal list. I have great ones for Paris and Mexico City. Of the restaurants I’ve visited lately, Mexico City’s Fonda Margarita stands out. The chicharrón in red sauce blew my mind. It’s got me dreaming of opening my own breakfast-only spot. A S T O L D T O ASHLEA HALPERN
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
photograph by WESTON WELLS
Hair and makeup by Hiro Yonemoto for Atelier Management using Diorskin Nude
CHEF CAMILLE BECERRA, OF N.Y.C.’S CAFÉ HENRIE, THINKS EVERYONE SHOULD EAT SALAD FOR BREAKFAST WHEN FLYING
When I’m flying, I want my body to feel like I’m doing a cleanse. I eat a veggie-packed salad for breakfast: cabbage, lettuces, carrots, spicy seeds. Even if it’s 5 A.M. When you’re seated for hours, you don’t want an egg sandwich sitting in your gut.
T H E T H I N G S W E C A N ’ T S T O P TA L K I N G A B O U T
Francis Mallmann’s Los Fuegos, at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
Book the Table, Then the Flight photograph by LINDA PUGLIESE
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Eat, Stay, Love Two luxury properties in Miami have nailed the hotel restaurant.
from top: Quinto La Huella’s octopus à la plancha; the lounge area at Quinto.
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Having dinner at a celebrity chef–run hotel restaurant these days is a little like seeing Wicked in its eleventh year (there’s zero bragging rights knowing the fourth-string understudy is probably manning the range). Two new luxury hotels in Miami, however, are upending the value prop, landing unexpected restaurateurs with cult followings, who are refreshingly more hands-on. Last spring, the Argentine property mogul Alan Faena lured fellow countryman Francis Mallmann to his opulent Faena Hotel Miami Beach. When I visited in June, I spotted him patiently tending the grill at the Faena’s open-ﬂame-centric Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann in his signature faded black apron and blue beret. It’s not only Mallmann’s ﬁrst restaurant in a major hotel, it’s his only one in this country. You can taste his commitment in the exceptional rib eye, which he cooks for up to ten hours. Across the bay, you’re likely to spot the guys from Parador La Huella, the critically acclaimed beach shack on Uruguay’s swanky Jose Ignacio Beach, on the ﬂoor of their latest restaurant at East, Miami, the 352-room hotel from Swire inside the $1.05 billion Brickell City Center. Quinto La Huella, a more polished version of the original, opened in May and is still one of the toughest tables to get in town (try to book at least four weeks out). Once in, order the red snapper—it’s an incredible example of authentic, no-fuss Uruguayan grilling, which is exactly why you are here. C Y N T H I A R O S E N F E L D
photographs by LINDA PUGLIESE
That Bali High The healthy-wealthy have landed on the island.
Bali has long been synonymous with escape. In the sixties, surfers came chasing big waves. Then the hard-core partiers from Australia arrived, followed by honeymooners who planted themselves beside individual plunge pools at the island’s big-name resorts. But the last couple of years, it’s been all about the “gypset”: well-traveled bohemians who are into yoga, health food, and local culture but still want a glass of Kingﬁsher chardonnay with their nasi gareng. The Katamama Hotel, which just opened on the south shore, has become ground zero for this crew. The 58-suite property is on one of the last sweeps of beach in the resort area of Seminyak that’s not already claimed by high-end boutiques and luxury villas. Designed by Indonesian architect Andra Matin (who also did the eco-award-winning Potato Head Beach Club next door), the Katamama is made from hand-pressed bricks like those used in the island’s temples. Its rooms, however, are decorated with mid-century classics—chairs by Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen—ceramics from artisans in Ubud, and woven East Balinese place mats. In short, Katamama has it all: luxury, authenticity, and a downright cool vibe.
from top: Poolside at the Katamama Hotel; the formal-enough dining room at Spicer Mansion.
YOUR NEXT WEEKEND GETAWAY For travel editors ever in search of “authentic” food, the fussy multi-course meal can feel like luxury captivity. But at the newly opened Spicer Mansion in Mystic, Connecticut, the six-course dinner (the menu changes nightly, but mine included
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oysters topped with a subtle poblano mignonette and a passion fruit granita, melt-in-yourmouth-delicate lobster ravioli with favas, and Moroccan-spiced lamb) is an exception to the self-indulgent “chef-y meal” rule. Like the
eight-room inn itself— a meticulously restored nineteenth-century mansion rescued from a Victorian-timecapsule fate thanks to its relaxed gray, white, and blue upholstery scheme—the meal was haute yet homey, eventful yet intimate, and certainly
worthy of a pilgrimage. (It’s just three hours from New York and two hours from Boston.) Bonus: You can stumble up the stairs and under a big white ﬂuﬀy duvet just moments after your ﬁnal wine pairing. P I L A R GUZ MÁ N
From top: Photographs courtesy Katamama; Chip Riegel
ROA D TR I P
A rocky outcrop juts into the Skagerrak Strait just outside Strömstad, the last stop on your drive along Sweden’s west coast.
On a map, the 100-mile drive from Sweden’s port city of Gothenburg to its border with Norway doesn’t exactly scream weekend road trip—it can be driven in under two hours if you don’t stop. But trust us when we say you’ll want to take your time along the coastal highway, where the midnight-blue straits of the North Sea will be in constant view. Detour to the rocky, shrub-covered islets just off the mainland and you’ll ﬁnd the tastiest mussels, lobster, and herring in all of Sweden. The cold, clean waters of this part of the North Atlantic make the meat especially ﬁrm and sweet, and the chefs here keep the cooking simple—boiled, grilled, lightly seasoned— so as not to muddy the natural ﬂavors.
Kick Things Off in Gothenburg
Make a weekend out of eating your way up Sweden’s west coast.
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Hit the Road Early-ish for Lysekil Lars Marstone and Adriaan van de Plasse launch their seafood safaris at 1:30 P.M. sharp in the village of Lysekil, which is roughly 90 minutes north of Klädesholmen. From a 1950s trawler, you’ll harvest mussels and oysters,
Photograph by Yadid Levy
Will Brake For Lobster
Strömmingsluckan is a lunchtime-only food truck in Gothenburg’s central Magasinsgatan district, where former New York chef David Haggren and partner Thomas Cruz Kollberg sell mustard-fried herring with scoops of mash for $8 (a steal considering that the Michelin-starred spots Gothenburg is known for get most of their ﬁsh from the same place). It’s about an hour’s drive to your next stop, Klädesholmen (“Herring Island”). This oncesleepy ﬁshing isle is Sweden’s largest herring producer and now home to Salt & Sill, a Scandinavian-minimalist “boatel” ﬂoating on a pontoon, which means you can jump into the sea for a pre-dinner swim. Be sure to order the excellent pickled herring, paired here with Aquavit (the caraway complements the smokiness of the ﬁsh).
ROA D TR I P
later cooked into a rosemary-spiced chowder by Van de Plasse on the shores of an island you pass en route. Then, once docked again, head to the coastal town of Smögen, whose Smögens Hafvsbad spa hotel has a mineral bath to restore you in time for a dinner of grilled hake in the breezy white-walled dining room.
Grab breakfast on Smögen’s boardwalk, with its string of century-old ﬁshermen’s houses that have been turned into cafés. (Our favorite is Ekelöfs Bistro, which has friendly service and free reﬁlls of their strong coffee.) A few miles away, you’ll ﬁnd skipper Jan Sandberg at Storgatan Bridge, where he launches his boat tours around the archipelago, on which you’ll haul in plump lobsters for lunch and cook them in seawater on the boat or back on shore. But save room for a snack between meals once you reach Strömstad: The mackerel at smokehouse Rökeriet is so legendary that Norwegians routinely hop the border for it. Check into the stately Laholmen Hotell, where you should absolutely do dinner, even if it means eating on the later side. Tip: Ask the waiter what’s available off menu. It could be turbot or langoustines bought straight off the ﬁshing boats just hours earlier. P I E T VA N N I E K E R K
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THE LOGISTICS Getting There It’s easy to tack this trip onto a visit to Stockholm or Copenhagen. Daily ﬂights from both to Göteborg Landvetter Airport take less than an hour. A train from Copenhagen—there are up to 22 each day—is three and a half hours.
What to Drive Even the rural roads are great here, but it doesn’t hurt to do this trip in an all-wheeldrive Volvo, available for rent from Europcar at the airport.
Road Rules In Sweden, it’s the law to always drive with your headlights on, even during the day. And keep in mind that you must signal when exiting a roundabout.
from top: The spa at Smögens Hafvsbad, overlooking the Skagerrak Strait; cold smoked mackerel from Rökeriet in Strömstad.
From top: Photographs courtesy Smögens Hafvsbad; Stefan Edeloft. Map by Peter Oumanski
Get a Slow Start to Strömstad
B L AC K B O O K
Photograph by Sivan Askayo. Map by Peter Oumanski
Country: Israel Population: 426,138 Predominant Languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English Founded: 1909
Minutes to central Tel Aviv by train from Ben Gurion Airport.
How to Get There: Delta and El Al offer daily nonstops from major hubs, including JFK and LAX.
Average High Temperature 90°
Tel Aviv as a food capital might not have the splashy inventiveness of Copenhagen or the Michelin tally of San Sebastian, but its approach—everything fresh and locally sourced, prepared with minimal fuss—is exactly how we want to eat right now. The street food— hummus, falafel, tabbouleh—has always been legendary. This is a city where the pita joints and hummusiyas are de facto social hubs (“they are so packed you often end up eating outside, next to a doctor and across from a soldier,” says Israeli-born American chef Michael Solomonov), and the frenetic, massive markets where locals haggle for measures of za’atar and nosh on olives at wine bars stretch on for blocks. Over the last decade, chefs like Eyal Shani and Raz Rahav have been using staples synonymous with the
Tel Aviv’s Gordon Beach, west of the city center.
How Long to Stay: Three days. But tack on at least two for sightseeing in Jerusalem, just an hour away.
country—eggplant, bulgur, cumin, chickpeas—and honoring home-style Israeli cooking by keeping their dishes simple. (Shani’s Miznon chain—which is also in Vienna and Paris— roasts a whole head of nearly unadorned cauliﬂower that draws lines out the door.) It makes sense New Israeli cuisine has achieved global status, as anyone who’s tried to book a table at London’s Ottolenghi knows. But what really sets Tel Aviv apart is its other attributes— white sand beaches, Bauhaus architecture, a relentless club scene that can win over even the staunchest of homebodies. And the city is eminently walkable—which makes getting your sabich near Meir Park that much easier.
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Where You’re Sitting Down to Eat No one in town does New Israeli food quite like celebrity chef Eyal Shani, whose empire includes pita chain Miznon (with succulent chicken, lamb, and roast veggies) and chef’s table–style HaSalon. It’s no wonder the Paris Miznon and his seven-yearold Tzfon Abraxas made our “Where in the World to Eat” list (see page 58) for its chraimeh (ﬁsh baked in spicy tomato sauce), vibrant beet carpaccio, and whole roast cauliﬂower, which is arguably the most trending Israeli dish around the world these days. Shani now has some hometown competition: Yossi Shitreet, who makes every ingredient count at Mashya, also near the city center. His salad of charred watermelon, black quinoa, and sea bream crudo may bring you back again for dinner the next night. If it’s hyper-local fare you want, there’s two-yearold Claro, a high-ceilinged dining room in an iconic
Templar-style building a short stroll from the Sarona Market, where weekend brunch means green shakshuka—a mini-skillet of yogurt, feta, spinach, eggs, and challah—topped with herbs from the restaurant’s garden and made with ingredients from nearby small farms and producers. Arguably the most upscale take on the movement comes from Raz Rahav, a 25year-old wunderkind whose eight-monthold restaurant OCD, 15 minutes south of the center, has two nightly seatings and is booked out weeks in advance for his nine-course tasting menu, which may include purple sweet potato tuile, grilled duck hearts with corn cream, and bay leaf crème brûlée with celery sorbet. After all that food, you’re sure to need a digestif—grab a nightcap around the corner at Par Derriere.
Falafel Our go-to for fried chickpea balls is Falafel Gabai, just a few blocks off Frishman Beach.
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Rugelach Try the crescent-shaped pastries filled with chocolate, Nutella, or another sweet from Jaffa’s Abulafia Bakery.
Sabich It’s pita with eggplant, egg, potato, tahini, onion, and hummus. Get it at Ovadia’s Sabich, just south of Meir Park.
Borekas Phyllo dough stuffed with olives, pickles, and eggs and/or meat— the best are at Original Turkish Bourekas at Carmel Market.
Photograph by Sivan Askayo
Then There’s the Street Food
B L AC K B O O K
TEL AV I V
YES, YOU CAN (AND SHOULD) GET LOST IN THE FOOD MARKETS Carmel You’ll ﬁnd both the traditional (Yemenite jachnun pastry stands) and the trendy (microbrew spot Beer Bizaare) inside the city’s largest market, which has food stands, lunch trucks, coﬀee and cocktail bars, and restaurants, all a ten-minute walk from the city center. Just remember, it’s closed on Saturdays.
Levinsky This ﬁve-block-long emporium comes to life on Fridays, when locals from the nearby Florentin neighborhood kick oﬀ the weekend with hummus from Garger HaZahav and espresso at Café Levinsky. Souvenir-seeking travelers should hit up spice shop Pereg for petite packages of dried Israeli chilies and sumac.
Sarona More upscale compared with the others, this central glass-ceilinged spot has over 90 shops and restaurants popular with an after-work crowd who sip Israeli chardonnays at the sleek Tasting Room wine bar before feasting on prime rib at Arais.
Kibbeh For a grab-and-go snack, pick up these rolls of ground lamb, pine nuts, and bulgur in Hatikvah Market.
illustrations by DENISE NESTOR
Make a Day of It in Jaffa This historic hood in the south of the city resurged a couple of years back thanks to immigrants from France, Iran, and elsewhere who opened bars, bistros, and galleries here. Jaffa is a microcosm of Tel Aviv itself—a place where young tech types meet over citrusy margaritas, and cyclists zoom past gossiping savtas (grandmothers) in narrow Old Town alleys lined with hundredyear-old churches, historic synagogues, and mosques like the 1812 Mahmoudiya. To get there, you can take a longish walk (45 minutes) along the promenade from Gordon Beach—or rent a Tel-OFun city bike for a ten-minute ride. You’ll know you’ve arrived once you spot the recently restored Clock Tower, one of seven in the country built under Ottoman rule. Continue a few blocks south to the Flea Market, where locals hawk a hodgepodge of rugs, vintage threads, pottery, and silverware (hit up the ATM beforehand— the stalls are cash only). But don’t miss the indie boutiques two blocks west of the market. At Zielinski & Rozen, perfumer Erez Rozen will blend a personalized
scent from oils like lavender and lilac. Right across Ami’ad Street, homewear and fashion designer Sharon Brunsher sells slinky dresses and knitted leather tanks. Take a breather at the ﬁve-month-old Ramesses café, where you have to get the tender lamb kebab. Then walk to the Jaffa waterfront to watch surfers riding one last sunset wave, and Instagram a shot of the mosque and Old Jaffa in the background. Après-sunset, grab a gin and tonic at Anna LouLou, a small, grungy underground bar with DJs, mismatched furniture, and dancing.
“I shop at Habshush, a third-generation spice emporium off Levinsky Market. They’ve got several kinds of za’atar and sumac, plus potions—they even sell dried lizards!” Eyal Shani, chef and restaurateur
Rating for Falafel Hakosem on Foursquare— the highest of any hummus joint in town.
WITH NINE MILES OF BEACHES, YOU GOTTA KNOW WHERE TO SPREAD YOUR TOWEL WHO GOES
Ajami Muslim families, Jaﬀa hipsters, and W Hotel guests—once it opens here this winter.
White sand shores packed with locals on weekends; come Sunday through Thursday to avoid a battle for beach space.
Banana Beachside cafés packed with artsy boho types, and drum circles at dusk.
Surfers and windsurfers, tourists, staﬀ from nearby embassies, and families with young kids.
Gordon Tourists from the nearby hotel towers, oiled-up beach babes, and gay Tel Avivians.
R and R for the bronzed and beautiful: yoga bodies in teensy bikinis and Speedos reclining on candy-colored beach towels.
D E S I G N M Y D AY
What Chef/Food Writer Ruthie Rousso Does Off the Clock “I’ll start with . . . the world’s best coffee at Cafelix, off boutique-ﬁlled Sheinkin Street. After that, it’s a quick stroll along Rothschild Boulevard in the White City to Sommer Contemporary Art gallery to see Israeli works like photography from Adi Nes.” “Then for lunch . . . I pop into Hanan Margilan for Azerbaijani dushbara (meat-ﬁlled-dumpling soup) and an icy vodka. It’s delicious, affordable, and far from fancy. Afterward, I’ll browse the racks at Story, where they sell my favorite local brand, Zucker.” “To catch the sunset . . . I bike from north to south on HaYarkon Street. After about ten minutes, the coastal vista opens up all the way to Jaffa, which always makes my heart skip a beat.” “I’ll have a late dinner . . . at HaBasta, a super-laidback spot steps from the Carmel Market. It’s great for small plates like charred okra, cherry tomatoes, and preserved lemons, served with a crisp glass of Israeli white wine.”
B L AC K B O O K
TEL AV I V
Hotel Montefiore If you can’t score one of the 12 highly coveted dark-wood rooms inside this 1920s mansion just off Rothschild Boulevard, try to stop by for happy hour at some point. The Art Deco bar is packed with tanned locals, who come to sip Vitkin Syrah and snack on the generous, free bruschetta and olives.
But with Nightlife Like This ...
The Norman This historic White City hotel, in two restored buildings, topped every worthy openings list back in 2014, and its 50 rooms are still some of the most desirable in town. Inside, you’ll ﬁnd handcarved beds, sculptures from Israeli artists like Sigalit Landau, and a mid-centurystyle cocktail bar with green leather stools. The only downside is that you have to shuttle to the beach. But once you see the rooftop inﬁnity pool, you may not even want to. White Villa Tel Aviv The recent wave of European immigrants is inﬂuencing the hotel scene. A Roman, for example, turned a 1948 Le Corbusier–inspired mansion into this intimate inn overlooking Ben Tzion Boulevard. It feels like an Italian home, with 18 white-on-white rooms (many with private gardens or patios).
who wants to sleep? Dimly lit wine dens, rooftop bars, and open-allnight clubs make Tel Aviv the hands-down party capital this side of the Med (sorry, Beirut). Luckily, the spots that matter are within walking distance of each other—or at most a short Gett ride away, which is actually a better option once you’re three araks deep. Start your evening at 9 P.M. in the south-central Little Tel Aviv neighborhood at Kuli Alma, a bi-level warren of indoor/ outdoor spaces with roving exhibitions (recently featured: Drake portraits and NBA cutouts) and two DJs spinning into the wee hours. A ﬁve-minute walk will get you to Nanotchka, a vegan eatery by day that bizarrely morphs into an all-out dance party come nightfall. Next, hop a ten-minute ride up Rothschild, past illuminated Bauhaus buildings, to grab a nightcap at Bellboy Bar, a quirky speakeasy inside the Hotel Berdichevsky where the cocktails have a Middle Eastern twist (sesame-
infused bourbon or carob syrup, anyone?). From there, join the beauties in their Louboutins at rooftop bar Suramare, where the neon sign promises “drinks and happy food.” It delivers on both (the calamari and the basilmint martinis go down nicely at 2 A.M.), along with a bonus: killer views of the Tel Aviv skyline, both old and new.
“Late night, you’ll find lots of chefs— including me— at Brut Wine Bar. I love their fresh pasta and raw-fish dishes like anthias [yellowtail] over bulgur salad.” Raz Rahav, chef, OCD
At the White Villa.
TEL AVIV IS THE TECH CAPITAL OF THE MIDDLE EAST. HERE ARE THREE OF THE BEST APPS MADE IN— AND FOR—THE CITY Artbit This up-to-the-minute app lets you know about the latest graﬃti show on Shenkin Street and which artist studios are open in Jaﬀa at the exact minute you’ll be there.
EatWith Join other travelers and local foodies and chefs for a home-cooked meal in a Tel Aviv residence.
Gett This local version of Uber lets you arrange a ride in a (vetted) private car for cheaper-than-cab fares.
Size, in acres, of Tel Aviv’s White City of Bauhaus buildings.
Architecture Spotting Bauhaus, White City • Museum Not-to-Miss Tel Aviv Museum of Art • Hotel That’ll Feel Like Home Lily & Bloom • Sunset Cocktail Rooftop Bar, Brown TLV Urban Hotel • Israeli Antique Shop Palestine–Land of Israel flea market in Jaffa Flea • Old-Town Exploration Yemenite Quarter • People-Watching Rabin Square R EPORTED BY LILIT M A RCUS, CELESTE MOUR E , A DEENA SUSSM A N
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Photograph by Sivan Askayo. Map by Peter Oumanski
When It Comes to Hotels, Go Boutique
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H OT E L B R E A K FA S T
THE STUFF OF LIFE The impossibly flaky croissants are loaded with house-churned butter (and delicious when dunked in St. Ali coffee, the best roasters in Oz).
Brae, Victoria When chef Dan Hunter opened six suites next to his cultish restaurant this year, he kept “brekkie” simple, looking to Brae’s 30-acre farm for menu inspiration. LAYER IT ON It’s not an Aussie breakfast without fruit—or jams and honey to mix with the muesli. Brae’s are made with plums and berries from its orchards, or handsourced from its own beehive.
RISE AND SHINE The house-made sourdough takes days to make: The dough is left out overnight, then cold-fermented for 22 hours before being baked in an outdoor wood-fired oven.
FUN WITH MEAT Chef Dan replaces bacon with house-cured charcuterie from free-range pigs raised at Victoria’s famous Greenvale Farm.
photograph by SHARY N CAIR NS
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
from left: At the West Alabama Ice House; an Anvil Bar & Refuge classic.
We’ll Have What They’re Having The crew who turned Houston into a respectable drinking town take us out for a few rounds.
“Ten years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to get a consistently well-made old-fashioned anywhere in Houston,” says Morgan Weber, one of this city’s best-known barmen. After graduating from Baylor University and moving here in 2005, the Yoakum, Texas, native set out to solve that admittedly First World problem. In the process, he and some buddies helped turn what many considered a beer-and-shot city into one of the country’s most exciting craft-cocktail hubs. It started with the 2009 opening of Anvil Bar & Refuge, where Weber teamed up with bartender Bobby Heugel and restaurant manager Kevin Floyd, whom Heugel knew from high school. Since then, the Anvil guys have launched another ten bars, cafés, and restaurants between them, spots like Coltivare, The Hay Merchant, and Revival Market. We were there when Weber invited friends, including Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd and Coltivare’s Julie Rogers, to his latest joint, Eight Row Flint, a converted gas station opened with chef Ryan Pera and named for a strain of corn that was likely the ﬁrst variety distilled into whiskey. Their mission? To map out the quintessential Houston bar crawl.
4 p.m. Hugo’s Day-drinking here means margaritas. And the best place for those is genteel Hugo’s, three miles from downtown. Chef Hugo Ortega opened his spot in 2002, when he and beverage director Sean Beck were “making good margaritas with fresh juice before anyone cared,” Weber says. They were
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photographs by MICHAEL RUDIN
also the ﬁrst in Texas to serve small-batch Del Maguey mezcal, a spirit that wouldn’t catch on in the U.S. for another decade. Today, it’s the backbone of the Burnt by the Sun—a cocktail cooled by an ancho and jalapeño ice cube, and what everyone’s drinking out on Hugo’s shaded patio.
cocktail list. The Brave, a bracing blend of Del Maguey, tequila, and amaro, gets nods, but everyone’s loving the House of Lancaster, with Fords Gin, Calvados Christian Drouin Sélection, and Combier Liqueur de Rose. Heugel beams like a proud parent.
6 p.m. Poison Girl
10 p.m. The Pastry War
A two-minute walk west, it’s everything Hugo’s isn’t: a dive with red walls, velvet paintings, and pinball machines. As James Brown roars through a speaker and co-owner Scott Walcott throws back a shot with a regular, we scan the labels of what’s arguably the South’s most impressive whiskey selection. Since opening the place in 2004, Walcott’s gathered a trove of more than 400 bottles, including rare Pappy Van Winkle and vintage George T. Stagg bourbons. (They don’t have food, but Houstonians love the occasional crawﬁsh boil at the rough-edged West Alabama Ice House, a ﬁve-minute cab ride away.)
It’s a 15-minute taxi ride downtown to Heugel’s hole-in-the-wall where he preaches the gospel of artisanal mezcal. We’re downing Cobre y Barro from Mezcal Vago as the crack of billiards ricochets off the brick walls, and Heugel’s getting contemplative about Houston: “We used our momentum to help make other dreams realities.” Good thing, too. M A T T H E W O D A M
8 p.m. Anvil Bar & Refuge Five blocks east, we pull up seats under a backlit anvil as Heugel goes behind the bar to bring out a round that’s representative of his lengthy
A TOAST TO ANVIL Houston’s current bar boom can be traced to Anvil, which not only launched the careers of Heugel, Floyd, and Weber but also served as a talent incubator. Five former Anvil bartenders and managers have opened their own spots all over the city. Anvil alums (and killer drinks) pop up in Midtown at Robin Berwick’s Double Trouble, where hipsters guzzle coffee and cocktails. Downtown, Justin Burrow has Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge, which is upstairs from the Nightingale Room, a club opened by Mike Criss in 2014; and Alex Gregg helms Moving Sidewalk, named for Houstonian Billy Gibbons’s psychedelic rock band. In the Washington Avenue District, you’ll ﬁnd Alba Huerta’s bourbonminded Julep. M . O .
SNAP GUIDE TO HOUSTON Stay Autograph Collection member Hotel Icon is set in a historic downtown skyscraper.
See The Menil Collection shows “Picasso the Line,” nearly 100 of the artist’s drawings, through January 8. from left: The back bar at The Pastry War; one of its many mezcal selections.
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Eat Order cha ca–style snapper and bulgogi pork at Underbelly.
Losing Damascus The last time I was in Damascus was eight years ago, when I Syrian lingerie is actually a thing). We went to an old hammam, returned for the wedding of my childhood best friend. It was where we were thumped and scraped by a dour woman who August and the scent of jasmine perfumed the city. At that insisted that it was good for our circulation. We spent evenings point I’d been coming back every summer, but this time was in the city’s darkly lit piano bars, singing old ballads. We drove different. Because of Nora’s wedding and friends who were by my former apartment building in Mezzeh, which had been visiting me there, I spent those two weeks stopping at all the converted into offices for an NGO. Nora and I sat in her car monuments of my past, saying good-bye without knowing it. across the street and looked up at my old bedroom window, The old city was ﬁlled with students smoking cigarettes in remembering the sign my father had posted outside our front the roadside cafés, and foreigners exploring the cobblestoned door: “Please use other door,” it said, even though there wasn’t alleyways, armed with nothing more dangerous than cameras. one (people circled the building until they realized it was one We visited the ﬂag- and ﬂower-strewn statue of Salahuddin al of his jokes). I thought about standing at that front door after Ayoubi, the sultan of Egypt and Syria who in 1187 fought off the my father died. My brother and I had once again been sent Crusaders; it’s next to the Citadel of Damascus, a medieval stone back to Damascus by my mother, who feared for our safety in palace and fortress. We walked through Hamidiyeh, the covPakistan. I looked at that sign and wished we had never left. ered souk where you can buy barazek, Syrian biscuits How do you lose a city? I should know; I’ve lost a The courtyard made of sesame seeds, pistachios, and honey; chessfair share of mine. of the Umayyad boards inlaid with mother-of-pearl; and ridiculous I am not, in fact, Syrian. I was born in Kabul, AfghanMosque feather-lined, diamanté-sequined undergarments (yes, istan, in 1982. My father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, had been in Damascus.
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Photograph by Pablo Zamora, produced by David Prior
Having grown up in a succession of violent cities, Fatima Bhutto remembers the Syrian capital as a haven of peace in a childhood marked by tragedy.
living in exile from Pakistan after a military dictatorship had argeeleh, or water pipes. Do the Bakdash ice-cream men in murdered his father, Pakistan’s ﬁrst democratically elected Hamidiyeh still pound milky, gooey ice cream to the beat of head of state. Shortly after my birth, my parents divorced and drums? Do cars still honk incessantly in the streets during weddings and football games? my father and I traveled to Damascus, where he met and fell in love with another exile—a woman from Beirut, Lebanon. (Her city, long embroiled in its own gruesome civil war, had hen I ask friends who visit family there, they say, been rocked by the Israeli invasion of 1982.) In the middle of all “Oh, Damascus is not so dangerous, although the violence and loss that my parents—all of them—endured, so-and-so saw a building explode from her balDamascus was a sanctuary that seemed inviolable. “Damascony. It’s not that bad, though you can hear shellcus,” Mark Twain once wrote, “measures time, not by days ing sometimes in the morning.” When I make a face, they make and months and years, but by the empires she has seen rise, one back—“What do you know about it? You just watch the and prosper and crumble to ruin. She is a type of immortality.” news. You don’t live there anymore. It’s not that bad.” Syria had long been devoted to secularism, and my family, But I come from dangerous places and I know the meter of violence. It rises and it falls, but once you become acclimatized like so many others, immediately felt at home there. Growing up, I never thought of myself as a foreigner; I didn’t even know to it, you learn to live with it. This is its true terror. whether I was Sunni or Shia. My friends and I—Armenian I lost Damascus twice. The ﬁrst time was when my parents Orthodox and Druze, Catholic and Muslim—walked down ended their exile and I began mine: After 16 years abroad, my the roads of the Jewish Quarter; spent summers swimming in father contested the 1993 Pakistani elections and won the the freezing springs of Maaloula, where Christ’s Aramaic is still same parliamentary seat his father had held years before. spoken; and went on school trips to the Umayyad Mosque in We returned to Karachi, where we went from a life of relathe old city, where gold-and-bluetive tranquillity to one of turbulence and uncertiled mosaics were made by Coptic, tainty. Within two years, my father was killed Persian, and Byzantine craftsmen. by police officers positioned outside our home. This period was the happiest of (No one was ever convicted of his assassination.) HOW DO YOU my life, and the most peaceful. On Just before his murder, my father sent me and LOSE A weekends, my family and I would my younger brother back to Syria—violence CITY? I SHOULD drive to my friend’s home in Blouhad become part of daily life in Karachi, a city KNOW; I’VE dan, a mountain town 30 miles besieged by killings and corruption, and DamasLOST A cus was always our refuge. But now, amazingly, north of Damascus that dates to Roman times. As we played on the Karachi and Kabul are the safer of the trifecta. FAIR SHARE streets near the house, his father Today, the landmarks of my past, and so many OF MINE. grilled meat in yogurt, garlic, and people who made that ancient city my home, are parsley and wrapped it in warm ﬂat gone. Recently, I ran into my childhood friend at a bread; he fed us his shish taouk by literary festival; he left Damascus several years ago hand, the marinade running down the side of his palm. When and now lives, like many Syrians, in Dubai. “And what about we were older, we drove there without our parents and sat in your family home in Bloudan?” I asked. He said it was gone, but I didn’t dare press him on what had happened. Some of my cafés and restaurants by the river, drinking Almaza beer and friends insist that the war will go on forever. Others promise gossiping late into the night. It is this Damascus, in spite of the destruction that is now, it is nearly over. Who can say what will happen—beyond the sadly, synonymous with its name, that comes back to me whenexplosions, the rebel ﬁghters, ISIL and its gruesome cruelties, ever I hear Arabic, or the rolling percussive melody of Darabuka and the millions of displaced children. drums. War erases history, but its most dehumanizing force Still, I’m comforted by the words of the Kashmiri poet Agha is the way it attempts to erase normalcy. How, for instance, Shahid Ali, who wrote, “They will not have destroyed everymounds of sabbara, a bright orange cactus fruit, were iced in thing till the ruins, too, are destroyed.” Damascus is one of buckets by the roadside, where men with knives would peel its the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth. The Romans, prickly skin for you to eat. How strolling home in the evenings, the Turks, and Alexander the Great all made it the crown of you’d stop for a shwarma, slathered with garlic sauce and bright their empires; later, the Abbasids, the Mongols, and even the pink turnip pickles. In shops and offices, the slow pace of doing French seized the city. It has been attacked, besieged, and business was sweetened with glass cups of black tea, spoonfuls conquered, but never completely demolished. When I am of white sugar melting, as adults bargained in the old covered thinking clearly and not dwelling in the shadow of my memsouks. I wonder if families still sit at the top of Mount Qasioun ories, I know Damascus has lived a hundred lives—and will late at night, picnicking and smoking apple- and mint-ﬂavored certainly live a hundred more.
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The Pot Luck Club Cape Town “My favorites: the chickpea fries, pig’s head, and carrots with goat cheese ricotta. There’s also sweeping views of Table Mountain. Make reservations months in advance.” Cherae Robinson
WHERE IN THE
East Head Café Knysna “It’s touristy because it overlooks the Knysna Heads, but I had two utterly memorable breakfasts here.” Sarah Khan, food and travel writer
Max’s Lifestyle Umlazi “The best place to get braai, amazing South African– style grilled meat. Go on a Friday or Saturday night to hear local Kwaito music.” Cherae Robinson ISRAEL
Machneyuda Jerusalem “A joyfully chaotic spot just off the Machane Yehuda market using fresh Israeligrown ingredients.” Peter Jon Lindberg, contributing editor
1 47 O F T H E
G R E AT E S T R E S TAU R A N T S A RO U N D T H E G LO B E , ACCORDING TO THOSE WHO
EAT, COOK, AND TRAVEL FOR A LIVING There’s no shortage of food-focused Instagram feeds that will direct you to the tastiest avocado toast in cities like Paris, London, New York, L.A.—hell, even Charleston. But when you’re faced with the make-or-break travel dilemma of where to eat in Hong Kong, Mendoza, Dakar—destinations where trustworthy recommendations are harder to come by but all the more vital—you have one shot to get it right. (Who knows when you’ll be back in Chengdu . . .) That’s why we enlisted and cross-referenced the impassioned guidance from the real experts, our network of chefs, food writers, and most-in-the-know travelers. What follows is a tear-it-out, laminate-it, take-a-phone-pic-of-it globe-spanning hit list so you will never waste a meal again.
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
Africa + The Middle East
Chez Clarisse Accra “Ivorian cuisine that’s heavy on seafood. Get the wild tilapia with attiéké (cassava couscous) and alloco (sautéed sweet plantains).” Cherae Robinson, founder/ CEO of Tastemakers Africa
Gold Coast Restaurant & Cocktail Bar Accra “Sundays are for soup. The nkatenkwan, or groundnut soup, is best eaten with your hands.” Cherae Robinson SENEGAL
Chez Loutcha Dakar “Massive ﬂavor. The best thiéboudienne, or Senegalese ﬁsh and rice, you’ll ﬁnd outside a local’s home.” Cherae Robinson
Studio Arcadia by Chef Ezra Kedem Jerusalem “It’s a glass-enclosed dining room atop an olive tree– covered hill outside the city. The food is simple but extraordinary.” Anita Lo, chef/owner of Annisa Muscat Restaurant Rosh Pina “It’s the kind of place that raises its own lamb and picks fresh produce at 2 P.M., then serves it at 7 P.M.” Michael Solomonov, chef/co-owner of Zahav and Dizengoff in Philadelphia Tzfon Abraxas Tel Aviv “Sit at the counter and eat whatever the chef is preparing that day. If they have the baked hraime with tomato and tahini, order it.” Alon Shaya, chef/partner of Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica in New Orleans
illustrations by TIM ENTHOVEN
Elbabor Umm al-Fahm “Outstanding Palestinian food, and the Kebab Elbabor brings me to tears every time.” Michael Solomonov
Bukhara New Delhi “We love that nothing about this place—the decor, the yogurt and cane-vinegar marinated barrah kebab (leg of lamb)—has changed in 30 years. The result is the most masterful North-West Frontier tandoor-style cooking imaginable. Best of all, you eat everything with your hands.” Pilar Guzmán
Tawlet Beirut “It began as a development project, bringing together female home cooks from various religious sects. It’s since become a living catalog of Lebanon’s food tradition.” David Prior, contributing editor
O B A M A E AT S S U S H I CHINA
Duck de Chine Beijing “My go-to place for Beijing duck. They’re crisped in ovens using date wood to enhance the ﬂavor.” Justin Bergman, Shanghai correspondent for Monocle Yu Zhi Lan Chengdu “Try the free-range duck egg-yolk noodles, hand cut and served in a soup with two slices of truffle and baby bok choy. Reservations are a must.” Justin Bergman The Chairman Hong Kong “Call ahead to reserve the steamed crab set atop fresh, wide rice noodles in a sauce of aged Shaoxing wine and chicken oil.” Bill Addison, restaurant editor at Eater.com Lung King Heen Hong Kong “The best dim sum in the world. Get a double order of the BBQ pork buns.” Deana Saukam, food writer Rōnin Hong Kong “From Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang, the duo behind Yardbird, comes the nearlyimpossible-to-ﬁnd 24-seater.
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Sukiyabashi Jiro Tokyo “The best sushi in the world. Come hungry—Jiro serves his nigiri one right after the other, so each piece is super fresh and the perfect temperature. To get a reservation, have a friend who speaks Japanese call months in advance.” Deana Saukam, food writer
Your reward is some of the most inventive Japaneseinspired seafood menus around: ﬂower crab with a sliver of uni, sea bream karaage (deep fried) with pickled jalapeño tosazu, saba (mackerel) sashimi
Number of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, and hospitality veterans who submitted restaurant recommendations.
uncommonly paired with persimmons, and the super-tender Kagoshima beef with mushroom that’s served with egg yolk, to name a few. While the menu changes daily, the organizing principle—‘raw,’ ‘smaller,’ and ‘bigger’—remains the same.” Pilar Guzmán, editor in chief Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong “The baked buns with barbecued pork and steamed egg cake are to die for.” Justin Bergman INDIA
Bombay Canteen Mumbai “Amazing vibe, some of the best Indian/fusion food I’ve ever had.” Sarah Khan
Indian Accent New Delhi “Unquestionably the best restaurant in New Delhi, thanks to the baingan bharta, a classic Punjabi eggplant dish served inside a cornetto cone made with sun-dried tomato. Dinner reservations are tough— go for a weekday lunch.” Justin Bergman
Ishikawa Tokyo “The kaiseki meals are perfectly assembled, multicourse progressions that rarely hit a false note.” Gabe Ulla, food writer Jimbocho Den Tokyo See “Tokyo Counter Culture,” page 80. Kadowaki Tokyo “I loved the abalone with ﬁsh-liver soy sauce—the ideal combination of brinyfresh seafood and umami.” Dominique Ansel, baker Katsukura Tokyo “Get the tonkatsu, or fried pork cutlet. The panko crust is light and crisp, the pork juicy and rich.” Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation
Takotsubo Hiroshima “The freshest seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. My order is different every time, depending on what the chef recommends. Trust him.” Masaharu Morimoto, chef and TV personality
Kyubey Tokyo “The ﬁsh is insanely fresh, and the attention to detail is remarkable. The omakase is downright perfect.” Jose Garces, chef/owner of Amada, Distrito, Tinto, and others in Philadelphia
Otomezushi Kanazawa “You’ll get a tour of Toyama Bay and beyond: four species of ebi; deep-sea bream, crunchy and sweet; raw ﬁreﬂy squid; plus a duo of anago and unagi. It’s a meal you’ll never forget.” Luke Burgess, former chef at Garagistes in Hobart, Australia
L’Effervescence Tokyo “A feeling of calm washes over you the moment you walk into this beautiful dining room. Don’t miss the tableside tea service. It’s exquisite.” Sean Brock, chef/co-owner of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston
Aronia de Takazawa Tokyo “This four-table tastingmenu restaurant pushes the boundaries of Japanese cooking. You’re at the mercy of the chef, but that is a great thing. Book far in advance.” Grant Achatz, chef/co-owner of Alinea in Chicago Eatrip Tokyo “This place is an island of warmth in Tokyo.” Sam White, co-owner of Ramen Shop in Oakland, California
Mikawa Zezankyo Tokyo “I remember eating battered and fried uni wrapped in shiso leaf and never wanting it to end.” Gabe Ulla Sushi Saito Tokyo “One of the greatest sushi omakases in the world.” Ken Oringer, chef/coowner of Uni, Toro, and Coppa in Boston Sushi Sho Tokyo “The most extraordinary omakase sushi meal no one can ﬁnd.” Gail Simmons,
author, special projects director for Food & Wine, and judge on Bravo’s Top Chef SushiYa Tokyo See “Tokyo Counter Culture,” page 80.
setting—a rarity here, since the best authentic food is usually dished out in dives with plastic tables.” Peter Jon Lindberg
Your Local Makati “I still dream of the pomelo salad with shrimp, winged beans, wild rocket, yuzu, nam jim, pickled quail eggs, and Thai coconut ‘ice cream.’ ” Ashlea Halpern, contributing editor SINGAPORE
Burnt Ends “Sit at the bar and watch them break down a whole side of beef, then roast it in a 1,000-degree wood-ﬁred oven or grill it over coals.” Peter Jon Lindberg Restaurant André “French technique, Asian inﬂuences, and seamless service.” Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America Sin Huat Eating House “A sweltering dump open to the street and the prostitutes of Geylang. The chef wears shorts, a grotty T-shirt, and rubber wellies. It’s also delicious. Get the crab bee hoon on rice vermicelli.” Anthony Bourdain, chef, writer, and TV personality
“EYE-ROLLING DELICIOUSNESS” Myffy Rigby, food writer
Brae Birregurra “Faultless service and delicious food that���s seamlessly paired with killer beverages. Simple as that.” Luke Burgess
“ P OW E R F U L , P UNG E N T, AND MOUTHS CO RC H I NG LY H OT ” David Prior, contributing editor
Franklin Hobart “Impeccable ultra-locavore cooking from one of Australia’s top youngish chefs, who’s doing justice to the incredible bounty of Tasmania.” Peter Jon Lindberg Attica Melbourne “Ben Shewry’s cuisine is thought-provoking and unusual . . . in a good way.” Simon Rogan, chef/ owner of L’Enclume in Cartmel, England
“ S T R ATO S P H E R I C ” Andy Ricker, chef/owner of Pok Pok Restaurants
“ I M P R E S S I V E LY COM PLEX” Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation
Chin Chin Melbourne “One of the few places I’ve been that really lives up to the hype. I went there twice on a three-day visit.” Sarah Khan Sean’s Panaroma North Bondi “Down-to-earth fresh seasonal cooking that oozes with the endless warmth and charm of chef/owner Sean Moran.” Kylie Kwong, chef/co-owner of Billy Kwong in Sydney Bennelong Sydney “Reclaimed its spot in Sydney’s top tier when Peter Gilmore took over the kitchen and made the tourist landmark the Opera House smart and respectable again.” Peter Jon Lindberg Bills Sydney “Pretty much invented Aussie breakfast culture, then exported it worldwide.” Peter Jon Lindberg Billy Kwong Sydney “Delicious Chinese food with intriguing Australian notes.” Joanna Savill, food writer
Din Tai Fung Taipei “The best soup dumplings in the world.” Deana Saukam VIETNAM
Cuc Gach Quán Ho Chi Minh City “Traditional Vietnamese served in an elegant
Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney “Try the live South Australian clams steamed with serrano ham, white wine, and ﬂageolet beans.” Kylie Kwong Spice I Am Sydney “Still the best down-anddirty Thai food in town, and that’s saying something in Sydney.” Peter Jon Lindberg
Canada + Mexico
Liverpool House Montreal “Exactly the kind of offal-y, hearty cooking you crave on a winter’s night in Quebec.” Peter Jon Lindberg Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack St. Benoît de Mirabel “Chef Martin Picard is a demigod of French-Canadian decadence. There’s no telling what he’ll prepare. Reservations are taken via the website and usually ﬁll up long before the season even opens. Be ﬂexible with your travel dates if you can.” Gail Simmons
Mingles Seoul “The modern restaurant movement has arrived in Seoul, and Mingoo Kang is its leader.” Matt Rodbard, food editor/writer
Golden Century Seafood Sydney “Dave Chang called the pipis with XO sauce and vermicelli his favorite dish on earth. Nobody goes here before midnight.” Peter Jon Lindberg
W H E R E E V E RY M E A L I S
ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS Cumulus Inc., Melbourne “Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Have a full English breakfast, foie gras parfait, sparklingly fresh oysters, or the famous whole roast lamb shoulder. Order two lemon curd–ﬁlled madeleines, baked to order, to take back to your hotel.” Julie Gibbs, cookbook publisher
Contramar “Gabriela Cámara’s extraordinary restaurant is always my ﬁrst stop. It feels like the city’s dining room.” Alice Waters of Chez Panisse El Bajío “Their empanadas, made with plantain dough and
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ﬁlled with black beans and cheese, are phenomenal. So are the carnitas and crab with black salsa.” Ken Oringer
A WRITER + A CHEF
Pujol “Chef Enrique Olvera’s ‘living’ mole has been stewing for hundreds of days— ingredients are added daily, so it’s different every time you try it. This place is elegant but not stuffy. And it won’t break the bank.” Gabe Ulla VERACRUZ
El Negro del Estero “The focus is on the mariscos, prepared as simply as possible. Crab claws, shrimp, and lobster are all served platter-style with lime and salt. Try the pulque, made from agave, that tastes like a sweet tequila.” Cherae Robinson
Central + South America
WHERE TO E AT IN TULUM, MEXICO
something made close by. Eventually, that perfectly wood-ﬁred ojo de bife will arrive, and you’re capping dinner with a brandy. Or two.” Paul Brady, senior editor BOLIVIA
La Cabrera Buenos Aires “Unbelievable steaks and grilled sweetbreads and great Argentine wines. It’s B.A.’s most assured parrilla.” Peter Jon Lindberg Miramar Buenos Aires “This off-the-beaten-path cantina porteña is the perfect lunch spot.” Ignacio Mattos, chef/co-owner of Estela and Café Altro Paradiso in New York City 1884 Restaurante Mendoza “Francis Mallmann’s lavish steak house inside the Escorihuela Gascón winery isn’t in a hurry—and you shouldn’t be either. Have a Fernet and soda at the bar. Switch to a Malbec,
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Gustu La Paz “Every glass of wine and beer is produced in Bolivia. The caiman sashimi is caught by indigenous Tacana hunters within a quota system that allows populations to stay healthy. When you’re there, you have the feeling that you’re part of something important.” Nicholas Gill, food writer BRAZIL
Bira de Guaratiba Rio de Janeiro “The authentic moqueca, Brazilian ﬁsh stew, is amazing, as are the large prawns topped with crispy garlic crumbs.” Margot Janse, executive chef of Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, South Africa
Hartwood “I could eat here every night for the rest of my life. The ceviches are otherworldly, and the whole grouper in the wood oven is a must.” Ken Oringer, chef/co-owner of Uni, Toro, and Coppa in Boston
Irajá Rio de Janeiro “Wildly creative Brazilian dishes served inside (and outside) a beautiful old mansion.” Peter Jon Lindberg D.O.M. São Paulo “An amazing culinary celebration of Brazil.” Margot Janse
4 6 TO
That’s how far in advance you should book a table at Asador Etxebarri, in Apatamonasterio, Spain—the most recommended restaurant in the world, according to our experts.
La Huella Maldonado “Pretty much your fantasy of a beachside grill, albeit a haunt of the ultra-wealthy.” Peter Jon Lindberg
FA C E O F F O N
Cetli “It serves authentic Yucatán dishes in a dreamy setting, run out of a family home. You simply cannot go wrong with the delicious white mole with ﬁsh and a spicy margarita.” Deana Saukam, food writer
black scallop unless you have a stomach of steel.” Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, chefs/co-owners of Frankies Spuntino and Prime Meats in New York City
Boragó Santiago “They’ve been creating a database of Chilean ingredients for years. So when an Atacama Desert herb is at its peak, which may be only a few days per year, a foraging community collects it for the restaurant. They put out around 500 dishes annually, some of which might only appear during a single service.” Nicholas Gill
Gut Purbach Purbach “This elegant country inn in eastern Austria, close to the Hungarian border, specializes in Austrian game dishes like sandpiper and red-legged partridge.” Georges Desrues, food writer CROATIA
Toklarija Sovinjsko Polje “The most memorable dish is in the hills of Istria: a tangle of homemade tagliolini piled high with a bounty of truffles shaved tableside.” Fiorella Valdesolo, editor in chief of Gather Journal
Central Lima “Chef Virgilio Martínez’s menu is based on the altitudes of Peru, and while it might sound like a pretentious conceit, it’s actually the clearest way to taste and understand the country’s endemic ingredients. It’s an adventure into a food frontier, and Martínez is a keen guide.” David Prior
Kadeau Bornholm “Precise and delicious cooking in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.” Matt Duckor, senior editor at Epicurious
La Mar Lima “The deﬁnition of ceviche in Peru, and therefore the world. Pro tip: Don’t eat the
Amass Copenhagen “One simply cannot live without Matt Orlando’s fermented potato bread.” Seen Lippert, former Chez Panisse chef and world traveler Manfreds Copenhagen “The kind of place you can while away an afternoon,
drinking natural and biodynamic wines paired with edible haiku like spring onions with pistachio cream and elderﬂower.” Bill Addison Noma Copenhagen “Name a restaurant trend of the past ten years and it is likely to have originated from the mad mind of chef René Redzepi. There are plenty of imitators, but there’s only one master.” David Prior Relæ Copenhagen “Any restaurant that opens these days promising affordable tasting menus and creative cooking probably owes chef Christian Puglisi a great debt. Six years in, and now overseen by executive chef Jonathan Tam, Relæ remains one of the most inﬂuential and thoughtful in the world.” Gabe Ulla ENGLAND
makes biscuits with pine. He’s a freaking savant.” Peter Jon Lindberg
Kitty Fisher’s London “A devilishly cozy restaurant hidden away in Shepherd Market, with wood-paneled walls, dusty-pink velvet banquettes, and raffish, informal service. The aged Galician beef is a must.” Skye McAlpine, food writer and Instagrammer Lyle’s London “Chef James Lowe’s food— like his springy salad of pea shoots, podded peas, and Ticklemore cheese— represents an evolution of British cuisine from sturdy nose-to-tail cooking to an elegant celebration of the delicacy of the English seasons.” David Prior Nopi London “Amazing and surprising
Number of countries our sources nominated restaurants in.
use of Mediterranean herbs. Sit at the communal table downstairs, right by the kitchen pass, with a view of all the action.” Steve Wilson, co-founder/CEO of the 21c Museum Hotels Ognisko London “Like being invited to the most fabulous dinner party. I love the blini with herring,
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The Quality Chop House London “Warm, unpretentious, and just plain delicious—with food and wine to match.” Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack
Paul Bocuse Lyon “Everything on the menu is classic and delicious. Eat it all, if you can.” Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli
Rochelle Canteen London “Everything works for me inside the walls of Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold’s art-world lunch spot.” Andrew Tarlow, owner of Wythe Hotel, Diner, and Marlow & Sons in New York City Spring London “By far the prettiest dining room in London—and the food is exquisite.” Skye McAlpine St. John London “Buttery Eccles cakes with Lancashire cheese, meat pies, and tongue with pickled walnuts—all cooked to perfection. You’ll wonder how Britain ever came to suffer from a poor culinary reputation.” Skye McAlpine
The Clove Club London “This is where young British chefs take aspects of gourmet pub fare and good local ingredients and bring them to a whole new innovative level. I had super-tender fried chicken with pine salt that was excellent.” Dominique Ansel
Kitchen Table London “James Knappett harvests his own samphire from the Cornish coast, collects verbena from his mom’s backyard in Cambridgeshire, and
one of the few brasseries to brew its own beer.” Georges Desrues
The River Café London “Quite possibly my favorite Italian restaurant in the world.” Danny Meyer
Market Bistro King’s Lynn “This place is a revelation— unpretentiously locavore-ish, welcoming, and personal. The house-made breads are brilliant.” Kate Sekules, food and travel expert
Gymkhana London “The city’s most ambitious and luxurious Indian restaurant, right in the heart of elegant Mayfair.” Peter Jon Lindberg
the goose conﬁt, smoked eel salad, golonka, and steak tartare.” Kate Sekules
“ C H E F A L A I N PA S S A R D I S
A V E G E T A B L E V I R T U O S O.” Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America
La Ferme de la Ruchotte Bligny-sur-Ouche “Frédéric Menager trained in some of Paris’s best kitchens before turning his hand to rearing poultry. Every weekend he cooks lunch beneath his family home, serving the best local produce from the area.” James Henry, chef at Belon in Hong Kong Brasserie Georges Lyon “An Art Deco jewel serving traditional local cuisine like tablier de sapeur, or pan-fried tripe, and wonderfully fresh seafood. It’s also
Restaurant Chez Michel Marseille “The best bouillabaisse I’ve ever had in my life.” Daniel Humm, chef and co-owner of Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad in New York City Le Bistrot du Paradou Paradou “Stone ﬂoors and walls, family tables, pastis, and beautifully executed recipes that Grandmother would have cooked. Go for Friday lunch.” Libby Travers, food writer Au Vieux Comptoir Paris “It would be a shame to miss the magret de canard, but you can never go wrong with the specials. I plan layovers in Paris just so I can devour their mind-bending sweetbreads.” Dawn Hagin, chief inspiration officer at Lark Hotels Chez L’Ami Jean Paris “Still a top contender for best traditional bistro in town, albeit more Basque-inﬂected than your typical place.” Peter Jon Lindberg Clamato Paris “I go for a glass of wine and wonderful-quality oysters. It reminds me of how the city was when I ﬁrst lived there.” Alice Waters Clown Bar Paris “Where you’ll ﬁnd all the best chefs on a Sunday night after their own restaurants close. There’s insanely good offal dishes and a naturalwine list.” Peter Jon Lindberg Frenchie Paris “I usually secure a reservation before our ﬂights are
even booked. Chef Grégory Marchand’s technique blows me away.” Ford Fry, chef/owner of The Optimist, BeetleCat, and others in Atlanta
virtually vanished from Roman menus: skate and romanesco soup, brisket meatballs, and roasted liver.” Katie Parla, co-author of Tasting Rome
L’Ambroisie Paris “Everything here is special, from the gorgeous eighteenth-century decor to the chocolate tart, which is the absolute best.” Daniel Humm
Roscioli Rome “If you love French wine and Italian food like we do, you’re in the right place.” Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli
TRUST US, THIS PLACE IS
WORTH THE TREK
L’Astrance Paris “The most balanced and joyfully bright tasting menu. Always inspired and perfectly executed.” Seen Lippert Le Baratin Paris “The lovely veal brains with lemon butter sauce, chives, and soft baby potatoes are simple and perfect.” Dominique Ansel Le Chateaubriand Paris “The tasting menu is executed at just the right rhythm, and the wine pairings are phenomenal. Call exactly three weeks ahead for a reservation.” Deana Saukam Le Comptoir du Relais Paris “It’s always crowded. Go for lunch and order the oeufs mayonnaise, terrine of pâté, and whatever seems seasonal.” Mitchell Davis Le Servan Paris “The super-talented Levha sisters have updated the classic bistro.” Peter Jon Lindberg Miznon Paris “Probably the best lunch spot in Paris. Get the whole roasted head of cauliﬂower, legendary in the inner circles of Paris.” Ken Oringer Septime Paris “Thoughtful food that lets the produce tell its story,
Da Laura San Fruttuoso, Italy “It’s likely that the food would taste just as incredible even if you didn’t have to hike over a mountain or take a ferry to get there. But the simple food is worth crawling here for: fat sheets of fresh pasta napped in Ligurian pesto; spaghetti with chopped mussels; grilled ﬁsh ﬁlleted tableside. All enjoyed with bottles of house wine, of course.” Christine Muhlke, editor at large for Bon Appétit
a stew of offal and cock’s crests.” Georges Desrues
alongside a delightful wine list and an ambience that feels like home.” Libby Travers
Buca dell’Orafo Florence “I long for the tortino, a simple omelet made with artichokes or porcini, depending on the season. It’s so delicious it deﬁes science.” Mitchell Davis
Le Club 55 Ramatuelle “This place near St-Tropez has some of the best beachfront dining anywhere. Crudités with anchovy dipping sauce and whole grilled ﬁsh are my go-tos.” Ken Oringer GERMANY
Shiso Burger Berlin “I’d ﬂy back for the bulgogi cheeseburger alone.” Sarah Khan
The Ledbury London
Ristorante da Cesare Albaretto della Torre “I have fever dreams about Giaccone’s local wild mushroom and peach salad.” Fiorella Valdesolo Ristorante Battaglino Bra “A traditional Piedmontese restaurant with dishes like the mythical ﬁnanziera,
Our contributors had a few opinions about where to eat in this country too. For their domestic recommendations, go to cntraveler .com/best-restaurants.
“ S O P H I S T I C AT E D
TWEEZER FOOD T HAT ’ S N E V E R
C L OY I N G , J US T E XA C T LY
PRECIOUS ENOUGH.” Peter Jon Lindberg, contributing editor
Lo Scoglio Marina del Cantone “You could try to reproduce the three-ingredient zucchini-garlic spaghetti. But even with the addition of the secret ingredient—a bit of starchy pasta water, which gives it an ineffable creaminess—the whole experience is the very deﬁnition of gestalt.” Pilar Guzmán
Dal Pescatore Runate “The cooking emphasizes excellence and comfort over gimmicks: chestnut gnocchi with bottarga, saffron risotto in a pool of aged balsamico, and grilled eel from the Po River.” Alan Sytsma, food editor of NYMag.com/Grub Street Ardigna Sicily “Deep in the Trapani hills, you’ll ﬁnd a never-ending parade of old-school Sicilian hits prepared by Italian grandmothers— literally.” Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli Da Vittorio Sicily “The spaghetti with sea urchin is the best in the world.” Deana Saukam Viri Ku Cè Sicily “Seafood served straight from the boat—raw, marinated, fried, grilled. There’s no menu, they just bring you whatever is fresh that day until you tell them to stop.” Deana Saukam
L’Alchimista on the Piazza Montefalco “This is Umbria on a plate. Rabbit worth crossing the globe for.” Julie Gibbs, cookbook publisher
Da Celeste Venice “A family-run restaurant on one of Venice’s ﬁshing islands. You sit out on the pier, with lagoon views and not a soul in sight. The whole oven-baked turbot is exquisite.” Skye McAlpine
Cesare al Casaletto Rome “Thoughtfully rendered classics like cacio e pepe and pasta alla gricia, and so many dishes that have
Rijks Amsterdam “Great people, stunning food and concept—I go here to be inspired.” Margot Janse
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Maaemo Oslo “Chef Esben Holmboe Bang may be Danish, but he’s redeﬁning Norwegian cuisine at this innovative eight-table spot by turning ingredients like salted mutton and pine butter into craveable tasting menu staples.” Matt Duckor PORTUGAL
Anya von Bremzen, food critic and memoirist SPAIN
Asador Etxebarri Apatamonasterio “There’s a considered approach to every dish— house-salted, house-churned, house-made—and then there’s that ice cream. Incredible.” Libby Travers
Zé Bota Porto “Big multi-ingredient platters blend the ﬂavors of sea and land. Standouts include the veal in Madeira sauce, the miraculous cod, and the leite creme for dessert.” Dawn Hagin
La Paradeta Barcelona “Queue outside until they let you in, choose the raw seafood and the way you want it cooked, then pay and collect it from the kitchen. Super-simple, canteen-style.” Margot Janse
Paco Meralgo Barcelona “A breezy tapas bar doing the classics right. Order cuttleﬁsh fritters, grilled ﬁsh, Iberian sausage, and lots of wine.” Matt Rodbard
White Rabbit Moscow “Vladimir Mukhin gives a futuristic twist to obsessively researched sixteenthcentury Russian recipes and archaic Slavic ingredients most Russians know only from fairy tales. Get the Forward to the Past tasting menu, which might include moose milk or the caviar of an albino sturgeon.”
Quimet & Quimet Barcelona “An always-packed, alwaysfun wine bar where everything comes out of a can or a jar, conservas-style.” Ken Oringer
Elkano Getaria “Most of the seafood is prepared on a large outdoor grill, which you can smell as you approach the restaurant.” Daniel Kessler, co-owner of Bergen Hill in New York City Ca Na Toneta Mallorca “The owners source everything from the island, even some of the clay for the plates.” Andrew Tarlow Rafa’s Roses “The sweetest percebes (goose barnacles), briny house-cured anchovies, and John Dory on the bone almost brought tears to my eyes.” Luke Burgess SWEDEN
Fäviken Järpen “The breakfast is outrageously good: porridge served with cloudberry compote, fresh whey cheese, and black currant juice.” Matt Duckor Ekstedt Stockholm “Niklas Ekstedt took all the electricity out of the kitchen and cooks purely with live ﬁre.” Peter Jon Lindberg Matbaren Stockholm “The beauty, tradition, and craftsmanship of Scandinavian food. The best seat is at the bar.” Marcus Samuelsson, chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author SWITZERLAND
A C A S E ST U DY I N
FRESH INGREDIENTS De Kas, Amsterdam “The truest deﬁnition of farm to plate: It’s literally inside a greenhouse.” Steve Wilson, co-founder/CEO of the 21c Museum Hotels
Kronenhalle Zurich “The food is delicious, the champagne and wine list extensive, and it has a museum-quality collection of art from the likes of Miró, Chagall, Picasso, and Matisse.” Daniel Humm TURKEY
Kantin Istanbul “Chef Semsa Denizsel’s Black Sea anchovies with spiced rice alone are worth the trip.” Katie Parla
AT B A LLYN A HINCH CASTLE, ON WESTERN IRELANDâ€™S REMOTE, RUGGED CONNEMARA COAST, A NEW GENERATION IS GETTING ITS HANDS DIRTY, MAKING THE KIND OF MEMORABLE MEAL YOU COULD ONLY EAT HERE.
photographs by Pablo
Previous page, from left: Lonely buildings on the island of Inishlacken, in Roundstone Bay; lobster in tomato and seaweed broth. This page: The Owenmore River.
Western Ireland’s Owenmore River, the site of a pristine wild salmon run, is a tame outlier in the harsh yet beautiful region known as Connemara. The small waterway usually meanders, just barely catching the reﬂection of the Twelve Bens Mountains and Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, a dramatic manor not far from where Oscar Wilde once kept a small summer ﬁshing lodge. But the day after a relentless downpour, the banks have burst, and the ﬂood is a vivid illustration of just have unpredictable nature can be here. This is not the Ireland of rolling green pastures populated by plump cattle and bouncing lambs but rather a mournful terrain of bare mountains, craggy coastline, and shimmering bogs punctuated with Celtic crosses. To reach the fertile valley that’s home to Ballynahinch, about an hour’s drive northwest of Galway, is to arrive at a kind of Irish oasis, a place where the lights are always on, as much a community beacon as a shelter from the elements, hemmed by encroaching wilderness and a tangle of rhododendrons and fruit trees that have been left to fend for themselves. The 260-year-old castle was already a draw for travelers in 1842, when the British novelist William Makepeace Thackeray praised its owners as offering “frank, cordial hospitality.” Today, it’s an elegantly understated hotel where the rooms have four-poster beds with tufted headboards in neutral tones, chocolate-leather wingback chairs ﬁll the public spaces, and the in-house pub keeps a ﬁre roaring late into the evening. By the time I arrive, the rain has stopped and there to greet me is Clíodhna Prendergast, in Wellingtons and a chic gilet of Irish tweed, with a forager’s knife and woven basket in hand. She lives on the 450-acre estate with her husband, Patrick O’Flaherty, the hotel’s genial general manager, in a modest, modernist glass house not far from the castle. The former chef (whose ﬁrst name is pronounced Clee-uh-na) has taken it upon herself to show the world another, altogether surprising side of her native Connemara. While many come here to experience Ireland’s most culturally Gaelic region and to
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disconnect in the dramatic landscape, the food, much of it foraged or ﬁshed from the Atlantic and rivers like the Owenmore, is the newest reason to visit. Needless to say, it wasn’t always so. Centuries of occupation cemented the idea—in both British and Irish minds—that products native to this area had to be inferior to those in England. The more fecund tracts of Ireland were said to be “England’s larder,” whereas geographically challenging areas like Connemara were essentially considered wastelands. It was here that famine took its most terrible toll between 1845 and 1852, and the abandoned cemetery not far from the castle gates remains a haunting reminder of that dark period. “I think that the Irish generally—but particularly people from Connemara—found it difficult to be proud of the things we have all around us, our wild food, because it was always frowned upon,” Prendergast says. But as the foraged food and locavore movements gained momentum in the last decade, Connemara rediscovered the ﬂavors of its native ingredients as potent representations of this unique environment. “I live in the middle of a forest, on a river, right by the sea, at the foot of a mountain,” says Prendergast, laughing. “It’s a wild-food dream.” Which explains why she’s invited a group of her friends—proudly Irish artists, designers, distillers, and hoteliers—to visit for lunch. Prendergast has asked me to help prepare the meal, which doesn’t begin in the kitchen but rather with us pushing a rickety wooden boat into nearby Roundstone Bay, a windswept Atlantic harbor. She throttles up the motor, and we chug along toward the island of Inishlacken, where crumbling stone
MANY DRAWS OF CONNEMARA REMAIN THE SAME AS THEY WERE WHEN OSCAR WILDE INVITED A FRIEND TO JOIN HIM HERE IN 1877.
Map by Peter Oumanski
From far left: Justin and Jenny Green, owners of Ballyvolane House; Clíodhna Prendergast; Teddy Coulter, a ﬁshing instructor at Ballynahinch; Aoibheann McNamara, Tweed Project co-founder.
walls and a weathered schoolhouse are the only signs of human habitation, trapping lobster and casting lines for mackerel along the way. As we alight onto an empty beach, she starts gathering up obscure edible algae. “Pepper dillisk, the holy grail of seaweeds!” Prendergast says. “It tastes like truffles.” By mid-morning, we’re back on the mainland, in the woods surrounding the castle, and Prendergast’s children, Iseult, Jake, and Milo, disappear into the forest in search of blackberries, chanterelles, and branches of gnarled quince. A farmer who lives nearby delivers the lamb, fed on the nutrient-dense plants that grow in the bogs. The only missing element is the ever-elusive salmon. As if on cue, O’Flaherty bounds in with a ten-pounder. His timing is perfect, as guests Justin and Jenny Green, owners of Ballyvolane House, a hotel in Cork, arrive bearing bottles of their Bertha’s Revenge gin, which Prendergast mixes with the foraged dillisk for a quick gravlax cure. Soon enough, more friends appear. Among them is the eccentric Aoibheann McNamara of the Galway restaurant Ard Bia at Nimmos, who in 2014 co-founded the Tweed Project, a minimalist line of men’s and women’s scarfs, jackets, and blankets cut from typically coarse Donegal tweed and Irish linen. Also at the table is Dublin-based Jonathan Legge of Makers & Brothers, who with his brother has curated a collection of stylish Irish homewares. The pair championed a new glassware company formed in the wake of the 2009 economic crash by artisans who once worked for the House of Waterford Crystal, and they’ve added to the range of products items like egg cups
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The end of a typical Irish breakfast, as served at Ballynahinch.
made from Connemara’s prized green marble. Other members of the Ballynahinch team are here too: Estate manager Simon Ashe turns up muddied and cold, having spent days trying to control the rapidly rising Owenmore, along with one of Ireland’s best-known modern artists, Dorothy Cross, whose work—ﬁlled as it is with shipwreck motifs—owes much to her home here on the cusp of the Atlantic. Together, the guests are representative of a youthful movement that began not long after the Irish economy’s spectacular crash seven years ago. Instead of ﬂeeing—like many creatives did—this group and other tight-knit networks of innovators doubled down on Ireland, ﬁnding new revenue streams that drew upon their homeland’s idiosyncratic culture, forgotten crafts, and unfairly maligned food. One such initiative is the Lens & Larder series of photography and cooking workshops, started in 2014 by Prendergast and American expat and cookbook author Imen McDonnell and held occasionally at estates like Ballynahinch, in partnership with international photographers like Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers. “In the boom, we lost sight of who we are,” says McNamara, as she helps Prendergast set the table. “Everyone was off chasing something else, and some of us forgot about what makes Ireland special.” In many ways, those elemental draws, which are luring a new generation back to Connemara, remain the same as they were when Oscar Wilde invited a friend to join him here in 1877: “It is roughing it, you know,” he wrote, “but you will have . . . ﬁshing, scenery, sunsets, bathing, heather, mountains, lakes, whisky, and salmon to eat.”
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From left: Connemara’s native bounty, including dillisk and hedgehog mushrooms; Prendergast and her husband’s private dining room.
Connemara Decoder GETTING THERE Shannon Airport has daily ﬂights from the U.S. East Coast and is two and a half hours from Ballynahinch. (Rent a car at the airport— it’s by far the best way to get around this sparsely populated area.) Some of the most scenic drives here are part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,600mile network of roads that run the length of Ireland’s West Coast, from Derry to Cork. For a shorter excursion, take the seven-mile drive along the Sky Road, a narrow path between gorgeous coastline and the imposing Twelve Bens Mountains.
WHEN TO GO
BEYOND THE CASTLE
May through September are best; Ireland gets damp and chilly in winter. You can do Connemara in a weekend, or make it part of a longer road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way south toward Galway (stay at the G Hotel and Spa) and the legendary Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s version of the Mendocino coast.
The region’s most famous landmark is Kylemore Abbey, a remote nunnery about half an hour from Ballynahinch. It’s still operated by the local order, who give tours and bake traditional scones daily for an on-site café that’s way better than it needs to be. Walk off the blackberry jam and thick Jersey clotted cream in the solitary wilderness of Connemara National Park, a sparse preserve of peaks and lonely lakes just down the road from Kylemore. In the evening, stop by O’Dowd’s, a typical pub in coastal Roundstone village, a short drive from the castle, where they shuck local oysters and pull (room temperature) pints of Guinness. D. P.
BEFORE YOU BOOK The 48 rooms at Ballynahinch are spread across a number of different wings and additions, so be sure you get one in the original eighteenthcentury section—many of those have terriﬁc views down the Owenmore toward the Atlantic. Under Prendergast’s guidance, the castle’s Owenmore Restaurant has moved away from the mediocre hotel cuisine it once served and toward Irish fare that showcases local game and seafood. The property also has its own wood-paneled, hearth-lit Fisherman’s Pub, a favorite of guests and locals since 1946.
BAINIGÍ S U LT AS BHUR MBÉILE!
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IN JAPAN’S CAPITAL, SERIOUS FOOD LOVERS WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD SITTING AT A TABLE. PETER JON LINDBERG PULLS UP A STOOL AT THE BAR.
Previous page: House-made “Campari” at Bar BenFiddich; baby gizzard shad, medium fatty tuna, and lean tuna at SushiYa. This page, from left: Tokyo’s Kabukicho district; at Toritama, servings of daylilies, unmatured eggs and oviducts, and chicken wing, heart, neck, kidney, and tail meat.
If you want to see what a ﬁfth-generation tempura master can do with a pot of bubbling safflower oil, book a seat at Ippoh, a Tokyo landmark since 1960. I’ve been coming here for a decade, but tonight I’ve brought two friends who’ve never seen the show. From across the counter we watch, rapt, as Masaru Seki transforms everyday ingredients—shishitos, prawns, an egg yolk—into deep-fried nuggets of gold. You can learn a lot from a bar seat, like how the chef scores the squid with a crosshatch to tenderize it, or how attuned he is to the oil’s pop as he swirls his silver chopsticks in the batter and oil. And though Masaru-san seldom speaks, there’s a silent conversation under way. While we watch him, he’s watching us: gauging our hunger level, how quickly we devour the lotus root, how our eyes light up at the crunch of the maitake. Forty-ﬁve minutes in comes the unlikely ﬁnale. Into the pot goes a grilled cheese sandwich on ﬂuffy white bread. Out comes a crackling wedge of umami, sweet and impossibly weightless. It’s so good we laugh out loud. It was only after ten days of eating my way through Tokyo that I realized I hadn’t once sat at a proper table. Instead, I balanced on a bar seat,
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being served something delicious across a countertop. The settings varied—whether I was in a rowdy yakitori joint or a hushed Michelin threestar—but the setup was always the same. The Japanese may no longer own counter dining, but they embraced it long before the rest of us, and they’ve inarguably perfected the form. The counter/ open-kitchen arrangement—often known as kappo-style dining—emerged in nineteenth-century Osaka, mainly at casual everyday spots. By the end of the twentieth century, the trend had spread across Japan and into more reﬁned restaurants (not least sushi bars, which helped globalize the format). Today, kappo is above all pragmatic: Here in the land of capsule hotels
and minivan-size apartments, few restaurants have the square footage for tables and chairs and a separate kitchen. But the format endures by choice as well as necessity. Even restaurateurs who can afford a Western-style ﬂoor plan typically choose to put the cooks up front and in view, behind a bar. Counter dining is simply the preferred mode of eating here, and its popularity underscores some key distinctions. First, dining solo carries none of the stigma that it does in the U.S.; walk into any Tokyo restaurant and half the clientele will likely be eating alone. Counter seating is ideal for parties of one or two—though (perhaps thankfully) not so much for groups.
Second, in Japan, cooking is about the process as much as the product. For the chef, it becomes a performance deserving a proper stage, with all eyes on him. (Even in 2016 it’s almost always men behind the counter.) For the customer, watching a chef work is central to enjoying the meal—and even high-end places have little in the way of decor to distract from the main event. The experience is not purely visual, either. “There are meals that are meant to be listened to, not just seen, smelled, and tasted,” says Yukari Sakamoto, a Tokyo-based chef and author. “The rhythmic beat of a knife julienning cabbage at a tonkatsu restaurant. The telltale sizzle of oil at a tempura shop. At a counter, those sounds heighten your experience.”
Think of how removed you are from this in a Western-style restaurant, where the menu and the servers—all words and abstractions—are your only conduits to the invisible kitchen. Counter dining ﬂips that premise inside out, so your interaction is mainly with the cooks, straight from their welcoming shout of “Irasshaimase!” In Japan, this interaction really is a dialogue, even if neither of you speaks the same language. You may notice a sushi chef glancing your way as he prepares your nigiri, sizing up your mouth and shaping the rice into a perfect bite. “Omotenashi—hospitality characterized by attention to the smallest details—is something you’ll ﬁnd at all levels of dining out in Japan,” says
Sakamoto. “A chef is constantly observing his guests across the counter, adjusting every element of the meal to them.” For Zaiyu Hasegawa, the chef-owner of Jimbocho Den—whose eight-seat counter is my absolute favorite spot to eat in Tokyo—cooking directly for guests is a way to stay engaged and inspired. “I used to work in a restaurant where the kitchen was closed off,” he recalls. “I felt trapped. I’d ask servers: ‘Did the customers smile? Did they say anything? What did they eat ﬁrst?’” Frustrated, he began peeking through a curtain to spy on his guests. “How else would I know if they liked it?” At a counter, the relationship between chef and diner is a far more revealing exchange. Dining as theater? This is dining as backstage pass. You see close up the blowtorch caramelizing your foie gras; the planter overﬂowing with shiso; a giant octopus, splayed on a butcher block, sliced inches from your plate, and, not least, the unguarded moments that transpire when a chef is deep in his craft. In a culture known for its polish and perfectionism, where the “real” thing often seems hidden behind a scrim, there’s a refreshing, almost disarming intimacy to all of this, which feels out of character yet somehow quintessentially Japanese.
“The rhythmic beat of a knife julienning cabbage at a tonkatsu restaurant. The telltale sizzle of oil at a tempura shop. At a counter, those sounds heighten your experience.”
You may notice a chef glancing your way as he prepares your nigiri, sizing up your mouth and shaping the rice into a perfect bite. 84
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From left: Chef Takao Ishiyama displays tuna ďŹ llets at SushiYa; a sugitama, the traditional cedar ball
typically hung outside sake breweries, in front of Jimbocho Den restaurant.
Raise The Bar Below, our favorite pull-up-a-stool spots, sorted here by specialty—whether it’s the spiciest ramen, the iciest coffee, or (we’re calling it) Tokyo’s next great sushi restaurant.
SUSHI SushiYa The Scene: Hidden in an alley off another alley in Ginza, SushiYa (literally “Sushi Shop”) looks like your typical sushi den—a boxy room with an L-shaped counter at the center. But it’s run by Takao Ishiyama, a six-foot-tall, 32-year-old genius who has joined the ranks of Tokyo sushi artisans in just four years. And the ﬁsh—good God, the ﬁsh! Otoro tuna as fatty and luscious as a slab of pancetta. Bonito smoked over straw. Hokkaido ikura, perked up with yuzu zest. Right now, this is the best in town. The Strategy: Plan ahead—the eight seats book up a month in advance. Takao-san’s multi-course omakase menu takes about an hour.
RAMEN Kikanbo The Scene: You’ll know René Redzepi’s goto spicy ramen joint just north of Kanda Station by the line out front,
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a dozen hipsters deep. Inside, the kitchen is obscured by steam rising from a cauldron of scalding broth and tumbling over the counter, where 15 lucky souls sit dabbing their brows and slurping oni (“demon”) ramen: a ﬁery miso broth spiked with chilies and Sichuan peppercorns, best knocked back with a cold Asahi beer. The Strategy: Come mid-afternoon, between peak times, to minimize the wait. The line can take 30 to 40 minutes, the meal lasts maybe 10. (You place your order using a vending-machinelike contraption that spits out a ramen ticket.)
yakitori house makes the most of every part of the chicken: over 30 preparations in all, from misomarinated thighs to creamy thymus glands (really, they’re amazing). It’s a circus at all hours, and you and 21 others can watch
Jimbocho Den The Scene: Tokyo’s most joyful high-end restaurant is overseen by 38-year-old Zaiyu Hasegawa (whom Brazilian star chef Alex Atala hails as Japan’s greatest young talent).
of Zaiyu-san on the counter, the carrots carved into smiley faces hiding in the salad greens, and the goofy homage to KFC (delivered in a box marked “Den-tucky Fried Chicken”): Inside, what looks like a normal fried chicken wing is
it from the L-shaped counter as the resident ﬁre-jugglers toss skewers across the grill, unfazed by the ﬂames. The Strategy: The expatheavy surrounding Kagurazaka district is called “Little Paris.” Shop its boutiques in the afternoon, then hit Toritama in the early evening to nab a seat.
What sets Zaiyu-san apart is his devotion to laughter—a rarity in Michelin-starred kitchens. To sit at Den’s eight-seat counter is to dive headlong into an eight- to ten-course improv comedy show, as the chef and his crew trot out surprise after kooky surprise. There’s the grinning bobblehead
stuffed with a mix of sticky rice, potatoes, or beans and with seasonal ingredients such as mushrooms and ume plum. Amusing, yes, and also seriously delicious. The Strategy: Make a night of it—dinner unfolds over several hours. Keep in mind that at the end of 2016, Den will move from
TEMPURA Ippoh The Scene: Masaru Seki comes from an esteemed line of master tempura chefs; this elegant restaurant in Ginza (a quiet, multiroom space above a Barneys New York) is a branch of the 166-year-old Osaka original where his father and grandfather worked. You never dreamed tempura could be this light, or this tasty. The Strategy: Book an early seat, before seven on a weeknight, and you have a shot at being the only guest at Masaru-san’s counter. (He speaks enough English to walk you through the ingredients.)
YAKITORI Toritama The Scene: Hidden under a wine bar, this rowdy
Clockwise from left: A salad of over 20 seasonal veggies (and smiling carrots) at Jimbocho Den; the grill at Toritama; Emi Hasegawa, the wife of chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, at Jimbocho Den; preparing Kara-Shibi miso ramen at Kikanbo; a Kayama Special (Tanqueray No. Ten and forest water) at Bar BenFiddich.
non-local here. Tokyo’s top chefs and the beau monde of Shibuya come to Kotaro Hayashi’s ten-seat counter for reﬁned seasonal renditions of hearty Japanese pub food, like tofu topped with sautéed leeks and fried baby sardines. Kotaro-san is
GRILL Jomon Roppongi The Scene: The Roppongi outpost of this popular yakitori and grill house is packed with young Japanese couples and groups who are there to drink hard. The upside? The food is sensational, and the party crowd
post-bar crawl. Warning: Your clothes will end up smelling smoky.
COCKTAILS Bar BenFiddich The Scene: There are thousands—no exaggeration—of obsessively curated cocktail bars here, but none quite like this tiny boîte high above glitzy Shinjuku. Once your eyes adjust to the candlelight, you’ll see that this is no pretentious speakeasy but a convivial bar which happens to serve phenomenal cocktails. Proprietor Hiroyasu Kayama, in an ivory dinner jacket, can suggest a rare Japanese whiskey (try anything by Ichiro), but you should also order a Negroni just to watch him craft his own “Campari” using a mortar and pestle, mysterious tinctures, and a dozen botanicals. The Strategy: Like most of Tokyo’s top cocktail dens, this one is tricky to ﬁnd, hidden on the ninth ﬂoor of an office tower (thank God for Google Maps). You don’t need to reserve, but have your hotel call ahead.
fringe-y Jimbocho to upscale Gaienmae. The new digs will retain the chef’s counter setup and the private dining rooms. As ever, you’ll need to call up to two months in advance to reserve.
IZAKAYA Kotaro The Scene: Chances are you’ll be the only
passionate about sake; working with just nine small-scale jizake breweries, he’s able to score rare seasonal allocations. The Strategy: Put yourself in Kotaro-san’s hands. He and his staff speak minimal English, but he’ll happily guide you through the meal. (A translation app helps.)
mostly adjourns to tables in the back. Better to sit at the bar opposite the grill, from which come treats like molten beef short ribs and ﬂame-kissed persimmons wrapped in bacon. The Strategy: Like many spots in Roppongi, Jomon is open late. It’s ideal for a jet-lagged midnight meal, pre- or
Bar Martha The Scene: Now multiplying across Tokyo, the “record bar” is one of Japan’s great twentyﬁrst-century trends, albeit a very last-century concept. Like the basement rec room of your mildly alcoholic musicnerd friend, record bars are all about vintage vinyl, stiff drinks, and the appreciation thereof. You’re here to shut up, listen, and drink. This elegant bar in Ebisu
is among the more polished options, with superb cocktails and a huge collection of soul, funk, and jazz, played through a tube amp and tweed-covered speakers, each the size of a fridge. The Strategy: They’re dead serious about forbidding loud conversation, and there’s a strict no-photos policy; you’ll have to be sneaky about Instagramming that handblown coupe. (Or head to Kaminarimon and buy one at Sokichi, every Tokyo bartender’s goto shop.)
COFFEE Café de l’Ambre The Scene: Any number of upstarts lay claim to Tokyo’s artisanal-coffee throne, but this smokestained, sepia-toned relic in Ginza, founded in 1948, trumps them all. Owner Ichiro Sekiguchi, who turned 102 this year, was pour-over before it was cool, and each cup is meticulously prepared. L’Ambre even offers aged beans—a 1954 Colombian, a ’95 Guatemalan. But the real draw is the iced coffee, chilled in a cocktail shaker and served in a coupe. The Strategy: There are a few wobbly tables, but you’ll want to sit at the counter to watch your barista at work. P. J . L .
I TA D A K I M A S U !
Plantain Pizza, Sorrel-Marinated Pork, Jerk Conch, Roast Breadfruit, LambCoconut Stew, Mulberry Sorbet ... by
Lucinda Scala Quinn Mikkel Vang
HOW DID JAMAICA BECOME THE MOST EXCITING PLACE TO EAT 88
IN THE CARIBBEAN?
between your palms and spun into the liquid. (“You know the dumpling is ready when ’im learn how to swim,” Myrtle Chambers, a home cook in Trelawney, once taught me.) I loved, too, how the local patois lives in the food: Mackerel Rundown is pickled mackerel boiled in coconut milk until most of the liquid evaporates; a crisp coconut biscuit is called Jackass Corn after the sound a donkey makes chomping on its feed. I learned a good deal at the apron strings of women like Myrtle, whose intuitive approach to ﬂavor inspired my ﬁrst cookbook and inﬂuences my ease around the kitchen to this day. While cooking techniques haven’t changed much since I started visiting, Jamaican food has never been better. The island’s varied microclimates yield an explosion of coffee, sugarcane, cacao, and psychedelically ﬂavored fruits and vegetables, and now a wave of local food activists and farmers are bringing unheard-of quality and variety in ingredients to everywhere you can grab a bite. Meanwhile, Jamaica’s authentic food scene, long concentrated in its roadside shacks and home kitchens, is being reinterpreted by chefs with access to a global-ﬂavor playbook, so you’re as likely to ﬁnd yam croquettes with cilantro chimichurri in a mountain café as you are gungo pea gnocchi in an upscale restaurant. For proof that Jamaica’s food is having a moment, look no further than last year’s inaugural NyamJam Jamaican Food & Music Festival, which drew Mario Batali and April Bloomﬁeld to the island. The upshot is that Jamaica has become a singular destination for the food-obsessed tropical vacation–goer looking to experience the kind of roots-y realism that typically stops at the gates of high-end resorts. To catch this vibe, you could start at Stush in the Bush in Free Hill, St. Ann, a hilltop bungalow overlooking the north coast near Ocho Rios and run by farmer/chef duo Chris and Lisa Binns. Chris went to university in Canada but, like many in his generation lured home by new opportunity, turned his family land into a community-based sustainable farm. The fresh, mostly vegan multi-course meals from their 15-acre Zionites Farm—dasheen chips with their Blow Fyah sauce, plantain pizza, and mulberry sorbet—belie the modest surroundings. Likewise, across the island in the lush Blue Mountains above Kingston, Robyn Fox and her father, Michael, started EITS Café to serve the organic produce from their Food Basket Farm. Their operation includes the eight-room, rustic-chic Mount Edge Guest House, where the kitchen turns out dishes like barrel-roasted chicken and eggs Florentine with smoked marlin.
it too early for Scotchies?” The text from my old friend Blaise Hart pinged as my plane landed one morning last summer at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. We were soon roaring in Blaise’s pickup along the coastal highway, until he swerved into the restaurant—a chill, thatched-roof institution beloved by islanders and knowing tourists. My feeling is that so long as the pits have been ﬁred up to slowcook the pimento-smoked meat known as jerk, it’s never too early to pick up some chicken and pork—chopped and wrapped with roast breadfruit—and wash it down with a Red Stripe. In Jamaica, time is a loose concept. I’ve been visiting Blaise for decades, since our moms (mine Canadian and his Jamaican) became fast friends on vacation, each corralling her own quartet of kids at the beach. During our family’s regular visits to their house in Montego Bay and later at Good Hope, an eighteenth-century estate set amid pineapple ﬁelds along the Martha Brae River, Jamaica’s backcountry rhythms imprinted themselves on me: diving into the cool river to swim across a rushing current until the eddy pulled us back upstream, or walking through citrus ﬁelds and estate ruins, the air thick with the scent of orange blossoms. But what really hooked me was the food. For a kid used to her mom’s Italian family cooking, eating fried red snapper “Escovitch-style” in Scotch bonnet pepper and cane vinegar sauce for breakfast was a revelation. As a teenage cook, I’d try to tease apart Jamaica’s unusual ﬂavors, traced to an array of ethnic inﬂuences. In addition to cassava cake (bammy) from the Taíno Indians, there’s pimento-ﬂavored jerk, which originated with Jamaica’s Maroon (runaway slaves), pickled ﬁsh from the Spanish, East Indian curries, and sweet-and-sour Chinese preparations that infuse domestic dishes such as ackee and saltﬁsh, oxtail and butter beans, and pumpkin soup dotted with small dumplings, or “spinners,” made with dough rolled
“YOU KNOW THE DUMPLING IS READY WHEN ’IM LEARN HOW TO SWIM.”
Previous page: Grilled plantain and basil pizza at Stush in the Bush. This page, clockwise from top: A cabin at GoldenEye resort; Lisa and Chris
Binns, owners of Stush in the Bush, at Zionites Farm (stush means “stylish” in the local patois); Escovitch-style ﬁsh at Jakes Treasure Beach.
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From left: Local organic baby kale, Swiss chard, arugula, and fennel blossom; a view of the Blue Mountains from Strawberry Hill resort, outside Kingston.
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Simultaneously, a couple of the island’s most influential names in hospitality are scaling organic homegrown food for both locals and tourists. Every full moon or so, Jakes Hotel Villa & Spa founder Sally Henzell and her son, Jason, host a farm-to-table dinner at Dool’s organic farm, on Jamaica’s least-developed south coast near Treasure Beach. Guests who score a ticket sit down to dishes like peas and mint salad and lamb-coconut stew; the event, held at long tables set with linens and lanterns, brings attention and income to the handful of local farmers left in an area where 70,000 of them once worked the red soil. And last year, Island Records founder turned hotelier Chris Blackwell opened Pantrepant—his 2,500-acre organic farm and estate on an eighteenth-century sugar plantation in Trelawney Parish—to visitors; the farm also supplies produce to two of his Island Outpost hotels, GoldenEye and The Caves. The breakfast I had on my last trip to GoldenEye, a chic oceanfront resort that hosted last year’s NyamJam Festival, was a delicious expression of his utopian vision: farm-fresh poached eggs over sautéed callaloo (a chard-like green), and green banana and coconut porridge drizzled with the property’s honey and Blackwell’s eponymous raisin-vanilla-scented rum. Of course, many of Jamaica’s most deﬁning ﬂavors remain gloriously unchanged by trends and times. At the coffee estates in the Blue Mountains, the high altitude bakes a sweet creaminess into the beans. The result is an elixir, as unique to its terroir as a Burgundy wine, that visitors can drink with a gizzada (coconut tart) chaser after a sunrise hike through the dense forests. Then there are the seaside soup shacks (try the ﬁsh tea or peanut soup), patty shops (the “hamburger of Jamaica”), jerk joints, and rum bars dotting the island. But the secret ingredient in all of this is the intangible grip of your surroundings: the mountain air rustling the tree canopies; the scents from simmering pots or clouds of pit smoke; the tinny strains of reggae music in the background. As Blaise once told me, “Real Jamaica lives in the food.” Or, to inevitably quote Bob Marley, “Who feels it, knows it.”
From left: Clifton Mount Estate; their coffee and coconut gizzada cake.
How to Eat Your Way Around Jamaica On an island slightly smaller than Connecticut, the new North-South Highway between Kingston and Ocho Rios has made it easy to get virtually anywhere in a couple of hours. Most visitors stay in one of the following three areas; I tell friends to choose a base—beach or mountains—rent a car (Island Car Rentals is Jamaica’s largest agency), or hire a driver through their hotel, then follow their cravings into sandy parking lots or up rambling dirt roads.
THE NORTH COAST A well-traveled stretch from Orachebessa to Montego Bay. Start with the Island’s Best Jerk and Seafood With locations in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Scotchies chops up Jamaica’s most memorable jerk chicken, pork, and ﬁsh. In Ocho Rios, try the home-style curried goat or shrimp rundown at Miss T’s Kitchen. A half hour away, farm-to-table vegetarian Stush in the Bush is hands down the most unexpected food experience in Jamaica. (Reserve ahead so Chris can meet you in Free Hill and get you up to the farm in his all-terrain vehicle.) Wash down peel-andeat shrimp with rum cocktails at the HouseBoat Grill, moored in Montego Bay Marine Park; or eat whatever Derby, the owner, caught that day at his Lobster Trapp in Hopewell. And even if you’re not a guest at the
Half Moon resort, it’s worth dressing up a little for its Sugar Mill restaurant, which does modern Jamaican dishes like crayﬁsh bisque and ackee ﬂan. Then Retreat to Your Estate House The best way to experience the countryside is to stay at the Coach House Villa at Good Hope, a 2,000-acre citrus farm where the six-room eighteenthcentury villa is staffed by one of my favorite Jamaican cooks, Barbara Murray. Or book a room at GoldenEye, once the home of James Bond author Ian Fleming and now an unshowily luxe resort with 26 new beach huts, a pool, and restaurants supplied with produce from Pantrepant farm.
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS The lush region between Kingston and the beaches of sleepy Port Antonio. Go for More Than the Coffee Gloria’s Rendezvous is a laid-back 44-year-old institution beloved by prime ministers and musicians for its grilled ﬁsh and bammy; stop in after exploring the vast Caribbean art collection at Kingston’s National Gallery of Jamaica. On Hope Road, close to the Bob Marley Museum, Devon House has utterly unique ice cream made with dark stout. EITS Café, above Kingston, serves eclectic meals that mix European ingredients with Jamaican dishes like smoked marlin or oxtail. After lunch, drive to Belcour Lodge, an eighteenth-century former coffee estate known for its tea and ginger cake. Or hike Clifton Mount coffee estate, above Newcastle, then fuel up with country fare like brown stewﬁsh at Crystal Edge, a roadside “cookshop” locals call Winsome, after the owner. Bunk Down in the Sky The Woodside Villa, a ﬁve-bedroom colonial 4,000 feet above sea level, has 360-degree mountain views, a springfed pool, and a fantastic cook. Chris Blackwell’s cottage resort, Strawberry
Hill, has a bird’s-eye view of Kingston from its inﬁnity pool. If you want to day-trip to the mountains but stay by the beach, book Geejam, a rustic yet reﬁned hotel in Port Antonio, near the white sand Frenchman’s Cove.
THE SOUTH COAST From unspoiled Treasure Beach to the thronged resort town of Negril. Do the Seriously Local Thing For the best breakfast in Treasure Beach, hit up no-frills Smurfs, where the owner, Dawn, roasts her own coffee to go with the ackee and saltﬁsh. At lunch, try the Mannish Water (goat’s head soup, said to make a man more “mannish” on his wedding night) at Murray’s Fish & Jerk Hut, on the Kingston and Ochi roads heading southwest. Each month, Jakes Full Moon Dinners, on an organic farm in Pedro Plains, showcase local produce; reserve through Jakes Treasure Beach. Have your hotel book a ﬁsherman to ferry you to Floyd’s Pelican Bar, a quarter mile out to sea on a sandbar near Treasure Beach, for lunch and
dominoes. En route to the unmissable YS Falls, the Middle Quarter Shrimp Ladies sell bags of heads-on Black River shrimp boiled with supersonic hot pepper. My favorite place to eat in Negril is Cosmos Seafood—come for a swim and stay for a lunch of Escovitch-style fried ﬁsh. Catch sunset cocktails at Rockhouse, on the island’s West End, where the Pushcart rum bar draws local families, artists, and chefs. Avoid the Spring Break Crowd In Negril, Tensing Pen has treetop bungalows, a pool, and phenomenal swimming and cliff diving. But I love the remoteness of Jakes Treasure Beach, where Jason and his mom have created their own out-of-theway beach town with colorfully painted cottages and villas. L . S .Q.
MEK WI N YA M !
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
A ON THE EVE OF THE BIGGEST OPENING OF HIS CAREER, RESTAURANT MAESTRO DANNY MEYER RETURNS TO TUSCANY, WHERE EVERY MEAL IS AN INSPIRATION.
( MORE )
by Matt Duckor Linda Pugliese
On a rainy afternoon in Florence, restaurateur Danny Meyer is holding court at the small Trattoria Sostanza, where ceiling fans slowly whip the perfume of fennelpacked finocchiona through the air. “There are a thousand
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
Previous page, from left: Meyer in his element at Osteria del Leone, an hour southeast of Siena; a view of Tuscany’s Conca d’Oro valley. This page: An Insta-ready moment at Dario Cecchini’s Officina della Bistecca in Panzano in Chianti.
trattorias in Florence with very similar menus, so it’s not about what the chef’s serving,” says Meyer, who’s explaining to the people who work for him what separates a good restaurant in Italy from a forgettable one. “It’s about cooking the basics as well as they can be cooked,” he says. “And how warm the welcome is.” Luckily for us, today’s lunch spot, which Meyer discovered while visiting Florence in 1984, is exactly the kind of off-the-radar restaurant every food-ﬁxated traveler dreams of, where the service is sincere, the lardo is perfectly seasoned, and the house red is as satisfying as the sort of prized, name-brand Brunello you’d overpay for down the block. As we’re discussing the ﬁner points of vintage amari, a perfectly browned tortino di carcioﬁ—a ﬂuffy omelet wrapped around a center of tender artichoke hearts—lands on the white cotton tablecloth. “Gentlemen,” says Meyer, leaning in like a football coach giving a pre-game pep talk, “this is why we’re here.” The seemingly simple appetizer, ﬂash-cooked over hot coals, embodies the ethos of Italian cuisine: Unrivaled ingredients and proper technique can turn even a simple dish into something transcendent. But delicious meals are just part of the reason Meyer, one of the world’s preeminent restaurateurs and the genius behind the burger behemoth Shake Shack, is in Italy for a food pilgrimage. He’s returned to the place where his career took off more than 30 years ago for a refresher in heartfelt hospitality from some of Italy’s most humble trattorie. The idea is to drink from the well again—and bottle up some of Italy’s intoxicating magic to carry home to the new Union Square Cafe, which opens in New York this fall. Spend some time with Meyer and you get the sense that despite all his success—he reportedly made $340 million on the day of the Shake Shack IPO—Union Square Cafe will always be his favorite child. “I put my life into that restaurant,” says Meyer of his ﬁrst establishment, which opened on 16th Street in 1985. It was an embodiment of his experience as both a student in Rome in the late 1970s and as an itinerant chef in 1984, when he worked his way through restaurant kitchens in Bordeaux, Milan, and Rome over the course of six months, an American learning ﬁrsthand what makes European restaurants tick. His two-part Grand Tour, Meyer says, led to an epiphany: “I learned that restaurants don’t need a gimmick. They just have to be good.” That deceptively simple guiding principle helped propel Union Square Cafe to acclaim in an era when overly fussy French restaurants and off-putting service deﬁned the Manhattan dining scene. But after three decades
of serving dishes like lobster shepherd’s pie and lemon-pepper duck to an ever-growing following—not to mention ﬁve James Beard Awards and three stars from The New York Times—the institution closed in 2015 in the face of a massive rent hike. Meyer will swing open the doors of the new iteration, just four blocks from the original, with a crew of colleagues who are along for the journey in Italy. “Think about how a place like this was inspirational to the original Union Square Cafe,” Meyer says to his right-hand man, chief restaurant officer Sabato Sagaria, who’s nodding along with senior director of operations John Ragan and chef Carmen Quagliata. “It’s the most solid, down-to-earth trattoria I know.” Sam Lipp, director of operations for Union Square Cafe, is making a mental note of the wine carafes, which may well show up at the new restaurant.
Drive about 120 miles
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
northwest of Rome and you’ll ﬁnd Bagno Vignoni, a small village in Tuscany’s lush Val d’Orcia. With just 29 year-round residents, it’s barely even there: The town’s biggest claim to fame is a thermal bath that dates to the Roman era. We’ve come, though, to revisit Osteria del Leone, the 400-yearold restaurant that Meyer ﬁrst discovered in 2008. We’re passing around the table a large white bowl of brodo, a rich broth made from stewed capon, beef, veal, vegetables, and what a few of us mistake for Parmesan rind, until Meyer corrects us: There’s no way they’d use Parmesan in Tuscany; this is pecorino territory. “I just want you to know that when you say Parmigiano here, it’s like saying Presbyterian in the Vatican,” he says, as he reﬁlls our glasses from another bottle of Montepulciano.
Clockwise from far left: The Tuscan hills near Borgo Finocchieto; pappardelle al cinghiale at Trattoria Il Pozzo, where the fresh pastas are perfection; the village of
Castelnuovo dell’Abate, near Montalcino; chef Fabio Picchi of Florence’s Cibrèo, a Meyer favorite; prepping bistecca alla ﬁorentina at Trattoria Sostanza.
It’s not the only aha moment of the meal. Everyone at the table has tried the classic, tomato sauce–laden trippa alla romana, but no one had ever tasted the saffron-infused version they serve here, a local specialty that’s slightly sweet, incredibly aromatic, and just a little musky. “When did you ever want seconds of tripe?” asks Meyer, delighted that he may have found a new dish for his Union Square Cafe reboot by coming straight to the source. In the morning, we’re all a bit bleary-eyed from the Montepulciano—all of us except Meyer, that is, who swoops into the breakfast room of our hotel, Borgo Finocchieto, for yet another hunk of fresh Pecorino Toscano. The Borgo, a collection of historical buildings that date to 1318, is the work of John Phillips, an accomplished Washington, D.C., power lawyer and the U.S. ambassador to Italy since 2013. A close personal friend of Meyer’s—they met through Eric Baker, a designer who created graphic identities for Meyer’s restaurants Blue Smoke, Maialino, and North End Grill—Phillips spent seven years painstakingly restoring the place. There’s no lobby or check-in desk, and the property’s 22 bedrooms are
From left: Tripe and porchetta sandwiches at Florence’s Nerbone, in the Mercato Centrale; fresh produce at one of the city’s many farmers’ markets.
DANNY MEYER’S RESTAURANT SHORT LIST His go-to dishes at ﬁve favorites in Rome and Tuscany.
OFFICINA DELLA BISTECCA Panzano in Chianti Butcher Dario Cecchini has garnered an international following (including chefs like David Chang and René Redzepi), thanks to his obsession with quality: He sources beef for his signature burgers from Spain and, occasionally, the Fontodi winery’s farm, just down the hill from his 44seat dining room, where he ﬁres the patties on a wood-burning hearth.
OSTERIA DEL LEONE Bagno Vignoni The classic Roman preparation of tripe is with a heavy tomato sauce, but here they simmer thick strands of the stuff with delicate wisps of saffron grown in the Val d’Orcia and a mix of onion, sausage, and olive oil. The saffron gives the dish a slight sweetness and an electric-orange color.
focaccia-like dough is made from stone-ground heritage grains grown in the Piedmont.
TRATTORIA IL POZZO Sant’Angelo in Colle Wide, ﬂat pappardelle noodles get mixed with a thick ragù made from long-braised hunks of wild boar meat and handcrushed tomatoes before being showered with shavings of pecorino cheese and crunchy bread crumbs.
TRATTORIA SOSTANZA Florence Chicken breasts are transformed from pedestrian to ethereal at one of the best casual joints in all of Tuscany. The butter chicken is grilled over hot coals, then dipped in ﬂour and egg before being sautéed in a double-handle pan ﬁlled with melted butter. Cooked over a bed of embers until browned and bubbling, the dish is served in the pan. M .D.
PANIFICIO BONCI Rome When it comes to pizza, simple is best, as evidenced by chef Gabriele Bonci’s thick slabs of pizza rossa served at this takeaway spot. Topped with nothing more than a rich tomato sauce and olive oil, the hearty
Salumi and chianti at Antica Macelleria Cecchini, downstairs from Officina della Bistecca.
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
For restaurant geeks,
spread across ﬁve villas that spill onto a central piazza. There’s a glass-walled gym overlooking the valley and a serene oval swimming pool, but of all its assets, Meyer most likes its peaceful remove from the bustle of Florence, just a 90-minute drive away. After breakfast, we hit the winding highways of Chianti and spend the morning drinking Sangiovese from Tuscany’s famed Fontodi winery. “The most beautiful part of Tuscany is south of Siena,” says Meyer, “where most of the best Italian wines, like Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, are made.” We drive through the ﬁelds with owner Giovanni Manetti and his son Bernardo in their vintage white Land Rover, crunching over calciﬁed sheets of galestro, the mineral-rich soil common in Chianti’s hillsides. We wander up the hill to Panzano in Chianti, with Meyer and his crew dressed less like young-gun chefs and more like Reservoir Dads, in Patagonia windbreakers and ﬂeece sweaters zipped up against the spring chill. Lunch is at Officina della Bistecca, where the legendary butcher Dario Cecchini grills hunks of bistecca alla ﬁorentina on an open hearth in the dining room. Blissfully, this all counts as R and D.
there’s no greater quest in Tuscany than the one for the ultimate hilltop restaurant, the sort of place that requires a steep climb in second gear up a cypress-lined road that ends in a serene cobblestone courtyard. Meyer, though, isn’t much for serendipity, having arranged one last lunch for our crew in medieval Sant’Angelo in Colle, a town of about 200 residents roughly 40 minutes south of Borgo Finocchieto. At Trattoria Il Pozzo, just off the main square, it’s all about the fresh pastas: thick, hand-rolled strands of pici noodles slathered in chunky ragù; ribbons of pappardelle slicked with a rich sauce of stewed tomatoes and wild boar; fat tortelli stuffed with creamy ricotta and hearty spinach. “Isn’t this great?” asks Meyer, as gorgeous, warming bowls of tortellini en brodo are placed in front of us. “I get caught up in the magic of Italy. It just feels good sitting here.” It’s the idea he’s built his entire career on: the notion that no matter how good the food may be, the way a restaurant makes you feel is what you’ll remember. BUON APPETITO !
OUR GUIDE T O T R AV E L I N G B E T T E R THIS MONTH
FORGET THAT PRICEY ROAMING PLAN
Flying to Singapore, one of the best food cities in Southeast Asia right now, will get easier on October 23, when Singapore Airlines launches nonstop service from San Francisco. These will be the ﬁrst U.S. ﬂights for the carrier’s Airbus A350-900s, which legitimately reduce the eﬀects of jet lag. Good thing, too, since the 8,451-mile ﬂight will be among the world’s longest—at least until Singapore starts nonstop service to Los Angeles and New York in 2018.
Easier to Get to and Still Bookable
BAD NEWS As of May, tourist arrivals to Turkey had dropped about 35 percent compared with the same time last year—and that was before the June bombing at Istanbul Atatürk Airport and July’s failed coup attempt. Still, says Earl Starkey, a Turkey expert with Protravel International, demand for the country is beginning to build again—with an increased interest in Turkey’s Aegean coast, which remains “completely safe.”
Four last-minute destinations that offer nonstop ﬂights, a choice of sun or snow, and new hotels that’ll give you bragging rights—and a room for the night.
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
You get hiking, spa time, and volcano views, all without the crowds of Costa Rica.
A Caribbean isle with idyllic beaches but also great food— not always a given in the islands.
That old-school ski scene beloved by veterans: blue skies and long, lesstracked-out runs.
THE NEW HOTEL
Nekupe, an eight-suite ecoresort where you can do yoga, bird-watch, or hike jungle trails.
The lovely French Coco’s in-house Creole restaurant uses local crawﬁsh, mushrooms, and taro.
The Blake, a rare opening here, debuts its 80 cabininspired rooms this February.
A former motor inn, Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is like new after a total reno, with ﬁreplaces galore.
Fly from major U.S. hubs to Managua. No car rental necessary: The resort can send a driver.
Norwegian will resume nonstops to the island from Baltimore, Boston, and N.Y.C. this fall.
The mountain resort is an easy three-hour drive northeast of Albuquerque International.
It’s a two-anda-half-hour drive from Newark International and about the same from JFK.
UNBELIEVABLE NEWS Cape Town’s top-rated Ellerman House hotel has teamed up with Benguela Diamonds for daylong “diamond safaris” to Port Nolloth, near the Namibian border, where you can dive for gems in the company’s private Atlantic Ocean concession. While the $15,902 price tag includes private ﬂights, it sadly does not cover take-home stones.
GO FOR SNOW
HOW TO GET THERE
GO FOR SUN
Condé Nast Traveler / 10.16
This past summer, I left for a week on a “work” trip to the Chilean Andes. Like most neurotic Americans, I couldn’t not check my email (or, let’s be real, my Instagram account). Thank God a colleague suggested the Skyroam Hotspot, which uses a cellular connection to create an on-the-go Wi-Fi network. It’s the size of a deck of cards and works in 101 countries. Lucky for me, it cost only $10 a day, including unlimited data—which meant my colleague, hunched over his computer at the office, caught some spectacular views from 13,000-foot peaks on my Instagram Stories. C A N D I C E R A I N E Y
Hunter, New York For those who prefer snowshoeing to black diamonds (though Hunter Mountain is close by).
WOULD YOU EVER . . . HOP A RIDE ON YOUR SUITCASE? If you’ve hoofed the nearly mile-long distance between gate D3 and D53 at Miami International, you’ll applaud the ingenious (but kinda ridiculous) Modobag. The carry-on has an electric motor so you can ride it like a scooter, at speeds up to eight miles per hour, through even the most interminable of terminals ($1,199).
illustrations by DENISE NESTOR
From left: Photographs by Meridith Kohut/The New York Times/Redux; Jay Goebel/Alamy
T R AV E L TIPS, TRICKS, AND MISCELLANY
Ombudsman: Derailed Overseas I bought a “Eurail Select Pass” from Rail Europe for $419, planning to train-hop between Austria, Croatia, Germany, and Hungary. I made speciﬁc seat reservations for a few legs of the trip, but Rail Europe told me that I’d need to make arrangements in Croatia for the Zagrebto-Budapest train. But when I got to Zagreb, I learned that those trains had stopped running months before because of the refugee crisis. Does Rail Europe owe me a partial refund? —Frank T., Naples, Fla.
Rail Europe knew at the time Frank bought his pass that these Croatia-to-Hungary trains weren’t running. But the company expected cross-border service to resume before he arrived in Zagreb, which is why it advised him to ﬁnalize his trip there—and why Frank ended up stuck without a ride. As a goodwill gesture, the company agreed to refund $152, the current difference between the price of Frank’s pass and that of similar pointto-point seats.
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC. COPYRIGHT © 2016 CONDÉ NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.
TRAVEL TIP FROM AN EXPERT: GO NOW TO CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY “October is the right time to book an oﬀ-season escape to Napa Valley,” says Liza Graves of villa agency BeautifulPlaces. Hotels often lower rates, “temps are mild, and the service at restaurants is better than usual, thanks to thinner crowds. That also makes it easier to snag a table at spots like La Toque and the Restaurant at Meadowood.”
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Eat and Run
Aristocrats in nineteenth-century France and England weren’t prone to skimping on manners—even while hunting. Sportsmen would carry cutlery sets, like the one shown here, to prepare and properly feast on just-hunted game alfresco. “They’d lay a tablecloth on the ground and put out their ﬁnest traveling set so they could eat in a reﬁned manner,” says Sarah Coffin, a curator at Manhattan’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. This one—hinged fork and spoon, corkscrew with folding knife, and (not pictured) a little drinking cup and tiny salt-and-pepper shakers—folds into a small leather case and is part of the museum’s collection. Made between 1819 and 1835, this kit was sold by the French cutler Aucoc, one of Paris’s leading silversmiths and a favorite of King Charles X’s. (Coffin thinks the corkscrew may be a replacement made a couple of decades later because a piece from the correct period would likely have been in two parts instead of a single folding one.) “The English sets usually come with salt and pepper or mustard, or both,” she notes. “But the French ones always have a corkscrew.” CHR ISTOPHER BONA NOS
Condé Nast Traveler
photograph by STEPHEN LEWIS