September 17, 2013

"Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Worldwide"

When I came back from holidays when I was younger, the first thing I would do was go to the photo store and eagerly wait for them to develop my photos. Then I would rip open the package and sift through the photos so many times I gave them creases. I would then laid them out in a photo album with ticket stubs, brochures and programs from the trip. On some trips with my grandparents, we would write out everything we did each day and stick the notes in the album as well. Then I would take the album, bring it to my friend's houses and show off the the neat things I did on my trip--and my fancy scrap booking skills. When I come back from vacation now I usually say, "Did you see the photos I posted on Facebook? Did you see the food pictures I posted on Instagram?"

I still like to write about my experiences and go through the photos, but it's not the same as having a book. My trips these days are a little different and are always dependent on a guide book, online review or blog post. I won't go to any restaurant, attraction or museum without reading a review of it beforehand. Time is precious and I want to know I'm spending my time wisely. Also, my trips now seem to revolve a lot more around food.

Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Worldwide

Glam Media sent me a copy of their new release, Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Worldwide. Finally, instead of buying guidebooks for every single place to look up restaurants, I have a comprehensive list of the world's best restaurants. Now, when I get back from holidays I can officially say I went to one of the best restaurants in the world instead of just claiming the food was "the best in the world."

Glam Media editors partnered with a group of food experts from around the world to rate the best restaurants in their region and their favourites and came up with a list of the world's top 100 restaurants; that's not an easy feat. Each restaurant is profiled in the book with a photo of their feature dish or speciality, chef and a description of the restaurant. They were also picked for their exemplary dining experience, service and drinks.

You can tell where the major "foodie" centres are according to this book--mostly situated in France, Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. The only thing I was disappointed in was there were no Canadian restaurants listed. Surely, we have one or two restaurants that would fit the bill?

I am not at the point in my traveling where I can really afford five-star restaurants and hotels, but I like that the book features restaurants that aren't necessarily the most expensive--big money doesn't always mean good food--and are rather rated on overall experience and exceptional food. I will have to document my journeys a little differently next time. Instead of a physical scrapbook I will collect crosses off a to-do, to-see and to-taste list.
Let's do a bit of a recap of what I have done so far:

Paris, France
Paris, 2009

The next time I go to France I will have to try L'Ambroisie (pg. 19) for its black truffle and foie gras puff pastry and langoustines on a bed of curry sauce. And then stop at L'Atelier De Joel Rubuchon Saint-German (pg. 25) for the "world's best mashed potatoes" and then maybe have a glass of wine from the 3,500 bottle wine list at Carre Des Feuillants (pg. 29). 21 out of the 100 restaurants listed are located in Paris, France.

Marseilles, France
Marseille, 2009

You can't forget the south of France though. Cannes, Marseille and Nice are equally as beautiful and romantic. I haven't been to Lagouile or Fontjoncouse. According to the book, Auberge Du Vieux Puits (pg. 73), a charming restaurant located in a cottage in a quaint mountain village and Bras (pg. 75) are reasons to go to even the most rural parts of France.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, 2012

There is still so much of Europe I want to explore. Last summer I went to Scotland for the first time and visited one of my favourite cities in world again, London, England. My heart will always be in London so I know next time I need to try the world-famous Fat Duck restaurant (pg. 193) in Bray. Bray isn't actually in London. The beautiful thing about England--and most of Europe--is that you can hop on a train and go anywhere you want in a few hours. About an hour outside of London, you can try Heston Blumenthal's quirky creations, including snail porridge or jelly of quail. The Waterside Inn (pg. 195) is also located in Bray and boasts a magnificent roast duck for two and a wine list of more than 1,000 French wines available.

London, England
London, 2009

Italy is another one of my favourites. If you like eating, they take it quite seriously there. Anais Nim said that we "write to taste life twice." I wrote about my European food experiences before, if only to re-live the decadent four-course meals, refreshing gelato and some of the best pizza in the world. There is more to Italian food than pizza though. In Venice, home to Osteria Alle Testiere (pg. 211), you would find stunning fresh and local seafood. There is history to discover and ancient legends to imagine  in your mind while walking amidst the historical ruins.

Rome, Italy
Rome, 2009

There are also cozy, if sometimes loud, Italian restaurants full of people bonding. laughing and shouting over food. Milan was where I tried my first heavenly plate of Saffron Risotto, also the speciality of Milan (Risotto alla Milanese). In Milan, there is Il Luogo Di Aimo E Nadia (pg. 209) with something so simple, yet beautiful as spaghetti with green onion and hot pepper sauce causes the restaurant to be booked up weeks in advance. 

Milan, Italy
Milan, 2009

The last time I went to New York City, I was dead set on trying 99 cent Pizza and some of the best cheap eats I could find. I promise, next time I will expand my horizons and try Le Bernardin (pg. 145), restaurant of trusty sidekick to Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert. And of course Momofuku Ko (pg. 171) gets a mention as well with dessert obviously from Milk Bar next door. 


Before I went to New York I asked someone for a restaurant recommendation and they said, "the Olive Garden in Times Square." I answered with a "what now?" They promised me the view was worth suffering through the Olive Garden. I am not convinced. I would rather try Kurumazushi (pg. 163) or Soto (pg. 175) with its sushi on par with Tokyo or the performance art of food at Alinea (pg. 177). 

New York City
New York, 2010

On my recent trip to the Western United States I made the mistake of only scheduling one day in San Francisco. Because of time restraints and wanting to see so many other things along the coast, I made an error in judgement. I really did leave my heart in San Francisco (and my stomach) because I need to go back. California is waiting and Arnold keeps asking me "When can you start?" Does he mean eating from the guidebook and trying some of the world's best restaurants?

San Francisco, 2013

Benu (pg. 181) is the book's pick for San Francisco with the perfect reflection of the area demonstrated by its Asian-influenced contemporary American cuisine. In California, there are also the famous picks of Chez Panisse (pg. 183) and The French Laundry (pg. 185) where "diners can expect no mere meal but a culinary performance, one with multiple acts [and] surprise encores." 

San Francisco

Next year, the plan of action is Japan and/or Australia. There are many, many options for some of the world's best food in Japan, as the majority of restaurants listed in the book are located there. I am so lucky to have visited all of these great places and I hope to go back to each one of them again someday. I also look forward to many more adventures--and many meals documented. 

The restaurants in the book are also listed online on foodie.com and Glam Media. Buy Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Worldwide: Selected by the World's Top Critics and Glam Media's Foodie Editors for your next traveling food adventure.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.

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