My Best Restaurant Experiences From Around the World (Part 2)
Let’s continue with our culinary journey! If you remember our last blog post (as seen here), I shared with you some of my most memorable meals in Cape Town, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. This time around, we are going to Hong Kong, Bali, Napa Valley, New York, Oslo and Cappadocia. I am grateful to have been able to try all these gastronomic delights from all over the world — because indeed, food is a big part of our life and it is what makes travelling more exciting and memorable!
So without further ado, allow me to share with you the second part of my best restaurant experiences from around the world:
Hong Kong: 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana is a tribute to all things Italian. It is located in the Landmark Alexandra Building, right in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central district.
It has been recognized by food lovers and critics alike. In fact, the 2016 Michelin Guide awards it with 3 Michelin Stars. (Actually, it is the only 3-Michelin starred Italian restaurant outside Italy!) The menu highlights the use of local and Italian flavors, which allow the fresh ingredients to shine.
Dining here is always a happy experience as I get to see and chat with the restaurant’s owner and celebrity chef himself, Umberto Bombana (seen here shaving my fresh truffles!) He is such a jolly man, and is known in the culinary world as the King of Truffles for being the first to bring Italian Truffles to Hong Kong. Naturally, truffles are always on his menu. I love his Black Truffles, Egg and Lobster (as seen in the photo) and his Black Truffle Ice Cream topped with gold leaf. Both are simply amazing!
I must commend the other desserts as well. There is this perfectly crisp puff pastry with wild strawberries and cream (and you all know how I can’t resist a good strawberry dessert!), served with a glass of vanilla panna cotta cream topped with even more wild strawberries, a strawberry sorbet and finally, a vanilla meringue. A luxurious and truly decadent strawberry concoction, if you ask me! (My other favorite strawberry desserts can be found here.)
* To read the rest of my story with this restaurant Otto y Mezzo, click here.
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Hong Kong: Bo Innovation
I admit that most of these restaurants are also some of the most difficult places to get a reservation in. But I say, the extra challenge is definitely worth it — especially when the eating part finally begins!
Such was the case when my friends and I were finally seated at a table at Bo Innovation, which we had to book a month in advance! The restaurant is known for its molecular take on Chinese cooking.
We got the Chef’s Table Menu, which is the longest menu offered with 14 courses, plus wine pairing. This kind of menu also means you get to seat at the Chef’s Table, which has the 6 most prized seats in the house, because they are right in front of their action-packed kitchen. We shared this enjoyable meal for three long hours (without any complaints)!
Bo Innovation’s bold and daring chef Chef Alvin Leung, known as the “Picasso of Chinese Food,” uses quite a very innovative spin on Chinese ingredients and flavors. His work has been recognized globally, as Bo Innovation has just received its 3 stars on the 2016 Michelin Guide and is No. 28 in San Pellegrino’s Asia’s Best Restaurants 2016 List.
* Read about our 14-course meal at Bo Innovation here.
Shop 13, 2/F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Hong Kong: Amber
A longtime restaurant favorite of mine in Hong Kong is Amber. This highly rated restaurant is all about creative French haute cuisine, with traditional technique that marries Asian ingredients. The restaurant is elegant and the food is as spectacular.
* I love Hong Kong as much as you do! Click here to find out why.
7/F The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong
In Ubud, we had lunch at Bridges, a nice, casual, fine dining restaurant that serves both international and Indonesian cuisine. It’s a very charming restaurant with food that’s rich and bold in flavor. We ordered from the Indonesian menu and enjoyed every single dish!
It’s an acclaimed restaurant, especially for those who want to know what good Indonesian fare is like. I must say, our meal here was one of the best meals I had in Bali!
* To read about my Bali high, click here.
Jalan Raya Campuhan, Ubud 80581, Indonesia
California: The French Laundry
Another “lucky” meal was at The French Laundry, an item on my bucket list that I was able to cross out not just once, but twice! But the second time around was purely by chance, as we had been waitlisted for two months already when we received a call that our reservation was confirmed due to a cancelation. We drove to Napa Valley for lunch (even if we wanted dinner), eager to claim an amazing experience.
It was, of course, culinary decadence. Every course was perfectly executed, every ingredient complemented one another, as each dish was amazing in its own way. The restaurant gave us the best and freshest produce of the season, all artfully placed on our plates.
The French Laundry is all about refined French-American cuisine. Its Chef Thomas Keller is known in the culinary world as the one who began the American fine dining revolution twenty years ago (and the celebrity chef cult status that came with it). It has received 3 Stars from the 2016 Michelin Guide.
* Get to know more about this legendary restaurant here.
6640 Washington st., Yountville, California 94599
New York City: Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park is a beautiful restaurant with great food and impeccable service. During our last trip to New York, we sought it out for dinner and enjoyed the playful dishes and interactive presentation.
The man behind Eleven Madison Park is Swiss chef Daniel Humm, who was just given the Chef”s Choice Award 2015 (San Pellegrino’s Best Restaurants). He was recognized for the creative ways he delights his customers when he pushes the boundaries of modern cooking. The restaurant itself ranks highly on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurant (No. 5) and is named as the Best Restaurant in North America. Meanwhile, the recently released Michelin Guide gives it 3 Michelin Stars.
* Read about my New York food tripping adventures here.
Amidst all the art and culture in cool Oslo is Maaemo, which serves a very impressive molecular cuisine with about 20 dishes or so in one sitting!
This Michelin- starred restaurant (3 stars), “builds around its local produce-driven cuisine with a focus on reflecting the changing seasons and the raw nature of Norway.”
We had a great time experiencing all these wonderfully creative dishes in such a cool and hip city, Oslo! Maaemo is No. 64 on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurant List and is a must-try culinary destination for the best in Norwegian flavors and top notch produce.
* Read about our explorations in the art-filled city of Oslo here.
Schweigaardsgate 15B, 0191 Oslo
Cappadocia: Seki Restaurant
Seki Restaurant is located inside the boutique hotel Argos, which is right in the heart of Cappadocia. It stands on the site of an ancient monastery in the Old Uçhisar Village.
This restaurant is highly recommended and we found it in a beautifully restored remain of an underground tunnel from a cave. Here, we had some of the most delicious Turkish dishes we’ve ever had.
Seki uses fresh local ingredients and contemporary cooking techniques to come up with unique flavors. The historical setting and the gastronomic experience make the entire meal truly unforgettable. Seki has its share of global accolades as well, most notably, the 2015 Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator .
* Do you know that Cappadocia has many cave rooms like this all over the city? Read about our trip here.
Uçhisar 50240 Nevşehir, Turkey
Let me know what your favorite restaurants are too! Share them here with me!
To read the Part 1 of My Best Restaurant Experiences From Around the World, click here.