January 4, 2013 7:39 pm

Exclusive extract: Where chefs eat

What is Ferran Adrià’s favourite restaurant? Where does Heston Blumenthal like to splash out? Discover 50 places where the world’s best chefs dine
Interiors of Hereford Road

When they’re not dressed for work in chef whites and tocque, the masters of the kitchen, like anyone else, have to make choices about where to eat out, writes Natalie Whittle. But as insiders they’re better informed about - and arguably better placed to judge - the places that deserve to become their neighbourhood haunts, or high-end blowouts.

In Where Chefs Eat, a new book published by Phaidon this month, more than 400 of the world’s best culinary creatives give their recommendations: where they pitch up for a late-night supper, the restaurants they wish they’d opened, where they would be prepared to travel. And wherever they end up, we trust it will reflect their own good taste: be it a backstreet noodle joint or a mountain-top Michelin-starred eyrie.

In this exclusive extract, some of the world’s top chefs share their tips, including: Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, Daniel Boulud, Sean Brock, Yves Camdeborde, David Chang, Ollie Dabbous, Stephen Harris, Shaun Hill, Virgilio Martinez, Réné Redzepi, Marcus Samuelsson and Gencay Ucok.

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FERRAN ADRIÀ (Changed the course of haute cusine with elBulli; plans to continue this work with the elBulli Foundation)

The interiors of Dos Palillos

Dos Palillos

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: Carrer d’Elisabets 9, El Raval, Barcelona, 08001, Spain; Phone: +34 933040513; Website: http://www.dospalillos.com; Open: 2 days for lunch and 3 days for dinner. Closed Monday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Asian small plates

You’ve been executive chef at the most renowned restaurant on the planet for the best part of a decade – what do you do next? The answer for Albert Raurich, who ran the kitchen at elBulli from 1999 until 2007, is to open an Asian-inspired tapas bar.

Located beside the Casa Camper hotel (with a second branch at their Berlin hotel), Dos Palillos serves small plates in its no-nonsense front bar, where you perch perilously on plastic crates. Behind the bead curtain at the back lies a more formal, low-lit dining room with counter seating that offers a multi-coursed menu of Asian-Ibérian dishes.

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Rias de Galicia

Recommended for: High end

Address: Carrer Lleida 7, Poble Sec, Barcelona, 08004, Spain; Phone: +34 933300303; Website: http://www.riasdegalicia.com; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Galician-Seafood

The late 1980s/early 1990s time warp of a dining room aside, it’s hard to fault anything else bar the steepness of the bill at this Galician seafood specialist. Although, these days that’s the price of fish this rare. Aside from the vintage Joselito ham with which you can start your meal and the large range of cheeses with which you can finish, the only land food on offer is simply prepared suckling pig, kid and veal. Indulge in the lengthiest list of wacky and wonderful shellfish delicacies you’re ever likely to see this side of a high-end Tokyo sushi bar.

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HESTON BLUMENTHAL (Opened The Fat Duck in Bray in 1995; now owns The Hinds Head, The Crown and Dinner)

Beigel Bake

Recommended for: Late night

Address: 159 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London, E1 6SB, United Kingdom; Open: 7 days for 24 hours; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Bakery

Salt beef in Brick Lane – it could compete with any of the best in New York. – Heston Blumenthal

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Maliks Tandoori

Recommended for: Late night

Address: High Street, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, SL6 9SF, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 1628520085; Website: http://www.maliks.co.uk; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Indian + Pakistani

I think it’s the best Indian restaurant in the country – they win award after award every year. I don’t even order, I just let them send out stuff and try a bit of everything; it’s always brilliant. – Heston Blumenthal

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Restaurant Sat Bains

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: Lenton Lane, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, NG7 2SA, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 1159866566; Website: http://www.restaurantsatbains.com; Open: 5 days for dinner. Closed Monday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Formal; Food type: Modern British

One of the UK’s most gastronomically adventurous destination restaurants is unconventionally set on the industrial outskirts of Nottingham. A modern take on the old-fashioned concept of the husband-and-wife-run restaurant with rooms, Sat and Amanda Bains’s edgily located urban oasis is housed in a collection of renovated Victorian farm buildings that predate the panorama of pylons. Book a night in one of the eight rooms plus dinner at either the chef’s or the kitchen table – the former overlooking the main kitchen, the latter with your own personal chef – to get closer to the cutting-edge but playful cooking.

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Riva

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: 169 Church Road, Barnes, London, SW13 9HR, United Kingdom; Open: 6 days for lunch and 7 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Italian

Delivers excellent food and the great natural, relaxed feeling you want from a local place. – Heston Blumenthal

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The River Café

Recommended for: High end

Address: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9HA, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2073864200; Website: http://www.rivercafe.co.uk; Open: 7 days for lunch and 6 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Italian

Italian food made by Ruth Rogers and her team with the very best produce money can buy, assembled in neo-rustic style, served in a stylish modern glass-fronted canteen (originally an old oil storage facility before architect Richard Rogers got hold of it), down where the old Thames does flow. That’s been the River Café’s formula for success since it opened in 1988. Co-founder Rose Gray, who sadly passed away in 2010, would be pleased to see nothing has changed in her absence. Perfect setting meets perfect produce, meets educated service and a wine list, aside from the odd Champagne, that is all-Italian and runs from humble bottles to Super Tuscans ...

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The Wolseley

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: 160 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 9EB, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2074996996; Website: http://www.thewolseley.com; Open: 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Formal; Food type: European

Such is its overwhelming popularity as a breakfast venue, many of its loyal regulars never go to The Wolseley for either lunch or dinner, although it’s typically full for both. The lengthy morning menu is packed with comfort: crumpets, Cumberland sausage sandwiches, crispy bacon rolls, Eggs Benedict, fried haggis with duck eggs, Omelette Arnold Bennett and a fine selection of Viennese pastries – to name but a fraction of what’s on offer. But it’s also about the setting and the sumptuous space. Once the Piccadilly showroom for the old marque it’s named after, it’s now a sweeping grand café in the European style.

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Tsukiji Market

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0055, Japan; Website: http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp; Open: 7 days for breakfast and lunch; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Seafood

Get there for around 4.00am for the sashimi. – Heston Blumenthal

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Zuma

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: 5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DL, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2075841010; Website: http://www.zumarestaurant.com; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Formal; Food type: Japanese

It’s got an eclectic London crowd and the food is Japanese but you wouldn’t find it in Japan: only a city like London. It’s in its 10th year now and is as popular today as it was when it first opened. That’s an incredible achievement and Rainer Becker is an incredible visionary. – Heston Blumenthal

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DANIEL BOULUD (founded his Manhattan-based empire with Daniel in 1993)

15 East

Recommended for: High end

Address: 15 East 15th Street, Union Square, Manhattan, NY, 10003, United States; Phone: +1 2126470015; Website: http://www.15eastrestaurant.com; Open: 5 days for lunch and 6 days for dinner. Closed Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Japanese

“Traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern perspective” is the concept behind this restaurant. The sushi bar is overseen by executive chef Masato Shimizu who, having apprenticed under sushi master Rikio Kugo in Tokyo, has collaborated with the owners of 15 East to create what New York Times critic Frank Bruni called “exemplary work”. Sit at the sushi bar for atmosphere and education – Shimizu is a character – rather than the more grown-up and spacious adjacent dining room. If it’s on the menu, try the exquisite Chu-too (a medium-fatty tuna) or the duo of Japanese red and golden eye snapper.

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Blue Ribbon Brasserie

Recommended for: Late night

Address: 97 Sullivan Street, SoHo, Manhattan, NY, 10012, United States; Phone: +1 2122740404; Website: http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com; Open: 7 days for dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Casual; Food type: American

It’s easy to forget that the original Soho outpost of what’s now an empire – a bakery brand, a Brooklyn bowling alley and a series of sushi bars, including one in Vegas – was once such a game changer. Now branded as the Blue Ribbon Brasserie, when it first opened back in 1992 it became a haven for restaurant industry types by insisting on keeping the same unsocial hours as they did. While the policy of only being able to book for tables of five and more frustrates a few, the seafood heavy menu of classy comfort food is still the business.

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Interiors of Peter Luger Steakhouse©Michael Scott Berman

Peter Luger Steakhouse

Recommended for: Local favourite

A burger served at Peter Luger Steakhouse©Michael Scott Berman

Address: 178 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, 11211, United States; Phone: +1 7183877400; Website: http://www.peterluger.com; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Steakhouse

There’s a brutal simplicity to the menu at Peter Luger’s when it comes to ordering your main course. Of course you’ll find a few other things on the menu but it’s the USDA Prime porterhouse, available for one, two, three or four, that most diners go for. After all, lamb chops can be found anywhere. Luger’s is not perfect – the dining room, despite its kitsch charm, could do with an update – but the steaks, and for that matter, the extra thick slices (rashers) of bacon – are to die for.

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SEAN BROCK (Reinvented Southern cooking with McCrady’s and Husk, both in Charleston, US)

Holeman & Finch Public House

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 2277 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA, 30309, United States; Phone: +1 4049481175; Website: http://www.holeman-finch.com; Open: 1 day for lunch and 6 days for dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Southern American

Really casual and the food is daring but still very Southern. They serve all the parts that make most people squirm, like testicles and brains, but they prepare it in a Southern context. Oh, and did I mention that they make the best cocktails ever? – Sean Brock

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YVES CAMDEBORDE (Paris veteran at the helm of Relais Saint-Germain and bistro Le Comptoir since 2005)

La Grenouillère

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: Rue de la Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, Nord Pas-de-Calais, 62170, France; Website: http://lagrenouillere.fr; Open: 4 days for lunch and 6 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Formal; Food type: Modern French

The Auberge de la Grenouillère opened as early as 1920 in the pretty village of Montreuil-Sur-Mer, a few miles from Le Touquet. It once specialised in dishes involving frogs but, at least since 2003 – when chef Alexandre Gauthier (then aged just twenty-three) took over the kitchen from his father – the cuisine has ranged far wider. Gauthier’s cooking is bold and vigorous: Norway lobster comes with vanilla and galangal, Licques pigeon with crisp asparagus, a whole baby squid with fig purée and chives. One of the best restaurants in this part of France.

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Le Baratin

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: 3 Rue Jouye-Rouve, Paris, 75020, France; Phone: +33 143493970; Open: 4 days for lunch and 5 days for dinner. Closed Sunday and Monday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: French Bistro

Raquel Carena and Philippe “Pinuche” Pinoteau have admirably ridden the wave of global fame and New York Times profiles to keep Le Baratin the way it has always been – a crammed, no-nonsense, local bistro with a splash of charm, plus slavish, personal devotion to the highest quality wine and ingredients. Chefs love revitalising their tired palates with Raquel’s motherly, delicate handling of fish and vegetables from Breton superstar Annie Bertin. She holds their awe and respect as much as the Passards and Ducasses for the dozens of remarkably inventive dishes that spring from her heart and tiny kitchen every day.

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L’Ami Jean

Recommended for: Wish I’d opened

Address: 27 Rue Malar, Paris, 75007, France; Phone: +33 147058689; Website: http://www.lamijean.fr; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: French Bistro

Stéphane Jégo’s pedigree (Christian Constant at the Crillon and Cambdeborde at La Régalade) and talent make it tough to get a place at L’Ami Jean’s famous farm table. Renowned for his roasts and braises, some of his meat dishes – like the Kobe Côté de boeuf or half-raw quail with head and beak intact – border on downright filthy. The decor is a bistro-punk layering of weird brown junk, in a room lit like a dentist’s surgery (office). But clients’ eyes are on their plates and, although prices are soaring, you get the feeling they’d gladly pay twice as much for another shot at Jégo’s mythical rice pudding.

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Interiors of Thoumieux©Stéphane de Bourgies

Thoumieux

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: 79 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, 75007, France; Phone: +33 0147054975; Website: http://www.thoumieux.fr; Open: 5 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: French Bistro

When wunderkind Thierry Costes (Café Etienne Marcel, Café Marly, Georges) teamed up with brazen ex-Crillon chef Jean-François Piège to transform this classic brasserie in the seventh arrondissement the locals grumbled and the critics sneered but everybody else flocked. When they subsequently opened the excellent chef’s table above the restaurant – instantly gaining two Michelin stars – revamped the rooms and Piège became a judge on French TV’s Top Chef, things got serious. Now that the place is deliciously dark, noisy and louche, no one really cares whether they can see their (comfort) food. Calamars à la carbonara, edgiest creme caramel with dainty langues de chat and stellar tastes are picked at by le beau monde.

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DAVID CHANG (Opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004 and now has five very different Manhattan outposts)

A view of Benu from outside its window

Benu

Recommended for: High end

Address: 22 Hawthorne Street, Soma, San Francisco, CA, 94105, United States; Phone: +1 4156854860; Website: http://www.benusf.com; Open: 5 days for dinner. Closed Monday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Casual; Food type: Asian-American

A bold monument to modernism, Benu is high-achiever Corey Lee’s first restaurant since leaving The French Laundry fold. Complex and thought-provoking, Lee’s dishes make light work of classic techniques, injecting Asian flavours into immaculate dishes. (Lee even designs the plates and bowls himself.) Gels and foams feature widely on the ambitious tasting menu, which changes daily but always begins with a thousand-year-old quail egg. Benu treads a fine line between high-concept cooking and customer satisfaction, yet Lee’s contemporaries are resoundingly gushing in their praise. Needless to say, innovation and exceptional craftsmanship comes at a price – you’ve been warned.

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Golden Century Seafood

Recommended for: Late night

Address: 393-399 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia; Phone: +61 292123901; Website: http://www.goldencentury.com.au; Open: 7 days for lunch until late; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Cantonese Seafood

The Cantonese seafood specialist that locals like to call the Golden C, which Sydney’s chefs make a habit of calling into late at night after work, is a clear cut above any other Chinese restaurants on Sussex Street – and arguably anywhere else in the city that does small-hours trade. The menu ranges from very affordable noodle dishes to a fantastic selection of live seafood. Insider tips from some of Sydney’s finest include: trying the greenlip abalone steamboat with noodles and tofu (the abalone sliced live) and asking for the Charles Leong menu, named after Momofuku Seiōbo’s sommelier-at-large.

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Great NY Noodletown

Recommended for: Late night

Address: 28 Bowery, Chinatown, Manhattan, NY, 10013, United States; Website: http://www.greatnynoodletown.com; Open: 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Chinese

This Chinatown classic delivers on the far from empty promise of its name. It’s true that service can be brisk – understandable since it’s open until 4.00am, making it a popular post-bar crawl, small hours spot for the well oiled and the weary. But the lengthy menu – which covers all the bases from congee to barbecue meats, via various poultry and seafood dishes, to a lengthy list of noodle soups – is good enough to warrant inspection in the cold and sober light of day. Particularly worthy of investigation is their soft-shell crab, in season from around May until about October.

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Kajitsu

Recommended for: Wish I’d opened

Address: 414 East ninth Street, East Village, Manhattan, NY, 10003, United States; Phone: +1 2122284873; Website: http://www.kajitsunyc.com; Open: 6 days for dinner. Closed Monday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Japanese Vegan

This evening-only, vegan-friendly, kaiseki-serving, East Village Japanese specialises in shojin ryori. Brought, in the 13th century, by Zen monks across China to Japan, where it was perfected – or rather brought closer to perfection – shojin ryori is all about celebrating seasonal vegetables. In twenty-first-century Manhattan this translates to a very Zen, twenty-eight-seat space that’s all wood, beige walls and stone floors, with colour and beauty provided by the tableware and the food itself. The multi-coursed menu changes every month, the only constant being a serving of soba noodles. A very enlightening experience regardless of whether you are vegan or not.

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Koji Sawada and staff

Sushi Sawada

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 5-9-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061, Japan; Phone: +81 335714711; Open: 6 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Sushi

Sushi master Koji Sawada’s seven-seater Tokyo sushi-ya is hidden down a quiet Ginza alley where its discreetly marked entrance is obvious only to those in the know. That hasn’t stopped Sushi Sawada becoming Tokyo’s most talked about sushi restaurant, thanks in part to the Michelin Guide anointing it with two stars and the ensuring, breathless, media coverage. The discreet, panelled room is only for the deepest of pockets but it’s arguably the definitive, reverential raw fish experience. Expect various types of sea urchin, otoro tuna ever so lightly grilled over charcoal, and miniature sushi masterpieces served directly on to the hinoki wood counter.

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OLLIE DABBOUS (Trained at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; became head chef of Texture in London before opening Dabbous in 2012)

Interiors of Hereford Road

Hereford Road

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: 3 Hereford Road, Westbourne Grove, London, W2 4AB, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2077271144; Website: http://www.herefordroad.org; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: British

The West London chapter of the school of St. John, Hereford Road first brought its gutsy, no-nonsense cooking built around British seasonal ingredients to nearby Notting Hill in 2007. Driven by hardworking chef-proprietor Tom Pemberton, formerly head chef of St. John Bread & Wine, it’s housed in a Victorian butcher’s shop, open kitchen in the window where the counter would have been, wrought ironwork on the ceiling above the red leather upholstered love seats. The daily changing menu delivers perfect simplicity, from whole fish and helpings of offal (variety of meats) to bowls of ice cream. Their set lunch remains one of London’s great bargains.

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Tayyabs

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: 83-89 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 1JU, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2072479543; Website: http://www.tayyabs.co.uk; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Pakistani

No one comes to Tayyabs for the ambience. Forty years after opening, E1’s worst-kept secret is more cut and thrust than ever, from the location round the back of Whitechapel High Street to the hour-plus queues (waiting lines) - and that’s with a reservation - and the ferocious noise levels. However, the Punjabi food – specifically the sizzling lamb chops and groaning mixed grill plate, as well as fresh-from-the-tandoor nan – makes it all worthwhile, especially with change from £20 ($32). Don’t get caught out by the BYO policy – bring an extra beer or two so you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink while you wait for a table.

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STEPHEN HARRIS (Transformed a run-down pub on the Kentish coast into The Sportsman, one of England’s most exciting destination restaurants)

Fäviken Magasinet

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: Fäviken 216, Järpen, Jämtland, 83005, Sweden; Phone: +46 64740177; Website: http://www.favikenmagasinet.se; Open: 4 days for dinner. Closed Monday, Tuesday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Modern Swedish

To say that Fäviken is worth the journey is high praise indeed when you consider that your destination is Järpen in the unspoilt northwest of Sweden, 750km (466 miles) north of Stockholm, well on your way towards the Arctic Circle. It’s run by farmer/forager/hunter/chef Magnus Nilsson, who transforms wild ingredients into an haute experience for only a handful of guests. Almost everything served at the strikingly intimate, twelve-seat, wood-panelled restaurant is collected, caught, hunted or grown on the vast estate that surrounds it. Show-stopping dishes include a charcoal-grilled moose thigh bone, sawn in half on a block in the dining room, and its marrow served.

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In De Wulf

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: Wulvestraat 1, Heuvelland, Dranouter, West Flanders, 8950, Belgium; Phone: +32 57445567; Website: http://www.indewulf.be; Open: 3 days for lunch and 5 days for dinner. Closed Monday and Tuesday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Casual; Food type: Belgian

Kobe Desramaults’ hideaway isn’t the most accessible of places, tucked away 160km (100 miles) north of the French-Belgian border, but you’ll be glad you tracked down this former farm turned restaurant with rooms. Its wild location is a suitable backdrop for what’s on offer: a procession of small dishes often made with unpronounceable ingredients (kerremelkstampers or Keiemtaler, anyone?) plucked from the farm’s environs. Hardened gastronomes will know the score – whelks balancing on pebbles, salads of foraged herbs and fennel pollen aplenty, all impeccably presented on a baffling array of dinnerware. Could this be Belgium’s answer to Noma? In a word, (whisper it) yes.

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SHAUN HILL (Put Gidleigh Park in Devon and the Merchant House in Ludlow on the map; nows runs the Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, south Wales)

Hibiscus

Recommended for: High end

Address: 29 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2PA, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2076292999; Website: http://www.hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk; Open: 6 days for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Modern French

It was a brave decision after seven successful years in rural Shropshire to move Hibiscus to metropolitan Mayfair. But since successfully transplanting Hibiscus from Ludlow to London back in 2007, Lyon-born Claude Bosi’s reputation as a purveyor of forward-thinking haute cuisine has soared and he’s had no reason to look back. The kitchen is discreetly hidden behind a set of swish sliding doors, which open on to an intimate oak-panelled dining room, where the focus is on polished service and Bosi’s ever-evolving modern French menus that trawl the British Isles for raw materials and the globe for inspiration.

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Maison Bertaux

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: 28 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 5DQ, United Kingdom; Website: http://www.maisonbertaux.com; Open: 7 days for breakfast until late; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Bakery-Café

This old Soho spot boasts of being London’s oldest patisserie, originally opened by Communards who, having fled Paris following the failure of the Fourth French Revolution, took refuge in cake. While it’s true that the service can be hit and miss, it never fails to be entertainingly theatrical. The French fancies and cream cakes, still baked daily on the premises, are a reliable source of calories and le café au lait “c’est bon”. Whether it’s from a window table at street level or out on the pavement (sidewalk), there are few better vantage points from which to watch Soho go by.

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Opera Tavern

Recommended for: Bargain

Address: 23 Catherine Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5JS, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2078363680; Website: http://www.operatavern.co.uk; Open: 7 days for lunch and 6 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Small plates

The youngest in a trio that includes Salt Yard and Dehesa, the Opera Tavern specialises in small Spanish and Italian plates accompanied by a wine list with a pleasingly extensive by-the-glass selection. If it paradoxically feels a bit more grown up than its older siblings, that’s probably because what was previously a spacious old Theatreland boozer has taken extremely well to its repurposing as a smart tapas operation. The street level bar and grill is laid out with lots of comfortable counter seating, while the first houses a notionally more formal dining room for those who prefer their tables and chairs.

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St. John Bar and Restaurant

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: 26 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4AY, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 2033018069; Website: http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com; Open: 6 days for lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: British

Arguably the most seminal London restaurant of the last twenty years, the original branch of St. John has barely changed since it opened back in 1994. The birthplace of Fergus Henderson’s famed “nose-to-tail” philosophy, the twice-daily changing menu is still tersely written, strictly seasonal and still likes to make use of bits of beast that Anglo-Saxon chefs used to throw away, until he made them fashionable. The other star is the Georgian building, an old smokehouse, its high ceilings, whitewashed walls and surfeit of natural light somehow managing to make it feel like nowhere else in London, and somewhere that couldn’t exist anywhere else.

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The Butcher’s Arms

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: Lime Street, Eldersfield, Worcestershire, England, GL19 4NX, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 1452840381; Website: http://www.thebutchersarms.net; Open: 6 days for lunch and 5 days for dinner. Closed Monday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Bar-Bistro

A superior food-peddling pub run by the young husband and wife team James and Elizabeth Winter, who oversee the kitchen and front of house respectively. It’s a pleasingly compact operation, the pub having only two rooms and the menu offering only five choices in each section. Word has got around and reservations are now compulsory for lunch and advisable for dinner. Despite that, they don’t, as is the inexplicable tendency for many pubs that go gastro, neglect keeping a decent beer list and, as a free house, are able to pull a fine selection of straight-from-the-cask real ales.

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The Hardwick

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: Old Raglan Road, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, NP7 9AA, United Kingdom; Phone: +44 1873854220; Website: http://www.thehardwick.co.uk; Open: 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Bar-Bistro

A London restaurant scene legend, chef Stephen Terry returned to his native Wales to take ownership of a pub called the Horse & Jockey on the outskirts of Abergavenny, the Monmouthshire market town famous for the Walnut Tree and the annual food festival it hosts each September. Reopened as the Hardwick four weeks after he first took it over in 2005, it has since grown into an award-winning restaurant with rooms. Terry’s unfussy menu makes the most of the best local ingredients, combining them with the good taste and technical ability with which he originally made his name.

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Virgilio Martinez

VIRGILIO MARTINEZ (Opened his celebrated Lima restaurant, Central, in 2010)

Canta Rana

Recommended for: Wish I’d opened

Address: Génova 101, Barranco, Lima, 04, Peru; Phone: +51 12477274; Open: 7 days for lunch and 5 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Seafood

A cebicheria in Barranco that serves just great ceviches. Friendly atmosphere and the location in that part of Lima is just amazing. – Virgilio Martinez

. . .

La Gran Fruta

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: Las Begonias 463, San Isidro, Lima, 27, Peru; Website: http://www.lagranfruta.com.pe; Open: 7 days for lunch and 6 days for dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Café

From humble beginnings as an itinerant street cart that hawked its juices around Lima, La Gran Fruta is now a success story, with branches that deliver across the Peruvian capital, including one at the airport. This branch in the city’s San Isidro district is arguably the best from which to enjoy its menu of freshly squeezed and blended juices, many made from exotic fruits that you won’t find anywhere but South America. Try cherimoya, a variety of custard apple native to the Andes, which tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple and strawberry. Or have an avocado juice with your coffee and well-stuffed Peruvian sandwich.

. . .

L’Astrance

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 4 Rue Beethoven, Paris, 75016, France; Phone: +33 14050844; Open: 4 days for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday, Saturday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Formal; Food type: Modern French

This small (but tall!), out of the way, airy, three-Michelin-starred restaurant is soaked in relaxed confidence, as is Pascal Barbot’s concise cooking. Root vegetables, flowers and herbs are very much the stars, sitting together raw, fermented and poached, or spiked with notes of smoke, citrus and pickle. Barbot rightly prides himself on the very careful pairing of wine with the tasting menu (for instance, Challans duck and raspberries, with a Gevrey Chambertin ‘Vieilles Vignes’ 2005) and, unlike many lazier grandes tables, here it would be a shame not to let yourself be guided from start to finish. You’re in good hands.

. . .

Sankuay

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: Enrique León García 114, Santa Catalina, La Victoria, Lima, 13, Peru; Phone: +51 14706217; Open: 6 days for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Seafood

Don’t turn up at Sankuay without a reservation. Not because it’s particularly grand – on the contrary, it’s a humble huarique (Peruvian slang for a speakeasy that specialises in a dish or two) – but you just won’t get past the doorman without one. The doorman is also the waiter and the busboy – in fact the only other member of staff working alongside the owner-chef, the Peruvian-Chinese Javier Wong. Nicknamed Chez Wong, inside it’s bare walls, a handful of tables, a primitive stove and a take-it-or-leave-it two courses of stunningly simple seafood – one a ceviche, the other wok-fried.

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RENÉ REDZEPI (Opened Noma in Copenhagen in 2004 with its Nordic-sourced agenda - and changed haute cuisine in Scandinavia and beyond for ever)

Le Chateaubriand

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 129 Avenue Parmentier, Paris, 75011, France; Phone: +33 0143574595; Open: 5 days for dinner. Closed Monday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: French Bistro

Sat on a sycamore-shaded avenue in Belleville, Le Chateaubriand occupies a handsome old bistro, its 1930s façade and interior largely unchanged. With its lack of airs and graces, championing of pungent natural wines and a take-it-or-leave-it five-course fixed price menu at dinner – there are those who don’t get why it’s created such a stir since opening in 2006. But that’s their loss, because the cooking, which keeps things as raw and unadulterated as possible while mixing French staples with less familiar foreign flavours, makes it clear why chef-owner Inaki Aizpitarte has become the poster boy for the “bistronomique” movement.

. . .

A dish served at Manfreds©Per-Anders Jörgensen

Manfreds & Vin

Recommended for: Bargain

Address: Jægersborggade 40, Nørrebro, Copenhagen, 2200, Denmark; Phone: +45 36966593; Website: http://www.manfreds.dk; Open: 2 days for breakfast and 6 days for dinner. Closed Monday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Nordic-European small plates

Run by the team behind Restaurant Relæ, which sits across the street, Manfreds & Vin began life as more of a takeaway (takeout) before morphing into a wine bar and casual dining room. They have a 200-strong list of natural wines, with the dozen or so selections by the glass available displayed on the blackboard behind the bar. Dishes are mostly tapas-sized and designed for sharing, whether you order from the short and snappy à la carte or go with one of their set menus. Come the weekend and brunch, their Eggs Benedict with apple slaw has its own fan club.

. . .

A dish being prepared at Relae©Per-Anders Jörgensen

Relæ

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: Jægersborggade 41, Nørrebro, Copenhagen, 2200, Denmark; Phone: +45 36966609; Website: http://www.restaurant-relae.dk; Open: 4 days for dinner. Closed Monday, Tuesday and Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Modern Nordic

Opened in 2010 by a pair of graduates from Noma, Copenhagen’s seminal culinary kingpin: its former head chef, the Sicilian-born, Danish-raised, Christian Puglisi, and Dane Kim Rossen, who worked there as a chef and waiter. Relæ sits in Copenhagen’s gentrifying but still colourful Nørrebro district, in the northwest of the city. The vibe is informal, the simply styled dining room with open kitchen, an exercise in clever Danish design, form perfectly meeting function in tables built with neat drawers that hold the table settings and menu. The cooking, expressed via a choice of two four-course options – one meat-free – remains seriously ambitious.

. . .

Schønnemann

Recommended for: Local favourite

Address: Hauser Plads 16, Indre By, Copenhagen, 1127, Denmark; Phone: +45 33120785; Website: http://www.restaurantschonnemann.dk; Open: 6 days for lunch. Closed Sunday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Casual; Food type: Danish

Proudly serving traditional smørrebrød (open sandwiches) since 1877, its dark wooden interior with gingham-draped tables is an essential stop for any right-thinking food tourist on a visit to the Danish capital. The organic meat, poultry and dairy used on the menu might be twenty-first century but the sand on the floor is a reminder of the 19th century, when it was warmed by charcoal burners and filled with farmers on their way back from delivering to the market. The sandwiches are huge; the aquavit (a favourite Danish alcoholic drink) list long. If in search of “New Nordic”, go elsewhere – this is a taste of old Copenhagen.

. . .

Coffee cups at Coffee Collective set against a world map©Maria Petersen

The Coffee Collective

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: Jægersborggade 10, Nørrebro, Copenhagen, 2200, Denmark; Website: http://www.coffeecollective.dk; Open: 7 days for brunch and 5 days for dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Café

The Dane’s take their coffee very seriously and the Coffee Collective in Nørrebro is widely regarded as probably Copenhagen’s very best caffeine dispensary, no small compliment in a city where the competition and the coffee is so strong. A micro-roastery run by an expert team of award-winning Danes – roasters, buyers and baristas – beans are sourced directly from farmers around the world, with sustainability and fair trade, as well as quality, at the top of the agenda. If you are a coffee geek you’ll be in heaven here: you’ll have to try very hard to find a better cream on your cuppa.

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MARCUS SAMUELSSON (Made his name at New York’s Aquavit before opening Red Rooster in Harlem in 2011)

Minetta Tavern

Recommended for: Worth the travel

Address: 113 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY, 10012, United States; Phone: +1 2124753850; Website: http://www.minettatavernny.com; Open: 5 days for lunch and 7 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Expensive; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: French

A Greenwich Village fixture since 1937, Keith McNally has breathed new life into the old joint, giving it the same sort of upscale French brasserie polish that served him so well at Balthazar. There was no bouncer on the door back in the day when the Beats hung out here, nor, I imagine, were banquettes trimmed in such crisp crimson leather. But enough of the original tavern’s features remain for it to retain its character. Add a menu that delivers gutsy Gallic comfort, such as truffled pork sausage and roasted bone marrow, and it’s not hard to see why the retooled Minetta has been such a hit.

. . .

Patisserie des Ambassades

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: 2200 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem, Manhattan, NY, 10026, United States; Website: http://www.patisseriedesambassades.com; Open: 7 days from breakfast until late; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Bakery-Café

A west African patisserie serving the best croissants and the playlist is always fun: Bob Marley, Mariah Carey and Phil Collins. It never changes. Sussudio blasting in the morning is a great wake-up call. – Marcus Samuelsson

. . .

Roberta’s

Recommended for: Wish I’d opened

Address: 261 Moore Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, 11206, United States; Website: http://www.robertaspizza.com; Open: 7 days for lunch and dinner, until late; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Italian

If when folk describe a place as “very Brooklyn” you don’t quite know what they mean, head to Roberta’s in Bushwick for a primer. The breeze-block frontage, concrete floors, tattooed waiting staff and obscure craft beers served in jam jars spell hipster heaven, as does this former garage’s predilection for foraged ingredients and crops from its own urban farm. Launched by former musicians in 2008, Roberta’s initially offered little more than its amusingly monikered, wood-fired pizzas such as Pablo Escarole and WTF, but brilliant, self-taught chef Carlo Mirarchi doesn’t just sling dough – his limited-edition tasting menus are now much in demand.

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GENÇAY ÜÇOK (Owns and cooks at Istanbul’s Meze by Lemon Tree)

Aynen Dürüm

Recommended for: Bargain

Address: Muhafazacilar 33, Grand Bazaar, Faith, Istanbul, 34126, Turkey; Open: 7 days for lunch; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Turkish

Sit on a tiny stool by the side of the market and enjoy adana durum (a spicy long meatball grilled on charcoal and wrapped in a smoking pitta bread), garnishes of pickles, grilled pepper, parsley, and radish served on a nylon sheet. – Gençay Üçok

. . .

Beyti

Recommended for: Wish I’d opened

Address: Orman Sokak 8, Florya, Bakirkoy, Istanbul, 34153, Turkey; Phone: +90 2126632990; Website: http://www.beyti.com; Open: 6 days for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Affordable; Style: Smart Casual; Food type: Turkish

This place is a food palace. Magnificent kebabs. These people really know how to work with meat. Sort of VIP fine dining feel. One of the cult restaurants of Istanbul which has been operating since 1940s. – Gençay Üçok

. . .

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Kale

Recommended for: Breakfast

Address: Yahya Kemal Caddesi 16, Rumeli hisar, Istanbul, 34470, Turkey; Website: http://www.kalecafe.com; Open: 7 days for brunch and 4 days for dinner; Reservations: No; Credit cards: Accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Turkish

Especially good on a sunny weekend morning for a long lazy, ceremonial Turkish breakfast while enjoying the views of the Bosphorus. Scrambled eggs with pastrami, fresh clotted cream with honey and lots of feta cheese to be accompanied with fresh tomatoes are musts. Avoid weekend noon times due to extreme crowds and traffic. – Gençay Üçok

. . .

Meşhur Tavaci Recep Usta

Recommended for: Regular neighbourhood

Address: Lavinya Sokak 2, Levent, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, 34330, Turkey; Phone: +90 2122800425; Website: http://www.tavacirecepusta.com; Open: 4 days for lunch and 7 days for dinner; Reservations: Yes; Credit cards: Not accepted; Price: Budget; Style: Casual; Food type: Turkish

Beautiful garden and superb service. You can often come across many Turkish celebrities here but among tourists it is not known at all. They do only lamb dishes. Sac tava, kuzu dolma and dried aubergines (eggplants) stuffed with seasonal pilaf and minced (ground) lamb are true wonders. – Gençay Üçok

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