The beginning of any new year offers us a chance to try and plan new experiences. While many of us would love to jump out of a plane or ride elephants down the horizon, the less daring can still be adventurous through the consummation of exotic food. Many view food as simply of source of nourishment and yet, experiencing new flavours, textures, and smells can be a whole new kind of adventure. There are a plethora of restaurants and eateries in the world, and just as many that claim to be extravagant and luxurious, but what makes a restaurant a luxury restaurant? An exceptional luxury restaurant offers a unique combination of expense, elite knowledge, and an exclusive palette that can hardly be found elsewhere.
Here is our list of top ten luxury restaurants, in no particular order, for the year 2014. Each restaurant offers a distinctive experience that will sure delight and enflame the senses.
10 Luke’s Dinning Room (Berkshire, England)
Located at the Sanctum of the Green, Luke’s Dinning Room opened its doors in March 2012. Luke’s Dinning Room offers a variety of food for different occasions, ranging from A La Carte to Lunch to Lounge and the dishes sound incredibly scrumptious. The Slow Cooked Herefordshire Beef, Crisp Fried Salmon and the Grandmother Inspired Sherry Trifle seem to be crowd favourites. Additionally, the prices are fairly reasonable; a Sunday lunch would cost a little over $30 per person for a three course meal.
What makes Luke’s Dinning Room exceptional is the head chef, nineteen year old Luke Thomas. As the head chef of Luke’s Dinning Room, Thomas is the youngest head chef in England. Having worked with some of the greatest UK chefs as well as working in Michelin starred restaurants; Thomas is no doubt on his way to bigger and better things.
9 Fäviken (Järpen, Sweden)
Specializing in Nordic cuisine, the head chef at Fäviken, Magnus Nilsson, creates a dining experience that encapsulates all of the senses. Using mostly locally produced items, the menu varies slightly depending on what is caught or stocked. Instead of emulating the techniques of other well renowned chefs, Nilsson focuses more on his instincts and visions, which provides a truly exceptional dining experience.
Along with their smoked beetroots, their most famous dish is the cow marrowbone with green sage salt, shaved carrots and cubed raw beef heart. The marrowbone is extracted on the dining room floor by the chefs who use a noisy two man saw. Dinner would cost a little over $250 per person for a day of dinner theatre
8 Chez Panisse (Berkeley, USA)
Opened in 1971, by Alice Waters and company, Chez Panisse, has made a great contribution to American cuisine. Waters is credited for the Californian style of cooking, particularly for her creation of the California Pizza. In addition, Chez Panisse has been ranked amongst the top 50 restaurants in the world until 2008 as well as receiving a Michelin star until 2009.
Like Fäviken, Chez Panisse uses locally produced items for their menu. By using local and organic materials, the menus change daily to fit what is in season. Every day, there is something new to try which is part of its charm. The more elaborate meals are on Friday and Saturday which cost $100 per person.
7 Per Se (Manhattan, USA)
On the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center is, according to some, New York City’s best restaurant, Per Se. The cuisine is a mix of American and French and it is owned by world renowned chef Thomas Keller. Opened in 2004, the restaurant currently holds three Michelin stars and has been amongst the top ten best restaurants for an extended period of time, for different publications.
Keller also owns another restaurant, The French Laundry in Napa Valley, whose kitchen is connected to Per Se’s by real time video feeds. The menu, at a fixed price of $295, offers two distinct menus: a nine course vegetable tasting menu or a nine course chef tasting menu.
6 Lab XXIV (Cheondam-Dong, South Korea)
Lab XXIV consists of European style cuisine with a South Korean mix. The head chef of the restaurant is Edward Kwon. Unknown to many westerners, Kwon is a huge celebrity chef in South Korea; he hosts his own television show called “Yes Chef”. Having worked in many luxury hotels in the United States, China and the Middle East, Kwon definitely knows how to make amazing food coupled with an amazing experience. Lab XXIV is small with a huge staff therefore every table to catered to their specific needs by their own personal chef.
Like Chez Panisse, Lab XXIV’s menu also changes but not as frequently. Every three months, patrons are graced with new flavours and new sensations, with no past dish every returning. For such an experience, the price is pretty modest, averaging at $100 for a dinner course.
5 Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Noma had reinvented the perception of Nordic cuisine when it first opened its doors in 2004. Rene Redzepi has consistently pushed the envelope, leading Noma to be crowned the best restaurant in the world three times over by Restaurant Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. While it did slide to the second spot in 2013,
Noma also has retained two stars from the Michelin guide. Nordic cuisine focuses more on plants and vegetables, instead of meats; however, the meal consists of 20 courses which are paired with either wines or juices. The food itself is exceptional and the wine or juice exquisite, but the pairing itself is what makes Noma famous. Reservations need to be made months in advance and an evening at Noma will set you back at least $300, excluding the wine or juice pairing.
4 D.O.M (São Paulo, Brazil)
Amongst being in the top ten restaurants in the world as well as being considered the best restaurant in South American for the last couple of years, D.O.M has earned its spot as a top luxury restaurant. Alex Atala dreamed of making use of Brazil’s finest ingredients and that is exactly what D.O.M offers. Using specific ingredients produced in Brazil, Atala is able to provide his patrons with a tour of Brazil through his dishes.
From local producers and farmers to the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest, the exotic dishes cannot be mirrored in any typical restaurant, regardless of its Michelin stars. D. O.M offers a variety of prices, but in order to immerse yourself in the full experience, the bill can run up much higher than $500. While you are there, be sure to try one of their most famous dishes: unseasoned ants on top of pineapples with lemongrass.
3 Le Louis XV (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
Le Louis XV serves exceptional French cuisine, with an Italian twist, under the management of Alain Ducasse. Ducasse is a world renowned chef, owning several restaurants with Michelin stars, including Le Louis XV, which has three. He has contributed to the refinement of French cuisine and elevated a diverse range of cooking techniques. Many other world renowned chefs have apprenticed under him as well as worked with him in Le Louis XV.
The décor is visually stunning with high rise chandeliers. An abundant amount of wait staff is available for your every need. The evening menu costs a little over $300 and the lamb, a patron favourite, is considered one of the juiciest in the world.
2 Bo Innovation (Hong Kong)
Opened by Alvin Leung, Bo Innovation showcases a type of cuisine that is particular to Leung, since he had invented it. Dubbing it ‘X-treme Chinese’, Leung is able to push the boundaries through fusion cuisine and molecular gastronomy. Bo Innovation currently holds three Michelin stars. While Bo Innovation may seem like your typical haut cuisine restaurant, its unique brand of cooking style and dishes make it amongst one of the most innovative in the world.
Leung’s cooking aims to push its patrons further and further. One of his signature dishes, and perhaps his most famous, is the “Sex on the Beach” featuring an edible condom, filled with honey and ham, on a beach of mushrooms. While the novelty of the dish is enough to perk interest, it is also noteworthy to mention that proceeds from that particular dish are given to the AIDS center.
1 1.The Fat Duck (Berkshire, England)
Another three starred Michelin restaurant, The Fat duck was opened by Heston Blumenthal in 1995. Using the principles of molecular gastronomy, Blumenthal and his chefs strive to create dishes that excite and confuse the senses of his patrons. With a staff of 42, each patron is specially attended by their specific chef.
The Fat Duck provides a tasting menu which costs approximately $320 per person. His most notable dishes are the egg and bacon ice cream, an Alice in Wonderland inspired mock turtle soup and a dish called “Sound of the Sea” which comes with an IPod of crashing waves. While parking is limited and reservation wait times are estimated at a minimum of two months, The Fat Duck is a luxury restaurant that should be visited at least once.
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