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Top 5 Best Restaurants


jeffsreng
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I'm not a gourmand. I was in Maido in Peru http://www.maido.pe/ , which is No.8 according to this list: https://www.theworlds50best.com/list/1-50-winners

It was OK, nice, but nothing special really. There's quite a few non-listed restaurants that I would prefer both food-wise and price-wise (see my New Orleans recommendations for example). Though clearly Peru prices are way better than most of the others on this list.

 

 

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Top Five Best Restaurants in no particular order:

 

Osteria Francescana | Modena, Italy

 

El Celler de Can Roca | Girona, Spain

 

Eleven Madison Park | New York

 

Central | Lima, Peru

 

Noma | Copenhagen

 

Depends on what you perceive as "best"?  Best at creating artistic dishes that entice the palate...then perhaps.  I've been to plenty of high-end restaurants, and plenty of "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants...and I have to say that many of the quality "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants have more robust flavours that the "high-end" restaurants can only aspire to create.

 

Then there are those people who simply want what they like and want it cooked the same each time.  If you've ever been to Gorat's, you aren't going to walk away thinking "wow, that was the best restaurant I've ever been too, where the food was terrific and the service wonderful!"  But that's how Warren Buffett feels every time he walks out.

 

And then if you are like me, and walk out of a high-end restaurant still hungry after spending $300-$400 on dinner for two people...well you know that "best" doesn't necessarily mean "best!"  Five Guys anyone?  Cheers!

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Depends on what you perceive as "best"?  Best at creating artistic dishes that entice the palate...then perhaps.  I've been to plenty of high-end restaurants, and plenty of "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants...and I have to say that many of the quality "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants have more robust flavours that the "high-end" restaurants can only aspire to create.

 

It's perhaps true that a "hole-in-the-wall" can have better food than a run-of-the-mill high-end restaurant. But these elite restaurants get there because they meet exceptionally high standards of service, artistry, flavour, and experience.

 

Obviously, some people have different tastes. You need to have a palate for French-style small-plate cooking to really appreciate most of these restaurants. If you are someone who just wants a big steak or bowl of pasta, you are wasting everyone's time by going to one of these restaurants.

 

Disclosure: I haven't been to any of these top 5. The highest I've been to is Alinea in Chicago. But objectively, it is the "best" restaurant I have ever been to. And my experience there was certainly worth more than 100 trips to Five Guys. BTW, I find Five Guys burgers essentially flavorless (the fries are good).

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I think I agree with KCLarkin on:

You need to have a palate for French-style small-plate cooking to really appreciate most of these restaurants.

 

Which I don't. So I think I mostly gave up on trying the top-X restaurants. I might want to try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiro_Dreams_of_Sushi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyabashi_Jiro though likely I won't ever make an effort to book it half-year in advance and then book a trip to Tokyo for same date.  ::)

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You guys are a-holes for having this thread.  I'm going to waste so much time on this.

 

This might be better use of time than some of the investment (??) threads you know.  8)

 

Yeah, probably true. FWIW I've never been there, but this restaurant in Spain (Asador Etxebarri) where they cook everything on the grill has been on my wish list ever since I read about it.

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You guys are a-holes for having this thread.  I'm going to waste so much time on this.

 

This might be better use of time than some of the investment (??) threads you know.  8)

 

Yeah, probably true. FWIW I've never been there, but this restaurant in Spain (Asador Etxebarri) where they cook everything on the grill has been on my wish list ever since I read about it.

 

Chef's table on Netflix is great.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chef%27s_Table

 

There is an uncanny similarity between emerging fund managers and those guys profiled.  They are intensely dedicated to their craft.  Their restaurants almost failed before they get their 2/3 stars.  And the 2-3 star restaurants are probably less profitable than I have originally envisioned. 

 

I particularly self identify with Anexandre Couillon (La Amrine in France).  Couillon means moron in French (turd according to Google translate).  No body cared about his craft for years until a Michelin diner gave him a star.  That obscurity lasted 7 years. 

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Best restaurant is also situational

 

There are days when you are just craving for a salty fatty bowl of ramen on a cold winter day

There are days when you are traveling along the east coast and you just want a bowl of mussels and a lobster roll (foie gras doesn't really cut it)

When you want to be dressed up for a special occasion, then yes a 3 Michelin star restaurant experience would be great

 

There's also the evolution of palates, when I was 18, I have woken up and ate a bloody steak for breakfast.  Basically red meat was a must for lunches and dinners. 

 

As I have gotten older, I appreciate seafood and vegetables much more.  I also appreciate what goes into a 3 Michelin star restaurant's preparation much more.  When I was 18, I would've said, I still feel hungry after a tasting menu.  At my age today, I would note on how the chef prepared the fish.  Each plate and each bite is the result of a chef's creativity and their execution. 

 

For those of you that want to follow this more

 

There's a Netflix documentary called Foodies.  I follow Aiste on Instagram now.  BTW, my admiration for TV chefs have gone way down in the last 10 years. 

 

Steve Plotnicki has an interesting list for ranking restaurants

Andy Hayler has eaten at all the 3 Michelin star restaurants

 

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Writser - me too, then I went.  It really is in the middle of nowhere!

 

I'd love to say it was the best experience of my life... to be honest, the food WAS great, but when I was there, I found the place pretty vibe-less (an occasional danger at high-end places), though not because it was overly-formal, it was just a bit quiet, and the room's pretty plain.  It was a few years ago, so there's probably stuff I've forgotten.  I'm thrilled I've been, so I don't have to wonder, and for bragging rights (!) but as an overall experience it was not the best, you need more than just great food.

 

Incidentally, presumably because it's such a compelling story, I'm coming across a few more restaurants that are doing the cooking over wood thing.

 

Overall my feeling about favourite restaurants is what a body-art guy said when asked what their favourite tattoo was.

 

The next one.

 

 

 

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I'll tell you...food is one of my favorite things to spend money on. Cars, clothes, etc...I don't really care. But damn do I love food (this is the fat Italian kid in me talking).

 

I would say, some of the 3 star spots that have had 3 stars for a while...they can be disappointing. Per Se served me a piece of salmon that may have been a salt lick. After you've gone to the established places, I find there's more joy in checking out 1 or 2 star spots that are fighting for that next star, or places that are working for their first star. IMHO these are the people trying a bit harder and putting out good stuff while being really creative.

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I'll tell you...food is one of my favorite things to spend money on. Cars, clothes, etc...I don't really care. But damn do I love food (this is the fat Italian kid in me talking).

 

I would say, some of the 3 star spots that have had 3 stars for a while...they can be disappointing. Per Se served me a piece of salmon that may have been a salt lick. After you've gone to the established places, I find there's more joy in checking out 1 or 2 star spots that are fighting for that next star, or places that are working for their first star. IMHO these are the people trying a bit harder and putting out good stuff while being really creative.

 

So what are those 1 and 2 stars that are fighting for their stars?

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You're in NYC right? Jungsik, Junoon, Blue Hill/Stone Barns, Dovetail were all really good IMO. Jungsik was especially good I thought. Aska I wasn't totally crazy about. Want to try Aquavit. Always helps chatting up the som or bartender, you can get some industry recommendations that are usually good.

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Haven't been there in a while but Southern Hospitality in NYC was always a favorite. Hunt & Fish Club is my wife's favorite; food is great, the atmosphere is cool and you always run into famous people. I'm a burger and Bud Lite guy though so not my first choice. Never had a bad time though.

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You're in NYC right? Jungsik, Junoon, Blue Hill/Stone Barns, Dovetail were all really good IMO. Jungsik was especially good I thought. Aska I wasn't totally crazy about. Want to try Aquavit. Always helps chatting up the som or bartender, you can get some industry recommendations that are usually good.

 

Thanks for the list LC.  It's funny how many similarities there are between Italians and Asian families.  Both cultures get it when it comes to food.  I was going to buy a dozen of roses for my wife and she yelled at me and told me that's a five guy burger and a side of fries there.  And she's like 120 pounds.  We don't bat an eye for buying $200-300 worth of groceries for the week.  The other interesting observation of Asians and Italians is the way we eat.  Most of the time, people order their own food and eat off their own plate.  Italian and Asian cultures place all the food in the middle of the table and people share it together.  The communal element is strong.  I wonder how much of that extends to people's personalities and how they behave.  Let's not forget the massive amount of shellfish that we eat.  My best friend's wife is Italian and we went to their house for Christmas eve fish dinner.  It was an awesome experience with octopus salad, lobster tails, crab legs, baked clams.  Out of all of that, the baked clams made by the father is the best dish. 

 

Btw, Clinton Baking Factory is the best brunch spot in NYC imo.  Does it feel weird paying $70-100 for two people to have eggs, pancakes, and coffee?  At high level, yes, very weird.  But it's worth the 1-2 hour wait. 

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The other interesting observation of Asians and Italians is the way we eat.  Most of the time, people order their own food and eat off their own plate.  Italian and Asian cultures place all the food in the middle of the table and people share it together

 

Agreed an sharing vs eating your one plate. Sharing isn’t common where I am doing from, but I rather prefer it now, since I learned it from my wife’s family. Long Island is a Bit of a drag in culinary terms as it just lacks diversity. There are some decent Asian places, gastropubs, but mostly it’s just an over abundance of way too heavily Italian food, they isn’t really like the real stuff in Italy, as far as ai remember. I did find some perfectly preserved retro (unintentionally, I presume) German restaurants here, that are far better than anything there is on the left coast, as well as some German butcheries, which make a perfect Sauerbraten. The diversity in food generally follows the diversity of people moving and living there and Long Island as this point isn’t very diverse yet.

 

FWIW, I have found most of the great hole in the wall places via Yelp actually.

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Italian and Asian cultures place all the food in the middle of the table and people share it together.  The communal element is strong.

 

It's the best way to eat! Order a bunch of stuff and everyone gets to try it all. I'd rather a bunch of people order 10 things and have a 10 course meal than each person only order 2 or 3 things. More variety and more sharing!

 

Btw, Clinton Baking Factory is the best brunch spot in NYC imo.  Does it feel weird paying $70-100 for two people to have eggs, pancakes, and coffee?  At high level, yes, very weird.  But it's worth the 1-2 hour wait.

Sweet, I'll check it out next time I'm in town!

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The Keg is a luxurious enough experience for me. That's fine dining for me. I like to think that I am getting back a little of what I pay for as an FFH shareholder :)

 

+1!  A decent New York strip cooked properly is as good as the best Wagyu or Kobe beef I've had.  The funny thing is, the best chefs in the world do not eat the dishes they dream up daily.  They actually prefer to eat more simple food, and they cook more simple food at home.  Cheers!

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