La Esquina is located just off Placa Catalunya, in Barcelona’s bustling city center. This recent addition to the local restaurant scene is fast establishing itself as a popular foodie haunt. Expect homemade pickles, house-smoked meats and fish and expertly mixed cocktails. The dishes are not your traditional Catalan fare but are all original recipes based on the best of local, seasonal produce. The venue is versatile and offers everything from a worker’s lunch (Menu del Día) to a sophisticated a la carte dinner to Sunday brunch (complete with some of the best bloody mary’s in town).
La Esquina, Passeig de Fabra i Puig, 296, Barcelona, Spain, +34 933 58 25 19
As Berlin slowly acclimatizes to its status as Europe’s cool kid, the restaurant scene, sadly lackluster even a few years ago, is finally starting to catch up. In 2015, the opening of Dottir, an Icelandic restaurant in Mitte, has come to define the year’s gastronomic story. Combining the now familiar tapas-style small plates approach with locally sourced and authentic Icelandic cuisine under the guidance of Iceland native and head chef Victoria Eliasdóttir, Dottir is firmly established as this year’s best restaurant opening in Berlin.
Dottir, Mittelstraße 41, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 330060760
Furlough is a restaurant and cocktail bar off Queen West. Small bites include hand-cut steak tartare, fresh shucked oysters, and lobster toast with pickled shallots and béarnaise sauce, while larger plates are straightforward and simple but pack a powerful punch in flavor — pan-seared trout with swiss chard, farro, walnuts, and apple, roasted pork chop with butternut squash, smoked apple butter, bourbon, maple, and maple bourbon mustard, and mushroom risotto with preserved lemon and parmesan. It is a small, hidden joint but with a speakeasy vibe and classic cocktails done right.
This October saw the opening of the Sethi siblings’ third London-based restaurant: Hoppers. Inspired by Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan street food, Hoppers offers a curated menu with the best hoppers and dosas in town. The interior is decked with traditional Sri Lankan decoration, such as devil masks, making this a true cultural experience.
This restaurant was opened by Chef Sugio Yamaguchi and sommelier Alexandre Philippe — winners of the 2015 Badoit Creation grant. Located in an atypical two-story pavilion in Paris‘ trendy Oberkampf neighborhood, the whole place charms everyone with its vintage brasserie atmosphere. The first floor serves as bar where you can order warm tapas accompanied by a wide selection of wines chosen meticulously by Alexandre and with a view that dives into their classy cave à vins. On the second floor, in an elegant and comfortable setting, the chef will propose his menu gastronomique that mixes high quality, local products.
Botanique, 71, rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75010, Paris, France, +33 1 47 00 27 80
Just off up-and-coming Toronto’s Dundas West, serving up innovative Canadian cuisine with a lumbjack-meets-woodsman flair is Antler Kitchen + Bar. Dishes include mountainous and gamey meats like the wild boar gyoza, venison Jamaican patty, braised rabbit on pappardelle and buttered leeks, spice ash-crusted rack of deer, and the ‘game burger’ — a mixture of wild boar, bison, and deer with a garlic aioli, house-smoked cheddar, and hot mustard.
Antler Kitchen + Bar, 1454 Dundas St West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 345 8300
Mano Rota is the restaurant of chef-patrons Bernard and Oswald, who trained together at Barcelona’s Hofmann culinary school. The concept is borrowed from the traditional ‘restaurante de barra,’ where guests would gather to eat around the bar. However, there’s not much else that is traditional about this innovative eatery. The dishes are creative, combining the traditional and the modern. The venue is stylish, elegant and always buzzing. Mano Rota opened its doors in January 2015 and rose to success almost immediately. Even the great Albert Adrià has already put in an appearance.
Mano Rota, C/ de la Creu Dels Molers, 4, Barcelona, Spain, +34 931 64 80 41
A healthy spin on fast food, this place looks super high tech and futuristic. You order from a wall-mounted iPad, and your food appears in a cubby in the wall with your initials on it. Eatsa is already super popular, especially in the professional sector.
New York’s celebrated Indian chef Floyd Cardoz has truly put India on a plate. Besides being overawed by the classic interiors, one feels a sense of vague nostalgia because of the importance given to plating, service and even music (which always somehow seems to be playing a 70’s Bollywood tune). You can’t leave here without trying the eggs kejriwal or the banana leaf roasted fish; trying their inventive cocktails is recommended too!
In 2015 Blixen introduced London to their new brasserie, cocktail bar and hangout place in E1. Whether you want to wine and dine in the garden or keep warm and dry indoors, this all year-round relaxed yet stylish setting serves up more than a storm. With all-day breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails, Blixen has something for everyone!
Blixen, 65A Brushfield St, London, UK, +44 20 7101 0093
Barcha is a new Mediterranean bistro by day and wine bar by night with Parisian flair, serving healthy, fresh, and satisfying dishes with Turkish, Tunisian, and Spanish influences among others. Adding a highly anticipated restaurant to the 425 Market Street building, Barcha offers table service inside and on the surrounding patio as well as a take-out window during lunchtime for simple boxed lunches to be enjoyed elsewhere.
Barcha, 28 Fremont St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 957 5463
Better known as a brunch spot, Peck 47 became a staple establishment in Brussels‘ foodie scene this year after opening its doors in 2014. Serving fresh dishes in a cozy atmosphere, Peck 47 is the place to be morning, noon and night.
Peck 47, Rue du Marché aux Poulets 47, Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 513 02 87
Yet another Asian restaurant, Pa Pa Ya‘s founder Zorawar Kalra says that the place aims to revolutionize not redefine Asian cuisine. Located at the plush Palladium mall, it currently serves Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and calls itself a modern Asian bistro and tapas bar.
Graduate of the Ferrandi school of French cuisine, Chef Maxim Godigna opened his first restaurant this year. Maxim proposes exquisite dishes based on fresh seasonal products and a menu that changes every week at very accessible prices. His cuisine is entirely inspired by classic French gastronomy, with a touch of experimental uniqueness! The atmosphere is equally friendly and tranquil.
Galia, 123 rue Didot, 75014, Paris, France, +33 9 83 38 08 18
Converted from a former chapel to a space for fine dining, The Jane made international headlines for its interior design and gastronomic menu. With modern stained-glass windows and an illuminated skull above the kitchen (naturally placed at the altar), this restaurant is becoming an established culinary refuge in Belgium.
Site ‘t Groen Kwartier, Paradeplein 1, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium, +32 3 808 44 65
Coco Frio is the fourth restaurant in the Mission district from Chef Manny Torres Gimenez, but his first restaurant completely dedicated to his native Venezuelan cuisine! The affordable, three-course prix-fixe menu and small bite options are centered on fresh seafood, highly seasonal produce and traditional Venezuelan flavors with the chef’s modern twists.
Coco Frio, 2937 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 375 1185
Bar Raval is the brainchild of popular Bar Isabel’s owner, and Toronto’s most talked about chef, Grant van Gameren. Seats line the wall, but guests are encouraged to mingle around the beer barrels throughout the room (standing room only in the evenings). Bar Ravel serves up Spanish pintxos in a casual setting along with craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine. Cocktails are highly recommended and use innovative spirits and liqueurs. Dishes include preserved or canned specialties like tuna belly or sardines in tomato, hand-cut meats and cheeses, and shareable tapas like chilled octopus, lamb sausage and beans, jamón and manchego, grilled pork belly, and adobo pork bocadillo.