Hickory, North Carolina’s Top Restaurants

The Hickory Metro restaurant landscape is rich in long-tenured offerings, but creative culinary prospectors regularly mine new gems for the region’s diners. Unique new additions to Hickory’s menu since 2015 breathe life into abandoned spaces to serve up choices for restaurant-goers of all tastes and budgets.


Fourk rekindled a stylish restaurant inside a site centrally located near neighborhoods surrounding Hickory’s downtown and Viewmont areas. Unexpected ingredients and combinations make the menu’s familiar American fare enticingly new. Portions are ample – entrees large enough to share on date night – and prices are comparable to Hickory’s other “upscale” options. Booths await romantic diners or business-minded professionals, and there’s enough space for group functions. A 10-foot tall water feature secludes a bar area where tenders earn praise for their advice on creative specialty drinks. Outdoor patio space welcomes during warm weather months, especially on “Mondays with a twist” when food and appetizer specials make the restaurant a destination for the after-work crowd. The restaurant’s position among Hickory’s locally owned restaurant fold makes it a destination worth exploring. Fourk’s attention to detail, fresh flavorful menu offerings, and friendly staff make it a place you’ll visit again.

The Fresh Depot

Situated in downtown Hickory’s busy Union Square, The Fresh Depot relies on fresh and organic ingredients often sourced as locally as the city’s nearby farmer’s market. Soups, salads, and sandwiches make this gastropub an affordable new downtown lunch option during the daily mid-day schedule. For the evening hours, a dinner menu is loaded with modestly priced entrees not found in neighboring dining options, including bison dogs, elk burgers, and other meat and vegetable selections. An on-site bakery overflows with fresh-baked bread and rolls, and the dessert cooler is filled with cakes and cupcakes alongside ever-present saucer-sized cinnamon rolls. Stop in and pick up a fresh-baked surprise from the front-of-the-house that’s usually open even between lunch and dinner schedules. Expect to find the owner and executive chef on-site, often coaching new culinary school graduates forging food service careers. Nestled inside the home of many failed restaurants, The Food Depot’s reliance on local produce – for both menu and staff – make it a venture that earns the diner support needed to give it a permanent place in downtown Hickory.

House of Nom Nom

House of Nom Nom replaces an abandoned sandwich shop with one-of-a-kind Asian fusion cuisine that combines American favorites with Pacific Rim flavors. The menu of burgers, wings, sandwiches, and salads is quickly prepared while diners wait in the small dining room or on the patio. Unique ingredients made on site, such as Korean Kimchi, guarantee that lunches and dinners are always fresh. Try a bubble tea smoothie – a Nom Nom hallmark that combines fruit smoothies with fruit jelly flavor balls. Centrally located in Hickory’s largest shopping district, House of Nom Nom offers both a perfect respite from the crowded mall and a great dinner choice ahead of movie night at the nearby theater. Family-owned and operated, Nom Nom’s friendly staff works hard to inspire first-time visitors to become regular guests in the house. Darken the doorway once and diners quickly discover why a growing Hickory fan base loves to call Nom Nom home.

Kickback Jack’s

Wholesale renovations to a site in Hickory’s restaurant row and commercial retail district created the city’s newest sports bar and grill. Situated near I-40, Kickback Jack’s is a convenient stop for passing motorists and a popular choice for regional residents. With a menu standard to the bar and grill restaurant scene, Kickback Jack’s doesn’t aim for surprises, and affordably priced familiar favorites help it score crowds – especially on the weekends. The bar boasts an enormous craft and domestic beer selection, as well as daily drink specials, and a large heated patio allows outdoor fun all year. Stop in on Wednesday night to show off your karaoke skills. High-definition TVs spreading wall-to-wall and sports memorabilia hanging from the rafters make this a great environment for the big game, while the restaurant’s quick service of universal menu items means it is a safe bet for any lunch or dinner.

Sacramento’s Top Restaurants

In Sacramento, remodeled 19th-century firehouses are some of the best places to grab a meal. However, in 2015, 32 new restaurants were opened or began construction in Sacramento, so if you are the type of restaurant patron who enjoys new experiences, it’s time to order your palette-cleansing beverage of choice and start sampling. For most of these restaurants, it is recommended to call and make a reservation in advance.

Empress Tavern

1013 K St Sac, CA 95814 | 916-662-7694 | empresstavern.com

Empress Tavern is the new restaurant located inside The Crest Theater. It has one of the highest ratings of all the new restaurants reviewed by The Sacramento Bee. Empress is also receiving raves on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor praising its knowledgeable and charming staff. Empress offers what is being called a “meat-centric” menu and has an extensive assortment of rare beer brews.

Fish Face

1104 R St Sac, CA 95811 | 916-706-0605 | fishfacepokebar.com

Sac News & Review gives Fish Face four 1/2 out of five stars. Foodies who enjoy the latest trends or who are tired of the bad service at Mikuni, may wish to try the fish poke style of cuisine that originally began in Hawaii. Fish Face is mainly a to-go bar. A customer chooses a salad size, selects their desired type of fish, and then adds one of the sauces.

Brasserie Capitale

1201 K St Sac, CA 95814 | 916-329-8033 | brasseriecapitale.com

Brasserie Capitale is receiving pretty decent reviews from the media critics and from the clients online as well. The Sacramento Bee notes the intricate delicacy of the desert selections, detailing the delicious, caramelized sweetness of the dessert they ordered, so delicious that even the extended wait time melted away in their mouths.

Iron Horse Tavern

1800 15th St Suite B Sac, CA 95811 | 916-448-4488 | ironhorsetavern.net

Iron Horse Tavern is one of the latest additions to the booming R St. corridor. The Sac News & Review states that Iron Horse Tavern is a little too much like TGIF, but the restaurant is earning enthusiastic reviews from clients for its innovative menu selections, like Asian Style Street Tacos, its friendly service, larger-size portions, and reasonable prices.

Cielito Lindo

3672 J St Sac, CA 95816 | 916-736-2506 | cielitolindo.us

Everybody likes a good comeback/rebuild story. Cielito Lindo is now more popular than ever, since its reopening after the fire that destroyed its previous location last year. The Sac News & Review advises not to let the casual atmosphere distract from the fine dining experience of the cuisine. The Sacramento Bee gives Cielito three stars for food and praises the outstanding service.

Unique Restaurants in Amsterdam

One of the great things about exploring a new city is the number of different restaurants there are to try. Amsterdam is no exception. It is a city packed full of great eats. If the restaurant environment is as important as the food itself, look no further than these five unique restaurants to experience in Amsterdam.

Restaurant De Kas

What was once home to the American Municipal Nursery has been transformed into one of the city’s best restaurants. De Kas restaurant and nursery are housed in a set of greenhouses that date back to 1926. Believing that food is best served fresh, all of the herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant’s dishes are grown on-site, and the remainder of the ingredients are locally sourced.

The great thing about dining at De Kas is that you never know what you’re going to get. The restaurant’s menu changes daily, built upon that day’s harvest. Depending on the weather, guests have the option to enjoy their meal in the breathtaking dining room or outside next to the herb garden.

REM Eiland

This restaurant may look like a sea rig, but that’s because it’s exactly what it was built for. The structure was built in the 1960s as a pirate radio and TV broadcast station but was shut down by the REM law (which the restaurant was named after) in 1964. Today, it has been converted to one of the most unique restaurants in the city.

Located 22 meters above the River IJ, REM Eiland invites guests to experience a meal with a view. In the warmer months, guests can dine and enjoy the breeze on the rooftop terrace that was once a helicopter landing pad. In the cooler months, guests can still enjoy the view, but from the warmth and comfort of the rigs dining hall. Not surprisingly, seats at REM Eiland fill quickly, so to ensure a seat with the best view reservations are recommended.


Would you be comfortable eating a dish without seeing it first? For the adventurous foodies, Ctaste should be high on your list of dining experiences in Amsterdam. Ctaste specializes in a new restaurant trend called ‘dining in the dark’.

What makes Ctaste unique, however, is not simply that you’re eating your meal in the dark; all of the restaurant’s servers are blind or visually impaired. Upon arriving at the restaurant, your party will choose their dishes in a lighted lounge area, before being led to the darkened dining room. Your server is specially trained to serve in the dark and is there to guide you through the evening and make sure that you, and your party, enjoy a meal that you won’t forget. If you’re looking for a dining experience that will heighten your senses, book your table at Ctaste today.

Canal Dinner Cruises

A canal dinner cruise is the best way to see the magical lights of Amsterdam. With a canal dinner cruise, you can enjoy a fine dining experience while slowly making your way through the city’s numerous canals. Lasting about 2.5 hours, your cruise begins with a celebratory glass of sparkling wine after which you will be served a 4-course meal prepared right in front of you by the in-house chef.

A dinner cruise isn’t just about the food, though. As you make your way past some of the city’s landmarks, the cruise tour guide will show pictures and explain the history behind what you’re seeing. For those not interested in a traditional walking tour, a canal dinner cruise offers a delicious and relaxing alternative.


Once a retired tram hall, De Foodhallen was reopened to the public in the form of a food hall. De Foodhallen is the Netherlands’ first indoor food market where you can enjoy food and drinks from numerous vendors all under one roof.

De Foodhallen is the perfect place to go if your party can’t decide on the type of food they want. With everything from burgers to seafood to traditional Dutch food, De Foodhallen offers something for every taste. Even if you just come for drinks, there are dedicated wine, beer, and spirit vendors there that are guaranteed to help you quench your thirst. Outside of the hall, you can also shop the stores of the hall’s permanent vendors or visit the weekend market where local artisans come and set up shop.

A warning to potential diners: After eating your way through this list of unique Amsterdam restaurants, you may never be happy with a traditional sit-down restaurant again!

The Best Sydney Restaurants For Most Spectacular Views

The city of Sydney is absolutely infatuated with food, celebrating celebrity chefs and creating incredible dining experiences for both locals and visitors. It should come as no surprise then that this city has capitalized on its natural asset, the incredible views it offers. Restaurants throughout the city have been built so diners can look out onto the Harbour, Opera House, beaches, and cityscape. From a revolving restaurant 47 floors up to one located a short ferry ride away; here are 8 Sydney restaurants with spectacular views.

8. Ormeggio at the Spit

This restaurant first opened its door in 2009 and has won too many awards to keep track of, making it not only one of the best restaurants in Sydney with a spectacular view, but also a spectacular menu and service team. The call themselves refined Italian dining and put a contemporary twist on traditional meals, taking things to a fine dining level. The restaurant is located inside the D’Albora Marina on the western side of The Spit, giving diners views of the impressive sunset over Middle Harbour.

Choose to dine either inside or out, both offering glimpses of the shimmering water and twinkling lights. Indulge in such menu items as carnaroli risotto, squid and mussel tagliolini and wagyu beef cheek. Rounded off by a wine list that features both local and international wines, there may be no better place to take in the sunset while eating a delicious meal than Ormeggio at the Spit.

Via Australian Sky

7. Aqua Dining

This elegant restaurant is located above the North Sydney Olympic Pool and offers stunning views of the impressive cityscape views in Sydney, with views that sweep from Luna Park to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The venue is both modern and minimalist, with plenty of room for dinners, parties, and weddings. The executive chef here uses the freshest Australian ingredients to create an incredible Italian menu. This fine-dining restaurant is tucked under the Harbour Bridge, so close to the water it feels like you are in the harbor itself.

Diners can look past the bridge and see the perfectly framed Sydney Opera House. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, the chef here offers 2, 3 or 4 courses which include items such as chicken liver agnolotti, pumpkin custard, and lamb rump. Make sure to save room for the rhubarb, beetroot & chicha morada sorbet.

Via www.aquadining.com.au

6. Jonah’s

It may be a 45-minute drive north of Sydney but locals have been heading here for years, to this incredible restaurant located high up on the cliffs of Whale Beach. This award-winning restaurant features a modern menu with French influences and includes favorites such as Sydney Rock Oysters and 500g Dry Rubbed Aged Beef Rib Eye. In all actuality, the only thing that can take your eyes off of the view is the food itself.

The pristine dining room features floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the sand, cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. If you feel like enjoying the outdoors, snag a seat on the more relaxed outdoor terrace balcony where lighter, grazing menu items are offered. Make sure to make a reservation and arrive before sunset to get the entire magical experience.

Via jonahs.com.au

5. O Bar and Dining

It is one of three revolving restaurants in the city and although many peg these restaurants as “touristy”, they do in fact offer the best 360-degree view of Sydney. O Bar and Dining is located 47 floors up and is both lofty and warm, offering patrons a fabulous bar and dining area. The creative cocktails are worth mentioning here and it is quite obvious that a spectacular team works behind the bar.

Whether you order off the menu or let the bartender choose, you certainly won’t be disappointed. The choice of entrees here range from fresh oysters to grilled steaks to hazelnut gelato and reach audiences from around the globe, blending ingredients from over the world in harmony. Don’t forget to look up at the stunning views of the Sydney Harbour as you slowly rotate by, taking in one of the best views of the city.

Via Venue – O Bar and Dining

4. Hugos Manly

It is hailed as having Sydney’s best pizza and this waterfront restaurant offers stunning views into Manly Wharf, looking back into the city. To get here, take a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay and although you will only be 5 miles from Sydney, you will feel as though you are in a different world. Weekends can be extra busy here and we suggest heading during the week if you are looking to have a peaceful dinner taking in the skyline that stretches east.

Choose to sit inside or out, although we suggest outside to enjoy the smells and breeze off the water. The menu here consists of favorites such as the choc hazelnut pizza with ricotta, banana, icing sugar and vanilla gelato, as well as the slow-roasted roast lamb with potato, feta, olives, capsicum, and onion and chili pizza. Whether you are after a couple incredible cocktails or a full sit down meal, don’t miss out on this Sydney gem.

Via Dimmi

3. Opera Kitchen

It would not be a complete list of restaurants with spectacular views without the Opera Kitchen on it, offering postcard-perfect views of the CBD skyline, Circular Quay, and Sydney Harbour Foreshore. Diners will be perched under the most famous sails in the world, in a collection of different tables, chairs, and dining settings. The atmosphere here is casual and relaxed, a nice break from the fancy fine-dining restaurants that often offer up the best views.

It has been dubbed a “fantasy food court” as there is truly something here for everyone, with over 60 creative dishes. Friends, families, theatergoers, and professionals are all welcome at this spot. Whether you are grabbing a bit before the theatre, having late night wine with your girlfriends or looking for a spot to take incredible pictures; this kitchen fits the bill.

Via Gets Ready

2. Café Sydney

It is renowned for its “million dollar” view, located on the rooftop of Customs House in Circular Quay and giving visitors spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. There are many places to choose from in terms of where to sit here, the breathtaking outdoor terrace, stunning cocktail lounge or the more relaxed indoor dining room. It also happens to be world-renowned for its incredibly fresh seafood menu, second to none in the city.

You will find professionals closing deals here, as well as beautifully dressed diners soaking up the view and people celebrating special occasions. This restaurant promises exceptional food, service and a creative wine menu, all designed with you in mind. Don’t miss out on trying the freshly shucked oysters, grilled swordfish and if you are with friends or family, make sure to indulge in the delectable seafood platter.

Via Sydney Cafes

1. Aria

This award-winning restaurant is located on the very edge of the Sydney Harbour, giving diners an incredible view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, two of the most sought-after landmarks in the city. This restaurant has been in business just about 15 years and has held strong in being one the “the” restaurants to eat at in the city. This iconic restaurant comes at a high price, although many will say that an experience here is most definitely worth it. The menu can be ordered in two, three or four courses and promises not to disappoint hungry patrons.

Make sure to try the pink snapper with mussels, sashimi of yellow fish tuna or the miso baked eggplant, all popular and delicious choices. As an added touch, the tables have all been so strategically placed diners almost feel as though they can reach out and touch the iconic landmarks they are looking at.

Via YouTube

The 9 Greatest Bars in the World

Narrowing down the greatest bars in the world is a tough feat, considering so many of them have managed to fly under the radar, guarding their locations and managing to keep them a secret. From hidden doors with doormen who usher you in quickly to dive bars that have retained their 1930’s charm to some of the most talented barkeeps and mixologists, these nine bars are considered some of the very best. Whether you dabble in cocktails, drool over in-house-made infusions or simply want a place to meet with friends, make sure to check out some of the greatest bars in the world.

9. Milk Tiger Lounge, Calgary

While many don’t associate amazing cocktails bars with the city of Calgary, there is one hidden gem here called the Milk Tiger Lounge. This classic cocktail bar employs mixologists and bartenders with levels of expertise and dedication to the craft you won’t find anywhere else in the province. It’s a throwback to the days when people would slide into a seat at the bar, take off their fedora and chat with the bartender.

The drink list is littered with cocktails you only have heard of in black and white movies and even features the first cocktail to ever be invented in America- the Sazerac. A well-chosen wine menu, delicious appetizers and a passion for cocktails set this bar among the best in the world.

Via Robert Pashuk Architecture

8. The California Clipper, Chicago

The Clipper is an old bar from the 1930’s, complete with red leather, lots of wood and cash only. The old-school jukebox is heavy on Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline which patrons are free to control. It can sometimes be referred to as a dive bar, but the best of dive bars featuring a craft cocktail list that shares menu space with cheap beer in bottles and cans.

Expect to shimmy up on one of the leather bar stools, order a famous Brandy Crusta and watch the live band. Or order a refreshing Amaro Shaved Ice, a drink hard to find anywhere else. Come for one drink and stay for many as the lights are dim enough in here to make you stay all night.

Via Californiaclipper.com

7. Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans

It is a world-renowned cocktails bar in New Orleans and is not to be missed on any trip here. Interestingly enough it was originally a gentleman only bar during the days of the Cazenave family but today anyone is welcome here. There is an emphasis here on premium spirits, classic cocktails, and fine cigars.

The furnishings in here alone are incredible, both the bar and bar back were custom built in the late 1800’s. The staff is decked out in white tuxedos with black bow ties and the best barkeep in New Orleans, Chris Hannah calls this place home. We recommend going there and ordering an Old Fashioned, trust us.

Via arnaudsrestaurant.com

6. Eastern Standard Kitchen and Bar, Boston

The beautiful lounge is enough to make one want to visit this incredible bar, as it boasts the longest marble bar in the city, where exceptional bartenders make top-notch cocktails. One of the best reasons to visit this bar is their cocktail selection, as the bar team seems to view the drinking process as a conversation.

They craft their beverage selection carefully, and their specialty is creating classic cocktails that utilize in-house made vermouth, infusions, and bitters from around the world. The drink list won’t be the same here if you come in different seasons as it changes at least 4 times a year. As an added bonus the menu happens to be incredible and features such things as seared salmon and delicious burgers.

Via cntraveler.com

5. Angel’s Share, New York City

It is one of the classiest joints in the East Village, easily reached by an unmarked side door at the front of the Japanese Restaurant Village Yokocho. Many do not know about this bar and perhaps that is one reason why it is so incredible.

You are not allowed to stand around in this bar, nor bring any more than three of your closest friends, this is indeed one of the best places to bring a date. With a stellar view of Stuyvesant Square, bartenders in tuxedos and arguably the city’s best grasshoppers; this is the place to be. Go now, before everyone else finds out about it.

Via cntraveler.com

4. Green Russell, Denver

An amazing cocktail experience awaits visitors to the Green Russell in Denver, located in the underbelly of the most historic block in Denver. Visitors reach this bar by entering through a pie shop and through a swinging door. The bar is actually named for an 1850’s Colorado gold miner William Green Russell.

Inside the bar is styled as a Prohibition-era cocktail joint, featuring exposed brick, opulent chandeliers, plush armchairs and one playful telephone booth. Hand-crafted cocktails are the specialty here using a variety of house bitters, infusions, freshly squeezed juices and small-batch spirits. Appetizers and fresh pie are available to order daily and this is the ultimate bar for quiet conversation and a damn good cocktail.

via 10best.com

3. Hop Sing Laundromat, Philadelphia

Located in Philly’s Chinatown, one has to know where to look to find this incredible bar, (hint-look for the metal gated doorway on Race Street) and one has to be dressed to impress in order to gain access. Visitors get taken inside by a doorman to a vestibule where the floor is coated in pennies and sat down in a church pew where you must hand over your identification for inspection.

Once passing that test, you head inside where you will sample some of the city’s best cocktails and hopefully meet the owner who boasts very firm rules: no sneakers, no shorts, and no photos. Le, the owner claims to be from North Korea, although he is, in fact, Vietnamese by birth. Think about stepping into Hogwarts, pulling up a chair and sipping on one of the best cocktails you’ve ever had. Don’t believe us? Try it yourself, just make sure you don’t wear running shoes.

Via wheretraveler.com

2. Canon, Seattle

It is the pinnacle of Seattle cocktail culture and Jamie Boudreau has made this cocktail bar into something so over the top, it is absolutely incredible. Walking in, the dark upholstery and antique cash register will immediately catch your eye and whether you are in a suit and tie or plaid shirt and jeans, you immediately feel welcomed.

The bar is stained with Angostura bitters, the barrel-aged cocktails served in glass flasks and the drink menu features over 100 different concoctions. The bartenders are superb, managing to balance the hard job of crafting each cocktail to perfection while doing so in a timely manner to serve so many patrons rapidly. There is a beautiful and extensive, almost drool-worthy collection of liquor and if you are a whiskey fan, this bar does not disappoint.

Via The Whiskey Wash

1. 365 Tokyo, Las Vegas

Good luck getting into this member only bar in Las Vegas, a Japanese-inspired bar located on the second floor of Inspire. This bar seats just eight patrons in a tiny room that is walled in on three sides by limo-tinted glass. Guests here are greeted with a bow from the lead barmen and his assistant, along with a warm scented towel, glass of cucumber water and cocktail menu. Much of the experience here is up to the guests, as they can choose which ice they want, the base spirit and even mixing technique.

We aren’t just talking about shaken or stirred here though, these advanced techniques include frozen with liquid nitrogen, siphon-infused with botanicals or even smoked with your choice of wood. Luckily for those who don’t know this much as cocktails, you can leave it up to the bartender to choose for you. Memberships are hard to come by, but we suggest jumping if you ever have the chance to visit this bar

Via Las Vegas Weekly

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Foodies Unite. The list of the world’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2015 was just released. It seems that Europe has dominated once again this year with a slew of restaurants from France, Spain and Italy rounding out the top 50. There were some newcomers to the list this year as well, including one from Russia and the United States. Read on to discover why these 50 restaurants were named the best in the world for 2015, and maybe book some dinner reservations at one of these hot spots on your next trip.

50. The French Laundry -Yountville, CA, USA

For more than two decades the French Laundry has been serving up delicious French-American inspired cuisine and shows no sign of slowing down. One unique claim to fame is that no ingredient is ever repeated twice on the same menu. Visitors should expect dishes such as oysters and pearls here.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

49. Blue Hill at Stone Barns -Pocantico Hills, NY, USA

This is the first time this restaurant has been seen on this list but it certainly won’t be the last. With a farm to table outlook, this restaurant focuses on delivering locally sourced and grown food to diners. Diners won’t find any printed menus here; instead they are subject to a multi-taste menu which includes ever-changing dishes depending on the season.

Photo by: Blue Hill Farm
Photo by: Blue Hill Farm

48. Schloss Schauenstein -Furstenau, Switzerland

Romance meets exceptional cuisine here at this restaurant located in a castle in the Swiss Alps. Chef Andreas Caminada has been awarded three Michelin stars and is considered one of the best chefs in all of Europe. Modern French is the style of food and guests can expect simple and familiar ingredients bursting with aromas, textures and unbelievable flavor. The dining room with its grand marble floors and the extensive wine list make this an unforgettable experience.

Photo by: Andreas Caminada
Photo by: Andreas Caminada

47. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée -Paris, France

Alain Ducasse has outdone himself once again with this sparkling dining room and unique menu based around healthy eating. The concept here is a menu based on a trilogy of fish, vegetables and cereal; produce that has been caught or grown in a sustainable and organic environment. The stainless steel shells that create the tables, the sparking chandelier and the first-class intriguing menu gets this restaurant an A+.

Photo by: YouTube/Alain Ducasse
Photo by: YouTube/Alain Ducasse

46. Restaurant André -Singapore

Although this restaurant is only five years old, it has taken Singapore and the world by storm with its incredible menu, dining area and uniqueness. Patrons can expect eight courses which reflect Chef André Chiang’s multi-culinary experience. The restaurant is located in a former shop house in China Town and features unusual art pieces and slick service.

Photo by: Foodcations
Photo by: Foodcations

45. Relae -Copenhagen, Denmark

This certified organic restaurant focuses less on elegant service and more on exceptional local food. Diners here will pour their own wine and help themselves to the cutlery in the table drawers. Don’t let that fool you though, the daily changing menu will entice and excite your palette. Using three or four ingredients Chef Christian Puglisi draws on his Italian background and combines that with a New Nordic style of food, creating dishes that look deceptively simple.

Photo by: Tumblr/Relae
Photo by: Tumblr/Relae

44. Maido -Lima, Peru

This restaurant is where you will find the perfect execution of Nikkei food, a blend of Peruvian-Japanese culture. A relatively simple looking restaurant, the focus is on the food here; offering a simple Japanese menu or a 15-course Nikkei menu. Patrons can sit up at the bar to watch the talented chefs’ work as they create dishes such as grilled octopus and confit of guinea pig with molle pepper.

Photo by: Maido
Photo by: Maido

43. Tickets -Barcelona, Spain

Tickets is not just a restaurant but a complete dining experience with high cuisine innovations combined with a fun and exciting atmosphere. This cinema-themed operation serves up an amazing combination of modern Spanish style cuisine blended with flavors from all over the world. Patrons here enjoy letting the staff pick their meals for them, in an atmosphere than can only be described as unique and amazing. It is no surprise this restaurant has made the list.

Photo by: Tickets
Photo by: Tickets

42. Boragó -Santiago, Chile

The emphasis here is sustainable and seasonal dining and with both the Pacific Ocean and the Andes at their fingertips; the local ingredients are never ending. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán is known as a pioneer of Chilean cuisine and can be known to switch up the menu halfway through the evening depending on the availability of local ingredients. Expect Chilean native ingredients combined with the European culinary skill, to create an unforgettable dining experience.

Photo by: Boragó
Photo by: Boragó

41. Maní -Sao Paulo, Brazil

This husband and wife team has done a brilliant job creating a homey, welcoming dining experience that is known for serving exceptional cuisine. Brazilian Born Rizzo Redondo recently won the title of World’ Best Female Chef and continues to create food based on her home roots, combined with her husband’s Spanish influence. Expect to see dishes that feature the catch of the day, foie gras and home-made flours and jams.

Photo by: Mani Manioca
Photo by: Mani Manioca

40. Per Se -New York City, USA

Since it opened in 2004, this restaurant has been on this list every single year and shows no sign of slowing down. The dining room with its impressive floor to glass windows overlooking Central Park sets the stage for an innovative and sophisticated menu. Seasonal American ingredients are often expressed in dishes that draw on French Cuisine, such as 100-day aged beef accompanied by tongue pirogi and borscht.

Photo by: Per Se
Photo by: Per Se

39. Quique Dacosta -Denia, Spain

Chef Quique Dacosta is truly one of the leaders of avant-garde cuisine in Spain and stays true to his roots, using only ingredients that are locally sourced within 75-km from the restaurant. Each dish is truly a work of art and incorporates a mirage of colors. The tasting menus vary in size but some have up to 30 dishes to try; giving patrons the experience of an unforgettable multi-sensory experience.

Photo by: Eye on Spain
Photo by: Eye on Spain

38. Amber -Hong Kong, China

The impressive wine list of over 1,100 wines and the elegant chandelier that features 4,320 bronze rods set the atmosphere for this exquisite French cuisine combined with Asian ingredients. Fish arrives daily and the chef Richard Ekkebus loves to combine the Pacific seafood with flavors from around the world. The finest meats, the finest wine pairings by an award-winning sommelier and a gorgeous atmosphere make Amber the place to be in Hong Kong.

Photo by: Amber
Photo by: Amber

37. Biko -Mexico City, Mexico

A trio of chefs from different backgrounds are creating innovative and fun foods with a big focus on creativity. By combining Spanish and Mexican flavors, this trio is breaking down culinary barriers and highlighting once forgotten ingredients. Visitors should expect dishes such as a cauliflower truffled soup topped with radish pickles and olive spheres or foie gras candy floss.

Photo by: Biko
Photo by: Biko

36. L’Astrance -Paris, France

This tiny Paris restaurant combines French cuisine with Far East flavors such as lemon grass, jasmine and daikon. There is no set menu here and diners simply choose the number of courses they want and the rest is up to chef Pascal Barbot and his team who send out surprise dishes. The wine list is all encompassing, the dining room is chic and modern and the experience is truly once-in-a-lifetime.

Photo by: European Trips
Photo by: European Trips

35. Quintonil -Mexico City, Mexico

With a strong commitment on reducing the ecological footprint of its food combined with a desire to create dishes based on fresh seasonal ingredients and forgotten herbs and grains; Quintonil is taking Mexico City by storm. This restaurant focuses on indigenous produce and aims to highlight fruit and vegetables on the menu, not just for their taste but for their nutritional value as well. Chef Jorge Vallejo makes his debut on the list this year but we guess it won’t be the last time.

Photo by: Quintonil
Photo by: Quintonil

34. Le Calandre -Rubano, Italy

Chef Max Alajmo became the youngest person ever to win three Michelin stars back in 2002 and has since evolved Le Calandre into an excellent restaurant serving modern Italian cuisine. Guests have the choice of three menus here; a classic menu, a more modern take and one that is in-between the two. Diners can expect a level of Italian dining that is hard to find anywhere else with dishes such as extra virgin olive oil risotto with capers, coffee and rose.

Photo by: Le Calandre
Photo by: Le Calandre

33. Aqua -Wolfsburg, Germany

The location itself makes this an unusual and interesting place to eat; Aqua is located on the edge of a theme park right next to the Volkswagen factory. Chef Sven Elverfeld inspires the reinvention of German peasant food in a modern and more global theme. This open-minded kitchen turns out dishes such as fresh local cheese with onion, vinegar and dark malted bread to yellow fin mackerel with guacamole, smoked corn foam and black quinoa.

Photo by: Aqua
Photo by: Aqua

32. Attica -Melbourne, Australia

The location might throw you for a loop as Attica is located deep within the suburbs of Southern Melbourne, but rest assured visitors to this restaurant are in for an unforgettable dining experience. Australian native ingredients are found more often than not on the plates and chef Ben Shewry isn’t afraid to experiment with new meats and spices. Along with the exceptional cuisine, expect a high entertainment factor with visits out to the garden and entertaining service staff.

Photo by: Visit Melbourne
Photo by: Visit Melbourne

31. Restaurant Frantzén -Stockholm, Sweden

Known all over the world for its modern Scandinavian cooking, this restaurant features an open kitchen, seasonal produce grown in its gardens and a bright but intimate dining room. Chef Björn Frantzén designs the flavorful menus with not just taste in mind but presentation as well. The well known signature dish ‘satio tempestas’ changes daily and can contain more than 40 different seasonal vegetables cooked in a variety of ways; all from the garden on-site.

Photo by: Flickr/Frantzen
Photo by: Flickr/Frantzen

30. Vendôme -Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

Pushing the boundaries on traditional German cuisine has ensured that this restaurant get its name well known throughout the world. Drawing on French, Asian and New Nordic influences, Chef Joachim Wissler creates innovative dishes such as a two-part suckling pig dish complete with green and yellow curry sauces. Polished service, views overlooking the bay and a wine list with over 900 choices round out this incredible experience.

Photo by: Vendome
Photo by: Vendome

29. Nihonryori RyuGin -Tokyo, Japan

This intimate 18-seat restaurant looks to present seasonal ingredients through a traditional multi-course Japanese style menu; while introducing new and modern ideas. Patrons can expect dishes with seven different kinds of Japanese fish, complimented by a French leaning wine list. Chef Seiji Yamamoto creates the daily menus based on what is available at the morning markets and has created his own line of teas to compliment the food.

Photo by: RyuGin
Photo by: RyuGin

28. The Test Kitchen -Cape Town, South Africa

Rather than just a restaurant, The Test Kitchen is truly an experience packed full of imagination and artistic flair. The menus are a combination of international techniques, flavors and ingredients and more often than not the meals are turned into works of art. The massive open kitchen allows diners to be part of the process so expect the unexpected when you visit The Test Kitchen.

Photo by: The Test Kitchen
Photo by: The Test Kitchen

27. Piazza Duomo -Alba, Italy

Alba is known all over the world for its truffles and elegant wines and chef Enrico Crippa certainly makes full use of the surrounding natural resources. The approach here is modern Italian mixed with an influence of world-wide flavors and classics are often paired with more daring choices such as olives made with minced veal. The luxurious seasonal white truffle menu is a favorite here and gives the chef an outlet to highlight the region’s most famous export.

Photo by: Piazza Duomo
Photo by: Piazza Duomo

26. Alinea -Chicago, USA

This small Chicago restaurant is not only known for its unconventional approach to food but for its restaurant experience that is like no other. From mood lighting that changes the colors of the walls to expertly trained staff that can read tables and customers unlike any other in the industry, to edible balloons; patrons here will be in a world of delight. This truly personal experience will unfold in front of your over several hours and can only be described as truly remarkable and unforgettable.

Photo by: Alinea
Photo by: Alinea

25. Fäviken -Jarpen, Sweden

It is the world’s most isolated restaurant; Fäviken can only serve 12 diners a night and is only open 34 weeks of the year. The multi-course menu focuses on ingredients that can be forged, hunted or farmed on the 24,000 acre hunting estate in which the restaurant is housed on. Traditional farmhouse cooking techniques are put into place to create irresistible flavors and unique dishes such as scallop cooked over burning juniper branches. The dining room with its slabs of meat and wolf skins create a most memorable dining experience.

Photo by: 90Plus.com
Photo by: 90Plus.com

24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet -Shanghai, China

A trip here is certainly unlike any other restaurant experience out there. Guests are driven to Ultraviolet in a mini bus as the location is one of the best kept secrets in this city. Only 10 diners at a time are welcomed into a room with white walls, a white table and 10 white chairs. What follows is a dining experience where each dish is eaten with a different soundtrack and the walls and table are transformed with pictures and film. The 10 course meal is full of delicate but flavorful interesting combinations of flavors.

Photo by: UltraViolet
Photo by: UltraViolet

23. White Rabbit -Moscow, Russia

This Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant features outstanding views of the historic center of Moscow, along with an exceptional menu featuring modern Russian dishes with international inspiration. Chef Valdimir Mukhin focuses on blending Russian produce with luxury ingredients producing meals such as rabbit mini cabbage rolls in foie gras sauce with potato crisps and truffle juice.

Photo by: White Rabbit
Photo by: White Rabbit

22. Nahm -Bangkok, Thailand

Although this restaurant is located in a hotel, there is nothing standard about this dining room. While Chef David Thompson is from Australia, he has taken the Thai world by storm and become an expert at this multi-faceted cuisine. Expect a wide range of traditional Thai cooking here and a tasting menu that will knock your socks off. Thompson loves to play with flavors and spice and most likely the main meal will include something of high spice level. It may not take you hours to complete a meal here but guests will leave feeling like they just ate one of the best meals of their lives.

Photo by: Como Hotels
Photo by: Como Hotels

21. Le Chateaubriand -Paris, France

This restaurant has been a leading force in the revolution of bistros in Paris. Gone are the days of white table cloths and overly expensive meals, they have been replaced by more relaxed atmospheres and excellent cuisine at affordable prices. The no frills dining room, the fixed menu written on the blackboards and the chef’s colorful history set the stage for a perfect dining experience. The food is a combination of French, Asian and Latin America and the lineup changes daily.

Photo by: Marika Simon
Photo by:
Marika Simon

20. The Ledbury -London, UK

Although Chef Brett Graham originally hails from Newcastle Australia, you wouldn’t know it based on the menu that features the best of British produce along with local meats. The food here is refined, yet gutsy and the service impeccable which is why so many regulars appear to make this there favorite place to eat. One might even find out that the beautifully smoked venison on their plate was bagged by the chef himself.

Photo by: The Ledbury
Photo by: The Ledbury

19. Azurmendi -Larrabetzu, Spain

This dining experience starts when you arrive at the eco-friendly glass building and are immediately taken on a tour of the grounds, greenhouse and gardens. The open kitchen which leads to the dining room sets the stage for a memorable dinner. Chef Eneko Atxa loves to push boundaries and discover new innovative cooking techniques. Guest will experience food such as a truffled egg which is cooked inside out. Invigorating flavors, the utmost creativity and a passionate chef await visitors at Azurmendi.

Photo by: Azurmendi
Photo by: Azurmendi

18. Le Bernardin -New York City, USA

This restaurant was started in Paris in 1972, then it moved to New York in 1986 and has had the same famous head chef since 1994. Needless to say it has won numerous awards, been the favorite seafood restaurant of New York for decades and continues to amaze guests with its spectacular raw fish dishes. Traditional French cuisine meets skillful Japanese techniques in this example of extraordinary dining.

Photo by: Eric Ripert
Photo by: Eric Ripert

17. Arzak -San Sebastian, Spain

The father daughter team of Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina seem almost unstoppable in conquering the culinary world in this region that is full of creativity and fertility. Juan Mari Arzak is known for having pioneered modern Basque cuisine and they have combined local flavors with international sauces and compliments. Visitors here should expect a modern twist on all of their favorite local cuisine.

Photo by: Juan Mari Arzak
Photo by: Juan Mari Arzak

16. Pujol -Mexico City, Mexico

Pujol is consistently rated as one of the top 20 restaurants in the world and is known as the very best in Mexico. Determination to use native ingredients and modern cooking techniques create unusual flavors, while inventing new dishes and recreating the old has given this chef a leg up over others. The main focus here is the attention that is paid to making sure each and every last detail of a dish is perfect, and each flavor is exposed to its finest.

Photo by: Pujol
Photo by: Pujol

15. Steirereck -Vienna, Austria

Chef Heinz Reitbauer aims to create the very finest of contemporary Austrian cuisine in a relaxed, chic setting and he does so quite memorably. He is in fact known for his cutting edge techniques and using the finest ingredients from his hometown. Many of the ingredients actually come from his family’s own farmstead. Expect innovative dishes such as the freshwater Char cooked in beeswax with yellow carrot, pollen and sour cream.

Photo by: Steirereck
Photo by: Steirereck

14. Astrid y Gastón -Lima, Peru

This restaurant coexists with a bar, experimental herb garden and development kitchen in a deprived area of Lima but don’t let that stop you from visiting. Take a trip down memory lane with a menu that tells the story of each individual dish and how they relate to growing up in Peru. The dishes use ingredients from all over this rich diverse country and one certainly gets a taste of Peruvian history at this restaurant.

Photo by: Astrid y Gastón
Photo by: Astrid y Gastón

13. Asador Etxebarri -Atxonodo, Spain

Chefs flock from all over the world to see Chef Victor Arguinzoniz in action over his wood grill, as he is hailed as the founding father of creative barbecue in Europe. Ingredients here are simple and fresh, with many that have been grown, picked and butchered by the chef himself. Everything on the menu hits the wood grill and has the delicate taste of smoke throughout, creating a simple yet delicious and exceptional experience.

Photo by: Naoyuki Honda
Photo by: Naoyuki Honda

12. L’Arpège -Paris, France

This restaurant is taking vegetables to a whole new level and making them the forefront of an incredible menu. Think beetroot tartar instead of the traditional beef tartar and an emphasis on ingredients such as grapefruit, almonds and sweet peas. Considered a culinary genius, Chef Alain Passard creates sensational tasting food with a contemporary French feeling.

Photo by: Arpege
Photo by: Arpege

11. Mirazur -Menton, France

Perched on a hillside overlooking the sea with floor to ceiling glass windows, this restaurant is big on highlighting local seafood. Pairing that seafood with herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables that are grown in the garden to create exceptional dishes is the primary approach here. Innovating cooking techniques, artfully presented plates and a combination of French, Italian and Argentinean flavors make this dining experience amazing.

Photo by: Mirazur
Photo by: Mirazur

10. Gaggan -Bangkok, Thailand

Progressive Indian is the style of food here in this downtown Bangkok restaurant. The approach taken by Chef Gaggan Anand is to take street dishes and deconstruct them, creating new innovative menu items without losing the flavors. This restaurant also features liquid nitrogen, smoke and dehydrated ingredients to give additional texture and flavor to its dishes, as well as adding a little bit of dinner theater.

Photo by: Gaggan
Photo by: Gaggan

9. D.O.M -Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is one of the most expensive restaurants in Brazil but considering that many of the ingredients come from deep within the interior of the Amazon, that’s no surprise. Chef Alex Atala is known for searching out new ingredients and bringing them back to his restaurant for diners to try. The dining room is formal, yet relaxed and the emphasis here is on reshaping Brazilian food and convincing others to use the natural resources that are so plentiful.

Photo by: Luis Balboa Coñoen
Photo by: Luis Balboa Coñoen

8. Narisawa -Tokyo, Japan

This restaurant is truly a representation of the chef, the landscape and his love for the natural world. Although Japanese products are the focal point here, there is a strong influence of French cooking. Known internationally for being one of the best restaurants in the world, Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa takes great pride in his thoughtfully constructed food and wine list. It may be in fact the best place to appreciate the wine making of Japan.

Photo by: Narisawa
Photo by: Narisawa

7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal -London, UK

Less than five years old this restaurant has made leaps and bounds, becoming a restaurant that recreates British culinary history. Forgotten dishes are brought back to life and reinvented using modern cooking techniques and present day ingredients. The dining experience is not thwarted by theatrics or entertainment; instead they let the flavors speak for themselves.

Photo by: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Photo by: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

6. Mugaritz -San Sebastian, Spain

This dining experience is more of a journey through food rather than just a sit down restaurant with set menus. Guests here will experience 24 individually tailored courses based on their dietary needs and wants. It is not just the flavors here that are important to Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz but the smells and textures he provides in his dishes. Edible cutlery and centerpieces along with the breathtaking scenery from the small wooden dining room will only make the experience that much more unique.

Photo by: Mugaritz
Photo by: Mugaritz

5. Eleven Madison Park -New York City, USA

Walking into this restaurant one might think that it appears quite grand, formal and perhaps a bit stuffy but one would be wrong. It is indeed playful and interactive from the service to the food itself. Co-owners Daniel Humm and Will Guidara have done a remarkable job in running both the back and front of house in the best ways possible, thus creating an unforgettable dining experience. Tasting menu’s frequently feature New York’s agricultural bounty but this duo has been known to tailor dishes specific to each guest individually.

Photo by: Fresh Local and Best
Photo by: Fresh Local and Best

4. Central -Lima, Peru

This is a whole new dining experience as the chefs take guests on a vertical tour of Peru through food.  The tasting menu features ingredients sourced at various altitudes, starting from 25 meters below to 4,200 meters above sea level. Diners are faced with ingredients found and tasted nowhere else in the world as well as being treated to food grown in the urban gardens onsite. There is a true sense of dedication here to discovering new local ingredients and how to best use them in the dishes.

Photo by: Central
Photo by: Central

3. Noma -Copenhagen, Denmark

Noma has been open since 2003 and is hailed as one of the most influential restaurants of the century, and thus it is no surprise to see it at the top of this list. The focus here is creating dishes based on what’s in season and playing with techniques such as pickling and fermenting. The cuisine style appears to be more of an interpretation of Nordic food and Chef René Redzepi and his teams are known for their ability to assimilate culinary cultures other than their own.

Photo by: Wikipedia
Photo by: Wikipedia

2. Osteria Francescana -Modena, Italy

At 20 years old, this restaurant and its chef have nailed down impeccable service and food. Chef Massimo Bottura is internationally known around the world but remains true to his Italian roots in his cooking. The menu is loaded with Italian classics such as risotto cooked with veal jus, along with many classics that have a unique twist. Local, seasonal ingredients are used, the wine program is impeccable and the atmosphere sets the stage for a perfect dining experience.

Osteria Francescana
Photo by: Bucketlist Blog

1. El Celler de Can Roca -Girona, Spain

The trio of the Roca brothers who collectively run this restaurant have certainly not forgotten their humble roots. The dining experience in the glass-walled dining room complete with an innovative menu, delicious wine pairings and a soothing atmosphere makes this the number one restaurant in the world this year. Add in the fact that this team does everything to educate and inspire the team they lead through unusual initiatives, including a restaurant tour in 2014 across the Southern United States and Latin America; and it is easy to understand why they are number one.

Photo by: El Celler de Can Roca
Photo by: El Celler de Can Roca

8 Most Unique New York City Restaurants

New York is a city with its myriad cuisines and great culture from all the places around the world. Needless to say, the food has to be a top notch for all the cultures to survive and thrive in this great city. Following is a list of the best 8 unique and versatile restaurants of New York that everyone must check out:

1. Locanda Verde, Greenwich St

This restaurant has been in business for 3 strong years and even now, it is one of the best restaurants in the city that foodies swear by. The Italian restaurant is set in a rustic neighborhood and serves the best Italian food one could possibly hope for. Robert DeNiro is the owner, but the real star of the restaurant has to be Chef Andrew Carmellini.

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2. Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Doyers St

This Chinatown is 92 years old, and its reputation is something to be marveled at. If you want to visit a place that serves authentic and delicious dim sums in a comfortable dining room setting, this is the place to go. It is not only satisfying in its food and great menu but the restaurant is also affordable in the expensive city of New York.

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3. Balthazar Restaurant, Sprint St

The catchiest thing about the restaurant is the amazing building and the exquisite design. They serve traditional bistro food and you can have amazing breakfast as well as late night supper in this place. The pastries and bread come from its own bakery, and the wine list is exotic and extensive. There is also a raw seafood bar to try.

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4. Lure Fishbar

This is a versatile place to have meals and can be chosen for a quiet and romantic date or an official business meeting, such is the décor and atmosphere. The restaurant boasts of providing the best burgers of the city. The sushi is something to die for, and they also serve exquisite steak and seafood. Definitely a stop worth having if you enjoy good seafood.

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5. Il Buco Alimetari E Vineria, Great Jones St

Visit this place in the morning to enjoy fresh homemade breads and have a light breakfast with their gorgeous Italian pastries. For lunch, they have a great variety of pastas, sandwiches, and charcuterie. For dinner, the place serves great and traditionally rustic Italian meals. There is also a bar, which is usually bustling with activity.

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6. Perla, Minetta Lane

This is a fairly new restaurant and has been there for only a year. However, the chef Toscano is young and brimming with ideas, which makes this Italian place a winner. The pastas are exquisite and Michael Toscano’s huge pieces of meat are a treat for the taste buds. This place is best visited when you are with a group of friends and then, you can try the dry aged porterhouse and split the veal head between three people. The dining room provides a cozy and intimate setting where the service is charming and the food is terrific.

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7. Red Farm, Hudson St

This is a sweet and cozy Chinese place and is contemporary, which is why it has recently been attracting so much attention from New Yorkers and tourists alike. The dim sum of the chef is easily the newest and the most innovative thing the restaurant has to offer. Do try the playful “Pac man” dumplings and pastrami egg roll. The lamb dumplings are pan fried and delicious. In the mains, grilled Creekstone steak would set your taste buds on fire.

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8. Takashi, Hudson St

If you are a meat lover, close your eyes and walk into this amazing restaurant where adventurous foodies are going to have a ball. They offer the best steak that is cooked in front of you on electric grills. There is also a lot for offal lovers.

These restaurants are the best in New York and sum up the city’s great food culture pretty neatly.

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