Falstaff Restaurant of the Month
Restaurants are reviewed by our professional eaters.
© Nick Karvounis | Unsplash
L'ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON
Quai Wilson 37
1201 Genf, Switzerland
Chef Olivier Jean presents an extensive menu. Going all out à la carte will be pricy, but the three-course lunch menu only sets you back a reasonable 79 Swiss francs. This deal came with a great selection of bread plus an amuse bouche, a mackerel tart with a wafer-thin pastry base and wonderfully juicy topping. The main was a beef with Malabar pepper, kohlrabi and the legendary Robuchon mashed potatoes – the secret of which is an inordinate amount of butter, of course. Between the fish and the meat courses, we also opted for an intermission in the form of a large portion of foie gras au torchon, ordered Patrick Piuze Chablis and were delighted with our dessert of rice pudding with mango and kaffir lime.
Hythe Road, TN25 6NH Ashford
England, Great Britain
Koyla is owned by the family behind the Everest Inn restaurants, established spots in Hythe, Ashford and Blackheath, with this newest addition being Executive Chef Shanker Pandey’s modern interpretation of his Nepalese upbringing. The confidently short menu delivers dishes with nuance and subtlety, crackling with creative energy yet maintaining a balance and integrity to their Nepalese roots without freewheeling into self-indulgent ‘twists’: a clever combination of artistry and restraint.
The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant
The Glenturret Distillery
PH7 4HA Crieff, Scotland
Scotland’s oldest working distillery, The Glenturret (1763) was previously home to The Famous Grouse experience, once heralded by a huge copper grouse statue. It was acquired by Lalique Group and Dr. Hansjorg Wyss, owner of California’s Halter Ranch winery in spring 2019. The ensuing considered rejuvenation which sees a Michelin-starred dining room, deeply carpeted Lalique boutique, and five-star-hotel-grade whisky bar added, replete with a fireplace and jazz soundtrack, has transformed the premises into a destination now magnetising a clientele with more nous than Grouse.
66 Weston St, SE1 3QJ London
Maybe it was luck that pulled me in here – I later find out that Andanza means ‘fortune’ or ‘fate’ in Spanish – but a couple of small plates later I’m charmed enough to start plotting another visit. It all starts to make sense when I find out that Head Chef is Paulina Irzyk, formerly senior sous chef at the excellent London Basque hang-outs Donostia and Lurra, two fantastic Spanish resaurants from the same owner. A tiny open kitchen adds a homely bustle to the room, and each time I’m impressed with the quality and playfulness of the dishes coming out. The clever knack of appearing effortless is achieved impeccably here.
Attention to detail is all around, from the quality of the ‘picos’ bread sticks, several notches above the usual with more heft and artisanal grain flavour, the filtered clarity of the ice in their excellent gin and tonics, and the perfect char on the bread for the classic pan con tomate that carries a luscious smear of garlicky tomato pulp, soused with plenty of good olive oil – details matter, and they’re nailing them here.
2591 University Avenue
92104 San Diego
California, United States
In a hip and happening San Diego neighborhood lies Black Radish. As you enter the dining room, you are greeted by a custom art light fixture reminiscent of the roots of a mighty tree. The dark interior is tastefully highlighted by gold leaf art, exposed brick, and clever brass patches where holes had once been now adorn the original wood flooring. The overall vibe is classic French bistro meets Southern Californian.
Helmed by owner and chef, Itze Behar, the restaurant has been a welcome addition to North Park. Classically trained in French cuisine, Mexican by heritage, and a staunch Southern Californian, chef Behar creates dishes as diverse and storied as she is.
Falstaff Restaurant of the Week in 2021
122 E 7th St
NY 10009, New York
Enter Cadence, a quintessential East Village restaurant, offering soul food to warm and comfort our hearts and stomachs – that’s inspiringly, energizingly vegan; very helpful for all those new year good intentions. Cosy and invigorating in equal measure, it really is the dinner we need tonight.
Cadence is executive chef Shenarri Freeman’s first restaurant, and it has the aura of a passion project; deeply personal and committed. The menu focuses on Southern food, rooted in Freeman’s Virginia upbringing as well as in her vegan values. Worried that the smoked grits with mushrooms, tomatoes, rosemary and crispy garlic won’t taste as good without the butter? Set your mind at rest. They absolutely will.
Calle Pablo Ruiz Picasso 8
Rejoice, a restaurant with a wholly fitting name: Noor, meaning “light” in Arabic, takes a deep dive into the historic food culture of Al-Andalus, Moorish medieval Spain. Noor illuminates with a contemporary culinary and visual lens how it still permeates Andalusian cuisine.
Entering Noor, a new building in the modest Canero district of Cordoba where Morales grew up and his family run a chicken takeaway shop, feels like being cosseted in a sanctuary to gourmet exploration. Guests are transported “outside in” to a serene riad style patio with modernist zellij inspired floor tiles and Mudejar motifs picked up on the walls, the open kitchen, even the tableware and cutlery rests. Many of the motifs repeated in the presentation of the food are also inspired by Medina Azahara, the ruins of an Arab Muslim medieval palace on the outskirts of the city.
RED LION STODMARSH
CT3 4BA Canterbury
England, Great Britain
The creative collective of owners of The Red Lion describe themselves as an ‘unconventional dining pub’ cooking food ‘inspired by the wilds of Kent’ – this neatly sums up the ethos, although there’s also an alchemy going on between all the elements that make this place such a draw.
This is a pub to the very core of its DNA, with a dazzling sprinkle of magic from the kitchen, a riotous and playful celebration of Kentish ingredients – unique, quirky, joyful. It’s a true gem.
VINOTECA CENTRO STORICO
Via Roma 6, 12050 Serralunga D'Alba
Serralunga’s Centro Storico wine bar is a passion project, and Champagne is one of the things that makes the heart of its owner, Alessio Cighetti, beat a little faster. Cighetti’s vinous interests are not limited to Champagne alone. This tiny wine bar’s walls – as well as the pages of its list – are filled with bottles from local producers, wines from elsewhere in Italy and more than a decent selection of Burgundies and Rieslings and Rhone-style wines from elsewhere.
The food offering is, perhaps, a tad more restrained than the selection of wines. A short chalkboard menu lists a handful of choices per course. Some antipasti – we had grilled red peppers doused in a punchy bagna cauda – a few primi (don’t miss the tajarin with local truffles when they’re in season), some hand-sliced charcuterie, and two or three meaty main courses and desserts. This isn’t fussy food – more a homage to the Italian ideal of good-quality ingredients served simply.
86 Pine St
98101 Seattle, United States
Drawing a vast crowd, Chef Shiro Kashiba is Seattle’s grand sushi master and three-time James Beard nominee for outstanding chef. After honing his skills under the watchful eye of Jiro Ono, he set up his original restaurant Shiro´s in the Pacific Northwest. Instead of calling it a day after 20 years and resting on his laurels, Shiro came out of his semi-retirement to open this latest venture in the liveliest corner of Seattle.
He has fished and foraged in and around Puget Sound for decades, embodying the highest standard of shun [in season] philosophy. Another pillar of this culinary ethos is Edomae style where master sushi chefs – like Shiro Kashiba – and their teams carry on the tradition of intricate curing and marinating methods.
10 Sampson Street, Paternoster
7381 Paternoster, South Africa
Taking the cue from his wandering forbears, chef-patron Kobus van der Merwe is a gatherer. Most of the menu comes from within 10 kilometres of the restaurant. He and his team trawl the coastline daily, baskets in-hand. The dishes on the seven-course menu are adapted according to the weather and the season, led by the West Coast’s dramatic seasonal shift and endemic ingredients, much of which come from the Strandveld fynbos plant kingdom.
Van der Merwe has been likened to Nordic king of foraging, René Redzepi – for good reason: in the tiny gastronomic haven of Wolfgat, you’ll taste things you’ve never tasted before. It’s a restaurant that prefers to fly under the radar, though that hasn’t stopped its unique offering grabbing the world’s notice. It was named Restaurant of the Year at the The World Restaurant Awards in Paris in February 2019. This was quickly followed by being named The Best Restaurant in Africa 2021 when landing the 50th spot in the coveted The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
That’s a lot of attention for a 20-seater restaurant.
Orford Road, IP12 2PU Woodbridge
England, Great Britain
Apart from being UK Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide and it was this year’s highest climber in the UK Top 50 Gastro Pub list, very much in the top food-centric pub league. Fortuitously I found myself staying close-by and made a reservation, initially unaware of its recent roster of accolades.
The decor is sophisticated, yet warm and relatively informal, with a wood panelled central bar, inglenook fireplaces, beamed ceilings, fashionably deep blue painted walls crammed with an eclectic, even frankly surreal collection of pictures and prints. There is a wild boar’s head snarling from its home over one of the pub's fireplaces and a Micky Mouse brandishing the fat end of a cigar. A clear sign that all are welcome perhaps?
49-51 Curtain Road
EC2A 3PT London, Great Britain
I’ve been tracking chef/owner Chris Leach’s progression since first meeting him ten years ago at the trailblazing barbecue spot Pitt Cue, and most recently as Manteca was popping up as a temporary residency in a couple of London sites – now, together with co-owner David Carter of Smokestak, another temple to the glories of meat cooking and butchery, they have opened a permanent spot that is clever, subtle, and utterly compelling.
The room has a buzzy and insouciant feel that calls to mind a New York City attitude and vibe, a fine trick of combining casual with a quiet confidence, of serious integrity without any la dee dah navel gazing.
Come here for the meat, stay for the pasta, glory on the pig skin ragú – this one’s a keeper.
DOWLING’S AT THE CARLYLE
35 East 76th
10021 New York, United States
What can you do? You’re an incurable romantic when it comes to New York. Your Manhattan is black and white. The Chrysler Building is front and centre of your skyline, the full moon speared on its silver spire like a cocktail onion ready for a Martini. Which reminds you, you haven’t had a really great, really cold Martini in far too long. It reminds you that you should go uptown to The Carlyle.
The menu is orchestrated by chef Sylvain Delpique, formerly the executive chef of the now shuttered 21 Club (note to fans, he brough the chicken paillard with him). It celebrates a by-gone era of American dining, which feels absolutely right in this storied space. There’s a wedge salad – blue cheese, bacon, tomato, just as it should be. Shrimp cocktail with brandy cocktail sauce. Steak tartare. Foie gras terrine. One modern addition that more than holds its own? Waffle fries, perfectly suited to dipping into a silver jug of warm Bearnaise.
230 9th Ave
10001 New York, United States
It’s Friday evening in Manhattan and you want to be at Shukette. Perched up at the curved counter, where everyone and everything looks extra gorgeous in the soft glow of candy-stripe globe lamps. The room is buzzing with laughter and chatter, with small plates and big flavors arrayed before you. It feels like New York is back. And you are back in the middle of it.
Each plate of bold, happy food sings with herbs and citrus, pops with spice and salt. For every hot there’s a cool, for every creamy, there’s a crunchy. Chef and partner Ayesha Nurdjaja stands at the far end of the kitchen, overseeing the menu that she spent much of lockdown imagining, as the pandemic delayed Shukette’s opening. Fans of Shuka will recognize a strong connection between the two restaurants, though, down in Soho, Nurdjaja was operating out of a basement and Shukette, open and vivid in every sense, is the exact opposite of a basement.
Bagnor, RG20 8AQ Newbury
Even before spotting the original Harveys menu framed on the wall (circa 1992), the DNA and soul of this chef and restaurant is clear, grounded in the likes of Pierre Koffmann, the Roux brothers, and the pantheon and bible of French cuisine Larousse Gastronomique. This is a place to come and be fed well, with a real sheen of luxury, without frippery, with every little detail hitting the mark with obsessive laser-like focus: a rare trick to pull off.
How to sum up Renaissant? Joyous, precise, elegant cooking that reverberates in the memory: trés soigné.
NOUMI GRILL & BAR
3011 Bern, Switzerland
While a DJ plays lounge music in the background, bowls, street food and grilled dishes are served in a dignified ambience. The swordfish ceviche scores the most points; lime juice, mango, coriander, red onion and chilli give the dish a captivating mix of acidity, sweetness and spiciness. The Cajun fish taco is a little spicier, with avocado, corn, tomato salsa and habanero cream. The subtle smoky note adds a special sophistication to the starter. The banana leaf grilled cod with chilli lime sauce and sweet potato fries is solid.
Šv. Jono g. 7
01123 Vilnius, Lithuania
The Ertlio Namas tasting menu offers clever, subtle and thought-provoking food that is never tricksy or look-at-me sensational, giving it credibility and charm. The restaurant is housed in a historic wooden nineteenth-century building with vintage lighting and textiles which makes the whole experience a truly engaging way to explore the roots of ever-evolving yet little discovered Lithuanian cuisine.
6-course tasting dinner €50 wines paired with dishes €30. This menu is available until the end of November 2021.
Onyx in Do & Co Haas Haus
1010 Vienna, Austria
After the lockdown, Attila Dogudan realised two things: bars are not that popular right now and Vienna was lacking Asia-inspired concepts. So, without further ado, the hotel bar on the sixth floor of the Haas Haus was remodelled and »Onyx« was born.
43 Store Street
WC1E 7DB London
England, United Kingdom
The Café Deco venture is a collaboration with 40 Maltby Street, the restaurant and wine bar which has done much to lead the renaissance of the dining scene in the environs of Borough Market. A quiet confidence emanates from the menus of Café Deco – its stark simplicity and understated elegance assures the diner that everything is going to be alright.
The Bridge Arms
53 High Street
CT4 5LA Canterbury, England
The Bridge Arms sits in the pretty and petite village of Bridge in deepest Kent, England, originally a 16th century coaching inn. On a sunny day it is bucolic and pretty ravishing. Neatly fitting the potentially ‘difficult second album’ of restaurant openings, the owners’ first venture The Fordwich Arms quickly picked up a Michelin star. It is now firmly on the trail of any self-respecting follower of the best places to eat in the UK.
Gronauer Straße 1
60385 Frankfurt am Main, Hessen
Chairs is not a gourmet temple at which to worship but a gourmet bistro where everything is full of life, vim and vigour – especially the food cooked by head chef and co-director Dennis Aukili. These are some of the dishes that knock your socks off at Chairs: Tomato, Charentais melon, basil. It sounds simple but tastes so intense; it is sophisticated and elaborately prepared.
Place du Port 17
Canton Waadt, Switzerland
Madame Pic does not simply import goods from her native France, but relies on passionate partners from the region to create stunning dishes at Anne-Sophie Pic. Chef Kévin Vaubourg's cooking is confident and completely in the spirit of the gourmet restaurant’s eponym: harmonious but going well beyond winsome, light but also with depth. In addition to the terrific wine list, the sommelier team offers extremely exciting pairings to the menu.
Empress by Boon
838 Grant Ave
94108 San Francisco
Designed by Atelier LLYS, the sixth-floor space is washed in shades of blue and features three distinct atmospheres that showcase sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline. Empress by Boon is Boon’s first solo project as a modern Cantonese restaurant focusing on Californian ingredients and currently offers a $68 tasting menu to introduce diners to his version of modern Cantonese dishes. Don’t expect to encounter strictly Chinese flavours. Boon is Malaysian and future menu plans include dishes inspired by snacks and fruit salads he grew up eating at street stalls and South Asian flavours.
Plaza de San Juan 1
24549 Atxondo, Spain
In the tiny village of Axpe in northern Spain, against the stunning backdrop of the Basque mountains, an hour’s drive from San Sebastián, Etxebarri has slowly cemented its reputation as one of the best restaurants in the world. Self-taught chef-owner Victor Arguinzoniz cooks everything over la brasa, a huge grill with a system of winches and pulleys to lower and raise ingredients towards the heat – he even makes his own charcoal in a kiln, using different wood to suit specific ingredients. His and his team’s attention to detail is mesmerising.
20 Place de l'église, 49170 Béhuard
The Loire Valley in Western France is a popular destination – for wine lovers and architecture fans alike. On an island in the Loire River, the UNESCO-listed village of Béhuard offers a serene and special dining experience. With L´Audacieuse, chef and owners Armelle and Charles Tardy-Joubert opened an elegant, light-flooded restaurant in 2018, offering an authentic and relaxed dining experience. Fond memories of her Béhuard childhood made Armelle give up a successful career in communications and retrain as a chef at the Institute Bocuse in Lyon, France.
46 avenue de la Bourdonnais
75007 Paris, France
Arnaud Nicolas started out as a butcher. His fine charcuterie was served by chefs like Alain Ducasse. Then Nicolas started a boutique shop in the Montmartre neighbourhood and people queued up for his sausages, patés and pies. Finally, he has opened his own eponymous restaurant, just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. This is his temple to gastronomic charcuterie.
DIM SUM DUCK
124 King's Cross Road, WC1X 9DS London
England, United Kingdom
On an unlikely looking stretch close to King’s Cross station, Dim Sum Duck quietly opened towards the end of 2020. It was a slow burn of an opening that gradually began to garner praise, with the cryptic note on their Instagram page stating that it was ‘run by a dim sum chef with 30 years’ experience’. Intriguing.
HEUER AM KARLSPLATZ
1040 Vienna, Austria
It has been seven years since Andreas Wiesmüller started his restaurant Heuer am Karlsplatz with much ambition. The food was initially rather good, but lately, the large restaurant had mutated into more of a civilised drinking den with a burger option for dinner. This intermission spurred Wiesmüller to go one better, again in a prime city location. He headhunted his new chef from another restaurant around the corner: Markus Höller.
The interior of Heuer am Karlsplatz in Vienna did not change – but thanks to Markus Höller the cooking is completely different.
VIA CAROTA AND BAR PISELLINO
51 Grove St, 10014 New York
It’s a menu that’s garnered Williams and Sodi a loyal and dedicated following, a James Beard Award and multiple accolades from publications like the New Yorker and the Times. Owned by Jody Williams, the chef and founder of Buvette – so quintessentially French that it has an outpost in Paris, and Rita Sodi, the chef and founder of I Sodi – a slim slip of pasta perfection, just down the street, Via Carota is named after Sodi’s family villa, where the couple spent numerous happy summers “picking lemons from the garden and cooking on a wood stove,” as Williams recalled when the restaurant opened in 2014.
32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL
London, United Kingdom
The vibe is indeed canteen-chic: a clattery stark white dining room hosting a fully open kitchen, the rattle of pans and hiss of the grill there to enjoy, observe and titillate, if that’s your thing – it very much happens to be mine. The opening salvo of sage and anchovy fritti sets the tone, the kind of salty fried nuggets that enjoy the accompaniment of the bitter twang of a Campari spritz. Perhaps two or three. A good start.
12 Rue Boieldieu,
34500 Béziers, France
For Gilles Goujon and his wife Marie-Christine it is a coming home to the city of their youth and the grand passage for his two chef sons Enzo and Axel, who is a pâtissier. They are partners in the new restaurant, cooking alongside Quentin Pellestor who has joined from Le Meurice. A sure sign of the seriousness of its ambition is the arrival of Frédéric Rouen who has run front of house operations for Ducasse for more than 20 years.
I only discovered after our astounding meal that Goujon initially trained with the legendary Roger Verge in Mougins, an impeccable grounding in local, seasonal and pure tastes that is joyfully espoused at the new restaurant that finally opened late May 2021.
45 E. 20th Street
10003 New York, United States
Enter Sarashina Horii, a stylish and highly-specific outpost on West 20th, where luminous modern wood and tasteful grey banquettes are the backdrop to a kitchen legacy that dates back to 1789.
White soba noodles are something of a rarity, so much so, that Sarashina Horii stakes claim to being the first and only maker in the U.S.. Long lines form daily outside the Tokyo restaurant, as people wait to experience their delicious legacy of craftsmanship at work.
EKSTEDT AT THE YARD
3-5 Great Scotland Yard
SW1A 2HN London
England, Great Britain
Wood smoke is in the air, even though the dining room is in the former red brick police HQ, now the striking Hyatt-owned Great Scotland Yard hotel, just off Whitehall. Not only is there a vast wood-burning domed oven & strictly no pizza on the menu, the open kitchen reveals dancing flames and glowing embers and cast iron skillets & medieval looking culinary accoutrements.
This is Nordic nirvana courtesy of Niklas Ekstedt, founder of the Michelin-starred Ekstedt in Stockholm, who turns out to be a (no longer) closet Anglophile (and perhaps points to the future in this era of fuel shortages?)
FIND OUT MORE
Restaurant Home Delivery Set to StayThe pandemic changed many habits, according to a UK report, restaurant home delivery is one that is likely to stay.
Haugen: Alpine-themed Restaurant to Open in London's Olympic ParkThe UK-based restaurant group D&D London is to open an Alpine-themed restaurant in Stratford, East London, in September 2021.
Shane Osborn Opens Third Restaurant in Hong KongNetflix star and chef Shane Osborn has opened a third Hong Kong restaurant, Moxie.
Dior to Open Paris RestaurantDior have announced they will open restaurant at their historic Paris headquarters.
The Seven Best Seaside Restaurants in the WorldWhat could be better than a fresh sea breeze and delectable of food? Falstaff has come up with the seven best seaside restaurants in the...
Jamie Oliver Eyes Return to Restaurants, Ditches TV Shows for YouTubeJamie Oliver aka The Naked Chef is looking at returning to the restaurant scene – and admits he's given up watching TV cooking shows.
Gordon Ramsay to Open Second Restaurant at London's SavoyBritish chef Gordon Ramsay is opening a second restaurant at The Savoy, focusing on seafood.
The Top Hat: Monopoly-Themed Restaurant Opens in LondonLondon’s The Top Hat Bar and Restaurant has just opened on Tottenham Court Road, inspired by the famous board game.
Marco Pierre White to Open New Restaurant in London's West EndA Marco Pierre White restaurant will open in London's West End in October.
Six of the Best New Japanese Restaurants in LondonRight in time for the Paralympics in Tokyo, Falstaff presents six of the best new Japanese places in London
Civilised Sundays Return at Top London RestaurantRavinder Bhogal's restaurant Jikoni will run a third series of its 'Civilised Sundays' food and speaker programme.
Dry Extract Interview: Oded Oren of Restaurant Oren, London, EnglandDry Extract is Falstaff’s mini-interview feature. We ask top professionals in the world of wine, food and travel to answer thirteen...
L' ALTER-NATIVE34500 Beziers, Occitanie, FrancePoints91
Café DecoWC1E 7DB London, England, Great BritainPoints91
The Bridge ArmsCT4 5LA Canterbury, England, Great BritainPoints95
Café CeciliaLondon, Great BritainPoints90
Empress by Boon94108 San Francisco, California, United States
Upper Cut Media House presents the world's best steak restaurants in its 2022 ranking – and a London steakhouse has beaten Buenos Aires for the top...
Whether Hokkaido or butternut, pumpkin is suitable for so much more than just Halloween decorations. Here we reveal our best pumpkin recipes.
Can you tell your tortellini from your cappelletti? Marubini from casoncelli? Here is what makes eight of the best stuffed pasta specialities so...
Fish has been preserved since ancient times, but tinned fish whether it be anchovies, mussels or tuna is now enjoying its moment in the spotlight and...
Avocados are healthy, nutritious and can be enjoyed in so many different ways. We show you our favourite recipes with the delicious fruit.
Peruvian cuisine, with its unique blend of native and immigrant dishes, can now be found around the globe. Here are some of the best Peruvian eateries...
Rhubarb may be considered a vegetable, but for connoisseurs it is the first eagerly awaited fruit of spring. Here are our favourite recipes that...
To mark International Banana Day, we present our favourite recipes with the exotic fruit or its syrup – from cake and muffins to soup and cocktails.
Sushi is an addiction that has conquered the world in the last 50 years. Here is our list of the 25 top sushi places, outside Japan.