I don’t know about you, but for me a great restaurant isn’t just about the food, it’s the overall experience, who you’re with and the feeling that you’re left with at the end of an outstanding meal. You know those restaurants that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside because you’ve just had such a wonderful time? I’ve visited some amazing places this year both at home and abroad that have given me that feeling and with that in mind I give you my top ten of 2015. Please note I’ve decided not to include my regular favourites Roka, Hakkasan and Nobu as I think I’ve covered them enough this year on the blog.
1. Best Room with a View – The Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
The incredible Delaire Graff Estate is an absolutely beautiful restaurant and hotel located in the vineyards of Stellenbosch just outside of Cape Town.
The estate, owned by Graff Diamonds CEO, Laurence Graff, is stunning and we enjoyed the most incredible mountainous views as we sipped wine produced at the estate’s own vineyard. The al fresco restaurant serves classic bistro food using local and seasonal ingredients all sourced from the surrounding area.
Other restaurants with incredible views that I visited this year include: Aroma, La Colombe, Duck & Waffle, Jade Mountain, Dasheene at Ladera, Mikla, Cascades at The Viceroy and Barbecoa.
2. Most Romantic – Aroma, Rome
I’m not sure that you can find a more romantic location than a beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant in Rome overlooking the Colosseum. Mr S and I loved the absolutely stunning Italian food that we enjoyed at Aroma located in the Palazzo Manfredi hotel when we visited while in the Italian capital for our first wedding anniversary.
Other amazing romantic restaurants that I visited this year include: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Mozaic, Ellerman House and Restaurant Andre.
3. Best Alfresco – Jade Mountain Club, St Lucia
Mr S and I absolutely loved Jade Mountain Club, where we enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner whilst staying at the gorgeous Jade Mountain resort in St Lucia.
Indoor / outdoor dining meant that we had a perfect view of the majestic Pitons and we could admire the beautiful scenery whilst munching on the incredible food.
The farm to table concept at the restaurant meant all the ingredients were plucked freshly from the resort’s own Emerald Farm – which we had a chance to visit ourselves. Desserts were an absolute treat here especially as the hotel has its own on site chocolate laboratory.
4. Best Fine Dining – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London
For me, this three-Michelin starred restaurant by renowned chef Alain Ducasse is the very best in London.
Located in one of London’s most luxurious hotels with an absolutely gorgeous dining room, fine food and impeccable service, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester truly is special occasion dining.
5. Best Molecular Gastronomy – The Test Kitchen, Cape Town
The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts has gained the well-deserved reputation of being the best restaurant in South Africa. Mr S and I were able to sit at the kitchen counter watching the talented chefs painstakingly put together perfect plates of food which we enjoyed with a matching wine flight.
The food itself is experimental and creative with unexpected flavours, unique cooking methods and exciting presentation – our dinner there was one of the highlights of our visit to South Africa.
6. Best for Group Dining – Duck & Waffle, London
London’s highest restaurant is super fun and perfect for going out with a group. I loved starting at the bar and enjoying cocktails with sweeping views of London.
Booth style seating meant that it was easy for our group to enjoy the sharing plates, small dishes and freshly baked breads. We particularly enjoyed the restaurant’s now famous signature dish.
7. Best for Unique Setting – Mozaic Restaurant, Bali
Mozaic in Ubud has long been touted as the best restaurant in Ubud. While the innovative use of local ingredients in their tasting menu is superb, it’s the setting that makes it truly magical.
Set in a tropical garden, we felt like we dining in the middle of the jungle, totally exotic and very romantic.
8. Best for a Glamorous night out – Bob Bob Ricard, London
With a dazzling dining room, that now famous ‘push for champagne’ button, the iconic chicken pie and the most Instagrammable dessert in London, Bob Bob Ricard is one of the most well known restaurants in the London.
Mr S and I visited earlier in the year on a double date with Katie and Ben and we loved the glamorous surroundings and deliciously decadent food. It’s a place I’d return to again and again for a fantastic experience.
9. Best New Restaurant in London –Kouzu
When Kouzu opened at the end of last year, the restaurant’s popularity was instant. Serving really incredible Japanese food, with a downstairs restaurant and an upstairs omakase sushi bar, Mr S and I were instantly in love with the place. And best of all it’s local to us in Victoria.
Other great new places in London I’ve visited this year include: Sexy Fish, Egg Break, The Ivy Cafe and Blixen
10. My Best Restaurant of the Year – Restaurant Andre, Singapore
For an all round incredible experience, my restaurant of the year is Restaurant Andre in Singapore. Set in a narrow town house, the dining space feels very intimate and exclusive and every single one of the dishes is perfectly thought out. We dined on chef Andre Chiang’s innovative menu which is based around his concept of the ‘octaphilosophy’ or the idea of discovering the eight different elements of his food.
For example the ‘Pure’ course, a dish presented without the complications of cooking or seasoning. A real highlight of this meal was meeting the renowned chef himself and seeing into his kitchen.
It’s been such a great year and I look forward to eating well in 2016!
What were you food highlights of the year?