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Gordon Ramsay (London, UK) [2]

I’ve been a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s food for a long time, and my 2014 lunch at his London flagship was one of my most memorable meals abroad. It’s taken me a while to come back here, but I’ve been wanting to have a dinner here ever since that first visit. An extended layover in London (en route from Portugal) was a perfect opportunity.

While an a la carte option is available, there’s also a six-course Prestige Menu (£170) and a Carte Blanche menu (£220). For this meal, we went with the Prestige Menu and added a seasonal supplement of white truffle risotto. Pricing is definitely on the higher side, but the restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars since 2001.

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Brat (London, UK)

While in London I was excited to try Brat, a seafood-focused concept with Basque influence. The restaurant has been a hit ever since opening in 2018, and even gained a Michelin star. The restaurant reminds me a lot of Ibai in San Sebastian, where I had a fantastic meal, so it was near the top of my list of places to try while in London.

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Belcanto (Lisbon, PT)

Belcanto is one of the most highly acclaimed fine dining restaurants in Portugal, even Europe. Holding two Michelin stars (seven years running) and ranked the 41st best restaurant in the world, it’s the flagship restaurant in the mini restaurant empire of chef José Avillez.

And at 250€ for the chefs table (150€ wine pairing), it’s priced accordingly. Given one can eat and drink very well in Portugal for much less, I had a hard time deciding whether to commit to a price tag like this. However, finding a chefs table opening while in town was such a fortuitous find that we decided to do it.

hakkasan crispy duck salad
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Hakkasan (London, UK)

Hakkasan began in London in 2001 and expanded rapidly worldwide in the 2010s, but has contracted in recent years. Only two US locations remain (Las Vegas and Miami), with recent openings concentrated on the Middle East and Turkey. Hakkasan’s Mayfair location is one of two locations to currently hold a Michelin star (they’re both in London), and this was our choice to be the first meal on a recent European trip.

Florilege Tokyo
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Florilege (Tokyo, Japan)

On this most recent trip to Japan, Florilege was the choice for our lone fine dining meal in the country. The Michelin two-star restaurant, ranked 59th best in the world, was opened in 2009 by Hiroyasu Kawate after cooking at well-known Quintessance.

One of the unique aspects of the restaurant is that the vast majority of the seats surround an open kitchen. Diners are able to watch all of the action, and dishes are served directly by the cooks.

black cod @ SingleThread
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SingleThread (Healdsburg, CA)

SingleThread is one of the up-and-coming fine dining restaurants in the greater Bay Area. Opened at the end of 2016, it has garnered two Michelin stars, 4 stars from the SF Chronicle and was recently named a ‘One to Watch’ by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants team. Chef Kyle Connaughton and wife Katina run this restaurant, which is part of the inn and farm that they also operate. The cuisine here is a blend of Japanese and Californian; tickets were $295 each, gratuity-inclusive.

miyazaki wagyu beef @ Amber HK
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Amber (Hong Kong)

Amber is a two Michelin starred restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Currently ranked #24 in the world’s 50 best restaurants list, it’s one of the most highly-regarded Western restaurants in Hong Kong. Here, chef Richard Ekkebus cooks modern French cuisine incorporating plenty of seasonal Asian ingredients. Given the vast majority of my meals in town have been Chinese, I elected to have one non-Asian lunch.

The restaurant offers a weekday lunch set menu of 3 of 4 courses (USD $76, $125), as well as a lunch degustation menu of 4 or 6 courses ($164, $189). The items on the degustation menu sounded much more interesting, so I opted for the 4-courser.

dim sum @ Lung King Heen
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Lung King Heen (Hong Kong) [2]

Lung King Heen is a three Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong. It was the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded that distinction in 2009 and is still one of the most notable Cantonese fine dining establishments in the city. I’ve been here once for dim sum and had a good meal; this would be my first dinner visit.

While a tasting menu is available, we opted for a la carte focusing mostly on items noted as a ‘chef’s recommendation’ on the menu.

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