Alcalde José Elosegui Hiribidea, 273
20015 Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain
Dining date: 9/27/17
Arzak was the first reservation I made in Spain on this trip. This restaurant has reached a legendary status in San Sebastián and has been on the forefront of modern Basque cooking for decades. The restaurant has garnered three Michelin stars since 1989 and has made the top 50 best restaurants in the world list every year it’s been published (since 2003). It currently sits at #30. Chef Juan Mari Arzak has been the driving force behind the restaurant’s success, and he now shares the kitchen management with daughter Elena Arzak.
I had a very hard time deciding between this restaurant and fellow three-star establishments Akelarre and Martin Berasategui. While the restaurant has plenty of accolades, I read a number of reviews with mixed feelings about the place. I ended up sticking with Arzak and am glad I did.
An a la carte menu is available, as well as a 210€ tasting menu. We went with the latter for this dinner.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
15 Queen’s Road Central
Dining date: 3/12/16
I’ve enjoyed dining at Joel Robuchon’s various locations around the world and was happy to make a lunch stop here. Hong Kong’s version of L’Atelier is rated three Michelin stars, the only restaurant in the chain to hold this distinction. This restaurant is actually split into two parts – the signature wraparound bar surrounding the kitchen (L’Atelier) and a more formal dining room with tables (Le Jardin). Same menu, same kitchen, just a different type of atmosphere. We dined at the bar for a view of the action.
Lunch is composed of a 3-5 course prix fixe; between my parents and I ordering the 5-course ($858 HKD), we were able to try quite a bit of the menu.
The French Laundry
6640 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599
Dining date: 5/24/15
I’ve been lucky enough to visit The French Laundry a handful of times. It’s always a memorable experience with delicious food, precise execution, and warm service. This most recent visit was thanks to a reservation I was able to obtain when the restaurant’s reservation books opened up following their closure since the holidays. The kitchen has been completely torn down in preparation to build a much larger state-of-the-art version; it’s currently replaced with four temporary shipping container kitchens (they’re much, much nicer than it seems).
A visit to The French Laundry isn’t complete without a stroll through the gardens across the street.
The famous blue door.
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 2/27/15
Le Bernardin is one of the legendary fine dining restaurants in New York City. Originally opened in 1986, the restaurant has stayed at the forefront of NYC dining up through this day. Currently helmed by famed chef Eric Ripert (Executive Chef since 1994), the restaurant has be given a full 4 stars by the New York Times, 3 Michelin stars, and ranks #21 in the World’s Best Restaurants, 2014 list. Few restaurants have received more acclaim than Le Bernardin. I wasn’t sure if/when I’d be able to try the restaurant, but was excited to dine here on this most recent trip to NYC.
A four-course a la carte menu is offered for $140, while the Le Bernardin Tasting Menu offers seven courses for $170 and Chef’s Tasting Menu with eight courses for $205. We opted for the Chef’s Tasting Menu for the ‘full experience,’ although this would be my dad’s second time having it.
68 Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HP
Dining date: 10/17/14
Gordon Ramsay is one of the most famous chefs in the world and one of the few who are celebrities in both hemispheres. While best-known for being a shouty chef on TV, he first made a name for himself cooking in Britain’s kitchens becoming a highly respected chef. His restaurant empire now spans two dozen restaurants over multiple continents. This restaurant, located in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, was his first and is his flagship. It’s also currently the only Michelin three-star in his portfolio. We stopped in for lunch after dinner the previous night at…Dinner.
A few dining options are available for lunch. A three course lunch tasting menu is available (£55, with three options for each course) as well as a three course a la carte at £95 with even more choices. For those looking to splurge, a full chefs tasting menu of 7 courses is available for £135. We ordered one lunch menu and one a la carte.