Your Destination Anywhere

20 Foodie Favorites from Around the World

By Alysse Harrison

1. Gaggan- Bangkok, Thailand

Chef Gaggan Anand set out to redefine traditional Indian food with what he called “progressive Indian Cuisine”. The Gaggan in Thailand earned two Michelin stars. Now, I am not an Indian food fan, mainly because I really do not like curry so I was very hesitant to come here as we were going to be dropping some serious money on this dinner. To this date, it is the most expensive dinner we have had but also our experience at the Gaggan was out of this world amazing! We sat at the chefs table and did a 25 course emoji themed tasting menu. The beauty of a menu like this is that you didn’t know what you were eating until after you had tried it.

Together as a table we would guess what the ingredients of each course were. We ate with our fingers, forks, spoons, drank courses, and even licked the plate.  Sadly, Chef Gaggan decided to close this restaurant and the last guest served was in August of 2019 as he wanted to change things up.  He plans to open a new restaurant in Fukoaka, Japan in 2021 which he says “will be the future of fine dining.”  You can rest assured that if we make it to Fukoaka, we will absolutely try out his new restaurant.  The experience we had at Gaggan remains the most unique dining experience we have ever had!

2. Sunset Mona Lisa- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Imagine dining on the edge of rock cliffs overlooking the famous Arch at Land’s End in the Bay of Cabo San Lucas.  I have no doubts on why the Express Tribune ranked this place the 5th coolest restaurant in the world! My husband proposed to me in Cabo earlier on the day that we dined here and this restaurant experience was absolutely the perfect ending of the day. 

We were both flying high, so excited about life and had the most incredible table with views I can’t even begin to describe.  This restaurant would probably be a top ten on views alone but the food is remarkable and reasonably priced considering it’s location and experience. If you find yourself in Cabo, do not miss out on this restaurant.

3. Hawker Chan- Singapore

The World’s cheapest Michelin-Star restaurant sits in Chinatowns Food Complex in Singapore.  They are known for their world famous Soya Sauce Chicken and Rice which will cost you about 2 SGD or $1.50 USD. Seriously, the best chicken you will ever have!

4. Khao Soi Khun-Yai- Chiang Mai, Thailand

I wish I could say we found this place on our own but it came as a recommendation from a random couple we met at a bar.  They only make two dishes and then with those you can choose your meat between beef, chicken, or pork.  Khao Soi is a dish that originated in Northern Thailand and I believe this place is the best you can find.  The other option on the menu is Spicy Noodle Soup and  is equally delightful.  Most people that actually find this place will go back more than once.  The best part (other than the taste) is that the cost is so cheap.  50 THB or roughly $1.50 USD.  Do not expect a fancy dining experience.  It is an open air hole in the wall (parking lot) that will leave you feeling like you truly had an authentic experience.  You know it is authentic when you are dining alongside locals.

5. Vogafjos Cowshed Cafe-Myvatn, Iceland

Vagafjos is a restaurant located inside a real working cowshed.  They offer homemade local food sourced primarily from their farm.  As you look out over Lake Myvatn in one direction, you turn your head the other direction and can see the dairy cows.  You can even go into the area and intereact with the cattle. The food is out of this world good and they even have a very unique homemade Geysir rye bread which is baked in the ground using the geothermal heat.  I feel like you truly get the raw essence of Iceland in this experience.

6. The Tasting Room- Franschhoek, South Africa

An exquisite nine course dining experience with wine pairings at the 3 Michelin Star restaurant in the wine region of South Africa.  We visited this restaurant with my family as they flew over to South Africa for a vacation while my husband and I were living in Angola.  This experience was over the top and really allowed you to try things outside of your normal comfort zone.  For my adventurous foodie husband, this was so fun! Not to mention, we were all having fun by glass 3 or 4 of wine. J Unfortunatley, it looks like the year after we visited The Tasting Room the chef left and they closed down the restaurant.

7. La Cantinetta di Rignana- Chianti, Italy

This restaurant has it all.  Incredible views over Tuscany and the Chianti wine region, amazing Italian cuisine that will fill your heart and your belly, and wines and olive oil that are to die for.  When we went in 2016, it was totally off the beaten path and you had to turn down gravel roads that seemingly were leading to nowhere.  It made the experience seem so much more authentic and like we had found a hidden gem. On the wall, they had photos of George Clooney as this is a favorite destination of his.  Later that afternoon as we were strolling around the downtown area we nearly got ran over by George on his bicycle, so I do trust that this area is absolutely one of his favorite destinations.

8. Frognerseteren Café & Restaurant- Oslo, Norway

I feel like this restaurant is truly an authentic Norwegian experience.  Located at the top of a mountain that is a destination for skiers in the winter and mountain bikers in the summer.  On a clear day, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Oslo City and fjord from their terrace. We were there on a cold day in May (cold for us, we are from Texas) and the soup I had was remarkable.  They also have homemade Meringues that are to die for.  We brought back several bags as gifts for friends and family.  The décor and style of this restaurant is like a rustic Norwegian mountain cabin.

9. Hofbrahaus- Munich, Germany

If you travel to Munich, the Hofbrahaus is a MUST DO. Originally built in 1589, the historic festival hall, Festaal, seats 700 guests nightly from all around the world.  It was destroyed in WW!! And rebuilt in 1958.  My recommendation is if you go to the Hofbrahaus not to simply stop by for a beer but rather make a reservation for the Festaal where you will enjoy their fresh Hofbrau beer as well as traditional Bavarian specialties offered a la carte.  Enjoy the live entertainment of yodeling, Bavarian music, and dancing.

10. Muchen Haus Bavarian Grill & Beer Garden- Leavenworth, WA, USA

If you can’t make it all the way over to Germany yet but want to enjoy some authentic German cuisine, look no further than Muchen Haus in Leavenworth, Washington.  Let me tell you, the german sausages are amazing and the pretzels will leave you wanting more.  Seriously, I still crave them. This restaurant is an open air beer garden concept.  Get ready to enjoy some beers and chill outside soaking in all the German glory.

11. The Boma- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The Boma Dinner & Drum Show is a once in a lifetime African experience.  The entertainment begins the moment you arrive when they outfit you in a traditional chintenge (sarong).  You will enjoy traditional dance performances, face painting, a fortune teller and more with it all culminating at the renowned interactive drumming show.  The food is a meat

lovers paradise.  You can sample all the authentic African game meats as well as wart hog, and the famous Mopani worm.  I skipped out on the worm experience but my husband ate two of them.  The first he said was crunch and not that bad so he went for a second which was juicy and “full of protein.”

12. Ciro & Sons- Florence, Italy

To this date, the BEST pizza I have ever had.  We went back to this place 3 different times during our 4 day stay in Florence.  If you have a gluten allergy, this place is absolutely your dream come true in Italy.  If you are luck enough not to have any

food allergies, you will still leave having had the best pizza ever.  We had a pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella in the center, fresh tomatoes throughout and a basil pesto drizzled over.  We have recommended this restaurant to several friends and family over the years and it is always a favorite!

13. Guacamayas- San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

If you are in Cabo and want an authentic Mexican meal, look no further than Guacamayas.  We were staying a little outside of Cabo San Lucas in a town called San Jose Del Cabo.  We took a cab down terribly rough gravel roads and ended up at this restaurant filled with locals.  We ordered something that seemed like it was fajitas on a molcajete bowl…Oh My Goodness…DELICOUS! Now, if you know me, Mexican food is my favorite food and it is hard to impress me with Mexican food.  After all, we lived in Houston for nearly 10 years and I believe they have some of the best Mexican food in the world. If we went back to Cabo, we would absolutely be eating here several times during our stay!

14. Club A Steakhouse- New York City, NY, USA

In an Albanian house, it is traditional that guests are treated as a member of the family.  This is the exact experience we had at Club A Steakhouse in NYC.  We called to make reservations the day of and were only offered 10:15pm.  Now, that is super late for us to eat dinner but we were set on trying out this steakhouse so we took it.  Oh my, I am so glad we took the late reservation.  It made our experience truly unforgettable.  The food was remarkable.  So much better than we

even expected from a high-end steakhouse. We were the last guests in the restaurant and Bruno, owner, came over and checked on us.  We started chatting with him and he pulled up a chair and ordered us each an after-dinner drink.  After asking him if most of his staff were in NYC trying to make it in theatre, he brought out his dishwasher who serenaded us in beautiful Albanian Opera.  A remarkable end to an incredible dining experience.  We can’t wait to get back to Club A again in the near future!

15. Ristorante Vecia Cavana- Venice, Italy

This is an adorable white table-cloth restaurant in Venice, Italy.  It is located in a former 16th century boat house and features a menu of fish-based Venetian dishes.  The service here is top knotch and servers can pair wine perfectly to your menu selections. Every single thing is homemade in this restaurant and while it is a fish-based restaurant, the pasta I ate was incredible! Put this restaurant on your list in Venice, it will absolutely not disappoint.

16. The Tavern- Abingdon, VA, USA

The Tavern is the oldest of Abingdon’s historic buildings and one of the oldest buildings west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It began, back in 1779, as a tavern and overnight inn for stagecoach traveler’s.  Some of its famous guests include President Andrew Jackson, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, Henry Clay, and King of France, Louis Philippe.  The Tavern has served as a bank, bakery, general store,

cabinet shop, barber shop, post office, antique shop, private residence, hospital during the Civil War, and now a restaurant.  This is an upscale dining experience with food that is incredible.  The true wonder of this gem though is its history.  There is one special “love letters table” where guests can read love letters written in the past as well as leave on of their own.

17. Ekebergrestauranten- Oslo, Norway

This 1920’s style hillside restaurant should not be missed if you find yourself in Oslo, Norway.  It is located in the hills above Oslo with an incredible view of the Oslo fjord, Oslo city, and the Operahouse.  The menu here can change due to availability of ingredients as they never will serve things that are not of the upmost quality. The fresh seafood is unmatched! A true foodies dream!

18. The Dog & Oyster- Irvington, VA, USA

Okay, this really isn’t a restaurant but I am including it on this list because it is such a unique dining experience.  It is a true winery on the East coast of Virginia but they do wine pairings with Oysters.  A totally unique experience.  If you love Oysters and wine, this is definitely a place you want to add to your bucket list.  When we were here in 2014, the oysters were served from a food truck like setup right outside the sitting area in the winery.

19. Mon Ami Gabi- Las Vegas, NV, USA

Located at the front of The Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, this is the best place for brunch! The food is all made fresh and is delightful.  It is the perfect place to start your day.  They have a full bloody mary bar, mimosas, and all the other cocktails you wish to start your day with along with incredible food.  My personal favorite is the blueberry French toast; while my mom says the Corned Beef Hash is the best she has ever had.

20. Stardust Restaurant & Dinner Theatre- Cape Town, South Africa

I had always wanted to attend a dinner like this.  Your servers are the entertainment!  We had a fantastic evening singing along to all the major hits as our service team rocked the stage.  While the performance made the night something we will always remember, the food was nothing to shrug about.  It was served family style and was absolutely fantastic.  If you are in Cape Town and love live entertainment, I absolutely recommend making a reservation at Stardust for a unique dining experience!

Where will your next adventure take you?

Contact Alysse Harrison