UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Al Mahara Restaurant at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai: We’ll start in our own backyard, shall we? There’s perhaps nothing more enchanting than dining underwater and the floor-to-ceiling aquarium style dining room in Al Mahara houses thousands of tropical fish swimming by whilst you enjoy your dinner. The menu offers standard seafood fare, but the atmosphere makes the venue extravagant. There’s a reason this is on so many foodies’ bucket lists.
Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo: Many have dubbed it the best sushi restaurant in the world, and it's almost impossible to get a reservation unless you know someone who knows someone. Sushi master Jiro Ono even has a documentary dedicated to him. The 20-course meal is regarded as the freshest, and the restaurant currently holds three Michelin stars.
White Rabbit, Moscow: With its dome glass ceiling and striking views of Moscow, White Rabbit serves an incredibly imaginative menu. The Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant is more chic than cartoonish, and features a menu focusing on fresh Russian produce (fresh baked breads, beans, barrel cucumbers) combined with new luxury ingredients like foie gras, truffles and of course, caviar.
Mugaritz, San Sebastian: The highly inventive restaurant is at the forefront of the ingenious culinary revolution happening in Spain. Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz delivers a feast of 24 courses (no specific menu is set, and food is individually prepared based on guest's diets and desires) with edible centerpieces, cutlery and more. Aduriz studied under the famous El Bulli empire - and the food, which rivals high art, definitely reflects that.
Ekstedt, Stockholm: For the ultimate experience of old meets new when it comes to Scandinavian cuisine, Ekstedt has it all. The restaurant doesn't use any electricity to cook the food - instead opting to go back to their roots with fire pits, wood burning ovens and hot coals. The modern counterparts are in the ingredients - arctic char is served with seaweed and radish, and an extremely avant-garde juice pairing (think: algae juice with a salted rim and unfermented sauvignon blanc) also exists to go along with the restaurant's four or six course menu.
L'ami Jean, Paris: In a country that many consider the culinary capital of the world, it's hard to narrow it down to one bucket list-worthy restaurant. But amid all the Michelin stars sits L'ami Jean, a bistro-style hole-in-the-wall with Basque influences. The food is an impeccable mix of traditional French flavors infused with modern flair, but it's the brash Parisian atmosphere that really sets the mood and makes it worth the trip. You will be sitting almost on top of the people beside you, and the tiny space is so small that the chef's enthusiastic commands and claps can be heard throughout the meal.
Sketch, London: In the heart of London, Sketch is a work of art. The interior of the restaurant is so fabulous, it's often instagrammed as pure inspiration. The Gallery room is a pastel pink wonderland, while another dining area resembles an enchanted forest designed by artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu. However, the bathrooms might just be the quirkiest restaurant restrooms in the world. Stalls are designed like giant white eggs, under a colorfully illuminated ceiling.
O Ya, New York: This restaurant will seriously redefine the way you think of sushi. O Ya offers 18 or 24 course omakase menus (with a newly introduced a la carte menu) composed of surprising, modern ingredients. New York has many incredible sushi restaurants, but O Ya completely redefines the category with options like hamachi with banana pepper mousse or housemade fingerling potato chip with burgundy truffle, all elegantly plated. Simply put: it feels very new in comparison to other NYC sushi mainstays. The restaurant also has some of the city's best sake - and service is impeccable from start to finish. Guests leave with jellied pieces of candy shaped like a fish, wrapped in an adorable metal sardine tin.
Le Bernardin, New York: There's a reason it's been a New York classic for many years. It's consistent - the food is delicious, classic and very beautifully plated. Chef Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin is luxurious and represents the quintessential high-end cuisine of New York City with dishes like hamachi, scallop, and seafood truffled pasta.
San Cristobal Paladar, Havana: Havana is already an of-the-moment bucket list destination, and one of the city's most authentic dinners, replete with beautiful old school décor (pastel painted walls, black and white photographs, crystal chandeliers and rococo furniture) is definitely worth the visit. San Cristobal Paladar is the kind of restaurant that gives the feel of years’ worth of history—untouched by pop culture. The restaurant also offers complimentary cigars and rum to really make you feel at home.
Via Harper's Bazaar US