Relatively recently, when I was on my way to the cinema in Sydney for the tickets to the premiere of ‘Fast & Furious 7’, M. asked me if I could describe my ‘Seven Best Ever’; I had no idea what he was asking about but he certainly did not mean cars. A question turned out to be very easy: describe the 7 best restaurants / wine bars / places with the best food and the best wine. I couldn’t stop thinking about this. Without which restaurant my life would never be the same again?
I visit world-famous restaurants and small, unknown restaurants, I visit cafes and wine bars, I visit friends who are amazing chefs at their own home; each place is different, each one is delicious! However choosing just seven ‘the best’ of all of them seemed almost impossible as I’m crazy about (the best) food and (the best) wine. I worked it out.At least I think I did ;)
Check out my 7 gourmet destinations by Wine Lady!
Elbow Room – McLaren Vale, Australia
The restaurant is located among the vines in the heart of the McLaren Vale. The view of vineyard in front of me, a glass of red wine from the region and aroma of grapes made me feel completely relax in just a few minutes.
The menu includes vegetarian dishes so I had no problem with choosing a meal. The wine list was good although there were not many wines by the glass to choose from. Both wine and food are at reasonable prices (as for restaurant) and taste delicious. I had mushrooms in almost every possible form and I think The Elbow Room is my best ever restaurant for mushroom meals.
The only thing I’d like to erase from my memory is the dessert.. nobody told me that it’s normal that they serve caramel with salt and no matter how hard I tried to scrape it, I failed… I think it’s the first time I left almost whole dessert on the plate.
Aqua -Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The restaurant is situated on the 29th floor and the view from the window is wonderful – I admired the show of the lights on the other side of a sea, where some of the tallest buildings in the world are located. Nice atmosphere, professional and very pro-client service, easy to communicate in English. I may only complain about the amount of space – the tables were very close to each other and while eating I had to be very careful not to hit the person sitting next to me (best regards to the nice man sitting on my right side!), although it had its own charm.
The menu contains a number of vegetarian dishes, plus the chef himself proposes the vegan modifications to other dishes from the menu. List of wines and spirits is long and the food itself tastes and smells amazing – the roulade with spinach in sesame sauce and tricolour ice creams (black sesame, green tea and red beans) will always remain in my memory.
Prices are at a level of a good European restaurant, but considering the Chinese wallets Aqua ranks as “very expensive restaurant”. Important information – tables must be booked in advance, especially those by the window.
Enoteka Polska – Warsaw, Poland
The last year of my stay in Warsaw was mainly based on Enoteka – this wine bar / restaurant is like a light at the end of the tunnel. Just don’t get me wrong – I visited many restaurants in the capital of Poland, but the third or fourth visit turned out to be: (1) boring in terms of choice of the veggies (2) the same dish from the menu turned to be completely different than previously (3) something happened (usually with a service) which discourage me for further visits. And Enoteka was absolutely perfect every single time.
The atmosphere and service are on the highest level, the food is outstanding, there’s large selection of wines, especially from Italy. There’s always something vegetarian to choose from, moreover from time to time the chef prepares ‘veggie surprises’ for me. It’s nice to be good and loyal customer ;) It is there where I had the best cream of tomatos in my life, this is the place I fell in love with goat cheese with raspberry sauce!
Unfortunately I’ve just discovered that Enoteka is no longer in the location it used to be, so I look forward for the information where to go for my next lunch while visiting Warsaw.
Jamie Oliver – United Kingdom
I mean different restaurants under the name of Jamie Oliver, which are located across England. No matter where I eat (in the heart of London, at the airport, or in smaller towns of Great Britain), every time I am impressed with the quality.
The menu includes several vege dishes, the prices are affordable, the quality of the service is at a high level, the decorations make me feel comfortable, and most importantly, the food is delicious. I love pasta and I’m totally addicted to tomato sauce (and desserts, obviously!), so Jamie’s restaurants are perfect for me.
What I also adore at Jamie’s is I don’t get miniature meals on my plate, the portion is quite big (but you cannot overeat!) and I don’t feel hungry just after lunch. In the simplicity of the meals lies the success. In addition I really appreciate Jamie’s initiatives regarding the education for children (and parents) on the dangers of junk food and although I do not believe that people will change their minds just like that, because someone tells them that it is not healthy, I support these initiatives with all my heart.
Yat Tung Heen – Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The restaurant is located in the hotel, however it stands out from the typical ‘hotel’ standards – in a good way. When I first came in, it looked a bit too elegant but after a few minutes I felt comfortable.
The service at Yat Tung Heen is very good, there is no problem with communication in English and I even got a brief lesson in Chinese ;) The menu is full of vegetarian delights and the list of spirits is long though I would be happier with bigger selection of wines by the glass.
I ordered the vegan shrimps with veggies (yes, I know… it’s fake and it shouldn’t be called ‘shrimps’- how can you make a shrimp without a shrimp? :p) and I will remember this taste till the end of my life. It was like having a piece of heaven in my mouth! I do not know how they made it, but this course is my best food debut I could ever think of. Even M. was impressed with both the appearance and taste of my (non)shrimps. It is an absolute ‘must try’ for everyone!
Restaurante Taberna Herrerias – Logroño, Rioja, Spain
An amazing Spanish tradition in every single meaning of this word. The choice of vege dishes is not very big (chorizo and jamon are literally everywhere) but I feel like a princess while eating in Taberna Herrerias – the more it happens the more I like the feeling of being treated like a VIP; it seems that I became a princess that meets up what I used to answer my meddlesome aunts: so tell me Ella, who you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a princess! :p.
I appreciate a lot that Carlos watches over the chefs when they prepare the vegetarian delights for me that are not in the menu. There is a large selection of spirits and I always have amazing wines in there. Before we leave we ALWAYS get the mysteriously coloured cocktail to finish the heavenly feast with dignity. The baked cheese bombs are the best in the world and I could eat Spanish seasonal vegetables on and on.
Taberna Herrerias has several floors and it’s worthwhile to walk up the stairs to admire the scenery on each level. It is a place to put on “must visit list” while visiting Rioja.
Green Cafe Nero – United Kingdom, Poland, Ireland
I cannot explain why I put the chain of cafés among my ‘best ever restaurants of the world’. However since Green Café Nero entered the Polish market (it’s been ages!) it became my main and the only one café that I used to visit regularly.
Unfortunately in Poland (the same with England or France) no one cares about the quality of the coffee – it is just a coffee (black, white, sometimes with steamed milk foam). So if I have to drink ‘just a cup of coffee’ I choose my favourite XXL latte with caramel syrup, pistachio ice cream and chocolate sprinkles (yummy!!) Moreover my Nero coffee always complements the cheesecake (or meringue cake, or brownie with vanilla ice cream, or caramel tart, or carrot cake, or anything else that has forbidden amount of calories…) and I am always happy with my choice.
I must admit that I like the atmosphere of Nero Cafés – it feels like home, where I can seat on the couch and read a book or have a laugh with friends. Apart from that I think I might be a winner in collecting stamps on my loyalty card with ‘have your 10th coffee absolutely free’. What a pity there is no Café Nero in France…
I selected only seven places, a gourmet destinations by Wine Lady, that are ‘best of the best’ in my subjective opinion. Generally the list of my palate’s favourites is very long and I’m very lucky I have so many food lovers around me.
Completely beyond all the lists and Number One Chef is my personal chef, my wonderful partner, who prepares delicious meals every day at home – he cooks with passion, he loves to experiment with food and puts all his heart in what he does. He keeps my palate in a constant ecstasy! Since few years he has become an expert in vegan and vegetarian food– I have a major contribution in it ;)
And no one can compete neither with his cuisine nor with my mom’s pyry z gzikiem (typical dish from Poznań) ;)
My dear Readers, where do you like to eat? What are your favourite gourmet destinations? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
A confession: I shamelessly copied all the logos and pictures from websites / social profiles of the described places – you will find the links to the websites at the end of the description of each restaurant ;)
PS. The most important factor for me is the presence of vegetarian and vegan dishes in the menu and only those dishes I take into consideration while writing about food.