If you believe the words of the classic, all happy families resemble each other. But the same cannot be said of successful restaurants. The most famous Michelin-starred restaurants are good because none of them looks like any other. Their main similarity is the huge number of those wishing to take a place at the cherished table. So how do the best places in the world win the hearts of gourmets? We are starting a series of materials in which we will try to understand this question. The first part is dedicated to the best restaurants of 2018 according to the LA LISTE list, based on two hundred ratings all over the world.
Guy Savoy, Paris, 3 Michelin stars
Guy Savoy, a Paris restaurant, proudly bears the name of its founder, the famed chef Guy Savoy. Guy Savoy has been hailed by the Michelin Red Guide as “the ideal restaurateur of the twenty-first century. His ascent to the heights of culinary fame has lasted almost half a century, but the maestro remains a man of modesty and simplicity. The same cannot be said for the cuisine he promotes, based on the principles of Auguste Escoffier. It combines inventiveness and novelty with traditional French fastidiousness about the choice of products. The taste of the product must match its name – that’s what Escoffier believed, and Guy Savoy absolutely agrees with him.
In the mid-90s Guy Savoy actually revived half-forgotten traditions of Parisian bistros, modernizing and updating the recipe and range of dishes offered there. Standard fast food became with his help more healthy, healthy and, very importantly, attractive to young people. France is the largest European market for McDonald’s Corporation, and this is hardly a positive trend. In the meantime, this country, like no other, is rich in agricultural traditions, and the selection of the highest quality products is huge: cheeses, vegetables, fruit, wine, meat, seafood, baked goods. Which means, says Guy Savoy, sooner or later people will opt for traditional bistros and restaurants.
Guy Savoy’s gastronomic restaurant opened back in 1987 on Tryon Street. Since 2012 and to this day it is located in a chic building of the Paris Mint (XVIII century). It has a view of the Seine. It has six rooms of different sizes, decorated in different styles. In 2002, the restaurant was awarded the highest Michelin category – three stars.
The menu changes with each new season. But one dish is always present: the famous signature artichoke soup with truffles and layered brioche with mushrooms. The recipe was written, of course, by Guy Savoy. But the famous restaurant does not live by soup alone. For example, among the specialties is sea bass baked in scales and salt on a bed of leeks under creamy truffle sauce. The so-called “cold steamed” dishes are very effective. They are served in a double dish; boiling broth is poured into the lower plate, and the steam from it envelops the vegetables and fish lying on the upper plate-cita. And what do you say to rhubarb ice cream or chocolate cake with chicory cream? Complementing this feast is a stunning selection of the finest French wines.
For those who are amazed by the variety of choices and can’t decide right away, the restaurant offers two kinds of seven-course tasting menus. The price of such an order is €250 (without drinks) or €395 (without drinks) for the “Colors, Textures and Tastes” option. The average bill ranges from 200 to 385 euros. There is a dress code – men are asked to attend the institution in jackets.
Products are supplied to the restaurant every day, from the same French suppliers. Guy Savoy himself visits numerous Parisian markets every weekend in search of new ingredients for his creations. Almost homely atmosphere, super quality local products, unique recipes, excellent service – that’s why Guy Savoy absolutely deservedly received its three stars.
Le Bernardin, New York, 3 Michelin stars
In 2012, Le Bernardin in New York City celebrated its fortieth anniversary and won the prestigious Traveller’s Choice Restaurant Awards that same year. It is on the list of the best restaurants in the city and has been awarded three Michelin stars. The French name of the institution reflects its specificity – here they serve dishes of the French cuisine with an evident preference for seafood. Many people give it the palm of New York in the area of “sea” dishes.
The restaurant was founded by the Bretons Magu and Gilbert Le Coz. The restaurant opened in 1972 and from the very beginning it relied on perfectly cooked seafood. Le Bernardin is an example of the American dream come true when hard work, persistence, and respect for customers become stepping stones to real success. The restaurant’s current co-owner and chef is Eric Ripert, a Frenchman who grew up on the Mediterranean coast. He learned to cook from his grandmother and mother, started his career in Paris, including under the guidance of famous chef Joël Robuchon. In the early 90s, Ripert moved to the U.S., where his talent was appreciated by the founder of Le Bernardin.
What is remarkable about the restaurant’s menu? Here you will be fed with raw, semi-raw or lightly cooked fish at its best. Ripert’s creative credo is kitchen minimalism. This approach demands an extreme attention to the quality of the products he uses and he has even created a foundation that encourages young chefs to use only the best ingredients. In addition to his work in the restaurant, he has his own cooking show on television, supplementing the culinary lessons with fascinating stories about sea creatures. He hosts online culinary broadcasts on his website and also has time to travel the world.
Le Bernardin has been called the “temple of seafood”. His cuisine is an amazing mix of French and Asian traditions. The chef is not afraid of unusual product combinations, combining fish, shellfish, mushrooms, vegetables, potatoes and vivid sauces on the same plate. This restaurant is a real landmark in New York City. A table in it needs to be booked 2-3 months in advance. Dress code: jackets (tailcoats) and ties for men, elegant clothes for women.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, 3 Michelin stars
This luxurious Parisian restaurant opened its doors in 2000 and quickly gained recognition. No particular secret – the restaurant is owned by the famous Alain Ducasse, who already has 19 Michelin stars in various venues. Today he is the most successful and titled restaurateur in the country who has opened more than one Michelin-starred restaurant around the world. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, awarded three Michelin stars just six months after it opened, is one of the most expensive and refined.
The restaurant is located in the five-star Plaza Athénée Hotel. The first thing that catches your eye is, of course, the chic white and gold interior in classical style. White marble statues, crystal chandeliers, embroidered tapestries, designer tableware and cutlery – the hand of the famous artist Patrick Jouin can be felt in everything.
But the main secret of the place is, of course, the cuisine. Traditional French recipes are reinterpreted and progressively processed here, unusual ingredients are introduced. Cooking here is based on organic and organic products, paying great attention to the healthiness of dishes. The menu includes seafood, vegetables, fish, cheeses, but not meat. The restaurant cooperates with fishermen and farmers who supply its kitchen with products of exceptional freshness and quality. Many seasonal dishes that you can taste only at a certain time of year or month. The richest wine list, including more than a thousand of selected French wines, makes the restaurant especially proud. On average, the dinner menu costs €210 (without drinks).
Hôtel de Ville, Crissier, 3 Michelin stars
Switzerland is famous all over the world for its fine restaurants, and Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville, which, like the previous characters in our article, has three Michelin stars, is one of the best. It is located in the former city administration building.
The chef of the Hôtel de Ville is Franck Giovannini, who has won many awards in the culinary field. In 2018, he was voted “Chef of the Year” by the authoritative gastronomic guide Gaul&Millau. Today, more than two dozen people work under him. A special feature of his menu is a wide use of local products (fish is caught in Lake Geneva, meat and cheeses come from farmers in the suburbs) and a large variety of vegetarian dishes. Giovannini is a master not only of content, but also of form. His serving is distinguished by incredible beauty and artistry. In addition, the restaurant’s cuisine stands out for its combination of traditional methods of food processing (for example, roasting food in cast-iron pans) and cutting-edge trends (for example, cooking in a souvide).
Hôtel de Ville is among the most expensive restaurants in the world, the average bill here is $370.
Eleven Madison Park, New York, 3 Michelin stars
In the company of the most discerning foodies, this restaurant needs no introduction. Eleven Madison Park, located in the borough of Manhattan, was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2017. The establishment is located in a beautiful old Art Deco building. Everything here is striking in its size: high ceilings, huge stained glass windows, large-scale compositions of flowers. Sea of light and a great view of Madison Square Park. The restaurant started in 1998 and was purchased by current chefs and owners Daniel Hamm and Will Guidara in 2011.
Eleven Madison Park is known for its innovative approach to cooking – old and beloved classic recipes (most often French) are transformed by talented chefs into something absolutely amazing. Sometimes it’s enough to add just one unusual ingredient to a recipe. The menu is simultaneously avant-garde and extremely elegant. One of the principles of the owners is to use fresh products grown right in New York. An inviolable rule of the kitchen is to prepare all ingredients with the utmost care. To a casual observer, the cooking process would remind a Swiss watch, as everything here is so precise and well planned, right down to the order of the vegetables according to their intended use.
Another distinguishing feature of the restaurant is the comprehensiveness of serving – you can’t order a single dish here, just breakfast, lunch or the tasting list as a whole (but you can choose the products from which it will all be prepared). A tasting set will cost you $195 and includes eight dishes served over three hours. The restaurant’s most famous specialties include foie gras pudding with asparagus jelly; duck with lavender glazed with honey. To appreciate these and many other delightful experiments, you should take care to make reservations weeks in advance.
The French Laundry, Yountville, 3 Michelin stars
This famous French restaurant is located in a small California town in the Napa Valley wine country. The name The French Laundry translates to “French Laundry” – before the restaurant, the building actually housed a laundry. Unlike many of its “star” counterparts, this establishment is notable for its external modesty – not that you will notice it even walking in the immediate vicinity. Nevertheless, for many years the restaurant has been at the top of various ratings.
Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry is deservedly considered one of the outstanding masters of modern cooking. The basis of his signature style is the use of organic products. The meat served here is guaranteed to be hormone-free, the vegetables and fruits are grown with absolutely no additives or fertilizers. To maintain such high standards, Thomas Keller personally oversees the entire production process of the components of future gourmet dishes. Rest assured that the beef you will be served here has been closely monitored since the birth of the calf.
Since organic eaters often refuse to eat meat, the restaurant offers two types of menus – vegetarian and author’s. The tasting set includes 9 dishes and will cost about $300. The menu varies depending on the season as the organic cuisine has no other way, since fragrant herbs and fresh vegetables arrive straight from the garden.
The French Laundry is one of the most expensive restaurants in the world that doesn’t stop people from waiting in line for a couple of months to appreciate its unique dishes. Visitors are not embarrassed by the small size of the portions, because their taste is literally remembered forever.
Interesting fact: Thomas Keller is the author of the updated ratatouille recipe, which appeared in the Pixar cartoon of the same name.