Far-Flung Feasting: Six New Restaurant Openings Worth Travelling For

Plotting a gourmet getaway? We’ve pestered kitchen porters and chatted with chefs to bring you our pick of the best new restaurant openings around the world.

Psst. Have you heard about the Aussie eatery switching off the gas in its commitment to cooking over flame? Or the NY sangria joint beloved by Patti Smith and Bob Dylan that's reopening its doors to serve Basque Country plates and pitchers of the Spanish tipple? The global restaurant scene is back, baby, and we've gathered the lowdown from chefs, critics and in-the-know gourmands to bring you a list of the six new restaurants worth travelling for this year. Those seeking culinary pleasures abroad, take note: these are the obligatory stopovers on your 2022 travels.

Six global restaurant openings you don't want to miss this year

The famous dining room at El Quijote in New York
Image credit: Eric Medsker

restaurant

El Quijote

New York, US

Sometimes, what crowns a restaurant a classic isn't its menu, but its story. Case in point? The legendary El Quijote hangout at the bottom of the soon-to-reopen Hotel Chelsea. This scarlet-robed dining room started serving sangria in the 1930s, becoming a regular rendezvous point for Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Andy Warhol. It reopened last month, unchanged since the glory years - all burgundy leather booths, etched glass, wrought iron edgings and heavy chandeliers. All that's missing? A cigarette haze swimming around Warhol's bleached-blonde thatch. The menu looks towards Galicia and the Basque Country (think rabbit paella and oil-cured anchovies), as does a voluptuous wine list, but we're ordering a sangria pitcher to toast the venue's resurgence.

Address

226 W 23rd St, New York, NY 1001, US

Various dishes on offer at the New African Cuisine restaurant in Montreal, Canada

restaurant

Mokili

Montreal, Canada

Head here for an introduction to what chef Epepe Tukala Vuvu calls new African cuisine - his take on the continent's rich and intricate food culture. Located in Montreal's Villeray district, this diminutive food counter opened in August, its distinctiveness securing it a place on our must-visit list for when we next touch down in Canada. The menu reads like an atlas, with Senegalese, Moroccan and Ghanian favourites galore. You'll be diving into aromatic dishes such as maafe peanut stew, gamey Congolese grilled goat and Kenyan spiced mango salads, all washed down with homemade hibiscus juice. The restaurant has a close relationship to a speciality farm outside Quebec, granting it access to authentic African ingredients.

Address

93 Rue de Castelnau E, Montreal, QC H2R 1P1, Canada

Clams on the menu at Big Esso, an indigenous-owned restaurant in Melbourne, Australia
Image credit: Tatanja Ross / On Jackson Street

restaurant

Big Esso

Melbourne, Australia

When Australia announced that its borders were reopening, it was this Melbourne indigenous food advocate that had us hot-footing it to Heathrow. Big Esso - a slang term that means "the biggest thank you" - opened last year on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra). It's a second spot for Torres Straits chef Nornie Bero, a champion of First Nations food culture in a country that so often looks overseas for epicurean inspiration. The menu dazzles with native Australian ingredients. Expect the likes of kangaroo tail with sharp pepperberry bourguignon, lemon aspen arti (octopus) with a desert lime sauce, and gamey charred emu, brushed with black molasses and a fiery chimichurri. Tinnies, softies and wines on the drinks list are all made by native-owned companies, too.

Address

Federation Sq Swanston St and Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia

The yellow exterior of LA Koreatown Restaurant, Here's Looking At You
Image credit: Brooke Olsen

restaurant

Here’s Looking at You

Los Angeles, US

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and if it includes a heroic crowdfunding campaign from devoted diners pining for their favourite haunt, so much the better. Enter, Here's Looking at You, a Koreatown restaurant destined to be a Covid casualty until it was lovingly nurtured back to life this January, thanks to its generous regulars. The beloved restaurant is now back in business and buzzing with energy. Pitch up to munch on innovative menu favourites like smoked maple chicken liver on locally baked bread, and tamari and red chilli-spiked steak tartare. Don't skip dessert, either. The pre-pandemic standout, a frozen cloud of pear soda foam with fermented honey, is back and better than ever.

Address

3901 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020, US

Sukko Stach

restaurant

Casa Charo

Samaipata, Bolivia

Tucked between the vineyards of Bolivia's second-largest wine region, this soon-to-open spot comes with plenty of pedigree - but few concrete certainties. There's no confirmed location, dining room or even menu yet, but we do know that it's set to be a more sophisticated sister to La Paz's relaxed pizzeria Imilla Alzada, offering a set tasting menu crafted from the bountiful harvests of the area's undulating landscapes - so peaches, plums, and creamy cherimoya might make it to the plate. With craft beer-maker Sukko Stach behind the scenes, there are also plans for a cidery, to make the most of the area's apple production.

Address

Samaipata, Bolivia

Small Dinner Club, Bangkok, Thailand

restaurant

Small Dinner Club

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok's newest restaurant is also one of its smallest, with just 12 diners being offered the chance to experience a 12-course tasting menu each day. Chef Sareen Rojanamatin - recently returned from an extended stint in Australia - takes his audience on a three-hour food odyssey inspired by his homeland's larder, matching crisp chrysanthemum flower bites and frozen tom yum soup cubes with fresh juices, infusions and alcoholic pairings. The dining room is a sultry, softly lit gallery in which food takes centre stage.

Address

1109 Charoen Krung Rd, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand

Lisboeta, Fitzrovia, London
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