In a new book, top hotel chefs spill the secret of where to eat in their cities, outside of their own restaurants.
Hotel chefs may be the masterminds behind your favorite hotel dishes, but they're also a terrific resource for finding the best food in any city. In Global Epicurean, a new book released by The Luxury Collection, hotel chefs around the world dish on local culinary trends, secret foodie hotspots, and the dishes to try in their city. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite hotel chef secrets.
The mainstay in Venetian cuisine is seafood, but according to Executive Chef Daniele Turco of the iconic The Gritti Palace (Luxury Collection), you can't leave without having a fat, juicy steak at Ristorante da Ivo. Turco reveals it's famous among locals for its exceptional meat dishes, like veal osso buco, grilled lamb chops, and even a killer steak Florentine. Added bonus: "It's a celebrity favorite," adds Turco. "George Clooney and his guests even dined here the night before his wedding."
If you ask Executive Chef Willy Moya of Hotel Alfonso XIII (Luxury Collection), the Spaniards have perfected French toast. We’d have to agree: torrijas, Spain's answer to the breakfast dish, is dunked in eggs, milk, and wine—which automatically makes it (dare we say) even better than the original. Though Moya will be happy to make it for you himself at the hotel’s own Restaurante San Fernando, you can ask for torrijas at most restaurants in Seville.
There is no shortage of delicious food to eat in Bangkok, but Chef Manachai Konkangplu of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (Luxury Collection) says some of the best local food can be found just outside the city, in Bang Pu. "It's an area of mud flats and mangrove forests owned and managed by the Thai military, which seems like a strange place to go," admits Konkangplu. "But there are many restaurants on stilts here that serve incredible seafood. My favorite its the poo pad pong karee—stir-fried crab with egg and curry powder—which is a delicious, lesser-known Thai seafood dish everyone should try."
When in Dubai, ditch the ritzy tasting menus and make a beeline for Geales, a British eatery known for its fish and chips, suggests Executive Chef Vineet Bhatia of Grosvenor House. British culinary influence has actually been around in Dubai since the 1820s, when the emirate entered a treaty with Great Britain and the culture—and cuisine—simply stuck around. Not a fan of fish and chips? "Geales is the best spot for a cocktail in Dubai, and has a fantastic outdoor terrace with stunning views of the Jumeirah Beach Residence skyline," he adds.
Germany, known for its hearty, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, is just about the last place you'd think to order light, fresh, seafood-centric Japanese fare. But according to Executive Chef Michael Huesken of The Charles Hotel (Rocco Forte Hotels) in Munich, that's all changing. "Japanese influence has become a real trend," he says. "At the restaurant Geisels Werneckhof, the Munich-born chef Tohru Nakamura makes a Balfegó tuna dish that features avocado, shiso, and smoked ponzu, with [local] dahlia tuber instead of the usual marinated ginger. It's a great symbiosis between Japan and Bavaria."
You might assume that drinking anything besides wine in wine country is sacrilegious, but Chef Chris Cosentino of the newly-opened Las Alcobas Napa Valley (Luxury Collection) urges visitors to throw back a brew when in town, too. "A surprising and unexpected local spot I like is Cadet Wine and Beer Bar, which has great beers in addition to local wine," Cosentino says. "Plus, it's a great industry spot to catch all the local information directly from the source.”
"Being an island, Sicily has a long tradition of serving fresh local fish—it's what visitors ask for and expect to find," says Executive Chef Emanuele Riccobono of Verdura Golf & Spa Resort (Rocco Forte Hotels). "But at Morgana Farm in Sciacca, you'll find the best meat from all over the world—about 30 countries, from Ireland to France to Argentina—all prepared in different ways." Riccobono reveals that the restaurant’s owner and chef, Giuseppe Catanzaro, even traveled to the United States, where he spent a long period of time mastering barbecue techniques (because why shouldn't you have Texas-style brisket on an island off the coast of southern Italy?).
Though New Delhi's known for its street food and rich, spicy curries, Manisha Bhasin, the senior executive chef at ITC Maurya (Luxury Collection), reveals that the city is a secret sweet tooth's paradise, too. Her go-to spot is Chaina Ram, in the Chandni Chowk market, which has been slinging handmade cakes and candy, as well as traditional sweets like karachi halwa (made from cornflour, sugar, and ghee), since 1901. In fact, Bhasin loves the shop so much she'll even take you herself as part of a Food Sherpa tour of Delhi, available exclusively for ITC Maurya guests.