Best Gourmet Getaway
Seafood linguine overlooking the Amalfi Coast; beach barbecues in a tropical limestone grotto; sushi in Soho; your first sip of that great gutsy Rioja… holiday memories are fed by such moments.
The Best Gourmet Getaway is about more than culinary stars: it's an experience to savour. The food is part and parcel of your stay, possibly even the highlight of your trip. Wine-matched tasting menus are all very well, but if they're fancy for the sake of it, we'll take the local chalkboard specials any day.
Lawyer-turned-envelope-pushing-chef Willin is one of Singapore’s most respected restaurateurs
Laura & Danielle Kosann
These stylish sisters are the main ingredients of their food-focused site the New Potato
With seven restaurants, three books, and regular TV appearances, Aikens is a standout in modern British cuisine
Best Date-Night Bar
Most Spoiling Spa
Best Gourmet Getaway winners...
WINNER: ZABORIN, NISEKO, JAPAN
‘The food from Yoshihiro Seno is as pure and as well thought out as the hotel. He draws from his own experience of ‘kaiseki‘ and ‘washoku‘ techniques and makes good use of local produce including his own grown ingredients. Guests are in for a delightful journey in taste.’
– Tom Aikens Chef and author
RUNNER-UP: COMO THE TREASURY, PERTH, AUSTRALIA
Meals here are a sound investment: the Treasury has taken tastebuds on bedazzling culinary safaris since it opened, thanks to its dining double-act: Wildflower and Post. Experience indigenous flavours at the former, captained by chef Jed Gerrard, whose accomplished menu was developed in accordance with the six Aboriginal seasons. Post is more casual, but just as patriotic. Calorie-counters can stay on target with help from Como Shambhala spa’s organic menu.
RUNNER-UP: LIME WOOD, HAMPSHIRE, UK
A starry restaurant, a raw food bar at the spa, a smokehouse, an accomplished cookery school – most hungry gadabouts are aware of Lime Wood’s culinary cred. What we love is their inability to rest on their morels, preferring instead to cherry their cake with crowd-pulling pop-ups. The likes of Rick Stein, Tom Kerridge, and the River Cottage mob have appeared this year alone, giving guests the chance to savour gourmet greatness.
We’re not experts on the culinary mores of nuns, but we’ll wager they’d harbour religious leanings for Simply Fosh: the Michelin-starred restaurant at former nunnery Convent de la Missió. Eponymous chef Marc Fosh maintains vertiginous standards in menus that change weekly, and pop with colour: we’re talking Llampuga fish with preserved lemons and basil, tuna with watermelon, and icy white-chocolate soup with passion fruit sorbet and blackberries.
This freethinking hotel’s beachy, bohemian spirit extends to its organic menu, which puts a firm emphasis on Mother Nature. Dishes are fuss- and frill-free, just as nature intended: oysters, watermelon salad, frittata and lamb kebabs for lunch; local black sea bass served with quinoa, sweet potato and harissa, or blue-crab tagliatelle with Calabrian chilli for dinner… Outsiders flock here every night, but only hotel guests can bagsy a table in advance.
We’re interested in astrology, especially when it involves Michelin stars. Find out why chef Jérôme Faure has held on to his for eight years at Le Champ des Lunes. Dishes have an emphasis on local Luberon ingredients: crab served with celery and apple from the kitchen gardens; Bresse pigeon paired with lavender-infused pigeon milk, for example. Oenophiles, meanwhile, will fall for the Rhône-roaming wine list.
We’d happily skip starters and mains and head straight to dessert at Supper, whose sweet treats include a ruinously delicious butterscotch crémeux. That said, it would be a shame to miss out on savoury sensations such as blistered carrots with hazelnuts and miso dressing, or market seafood with artichoke-and-olive salad and golden-tomato sauce. Self-taught chef (and so-called 'vegetable whisperer') John Brand, has devised a menu that’s playful, creative and utterly tempting.
Rome’s Malaspina dynasty knew a thing or two about high living, so it’s fitting that their former abode, Palazzo Dama, is armed with a ravishingly regal restaurant. The dining room is a wedding-cake confection: all icing-white walls, arched windows, white tufted banquettes and glittering chandeliers. This is no case of style over substance, though: executive chef Roberto de Santis has worked with food blogger Morgan Witkin to devise organic, sugar-free dishes.
Wine may be the number-one draw at Mont Rochelle – but culinary delights come a close second. Mountain-view Miko restaurant has attracted a loyal following, thanks to its international scope and exceptional ingredients (flavour-matched to the best Winelands grapes, naturally). The chef has a way with texture – smoked paprika squid comes with egg noodles, saffron cream and lime and crispy salted tentacles, for example.
Thought Mexican food was all tacos and tortillas? Rethink things at Seared, a sophisticated temple to surf and turf. Carnivores have 15 prime cuts of beef to choose from. If it’s fishy business you’re after, sink your teeth into local spiny lobster and sea-fresh red snapper. Other edible attractions here include Suviche, chef Yoshiaki Akaike’s sushi, seafood and sake spectacular, and Agua by Larbi, an open-air field-to-fork Mexican alternative.
Best Gourmet Getaway award criteria
These are places you'd make a detour for (even if you weren't staying at the hotel); meals memorable enough to recall long after you leave.
Can you feast on something you can't get anywhere else? An unusual take on local cuisine, an exceptional focus on seasonality, a mouthwatering fusion menu? And don't forget the drinks: is the wine list award-winning?
THOUGHT FOR FOOD
We respect a chef who cares where his ingredients come from. Whether your meal includes freshly foraged fruit, Fair Trade cocoa, kitchen-garden herbs or locally landed fish, it should be selected with due diligence.
Is there a celebrated chef or a star in the making in the kitchen? Is their cooking Michelin-quality? Did your tongue tingle, your senses soar?