Where to eat around your favorite cities, according to the 2019 Asia’s 50 Best and World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
The results are in. Two fine dining restaurants, one in Bangkok and another in Singapore, claimed top spots in the 50 Best lists.
Gaggan, Indian chef Gaggan Anand’s flagship in Thailand’s capital claimed the top spot for Asia and the fourth place on the world list at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 Awards* in Singapore this week, while modern French restaurant Odette by chef-owner Julien Royer and located at Singapore’s National Gallery, claimed the top spot at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 Awards** in Macau earlier this year. Both high class plates, worth every dollar sign next to the name.
But don’t let those dollar signs ruin your appetite. Despite the list’s upscale price point, no rule dictates that good food—the best food, even—has to hurt your wallet. Here are some of our own favorites from the list that should be afforded a visit or two:
Locavore. Everything at Locavore in Bali is local, from the seasonal vegetables to the last speck of hand-crafted sea salt. Chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah’s continued partnership with Balinese farmers won them the Sustainable Restaurant Award for their environmental and social responsibility rating. If you aren’t too keen on a big course, just a few meters away is Locavore To-Go, where they serve breakfast meals and snacks all day. Highlight: Burung puyuh (roasted quail breast). Jalan Dewi Sita, Ubud, Bali; +62 361 977 733; locavore.co.id
Bo.lan. The restaurant is named after the husband-and-wife chef duo, Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones and Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava, who serve Thai dishes inspired by home-cooking in a sharing menu for two. Highlight: red chicken curry. 24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110; +66 2 260 2962; bolan.co.th
Gaa. This modern Indian restaurant placed at #16, capturing the Highest New Entry Award, while executive chef Garima Arora — a Gaggan alumna — received the award for Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2019. Splurge a little and treat yourself in Bangkok: grilled young corn with corn milk. 68/4 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road Lumpini, Phathumwan, Bangkok 10330; +669 1 419 2424; gaabkk.com
The Chairman. Like most of Hong Kong’s side street restaurants, The Chairmen blends into the city background. Serving traditional Cantonese cuisine, there are no tasting menus at this family-style restaurant, but there is always fresh seafood and a variety of slow-cooked sauces. Highlight: steamed flowery crab with aged ShaoXing wine. 18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2555 2202, thechairmangroup.com
Neighborhood. This intimate French-Italian eatery can be found in a courtyard, serving some seriously cozy vibes: bring your own wine and prepare for the menu to be a surprise. Don’t miss: salt-baked local chicken. 61-63 Hollywood Rd, Hong Kong; +852 2617 0891; fb.com/neighborhoodhk
Dewakan. Chef Darren Teoh’s thoughtful tasting menus have been called “modern art,” featuring extraordinary Malaysian components such as jungle fruit or torch ginger flower. Splurge and treat yourself in Kuala Lumpur: prawns warmed in starfruit juice and herbs. Lower Ground Floor KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie Jalan Kontraktor U1/14, Seksyen U1, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor; +60355650767; dewakan.my
Toyo Eatery. As the only Philippine entry, Toyo in Manila is perhaps the best illustration of inventive Filipino cuisine still looking back at its roots. The restaurant is a result of chef Jordy Navarra’s faith in simple and beloved Filipino ingredients. Don’t miss: homemade banana catsup with tortang talong. 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, 1231 Metro Manila; +63 917 720 8630; fb.com/toyoeatery
JL Studio. The winner of the Miele’s One To Watch Award is out to reinvent the experience of Singaporean dishes, using Taiwanese ingredients sourced from nearby farms. Splurge and treat yourself in Taipei: Satay (peanut sauce ice cream on frozen foie gras, onion, cucumber and fried chicken skin). 2F, No.689, Yifeng Road Section 4, Nantun District, Taichung 408; +886 4 2380 3570; jlstudiotw.com
Den. Coming in at #3, Den is also Japan’s Best Restaurant (out of 12 Japan-based restaurants in the list!). Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, who received the Chef’s Choice Award, serves a seasonal eight-course menu. Expect award-winning hospitality alongside playful dishes, true to the kaiseki style. Splurge and treat yourself in Tokyo: “Den-tucky” fried chicken. 2-3-18 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; +81 3 6455 5433; jimbochoden.com
*The annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards are selected by a network of 1,000 leaders in the restaurant industry around the region and the world, respectively. Find out more: theworlds50best.com/asia
Nina Unlay is the editor of thegoodtrip.ph