At New York City's Insieme, chef Marco
Canora's classic and modern Italian dishes are fiercely devoted
to Greenmarket ingredients. Sommelier Paul Grieco's wine list
is as amusing as it is smart, mixing celebrity gossip into the
tasting notes. We loved: Bollito misto (boiled meats with salsa verde).
The hokey checked tablecloths at Rome's La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali might suggest the food is hokey too, but that's misleading: Alessio Liberatore's restaurant in a tangle
of tiny streets is wonderful. We loved: Fettuccine with prosciutto, pine nuts and sage. Insider tip: Do as the locals do and order the specials.
If your budget isn't big enough for Alain Ducasse's Le Jules Verne inside the Tower, opt for Les Cocottes, Christian Constant's no-reservations counter just off Paris's Champs de Mars. The cocottes heremini cast-iron pots containing entire mealsjustify the (inevitable) wait. We loved: Confit lamb shoulder.
Photo courtesy of Les Cocottes de Christian Constant
At his modern Italian restaurant in London, Number Twelve, chef Santino Busciglio salts his own cod, smokes his own meat and oversees the daily baking of six kinds of bread made with organic flour from Italy. We loved: Roasted beetroot ravioli with white butter sauce and blue poppy seeds.
In Cairo, the Mena House Oberoi's restaurant, The Moghul Room, serves exceptional Indian food. Haute versions of shrimp biryani, chicken masala and slow-cooked dal are exceptional. We loved: Yogurt-marinated chicken tandoori.
In Washington, DC, Central Michel Richard is a modern bistro created by the renowned chef
and run by his protégé Cedric Maupillier. Maupillier puts both American and French classics, like cassoulet and fried chicken, on the menu. The bar scene is one of the hottest in town. We loved: "Faux gras" chicken liver terrine.
Hidden in an idyllic 1920s house with
a garden setting, Balikçi Sabahattin is an olive's toss from Istanbul's old city. The mezelike sweet roasted
red peppers and smooth, garlicky eggplant spreadare unimpeachably fresh; so is the excellent seafood. And Balikçi ("fisherman") Sabahattin's kids are as adept at grilling fish
as he was. We loved: Fish köfte (meatballs).
Just a mile or so down Taj Road en route to the train station in Agra is the wackily named Zorba the Buddha. This spotless, reasonably priced café serves ultrafresh curries that aren't painfully spicy, as well as other vegetarian Indian dishes. We loved: Cheese naan.