New York City: Peter Serpico (chef de cuisine) and Sam Gelman (sous chef) have a caused a frenzy at the 12-seat spot launched by David Chang (an F&W Best New Chef 2006). They pass miraculous dishes like poached puffed eggs in dashi-bacon broth over the counter to diners. Reservations available only online.
Chicago: Laurent Gras (an F&W Best New Chef 2002) replaced the French warhorse Ambria with a Japanese-informed, modern seafood restaurant. His ethereal treatment of prized amadai and shimaaji flown in from Tokyo rivals Japan's top sushi houses.
Toronto: Claudio Aprile will follow up on his molecular gastronomyinspired Colborne Lane with this comfort-food place in late 2009. "This is a much more personal project for me," he says. The menu, inspired by his travels, might include dishes like sweet-chili-and-crème-fraîche lobster salad. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol gave parties in the historic building. "That makes for a good vibe," Aprile says.
Paris: American phenom Daniel Rose became Paris's most buzzed-about chef when he started serving flawless, market-driven, classic French food in his 16-seat restaurant. He recently moved Spring to a space 10 times as big and added a wine bar (and cellar), lunch hours and more chefs in his open kitchen (he used to work alone). What remains: one seating, one price, one meal.
Berlin: Provocative chef Tim Raue opened this modern Chinese spot in the Hotel Adlon. His Asian-ish dishes are ridiculously light (he uses no white sugar or white flour) and showcase the region's best produce.
Bilbao: Josean Martinez Alija's aggressively seasonal, purist dishes at Frank Gehry's famed museum remain a real insider's secret, even though he's been there since 1998. He may well be Europe's most thrilling young chef.
Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg: Frantzén/Lindeberg
Stockholm: The restaurant is pricey, plain and small (19 seats), but chefs Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg have energized the whole city with their inventive, eco-conscious Scandinavian cooking, using ingredients like duck tongue.
Bocairent, Spain: Mugaritz-trained chef Francisco Morales and his superstar-sommelier wife, Rut Cotroneo, left Madrid's Senzone to run this place at Hotel Ferrero. Now the vegetable-worshipping chef cooks revelatory, ingredient-driven dishes.
Berkshire, England: Waldo's Chris Horridge, who took over this hotel restaurant, works with doctors and scientists to develop healthy but seemingly decadent dishes, like scallops poached in coconut oil with whipped shallot.
Lima: Peruvian-born, Italian-trained surfer-chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino goes on jungle expeditions to discover obscure Amazonian ingredients, such as camu-camu fruit. He then uses them in deliciously unconventional dishes.
São Paulo: Avant-garde king Alex Atala gives traditional Brazilian food the royal treatment at this follow-up to his new-wave restaurant D.O.M. Frenchman Alain Poletto oversees the execution of perfect comfort foods like moqueca, a seafood casserole. Hip waiters in Converse sneakers carve juicy rotisserie chicken tableside.
Hong Kong: The team behind Singapore's Les Amis Group built this faux-18th-century French villaa great setting for Thomas Mayr's haute cuisine and sommelier Randy See's Burgundy-heavy, 2,100-label list.
Melbourne: Chef Ben Shewry is both high-tech (he judiciously adapts molecular techniques) and primal (he forages ingredients). His complex Thai-Australian dishes, like an electric bongsmoked trout, have cemented his reputation as the country's most promising young talent.
Tokyo: The only way to taste chef Yoshiaki Takazawa's intricate, implausible inventions is to e-mail a request for a reservation at one of his two tables. His 10-course meal includes a terrine composed of 15 individually marinated vegetables that takes 12 hours to prepare.