Our panel of plugged-in judges combed through the dozens and dozens of Go List nominations to single out the 20 places that offer the planet’s most exciting dining experiences of 2009.
Chef Geert Burema’s French spin on local ingredients—he transforms marinated, slow-cooked rabbit into an amazing terrine—made this place a hit when it opened last fall in Frankendael Park.
Berlin: MA Tim Raue
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.
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.
Buenos Aires: La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar
Alejandro Diglio applies his training at Spain’s El Bulli to the bargain 10-course tasting menus in his San Telmo wine bar—with more than 70 local by-the-glass offerings.
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.
Copenhagen: Restaurant Paustian
Local langoustine tied with spruce sprigs then gently grilled exemplifies chef Bo Bech’s clever, beautifully simple regional cooking. He is a master of New Nordic.
Dublin: Mint Restaurant
Chef Dylan McGrath may be as hotheaded as his former boss, Tom Aiken, but he may also be as brilliant.
Hong Kong: Cépage
The team behind Singapore’s Les Amis Group built this faux-18th-century French villa—a great setting for Thomas Mayr’s haute cuisine and sommelier Randy See’s Burgundy-heavy, 2,100-label list.
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.
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 bong–smoked trout, have cemented his reputation as the country’s most promising young talent.
New York: Momofuku Ko
Peter Serpico (chef de cuisine) and Sam Gelman (sous chef) have 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.
Paris: Le Chateaubriand
Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte has smoldering good looks to go with his radical reconstructions of classic French dishes (foie gras served in miso soup)—all marvelously incongruous in this rickety old bistro.
São Paulo: Dalva e Dito
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.
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.
Tokyo: Aronia de Takazawa
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.
Top Chefs in the Countryside
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.
Ferrero 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.
La Madia At this tiny place in his hometown, Pino Cuttaia serves superlocal Sicilian dishes for the 21st century, like pinecone-smoked codfish with pizzaiola sauce.
Openings Too New to Review
Spring 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.
Origin Claudio Aprile follows up his molecular gastronomy–inspired Colburne Lane with this comfort-food place. “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.