May 19, 2009

My new global top 10, 2009 revision

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It's been a year and a half since I decided to put out my own "Top 10" list, and I've dined out quite a bit since then. So it is only fair that I revise the list to account for the new dining experiences as well as changing tastes. Of course, this list is purely subjective and I have only had one meal at some of the restaurants, so it's not really "fair". But hey, this is how I'm calling it...

1. El Bulli (Roses, Spain) - 3-star
I don't think I will come across another restaurant that can knock El Bulli from its top spot anytime soon. My birthday dinner at the No. 1 restaurant in the world (according to some, anyway) was simply unforgettable. Last visited June 2006.

2. Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville (Crissier, Switzerland) - 3-star
My lunch at Philippe Rochat's restaurant was simply mind-blowing. Everything was just so nicely done, with lots of Asian elements which actually worked really well. I have to thank my friend B for the wonderful treat. Last visited October 2008.

3. per se (New York, USA) - 3-star
I always thought per se would stay in the No. 2 spot for a long time, but I think Rochat just barely edges it out. It was still one of the best meals I have ever had, though, and the whole ambiance was lovely. Last visited March 2006.

4. Michael Mina (San Francisco, USA) - 2-star
My solo dining experience here was absolutely perfect, with a great wine-pairing to boot. Every single dish was superbly executed, and the service was really impressive. Last visited December 2008.

5. Pierre Gagnaire (Paris, France) - 3-star
Yes, I actually ranked a Michelin 2-star restaurant in the US above a 3-star in Paris! Don't get me wrong, I really loved my lunch at Pierre Gagnaire. It's just that my dinner at Michael Mina was a teeny bit better. As always, Pierre's desserts are truly amazing and he's another chef that can get it right when it comes to fusion. Last visited April 2009.

6. French Laundry (Yountville, USA) - 3-star
As I mentioned in the last ranking, my dining experience here actually wasn't as good as per se, even though many of the dishes were the same. But it was still a really good meal. Last visited March 2006.

7. Kyubey (Tokyo, Japan) - no longer starred as of 2009
This is still my favorite sushi restaurant in the world, as I haven't had a chance to go back to Japan and try out some others. I've never walked out of here without a big smile on my face. Last visited August 2007.

8. Caprice (Hong Kong, China) - promoted to 3 stars Nov 2009
This has now become my favorite French restaurant in Hong Kong. This is perhaps a bit unfair because, after getting to know the chef, the maitre d' and the sommelier, it is now easier than ever to get them to create something special for me. Last visited May 2009.

9. La Tour d'Argent (Paris, France) - 1-star
I haven't been back for a few years and it'll probably be a while before I have another meal here, but my two previous meals here have both been unforgettable. The classic cuisine, the enormous wine cellar and the history of the place all come together to make it difficult for me not to include it in my top 10. Last visited August 2002.

10. Yung's Club (Hong Kong, China) - 1-star for the main restaurant Yung Kee
This was the best Chinese meal I've had in a long time, where just about every dish was very, very well done. The steamed fish was especially awesome. Of course it was also the most expensive Chinese meal I've had in a while, too... Last visited January 2009.

I'm sure that many people would disagree with at least part (if not all) of my rankings, but as someone once said in a movie: "Opinions are like a**holes - everybody's got one." This is mine and I hope you respect it...


Sher.eats said...

wah. =)

e said...

Just being able to try all those restaurants is a feat in itself...congrats.

We're headed to El Bulli next month shortly after they open for the season so we'll see how the 2009 menu stacks up!

Peech said...

Eric, how lucky you are! There is nothing that I would love more than to return to El Bulli for a second taste.


Pete said...

I like Caprice - perhaps the most decent French restaurant in HK other than Amber. But haven't tried Cepage yet - have you checked it out, and how does it stack up against Caprice foodwise?

BTW, Michael Mina not my cup of tea when I was there last July 2008- way too fussy (3 preparations for each dish?!).


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