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April 7, 2015

Andy Hayler Discusses the Elite 100 Restaurants 2015

By Zahra Al-Kateb

The Elite Traveler top 100 restaurant list is unusual in that it is based on the votes of paying restaurant customers, rather than via panels of industry experts.

In the 2015 list there is plenty of change, and I would just like to highlight a few places of particular interest. Azurmendi has zoomed up the rankings to number 3 this year, and is a restaurant where I had a particularly good meal a few months ago. Set in a modern glass building perched on a hillside near Bilbao, it grows much of the produce it uses in its own on-site gardens and state of the art greenhouses.  Eneko Atxa’s cooking is inventive and the overall experience in this spectacular setting is really special.

Le Calandre in Rubano (not far from Venice) moved up an impressive 12 places this year. In a country with some great restaurants this is the one that stands out to me, its chef Massimiliano Alajmo being the youngest ever to earn three Michelin stars at just 28 years old. His cooking shows equal skill whether delivering modern cuisine or classical, and dishes such as the signature saffron risotto are genuinely memorable.

Robuchon Dome in Macau moved up 10 places this year.  I travelled a great deal in 2014 and ate at many world-class restaurants, yet my meal of the year was here. Now moved to its perch at the top of the Gran Lisboa hotel, the glass-domed restaurant is as glitzy as Macau itself. More important is the cooking, stunning French cuisine prepared by Francky Semblat, who trained with the legendary Joel Robuchon. The finest ingredients are used here and the technique is exemplary; dishes such as langoustine ravioli with black truffle demonstrate great skill.

It was good to see Indian Accent in Delhi make the “watch list” – for me this is probably the best Indian restaurant in the world. It was also good to see the sublime kaiseki cuisine of Mizai in Kyoto featuring highly. I fondly remember the meal that I ate there in the tiny premises in Marayuma Park. Japanese cuisine is without doubt one of the finest in the world, and Hitoshi Ishihara’s restaurant is right up there with the very best in Japan.

The Elite list of restaurants, based as it is on the votes of customers paying their own bills, is particularly credible – congratulations to all those establishments featured.

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