By Meghan Brennan
There are countless reasons to travel to Europe, and the food is only one – but it’s a big one. The Old World is home to some of the best in cuisine, from traditional delicacies to new and exciting fusions, and here are just a handful of its most delectable, scrumptious, and divine restaurants that are a must-try for champagne palates.
London — Chiltern Firehouse
The location of one of London’s finest restaurants is a bit odd as it is located in the former Marylebone Fire Station. The building, constructed in 1889, was converted into a hotel and restaurant in 2013 and has quickly gained a stellar reputation — and a long waiting list for reservation-seekers. The menu, updated frequently, offers dishes that range from traditional favorites, like steak tartare and roast chicken, to more exotic options, such as Galician octopus and venison loin.
Paris — L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
In 1989, Joël Robuchon was named Chef of the Century by French food guide Gault Millau, and he’s only gotten better since then. His restaurants have a combined 25 Michelin Stars, and this one in Paris boasts two of them. It features seating at a counter around the kitchen, so that guests can watch the cooks, or rather artists —after all, atelier is French for workshop — practice their craft. Specialties include truffled potatoes and free-range quail.
Rome — La Pergola
In a country as famed for its cuisine as Italy, a restaurant that is consistently numbered among the best (and frequently cited as the best in Rome) is worthy of attention. Dining at La Pergola is an exercise in luxury and opulence, but it’s also an experience you’ll never forget. From the nine-course tasting menu (which includes duck tortellini with pine needle infusion and porcini powder) to à la carte options that brilliantly update old standbys (you may have had pumpkin risotto, but have you had it with sweetbreads and coffee powder?), La Pergola is the dining adventure of a lifetime.
Madrid — Santceloni
Santceloni may be a bit outside of the most commonly visited neighborhoods of Madrid, but it’s well worth going a little out of your way to dine here. Given two Michelin stars, as well as boasting a “particularly interesting wine list” by the organization, Santceloni focuses on updated traditional cuisine, a blend of past and present designed to tantalize and delight. The tasting menu is a splurge, but one well worth it for the dedicated foodie, featuring such unorthodox creations as crispy pork ear and smoked roe deer loin.
Berlin — Lutter & Wegner
There are several Lutter & Wegner locations scattered across Berlin, but for the truest experience of it, visit its flagship across from Gendarmenmarkt. Largely Austrian inspired, it is nonetheless a German tradition, with some even saying that German sparkling wine, or sekt, was first conceived of on the premises. Take a seat in the dark-paneled dining room, one of the outdoor tables, or in the Weinstube, where you can snack on meat and cheese plates while surrounded by bottles of fine wine until the wee hours of the morning. Whatever you do, though, don’t miss the schnitzel — feather-light and served with warm potato salad. It’s a national treasure.
About Meghan Brennan