January 20, 2020

Around the World: Favorite Restaurants I've Visited This Year: 50 Places to Choose From

This year, I had the chance to visit more than 14 countries, sleep in 35 hotels and eat at more than a hundred restaurants. Below is a selection of my 50 best. Enjoy checking the mouth-watering photos.

Hakkasan: Delicious Cantonese Cuisine and Happy Vibes in London

It was eight already, walking on the street-facing Hakkasan... we tried our luck to book a table and it worked! It never works that fast... you can’t book a table at Hakkasan minutes before arriving. Happy and excited, we took the stairs down to the restaurant.


Deli Bros Fine Foods: A Must Experience at Frankfurt Airport

At Frankfurt airport Terminal 1B, Deli Bros Fine Foods caught my attention: with its open kitchen and rich aromas haunting the airport, I stopped for an early lunch. It was only 10:15 in the morning but waking up at 4 am makes it feel like lunchtime. A burger, some sausages, a cheese platter, and the steak was my order. Served by a happy and funny waitress, the airport experience was better than I expected.


Bistro Kaprova: Bookstore, Bistro, Great Food and Positive Vibes in Prague

I had enough of the Christmas market food, grilled pork, sausages, and sweet things... I needed to eat decent food! Walking in the “non-touristic” and not so crowded streets of Prague, a beautiful restaurant caught my attention. I felt something, the colors and cold cuts fridge... it was the best decision I’ve taken today.


Alriso: Gluten Free Italian Cuisine in Prague

When you are welcomed with a smile, you will immediately understand that the owners are not Czech. An Italian family-style trattoria on Betlémské náměstí, focusing on rice in its various forms, from appetizers to desserts. In Alriso’s completely gluten-free menu you can find risotto from premium quality rice and also a wide range of meat, seafood and other elements of traditional Italian cuisine. Because the kitchen uses rice and rice flour for cooking, the experience is completely gluten-free.


La Bottega Di Finestra: The Italian Marketplace of Prague

Welcome to the marketplace where vibes are enchanting, music is happy, the staff is positive and the food is excellent. Welcome to an Italian marketplace filled with joy and happiness, divided into several sections for you to choose from. I loved the vibes, the mood, the food, the colors, and the place decor.


Pepenero: Excellent Tagliatelle and Outstanding Carbonara in Prague

I was waking in front of the restaurant, read on the menu that the carbonara doesn’t contain cream... I had to stop here for dinner! A restaurant oozing Italian vibes, a beautiful menu described in details and loaded with fresh photos, a pizzaiolo preparing one pizza after the other in front of guests in a restaurant handled by a professional team. I just felt this place from the minute I walked in.


Turtle Bay: Enjoy a Caribbean Experience in Dresden

This year, I’m spending my new year’s ever unconventionally. I was in Prague, didn’t like the crowd and chaos of tourists filling the streets of the Czech capital, so I found a car and drove all the way to Dresden. Two hours from Prague is the German city of Dresden. Walking the streets at 7 pm and trying to run away from the noisy fireworks, I bumped into an unconventional restaurant serving Jamaican food: it’s called Turtle Bay.


In the Kitchen with Alan Geaam: Lebanon’s Michelin Starred Chef of the Year

I’ve seen a man on Instagram, a sportsman, smiley from time to time, calm and serious... I’ve heard stories about his past, about his childhood, about Tripoli of north Lebanon. I was impressed by his pride, the respect of his roots, by his love for Lebanon and unbelievable passion. All of this... and I didn’t even meet him yet! His name is Alan Azzam Geaam, a Lebanese chef, award winner of a Michelin star for the second year in a row, a decent and humble person I was excited to meet.


Hakata Choten: One of the Best Ramen Bowls Paris has to Offer

With a review of 4,6/5 on google and award winner of the best Gyoza in Japan, visiting Hakata Choten was a must. At first, it’s a Ramen noodles restaurant like any other until you’ve opened the menu. You are educated on how to eat noodles, what is Ramen and how to eat these noodles. “A passion poured in creating every Ramen bowl, a sentence written on the menu’s first page.”


Barr: Delicious Food and Unique Beers at this Casual Fine Dining in Copenhagen

Dine where Noma used to be! A sublime space made of wood with a view on the sailing ship and canal. After enjoying a memorable experience at Noma, here comes lunch at Barr, where Noma used to be before its closing in 2017.


Spaghetteria La Perla; A Homey Italian Dinner in Copenhagen

After yesterday’s bad experience at Scarpetta, I really needed some good Italian spaghetti cooked aldente. Google maps led me to this homey trattoria serving a handful of pasta dishes, risotto, and pizza. Traditional and authentic, the restaurant is decorated with red table covers, black & white photos of Italian artists eating pizza, a bar and two crystal chandeliers. Don’t judge so quickly; despite the cold service and cheap decor, food is excellent.


KOD Copenhagen: Dining in the Dark A Very Good Meat

One of the best steakhouses in town is called KOD; found on google maps and trip advisor, I was excited to have a decent piece of meat with some good fries! I’ve had enough of complicated things the last three days; it was time for a hefty and enjoyable dinner.


The Union Kitchen: My Best Lunch Experience In Copenhagen

A professional social media presence on Instagram with beautiful photos make you want to visit The Union Kitchen. Walk into positive and happy vibes make you want to order everything! A sexy menu holds a choice of granola, one burger, pulled pork bowl, eggs Benedict, Croque Monsieur, fried chicken waffle, and three desserts to name a few.


La Vecchia Taranto: The Best Italian in Malta and Beyond

I felt this place! Traditional, authentic, small and feels like home. An Italian trattoria owned and managed by Italian people, Vecchia Taranto welcomes you for pizza and pasta. We arrived without having a booking, given the restaurant’s best table and greeted the Italian way. The owner was watching a football match so we joined.


Farinella: Exceptional Pasta and Pizza at the Airport in Rome

At Fiumicino airport, upon the first floor, an Italian restaurant serves a wide selection of local specialties. You don’t expect to have a real restaurant at the airport especially with such a varied menu... and I was craving pasta at 11 am. Spaghetti, fettuccini, and pizza let's have an early lunch at the airport.


Sunday in Scotland: One of the Best Chocolates, are Found in Malta

Sunday and every day, there’s a chocolate shop you cannot miss when visiting Malta. Sunday in Scotland, an idea by Lebanese Amer Wahoud and Gordon Campbell Gray, -the man behind Campbell Gray hotels-, started in Malta and is on to conquer the world. Coffee shop, cake parlor and chocolate heaven, the place will make your heart skip a beat.


Enoteca Pinchiorri: Best of the Best! A Lifetime Dining Experience at a Three Starred Michelin

When you find a table at a “Three Stars Michelin” restaurant, your heart starts beating uncontrollably! When you ask to have a private tour of the kitchens and wine cellar, you’ll feel like your heart stopped beating! Awarded since 1993 as one of the world’s best restaurants and part of the unique 132 list of outstanding restaurants, Enoteca Pinchiorri is one of those experiences you have to try at least once in your life. Hosting the most expensive and most diverse wine collection of the world with 85,000 bottles, the restaurant is much more than a place to eat, an experience, a journey, an achievement one would add to his list of discoveries.


Ristorante Caruso: Lunch on the Lake in Sirmione! Delicious Pasta!

Located on the lake in one of Italy’s famous touristic villages, Caruso offers a wide selection of Italian specialties with a view. On the terrace under the sun or inside, both experiences are just great! The view, the scenery, and enjoyable weather.


A Deserved One Star Michelin at Ristorante Oseleta, Villa Cordevigo

With a traffic jam that delayed our trip for more than thirty minutes, we arrived at the restaurant at 09:36 pm. Despite the delay, we were welcomed and treated professionally. Located at the villa, the same place where I slept and had an amazing breakfast, the Relais also has a fine dining restaurant. Beautiful and simple, the restaurant relaxes the body. A couple of tables only, leaving enough space between them for the waiters to walk in style. I felt good and felt the professionalism from the minute I walked in; I knew that I will enjoy my time.


Trattoria Do Forni: Pasta for the Soul, Non-Touristic in Venice

Imagine that I visited more than nine years ago and still remember how great the food was. Located in the heart of Venice a few meters from the famous Piazza San Marco, Da Forni is one of the city’s famous restaurants with signs leading to it around the surrounding streets. Access the first room, walk to the other where more seating is available. Fine-dining style, bread plate, silver cutlery, and butter knives on an ironed white tablecloth. Waiters wearing black ties fake care of your orders, making sure the clientele is happy.


Paper Moon Milano: Back After Two Years and Still Loving it; A Coup de Coeur

Two years ago, I discovered a restaurant; an Italian restaurant in the heart of Milano. A unique restaurant serving exceptional food made with love and dedication. A restaurant filled with guests, loaded with an accustomed clientele coming here regularly. Today, two years after, I visit again to love that memorable experience I still didn’t forget. Arriving at 02:30 pm, the restaurant was packed! I had to wait fifteen minutes to be seated.


Fuor D’Acqua Florence: I Came Back After Ten Years! A Memorable Experience

I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long! Ten years since I last visited and still remember to date the superb food I had. Fuor D’Acqua, the restaurant under the stone arcades, decorated in white and painted with salmon colors. Soft music, professional welcoming, and a complimentary drink of sparkling wine to start. I was so excited... I felt like waiting for the whole menu.


Emporio Armani Ristorante: Two Thumbs Up for the Food!

For the third time in three years, I visit the Emporio Armani restaurant located under the Armani hotel in Milano. I remember it to be well lit, decorated in red colors and serving the best saffron risotto ever! Visiting and expecting perfection we were seated in the smoking area, the risotto has been removed of the menu, the music has become heavy and repulsive, placemats have disappeared, and the light so dimmed not suitable for eating. Anyway, let’s not judge and eat...


Ergon Athens: A Dream Place for Foodies. Beautiful Decor and Delicious Food

It’s marvelous! A dream place, a haven I dream of owning. A foodie gourmet hub I hope one day will open in Beirut. It’s so fresh, happy and vibrant... enter into a little paradise decorated with green walls, paintings and a display of fresh vegetables — your unconventional supermarket where food is served from available arrivals. Music, setup, and decor, I felt transported!


Zuccherino Athens: I Literally Screamed from Joy!

Famous for their chocolate soup, Zuccherino is one of those places you have to visit when in Athens. Chocolate in a bowl, Millefeuille cake, and ruby chocolate ball were the three cravings I ordered despite the large display of ice creams that will make your mouth water.


Zampano: My Favorite Breakfast Stop in Athens

It’s like one of those Paris or New York spots renowned for breakfast and brunch. The vibe is different from anything else I experienced the last two days, the mood and the menu. Music, high ceiling, pleasant lighting, and a varied menu of creative choices; Zompano has it all.


Choux Choux Gelateria: Exquisite Ice Cream Profiterolein Athens

Two years ago, I made a point to visit every eclair and choux place around the planet passing by Paris, London, Beirut, New York, and Bucharest. Some are good, others less, but what I can say after this tour is that I know how a choux should be done. Tender, not crunchy, not stale, not thick and loaded with a creamy crème pâtissière that’s not sweet and not gooey. I can add Athens to my list, “Choux Choux” creates mouthwatering giant choux à la crème I fell in love with. The profiterole cup made my heart skip a beat. I’ve never enjoyed anything as good! Ice cream on top, crunchy choux crumbles on the bottom, chocolate custard cream topping... it’s so yummy!!!


LOS: Art and Food on the Island of Symi

Marvelous, to say the least, the restaurant is marvelous! High-end and classy, even though located on the harbor, LOS - for Lobster, Oyster, and Sushi- doesn’t look like a restaurant for tourists. A gallery on the first floor, a bar, and open kitchen on the ground floor with a terrace oozing jazz and positive tunes. I felt transported...


La Petite Maison: A Must Do in Istanbul

Amazing, exceptionally amazing like all the “La Petite Maison” restaurants I’ve been to around the world. After indulging in the finest food in Nice, Dubai, and Beirut, here comes the Istanbul experience. Enter into a summer garden decorated with white table covers, colorful artwork, a bar, and the signature lemon and tomatoes in the middle of every table — the same menu for as long as I remember and the same vibes.


Paper Moon: Enjoying My Favorite Milanese Restaurant in Istanbul

After enjoying Paper Moon twice in Milano, I couldn’t but try it in Istanbul. One of my favorite Italian restaurants of all times makes my heart skip a beat. Pasta, pizza and Italian dishes, Paper Moon, is not only about the food but the class and vibes. With a high-end luxurious feel in Istanbul different from the Trattoria of Milano, you are promised perfection.


Petra Roasting Company: A Coup de Coeur in Istanbul

On this beautiful Sunday morning, my first stop was at Mangerie, where I thought I'd discovered the best... I then continued to Delicatessen where again I thought I’ve found my coup de Coeur... and then came Petra! OMG was the feeling, astonishment, amazement while walking into that marvelous space of old decor, trendy crafts, coffee roasting, bar, and open kitchen. It’s much more than a cafe, not like any restaurant I know; it’s an experience.


Delicatessen: Classical Music and Great Breakfast in Istanbul

Oh, My Goodness! When I think that’s, I’ve been to the best breakfast place in town; another pops up! Delicatessen locates on the hills of Nisantasi is your perfect breakfast destination. How many times have you dined with classical music tunes in a restaurant enchanted with the smell of cakes and sweets? A terrace, a casual English-style cafe and a big dining space on the lower floor. Music, enchanting music, my style of music... I loved it here!


Ioki: An Excellent Sushi in Istanbul

It has appeared on the lists, in all my searches, it’s one of the capital’s best Asian restaurants according to many... after a bit so pleasant lunch down at the Bosphorus, we grabbed a cab all-the-way up next to Midpoint Mall where Ioki is located.  Toning Japanese or Asian about the place especially when we met three families with their kids, but I was excepted to try the food: Rice, noodles, teppanyaki and Asian salads with a wide selection of sushi and makis.


Bocca Di Bacco: A Guaranteed Pleasant Italian Dining Experience in Berlin

Four years passed and I still remember it as if it was today; one of Berlin’s finest Italian restaurants was fully booked on a Saturday evening. A garlic clove printed on a large canvas, pasta plates paintings, chili pepper, grapes among other ingredients of the Italian cuisine. Divided into several sections, Bocca Di Bacco is one big restaurant welcoming you for a drink, intimate dining or casual group gathering..


Dallmayr Delicatessen: A Gourmet Lunch in Munich

One of Europe’s most famous delicatessen brands welcomes you for breakfast, lunch, or dinner up on the first floor. After touring around on the ground floor for German specialties and unique food discoveries, stay for lunch. I’ve been here in 2015 and still remember how great the food at this bistro was... so why not visit again. Visiting Munich for the first time with my kids, Dallmayr was my choice for the second lunch in this marvelous city.


Levent Borek Adana: One of the Tastiest Things I've Ever Tasted!

Börek is a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough such as phyllo, of Anatolian origins, and also found in the cuisines of the Balkans, the Caucasus, Levant, Mediterranean, and other countries in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. A börek is prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is occasionally sprinkled with sesame or nigella seeds.


Délice La Brasserie at Sofitel Munich: A Memorable Dinner

Recommended by the Michelin guide, Délice La Brasserie, located at the Sofitel Munich, is where I chose to have dinner tonight. Drench perfection in the heart of Munich; La Brasserie is much more than a French Brasserie, a gourmet restaurant serving a selection of healthy and classy dishes created by master chefs. With soothing music playing in the background, we sat to have dinner.


Il Lago: Michelin Star Italian Restaurant in Geneva; A Memorable Experience

It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of Italian cuisine and since I loved the restaurant vibes at breakfast, we planned a goodbye dinner at Il Lago, The Four Season’s Michelin Starred restaurant serving flavors of Italy in Geneva. Awarded by the guide, the restaurant offers a classy decor in a cozy and intimate space. I was excited to try the food.


Maison de la Truffe: Delicious Lunch & Excellent Gourmet Pizza

The smell enchants your nostrils the minute you walk in. Travel along the display bar, before accessing the dining space: Maison de la Truffe, à restaurant since 1932 serving French Gastronomy’s black diamond. Located in front of the Madeleine, the restaurant is a black truffle paradise. Cozy, calm, and upscale, serving upscale dishes in a soothing atmosphere.


Piero TT; The Italian Eatery by Chef Pierre Gagnaire is a Must Try

The Italian eatery by Pierre Gagnaire is not one of his starred establishments but a casual Italian bistro on Rue du Bac. A double-sided menu, simple offerings of which seven starters, four raw choices, pasta and risotto, from the sea, meat, vegetables, and desserts.


L’Auberge Nicolas Flamel: Dine with Harry Potter and Enjoy Excellent French Creations

Known to be the oldest auberge of paris built-in 1407, the restaurant is preserved ever since with the famous prayer engraved on the wall. Back then, Nicolas Flamel offered free food for all, asking in return to recite the prayer. Old and cozy, dine under a low ceiling supported by columns of wood. White table cloth, silver cutlery, and fine napkins, the place feels upscale and casual at the same time.


Montreux Jazz Cafe: Enjoy a Gourmet Burger by the Lake

Known for its International Jazz Festival since 1967, Montreux welcomes international celebrities from all over the globe to experience music and good food.  The Montreux Jazz Cafe has always been a meeting point welcoming guests in a magical ambiance. Yellow lights, wooden floor, wine bottles displayed and musical collectibles decorate the walls. There’s a central large dining table in the middle, a more intimate elevated room, and a third dining space before the bar.


MP’s Bar & Grill: Relaxing and Tasty Dinner in Montreux

Part of many awards, MP’s is Montreux’s famous destination of good food and great vibes. A premium grill and excellent bar, spend happy moments with a view, surrounded by dimmed lights, candles, and enchanting decor. Access to the bar, walk through the first dining space and arrive at that intimate corner facing a breathtaking display of wine bottles. Class in all its forms welcome to the grill room.


Ze Fork On The Water: Excellent Food and Service in Vevey. Casual Gourmet Specialities

Facing the famous Fork of Vevey, Ze Fork is one of the city’s famous restaurants for its location, good food, and particular “trilogy” served on every plate. Choose the sea starters, for example, and receive three items at the same time. Located on the waters, in an old house made with wood and stones, today’s lunch is at Ze Fork.


Lipp: Delicious Choucroute, Escalope, Mont Blanc and MilleFeuille in Geneva

If you are a traveler and visit Paris, often you should know aboutLipp. Also, open in Geneva, Lipp is the address for a good choucroute (Sauerkraut)... seafood and shellfish, cassoulet, entrecote, bone marrow, terrine, veal tongue, veal escalope, and other traditional French specialties. It’s noisy, it’s very brightly lit, it’s popular, and because I know what to expect, I enjoy visit Lipp every time I have the chance to.


Red Farm: Trendy, Unconventional and Modern Chinese Restaurant in London! Excellent Food!

Modern New York-style Chinese eatery has landed in London. Already on many top 100 lists of which the newest restaurants to open, beat Chinese and best dim sum, Red Farm is a must-try when in the British capital. It doesn’t look Chinese at all, doesn’t smell Chinese and neither the logo points for it; anyway, I was so excited to try their Instagramable dim sum with a straw!


Hardware Société Paris: It’s Simply Great!!!!!

Again and again, I’m here because it’s the best breakfast place in Paris. From Melbourn to the highest point of the capital, under the stairs of The Sacre Coeur, let me introduce you to Hardware Société. It’s a small casual eatery serving brunch all day long. Come here for some unconventional creations like the pain perdu with caramelized bananas, chai and honey cheesecake, salted caramel, and blueberries. Don’t leave without trying the unique crab and langoustine Benedict with saffron hollandaise, soft herbs, black bun, and poached egg. Have a cake and leave with a smile on your face, a smile that will last for a year or so! Yes, Hardware Société is as good as having an orgasm.


Kodawari Ramen: A Dream Place, Unique Decor & Good Food

Many restaurants are made with style and where the decor is breathtaking... but this one is something else! I’ve been to places at the four corners of the world... this one is different! I’ve never felt the vibes of another country the way I did that night. Travel to Japan, to the other side of the world, dine at the fish market, smell the fish, feel the vibes, hear the birds and eat good food!


Hébé: Lebanese Owned Quality Restaurant in Paris

Walking the streets in the cold weather, roaming around beautiful Paris, I stopped in front of a restaurant; it’s called Hébé. Owned by a Lebanese family, a couple that has spent their time working around the world in London and Nigeria, decided to settle in Paris. Casual French gastronomy handled by the couple the way they take care of their home. Sit down, relax, and enjoy the moment.


Golden Chippy: My Favorite Fish and Chips

Yes indeed, my favorite! I can say that I love Fish n’ Chips but cannot stand dry fish or the taste of the oil. I can’t imagine eating small-sized fries... anyway, I’ve had quite a few fish with fried potatoes for the last decade and was still searching to be impressed: this one did!






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