Best Restaurant Meals of 2015

by adam on March 4, 2016

Best Restaurant Meals of 2015

I have a special box in my desk where I keep sentimental keepsakes. In it is a folder of memorable menus I keep. This past year, the folder became so overstuffed that I had to remove it and give it its own box. That, in a nutshell, sums up my food experiences of 2015.

I’ve never had as many excellent restaurant meals as I did in 2015. It was an especially good year of especially good food for me. This is mostly due to the length of time I spent in Japan and Italy, two of my favorite’s foodie cultures and both of which offer a high quality of food to everyone, regardless of budget or cost.

What makes a great restaurant to me is not just the food (which of course must be tasty and preferably highlight simple locally sourced ingredients), but a certain rustic, cozy charm. Michelin truffles and foie is nice, but gets old fast. And often times, but not always, value. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating—good food should not be a luxury. It should be available cheaply to everyone in the world.

This list started with 79 truly excellent restaurant meals, which I whittled down to 37, but cutting any more would be criminal. A huge thank you to all the excellent and hardworking farmers, purveyors, chefs, sommeliers, and waitstaff who helped me eat so well in 2015. The list is arranged in chronological order, not a ranking.

Bon appetite! —Adam

1. Reto Mathis’s La Marmite, Corvaglia, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Standout dishes: Scottish oysters, Ossetra caviar pillows, truffled flammeküeche
See my write-up in Departures

2. Nijo Market, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
grilled scallop, uni, hairy crab soup

3. Dai San Zaka, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Crab croquette, steak in sugar and mirin, uni, Hokkaido white wine, highball,

4. Sushi Den, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan
donbori with uni, crab, sushi

5. Hiiragiya, Kyoto, Japan
razor clam, simmered bamboo shoot, yuba dumpling, cod roe miso, urchin omelet
See my write-up on my blog

6. Gyu-kaku Maranouchi, Tokyo, Japan
grilled wagyu beef, tongue, liver
See my write up in Departures

7. Pizzeria Da Isa Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan
eggplant pizza, margarita pizza
See my write up in Departures and Four Seasons Magazine

8. Nakame no Teppen, Itzakaya, Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan
cod roe gratin, charred pumpkin, sliced squid
See my write up in Four Seasons Magazine and Departures

9. Fukurou, French Robata, Nakame, Tokyo, Japan
wagyu beef, tuna, oysters, char-grilled lobster tail turned bisque, Japanese chardonnay
See my write up in Four Seasons Magazine

10.  Aji no Yohei, Takayama, Japan
Hide beef sukiyaki, egg custard, sake

11. Menbakaichidai, Kyoto, Japan
fire ramen
Read my review on Tastemade

12. Sushi Sasaki, Toyama, Japan
beni-zuwaigani (red queen crab), shiroebi (white shrimp) nigri, sake reserve
Read my review on BBC Travel

13. Uobaka, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
fresh squid, sushi, fish
Read my review on Departures

14. Em Sherif, Dubai, UAE
hummus, baba ganoush, fatoush, labneh

15. La Latteria di San Marco, Milano, Italy
spaghetti with basil, tomato sauce and butter, ziti with eggplant and Ticino cheese

16. Fioraio Bianchi Caffe, Milano, Italy
corkscrew pasta with swordfish, and eggplant, guitar string pasta with roe

17. Masseria Degli Ulive, Noto, Sicily, Italy
eggplant mellazana, paparadelle pork ragu, Sicilian white wine

18. Appolina, Ortigia, Sicily, Italy
Set fish dinner with sardines, oysters, red shrimp, Sicilian white wine

19. Au Bois de la Biche, Charquement, Jura, France
foie gras, steak with morels in Béarnaise sauce

20. Auberge le Savagnin, Goumois, France
salade de payes, oeuf cocotte with mushrooms

21. Au Cheval Blanc, Ferrette, France
chochrute garni, steak tartare,

22. Aux 2 Coqs, Belfort, France
chevré chaud salade, foie gras with fruit and gingerbread

23. Naciente, Pollenca Port, Mallorca, Spain
grilled sausage, green beans with bacon, stuffed mushrooms, aioli with bread
Read my review on Trip Advisor

24. Cellar la Parra, Pollenca Port, Mallorca, Spain
wild suckling boar, garlicky aioli with frites, soprosada with eggs, roast chicken,
Read my review on Trip Advisor

25. Hotel D’Alibert, Minerva, France
cassoulet, red wines

26. Le Cap, Four Seasons Cap Ferrat, France
lobster club, fish soup, salade Nicoise
Read my review at Four Seasons Magazine

27. Cocorone, Montefalco, Umbria, Italy
pork ribs, melted cheese with walnuts and honey, roasted artichoke, sagrantino wine

28. Olevm, Montefalco, Umbria, Italy
Olive Oil, truffled cheese, sagrantino wine

29. Teatro del Locando, Montefalco, Umbria, Italy
Smoked scarmoza with truffles, eggplant flan, sagrantino wine

30. Scottadito Osteria Tagliavento, Bevagne, Umbria, Italy
steak, charcuterie, sagrantino wine

31. Zuggerberg, Zug, Switzerland
apple cider and bacon fondue
Read my write-up in GHM Journeys

32. Ivan Ramen, New York City, USA
Double garlic pork ramen,

33. Mission Chinese, New York City, USA
green tea noodles, lamb rib tips, Szechuan pastrami, tartare in lettuce cups

34. Leon’s, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Oysters Rockefeller, fried oysters lettuce wrap

35. Pubbelly Sushi, Miami, USA
fried rock shrimp

36. Drunken Dragon, Miami, Florida, USA
brisket, kimchee carbonara

37. Cultivar, Santa Teresa, Rio, Brazil
açaí, pão de queijo

Runners Up

Coop, Nakeme, Tokyo, Japan
Sobadokurofukuon, Noboribetsu, Japan
Hashidaya, Nakame, Tokyo, Japan
Tsuru Ni Tachibana Punk rock Kaiseki in Nakano, Tokyo, Japan
Numazu Uogashizushi, Maranouchi, Tokyo, Japan
Sushino Midori, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Chikuha, Kamakura, Japan
Katsuretsuan, Kamakura, Japan
Yakushi-no-yu Honjin, Okuhida, Japan
Shiyoa Diner, Naoshima, Japan
Ebisu Ramen, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan
Yarabo, Taketomi, Japan
Tofuno Higa, Ishigaki, Japan
Mengate, Ishigaki, Japan
Da Vittorio, Lago di Iseo Italy
Duo Colombe, Lagi Di Iseo Italy
Almyra, Ognina, Sicily, Italy
Auberge de la Halle, Gruyeres, Switzerland
Les Cappucin Hotel, Belfort, France
Auberge du Cour de la Côte, Canton Vaud, Switzerland
Au Sauvage, Old Fribourg, Switzerland
Lo Vostock, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Sirani, Brescia, Italy
Nobu, Doha, Qatar
Palace Hotel Breakfast, Tokyo, Japan
Wadakura, Palace Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
Horohoro Sanso, Date, Japan
Hoshinoya, Takatomi, Okinawa, Japan
La Foresta, Montisola, Lago da Iseo, Italy
Dijon Market, Dijon, France
Hotel Le Corbusier, Marseille, France
Tremail, Collioure, France
Ambrosia Restaurant, Mallorca, Spain
Hotel Poste, Sedrun, Switzerland
Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
L’atelier Cuisine, Canet-en-Rouissollon, France
Venissa, Mazzorbo, Italy
Le Gato Nero, Burrano, Italy
Buvette les Invouettes, Charmey, Gruyère, Fribourg, Switzerland
Au Coeur de la Côte, Vinzel, Canton Vaud, Switzerland
Katsu Place in Nakame, Tokyo, Japan

La Parrillada de Fausto, Riobamba, Ecuador

Itzakaya Haru, Tokyo, Japan

Itzakaya Irohazushi, Tokyo, Japan

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