Restaurants in the European Union

Recommended
(you really should go)
You really need to go
(really – you do)
Excellent wine list Bring money
(relative to locale)
Bring lots of money (you’ve been warned)

 


Austria

Österreicher im MAK
Stubenring 5
1010 Wien
Tel : +43 (0)1 7140121
Email : reservierung@oesterreicherimmak.at
  Who sez the Austrians are stodgy? Whereas other places might have dessicated schnitzel or a “dumpling” that resembles the texture of a bowling ball, Helmut Österreicher does Viennese cuisine with freshness, simplicity, and a really light hand in a small plates format atypical of other places in Wein. You’ll also look cool by association since the gasthaus is located within the Museum for Architecture.
Props to a place that puts out an 8-page menu where 75% of the space is dedicated to sweet sweet booze. If you’re into crackling to help down the Grüner Veltliner, order the Steltze.
Open Mondays.

 


France

L’Appart des Anges
8, rue de l’Emery
Quartier Bouffay
44000 Nantes
Tel : +33 (0)2 28 44 24 07
  Co-owners Micah and Anne-Cécile are gracious hosts and have a really great little wine bar going in the middle of Nantes. Charcuterie, jamón, cheese, really interesting selections of reds and whites, and a whole lot of bulles – the kind of place that you want to have in your own neighborhood.
Guy Savoy
18, rue Troyon
75017 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 43 80 40 61
Fax : +33 (0)1 46 22 43 09
Email : reserv@guysavoy.com
  Guy Savoy won his third Michelin star in 2002 and it’s well justified. If you manage to score a reservation at his eponymous flagship restaurant, make sure to dress appropriately and learn how to use cutlery because your evening will be memorable the minute you enter those beautiful mahogany doors. Exactly how memorable was this? “Couleurs, Textures et Saveurs” is the best Western cuisine meal I’ve experienced, and it is the only time I’ve ever managed to score a bottle of Domaine Leflaive’s Premier cru Puigny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles”. And in case you’re wondering, my pal Amy can and does cook like this. I’m just saying, though also obvious given she trained there.
Open Mondays, and one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris actually open on Saturday.
Le Patio’nnément
8, rue de l’Emery
Quartier Bouffay
44000 Nantes
Tel : +33 (0)2 51 82 41 16
Email : lepationnement@free.fr
  Le Patio was initially described to me by co-owners Jérôme and Julien as a quiet little kid-friendly neighborhood place. Sure, but my neighborhood restaurants aren’t hip and they don’t offer a minimum of 10 different champagnes and special bottles in a cave that’s hewn from the underlying bedrock. This is a place where you can go light or you can eat yourself into a caloric stupor like I did by having a meal measured in kilocalories (that would be the one that included the onglet with a little sauce made of foie gras).
Au Rince Cochon
14, rue Cenevieres
46260 Limogne-en-Quercy
Tel : +33 (0)5 65 23 87 20
  This is one of those nice little regional finds dotted throughout France that save you from having to patronize Le Clown. There’s solid regional cooking and this is where I learned that the term “souris d’agneau” meant lamb shank. It’s good value – the formule is the better way to go since it’ll save a couple of Euros for booze, but if you don’t need the dessert or insist on as much flexibility as possible, go with la carte.
Open Mondays, but closed Tuesday and Thursday.
Le Relais des Grands Crus
71, Route nationale
21220 Morey-Saint-Denis
Tel : +33 (0)3 80 51 80 54
  I have never been to this routier (truck stop) but I want to after its bit on television. Seems to be good value – the formule at 11€80 is apparently not as good as it was 5 years ago, but that still gets you the buffet of entrées, a hot plat principal and a bottle of wine. Washrooms and showers get top marks so that counts for something too, if you’re in the trucking industry or just happen to be extra-crusty.
Open Mondays, but closed weekends.
Le Robinson
Esconac
33360 Quinsac
Tel : +33 (0)5 56 21 31 09
  I was introduced to Chef Robert Pina’s establishment by my bon vivant friend Emmanuel during this 72 hour 30 kilocalorie romp through Southwest France. It’s a beautiful place on the banks of the Garonne and the menu is seasonal and regional. When I was there, Chef Pina had been foraging cèpes and other wild mushrooms, but I went with the anguilles (eels) caught in the Garonne along with a lobster special. And how was it? Amazing! I expected one eel but there were a dozen in my portion and the lobster was delicately paired with the foraged mushrooms. Excellent wine list as well.

 


Germany

Relish Restaurant & Bar
The Westin Grand, Berlin
Friedrichstraße 158-164
10117 Berlin
Tel : +49 30 2027 0
Fax : +49 30 2027 3362
  Unlike the dreck one finds in most North American hotels, the Europeans still make a considerable effort to ensure that restaurant dining is a pleasant experience. I had one of my best hotel meals at Relish a couple of years ago, with waiter (and barkeeper) Fabian Boom ensuring that my night went smoothly. The restaurant’s motto is [feed the body, nourish the soul] and staff try to live up to it; this is a great place to unwind after visiting the Brandenburger Tor or spending Euros at the nearby Les Galéries Lafayette. The menu is highly seasonal and is best known for the “Trust Me!”, an omakase-style main dish and dessert. At my dinner, I started off with the slipper lobster, and Trust Me! turned out to be ramp pasta with chicken as the main, and (of all things) roasted pineapple for dessert. Made ma laugh.
Open Mondays (duh – it’s a hotel).

 


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