From cake, steak and tapas, to oysters, chicken and burgers, Killian Fox roamed the world to find the 50 best things to eat and the best places to eat them in, with a little help from professionals like Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux, Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray.
1. Best place to eat: Oysters Strangfor Lough, Northern Ireland
"If I were to die tomorrow, I’d walk to Strangford, get a couple of bottles of really cold Chablis, and eat as many Strangford Lough oysters as I could. Then I’d die very happily indeed. There are very few places you can get Strangford Lough oysters now. Last time, we bought some from a company called Cuan and went to a beautiful local pub and opened them ourselves. The speed of the tidal movement, and the huge nutrient richness of the water, is what makes them so good. The only accompaniment you need is lemon juice and black pepper: you’d never ever use vinegar and shallots or Tabasco."
Cuan Oysters, Sketrick Island, Killinchy, Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland, 02897 541461, www.cuanoysters.com
2. Best place to eat: Aubergines Ta Kioupa, Athens
"The aubergines were slow- baked for six hours, brought to the table whole, and skinned in front of us. They took out the flesh, crisscrossed the aubergines with two knives, and then added whipped cream with hazelnuts, lemon, sweet pepper, oil, feta cheese, salt and pepper. Incredible."
Dinokratous & An, Polemou 22, Kolonaki, 11521 Athens, 0030 210 7400150, www.takioupia.com
3. Best place to eat: Hamburgers Little Owl, New York
There are many fine hamburgers in New York, even the most mediocre of which would put its British counterparts to shame. But the best is the bacon cheeseburger at a small Greenwich Village bistro called Little Owl. "This sandwich is so copiously juicy, so rich with precious bodily fluids," says Josh Ozersky, author of The Hamburger: A History, "that it practically haemorrhages onto the plate. But the meat, which is a signature blend from New York’s virtuoso hamburger maker Pat La Frieda, is perfectly paired with a bun of uniquely moist and yielding character. It’s by far the best cheeseburger in this or any other city."
90 Bedford St, New York, 001 212 741 4695, www.thelittleowlnyc.com
4. Best place to eat: Zabaglione La Cinzianelle
The best place in the world to eat zabaglione, according to Giorgio Locatelli, is at his uncle’s restaurant, La Cinzianell, in Corgeno, northern Italy. "As the sun goes down behind Monte Rosa and it starts getting a bit chilly, the thing I enjoy most is the zabaglione prepared by my cousin Maurizio…"
Via Lago, 26 Corgeno, 0039 0 331 946 337
5. Best place to eat: Pho Pho 24, Vietnam
Pho, a noodle soup with thin slices of meat (usually beef but sometimes chicken), is Vietnam’s signature dish, and the issue of who makes it best is as tangled as white rice noodles in tasty broth. The Hanoi streets throw up a lot of persuasive contenders, such as the shack at 172 Ton Duc Thang Street. However, the sleek chain restaurant Pho 24, with branches around the country and across Asia, produces Vietnam’s most reliably good pho. The meat is of a consistently high quality – a rarity in Vietnam – and the stock impresses even the hardest-to-please critics.
5 Nguyen Thiep Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (and other locations). 0084 88226278, www.pho24.com.vn
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7. Best place to eat: Macaroons Laduree, Paris
The original M Ladurée opened his bakery on the rue Royale in 1862. In 1930 his grandson invented the double-decker macaroon – two shells of the meringue-like pastry held together by creamy ganache filling. Ladurée has produced the definitive macaroons ever since. In recent years the company has opened shops around the world, but the original is by far the best.
16 rue Royale, 75008 Paris, 0033 01 42 60 21 79, www.laduree.fr
8. Best place to eat: Roast Chicken L’Ami Louis, Paris
This Paris fixture, open since 1924, is the ultimate French bistro. Heads of state (Clinton, Gorbachev) and cultural giants (Welles, Hemingway) have come here to feast on sumptuous roast chicken, served whole with matchstick pommes frites and a simple green salad. It’s touristy and expensive and the decor is a bit clichéd, but such details become trivial once the chicken (which inspired Simon Hopkinson to write his much-loved Roast Chicken and Other Stories) turns up at the table.
32 rue du Vertbois, 3e, 3rd arrondissement, Paris, 0033 1 48 87 77 48
9. Best place to drink: Milkshakes Fosselman’s, Los Angeles
The ingredients for the perfect milkshake are extremely good ice cream mixed with just the right amount of milk, and a classic American setting. The award-laden Fosselman’s, in the LA suburb of Alhambra, has been offering both since 1924. The milkshakes, made with home-made ice cream, taste like you’d expect milkshakes to taste in the movies. Make a beeline for the double-chocolate malt.
1824 W Main Street, Alhambra, Los Angeles, 001 626 282 6533, www.fosselmans.com
10. Best place to eat: Texas barbecue Snow’s, Texas
The title of best BBQ joint in Texas is hotly contested in a state where the consumption of charred meats is as serious as religion. Texas Monthly magazine does the definitive annual poll. Most recently, the magazine awarded the title to Snow’s, a rank outsider that has been trading a mere five years. Run by a former rodeo clown and an elderly lady named Tootsie, the restaurant only opens on Saturday mornings and consists of a small number of tables around a smoking pit.
516 Main Street, Lexington, Texas, 001 979 773 4640 (Saturday only), www.snowsbbq.com
11. Best place to eat: Steak El Carpicho, Jimenez de Jamuz, Spain
Time magazine called it "the perfect steak". American Vogue’s exacting food writer Jeffrey Steingarten said it was "probably the greatest steak I’ve ever eaten". They were referring to an enormous chuletón taken from the central rib section of a 16-year-old Rubia Gallega ox, dry-aged for 90 days, and served in the cellar dining room of a rural bodega named El Capricho, near León in north-west Spain.
Paraje de las Bodegas, s/n, Jimenez de Jamuz, near León, Spain, 0034 987 664224
12. Best place to eat: Fish and chips The Wee Chippy, Fife, Scotland
The nearby Anstruther Fish Bar wins all the plaudits – it was named Fish and Chip Shop of the Year by the National Federation of Fish Friers last January – but locals swear by its rival, The Wee Chippy, which serves sublime fish and chips on the same street and without the endless queues.
4 Shore Street, Anstruther, Fife, 01333 310106
13. Best place to eat: Strawberry tart Restaurant de Bacon, Antibes, France
"When I go to the south of France in the summer, I always visit the Restaurant de Bacon in the Cap d’Antibes and I wait eagerly, in front of the sea and the old town, for the most amazing wild strawberry tart. The crust melts in the mouth, it is deliciously flavoured with butter, and once you have finished it you feel delightfully naughty."
688 Boulevard de Bacon, 06160 Cap D’Antibes, France, 0033 4 93 61 50 02, www.restaurantdebacon.com
14. Best place to eat: Pastrami on rye Katz’s Deli, New York
The legendary pastrami on rye from Katz’s, New York’s oldest (and possibly shabbiest) deli, could qualify as king of all sandwiches by virtue of size alone: a whole pound of brined beef, pre-trimming, is used in each serving. The sandwich – stacks of juicy meat with mustard and pickles between slices of rye bread – is as jaw-dropping, taste-wise, as it is gobstopping. (Recall Meg Ryan’s unfaked endorsement of it in When Harry Met Sally.)
205 E Houston Street at Ludlow Street, New York, 001 212 254 2246, www.katzdeli.com
15. Best place to eat: Custard tart Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, Lisbon
Creamy, flaky custard tarts – served warm with cinnamon – are one of Portugal’s great culinary gifts to the world. The original pasteis café in the Belém district of Lisbon, next to the monastery where the dessert was invented, is still the best: their secret recipe has been guarded since 1837. Sit down with a plateful, and a strong coffee, and you’ll understand why more than 10,000 tarts are baked here every day.
Rua de Belém, 84-92, Belém, Lisbon, 00351 21 363 7423, www.pasteisdebelem.pt
16. Best place to eat: Leg of beef Le Louchebem, Paris
"For the most wonderful leg of beef I can’t go past Le Louchebem in Paris, a simple, plain café with a very, very good rotisserie, located in the old meat district of Les Halles. The beef comes with mashed potato and three different sauces."
31 rue Berger, Angle 10, rue des Prouvaires, Paris, 0033 1 42 33 12 99, www.le-louchebem.fr
17. Best place to drink: Tomato juice Happy Girl Kitchen, California
"If you find yourself in Marin County, California, it’s well worth the time to drive down the beautiful shoreline road to San Francisco and visit the Ferry Building for the heirloom organic tomato juice from Happy Girl Kitchen, which has a stall there on Saturdays. They blend it with coriander and chilli and it’s quite literally the best tomato juice you’ll ever taste."
Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, One Ferry Building, San Francisco, 001 831 750 9579, www.happygirlkitchen.com
18. Best place to eat: Italian slow food Coco Lezzone, Florence
"You can get the most amazing ‘slow food’ in this tiny family- run restaurant which has been around for about 30 years. It is famous for its pappa pomodoro and ribollita – the two most traditional Tuscan bread soups. And they do the most delicious arista: pork loin cooked on the bone, stuffed with fennel seeds, garlic and rosemary, and served at room temperature."
Via del Parioncino 26, Florence, Italy, 0039 05 52 87 17 8
19. Best place to eat: Nordic food Olo, Helsinki
"When I’m back home in Finland, I always visit Olo in Helsinki. The chef, Pekka Terävä, has created a brand in its own right, cooking modern Nordic cuisine with the best seasonal ingredients."
Kasarmikatu 44, 00130 Helsinki, Finland. 00358 9 665 565, www.olo-restaurant.com
20. Best place to buy: Olive oil Turkish embassy electrical supplies, London
The most unlikely olive oil vendor in the world? At his electrical supply shop in London’s Clerkenwell, Mehmet Murat sells wonderful, intensely fruity oil from his family’s olive groves in Cyprus and south-west Turkey. Now he imports more than a 1,000 litres per year. His lemon-flavoured oil is good enough to drink on its own.
76 Compton Street, London EC1, 020 7251 4721, www.planet mem.com