Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca regained its title as the world’s best restaurant on Monday, fending off previous winner Noma. But what makes Can Roca so special? Seldom does one establishment have such a recipe for success where each brother has excelled in their own field starting with Joan’s culinary direction as the executive chef, Josep’s impeccable choice and collection of wine as the sommelier and Jordi’s creativity as the pastry chef that is as whacky as Willy Wonka. Separately, they produce brilliance. What they bring together as a team is a gastronomic experience that is difficult to match.
The World, according to Joan Roca’s latest travels, was expressed through various bite-size morsels presented in a paper lantern representing the earth. The waiter proceeded by opening up the globe to reveal the contents. If there was one thing Can Roca does well it is their playful presentation. Creativity is not something that is lacking here.
Where to Eat It: Ho Chi Minh City
Bánh mì is a term for all types of bread in Vietnamese, but it’s become synonymous with a mouthwatering sandwich that might best be described as a Vietnamese hoagie. A product of French colonialism in Southeast Asia, the bánh mì seamlessly combines Western and Eastern ingredients. Fillings vary, but a standard bánh mì consists of a baguette stuffed with meat (perhaps grilled pork, meatballs, or cold cuts), cucumber slices, sprigs of cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, liver pâté, and a swipe of mayonnaise. They’re increasingly popular and easy to find in the West (in somewhat less-authentic forms), but the best place to eat one is still on the streets of Saigon.
Where to Eat It: Istanbul
Translated as “roll”, dürüm is a wrap made with flatbreads like Armenian lavash or Turkishyufka. Inside the wrap, you’ll find typical typical döner kebab ingredients: spiced meat—usually lamb, though chicken or a beef-veal combination are sometimes options—cooked on a vertical spit then sliced off and topped with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and lettuce, along with herb-laden yogurt and hot sauce. If you’ve ever spent a late night out in a European city, you’ve likely had one of these to soak up some alcohol—döner (also known as shawarma) is arguably Germany’s most popular street food—but the Turkish version, in which the rolled wrap is grilled to maximize crispiness, is as good as it gets.
Sukiyabashi Jiro is a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo that many say serves the best sushi in the world. The chef/owner, 86-year-old Jiro Ono, was the subject of the Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary film. A meal here consists of 21 courses, cost about $380 per person and lasted only 19 minutes. That’s more than a course a minute and $20 per person per minute and apparently it is totally worth it.
Italy: Local fish with arugula, pasta, caprese salad, bread, and grapes.
Spain: Shrimp with brown rice, gazpacho, bread, peppers, and an orange.