Foodies have long traveled the world to eat spicy Thai curry, fragrant Vietnamese noodle soup or freshly caught Japanese sushi in the places where these dishes were born. In recent years, however, culinary options in Asia have vastly expanded and today the region is increasingly home to world-class and award-winning French, Italian, and Mediterranean fine dining, often with Michelin-starred restaurants leading the way. Here’s a look at some of the best European culinary experiences on offer in luxury Asian hotels:
Michelin-Starred Italian Fine Dining in Saigon
Da Vittorio, the world-renowned Italian fine dining group with eight Michelin stars to its name globally, is reshaping Vietnam’s high-end culinary landscape with the recent debut of a new two-story restaurant at The Reverie Saigon. Blending classic Italian gastronomy with sophisticated contemporary design and warm hospitality, Da Vittorio Saigon, which officially launched in June, follows the much-lauded Da Vittorio Shanghai (already awarded two Michelin stars since opening in 2019) in the storied Cerea family’s first restaurant expansion outside of Europe. The menu at Da Vittorio Saigon faithfully adheres to the culinary program at Da Vittorio’s flagship three-Michelin-star restaurant in Brusaporto, Italy.
Embrace French Flavors and Local Produce in Michelin-Starred Tokyo Restaurant
After its debut just before the pandemic hit, the French fine dining restaurant, Esterre, is now basking in the glow of its Michelin star and lighting the way for post-pandemic diners. Esterre – (literally ‘mother earth’ ) – embraces the natural flavors of the terroir (land and sea) of southwest France by placing more emphasis on ingredients such as grains, vegetables and fruits rather than limiting them to their traditional roles as accents and accompaniments. First-course presentations incorporate, for example, chickpeas, quinoa, leeks, mushrooms and nuts as their base ingredient while desserts turn to the natural sweetness of fruits rather than refined sugar. Another core pillar of the restaurant, which operates in partnership with Ducasse Paris, is local sourcing. In line with chef Alain Ducasse’s philosophy of first uncovering what high-quality ingredients can be found in a given destination and then applying French culinary techniques to their preparation, Esterre serves up the best produce from throughout Japan.
Modern French Gastronomy – and History – in Vietnam’s Capital
Le Beaulieu, the award-winning modern French fine dining restaurant at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, and its refined al fresco extension La Terrasse have celebrated their reopening following an extensive seven-month refurbishment and are now open for lunch and dinner. With an elegant and sophisticated new design, alongside renowned French gastronomy and a wide selection of wines, the signature restaurant at Metropole Hanoi ties together the hotel’s 120-year-old storied past with a contemporary new look. Operating in its current space since 1901, Le Beaulieu is believed to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in Vietnam. And now, after this renovation, the newest.
Restaurant Adds Mediterranean Flavor to Chiang Mai’s Culinary Scene
However Thai the name of Laan Na Kitchen at Meliá Chiang Mai, the restaurant’s cuisine adds a dash of Mediterranean flavor to Chiang Mai’s culinary landscape. Drawing on Meliá’s Spanish origins and celebrating Spain’s famed gastronomy, Laan Na Kitchen specialises in authentic Mediterranean cuisine, serving the likes of ‘Salmorejo con tomate triturado’ to ‘Fideuá de marisco’ in a vibrant marketplace setting. In addition to its indoor and patio areas, Laan Na Kitchen features four private dining rooms. The restaurant’s design pays tribute to Chiang Mai’s culture in contemporary ways; the ‘curving and flowing’ design of the cooking stations and seating areas, for example, is inspired by northern Thailand’s terraced rice fields, making for a geometrical sight to behold.
Trattoria Offers Italian Fine Dining on Cam Ranh Peninsula
Serving evening meals in true Tuscan style direct from its open kitchen to its interior and patio bathed in soft lighting, Alma’s Italian trattoria La Casa makes for a sophisticated dining setting on Vietnam’s emerging Cam Ranh peninsula. The restaurant’s talented Italian head chef and his team combine authentic Italian ingredients with organic products to create a wide selection of classic Italian dishes including delectable antipasti, fresh handmade pasta and bread made in the open kitchen, and pizza served with a remarkable list of wines, cocktails and spirits. To add to the ambiance, Alma’s resident pianist and singer perform a medley of popular tunes on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.