For the most dedicated connoisseurs of epicurean delights, no bistro is too distant and no restaurant is too remote in the quest for gastronomical perfection. And now, as travel is back on the menu, adventurous gourmands are once again on the road to find the perfect flavours. And on that note, we present our top 10 picks for the most sought-after restaurants across Asia.
Perched on the 40th floor of Futian Shangri-La Hotel, Ensue is a pleasure for eyes and taste buds alike, offering a wonderful view of downtown Shenzhen and a mountainous landscape in tye background, paired with an array of delightful dishes. Incepted in 2019, Ensue is built on the combination of Cantonese cuisine and Californian farm-to-table culture, using ingredients mostly sourced locally. Under the lead of chef Miles Pundsack-Poe, the sensibilities à la California is fused with Chinese ingredients and cooking tradition.
From the menu, “Chicken Baked in Sordough” is one of the house’s signatures. Qingyuan chicken is marinated for 120 days and later wrapped in sourdough bread then baked. The result is a juicy chicken with remarkable flavours. Ensue has also set the standard for luxury dining through various other dishes, including its “Sturgeon Marrow Jelly Served with Heirloom Beans and Ossetra Caviar” and “Roasted Monkfish with Sturgeon Marrow, Liver Torchon, and Cashew Milk.” Completing the restaurant’s epicurean offerings is Alcove, a stylish bar with a stellar list of cocktails. Emphasizing local products, the menu combines ingredients native to Southern China with modern elements.
Futian Shangri-La Hotel – 40th Floor ,4088 Yitian Road, Futian District, Shenzhen
Ph: +86 188 2343 7333
Nestled in the bustling Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Den is a culinary destination crowned with two Michelin stars. Opened in 2007, the restaurant has also ranked first on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022. Under the command of chef and owner Zaiyu Hasegawa, Den presents Japanese cuisine and the comfort of homemade food with a sense of joy. It is no wonder that home cooking has always had a spot in everyone’s heart. As Hasegawa puts it, homemade food “brings warmth and closeness to one’s heart.”
At Den, guests will dine in a cosy setting, pampered by a variety of mouth-watering meals, as well as a notable list of wines and sake varieties. The interior also features pillars and walls adorned with appreciation messages from past visitors. Of particular note from the menu is “Den Salad,” the house’s signature takiawase-style salad specially prepared in accordance to available ingredients. The iconic Dentucky Fried Chicken wings, which comes with a surprise inside, is another perfect choice to enjoy between main meals and definitely not to be missed.
Architect House Hall JIA, 2-3-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Ph: +81 3 6455 5433
Hidden behind a row of bamboo trees, a former diplomat’s estate in Tokyo’s Minami-Azabu district has found its new use – a culinary destination where gourmets and epicures alike pamper their taste buds. Led by head chef-owner Tomoya Kawada, Sazenka witness the incredible marriage between Chinese cooking tradition and Japanese gastronomy savoir-faire, reflecting the concept of wakon kansai – Japanese spirit with Chinese learning. The restaurant also earned three Michelin stars, thanks to its exceptional cuisine, as well as a Michelin green star for sustainability.
The interior sees a modern take on traditional Japanese architecture. Objets de vertu can be found adorning every corner of the restaurant, while kutaniyaki plates are set on the tables. Sazenka offers a series of courses featuring seasonal ingredients wrapped in beautiful presentation. Pheasant wonton soup, barbecued pork, and jellyfish paired with sudachi are among the highlights of the menu. Kawada also combines cooking techniques of the two cultures in a signature dish called “Young Pigeon Cooked Two Ways.” Lastly, Sazenka pairs its dishes with a wide range of alcohol beverages, tea, or a combination of the two. It is said that the wonderful pairing is what attracts guests to visit and come back.
4-7-5 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, 106-0047, Tokyo
Ph: +81 50 2018 3430
Meaning “summit” in French, La Cime has always been on the list of popular French restaurants in Osaka (and Japan, in general) since its opening in 2010. Headed by chef Yusuke Takada who previously worked at the legendary Taillevent and Le Meurice in Paris, La Cime has earned two Michelin stars and ranked sixth on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022. Despite focusing on French cuisine, Takada still incorporates his roots into his creations, using native limes from Amami Oshima, an island where Takada is from, as one of the ingredients for some recipes.
At La Cime, guests will be pampered by a variety of French dishes in a warm contemporary setting, thanks to wooden floors and the black-and-white palette present throughout the restaurant’s interior. The signature dish one should not miss during any visit to La Cime is “Boudin Dog,” a unique mash-up of hot dog and blood sausage or boudin noir, drenched in black. The restaurant also offers set lunch and dinner menus, with different course numbers depending on the availability of the ingredients. Moreover, the restaurant alters its menu for regular guests, ensuring a new experience on each visit.
3-2-15 Kawara-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
FU HE HUI
Many vegetarians and vegans might have gotten used to seeing limited options when eating out, but Shanghai’s Changning District is a culinary heaven for those longing for exquisite, vegan-friendly creations. Opened in 2014, Fu He Hui gained a position in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 and earned one Michelin star in 2017. The name comprises three characters meaning “fortune,” “harmony” and “wisdom” in Mandarin Chinese, reflecting the message the restaurant attempts to convey through its dishes.
Dining at Fu He Hui is an educational culinary experience as guests are able to learn about an array of vegetables and fungi, including ones that most people have unlikely encountered face-to-face. Executive chef Tony Lu is behind the remarkable creations that will satisfy both food connoisseurs and epicures alike. Diners enjoy food in rooms decorated in a contemporary Chinese style. Earthy palettes work in tandem with stone and wood, creating Zen-inspired tranquillity. Of particular note from the menu is a dish called “lotus pond,” which is an assembly of lily bulbs, goji berries, and guanyin leaves, forming a lagoon of lotus. Baked porcini and aubergine rolls filled with Chinese broccoli and served with teriyaki sauce is another highlight worth trying.
Fu He Hui
1037 Yu Yuan Road, Changning District, Shanghai
Ph: +86 21 3980 9188
Singapore is home to a stellar list of museums and art galleries, including the iconic National Gallery Singapore. And what would be a better way to end the visit to the latter than with a sumptuous lunch or a wonderful dinner? Located on the first floor of Supreme Court Wing, Odette will take visitors and food enthusiasts alike on a culinary adventure unlike any other. Led by chef-owner Julien Royer, Odette is an excellent combination of outstanding hospitality, remarkable flavours, and exquisite visuals, resulting in a gastronomy experience that is simply unforgettable.
The restaurant was incepted based on Royer’s source of inspiration: his grandmother Odette who showed love through food. The restaurant’s interior is a creation by Sacha Leong, informed by a classic contemporary style blended with soft pastel colours and elegant décor. Artworks by Singaporean artist Dawn Ng adorn the corners of the restaurant. The kitchen is enclosed by glass walls, allowing diners to watch the chef and his brigade perform live. Signature dishes include Normandy brown crab with wasabi oil and Nashi pear, as well as rosemary smoked organic egg served with meunière, chorizo Iberico, and smoked potato syphon.
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, 178957, Singapore
Ph: +65 6385 0498
Dubbed the “luxury town” of Korea as portrayed in various Korean drama series, Cheongdam-dong is home to luxury brand stores and ritzy restaurants – among them Mingles. Led by chef Kang Min-goo, the restaurant has earned two Michelin stars and ranked 16th on Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants in 2022. Here, traditional Korean cookery is infused with influences from Europe and Hong Kong, resulting in appetizing dishes that leave guests wanting for more. New techniques are applied into classical culinary arts, elevating standard Korean fare to extraordinary status.
Wooden elements, blended with earthy tones, are the highlight of the interior, effortlessly creating a cosy, homelike ambiance. Traditional Korean architecture is translated into its simplified, modern version as reflected through the furniture pieces. One of the signature dishes one should not miss is zucchini seon. Initially a vegan dish, the seon features a duet of zucchini and green pumpkin, completed with salted shrimp and anchovy broth. Seasonal entries include fried hairtail fish and seaweed, and duo shrimp and caviar. Cleansing the palate are seasonal fruit, ginger and black tea emulsion, and sorbet made using Jeju tangerine.
19, Dosan-daero 67-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Ph: +82 2 515 7306
Specializing in Southern Thai cuisine, Sorn is a flavour paradise one should not miss during their culinary pilgrimage in Bangkok. Fifteen minutes away from the iconic Lumpini Park, Sorn interprets the food of Southern Thailand in a sophisticated fashion, fusing heritage cooking with science and modern techniques to produce optimal texture and taste. The story of Sorn begins with its patron chef, Supaksorn “Ice” Jongsiri, who grew up with his grandmother’s cooking. With excellent know-how and spellbinding mind process, Ice translates his memories into a truly unique cuisine.
Sorn is notorious for being one of the most difficult restaurants to get a reservation for in Bangkok, thanks to its outstanding service and food quality. Guests can enjoy an array of exquisite dishes made using ingredients from Southern Thailand while watching a veritable live cooking show. Deep fried sand mole crabs make a great option to open the culinary concert. One of the restaurant’s highlights, 2 C Lobster is a must-try opus, made using seven-coloured lobster that is chilled to 2 degrees Celsius to obtain optimal taste and texture, hence the name.
56, Sukhumvit 26, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Ph: +66 099 081 1119
Twin chefs Thomas and Matthias decided to turn a ’70s villa in downtown Bangkok into a space to fulfil their dreams and passion – a restaurant named Sühring. Inspired by their childhood memories, traveling experiences, and family recipes, the dynamic duo transform local seasonal products into traditional German fare with fresh twists. The menu changes every two or three months, allowing regulars to encounter new experiences every time they visit. Rainbow trout sourced from Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, is served with apple, horseradish, and sorrel. Blue lobster with vanilla and butternut squash, as well as lamb paired with pears, beans, and bacon are among the house’s favourites.
Food is not the only best part of Sühring. The restaurant boasts four dining areas, each offering a different ambiance and experience. The kitchen allows the guests to see their food prepared live.
The wintergarten takes inspiration from the chefs’ childhood country farmhouse, featuring a glass-roofed area surrounded by lush verdure. The main dining area offers a view of the garden, while the wohnzimmer or “living room” makes a great space for small events.
10, Yenakat Soi 3, Yannawa, Chongnonsi, 10120, Bangkok
Ph: +66 0 2107 2777
Amidst the concrete jungle of Hong Kong’s Central District lies a hidden sanctuary welcoming those craving for culinary indulgence à la Canton. Dubbed the best restaurant in Hong Kong in 2022, The Chairman is among the most prominent establishments in the area. The restaurant is where the present and past meet – the cooking style is built on tradition, yet results in new modern Cantonese dishes. Danny Yip is the person behind The Chairman. The famed food connoisseur opened the restaurant back in 2009.
The Chairman, despite occupying a rather small building, offers warm, exceptional service and a wonderful flavour journey one should not underestimate. It focuses on bringing out the authentic flavours of the ingredients while maintaining their freshness. The signature “razor clams steamed with lemon and mixed herbs” is one of the highlights of the menu, and boasts a unique fragrance of lemon aged over ten years. Steamed flowery crab – a creation by chef Kwok Keung Tung – is also a must-try. The crab, sourced from the South China Sea, is steamed in chicken fat, clam juice, and 15-year-old Chinese wine, served with rice noodles and chicken oil.
18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2555 2202