International Eats – Best of 2018

This year, we were fortunate enough to have a few months off travelling the world. Whilst we primarily tried to do this on budget, we feel that travel is also about the whole experience, tasting local cuisine and restaurants. Thus we budgeted and kept some money aside for some top dining memories. We’ve arranged our highlights below in their respective countries.

Peru

Lima

The top of our dining experiences to date (ever) comes from none other than Centrale Restaurant, one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. It is a Gastronomy standout in South America, offering a 12 or 17 course dining experience. This place amazingly reflects Peru’s altitudes and microclimates on a plate. The entire menu was creative and flawless.

Astrid y Gaston made the list for the World’s Top 50 restaurants. Offering a tasting menu and ala carte menu, we chose the latter. We loved all the dishes, in particular, the chocolate dessert ball. A thin tempered chocolate ball, which, when cracked reveals a dessert full of beer ice cream, caramel and more surprises. You must pay this place a visit if in Peru.

Ollantaytambo

The highlight of our visit to Ollantaytambo was our visit to El Albergue and experiencing the Pacahamanca lunch. This was a farm to table experience, learning from the ground up, cooking the meats underground under heated rocks, producing a simple yet exquisite meal. Served with potatoes, salad and breads and we ate in the surrounds of the Andean snow covered mountains, it was fabulous all round.

Argentina

Buenos Aires

Argentina is known for a few things: futball, wine, steak and Dulce De Leche. We certainly experienced these things in spades.

La Cabrera is a steakhouse with a range of amazing meats at superb quality. Massive servings at inexpensive prices kept us going back for more. Accompanied by plenty of sides and red wine, it was easily one of our favourite places in Argentina.

Don Julio is another winner on the steak front. An upmarket steakhouse with the best steak we had in South America, maybe ever. The beef ribs were a tasty option, but the rib eye was out of this world. We could eat here everyday.

You absolutely have to visit the cafe Pani for their phenomenal dulce de leche desserts. The dulce de Leche cheesecake with Oreos is an absolute winner.

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USA

New York

New York probably has some of the best restaurants and cafes going around. However, since we were only there for 2 nights, it’s a bit hard to see much at all. Milk bar is always a must visit for their birthday cake ice cream, but their alcoholic shakes (found at the Brooklyn store) are superb, in particular the “Russian” – cereal milk ice cream and vodka.

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Dominique Ansel is also high on our list. A patisserie where people line our the doors all morning for their Cronuts, we preferred their frozen s’mores on a stick and chocolate chip cookie shot with milk.

You also can’t visit NYC without getting a Reuben sandwich on rye at Katz deli – loaded and filled to the brim. You’ll struggle to eat it size wise, but you will because it’s so damn tasty.

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Ecuador

Galápagos Islands

Whilst you might not visit the Galápagos Islands for food, but being on the water, good food, in particular, the seafood is in abundance. On San Cristóbal, the Kioskito puerto lobo is a great local joint set up in a small hut and here you can try some tasty seafood including lobster. The langosta (lobster) is well priced between $15 and $20, for a whole lobster, depending on the flavours and toppings of the dish. The Langosta del marisco, which is lobster served in its shell with a seafood sauce containg fish, octopus and prawns is delicious.

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Chile

Santiago

99 Restaurante – “I got 99 problems but this restaurant ain’t one”, especially if you’re dining here for lunch. Their three course lunch, which will set you back roughly AUD $25 is extraordinarily good value. The lunch menu consists of 6 items, you have the 6 item tasting menu or a half serve. We had the three dishes; a potato and yam foam, served with an egg yolk and crisps as well as the beef tongue and cheese sandwich/slider. For the main, we both opted for the papada de Cerdo y lentejas. This was essentially Jamon and lentils. The desserts were a standout including the peanut butter brownie nicely presented with a chocolate mouse and a sorbet and the Bavaroise frambuesa y marscapjone.

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Hong Kong

Michelin star restaurants are all over Hong Kong, and many of them are at next to nothing prices. Try Yat Lok for their famous roasted duck, Tsim Tai Chi for their wonton noodle soup and Lee Kum Kee for snake soup with duck liver sausage and rice.

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A Michelin star was also awarded to I love you dessert bar for their incredible Soufflé pancake. One of the most incredible pancakes we’ve ever had.

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Whilst our Hong Kong experience was mostly on the inexpensive side, we also tried the other end of the spectrum. Whilst Mizunara the library has cocktails that will set you back over $50 a glass and almost every whiskey under the sun at similar prices, it’s definitely worth a visit. Winner of the World Championship Cocktail competition at the all world Open Cup of 2015, this cocktail was super impressive and thus making our best of list.

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