The R&K staff list their top restaurants for the year.
Even when the world feels like impending armageddon, there’s solace in a good meal. Here are a few favorite restaurant picks from R&K staff. Thanks to all you hardworking cooks, meseros and waitstaff for feeding us, and the world, this year.
Sofreh – Brooklyn, U.S.
This restaurant, which serves “Persian home cooking,” opened in my neighborhood earlier this year. Food was delicious. Lots of flavors I hadn’t tasted before. Service was super friendly—the owners were there and making the rounds, which really made it feel like a family operation. – Danielle Renwick
La Palapa – New York, U.S.
As an LA native constantly disappointed by Mexican food in NYC, I was so excited to find La Palapa, and it quickly became a go-to place for every occasion. Come for the guava margaritas, stay for the lamb barbacoa. – Emily Marinoff
GupShup – New York, U.S.
The latest addition to New York’s growing list of “modern,” “creative,” Indian restaurants. They all happen to be overpriced and slightly modified versions of each other but this one genuinely impressed me with the food AND cocktails. – Shivani Mehta
Tartine Manufactory – San Francisco, U.S.
Two words: Duck carnitas. – Tyler Elmore
Disfrutar – Barcelona, Spain
Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, and Mateu Casañas continue to set the standard for mind-bending modernist cuisine—the type of avant-garde creations that satisfy and stupefy in equal measure. You heard it here first (or maybe third): Disfrutar will be named the best restaurant in the world sometime in the next five years. – Matt Goulding
Kiln – London, UK
A Thai grill place in Soho, Kiln is the perfect antidote to the city’s chain-restaurant Pad Thais. From almost one thousand miles away, I dream about their laab, which they make with pork, haddock, or ox heart. – Alexa van Sickle
Common Good – New York, U.S.
It’s nice to see something new above 125th street and the music is great. – Aleesa Mann
Le Rigmarole – Paris, France or Expendio de Maíz – Mexico City, Mexico
This one’s a toss-up: Le Rigmarole opened a year ago in Paris and is staggering in its creativity and rigor without sacrificing fun and comfort and total, unadulterated joy. At home in Mexico City, Expendio de Maíz brings the quality of and love of ingredients that abound in Mexico’s countryside to the heart of the capital in dishes you won’t find anywhere else. These two places couldn’t be more different—or any better. – Michael Snyder
Best Pizza – New York, U.S.
All the casual vibes, rap jams, garlic knots, and hands down the best pizza sauce I’ve ever taste. It didn’t open this year but it’s new to me since moving to Brooklyn. – Cengiz Yar
Ippudo – New York, U.S.
I’ve tried many ramen spots since I moved to New York, but the particularly delicious broth at Ippudi always lures me back. – Tafi Mukunyadzi
Amass – Copenhagen, DK
I had the very strange experience of eating Matt Orlando’s food earlier in the summer in Copenhagen, and then sitting down to talk to him about it a month later in Ireland for an episode of R&K’s podcast The Trip. The backstory of how and why he has turned Amass into a showroom of genuine, no-bullshit sustainability was fascinating enough on its own. It was all the better for what I had already learned about his cooking beforehand: it’s goddamned delicious. Every bite seemed a perfect version of itself, with a touch of added depth from some of the iconoclastic reclamation processes he uses, like making nori out of discarded kale stems. Good for the environment, great for the plate. Also, his dining room playlist runs heavy on Heiroglyphics. – Nathan Thornburgh
Header image: Frogmore Stew at Bowens Island Restaurant in Charleston.