- Laduree, Paris
Originally based in Paris, Laduree– a famous bakery known for their iconic French macarons and pastries– now has many storefronts in the US. The Parisian patisserie has locations in NYC, Washington, DC, and California.
While I was in Paris last spring, a friend recommended that I eat at Laduree. I had seen pictures of their famous macarons on Instagram, so when I got to Paris I wanted to be sure to try a few of them.
When I arrived I was surprised not only by the case of pastries, but to see that they also had seating with a la carte dining. I reserved a table for the next morning and ordered brunch with my family. Everything we tried was absurdly good. Macarons and proper meals alike, this place does it right. After eating at the original Laduree, I can confirm that it lived up to every expectation. Since I returned, I have also been to the locations in SoHo and Los Angeles. The food was consistently amazing in each location. 10/10; would recommend.
2. Spago, Beverly Hills
Spago is hands down my favorite restaurants of Wolfgang Puck’s, and possibly one of my favorite restaurants in general. Spago also has several locations (mostly in major cities), but I have only been to the one in Beverly Hills. When I travel to LA, dinner at Spago is an absolute must. I’m not much of a seafood person (ever) but I’ve tried their octopus and cod, both of which I really enjoyed. Their seasonal agnolotti and handmade squid ink gamelli is out of this world, too. 3. NOBU, Malibu
NOBU is by trade a traditional Japanese seaside sushi restaurant, however, everything on the menu seems and tastes like something trendy that you’ve never had before. While they do serve the basics– your classic California or shrimp tempura sushi roll– they’ve were all twists on dishes to add an extra element of flavor and feeling. Their jidori chicken waffles, eggplant spicy miso, sweet and sour lobster, or prime filet “toban” yaki all sounded bizarre to me, but they were all unexpectedly amazing. Every meal I’ve had there has absolutely blown my mind. Whether you’re looking for some traditional maki that is insanely fresh or want to try something new, NOBU definitely has something for you
3. Calypso Grille, Grand Cayman Island
Within .002 seconds, just the smell of this restaurant brings me back to the countless dinners of my childhood spent here with my family. It’s not the finest dining, but absolutely some of the best I’ve ever had internationally. Sticky toffee pudding is the restaurant’s “claim to fame” and undoubtedly the island’s best dessert. I can vouch for this… I’ve had literally every dessert on the island. This gooey caramel date cake with a scoop of ice cream is possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Anywhere. Ever. Before the dessert, though, all of the appetizers and entrees are also outstanding. Some of my faves are the warm goat cheese salad, brandy lobster bisque, Calypso chicken, grilled mahi-mahi (or wahoo), and coconut shrimp.