Hottest Restaurants in the World: Where to Eat Now

By Zagat Staff  |  January 13, 2014

We've shown you the most important restaurants of 2013 and the openings we're most looking forward to in 2014, but, what are the super-buzzy destination eateries around the world that you must visit right this second? We've rounded up 10 white-hot dining experiences from Brazil to Singapore that should be on the short list of any gastro-savvy traveler. Check them out below, and tell us your picks in the comments.

  • Amass, Copenhagen, Denmark

    A disciple of some of the world's best restaurants (Per Se, Noma, Fat Duck), chef Matt Orlando (a Southern California native) opened Amass earlier this year, and it remains one of the hottest tables in Copenhagen right now (if not all of Europe). The cuisine is New Nordic and changes daily; he's inspired by the "spontaneity" of the most perfect ingredients available each day. The sprawling industrial space is softened by an outdoor fireplace and a garden in the kitchen. Before its opening, Rene Redzepi predicted that Amass would be "Europe's opening of the year," and, based on its success, we'd say he wasn't totally off base.

  • David Toutain, Paris, France

    David Toutain's eponymous new restaurant opened just before Christmas in Paris' Seventh arrondissement and is already tearing up the culinary scene thanks to Toutain's original and inventive prix fixe menus (which change daily). The 32-year-old toque has worked with some of the world's most famous chefs (Alain Passard; Andoni Luis Aduriz; Paul Liebrandt), but in a recent profile, Toutain said he's most inspired by the farm-to-table ethos of New York's Dan Barber. Like so many other chefs of the moment, Toutain does magical things with vegetables. Reservations are already scarce, so work well in advance.

  • Burnt Ends, Singapore

    This high-concept “elegant BBQ” restaurant is perpetually packed for its modern interpretation of open-flame cooking - basically, expect a serious char on just about everything. Based on chef David Pynt’s East London pop-up that ran during the summer of 2012, the Singapore iteration cooks all its food in a custom-built brick kiln. Perth-born Pynt honed his skills at the famed grill mecca Asador Etxebarri in Spain and Noma before opening Burnt Ends in Singapore earlier in 2013. Expect a long wait as the eatery only accepts reservations for its counter seats at 6 and 6:30 PM daily.

  • Trois Mec, Los Angeles, CA

    Staffed by an all-star trio of chefs - Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo - Trois Mec is still the hottest restaurant in LA and its most coveted reservation. (Seats are only available via pre-purchased tickets that are released on certain dates; you can find more info here). The most sought-after seats are the ones along the bar where diners are up close and personal to the kitchen and to Lefebvre, who is typically leading the team. When you walk in the door, you get a rousing "Bonsoir!" (much like hearing "Irasshaimase!" when you walk into a sushi bar), which makes you realize that although you’re pre-paying for your five-course dinner ahead of time, like a ticket to a rock concert, the food is serious (inspired mostly by Lefebvre's French background) but the vibe is fun.

  • Pakta, Barcelona, Spain

    Japanese-Peruvian fare comes to Barcelona in the form of Pakta (Quechuan for "union") from chefs Kyoko Li, Jorge Muñoz, and Albert Adrià, the former pastry chef at El Bulli. This trio has combined their respective heritages (Japan, Peru and Spain) to create the menu at Pakta. The small plates are inspired by the Nikkei cuisine of the Japanese who migrated to Peru about a century ago - expect local ingredients like fresh fish to be served alongside traditional Peruvian vegetables, and, of course, some Adrià-style magic in the form of spherifications like bursting soy “caviar” bubbles.

  • Sushi Nakazawa, NYC

    After receiving four stars from the NYTimes in December, reservations at this small sushi restaurant went from "impossible" to "who do you think you're kidding?" Its chef, Daisuke Nakazawa, is a protégé of sushi master Jiro Ono, and here he offers omakase-only dining either at the 10-seat bar (live out your Jiro Dreams of Sushi fantasies) or in the 25-seat back dining room. The no-frills setting makes the sushi the focus, and its prices match its exclusivity: $120 for the 20-course tasting menu ($150 at the counter).

  • Story, London, UK

    After working in some of the world's most famous restaurants, Tom Sellers set up on his own in a simple wood and glass edifice right next to Tower Bridge in 2013. Story remains one of the most coveted tables in London nearly nine months later. Reservations open at 9 AM on the 1st of the month for the following month, so if you have a dinner date in mind, have their number on speed dial. Lunchtimes are much easier to come by. Must-try items include the now infamous bread and dripping (if you haven't been, we won't spoil the surprise) and the Three Bears porridge; if the heritage potato - the dreamiest mashed potato ever - is on the menu, order a double portion - you’ll be grateful. If you're longing for a visit to Fat Duck but don't want to make the trek, Story is the next best thing.

  • Saison, San Francisco, CA

    Chef Joshua Skenes relaunched his beloved Saison almost a year ago in a new larger space with higher price tags, but devotees will tell you, it's worth it. The regular tasting menu will set you back $248, and there's also the "extended" tasting menu for $398, with two to four more courses and luxury ingredients (hello, caviar), but Skenes will tell you that he's not making food for the elite. His adherence to live-fire cooking in addition to his manipulation of flavors and textures makes him one of the most influential American chefs, and also makes Saison a highly sought-after reservation. 

  • D.O.M., Sao Paolo, Brazil

    Alex Atala’s 15-year-old restaurant was edged even further into the spotlight this year with the release of the D.O.M. cookbook (including an infamous "ant on a pineapple" recipe), as well as his inclusion on the cover of Time magazine's controversial "Gods of Food" issue. These factors plus Atala’s talks at the MAD Symposium and his TV show in Brazil make him a powerful figure in international food. Atala opened a second Sao Paolo restaurant, Dalve e Dito, in 2009, but D.O.M remains one of the world’s hottest tables with its contemporary approach to Brazilian cuisine, using only hyper-local ingredients. Basically, it’s the Noma of South America.

  • Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico

    Opened in 2012, Pujol alum Jorge Vallejo teams up with wife Alejandra Flores (who mans front-of-the-house) to present his take on modern Mexican cuisine. Using indigenous ingredients and innovative techniques, Vallejo is giving his former boss a run for the money for the title of "hottest restaurant in Mexico." And, bonus, he's doing it all in a casual, relaxed environment minus the usual stuffiness that one might expect for food of this caliber. That being said, we suggest making reservations well in advance.