Restaurants of the Year 2012


United States

Ai Fiori, New York City, New York

{GASTRONOMIC} Set in the new Setai hotel on Fifth Avenue, this is the latest offering from chef Michael White. Ai Fiori means “among the flowers,” and lavish floral arrangements here add an air of romance and celebration. Look for dishes such as trofie nero, Ligurian-style squid’s ink pasta, and outstanding main courses including veal chop with a garnish of sweetbread-stuffed cabbage.

Primo, Rockland, Maine

{INFORMAL} Chef Melissa Kelly, an alumna of Chez Panisse, oversees a kitchen where almost every ingre-dient is either grown or raised by the restaurant, or sourced locally. It would be a shame not to start with one of the superb wood-fired pizzas—a recent one was topped with sherried figs, duck confit and Gorgonzola—before proceeding to a main course such as the pork chop marinated in hand-pressed cider.

Rest of the World

Matsalen, Stockholm, Sweden

{GASTRONOMIC} Chef Mathias Dahlgren’s refined two-star cuisine aspires to highlight the natural flavors of his ingredients. A wonderful tasting menu recently included scallops with a purée of their roe on a bed of cauliflower, olive oil and lemon; beef and oyster tartare; and seared reindeer with red and yellow beets.

Septime, Paris, France

{INFORMAL} Young chef Bertrand Grébaut serves market-driven modern French cooking at this wildly popu-lar contemporary bistro. Among the dishes we have enjoyed are veal tartare with fennel bulb shavings and tapenade, Bigorre pork rib with radishes and carrots, and an open tart made with Petit Suisse cheese and chocolate ganache with hazelnut ice cream, crushed candied hazelnuts and shards of caramel.

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.