Platinum List 2018: Best Hotel Restaurants
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Aubergine, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, NoMad, Le Sirenuse
From Michelin-starred bastions of elegance to chic waterfront scenes, these restaurants guarantee guests never need to leave the property.
One of the world’s most revered culinary names, Alain Ducasse creates the epitome of luxury dining at his namesake restaurant at Paris’ Hôtel Plaza Athénée, where the experience is as much about respecting the integrity of the ingredients as it is about the finished dish. Incorporating characteristics of Shojin cuisine—a Chinese philosophy concentrating on vegetables and cereals—Ducasse offers a seafood-focused menu featuring dishes brought to their fullest expression of flavor using vegetables, fruits and other natural accents, with few additional seasoning elements. Special attention is paid to the sourcing of ingredients: Some come straight from the iconic gardens of Versailles through a unique collaboration with its horticulturalists, while others are the result of longtime agricultural relationships (don’t miss the chickpeas melded with rich accents of sturgeon bone marrow and golden caviar). The experience is enhanced by the futuristic sophistication of the dining room.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, United States
A James Beard Foundation Award nominee and Food & Wine Best New Chef who trained under the legendary Charlie Trotter, Justin Cogley has been at the helm of the Carmel institution Aubergine at L’Auberge since 2011. Featuring items such as abalone, elderflower and oyster leaf, a daily tasting menu is presented to diners as a list of ingredients rather than fully described dishes. Complementing this gastronomic experience, which draws from the bounty of the area, is an extensive 2,500-bottle wine cellar that spotlights offerings from Monterey and France. Local plants, shells, wooden boards and other elements act as serving plates for Cogley’s unique creations, and a lavish courtyard provides a charming oasis for drinks before dinner.
A brief saunter along a lavender-lined pathway awakens the senses and prepares the visitor for the first-class dining experience that awaits at Belmond’s two-Michelin-star Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford. Since 1984, chef Raymond Blanc has created dishes that showcase his ingredients in modern preparations. He is committed to organic produce—vegetables, mushrooms, micro-herbs, legumes—which is grown just steps away in the property’s nine on-site gardens. The offerings vary from à la carte choices to different tasting menus, all of which can be complemented by selections from the extensive, French-inspired wine list. Blanc’s culinary philosophy can be felt throughout the resort, which offers a variety of classes at his cookery and gardening schools. Colorful and lush in the summer, the manor is just as welcoming during a snow-covered winter, constantly providing a setting that exudes luxury at every level.
New York City, New York, United States
Located in the eponymous luxury hotel, NoMad offers a casually elegant dining experience inspired by chef Daniel Humm’s years in Switzerland, California and NYC. Diners enjoy a series of rooms surrounding a glass-enclosed atrium.
Surfside, Florida, United States
The elegance of Positano meets classic Miami at Le Sirenuse at the Four Seasons, in the city’s oceanfront Surfside neighborhood. At the Amalfi Coast resort’s first American outpost—occupying the ballroom of the historic Surf Club—chef Antonio Mermolia pays homage to the bright and aromatic seafood traditions of the Mediterranean. His attention to quality ingredients is evident in dishes such as the raviolone cacio e pepe and risotto come una Caprese, or in the simplicity of l’insalata verde with lemon sorbet dressing. Like at the iconic original location, which overlooks the Mediterranean, the terrace offers a sprawling panorama of the Atlantic just steps away. Inside, an elegant palm-dotted dining room, designed in hues of green and blue with gold accents by Parisian Joseph Dirand, serves as the perfect respite from the Miami heat. The impeccably attired staff provides the kind of first-rate service once enjoyed by Surf Club guests Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill. Stop for a drink at the adjoining Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar to continue your Italian-inspired journey on a high note. —Lee Brian Schrager