Heading to Hong Kong for Art Week? Zipping to Barcelona for a spring fling? Or perhaps the Big Mango beckons with its thriving culinary scene…
Whatever the destination, if you’re low on time and high on options we’ve slimmed the pickings for you. Here are the bar and restaurants it would be a crime to miss, as chosen by our crack team of plugged-in editors. Bon Appétit!
Wanting more? Nab yourself a copy of the complete Best Restaurants & Bars Guide, for 12 LUXE cities.
Best bar: Q&A Bar
Why we rate it? High-baller hidden haunt for a select set of sophisticats.
A dark alley in minimart-studded North Asoke is not where you’d expect to find Bangkok’s most sophisticated secret sipper – but then, that’s part of its appeal. Just 10 counter seats line this narrow, dim-lit 20s-style imbiber, pouring grown-up libations to a (mandatory) well-dressed clientele. Advance bookings are a must, there’s no food and a strict dress code. Changing menu, but any variation on the Negroni is a good bet.
Q&A Bar, 235/13 Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke), Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, qnabar.com
Best restaurant: Paste
Why we rate it? Bangkok has seen a slew of fine-dine Thai restaurants riffing on heritage recipes open, and Paste is our fave for its tongue-tingling shareable plates and unpretentious atmos.
Bee Satongun scoured historic cookbooks to conjure up a refined take on trad Thai recipes, earning Paste a loyal following and a Michelin star. Ignore the shopping mall situ, this light, feminine greige salon is one of Bangkok’s best fine diners.
Paste, 3rd FL, Gaysorn Village, 999 Ploenchit Rd, pastebangkok.com
Best bar: Two Schmucks
Why we rate it? An outrageously fresh breath of air, these wild things pour unfiltered pasión into every glass.
So hip it actually hurts, from the profane street signage and DIY recycled material fitout, to the tattoo splashed ‘schmucks’ themselves and their stick-it-to-the-man ‘tude (hello, brunch at night!?). The scene and crowd veers young, but the cocktails, coffee, comfort eats, and relaxed, albeit tad-pretentious, vibe make it a buzzy still-so-hot-right-now spot in gritty Raval.
Two Schmucks, Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 52, @schmuckordie
Best restaurant: Bistrot Levante
Why we rate it? One of Barcelona’s best little secrets right now.
Colourful, perf-plated morsels star on weekly changing, seasonal Med-with-a-Mid-East-twist menus at this tucked-away Barri Gotic bolthole. Subdued and intimate interiors plus a diminutive alleycat situ have kept it firmly off the tourist circuit thus far, plus there’s a natural wine expert leading the front of house vin-charge. Winner, winner.
Bistrot Levante, Placeta de Manuel Ribe, bistrotlevante.com
Best bar: Popinjays
Why we rate it? An all-in-one, one-night-wonder at heritage hottie The Murray.
Biz suits and socialites flock together at The Murray’s sleek n’ sprawling balcony, which has one of the best views in the city – the sweeping vista spans from the jungle-clad Peak to Central’s heritage buildings and contemporary architectural marvel the HSBC building, peeking through to the Harbour beyond. Inside, Didier Quenouelle’s seasonal degustations await, but you’re really here for the views. Come at sunset, order a cocktail off the expansive menu or bespoke and simply soak it up.
Popinjays, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, niccolohotels.com
Best restaurant: Neighborhood
Why we rate it? Discreet, understated star tucked off Hollywood Road.
Sleek minimal bunker where acclaimed chef-owner David Lai serves up aces with Federa-esque consistency. The French-meets-Italian menu changes according to the fresh produce available so don’t get too attached to a dish, though keep peepers peeled for the local chicken rice in aged white wine sauce. Mmmmm-goi!
Neighborhood, Basement, 61-63 Hollywood Road, @neighborhoodhk