August 31, 2016
NEW YORK: Grand Central Oyster Bar might be New York's most famous seafood spot.
...But better to sample the shellfish aboard bobby sailing schooner the Grand Banks.
TOKYO: After a film and a presidential visit, Sukiyabashi Jiro is Tokyo's best know sushi counter.
...But the omakase offering at Sushi Mizutani is just as good.
ROME: Tables beneath the arches at Dal Bolognese host the city's hobnobbing crowd.
...Whereas the Eternal City's foodies and savvy stylistas prefer Pierluigi.
MELBOURNE: Out-of-towners queue hours for Thai-fusion bites at no-res Chin Chin.
...While smart locals prefer equally vibey (yet bookable) Lucy Liu.
LONDON: Once a gourmet grand dame, now Borough Market is firmly on the tourist trail.
...So those in-the-know go to Maltby St Market instead.
LOS ANGELES: The patio of The Ivy is one of La-la Land's most infamous star spots.
...But real A-listers avoid the prying paps and air-kiss scene, and go to Silverlake fairytale Cliff’s Edge.
BANGKOK: Nahm's David Thompson isn't the only chef in Bangkok doing the redux trad Thai thing.
...At Err, regional recipes also have serious urbane edge.
So you went to New York and slurped shellfish at Grand Central Oyster Bar, or hobnobbed at Dal Bolognese in Rome?
Far be it from us to diss the best-known epicurean experiences in a city (they're usually renowned for a reason), but sometimes we’d rather let icons be bygones and get our sup on at the places that aren’t (yet) in every inflight mag. If you’re in the same trope-avoiding boat, try these under-the-radar alternatives to some of the world’s most hyped hotspots.
With a doco filmed and a presidential visit made (yep, Obama’s been), Sukiyabashi Jiro – the Edo-style omakase counter of legendary Jiro-san – is probably the most famous sushi stop in the world. So it’s no surprise that these days a fishy feast here means booking months ahead, only to end up sharing the bar with snap-happy Helen who’s come all the way from Houston but feels the eel is over-sauced. Something of an atmos-extinguisher.
For an unapologetically real-deal experience head to Sushi Mizutani. Bookings are only taken in Japanese, so you’ll likely need some help from your handy concierge, and grand master Mizutani-san can be a tad prickly, but his meticulously-crafted morsels are more than enough compensation. Best of all, cameras aren't allowed.
Sushi Mizutani, 9/F, 8-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. +81 3 3573 5258.
Slurping on bivalve shells at the vaulted and vaunted Grand Central Oyster Bar is a rite of passage for any New York new arrival. But if you’re willing to forgo the famed formality, even better in fine weather is sampling succulent and sustainably sourced sea morsels paired with nautical sips aboard sailing schooner Grand Banks. Give us the Hudson and sunset cityscapes above clackering carriages and train announcements any day, Fay.
Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St, Midtown, New York. +1 212 490 6650. oysterbarny.com
Grand Banks, Pier 25, Hudson River Park, corner of N. Moore and West Sts, Tribeca, New York. +1 212 660 6312. grandbanks.org
Rome’s most famous restaurant, Dal Bolognese, is all about the creamy crowd (politicos and their ‘wives’, footballers, WAGs, the filmies and the facelifted; all table-hopping and mwah-mwahing), but the food is certainly no better than elsewhere. If you expect the plates to be as perfecto as the the people-watching, skip your stilettos over to stylista staple Pierluigi for a seasonal and innovative fish fix in the lovely alfresco terrace, plus smashing cocktails at the itsy cocktail bar.
Dal Bolognese, Piazza del Popolo, 1, Rome. +39 06 322 2799. dalbolognese.it
Pierluigi, Piazza de' Ricci, 144, Rome. +39 06 686 8717. pierluigi.it
In a city that lives for foodie fanfare, few diners have achieved the infamy of Flinders Lane’s no-res Thai-ger Chin Chin. Five years after opening, inter-staters (and suburbanites who’ve just heard about the place) queue for hours for tasty curries and in-out service. Meanwhile, savvy Melbournians eye-roll as they romp past the line and over to their pre-booked table at nearby pan-Asian sensation Lucy Liu for rendang ribs and sticky pork belly.
Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne. +61 3 8663 2000. chinchinrestaurant.com.au
Lucy Liu, 23 Oliver Lane, CBD, Melbourne. +61 3 9639 5777. lucylius.com.au
While Borough Market used to be grand for gourmet treats and street eats, these days it’s firmly on the tourist trail, meaning cram-packed weekends and sliding stall standards. Those in-the-know go instead to under-the-radar (and under the railways arches) Maltby St Market to stock up on top-notch craft sips and bites from the likes of The Cheese Truck, London Honey Company and eighth-gen butcher O'Shea's. There's even a mead stall – how medieval.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London. +44 20 7407 1002. boroughmarket.org.uk
Maltby St Market, Maltby St, London. maltby.st
LA’s infamous star spot, The Ivy, is a white picket-fenced celeb-stravaganza of size-zero Jolie wannabes wedged between studio fat cats. Lunch on the pretty posey patio has long been considered a quintessential Hollywood must, but, if like the real A-listers, you’d rather avoid the prying paps and air-kiss scene, ask your driver to wheel you to forest-y Silverlake fairytale Cliff’s Edge. Straight out of a movie set, the pretty tree-shaded terrace backdrops flower-ful libations and Frenchy fodder. Just be sure not to stare if you happen to spy Jen Aniston or Gwen Stefani.
Cliff's Edge, 3626 Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, Los Angeles. +1 323 666 6116. cliffsedgecafe.com
Nahm, The Metropolitan Bangkok, 27 S Sathorn Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon. Bangkok. +66 2 625 3388, comohotels.com
Err, 394/35 Maharaj Rd, Tatien, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phranakorn. Bangkok. +66 2 622 2291, errbkk.com
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