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Seared scallops and delicate purple leaves decorate a minimalistic white plate.

Taste These 5 Culinary Trends in 2018

Article by Leena Kim 03.06.2018

There are few things more deeply connected to any given place than its cuisine. Discover the cultures and customs of these global destinations as you dine your way through the region.

1. New Orleans: Elevated Classics

It’s not news that the Big Easy — with its singular style blending European, Caribbean, American and African cultures — is a legendary culinary destination. What is newsworthy though is that the city celebrates its 300th birthday this year. In preparation, Bourbon Street will undergo a $6 million renovation, the calendar has filled up with galas and special events, and a lineup of new restaurants will join the old guard. The best po’ boys (New Orleans’ iconic seafood sandwich) are at Parkway Bakery & Tavern and the best fried chicken is at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. A memorable Creole dining experience awaits at Compère Lapin while Gabrielle, a New Orleans favorite that was closed for 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, has finally opened again with a menu featuring classic dishes and new additions. There really is no better time to pay a visit to this unique jewel of a city — even seasoned regulars are bound to be surprised.

Only at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans: After dinner, enjoy classic New Orleans cocktails paired with live jazz in the Davenport Lounge, where the festive French Quarter comes to life.

Shops, restaurants and galleries line the slate walkway of the French Quarter’s Exchange Alley.

2. Portugal: Sea-to-Table Fare

Long overshadowed by its Mediterranean neighbors, Portugal has started popping up on many “where to go before it gets too crowded” lists as of late. Lisbon’s charm, Porto’s pretty coast and Sintra’s pastel-colored royal palaces are hot tickets, and now, so too is the food. The spike in popularity has created a wide selection of top-notch offerings — plus, the country’s perch on the Atlantic coast means it has the freshest seafood (celebrated Spanish chef Ferran Adria considers Portugal’s fish to be the world’s best). In Lisbon, Feitoria and Alma, both Michelin-starred, are sophisticated options, while Restaurante Azenhas do Mar, just outside Sintra and practically on the ocean, makes for a wonderful sea-to-table meal. And don’t leave Portugal without tasting its national treasure — the pastel de nata (custard tart). Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, around since 1837, has mastered it.

Only at Penha Longa Resort: Enjoy an intimate and exclusive dinner at LAB by Sergi Arola, the on-property Michelin-starred restaurant where inventive tasting menus are the star of the show.

Seared scallops and delicate purple leaves decorate a minimalistic white plate.

3. New York City: Fine Dining, Reinvented

With access to so much innovation, quality and variety in their dining options, it’s no wonder New Yorkers can seem a little jaded. Three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park is the city’s culinary pièce de resistance — it recently topped the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants, the first U.S. establishment to do so since 2004. After a four-month renovation last year, it reopened in October with a new design and menu: standouts include a smoked-sturgeon cheesecake with caviar and chef Daniel Humm’s famous duck. Mexico-native star chef Enrique Olvera introduced the city to an upscale, ultra-inventive take on his native cuisine with Cosme in 2014. Last year, he added a more casual — but no-less imaginative — café to his portfolio with Atla. Other new and noteworthy options include fantastic Israeli food (Nur), high end Korean barbeque with a formidable wine list (Cote) and Peking duck from a Michelin-starred restaurant in China (DaDong) — all within about a one-mile radius.

Only at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park: Find a moment of peace in the middle of the city at the handsome and stately Star Lounge. Enjoy one of the bar’s craft cocktails and small bites such as mini-smoked duck Reubens and petits fours.

Skyscrapers tower over a peaceful park.

4. Mexico: Old-World Cooking Methods

Mexico is having a serious gastronomic moment, which can be partially attributed to chefs like Enrique Olvera. The celebrity chef behind Mexico City’s wildly popular Pujol, which recently moved into a stunning new contemporary space, has steadily raised his global profile with successful ventures in New York and one opening later this year in L.A. For seven weeks last spring in Tulum (near Cancun), Rene Redzepi operated a pop-up of his world-renowned Copenhagen restaurant, Noma. While it’s since packed up and gone, one of its chefs, Jose Luis Hinostroza, stayed behind to take over the kitchen of Arca. This summer he’ll open Natal, his first solo project, where the focus will be on pre-colonial cuisine utilizing traditional Mayan underground cooking pits.

Only at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun: Take part in a hands-on cooking class at the Culinary Center, where you’ll learn the tricks of the trade from the resort’s talented chefs.

Crystal blue water of the ocean

5. Japan: Conscientious Dining

Our current, collective obsession with mindfulness makes a strong case for Japan as the requisite destination of 2018. Plus, the proof is in the Michelin guide. Japan has more three-starred restaurants (34 at last count) than any other country — yes, even more than France! In sprawling Tokyo, the adventurous ought to go to Usuki Fugu Yamadaya, which specializes in pufferfish, a poisonous fish that won’t kill you if prepared right. For the best sushi, reserve a spot at the nine-seat counter of Sushi Saito. Tempura cravings can be satiated at Fukamachi, the best in the city, while soba is mastered at the 130-year-old Kanda Matsuya. For an inventive spin on kaiseki cuisine, reserve a table at RyuGin. In Osaka, upscale yakitori is served at the new Ishii, which got its first Michelin star last year. Mizuno, around since 1945, makes the best okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes). In Kyoto, a meal at the family-run Hyotei, located in a 17th century temple, will surely be an unforgettable experience.

Only at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo: Experience the essence of traditional Japanese cuisine at Hinokizaka, where diners can enjoy kaiseki, sushi, tempura and teppanyaki.

A modern dining room overlooks the Tokyo skyline with a sweeping view of the city.


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  • New Orleans

    Location New Orleans, Louisiana

    Experience Enjoy a Celebration of the Senses.

    • Explore the iconic French Quarter steps away
    • Enjoy jazz in our Davenport Lounge
    • Relax in the Maison Orleans Club
  • Penha Longa Resort

    Location Sintra, Portugal

    Experience A quintessential retreat among rolling hills and mountain lakes.

    • A palazzo estate steeped in history
    • Unlimited championship golf experiences
    • Set within a 1355 monastery
  • New York, Central Park

    Location Midtown Manhattan

    Experience Sweeping Central Park views from your hotel room

    • Recently redesigned rooms and suites
    • Exclusive Club Lounge and award-winning La Prairie Spa
    • Steps away from the city’s renowned attractions
  • Cancun

    Location Cancun, Mexico

    Experience A luxurious retreat along Mexico’s Mayan coastline.

    • AAA Five Diamond Awarded resort & restaurants
    • Ancient Mayan therapies at Kayantá Spa
    • Culinary Center & interactive cooking classes
  • Tokyo

    Location Tokyo, Japan

    Experience Stunning views from the city’s tallest building, Midtown Tower.

    • Accommodations begin on the 47th floor
    • Michelin starred French fare at Azure 45
    • Centrally located to Tokyo’s attractions