4 of the Most Famous European Restaurants

*This post originally appeared on Bjorn Koch.

50 different countries make up the European continent, and each country features a rich history and fascinating culture. When it comes to restaurants, critics agree that Europe is home to some of the finest establishments on the planet. Below is a list of some of the best restaurants found in Europe.

Noma

Not only is Noma one of the best restaurants in Europe—it is also one of the most famous restaurants in the world. The restaurant is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chef René Redzepi runs the two-Michelin-star restaurant. Since its opening in 2003, the restaurant has received numerous awards. On four different occasions, Noma has appeared at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The word Noma is actually a play on two Danish words which mean Nordic food. When most people think of Europe’s best food offerings, Nordic and Scandinavian food usually don’t appear at the top of the list, but Noma has changed that.

The restaurant has appeared in the media many times including on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. As a result of the restaurant’s popularity, securing a reservation is very difficult. At the moment, securing a reservation is actually impossible since the restaurant closed at the end of 2016. Chef Redzepi plans to open Noma at a new location during the summer of 2017. The new location will have a farm next to it that the staff will use to source ingredients. If you want to know when Noma will reopen its doors, visit their website.

Osteria Francescana

In 2016 Osteria Francescana became the first ever Italian restaurant to appear at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The three-Michelin-star restaurant opened its doors in 1995, and over the past 20 years, its dishes have been wowing diner after diner. Massimo Bottura is the man behind Osteria Francescana. Before Massimo Bottura opened Osteria Francescana he was studying law. However, he decided to leave law behind, open a restaurant, and learn to be a chef. Bottura apprenticed under chef Georges Coigny for a time before opening Osteria Francescana.

Lunch and dinner reservations at Osteria Francescana are difficult to come by. If you plan to visit, make sure you book your reservation months in advance. Osteria Francescana offers diners a 9-course or 12-course tasting menu. When you visit make sure you are prepared to spend at least three hours enjoying each course. The experience should definitely not be rushed. In a 2014 interview, Bottura spoke about the idea of closing Osteria Francescana and relocating to another city. So far Bottura is staying put in Modena, Italy. Still, if you want to dine at this fantastic Italian establish, make sure you do it soon.

El Celler de Can Roca

Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca opened El Celler de Can Roca in 1986 in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Over the years the three brothers have earned three Michelin stars, and in 2013 and 2015 Restaurant magazine named it the best restaurant in the world. The restaurant’s wine cellar holds nearly 60,000 bottles, so come prepared to drink when you visit. El Celler de Can Roca can only hold 45 diners so booking a reservation is required. The Roca brothers focus on serving Catalan cuisine with some creative twists. For example, some of the dishes take inspiration from popular perfumes. Another dish includes a Bonsai tree on the plate.

Each of the brothers has different responsibilities when it comes to running the restaurant. The youngest brother, Jordi, is the pastry chef; the middle brother, Josep, focuses on wine, and the oldest brother, Joan, has head chef duty. Before you are seated you get a glimpse at the restaurant’s 40 cooks at work in the kitchen. Last year FoodBarcelona reviewed El Celler de Can Roca. The reviewer noted that the current wait for a reservation is 11 months (Source). Read the review, look at the pictures of the dishes, and you might decide that 11 months isn’t that long of a wait.

The Ledbury

The Ledbury is the youngest restaurant on this list. It opened its doors in 2005 and has gone on to earn two Michelin stars. While the restaurant hasn’t appeared at the very top of Restaurant’s Best Restaurant in the World list, this year it appears as the highest-ranking UK restaurant on the list. Brett Graham, who is originally from Newcastle, Australia, is the chef behind The Ledbury. He made his way to London in 2000 when he was 21 years old.

Last year the Telegraph reviewed The Ledbury and concluded that its dishes are just as delectable as they were when the restaurant first opened. It concludes the review by saying that even though The Ledbury has a world-class reputation it feels down-to-earth and friendly. There likely won’t be any leftovers when you’re done your meal. Food this delicious tends to be eaten quickly. However, the restaurant does offer guests the opportunity to take compost bags of kitchen scraps when they leave. So not only will you get a good meal, your plants will too.

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