The Curated List

Where the Insiders Eat

By Jamie Feldmar · June 20, 2017

Where the Insiders Eat

By Jamie Feldmar · June 20, 2017

Looking for a memorable meal? Forget Yelp—we asked our network of foodies to reveal their favorite finds.

Whether you’re sitting at a hushed sushi bar in Ginza as the chef slices up a slab of glistening chu-toro, twirling strands of spaghetti cacio e pepe at a candle-lit trattoria in Rome, or making a delicious mess of a fish taco on a Baja California beach, is there any more satisfying way to experience a new place than through its food? We asked our Rosewood Curators and other trusted insiders to share their finds. Consider this your guide to authentic culinary—and cultural—experiences.


The insider senior editor Stephanie Wu.

The place Mur Mur, an open-air restaurant in Tulum from Baja chef Diego Hernandez Baquedano.

Why it’s great Located in a sandy-floored alley, with a huge brick oven and lights twinkling overhead, the restaurant “does incredible things with minimal equipment,” says Wu. Hernandez-Baquedano emphasized local techniques at his acclaimed Corazón de Tierra restaurant in Ensenada, and he applies that same philosophy to the unique ingredients of the Yucatán.

What to order Tender Valladolid suckling pig, red snapper with peanut sauce and nopales.

The Details  Mur Mur: Carretera Boca Paila Km. 7.5, Tulum; +52 1 984 187 5778

Photos by @lapulcinella and @murmurtulum.

Where to Stay


The insider Musician and animal-rights activist Sarah McLachlan.

The place Rangoli, a casual modern Indian spot in South Granville.

Why it’s great With a few small tables, outdoor picnic benches, and take-out counter, Rangoli is a fuss-free way to sample the cooking of chef Vikram Vij, whose flagship, Vij’s, is a Vancouver fine-dining mainstay. This winter, the restaurant moved next door, gaining 20 seats and a bigger bar.

What to order McLachlan recommends the savory chaat (wheat crisps with potatoes, sprouts, chutney and yogurt). Other standouts include the jackfruit-kale-cauliflower curry, the signature lamb curry, and sweet or salty yogurt lassi.

The details Rangoli: 1488 W 11th Ave.; 604-736-5711

Photo by @samanthapaderes.

Where to Stay


The insider Arva Ahmed, co-founder of Emirati food tour company Frying Pan Adventures.

The place The recently opened Mussafah outpost of Falafel Sultan (Shabiya ME 10; +971 2 552 2400), a favorite in Old Dubai.

Why it’s great Don’t expect much atmosphere at this casual spot with a counter and a few tables half an hour outside the city center—though the outdoor seating is a plus. Focus on the expert preparation of the Middle East’s most famous food. “Falafel often gets a bad rap for being dense and dry,” says Ahmed. “But their freshly fried version is vibrant green and delicately moist.”

What to order “Their special stuffed falafel (falafel mahshi), smeared with spicy shatta paste and studded with sesame, is a worthy snack on its own,” says Ahmed. “Make it a meal by smashing the balls into soft khubz bread, smeared with all manner of dips and topped with smoky-sweet eggplant and cauliflower.”

The details Shabiya ME 10; +971 2 552 2400

Where to Stay


The insider Fashion designer James Perse.

The place Flora Farms, a 10-acre organic farm with various restaurants serving dishes sourced directly from the fields.

Why it’s great Perse recommends taking the ten-minute drive from San José for a romantic evening. There are several options for dining around the lush property—the intimate fine-dining Flora’s Table; a “field kitchen” with a wood-fired oven, and an outdoor bar with live entertainment.

What to order The Field Kitchen’s double-cut pork chops and pizzas, topped with just-picked herbs and house-smoked ham.

The details Flora Farms: Carretera Transpeninsular San José del Cabo Km. 30, Col. Las Ánimas Bajas; +52 1 624 355 4564

Photos courtesy of Flora Farms.

Where to Stay


The insider Marie Claire creative director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia.

The place Il Buco, a cozy Italian restaurant nestled in a former antiques store on Bond Street, in NoHo.

Why it’s great “The romantic and rustic interior makes you feel like you’re in Tuscany,” says Garcia. House-made pasta and charcuterie complete the illusion—as does the 200-year-old wine cellar, rumored to have been a favorite haunt of Edgar Allen Poe.

What to order The menu changes with the seasons, but you can’t miss with the risotto (a wintry version contains melted leeks and goat cheese) or a plate of salumi with freshly baked bread.

The details  Il Buco: 47 Bond St.; 212-533-1932

Photos courtesy of Il Buco.

Where to Stay


The insider Cindy Chao, the renowned Chinese jewelry designer.

The place Najia Xiaoguan (2 Jiuxianqiao North Rd; +86 10 5978 9333), an ornate restaurant centered on an imperial-style courtyard near the 798 Art Zone.

Why it’s great The teahouse-inspired menu specializes in authentic dishes passed down from the 17th-century Qing dynasty, says Chao. “The dishes were originally created for emperors and empresses. Our royal ancestors truly knew how to eat!”
What to order Braised pork belly with dried red dates, stir-fries, venison rolls and crispy fried shrimp.

The details 2 Jiuxianqiao North Rd; +86 10 5978 9333

Where to Stay

Northern California

The insider Food journalist and author Carey Jones.

The place Bistro Elan, a petite Cal-French spot that spills onto the sidewalks of a quiet Palo Alto side street.

Why it’s great Chef Ambjorn Lindskog’s bistro “manages to feel equally homey and urbane, with a bustling open kitchen and a genuine farm-to-table ethos,” says Jones, whose family lives nearby.

What to order Ingredients are sourced locally and vary by the week. If they’re available, Jones snatches up the seasonal Dungeness crab and avocado and the beautiful winter persimmon salad. The steak frites is a can’t-miss menu staple.

The details Bistro Elan: 2363 Birch St., Palo Alto; 650-327-0284

Photos courtesy of Bay Area Buzz.

Where to Stay


The insider Felicity Cloake, cookbook author and food columnist at The Guardian.

The place The Drapers Arms, a neighborhood pub tucked away in Georgian Islington.

Why it’s great “It’s honest British cooking in a relaxed, convivial environment that’s all too easy to settle into for the rest of the day,” says Cloake.

What to order “The food is classic, big-flavored and hearty,” says Cloake. “Bar snacks are superlative: homemade Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, deep-fried Comté and chili sauce, pints of prawns.” She also recommends the “legendarily generous” Sunday roasts.

The details The Drapers Arms: 44 Barnsbury St.; +44 20 7619 0348

Left by @luismartinmendoza, Right by @martingkeane.

Where to Stay

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Uncover our musings on travel, art, fashion, and culture from the legendary personalities who embody the spirit of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.