You can trust anyone who spends their day slaving over a stove to know a thing or two about where to eat.
Chef’s may work horrible hours and have some of the most stressful jobs outside of a hospital, but you can always trust a bit of inside industry knowledge to help optimise your next night out. Of course, where you are and how you work plays a huge part in what you eat. But wherever these chefs have ended up, they’ve all mastered the art of finding delicious local delicacies.
1. London - Tayyabs
An East End institution since 1972, Whitechapel’s worst kept secret is a Mecca for anyone who loves traditional Punjabi cooking. Boasting enormous queues, incredible value (chicken tikka for £3.30) and a buzzing atmosphere that stays with you long after you’ve left, Tayyabs comes recommended by renowned chefs including Ollie Dabbous and Henry Harris. BYO for a night of extremely enjoyable, slightly frenetic feasting.
2. Copenhagen - Baest
It might seem strange to visit the capital of modern Scandinavian cooking and recommend an Italian. If any restaurant makes a case for ignoring Noma, Geranium et al, Baest is it. Head chef Christian Puglisi makes everything from mozzarella to charcuterie in-house and enjoys regular visits from Danish cooking royalty who need their Italian fix.
3. New York - Russ and Daughters Cafe
With so many top dining dinner destinations to spend your money, it can be easy to overlook the most important meal of the day. Yet, if you talk to the chefs of New York City, there’s one breakfast joint that crops up time and again as the place to visit. According to the North American editor of the “Where Chefs Eat” guide book, Russ and Daughters Cafe is the leading industry recommended joint in town.
4. Mumbai - Mahesh Lunch Home
In a city as bustling as Mumbai, it can be hard to take the time to think about where your next meal is coming from. Fortunately, local experts have done the leg work for you. According to Mumbai restaurateur and hotelier Hemant Oberoi, the place to head for great Indian seafood is Mahesh Lunch Home, where diners can enjoy delicacies such as fish tikka and garlic butter crab without breaking the bank.
5. Dublin - Chapter One
Some might consider it strange to head to a museum for a must have dining experience. Yet that’s exactly what you have to do if you want to follow local advice in Dublin. Serving modern European masterpieces, Chapter One comes recommended courtesy of several chefs, including Niall McKenna.
6. Sydney - Golden Century Seafood
Thanks to their gruelling late night work schedule, chefs often don’t get to enjoy the same dining experiences as the rest of us. Not so in Sydney. Golden Century Seafood - known locally as the Golden C - is an institution, not just for quality of its Cantonese cooking, but also for its lengthy opening hours. Open until 4AM, this is the destination for late night Chinese snacking.
7. Tokyo - Sushi Dai
Weird working hours aren’t always a disadvantage. Sometimes, waking up at half past three is the only way to enjoy some of the world’s essential eating experiences. Sushi Dai is one such experience. Every morning, chefs and locals alike flock to this small restaurant in the heart of Tsukjii Fish Market to sample one of their legendary sashimi breakfasts. Getting their early is a must - queues can be upwards of four hours.
8. Istanbul - Beyti
For all the tricks in modern food, sometimes the old ways are still the best. Few restaurants prove this better than Istanbul’s Beyti - a renowned meat restaurant that has been catering to the city’s chefs since 1945. Recommended by scores of chefs, including local restaurant owner Gencay Uncok, Beyti serve what is probably the definitive Turkish kebab.
Wherever you eat, you’re always going to be confronted by a wealth of different eating options. Choosing where to go can be a real headache. Hopefully, with the suggestions of these industry experts ringing in your ears, decision making just got a whole lot easier.