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Quimby's At 19th Food Cart Pod, Portland, Oregon

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 26 10:17 AM

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Don't get us wrong. We love the food truck trend and scoring tasty, creative fare for less than a tenner. Eating on the run? Not so much. That's why we're excited to take a seat at Quimby's, Portland's newest pod of food carts (1502 N.W. 19th Avenue).

Simple black-leather booths and exposed brick walls give this renovated bar a no-nonsense, neighborhood-y feel. The food trucks that congregate outside dish up everything from Thai curries and chili cheese fries to overstuffed artisanal omelets and rustic smoked-meat sandwiches--all of which pairs nicely with the range of local microbrews on tap. Bring your food inside, pull up a chair, and order a cold one (minus the brown bag).

Photo: Courtesy of Travel Portland

District 13, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 21 05:34 PM

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Cultural appropriation goes both ways, it seems. While Angelenos are busy installing East Asian meditation gardens and yoga studios up in the Hills, popular Hollywood Thai restaurant Soi 56 was reincarnated last Friday as District 13, a gourmet SoCal version of a hofbrauhaus.

The restaurant features an industrial urban design, with graffiti murals and TVs tuned to sports and Speed networks. Former Soi 56 chef Aoi Ratanamanee's menu is similarly no-nonsense, with an emphasis on beer and brats and other tried-and-true brew foods like mini pizzas, fish 'n' chips, and peanut butter pie for dessert. Pick from 18 different kinds of wieners (including beef, lamb, duck foie gras, alligator, and vegan chipotle), eight dipping sauces for your fries (wasabi mayo, tzatziki yogurt), and more than 19 draft beers from the Golden State. If you're still craving that Thai heat, top your meat with some red rooster sriracha chile sauce. Did you know it's actually made in California? Fancy that.

Photo: Courtesy of LM&A

Villa Godthem, Stockholm, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, July 15 10:17 AM

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Most refurbs don't get the royal seal of approval, but when Villa Godthem in Stockholm revealed a makeover that breathed fresh life and new flavors into a once-fading 114-year-old landmark, the Swedish king and queen came a-calling.

Built in 1894, the ornate wooden structure was originally an opera singer's residence but was converted into a restaurant 23 years later. The Michelin-starred folks behind Grill and Kungsholmen have masterminded the most recent redo. Now the veranda is enclosed in windows and acts as a main dining room, with outdoor dining on an expansive and leafy patio that fronts Djurgĺrden's idyllic Brunnsviken bay.

Signature dishes include steak or Baltic seafood served up on a wooden plank, while the rest of the menu leans toward Swedish traditional tweaked for contemporary palates: lighter, healthier, and of course, locally sourced and organic. Even if you aren't a king, you deserve to eat like one.

Photo: Courtesy of Stefan Anderson

Graffiato, Washington, D.C.

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, July 13 11:07 AM

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Talky Top Chef and José Andrés alum Mike Isabella's new D.C. restaurant, Graffiato, will spoil you with crave-worthy deep-fried strawberry-sugar-dusted dough balls--a.k.a. zeppole--even though they're not on the menu.

Secret desserts aside, Graffiato exudes openness, from its raw wood beams and exposed brick walls to its peekaboo kitchen and list of local farm and dairy partners spelled out above a seven-seat ham bar. Think of it as a bustling stage for small plates as bold as the celeb chef himself. Our favorites? Spiced red beets with pork-fried almonds, bone marrow with cured lemon, and a rustic Countryman pizza topped with duck egg then pulled charred and bubbling from a wood-burning oven.

Isabella works the crowd, chatting as you chew. And as at any proper show, there's Prosecco to go with it. On tap.

Photo: Courtesy of Greg Powers 

L'Opéra Restaurant, Paris

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 07 11:32 AM

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After 136 years on the drawing board and three near launches, L'Opéra Restaurant at Paris' legendary Palais Garnier finally opened to the public on Monday. And it's every bit as theatrical as you'd expect.

Starchitect Odile Decq's huge white-plaster shapes curve organically around the restaurant's columns, and deep ruby chairs and carpets add Puccini-esque drama. The food from chef Christophe Aribert of Grenoble's two-Michelin-starred Les Terrasses is equally showstopping. Star dishes include roasted guinea fowl, creamed artichoke and foie gras soup, and two versions of house-smoked salmon (classic, with blini and caviar, and contemporary, with brioche and a horseradish and mustard sorbet).

Our inner fat lady ain't singing here. She's eating.

Photo: Courtesy of L'Opéra Restaurant

Mizlala, Tel Aviv, Israel

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 30 07:00 AM

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Starched linens, starched clientele--upscale eats can get pretty stiff and formal. But top Tel Aviv chef Meir Adoni has found a way to inject some fun back into the endeavor at his new restaurant, Mizlala (57 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv, Israel). Roughly translated, it means to stuff your face. Why, gladly.

Our favorite at this narrow, boisterous space a block off the Bauhaus- and bar-laden Rothschild Boulevard is the signature "shot and a bite." Order the Rosie O'Donnell, for example, a rosemary-infused Absolut Peppar vodka with Aperol, grapefruit, cranberry, and ginger, and it will arrive with a bite of salmon tartare dressed in yogurt and preserved lemon. Fun and flirty, Mizlala is tradition reworked with international flair, a microcosm of stylish Tel Aviv, one forkful at a time.

Photo: Courtesy of Dan Peretz

Boxing Room, San Francisco

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 23 10:02 AM

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Creole cuisine bubbled up out of a mixture of cultures. So why shouldn't you throw a few more ingredients into the gumbo? That's the idea at San Francisco's Boxing Room, a New Orleans-flavored restaurant and bar that's just opened in Hayes Valley. The space, formerly a packing room of a shirt factory (hence the name), reflects a mix of influences: Douglas fir walls and reclaimed Monterey cypress say California, while the zinc bar and faux-alligator stools nod toward the Big Easy.

Chef and Louisiana native Justin Simoneaux includes seasonal Californian ingredients in traditional Cajun and Creole dishes. The results? A salad of fried Pacific oysters dressed in Herbsainte vinaigrette, perhaps, or grilled Monterey squid with tasso, roasted-garlic aioli, and fried okra. With food like this, everyone's a lover, not a fighter. "Laissez les bon temps rouler."

Photo: Courtesy of Boxing Room

't Zilte Restaurant, Antwerp, Belgium

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 20 07:00 AM

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Back when the world was flat, the spice trade was the peak of culinary adventure. So it seems fitting that Belgium's Michelin-starred powerhouse 't Zilte restaurant--where classic cuisine is given a modern twist--has made a new maritime, ethnographic, and folklore institution, Antwerp's Museum Aan de Stroom, its second home.

Occupying the entire ninth floor of the hulking rust-colored stone-and-glass sentinel, the restaurant overlooks the city and river Schelde through floor-to-ceiling windows. 't Zilte may be sitting on top of some noteworthy exhibitions, but we're guessing chef Viki Geunes' creations, including five inventive variations on foie gras, are likely to be the most enticing of all.

Photo: Courtesy of 't Zilte

Union Sushi and Barbeque Bar, Chicago

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, May 18 07:00 AM

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You've had South Carolina barbecue, Texas barbecue, even Korean-style. But just when you thought the BBQ trend was growing cold, Chicago's new Union Sushi and Barbeque Bar throws some coals on the fire.

The River North restaurant is set to get Americans all hot and bothered about Japanese-style BBQ. Chefs maintain their kushiyaki robata grill at a blistering 600°F to sear chicken thighs with Japanese curry, prosciutto-wrapped scallops with wasabi-avocado puree and sweet plum sauce, and fish cakes with Wisconsin pepper jack and togarashi.

For those who prefer to keep it cool, there's an assortment of inventive sushi rolls (spicy tuna, seared salmon, and ponzu with cilantro and okra, wrapped in collard greens). And the dining room's spray-painted murals evoke 1980s street art and anime flicks, making it the kind of space that invites you to kick back a few cold ones and eat your fill. Go ahead--with everything priced under $20, you won't get burned.

Photo: Courtesy of Union Sushi and Barbeque Bar

Locanda, San Francisco, California

By Conde Nast Traveler Sunday, May 08 12:53 PM

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Brought to you by the fine folks behind cult San Francisco restaurant Delfina, the Mission District's newest arrival, Locanda, is an update on Rome's family-style eateries. Traditional Thonet bentwood chairs, candles flickering in old anchovy tins, and geometric wall tiles give this open, loftlike space a warm, contemporary feel.

Since this is San Francisco, seasonal local produce can be taken for granted (the pancetta couldn't be more local--it's cured in-house). However, there's no nattering about farms and free-range this and that on the menu of Roman pasta classics, including cacio e pepe and bucatini all'amatriciana. There's also a nod to the Eternal City's love affair with entrails. Fear not: Locanda's capable crew can win over the most determined sweetbreads skeptics. But there's only one way to put that to the test.

Photo: Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger

The Dutch, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, May 02 04:28 PM

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What do you call a New York City restaurant with classic American grub on the menu helmed by a chef known for his Italian cuisine? The Dutch, a new multi-culti joint in Soho, proves you should never judge a restaurant by its name.

Chef Andrew Carmellini (of Locanda Verde fame) spent a year road-tripping through the States for inspiration, scoping out seafood shacks, taquerías, BBQ joints, and everything in between. The result-dishes like spicy fried chicken with made-to-order biscuits, and pecan duck with Big Easy-worthy dirty rice-is served up under Waffle House-style lighting, along with barrel-aged cocktails and rotating microbrews. Make ours a double, Dutch.

Photo: Courtesy of The Dutch

Lexington Social House, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, April 28 01:33 PM

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The new Lexington Social House brings a dose of cool to what was once L.A.'s most (in)famous intersection: Hollywood and Vine. Hookers and panhandlers, out; Victorian wallpaper, pressed-tin ceilings, and Carrara marble bar, in.

There's also some serious muscle in the kitchen: Chef Mette Williams honed her craft in the celeb-driven fires of Spago, Cut, and, most recently, Soho House in West Hollywood. The latter stint no doubt influenced Lexington Social House's casual private-club vibe and elegantly rustic menu (fried chicken, confit pork belly, crab salad). On the libations front, there are craft beers and artisanal cocktails featuring Earl Grey bourbon, peanut rum, and other house-infused tipples.

But don't get too cozy. Twice-weekly dance parties are slated for the coming months. Until then, L.A.'s pretty people will keep things hot around the garden's outdoor fireplace, nestled safely away from the paparazzi. And those fried-chicken calories.

Photo: Ryan Forbes, Avablu

Tickets, Barcelona

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 01 04:06 PM

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What do you do once you've revolutionized haute cuisine and your Michelin-lauded restaurant pulls in over a million reservation requests a year? If you're Ferran Adriŕ of El Bulli (closing this summer), you exit victorious, wizard those laurels into caviar droplets, and serve them up as tapas in Barcelona.

Newly opened Tickets, Adriŕ's second act, is like a buzzing avant-garde food court with a bright and Pop-y interior. Five bars handle different facets of the menu: La Presumida (oysters, seafood, charcuterie), La Estrella (the main area for drinks), El Garatge (grilling, pa amb tomŕquet), La Dolça (desserts), and Nostromo 180286 (cheese serums, crunchy ham powders, sparkling mayonnaise, and other items of molecular gastronomic trickery). A sixth small cubicle, in English "the Marx Brothers' Cabin," crams in drink swillers hoping to jump on a cancellation.

Therein lies the best innovation: online-only reservations. Unlike at El Bulli, with its lottery system, seats here open three months prior, so Tickets is accessible with some planning. July in Barcelona is lovely, by the way.

Photo: Courtesy of Sergi Vicente Puig

Eataly's La Birreria, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, March 25 07:02 PM

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Blizzards and ice storms and snowpocalypses are giving way to warmth, and with that, the patios and gardens of New York City will fill with sunseekers. The newest alfresco fun? La Birreria, a 5,000-square-foot beer garden set to open later this spring on the roof of the Batali/Bastianich foodtopia, Eataly, in the Flatiron District.

Copper vats will turn out microbrews created by U.S. sudsmeister Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head fame and Italians Teo Musso of Birra Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo. The unfiltered, naturally carbonated brews will be hand-pulled through traditional beer engines and paired with pizza and sausages. And there's a retractable roof, should Old Man Winter decide to make a last-ditch appearance.

Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Decker

The Cube, Brussels, Belgium

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 15 06:26 PM

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Location, location, location. Any restaurateur knows that's the key to success. And no one knows it better than the folks behind The Cube, a futuristic new pop-up restaurant. The 1,500-square-foot structure will be attached to the rooftops of some of Europe's landmark buildings for three-month stints this year. First stop? Belgium, where it will sit 100 feet up atop the Arcades du Cinquantenaire in Brussels' Cinquantenaire park from late March through early July.

The glass restaurant (complete with terrace) was designed by Milan-based architects Park Associati and is covered in a laser-cut aluminum "skin" that adds a sci-fi touch. It seats 18 diners at one long table and has an open kitchen, where Michelin-starred Belgian chefs Sang Hoon Degeimbre and Bart de Pooter will alternate days behind the stove. Next stop, Moscow? Stockholm? Zurich? Only The Cube knows.

Photo: Courtesy of Park Associati

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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