Food has always been a bridge between cultures, and it’s no question there are many willing to travel far and wide for a good meal. With destination dining flourishing now more than ever, adventure seekers and foodies alike have a host of enticing options to choose from, with restaurants boasting rugged, remote locations, Michelin-star dishes, and fresh ingredients sourced straight from their surroundings. Whether you’re dining atop a rock in Zanzibar or indulging in a 17-course tasting menu in the mountains of Denmark, these novel eateries are surely worth the trip.
When Nigel Firman arrived in Zanzibar, Tanzania, the people of the village could not understand why he wanted a piece of rock that was jutting out of the Indian Ocean—but they collectively agreed to gift it to him anyway. Today, The Rock has become one of the most well-known international dining destinations. Located approximately 800 metres away from the breathtaking shoreline, Firman’s restaurant rests above sand during low tide, and sits on water when the tide is high. “It’s not a faraway island—it’s very easy to reach…but it gives you a sense of adventure,” says Firman. The cross-cultural menu boasts Italian cuisine with a Tanzanian touch, and includes dishes that spotlight local seafoods—like the homemade gnocchi served with prawns and Zanzibar vanilla—and desserts such as the Zanzibar spices ice cream. Dining at Firman’s restaurant has become such a sought-after experience that Mastercard recreated its own version of The Rock as a pop-up studio in Manhattan, in hopes of bringing this noteworthy dining experience to a North American audience. “Of course, the food is very good, but you are on a rock! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Firman.
Faroe Islands, Kingdom of Denmark
In an effort to adequately showcase the primordial ingredients found in Nordic archipelagos, head chef Poul Andris Ziska decided to move Koks from a hotel to the remote mountains of the Faroe Islands. “We feel that the current location reflects the Faroe Islands in a way that is similar to the style of cooking and hospitality we try to create. It all adds to the experience,” Ziska explains. The restaurant itself is a celebration of the infinite sights, flavours, and aromas that make Koks an unforgettable dining experience. Considered one of the most remote fine dining experiences in the world, the Michelin- star restaurant offers an elaborate 17-course tasting menu featuring lamb, shellfish, preserved seafood, seaweed, and root vegetables—a celebration of ingredients that are raised and cultivated in the Faroes. “There’s much more pride in working with good product,” he affirms. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in street food, experience dining, or fine dining, the pride and responsibility of having good product is starting to be worked with more in all kinds of restaurants.”
Stephen Harris, the owner of The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, describes his restaurant as a “grotty, run-down pub by the sea”, despite its being named England’s best eatery. Taken over by Harris in 1999, the property dates back as early as the 17th century, and holds an undeniable charm that is rooted in the surrounding landscape. Situated between the Thames Estuary, which provides oysters and fresh seafood, and fertile marshland, which is ripe with vegetables and game meat, the picturesque North Sea restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2008. The Sportman’s menu has become a favourite of many chefs, critics, and customers who enjoy its elegantly rich but approachable dishes, such as the roast chicken with sausage and truffle cream sauce and the braised turbot fillet. After dining at a Michelin-Star restaurant in London years before he was awarded with his own, Harris was awestruck by his meal but found the atmosphere to be stuffy: “I found the whole service and presentation a bit staid. I just thought, why can’t you get this quality in a relaxed environment?” Following his vision, he has created just that: “The pleasure is seeing people happy and relaxed, as well as blown away by the food,” says Harris of the elevated yet quaint dining experience he made possible.