As fine dining becomes increasingly more experiential, gourmands are showing more interest in traveling to remote destinations to seek out the meal of a lifetime. While the economics might make sense to serve a $500, 15-course menu within close proximity to an urban area, however, views of endless landscapes and direct access to unique ingredients are not something that can be easily replicated. A decade ago, when Magnus Nilsson opened Fäviken, a restaurant on a hunting estate in the north of Sweden, he proved that the experience of traveling to the dinner table was just as important as the food and service. As it closes at the end of the year, other off the beaten track kitchens are filling the void.
Koks: Faroe Islands, Denmark
KOKS. Photo by Claes Bech-Poulsen
Set in an isolated bay of an even more isolated archipelago in the North Atlantic, two Michelin starred Koks might have the most pristine setting of any fine dining restaurant. Start your meal at their waterside fermentation hut before moving into the main dining room in an 18th-century turf roof farmhouse. The dramatically plated, 18-course menus apply traditional techniques such as drying, fermenting, salting and smoking to sought after native ingredients like giant langoustines, sweet sea urchins and seabirds like gannets and razorbills. firstname.lastname@example.org
The team at KOKS. Photo by Photo by Claes Bech-Poulsen
Langostine and fermented carrot at KOKS. Photo by Claes Bech-Poulsen
Mil Centro: Moray, Peru
MIL, Peru. Photo courtesy of MIL.
Nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, Mil is an ode to the surrounding high Andean ecosystem. Virgilio Martinéz, the chef of Lima’s Central, currently ranked number 6 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, opened this groundbreaking restaurant in 2018, fittingly above the Inca ruins of Moray, a set of circular agricultural terraces once used for crop experimentation. The restaurant, which doubles as a research center and working farm run by neighboring indigenous communities, serves just 20 diners a day, weaves ingredients like cyanobacteria from high altitude lakes and chaco clay into 8-course menus paired with distillations produced on the property.
Chef Virgilio Martínez of MIL. MIL, Peru. Photo courtesy of MIL.
Diversidad de maíz at MIL. Photo courtesy of MIL.
Wolfgat: Paternoster, South Africa
Photo courtesy of Jac de Villiers
Few had heard of Wolfgat, a 20-seat restaurant in isolated fishing village in the Western Cape until it surprisingly took top honors at the World Restaurant Awards in early 2019. Local game like kudu and seaweeds foraged from the beach outside are served by a local crew that’s so small they cook, serve, and clean up together. email@example.com
Wolfgat, South Africa.
Photo INSTAGRAM / @Wolfgat
Slippurinn: Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
The exterior of Slippurinn. Photo courtesy of Slippurinn.
Set in a retrofitted shipyard machine workshop on a small volcanic island off Iceland’s South Coast, Slippurinn, open just four months a year, manages to serve both islanders and visiting gastronomes that fly in and out just for a meal. Chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson forages empty beaches for sea truffles, collects seabird eggs from surrounding cliffsides, and gets fish delivered right from local fishing boats. His star dish is a whole cods head, which gets glazed in chicken stock and birch syrup and torched firstname.lastname@example.org
Table fare at Slippurinn. Photo courtesy of Slippurinn.
The Willows Inn: Lummi Island, Washington
The Willows Inn. Photo by Charity Burggraaf.
Former Noma chef de partie Blaine Wetzel’s secluded dining room is hidden amidst a set of wooden cabins on a Pacific cliff in one of the San Juan Islands, not far from the Canadian border. You’ll taste just hunted venison and geoduck pulled out of the ocean are served on skewers, mussels smoked in their own smokehouse, and tostadas topped with edible flowers in the 20-plus course menu.
Sunset from the dining room at The Willows Inn. Photo by Photo by Charity Burggraaf.
Breakfast Spread at The Willows Inn. Photo by Charity Burggraaf.