Chef Joël Robuchon’s legacy goes beyond his acclaimed establishments and extraordinary food creations. The world-renowned gourmand, who recently passed at age 73, continues to leave a trace in the food world. His books, television show appearances, and cooking courses persistently inspire young gastronomes; and his mentees keep his spirit alive in various kitchens across the globe. Raise a glass to the legendary culinary artist as you enjoy an English-French buffet breakfast, a scrumptious paella lunch, or a delectable sushi dinner from some of his best-loved places!
Take your cue from the French chef, and indulge in an excellent buffet breakfast at Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay in southwestern France. It’s one of internationally-known chef Gordon Ramsay’s outlets, so expect some English touches on the menu. Fun fact: chef Robuchon mentored chef Ramsay; he even famously hurled a plate of langoustine ravioli towards the young Englishman when it wasn’t done properly. The brasserie is housed in InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, a UNESCO World Heritage site that recalls France’s La Belle Epoque (French for “The Beautiful Era,” a period of prosperity). Your dining experience is complemented by a view of Place de la Comédie, a square where the city’s main streets converge. On sunny days, take your cup of coffee and croissant outside, just as chef Robuchon did before.
InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, Place de la Comédie, Bordeaux, France
According to the well-decorated gourmand, you have yet to try real sushi until you dine at three Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Chef Jiro Ono, who is famous as the subject of the 2011 documentary film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” helms the ten-seater joint. The venerated sushi master expertly crafts rice and raw fish creations at an impressive rate. Here, chef Robuchon developed a great respect for the Japanese culinary tradition. He also learned the significance of freshness, temperature, and precise slicing to guarantee high-quality sushi, applying these techniques at his own restaurants. Booking is extremely difficult. You’ll have to liaise your reservation through your hotel concierge; and even then, they might have to ask you for a local contact to up your chances for a seat. It’s all worth it though; do it for chef Robuchon!
Tsukamoto Sogyo Building, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nou Manolin’s simplicity captured the heart of the French gourmand. He even went on to say that it’s his “favorite restaurant in the world.” The laid-back tapas bar in Alicante, Spain is known for its fresh seafood, caught on the day and served just in time for dinner. They only use sea salt and olive oil for seasoning to highlight the raw flavors of the fish. The venue was dear to the cook’s heart for its ability to encapsulate his philosophy—”simple but tasty.” He was so touched by his experience that the establishment later on influenced chef Robuchon’s casual L’Atelier chain.
Calle Villegas 3, Alicante, Spain
The Eight is one of chef Robuchon’s go-to’s for Chinese cuisine. It inspired the gourmet artist to pay attention to the small details in food, particularly the combinations of different textured ingredients—a concept he later employed in his own kitchens. A testament to its authenticity, the first and only three Michelin-starred Chinese fine dining establishment is a frequent haunt of locals. Admire the opulent interiors, which draws inspiration from traditional elements such as goldfish and the number eight to signify energy and wealth, respectively. Take a seat, and enjoy a mix of Cantonese and Huaiyang dishes—including executive chef Joseph Tse’s signature suckling pig is a must! Book a table for lunch to drown in the restaurant’s plethora of creatively shaped dim sum.
Avenida de Lisboa N.o 2-4, Grand Lisboa Hotel 2nd Floor, Macau
The late French chef claims that Paco Gandía has “the best paella in the world.” In the outlet in Alicante, Spain, native Josefa Navarro makes three variants of the traditional rice dish: one with vegetables, another with rabbit, and their best-selling rabbit and snails. Each dish is put together using a recipe passed down through generations. The rice comes with only a handful of local ingredients and is cooked over a pyre of grapevine shoots. It only took chef Robuchon one bite to discover “gourmet paradise,” so dig in!
Calle San Francisco 10, Pinoso, Alicante, Spain
Three Michelin-starred Le Pré Catelan is the beloved restaurateur’s favorite dining establishment in France. He applauded the joint’s great skill in food preparation. Chef Frédéric Anton, a mentee of chef Robuchon, leads the service; he injects a bit of his original style to each plate. French cuisine shines at the Paris restaurant; each dish accentuates the ingredients used and is presented with great sophistication. Chef Robuchon explicitly recommended the place for couples celebrating a special occasion, since lush gardens surround the contemporary venue.
Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France
The esteemed chef looked to Dinarjat for authentic Moroccan cuisine, which he says “should be part of the best cooking in the world.” A guide dressed in a traditional costume escorts you to the open patio dining area, decked in magnificent Arab-Andalusian-style decor. Sample an array of gastronomic dishes like kebabs, couscous, and local pastries. Dining in an African country opened chef Robuchon’s eyes to the wonders of cooking with spices, which he rarely used in the past. He even said that cumin smelled like wood or smashed insects. However, his views changed after savoring a plate of zaalouk (“zah-luk”)—a Moroccan eggplant salad that highlights the flavors of paprika and cayenne pepper.
6 Rue Belgnaoui, Rabat, Morocco
Lausanne, Switzerland • Recommendation •
Chef Robuchon commended three Michelin-starred B. Violier for its spontaneous cuisine wherein food is cooked at the very last minute. He especially complimented the late French-Swiss chef Benoît Violier for his reverence for ingredients and his refined cooking skills. Leadership was passed on to chef Violier’s right-hand-man, chef Franck Giovannini. He continues a tradition of excellence through a fantastic French menu partnered with top-notch service.
1 Rue D'Yverdon, Crissier, Switzerland
La Tupina is an institution in the historic center of Bordeaux. The beloved restaurateur favored it for its rural Bordelais cuisine, created using traditional practices from the region. An example of this is the roasting of meat on a spit. It’s done in a giant fireplace, which also doubles as the centerpiece of the homey establishment. There are also a few seafood items on the menu, such as sturgeon and lamprey. The joint is a frequent first-stop of politicians and celebrities, so keep your eyes peeled—you may be a few tables away from them!
6 Rue Porte de la Monnaie, Bordeaux, France
Chef Robuchon praised Masa in New York City for an “incredible dinner,” which was personally prepared for him by chef Masayoshi Takayama. The three Michelin-starred restaurant applies the Japanese concept of "shibui" (渋い, “shee-bu-wee”), an aesthetic that anchors on minimalism. Simple interiors backdrop your omakase (お任せ, “I'll leave it up to you,” courses made of dishes chosen by the chef), allowing each element on your plate to shine. A meal here comes with a price tag of USD595, so prepare to break the bank!
Fourth Floor, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, New York City, New York, USA
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