These are the best of restaurants to have opened in the last year, our 2021 Hot List. They are the spots we can’t wait to eat in as soon as it’s safe to do so. For more world-class dining recommendations, see the 50 best restaurants in the world

This article was first published in the June 2021 issue of Traveller magazine

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  • FAYER
    • FAYERMADRID, SPAINHaving introduced their fascinating mix of Argentine and contemporary Israeli cooking to Buenos Aires four years ago, the team behind trend-setting Fayer (which translates as fire in Yiddish) chose the smart Chamberí district of the Spanish capital for their latest joint. With the aim of creating that same fiery soul, chef Mariano Muñoz has been imported from Argentina to lead the European outpost tucked into one-block calle de Orfila, a thoroughfare frequented by art gallerists and diplomats.It’s split across two levels, with elegantly pared-back interiors and floor-to-ceiling streetside windows cleverly revealing the bar which tempts parched passers-by to refuel with a glass of southern-hemisphere Torrontés and a plate of hummus and freshly baked challah. Upstairs, diners can get a clear view of Muñoz and his team preparing kibbeh, empanadas and ricotta börek (filo pastry) in the glass-fronted kitchen. The beef is sourced directly from the pampas, while the showpiece is bone-in pastrami, a rack of ribs marinated in a decadent 13-spice blend for 10 days, smoked for eight hours then slow-roasted for 24 hours. For pudding, embrace both cultures and order the three-nut baklava plus dulce de leche. Celebrating Argentina’s idiosyncratic parrilla culture as well as classic Israeli mezze, this is a delicious collision of two worlds and an upgrade to Middle Eastern fast food in the city – one that has blown open the madrileño tapas mindset.Address: Fayer, Calle de Orfila, 7, 28010 Madrid, Spain
      Telephone: +34 910 05 32 90
      Website: fayer.com
      Price: About £70 for two
  • DEDE AT THE CUSTOMS HOUSE
    • DEDE AT THE CUSTOMS HOUSECO CORK, IRELANDIn Baltimore, a pretty seaside village in West Cork packed with sailors and second-home owners, chef Ahmet Dede has been adding some exotic influences from his native Turkey to the local scene. Having only opened last July, Dede’s restaurant was burnished with a Michelin star in January and marks a new chapter for him, though it’s not his first star – he moved to Baltimore in 2017 and was awarded one for the now-closed Mews two years later. Behind the sea-blue exterior of this new space is a deli that opens onto a simple dining room, while out back is a courtyard with a wood-burning stove.Regulars return for the ever-changing menu of Turkish recipes married with the foraged and farmed bounty of the Cork countryside, and enlivened by spices sent by Dede’s parents from Ankara. Weeknight barbecues are elevated by artful combinations – giant langoustines with charcoal butter, lemon, garlic and dried chillies or köfte with bulgur-wheat salad and pickles. At weekends there’s a set menu where Dede’s skill is showcased in dishes such as venison with buckwheat and orange, accompanied by a thoughtful wine list and local tipples such as Cape Clear Gin. Families also pile in for breakfast: his take on eggs menemen – adding aged beef fried with onions to eggs and tomatoes – threatens to topple the Irish fry-up as Baltimore’s favourite brunch. Unearthing authentic ethnic flavours can often be hit and miss when you venture beyond Dublin. But this is proof that change is afoot.Address: Customs House Baltimore, Customs House, Baltimore, Co. Cork, P81 K291, Ireland
      Telephone: +353 28 48248
      Website: customshousebaltimore.com
      Price: About £70 for two
  • Aksorn
    • AKSORNBANGKOK, THAILANDAfter chef David Thompson left the chart-topping Nahm in 2018, the question was never if but when and where he would pop up on the city’s food scene again. This is his answer in their site. Tiny Aksorn was launched late last year on the top floor of the original Central Store, a terracotta-clad creative hub built on the same Old Town spot where the family behind it opened their first bookshop in 1950. Thompson has pegged his menu in that period – a time when new ideas and ingredients from the West entered Thai kitchens and recipes began to take on Chinese and European influences. From the open kitchen, which spans almost the entire length of the narrow, six-table space, the team serve up tasting menus based on well-thumbed cookery books from the 1950s to the 1970s. Every two months, a different author informs the offering, with their recipes recreated as faithfully as possible – a challenge, given their brevity and lack of measurements.Expect hard-to-find dishes such as coconut cupcakes with spring onion and pork or hor mok moo, a red-curry pork custard, all served on flowery vintage plates with mismatched cutlery. But no plate sums up Thompson’s bold new direction like the roast duck terrine with foie gras, Chinese mushrooms and sausage – a stark departure from the spicy, 19th-century-style cooking he made his name with, but a brilliant fit for this old-meets-new, East-meets-West corner of town. In a restaurant landscape dominated by royal recipes, Aksorn pinpoints a curious, often overlooked era of Thai cooking.Address: Aksorn, 1266 Charoenkrung Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
      Telephone: +66 2 116 8662
      Website: aksornbkk.com
      Price: About £130 for twoCHRIS SCHALKX
  • Ark
    • ARKCOPENHAGEN, DENMARKConsidering its reputation as the ultimate foodie city (it went organic in a big way years before the rest of us, plus there’s Noma), the Danish capital has been relatively lagging when it comes to the vegan wave. But this new opening changed that overnight as British chef Brett Lavender (formerly of Tokyo’s much-loved Den) and Ark’s Australian owners attempt to lure the pork-loving Danes over to the delights of rich, almost chicken-like blue oyster mushrooms or a vibrant green starter of avocado cream, peas and apple. The relaxed raised ground-floor locale, at a corner of a buzzing crossroads close to the Torvehallerne food halls, is furnished in a contemporary Scandi style – bare wood, no tablecloths.Happily, for all the visual cues, and the natural wines that dominate the list, the food roams beyond the usual Nordic tropes with southern European, Middle Eastern and Asian touches, such as the cauliflower steak blanketed with burnt shiso leaf and potato gnocchi with pureed pine nuts. The trick, apparently, is that the kitchen brigade is largely non-vegan, which means they strive to replicate the same umami quality and textures they achieve in meat- and dairy-based cooking – that and a special mushroom farm in the north of the city that specialises in unusual, meaty-tasting varieties. With more affordable little sister Bistro Lupa soon to join the gang, this forward-looking group is forcing the city to think about vegan food in an entirely new way.Address: Ark, Nørre Farimagsgade 63, 1364 København, Denmark
      Telephone: +45 33 30 01 50
      Website: restaurantark.dk
      Price: Seven-course tasting menu, about £70per personCHRISTOFFER ROSENFELDT
  • Naranjo Bar
    • NARANJO BARBUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINAChef Augusto ‘Aspi’ Mayer and front of house Nahuel Carbajo worked together at the city’s once-hottest address, the now-shuttered Proper. But they longed to open an easygoing wine bar together. While it took a year to find the perfect location, they’ve been nailing the concept since Naranjo raised its blinds last October. The duo convinced the owners of an antique bathroom-fixtures warehouse on busy calle Angel Justiniano Carranza, a block from hipster barrio Chacarita, to rent them the space; three months later they had the keys to the building, its façade framed by the orange tree after which the bar is named, and began an almighty clear-up job. Reclaiming existing features is at Naranjo’s heart, retaining original bronze door handles while giving a new lease of life to other elements – the young crowd sits at tables fashioned from pinewood floorboards by Carbajo.Wine lovers can sample an 80-strong list that taps into Argentina’s wealth of boutique vintners with low-intervention and skin-contact varieties; the bar is also a vinoteca that sells the pair’s favourite bottles, such as Rocamadre Pét Nat Pinot Noir and Matias Riccitelli Tinto de la Casa Malbec. Their philosophy extends to the seasonally led, organic-where-possible dishes starring single ingredients such as charred asparagus, porchetta and cured Atlantic wreckfish. This simple passion to drink and eat well – increasingly appreciated by local diners – ensures Naranjo’s place as a sustainable addition to the capital’s wine scene.Address: Naranjo Bar, Ángel Justiniano Carranza 1059, C1414 CABA, Argentina
      Website: @naranjo_bar
      Price: About £20 for two

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