Gold and cream interior of Deessa restaurant

Nine brilliant new restaurants to book now

From star chef Quique Dacosta’s signature restaurant opening in Madrid to the arrival of Japanese flavours in Lake Como, food critic Nicola Trup surveys some of the most exciting new restaurants that you might not yet have visited around the globe

Waiter positions plates on table at Deessa restaurant

Deessa – Madrid

Deessa is the cornerstone of my project for Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid,” says the celebrated Spanish chef Quique Dacosta, who has a track record of five Michelin stars, and oversees culinary operations across the hotel’s five restaurants and bars. “We have aimed to design a menu full of beauty, sensuality and aromas, where the star of the show is the produce and its seasonality.” Dacosta’s signature restaurant, Deessa offers something akin to a ‘greatest hits’ of his dishes. And then there’s the setting within the hotel’s elaborate Alfonso XIII room, overlooking the Ritz Garden. “It is without doubt the most ambitious, seductive and coveted space in the hotel,” says Dacosta. “It’s where dreams come true, including mine and my team’s. We wish simply to fulfil your culinary fantasies.” You’re on.
What to order: The Quique Dacosta Classics menu of the chef’s signature dishes
Who to take: Anyone who’s yet to see this strikingly well-restored Madrid hotel

Colleagues at Itamae restaurant, Miami

Itamae – Miami

Itamae, one of the newest restaurants in Miami Design District’s upmarket Palm Court ­– and just a 15-minute taxi ride from Mandarin Oriental, Miami – is a family affair, helmed by Fernando Chang and his son and daughter, Nando and Valerie, who draw on their Chinese-Peruvian background to offer their take on Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisine. “It’s our mission and pleasure to introduce our guests to Nikkei flavours and techniques,” says Valerie Chang. “We’re not a fusion restaurant – just one serving Peruvian ceviche, tiraditos and sushi rolls, whose identity is rooted in Peru and shaped by its immigrants and people.” Fresh seafood is the basis for the menu, being served as tiradito (raw fish in spicy sauce) and bañadito – the Changs’ own mash-up of tiradito and sushi.
What to order: Pulpo al olivo bañadito: maki of daily catch and avocado topped with octopus, sarza criolla (onion, ají limó chilli, lime juice and coriander) and botija olive aioli
Who to take: A seafood lover

Terrace of Aksorn restaurant, Bangkok

Aksorn – Bangkok

Australian-born chef David Thompson is known for cooking the cuisine of his adopted homeland, Thailand. Having left his previous Bangkok restaurant in 2018, last September he launched a new venture within the Thai capital, housed on the top floor and outdoor terrace of Central: The Original Store – just around the corner from Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. Each month, his team uses a different cookbook to inspire its menu. The current volume is by Thanphuying Kleeb Mahidhorn, from 1949, featuring mainly Thai, plus some Chinese and Laotian recipes. “It’s a challenge to follow older Thai recipes. They are often without quantities and incomplete,” says Thompson. “The chefs wanted to take their winning techniques to the grave.”
What to order: Marble goby with golden galangal. Thompson was “intrigued” by this dish, which involves poaching plaa buu (a freshwater fish) in galangal stock before sprinkling it with wild coriander
Who to take: A local keen to try new things

Omakase seafood dish at The Aubrey restaurant, Hong Kong

The Aubrey – Hong Kong

Opened in February 2021 within Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, The Aubrey puts an elevated spin on the Japanese izakaya ‘pub’. Of the three bars, the main one offers chess-inspired cocktails and a rotating selection of drinks based on one particular Japanese ingredient. At the four-person Omakase Cocktail Bar, meanwhile, bartenders guide guests through Japanese spirits and flavours, and at the Champagne and Sake Bar, it’s all oysters and fizz. Food is by Yukihito Tomiyama, who oversees a menu of sushi and sashimi, as well as tempura and robata dishes. The hotel’s Cantonese restaurant, Michelin-starred Man Wah, has also had an extensive revamp.
What to order: Miso-glazed eggplant from the robata grill, washed down with a Barley & Oolong (barley shochu, oolong and fresh mint)
Who to take: Cocktail connoisseurs

Dark dining room at Hutong restaurant, Dubai

Hutong – Dubai

Having started off with a flagship restaurant in Hong Kong, Hutong has since opened outposts in London, New York, Miami and – as of early 2020 – Dubai – a mere 15-minute car ride from Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai. The menu is largely inspired by the food of northern China and Sichuan province (think Peking duck with all the trimmings, and dan dan noodles in a spicy minted lamb broth). And you’ll find luxe red-white-and-black interiors to match – inspired by the imperial palaces of Beijing. Yet, the restaurant’s original location is not forgotten, with an extensive dim sum menu, and a ‘wishing tree’, on which guests can hang their own desires written on red labels – inspired by Hong Kong’s Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees.
What to order: Sichuan pepper-spiced lobster bao, followed by the Red Lantern – a crispy, deep-fried soft-shell crab served on a bed of dried whole chillies
Who to take: Your partner, for a special-occasion supper

Atelier Di Carne restaurant, Bodrum

Atelier Di Carne – Bodrum

Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has added three new culinary offerings during the 2021 season, including Atelier Di Carne, a meat-lovers’ paradise created by award-winning Italian butcher Dario Cecchini. An eighth-generation meat master from the Chianti region of Tuscany, Cecchini follows a nose-to-tail philosophy. “Life is like that: it has good cuts and bad. You must eat – and relish – them all,” he says. The restaurant is decked out in dark cedar, mahogany and white Carrara marble, with a few nods to the steakhouse concept, such as cow hides. The ground-breaking carnivorous menu, meanwhile, features every classic cut of meat you could possibly desire, from ribeye to filet mignon, as well as house-made charcuterie and carpaccio. There’s also a raw bar serving oysters, tuna carpaccio and more.
What to order: Super Dario tomahawk steak (Australian Wagyu), with a side of crispy Brussels sprouts
Who to take: Meat fanatics

Small plates on a table at Albi restaurant, Washington, D.C.

Albi – Washington D.C.

Opened in February 2020, Albi is the debut restaurant from D.C. chef Michael Rafidi, who draws on his Middle Eastern heritage to create dishes such as sfeeha (meat pies) and manti (dumplings). Part of The Yards development (a ten-minute taxi ride from Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C.), Albi’s colourful dining room is decked out in mid-century style, and there’s a private dining space, seasonal patio and ten-seat ‘hearth table’. “Albi centres on wood-fired Levantine cooking, with most dishes prepared on the coals of an open hearth or in our wood-burning pita oven,” says Rafidi. “The menu marries my roots in the Levant with local, seasonal produce and a refined culinary perspective.”
What to order: Kibbeh nayeh, a traditional dish of raw mince, bulgur wheat and spices. Albi’s menu features vegetarian and meat and fish versions, both served with a toum garlic sauce
Who to take: Old friends who like to share

Cocktail at Gemma Steakhouse, Singapore

Gemma Steakhouse – Singapore

There’s a touch of old-world charm about this upmarket Italian steakhouse, with its wood and marble interiors, low lighting and tableside carving. It opened last October in the National Gallery Singapore, and the man behind it is Beppe De Vito, whose other projects include Michelin-starred Braci. Gemma’s menu centres on a Josper oven, in which hunks of Tuscan-style Fiorentina steak are seared in front of diners, and the in-house curing room – used to create tea-smoked salmon, duck prosciutto and more. A cocktail trolley is put to use for classic and signature drinks, including the Gemma Spritz (prosecco, Metaxa, blood orange, chinotto and Amalfi lemon), and there is an extensive list of Italian and French wines – ideal when your bed at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is only ten minutes’ walk away.
What to order: T-bone steak, whipped Agria potato with purple sage and fermented parsnip
Who to take: Friends, before a night on the town

Terrace at L'Aria restaurant, Lake Como

L˜ARIA ­– Lake Como

Is this the biggest thing to happen on Lake Como since Star Wars was filmed here? A unique addition to the dining scene around the lake arrived in summer 2021, with a significant new Japanese focus at L˜ARIA, the already celebrated restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como. The creative mind behind the new menu is well-regarded chef Massimo Blasone, and highlights include robata-grilled main dishes (cooked over hot charcoal in view of guests), raw and cold Asian and Italian treats and varied tempura options. The refurbished space has retained the elegantly casual, resort feel for which it is renowned.
What to order: Steamed gyoza and sides followed by black cod, with something from the pastry section to finish
Who to take: Someone who fancies a break from pasta

Breakfast laid on table

Fans of M.O. dining benefits

Did you know that as a Fans of M.O. member, you can enjoy a whole host of exclusive benefits at our restaurants and bars around the globe – from reservations and special offers to a chef's surprise or amuse-bouche?