Restaurant Buzz: What Traveling Foodies Need to Know

Globe-trotting foodies are going to have a tough time of it this season, with high-end eateries opening all around the world and celebrity chefs stepping in to some top restaurants. Here's what you need to know...

In London, Claridge's named its head chef for an upcoming (as-yet-unnamed) restaurant. Simon Rogan has signed a two-year contract to helm the establishment, which may open next month or in May. Rogan is known for using seasonal British ingredients- sometimes foraging for them in the surrounding countryside. On the hotel website, General Manager Thomas Kochs praises Rogan: “He is home-grown British talent and we believe his inspiring culinary vision builds on a bold approach for which Claridge’s has always been known.”

Bobby Flay, meanwhile, is set to open a new restaurant in downtown New York, and we got to attend a preview (and shake Flay's hand). The menu at Gato will cover the full Mediterranean region, offering dishes from Italy, Provence, Greece and North Africa. At the preview, we tried toast points with whipped goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms; plenty of seafood (the head-on shrimp seemed very popular, as was a sea bass and a quasi-paella with lots of shellfish); and thin-crust pizzas with lots of veggies and lamb sausage. Inside, a dramatic bar takes up much of the space, and those sitting along one side will be able to look into the kitchen to see the chefs and staff at work. There are leather booths towards the back of the space for those who want more privacy. 

In Scotland, the Hotel du Vin St. Andrews is set to open on April 1 close to the St. Andrew's golf course. The hotel will have a French-style bistro that will serve classic dishes paired with wines from the 500-bottle cellar. We hear there’s a special emphasis on seasonal, locally-grown vegetables. Good to know: Ma Bells, the bar that’s a beloved local institution, is also being refurbished.

Badrutt’s Palace in Switzerland is set to get a new space for a new restaurant...reportedly from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. (The restaurant will probably not open for at least another year, but it will be fun to dream about miso cod while we wait!)

We also recently took a look at some of the best fine-dining restaurants in both Paris and Tokyo, some of which have big names attached (Allard is run by Alain Ducasse) and some of which are hidden gems (Tenko is a family-run Tokyo restaurant that specializes in tempura).