WDHB’s 10 Favorite Restaurants
We’ve been stuck at home for much longer than anyone could have imagined. Here’s my daydream of places I’d love to revisit in the future…
I'm yearning to mix up the rhythm of Zoom calls and itching to see new places. At the core of travel is food: each destination has a unique dish, a fleeting representation of cultural identity brought to life. At WDHB, we’ve been aching for the experience of immersing ourselves into a new place more each day. As travelers at heart, we’ve been dreaming of that perfect blend of food and culture, the joy of sampling a new delicacy, the shared experience that cuisine can bring… Having been on more than 700 Learning Expeditions across the globe, we certainly know what makes a great restaurant — and without further ado, here are our top 10.
The best restaurants have a story, a theme tying every element together — and In Situ excels in this regard. Latin for “in place”, In Situ melds location in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with museum-quality recreations of Michelin-starred dishes from across the globe, much like we curate a variety of exquisite perspectives in our learning experiences. These temporary exhibits complement the SFMOMA’s belief (and ours!) that art and the creative process can open minds and help build a better world. The setting, the dishes, even the menu folded slightly askew are all carefully engineered to represent the convergence of cuisine, mastery and artistry “in this place”.
The short drive to Fort Worth from the burgeoning innovation economy of Dallas is certainly worth the trip. Fort Worth’s roots as a cowboy trading post flesh out the historical context of the DFW area and bring to life the importance of teamwork, grit, sustainability — values equally important to the entrepreneurs that live there today. B&B Butchers is a refined sampling of the cattle drives that were once the area’s lifeblood and nurtured it into the fourth largest metropolitan area in the US. Focus on the finest products available in Texas and beyond is the mark of B&B, from their unique hamburgers to A5 certified Kobe Beef.
Canada prides itself as a nation of immigrants — and as such, is home to a staggering breadth of cultures. Canoe pays homage to the country’s diverse landscape, history and culture to connect people to place through local ingredients and expressive presentation. The interior evokes the expansive environs of the Canadian landscape with earthy, natural tones, moss-covered wall art, and copper accents. Nestled in such a setting, looking out over the expanse of downtown Toronto, you can’t help but to reflect on the diversity and culture that have made Toronto a start-up hotspot.
Farm to table’s truest definition: eating in the greenhouse where your food was grown. This is the essence of Restaurant De Kas, where the restaurant grows its own produce and supplements it with other locally grown ingredients. The eco-friendly mindset doesn’t stop there, however, because their drinks are all from sustainable farmers too. Naturally, the menu is seasonable based off of the harvest, and dishes focus on simple presentation and fresh, light flavors. The Netherlands are the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, and De Kas is an unpretentious representation of this Dutch prowess.
The theme at 56 Degrees is closeness: closeness with local farmers, closeness with the earth, closeness with each other. Founded in 2007 when the restaurateur owners got married there, they’ve worked to share that connection and passion with each diner ever since. The name refers to the latitude on which Copenhagen is situated, as well as the ideal internal temperature of steak. Seated at a long wooden table in a grassy field outside, 56° serves seasonal and sustainable cuisine that is refined without being sophisticated, featuring bold flavors combined with subtle Scandinavian notes. For an extra dose of connection with the naval shipyard origins of the restaurant building, try arriving by boat.
A poignant reminder of history is induced when Potsdam comes to mind: the seat of ancient Prussian kings, the Babelsberg Film Studio, the Potsdam Conference. Steps from the New Market and in a building dating back to 1752, the KochZimmer team creates variations on the menus of Prussian royalty with a modern flair. The stage for the handcrafted and regional “New Prussian” dishes is further set by the visual contrast between the historic building and the chic décor. If it’s a warm evening, ask for a drink in the verdant interior courtyard.
It’s the connection to place that keeps us talking about Onza. Tucked away in the pedestrian-only Jaffa flea market, Onza embodies the mystique of the ancient port and hearkens back to a time when the Ottomans ruled Jaffa. The contemporary twist on Ottoman and Turkish cuisine envelops diners in the sights, sounds and smells of the winding alleyways and conjures the illusion of a place lost in time. For a restaurant situated in the burgeoning metropolis of Tel Aviv, with all its ambitious startups and global aspirations, Onza is a reminder of the diverse history that has made Israel what it is today.
Puben venerates the 2000 year old tradition of Cantonese cuisine while adding a touch of originality. This modern take on ancient Chinese dishes brings to life the best of China with quality ingredients, fresh flavors, and beautiful presentation. The meticulously designed interior of the restaurant follows the same theme: highlighting the contrast between tradition and innovation while respecting both. The private rooms immerse you in time-honored Chinese dining customs while treating you to a beautiful view of the Huangpu River and Shanghai skyline. Puben crystallizes the heart of Chinese innovation — respecting yet elevating tradition with creativity and authenticity.
A trip to ethereal Northern China, Hutong captures the essence of the ancient alleyways for which is was named. The scattering of red lanterns, antique metal-studded doors, and historic wood furnishings construct what is sure to be an unforgettable experience. The breathtaking cityscape and view of Victoria Harbor certainly don’t hurt either. Don’t let these elements fool you into thinking the restaurant is merely a tourist trap — Hutong’s authentic Northern Chinese cooking and evanescent ambiance make it one of the best places in Hong Kong to reflect on a day of experiential learning.
If you’re surprised to learn that there’s an urban farming operation in Singapore, you’re not alone. That fact is the reasoning behind Open Farm Community: in a city-state with a growing disconnect between people and the ingredients that go into their meal, this unique urban farm and restaurant concept serves to provide a platform for people to overcome that divide. Open Farm Community strives to strengthen relationships between people and planet through multi-faceted experiences like farm tours, gardening workshops, as well as eating. OFC’s vision of strengthening understanding and respect for food and its origins has created a true immersive learning experience in a city we’re proud to call home.
Just as we do for every element of our Learning Expeditions, we carefully choose restaurants that represent diversity of thought, culture, and have a strong connection to the destination we’re immersed in. Have you been a participant on one of our programs and noticed we left out your favorite restaurant? Let us know in the comments!
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