Kadeau – Upscale, Refined New Nordic in Copenhagen

By the time we were sitting down for dinner at Kadeau, I was starting to get tasting menu fatigue. The prior two nights were tasting menu dinners that lasted more than 3 hours, and I didn’t know if I had it in me for another one. But I’m glad that I made the time for Kadeau, a two Michelin Star fine dining restaurant in Copenhagen. I felt like I had seen a lot of new things over the past two days. I had eaten some leathery beets, chocolate chip cookies that were completely vegan and a pigeon covered in a pastry shell. And yet Kadeau still held my interest and introduced me to new things, which really speaks to the skill level at this amazing restaurant.

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Kong Hans Kælder – Upscale French in Copenhagen

hors d’oeuvres at kong hans kaelder

For a truly upscale and elegant dinner affair in Copenhagen, nothing beats a dinner at Kong Hans Kaelder, a two Michelin star restaurant focused on French cooking. The restaurants in Copenhagen tend to lean casual, but the vibe is very fancy at Kong Hans Kaelder. People are dressed very well and the dining room is reminiscent of an underground wine cavern. You feel like you are at an intimidate dinner party, where the guests are ready for champagne and lots and lots of caviar. It’s an evening of polished excess, and Kong Hans Kaelder delivers this experience very well.

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Septime in Paris, France 2021

Getting a reservation to Septime is near impossible. The online reservation is an exercise in false hope. The dates on the calendar seem like they’re open, but really they click through to a waitlist. And the waitlist never seems to move. So I guess the silver lining about the pandemic is that only a portion of the world’s population can actually come to Septime, which means tables are easier to come by. I was planning a trip to Paris in September, so I started looking for bookings in the summer. I had no trouble getting a table. It felt really good being able to click on a date and get an actual reservation. What a difference two years makes. Last time I went to Septime, all I ended up with was a tote bag from their wine bar. This time I left with memories of the most amazing dinner.

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Le Pavillon in Midtown East

When people would say New York City is dead, I would always point out the busy outdoor restaurants downtown to prove otherwise. But Midtown was a different story. It really did feel like the everyone had left this part of town. With people working from home and Broadway having gone dark, was there any real reason for Midtown to exist? So when I went to dinner at Le Pavillon, the new Daniel Boulud restaurant that opened at a Midtown office tower, I was relieved to see that things were back. The crowd seemed to reflect precovid clientele – date-nights, the finance bros, and even out-of-town guests! You know things are really back when the tourists are back.

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Jungsik Seoul in Cheong-dam – 2 Michelin Star Lunch Tasting

Fine dining Korean restaurants are very much en vogue these days (pre-covid of course), but that wasn’t the case roughly a decade ago. Jungsik in Tribeca deserves a lot of credit for being one of the pioneers of this style of Korean cooking in New York, and it’s been very successful doing so, earning 2 Michelin stars in the process. Jungsik’s original location is in the Cheongdam neighborhood in Seoul, and when I booked my tickets to Korea I wanted to make a meal here a priority. I was absolutely blown away by the 5 course lunch tasting that I had here recently and could see how they deserve their 2 stars. If you have to splurge on one fancy meal in Korea, I would recommend the tasting menu at Jungsik. The lunch tasting is very reasonable at an all-inclusive 78,000 KRW (~$65) per person for four courses, 98,000 KRW (~$80) for the five course option.

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