New York's shrine to sophisticated seafood
Chief reason to visit: One of the world's premier destinations for seafood lovers, Le Bernardin's menu teems with sparklingly fresh fish and shellfish, used in highly refined dishes.
A brief history: Set up by brother and sister Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze in Paris in 1972, Le Bernardin opened in New York in 1986. The kitchen has been headed up by the revered Eric Ripert for more than 20 years now, following the untimely passing of Gilbert.
What to order: The menu is split into three sections – Almost Raw, Barely Touched and Lightly Cooked – with dishes mixing French and Asian influences. Think poached halibut with Manila clams and wild mushroom casserole or a single barely cooked scallop with brown butter dashi.
What's the vibe: Completely refurbished in 2011, the dining room is a sleek, modern space with waiters in Nehru-style jackets gliding beneath a brooding triptych of stormy seas.
Other ventures: Ripert and Maguy Le Coze also own the casual Aldo Sohm wine bar (named after their wine director) a short walk from Le Bernardin, while Ripert oversees the Ritz-Carlton seafood restaurant Blue in Grand Cayman.
Did you know? Ripert is a practising Buddhist and holds regular benefit dinners for the Tibetan Aid Project, which promotes and protects sacred texts.