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10 Great New Hotel Restaurants


THE ODD COUPLE In one of the food world's most delicious ironies, the notorious Macanese gambling taipan Stanley Ho has persuaded the reclusive Joël Robuchon to clone himself at Ho's spectacularly gaudy casino hotel. Passing through acres of overwrought marble and gold, you ascend to Robuchon a Galera, where the neo-Empire motif is completed by Bernardaud china, lavish orchid arrangements, and twinkling crystal lights overhead. Having installed his protégé Francky Semblat at the stoves, the maestro himself flies in several times a year to devise menus that include some of his greatest hits (cauliflower gelée with caviar, those legendary mashed potatoes), plus an unforgettable squab cocotte with lime leaves and green cabbage-foie gras ravioli. Add the Rolls-Royce of bread carts and an enormous Bordeaux-heavy wine list that's also rich in Portuguese vintages, and you've got a royal flush. Hotel Lisboa, 2-4 Avda. de Lisboa; 853/377-666; dinner for two $160.

Cape Town

THE HOPE OF GOOD CAPE BEST VALUE The view of yachts in the middle distance and of Table Mountain on the horizon make it nearly impossible to focus on the menu at One.waterfront. Once you've soaked in the scenery, turn your attention to chef Bruce Robertson's innovative preparations of indigenous South African ingredients: grilled crayfish tail is lightly dusted with Cape Malay spices and served with a biryani rice fritter and banana tortellini skewered with a porcupine quill. A platter of St. Helena western coast oysters, mussels, and langoustines is accompanied by lemon basmati rice and a crisp green-bean parcel. Fragrant karoo lamb arrives with truffle mascarpone and rosemary jus, while venison is simply and perfectly prepared. A crème brûlée trio—vanilla, passion fruit, chocolate—is the ideal finale. Cape Grace, West Quay Rd., Waterfront; 27-21/410-7100; dinner for two $45.


DOWN UNDER AND OVER THE TOP The extravagant restaurant at the Park Hyatt makes a powerful statement in this otherwise leafy, sedate, cerebral city. A wall of hand-sculpted electric-blue glass at the entrance of Radii sets the tone; underlit stairs link a glamorous Deco-inspired five-tiered dining room, adorned with massive incandescent columns covered in metal mesh to resemble the markings on a giraffe. There are even tables lining the curvilinear staircase that descends to the clubby lounge below. The executive chef, Sean Donovan, who has been at the helm only since October, prepares robust French-tinged dishes in a white-marble display kitchen dominated by a large wood-fired oven. Try hickory-smoked Pacific oysters with prosciutto, pears, and sage; reef fish with mussels, clams, and aromatic curry sauce; or rotisserie-cooked wild duck with peaches, red cabbage, and polenta. No need to ask for the dessert menu—just peek into the pastry chef's glass-enclosed prep station to choose your after-dinner sweets. Park Hyatt Melbourne, 1 Parliament Square; 61-3/9224-1234; dinner for two $100.

Reported by Anya von Bremzen, Gillian Cullinan, Susan Gough Henly, Nathan Lump, Shane Mitchell, Niloufar Motamed, Christopher Petkanas, and Valerie Waterhouse.

Hotel restaurants don't have to be brand-new to be noteworthy. With their signature blend of service, style, and superlative food, these restaurants are a cut above the rest.

Azul The French-Caribbean fusion repertoire of dancer-turned-chef Michelle Bernstein keeps Floridians coming back for more. Dinner for two $150. Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 305/913-8254

Le Cinq Chef Philippe Legendre has received a Michelin star for each of his three years at this Parisian palace hotel. Dinner for two $320. Four Seasons Hotel George V, 31 Ave. George V, Paris; 33-1/49-52-70-00

Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse's 16-year-old stronghold of classical French cuisine reclaimed its third Michelin star earlier this year. Dinner for two $395. Hôtel de Paris, Place du Casino, Monte Carlo; 377/92-16-29-76

Maestro Fresh takes on Italian classics by 29-year-old chef Fabio Trabocchi are worth the detour from D.C. to McLean. Dinner for two $170. Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA.; 703/821-1515

Restaurante Santceloni The modern Catalan cuisine from this longtime rival of Ferran Adrià has all of Madrid abuzz. Dinner for two $150. Hotel Hesperia Madrid, 57 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid; 34-91/210-8800

If you can stand the heat, get into the kitchen. Several hotel restaurants are offering tables inches away from the chef. PHOENIX At Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician (480/941-8200; dinner for two from $250), the chef's table is equipped with video monitors so diners can follow every step of the sizzling action. VIRGINIA Guests in the kitchen of chef Patrick O'Connell's Inn at Little Washington (540/675-3800; $300 table charge plus dinner) are greeted with Gregorian chants, a rosewater hand-washing ceremony, and black truffles roasted in the private fireplace. LOS ANGELES Executive chef Douglas Dodd whips up seven-course tasting meals for Table One VIP's at Hotel Bel-Air (310/472-1211; dinner for two $230). HONG KONG The Peninsula's Spring Moon (852/2315-3160; dinner for four $1,429) creates a lavish Chinese banquet for chef's table patrons. You can even help a dim sum chef prep the first course—toques not included.
—Shane Mitchell


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