Travel + Leisure
April 23, 2009

After 16 years in Chicago, Charlie Trotter is branching out with the opening of C, his new dining room at One & Only Palmilla resort in San José del Cabo. This venture coincides with the publication of Raw (Ten Speed Press), for which Trotter, a proponent of all things seasonal, teamed up with Roxanne Klein of Roxanne's, America's most talked-about raw-food restaurant, to pay homage to tubers, turnips, and tomatoes. What's next?A Charlie Trotter restaurant at New York City's Time Warner Center. Here, the busy chef picks five of his favorite spots where regional ingredients are front and center.

L'Etoile 25 N. Pinckney St., Madison, Wis.; 608/251-0500; dinner for two $100. "Chef Odessa Piper is the queen of Midwestern products. Her nutty-tasting wild rice is harvested by a local tribe of Native Americans." • Ryland Inn Rte. 22 W., Whitehouse, N. J.; 908/534-4011; dinner for two $150. "Craig Shelton is like a botanist—he grows more than two hundred herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers in his garden." • Toqué! 900 Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, Montreal; 514/499-2084; dinner for two $108. "Normand Laprise works with fishermen who cut through ice to catch fresh fish during the winter months." • St. John Restaurant 26 St. John St., London; 44-207/251-0848; dinner for two $118. "The slogan is Nose-to-tail eating. Chef Fergus Henderson uses the whole pig: snout, cheeks, feet, organs, and all." • Golden Century 393-399 Sussex St., Sydney; 61-2/9212-3901; dinner for two $50. "The best Chinese food in the world! Their crabs from the waters off Tasmania are the sweetest and most succulent I've ever tasted."
—Niloufar Motamed

L'Etoile

The region’s slow-food mecca.

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant

A longtime Chinatown institution, Golden Century is renowned for its authentic Cantonese cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Frequented by off-duty local chefs and late night crowds (it’s open until 4 a.m.), the restaurant is lined with two dozen seafood tanks containing everything from parrot fish to abalone. Resembling a banquet hall, the cavernous dining room is also furnished with white-clothed tables set beneath red paper lanterns. The lengthy menu includes such specialties as deep-fried mud crab with salt and pepper, and lobster sashimi served in two courses: one with wasabi and soy sauce, the other deep-fried with chili.

St. John Bar & Restaurant

Vegetarians need not read further. Housed in a whitewashed old smokehouse near Smithfield meat market, St. John couldn’t be called a gastropub. But owner Fergus Henderson, who opened this establishment in 1994, is a canonized figure on the revitalized British restaurant scene. The philosophy concerns meat and nothing but meat. Every part of the animals is utilized, from bone marrow to chitterlings to calf’s liver. The spirit of his “nose to tail” approach—respectful of place and seasons, rigorously unfussy, unapologetically British—hovers over many of the best pub kitchens.

Ryland Inn

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