T+L Reports: Hot Spots
Book now to get a seat at one of these four European newcomers—their names will be on everyone's lips in the coming months.
Crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf trim—it's Versailles writ red at this 475-seat pan-Asian restaurant near Pushkin Square. A-listers mingle with politicos over abalone sushi and Peking duck. 26 Tverskaya Blvd., Bldg. 5; 7-495/739-0011; dinner for two $240.
ALLE MURATE, FLORENCE
Italian ladies who lunch nibble on tapenade-coated branzino beneath the centuries-old frescoes in this 14th-century palace while archaeologists excavate the ancient Roman site belowground. 16 Via del Proconsolo; 39-055/240-618; dinner for two $168.
In Finland's newest temple of cool, consulting chef Marcus Samuelsson recasts classic Scandinavian flavors: smoked reindeer steak is topped with a black teainfused onion compote; lingonberries turn up in a silky panna cotta. 24 Bulevardi; 358-20/770- 4714; dinner for two $140.
Young Brits dig into duck shepherd's pie in this converted clothing factory with soaring ceilings, then head to the clubby bar to sip Chambord martinis. 2327 Wadeson St.; 44-20/8983-7900; dinner for two $140.
Patrons willing to search for this unmarked eatery, tucked away in a converted East London factory, will likely find it's well worth the extra effort. Part restaurant, part bar, and part cabaret theater, Bistrotheque offers a trendy, industrial-chic atmosphere with exposed pipes, gleaming cement floors, and sleek marble-top tables softened by vibrant bouquets and plenty of sunlight. The bistro is particularly popular for brunches consisting of eggs Benedict and traditional Sunday roast, although the dinner menu is equally enticing, pairing fresh fruit cocktails with delicate steak tartare and garlicky roast chicken followed by decadent crème brûlée.
For a unique Florentine experience, book a table on Alle Murate's mezzanine beneath the earliest known frescoed portraits of writers Dante and Boccaccio. Housed in the 14th-century seat of the city’s magistrates’ and notaries’ guild, the restaurant also has a vaulted basement with Plexiglas floors suspended over a Roman archeological site. Audiocassettes explaining the surroundings are available to listen to while you eat. Food here is good and authentically Tuscan, if a little overshadowed by its surroundings. In season, order platters like pigeon in white grape sauce or white bean soup with shrimp.