10 Restaurants Every Cheese Lover Should Visit at Least Once
While headlines on the addictive properties of cheese are probably overblown, there’s no arguing that cheese, like love, can spur irrational behavior. And if you’re a cheese lover, you know that good cheese is worth dropping everything for.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up ten destination restaurants around the world that are more than enough cheesy inspiration to plan a trip around — from sake and cheese pairings in Australia to a hidden pasta spot inside Rome’s best latteria.
Bonus: several of these are connected to a cheese shop, so you can both eat cheese on site and buy some to enjoy at home. (Pssst…if you’re taking cheese on a plane, see if they’ll vacuum seal it for you, and remember that harder cheeses are best — lower moisture content means they’re sturdier for travel).
Read on for 10 cheese-centric restaurants around the world that every cheese-lover should start packing their bags to visit.
Astier — Paris
Astier, a lovely neighborhood bistro in the 11th arrondissement, is not attached to a cheese shop — nor does the kitchen use cheese in every dish (or even most dishes). Why, then, is it on this list? Everything is delicious, sure — order the soup of the day and you'll understand how decadent a vegetable soup can be — and the service is pleasant and attentive. But you know the feeling when you’re reading a cheese list and think, “Why can’t I just try everything?” Well, at Astier, you can!
Just go with their famous cheese plate — or, as we like to call it, the “gimme all the cheese" special. They'll bring over a truly massive platter overflowing with gorgeous hunks of French fromage; hack off whatever you want and enjoy in gluttonous bliss. restaurant-astier.com.
Bar Pastoral — Chicago
Pastoral has several restaurants and retail outlets throughout Chicago, all known for their wonderful wine and cheese. For the best cheese lover’s dining experience, though, go to Bar Pastoral in the North Side neighborhood of Lakeview. While there are fancier restaurants in the Pastoral family, Bar Pastoral offers a wide cheese menu — try the toasty, herbaceous Dalmatinac from Croatia — plus tasty starters, shared plates, and entrées served up in a cozy, welcoming space. The knowledgeable staff at this neighborhood bistro are happy to bestow their wisdom to curious customers. Plus, they do brunch; pair your bottomless mimosas with cheesy dishes like lamb hash with Raclette. pastoralartisan.com.
Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi — Rome
We’re already on record for loving the cheese shop at Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi — which translates, literally, to "Beppe and his cheeses" — but if you miss the little eight-table restaurant inside, you’re missing one of the best cheese experiences that Rome has to offer. Not only can you order boards of Beppe’s incredible hand-made Piemontese cheeses, paired with your favorite wine, but you’ll also find marvelous bread, seasonal vegetable dishes, and a delightful, ever-changing pasta list with options like spinach agnolotti and house-made ricotta. Visitors in autumn, truffle season in Italy, can look forward to fresh truffle shavings at every turn — and, no matter the season, be sure to save room for the otherworldly chocolate mousse. beppeeisuoiformaggi.it.
Casellula — New York City
A hidden gem in gritty Midtown Manhattan, cozy Casellula stocks over 40 types of hand-made cheeses from around the world, with expert cheesemongers on hand to talk you through your options. They’re famous among locals for their macaroni and cheese (Comté, chèvre, and Emmenthaler) and their delightfully-named "Pig’s Ass" sandwich, with ham and pulled pork topped with Vermont cheddar. Plus, the restaurant is an average of eight blocks away from most Broadway shows — and open until 1 am every day, making it perfect for a post-theater cheese feast. casellulahk.com.
The Cheese Bar — London
London’s restaurant scene is one of the finest in the world, with a cheese scene to match. So why The Cheese Bar over other great spots? This tiny chef's table in Camden market offers classic cheesy dishes and English favorites, all made with the best British cheeses. Sit down around the communal bar and take your pick!
The Cheese Bar serves a marvelous British cheese board, of course, but there's more where that came from. For blue cheese lovers, there’s a blue cheese raclette served with corned beef. Adventurous eaters should try the the scotch egg, made with haggis and Ogleshield (think a more asparagus-y Raclette); for everyone else, there’s a range of delicious grilled cheeses, consistently voted some of the best in town. thecheesebar.com.
La Cloche à Fromage — Strasbourg, France
If you've heard of the classic Strasbourg fromagerie La Cloche à Fromage, it might be because of its Guinness World Record: it once claimed the honor of creating the Largest Cheese Board in the World.
Another good reason to know it? All-you-can-eat fondue and raclette, both of which are excellent. We also recommend the aligot — a dish of cheesy, stretchy mashed potatoes originating in the mountains of southern France — and the dessert omelet with fresh fruit. If you still haven’t had your fill, you can even go check out the caves where they age the cheese. fromagerie-tourrette.com.
goat.sheep.cow. — Charleston, South Carolina
There are many reasons to visit Charleston now, but the cheese at goat.sheep.cow is reason enough. You can shop for take-home cheese at either of the two locations, but the natural-light-filled (read: totally Instagramable) dining room at goat.sheep.cow., north also serves up seasonal soups, salads, a daily quiche, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Take a turn around the shop, tasting cheese as you go (try the water buffalo parm!), then have a leisurely cheese-filled lunch. Pair the ricotta and truffle ham tartine with chilled asparagus soup, especially refreshing on a hot Charleston day. goatsheepcow.com.
Milk the Cow — Melbourne
If you are worried about a possible cheese addiction, don’t look at the menu of Milk the Cow in Melbourne. They’re known for their inventive cheese and spirits flights; you can enjoy a selection of cheeses with classic pairings like wines, beers, or ciders — but you’ll also find flights that pair cheese with champagne, natural wine, and even sake. And whisky! And gin.
Still not convinced? Check out the menu of small plates, including honeyed burrata, baked Camembert, and personal fondue pots. Even the signature cocktails are each garnished with their own perfectly paired bit of cheese. For especially cheesy celebrations, Milk the Cow can even prepare a wedding cake-style "Cheese Tower" to feed a crowd. milkthecow.com.au.
Poncelet Cheese Bar — Madrid
Walking into spacious, elegant Poncelet is the cheese lover’s equivalent of that famous scene in "Beauty and the Beast" — the one where Belle sees the Beast’s library for the first time. It’s magnificent, and we won’t blame you if you swoon while taking it all in.
Inside, you’ll find a menu listing hundreds of cheeses, organized by country and pungency. Make sure to try Queso Uff, a custardy, beefy Spanish cheese almost impossible to find outside of Spain. There are also larger dishes that incorporate the cheeses in unexpected ways, like venison served over a Majorero goat cheese hummus. Poncelet is famous for their bombones de Manchego, a sherry gelatin confection filled with Manchego and topped with an almond cream (think an almondy, cheesy panna cotta). Going with someone who doesn’t love cheese quite as much as you do? Well, maybe don’t invite them next time — but Poncelet does have a non-cheese menu too.
Salt Tasting Room — Vancouver
Located in Gastown — Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood — the tiny Salt Tasting Room is a cheese-lover’s treasure. Every day, a new combination of cheeses, meats, and sides are on offer, along with a robust, locally-minded beverage list. We recommend the mead or sherry flight, or the delightful non-alcoholic flight with a selection of hand-mixed sodas. All the tapas-style sides are excellent, especially the meatballs. If you’re hungrier, try the tartines; our favorite is the "Italiano," with plum conserva and duck confit over a generous serving of gorgonzola. salttastingroom.com.