By Travel + Leisure and Travel + Leisure Staff
June 18, 2015
Credit: Mecit Gülaydın/Karos Photography

New Anatolian in Turkey

It isn’t every day you come across a restaurant with a full-time anthropologist. Then again, you don’t often meet a chef like Mehmet Gürs. The Istanbul-based former TV personality is known for his New Anatolian cuisine, inspired by the flavors, cultures, and history of what was once greater Anatolia—Turkey, Syria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Iran, and Iraq—where his anthropologist sources ingredients. Tiny green halhali olives, cave-aged sheep-milk cheeses, and sun-dried-fruit reductions are all used in Gürs’s tasting menu at Mikla (above; tasting menus from $65). While Gürs takes a modern approach, he’s happy to see traditional preparations of Anatolian food mixing into the city’s culinary scene, especially in the Aksarai neighborhood, where Syrian refugees have opened restaurants. “Many good cooks come from Aleppo,” Gürs says. “We can learn a lot from the new arrivals.” —Jay Cheshes

Amazonian Melting Pot

South America’s rain forest covers more than 1.5 billion acres—and for chefs in Brazil and Peru, it’s the world’s biggest grocery store. Alex Atala of D.O.M. (tasting menus from $84), in São Paulo, incorporates ants and tucupi, juice from pressed, grated yuca, into his dishes. In Lima, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino uses traditional techniques, like cooking shrimp inside bamboo, at Malabar (below; entrées $17–$23) and the newer Ámaz (entrées $11–$25). Nearby, at Central (entrées $18–$28), Virgilio Martínez serves gamitana fish with the very ingredients it eats: pijuayo fruit, bahuaja nuts, and achiote. —Howie Kahn


Italo-Slovenian Comfort Food

Once united under the Austro-Hungarian empire, the borderlands of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, and western Slovenia were split between Italy and Yugoslavia after World War II—and they’re known for hearty cooking and aromatic wines. On the Italian side, the haute-rustic La Subida (below; entrées $25–$39) serves updated comfort food like žlikrofi (potato dumplings) in a fairytale setting. To sample biodynamic wine made with fermented grape skins, don’t miss Slovenia’s Movia ($27 for wine tasting and snacks). About 30 miles north at Hiša Franko (tasting menus from $48), chef Ana Roš fills pasta with sheep-milk cottage cheese; her husband is a biodynamic-wine connoisseur. —Anya von Bremzen

La Subida
Credit: Sofie Delauw