A Swanky NYC Bar and Quintessential Southeast Asian Dining

Plus a taste of France in LA: These are the restaurants our editors loved in April.



Rome on My Mind

A writer reflects on the neighborhood restaurant he loved and lost in the Eternal...


An Intrepid Chef at the Bottom of the World

Analiese Gregory left fine dining for a rugged life in Tasmania — and never looked...

Wine and Spirits

Endless Spring

From the author of “Drink Lightly,” a low-alcohol cocktail with fresh strawberry.

IN HER 1942 cookbook, “How to Cook a Wolf,” the late, great M.F.K. Fisher offered advice for how to “live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.” The book was, on its surface, a guide to wartime cooking (and, no, there aren’t any recipes for wolf), but it was also a timeless guide to living well. Then, as today, dining is one of our simplest, most reliable joys. This month, as we collected our editors’ favorite dining experiences, a theme quickly emerged: We relish the transportive power of food. One editor’s Malaysian childhood was conjured in a New York City restaurant, while another editor found Paris in Los Angeles. No dining experience is complete without a beverage — and with an emerging array of zero-proof drink options, alcohol is increasingly off the menu. Whatever is in your glass, here’s to life’s reliable pleasures.
Laura Smith


Wine and Spirits

Mango Italiano

A drink from The Court at Rome’s Palazzo Manfredi hotel.


Rome on My Mind

A writer reflects on the neighborhood restaurant he loved and lost in the Eternal...

Wine and Spirits

Endless Spring

From the author of “Drink Lightly,” a low-alcohol cocktail with fresh strawberry.

Seductive and Savory

Jac's on Bond, New York City

Downtown New York City has no shortage of sexy bars, but Jac’s on Bond (from the team behind Pebble Bar, Ray’s, and Georgia Room) is next level. If you like to prowl the city by night and believe a martini to be one of life’s naughtiest pleasures, you may have been here already. ​​Let’s start with the location: swanky Bond Street — broad, cobblestoned, dotted with beloved eateries, shops, and celebrity penthouses. Now the entrance: semi-subterranean, the former residence of beloved haunt The Smile. The interiors are ’90s minimalist and sumptuous, dim, and clubby in spirit — where I might sip cocktails with Patrick Bateman before I meet my bloody, high-camp death. I like a savory drink, savory anything, really, and Jac’s Caprese Martini is an umami delight. Try the Detox Retox (Hendrick’s gin, elderflower tonic, celery, lemon, coriander, salt) for something light and bright. For sustenance, the jamón serrano bikini is the salty snack you want at the end of a long day, and the creamsicle pie is for feeling like a kid again, surrounded by adults. — Sophie Mancini

Spirit-Free Spirits

Amaro Falso

Since I kicked alcohol to the curb this past summer, Phony Negroni has been my go-to beverage. And now its creators, the Brooklyn-based natural-spirit producer St. Agrestis, have debuted a new spirit-free beverage, Amaro Falso. Good news: They got it right again. As a former amaro connoisseur, I can assure you that you’d never know Amaro Falso wasn’t the real thing. It’s sweet with a bitter, herbal finish — something most non-alcoholic cocktails lack. And its slight carbonation reminds me of an amaro soda, both on the rocks and neat. — Hailey Andresen

French Immersion

Juliet, Los Angeles

If you find yourself in Los Angeles while longing for the City of Lights, visit Parisian-inspired Juliet. I started off my visit with a cup of Vert Provence tea and a plate of Oeufs et Ratatouille, then indulged in the menu’s sweeter side, specifically crêpes suzette and eclairs. French jazz played softly throughout my meal as I fell increasingly in love with the restaurant’s decor. The Jeremiah Brent-designed space playfully mixes marble with rich wood, set against pinstripe upholstery and checkerboard tile. Plus, the tables’ scalloped trim evokes a rolling tide perfectly suited for the seafood-centered dinner menu, which I’m eager to explore on my next visit. — Lisa Lok

A Taste of Home

Kebaya, New York City

Having been raised in Malaysia by Chinese parents, I grew up eating Peranakan dishes and have missed their distinct savory, spicy, and sweet flavors since moving to the U.S. Naturally, I was excited when I heard rumblings of a new Peranakan restaurant by chef Salil Mehta of Laut, Wau, Singlish, and more. If you’re not familiar: Peranakan cuisine dates back to the fifteenth-century descendants of early southern Chinese settlers in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, who married locals; thus Peranakan means “locally born.” At Kebaya, Mehta executes this heritage fare with flair: delicate kuih pie tee, wafer-thin, bite-sized pastry shells filled with jicama, egg, and shrimp; laksa (a fragrant, spicy noodle soup) reimagined as fried rice; and the quintessentially Peranakan ayam buah keluak, slow-braised bone-in chicken cooked in kepayang tree seeds, native to mangroves of Southeast Asia. The buah keluak seed is poisonous if uncooked and undergoes rigorous preparation before it arrives at the table. Those fluent in Southeast Asian cooking will spot nods to South India, with fried doughnuts in the form of prawn vadai, Balinese minced meat skewers known as sate lilit, and ikan bakar, a whole grilled fluke bathed in rich sambal. Consider Kebaya an intro to Peranakan cuisine that will keep you coming back for more. — Annie Lin


In Bloom

French Bloom

With the recent boom in non-alcoholic spirits and zero-proof cocktail menus, it’s been easier than ever — as a person who is trying to cut back on alcohol — to go out and enjoy a real cocktail experience without the worry of a hangover. And though there is now a dizzying array of products on the market to mimic spirits and beer, my experience with alcohol-free wines has been less than stellar. So it was with no small amount of suspicion that I tried my first glass of French Bloom, a guilt-free “bubbly” made with organic, de-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir. To my surprise, this lovely elixir closely mimics the taste and experience of champagne while also presenting as something uniquely unto itself. Available in both blanc and rosé, it's the first of its kind to feel truly premium. Effervescent and boasting a complicated flavor profile, French Bloom is certified organic and vegan, low in calories, and contains no added sugar or sulfites, which means that you can feel good about raising a glass anytime. — T. Cole Rachel

Our Contributors

Laura Smith Writer

Laura Smith is the deputy editor of Departures. Previously, she was the executive editor of California magazine and has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic, and many more. Her nonfiction book, The Art of Vanishing, was published by Viking in 2018.

Sophie Mancini Writer

Sophie Mancini is an editor at Departures. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and has a background as a writer in brand and editorial.

Hailey Andresen Writer

Hailey Andresen is the guides editor at Departures. A New York–based writer and editor, she founded the digital lifestyle publication Household Mag and has spent more than a decade in the hospitality industry.

Lisa Lok

Lisa Lok is the visuals director of Departures. A Brooklyn-based creative, she enjoys collaborating with photographers and illustrators from around the world.

T. Cole Rachel Editor-at-Large

T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.

Jess Rotter Illustrator

Jess Rotter is a Los Angeles–based illustrator and artist. Rotter’s work has frequently featured in the Washington Post. Her clients range from Natalie Portman to Questlove.

Annie Lin Writer

Annie Lin is the social editor at Departures. A writer and content strategist based in New York City, her work has been featured in Time Out, Resy, OpenTable, Women’s Health, Elite Daily, CNBC, and many more.


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