Sky-High Drinks in NYC, Osaka Meets Provence in SF, and More

Plus, a stunning newcomer from a Joël Robuchon alum and more restaurants our editors loved in March.



A Taste of St. Barts

Offering both a sense of exploration and preservation, the island’s cuisine blends...


Rome on My Mind

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


London’s Fish-and-Chips Royalty

Discover the shops that remain dedicated to perfecting this beloved British dish.

WINTER, FOR ME, is a time of hibernation and home cooking, which means March is something of a transition period. I still keep my cast-iron skillet seasoned and at the ready, but I also stop canceling plans with friends and start feeling inspired to check out what’s fresh and delectable in the cuisine scene — maybe even dining alfresco on the warmer days. Thankfully, I work for a magazine that offers up incredible restaurant recommendations year-round — this month alone, our editors are suggesting everything from light-filled pizza joints to refined spots rooted in fine French cooking. As spring begins to blossom, I hope March’s lineup of food and drink recommendations will inspire you to get out there and try something new — it’s certainly got my mouth watering. — Alex Frank



A Taste of St. Barts

Offering both a sense of exploration and preservation, the island’s cuisine blends...


London’s Fish-and-Chips Royalty

Discover the shops that remain dedicated to perfecting this beloved British dish.

Wine and Spirits

The Easy Going Spritz

A drink from The Clumsies in Athens.

A Marriage of Japanese and French Techniques

Mijoté, San Francisco

I first encountered Chef Kosuke Tada’s work during the sad, restaurant-less early days of the pandemic, when he sold small-batch pâté en croûte through a pop-up in Oakland, California. When Mijoté opened in San Francisco’s Mission District last year, I made sure to catch it in its first week. Tada trained in Osaka, Japan; in Michelin-starred restaurants in Provence; and in casual bistros in Paris, and it all shows in Mijoté. The food is equally unfussy and elegant; the prix-fixe, four-course menu changes weekly according to the season; and it is always perfectly paired with a very drinkable natty wine. When I was there a couple of weeks ago, the dish I was still thinking about on the ride home was the bigeye tuna with beets and a pickled egg yolk — but also, improbably, a carrot, which sat under a hanger steak, bathed in a mandarin sauce. The reverence given to a root vegetable is very on-brand for Mijoté, where something found in every garden is treated no less seriously than an octopus tentacle. Pro tip: Sit at the bar and watch the show unfold in the open kitchen. You can always catch up with your dining partner at a less spectacular restaurant.
— Laura Smith

A Boost of Balinese Flavor

Sambal Goreng by Bungkus Bagus

While my spice cabinet features an array of discoveries from many farmers’ markets, Sambal Goreng by Bungkus Bagus has been heavy in my rotation as of late. The fried chili topping is inspired by the founders’ childhood in Bali, and every jar is made fresh by hand, transforming a few ingredients into a love letter to their hometown. Specifically, the mix has a rich, earthy zest that pairs well with everything from a simple cucumber salad to my daily hummus, without overpowering the dish, because sometimes even your best creations need a little boost. — Lisa Lok


A Modern French Masterpiece

Essential by Christophe, NYC

There’s a dazzling newcomer on Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Essential by Christophe, led by chef Christophe Bellanca, the former culinary director of Joël Robuchon USA. Interiors are refreshingly restrained, with swaths of dove gray and light wood. In homey juxtaposition to its honed surroundings sits a bread stand, where staff cut thick, chewy chunks of olive and country loaf ideal for mopping up the luscious sauces pooled within each dish. The dishes themselves — while drawing on French technique — quietly pay homage to other cultures. Imagine a sweet, tangy yuzu brightening hiramasa; a turmeric emulsion deepening wild black bass; or jalapeño punching through whipped potato. The restaurant’s seafood is particularly exceptional: blue prawns topped with little hats of crispy genmaicha tuile and dollops of caviar snap in the mouth, while butter-soft scallops blanketed in a clean, humble leaf of savoy cabbage offer a playful high-low pairing. Cocktails are dreamy, featuring the same skill and careful measure showcased in each dish. The Angeline (frapin cognac, manzanilla sherry, pineau des charentes, crème de banane, black lemon) is bright yet rich, the crème de banane lending a touch of fruit without verging anywhere close to tiki. The Camaro (coconut-washed Japanese whiskey, amaro, barley shochu, black walnut) loosens the shoulders — it’s deep and round, a warm hug in a glass. — Sophie Mancini

A Non-Alcoholic Bottle Shop

The Zero Proof

Since realizing that hangovers were no longer an option for me in mid-life, paired with the fact that my partner no longer drinks, I’ve transformed the kitchen of our NYC apartment into a mini mixology lab for non-alcoholic wines, beers, and spirits. It’s a life change made easier by many other people who seem to be doing the same thing. According to industry experts IWSR, the non-alcoholic beverage space clocks in annually at roughly $10 billion in sales, with projected 47% growth by 2025. If you don’t happen to live in a particularly non-alcohol-friendly locale, you can still join the party with The Zero Proof. Described as “your ultimate destination for premium, curated non-alcoholic beverages,” this online bottle shop is an amazing source for alcohol-free ingredients, recipes, and perfectly curated barware and accessories. In addition, the site is a great resource for discovering the best places around the world to enjoy a zero-proof libation. — T. Cole Rachel

Wood-Fired Pizza for All

Lola, Kingston, NY

Because I have two kids under 10 years old, the majority of my family’s dining-out experiences include, you guessed it, pizza. Consequently, my son has become quite the critic. Luckily, he has had the occasion to sample the fares of Lola in Kingston, New York, where wood-fired pizzas include the Tiger Paw, a delicious pie topped with pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone, onion, and chili honey. Also on offer are freshly made pastas and Italian classics such as arancini and stracciatella, all served by welcoming staff in a universally inviting space. — Hailey Andresen

Meet Me on the 101st Floor

Peak, NYC

Before my dinner at Peak, I had previously visited NYC’s Hudson Yards to literally hang off the side of the building at the Edge, which boasts the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. No less impressive (but substantially less terrifying), Peak is a stunning restaurant and bar located on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards. Helmed by executive chef Chris Cryer and designed by renowned architect David Rockwell, the space offers the perfect amount of art-deco razzle-dazzle — beautiful and cozy, but never distracting from the insane panoramic view of New York City, which is the real star of the show. Thankfully, the food and drinks live up to their surroundings. My partner and I stuffed ourselves with the restaurant’s legendary milk bread before taking on a mountain of East Coast oysters, some incredible scallops, and ending with a perfectly prepared filet mignon. A truly breathtaking dining experience, in every sense. — Cole


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Our Contributors

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.

Alex Frank Writer

Alex Frank is a contributing editor at Departures. Based in Manhattan, Frank previously worked at as deputy culture editor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, New York Magazine, Fantastic Man, and the Village Voice.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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