One of my favorite parts about traveling is when it’s time to eat – and I don’t just mean for the food. Meals bring people together, spark interesting conversations and often cultivate relationships that linger long after the last dish has been devoured. Growing up, my mother governed the dinner table and per her rules, it was imperative that my sisters and I were home and that we ate together. As a teenager, this rule often felt more like a punishment. As an adult, I’m nostalgic for those conversations. Life became hectic, we grew up and we moved away. Sometimes travel makes me feel the same way. There are meals I remember less for the flavors, and more for the company. There are strangers I’ve met on European patios, friends I’ve made over community dining tables, and even a short-lived romance that began with a tequila shot. Of course, the food has something to do with it, too. Great chefs know that they are responsible for creating more than just food – they’re also creating great memories. These are some of our favorite cookbooks from renowned restaurants around the world, so you can create your own memories over the dinner table from the comfort of your home.
The award-winning London restaurant, Palomar, has a devoted international fan base (myself included). Serving a modern take on Middle Eastern food ranging from Burnt Courgette Tzatziki and warm handmade pittas, to Pork Belly Siske and Persian Pappardelle, Palomar’s innovative dishes are the perfect balance of warm and spicy. Best of all, they’re also perfectly sharable.
Anne is one of the influential forces behind Eivissa’s burgeoning sustainable food revolution, and an expert in not only the food of the island, but also the traditions of the people who make it. Her restaurant in Eivissa, El Portalon, features modern Mediterranean dishes that pay homage to the island’s agricultural bounty.
Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having Amongst Friends by Kris Yenbamroong and Garrett Snyder
Speaking of sharing, Kris Yenbamroong’s hip Thai street food restaurants Night + Market and Song in Los Angeles are institutions built for friendship and sharing. With his cookbook, you can play host and create all of his flavorful dishes at home. After all, how good is any meal without someone to share it with?
With all of the innovative farm to table restaurants in Portland, Kachka has surely cemented itself as a neighborhood favorite – just read the enthusiastic Yelp reviews. DIY Russian staples at home like small plates (zakuski) and dumplings (pelmeni). Don’t forget the vodka!
Traditional Indian cuisine is by definition, a rich and flavorful culinary experience. Chef Preeti Mistry somehow tops that. Her Oakland spot, Juhu Beach Club, is a modern take on traditional Indian food blending classic dishes, comfort food and restaurant favorites with her own colorful personality that shines through the pages of her cookbook.
LA is amidst a food revolution, and it’s hard not to include all of our favorite LA outposts on this list, but Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl deserves a place at the top. Expect to wait in a long queue down the block at any hour, any day of the week for local favorites like the Crispy Kokuho Rice Salad, Homemade Biscuits, or Famed Ricotta Toast. I’ve been stumped by Koslow’s crispy rice perfection for years and I’m finally grateful to know her secrets.
Not from one restaurant, rather inspired by three, esteemed chef Jose Pizarro takes us to San Sebastian to perfect the art of simple ‘pintxos’ (tapas or small shared plates) in his cookbook Basque. Pizarro takes a simple approach to traditional style tapas such as croquetas (stuffed fried potato croquettes) and tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) so you can more time with your guests, and less time in the kitchen.
The revolutionary Danish restaurant Noma may be temporary closed, but its influence still prevails. Chef René Redzepi’s philosophy of seasonally and regionally sourced sustainable ingredients has influenced the culinary industry around the world. Hopefully, his cookbook will hold you over until Noma reopens in early 2018.
In the Redzepi home, social gatherings often take place in the kitchen, rather than the dining room. In Downtime, Nadine Redzepi (wife of NOMA’s René Redzepi), has devised a simplified, yet refined, repertoire of starters, mains and desserts intended to free up prep time on the stove, so guests can feel at home. Not a cookbook from a restaurant, per se, but sometimes your kitchen can feel like one – especially during family gatherings and holidays.
One of London’s favorite all-day dining destinations, Caravan, serves up freshly roasted coffee, snacks, small plates, pizzas, desserts, drinks and more. The casual menu feeds its on the go clientele well without sacrificing quality ingredients or flavor. Now you can whip up the same good stuff at home!
Another all day dining destination, this time in New York’s West Village, where husband and wife duo Dean Jankelowitz and Maya Jankelowitz serve a truly innovative fusion of South African and Israeli cuisine inspired by food them reminds them of home. Now you can buy the cookbook and enjoy the pleasures of cozy Shakshuka from the warmth of your own.