This year marked the first “normal” travel year for us after the pandemic – and what a year of travel it was! In 2022, we explored 24 cities in eleven different countries. We began the year in sunny California, spending time in Kaitlin’s hometown of Los Angeles, and road tripping up the coast to San Francisco. Then, we embarked on a journey to a dream destination for both of us. During lockdown, we decided that our next big trip once the world reopened would be to South America; so, at the first opportunity, we packed our bags and set out our sights on Peru and Argentina. This trip was a highlight of the year for us! Of course, we spent most of the year in our home base of Copenhagen, testing all the new restaurants and revisiting old favorites. (How lucky we are to live in the city that is home yet again to the world’s best restaurant!) As always, we spent lots of time in Norway and Sweden, we returned to the U.K., Italy, and Spain, and we visited some new destinations for the first time together, like Iceland and Latvia. Next year, we will finally return to Asia after four long years – and we can’t wait!
It’s our yearly tradition to highlight the best of the best, the standout bites that defined this year of dining for us. We spent the last week reflecting on everything we ate this year, looking back over our pictures and reminiscing on our favorite meals and dishes. We ended up with a short list of almost 150 top dishes, which we argued and debated over, and narrowed down until we had our final list. That’s right, it’s time for our annual roundup of our top 25 best dishes of the year!
The Food Trends of 2022
What were the food trends of 2022? We saw intricate molds used quite often in fine dining presentations, we saw caramelized onion tarte tatins replacing the classic apple dessert on a handful of restaurant menus, and we even saw quite a few dishes featuring barnacles. But there was one thing that we saw so many times that by the end of the year we were surprised if we didn’t see it on a fine dining menu: a laminated bread serving. We saw variations of this bread/croissant hybrid everywhere, all over the world. While the trendy Parker House roll is still hanging around on the occasional menu (no shame in the Parker House roll game!), the croissant-like brioche is this year’s hot new bread serving. In fact, we tried at least five versions of this bread style in 2022 alone, at Maaemo, Frantzén, AIRA, Adam/Albin, and most recently at Savage in Oslo. Spoiler alert: one of these bread servings reigned supreme. Keep scrolling to find out which one was our favorite and made it to this year’s best dishes list!
What will 2023 bring? After a lot of post-Covid restaurant closures due to high electric bills, staffing issues, inflation, and other pandemic hardships, we expect to see sustainability take on a new meaning in the restaurant world. Of course, the food that restaurants serve should be sustainable, but the businesses need to run sustainably as well. We think it’s safe to say that we’ll see an increase in the cost of dining out in the next year, so diners should be prepared to face the true cost of food. Supporting local farmers, choosing organic produce, and paying workers a living wage all come at a cost – but perhaps we’ve been underpaying all along.
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The most exciting thing to come out of the pandemic for us was the launch of The Hungries, our food community. Two years later, we have 400 members spread out around the world, and they give us the absolute best recommendations when traveling. Join the club if you’re looking to make food friends (both online and offline), if you love sharing your restaurant experiences, and if you want to hear the restaurant rumors and unfiltered reviews we don’t publish anywhere else. The Hungries get first access to all our content, and VIP members get special perks at partnering restaurants and hotels around the world. Sign up before January to get two months free on an annual membership!
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Our Top 25 Dishes of 2022
This is one of the very few lists we choose to publish in ranked order, but please don’t put too much thought into that – no. 25 and no. 11 are not too far apart! We will follow the same rules as always: the dishes have to be 1) from a restaurant that is currently still open, 2) from the regular menu, and 3) extraordinarily memorable. For the sake of diversity, we also don’t allow repeat dishes from previous years. Without further ado, these are the very best bites from the top restaurants we visited in the last 52 weeks. Enjoy!
No. 25 – Mangal II in London, England
Mangal II has been open since 1994, but the sons took over the family restaurant in 2020. Now, the menu has been condensed and modernized, but it’s still rooted in Turkish traditions. Every dish is bursting with flavor, but it’s the mind-blowing manti dumplings filled with foraged mushrooms and served with garlic yogurt, chili oil, and heirloom tomatoes that we consider required eating here. The garlicky, creamy yogurt, recalls memories of Turkish eggs, and the wild mushrooms are so juicy and flavorful that you won’t miss meat.
No. 24 – RavioXO in Madrid, Spain
We traveled to Madrid for the first time together this year and stepped inside the crazy culinary world of Dabiz Muñoz. While his fine dining restaurant DiverXO was the main reason for our trip, it’s a dish at his new restaurant, RavioXO, that we can’t stop thinking about. The runny cake, an almost flourless dessert, is filled with a completely liquid mixture of egg yolk and white chocolate. Cut it open for the ultimate eruption (food porn at its finest!), and enjoy with the coconut crumble and tonka ice cream on the side.
No. 23 – Hyde in Oslo, Norway
The biggest surprise in the Nordic Michelin guide this year was that Hyde got a star. This shouldn’t have been so surprising, since Michelin claims that their stars only reflect the food, but anyone who fine dines frequently knows that starred restaurants are more often of the white tablecloth variety. This is the stark opposite of Hyde, a dark basement restaurant in a former Hell’s Angels bar. While we happen to enjoy the casual, laidback setting, the real reason we love Hyde is the ridiculously tasty food. The dish that took our breath away on our most recent visit was the turbot, served with a layered potato topped with crab meat, and a butter sauce with curry and chives. Nostalgic British flavors elevated to new heights!
No. 22 – Tango in Stavanger, Norway
Tango first opened in 2004, but, almost two decades later, the restaurant is more relevant than ever. With chef Jan-Erik Hauge at the helm, Tango is on track to earn Stavanger another Michelin star. Although caviar and waffles isn’t exactly a groundbreaking combination in the Nordic fine dining world, Tango took this pairing to the next level in one of their signature servings. The waffles are deep fried, so they taste more like funnel cake or a doughnut, and they’re served with whipped sour cream from Røros. As the locals would say, “Fy faen så godt!” This is, without a doubt, one of the best caviar servings we’ve ever had. Decadent and delicious!
No. 21 – La Ragazza in Stockholm, Sweden
What started as an experimental test kitchen during the pandemic became a permanent restaurant in the heart of Gamla Stan. The lockdown success story of La Ragazza is a project from restaurateur Daniel Crespi and chef Patrik Castillo Grönlund. The food sometimes gives a nod to Italy and sometimes to the Nordics, but it’s always creative, delicious, and extravagant. For us, the signature “Hedonist Taco” made with A5 wagyu is worth a visit alone. A flour tortilla is filled with wagyu beef, XO sauce, whipped cream, egg yolk, and herbs. Absolute pleasure in a bite!
No. 20 – ÓX in Reykjavík, Iceland
ÓX is a small, speakeasy restaurant from chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson with only eleven seats. Each night, the chefs prepare 20 dishes showcasing local Icelandic ingredients for the guests at the counter. We were so impressed with our meal that we predicted ÓX would get their first Michelin star this year – and they did! A highlight dish was the signature geothermally-steamed rye bread, which is left in a hole for 24 hours. The batter is poured into old milk cartons and comes out almost like a cake. It’s served with whipped Icelandic butter and skyr, and topped with grated, smoked trout. The flavor is sweet and malty, and spongy like a cake.
No. 19 – Spontan Vinbar in Trondheim, Norway
Spontan Vinbar moved to a bigger location this year, and in the spacious new kitchen, chef Fredrik Engen has brought the level of the food up even one notch higher than before. The food at Spontan is rooted in the New Nordic cuisine, using the best local ingredients, which Engen pairs with ridiculously tasty sauces. There are many dishes here we’d eat again and again, but the hasselback potato with a mousseline sauce of sour cream, shallots, chives, whitefish roe is the one that haunts our daydreams. Engen generously left the whole pot of sauce on the table, which we happily slurped up.
No. 18 – Främmat in Stockholm, Sweden
A cozy, Parisian-style wine bar is serving some of the most mind-blowingly tasty snacks in Stockholm. It only took a few bites for Främmat to become our favorite casual restaurant in town. All of the dishes were playful and creative, but the most memorable for us was the crispy chicken skin topped with chicken cream, trout roe, and ramson flowers. An amazing combination of textures and flavors!
No. 17 – Kadeau in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kadeau has always been one of our favorite Copenhagen restaurants, and right now the restaurant is better than ever. This fall, they completely changed the entire menu, and added some wickedly good dishes. For us, the best was a serving of Norwegian langoustine with shallots, rosehip berries, and a creamy sauce of roasted yeast. We’re suckers for langoustine, and this dish was nothing short of exquisite.
No. 16 – Gresca in Barcelona, Spain
If a dish is so good that we order it twice, it’s usually a sign that it will end up on this list. This sentiment rang true for us this year at Gresca in Barcelona, where we fell head over eels for the eel toast. Barbecued eel is served atop a piece of bread slathered with an herbalicious and delicious crème fraîche and onion blend. Fatty fish meets fluffy bread meets creamy sauce. This dish was so good we were recommending it to the neighboring tables, making sure they didn’t miss out.
No. 15 – The Clove Club in London, England
The Clove Club (no. 35 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022) is one of our favorite fine dining restaurants in London. Chef Isaac McHale and his team churn out a modern British tasting menu using local produce. Our favorite dish on our visit this summer was a sweet and savory dessert of potato jam, coffee meringue, potato mousse, coffee powder, salted caramel, truffle, and vanilla. It might sound like a lot of elements, but they were perfectly balanced – and the texture of the potato jam reminded us of marzipan.
No. 14 – Hedone in Oslo, Norway
Hedone is a new restaurant from chef Mads Revheim-Skjolden in the former Bokbacka space. The menu delivered banger after banger of delicious dishes, but our favorite of the night was the Norwegian mink whale, cooked on a searing hot grill, tataki-style. Hiding underneath the tender meat: a red curry emulsion, baked garlic cream, spring onion, and brown butter soy sauce. Who knew whale could be so good?! It’s absolutely amazing how they’ve handled this ingredient, but it’s the sauce underneath that steals the show. Buttery, umami heaven with a spicy kick.
No. 13 – The Funky Chicken Food Truck in Stockholm, Sweden
It’s no small statement when we say we have a new favorite burger in the world. You’ll find it at Nacka Strand, about 20 minutes outside of Stockholm, at the Funky Chicken Food Truck. (Don’t be confused by the name, this is NOT a chicken burger!) Funky Chicken has seven different burgers that they rotate through, but they only make one kind each week. Our favorite is the Supersmash Burger – two mustard-smashed beef patties, topped with double cheddar cheese, thinly sliced silver onions, tarragon mayo, and balsamic reduction. We love the crispy crunch of the patties – the meat is nicely caramelized, with a crunchy, lacey texture on the outside and a juicy center. It’s extremely umami rich, a savory paradise for the palate. This is, without a doubt, the best smash burger we’ve had.
No. 12 – Jordnær in Copenhagen, Denmark
Jordnær gets better every time we visit. The restaurant is currently ranked no. 37 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 and has two Michelin stars, but chef Eric Kragh Vildgaard has even greater ambitions. The standout bite on our most recent visit was one of the first snacks: Royal Belgian Platinum Caviar, Balfégo (wild bluefin tuna), and aged soy. Sweet and salty, crispy and fatty, with tuna that melts on your tongue. This luxurious bite is filled with so much caviar that it’s heavy – a real workout for your fingers!
No. 11 – Adam/Albin in Stockholm, Sweden
In 2022, Adam/Albin finally received their long-awaited Michelin star; but, in our opinion, the level of cooking here is already worthy of two stars. The dish we begged the kitchen for seconds of was endearingly nicknamed the “shut the fuck up sandwich,” because there’s silence in the room when it’s served. Everyone goes quiet when they eat it! A butter-fried crumpet is topped with hand-cut dairy cow beef tartare, Havgus cheese, almonds, pickled onions, and autumn truffles. Ding ding ding! One bite and bells were going off in our brains! The diced onions drive up the acidity while the beef and truffle and buttery crumpet have a happy little threesome in your mouth. Foodgasm, baby! We’re into it.
No. 10 – Apostrophe in Oslo, Norway
You’ll find one of Oslo’s best tasting menus in the back of a pizza restaurant. Chef Håkan Wiik is serving insanely tasty food in the omakase section of the restaurant Apostrophe. Our expectations were already sky high thanks to our Oslo Hungries community leader, Tarik – and, still, the food exceeded our expectations! Our favorite dish of the night was the king crab taco, served in a potato lompe (pancake) with chive cream cheese, lemon thyme, and spring onions. Of course, we had seconds, but we could have eaten thirds… or fourths…
No. 9 – Credo in Trondheim, Norway
Chef Heidi Bjerkan opened Credo back in 1998, which makes it one of the longest-standing restaurants in the Nordics. Sourcing local, organic ingredients directly from good farms has long been her credo, way back before it was trendy. But her boldness paid off – she’s still open 25 years later, and she’s become a symbol of sustainability. Our favorite serving at Credo this fall was a dish of Hitra crab, served underneath a gel of crab stock and chamomile, with an egg white garum emulsion, toasted buckwheat, elderflower, and fig oil from their own fig tree. It’s incredibly Nordic in flavor; local seafood is lifted to the highest heights, elevated by just a few key components.
No. 8 – Mérito in Lima, Peru
Peru has been on our bucket list for many years, and we finally got to visit this spring. There were many memorable meals, but the biggest surprise for us was Mérito. Chef Juan Luis Martínez previously worked at Central before opening his tiny (but mighty) restaurant. There are plays on traditional Peruvian dishes, as well as some nods to Juan’s Venezuelan roots. Every dish on the à la carte menu was exceptional, but if there’s one you can’t miss it’s the choclo a la brasa: barbecued Peruvian corn with huancaína (yellow chili) cream. This dish is like elotes on steroids!
No. 7 – Maaemo in Oslo, Norway
Well, well, well, if it isn’t the laminated bread serving to rule them all! And the winner is… Maaemo! We had our best-ever meal at Maaemo with The Hungries this spring, and there was one dish that was simply unforgettable. Their bread course was a laminated piece of perfection, with layers upon layers of buttery dough, and the perfect balance of sweet and salty with flavors of fermented honey, salted lamb leg, dried mushroom, and lavender. We’d take this sparkling, glistening bread course over diamonds any day. Shining, shimmering, splendid!
No. 6 – Central in Lima, Peru
Our meal at Central was an out-of-this-world, mind-blowing food experience that was easily one of the top meals of our life. The tasting menu celebrates the diversity and abundance in Peru, showcasing ingredients at different altitudes. Your menu starts below sea level, then you journey into the Amazon, you climb to the top of the Andes mountains, and you enjoy many delights along the way. Our favorite course was from 55 meters above sea level, a dish based on loche (a Peruvian squash), with shrimp, avocado, squash foam, and colorful powders made from the skin of the squash. This is, without a doubt, one of the most groundbreaking and innovative restaurants in the world.
No. 5 – SingleThread in Healdsburg, California
Another bucket list meal that instantly soared into first place on our favorite U.S. restaurants: SingleThread. Chef and farmer, husband and wife duo Kyle and Katina Connaughton have created a magical oasis just an hour outside of San Francisco. Japanese techniques meet seasonal California ingredients in this true farm-to-table restaurant. Our favorite dish was the sunflower: a corn tuile topped with charred onion powder. Hiding underneath: a sunchoke purée, sunchoke custard, sunflower seeds, apple, and duck liver parfait, with farm greens on the side. An absolutely amazing and completely unique dish that works to use every part of the duck that is served as the main course.
No. 4 – Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark
Alchemist has consistently ranked high on this list since it opened in 2019, and this year is no exception. Chef Rasmus Munk’s entire menu is stronger than ever, but there was one dish that stood out from the 50 impressions this year, one dish that we begged for seconds of – on two separate occasions. (Shout out to an absolutely stellar service team for spoiling us!) This year’s champion was the airy bread, a feather-light bread made from sheets of potato starch brushed with browned butter, roasted yeast, and onion juice. It’s the work of a true culinary genius, rolled like a croissant and baked in a vacuum, which gives it a puffy and crispy texture. The bread is sliced tableside, and topped with a foam made of roasted yeast, butter, egg yolks, and crème fraîche. The cherry on top? Thin slices of Joselito Pata Negra jamón and truffles. As you take a bite, the layers of the bread flake away and stick to your mouth. This buttery kiss leaves you licking your lips for more.
No. 3 – Birdsong in San Francisco, California
Our meal at Birdsong was, without a doubt, one of our absolute favorites of the year. This is what a chef’s counter dining experience is all about! Hit after hit of incredibly bangin’ dishes kept coming out of that action-packed kitchen, but the craziest and most “us” dish on the elaborate tasting menu was a serving of cornbread. They drenched it with clarified butter in front of our eyes, and topped it off with a ridiculous amount of crème fraîche and caviar. Sweet and salty perfection – we didn’t want that taste to leave our tongues! It’s official – we’re ruined forever for cornbread.
No. 2 – L’Enclume in Cartmel, England
Chef Simon Rogan opened his flagship restaurant in 2002, and this year, on the 20th anniversary, L’Enclume was awarded three Michelin stars. Rogan was one of the first chefs to champion the farm-to-table movement in the U.K., and he has created a restaurant that should be on every foodie’s bucket list. From the abundantly indulgent tasting menu to the joyously warm service, our meal at L’Enclume was our favorite of the year. And there was one dish that had us scraping our bowls clean – a rich seaweed custard, with bone broth, bone marrow, oysters, and caviar. As crazy as it sounds, this flavor bomb tasted like a cheeseburger chawanmushi! Melt-in-your-mouth umami heaven!
No. 1 – Alouette in Copenhagen, Denmark
We fell in love with Alouette on our first visit back in 2019, and it’s only gotten better with each menu. Alouette has slowly and steadily burned its way deep into our hearts, and it’s safe to say that it has become our favorite restaurant in Copenhagen. Nick Curtin is part chef and part poet; his dishes have soul. Curtin weaves flavors together masterfully, crafting elaborate and one-of-a-kind plates with jaw-dropping presentations. Alouette has frequently been featured among our best bites of the year, and this year it takes first place. Two different types of squash (Genovese and Gold Rush) are sliced and compressed in roasted kombu (kelp) oil. The green and gold strips are intricately layered, and served atop a nutty pumpkin seed fudge that reminded us of the thick pistachio cream you find in Italian gelato shops. On top, a generous dollop of the best of the best: Rossini Black Label caviar, for some added saltiness. The sauce came last, spooned tableside until the squash bathed in the bubbles – Champagne, blue mussels, oysters, and smoked cheese. This serving truly wowed us; it was simultaneously fresh and rich, sweet and salty, with many flavors and emotions at play. It’s dishes like this that remind us that food is, indeed, art.
What were your favorite dishes in 2022? Please share in a comment below.
Here Are Our Top Lists From Previous Years:
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2021
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2020
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2019
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2018
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2017
The Top 25 Best Dishes of 2016
The Top 20 Best Dishes of 2015