Nine of the best restaurants in the world (beginning with N)
Some of the world’s coolest restaurants all begin with the same letter. For the Month of N, we've charted the ones to look out for on your next trip.
8 min read
It’s November, which means it's the Month of N. To celebrate this most delicious of occasions, we set ourselves the task of finding the best restaurants in the world—beginning with the letter N, of course.
As it turns out, some of the coolest restaurants around the globe share a letter with N26. Read on to discover our top nine contenders for the best restaurant in the world, and the dish you need to order at each.
Where you’ll find it: Zagreb, Croatia
Must-order dish: Deconstructed štrukle. This is a twist on the traditional Croatian štrukli, which Noel’s head chef, Bruno Vokal, makes by combining dough with fresh cheese (lots of it!), along with cream, black pepper, a bay leaf, milk, and black truffles.
One of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, Noel boasts an innovative young chef, a chic contemporary interior, and a vibrant array of dishes. There are two menus on offer: the 13-course Chef Experience and the 12-course Vege Journey. Both are packed with creative takes on classic Croatian cuisine, which change according to the season. Currently, you can enjoy the likes of Adriatic shrimps, beef tartare, eel, and quail on the Chef Experience menu. This feast is finished off with peach and white chocolate, caramelized chocolate and cherry, Međimurje gibanica (a traditional Croatian layer cake), and a petit four.
Before you embark on your journey through one of the tasting menus, you can also opt to start your meal with one of Noel’s six signature cocktails.
Where you’ll find it: Tokyo, Japan
Must-order dish: Narisawa offers an omakase menu, meaning that the dishes are tailored specifically to that day. As a result, there is no fixed menu and no must-order dishes. Instead, simply enjoy the experience of knowing that the dishes you’re being served are unique to the day of your visit.
After eight years of training in some of Europe’s most esteemed kitchens, Yoshihiro Narisawa returned to his native Japan and began an illustrious career as one of the world’s most talented chefs. He opened his renowned Michelin-starred restaurant, Narisawa, in 2003 and has since perfected what he calls "innovative Satoyama cuisine."
Satoyama is the Japanese term given to the land between the mountains and the flatlands. Here, the locals live in a sustainable relationship with nature. It’s this relationship that the seasonal, sustainable dishes at Narisawa attempt to reflect. With dishes called Forest and Sea, Soil Soup, and Water Salad, the connection between food and land is truly the star of Narisawa’s omakase menu.
Where you’ll find it: New York, USA
Must-order dish: The Donut Even Go There French Toast. This culinary marvel is stuffed with cheesecake, rolled in coconut, and served with orange drizzle and vanilla ice cream. Best of all? The dish comes in at around €20, making it one of the cheapest on the list!
At Norma’s, breakfast is served large. And then some. All meals come with a free shot of the day’s smoothie and the mains are memorable—if not just for their richness, then for their outlandish names: The Very Berry Brioche French Toast, Duck N' Eggs, and Bing Popping Waffles to name but a few.
Frequently cited as the best breakfast in New York City, Norma’s is also famed for serving the world’s most expensive omelet, the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, for a whopping $2000 (around €1700). This wildly expensive dish consists of six eggs, an entire lobster, and nearly 300g of caviar!
Where you’ll find it: Copenhagen, Denmark
Must-order dish: Noma has a rotation of three different menus. From January to June, it’s seafood season—the 2021 highlight was the fried cod collar. From June to September, it’s vegetable season, and the stuffed zucchini with bee larvae was the latest star of the show. Now, the dish to look out for is the whole grilled wild duck paired with duck brain and mushroom broth with wild sumac—part of the game and forest season from the end of September to December.
No list of the world’s best restaurants, whether beginning with "N" or not, would be complete without including Noma, the holy grail of fine dining. Voted the World’s Best Restaurant five times and boasting a maximum of three Michelin stars, Noma is constantly reinventing itself while managing to stay relevant—which, as Madonna can tell you, is no easy feat.
At its heart, Noma is all about the element of surprise. The restaurant is famed for bringing together unpredictable ingredients, molding them into new forms, and creating flawless, groundbreaking dishes which turn the culinary world upside-down.
5. Nobelhart & Schmutzig
Where you’ll find it: Berlin, Germany
Must-order dish: Supper Menu. While the menu changes seasonally, the 10-course Supper Menu is a must. This fall, the menu includes Bresse chicken and marjoram, plums and sour cherry kernel oil, and pear and buttercream.
In typical Berlin style, Nobelhart & Schmutzig is loud, local, and charmingly down-to-earth. Only serving food made from regional ingredients, owner Billy Wagner and Chef Micha Schäfer are passionate about shining a spotlight on their producers rather than themselves. As a result, each dish on the 10-course menu comes accompanied with the name of the farmer or producer who cultivated the ingredients on your plate.
The menu itself is also refreshingly simple. Each dish is listed as just one or two ingredients. In the current menu, one course is "egg/cauliflower," another, "potato/apple." The takeaway? Fine dining doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. This Michelin-starred restaurant cuts through the fanfare and lets the delicious simplicity of its ingredients do the talking.
Where you’ll find it: Blackburn, UK
Must-order dish: Orkney scallop. The five-course menu changes seasonally, but this fall, look out for the Orkney scallop paired with curried pearls, pomegranate, and toasted almonds. This is followed by the Scottish venison which comes with sticky sausage, carrot, sour orange, and cardamon.
Tucked away in the gorgeous Ribble Valley in Lancashire, UK, you’ll find the Northcote Hotel and its stunning Michelin-starred restaurant. Led by innovative chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, the Northcote’s menu champions local produce and serves dishes made with a hearty Northern warmth.
If you’re fascinated by the magic that goes on behind the scenes, you can book a place on the Northcote’s "Chef’s Table" for as few as six and as many as 16 guests. Here, you’re invited to watch the chefs at work behind a wall of glass windows as they make their spectacular creations.
Where you’ll find it: Los Angeles, USA
Must-order dish: Shiizakana. n/naka’s signature dish is made with sliced abalone, spaghettini, pickled cod roe, and Burgundy truffles—a truly majestic fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisines.
Niki Nakayama has been running her Michelin-starred restaurant, n/naka, with her wife and sous chef, Carole Iida, since 2011. Famed for its creative take on the kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese culinary tradition, n/naka fuses the traditional and the contemporary seamlessly. With Niki and Carole growing almost half of all of n/naka’s ingredients in their front yard, the kaiseki philosophy of eating only seasonal and regional food isn’t just honored—it’s homegrown.
Consequently, n/naka’s 13-course "modern kaiseki" tasting menu has become the stuff of legend. If you’re lucky, you might find their signature Shiizakana dish as one of the courses—but only if it’s in season!
Where you’ll find it: Bangkok, Thailand
Must-order dish: Gapi Pla. A traditional Thai dish made with fermented shrimp paste, wild prawns, green peppercorns, and somsa. The combination creates an umami sensation on the tongue.
Having just received its fourth Michelin star in a row, Nahm’s reputation for creating outstanding contemporary Thai cuisine is well established. Bangkok native Pim Techamuanvivit is Nahm’s head chef, and she attributes all of her culinary genius to the culture of Thai women passing their recipes down through the generations.
Famous for its use of bold but balanced flavors, the menu’s price is incredibly reasonable given its prestige. With a 10-course set menu coming in at €65, Nahm is one of the more affordable restaurants on this list. However, it’s the Heritage Menu that’s the real star of the show with its 13 courses—each bursting with authentic Thai flavor.
9. New Punjab Club
Where you’ll find it: Hong Kong
Must-order dish: The Samosa Chaat from the "Nashta" menu. This dish serves up some delicious crushed samosas covered in a tangy tamarind glaze and crispy noodles and combined with yogurt and pomegranate seeds.
With Chef Palash Mitra (a native of Northern India) at the helm, Hong Kong’s New Punjab Club is an explosion of vibrancy and delicious excess. Championing cuisine originating from Northern India and Eastern Pakistan, Nun Punjab Club offers a stunning array of creative, flavor-packed dishes on its varied menu.
Having earned a Michelin star only 18 months after opening, Mitra likes to go all out, believing that more is more. As is Punjabi tradition, your glass will always be full, your plates will always be colorful, and at the end of your meal, you’ll be treated to a shot of whisky called the "Patiala Peg."
Dining out with N26
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