Beautiful to look at, delightful to smell and delectable on the tongue: the meals served at the gourmet restaurants in Europe are truly a treat for the senses. We’ve picked six of our favourite elegant eateries below for you to factor into your next tastebud-pleasing trip. Get ready to feast...
1. Avli Restaurant: Rethymnon Old City, Greece
When seeking the finest gourmet restaurants in Europe, don’t overlook Avli Restaurant. The award-winning restaurant is one of the Founding Members of the Society for the preservation of Mediterranean Cuisine. Combining Cretan and Greek culinary traditions, this gorgeous spot - encased by vibrant crawling flowers and quintessentially Mediterranean stone walls - is the perfect place to spend an evening or two dining in style. The ‘Anthi’ appetiser is a particular favourite of ours: a piquant dish consisting of zucchini flowers, soft goat’s cheese and spearmint.
Where to stay: Enjoy eclecticism at its most extraordinary at Avli Lounge Apartments. This one-off hotel was once the home of a Venetian lord, as well as an olive press, soap factory and tannery. Parts of its multi-layered past have been preserved throughout, from its Venetian arches to antique furniture and unique works of art. You won’t be bored for a second.
2. Dwór Sieraków Restaurant: Sieraków, Poland
For three years, Dwór Sieraków Restaurant has been awarded by the Gauilt and Millau culinary guide: a well-earned achievement that accurately highlights its sophisticated menu. This restaurant specialises in traditional dishes with a modern twist, and uses only the freshest and most seasonal ingredients to craft them. To that end, they adapt their dishes four times a year, so dinners here are a constant surprise. Definitely worth multiple trips.
Where to stay: After pampering your palate at one of the best gourmet restaurants in Europe, enjoy a night of unparalleled bliss at Dwór Sieraków. Luxe rooms look out over four hectares of enchanting green grounds, beyond which Poland’s best sights are only a short drive away. See the lively streets of Krakow, ski in Myślenice, go golfing and much more from this serene and well-situated property.
3. L'Hélios Restaurant: Alpes, France
French food doesn’t get any better than the meals cooked up by Chef Michael Aurey and his team at L'Hélios. Surrounded by dramatic mountain views, and set in a cosy mountain setting, the gourmet dishes that are whipped up here are every diner’s dream: blending authentic flavours and an inventive touch to create meals that are truly out of this world. We’re not the only ones who think so, either: in fact, this alpine eatery has earned both Master Restaurateur and Tables & Auberges de France status.
Where to stay: Book a room at Hotel L’Hélios & Spa. This chalet-style hotel sits in the heart of the alps, so you can zip down the slopes just seconds after leaving your bedroom. Those not inclined to ski are sure to enjoy the property’s spa and wellness facilities and comfortable lounge areas, too. Snuggle up.
4. Ghan House Restaurant: Carlingford, Ireland
This 2AA Rosette Restaurant is a popular pick for all food lovers in this corner of Ireland, particularly those with a penchant for seafood. Their head chef, Stephanie le Sourne, has been running the kitchen for nearly ten years, and crafts delectable fish-focused recipes from the surrounding lough, including Ballagan lobster. If that weren’t enough to tempt you, it’s also nabbed several awards over the years, such as the Gourmet Getaway of the Year award at the the Irish Hotel Awards. Need we say more?
Where to stay: No need to venture far after your trip to food heaven: Ghan House also offers incredible accommodation. Benefit from one of its gorgeous suites, crammed with amenities, before exploring the many sights the area has to offer, such as the UNESCO burial sites of Newgrange and Knowth or ferry rides on Carlingford Lough.
5. Villa Le Barone Restaurant: Chianti, Italy
When thinking of gourmet restaurants in Europe, Italy often springs to mind. Famous for its food culture, this continental country is to thank for many of the world’s most beloved dishes: and you can enjoy several of them at Villa Le Barone’s restaurant. Not only does this establishment offer the most delicious Italian wares - often coupled with wines from their historic wine cellar - they also provide cookery classes for those wishing to perfect the art of Italian cooking from home. Time to don that chef hat.
Where to stay: Villa Le Barone, with its rare books, antique furnishings and relaxing firesides, feels more like a family home than a hotel. Enjoy days of uninterrupted peace while exploring everything the Chianti countryside, and the villa itself, has to offer, including olive groves and a romantic rose garden.
6. Puteus Restaurant: Island of Brač, Croatia
Sequestered away on the idyllic island of Brač, Puteus Restaurant awaits, primed to please your palate with a range of local specialties. With perfectly prepared and plated meat, seafood and salad dishes, there’s no better place to embark on a Croatian culinary adventure. You’ll savour every bite.
Where to stay: Say hello to five-star service at Puteus Palace! With only fifteen rooms and suites, the staff at this hotel are able to offer the finest level of service to each of its guests. Along with its restaurant, make sure you take advantage of the property’s terrace and pool, and ask about its vibrant history. A renovated palace from 1467, it certainly has a lot of it.