My latest obsession? Forager restaurants. From a foodie standpoint, autumn is defined by the harvest. So why not embrace this favorite season by sampling the distinct local ingredients at some of the world’s finest forager outposts? From poultry and fish to moose, wild grouse, lichens and blossoms, there’s a whole wild world of delish to be discovered.
The concept of foraging has caught on like wildfire, with many of the world’s top chefs cashing in on the gourmet craze. I’m told the movement was originally called “New Nordic” thanks to its Scandinavian beginnings, with Chef Magnus Nilsson leading the way. If you can get to his otherworldly outpost in rural Sweden, Fäviken Magasinet, do it; otherwise, be sure to check out my top Forager Restaurants stateside.
This coastal collection of restaurants has mastered the foraging concept, finding distinctive local ingredients and transforming them into absolutely inspired fare.
Foragers City Table is my favorite NYC spot for inventive breakfast, lunch or dinner offerings with produce straight from the greenmarket. Originating in DUMBO, I hit up its rustic chic Chelsea outpost for tasty grab & go sandwiches (try the camembert, roasted pear, fennel and arugula) and Asian-inspired dishes (curried chicken & egg noodles, tea smoked black cod). The eatery brings new definition to the term “urban explorer,” for sure.
The Pacific Northwest is a veritable foodie paradise, so it makes sense that one of the best forager finds, The Restaurant at Willows Inn, is located on gorgeous Lummi Island, off the coast of Washington. Yes, this is one of those restaurants where the chef visits your table to let you know where every fish, fruit or herb came from (very Portlandia), but a prix fixe packed with subtle flavor pairings and offbeat items (green seeds, anyone?) is enough to inspire anyone to become an outdoorsman.
Located in relatively quiet Los Gatos, California, Manresa showcases the best produce of the Santa Cruz region, all grown biodynamically. The menu is different on each visit, keeping things spontaneous as well as savory — some ingredients on the roster for October are turnip, huckleberry, sea urchin and kelp. I’m a big fan of the minimal restaurant décor as well, a perfect combination of pared down California cool.
For of my Great Harvest foodie finds, check out the latest issue of The Travel Curator.