Best restaurants and places to eat 2019: Traveller's 32 top picks

Every 12 months our writers take the world's pulse, they weigh up the good and the bad, track the major changes, assess the current trends. Here are Traveller's picks for the hottest restaurants in the world right now.

FARO RESTAURANT, MONA, HOBART, TASMANIA

Back in the day, "dinner and a show" was a gypsy violinist or piano player tinkling the ivories. But At Faro, the spectacularly sited restaurant at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), you can package your meal with a visit to the sensory-overloading – and then sensory-deprived – lighting installations by American artist James Turrell. It's like dining in another dimension. See mona.net

CHIRINGUITO SICSU, MALAGA, SPAIN

Of all the gastronomic opportunities that travel provides, sometimes it's the simplest that steal your heart and stay in your mind. At Malaga's many beachside chiringuitos, you sit at your table with a cold beer or glass of wine, feet in the sand, smoke in the air. Lunch is cooked over coals inside an old fishing boat filled with sand, the vertical skewers (espeto) threaded with gleaming sardines, whole fish and gnarly pink octopus. Heaven on a stick. See malagaturismo.com

NOMA 0.2, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

After closing for more than a year, Noma reopened in 2018 on 850 square metres of land next to a man-made lake in the outlying hippy commune of Christianshaven. More than a restaurant, it's an almost self-sufficient commune, with vegetable gardens, ant farm, live fish tanks, fermentation room and a game room big enough to hold deer. The food is challenging, extreme and hyper-seasonal, and the dining experience warm and hospitable – but tables are extremely difficult to nab. See noma.dk

THE IVY IN THE LANES, BRIGHTON, BRITAIN

The culinary scene in the seaside city of Brighton has been improving gradually for the past decade but last year's most notable newcomer was the first outpost of the London celebrity magnet, The Ivy. Featuring leather banquettes and a colourful interior with Brighton-inspired artwork, the restaurant's menu of seasonal British classics and innovative cocktails has garnered rave reviews. See theivybrighton.com

JADE RESTAURANT, SINGAPORE

This prettiest of Cantonese restaurants has delicate wallpaper of flowers and birds, a light, feminine decor with no sign of writhing dragons or red lanterns. The classic Cantonese cuisine has a deft, contemporary lightness as well, featuring dishes such as abalone in rose wine, pork belly in five-spice, and scallops with crispy garlic. Best pick? Hokkien egg noodles with Boston lobster and XO chilli sauce. See fullertonhotels.com

HIGHLANDS BAR & GRILL, ALABAMA, US

Who would have thought a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, would win the coveted 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for America's best restaurant? Chef Frank Stitt and his wife Pardis have been pioneers of the farm to table movement since they opened Highlands Bar & Grill in 1982. Serving French-inspired, regional Southern fare, the restaurant's menu changes daily depending on what's in season. See highlandsbarandgrill.com

CAL GANXO, MASMOLETS, SPAIN

Here's a Catalan tradition you have to take part in: the calcotada, a meal that involves the roasting of long, Catalan-style spring onions over open flames, the steaming of those hot onions in newspaper, the withdrawal of their sweet centres from the charred skin, the dunking in rich, nutty romesco sauce, and their devouring all in one go. Do it at Cal Ganxo, a restaurant near Tarragona. You won't regret it. See calganxo.com

DEPACHIKAS, TOKYO, JAPAN

Though some of Tokyo's best food is sky-high, at the top of skyscrapers and shopping malls and stores, it's also way down low, under street level, at the city's "depachikas". These are food halls that sit on the basement floor of most large department stores – Isetan, Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi and the like – and they feature an incredible, sprawling smorgasbord of the absolute best food from Japan and the world. Well worth a wander. See jnto.org.au

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PALM COURT, LONDON, BRITAIN

Occupying the sun-soaked central atrium of the Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel in Russell Square, this new tree-lined restaurant serves an innovative a la carte version of the traditional afternoon tea featuring scones with homemade champagne jam and a decadent platter of desserts. The hotel itself is a Grade II-listed riot of Greek columns, intricate mosaic floors and sweeping marble staircases wrapped in a striking peach terracotta facade. See kimptonfitzroylondon.com

INOLIA, SANTIAGO, CHILE

The premise of this immersive new wine centre in the upmarket suburb of Vitacura is to provide an authentic, city-based wine-tasting experience for those who don't have time to visit a wine region. There are three tours every day, each focusing on one of Chile's major wine-producing areas, where visitors get to sample wines from smaller, family-run wineries with guided video tastings by the vineyard owners. See vinolia.cl

FIELD SUITE, HAKUBA, JAPAN

This new on-mountain dining experience at the Happo-one ski resort in Hakuba Valley starts with a chairlift ride to a remote mountain ridge for mulled wine and live music around an open fire. Then you'll move inside a rustic candlelit restaurant for a delicious five-course meal paired with Japanese wines. Finish with dessert outside under the stars before being whisked back down the mountain by snowcat. See fieldsuite-hakuba.com

ROSÉ IN PROVENCE, FRANCE

The drink of choice from Bali to Bilbao even has its own hashtags (#roseallday, #yeswayrose, #drinkpink). Yes, the rosé wine craze continues unabated but with popularity comes saturation, and with saturation come substandard offerings. To ensure rosé's popularity is more than just a fad, Chateau d'Esclans, the home of the world's most popular rosés, is experimenting with more complex expressions of the style. It takes bookings for tastings in the onsite Boutique – plan ahead. See esclans.com

SANTO SPIRITO, ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA

Clued-up travellers are racing to Antigua to try the chic new hotels, boutiques and restaurants that herald a more elevated era for the city – and Santo Spirito is top of the list. Chef-owner Mattia Bellucci's Italian classics use organic, local ingredients, with all pasta, cheese and bread made in-house, while artist co-owner Alexa Maithe Henry creates the art that decorates the lovingly restored colonial-era house. See @santospiritoantigua

FORT TIRACOL HOTEL, GOA, INDIA

Located in the ramparts of a 16th-century Portuguese fort overlooking the Arabian Sea, Fort Tiracol is north Goa's best-kept secret. There's a 17th-century church in the courtyard and a Goan chorizo-crusted fish on the menu that, eaten on the terrace with a chilled glass of rosé, is reason alone to visit the state. See forttiracol.in

ALIGOT AND TRUFFADE, LE PUY CAMINO, FRANCE

Pilgrims walking France's Le Puy Camino will encounter the calorie-rich Aligot, made by mashing potatoes with butter, garlic and Tomme de Laguiole or Tomme d'Auvergne cheese. The result is a smooth, elastic speciality from the Auvergne and, more generally, France's central southern region. Truffade is a variety made from thinly sliced potatoes cooked in goose fat, then mixed with thin strips of Tomme fraiche. You will need to walk all the way to Santiago de Compostela to work this off.

SCORPION HOUSE, FEZ, MOROCCO

The amiable Mike Richardson, proprietor of the acclaimed Cafe Clock in Fez, choreographs a standout lunch for small groups at his private villa plastered into the hillside above the holy city of Moulay Idriss. Expect bonhomie, laughs and salads that dance on the tongue, and not a tagine in sight. Combine it with nearby Volubilis, one of the southernmost outposts of the Roman Empire in Africa. See scorpionhouse.com

OAXACAN CUISINE, OAXACA STATE, MEXICO

There's nothing Tex-Mex about Oaxacan food. The cuisine of this south-eastern Mexican state is steeped in its pre-Hispanic roots. The seven typical mole sauces are native to Oaxaca and Puebla. These include the classic sweet-savoury mole negro, mole poblano and mole verde. Tlayudas are moreish crunchy tortillas covered with meat, Oaxaca cheese, frijoles refritos (refried beans), salsa and avocado. See visitmexico.com

INDIAN ACCENT, NEW DELHI, INDIA

Chef Manish Mehrotra has breathed new life into the Indian food repertoire with his subtle and original tasting menu that opens its arms to influences from the wider world. Within the swanky, chiselled domain of New Delhi's Lodhi Hotel, it was the first Indian restaurant to feature in the World's 50 Best Restaurants, and it is now playing a raga on the taste buds of London and New York. See indianaccent.com

SARLAT-LA-CANEDA FOOD MARKETS, PERIGORD-DORDOGNE, FRANCE

In this gorgeous medieval town in south-western France, you will find the apotheosis of the Dordogne region's food markets. The Saturday market is a spectacle, stuffed full of seasonal products freely offered for tasting – Perigord truffles, confit duck, foie gras, cheeses, often chevre (particularly Rocamadour), mushrooms, nuts (particularly walnuts), patisserie, berries, fruit, jams and Quercy free-range lamb. It Includes an indoor market in the redesigned Sainte-Marie Church. See sarlat-tourisme.com

TANGLIN GIN, SINGAPORE

The first gin made in Singapore was launched in 2018. It has flavours of old-world juniper matched with tropical botanicals such as zesty green mango, vanilla, ginger, kaffir lime and local orchid flowers. Kudos to Australian chief distiller Tim Whitefield for its depth of flavour and floral aroma. You can try it at some 30 hotel bars, or in the duty free at Changi airport. See tanglin-gin.com

DRINKING IN THE NOGE DISTRICT, YOKAHAMA, JAPAN

Step away from the insanity of Tokyo and enjoy a night out in Yokahama's buzzing, friendly Noge district. This old-school nightlife hub is what the famous Golden Gai area of Shinjuku would be like without the tourists: a gritty but friendly warren of small streets lined with even smaller bars, where locals drink and chat in venues varied enough to suit every taste, all oozing no-frills charm. See jnto.org.au

TXOKO VISIT, BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN

An invite to a member-only gastronomic society in the Basque Country of Spain is almost guaranteed to provide a foodie highlight of a lifetime. These "txokos", or societies, are strictly for locals, though there are ways for visitors to access them and experience a ritual that's so crucial to Basque culture and cuisine. If you manage it, ask someone to cook "txipirones a lo Pelayo", a local dish of baby squid with caramelised onions that's life-changing.

RIGATONI BURRO E PARMIGIANO, ROME, ITALY

This simple yet decadent pasta dish is destined to be a Roman classic. There's very little to it: just high-quality butter, which is melted with a little pasta water and then emulsified into a rich sauce with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and tossed with al dente rigatoni pasta. Try it at Salumeria Roscioli, near Campo de Fiori – it's worth the weight gain. See roscioli.com

PACKING HOUSE, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, US

Combining more than 30 food and drink artisans in one stylish space in Anaheim's meatpacking district, Packing House is Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory to any discerning foodie. Split across two levels in a beautifully re-modelled warehouse, you can choose from Southern Comfort Food, Ramen, Indian, Vietnamese, gourmet burgers and much more, all under one roof. There are also numerous hole-in-the-wall bars, indoor and outdoor, each serving local craft beers, wine and cocktails. See anaheimpackingdistrict.com

CHATEAU DE FERRAND, SAINT-EMILION, FRANCE

You could spend a lifetime trudging around boring cellar doors and never learn anything new, but visit this vineyard outside prestigious Saint-Emilion in the Bordeaux region on a Uniworld shore excursion and sommelier Jeanne will enlighten you as to the best way to wine taste – and fill you with delight as she explains each wine's prettily coloured, shimmering "flame". See uniworld.com

CORNER HOUSE, SINGAPORE

The setting is wonderful for a start. This restaurant occupies a cosy colonial-era villa tucked into a leafy corner of the Singapore Botanic Garden. Even better are the inventive, sometimes eccentric dishes conjured up by young chef Jason Tan, which focus on plants and botanicals – though the wagyu beef is magnificent. It's worth a visit just for the varied magic Tan works with onions. See cornerhouse.com.sg

TROISGROS, ROANNE, FRANCE

No other restaurant comes close to Troisgros' remarkable reign. This family-run restaurant has held its three Michelin stars for an extraordinary 51 years and shows no sign of slowing down. Now in a new location, set on an atmospheric country estate, and in new hands – 32-year-old Cesar Troisgros is now head chef, although his father, Michel, one of France's most revered chefs, still toils in the kitchen – the food is as inventive as ever. See troisgros.com

TAKESHIGERO, KYOTO, JAPAN

The flagship venue of a lauded restaurant group founded in 1719 sees diners occupy private tatami rooms hung with calligraphy scrolls and looking onto miniature courtyard gardens. Kaiseki meals unfold over many courses that highlight the elegant Zen, imperial and tea-ceremony influences of this refined cuisine. The menu changes with the seasons, with every ingredient chosen for its cultural associations. See takeshigero.com

ROOFTOP BARS, LISBON, PORTUGAL

Will it be a view over the river, a panorama centred on the Moorish castle or maybe sweeping views across blocks of pastel-painted neoclassical beauties? Each of Lisbon's seven hills offers a different view, giving you plenty of excuses to check out the city's inviting rooftop bars, from the always-buzzing establishment at Hotel Mundial to the atmospheric Topo Chiado, hard by the ruins of the Carmo Convent. See hotel-mundial.pt; facebook.com/topolisboa

NIZAM'S, KOLKATA, INDIA

Kolkata (or Calcutta as it's still widely-known) has a dazzling banquet of street food from which to choose, but when you need a snack that will really fill you up, Nizam's restaurant is the place to go. This no-frills eatery in the New Market district is known for its legendary kathi rolls, delicious grilled meats wrapped in paratha bread. Nizam's has been serving up this mouthwatering meal for almost a century and spawned a legion of imitators in the process, but nothing beats the original. See nizams-restaurant.business.site

IMPERIAL TREASURE SUPER PEKING DUCK , SINGAPORE

The world's best Peking duck may be served at a restaurant in Singapore. At Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, on the top level of the ritzy Paragon shopping mall, the roasting of poultry is elevated to an art form. Ducks are carved at the table with admirable ceremony, and each has the same perfectly crispy skin and succulent meat. Hot tip: book in advance, and order your duck at the same time. See imperialtreasure.com

BOUTIQUE GIN DISTILLERIES

Boutique gin distilleries are on the rise, seemingly across the world, as is the use of unique botanicals to give gin a sense of place. Case in point: the small-batch Winchester Distillery located slap-bang in the middle of a thriving watercress farm in Hampshire, England. Founder Paul Bowler uses the plant to give herbaceous sweetness and a peppery lift to his unique Twisted Nose watercress gin. Now could somebody please create a Global Gin Tasting Tour? See winchesterdistillery.co.uk

Contributors: Ben Groundwater, Jill Dupleix, Terry Durack, Michael Gebicki, Belinda Jackson, Julietta Jameson, Brian Johnston, Ute Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Rob McFarland, Catherine Marshall, Alison Stewart, Craig Tansley, Guy Wilkinson, Sue Williams, David Whitley

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