2012 Dining Trends

Restaurants from New York City to California are always fine-tuning the food they serve, adopting a variety of trends to impress diners in 2012.

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15 Photos

This is squid and prawn --a dish on the menu at Delaire Graff Estate’s Indochine Restaurant-- made with saffron tapioca pearls, chorizo, oven-dried peppers and fine beans.

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Make sure you try the beetroot sponge with cucumber-dill granita and yogurt at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. 960 1280

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Stick bread is cooked over a fire and eaten with butter and syrup at St. Lucia’s Umlilo Lodge. 960 1280

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At Mar Hermanus, the restaurant serves perlemoen potjiekos, an abalone, whitefish, tomato stew. 960 1280

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Yummy! There’s nothing like delicious fresh honeycomb for breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban. 960 1280

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Green apple cloud is made with apple sorbet, almond cake and crumbs, at Cape Town’s Azure Restaurant. 960 1280

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Springbok carpaccio is a type of antelope served at Moyo Restaurant in Durban. 960 1280

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Try this Mozambique platter with a whole chicken and 12 prawns at Braza in St. Lucia. 960 1280

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The Delaire Graff Estate’s Indochine Restaurant serves this tasty rabbit terrine with pickled carrots, verjuice, mustard fritters and celeriac remoulade. 960 1280

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This is traditional braai --with steak, Sausage, and mealie pap-- served at Umlilo Lodge in St. Lucia. 960 1280

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Anyone interested in fresh oysters with fish eggs at the Views’ restaurant in Wilderness, South Africa. 960 1280

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Beef mince samosas is one of the many delicious items on the menu at Moyo Restaurant in Durban. 960 1280

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Taste the ostrich tataki with shimeji mushrooms and artichoke at Signal Restaurant in Cape Town. 960 1280

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Here’s the succulent josper-grilled chalmar beef served at the Azure Restaurant in Cape Town. 960 1280

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The Oriental, a restaurant in Durban, serves bunny chow, a lamb curry in a bread-loaf bowl. 960 1280

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Má Pêche

Má Pêche

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in the heart of Midtown at this modern American restaurant. Má Pêche is offering a special New Year’s Eve 4-course prix fixe chicken and rice dinner that includes a champagne toast at midnight. 960 1280

  

Commerce

Commerce

Wax nostalgic for a bygone Manhattan era at Commerce's historic Greenwich Village space. Amid the restaurant’s Art Deco murals, classic cocktails and cozy booths, you can reminisce about Old New York while you toast to the New Year. 960 1280

© Mira Zaki  

Aroma Kitchen & Winebar

Aroma Kitchen & Winebar

This East Village Italian restaurant and wine bar focuses on regional Italian dishes and seasonal specialties. Chef Vito and his team are hosting an intimate celebration, featuring a 5-course menu that includes risotto lobster Bolognese and pan-seared Crescent Farms duck breast with wine pairings.  960 1280

Winnie Jeng  

Soccarat

Soccarat

Transport yourself to Spain on New Year’s Eve. Gather your friends and prepare to share tapas and paella at this charming space in Midtown. Grapes will be provided for the "12 grapes of luck" tradition of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight. 960 1280

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Affaire

Affaire

Ring in the New Year Parisian-style without leaving the East Village! This cozy French bistro's New Year’s Eve party includes 3 rooms of music by in-house and guest DJs, a 5-hour open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight. Dress code is semi-formal or burlesque … if you really want to get into the mood. 960 1280

  

Centro

Centro

Have a “Buon Anno Nuovo!” at this Italian hot spot in the West Village. Go all out with a 5-course menu or choose the 4-course menu -- antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. Indulge one last time before New Year's resolutions kick in with the decadent homemade dolci. 960 1280

  

TOY Restaurant

TOY Restaurant

For a memorable New Year’s Eve, head to this Gansevoort Hotel hot spot for dinner and a show. Laser lighting, aerialist performances and cutting-edge DJs make this “multi-sensory, stimulating fantasy playground” the setting for an extraordinary night.   960 1280

  

Bistro Chat Noir

Bistro Chat Noir

This is every Francophile’s dream spot for ringing in the New Year. This slice of Paris on the Upper East Side is hosting a masquerade ball on New Year’s Eve, with 3 seatings. The first is kid-friendly, the second has a Broadway pop show, and the third has the Broadway pop show and a midnight toast. And if you can’t get enough, come back for the bistro’s New Year’s Day brunch.  960 1280

Kirsten Kay Thoen  

Jungsik

Jungsik

Treat yourself to modern Korean cuisine this New Year's Eve. TriBeCa's Jungsik is offering 2 New Year’s Eve seatings: a 4-course prix fixe spread and a 10-course option. Splurge with a wine pairing add-on for the special night. 960 1280

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Ditch Plains

Ditch Plains

Food Network star and chef Marc Murphy's New York-style fish shack is a lively spot to ring in the New Year. With its informal vibe and casual chic dress code, Ditch Plains is a fuss-free option for the big night. 960 1280

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Cé La Vi in Singapore

Cé La Vi in Singapore

Cé La Vi (formerly called Ku Dé Ta) is a premier rooftop party bar — emphasis on the rooftop, as it sits on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, an architectural landmark in Singapore. Part of the spectacular SkyPark, the bar lets guests take in one of the best unobstructed views of the city and the rooftop's infamous infinity pool. Whether you’re watching the sun set over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish, or you're just mesmerized by the nightly laser show, Cé La Vi is a place to see and be seen.

 

Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail, such as the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rosewater, is $16, roughly the same fee the resort complex charges to board the elevator to the observation deck just below — so think of it as breaking even.

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CÉ LA VI Singapore  

Plunge in New York City, New York

Plunge in New York City, New York

Taking over the Gansevoort Hotel's 14th-floor penthouse in the Meatpacking District, this granddaddy of New York's rooftop bars is still among the city's best — with some of the most stylish parties, an amazing outdoor pool and, of course, a sick view of the N.Y.C. skyline and the Hudson River. Plunge is packed with pretty young things on the weekends, so those not looking to be part of the scene may prefer to watch the sunset from the wraparound balcony midweek.

 

Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped, American bistro-style menu, with its fresh chopped salad, jumbo shrimp skewers and rooftop sliders, a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Gansevoort Hotel  

The Roof in Madrid, Spain

The Roof in Madrid, Spain

If your first glimpse of this club atop the ME Madrid is the line to enter — at its peak length during summertime — know that it's worth the wait. Once you board the private elevator to the penthouse terrace, you'll be treated to unmatched views of Madrid's skyline. Owned by Rande Gerber (also known as Cindy Crawford's husband), this swanky rooftop consistently attracts beautiful locals and celebrities alike, thanks to guest DJ sessions, inviting daybeds and a VIP bar embedded in a stone wall.

 

Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list, the Roof serves cocktails that are on the pricier side. If you're going to have just one, make it the Black Mojito.

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ME Madrid Reina Victoria  

Three Sixty in St. Louis, Missouri

Three Sixty in St. Louis, Missouri

For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, pass on the nosebleed seats and instead, head to this slick rooftop bar atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Panoramic views of the Gateway Arch serve as the backdrop for gourmet bites prepared by chef Rex Hale, such as house-smoked salmon chips, mini New England lobster rolls and Korean BBQ pork tacos. Save room for the sweet stuff; the desserts — especially the house-made Kit Kat bars — are among the best in the city. The 6,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space accommodates cozy fire pits, flat-screen TVs and several bars, making Three Sixty a year-round destination.

 

Insider's Tip: Cardinals fans, hold on to your ticket stub and get the $10 cover charge waived. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field, Three Sixty opens at least two hours before every home game.

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts / Debbie Franke  

POV in Washington, D.C.

POV in Washington, D.C.

To see the Washington Monument in all its recently unscaffolded glory, head to this trendy bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquettes and black wicker chairs are first-come, first-served, so we suggest arriving in plenty of time to watch the sun go down, or you may have to wait in line to board the elevator to the 11th floor. Drinks are expensive by D.C. standards, which makes it mostly a popular spot for tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here). But enjoying unobstructed views of Washington lit up at night has its price.

 

Insider's Tip: The scene is more club than cocktail bar after 10 p.m., so we suggest either springing for a table with bottle service next to the dance floor or, for a more economical option, meeting up around the corner at the Hamilton for dinner and drinks before taking in the view.

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Starwood / W Hotel  

Sevva in Hong Kong, China

Sevva in Hong Kong, China

If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong — and possibly even the world — look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. The 360-degree views of Norman Foster's HSBC Building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower from Sevva's wraparound terrace, combined with dazzling interiors that reflect owner Bonnie Gokson's iconic style, has made this the top spot for impressing out-of-towners. The well-coiffed crowd clamors for dishes such as baked truffled mac and cheese and signature crunch cake from the Taste Bar. Also popular is the traditional high tea, where you'll be Instagramming three tiers of Ms. B's treats — including chocolate fudge cake with marmalade and mini short rib burgers — as much as the scenery.

 

Insider's Tip: The Sevva terrace is an ideal vantage point for the popular "Symphony of Lights" laser show that illuminates Hong Kong's famous skyscrapers.

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Sevva  

The American Bar in Innsbruck, Austria

The American Bar in Innsbruck, Austria

End your day with a relaxing sundowner and panoramic views of the Alps on the heated rooftop terrace of Innsbruck's glass architectural gem, the Penz Hotel. Order the signature Fifth Floor cocktail, a Bellini Royal made of peaches and Champagne, or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. A bonus for hotel guests is that they can begin the day with an extensive breakfast buffet (with more fresh fruit than you can name) served against the same beautiful backdrop.

 

Insider's Tip: People who don't like smoke should be aware that cigars are permitted inside.

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The Penz Hotel  

New York Bar in Tokyo, Japan

New York Bar in Tokyo, Japan

This landmark bar, situated on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, served as the backdrop of Lost in Translation. Rather than shy away from the Sofia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. cocktail, made with sake, Sakura liqueur, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy panoramic views of Shinjuku; order from the extensive wine menu (which has more than 1,600 bottles to choose from); listen to live jazz; and try to get in a New York state of mind — while in Tokyo.

 

Insider's Tip: We recommend arriving before 6:30 p.m. to avoid a line, and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After 8 p.m., there is a cover charge of about $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt.

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Tokyo Park Hyatt  

Bramante Terrace in Rome, Italy

Bramante Terrace in Rome, Italy

Just one block from the Piazza Navona, atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multilevel rooftop garden boasts sweeping views of the Eternal City in the summer. Order an omelet of artichokes, red onions and fresh mint for lunch from chef Jean-Luc Fruneau's creative Mediterranean menu (now completely vegetarian), or watch the sun set between St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo over a dinner of fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil.

 

Insider's Tip: It's one of the most romantic places in Rome, so don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here!

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The Hotel Raphael  

Vue Bar in Shanghai, China

Vue Bar in Shanghai, China

Spread over Levels 32 and 33 of the five-star Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, China, Vue offers guests two floors and two distinct views overlooking the historic waterfront and the futuristic Pudong skyline on either side of the Huangpu River. Pull up a seat at this sophisticated lounge's circular cocktail bar or continue up the spiral staircase to the open-air terrace, where you can lounge in a four-poster daybed or take a dip in the marble whirlpool.

 

Insider's Tip: For those who can justify a $100-plus price tag, Vue's bottomless brunch is hard to beat: free-flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne, a Bloody Mary counter and chefs preparing dishes that include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche.

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Hyatt on the Bund  

Galaxy Restaurant & Bar in Athens, Greece

Galaxy Restaurant & Bar in Athens, Greece

The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis — and there's no place where it seems to glow more brightly than from the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar atop the Hilton Athens. A hot spot for locals and tourists, this chic open-air terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner. We suggest starting with one of the restaurant's inventive (read: not just Greek) salads or sesame-crusted seared tuna with caviar, pickled pearl onions, black and yellow cherries, and a truffle vinaigrette, followed by an assortment of sushi. Otherwise, try the surf 'n' turf — a beef tenderloin and lobster tail atop a sizzling hot stone.

 

Insider's Tip: If you can't snag a reservation, stop by for an aperitif. The bar typically opens two and a half hours before dinner service starts.

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts   

360 in Istanbul, Turkey

360 in Istanbul, Turkey

True to its name, this spot offers 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait that are enough to take your breath away — but so are the "special occasion" prices. Forgo 360's Turkish-fusion menu and instead, come early, score a coveted window seat and nurse your drink while snacking on stuffed olives and nuts before grabbing some street food nearby. On weekends, the restaurant turns into a club from around midnight until the wee hours, with avant-garde entertainment (including burlesque), up-and-coming DJs and well-mixed cocktails.

 

Insider's Tip: The unassuming entrance in the historic Misir Apartment building is easily missed, but don't let that deter you. Once you've entered the lobby, take the elevator directly to the eighth floor and follow the candlelit stairs.

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360 Istanbul Turkey  

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