A Top Sommelier’s Favourite Hidden Restaurants

I love restaurants in all shapes and sizes but those that sit off the beaten track hold a special place in my heart…

Rajat Parr oversees the wine operation of the Michael Mina group of restaurants and is considered one of the world’s most celebrated sommeliers.

For more tips you can follow him on Twitter @sandhiwines.

Ma Cuisine. Beaune, France.

This is a very small, husband and wife run place that is typical of Burgundy. Cluttered and rustic, it’s got a killer wine list with over 650 bottles and the food is sublime. Escargots, beef stew, squab roasted in its own juices and a classic Coq au Vin are memorable, but the Foie Gras and local creamy cheese board are the highlights.

Suggested Enterprise Pick-Up Point: Dijon, 26 miles.

Asador Etxebarri. Atxondo, Spain.

Everything they cook they cook on a grill. There are two chefs, one oven and a grill and that is it. It’s very traditional Basque food with great ingredients, it’s just an incredible restaurant – everything is smoky and amazing. The wood they cook over is from local orange, oak and apple trees. The smoked baby eels are something I’ll remember forever.

Suggested Enterprise Pick-Up Point: Bilbao, 25 miles.

Il Centro. Priocca, Italy.

The cellar was my main reason for visiting here, with the Barolos being the main draw, but the food was incredible. Lots of different pasta dishes with shavings of white truffle, great grilled veal all served inside a very traditionally high-end Italian setting. A must if you’re in Piedmont.

Suggested Enterprise Pick-Up Point: Turin, 37 miles.

Landhaus Bacher, Mautern, Austria.

Austria doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. This place used to be a roadside shack but is now mecca for foodies. It’s out in the Wachau Valley, and is famed for its use of local products and foliage. Austria’s reputation as a great wine country is fairly new, and here you’ll find the best the country offers. The Ravioli from tri-tip of beef was the standout on the summer tasting menu.

Suggested Enterprise Pick-Up Point: Munich, 240 miles.

Le Mangevins. Tain L’Hermitage, France.

I love this place, it’s where all the local winemakers hang out. Run by a Franco-Japanese couple, the décor is all wine barrels and wooden cladding, with bar stools and shabby comfortable chairs to sit on. The menu is incredibly small, but this only adds to the quality. The slow cooked lamb with local vegetables is what all the locals eat. Extensive list of Northern Rhone wines and desserts made with the local Valrhona chocolate.

Suggested Enterprise Pick-Up Point: Valence, 12 miles.