We spend our entire lives, literally, eating. Three meals a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. Anything from canned tuna and grilled cheese (simple, but delicious) to prix fixe eight-course meals will do the trick.
When traveling, it’s always exciting to try new cuisine, especially something a little more upscale than usual. Take it a step further with some of the most exclusive dining experiences around the world.
We’ve rounded up four below. They may be once-in-a-lifetime treats, but you’ve got to eat, so why not make it interesting every now and then?
A Renaissance Dining Experience in Italy
A luxuriously restored Renaissance villa set within the sloping hills of Fiesole, Il Salviatino, a once a humble 15th-century farmhouse that’s since been refurbished by local families, is just a stone’s throw from the Florence city centre. The villa, which used to be a gathering place for artists, performers and intellectuals, is now a 44-room luxury hotel with some of the most stunning views Tuscany has to offer.
But that’s not all. The hotel is run by one of the most well-connected teams in Italy, which means cultural after-hours dinners can be arranged for guests amongst some of the most notable art pieces in Italy in places like the Museo Nazionale del Bargello and Accademia (where Michelangelo's masterpiece, the David, is housed).
Dinner menus are created by Il Salviatino’s Executive Chef Stefano Santo based on hotel guests’ likes, dislikes and special requests.
A Moonlit Mesa in Mexico
A chic and sophisticated beach resort on Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, W Punta de Mita offers an edgy, laid-back escape that pays homage to the region’s indigenous population and bohemian local surf culture. Guests here can enjoy fresh ceviche served from a vintage Chevy truck, before or after an agave and tequila facial at the (also) locally-inspired spa.
A next-level, VIP dining experience here, though, is really where it’s at. Guests can reserve Mesa1 for an unforgettable night. What does this mean, exactly? The opportunity to dine under the stars, to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, at just one dinner table located on its own private oceanfront island, with just one daily seating.
Take it all in during an intimate chef’s dinner with up to twelve of your favorite family members or friends.
A Lakeside Pachamanca in Peru
When in Cusco, Peru, do as the Incas do and try a traditional Pachamanca dish. This sacred meal celebrates life, the food represents a source of fertility for Mother Earth (or Pachamama) and a symbol of thanks.
Just an hour outside of Cusco in the magical Sacred Valley, the team of chefs at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco—a 16th-century convent transformed into a five-star hotel—expertly recreate this ancient tradition and cook a complete meal underground.
First, they fill a hole with stacked stones that are heated with firewood. Then, the ingredients (meats, potatoes, vegetables and Andean cheese) are wrapped in “packets” made of banana leaves (like a tamale) and carefully layered over the heated stones. The cooking pit, or huatia, is covered with damp sacks and about six inches of soil to prevent steam and smoke from escaping.
Finally, after an hour, the food is dug up and unwrapped, revealing a delicious Andean feast unlike any other.
Chef’s Table in a Costa Rican Rainforest Bungalow
Tucked away amid 900 acres of lush rainforest near the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, you’ll find Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa. An upscale escape known for its natural hot springs and waterfalls (and let’s not forget the soothing sounds of nature and wild animals that make up the Tabacon soundtrack), Tabacon also offers private rainforest dinners for its guests.
Reserve a bungalow and the resort’s chef will prepare a multi-course, al fresco menu based on your individual preferences and dietary restrictions. The sky's the limit, and past dinners have included razor clams topped with jalapeño and tobiko flakes, homemade ramen and Tabacon’s signature proprietary craft beer. Is your mouth watering yet?