It's my favorite post of the year, and it's coming to you 7 weeks late. I've been so blessed to have visited four countries in 2019, and thus I indulged in a lot of delicious food. From Budapest to Australia, I found something I loved every step of the way. In Budapest, I relished in coffee and dessert at the world's most beautiful cafe. In Vienna, I was on the hunt for the best Apple Strudel and was successful in finding one. And finally, In Australia, I had some of the best Asian food in my life. Furthermore, it may come as a surprise to you (and me), the best thing I ate in 2019 wasn't in New York City, but rather Newport Beach, California. I know right! Without further ado, let's get to it! Here are the 13 Best Things I Ate in 2019.
New York City | Orange County, CA | Budapest, Hungary | Vienna, Austria | Malta | Sydney, Australia | Melbourne, Australia
1. Wild Mushroom Risotto at Andrea, Newport Coast, California
Andrea's Wild Mushroom Risotto easily goes down as the best thing I ate in 2019. The risotto is mixed in with a barrel-aged cheese wheel, hence you can only imagine how rich and indulgent this risotto tastes. A classy Italian restaurant located at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast.
2. Pappardelle Bolognese at Babbo Ristorante, New York City
When it comes to Italian food, you gotta go to New York City. Pappardelle Bolognese was the best pasta dish of 2019. The freshly made pappardelle is tossed in a beef bolognese sauce and good quality olive oil. This dish is simply out of this world. It's not often that I'll indulge in red meat, but when it's this good, I absolutely will. Additionally, the Cranberry and Mascarpone Cheesecake is to die for.
3. Apple Strudel at Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker, Vienna, Austria
This ornate and cozy cafe is located across from the Vienna Opera House. You'll find the most dainty finger sandwiches and scrumptious desserts at Gerstner. Everything here was seriously good, however, the Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel) was the best apple strudel I had in all of Vienna. My husband and I ordered the Apple Strudel everywhere we went, and Gerstner takes the cake. Additionally, the Viennese Coffee at this beautiful cafe is excellent. Overall, my favorite cafe of 2019.
4. Pepes Ikan at TemptAsian Restaurant & Lounge, Sliema, Malta
Located at the AX The Palace Hotel, TemptAsian is a romantic Pan-Asian lounge offering stunning views of Malta. While the service is a bit slow, but super friendly, the food here is outstanding. The Pepek Ikan which is essentially a steamed fillet of sea bream served with Asian flavors all wrapped up in a banana leaf. This dish had so much flavor and is highly memorable. Additionally, the Chicken Penang was another favorite making TemptAsian one of my favorite restaurants of 2019.
5. Chilean Sea Bass with Thai Green Curry at Starfish Laguna, Laguna Beach, California
Now that I'm living in Orange County, I'm always on the hunt for the best restaurants. Starfish Laguna is one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. To begin with, the food is consistently delicious and the ambiance is very zen-like. My favorite dish here is easily the Chilean Sea Bass cooked in a Thai Green Curry sauce. The side of beans are heavenly too. This dish literally melts in your mouth, it's outstanding.
6. Lemon Cake at Filippo Italian Restaurant, Marsaxlokk, Malta
Marsaxlokk is a picturesque fishing village in Malta. Given its proximity to Italy, Malta is known to have incredible Italian food. One place not to be missed is Filippo Italian Restaurant which offers the fresh catch of the day. With that said, the best item here was the light and fluffy Lemon Cake which was to die for and the best dessert I ate in 2019. It's even better with a cup of cappuccino.
7. Tuscan Kale Campanelle at Rubirosa Ristorante, New York City
While the pizza at Rubirosa is amazing, the Tuscan Kale Campanelle pasta dish stole my heart. Where do I even begin? Campanelle pasta cooked in a garlic cream sauce with kale and wild mushrooms hit the spot. I could eat this dish every single day. Like I said earlier, you simply can't go wrong with New York City Italian food.
8. Shaam Savera and Pudina Murgh Tikka at The Yellow Chilli, Tustin, California
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's The Yellow Chilli location in Tustin, California, is the best! The food is on point. There were so many dishes here that were favorites of mine that I couldn't choose just one. It's a tie between Chef Kapoor's signature dish Shaam Savera and Pudina Murgh Tikka. Additionally, both the Butter Chicken and Lalla Mussa Dal were fantastic. My favorite Indian restaurant in Orange County.
9. Lobster Dumplings at Rice Paper Scissors, Melbourne, Australia
Don't look past the Lobster Dumplings that are filled with lobster, pork, ginger, and chives and topped with chili oil. This trendy Asian spot offers Asian street food in the heart of Melbourne. Other favorites include the Thai Ceviche, Thai Sangria, and the Tempura Eggplant Salad. A must-do when in Melbourne.
10. Shitake and Eggplant Tempura at Sokyo, Sydney, Australia
There were many memorable dishes at Sokyo, a fine Japanese restaurant in Sydney, however, the Shitake and Eggplant Tempura was outstanding and flavored to perfection. A combination of sweet and spicy with a ton of ginger flavor. Other must-dos include the Kingfish Miso Ceviche, Miso Glazed Cod, and Queensland Roll. Sokyo is located at The Darling Hotel in Sydney.
11. Chilean Sea Bass at Mayur, Corona del Mar, California
Flash cooked in a clay oven at 800 degrees, the Chilean Sea Bass is perhaps one of the best fish dishes I’ve had to date. The sizzling platter arrived with peppers, onions, and succulent sea bass. If you only order one thing at Mayur, let it be the sea bass. Outstanding!
12. Traditional Cardamom Chai at The Chai Spot, New York City
Every time I go back to NYC, I head to The Chai Spot for chai. I love their arrangement - you order your tea, take your shoes off, and sit on gaddis and relax. The chai here tastes and feels like home, I literally feel I'm home when I'm there. It's one of my favorite chai spot and place to hang out in the city.
13. Coffee & Dessert at New York Cafe, Budapest, Hungary
Famously known as, "the most beautiful cafe in the world", New York Cafe is a must-do when in Budapest. The desserts and coffee/tea here are all delicious, but you go here for the experience. An opulent, over the top grandiose palace-like cafe that's the perfect stop for coffee. Yes, it's a bit pricy, but as I said, it's an experience you won't regret. Now make reservations ahead of time else you'll find yourself waiting in line.
And that concludes the 13 best things I ate in 2019. Now tell me what and where did you eat the best thing in 2019?