If you follow me on Instagram (@michellelovestoeat) then you know I’ve been promising this post since before we even left to Morocco (more on that on a future post, I promise!) and even though I could give you a bazillion reasons on why I’m only posting it now, I know you’re not here to read that, so here’s my top 8 foods (and respective restaurants) that made 2017 the most delicious year so far 😉
Disclaimer: these are in no particular order, and it’s just based on my opinion and my experience. That does not mean that I didn’t like the other restaurants I visited this year, is just a matter of reducing it to my absolute favourites in terms of menu, food quality, creativity/innovation, and overall experience. But I’m always open and excited to hear your own take on this, so comment your top foods of 2017 below!
1. Wasabi-crusted strip steak at Jade Sushi and New Asian | Orlando, US
This is my absolute favourite restaurant in Orlando. As much as I enjoy to try new places every chance that I have, I’ve found that Jade is always the place to go when you’re looking for something exciting, innovative and captivating.
They’re on this list because of their incredibly delicious Wasabi-crusted strip steak. With an outstanding amount of flavour thanks to their unique seasoning, and the most delightful texture, this is a dish I could eat over and over again, and never get tired of it. Read more about my foodventure at Jade here.
2. Tapas at Ibérica | Manchester, UK
I know, I know, this is cheating because it’s technically two different dishes, but I couldn’t pick just one from our visit to Ibérica. Their octopus a la gallega is exquisite, and the mix of textures between the octopus, the potatoes and that creamy sauce on top make every bite heavenly.
On the other hand, their croquetas de jamón are to die for. I have a hard time sharing these because I love them too much (hey, ask G!). I don’t know if it’s the unique jamón Serrano flavour, the creaminess, or just the combination of all things, but these are addictive, and everyone should try them at least once.
Read about our tapas and wine foodventure at Ibérica here.
3. Roast pheasant at Taisteal | Edinburgh, UK
If we want to talk about an exciting menu with the most captivating dishes that combine influences from a variety of cuisines, while integrating local ingredients to create what looks like a piece of art and not ‘just another dish’: Taisteal is the way to go.
Words cannot describe how unique their menu was, and the fact that they’re constantly changing it to keep innovating and giving you reasons to come back makes me want to buy a ticket to Edinburgh ASAP. The pheasant was outstanding, because the combination of flavours in this dish was one-of-a-kind, yet once you took a bite, it all made so much sense.
Read about all the amazing things we tried here.
4. Fress burger at Fress | Manchester, UK
You can probably see the common ground in all the foods and restaurants I’m naming so far. I’m all about creative dishes that blow my mind and palate at the same time, and the Fress burger was no exception to this. I tried it on my first visit to Fress when they first opened in the Northern Quarter and I still remember how much I enjoyed that very first bite (and the rest of it too, duh!).
Fress is always coming up with some crazy bites that end up working in the best way possible (remember croque monsieur?) so if you’re looking at their menu and thinking that something sounds amazing (and maybe a bit crazy), it’ll be even better than what you expect. Another thing that I love about Fress is their staff! They’re all lovely and always attentive to make sure you have the best experience. Read more about the Fress burger (and other delicious dishes) here.
5. Hibiscus & Guac tacos at Hunger Street Tacos | Winter Park, US
This is another dish that, even though I haven’t had it in such a long time (seriously, you have no idea on how much I miss these tacos! I haven’t found a good
not even decent taco place in Manchester yet), I still remember how delicious it was, and more importantly, how this entire foodventure made me feel.
Hunger Street Tacos is definitely worth all the social media hype, not just because of their unique concept and beautiful set up, but because of the exceptional quality of all the dishes they offer, and the even more impressive quality of their staff. My favourite taco, from the last time I visited them back in April, is still the hibiscus and guac taco. Their guacamole is like no other, and the seasoning is completely on point, making this dish a superior one. To the point where no tacos feel the same after I tried these! Nothing compares to Hunger Street Tacos quality and flavour (and I promise they’re not paying me to say that).
We had even more delicious tacos, and you should read about them here.
6. Avocado bagel at 19 Cafe Bar | Manchester, UK
Because one brunch spot is not enough, I had to include my favourite place for eating bacon and drinking a good cup of coffee! (specially if it’s one of their seasonal offers). 19 Cafe Bar is a hidden gem that you probably have walked by more than a couple of times if you’ve ever been in Piccadilly Gardens, yet once you pay them a visit, your life (and brunch) won’t be the same.
From the cozy feeling you get when you step inside, to the kind attention and smiles the staff give you every time they come to the table, this is my go-to place when I want to start my day right. And if you’re a bacon and avocado lover like me, their open bagel is the way to go. This is a brunch classic done right, with our favourite bacon in town (and believe me, we’ve tried a lot of bacon!), so I just couldn’t skip it in my list of top foods of 2017.
Read more about our first time brunching at 19 Cafe Bar here.
7. Vietnamese Crave at SmokeShed | Manchester, UK
You knew this was coming, right? I mean, I’ve posted these loaded curly fries way too many times on my Instagram stories so it’s no surprise to anyone that SmokeShed is on my list of favourites of 2017.
Not only their menu is incredibly creative and unique (yes, we got that from all the restaurants on this list), but the way they season everything gives it a homemade feeling without taking anything from it. This is not food for my stomach, it’s food for my soul. Another thing that you’ll probably love? Their prices! You can eat for less than £10 without a problem, and I promise you’ll end up more than satisfied 😉
The Vietnamese crave is my go-to because: a) I love curly fries so much, and theirs are PERFECT, b) Their smoked chicken is so tasty and delicious, and they put lots of it in this dish!, c) The Sriracha mayo is BOMB and their seasoning brings all the flavours together to make every bite absolutely delightful. Read more about this foodventure (because we tried A LOT OF FOOD) here.
8. Every single board at Bakerie | Manchester, UK
Yes, I know, I’m cheating again, but I cannot pick just one favourite! I’ve tried every single one of Bakerie’s boards and they’re all so unique and delicious, it all depends on your mood that day and your preferences. My favourite thing is being able to customise it depending on what you’re craving (and depending on their specials, too!) so you can have a completely different and unique board every time you visit them.
All the ingredients are incredibly fresh and delicious, and the bread that comes with the boards is always baked in-house, so you get the best quality in every way possible. Another great thing, of course, is their wine menu. They have an amazing selection, so there’s something for every person, and if you follow them closely on social media, you can find some really great deals to get even more bang for your buck 😉 Bakerie is a must if you’re in the Northern Quarter, and you can read my full opinion here.
Well, that’s it! I hope it wasn’t too long and boring. If you made it all the way here, THANK YOU. Don’t forget to comment or message me your favourite foods and restaurants of 2017, and let me know if you’ve tried any of the ones I’ve mentioned here. Do you have any recommendations on things and places I should try in 2018? I’d love to hear from you!
Finally, if you’re a fellow foodie, a restaurant or a brand and think we could work together, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m sure we can create something delicious 😉
That’s it for today, guys. It feels good to be back after a well deserved break. I’ll talk to you sooner than later.