When it comes to food, the choice is limitless, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s all good. From the affordable options like street food to the more luxurious free-flow brunches, this article is all about discovering a first-class dining destination around South East Asia that not only delivers amazing taste but also jaw-dropping views with chill vibes. Some restaurants offer a great range of cuisine in terms of region and sophistication, from Western to Eastern, right through to contemporary local cuisine. Some others feature unique locations with awe-inspiring views and artistic interiors.
Here, in this article, I compiled insights from our team around South East Asia. However, these restaurants are considered as high-end or fancy not only because of their pricing but also the taste and surroundings they try to keep up to deliver the best culinary journey.
PHILIPPINES – MANILA
Open in 1989, this is a fine dining restaurant in Manila that serves Filipino-Spanish dishes. Located in Intramuros, Ilustrado is the perfect place to go for foodies who love it when dishes have a good narrative behind them. Naturally, it is not for you if you are not a fan of Spanish cuisine. If you are, then you will absolutely love Illustrado which is one of the best restaurants in Manila.
China Blue by Jereme Leung
When it comes to restaurants in Manila city that reflect China’s rich culinary heritage, there is no place that compares to China Blue by Jereme Leung. Chef Leung is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed culinary master known for his ability to reinvent the wheel while remaining true to authentic Chinese recipes. A pioneer for modern Chinese cuisine, he creates masterpieces in fusion cuisine and serves an array of traditional and contemporary dishes in this fine-dining gem.
INDONESIA – JAKARTA
GAIA by OSO Ristorante
If you are a big fan of dining with a majestic view, you simply have to check out OSO Ristorante in Jakarta. Nestled on the 46th floor of The Plaza tower, you can indulge in a surreal dining-in-the-sky experience. The luxury interior will make a great ambience for your perfect romantic dinner. They serve a wide range of Italian dishes, from homemade pasta, and selections of meat and fish to delicious desserts such as Tiramisu, which is served according to the original 1956 recipe.
Al Nafoura at Le Meridien Jakarta
As you enter the premises of Al Nafoura, you’ll be greeted by its beautiful Lebanese interior design and charming fountains. The Arabic-influenced décor presents a romantic and warm environment, even in the daytime. At night, Al Nafoura appears to be more intimate with its strategically-placed dimmed lights and stone walls to create an exotic atmosphere, while the music creates a traditional Lebanese ambience. Here, you can choose from a menu of authentic Lebanese, Moroccan and Egyptian cuisines.
Patio Trattoria & Pizzeria
For Italian food lovers, this can be another recommendation. Once you’ve entered the patio, you’ll be escorted by the receptionist to the actual mansion! This is definitely not your usual Italian restaurant, as its interior is similar to an ‘80s Italian mansion that‘s usually owned by a mafia. If you walk around the mansion, you will see a lot of classic interiors and other wall art.
INDONESIA – BALI
di Mare at Karma Kandara
Dedicated to local ingredients and traditional Balinese cooking, this signature restaurant at Karma Kandara delivers a European-Asian style where ones can feast on the incredible views. The scenery on the hill, overlooking the best angle of the Indian Ocean, is truly wondrous, spotting the restaurant as one of the world’s most beautiful restaurants. Carrying a vision to always keep up quality to the highest level, the restaurant has become one of the most essential fine dining establishments in Bali. The chef has revamped the resort’s dining offerings, drawing upon their culinary influences to create bold flavours highlighted by the best in local produce.
To celebrate the 12 Days of Karma, Chef Joseph’s signature Caliwine-ication seasonal event closes 2022 with a “Christmas special” which will open the parade of 12 Days of Karma with a specially curated tasting menu of California cuisine paired with Hahn Family Wines from central coast California. Surely an event not to be missed! For the Christmas Eve dinner, you can celebrate it with their set menu dinner at di Mare where the children of Bali Life Foundation will be singing Christmas carols. Alternatively, grab the kids and head over to di Mare for the Christmas brunch. Heading down to the beach, there will be a unique opportunity to enjoy Balinese’s cultural heritage – the palatial-styled dinner – that was once reserved for Balinese kings and members of royalty. This dinner will be enhanced by a performance of theatrical Balinese Kecak Dance.
ENVY Restaurant & Bar at Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
ENVY Restaurant & Bar is the first of its kind to bring a new dimension to the dining and entertainment scene on the revamped beach lands of Tuban with its designer cool seat restaurant, LED-lit bar, DJ and range of chill-out relaxation zones featuring state of art RGB led set lighting effects which allow distinctive moods to be created as sunset shifts to dinner and after dark lounging. The ultra-stylish restaurant features an open-air layout that has been purposefully designed to take full advantage of the expansive stretch of beachfront and sunset views and is all about chilled island glamour whether by day or by night. Even the guest can see the best sunset from ENVY.
Guest can listen to the latest international mix of sophisticated grooves by Envy’s DJ whilst enjoying expressly designed cocktails on lounges in canopied pavilions privately divided by low-slung walls for tête-à-tête affairs, on romantic beds on the beach with sofa cabanas and double sun loungers, or perched amongst the crowds at the stylish bar on funky stools.
Envy’s main dining area is flanked by an expansive stretch of lawn and marked by an open kitchen which features a world-class stone hearth oven by Beech and a famous volcanic rock grill serving an array of pizzas, and prime cuts including beef, poultry, pork, seafood, fish and an array of gourmet sausages. The mainly Italian-inspired menu created by Envy’s Executive Chef focuses on dishes that are presented with a true passion for flavour. We want to keep the food at Envy ‘real’. The concept here is dynamic quality food cooked with a bit of sassiness and flair to complement the concept of Envy and its dazzling location whether for a lunchtime meal or dinner.
Kayumanis Resto Jimbaran
This restaurant celebrates authentic Indonesian cuisine in the best possible way with a menu that takes guests on a flavourful journey across the archipelago. The venue itself is a customized Javanese joglo designed to recreate the cultural nuance of a bygone era. Nestled within a tropical garden, Kayumanis Resto is the perfect spot for an intimate or to dine socially with family and friends.
Inspired by classic Indonesian architecture, Kayumanis Resto is housed within a replica of a Javanese joglo. It is crafted almost entirely from sustainably sourced hardwood and captures the rustic elegance of a traditional family home. Set against a garden of dancing coconut palms, this charming dining venue is defined by its high rooftop and wrap-around veranda. The interior décor is tastefully understated with just a few strategically placed artefacts and an inlay of hand-painted floor tiles. A stylish open-plan bar is the main focal point where drinks are prepared with artistic flair.
This signature restaurant of Kayumanis Nusa Dua Private Villa and Spa favours a slightly more up-market design but still maintains the Kayumanis flair for style and visual appeal. To be considered one of the best restaurants in Nusa Dua, Bali, the main dining area is an enclosed environment of clear glass to create a sense of spaciousness that belies its actual size. Individual rods of polished bamboo appears to line the ceiling making for an interesting blend of modern and traditional elements. Outdoor dining accommodates only a couple of intimate table settings against a waterway backdrop and a giant fire urn that is lit after dark.
Piasan Restaurant has moved away from the typical concept of a la carte dining and has instead implemented a series of set menus. Dishes tend to vary depending on what choice products happen to be available on any given day. This restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Bali that has set to capture the ritual of typical Italian home dining which is a delicious feast of well-prepared food and social interaction.
Open for lunch and dinner, Piasan Restaurant is set to add a touch of contemporary class to the dining options that already exist within the exclusive Nusa Dua enclave. Reservations are recommended.
L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo
Ideally situated on the highest floor of the resort with a magnificent view of the ocean and tropical gardens, L’Atelier is the exclusive studio of Cyril Kongo where he will transform his vision into an Haute space, modern-contemporary gallery and much more. This Asian-French artist will transform the 144 sqm space into an iconic, bold and artistic atelier. Inspired by the unity in diversity of this majestic resort, Cyril Kongo has discovered the perfect stage to bring his art and effortless savoir-faire to Indonesia. His passion is to create bridges between universes: between the know-how and culture of Indonesia and his know-how and multicultural background. Cyril Kongo is one of the world’s leading artists in the graffiti art scene who has made headlines in the art world with his collaborations with Hermès, Richard Mille, Daum, La Cornue and Chanel.
Akira Back is a contemporary Japanese fine dining restaurant in South Beach, Singapore, named after the eponymous celebrity chef’s latest venture. It is one of several dining concepts run by the hotel. For starters, this fine dining restaurant in Singapore has an interior that is anything but traditional. There is a communal dining table, as well as a bar and intimate spaces for additional dining privacy. It is conveniently accessible from the same lift lobby of the Marriott property, which makes it easy to get to if you are staying there.
The menu is divided into categories such as cold and hot dishes, sushi, sashimi, rolls, and main meals. It’s a pretty big selection of food, but the innovative twists can be seen throughout. In this excellent dining restaurant, service is both skilled and competent. If you’re in the area or searching for a contemporary take on Japanese cuisine, this is definitely one of the top fine dining restaurants to try.
When people think of genuine Singaporean cuisine, fine dining isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Chef-Owner LG Han, on the other hand, allows you to see (and taste) for yourself how elegantly and delicately he transforms popular local dishes at Labyrinth, a fine dining restaurant.
The restaurant Labyrinth has been given a makeover at the Esplanade Mall, with tables and lighting redistributed every service to match the number of visitors. Diners at Restaurant Labyrinth may enjoy family heirlooms on the walls as well as modern cuisine and traditional procedures blended into paintings. The lunch and dinner menus are virtually identical, with only minor variations influenced by the fruit’s seasonality. The meals are all set courses, each for a different service of the day.
You might’ve tried all the Korean fried chicken and K-BBQ joints around town, but have you gone for Korean fine dining in Hong Kong? Hansik Goo, a Michelin-starred establishment, has its own unpretentious ambience with simplistic but elegant interiors enhanced by warm wood. The menus at Hansik Goo change seasonally, but they always stay true to authentic ingredients and techniques.
The tasting menu also features a set of starters, with the current one showcasing corn and zucchini. Next comes Naengchae (Korean cold salad), usually consisting of seasonal seafood, fruit, and vegetables. Exclusive to the summer/autumn 2022 menu, you’ll find the hearty but refreshing Kong Guksu (Korean bean soup noodle); Patbingsu – a shaved ice dessert made with mascarpone cheese snow, homemade red bean paste, and ice cream; amongst others.
Inspired by nature and serenity, Arbor welcomes guests in a relaxing bohemian ambience that invokes the feeling of the forest and offers panoramic views of the city from its home in H Queen’s. A perfect place for fine dining, business meetings, leisurely drinks or even celebrations, the restaurant serves innovative French cuisine and offers three- to four-course lunch and brunch, as well as three different nine-course menus for dinner. Seasonal dishes are made using French gastronomy techniques and premium ingredients mainly from Japan.
THAILAND – BANGKOK
Issaya Siamese Club
Opened its doors in December 2011 and has been a foodie favourite ever since, Issaya Siamese Club has both a dining room as well as an outdoor seating area for guests to enjoy. The restaurant sits in a 100-year-old Thai villa with decor that is a unique combination of traditional Thai architecture mixed with a fresh and contemporary style.
61 floors above the city is where you will find Vertigo at the Banyan Tree. Vertigo is just one of the luxury dining options that the Banyan Tree offers. While the other restaurants and bars are hard to compete with, Vertigo’s view of the city is impossible to top. The restaurant opens at 6PM but it’s recommended to be there before to watch as the sun sets over Thailand’s capital. Vertigo has an a la carte menu, or guests can choose from a 4-course or 5-course set dinner. Top off your evening with one of Vertigo’s signature cocktails, such as the classic Vertigo Sunset.
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
Inside the luxurious Siam Kempinski Hotel in Bangkok, you will find Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin. This restaurant just rolled out an entirely new menu in September 2016, titled ‘The Journey.’ While Sra Bua was already a good contender for some of the best food in Bangkok, this restaurant certainly stepped up its game with its new dishes, some of which include grilled squid, beef massaman with potatoes and much more. Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin is open daily for lunch from 12PM to 3PM and for dinner from 6PM to 11PM.