No. 50: Europea
This elegant restaurant started small over a decade ago, then expanded twice within the same Victorian house, in the process growing from 35 to 80 seats
But its layout—spread over three floors—maintains intimacy in every setting. This is chef Jérôme Ferrer’s flagship restaurant, and it is not just a freestanding Relais & Chateaux (in the gastronomic category formerly anointed Grand Chef ), but also one of only two restaurants in the country to be included as a member of Les Grands Tables du Monde. So, expect a correspondingly formal experience, deeply professional and courteous service, and a meal served with fanfare and many old school formalities (amuse-bouche, mignardises, et cetera).
Chef Ferrer hails from Languedoc, and his cooking is assertively French—but rooted in the Quebec terroir, and infused with a lot of New World levity. A signature lobster bisque is frothed and so becomes a lobster “cappuccino.” Even classic French farm country dishes are treated to a sensible update—like chicken baked en cocotte in alfalfa and hay gets swapped for a Cornish hen, the customarily pallid skin blowtorched bronze before serving.
Mostly, though, the cooking is more elaborate: say, foie gras torchon plated with crispy langoustines, with citrus caramel—and a miniature smoothie of carrot, apple and ginger. Invariably, at least one dish will be dramatically unveiled from beneath a cloche filled with smoke.