8 Museum Restaurants Around the Globe Worth Traveling For

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8 Museum Restaurants Around the Globe Worth Traveling For
Museum food once meant stale sandwiches and wilted salads served in dismal settings (basement cafeteria, anyone?). But today, cultural institutions entice audiences who are just as hungry for art as they are for, well, extraordinary food. Here are eight of our favourite museum restaurants.
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    RAY’S AND STARK BAR
    LACMA, Los Angeles

    Behind Chris Burden's Instagram-ready Urban Light installation is this Renzo Piano-designed restaurant with an outdoor patio that’s perfect for people watching. But you're here for the Mediterranean-inspired menu of thin-crust pizzas, homemade pastas, and salads made with farm-fresh ingredients. Thirsty? The bar has more than a dozen mineral water varietals (really!) on tap. This is California, after all.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF PATINA RESTAURANT GROUP
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    M. WELLS DINETTE
    MoMa PS1, New York

    With its communal tables and chalkboard menu, this cafeteria-style dinette may look like a classroom—the building was once a schoolhouse—though the menu is anything but elementary. The brainchild of a Quebecois husband-and-wife team, the menu features dishes that are as experimental as the art hanging in the museum’s walls (think veal cheek stroganoff and Foie Gras bread pudding).

    PHOTO COURTESY OF M. WELLS DINETTE
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    NERUA
    Guggenheim, Bilbao

    Like an artist in the studio, Chef Josean Alija and his kitchen staff work on a spring, summer, and fall/winter menu one year before it reaches the hands of guests. They source from local producers, study ingredients and their uses throughout history, experiment with different cooking techniques, and, finally, settle on a degustation menu consisting of nine, 14, and 21 items. Reservations a must.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF NERUA
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    UNTITLED

    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

    Glass, poured concrete floors, wood furniture, and Robert Indiana's The Electric Eat sign set the scene at this restaurant designed by Renzo Piano. Inside is Gramercy Tavern’s chef Michael Anthony who presents modern American dishes (shrimp, kabocha squash, parsnip soup) like works of art.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF UNTITLED

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    RIJKS
    Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

    Dutch masters. You see their works hanging on the walls of the museum and, if you’re smart enough to book a table at Rijks, you savour dishes prepared with local ingredients and inspired by flavors that have influenced Dutch cuisine through history. Try the salt-crusted pigeon with apple cream, parsnip and Bécasse sauce.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF RIJKS
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    PASTEL

    Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv

    Located in the museum’s new wing overlooking the sculpture garden, Pastel blends its angular architectural surroundings with classic brasserie décor—think wood floors, marble surfaces, Art Nouveau lighting, gilded metal, and upholstered booths. The burger, which comes with an aioli chipotle sauce, French fries, and beet mustard, is as playfully presented and mouthwatering as the whole seared sea bass with zucchini and olives.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF PASTEL

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    MONSIEUR BLEU

    Palais de Tokyo, Paris

    You’ll be hard pressed to decide what is more impressive at Monsieur Bleu: a gorgeous restaurant designed by local Joseph Dirand or the menu by Chef Benjamin Masson. There’s the dramatic dining room featuring soaring ceilings, giant geometric chandeliers, and green velvet chairs. There are the dreamy views of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. And, of course, the Brasserie-style cuisine that takes comfort food, such as the suckling pig with mashed potatoes, to a new level.

    PHOTO COURTEST OF MONSIEUR BLEU

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    COURTESY OF LAURENT BENOIT, TOURISM ST BARTHS/SAINTBARTH