Galleries and museums across the globe are increasingly realising that their artistic masterpieces deserve to be paired with a truly special culinary experience. Today, restaurants in art galleries are moving away from pre-prepared sandwiches and lukewarm soup and towards Michelin stars and designer interiors.
The Wallace Restaurant
The Wallace Collection, London
With trees and flowers dotted around the courtyard and sun streaming in through the glass ceiling, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were dining in the heart of the English countryside, rather than mere minutes from Oxford Street in London’s thriving West End. Peyton and Byrne’s brasserie at The Wallace Collection offers a menu featuring classical European fare with a modern update, including dishes such as razor clams with seaweed cracker and parsley purée. Open late on Friday and Saturday evenings, the à la carte menu is a treat to be savored, while there’s no better place for a mid-week breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea in London.
CHISWICK at The Gallery
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
The simplicity of the decor at CHISWICK at The Gallery belies its sophisticated dishes, which have an emphasis on seasonal produce from local suppliers. This philosophy stretches to the restaurant’s cocktail menu, which features a rhubarb bellini and several unusual homemade sodas. With fantastic views over Woolloomooloo and Sydney Harbour, this is the perfect spot for lunch after a morning browsing the gallery’s fine art collection. The elegant restaurant offers a Collective Menu designed for sharing, available for larger parties.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Executive chef Renée Bellefeuille, formerly of The Drake Hotel, expertly combines international flavors and locally sourced ingredients to create delicate and innovative dishes. The restaurant’s tour de force has to be its limited-edition specialty menus, which are inspired by the museum’s current exhibitions. Designed by renowned Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based architect Frank Gehry, every detail of this award-winning restaurant’s interior is beautifully considered and a worthy accompaniment to the menu.
Brooklyn Museum, New York
It’s rare that a restaurant actually overtakes its museum location as an area’s primary attraction, but that might just be the case with Saul. The Michelin-starred restaurant wasn’t originally part of the Brooklyn Museum, and enjoyed a very successful 14 years in the neighborhood before recently relocating to the museum grounds. Owned by the eponymous chef Saul Bolton, the restaurant serves up gastronomic delights, from old favorites to innovative new dishes. Guests can choose from à la carte, prix fixe, or chef’s tasting menus, all made with the freshest products and ingredients from artisanal suppliers.
The Getty Center, Los Angeles
Take in the museum’s extensive collection of art and architecture and then work up an appetite with a stroll through the center’s landscaped gardens. With beautiful views over the mountains of Santa Monica, The Restaurant provides an ideal setting for a relaxing lunch, and the seasonal menus make the most of fresh, local produce.
The Museum of Arts and Design, New York
As you would expect from a restaurant located at the top of one of the world’s foremost museums of design, the decor at Robert is second-to-none. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park and Broadway (at Columbus Circle), and an attention-grabbing color theme running throughout the restaurant’s design, it’s both contemporary and elegant. This, coupled with an excellent menu crafted by executive chef Luisa Fernandes, has already earned Robert an Opentable Diners’ Choice 2016 award. Try to time your visit to coincide with one of the restaurant’s many live jazz sessions for a true Manhattan night out.