Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2023

Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2023


New York

Inspired Korean cooking served at a New York counter

A rising star: This is a restaurant in the ascendancy in every way, sailing into the top 10 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants by rising 25 spots since last year and earning the Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2023. What’s more, it has leapfrogged its continental rivals to be ranked The Best Restaurant in North America. All this from a 14-seat basement counter spot on the edge of Koreatown in Manhattan.

Secret weapons: Chef Junghyun ‘JP’ Park and his wife and co-owner Ellia Park are, respectively, among the leading chefs and restaurateurs of their generation. Both grew up in Korea and have worked across the globe before settling together in New York, opening more casual eatery Atoboy in 2016, followed by the upscale Atomix in 2018 and newcomer Naro in late 2022. Last year, Atomix picked up the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award, reflecting the warmth and attention to detail that imbues its operations.

What to expect: A well-paced 12-course tasting menu of Korean-based but highly original plates, featuring world-class flavour and texture combinations. Each dish is served in beautiful bespoke ceramics accompanied by an explanatory cardm providing accessible information on the ingredients, origin and inspiration. With fermentation and other classic techniques to the fore, dishes vary from sea urchin with steamed carrot cake to kohlrabi with yellow beetroot and mussels; sea cucumber is served with shrimp and egg over rice, while just-grilled wagyu is contrasted with cold noodles.

What’s in the name? ‘Ato’ comes from the ancient Korean word for ‘gift’, which is precisely what the Parks want to give to the world by providing an unflashy but brilliant take on modern Korean cooking in the heart of the Big Apple.