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5 museum restaurants serving food that could be mistaken for art

It’s been an established fact that the available food in museums are generally not great yet always overpriced. Comparable to that of economy-class airplane food, you’d be lucky to even find a decent hotdog to fill your stomach while indulging in some culture. Thankfully, there’s a new wave of museum restaurants around the world that promises to up the ante for museum food.

More often than not, at least one museum is on the itinerary whenever you visit a new country. Different kinds of museums offer you a particular insight into that country’s culture. Whether it’s an art, historical, or a natural museum, the result is always the same: you leave feeling enlightened, cultured, and educated.

Perhaps another significant item on your itinerary during your travels would also be notable restaurants to visit. Well, what if we told you that you could kill two birds with one stone and tick off two items on your itinerary with just one visit? These museum restaurants we’ve listed are certainly worth a second thought.

Take for example, Nerua at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The restaurant’s head chef is the award-winning Josean Alija. At Nerua, their menus are given a year-long thought before finally arriving on the diner’s plates. His creations are modern and artful, focusing on fresh local produce.

Closer to home is Odette in National Gallery of Singapore, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant. If the pastel interiors don’t already capture your heart, the dishes are sure to. The menu features contemporary French cuisine but with an Asian touch that would certainly agree with our palate.

So the next time you visit a museum to soak in the culture, pay these museum restaurants a visit as well, to dine in an artsy setting.

Esker Grove, Walker Art Center Minneapolis

First, visit the Walker Art Center to check out the contemporary art and see the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Then, treat yourself to a nice meal at Esker Grove, where the contemporary visuals continue into the restaurant’s interiors and experimental menu by chef Doug Flicker.

Esker Grove, 723 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA, +1 612-375-7542.

Otium, The Broad Museum LA

It could easily be mistaken for the one of the most hip and swanky restaurant in town, and you’re right — except that it’s located next to The Broad Museum in LA. The interiors are planned in a way to encourage socialising, evident by the layout of the bar. The cuisine is not pretentious, but instead takes casual American favourites and gives them an elegant twist.

Otium, 222 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA, +1213-935-8500.

Nerua, Guggenheim Bilbao

While you dine, on one side you will get a view of contemporary artwork at the Guggenheim Museum and on the other hand, the view of the Nervión River. Head chef Josean Alija works closely with local producers to ensure the quality of the ingredients is adjacent to the end result of his dishes.

Nerua, Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48001 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain, +34 944 00 04 30.

Odette, National Gallery of Singapore

We’re in love with the dreamy hues of this two-Michelin-starred restaurant as well as the fluttery mobile centrepiece by Singaporean artist Dawn Ng. Food-wise, head chef Julien Royer delivers a light touch to French favourites with the occasion Asian accent.

Odette, 1 St Andrew’s Road #01-04, 178957 Singapore, +65 6385 0498.

Spiritmuseum, Stockholm

The Spiritmuseum in Stockholm is situated in Stockholm’s two 18th-century naval buildings. Here, you can first educate yourself on the history of alcohol in Sweden, then head to the in-house cafe-bar that also showcases a theme that touches on alcohol. Think fermented bread, pickled vegetables, and more. Alcohol-inspired food aside, the team headed by chef Petter Nilsson features experimental cuisine that is sure to blow your mind.

Spiritmuseum, Djurgårdsvägen 38, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden, +46 8 121 313 00. 

PohNee Chin
Editor, Kuala Lumpur
Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.