If you want to find out what really goes on in restaurants, book the chef's table and dine in the heart of a busy professional kitchen.

Chat to chef Matthew Moran from your seat at the chef's table at Aria, 1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, Sydney (00 61 2 9252 2555; ariarestaurant.com), as he prepares modern Australian dishes such as kingfish tartare, with crème fraîche, buckwheat blinis and caviar.

Up to four people can eat the five-course market menu at the charmingly informal chef's table in the converted municipal greenhouse that is De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, Amsterdam (00 31 20 462 45 62; restaurantdekas.nl).

Dine in the gleaming, state-of-the-art kitchen at Lacroix, Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia (001 215 546 9000; lacroix restaurant.com), where roasted veal saddle is served with golden beets.

Get a grandstand view of the extensive kitchens at Legends, Pointe Réjane, Grand Gaube, Mauritius (00 230 204 9191; naiade.com), from executive chef Fabio de Poli's office as you tuck into foie gras with garam masala, pineapple and kumquat chutney.

Book the intimate chef's table at L'ortolan, Church Lane, Shinfield, Reading (0118 988 8500; lortolan. com), to experience a hectic dinner service close up while enjoying chef Alan Murchison's signature dishes, which might include pan-fried scallops and cauliflower purée.

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