Lifestyle & Entertainment

The 50 best restaurants in America

A great meal at an outstanding restaurant can be a life-changing experience. But with new places popping up every day, it can be difficult to decide which spots are worth your time — and hard-earned cash. 

We combined six noteworthy lists compiled by food critics, experts, and diners to come up with a definitive ranking of the best restaurants in the country.

We gave each restaurant a numerical rating based on how many lists the restaurant appeared on and how high it appeared on lists that were ranked. Restaurants that appeared on multiple lists ranked higher on our list, while restaurants that ranked on only one of these lists ended up closer to the bottom. For restaurants that tied, we broke down the rankings down based on reviews, price, and our own editorial discretion. Read the complete breakdown of the methodology here

The lists we used were The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America 2016, OpenTable’s 100 Hottest Restaurants in America for 2016, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the James Beard Foundation’s 2016 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists, Eater’s The National 38, and the Michelin Guide

Read on to check out the best places to eat across America. 

50. Everest

Chef: J. Joho

Location: Chicago, Illinois

At Everest, which holds one Michelin star, guests can choose between the seven-course degustation menu, the seven-course vegetarian menu, or three- and four-course prix fixe menus.

Each selection treats guests to elegant French dishes, like magret duck served with marinated turnips, or slow-braised wild sea bass accompanied by artichokes and leeks. 

49. Trois Mec

Chef: Ludo Lefebvre, John Shook, Vinny Dotolo

Location: Los Angeles, California

At Trois Mec, which is a collaboration between chefs Ludo Lefebvre, John Shook, and Vinny Dotolo, guests get in by tickets instead of reservations.

You’ll need to be a registered user on their website to try and snag a ticket, but once you do, you’ll be treated to elegant dishes like Dungeness crab ceviche and beef tenderloin with smoked peanut butter.

48. Highlands Bar and Grill

Chef: Frank and Pardis Stitt

Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Savory dishes and impeccable service has made Highlands Bar and Grill a favorite in Birmingham since it first opened its doors in 1982.

The iconic spot shifts its menu daily to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients — think summers filled with okra soft shell crab and winters of root vegetables and venison — that merge French techniques with Southern flavors.

47. Bâtard

Chef: Markus Glocker

Location: New York, New York

At Bâtard, dishes are served with impeccable presentation and a myriad of flavors. A favorite at the Michelin-starred restaurant is the octopus pastrami, which includes braised ham hock, mustard, and potatoes.

With a selection of hearty dishes — like beef short ribs served with black pepper streusel and grilled Wagyu beef tongue — offered at reasonable prices, you’re in for a memorable meal.

46. Cafe at Chez Panisse

Chef: Alice Waters

Location: Berkeley, California

Chez Panisse proprietor Alice Waters believes the food economy should be “good, clean, and fair,” a belief she carries over into everything she does, including running the cafe.

Chez Panisse ingredients are sourced from local farms and ranches, creating a diverse menu that changes daily and is filled with everything from baked goat cheese to buttermilk-fried rabbit with sweet potatoes. 

 

45. Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca

Chef: Mario Batali

Location: New York, New York

Found on the roster of Mario Batali’s many creations, Babbo is where you go when you’re craving an authentic Italian dish. The focus is on simple but incredibly tasty regional dishes.

The restaurant imports its pasta, specialty cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, and items like balsamic vinegar and prosciutto from Italy, while most of their salumi is prepared in-house.

44. Café Boulud

Chef: Daniel Boulud, Aaron Bludron (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

Located just blocks from Central Park on New York’s Upper East Side, Café Boulud exhibits proprietor Daniel Boulud’s culinary inspirations — seasonal ingredients, vegetables, flavors of world cuisines, and classic French technique — in a four-part menu. 

Dishes range from tuna tartare topped with mint to filet mignon with pommes dauphine. 

 

43. The Spotted Pig

Chef: April Bloomfield

Location: New York, New York

A trip to The Spotted Pig isn’t complete without trying Chef April Bloomfield’s famous char-grilled burger, topped with Roquefort cheese and served with a pile of delicate shoestring fries. 

Patrons to the Michelin-starred gastropub can also indulge in selections like pan-roasted skate with turnips, crispy pig’s ear salad, and scallops with creamy beans. 

42. Sixteen

Chef: Thomas Lents

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Found on the 16th floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Sixteen serves up French-inspired dishes and breathtaking views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.

The two-Michelin-starred restaurant rebuilds its menu four times a year with a new theme, each of which aims to tell a story through food, with options ranging from cedar-roasted squash to lobster carpaccio. 

41. Acadia

Chef: Ryan McCaskey

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Acadia features chef McCaskey’s take on classic American cuisine, with various tasting menus and à la carte options to choose from.

Unusual and playful presentations include appetizers served to you in a box and scrumptious main dishes like pork belly or golden snapper. 

40. Soto

Chef: Sotohiro Kosugi

Location: New York, New York 

Soto serves inventive seafood dishes alongside traditional sushi and omakase courses. The space pays homage to traditional Japanese restaurants, with a simple and sleek design that includes light wood and bright lights.

The focus is on the preparation of luxurious raw seafood selections, like toro tartare with avocado and caviar, or fresh water eel combined with bonito flakes and crisp Japanese cucumbers.

 

39. Jungsik

Chef: Jungsik Yim

Location: New York, New York

Dubbed “New Korean” by proprietor and executive chef Jungsik Yim, this eponymous restaurant puts a modern and sophisticated spin on traditional Korean fare. 

Diners can try a full flight of flavors with the $180-per-person tasting menu, or build their own tour á la carte with selections like crispy red snapper or pork with sesame pesto and a spicy Korean sauce.

 

 

38. Ichimura

Chef: Eiji Ichimura

Location: New York, New York

Hidden inside David Bouley’s Brushstroke restaurant, Ichimura sushi bar serves up traditional edo-mae sushi from a chef who has been honing his skills for more than 30 years. 

The elegant omakase meal will set you back $195 per person, but each course is tailored to the individual customer’s likes and dislikes.

37. Atera

Chef: Ronny Emborg

Location: New York, New York 

Atera serves diners a sensory 18-course experience that includes dishes focusing on greens in the summertime, and darker tones and deeper flavors in the winter. 

The menu costs $235 per person, with the option to pair wines or teas. Elegant dishes might include snow crab in a tomato broth and rose cream, or razor clams served in a miso-brown butter broth.

36. Marea

Chef: Michael White, Lauren DeSteno (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

Drawing its name from the Italian word for “tide”, Marea serves up sophisticated Italian dishes with a strong focus on seafood.

Menu selections at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant include fusilli with red wine-braised clams, butter-poached lobster, seared sea scallops with fava beans, and a variety of caviars and East Coast oysters. 

35. Aquavit

Chef: Emma Bengtsson

Location: New York, New York

With two Michelin stars and a three-star review from The New York Times, Aquavit holds the bar high for its food. The only Nordic restaurant in the country to earn such high accolades, the restaurant builds every dish on its menu according to traditional Swedish methods. 

The nine-course chef’s tasting menu is available for $145 per person, the six-course seasonal tasting menu runs $115 per head, and the prix fixe menu costs $95 per guest. 

34. Campton Place

Chef: Srijith Gopinathan

Location: San Francisco, California 

At Campton Place Restaurant, you’ll be treated to sophisticated Cal-Indian cuisine that combines the techniques of French classical cooking with seasonal ingredients from South Asia to create impeccable dishes.

Diners can indulge in a three-course menu available at $78, a Spice Route tasting menu at $129, or a vegetarian tasting menu at $110. There are also lamb and game bird selections cooked in an authentic Tandoori oven.

33. Baumé

Chef: Bruno Chemel

Location: Palo Alto, California

Housed in an intimate five-table space, Baumé experiments with molecular gastronomy, preparing unique dishes like goat cheese celeriac mousse and lobster gelée.

The trendy spot offers either a six- or eight-course tasting menu that’s ever-changing to accommodate the seasonal ingredients that are available. Meals are priced accordingly as well, in line with market prices for premium ingredients. 

 

32. 42 Grams

Chef: Jake Bickelhaupt

Location: Chicago, Illinois 

When you dine at 42 Grams, you’ll feel as though you’re attending a dinner party.

Diners can bring wine selections with them to the meal, which includes a set menu prepared for you by Chef Bickelhaupt and his team at a large communal table. Expect dishes like air-dried, salt-cured tuna served with a modern twist. A meal here will cost around $243 per person

31. Commis

Chef: James Syhabout (owner, executive chef), Keone Koki (chef de cuisine) 

Location: Oakland, California 

At Commis, Chef Syhabout combines local ingredients with his precise methods to create intricate and elegant dishes that focus on the freshest ingredients of the season.

Their eight-course tasting menu is $125 per person and focuses on modern Californian cuisine, with dishes that might include scallops paired with a tart crème fraîche. 

30. Atelier Crenn

Chef: Dominique Crenn, Rodney Wages (chef de cuisine)

Location: San Francisco, California 

Atelier Crenn hosts French cuisine with a modern twist. The menu here changes seasonally, based on the available products sourced locally in the Bay Area.

The food at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant is light and flavorful, with plates like fluke served over tarragon ice, or smoked sturgeon served with cucumber dash and pickled Asian pears.

 

29. Gotham Bar & Grill

Chef: Alfred Portale

Location: New York, New York

For over 30 years, Gotham Bar and Grill has brought the liveliness of a Paris brasserie to New York’s storied West Village. 

The Michelin-starred restaurant makes French food approachable through dishes like miso-marinated black cod with bok choy and roasted heirloom carrots with clementines and feta. 

28. Frasca Food & Wine

Chef: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Bobby Stuckey (master sommelier and co-owner)

Location: Boulder, Colorado 

Not only does Frasca Food & Wine serve exquisite Italian dishes like quail gnocchi, but the restaurant also features an extensive wine list. An expert sommelier will help you choose the perfect pairing from a list of over 200 bottles.

Taste a little bit of everything with the chef’s tasting menu for $105, or for a more budget-friendly option, stop by on a Monday for a condensed tasting menu that’ll set you back just $50.

27. Nomad

Chef: Daniel Humm, James Kent (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

 At NoMad, Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara — the talent behind the acclaimed Eleven Madison Park — blend influences from Switzerland, California, and New York.

Executive Chef Janes Kent cooks up exquisite dishes such as venison with roasted butternut squash, whole roasted chicken with foie gras and black truffle, or slow-poached eggs with quinoa. 

26. Blanca

Chef: Carlo Mirarchi

Location: Brooklyn, New York

To get to Blanca, head to Mirarchi’s Roberta’s restaurant, and a ghost will escort you through the garden to Blanca.

Here, you’ll be able to sample tasting menus that are 25 courses or more, with tantalizing raw fish selections and passed courses served in between. Their tastings, which take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, are $195 per person. 

25. Del Posto

Chef: Mario Batali, Mark Lander (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

A New York City staple, Del Posto blends flawless service with “palate-enlightening” fare, such as salsa verde-charred octopus and burnt beef rib eye.

The elegant Italian spot, which holds a Michelin star and a four-star review from The New York Times, has a five-course tasting menu for $149 and an eight-course one for $179, which can be substituted for a vegan version as well.

24. Coi

Chef: Matthew Kirkley 

Location: San Francisco, California 

Located in San Francisco’s North Beach district, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Coi is all about fresh seafood with a modern twist.

Their nightly menu features the freshest ingredients of the day, with dishes like trout served in a citrus confit or cod served with cockles and mint, at around $297 per person.

 

23. Gabriel Kreuther

Chef: Gabriel Kreuther

Location: New York, New York

Raised in France, James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Kreuther brings traditional French techniques from the Alsace region to his eponymous restaurant. 

A four-course prix fixe menu is available for $125 per guest, featuring dishes like sunchoke soup with black truffles and roasted diver scallops with a basil crumble. You could also upgrade to the chef’s Carte Blanche menu for $205 a head.  

 

 

22. The Modern

ChefAbram Bissell

Location: New York, New York 

Two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Modern is located at the Museum of Modern Art. Diners can enjoy a prix fixe menu in the restaurant’s dining room while checking out works by Matisse and Picasso, or select from their à la carte menu in the Bar Room.

Owned by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the restaurant serves up dishes like sautéed foie gras and roasted lobster potage with pickled garlic and potatoes.

 

21. Providence

Chef: Michael Cimarusti

Location: Los Angeles, California

Providence has two goals: serve guests the freshest seafood available, and ensure that it’s all wild-caught and sustainably sourced.

The restaurant, which earned a James Beard Outstanding Restaurant nomination this year as well as two Michelin stars, offers an array of seafood selections, including Santa Barbara sea urchin and wild Japanese tai snapper. 

20. Quince

Chef: Michael Tusk

Location: San Francisco, California 

At the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Quince, diners are treated to a nine-course tasting menu featuring the season’s top produce. Examples include spring lamb served with golden marjoram and fern, or black cod with manila clam and bronze fennel.

With a scenery that is elegant without being stuffy, and the option to order à la carte from the restaurant’s salon, you can enjoy a high-quality meal without all the formalities.

19. Shaya

Chef: Alon Shaya

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Combining traditional meals with modern touches, Chef Alon Shaya draws inspiration from Israeli food’s many global iterations, from North Africa and the Middle East to Turkey and Greece. 

Shaya’s take on classic Israeli dishes includes updated versions of shakshouka, lamb kebabs, baba ganoush, and five varieties of hummus. 

18. Restaurant Gary Danko

Chef: Gary Danko

Location: San Francisco, California 

Located in San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, Restaurant Gary Danko has won accolades that range from its three-Michelin-star status to various James Beard Awards.

Choose from seafood selections like horseradish-crusted salmon, or meats like juniper-crusted bison with mushroom and onions. You can enjoy three courses for $83 per person, four courses for $101 per person, or five courses for $119 per person.

15. (TIE) Grace

Chef: Curtis Duffy

Location: Chicago, Illinois

At Grace, Chef Curtis Duffy puts high-quality ingredients front and center, showcasing each one’s natural flavors in a variety of contemporary American-style dishes.

The restaurant offers two nine-course tasting menus, called Flora and Fauna, for $235 per person. They feature selections such as Alaskan king crab with cucumber and lemon mint, short rib with watercress, and white asparagus with brioche and black olives. 

15. (TIE) Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Chef: Cesar Ramirez

Location: Brooklyn, New York 

Sit back and watch as Chef Cesar Ramirez and his team prepare elaborate courses in front of you at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

With an intimate kitchen counter that seats 18, you can indulge in the extravagant tasting menu which focuses on seafood — including both raw fish and shellfish options — and changes daily to reflect the freshest ingredients of the season.

 

 

15. (TIE) Acquerello

Chef: Suzette Gresham

Location: San Francisco, California

For fine Italian food in the Bay Area, look no further than Acquerello’s opulent dining room and delightful prix fixe menu, which includes three to five courses of plates like grilled swordfish, squid ink risotto, and pancetta-wrapped rabbit. 

The restaurant has been a standout in San Francisco for more than two decades and now boasts a James Beard Outstanding Restaurant nomination and two Michelin stars. 

14. Momofuku Ko

Chef: David Chang, Sean Gray (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York 

The two-Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko was touted by both the World’s Best Restaurants and The Daily Meal this year.

Its prix fixe tasting menu prepared by Executive Chef Sean Gray includes inventive dishes like a mille-feuille served with green tea powder and trout roe. It costs $195 per person.

13. Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Chef: Dan Barber

Location: Pontico Hills, New York

Seated on a working four-season farm, Blue Hill at Stone Barns sources all of its ingredients from the surrounding land or other local farms, aiming to highlight the many flavors of its home in the Hudson Valley. 

The farm-to-table spot offers no á la carte options, only the “Grazing, Pecking, Rooting” tasting menu for $218 a head, which highlights fresh, seasonal ingredients.

12. Saison

Chef: Josh Skenes 

Location: San Francisco, California 

Saison offers a playful and inventive tasting menu, with the dishes changing nightly based on the local ingredients and what’s available from their own garden.

Some sample courses from Chef Joshua Skenes’ menu have included foie gras toffee, oyster leaf with cream, and thin slices of beef aged for 80 days and complemented with soy vinaigrette. The 15- to 20-course tasting menu costs $398 per person

11. Daniel

Chef: Daniel Boulud, Jean-Francois Bruel (executive chef), Eddy Leroux (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

At Daniel Boulud’s namesake restaurant Daniel, which boasts two Michelin stars, the chefs draw inspiration from the four seasons, which they translate into upscale French cuisine.

A sampling of dishes might include Long Island fluke with sea urchin and green apple, roasted duck breast topped with a dandelion flower marmalade, or ravioli filled with braised rabbit and covered in chorizo cream. 

 

10. Jean Gorges

Chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mark Lapico (executive chef) 

Location: New York, New York 

Jean-Georges blends French, American, and Asian influences to craft an ever-changing menu that focuses on ingredients from the local farmer’s market.

Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, and diners can choose between various prix fixe menus, with the cost per person averaging at about $166

9. Masa

Chef: Masayoshi Takayama

Location: New York, New York

Expect the freshest fish at Masa, where Chef Takayama prepares each meal like a work of art. He keeps the sushi counter sparse of decor in order to create a blank canvas where the food can be the star. 

The experience can get pricey, however, costing $595 per guest. Also starting earlier this year, Masa began no longer accepting tips. 

 

8. Benu

Chef: Cory Lee, Brandon Rodgers (executive chef)

Location: San Francisco, California 

The three-Michelin-starred restaurant Benu offers diners an innovative mix of American and Asian cuisine.

Their $248-per-person tasting menu includes eclectic dishes like their thousand-year-old quail egg served with potage and ginger, or shrimp roe noodles in a roasted hen jus. Finish it off with the sesame leaf ice cream for an unforgettable meal.

 

7. The Restaurant at Meadowood

Chef: Christopher Kostow, John Hong (chef de cuisine)

Location: St. Helena, California

The Restaurant at Meadowood focuses on more than just serving great food — each meal is specifically tailored to the customer. As soon as reservations are made, Chef Kostow begins preparing an individualized menu, developing dishes based on each guest’s likes and dislikes.

The standard tasting menu at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant costs $330 per head, and there’s a counter menu available in the kitchen for $500 per person. 

 

 

6. Manresa

Chef: David Kinch

Location: Los Gatos, California 

At Manresa, the menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest ingredients from local farms. 

Dishes for the tasting menu have included everything from black cod served with Brussels sprouts in a vinegar reduction, to a pumpkin purée with chocolate crémeux. The tasting menu costs $235 per person, with an additional $198 for a wine pairing.

5. The French Laundry

Chef: Thomas Keller, David Breeden (chef de cuisine)

Location: Yountville, California

For $310 a head, diners at The French Laundry choose between two prix fixe menus — the chef’s tasting menu or the vegetable tasting menu — which change daily and don’t repeat a single ingredient throughout.

The multi-course menus include everything from sweet butter-poached Alaskan king crab to charcoal-grilled Japanese wagyu, to toasted barley and cauliflower porridge. 

4. Per Se

Chef: Thomas Keller, Eli Kaimeh (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York 

Per Se lives under the Keller umbrella of restaurants, and chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh whips up top-notch French cuisine, earning the spot three Michelin stars.

Both the vegetable and chef’s tasting menus are $325, but diners can also order items à la carte from the salon menu.

3. Le Bernardin

Chef: Eric Ripert, Eric Gestel (executive chef)

Location: New York, New York

A New York City classic since 1986, three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin uses French techniques to create exquisitely prepared seafood dishes.

Try the chef’s tasting menu for $215 per person, or the Le Bernardin-branded tasting menu for $180 a pop, which include delicacies like yellowfin tuna carpaccio, seared langoustine foie gras, and barely cooked scallops in a brown butter sauce. 

2. Alinea

Chef: Grant Achatz, Mike Bagale (executive chef) and Simon Davies (chef de cuisine) 

Location: Chicago, Illinois 

Alinea is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant with avant-garde dishes that showcase the molecular gastronomy skills of Chefs Grant Achatz, Mike Bagale, and Simon Davies.

Diners are constantly surprised by the delicious creations, from a DIY ravioli course to a hot potato that’s been topped with a slice of black truffle and suspended above cold potato soup.

1. Eleven Madison Park

Chef: Daniel Humm, Chris Flint (chef de cuisine)

Location: New York, New York

Claiming the top spot on our list for the second year in a row, Eleven Madison Park continues to impress, earning it three Michelin stars and a top 10 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. 

The restaurant offers only an elaborate prix fixe menu from chef de cuisine Chris Flint, which goes for $295 per person. Each meal features seven to nine courses based on ingredients sourced locally in New York.