Fit for Foodies Mutual Admiration Society

Yesterday, we announced the 2014 #DinersChoice Award winners for Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America to much excitement. From ABC News and NBC to Business Insider and Foobooz — and more, news of the honors spread fast, but nowhere more so than on Twitter. We loved watching winning restaurants and others share the love for fellow award winners, including Extra Virgin and Piccolo. Did your favorite fit for foodies restaurant make the list? Let us know on Twitter!

 

OpenTable Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America — with Slideshow

In celebration of our country’s progressive food and dining culture, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Newer eateries rule the list, with the majority of winners opening in the last three years. More than 20 were founded in 2012 alone, while 15 launched in 2013, and six debuted as recently as 2014. Also, 14 of the honorees have women as executive chefs. American fare is overwhelmingly popular, but French and Italian restaurants are common among the honorees.  Other popular cuisines include Japanese, Spanish, Middle Eastern, modern European, tapas/small plates, and vegetarian.

Showcasing restaurants with unique menus, easygoing ambience, and passionate chefs who have a “source local, cook global” approach, the complete list includes award winners in 29 states, including Aviary in Portland, Odd Duck in Austin, and Vedge in Philadelphia. Restaurants in Portland and Philadelphia collectively account for almost 25 percent of the list. California has the greatest number of winners with 14, followed closely by Oregon and Pennsylvania with 13 each. New York has eight honorees, while Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington all have five, and Illinois has four. Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas each have three winning restaurants. Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, North Carolina, and Virginia, respectively, have two award winners. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin are also represented.

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Scenes from NewCo. San Francisco 2014

Last week, OpenTable was proud to participate in the third annual 2014 NewCo. San Francisco tech conference. We hosted executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and future influencers, opening our doors to offer a peek inside what makes our company unique. Held at the OpenTable San Francisco headquarters, attendees enjoyed beverages and bites as they participated in a discussion about our payments product.

OpenTable director of marketing Scott Jampol offered insights into the development of the OpenTable app and how it creates improved hospitality experiences for diners. Kashyap Deorah, general manager of mobile solutions, gave guests an in-depth look at the new feature, complete with a viewing of a new video illustrating how elegant and seamless pay with OpenTable is.

Thanks to Alexandra Loscher, marketing communications specialist, and Joseph Mandel, workplace experience manager, for reporting and photography, respectively.

20 Culinary Questions with Editor Amy Strauss of Philadelphia’s The Town Dish

Amy Strauss Brooklyn Flea 20 Culinary Questions with Editor Amy Strauss of Philadelphias The Town Dish Amy Strauss is the Editor in Chief of TheTownDish.com, a network of sites focusing on the food and dining scene in the greater Philadelphia area including its sumptuous suburbs — and beyond! An OpenTable member since 2008, she lives in Downington, Pennsylvania, where she can enjoy the best of Philadelphia proper as well the amazing hyper-local fare being served in surrounding towns. You can share in her eating experiences by following her on Twitter at @amy_strauss.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the Philadelphia dining scene? Living in the Philly suburbs, I’m fork-deep between quick-tripping into my local (and booming!) food city to experience the newest restaurant or escaping into my immediate backyard to discover the next well-deserving-of-the-spotlight chef. There’s potential everywhere, and where the Philly food scene stands, it’s eclectic and bold; it’s welcoming and honest. I’ve been around the nation and, although I may be biased, Philly is the best food city.

2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? For a casual weeknight, I’m hitting the bar. In the suburbs at Station Taproom for first-rate pulled pork sandwiches and craft beer or Tired Hands Brewing Co. for a cheese plate and one-off sour beer, and in Philadelphia, Starr’s Fette Sau for smoky, tender brisket and sharp bourbon drinks. For a “special” occasion (can’t that count as every day?), BARSAVONA or Zahav.

3. If I come to the PHL, where must I dine? In the Philly suburbs, any of these will rock your palate and provide an unforgettable dining experience: Junto (elevated PA Dutch BYOB), Nectar (Asian fusion with locally sourced sensibilities), Avalon (rustic Italian), Majolica (inventive, modernized American BYOB), Restaurant Alba (refined Northern Italian), Amani’s BYOB (local-focused), Taqueria Feliz (hip Mexican), and Bolete Restaurant (farmhouse-inspired). In Philly city proper, Serpico, Sbraga (eat the fried game hen!), High Street on Market, Vernick Food & Drink, Petruce et al., Avance, and Stock.

4. Last best restaurant you dined at? Just last night, I visited Fitler Dining Room, the newest concept from the talented gang at Pub & Kitchen. The happy hour was exceptional, with small bites like a vertical heirloom tomato salad constructed on buttery brioche and dressed with Rogue Creamery Blue. Being a bar that’s strictly beer and wine, they get impressively creative with their limited cocktails. For example, the Campobello Retreat features white wine that’s infused to taste like gin (it does!) and is finished with a fragrant splash of elderflower liqueur. It’s sharp and fun; I immediately wanted another.

5. Restaurants you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? Bryan Voltaggio’s Volt, Quealy Watson’s Hot Joy, and Noma.

6. Favorite city for dining outside your own? Since part of what we do is travel for food, here are my favorite Town Dish trip destinationsAustin, Texas for Qui, Olivia, and Franklin Barbecue;  San Francisco, California for Mission Street Chinese and Saison;  Chicago, Illinois for Blackbird, Girl & the Goat, Publican, Publican Quality Meats, and Pequod’s PizzaPortland, Maine (especially in summer!) for Central Provisions, Eventide Oyster Co., Pai Men Miyake, and David’s Opus 10Atlanta, Georgia for Abattoir, West Egg Cafe, and Cakes & Ale; and New York City (of course) for The Breslin, Momofuku, and Alder.

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Nashville! Seattle! Aspen! Charleston! San Diego!

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? There’s nothing more wholesome than rustic Italian, and few and far between are doing it by the book and significantly well. I’m also always surprised with what newcomer chefs are doing with mod-American cuisine, particularly those who are scouting local gardens and throwing together fresh ideas and compositions unlike those seen before (example: Ella’s American Bistro, Majolica).

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Tasting menus — always a home run! It’s the best avenue to fully experience a chef’s skill sets and where they execute their most creative dishes.

10. Dish you can’t resist ordering when you see it on a menu? I’m 100% Pennsylvania Dutch, so its in my blood to never resist regionalized, classic foods of my heritage. If I spy elevated soft pretzels, house-made pickles, hand-cut egg noodles — I got to stick to my stick-to-your-ribs gun and consider them mine! Fork and Junto put forth killer interpretations of the classics. Snack-wise, you know if a chef’s throwing deviled eggs on their menu, they’re going to be good. Same goes for hand-cut pappardelle — I usually need that.

11. Have you ever done a bang bang (a la Louis C.K.)? If not, what’s the greatest # of courses you’ve eaten in one restaurant siting? Working as a food writer and reviewer, bang bangs are a regular part of your week! My current course max (at one restaurant) is 14 — but that’s not to say I threw in the napkin. I’d adventure into the 20s. Dare me!

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September is Dine Out for #NoKidHungry Month

Dine Out NKH September is Dine Out for #NoKidHungry MonthThis month, you can do good while dining out when you eat at a restaurant participating in Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry™ campaign. Thousands of restaurants across the country are joining the fight to end childhood hunger in America by donating a portion of the proceeds from diners’ meals during September.

You can easily find participating restaurants in the metropolitan areas below, or visit http://dineout.nokidhungry.org/maps to find restaurants nearest you.

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After the Earthquake: 15 Napa Restaurants Getting Rave Reviews

short ribs bottega After the Earthquake: 15 Napa Restaurants Getting Rave Reviews
The oft-heralded short ribs at Bottega also await Napa diners.

Less than two weeks ago, a 6.1 earthquake struck the Napa Valley. Buildings were damaged and power was lost, and, as a result, the restaurant community was hit hard. According to an Eater article, damages to the area are estimated in excess of $1 billion, along with $100 million in economic losses. Fortunately, most eateries were back up and running within a day or two, and diners have come out to show their support, leaving gushing reviews from their experiences in the days since the quake. Because of the daunting (and continuing) losses, we hope you’ll visit Napa and wine country restaurants this weekend — and in the coming weeks — to help buoy one of the nation’s most important culinary destinations. Read some reviews Napa diners left this week, and book a table today!

1313 Main: “Napa has a new star: 1313. Outstanding food, service, and one of the best wine programs in the US. These guys know food, wine, and service, but, most importantly, hospitality. From the minute you walk in the door, you’re greeted by people that genuinely care about your dining experience. On top of that, the food looks, tastes, and is presented with care and respect.”

Angèle Restaurant & Bar: “We went for our 26th anniversary dinner and were so pleasantly surprised when they brought us each a glass of Champagne to toast. So sweet, and we loved our table by the window in the small intimate back room. The meal was wonderful, from the ahi appetizer to the duck confit and the scallops. Left feeling satisfied and happy. Thank you again and we will be back soon!”

Bistro Don Giovanni: “This was the best Italian I have had in Napa. Had fritto misto — fresh and not one hint of oil. Shrimp risotto was cooked perfectly, just like in Florence. Ravioli was heaven.”

Bistro Jeanty: “Anyone wanting to experience classic French cuisine without leaving the USA should go to Bistro Jeanty. It is as though somebody uprooted a French bistro in Paris and set it down in Yountville.”

Ca Momi’: “Since discovering Ca’ Momi last fall, it has quickly become our go-to spot when visiting Napa. Not only do you get to spend time at the lovely Oxbow Market, but the food and service at Ca’ Momi are always flawless! Definitely don’t miss their pizzas; their Margherita is a masterpiece, and I will forever dream of the ‘Bianco, Rosso & Verde’ pie. Divine.”

Celadon: “Only a week after the earthquake, Celadon made our visit to the Napa Valley a memorable experience! The food was tasty, the service amazing, and we will be back to dine again on our next visit to the Napa Valley!”

Cordeiros Bar & Grill: “With the earthquake, all of us in Napa have been a bit dazed, and more than amply confused. It is hard to determine in these early stages where restaurants are in the recovery process. I have seen Cordeiros Bar & Grill show up more than once on OpenTable; however, you get so used to your local haunts that you don’t venture out. Well, I am writing to say…venture out. Cordeiros was a huge surprise; everything from that atmosphere to the food was grand, and the service was outstanding.”

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20 Culinary Questions with Washington, D.C., Food Writer Nevin Martell

IMG 8718 20 Culinary Questions with Washington, D.C., Food Writer Nevin MartellNevin Martell may be a New York native, but he’s made himself very much at home in Washington, D.C., over the last decade, and he definitely knows how to dine like a local. A freelance food and travel writer, Martell is the author of the recently published travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. He is a sucker for foie gras and truffles and has been an OpenTable member since 2007 — as well as a super-adventurous eater since birth. He says, “Traveling the world, I’ve gotten stoned on kava in Fiji, eaten tree frogs in the Dominican Republic, and noshed on grasshoppers in Mexico. In the spirit of adventure, I’m always willing to try anything. I’ve always wanted to eat on Easter Island, so if anyone is looking for a culinary story on the most remote point in the world, let me know!” You can follow his gourmet exploits at NevinMartell.com and on Twitter @nevinmartell

1. What are some of the best qualities of the Washington, D.C., dining scene? Over the last several years, D.C.’s restaurant scene has started growing at an explosive rate. New eateries are popping up every day and everywhere. Despite the fierce competition, the dining community remains tightknit, supportive, and highly collaborative. That goes for the food writers in town as well.

2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? It’s hard to become a regular when you’re always trying new restaurants and eating out on assignment. However, I have become a common sight at G by Mike Isabella, La Mano Coffee Bar, and Republic.

3. If I come to D.C., where must I dine? Rose’s Luxury, Rasika, Little Serow, Toki Underground, and Blue Duck Tavern. A sandwich at Woodward Takeout Food or Stachowski’s is highly recommended. If you’re willing to drive, The Inn at Little Washington, Bryan Voltaggio’s VOLT, and The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm are all worth the trip.

4. Last best restaurant you dined at? The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. Tarver King is equal parts chef and artist, so his food is as beautiful and creatively constructed as it is delicious.

 5. Restaurants you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? In reality, this wishful list is hundreds of restaurants long. However, here are some highlights: The French Laundry, Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in Sao Paolo, Sushi Mizutani in Tokyo, L’Arpège in Paris, Momofuku Ko in NYC, and Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon.

6. Favorite city for dining outside your own? New York City. Also, Clinton, New York, because that’s where my mother lives and I have the softest spot in my heart for her cooking.

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Tokyo, Casablanca, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? This is the Sophie’s Choice of questions for a food writer! I can’t possibly pick a single cuisine.

9.  Small shared plates, tasting menu, or app/entrée dessert? I love to simply let the server know my preferences and let the chef go to town.

10. Dish you can’t resist ordering when you see it on a menu? Sticky toffee pudding.

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September Restaurant Weeks: Where to Save on Dining During the Last Days of Summer

omaha rw September Restaurant Weeks: Where to Save on Dining During the Last Days of SummerWe’re sad that summer is waning, but don’t despair — there are still many ways to save on dining out in cities across the U.S.

* Arizona Restaurant Week aims to please with $30-$44 three-course dinners, September 19-28. Book now.

* Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week is serving two-course $15 lunches and three-course $35 dinners, September 8-12. Book now.

 * Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia showcases $20 lunches and $35 dinners, September 7-19. Book now.

* Charleston Restaurant Week offers specially priced three-course dinners, September 3-14. Book now.

* Cobb County Restaurant Week in Atlanta features three-course $15, $25, and $35 lunches and dinners, September 13-20. Book now.

Flavor Palm Beach has arrived in Florida with $20 lunches and $30 and $35 dinners through September 30. Book now.

Main Line Restaurant Week in Philadelphia has multi-course $10-$20 lunches and $30-$50 dinners, September 22-28. Book now.

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New York Restaurants: Sign up Today to Support ‘Dine Out for Heroes’ on November 5th

Dine Out for Heroes New York Restaurants: Sign up Today to Support Dine Out for Heroes on November 5thNew York City restaurants are invited to stand with legendary restaurateurs Daniel Boulud, Andrew Carmellini, Jeffrey Lefcourt, Drew Nieporent, Simon Oren, Eric Ripert, and Jeff Zalaznick as they join forces to partner with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to launch the first annual Dine Out for Heroes, a one-day-only event on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. Each participating restaurant will donate $1 per cover served to the BWF to help in the organization’s efforts to tackle the serious issues of long-term rehabilitation, care, and support of our injured veterans.

It is anticipated that hundreds of New York–area restaurants will join the Dine Out for Heroes initiative. By pledging to donate $1 per cover, participating restaurants will be part of an industry-wide movement to support the injured and their families as they integrate back into society. In addition, participating restaurants will encourage diners to donate to the BWF by visiting the organization’s website — at bobwoodrufffoundation.org.

“We are looking to the restaurant industry to help support the brave men and women who raised their hands to go when our country asked. From rehabilitation and recovery to education, employment, and quality of life — these programs are essential, and as participating members, our commitment to ‘Dine. Donate. Honor. Heal.’ will be critical,” said Penny Glazier, of The Glazier Group of restaurants.

Restaurants that are already on board include Jane, Le Bernardin, Michael Jordan’s The Steak House, and The Russian Tea Room, among others. Please sign up today to support Dine Out for Heroes on November 5, 2014.

Child-Friendly Dining: 15 Ways Restaurants Are Welcoming Young Kids to the Table

sassafraz Child Friendly Dining: 15 Ways Restaurants Are Welcoming Young Kids to the Table
Sassafraz may be kid friendly, but they’re certainly not kidding around when it comes to their cuisine.

The topic of babies and children in restaurants is a highly divisive one. Whenever we raise the issue on social media, the debate is heated, scorchingly so — and split down the middle. Many folks don’t think infants, toddlers, or young kids, well-behaved or not, belong in restaurants at all, while other diners are raising enthusiastic eaters by introducing them to the joys of fine dining at a very young age. Cry babies aside, a meal out at a restaurant can provide a few hours of respite to harried parents and help instill good table manners in little ones. Countless restaurants have taken note and are upping the ante on hospitality for parties that include young (and presumably well-behaved) children. From happily stashing strollers and providing slings to serving up creative cuisine for the Crayola set, here’s how 15 establishments have helped provide stellar dining experiences for hungry families, according to recent OpenTable restaurant reviews.

Cap City Fine Diner & Bar, Columbus, Ohio: ”We have a 4-month old baby, and brunch at Cap City was a breeze. They had a sling available, and the background noise kept the little one content.”

Cedar Restaurant, Washington, D.C.: ”I reserved a table for six, hoping they’d be okay that one guest was a baby. We were skeptical at first because they don’t have an elevator, but as soon as we got the baby and his necessary gear down to the restaurant, they were nothing but helpful. They stowed his stroller, brought a high chair (even though we said we could just put his car seat on a regular chair), and were even interested to know about the baby himself. [When leaving], they even let us use the service elevator they have.”

Clay Pit, Austin, Texas: ”The best authentic Indian food in Austin, for sure. We went for an early dinner with our 10-month old and our server was so pleasant to him. Love a place that makes us feel welcome with a rambunctious kiddo!”

Dish on Market, Louisville, Kentucky: ”I went to Dish with my 3-week old, son and the staff was amazingly kind. They sat us where there was room for my stroller. No one treated me like a pariah for dining with a baby. Both restrooms have large changing areas, too.”

Firestone Restaurant and Bar, Lethbridge, Alberta: ”I had written in my reservation notes that we were two adults with two small children plus a baby who needed a high chair, and it was all ready when we arrived. The meals were all delivered in a very timely manner.”

Great Maple, San Diego, California: ”My husband and I have been here many times and invited our friends and two kids (6 months and 3 years old) to join us for brunch last Saturday. Great Maple was very accommodating, and we had a great corner table outside with plenty of room for the stroller. Crayons and a paper menu for the little ones to stay entertained. Delicious food. Our waiter was very friendly and accommodating of our somewhat slow-to-get-it-all-together party (Hard to do with two kids and parents eating in shifts while trying to keep a baby from meltdown status!).”

Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina: ”Service was outstanding! We reserved a table early (5:45pm) since we had my 11-month old with us. I was happy to see other babies there, too. The service staff were so accommodating and professional. I didn’t feel judged at all, and the server even offered to get my daughter some water, juice, or crackers…whatever she needed. ”

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