The OpenTable Blog

Look Out! The 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America 2016 #OpenTable100

As hungry sightseers travel around the nation this summer, we are excited to unveil the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America 2016. 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.

Most Scenic Restaurants in America 2016

Highlighting restaurants set against dramatic urban backdrops to those located along breathtaking waterfronts, the complete list features winning restaurants in 34 states and includes Duke’s in Malibu, The Rainbow Room in New York, and Seven Glaciers in Girdwood, Alaska. The coastal state of California earned nearly one quarter of winning restaurants with 24, followed by Washington with 10, and Florida with seven. Michigan, Nevada, and New York boast four honorees apiece. Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia have three each. Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Utah all claim two honorees. Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin are also represented.

American fare restaurants were most common on the list, but seafood also proved popular. International menus, such as Asian, global, Latin American, and Peruvian are present as well as diner favorites French, Italian, and steakhouse cuisines.

Check out a slideshow of select winners of our awards for the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America 2016 below.

The 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America list is generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners between July 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of qualifying reviews for which “great for outdoor dining” was selected as a special feature.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America according to OpenTable diners:

15 Point Road – Portsmouth, Rhode Island
360 Steakhouse-Harrah’s – Council Bluffs, Iowa
A Caprice – Tiburon, California
ACQUA – Forest Lake, Minnesota
Altius – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Arnie’s – Edmonds, Washington
Arnies – Mukilteo, Washington
Baxter’s Lakeside Grille – Lake Ozark, Missouri
Beachcomber Café- Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, California
Bertrand at Mister A’s – San Diego, California
The Blue Point – Duck, North Carolina
Blue Ridge – Asheville, North Carolina
The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing – Richmond, Virginia
The Boat House at Sunday Park – Midlothian, Virginia
Boat House Waterfront Dining – Tiverton, Rhode Island
Bon Appetit – Dunedin, Florida
Central Park BoatHouse – New York, New York
The Chart House – National Locations
Chateau Morrisette – Floyd, Virginia
Christy Hill – Tahoe City, California
Clinkerdagger – Spokane, Washington
Coach Insignia – Detroit, Michigan
Cygnus 27 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dauphin’s – Mobile, Alabama
Different Pointe of View – Phoenix, Arizona
The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn – Newport, Rhode Island
Duke’s Chowder House – Tacoma, Washington
Duke’s Malibu – Malibu, California
Edgewood Restaurant – Stateline, Nevada
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – Dallas, Texas
Flagstaff House – Boulder, Colorado
Four Winds Steakhouse – Wills Point, Texas
Friday’s Station Steak & Seafood Grill-Harrah’s Lake Tahoe – Stateline, Nevada
The Garden Restaurant – Salt Lake City, Utah
Gulfstream Café – Garden City, South Carolina
Harbor House – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Hobbit Restaurant – Ocean City, Maryland
Il Fornaio – Coronado, California
Iridescence – Detroit, Michigan
Island Prime – San Diego, California
Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing – Mukilteo, Washington
Jake’s Del Mar – Del Mar, California
Kemoll’s Italian Restaurant – St. Louis, Missouri
La Costanera – Montara, California
Latitudes – Key West, Florida
Le Vigne at Montaluce Winery – Dahlonega, Georgia
Lobster Shop South – Tacoma, Washington
Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii
The Marine Room – La Jolla, California
Monterey Bay Fish Grotto-Mt. Washington – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ocean – Kennebunkport, Maine
The Ocean House Restaurant – Dennis Port, Massachusetts
Old Oyster Factory – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ophelia’s on the Bay – Sarasota, Florida
Orange County Mining Co. – Santa Ana, California
Palisade – Seattle, Washington
The Patio at Las Sendas – Mesa, Arizona
Pearl’s Saltwater Grille – Savannah, Georgia
Pier W – Cleveland, Ohio
Portland City Grill – Portland, Oregon
Poseidon – Del Mar, California
Primavista – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Rainbow Room – New York, New York
Ray’s Boathouse – Seattle, Washington
Restaurant at the Getty Center – Los Angeles, California
Rick’s Café Boatyard – Indianapolis, Indiana
River Café – Brooklyn, New York
River Crab – St. Clair, Michigan
River’s End – Jenner, California
RIVUE Restaurant and Lounge – Louisville, Kentucky
The Roof Restaurant – Salt Lake City, Utah
Rustic, Francis’s Favorites – Geyserville, California
Rusty Scupper – Baltimore, Maryland
Salty’s on Alki Beach – Seattle, Washington
Salty’s on the Columbia – Portland, Oregon
Salute E Vita Ristorante – Richmond, California
Sea Watch Restaurant – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
SEA180 Coastal Tavern – Imperial Beach, California
Seaglass Restaurant and Lounge – Salisbury, Massachusetts
Seven Glaciers – Girdwood, Alaska
Shadowbrook Restaurant – Capitola, California
Simon Pearce Restaurant – Quechee, Vermont
SkyCity Restaurant at the Space Needle – Seattle, Washington
Spindletop – Houston, Texas
Spinner’s Rooftop Revolving Bistro & Lounge-Grand Plaza Hotel – St. Pete Beach, Florida
Summit House Restaurant – Fullerton, California
Sunset Terrace-Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, North Carolina
Sutro’s at the Cliff House – San Francisco, California
The Sun Dial Restaurant at the Westin Peachtree Plaza – Atlanta, Georgia
thirty-two – Biloxi, Mississippi
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse – San Diego, California
Top of Binion’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas, Nevada
Top of the Hub – Boston, Massachusetts
Top of the World Restaurant-Stratosphere Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada
Vast-Devon Tower – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Ventana Grill – St. Pismo, California
Vivace Restaurant – Tucson, Arizona
Wyebrook Farm Market & Café – Honey Brook, Pennsylvania
X20 Xaviars on the Hudson – Yonkers, New York
Yamashiro – Hollywood, California

The complete list may also be viewed at http://www.opentable.com/m/most-scenic-restaurants-2016.

Are you headed to any of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America 2016 on your summer travels? Let us know here or over on FacebookG+,InstagramPinterest, or Twitter  using the hashtag #OpenTable100.

Photo credits: Bill Milne (The Rainbow Room); Boudoir – Sarah Chillson Photography (Altius).

Dine Like a Local in New Orleans: Top Picks for the Best Eats in the Big Easy

A visit to New Orleans should be on everyone’s culinary bucket list. There are regional specialties galore and more storied restaurants that you possibly fit in one trip. But once you’ve had beignets, bananas Foster, red beans and rice, jambalaya and crawfish étouffée at iconic restaurants like Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s and Brennan’s, it’s time to branch out. Here are some more of the places that are ideal for when you want to dine like a local in New Orleans.

Shaya
Shaya is one of the current darlings of the New Orleans food scene. An anomaly in the area, the focus is modern Israeli cuisine with influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Greece. But many of the products are locally sourced and add a unique spin to classics. The dinner menu is designed for sharing; try a selection of the “for the table” dishes, such as paddlefish caviar spread with shallots or wood-roasted okra with tahini, tomatoes, and duqqa. Dishes like the roasted cabbage served with muhammara, tahini, and hazelnuts are a riot of flavors and textures but combined in such a way that the result is much more than the sum of its parts. Make a reservation at Shaya.

Dine Like a Local in New Orleans

Compère Lapin
This newish restaurant from Top Chef contestant Nina Compton is located in the hip warehouse arts district in a space adjoining a cool boutique hotel. Her food sometimes shows hints of her Caribbean background, but mostly it’s her excitingly fresh approach to New Orleans ingredients and vegetable-forward cuisine that tantalizes. Because Compton previously worked at Scarpetta in Miami, her pastas are noteworthy. But even simple dishes like the beet salad is a revelation. It’s composed or both cooked and raw beets, pesto, tender baby beet greens, candied pistachios and ciabatta croutons. Make a reservation at Compère Lapin.

Dine Like a Local in New Orleans

La Petite Grocery
La Petite Grocery is set in a historic building which was once the Central Tea, Coffee and Butter Depot, across the street from the bustling Jefferson Market. Over a hundred years later, it positively oozes with charm. Award-winning chef Justin Devillier has been in New Orleans for more than 10 years and has worked at some of the best restaurants in town, at which he absorbed the local techniques and approaches to food. His creative dishes include fried green tomatoes with burrata, arugula, country ham, and herb oil, and blue crab beignets. The restaurant is located on Magazine Street in a part of Uptown on the edge of the Garden District that is well worth exploring. Make a reservation at La Petite Grocery.

Dine Like a Local in New Orleans

Willa Jean
It’s no surprise that this new spot is a combination of a Southern bakery and a café; the flaky biscuits here are already being hailed as some of the city’s best. While technically a John Besh restaurant, it’s really all about pastry chefs-bakers Kelly Fields and Lisa White. Super popular at lunch, locals rave about the meatloaf sandwich and the avocado toast with poached egg, olive oil, tomato and sea salt. A pure nostalgia dessert is the “cookies and milk” — chocolate chip cookies are served with a glass of Tahitian vanilla milk alongside a beater full of fresh cookie dough. Make a reservation at Willa Jean.

Dine Like a Local in New Orleans

GW Fins
The French Quarter may be filled with tourists, but locals head there, too, for live music and cool drinks. They also make a beeline to what’s often regarded the best fine dining seafood restaurant in town. In business for more than a decade, it has a fresh and modern dining room. Signature dishes from chef and co-owner Tenney Flynn include the Lobster Dumplings with fennel, tomato concassé, and lobster butter and Scalibut, a combination of halibut encrusted with sea scallops, served with lobster risotto, snow peas, and pea shoot butter. If you’re lucky, you could find lionfish as a special. Make a reservation at GW Fins.

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You Can Take It with You: The Etiquette of the Doggie Bag #hackdining

Doggie Bag BlogJust because a meal has ended doesn’t mean you’ve taken your last bite. Doggie bags allow you to extend a dining experience beyond the confines of your restaurant reservation, while also helping cut down on food waste and saving you some time in the kitchen later on. The tradition began in Rome during the sixth century B.C. Banquet goers would wrap up extra food in a napkin to signal to their host just how much they enjoyed the meal. However, the modern practice – and the name doggie bag itself – came to fruition in the States during World War II, when diners were encouraged to their leftovers to feed their pets, though it soon became apparent that diners – not Rover – were the usual recipients of the unfinished meals. This new practice opened up a proverbial Pandora’s bag of etiquette issues, which are still present today. Here are six tips on how to deal with the doggie bag.

No Shame

Whether you’re dining in a budget-friendly eatery or a high-end restaurant, you can always ask for a doggie bag. Some diners don’t want to ask for their leftovers when dining in four-star restaurants because they don’t want to appear cheap. They shouldn’t feel poorly about making the request. Just because an establishment has nice silverware, white tablecloths, and a tasting menu that costs more than the average car payment doesn’t mean they don’t have takeaway containers in the back. Don’t worry; the staff is more than happy to put the remainder of your truffle topped cacio e pepe in a box for you, so you can eat it later that night when you’re in bed catching up on Game of Thrones.

Sharing is Caring

Everyone is entitled to take home the remains of their own meal, of course. (It’s also perfectly acceptable to “gift” your uneaten portion to someone else at the table.). However, it gets trickier when it comes to dividing up family style entrees between two or more guests. Before simply claiming the giant rectangle of lasagna sitting at the center of the table, ask your dining companions if anyone else would like to take some home. If someone else is interested as well, either divide up the leftovers yourself or ask the staff to do it for you.

Pack Wisely

Getting home and opening your doggie bag to find that a sauce has leaked out, the bread is soggy, or a component is missing can be disappointing – and may even cause you to throw the food out. To prevent such waste from happening, politely request that any dips or spreads be packed separately, sandwiches or rolls be wrapped in aluminum foil, and be sure to specifically point out what leftovers you’d like to take home. Some restaurants will simply bring you takeout containers, so you can wrap everything up to your liking.Continue Reading

Shots Shots Shots: Follow These Top Mixologists on Instagram for Better Cocktail Pics

Mixologists of Instagram

Scrolling through your Instagram feed can make you thirsty. That’s because mixologists have flocked to the photo sharing service since it debuted in 2010, using it as a forum to showcase their most striking cocktails, share recipes, and give patrons a virtual peek behind the bar. Here are six top mixologists to follow on Instagram if you’re looking for inspiration on what to drink next.

Melisa Lapido, aka @melis_boozy_cure, of 31 Supper Club, Ormond Beach, Florida

“Garnishing is a passion for me,” says Lapido. “I treat it like adult arts and crafts.”

The results are wow-worthy and usually earn her hundreds of likes. She uses a broad array of techniques to add pop to her potables – from trimming a lemon peel with a ravioli cutter so it becomes lacey to creating unique ice components.

These eye-catching creations have translated into surging bar sales. “It’s amazing how many people come into the bar and tell me they saw something on Instagram that they want me to make,” she says. “Fresh fruit changes daily, so they might not get the exact same thing, but it gives me a sense of their palate.”

Pro Tip: “I like shooting against dark or black backgrounds, because it highlights the colors of the drink.”

Mixologists of Instagram

Rhys Alvarado, aka @rhyseespieces, of Burritt Room + Tavern, San Francisco, California

Rhys Alvarado got on Instagram three years ago to find out what his fellow mixologists were doing and to promote his own work. “If you don’t publicize your stuff, you get lost,” he says. “It’s about keeping the bar relevant in such a dynamic scene with so many openings.”

He has a soft spot for showcasing vintage glassware in his photos, such as antique coupes, Collins glasses with frosted etching, and crystal Old Fashioned tumblers. He’s equally focused on his garnish game, which heavily focuses on fresh fruit. If it’s not perfect, he won’t bother posting the pic. “I saw on a Corona ad the other day featuring a lime with brown edges in it,” he says. “I would be peeved if that was in my Instagram shot.”

Pro Tip: “Don’t post after midnight because no one will see it. I don’t post in the morning either because people aren’t thinking about drinking unless they have a problem. Posting at one or two in the afternoon is great because that’s when people start making plans for the evening.”

Mixologists of Instagram

Jose “Chuck” Rivera, aka @chucktending, of barmini, Washington, D.C.

“Every cocktail is a piece of art,” says Rivera. “People fall in love with a drink visually first.”

To ensure it’s love at first sight, he spends a lot of time working on his garnishes. He aims to use components that are “edible and beautiful,” such as a black olive wrapped in ibérico ham, lavender blossoms, and parsley ice.

Almost every cocktail pic is accompanied by the drink’s recipe because Rivera feels it’s important to share the craft and allow followers to try it at home if they’d like.

Pro Tip: “Playing with colors is really important. I don’t want a red cocktail with a red garnish on a red napkin. That’s too flat. Mix it up.”

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