We don’t know about you, but the absolute first thing we do when planning a trip is deciding where to eat. After all, there is no more authentic way to the heart (or stomach) of a culture than through its local dining scene. At OpenTable, we believe in the power of what happens around the restaurant table — so we thought it was about time we take a step back and help you get there.
And so, we took to the streets, in three of the most interesting, exciting food cities around the world today — London, Austin, and Los Angeles. Each unique in their culinary history and characters, they share a certain edge and willingness to experiment with the dining status quo. Discover the new London, once a bastion of bubble and squeak and other dubious food stuffs we were all taught to avoid, is experiencing a delicious renaissance, led by chefs like Fergus Henderson and Yotam Ottolenghi, but now exploding with young, creative talent. And, how much more than barbecue there is in Austin (not that you shouldn’t make a point of hunting down the best ribs and washing them down with a craft brew or two). Los Angeles leads the nation’s food avant-garde, with arguably the most nationally influential food critic, Jonathan Gold, in charge and fusion, fermentation, and fenugreek for days.
In our guides, we hope you’ll experience a first taste of these towns through the eyes of those who know them best — a curated set of tastemakers who represent the face of the industry in each place. From executive chefs and boutique coffee brewers to notable bakers and it pop-up leaders, these influencers are the ones to follow. Thus, in London, we hobnob with the couple behind buzzy Ta Ta Eatery and get their picks for where to nosh authentic Chinese now; then in Austin, Tyson Cole, chef/owner of Uchi and Uchiko, weighs in on the definitive mainstays and Franklin Barbecue tops most every tastemaker’s list (no surprise there.) In Los Angeles, it’s all about edge — from Mexican vegan at Gracias Madre to Cali-Korean fusion at Here’s Looking At You.
You may have a trip on the books, or you may just enjoy a healthy dose of armchair travel — either way, step inside and get inspired. We can’t wait to see the tables you unearth.
The OpenTable Team
Let us know your favorite picks from the new OpenTable city guides here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics as you dine near and far with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Francesca is a freelance writer and editor living in San Francisco, where along with OpenTable, she contributes to Vogue, Architectural Digest, and Mind Body Green, among other outlets. A restaurant junkie and native of New York, four years ago she moved west for love and avocado toast and never looked back.