2015 Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America + 10 Most Instagrammable Outdoor Seating Areas

Summer travel season is almost here! Fire up your Google Maps app. Hit up Priceline for travel deals. And get ready to make the most or your vacation or staycation dining with a meal at one of the OpenTable 2015 Top 100 Al Fresco Dining 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.

Highlighting restaurants in some of the nation’s most coveted vacation destinations, the complete list features winning restaurants in 15 states, and includes Frida’s in Lahaina, Hawaii, Geoffrey’s in Malibu, and The Turtle Club in Naples, Florida. Many of the restaurants are associated with picturesque resorts conceived to highlight the natural splendor of their surroundings or situated on prime spots in some of the country’s most beautiful coastal states. Come armed with your appetite and your phone; these restaurants are ready for their close-ups on your summer travel stream. Don’t believe us? Check out 10 of the most Instagrammable outdoor seating settings from this year’s honorees below.

 

The sunny state of California has 45 winning restaurants, followed by Florida with 18 and Hawaii with 17. Arizona has seven winning restaurants. Nevada and South Carolina have two winning restaurants apiece. Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia are also represented. American fare proves most popular among the winners; however, regional Californian and Hawaiian cuisines are also common, as is seafood.Continue Reading

The S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015

EMP Blog 1After releasing the 51-100 World’s Best Restaurants last week (and thus letting some chefs know their restaurants had slipped out of the top 50), S. Pellegrino announced its annual rankings of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. A decidedly international list, only one American restaurant cracked the top 10 – Eleven Madison Park (No. 5).

Other winners of note on OpenTable include Dinner By Heston Blumenthal in London (No. 7), Pujol in Mexico City (No. 16), Le Bernardin in New York (No. 18), The Ledbury in London (No. 20), Aqua at The Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany (No. 33), Quintonil in Mexico City, Per Se in New York (No. 40), Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York (No. 49), and The French Laundry in Yountville, California (No. 50).Continue Reading

Taking Care of Business: Save $20 on Dining When You Pay with OpenTable

PAY_twitter-businesslunch

This week, picking up the check at a business meal just got a little less painful. When you book a table and pay through the OpenTable app, June 2-June 8, you’ll get $20 off* your dining experience – which is a bonus for your company’s bottom line. You’ll score points with your guest (and your boss), plus you don’t have to worry about losing your dining receipt and eating the expense on top of your meal. Here’s how it works:

* Make a reservation and dine June 2-June 8 at a restaurant that accepts OpenTable mobile payments.

* Add the promo code bizdev when prompted to view your check in the app. (You can only use it once!)

* Voila! There’s your $20 credit toward your bill. Enjoy the sweet taste of savings.

View participating restaurants in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. View all participating restaurants hereContinue Reading

Weekend in Wine Country: 2 Days in Napa + Sonoma via St. Francis Winery, Redd, Mustards Grill + More

Welcome to Napa sign blogWhen you tell your foodie friends you’re spending a weekend in California’s Wine Country, you’re going to get countless suggestions for wining and dining your way around the area – and with good reason. There are almost 200 restaurants alone in the area on OpenTable and more than 400 wineries. Unless you’re a local, there’s no way to tackle them all even in a year (or 10!), let alone a couple of days. But, the good news is that it’s really hard to take a wrong turn. This was my stealthy and delicious agenda in Napa and Sonoma earlier this month.

FRIDAY

Cakebread-blog

1PM: Cakebread Cellars
One of our very helpful Uber drivers cautioned us that the Napa winery scene was becoming quite corporate, with many requiring appointments. Having gone the non-appointment route several years back, I preferred the intimacy of scheduled tastings, particularly at Cakebread Cellars. For $40 per person, we opted for the Reserve tasting, which included a private tour of the winery’s operations and a very gently paced, thoughtful tasting in a grand room overlooking the vineyard, where we sipped wines that we’d never sampled, despite being longtime Cakebread fans.

Gott's3PM: Gott’s Roadside (FKA Taylor’s Refresher)
My last visit to Gott’s was a bust as the Saturday lines were obscenely long, but this time out, the weekday timing played to our favor. At this local classic, we were eating juicy cheeseburgers and sharing crispy fries with each other (and a few brave birds) within a few minutes of parking. Bonus for my fellow gluten-free diners: You can get any burger animal-style, wrapped in lettuce, and it’s still supremely satisfying.

Redd blog9PM: Redd
Chef Richard Reddington’s Redd remains as fresh as when its doors first opened in 2005. The restaurant is warm and elegant all at once, as is the food. The little gem salad was the best my husband ever had (which is quite a statement, as he’s not a salad lover). Other standouts include the generously portioned foie gras trio, caramelized diver scallops, skate wing, and petrale sole. The wine list is deep yet accessible, and, despite being surrounded by California Chardonnay, we opted for a French Bourgogne. Tip: Be sure to arrive early and grab a signature craft cocktail at the stylish bar.

SATURDAY

St Frances Duck1PM: St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
The food and wine pairing experience at St. Francis is apparently the best kept secret in Sonoma, shocking considering that it has the distinction of being an OpenTable Top 100 Restaurant in America for two years running, earning the #1 spot in 2013 and the #5 spot in 2014. At $60 for five seasonal courses and generous pours of carefully paired wines, plus a cheese selection, I understood why one reviewer called it “The French Laundry for $60.” And, yet, many folks we encountered in our travels weren’t aware of it. So, here it is; I’m blowing the lid off: the pairings are a sublime steal.Continue Reading