Vote for Canada’s Best New Restaurant

Screen Shot 2014 09 29 at 12.39.05 PM Vote for Canadas Best New RestaurantAirCanada’s enRoute invites you to choose the 2014 People’s Choice Award for Canada’s Best New Restaurant. Cast your vote and enter for your chance to win a trip to the gala event in November. Food writer Andrew Braithwaite will narrow down the list to his top 10 in the November issue of AirCanada enRoute magazine. Eligible restaurants must have opened between June 2013 and June 2014 to be considered for this year’s list, with intelligence gathered from a panel of the country’s leading food professionals.

The 30 nominees for Canada’s best new restaurants 2014 include:

Ayden Kitchen & Bar

Bar Buca

Black Pig Bistro

The Blacktail Florist

Byblos

The Chase

Cinara

Farmer’s Apprentice

Fat Pasha

Le Serpent

Luckee

Wolf in the Fog

Woodwork

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Watch It: Pay with OpenTable Demo

Diners can now use OpenTable mobile payments to settle their check at participating restaurants in New York and San Francisco, and, soon, in 18 additional cities before the year’s end. Can’t wait to try it out? See the app in action in our new video.

For additional information about mobile payments and to view the current list of participating restaurants, visit http://pay.opentable.com/. If you have a restaurant and are interested in providing your guests with our mobile payments experience, you can learn more at http://pay.opentable.com/restaurants.

20 Culinary Questions with Lee Schrager, Founder of the Food Network South Beach + New York City Wine & Food Festivals

Lee Schrager 2 copy1 copy 20 Culinary Questions with Lee Schrager, Founder of the Food Network South Beach + New York City Wine & Food FestivalsLee Brian Schrager is one of the nation’s preeminent event planners and media relations experts, serving as the vice president of corporate communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. Known for his creation of both the Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals, Schrager is the author of The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook and the recently released Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and at the School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University. His greatest culinary indulgence is that he travels for food. You can follow him on his culinary excursions on Twitter at @Lee_Schrager.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the Miami dining scene? Its diversity – from neighborhood joints to white-tablecloth fine dining, there’s a spot to fit any taste. There are strong cultural influences on Miami’s dining scene as well; mostly Latin due to our location, but you can find just about any type of food here.

2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? There are several! Sugarcane, Mandolin, Ni. Do. Caffé, MC Kitchen, Yardbird, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink – the list keeps growing.

3. If I come to Miami, where must I dine? That depends on how long you’re here and how many places I can give you – there are so many truly satisfying options now. Miami’s culinary scene has grown exponentially and continues to do so.

4. Last best restaurants you dined at? I had great meals recently at both Traymore and Touché.

5. Restaurants you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? If in Miami, I’m looking forward to getting to Drunken Dragon and Porfirio’s.

6. Favorite cities for dining outside your own? This is also a long list – I was recently in Tuscany, which I love, and also experienced the culinary scene in Israel, which I was amazed by.  I’m also a fan of the street food scene wherever I travel.

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Berlin and Chile.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? I’m a fan of Italian cuisine, but it all depends on what I’m in the mood for. I love fresh, simple, ingredient-driven food.

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Depends on the group of people I’m dining with – it’s important to know your party when evaluating this choice. I tend to lean toward shared plates though, in an effort to try as many of the dishes offered as possible.

10. Dish you can’t resist ordering when you see it on a menu? Roast chicken and/or fried chicken – it calls my name.

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The Bold Italic + OpenTable: Hacking the Dining Experience

bold italic The Bold Italic + OpenTable: Hacking the Dining ExperienceIn a city where you can find both start-ups and trendy restaurants on the same block, the two are invariably bound to collide. On Monday, September 22, OpenTable and The Bold Italic joined forces to bring together a panel of influencers to discuss two of the more powerful currents running through San Francisco: food and technology, and how they collectively translate to the hospitality and dining industry.

The panel was moderated by Meesha Halm, senior editor and writer at Zagat. A seasoned journalist and multimedia leader with extensive experience covering local and national dining trends, she understands what diners are truly looking for in a restaurant — and in their apps.

Our own Scott Jampol, VP of marketing at OpenTable, addressed the topic of whether technology helps or hinders the hospitality experience: “We [OpenTable] aim to seek out pain points from both [the diner and restaurant] sides of the equation and provide an elegant solution. This is where technology can improve efficiency of dining without sacrificing hospitality.”

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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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