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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20 Culinary Questions with San Francisco Food Writer Amy Sherman of ‘Cooking with Amy’

amysherman 20 Culinary Questions with San Francisco Food Writer Amy Sherman of Cooking with AmyAmy Sherman is a cook, eater, and culinary enthusiast based in San Francisco. She runs the popular cooking and dining blog Cooking with Amy. An avid gourmand and traveler, Sherman says, “Cooking and eating are one of the best ways to learn about yourself and world around you.” She adores sushi and would eat it every day if she could afford it, but reveals of a common breakfast staple, “For a long time I had an aversion to maple syrup. Just the smell of it freaked me out. Now I love the stuff! I’m particularly partial to maple syrup from Canada.” An OpenTable diner since 2003, she shares her our answers to our 20 dining Qs.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the San Francisco dining scene? San Francisco has so much variety; there are new hip and trendy places but also classics that are just as popular as ever. It’s not hard to find fantastic pizza, Chinese dumplings, Viennoiserie, fusion street food, and high-end contemporary cuisine on any night of the week. In general, though, the quality is high, in part because our produce is so fresh and beautiful. We really are spoiled here.

2.  Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? I feel very fortunate to live in such a great food neighborhood. Recently several new places have opened up and Stones Throw has quickly become a favorite. The creativity on the menu and great hospitality make me want to return again and again .

3. If I come to your hometown/city, where must I dine? It’s impossible to not find something to make you happy at Fog City. The restaurant has been reimagined and it’s better than ever. The menu now features everything from burgers to grilled local calamari and oven roasted baby carrots with black garlic mole, almonds and cotija. The smoked salmon and smoked egg salad sandwich at lunch is to die for, and please do order enough of the frozen custard or French crullers for the whole table.

4. Last best restaurant(s) you dined at? I had a great dinner at Verbena, the service is slow, but the dishes are worth waiting for and the vegetarian dishes are as good if not better than the non-vegetarian ones.

5. Restaurant(s) you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? So many places! Even writing about restaurants professionally, it’s hard to keep up, but high on my list to try right now are Aveline, Plin, Urchin Bistrot, and Souvla.

6. Favorite city (cities) for dining outside your own? I’m pretty crazy about Honolulu. It’s a world class dining destination but many of the gems are under the radar. I made a Google map with over 50 of my favorite places. http://bit.ly/honoluludining

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? I would love to go to Copenhagen. Truly, I plan most trips around the food, and, as a result, I’ve been to a lot of great cities! Tokyo, Bologna, Mexico City, and Chicago are a few of my favorites.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? Italian is comfort food for me. I lived in Italy for a while and always crave pasta. Even my Italian hosts were impressed by my love for it.

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Small plates for sure. Sharing is caring! I want to try as many dishes as I can, but I sometimes suffer from tasting menu fatigue. Grazing on pintxos in San Sebastian was a blast!

10.Dish you can’t resist ordering? Because of the foie gras ban in California, when I do see it on a menu out of state, I’m likely to order it.

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Top Chef Season 12 Cheftestants Revealed

Mark your calendars and program your DVRs, food TV fans! On October 15, 2014, season 12 of Top Chef premieres. Set in Boston, Massachusetts, look for episodes taking place at The Bull and Finch Pub (aka Cheers), Fenway Park, and Plimoth Plantation, plus challenges centered around the first Thanksgiving, the inaugural Top Chef food festival, a fan appreciation meal in the Top Chef kitchen, and cooking for Boston’s police and fire departments. Last Chance Kitchen will also return, so even if your favorites packs their knives, they may live to compete another day. This season’s cheftestants are:

TC Season 12 Top Chef Season 12 Cheftestants RevealedDoug Adams, chef de cuisine, Imperial, Portland, Oregon

Stacy Cogswell, executive chef, The Regal Beagle, Boston Massachusetts

Joy Crump, formerly of Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, Georgia

Ron Eyester, executive chef/owner, Rosebud, Atlanta, Georgia

Gregory Gourdet, executive chef, Departure Restaurant and Lounge, Portland, Oregon

Aaron Grissom, chef, Bow & Truss, Los Angeles, California

Adam Harvey, chef, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn, New York

Melissa King, former sous chef, The Ritz-Carlton Dining Room, San Francisco, California

Rebecca LaMalfa, executive sous chef, Trenchermen, Chicago, Illinois

Mei Lin, sous chef, ink., Los Angeles, California

George Pagonis, executive chef/partner, Kapnos, Washington, D.C.

Michael Patlazhan, private chef, Brooklyn, New York

James Rigato, executive chef, The Root Restaurant & Bar, White Lake, Michigan

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Ride There with Uber in the OpenTable App

Need a ride to your reservation? No problem! We’re pleased to announce our new Ride there with Uber feature. Starting today, you will be able to view availability and estimated pricing of Uber vehicles near your home or a restaurant, and tap to request a ride to your destination via Uber — all within the OpenTable app.

The Ride there with Uber feature displays on your upcoming reservation and confirmation screens for bookings made within three hours of a reservation time, as well as at the end of your meal when paying your check using the OpenTable iPhone app. And, to make your life even easier, the OpenTable app will automatically tell your driver where to go, so you can focus on more important things like what to eat when you get there!

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Ride there with Uber is currently available in the OpenTable app for both iOS and Android devices in cities that Uber serves across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany, and Japan.

At OpenTable, powering great dining experiences is our mission; getting you to them is Uber’s. We hope you’ll appreciate the convenience of our latest — and quite literally — mobile feature.

Josh Garnier is the Senior Product Manager for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. 

Cheers to the 2014 Bon Appétit America’s Best New Restaurant Nominees

kin khao blog Cheers to the 2014 Bon Appétit Americas Best New Restaurant Nominees
Green papaya salad from nominee Kin Khao in San Francisco.

Bon Appétit has released its annual list of nominees for America’s Best New Restaurants of 2014. While not all of them are actually restaurants (such as Grand Central Market in Los Angeles), most are — and they’re on OpenTable. Neither New York nor San Francisco restaurants dominate the list; rather, the list features eateries in dozens of upcoming culinary cities. The finalists will be announced next week, so book your tables now to sample some of the most exciting food and drink being served around the nation.

Acorn, Denver, Colorado

Alden & Harlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts

CBD Provisions, Dallas, Texas

Cured, San Antonio, Texas

Eat the Rich, Washington, D.C.

Edmund’s Oast, Charleston, South Carolina

El Camino, Louisville, Kentucky

High Street on Market, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kin Khao, San Francisco, California

Luksus, Brooklyn, New York

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20 Raves for Gazpacho 20 Ways: Trending on Restaurant Reviews

gazpacho blog 20 Raves for Gazpacho 20 Ways: Trending on Restaurant ReviewsGazpacho is almost as much fun to say as it is to eat. Almost. While scores of foodies adore traditional tangy gazpacho, chefs are thinking outside the red tomato and letting other fruits and vegetables be the stars. This chilled soup, which is positively synonymous with summer, is being prepared with ingredients from cucumbers to watermelon — and everything in between. Check out what diners are saying about gazpacho served 20 different ways, in recent OpenTable restaurant reviews. 

Artichoke, Albuquerque, New Mexico: ”The yellow tomato gazpacho was garlicky and good.”

Atchafalaya, New Orleans, Louisiana: ”The soup of the day was to die for — watermelon-tomatillo gazpacho. It was absolutely wonderful.”

Bartlett Pear Inn, Easton, Maryland: ”The food was amazing! Starting with a mango-honey dew gazpacho…mmmm!”

Bishop’s, Vancouver, British Columbia: ”Delicious creamy gazpacho from sungold tomatoes with a spoonful of fennel sorbet and poached prawns was amazing!”

Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouri: ”The gazpacho martini is the single most delish cocktail I’ve ever imbibed.”

Charley G’s Seafood Grill, Lafeyette, Louisiana: ”My wife got the watermelon gazpacho soup with lump crab meat which was out of this world.”

Chef and the Farmer, Kinston, North Carolina: ”I highly recommend the sungold tomato and peach gazpacho. What an exciting surprise offering a delectable variety of tastes.”

Coohills, Denver, Colorado: ”The green tomato gazpacho was not your run-of the-mill soup but a medley of great flavors.”

Dovetail, New York, New York: ”The melon gazpacho for a first course on a warm summer day was refreshing and wonderfully flavored.”

* Gotham Bar and Grill, New York, New York: “I had the very best gazpacho of my life next. I didn’t want to finish it because I didn’t want the amazing blend of compressed yellow peppers, watermelon, cucumber, garlic, strawberry, and tomato to end!”

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