Nine Stunning Summer Restaurant Menus Showcasing the Season’s Bounty

Summertime and livin’ is easy. Farmers markets overflow with a rainbow of just-harvested vegetables, fruits, and herbs, while fishermen haul in seasonal specialties. For chefs, this wealth of freshness is a bonanza that they look forward to all year long. You can practically hear them rubbing their hands with glee when it starts flooding into their kitchens. To highlight the best of the sunny season, we rounded up nine stunning summer restaurant menus.

Bouchon, Beverly Hills, California
Thomas Keller presents French favorites crafted with farm fresh produce. Roasted chicken comes with a ragout of summer pole beans and sweet corn, artichokes pair with a pan-seared swordfish, and a radiant apricot tart leads the new dessert offerings. C’est magnifique!

Bouchon SaladeNicoise2 blog copy

Charlie Palmer Steak, Washington, D.C.
When he’s not in the kitchen, executive chef Jeffrey Russell spends time tending his garden plot across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. The vegetables and herbs he cultivates there become a part of his four-course tasting dinners, which change weekly. The initial menu features a baby butter lettuce salad filled out with cukes, carrots, and bronze fennel and teres major steak accompanied by braised Swiss chard and charred Vidalia onions.

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Chefs Club by Food & Wine, New York City
If restaurants were movies, this one would be The Avengers. A rotating, all-star cast of contributors presents a seasonally inspired menu, which currently includes a watercress-jalapeno-watermelon salad from chef Michelle Bernstein and lobster cannelloni from chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Sounds like a blockbuster to us.

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Lincoln Ristorante, New York, New York
For his latest menu, executive chef Jonathan Benno found inspiration in traditional Sardinian cuisine. Standout dishes include a burrata orb graced with strawberries and pickled ramps, brown butter sautéed morels sit atop ricotta-pea pocketed ravioli, and a mélange of spinach and red dandelion greens are gussied up with briny bottarga, chili, and garlic. Best of all: you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to enjoy this authentic taste of the Mediterranean isle.Continue Reading

2015 Top 100 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Canada + 10 Most Instagrammable Patios

Dust off your sandals and bust out the sunscreen, diners! Summer is here, and to kick things off we’re unveiling the 2015 Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Canada. The awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 275,000 restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 1,600 restaurants in Canada.

Featuring restaurants that offer some of Canada’s most stunning views and dining experiences, the complete list includes winners from picturesque regions such as Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Stanley Park, British Columbia, and Banff, Alberta. Ontario leads all provinces with 41 winning restaurants, followed by British Columbia with 28, Alberta with 18, and Québec with 12. Restaurants associated with wineries, such as Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery in Oliver, British Columbia, and Vineland Estates Winery Restaurant in Vineland, Ontario, are well represented among the winning restaurants.

Forget phone etiquette for a moment when you visit any of these honorees, and open your Instagram app to share snaps of these fabulous outdoor seating areas.  Need inspiration? Check out 10 of the most Instagrammable restaurant patios from this year’s Top 100 below.

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Lunch Break: Meet OpenTable Employee John Orta

John OrtaIt’s fair to say the best thing about Mondays is lunch, so we’re pleased to bring you another edition of Lunch Break. This week, we feature OpenTable employee John Orta. He originally hails from Phoenix, Arizona, and he works at the OpenTable headquarters in San Francisco as senior vice president and general counsel, where he apparently talks a lot. He’s fond of whiskey and meat, but it’s pickles he can’t live without. Read on as John dishes on his dining habits and reveals why he’s fasting for lunch. 

 

Name: John Orta

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Job Title: Senior Vice President + General Counsel

What that means that I do at OpenTable: I talk a lot.

Years at OpenTable: 8 1/2 (Yikes!)  Alma mater: UC Santa Barbara (BA); University of San Francisco School of Law (JD), UC Berkely (MBA)

I have worked in a restaurant as a: Dishwasher / busboy / pizza maker

The food I can’t live without: Pickles

The one food I’ll never try: I will eat anything. Once.

My go-to drink or cocktail: Whiskey, neat. If I’m feeling crazy, rocks.

The delicious dessert I refuse to share: Whiskey (see above).

My favorite thing about dining out is: Laughing loudly with friends.

If meat is on a restaurant’s menu, I almost always order it.

My last best restaurant meal was at: Commis

The restaurant I am a regular at: CaminoContinue Reading

Get Freaky with Tiki: 11 Tiki Cocktails Approved by the Polynesian Gods

Yum, yum, yum, and a bottle of rum! It usually only takes one look to spot a Tiki cocktail. The brightly hued, over-the-top summery spritzers utilize a rainbow of juices, Polynesian-themed glassware, and colorful garnishes galore. Oh, yeah, and lots and lots of rum, so they’re typically super strong. Warning: You may start drinking one at a stateside bar only to wake up days later on a Mexican beach with no recollection of how you got there. To help you cool down during the hot summertime months, we’ve compiled a list of 11 truly tremendous Tiki cocktails. Whether you wear a Hawaiian shirt or lei while you’re drinking them is totally up to you.

Bird of Prey, Hello Betty Fish House, Oceanside, California
Any cocktail served in a pineapple is A-OK our in book. The Bird of Prey is a buzzy blitz of rum, Campari, pineapple gomme syrup, and lemon juice. Just to clarify: you can’t eat your glass when you’re done with your cocktail.

HELLO BETTY FISH HOUSE - Bird of Prey

Blood of the Kapu Tiki, Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
Shiver our timbers! The gory-sounding-but-delicious Blood of the Kapu Tiki is a heady mix of aged rum, aged rhum agricole, grapefruit, lime, curacao, grenadine, absinthe, and Angostura bitters. “Sharks” swim in the icy slurry, so be careful when you sip.

Three Dots - Blood of the Kapu Tiki_lowres

Holy Terroir, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown, New Jersey
We love paper umbrellas. When a cocktail arrives with one of those pretty parasols jutting out from its depths, we suddenly feel like we’re lying underneath a palm tree as an ocean breeze ruffles our hair. There’s one shading the side of the Holy Terroir, which unites rum, lime juice, golden falernum, and bitters.

Jockey Hollow_Holy Terroir

Jamaican Mule, Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, Rockville, Maryland
Twisting up Tiki tradition, these bartenders put a Spanish accent on their Jamaican Mule. Rum, allspice dram, lime, and ginger beer come together to create a buzzy beachside bevvie.

Jamaican Mule

Lychee, BDK, San Francisco, California
The Lychee cocktail is much more complex than its name implies. It’s made with smoky tea vodka, salted pistachio syrup, lime juice, housemade coconut-lychee milk, rum, and grated ginger. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s coronated with shaved toasted coconut and lime zest, then presented in a ceramic pineapple cup.

The Lychee at BDK Restaurant & Bar

Tai One On, Alder, New York, New York
Bar director Travis Brown wanted to riff on the classic Tiki ‘tail, the Mai Tai. So he swirls together cachaça (a soulmate of rum distilled from sugar cane rather than molasses), lime juice, coconut orgeat, and Angostura bitters. It’s the taste of island living in a glass.

Tai One On

Missionary’s Downfall, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Washington, D.C.
You know any cocktail named Missionary’s Downfall is going to be devilishly good. Remy VSOP and peach cordial are the main stars here, though there’s plenty of rum blended into this slushy sipper. Perfect for those days when it’s hot as hell.

Missionary's Downfall Farmers Fishers BakersContinue Reading