The Diners Have Spoken: The #OpenTable100 Best Restaurants in America 2016

You booked, you dined, you reviewed! After a year of sublime dining, we are pleased to unveil the 100 Best Restaurants in America 2016. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 10 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 24,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Best Restaurants in America 2016

Showcasing long-running and new eateries, the complete list features restaurants in 30 states and the District of Columbia, and includes Oriole (pictured above) in Chicago, Le Coucou in New York, and Zahav in Philadelphia. New York has 13 winning restaurants, followed by California with 12 and Virginia with seven. Florida and Texas each have six winners. New Jersey and North Carolina have five honorees, and Oregon and Pennsylvania boast four apiece. Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Washington state, and Washington, D.C., each have three winners. Connecticut Georgia, Minnesota, and Tennessee all have two standout restaurants. Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are also represented.

Similar to last year’s list, established restaurants account for the majority of winners; however, several restaurants that opened in 2016, such as Oriole, earned spots. Fine dining and casual elegant dining establishments make up the majority of the list. Most eateries in the top 100 embrace sustainability, seasonality, and house-made ingredients, including cheese and charcuterie. While American and French cuisines are the most popular, global flavors are present on many of the menus, from regional Italian dishes to Middle Eastern specialties.

Oriole – Chicago, Illinois

Daniel – New York, New York

Zahav – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sushi Nakazawa-Sushi Bar – New York, New York

goosefoot – Chicago, Illinois

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards – Santa Rosa, California

Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Inn at Little Washington – Washington, Virginia

Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham, Alabama

Halls Chophouse – Charleston, South Carolina

Bavette’s – Chicago, Illinois

Thomas Henkelmann-Homestead Inn – Greenwich, Connecticut

Acquerello – San Francisco, California

Circle Brunch-The Breakers – Palm Beach, Florida

Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina

Maison Blanche – Longboat Key, Florida

The French Room – Dallas Texas

Chef’s Table at Edgewater – Winter Garden, Florida

L’Auberge Chez François – Great Falls, Virginia

Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii

Collage Restaurant – St. Augustine, Florida

The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon

Russell’s Steaks, Chops, and More – Williamsville, New York

Ariana – Bend, Oregon

Ski Tip Lodge – Keystone, Colorado

Antebellum – Flowery Branch, Georgia

Franklinville Inn – Franklinville, New Jersey

 

The list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America 2016 is generated solely from more than 10 million verified OpenTable diner reviews collected between November 1, 2015, and October 31, 2016. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category along with that restaurant’s rating relative to others in the same metropolitan area.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 100 Best Restaurants in America 2016 according to OpenTable diners.Continue Reading

Let’s Get Luxe: 10 Over-the-Top Truffle Dishes You’ll Dig

As the autumn months unfurl, truffles begin showing up on menus across the country. The knobby fungi command thousands of dollars per pound, making them one of the priciest ingredients around. Chefs love to feature them because of their singular, umami-rich flavor, which can take even the simplest of dishes to stunning heights. Here are 10 over-the-top truffle dishes.

Vintage Carnaroli Risotto at Everest, Chicago, Illinois
Carnaroli rice is widely regarded as the best option for risotto because it helps create a creamier texture. Since the grains are slightly longer than other options, they retain their shape better when black Perigord truffles are mixed in. The heat of the dish releases their decadent aroma, amplifying their deep flavors. Make a reservation at Everest.

Truffle Dishes

Soft Polenta with an Organic Egg at Toscana, Los Angeles, California
Italians call this dish polenta con uovo e tartufo bianco, but we Americans know it simply as soft polenta with an organic egg and white truffles. Pop the yolk and mix the sunny liquid with the creamy polenta as the truffles exude their trademark scent. Though it’s a dinner item, we think it would be the most perfect breakfast in the world. Make a reservation at Toscana.

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Alaska King Crab Gnocchi at Mastro’s, New York, New York
Decadence personified. Sweet king crab meat is mixed with sharp aged cheddar to add a slight bite, pillowy potato gnocchi, and earthy black truffles. Taken together in a single forkful, the components unite to form a flavor that manages to simultaneously recall the countryside and the deep blue. Make a reservation at Mastro’s.

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Boudin Blanc at Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, Washington, D.C.
Created in the Champagne Ardenne region, boudin blanc is one of France’s finest inventions. Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s version is spot on, served with caramelized onions, bacon lardons, and a black truffle mushroom puree that is the perfect counterpoint to the light sausage plumped up with foie gras and pheasant. Make a reservation at Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier.

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Smoked Ricotta Gnudi at L’Amico, New York, New York
Gnudi are plump, pillowy gnocchi-styled dumplings that seem to melt in your mouth because they’re made with smoked ricotta instead of potatoes. Executive chef Laurent Tourondel lavishes the savory spheres with a sage brown butter and freshly shaved black truffles. Prepared to be wowed. Make a reservation at L’Amico.

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Orecchiette Tartufate at Sophia’s, Austin, Texas
Hats off to this primo pasta. Orecchiette are tossed with cremini mushrooms, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. The dish features a truffle triple threat: black truffle cream, white truffle oil, and shaved white truffles. Make a reservation at Sophia’s.

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Yamming It Up: 11 Stellar Sweet Potato Dishes

With autumn in full swing and Thanksgiving fast approaching, sweet potatoes are in peak season. Chefs love the tawny-tinted tubers because they work well in both savory and sweet preparations. Here are 11 stellar sweet potato dishes showcasing the highly versatile root vegetable.

Sweet Potato Cake at Bub City, Chicago, Illinois
Think of this as autumn’s answer to carrot cake. Forged out of roasted sweet potatoes accented with cinnamon and vanilla, the triple layer treat is held together with bourbon brown sugar cream cheese frosting. Wavy sweet potato chips top it off to add color and crunch. Make a reservation at Bub City.

Sweet Potato Dishes

Sweet Potato Casserole at Wildfire, Chicago, Illinois
The team is offering this Southern staple exclusively on their Thanksgiving menu. A casserole of mashed sweet potatoes topped with baby marshmallows is baked in the oven till the top turns gooey and golden. Though it’s a side dish for the dinner, it tastes decidedly like dessert. Make a reservation at Wildfire.

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Sweet Potato Beignets at SoBou, New Orleans, Lousiana
Made with sweet potatoes, which add tones of earthy caramel, these beignets are the B-O-M-B. Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez serves the tender treats with foie gras fondue and a ganache made with duck debris and chicory coffee. Don’t feel bad if you don’t share; we wouldn’t either. Make a reservation at SoBou.

Sweet Potato Dishes

Sweet Potato and Chicken Risotto at BRIO Tuscan Grille, McLean, Virginia
Balancing richness and levity, the creamy risotto stars shreds of roasted chicken and sweet potato squares. Bits of pancetta and pine nuts add savoriness, while asparagus tips bring a springy sweetness to the thyme-seasoned entree. Just the thing you need to warm you up and power you through these I-can’t-believe-it’s-dark-at-five-o-clock days. Make a reservation at BRIO Tuscan Grille.

Sweet Potato Dishes

Chocolate Dome Miami at Pisco y Nazca, Miami, Florida
The smooth chocolate dome melts away as hot white chocolate ganache is poured over it. This reveals sweet potato custard, chocolate ganache, and caramel popcorn. Scooping up a spoonful creates a bite evoking pumpkin pie mixed with Cracker Jacks and molten lava cake. Make a reservation at Pisco y Nazca.

Sweet Potato Dishes

Sweet Potato Casserole at Fixe, Austin, Texas
Inspired by his mother’s sweet potato casserole, executive chef James Robert adds a few bonus bits. By which we mean whipped molasses and pork cracklins. With a dark sweetness balanced out by the right amount of salt, it works well as a side dish for mains like pork roast and smoked veal brisket. Make a reservation at Fixe.

Sweet Potato Dishes

Sweet Potato Cake at Firefly, Washington, D.C.
Executive chef Jammir Gray is not a big fan of pumpkins. So she devised this sweet potato cake as an alternative. Served warm, it comes with a snowdrift of warm marshmallow and crunchy bits of nutmeg sponge candy. Somewhat ironically, servers will tell you it evokes the flavors of Starbucks’ PSL – and they’re not wrong. Make a reservation at Firefly.

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Best Brunch Cocktails: Go Beyond the Basic on Mother’s Day

Sorry, plain Jane Bloody Mary; you’re just way too basic these days. That goes for you, too, champy and OJ! Mixologists are creating radical cocktails that seriously raise the bar when it comes to midday imbibing. We’re talking cocky concoctions to boost your lobster benny – and your spirits (as well as mom’s) on Mother’s Day and beyond. Here are delish sips of spring in the form of the best brunch cocktails you need to drink this weekend.

The Ruby Soho, Left Bank, New York, New York
The Ruby Soho cocktail is deftly mixed by head bartender Claiborne Fortenberry, who combines grapefruit and pink peppercorn-infused tequila (made in-house), Pamplemousse liqueur, fresh lime, and a salt rim for a super-fresh day drink. Goes especially well with the eggs Benedict, don’t you think? Make a reservation at Left Bank.

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Eiffel Affair, Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Eiffel Affair is the best-selling “new classic” cocktail served at the Eiffel Tower in the desert and features fresh berries macerated in Stoli Blueberi Crème de Cassis, Cointreau, and Rose Nectar. It’s topped off with a splash of Eiffel Tower Cremant for added effervescence. Make a reservation at Eiffel Affair.

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Bloody Bull, Momofuku CCDC, Washington, D.C.
Grab the horns and order The Bloody Bull. Made with vodka, tomato, horseradish, and beef broth, the beef broth stars beef shank and oxtail, and is also used in CCDC’s Beef Noodle Soup. The cocktail, served only during weekend lunch, pairs particularly well with Momofuku’s Twice-Cooked Pork Noodles with maple fish sauce vinaigrette and the Scrapple, Egg, and Cheese steamed buns. Make a reservation at Momofuku CCDC.

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Citrine, Harvest Table, St. Helena, California
Lead bartender Joel Pfeifle mixes unique, non-spirit based cocktails — many of the ingredients are sourced from the inn’s five culinary gardens — but these certainly aren’t your garden-variety cocktails. Top brunch libations include the Strawberry Belle (Mirabelle Brut, Strawberry Shrub, Garden Mint Syrup, Lime Juice), The Pampered Moose (Giffard Pamplemousse, No. 209 Gin, Grapefruit Oleo, lemon juice), and the Citrine (sparkling wine, garden mint syrup, fresh squeezed orange, bitters). Make a reservation at Harvest Table.

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The Lunchbox, Farmer & The Seahorse, San Diego, California
A seashell’s fling from the beach in San Diego’s Torrey Pines neighborhood, the status cocktail at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s restaurant is called The Lunchbox — made with Mama’s Lil Pilsner beer, Peach liqueur, and freshly squeezed orange juice. It is the perfect pairing to the brunch menu’s duck confit and waffles or the pastrami-style pork belly hash. Make a reservation at Farmer & The Seahorse.

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Asparagus Negroni, Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
The Asparagus Negroni (Cynar, Stoli Vodka, Peychaud’s bitters, orange bitters and muddled asparagus) is a nod to the star of springtime. And, it’s a perfect complement to Davio’s brunch menu, including specials like the Beef Tenderloin with poached eggs, potatoes, popover, and truffle hollandaise. Make a reservation at Davio’s.

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Bashment Punch, Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall, New York, New York
Known for its almost 100 varieties of rum and a monthly reggae brunch, it’s no shocker that co-owner and mixologist Karl Franz Williams chose to channel the islands when he created his fruity Bashment Punch — a Caribbean-inspired libation of rum, pineapple juice, mango puree, lime juice, and orange bitter. Bonus: Sip it to up your daily fruit intake. Make a reservation at Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall.

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Millennial Mimosa, CUCINA enoteca, Newport Beach, California
Mimosas are to brunch what beer is to baseball — traditional, but kinda boring. Meet the millennial mimosa! The ingredients are rolled on a cart to your table and a more exciting mimosa is prepared just for you. You’ll have your choice of mixers, purees, and garnish, and the ingredients are seasonal, including pineapple-blood orange, vanilla bean, Meyer lemon, strawberry jalapeno, pomegranate peach, rosemary ginger pineapple, candied ginger, blueberries, rosemary sprigs, blackberries, fresh strawberries, and pomegranate seeds. Make a reservation at CUCINA enoteca.

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The Board, Nick & Toni’s, East Hampton, New York
Brunch in the Hamptons, such a chic chill. Wait, what, your bloody is bland, not enough horseradish? Or, hot sauce? Oh, bloody hell, you hate to send it back—what will the Seinfelds think? Or Billy Joel? Such a high maintenance brunchster you are. Nick and Toni’s has your back. They call their brunch Bloody Mary cocktail, “The Board” and describe it as “a drink, a snack and an activity.” The way it works: Pick a liquor (house-infused sweet pepper-onion-and basil-infused Absolut, hot pepper and peppercorn Absolut ,or Maestro Dobel Tequila, choose a mix and and garnish away – and toss in a few condiments to your tasting. Special Stuff: Pickled green garlic from the garden will be rotated into the Bloody Board lineup, too. Make a reservation at Nick & Toni’s.

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P-Town Punch, Sabio on Main, Pleasanton, California
The “deceptively light and fruity” P-Town Punch cocktail served at this newbie restaurant packs a lot of punch — Pisco, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gum Syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a strawberry garnish. The cocktail plays well with menu items like the Hamachi “Nicoise” salad and Eggs Benedict, and, thanks to the acid that is needed to cut through fat, the cocktail can also stand up to bigger flavors like the Liberty Duck Croque Monsieur and burgers. Make a reservation at Sabio on Main.

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Muddy Waters, Geraldine’s, Austin, Texas
Named for the father of Chicago blues music, the Muddy Waters cocktail (Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Averna, Orgeat syrup, cold brew coffee, condensed milk, and nutmeg) is a boozy coffee cocktail that harmonizes well with Geraldine’s Brioche French Toast and Smoked Short Rib Tacos. Make a reservation at Geraldine’s.

Muddy Waters - Photo credit Aubrie Pick

Buffalo Soldier, South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
Order the Buffalo Soldier (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, egg, maple syrup, two strips crumbled bacon, Peychaud’s Bitters, powdered sugar, and bacon strip garnish), expertly mixed cocktail from by head bartender Dan Rook, and you’ve basically got a beautiful brunch in a glass. Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.

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Brunch Punch III, Hearth, New York, New York
East Village weekend brunchers get punch drunk with the Brunch Punch III, a brunch-only cocktail that stars Four Roses Bourbon, Atsby, Cocchi di Torino, and blood orange. Order it alongside one of Hearth’s delicious spring brunch dishes like the seasonal vegetable frittata. Make a reservation at Hearth.

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I-5 High Five, Café Eugene, Albany, California
The I-5 High Five (gin, Oregon Marionberry Liqueur, California spiced pear brandy, lemon, rosemary) gives Café Eugene’s cheesy grits with tomatillo-braised pork shoulder, chayote, butternut squash, wild herb sauce and a poached egg a perfect boost. Or, if it’s pancakes you crave, order the Duck-Duck-Punch (rum, orange, carrot, lime, pomegranate, falernum, Oregon chai, nutmeg) and the sweet yogurt raspberry pancakes with orange butter and Vermont maple syrup. Make a reservation at Café Eugene.

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