2015 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America + 16 Delicious Instagrammable Dishes

The results of our most delicious annual awards are in! Work up an appetite and make a reservation at one of the OpenTable 2015 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies 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.

Showcasing both new and established restaurants in some of the nation’s most rapidly growing dining destinations, the complete list features winning restaurants in 22 states and the District of Columbia, and includes Al’s Place in San Francisco, La Vara in Brooklyn, and Parachute in Chicago. The honorees show a commitment to local, sustainable sourcing and the creation of craft cocktails, soulful plates, many of which are finished in wood-fired ovens, and warm hospitality. Check out these 16 dishes from the winning restaurants that should be on every foodie’s must-try list.

Newer restaurants proved most popular, with a quarter of the eateries having opened in 2015 alone, and the majority of honorees were founded in the last five years. Restaurants serving American fare dominate the awards; however, the list represents cuisines from every corner of the globe, including Asian, Basque, French, Israeli, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian. Geographically speaking, New York has 12 winning restaurants, followed by California with 11, Texas with nine, and Minnesota and Oregon with eight each. Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania each have six honorees, while Washington boasts five. Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia have three each. Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin all have two eateries. Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio are also represented.Continue Reading

Dinner Theater: 7 Restaurants with Great People-Watching

A great dining experience is the culmination of many key elements. From the quality of the food to the service, the setting, and, finally, one of the most important factors that can make or break a meal: the people. And it’s not just the people you intentionally choose to dine with that will affect your meal, but those others around you whose conversations you will inadvertently hear, whose fashions you will admire, whose names you may even learn. Welcome to the delicious sport of people-watching!

What makes a great people-watching restaurant? For me, it is all about diversity. I want to see people I don’t see in my home or on my phone, in my neighborhood, or at my workplace. I want my imagination teased as I play an unauthorized version of What’s My Line, guessing at their professions, aspirations, and passions. From around the nation, here are seven restaurants with great people-watching.

Betelnut Pejiu Wu, San Francisco, California
The extensive menu of Asian fusion cuisine at Betelnut Pejiu Wu (literally, “beer hall” in Chinese) will satisfy you to no end. But it’s the liveliness of the room itself that will make you feel at ease. At this happening Cow Hollow joint, the best of Asian street eats meets up with large mugs of cold beer that refresh and fortify. Expert tip: Grab a streetside table and observe San Francisco’s passers-by in all their fabulousness.

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Cascina Spinasse, Seattle, Washington
Sometimes great people-watching is the result of a positive shared experience. At Seattle’s Cascina Spinasse, you’ll be joined by foodies in search of culinary greatness (be prepared to hear a lot of “mmm” sounds). Here, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, authentic Italian cuisine comes to life in an atmosphere that is classy yet cozy. Fans rave about both the great presentation of the oft-changing menu and the beauty of the quaint room. Drinks at Spinasse’s adjacent ARTUSI, a modern aperitivo bar, are not to be missed. [Photo Credit: Tom Barwick]

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Girl & The Goat, Chicago, Illinois
Top Chef winner and executive chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl & The Goat is the place to see and be seen in Chicago’s West Loop. Reservations are hard to come by, but patrons insist the culinary creations are well worth the intense OpenTable’ing. Choose from a wide array of seating choices in the warmth of spacious, wood-framed rooms from which you can enjoy contemporary American small plates, local craft beers, and wines from around the world. Look for Izard working her magic in the open kitchen — as well as for Chicago’s trendsetters who flock there to admire it. [Photo credit: Anthony Thalier]

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Le Cirque, Las Vegas, Nevada
If you’re looking for an interesting cross-section of the population, you can do much worse than visiting Las Vegas. And if you’re a high roller (or just want to eat like one), you’ll want to make the scene at Le Cirque. The festive dining room at restaurateur Sirio Maccioni’s AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurant is drenched in color and whimsy. This is opulent French cuisine at its best. It is also one of Las Vegas’s most treasured gastronomic destinations, so make sure you occasionally glance up from the stunning visions on your plate to see who is sharing the room with you.

No Va, Austin, Texas
Rainey Street is a popular historic district in downtown Austin known for its bungalow-style homes and businesses. No Va (Spanish for “It doesn’t go”), located in a renovated two-story house, is home to one of Austin’s most beloved happy hours. Whether you grab a booth or a seat on the upstairs balcony, you’ll have plenty of sights to take in along with your meal. The spaciousness of No Va and the light of the Austin sun will charm you as much as the wonderful people that help keep Austin weird.

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Headed to South by Southwest? Find Out What We’ve Got Brewing at #SXSW Job Market Booth 510!

South by Southwest (SXSW) is where music, film, and technology meet against a backdrop of Austin’s influential dining scene. At OpenTable, we power the memorable dining experiences you’ll find in ATX — but that’s not all we’re doing there. This week, on March 13 and 14, you’re invited to meet us at the OpenTable SXSW pop-up, pour-over coffee cafe to learn about professional opportunities with OpenTable in San Francisco and around the world.

Visit us at SXSW Job Market stall 510 on the second floor of Austin’s JW Marriott on 110 E. 2nd Street on Friday and Saturday between 10AM-6PM. Our barista will serve you the perfect pour of complimentary drip-brewed coffee while you meet leaders representing different departments at OpenTable, including our talented engineering and design teams. You can also apply for openings in person, drop off your business card for a chance to win $500, and get all the delicious details about our one-of-a-kind #100opentables giveaway.

The SXSW Job Market is open to the public with free guest pass wristbands, available in advance or onsite at the event. Visit guestpass.sxsw.com for more information. SXSW badge and wristband holders do not need a guest pass to attend.

Can’t make it to SXSW? You can still apply to take a seat at our table at http://www.opentable.com/careers/.

The Duo Behind Dai Due in Austin Share Their Favorite Shareable Dish

t.j.fall2014(2)Dai Due opened in 2014, but its origins date back to 2006. The restaurant takes its name from the Italian adage, “Dai due regni di natura, piglia il cibo con misura,” which translates to “From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care.” Naturally, then, choosing food with care is the mantra at this popular Austin eatery and butcher shop specializing in the hyper local. Having built a solid reputation and loyal following over eight years as the Dai Due Supper Club and Farmers’ Market, the newish brick and mortar location in the Cherrywood neighborhood of Austin is keeping culinary couple Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield super busy. Happily, their dedication has paid off: Dai Due was just honored by the Austin Chronicle, being named First Plate Top 10s by both Brandon Watson and Virginia B. Wood and included on the Chronicle’s 2015 Top 100 Restaurants. Open six days a week, Dai Due occupies much of Griffiths and Mayfield’s time.

When they have time to cook at home together, Mayfield says, “It’s always roast chicken.” Together for a decade, she says that they also enjoy sharing a bottle of wine. “If we are doing wine, our favorite would be a bottle of Gigondas (that is what we were drinking when Jesse proposed at Chez Nous in Austin.).

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