2015 Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America + 10 Most Instagrammable Outdoor Seating Areas

Summer travel season is almost here! Fire up your Google Maps app. Hit up Priceline for travel deals. And get ready to make the most or your vacation or staycation dining with a meal at one of the OpenTable 2015 Top 100 Al Fresco Dining 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.

Highlighting restaurants in some of the nation’s most coveted vacation destinations, the complete list features winning restaurants in 15 states, and includes Frida’s in Lahaina, Hawaii, Geoffrey’s in Malibu, and The Turtle Club in Naples, Florida. Many of the restaurants are associated with picturesque resorts conceived to highlight the natural splendor of their surroundings or situated on prime spots in some of the country’s most beautiful coastal states. Come armed with your appetite and your phone; these restaurants are ready for their close-ups on your summer travel stream. Don’t believe us? Check out 10 of the most Instagrammable outdoor seating settings from this year’s honorees below.

 

The sunny state of California has 45 winning restaurants, followed by Florida with 18 and Hawaii with 17. Arizona has seven winning restaurants. Nevada and South Carolina have two winning restaurants apiece. Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia are also represented. American fare proves most popular among the winners; however, regional Californian and Hawaiian cuisines are also common, as is seafood.Continue Reading

November Restaurant Weeks: Save Before the Holidays!

CRW 2014The holidays are awesome because presents! Food! Family! Friends! And, did I mention cocktails? Unfortunately, the presents part can leave your piggy bank looking a bit lean. This is exactly why we adore dining discounts during November restaurant weeks! Discover where you can save while you share delicious meals with your favorite foodies in the weeks to come.

* We’re craving Cleveland Restaurant Week and tasty three-course dinners for just $33, November 3-15. Reserve now.

* Say “Aloha!” to Restaurant Week Hawaii. Take advantage of gourmet prix-fixe meals, November 17-23. Reserve now.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week has what you’re hungry for with $20.95 lunches and $29.95 dinners, November 3-16. Reserve now.

* Saving during Jersey Shore Restaurant Week is a sure thing. Enjoy $20.14 and $30.14 dinners, November 7-16. Reserve now.

Long Island Restaurant Week awaits with $27.95 three-course dinners, November 2-9. Reserve now.

Continue Reading

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

amyshermanAmy 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.

Continue Reading

OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America

As we look forward to an exciting season of summer travel, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Showcasing restaurants situated in some of the most beautiful parts of the nation, the complete list includes award winners in 15 states, such as Geoffrey’s Restaurant in Malibu, Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu, and Latitudes in Key West. California claims the greatest number of winning restaurants with 38, followed by Florida with 23, Hawaii with 16, and Arizona with seven. Texas has four honorees, while Nevada and New York boast two winners apiece. Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin are also represented. Restaurants serving American fare dominate the list, but several cuisines are also popular, including Hawaiian, Italian, Mexican, and seafood.

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America are generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014. All restaurants with a minimum 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 “outdoor dining” category along with a minimum “overall” rating.

As you plan your summer adventures, be sure to book a table at one of these restaurants for an al fresco meal to remember.