OpenTable Diner Reviews Reveal the Top 100 Dining Hot Spots in the U.S.

Top Chef winner Hung Huynh's new restaurant Catch is catching on with Manhattan's Meatpacking District diners!

We are  pleased to announce the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in the United States. These awards reflect the combined opinions of nearly 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The winning restaurants, which include Catch in New York City, ink. in Los Angeles, and Tavernita in Chicago, are scattered throughout 18 states and Washington, D.C.  California is king of the hot spot restaurants, taking 25 places on the list of winners. New York comes in second, with 20 winning restaurants.  The sunny state of Florida is chock full of trendy restaurants, handily placing third with 15 winners. Illinois accounts for 11 honorees, followed by Nevada with seven standouts and Texas with six. Georgia restaurants earned three places while Tennessee boasts two. Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington D.C. are also represented.

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the top 100 hot spot restaurants is generated from nearly 5 million reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between March 1, 2011 and February 29, 2012. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of qualifying reviews for which “hot spot” was selected as a special feature.

Did your favorite hot spot make the list? Weigh in here or over on Facebook!

New Year’s Eve in New York City: Decadence at the End of the Decade

NYE-in-NYCDecember 31, 2009 isn’t just the last day of the year, it’s the last day of the decade — so, you “aught” to celebrate in style! If you find yourself flush with a bit of extra cash after the gift-giving holidays have passed, you can ring in the new year (and decade) in a number of magnificent ways.

Here are 10 Manhattan restaurants that are welcoming 2010 with a bit of panache:

21 Club: If you miss old New York, you don’t have to, thanks to 21 Club. For $225 per person, you can enjoy a four-course dinner and dancing in this legendary location.

Ajna: For “Top Chef” fans, there’s no better place to raise a glass (and a fork and a knife!) than at Ajna, where “Top Chef” winner Hung Huynh will be preparing a special five-course meal for $275 per person.

Asiate: $295 gets you sweeping views of the city on this special night – along with a sumptuous six-course dinner and dancing at this gem located on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Aureole: Everything old is new again at Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s relocated and renovated restaurant. For $500 per person, diners will feast on a five-course chef tasting menu with wine pairings, DJ entertainment, and a Champagne toast, just steps from Times Square.

Daniel: Daniel Boulud’s signature restaurant is serving a gala dining menu in five courses for $595. In addition to fabulous food, there will be live music, a DJ, and dancing at this Michelin favorite.

Eleven Madison Park: Fresh off rave reviews and earning its first Michelin star, this crown jewel  in restaurateur Danny Meyer’s empire will be serving a seven-course holiday tasting menu. Live music and views of Madison Square Park promise to make the night festive and romantic.

The Oak Room: This recently refurbished New York landmark in the famed Plaza Hotel will serve an elegant five-course tasting menu (with Champagne) for $295 per person. A burlesque themed party begins in the adjoining Oak Bar at 11PM.

Russian Tea Room
: You’ll feel transported by the atmosphere at this fabled midtown favorite – not to mention pampered. The second seating includes a 5-course dinner, dancing, and an open bar for $500 per person. Cheers!

SHO by Shaun Hergatt: Chef Shaun Hergatt is preparing a lavish 5-course menu in this Financial District hotspot. A live band and a Champagne toast are included in the $250 per person pricetag.

Two Times Square: If you want an unforgettable evening, Two Times Square is the place to spend it. Guests can relish an open bar, a five-course meal with wine pairings, music, and more – not to mention the very best view of the ball dropping in Times Square, all for just $2,500 per person.

You can find reservations at hundreds more New York area restaurants on New Year’s Eve here. If you’re going to be on the road, visit our international New Year’s Eve page to find deals and offers wherever you’re celebrating.

Where to Eat Like a ‘Top Chef’ Judge in New York

tom-padma-gail.jpgThe New York Times checks in on some former “Top Chef” contestants cooking in Manhattan, including recent contender Leah Cohen, now head chef at Centro Vinoteca, Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle, head chef and co-owner of Perilla, and Season 3 winner Hung Huynh, who currently cooks at Solo. Bottom line: It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, but, apparently, it’s an even longer way if you want to be a standout chef in the Big Apple.

To show your support for your former faves, book a table the next time you’re in the city that never sleeps — and enjoy the chance to channel your inner Gail, Padma or Tom.