With the magic of Valentine’s Day behind us, we’re looking forward to special offers on delicious dining this month. Check out these February 2017 Restaurant Weeks and follow the savings to a city near you.
With mouthwatering shots like these, they don’t call them Instagram “feeds” for nothing. From piquant purple potatoes at Senti in Pittsburgh to Buddha’s bounty at TAO in New York City, here are 17 restaurants to follow on Instagram in 2017 — including some out-of-the-box choices worth that may not have caught your attention yet.
Gracias Madre, West Hollywood, California — @gmweho
This vegan Mexican restaurant may be called Gracias Madre, but it’s doubtful that many moms are able to produce the festival of flavors, colors, and textures that executive chef Chandra Gilbert does with ingredients from local farms. Think nopales, stewed cactus with chile sauce and cashew crema, or pozole hominy stew with ancho-chile broth — all served up with a selection of beverage director Jason Eisner’s small-batch mezcals and tequilas. With a special emphasis on local heritage corns, the menu, and the feed are absolutely ah-maize-ing. Make a reservation at Gracias Madre.
Ernest Loves Agnes, Seattle, Washington — @ernestlovesagnes
With a menu featuring chitarra pasta with crab, pappardelle with wild boar Bolognese, and a scallop entrée with braised kohlrabi, polenta, and salsa verde, this isn’t your average mom-and-pop pizza shop. This so-called Italian kitchen also features an amazing space with semi-private nooks, an attic loft for family-style meals, and an airy, light-filled dining room just right for populating your own IG feeds. Make a reservation at Ernest Loves Agnes.
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota — @spoonandstable
Winning a Michelin Star and international travels to cook in some of Europe’s top kitchens may have inspired him, but back in the U.S., Spoon and Stable chef/owner Gavin Kaysen brings the soul of what he first learned to cook with in his grandmother’s Heartland kitchen to the table (or, rather, the Stable). Dishes like Dorothy’s Pot Roast reflect both of these worlds, with French flavors like pommes aligot, mushroom confit, and rosemary broth. Make a reservation at Spoon and Stable.
Sawyer Restaurant, Los Angeles, California — @sawyersilverlake
It’s always sunny on Sunset Boulevard at Sawyer, a new 2016 star spotlighting seafood. Pick off of shareable plates at the centerpiece communal table (or the patio), or try a large-format dish that will have you saying “winner winner chicken dinner”—like executive chef Alex McWilliams’s fried chicken. Make a reservation at Sawyer Restaurant.
Industry Kitchen, New York, New York — @industrykitchen
Stunning views of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges and the Brooklyn skyline make for a drool-worthy backdrop at Industry Kitchen, where the huge 300-seat space turns out an equally large number of options. Don’t miss the wood-fired pizzas, especially the dessert pizza with Nutella, mini marshmallows, and salted caramel. Make a reservation at Industry Kitchen.
Willa Jean Bakery, New Orleans, Louisiana — @willajeanneworleans
Didn’t get your fill of holiday goodies? Check out Willa Jean, where pastry chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White add modern touches to traditional Southern pastries and serve up three comfort-food meals a day. If you’ve got room after the fried chicken biscuit with Serrano slaw and Poirier’s cane syrup, try the Satsuma creamsicle with Louisiana citrus, carrot cake, curry granola, and whipped buttermilk. Make a reservation at Willa Jean Bakery.
Senti Restaurant and Wine Bar, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — @sentirestaurant
Senti’s plates and automated wine dispenser for affordable measured pours may bring a bit of Italy to Pennsylvania, but the posh interiors and open-gallery-like layout are a straight-up homage to the local Pittsburgh art center. White plates serve as the canvases for homemade pastas and surf and turf options. Make a reservation at Senti Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Plant Food + Wine, Miami, Florida — @plantfoodandwine
Where else to find some of the country’s best vegan cuisine than right next door to chef Matthew Kenney’s Culinary Miami state-of-the-art raw food culinary school? The Florida outpost of the Food & Wine’s Best New Chef Award-winner (who also has an LA location) supplements a practically made-for-IG menu featuring cauliflower steak with chimichurri and banh mi lettuce wraps with chili-almond paté with a contemporary interior, a bright exhibition kitchen, and a detox juice bar. Make a reservation at Plant Food + Wine.
Le Coucou, New York, New York — @lecoucou_nyc
Le Coucou’s flavors may be classic French, but the images are modern marvels. Chef Daniel Rose’s plates are as elegant as anything at the Louvre, enhanced by a light-filled and airy space with lots of glass, brick, and warm woods in the heart of SoHo. Make a reservation at Le Coucou.
Uchi, Austin, Texas — @uchiaustin
Far from an ocean and even further away from typical Texas fare like slow-cooked barbecue, chef Tyson Cole proves you don’t have to cook anything at all here in the ATX. His flagship Uchi — like many sushi bars in Japan, located in a refurbished old home — means “house,” and Cole’s warm wit at the sushi bar conversing with patrons is as sharp as his knives. Make a reservation at Uchi.
The Table at Season to Taste, Cambridge, Massachusetts — @cambridgetable
As home to the country’s top university (Ed. note: with apologies to New Haven), Cambridge knows a thing or two about schools — and chef Carl Dooley of Top Chef fame is teaching them right from the open kitchen at Season to Taste. The $65 prix-fixe menu for just 20 diners changes nightly, but those who aren’t lucky enough to score a coveted reservation can feast their eyes on the resto’s IG feed. Make a reservation at The Table at Season to Taste.
Keeping it local or having an autumn travel adventure? Check out these steals on meals in cities in North America.
* Western New York Local Restaurant Week is your chance to support independent restaurants by taking advantage of $20.16, $30.16 + $40.16 lunches and dinners, October 17-23. Make a reservation.Continue Reading
Dining alone does not have to be a harried, self-conscious affair. These days, people dine alone for all sorts of good reasons. One of the best is the opportunity to eat at your own pace and fully take in the experience of the food and atmosphere around you. And while I often enjoy a seat at the bar, there is no reason not to ask for a table where one can have a more intimate experience.
If you find yourself too embarrassed to dine alone, don’t be. As evidenced by OpenTable’s list of 25 top spots for solo diners in America, there are restaurants that are adept at creating a delicious meal just for you. So skip the bad takeout in your apartment and the lukewarm hotel room service. There are thousands of restaurants on OpenTable that are quite happy to reserve your table for one. Below are seven more standout spots for solo dining.
Barking Crab, Boston, Massachusetts
The Barking Crab is a South Boston landmark and one of my favorite summer hotspots. For 21 years, they’ve been serving up New England seafood and microbrews in a casual clam shack setting that makes me yearn for summer all year round. From crabs and lobsters to fresh fish brought in from the docks each day, this is a place to bucket up and chow down. The lively communal seating makes it easy to feel like you’re part of the crowd without feeling conspicuous.
Cipriani Dolci-Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York
There’s seemingly no end to the number of great destinations for solitary food and entertainment in New York. But, for me, one stands out among the others for its superb location and life-affirming people watching. Dining beneath the star-speckled ceiling of the Grand Central Terminal offers no end of fascination as you watch one of the most spectacular acts of daily human migration unfold before you. Nestled in an upper corner on the main concourse of Grand Central Station, Cipriani Dolci offers refreshing cocktails, eye-boggling appetizers (try the Prosciutto Crudo di Parma), and a birds-eye view of pure unbridled humanity. You will witness loves both found and lost, trains both caught and missed. You will make groundless assumptions about the lives, personalities, and aspirations of all before you. And you will leave feeling like the great American bluesman Taj Mahal — “satisfied and tickled, too.”
Cork, Washington, D.C.
With more than 50 wines by the glass, the D.C. wine bar Cork is a fine place to break bread and pay your respect to Dionysus, god of the grape harvest, in simple solitude. Sure, they have dishes to share, but no one says you have to! Prices at Cork are very reasonable, too, with plenty of small plates, cheeses, and charcuterie, and most hot offerings coming in at under $20. Food and wine pairings and wine flights just might make this casual Logan Circle joint your new local.