You say tomayto, they say tomahto. We say, “Heck yeah, bring ‘em on!” It’s the best time of year to savor them, so we eat as many as possible while they’re in season. Here are 14 heirloom tomato dishes that are peak summer. Whether you’re looking to up your veg intake this weekend or are in search of lighter fare at a business lunch, these creations are sure to satisfy. Not near any of them? OpenTable has you covered with more than 51,000 restaurants around the globe.
Le Coq Rico, New York, New York
You’ve never had a tartare quite like this. A colorful array of heirloom tomatoes stands in for the beef. Instead of the usual capers, raw egg, and Worcestershire sauce, they’re dressed up with basil pesto, spiced crumble, and balsamic.
Rave restaurant review: “One of the best meals we’ve ever had anywhere.”
Make a reservation at Le Coq Rico.
Henley, Nashville, Tennessee
Now, this is one stunning BLT. It also just may be the most unconventional one you’ve ever eaten. The fork-and-knifer features heirloom tomato, smoked white bread, bacon aioli, and arugula.
Rave restaurant review: “Gorgeous venue and an amazing meal! Every staff member we engaged with was knowledgeable and professional. We will definitely visit again!”
Make a reservation at Henley.
Cafe Rule, Hickory, North Carolina
This is summer on a plate. Local heirlooms are complemented with arugula, buffalo mozzarella, sprigs of basil, and a zigzag of balsamic. It’s everything you want it to be.
Rave restaurant review: “Excellent food and service. We will return soon! Our friends from New York City said it rivals some of the best restaurants in their city!”
Make a reservation at Café Rule.
Benoit, New York, New York
At the center of the plate sits a peeled tomato filled with tomato tartare, roasted almonds, confit shallots, and marjoram. It’s surrounded by fresh goat cheese, a basil dressing, and balsamic vinegar reduction. A golden brioche crouton accented with marjoram arches over the pretty presentation.
Rave restaurant review: “It was a 2-hour trip to Paris without the TSA. Excellent service and food.”
Make a reservation at Benoit.
South Main Kitchen, Alpharetta, Georgia
They’re all about letting the heirloom tomatoes shine here. A tumble of halves and quarters arrive with peppered goat cheese, cucumbers, pickled onions, basil, and zingy Champagne vinaigrette. So simple, so delicious.
Rave restaurant review: “Consistently good, excellent food, fabulous service at a great location. Although there is new competition in Alpharetta, we will be back again here as we know our evening will be great!”
Make a reservation at South Main Kitchen.
CHARCUT, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
You can’t say no to this proposition. In fact, you should accept it ASAP. Heirloom tomatoes are lavished with tahini vinaigrette, spangled with fresh mint leaves, and speckled with toasted seeds.
Rave restaurant review: “Was in Calgary for the weekend, by far the best meal I had. The food, service, and atmosphere were all top-notch.”
Make a reservation at CHARCUT.
Kensington Quarters, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When things are going well, we like to say, “Life is a plate of cherry tomatoes.” Things are definitely going well when we’re tucking into this dish. The red rounds come with charred eggplant, oregano, and Gouda-meets-Alpine-style St. Malachi cheese.
Rave restaurant review: “Absolutely phenomenal meal! Service was exceptional as well.”
Make a reservation at Kensington Quarters.
Equinox, Washington, D.C.
While trying to survive the sweltering dog days of August, there are few dishes more refreshing than a well-executed panzanella salad. This summer stunner features heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, English cucumbers, grilled ciabatta, and crispy arugula. Just what you need to help beat the heat.
Rave restaurant review: “We had a delicious and beautifully prepared dinner with a nice wine pairing. The restaurant is also vegan-friendly, which was a great discovery.”
Make a reservation at Equinox.
North Italia, Leawood, Kansas
Heirloom tomatoes and burrata are a match made in culinary heaven. This charming couple comes with a drizzle of basil pesto, grilled bread shards, and a winsome charred tomato vinaigrette. So. Darn. Good.
Rave restaurant review: “This is one of our favorite go-to places. The food is always great! The wait staff are friendly and attentive. You won’t be disappointed.”
Make a reservation at North Italia.
Hank’s Pasta Bar, Alexandria, Virginia
Housemade mozzarella is the bullseye of this pretty plate. It sits atop a ring of fresh tomatoes. Balsamic glaze is the perfect final touch.
Rave restaurant review: “Hank’s Pasta Bar always delivers — lots of great options on the menu and personable service. It was fantastic!”
Make a reservation at Hank’s Pasta Bar.
Poca Madre, Washington, D.C.
These tomatoes get a south-of-the-border spin. Sitting in a pool of tomato consommé, they’re accompanied by charred corn, avocado, basil, and fiery rings of serrano pepper. Es múy délicioso!
Rave restaurant review: “4th time with Poca Madre. Simply outstanding. Food presentation and quality are top 10 in DC. This is a must-visit.”
Make a reservation at Poca Madre.
Heritage, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Summery ricotta gnocchi for the win! Set on a bed of basil pesto, the tender pucks are mixed with a mélange of tomatoes. We could eat it every day until October and never get bored.
Rave restaurant review: “Wowza! Food was amazing. Service was awesome. Can’t say enough nice things about this place!!!”
Make a reservation at Heritage.
Leuca, Brooklyn, New York
Meet the Fresh Prince! No, not that one. This one, which is loaded up with tomatoes, basil pesto, and Stracchino cheese.
Rave restaurant review: “One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Worth the visit for sure! Went early — 5:30PM — with my wife and daughter and we all loved it. Great space, great menu, great service!”
Make a reservation at Leuca.
Summer House, Chicago, Illinois
Sometimes simple is best. Case in point is these sliced to order heirloom tomatoes. They’re served with garlic aioli and grilled bread, so you can make yourself a few summery sandwiches.
Rave restaurant review: “This is my favorite place to go. I love the feeling of this restaurant. The food is always very good and the service great! All of the servers are so attentive.”
Make a reservation at Summer House.
Let us know if you’ve ordered any of these heirloom tomato dishes in the comments or over on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: All photos courtesy of the featured restaurants. Noah Fecks (Le Coq Rico); Jeff Yount (Cafe Rule); Know Public Relations (Poca Madre); Bondfire Media (Heritage); Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (Summer House).