What’s the most memorable thing about your last trip? For many people, one of the first things that come to mind is a meal. Whether you tried crawfish for the first time or sampled the perfect pasta dish, finding a great restaurant to have that one big night out can be what pushes your trip over the edge. But with so many great options, how do you pick? To get you started, KAYAK and OpenTable teamed up to crunch the numbers on some of the top restaurants for a big night out in America’s most popular cities.
From more than 1.5 billion annual KAYAK searches, we found the most-searched-for destinations of 2018. These are the cities that are on travelers’ minds, hearts… and appetites. On the flip side, OpenTable analyzed more than 12 million reviews from verified diners to create a list of the 100 Best Restaurants for a Big Night Out across the U.S. that offer fabulous food, drink, and atmosphere, making these hot spots the perfect places to go all-out on your next visit. Here’s where to eat in 2018’s top destinations.
In Vegas, it’s go big or go home. And a big night out there isn’t just an event, it’s a rite of passage. As KAYAK’s most popular destination for 2018, Vegas is also one of the top foodie destinations in the U.S. It’s where celebrity chefs stake their claims, opening large, bustling restaurants along the Strip. Go in September when median airfare dips to $204/roundtrip. For a big night out, if you’re looking to catch up with your favorite food show star, head to Giada – The Cromwell or Gordon Ramsay Steak. Both have earned 4.5-star ratings from OpenTable reviewers, and you can expect to pay around $50 and up for a meal. Or hit up Ugly Delicious host David Chang’s Momofuku group (pictured below), which has opened their first West Coast restaurant on the Strip. With a 4.7-star rating from 1,055 reviews and an average meal ranging from $31 to $50, it’s a terrifc place to get your fill of steamed buns, salt and pepper lobster and shrimp, and late night ramen before hitting the slots (again). Find flights to Las Vegas. Find accommodations in Las Vegas.
For three consecutive years, New York has claimed its place as the #2 most popular destination. Go in September for a post-summer stay when airfare drops to $236. But no matter when you decide to fly, we recommend that you book at least three months ahead. The city is known throughout the world for its top-notch chefs and culinary experiences. It’s where many kitchen stars have started out to see if they can take the heat. But with so many restaurants, choosing where to eat in the city that never sleeps can get overwhelming. Thankfully, OpenTable has identified hot spots for every appetite. Looking for plates big and small? Go for tapas, steak, and more at Vandal (pictured below) on the Lower East Side. This Spanish-inspired spot by the Bowery Hotel has a 4.6-star rating and reviewers think it’s great for a date. Or you can venture up to Harlem for a table at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster, a comfort food haven with menu options that reflect the diverse community surrounding the restaurant. Here, you can expect to spend at least $31 to $50 for a meal. Or, you can head out even further with a ferry ride across the East River to Long Island City for a meal at Blend on the Water. With a price point of $30 and under, this is an affordable option to get a fabulous meal in a vibrant setting. Find flights to New York. Find accommodations in New York.
Dig that West Coast vibe? Whether you’re more Hollywood or Downtown, LA is home to some of the nation’s most exciting restaurants. September is the perfect time to visit with median airfare at its lowest ($236) and average temps a sunny 72 degrees. Eat clean at Gracias Madre (pictured below) in West Hollywood, which serves 100% organic, plant-based cuisine inspired by the kitchens of Mexico sourced from locally grown ingredients (bonus: there’s outdoor seating, too). Or reality TV fans can go casual-romantic under the 100-year-old olive trees at Pump, from reality queen Lisa Vanderpump. Its chic decor and relaxed-yet-fun vibe give this 4.5-star rated restaurant a distinctly European appeal. Expect to spend between $31 to $50 on a meal here. But if you really want to crank up the dial on romance, a meal at Republique is in order. Located in the heart of LA, the restaurant sits in a classic building originally constructed by Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin that once housed Nancy Silverton’s legendary La Brea Bakery. OpenTable insiders have called Republique “game-changing.” Its French-inspired menu and charming digs make it a must-dine destination in the city. Just expect to pull out all the stops — meals are usually over $50 here. Find flights to Los Angeles. Find accommodations in Los Angeles.
The Windy City may be known for its deep dish pizza and hot dogs, but there’s much more to Chicago’s restaurant scene than these two homey staples. That makes it a dining destination for any self-respecting foodie. Just be sure to book your escape to the #5 most popular destination at least three months ahead; according to KAYAK data, that seems to be the sweet spot of finding great deals on airfare (median $215). For dining out options, celeb chef Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat (pictured below) is a new Chinese-style spot that has already earned 4.8 stars from more than 1,900 reviewers. You can usually find meals here for under $30, making it a budget-friendly pick. Another 4.8-starred darling of the Chicago food scene is Maple & Ash, which is helmed by Danny Grant, a two-Michelin-star chef. OpenTable insiders consider this spot a slam dunk for a romantic date night — meals tend to cost between $31 and $50. If you’re looking for a table that’ll provide the perfect backdrop for a special occasion, Carnivale has been called out as one of the top spots. With Latin-infused cuisine and colorful decor, this highly-rated restaurant is a solid option for your group. Find flights to Chicago. Find accommodations in Chicago.
South Beach, with its Art Deco architecture and the sounds of electropop flooding the sidewalks, is also home to some of the country’s most eclectic restaurants. It’s a haven for Latin-fusion, creative takes on comfort food, and so much more. According to KAYAK data, you’ll want to head to this popular city in October when flight prices drop after summer’s tourist season — you’ll find median airfare around $213. And, average temps in October are still a balmy 81 degrees. When deciding where to dine, Komodo is an Asian-Latin fusion hotspot in Miami’s booming Brickell neighborhood. Cool off with the Cherry Blossom cocktail and heat things right back up with some spicy Szechuan-style steak. If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, KYU is a terrific eatery in the artsy Wynwood area, where you can find meals for under $30. Nosh on grilled and smoked meats and fresh sashimi while you take in the decor that features works by local artists. For that farm-to-table experience with a Southern accent, head to Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach (pictured below). This restaurant has earned 4.7 stars from more than 4,200 reviewers who have called out both their shrimp and grits and fried chicken as mouthwatering options. By sourcing ingredients from local producers in Florida and Georgia, Yardbird is able to keep menu items fresh and on constant rotation. Pro tip: don’t miss the biscuits and the macaroni and cheese. Find flights to Miami. Find accommodations in Miami.
When you need help planning a trip from start to finish, KAYAK and OpenTable have your back. From finding the right flight to reserving the perfect table, we’re here to make you confident you’re planning an epic trip.
Photo credits: 50 Eggs (Yardbird); Leila Register (Duck Duck Goat).
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