Blackberries are so peak summer. With a dark sweetness rounded out with a twinge of tartness, the juicy berries epitomize why this is our favorite eating season. To showcase their singular flavor, chefs and mixologists are highlighting them in cocktails, desserts, and even savory entrees. Whether it’s a sunny weekend gathering with the fam or an impromptu date on a balmy night, here are 13 blue-ribbon blackberry dishes + drinks to help you enjoy #PeakSummer. Not near any of them? OpenTable has you covered with more than 51,000 restaurants for any craving or occasion.
Boho, San Francisco, California
Call it the tower of power. Layers of black sesame lace cookies are interspersed with honeyed ricotta, lemon-accented blackberries, and raspberry coulis. So simple; so delicious.
Rave review: “We loved our dinner at Boho! Excellent wine, amazing food, and first-class service. A perfect evening! We will return often.”
Make a reservation at Boho.
LH Rooftop, Chicago, Illinois
This cocktail comes with a sweeping view of the city and the river. The Blackberry Bramble features rye, amaro, blackberry, and lemon. The perfect accessory to your sky-high selfie.
Rave review: “Such a beautiful view! The service is impeccable and the food and cocktails delicious! Nothing not to like here!”
Make a reservation at LH Rooftop.
Headwaters, Portland, Oregon
We can’t get enough of fruit-packed crisps in the summer. Chock full of blackberries, this rousing rendition is topped with praline ice cream and walnut brittle. With all those berries and nuts, it’s practically a health food, right?
Rave review: “This dinner was fantastic. The halibut delicious and the crab cakes totally crabby! The cocktails were wonderful, too!”
Make a reservation at Headwaters.
1833 Kitchen & Bar, Aurora, New York
Call this a comeback stack. That’s because after just one bite you’ll come back again for more. The fluffy flapjacks are finished off with a dazzling drizzle of maple syrup.
Rave review: “Excellent food, service, and atmosphere. Cannot beat the deck on a beautiful summer evening.”
Make a reservation at 1833 Kitchen & Bar.
Matchbox–Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C.
We can never spot a lemonade stand without stopping. Likewise, we can never pass up a boozy lemonade. The lemonade-laced Cherry Berry Smash is boosted with black cherry vodka and fresh blackberries.
Rave review: “Everything was delicious. Spacious seating for our group of 6. We returned for dinner the next day.”
Make a reservation at Matchbox–Penn Quarter.
Ocean Prime, Washington, D.C
This cocktail is sure to elicit oohs and aahs, even as everyone at the table rushes to get out their phone to snap a picture. With a backbone of Belvedere citrus vodka and Domaine Chandon brut, housemade sour mix and marinated berries accent the tantalizing tipple. It’s served in a martini glass to highlight the fog of the dry ice tumbling downwards.
Rave review: “Really enjoyed the meal; fantastic service and overall experience. Will definitely be back.”
Make a reservation at Ocean Prime.
Red Star, Portland, Oregon
Pork and fruit are as classic a combo as PB&J, foie and toasted brioche, and chocolate and peanut butter. Here a roasted chop comes with blackberry sauce and fresh Oregon blackberries. Charred corn with coppa-wrapped peaches complete the summery sensation.
Rave review: “Scrumptious food and drinks. Large portion. I had the pork chop, which was outstanding and HUGE!”
Make a reservation at Red Star.
Toro Toro, Miami, Florida
Purple is the color of royalty. This kingly concoction includes silver blackberries, pineapple, and lime. The Negrita gets its boozy boost from a hit of silver tequila.
Rave review: “Toro Toro always does it right! This is the second year my wife and I celebrated our anniversary, and the service we’ve received is amazing! Keep it up!”
Make a reservation at Toro Toro.
Founding Farmers, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
The Blackberry Sour incorporates rye, Grand Marnier, lemon, fresh muddled blackberries, and egg white. Garnished with a lemon wheel and blackberry, it’s a fruit-forward sipper with just enough bite from the rye to balance it all out. Just what you want when the temps hit the triple digits.
Rave review: “It was fantastic. We brought some friends [and it was the] first time for them, they loved it. Service was great — ambiance, food, and drinks, just all around a great experience.”
Make a reservation at Founding Farmers.
Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Illinois
Bread service doesn’t have to be basic. Case in point is this cracked wheat baguette with house-cultured butter and blackberry mostarda. Schmear and smear to your heart’s delight.
Rave review: “My favorite restaurant of all time! The food is delicious and service is always on point!”
Make a reservation at Girl & the Goat.
Upland, Miami, Florida
This blackberry smash is a smash hit. Featuring the namesake berries along with rum, espelette compote, and lemon juice, it’s pure refreshment. This is the blockbuster bevvy you deserve on a summer scorcher.
Rave review: “Delicious and great food. We couldn’t believe how much food came out. Go hungry!”
Make a reservation at Upland.
The Continental, Naples, Florida
You’ve never had a Key lime pie quite like this. This winning version is studded with pockets of blackberries. The jammy payloads add summery sweetness to the citrusy dessert.
Rave review: “Our favorite restaurant in Naples, a city with many fine restaurants. Always outstanding with a superbly trained wait staff. Try it, you will love it.”
Make a reservation at The Continental.
Baba, Arlington, Virginia
The Berry Mexicana deftly balances fruity and smoky sensibilities, while hiding hints of rosemary. It’s made with mezcal, an amaro blend, grapefruit cordial, and fresh blackberries. Perfect sipping for an August afternoon or September evening.
Rave review: “I’ve been here about 6 times so far this year. One of the best brunch spots in the area with amazing food and incredibly light and tasty mixed drinks. Everyone I’ve brought here loves it, too. I’ll definitely continue coming here for the ambiance and original feel.”
Make a reservation at Baba.
Let us know if you’ve tried any of these blackberry dishes + drinks here 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: Claudia Mack (Girl and the Goat); Ronald Flores (Matchbox); Kailey Lindman (LH Rooftop); The Food Joy (1833 Kitchen & Bar).