Every autumn, we look forward to the fiery foliage, apple cider doughnuts, and relief from the summer’s swelter. As if that wasn’t enough, this season heralds the arrival of National Cookbook Month and, along with it, a flurry of new cookbooks from some of our favorite places to eat. Here are 11 new restaurant cookbooks that should be on your reading list right now. Not a good cook? Make a reservation at one of these restaurants to have the dishes made by the masters themselves.
Bestia by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis with Lesley Suter
The chef husband and pastry chef wife team behind L.A.’s breakout Italian restaurant give an in-depth look at what makes their food sing. They start by sharing foundational recipes (pickles, vinaigrettes, sauces, stocks, and more) before moving on to some of their best-loved dishes. Savory standouts from Menashe include stinging nettle pappardelle with mushrooms and a fried egg, lobster crostini, and cacao agnolotti stuffed with braised oxtail. Gergis’s masterful sweets work is equally enchanting, such as nostalgia-evoking rainbow sherbet, apple cider doughnuts (yay!), and maple-ricotta fritters with maple butter. Make a reservation at Bestia, Los Angeles, California.
Chasing the Gator by Isaac Toups and Jennifer V. Cole
This is far from your average NOLA cookbook. Toups digs deep into the wider traditions of the region and their unbreakable ties to food. He teaches readers how to pull off a classic crawfish boil, provides a step-by-step guide for roasting a pig, and advises how to best highlight the Gulf Coast’s seafood. One of the most engaging chapters is devoted to backwoods cooking after a hunt. Whether you already have a passion for Cajun cuisine or you’re looking for a starting point in your explorations, Chasing the Gator is a must-read. Make a reservation at Toups South, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
Part cookbook, part travelogue, and part history lesson, this sprawling project covers a lot of literal and figurative ground. The authors travelled throughout Israel to find inspiration – from Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv to more remote communities (the eateries that yielded eureka moments are listed at the front if you ever want to walk in their footsteps). The duo drill down deep on subjects, so there’s an entire chapter each devoted to falafel, pita, shawarma, schnitzel, and hummus (some of which is pictured above). includes more than two-dozen toppings, such as saffron-braised chicken, ground beef with Turkish coffee, and salt-roasted kohlrabi with garlic chips. Given its scope and depth, Israeli Soul promises to be one of those cookbooks you turn to again and again. Make a reservation at Zahav, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Founding Farmers Cookbook (Second Edition) by Founding Farmers with Nevin Martell
D.C.’s farm-to-table blockbuster – it’s the most booked restaurant in the country on OpenTable for several years running – is updating its successful 2013 cookbook. (Full disclosure: it was co-authored by yours truly.). The new edition contains 100 recipes – from bacon lollis and cracked black pepper wings to seven-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese and slow-braised beef short ribs – as well as breakout profiles on some of the specialty producers whose goods are featured at the restaurant. At this time of year, the “Holidays on the Farm” chapter is invaluable, offering can’t-fail recipes for roasted turkey with sage gravy, roasted chestnut-corn bread stuffing, and pecan pie. Make a reservation at Founding Farmers, Washington, D.C.
Cuba Cooks by Guillermo Pernot and Lourdes Castro
Chef Guillermo Pernot earned a pair of James Beard Awards for Cuba Libre, where he showcases the island’s food with contemporary artfulness and traditional mindfulness. Now he’s memorializing Cuban cuisine in this deep-diving cookbook, which is divided into four sections – granja (farm), tierra (land), mar (sea), and postres (desserts). Standouts include calabaza fritters, okra stew with plantain dumplings, braised octopus with black rice, crab crepes with mango, swordfish escabèche, and mamey sapote ice cream. We could go on but instead will simply urge you to buy a copy today so you can discover your own favorites. Make a reservation at Cuba Libre, Washington, D.C.
Estela by Ignacio Mattos with Gabe Ulla
Estela has been on the World’s 50 Best list while Esquire named Mattos their chef of the year for 2018. Which is all to say that there are high expectations for this cookbook, originally due out last year. The extra marinating time was worth it. Mattos is a master of layering flavor and adding unexpected bursts of intensity. The 130+ recipes include an herbaceous burrata with grilled bread starter and lamb ribs lavished with chermoula and honey. Many of the dishes are very approachable and relatively easy for a home cook to pull off. No major culinary accolades required! Make a reservation at Estela, New York, New York.
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
This cookbook was created for people who have little time but love big flavors. Many of Ottolenghi’s recipes can go from the kitchen to the dinner table in 30 minutes or less, oftentimes using just a single pot or pan. Think burrata with grilled grapes and basil, cardamom and lime accented soba noodles, and no-churn raspberry ice cream. If you want more complex fare, the 130+ recipes list includes plenty that are long-term endeavors, while others feature potentially tough-to-find exotic ingredients requiring provisioning trips to specialty markets or online stores. Either way, you’ll be richly rewarded for your efforts. Make a reservation at Ottolenghi, London, England.
We Fed an Island by José Andrés with Richard Wolffe
Okay, this isn’t a cookbook, but José Andrés is a national treasure, so we’re including it anyway. These days, the award-winning, D.C.-based chef is revered equally for his cooking and his humanitarian efforts. His invaluable work in Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is thoroughly documented in this oftentimes-emotional micro-memoir. Through his World Central Kitchen organization, Andrés and his team served more than 3.6 million meals to Americans in desperate need. He continues to lend a helping hand – his proceeds from the book will be donated to further charitable efforts in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the world. Make a reservation at Jaleo, Bethesda, Maryland.
Honey Salt Food and Drink by Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla
This warmly personal collection of recipes, recollections, and charming photos is rightly dubbed a “culinary scrapbook.” It follows the restaurant’s powerhouse husband and wife team on their most formative trips, shares their ideas for hosting special occasions and gives up the secrets to some of their most-loved dishes, including the Biloxi fried chicken sandwich, brown bag apple pie, and watermelon margaritas. By the end of the book, you’ll feel like you’re BFFs with Elizabeth and Kim – and you’ll be raring to start cooking – or ordering — their food. Make a reservation at Honey Salt, Vancouver, Canada.