Summer travel season has begun, and we’re inviting you to eat your way through wherever life takes you in the coming months. Whether you’re exploring our nation’s capital or soaking up the sun in the City of Angels, OpenTable can help you find the restaurants that make the place.
Each year when the Calgary Stampede thunders into town, stadiums radiate with the footsteps of thousands of patrons cheering on their favorite event. The first Calgary Stampede dates back to 1912 and has become a 10-day shared passion for Canada’s rich agricultural history and western culture. Complete with bucking broncos, youth platforms that encourage education, and volunteerism, Canada’s overarching spirit of community flows between the land and the proud stewards of it.
In addition to the rodeo, chuckwagon races, music, shows, and Midway riding, Calgary regales visitors with world-class cuisine and cocktails. During the 2018 Calgary Stampede taking place from July 6-15, visitors will flood local restaurants for a taste at the vibrant eateries located throughout town. Because Alberta, Canada is home to dedicated ranchers and producers, Calgary is a protein and garnish paradise for carnivores.
The Calgary Stampede event is billed as “the greatest outdoor show on earth,” but OpenTable’s eager gastronomes may find Calgary’s biggest showstoppers on their plates. Here are a few top restaurants for Calgary Stampede that are perfect for meat lovers.
The Lake House
A little steak goes a long way at The Lake House in Southwest Calgary near Lake Bonavista. It’s one thing to have a notable steak supplier and another to source protein from your own game ranch. Representing some of the most flavorful examples of Rocky Mountain cuisine, The Lake House is part of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, which raises bison and elk on pasture without added hormones or antibiotics just a half-hour from The Lake House. Here patrons nosh on dishes like grilled Angus beef ribeye with Yukon gold potato, tempura onion rings, and peppercorn sauce, and bison striploin with lobster and pea rice pilaf. Aside from the tempting vittles, The Lake House just feels right for a tableful of succulent meats, between the elk antler chandeliers, striking fireplace, and repurposed Montana mercantile store bar circa the 1800s. Make a reservation at The Lake House Calgary.
Vintage Chophouse & Tavern
More than 600 wines give stampede-goers plenty of reasons to stomp their feet at Vintage Steakhouse in Victoria Park, but here the beef is still the star of the show. For a special treat, order the bountiful butcher’s block chef’s cut, and expect a hard time trying to choose between the equally filling bone-in Canada prime rib chop, New York strip, and braised short rib with garlic jus. Just be sure to save room for a few sharing items, most notably the chicken fried lobster and Vintage bacon pork belly with house barbecue sauce. Make a reservation at Vintage Chophouse & Tavern.
About 10 minutes from the Calgary Stampede grounds, Cilantro fires up a menu of dishes straight from Alberta’s first wood-burning pizza oven delivered from Italy in the 1980s. In this lovely space with a patio enveloped in white lights and greenery, diners begin the evening with sharing platters of pork-fried almonds and striploin carpaccio garnished with horseradish root and gaufrette potato. Savory starters like salt-roasted beets and bison tartare are the perfect entry to main course items like braised bison short rib, a cola-braised, fall-off-the-bone protein served with parsnip puree and brown butter carrots with a cola and wine reduction. The Alberta lamb entrée gets a Hunan barbecue glaze and scallion mashed potato. Make a reservation at Cilantro.
Come hungry, leave satisfied. Buffo Ristorante is one of Calgary’s most popular Italian restaurants for handmade pastas, but steak-loving couples tromp through the door for the bistecca for two. This 28-ounce roasted, aromatic porterhouse steak seduces diners before it hits the table seasoned with a blend of rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic with dressed greens and polenta. Beef carpaccio is hugely popular in Canadian fine dining restaurants, and Buffo Ristorante’s signature is prepared with shaved organic beef tenderloin, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romanesco, and salty capers. Make a reservation at Buffo Ristorante.
As we approach the first official day of summer and prime season for outdoor dining, we’re thrilled to reveal the 100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants in America 2018.
From the oceanside views at Leilani’s on the Beach in Hawaii and the stunning desert scenery at LON’s at The Hermosa Resort in Arizona to New York City’s Tavern on the Green, an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle, the complete list features winning restaurants in 22 states. California comes out on top this year with 30 winning restaurants, followed by Florida with 26, and Hawaii with 10. Other notable states for outdoor dining include Arizona with eight winning restaurants and Maryland, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina each with three. Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. are also among the winners.
While most of this year’s honorees serve American fare, other cuisines proved popular for outdoor dining, particularly seafood, French, and Italian.
The 100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants in America 2018 list is generated solely from more than 12 million verified OpenTable diner reviews for more than 27,000 restaurants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., collected between May 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which “outdoor dining” was selected as a special feature.
In the 105 years since Grand Central Terminal, or station, transported its first travelers, the iconic transit hub and the streets that surround it have remained among New York City’s busiest footpaths. Only in the wee hours did the Grand Central area fall silent long after the sundown rush. Beyond its nomadic purpose, Grand Central and the streets that surround it have become a thriving culinary endpoint.
Restaurateur Donatella Arapaia chose Grand Central terminal to open her first upscale quick service venture called Prova Pizzabar. “Grand Central Terminal is one of the city’s micro culinary destinations and the streets and avenues within a short walk are lined with great restaurants,” said Arpaia, known for her razor-sharp palate on Iron Chef. “Opening Prova Pizzabar at Grand Central was the perfect location, with an audience eager for a better slice.”
Launching a Grand Central eatery is like the Olympics of restaurant square footage. Arapaia, a first generation Italian, underwent a grueling process of elimination to earn the space. Narrowed down to ten and then three finalists, Arapaia’s pizza prevailed. And yes, Arapaia’s award-winning meatballs are on the menu.
Here are a few Grand Central gems in and around the terminal to try now.
Nothing ruins a commute like feeling too full after grabbing a bite. Maybe that’s why patrons of Prova Pizzabar feel so good. In this bustling pizza revival, the pies contain artisanal grains from Naples, Italy, and involve a long proofing process (prova means proof in Italian). In addition to whole pies at the front counter and the lower concourse 40-seat dining area and bar, guests can also order tiny “love pies” baked to order, which they can personalize. Arapaia also offers homemade pastas, lasagna, salads, and entrées for her menu. Make a reservation at Prova Pizzabar.
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant has remained a draw for New Yorkers on the go for as long as the terminal has been carting passengers. This quintessential New York City bistro is still one of the largest spaces to eat anywhere in town. Guests dine in three seating options on the lower concourse beneath Guastavino-designed vaulted ceilings. There is usually a crowd congregated outside, where, adjacent to the archways, tourists gather to test the Whispering Gallery’s powers of sound. Pop in for a dozen oysters and crisp glass of wine from the bar’s oodles of options. [Ed. note: Don’t miss the pan roast oysters.] Make a reservation at Grand Central Oyster Bar.
For gourmands in search of a convenient lobster and barley porridge or roasted cauliflower with
sea-aged gouda as well as for curious newbies anxious to try something new, it’s tough to beat Agern, which is Danish for acorn. This historic restaurant is located between Vanderbilt Hall and the 42nd street southwestern passageway entrance. In the space that once upon a time was a hairdressing salon, Icelandic chef Gunnar Gíslason tempts diners to try things like slow-cooked pork cheeks with husk cherries and celeriac ravioli. Make a reservation at Agern.
New York Central
Suspended over 42nd Street, New York Central Bar in the Hyatt Hotel is like a second home for daily commuters racing to and from trains. It’s not just for martinis after work, although that’s the beverage of choice here. The restaurant is actually the recipient of numerous wine awards of excellence. The modern design of this spot is part lift-off, part classic New York crowd with a hearty mix of travelers staying in the floors above in the Hyatt and mingling between conferences. Light bites include a savory chicken consommé while the burrata melt with lip-smackingly crispy capers makes for a heartier meal. Make a reservation at NY Central.
Steps from Grand Central Terminal, dozens of restaurants have helped make the surrounding streets into a mini culinary hotspot within the city. Here are a few to try.Continue Reading