Food captures the heart, stomach, and mind — and the people who run America’s best restaurants, and most essential dining spots, know this. They take their craft seriously. And create dishes with care, using only the higest-quality ingredients to take their guests on gastronomic journeys. If you’re looking for the ultimate in dining experiences across the US, we have a list that will have you salivating in your seat. From coast to coast and places in between, why not visit well-known favorites like Alinea and Daniel as well as upstart newcomers like The Grey and Bad Saint? If these spots are in your city or your upcoming travels, make a reservation for a dinner you’re not soon to forget at America’s best restaurants, and most essential places to eat.
French-style cuisine is blended with American innovations to bring you unique dishes that change daily depending on what’s fresh. The joy of a Michelin-starred menu combined with the finesse of Chef Joshua Skenes will give you an incredible, memorable meal.
Chef Ashley Christensen’s southern culinary hotspots started with Poole’s. But don’t expect typical diner food here. They offer reimagined comfort food in a 1940s-style diner. The menu changes frequently, but the Macaroni Au Gratin is here to stay by popular demand.
You’ll never look at pizza the same way again. CRUST’s specialty pies are crafted by acclaimed Chef Klime Kovaceski and his wife. CRUST offers gourmet toppings that will have you thinking twice about your Domino’s pepperoni order — think goat cheese, figs, prosciutto, and more.
The Grey offers the best of Southern hospitality and cuisine. Here, food at America’s most essential restaurants means salted Summer Flounder Toast, Beer Battered Shrimp, and Foie & Grits. These are just a few of the delicacies you can indulge in at this chic Savannah spot.
What sets Alinea apart? It prides itself on unconventionality. You’ll understand its three-Michelin star-rating after the first of 18 courses. Molecular gastronomy. Food is broken down and rebuilt for a proactive and innovative dining experience.
An idea born out of Paris found its home in America under Chef Eric Ripert. Le Bernardin is seafood like you’ve never tasted. This French restaurant offers only the highest quality service with the best seafood. The fish is the star of the dish as you’ll see on your plate.
For the most unholy dining experience in The District, pay a visit to Bad Saint. This restaurant, specializing in Filipino cuisine, doesn’t take reservations which is why guest start lining up for a coveted spot early in the afternoon. The changing menu keeps people coming back for another taste time and time again.
If Japanese food is your favorite, n/naka is where you’ll die and go to heaven. Keiseki is at the core of everything they do, which means you’ll find fresh, seasonal flavors. So fresh, that the vegetables come from the restaurant’s own garden.
Miller Union is new to the dining scene, but it’s making a splash as one of the South’s top restaurants. Here you’ll sample Southern favorites reinvented. Braised Pork Shoulder and Chestnut, Blue Cheese, & Chevre Ravioli are just two of the dish you can try at this Atlanta up-and-comer.
You will only find the best of the best in French cuisine at New York’s elite Daniel. Their tasting menus embrace the flavors of the moment and change seasonally. What you can expect is world-class dining from Michelin-star chef Jean-François Bruel.
Want to visit more of America’s best restaurants, and most quintessential places to eat? Hit the links below for more:
Assistant Editor Ciara is a DC native and East Coast roamer with degrees in both English Professional Writing and Drama & Theatre Studies from Elon University. She's written for a variety of publications including Highway 64, Travel Writing at Elon, and Odyssey. More of her work can be found at ciaracorcoran.com.