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The Best Restaurant in Every US State

by Emmie Martin Feb 14, 2015

This article was originally published on Business Insider by Emmie Martin.

Good food is everywhere, but some restaurants truly stand out as great.

To find the best restaurant each state has to offer, we sifted through our list of the Best Restaurants in America, The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America list, James Beard award nominations, expert reviews, and local recommendations, paying particular attention to fine-dining establishments.

Did we get your state right? Let us know in the comments.

ALABAMA: Highlands Bar and Grill

Location: Birmingham

Chef: Frank and Pardis Stitt

Though they use French techniques, chefs Frank and Pardis Stitt still infuse southern comfort into every meal at Highlands Bar and Grill. The menu changes daily to incorporate seasonal ingredients, and the restaurant was a James Beard Outstanding Restaurants semifinalist as well as one of OpenTable’s top 100 restaurants for 2013.

ALASKA: Jens’ Restaurant

Location: Anchorage

Chef: Jens Hansen

Consistently rated the top spot for seafood in Anchorage, Jens’ Restaurant was named best overall, best ambiance, and best food, among others, by OpenTable. Not only are the ingredients fresh from the sea, but the menu is too — Chef Hansen updates the selection seasonally to incorporate regional specialties from his most recent travels.

For a lower-key experience, guests can stop by the adjacent wine bar, which features a full menu and more than 40 varieties of wine.


Location: Chandler

Chef: Conor Favre

Kai — which means “seed” in the Pima language — serves up a winning combination of modern techniques and traditional Native American flavors. Two tasting menus are available for guests who want to try it all: “Short Story” for $135 and “Journey” for $225.

Kai took the No. 8 spot on OpenTable’s Best Restaurants of America list for 2014 and is a AAA Five Diamond Award recipient. The restaurant also has near perfect scores on both Zagat (87/90) and OpenTable (4.9/5).

ARKANSAS: South on Main

Location: Little Rock

Chef: Matthew Bell

A local favorite, South on Main was voted best new restaurant and runner up for best overall in the Arkansas Times 2014 readers’ choice awards. Stop in for creative dishes with southern flair, such as the BBQ oysters or the pan-seared catfish with crispy fried grits, but stay for the show — the space doubles as a concert venue, often showcasing local talent.

CALIFORNIA: The French Laundry

Location: Yountville

Chef: Thomas Keller

With three Michelin stars and a slew of awards, including the No. 44 spot on The World’s 100 Best Restaurants list and the No. 3 spot on our list of the best restaurants in America, the $295 price tag is well worth it at The French Laundry.

Diners can choose between one of Chef Keller’s two prix fixe menus — the chef’s tasting menu or the vegetable tasting menu — which change daily and don’t repeat a single ingredient throughout.

COLORADO: Frasca Food & Wine

Location: Boulder

Chef: Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Claiming the No. 40 spot on the Daily Meal’s list, Frasca Food & Wine is also highly rated on Zagat and took home the 2013 James Beard Award for outstanding wine program. In addition to quality food, the Italian eatery has an extensive wine list, featuring over 200 bottles, with knowledgeable servers to help you select the perfect complement to your meal.


Location: Branford

Chef: Roy Ip

Named No. 1 in the state by Zagat, the French-inspired Le Petit Café focuses on simple, fresh flavors — Chef Ip believes in letting the food speak for itself. With the $55.50 prix fixe menu, guests choose from a host of carefully curated appetizers and entrees, including duck leg confit, miso-glazed Chilean sea bass, or “Provençal Style” rack of lamb, all prepared by Chef Ip.


Location: Wilmington

Chef: Michael DiBianca

Chef DiBianca believes in serving “just good food” at Moro, where he aims to give classic dishes a modern spin. DiBianca cooks up offerings such as veal-ricotta meatballs and lump crab mac & cheese, and the place maintains a “come as you are” atmosphere.

Moro was awarded best service in Delaware by OpenTable, and its food received a high 25/30 rating from Zagat.

FLORIDA: Bern’s Steak House

Location: Tampa

Chef: Habteab Hamde

Every element at Bern’s Steak House, from its perfectly aged steaks to its elaborate wine list to its impeccable desserts, comes together to turn a normal night out into a meal you’ll never forget. A James Beard Outstanding Restaurant semifinalist and No. 10 on our list of the best restaurants in America, Bern’s knows fine dining.

GEORGIA: Bacchanalia

Location: Atlanta

Chef: David A. Carson

Named the No. 1 restaurant in Atlanta by Zagat and the No. 26 restaurant in America by Business Insider, Bacchanalia serves contemporary American dishes, such as celery root ravioli and shrimp bisque with mussels. Freshness is a priority here, and the restaurant uses all organic ingredients, with many sourced from the chefs’ personal farm.


Location: Honolulu

Chef: Wade Ueoka

For food as beautiful as the surrounding landscape, Honolulu’s MW is just the ticket. The restaurant serves up a variety of local flavors, from mochi-crusted opakapaka to tropical fruit creamsicle brulée. Experience the five-course tasting menu for $65, or order a la carte.

MW was also a 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for best new restaurant.

IDAHO: State & Lemp

Location: Boise

Chef: Kris Komori

Idaho isn’t just about potatoes — State & Lemp‘s contemporary American cuisine shines with the creative, locally sourced dishes on its five-course prix fixe menu, such as pork gyoza with seaweed salad and celery-root soup. It is also the highest-rated restaurant in the state on OpenTable, claiming 14 best-in-state awards, including best overall in Idaho and best food in Idaho.


Location: Chicago

Chef: Grant Achatz

At Alinea, guests can always expect something modern and exquisite. The only Chicago restaurant to boast three Michelin stars, Alinea also has four James Beard awards under its belt and came in at No. 7 on our list of the best restaurants in America. Depending on the day of the week, tickets for the tasting menu vary between $210 and $265.

INDIANA: Restaurant Tallent

Location: Bloomington

Chef: David Tallent

Helmed by eight-time James Beard semifinalist David Tallent — who was most recently nominated for best chef, Great Lakes, in 2014 — Restaurant Tallent brings creative Italian dishes to Bloomington such as semolina-gnocchi bolognese or smoking goose mortadella scarpinocc. Whenever possible, Tallent strives to use organically raised meat and produce from local farms. A five-course tasting menu is available for $65 per person, or items may be ordered a la carte.

IOWA: Centro

Location: Des Moines

Chef: George Formaro

Whether you’re feeling adventurous or craving simple comfort foods, Centro’s eclectic urban Italian menu, featuring everything from specialty pizzas to seared sea scallops to homemade pasta, is sure to please.

The restaurant was named best overall, best ambiance, and best food in Iowa on OpenTable and named best first-date spot by the local magazine Cityview, who also called Chef Formaro the best in Des Moines.

KANSAS: Harry’s Restaurant

Location: Manhattan

Chef: Cadell Bynum

Located in the historic Wareham Hotel, Harry’s Restaurant serves classic, upscale dishes that match the glamour of the location. The Manhattan mainstay has been featured on Midwest Living’s “Best of the Midwest” and Travel + Leisure’s “United States of Deliciousness” lists, and was named one of the best overall restaurants near Kansas City by OpenTable.


Location: Louisville

Chef: Kevin Ashworth and Edward Lee

A 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for best new restaurant and named as one of the best new restaurants in the Midwest by Condé Nast Traveler, MilkWood gives typical southern flavors an Asian twist. From octopus bacon to miso smothered chicken to sorghum and grits ice cream, Chef Lee aspires to push the limits of what southern cooking can be.

LOUISIANA: Commander’s Palace

Location: New Orleans

Chef: Tory McPhail

Claiming the No. 11 spot on the Daily Meal’s list and No. 33 on ours, Commader’s Palace has served elegant meals in New Orleans’ Garden District since 1880. The historic building is a landmark itself, complemented by Chef McPhail’s take on classic Creole cuisine, including crab boil vichyssoise, cast-iron-seared gulf fish, and strawberry beignets.

MAINE: Fore Street

Location: Portland

Chef: Sam Hayward

Though on the expensive side (typically over $50 per person), food is sure to be fresh at Fore Street — in fact, Chef Hayward sources all his ingredients from local farmers, fishermen, and cheese makers, and he designs a new menu daily using whatever is available.

In 2014, the restaurant was a James Beard Outstanding Restaurants semifinalist.

MARYLAND: Charleston

Location: Baltimore

Chef: Cindy Wolf

Nabbing the No. 5 spot on OpenTable’s list of the Best 100 restaurants for 2013, Charleston combines French traditions with the low country flavors of South Carolina, the state in which the restaurant’s eponym resides. Guests can choose from three courses all the way up to six, with prices ranging from $79 to $114. Chef Wolf, a three-time finalist for best chef, Mid-Atlantic, by the James Beard Foundation, tweaks the menu daily to integrate only the freshest ingredients.


Location: Boston

Chef: Tim Cushman

Rated highly by Zagat and OpenTable and taking the No. 32 spot on our list of the best restaurants in America, O Ya is a Boston destination. Helmed by Chef Cushman — named best chef, Northeast, by the James Beard Foundation in 2012 — the restaurant offers modern takes on classic sushi dishes, including Scottish salmon belly with cilantro and ginger or Wagyu beef strip loin with bone marrow chawan mushi, a steamed egg custard. A chef’s tasting menu is also available, though prices aren’t listed online.


Location: Grand Rapids

Chef: Pat Wise

At Grove, high-quality ingredients are the basis of every dish. The farm-to-table restaurant strives to bring diners fresh, locally sourced meals through its extensive menu, which features dishes like olive-oil-poached arctic char and poached shrimp nicoise.

It has been named Restaurant of the Year two years running by Grand Rapids Magazine, and it was voted best overall, best food, and best service in Western Michigan by OpenTable.


Location: Minneapolis

Chef: Lucia Watson

For over three decades, Lucia‘s has offered a small, handcrafted menu featuring local favorites and seasonal ingredients. And with the options changing weekly, frequent patrons can always experience something new.

Lucia’s appeared on Mpls.St.Paul Magazine‘s list of the 50 best restaurants in the Twin Cities and was named one of the most romantic restaurants in the country by Travel + Leisure. It was also named one of the best overall restaurants in Minneapolis by OpenTable.


Location: Oxford

Chef: John Currence

Winner of OpenTable’s best overall and best food awards for Mississippi, this Oxford landmark serves up southern comforts, such as shrimp and grits or pan roasted gulf grouper, that are both elegant and unpretentious. Now a mainstay in the Mississippi food scene, City Grocery pushes itself to experiment with new flavors and techniques, which are reflected in the menu’s changes every six weeks. City Grocery also came in at No. 79 on the Daily Meal’s list.

MISSOURI: Annie Gunn’s

Location: Chesterfield

Chef: Lou Rook III

Named one of St. Louis Magazine‘s top special occasion spots for 2014 and best overall in St. Louis by OpenTable, Annie Gunn’s provides more than just your run-of-the-mill smokehouse fare. Striving to bring family and friends together, Annie Gunn’s elevated comfort food — from lobster mac and cheese to grilled lamb loin chops — provides the perfect backdrop for sharing bites and stories alike.

MONTANA: Lucca’s

Location: Helena

Chef: Mike Hyyppa

Lucca‘s cozy dining room — which seats a mere 15 tables — creates an intimate environment for guests to enjoy Chef Hyyppa’s carefully crafted dishes. Lucca’s authentic Italian cuisine, including baked manicotti and veal scallopini, earned it a near-perfect 4.5/5 star rating on TripAdvisor, as well as a Certificate of Excellence 2014 from the site.


Location: Omaha

Chef: Jon Seymour

In Omaha’s Old Market District lies the luxury bistro V. Mertz, where diners are treated to opulent flavors in a homey, unpretentious environment. Guests are sure to find the perfect glass of wine to complement their Wagyu bavette or seed-crusted salmon, as the restaurant has an extensive wine list and was a James Beard semifinalist for outstanding wine service in 2010. The restaurant also claims 15 of OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice awards, including best overall in Nebraska.

NEVADA: Joël Robuchon

Location: Las Vegas

Chef: Joël Robuchon

Located in the luxurious MGM Grand, Joël Robuchon, the namesake of its French chef, is the only Vegas restaurant with three Michelin stars; it also has Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond awards.

Prix fixe tasting menus of Chef Robuchon’s signature dishes, including truffled langoustine ravioli and salad with foie gras, start at $127 and run all the way up to $435.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bedford Village Inn

Location: Bedford

Chef: Benjamin Knack

Located in picturesque New England, the Bedford Village Inn serves up contemporary cuisine chock full of local and regional flavor, from orange-vanilla-salt-crusted sea scallops to prosciutto-wrapped pork chops. It has been a AAA Four Diamond recipient for 18 years, was named best fine dining and most romantic by New Hampshire magazine in 2014, and is home to the largest wine cellar in the state with over 8,000 bottles.

NEW JERSEY: Nicholas

Location: Middletown

Chef: Nicholas Harary

Zagat named Nicholas the No. 1 restaurant in New Jersey, for both its outstanding food and flawless service. This New American eatery is also a New York Times four-star winner and is listed in Gayot‘s top 40 restaurants in America for 2014.

The restaurant currently offers three tasting menus — the basic three-course menu for $70, the chef’s tasting menu for $90, and the black-truffle tasting menu for $135.

NEW MEXICO: Geronimo

Location: Santa Fe

Chef: Eric DiStefano

Noted for its impeccable service and complex dishes, Geronimo was named best overall, best ambiance, and best food in New Mexico by OpenTable, among other honors. It is also the only New Mexico restaurant to win a AAA Four Diamond award, as well as a Forbes Four Star award.

NEW YORK: Le Bernardin

Location: New York City

Chef: Eric Ripert

Amid tough competition from New York’s bustling food scene, we named Le Bernadin No. 1 on our list of the best restaurants in America, as did the Daily Meal.

The upscale seafood restaurant offers a chef’s tasting menu for $198 and a Le Bernardin-branded tasting menu for $155, each featuring signature seafood dishes, such as the lobster “lasagna” with truffle butter or the king crab medley with warm matsutake custard.

NORTH CAROLINA: The Fearrington House Restaurant

Location: Pittsboro

Chef: Colin Bedford

A 2014 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, 15-time Forbes Five-Star winner, and North Carolina’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant, The Fearrington House Restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine in an ornate setting, overlooking the Inn’s scenic grounds.

The restaurant offers two tasting menus — chef’s choice and vegetarian — for $150 and $125, respectively, or guests can create their own combinations with the mix-and-match three-course or four-course options.


Location: Fargo

Chef: Eric Watson

Located in historic downtown Fargo, Mezzaluna combines the glamour of an upscale restaurant with the coziness of a small town. Its menu features dressed-up comfort foods, such as mac and cheese, as well as more elaborate options, including pistachio-encrusted rack of lamb and crab-stuffed walleye. It was named one of the best places to eat in Fargo by Condé Nast Traveler and was voted the No. 1 restaurant in North Dakota by OpenTable.

OHIO: Boca

Location: Cincinnati

Chef: David Falk

At Boca, diners feast on flavorful French Italian fare, from gnocchi fonduta to braised Duroc pork shank. It appeared on OpenTable’s list of the best 100 restaurants of 2013 and recieved several of its Diners’ Choice awards, including best food in Cincinnati.

OKLAHOMA: Cheever’s Cafe

Location: Oklahoma City

Chef: Quinn Carol

A local favorite in Oklahoma City, Cheever’s Cafe was voted best fine dining by the Oklahoma Gazette and named best Southwestern food by Local Eats. Serving up contemporary comfort food, from tequila-lime shrimp linguine to roasted chicken enchiladas, the restaurant is also highly rated on OpenTable, taking home several diners’ choice awards, including Neighborhood Gem and Most Booked in Oklahoma City.

OREGON: Le Pigeon

Location: Portland

Chef: Gabriel Rucker

Guests at Le Pigeon can indulge in the many eclectic flavors James Beard Award-winning Chef Rucker has to offer with either the five- or seven-course tasting menu, priced at $75 and $95, respectively. The namesake dish can also be ordered a la carte, currently complete with brown rice, hazelnut, green apple, and pork heart.

Chef Rucker published his first cookbook last September, and it includes several of the recipes that made him famous.


Location: Philadelphia

Chef: Eli Kulp

In Philadelphia’s Old City, Chef Kulp — one of Food and Wine‘s best new chefs of 2014 — experiments with modern techniques and bold flavors at Fork, a 2014 James Beard semifinalist for outstanding restaurant. Guests can indulge in unique dishes, such as dandelion gnudi and smoked trout caviar, at this Zagat top-rated venue.


Location: Providence

Chef: Johanne Killeen and George Germon

For over 30 years, Al Forno has offered creative takes on classic Italian dishes, such as its grilled pizza or selection of baked pastas. The Providence staple has been featured on the Daily Meal‘s list of the best restaurants in the Northeast and GrubStreet‘s “101 of America’s Most Delicious Noodle Dishes.”


Location: Charleston

Chef: Sean Brock

Led by James Beard Award-winning Chef Brock, the Charleston branch of Husk (there is also one in Nashville, Tennessee) aims to elevate standard low-country dishes and rediscover heirloom ingredients. The menu updates daily, incorporating the area’s rich history into its offerings.

Husk came in at No. 12 on the Daily Meal’s list and was one of the most booked restaurants in South Carolina by OpenTable.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Dakotah Steakhouse

Location: Rapid City

Chef: Paul Henniger

Named the best steakhouse in Rapid City by Local Eats, Dakotah Steakhouse aims to create an environment that is both upscale yet relaxed. It is one of the most booked restaurants in South Dakota on OpenTable, where it has earned a near-perfect rating of 4.7 stars out of five.

TENNESSEE: Etch Restaurant

Location: Nashville

Chef: Deb Paquette

Named as one of the top 20 restaurants in the country by Zagat, Etch offers contemporary American dishes such as mushroom-dusted pork tenderloin and octopus and shrimp bruschetta. No stranger to accolades, Etch was featured on Nashville Lifestyles‘ list of the best business lunches and was nominated for Eater‘s Nashville Restaurant of the Year award in 2013.


Location: Austin

Chef: Tyson Cole

No, the top restaurant in Texas is not a barbeque joint — it is Uchi, a contemporary Japanese restaurant that combines fresh seafood from around the world with local ingredients. We named it No. 20 on our list of the best restaurants in America, it took the No. 49 spot on the Daily Meal’s list. Chef Cole holds a 2011 James Beard award for best chef, Southwest.

UTAH: Pago

Location: Salt Lake City

Chef: Phelix Gardner

The menu at this eclectic American restaurant changes frequently to incorporate the freshest available ingredients, locally sourced if possible.

Pago is no stranger to praise either — it was named best restaurant of 2014 by Salt Lake magazine, one of the 100 best restaurants in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2012, and it was selected for a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

VERMONT: Barnard Inn Restaurant

Location: Woodstock

Chef: Will Dodson

Located on spotless grounds in picturesque Vermont, Barnard Inn Restaurant serves up a three-course prix fixe menu for $65, featuring elegant entrees such as crispy half duck, filet mignon, and autumn vegetable strudel. For more casual nights, guests can opt for adjacent Max’s Tavern, which offers the same upscale food in a more relaxed atmosphere.

VIRGINIA: The Inn at Little Washington

Location: Washington

Chef: Patrick O’Connell

The Inn at Little Washington took the No. 24 spot on the Daily Meal’s list and has been rated the No. 1 restaurant in Virginia by Washingtonian magazine for a few years running. Guests can choose from one of three different prix fixe tasting menus — including one featuring the spot’s most classic dishes — with prices ranging from $178 to $208, depending on the day.


Location: Seattle

Chef: Jason Franey

The family-run Canlis has been nominated for the James Beard Outstanding Service award four times, is the winner of 14 consecutive Wine Spectator Grand Awards, and was named one of the best overall restaurants in Seattle by OpenTable. Chef Franey defines Canlis’ food as “comfort geek,” and he aims to create dishes that are exquisite and modern yet easy to like. Order a three-course meal for $85 or include a fourth for $100.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Rasika — Penn Quarter

Location: Washington, D.C.

Chef: Vikram Sunderam

Rasika — which means “flavors” in Sanskrit — lives up to its name with its modern take on Indian food. Guests can even watch as their food is prepared in the restaurant’s open kitchen, which features both a Tawa (griddle) and sigri (barbecue).

Rasika came in at No. 96 on the Daily Meal’s list and No. 31 on our list of the best restaurants in America, and it is highly ranked by both Zagat and OpenTable.

WEST VIRGINIA: The Chop House Charleston

Location: Charleston

Chef: Larry Riddle

Though not quite vegetarian-friendly, the selection of prime meat and seafood choices at The Chop House Charleston can’t be beat. Whether the filet mignon, the char-grilled Berkshire pork chops, or the North Atlantic salmon, each piece is carefully prepared to lock in the most flavor possible.

Take it from previous diners — The Chop House Charleston was rated the No. 1 restaurant in West Virginia on OpenTable and was named one of OpenTable’s top 100 steakhouses in America, and it received an award of excellence from Wine Spectator.


Location: Milwaukee

Chef: Justin Carlisle

A James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant and named one of the 15 best new restaurants in the Midwest by Condé Nast Traveler, Ardent brings simple yet ornate food to Milwaukee. The menu is not long, but it is packed with flavor — guests can indulge small plates such as salt roasted celeriac and squash soup, or larger dishes, like the smoked lentil ravioli.

WYOMING: Snake River Grill

Location: Jackson Hole

Chef: Kirt Martin

Snake River Grill is no stranger to fame — its Eskimo bars were featured on “Best Thing I Ever Ate” as one of Giada De Laurentis’ favorite dishes, and Travel + Leisure named it one of the best restaurants in Wyoming. The food stands up as well, offering guests fresh updates on fine dining classics such as its rabbit ravioli or herb-crusted rack of New Zealand lamb.

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