10 Incredible Restaurants In The USA Worth Adding To Your Bucket List

10 Incredible Restaurants In The USA Worth Adding To Your Bucket List

Chris Singh
Chris Singh


This article is part of a series celebrating Boss Hunting’s favourite corners of the United States. Click here to see more.

Between profound natural splendour and storied pop culture history, the USA is one big epicurean epic that knows absolutely no bounds. 

You don’t have to look far to understand just how wide-reaching and open-minded the USA’s dining scene really is. Browse the annals of the prestigious James Beard Foundation and you’ll find stories of the world’s greatest dishes being created on American soil. From kitchens so imaginative that they redefine historic cuisines, and of young chefs so dedicated to sustainability and seasonality that they’ve spurred dining revolutions across the globe.

And while the country’s dining scene is vast and propulsive, it’s still worth having a decisive bucket list so you aren’t overwhelmed with the anxiety that comes with such an abundance of excellence. The hottest restaurant of the moment could easily be forgotten next year unlike these dining institutions — both classic and new — that will never fall out of fashion. 

Atomix – New York City, New York

What’s The Food Like? High-end Korean dining inspired by geometry and guided by simplicity

Voted by The World’s 50 Best as the country’s top restaurant for 2023, Atomix matches its untouchable reputation with beautifully conceived, delicate dishes that represent the richness and balance of Korean cuisine. Chef Junghyun Park complements his conceptual set menu with exquisite ceramics and AI-powered menu cards, building up a sense of occasion that screams fine-dining, yet is very approachable.

Where Else Should I Eat?

You can find equally elegant Korean food and an exceptional Sake program at Naro at the Rockefeller Centre. For something completely different, check out the fine French-Japanese flair over at l’abeille with a sophisticated set menu including highlights like a crispy American wagyu tenderloin presented as Japanese-style cutlets. For those seeking classic hospitality and theatrical tableside cooking, Dowling’s at The Carlyle is a spot of perfection, especially when dinner is backed by drinks at the hotel’s jazzy Bemelmans Bar.

Girl & The Goat – Chicago, Illinois

What’s The Food Like? A “globally-inspired” kitchen with influences taken from all over the world

The rustic romance of Girl & The Goat has positioned Stephanie Izard’s flagship restaurant as the top pick of Chicago’s eclectic Restaurant Row in the West Loop. While the Windy City boasts many of the USA’s top fine dining establishments, it’s Izard’s casual, home-style approach that is the city’s most sought culinary experience. Highlights are as simple as roasted beets served with yuzu kosho, and the signature braised goat shank with goat jus and celery root puree. Sometimes all you need is good produce and a heavy dose of restraint; Izard is clearly guided by both.

Where Else Should I Eat? Hop on over next door to Au Chevel where the signature gourmet burgers are often considered the best in the country. For a classic dining experience, check out the fashionable BLVD Steakhouse on W Lake Street and order up the mighty A5 Wagyu imported from the Miyazaki Prefecture of Southern Japan.

Clementine – San Antonio, Texas

What’s The Food Like? New American with a hyperlocal approach

Run by James Beard Award finalist, chef John Ross, along with his wife, pastry chef Elise Russ, this cozy eatery is buried in an unexciting part of San Antonio. And it can easily be pitched as a fine dining experience. Ross’ creative, “New American” food is simple and dictated by the day’s produce, gifting the Alamo city a creative neighbourhood kitchen where something as simple as a salad with a medley of white mushrooms is just as good as that mind-blowing carrot cake flecked with candied pineapple and complemented by coconut ice cream.

Where Else Should I Eat? The unique fusion of Thai curries with smoked Texan meats at Curry Boys BBQ completely validates the city’s status as a UNESCO-designated Creative City of Gastronomy. The award-winning Best Quality Daughter continues that gold-standard innovation, borrowing heavily from Southeast Asian flavours twisted for modern tastes.

Providence – Los Angeles, California

What’s The Food Like? Fresh Californian seafood showcasing the best of the coast

Built on the California coast’s freshest seafood, Providence is a fine dining mainstay, remaining one of the best restaurants in the state for just under two decades. With two Michelin stars, chef-owner Michael Cimarusti and co-owner Donato Poto have put together a highly efficient kitchen that shows great ingenuity. Proteins include the best catches from up and down the coast, from steelhead trout pulled from Washington’s Quinault River to spot prawns sourced from Santa Barbara. 

Where Else Should I Eat? While Mexican is often seen as a more casual and affordable option in California, Damian, in the L.A. Arts District, uses Californian produce and seasonal ingredients to present a sophisticated ode to Mexican culture. Curtis Stone’s legendary Maude in Beverly Hills is still regarded as one of the city’s most beloved dining experiences, pioneering New American cuisine with super fresh high-end ingredients.

Atelier Crenn – San Francisco, California

What’s The Food Like? A delicately measured, fine French restaurant with Dominique Crenn’s unmatched attention to detail.

One of the world’s best chefs, Dominique Crenn, has clearly set out to master the art of classic French cuisine with the help of poetry, and some of the most beautiful plating you’ll ever see. Her namesake fine dining restaurant, located just off Lombard Street in Cow Hollow, feels like a world away from San Francisco’s kinetic streets. The gentle, meditative interior is complemented by pointed lines of poetry that accompany each dish. Everything served reiterates Crenn’s unparalleled dedication to experimentation.

Where Else Should I Eat? San Francisco has long been admired for its multicultural dining scene. High-end dining emporium China Live is always a treat for both locals and visitors. If you’ve craving Italian, go for the slick Trattoria Contadina with its unpretentious atmosphere and generous servings of handmade pasta. For acclaimed wood-fired cooking, head to the fantastic Saison, another one of San Francisco’s signature Michelin-starred restaurants.

Eleven Madison Park – New York City, New York

What’s The Food Like? A groundbreaking faith in meatless dining, with everything served plant-based and vegan.

Not just a restaurant, Eleven Madison Park sits at the centre of culinary conversations the world over having redefined luxury as a sustainable and progressive dining experience. As New York City’s most recognisable culinary institution, Daniel Humm’s groundbreaking vegan-only set menu switches the once-famous dry-aged duck breast for innovative techniques used to elevate the idea of clean eating. The caviar service has been subbed out for imported vegan roe, while  seemingly simple dishes like dosas with pine nut spread leave diners dazzled. 

Where Else Should I Eat? If you’re on an epicurean crawl of New York City’s most definitive fine dining experiences then you’ll also need to pay equal attention to Per Se with its effortless blend of fine French food and New American. Eric Ripert’s legendary La Bernardin has been leading New York’s swanky dining scene since 1986, pushed as the quintessential Parisian kitchen with a US$310 chef’s tasting menu mainly listing luxurious ingredients that justify the punchy price tag.

The Inn at Little Washington – Washington, Virginia

What’s The Food Like? Refined American with many international influences

This small-town inn, located just over an hour’s from Washington D.C., is positioned at the foot of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and wears its three Michelin stars proudly. Gourmands from all over the world consider Patrick O’Connell’s playful dining experience one of the world’s greatest, spotlighting refined American dishes with a worldly influence. 

Unsurprisingly, the menu changes far too often for there to be any particular highlights, but on any given visit you may get delectable plates like big-eye tuna and swordfish carpaccio with wasabi sorbet and puffed wild rice, and a chartreuse of savoy cabbage with Maine lobster and caviar beurre blanc. Dinner is always best followed by a stroll under the property’s romantic plant-enshrouded gazebo.

Where Else Should I Eat? The small town of Washington, Virginia is just over an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. Head into the nation’s capital and take advantage of the city’s firm grasp of culinary excellence. The coastal cuisine of Opal regularly attracts diners from around the States. For American comfort food executed perfectly head on over to Pennyroyal Station. And diners who want to step things up and don’t mind splashing for the occasion will love The Capital Grille. 

SingleThread – Healdsburg, California

What’s The Food Like? Modern and traditional Japanese prepared with hyperlocal produce.

Accomplished chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife Katina are no strangers to international acclaim. Their farm-restaurant-inn concept in the heart of downtown Healdsburg, surrounded by the produce-belt of Sonoma Wine Country, is a regular in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. 

Katina, a veteran farmer, supplies the ingredients while Kyle’s unique approach to authentic Japanese cuisine informs the kaiseki-style dining experience. Menus change frequently, but you’ll usually sit down to ten courses with superlative attention to detail. Stay the night in one of the few luxury Ryokan-style suites because the in-room Japanese breakfast is just as good as dinner.

Where Else Should I Eat? The French Laundry in the nearby town of Yountville is considered one of California’s finest restaurants, also sporting three Michelin stars much like Thomas Keller’s other restaurant in New York City, Per Se. Napa Valley’s rich tapestry of fine dining experiences is furthered by the bucolic Auro, where a hefty 250-bottle wine list accompanies a highly seasonal tasting menu at the acclaimed Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley.

Eventide Oyster Co – Portland, Maine

What’s The Food Like? Modern seafood dishes like lobster curries and elevated classics like New England clam chowder

You can’t even throw a stone without hitting a critically acclaimed restaurant in Portland, Maine. This delicious, seafood-obsessed city dominates the country’s culinary chops, so it says a lot that Eventide Oyster Co. is still the talk of the town over ten years after it first opened on Middle Street. 

The casual kitchen makes quick work of Maine’s produce, taking the state’s prized seafood hauls and creating stunners like green curry lobster stew, signature New England clam chowder, and a brown butter lobster roll you’ll be dreaming about long after you leave.

Where Else Should I Eat? Portland is packed with incredible restaurants and diners. The legendary Becky’s Diner is where you’ll want to be for American diner classics and the prototypical Maine lobster roll. Cozy diner Hot Suppa serves up New Orleans-inspired brunch. And for dinner, the eclectic small plates coming from worldly kitchen Central Provisions always hit the spot.

Commander’s Palace – New Orleans, Louisiana

What’s The Food Like? The traditions of Creole cuisine elevated by a hyperlocal approach and constant creativity

Opened in 1893, Commander’s Palace has grown into the stately grand dame of New Orleans’ distinctive dining culture. The three-Michelin-star restaurant is dedicated to haute Creole cuisine, steered by chef Meg Bickford’s “dirt-to-late” philosophy which dictates that 90% of her kitchen’s produce must come from within 160-kilometres of the restaurant. The tightly controlled flavors are used to create elevated classics like the signature Commander’s Creole gumbo, and hand-rolled buttermilk ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and peppers.

Where Else Should I Eat? The Big Easy is a treasure trove of the South’s greatest restaurants. Chef Susan Spicer does wonders lifting Creole cuisine with worldly influences at Bayona. Veteran chef Emeril Lagasse dominates the Warehouse District with her eponymous fine dining staple, Emeril’s. Finally, the unique blend of India and Louisiana is mandatory dining at crowd-favourite Saffron Nola on Magazine Street.

This article is sponsored by VisitTheUSA.com.au and is part of a series celebrating Boss Hunting’s favourite corners of the United States. Click here to see more, and thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.



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