Do you ever wonder how restaurants make the “best new restaurant” list of the year? It seems a daunting task, and yet some manage to pull it off every year. Several publications present their rankings, including Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Food & Wine, Esquire Magazine, and Eater. In fact, the first three have already come out with their best new restaurants of 2022.
So, what do you need to do to be declared the best? It’s not about five-star dining or Michelin-starred restaurants and chefs. Although, that doesn’t hurt. It seems that one of the primary considerations is an establishment that’s willing to search out the unusual, exploring unique tastes, cultures, and textures. Indigenous foods made a big hit, as well as restaurants that opted against the latest trends and took out on the road less traveled.
The Robb Report also noted that exceptional cooking was no longer sufficient to fill the tables. As they searched the nation, they found that the busier restaurants were the ones that offered an atmosphere of joy, swagger, and conviviality—a friendly and welcoming place that indulged their patrons. They included theatrical tableside service and opulent meals perfect for Instagram. Let’s look at a few of the chosen ones.
March – Houston, TX – Voted Best by Bon Appétit and Robb Report
Chef Felipe Riccio’s Mediterranean tasting-menu features items like lobster-and-octopus tart and bison carpaccio. It changes twice a year, spanning the many regions of the Mediterranean, such as Cyprus and the Balearic Islands. Both publications noted the architectural and aesthetic details, the lavish design, and, of course, the outstanding food.
Les Trois Chevaux – New York City, NY – Voted Best by Robb Report & Condé Nast Traveler
Chef Angie Mar, made famous by Beatrice Inn, casts her spell at the classic French spot Les Trois Chevaux. Her seasonal menu offers hints of her Asian heritage, like cherry blossoms imported from Japan that cure the roasted duck breast. The space also pays tribute to New York’s artisans whose design elements and artwork are found throughout.
Yangban Society – Los Angeles, CA – Voted Best by Bon Appétit & Condé Nast Traveler
Named for the aristocratic ruling class in Korea from 1392-1910, this Korean American restaurant comes from chefs Katianna and John Hong. While both have backgrounds as fine dining veterans and chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants, they opted to open their first casual restaurant in the Arts District. The 5,000-square foot establishment offers an expansive deli case and an upstairs supermarket. The two create unique and flavorful fusion fare like roasted abalone, congee pot pie, and bone-in heritage pork katsu.
Supperland – Charlotte, NC – Voted Best by Bon Appétit
This is one of those establishments that bucked one of the most popular restaurant trends—the small plate. Here, in a restored midcentury church, you’ll find meals meant for sharing. The restaurant, more like a small town, consists of a 2,250-square-foot cocktail bar, a 5,250-square-foot restaurant with an open-fire kitchen, a private wine room, a champagne nook, and a vibrant southern garden. The whimsical fare includes a seven-layer salad served in a massive goblet, roasted oysters, wagyu pot roast, and sausage gravy croquettes.
Meridian – Dallas, TX – Voted Best by Robb Report
Chef Junior Borges’s Brazilian restaurant offers a fusion of modern Rio de Janeiro delicacies and Texas flavors. Under a canopy of oak trees, Meridian offers fresh salads from the chef’s garden, Sakura pork loin, and rosewood wagyu picanha. Additional items include tapioca Brazilian cheese fritters and food cooked in the live-fire hearth, like whole octopus and 90-day dry-aged wagyu ribeye. It was also voted one of the 10 best restaurants in Dallas by USA Today.
Owamni – Minneapolis, MN – Voted Best by Condé Nast Traveler
Owamni By the Sioux Chef is presented by Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson. This modern Indigenous kitchen contains no ingredients that were introduced to the continent after Europeans arrived, such as wheat flour, cane sugar, and dairy. In a park on the Mississippi River, some of its offerings include deer tartare with pickled carrots and duck-egg aioli, cedar-braised bison and grilled forest mushroom native corn tacos and grain bowls, and duck sausage with watercress puree. The James Beard Foundation named Owamni the best new restaurant in the U.S.
How many new restaurants are in the U.S?
According to Finances Online, there are over 1 million restaurants in the U.S. This includes about 101,810 chain restaurants with multiple locations and independent restaurants. The city with the most restaurants per households is San Francisco, followed by New York City, Boston, Seattle, and San Jose.
What is the #1 restaurant in the U.S.?
As you can see from our list of “best restaurants,” the answer to the question is as varied as the 10,000 taste buds on a tongue. According to TripAdvisor, The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, received over 1,100 excellent TripAdvisor reviews with words that included “bucket list” and “life changing.” It also ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world.