Collage of restaurants mentioned in article

The Best Restaurant in Every State

From fine dining award-winners to hole-in-the-wall favorites

We’re dedicating our September features to food and drink. One of our favorite parts of travel is the joy of trying a new cocktail, snagging a reservation at a great restaurant, or supporting a local wine region. Now, to celebrate the flavors that teach us about the world, we put together a collection of tasty features, including chefs’ top tips for eating well on the roadhow to choose an ethical food tour, the wonders of ancient indigenous cooking traditions, and a chat with Hollywood taco impresario Danny Trejo.

Choosing the best restaurant in every state is a fool’s errand: What does "best" mean exactly, and how can we determine what others will prefer? Does fine dining mean “best”? Or maybe it's a Michelin star or having a James Beard Award-winning chef at the helm? Or perhaps it’s the place you find yourself popping into at least once a week—your favorite neighborhood spot? Or the hole-in-the-wall with the cheap late-night eats that always satisfy? The truth is, it’s all of these and more.

After conferring with a cadre of food and travel writers and people who work in the food industry, we did our best to choose a diverse list of excellent restaurants from every state in our nation. From BBQ and pizza joints to fine dining establishments and Mexican eateries, keep reading to see our picks for the top restaurant in every state.

Alabama: Highlands Bar & Grill

Loaded with awards, this elegant Birmingham spot is often credited with putting Alabama fine dining on the map. Focusing on local bounty, the cuisine skews Southern with a French twist—think venison and root vegetables in fall and winter, and soft shell crabs, oysters, and okra in spring and summer. Award-winning chef Frank Stitt and his wife Pardis have owned and operated Highlands since 1982.

Alaska: 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern

Farm-to-table might not enter your mind when thinking about Alaskan cuisine, but this special spot will prove you wrong. Located 11 miles south of Denali National Park’s entrance, 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern stands out among the touristy shops and cabins, with owner-chef Laura Cole sourcing from her on-site vegetable garden and other nearby farms. The menu changes daily, but you can expect dishes like reindeer liver pâté, Alaskan octopus with squid ink noodles, and a Ho Ho-inspired flourless chocolate cake and white chocolate pastry cream for dessert.

Arizona: El Charro Café

The country’s oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family, this Tucson café has been serving Sonoran and Mexican-style food since 1922. The original downtown location is still operating, along with three other area outlets. Founder Monica Flin is credited with inventing the chimichanga, so you’ll want to order that, along with other specialties like enchiladas, carne seca, and chile relleno.

Berkshire Hog Chop with grilled peaches and smoky creamed corn

Courtesy of The Hive

Arkansas: The Hive

21c Museum Hotel Bentonville's on-site restaurant, the Hive, is known for chef Matthew McClure’s inventive, country-style dishes that showcase Arkansas’ regional ingredients: black walnuts, freshly milled cornmeal, hickory-smoked hams, and peaches, to name a few. Some of these ingredients extend to the extensive cocktail list, which has a special afternoon aperitivo section.

California: Chez Panisse

Selecting the best restaurant in a state as large and diverse as California is near impossible, but it’s hard to ignore a tried-and-true legend that typifies California cuisine. When she launched Chez Panisse in Berkeley in the 1970s, Alice Waters brought simple, farm-fresh food to American palettes—and has since helped kick off the careers of hundreds of successful chefs (reading the list of Chez Panisse’s former chefs is like a who’s who in the culinary world). Here, you can expect seasonal dishes highlighting local ingredients, including grilled halibut baked with roasted sweet peppers and fresh shell beans; pizza with goat cheese, mozzarella, and prosciutto; and plum galette.

Colorado: Frasca Food & Wine

Celebrating the cuisine and wine of the Northern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, partners Bobby Stuckey, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, and Peter Hoglund have created a welcoming and elegant destination. Salumi and cheeses sourced from Italy, handmade pasta, and carefully sourced proteins like duck breast and rib-eye make up the menu; meanwhile, the 75-page wine list organized by grape highlights vinos from across Europe, Australia, and the U.S. Since opening in Boulder in 2004, Frasca Food & Wine has garnered countless accolades, including three James Beard Awards.

Connecticut: Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern

Chef Tyler Anderson owns and operates this farm-to-table restaurant on the site of Simsbury's circa 1680 Hop Brook Mill. Anderson, a contestant on season 15 of "Top Chef" and is a seven-time James Beard Award nominee, focuses on New England ingredients on his weekly-changing menu. The spacious dining room features exposed wooden beams and massive windows with views of the mill’s waterfall, while the basement tavern serves upscale bar food around a large stone fireplace.

Delaware: Mrs. Robino’s

A Wilmington landmark that's more than 80 years old, Mrs. Robino’s serves classic red sauce Italian-American in a kitschy dining room that hearkens back to a bygone era. Massive portions of dishes like spaghetti, ravioli, meatballs, and lasagna are filling and easy on the wallet. On Thursday nights, a.k.a. Crab Night, look for Maryland blue crab specials.

Florida: Columbia Restaurant

The oldest continually operating restaurant in Florida also happens to be one of the best. Opened by the Hernandez Gonzmart family in 1905 in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, Columbia Restaurant has been serving Spanish and Cuban specialties since then. You can’t go wrong with the Cuban sandwich and the 1905 Salad.

Candied Salmon Belly Bacon, Creamy Corn Risotto, and Brussel Leaves

Courtesy of Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

Georgia: Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

Chef Deborah VanTrece uses inspiration from 25-plus years of traveling the world to serve her interpretation of global soul food at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours. Open since 2014, the Atlanta restaurant has gone through several iterations, but the delicious food has remained a constant. Diners eat dishes like brown butter scallops with broccoli chimichurri and peach corn salsa, hoisin-glazed oxtails, and during Saturday and Sunday brunch, the fried chicken omelet.

Hawaii: Mama’s Fish House

It stands to reason that eating fish and seafood in Hawaii should be an excellent experience with some of the freshest catches around, and Mama’s Fish House proves this theory correct. Located in Pā'ia, Maui, the fish here is so fresh and local that the restaurant promises it's been processed and cooked within 24 hours of catching—the name of the fisherman and where they caught your dinner is even listed next to each fish on the menu. Pair your meal with one of their tropical cocktails like the Mai Tai Roa Ae or Bali Hai. The ambiance is also unforgettable, with the restaurant sitting right on the beach with gorgeous ocean views.

Idaho: Barbacoa

Open fire is a key ingredient at this Boise restaurant—it’s used on creative pizzas, local Idaho trout, and various steaks. Influenced by Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and the Pacific Northwest, Barbacoa's menu combines those regions' cooking traditions and ingredients to create delicious and inventive plates by chef Enrique Martinez. The restaurant is filled with art and antiques sourced locally and worldwide by owner Robert Castoro, who has collected and imported art for decades.

Illinois: Alinea

While Illinois is filled with excellent restaurants, it can be hard to ignore the only restaurant in the state—and the entire middle of the country—to hold three Michelin stars. Alinea, which has held the stars since 2011 when Michelin first went to Chicago, is a fine-dining institution known as one of the best restaurants in the world. Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas offer a theatrical feast of the senses to diners who can shell out top dollar for the impressive tasting menu, where each dish is a work of art.

Indiana: Milktooth

When this daytime restaurant opened in Indianapolis in 2014, it was at the forefront of a reinvention of breakfast and lunch in the U.S.; seven years later, it still brings a creative spin to comfort dishes. Calling itself a “fine diner” on its website, Milktooth offers dishes that honor local produce like a Dutch baby pancake with whipped labneh, local plums, pistachio, and cardamom meringue; grilled cheese on homemade apricot walnut bread with smoked gouda, St. Andre triple cream, a duck egg, and tomato jam; and a corn waffle with peaches, cinnamon maple, and puffed amaranth. Don’t sleep on the pastries, or you’ll miss out on treats like a blue cheese croissant Danish with cherry tomatoes and a toasted hazelnut chocolate chip cookie.

Iowa: Harbinger

This vegetable-focused, small plates restaurant with an Asian twist comes from Des Moines native Joe Tripp, who has several James Beard Award nominations. Seasonal produce dictates what’s on the menu. Still, diners can expect items like heirloom roasted beets with ginger, soy, coconut yogurt, and kaffir lime, as well as duck egg with yuzu, melted leeks, and wild chanterelle mushrooms.

Kansas: Café Provence

Rustic elegance at its finest is celebrated at this family-owned spot in Prairie Village. For nearly 20 years, the Quillec family has worked with local farmers, butchers, and artisanal food purveyors to source the best ingredients to use in their French-influenced dishes. The menu includes an endive salad with apples, walnuts, and blue cheese; escargot with parsley butter; and classic sole de Douvres meunière. Dessert options range from almond flour and peach cake with a crème anglaise to a classic tarte tatin.

610 Magnolia

Courtesy of 610 Magnolia

Kentucky: 610 Magnolia

Inside a carriage house with exposed wooden beams and French doors that open onto a garden patio, chef Edward Lee’s flagship Louisville restaurant celebrates Southern fare with a six-course prix fixe menu. The constantly changing menu might include plates like veal tartare with quail egg and seared scallops with braised radishes and miso hollandaise. Lee—who has appeared on TV shows including "Top Chef," "Mind of a Chef," and "Iron Chef"—also co-founded the nonprofit the LEE Initiative, which works to create more diversity and equality in the restaurant industry.

Louisiana: Compère Lapin

Originally hailing from St. Lucia, chef/owner Nina Compton takes her Caribbean background and combines it with New Orleans' Creole identity and her French and Italian training to form the menu at Compère Lapin. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant serves dishes like dirty rice arancini, curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi, and broiled shrimp with Calabrian butter. Paired with cocktails like the Madeira Cobbler (Madeira, Fino sherry, grapefruit, and lemon) and the Frozen Beer for Breakfast (coffee stout reduction, vodka, amaro, crème de cacao, Frenet, and milk), you’re in for a memorable meal.

Maine: Primo

Chef-owner Melissa Kelly has managed to set up a supremely gorgeous farm on 4.5 acres of land in Rockland, complete with pigs, chickens, ducks, and guinea hens. And since 2000, she has been serving the epitome of farm-to-table cuisine at the adjacent restaurant, located inside an old Victorian house. Sourcing 80 percent of her products from her own farm during peak season and taking advantage of being so close to the coast, Kelly and Primo have received countless awards and accolades.

Maryland: The Helmand

This downtown Baltimore mainstay, just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor, has been serving Afghani delicacies since 1989. Credited with being one of the first to bring and popularize the cuisine in the U.S., owner Qayum Karzai and his wife Pat named the restaurant after his firstborn son and the famous river of Afghanistan. On the menu are classic Afghani plates like kaddo borawni (baked and pan-fried pumpkin served atop a yogurt garlic sauce) and char-broiled lamb tenderloin served with pallow (rice boiled and seasoned with oils and spices before being baked). A sweet ending of homemade cardamom ice cream with dates, dried figs, and fresh mango is a must.

Oleana

Courtesy of Oleana

Massachusetts: Oleana

Ana Sortun’s cozy Middle Eastern restaurant in Cambridge is the first of several she owns and runs in the Boston area that sources many of its ingredients from nearby Siena Farms (owned by her husband, Chris Kurth). Opened in 2001, Oleana has a long list of hot and cold mezze (eggplant dolma, Vermont quail kabob, whipped feta with pita chips, and spinach falafel, for example) that one can easily make a meal out of. Still, there are several larger plates worth saving room for. It goes without saying that the famous baked Alaska for dessert is a must.

Michigan: Al-Ameer

Dearborn is a suburb of Detroit that’s home to the largest Arab American community in the country, which means it’s also home to incredible Middle Eastern restaurants offering everything from authentic Yemenite to Lebanese cuisine. Al-Ameer, which won the James Beard Classics Award in 2016, serves delicious Lebanese fare from partners Khalil Ammar and Zaki Hashem and their sons. Expect dishes like fattoush salad, tabbouli, shish kebab, and creamy handmade hummus with the freshly baked pita.

Minnesota: Owamni by The Sioux Chef

Although this Minneapolis restaurant only opened in summer 2021, it’s been a long time coming. Owned by chef Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson, who have run the Sioux Chef catering company and educational nonprofit since 2014, Owamni is inside a former mill on the Mississippi River. Overlooking the sacred Owámniyomni, the Dakota name for St. Anthony Falls, the restaurant features a menu showcasing indigenous foods without the use of ingredients brought by colonials (i.e., wheat flour, sugar, and dairy). Here, wild game, fruits and vegetables, and ancient seeds and plants take center stage in dishes like preserved rabbit with fermented blueberry and corn flatbread; a turkey leg sandwich on cornbread; and bison served with hazelnut-crusted carrot and sunchoke purée.

Mississippi: Bully’s Soul Food Restaurant

Opened in 1982 in a brick building built by Tyrone Bully and his father, this Jackson mainstay serves classic soul food like chitterlings, oxtails, turkey wings, macaroni and cheese, tomatoes and okra, and collard, mustard, and turnip greens. Regulars from around the city and visitors from across the country can be found in the cozy restaurant at all hours.

Missouri: Indo

Thai-American sushi expert Nick Bognar has won countless accolades for his St. Louis restaurant Indo, which manages to deftly combine authentic Thai fare with sushi in a seamless manner. Expect food that is bold, spicy, and complex in the best way possible, like Bognar’s famous nigiri, served with fresh wasabi root and nikiri sauce. Meanwhile, his Southeast Asian dishes include palm sugar ribs with caramel fish sauce, crab noodle salad with spicy mayo and peanuts, and laksa, a red curry seafood broth with mussels and prawns.

the green O Montana

Courtesy of the green O Montana

Montana: The Social Haus

We vacillated on whether we should include this restaurant because it’s only accessible to guests of the Green-O, a new adults-only resort inside Paws Up Ranch in Greenough. In the end, though, we couldn’t stop thinking about our decadent and inventive meals there, and nothing else in the state can compare. Chef Brandon Cunningham’s dinners are 10- or 11-course affairs that showcase the region’s bounty in dishes like a Chinese-inspired spin on Buffalo meat with snow peas, daikon radish, and XO sauce, or the kohlrabi custard with pickled green apple and dill. And the extravagant breakfasts that highlight pastry chef Krystle Swenson’s delectable creations are the perfect way to start any day.

Nebraska: Block 16

Omaha's Block 16 is so much more than a sandwich shop: it features farm-fresh ingredients in globally-influenced street food. This translates to creations by the husband-and-wife owners like the croque garcon burger (cheese, ham, and a sunny-side-up farm egg atop an all-natural burger with mustard and truffle mayo) and the poutine burrito (shaved steak, cheese curds, tots, B16 gravy, and malt vinegar aioli). Plus, there's a daily changing special.

Nevada: Aburiya Raku

Vegas is full of flashy restaurants, many of which also serve excellent food. Raku is not flashy. Raku is in a strip mall in Chinatown. But it serves authentic Japanese cuisine by Tokyo-born chef-owner Mitsuo Endo, who trained in Kaiseki and later opened Megu under Koji Imai in NYC. Raku and Endo have garnered countless awards and accolades for their robata, cooked over a binchotan charcoal grill.

New Hampshire: Stages at One Washington

Dover native chef Evan Hennesey worked with Grant Achatz, Thomas Keller, Andrew Carmellini, and Charlie Palmer—and it shows in his modernist cuisine at Stages. Situated on the third floor of an old mill building, the restaurant is extremely intimate; guests sit around a six-seat kitchen table, where they watch the chefs prepare an exquisite eight- to 10-course meal. The menu is influenced by what’s available at nearby farms and fisheries and includes ingredients that the chefs find on their foraging expeditions.

New Jersey: Heirloom Kitchen

Supper club, cooking school, restaurant, retail store: Heirloom Kitchen is all of these things. Neilly Robinson and her mother started Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge as a cooking school, and in 2016, she decided to partner with chef David Vianna to add a weekend restaurant. Vianna brought his impeccably presented and insanely delicious cuisine and has helped garner the restaurant accolades ever since. Dishes like scallops with shishito, ginger, plum dashi, and shiso share space on the prix-fixe menu with pork belly served with blueberry barbecque sauce, corn beignet, and roasted apple mostarda. A vegan prix-fixe is also offered.

New Mexico: Geronimo

This iconic Santa Fe restaurant offers white tablecloth dining inside a hundreds-year-old landmark adobe building, with exposed wooden beams, a fireplace, and Native American artwork. The cuisine comes by way of the American Southwest, with some Asian and Mediterranean influences thrown in. The result? Vibrant and eclectic dishes like Fujisaki Asian pear salad, fiery sweet chile, and honey-grilled Mexican white prawns, and Tellicherry-rubbed elk tenderloin.

New York: Lucali

It’s basically impossible to choose the best restaurant in New York—and when it comes down to it, while fine dining establishments (think Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Gramercy Tavern) are certainly well worth indulging, they aren’t the types of places you will typically go to more than once...in a lifetime. If you even get that far. And while New York is filled with incredibly delicious food inspired by global cuisines, we just couldn’t deny the fact that pizza is really the lifeblood of the city and state. And while there are countless slice joints and Neapolitan pie-slingers worthy of acclaim, Lucali is at this point a landmark institution serving the best pizza in the coziest, most romantic setting in New York (and maybe the country). There. We said it. Come at us.

North Carolina: Cúrate

Chef-owner Katie Button’s ode to Spanish fare is an Asheville and NC staple. Tasty tapas range from the simple (including fried Marcona almonds and pan con tomate) to the complex (like the shellfish paella with squid ink, or the housemade morcilla sausage with cipollini onions, goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, and sherry vinegar reduction)—but all are perfectly executed. Peruse the award-winning wine list for Spanish bottles that pair well with the menu.

North Dakota: Wurst Bier Hall

With more than 40 regional and seasonal beers on tap, the beer selection at this Fargo beer hall is unsurprisingly strong. But the food menu is a standout as well, thanks to its German specialties and sandwiches. Customers can choose from Bavarian pretzels (served with either house beer cheese or marshmallow fluff—really), a brined roast pork banh mi, borscht, and knoephla (dumpling) soups, German potato salad, and spaetzle mac and cheese.

Ohio: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

J. Fred Schmidt came to Columbus from Frankfurt, Germany in the 1880s and started J. Fred Schmidt Meat Packing House, whose meats are sold in Ohio grocery stores to this day. J. Fred’s grandson George opened Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in 1967, using meat recipes from the plant and a cadre of German women to run the kitchen. An instant success, diners chow down on sauerkraut-bratwurst balls, Schmidt’s Original Potato Soup, the sausage sampler, Haus Sauerbraten, and Weiner schnitzel—to name a few of the German delights on the menu.

Oklahoma: BurnCo Barbeque

Oklahoma barbeque is legendary, and BurnCo in Tulsa represents it beautifully. Pitmaster Adam Myers flame cooks brisket, baby back ribs, bologna, and six kinds of sausages in Hasty-Bake Charcoal Ovens over lump charcoal and hickory wood. Not coincidentally, Myers had a career selling the Tulsa-made Hasty-Bake ovens for 12 years before launching BurnCo with partner Nick Corcoran in 2011. Don’t sleep on sides like grilled potato salad, baked beans, and mac and cheese.

Kachka

Courtesy of Kachka

Oregon: Kachka

Portland is one of the country’s best food cities, so choosing a “best” here was extra hard. In the end, we bypassed favorites like Hat Yai, Coquine, Canard, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty, Nong’s Khao Mon Gai, Afuriy Izakaya, Tusk, Ava Gene’s, Eem, and Castagna for this Russian delight. Kachka’s Bonnie Morales makes Russian food sophisticated and fun at the same time with dishes like Siberian beef and pork pelmeni, local sour cherry vareniki, smoked fishies, and the famous Herring Under a Fur Coat (herring, potatoes, and beets). Complement it with shots of one of the many house-infused vodkas.

Pennsylvania: Zahav

Chef-owner Michael Solomonov’s ode to Israeli cooking has earned plenty of awards through the years. Located in Philadelphia, the airy dining room is host to diners indulging in massive spreads that are part of the five-course prix-fixe menu—but these aren’t tiny tasting plates. Every meal starts with fresh-from-the-tabun laffa flatbread with za’atar and olive oil, as well as a selection of six salads and creamy hummus. Multiple mezze (like tuna crudo and fried cauliflower with labneh) are followed by a selection of skewered kabobs and your choice of entrée, served with Persian crispy rice. A dessert of fresh fruit sorbet and malabi, a Middle Eastern pudding, complete the meal.

Rhode Island: Al Forno

Johanne Killeen and George Germon are the chef-owners of Al Forno, which they opened in Providence at the beginning of 1980 to serve Italian-by-way-of-New-England delights. Known for inventing grilled pizza, the restaurant cooks many of its dishes over an open flame. Other signature menu items here include Dirty Steak with Hot Fanny Sauce, the spicy clams al forno, and baked pasta with tomato, cream, and five cheeses (and sometimes a seasonal vegetable). Save room for their famous baby cakes and fresh fruit tarts.

South Carolina: Scott’s Bar-B-Que

This legendary barbeque spot in Hemingway is one of the best in the country, let alone South Carolina. And it’s proof that you don’t need anything fancy to offer incredible food: just a few tables, chairs, and in this case, a pit and plenty of wood. You’ll want to order the wood-smoked whole hog, which is smoked over local white oak and pecan trees, and then pulled and plated. Founders Ella and Roosevelt “Rosie” Scott started this joint in 1972, and now their son Rodney—who has made a name for himself with countless awards and his own namesake restaurant in Charleston—is the pitmaster.

Banana, Nutella, and Whipped Cream Waffle

Courtesy of Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge

South Dakota: Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge

What started as a small gas station café in Brookings in 1949 has blossomed into a full-grown restaurant, still under the same family ownership. The fare is inspired by South Dakota itself, with dishes like pheasant meat salad wraps, bison burgers and steaks, chislic (fried lamb chunks served with crackers and blue cheese dressing), and truffle-salt-seasoned duck wings. Weekends bring the Nordic Waffle Brunch, which boasts a menu featuring crêpe-like waffles with sweet and savory fillings—be sure to get a side of the hickory- and applewood-smoked tater tots.

Tennessee: Prince’s Hot Chicken

Music City is overflowing with incredible eateries, not to mention Memphis, Knoxville, and the rest of the Volunteer State. But we couldn’t ignore the original inventor of Nashville's famed hot chicken, which has been often imitated but never replicated. With six levels of heat from “plain” to “XXX hot,” think long and hard about what your tastebuds can handle before ordering. Then sit back as your meal is made fresh-to-order.

Texas: Veracruz All Natural

Texas is a massive state and choosing the best here was more than a little hard. Between standout food cities like Austin, San Antonio, and Houston—and considering that there are renowned barbeque and taco joints across the state—choosing a winner was nearly impossible. In the end, we couldn’t resist the siren call of the migas breakfast taco at Austin's Veracruz. Packed with fluffy scrambled eggs, it's mixed with house-made tortilla chips and pico de gallo, then topped with cheese and avocado. Be sure to drizzle on some of the homemade salsa roja.

Utah: Hell’s Backbone Grill

This farm-to-table restaurant is more than off-the-beaten-path (the town of Boulder has just 226 residents), but everyone who makes the journey agrees it’s well worth it. Chef-owners Jen Castle and Blake Spaulding have been nominated and won several awards over the past 20-plus years they’ve run the restaurant. They have a strong commitment to sustainability, the environment, and their community. Most of the produce is grown on the adjacent six-acre farm or Boulder’s surrounding heirloom orchards, and local ranchers provide the grass-fed beef.

Vermont: Honey Road

This women-owned-and-run eatery, led by chef Cara Chigazola Robin (previously of Oleana in Massachusetts, another spot on our list) and general manager Allison Gibson, made a splash when it opened in Burlington in 2017—and it's been impressing diners ever since. The cuisine mainly draws from the Mediterranean and Middle East with a long list of reasonably priced mezze and larger plates like harissa chicken wings, grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb, butternut squash pastry, and lamb shoulder.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Courtesy of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Virginia: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

It’s hard to resist a glass-enclosed restaurant (or under a tent in good weather) set in the middle of a 40-acre farm, but thankfully the impeccable food measures up to the scenery here. Meals at this Lovettsville eatery start with handmade flaxseed crackers with an ever-changing spread, then unfold with seasonal delights procured from the farm’s abundance. The farm is owned by Beverly Morton Billand, who has managed to attract some of the world’s best chefs to cook from her bounty of ingredients like lettuce, grapes, pawpaw, and shishito peppers, to name a few. The latest is Vincent Badiee, who began at the farm in November 2020 after stints at Fiola in Washington, D.C., and Eleven Madison Park in New York, and has carried the torch just fine.

Washington: JuneBaby

JuneBaby celebrates Southern and African food under the watchful eye of Edouardo Jordan, a two-time James Beard Award winner. With a menu that’s as much a history lesson as a tour through mouthwatering eats, the Seattle restaurant can’t help but satisfy. Dishes include pork cracklins tossed in barbeque spice, shrimp and grits with jollof sauce and pickled cauliflower, and a green gumbo filled with shellfish, catfish, house-made sausage, oxtail, smoked chicken, okra, and rice. Desserts are also wow-worthy, thanks to treats like a vegan hummingbird cake, sweet potato cake with caramelized pineapple, and strawberry rhubarb betty.

West Virginia: Lot 12 Public House

Inside a restored, 108-year-old house in Berkeley Springs is Lot 12 Public House, where Chef Damian Heath serves upscale comfort food. Expect dishes like an artichoke-kale dip with Old Bay-seasoned jackfruit; crisp roasted duck; and a Southern sampler with fried green tomatoes, ramp hush puppies, pimento cheese, chow chow, and buttermilk herb dressing. Heath and his wife Betsy worked in restaurants across the South before returning to Heath’s hometown of Berkeley Springs to open their own place in 1999.

Wisconsin: Sanford

This longtime special occasion restaurant in Milwaukee continues to make the grade. It was originally started in 1989 by Sandy and Angie D’Amato in the same building that housed Sandy’s parents' grocery store for 80 years prior. In 2021, Sandy’s chef de cuisine Justin Aprahamian, with his wife, Sarah, took over the restaurant and have kept the standard high. High-quality, farm-fresh ingredients dictate the globally inspired menu; while it changes daily, you can expect to find dishes like salt-cured Uplands pork shoulder with grilled peaches and chanterelles or cucumber and tomato gazpacho with basil cream.

Wyoming: Snake River Grill

Steak is the name of the game in much of Wyoming and certainly at Jackson's Snake River Grill, which does an excellent job preparing some of the finest cuts of meat in the country. The log and stone dining room makes you feel like you’re on the ranch while you dine on dishes like Star Valley lamb merguez pizza, grilled New Zealand elk chop, and Colorado lamb T-bones.

Illustration: TripSavvy / Taylor Mcintyre; Photos: Courtesy of The Hive, Courtesy of Olena, Courtesy of Snake River Grill, Courtesy of Alinea, Courtesy of Columbia, Courtesy of Green O