There’s good food 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.
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. And 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 more low-key experience, guests can stop by the adjacent wine bar, which features a full menu and over 40 different bottles of wine.
Chef: Conor Favre
Kai -- which means 'seed' in the Pima language -- serves up a winning combination of modern techniques and traditional Native American flavours. Two tasting menus are available for guests who want to try it all: 'Short Story' for $US135 and 'Journey' for $US225.
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).
Location: Little Rock
Chef: Matthew Bell
A local favourite, 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.
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.
Chef: Roy Ip
Named No. 1 in the state by Zagat, French-inspired Le Petit Cafe focuses on simple, fresh flavours -- Chef Ip believes in letting the food speak for itself. With the $US55.50 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 himself.
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 maintains a 'come as you are' atmosphere.
Chef: Habteab Hamde
Every element at Bern's Steak House, from their perfectly aged steaks to their elaborate wine list to their 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.
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.
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 flavours, from mochi crusted opakapaka to tropical fruit creamsicle brulée. Experience the five-course tasting menu for $US65, or order a la carte.
MW was also a 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
Chef: Kris Komori
Idaho isn't just about potatoes -- State & Lemp's contemporary American cuisine shines with the creative, locally-sourced dishes on their five-course prix fixe menu, such as pork gyoza with seaweed salad and celery root soup. It's 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.
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 $US210 and $US265.
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 $US65 per person, or items may be ordered a la carte.
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 local magazine Cityview, who also called Chef Formaro the best in Des Moines.
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.
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 Traveller, MilkWood gives typical southern flavours 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.
Chef: Sam Hayward
Though on the expensive side (typically over $US50 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 designs a new menu daily using what's available.
In 2014, the restaurant was a James Beard Outstanding Restaurants semifinalist.
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 flavours of South Carolina, the state where the spot takes its name. Guests can choose from three courses all the way up to six, with prices ranging from $US79 to $US114. 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: 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 their extensive menu, which features dishes like olive oil poached arctic char and poached shrimp nicoise.
Chef: Lucia Watson
For over three decades, Lucia's has offered a small, handcrafted menu featuring local favourites 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 best 50 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.
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 flavours and techniques, which are reflected in the menu changes every six weeks. City Grocery also came in at No. 79 on the Daily Meal's list.
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.
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.
Chef: Jon Seymour
In Omaha's Old Market District lies luxury bistro V. Mertz, where diners are treated to opulent flavours 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.
Location: Las Vegas
Chef: Joël Robuchon
Located in the luxurious MGM Grand, Joël Robuchon, helmed by the French chef of the same name, is the only Vegas restaurant with three Michelin stars, as well as 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 $US127 and run all the way up to $US435.
Chef: Benjamin Knack
Located in picturesque New England, the Bedford Village Inn serves up contemporary cuisine chock-full of local and regional flavour, 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.
Chef: Nicholas Harary
For both their outstanding food and flawless service, Zagat named Nicholas the No. 1 restaurant in New Jersey. This New American eatery is also a New York Times 4 star winner and listed in Gayot's top 40 restaurant in America for 2014.
The restaurant currently offers three different tasting menus -- the basic three-course menu for $US70, the chef's tasting menu for $US90, and the black truffle tasting menu for $US135.
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 honours. It's also the only New Mexico restaurant to win a AAA Four Diamond award, as well as a Forbes Four Star award.
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 $US150 and $US125, respectively, or guests can create their own combinations with the mix-and-match three-course or four-course options.
Chef: Eric Watson
Located in historic downtown Fargo, Mezzaluna combines the glamour of an upscale restaurant with the coziness of a small town. Their 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 Traveller and was voted the No. 1 restaurant in North Dakota by OpenTable.
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 their Diners' Choice awards, including Best Food in Cincinatti.
Location: Oklahoma City
Chef: Quinn Carol
A local favourite 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 Neighbourhood Gem and Most Booked in Oklahoma City.
Chef: Gabriel Rucker
Guests at Le Pigeon can indulge in the many eclectic flavours James Beard Award-winning Chef Rucker has to offer with either the five or seven-course tasting menu, priced at $US75 and $US95, respectively. The namesake dish can also be ordered a la carte, complete with brown rice, hazelnut, green apple, and pork heart, currently.
Chef Rucker published his first cookbook last September, which includes several of the recipes that made him famous.
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 flavours 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.
Chef: Johanne Killeen and George Germon
For over 30 years, Al Forno has offered creative takes on classic Italian dishes, such as their 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.'
Chef: Sean Brock
Led by James Beard Award-winning Chef Brock, the Charleston branch of Husk (there's also one in Nashville) 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.
Location: Rapid City
Chef: Paul Henniger
Named the best steakhouse in Rapid City by Local Eats, Dakotah Steakhouse aims to create an environment that's both upscale, yet relaxed. It's one of the most booked restaurants in South Dakota on OpenTable, where it's earned a near-perfect 4.7/5 star rating.
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's list of the best business lunches and was nominated for Eater's Nashville Restaurant of the Year award in 2013.
Chef: Tyson Cole
No, the top restaurant in Texas isn't a barbecue joint -- it's 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, and Chef Cole holds a 2011 James Beard award for Best Chef, Southwest.
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 2012, and selected for a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Chef: Will Dodson
Located on spotless grounds in picturesque Vermont, Barnard Inn Restaurant serves up a three-course prix fixe menu for $US65, 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.
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 $US178 to $US208, depending on the day.
Chef: Jason Franey
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's food as 'comfort geek,' and aims to create dishes that are exquisite and modern, yet easy to like. Order a three-course meal for $US85 or include a fourth for $US100.
Location: Washington, DC
Chef: Vikram Sunderam
Rasika -- which means 'flavours' 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 (bar-b-que).
Rasika came in at No. 96 on the Daily Meal's list, No. 31 on our list of the best restaurants in America, and is highly ranked by both Zagat and OpenTable.
Chef: Larry Riddle
Though it's not quite vegetarian-friendly, the selection of prime meat and seafood choices at The Chop House Charleston can't be beat. From filet mignon to char grilled Berkshire pork chops to North Atlantic salmon, each piece is carefully prepared to lock in the most flavour possible.
Take it from previous diners -- The Chop House Charleston was rated the No. 1 restaurant in West Virginia on OpenTable, named one of OpenTable's top 100 steakhouses in America, and received an award of excellence from Wine Spectator.
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 Traveller, Ardent brings simple, yet ornate food to Milwaukee. The menu isn't long, but it's packed with flavour -- guests can indulge small plates such as salt roasted celeriac and squash soup, or larger dishes, like the smoked lentil ravioli.
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's favourite 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 their rabbit ravioli or herb-crusted rack of New Zealand lamb.
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