The Restaurant List 2022

The Restaurant List

50 places in America we’re most excited about right now.

2022

Sept. 19, 2022

We traveled widely and ate avidly as we built the annual list of our favorite restaurants in America. From Oklahoma City to Juncos, Puerto Rico, to Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, our food reporters, editors and critics found revelatory Ethiopian barbecue, innovative Haitian cooking and possibly the most delicious fried pork sandwich in the United States.

While we love to see a dynamic new dining room open its doors, we’re equally impressed by kitchens that are doing their best work years in. So while some of our picks debuted just this summer, others have been around for decades. The one thing they do have in common: The food is amazing.

These are the 50 restaurants we love most in 2022.

Abacá
San Francisco
Anajak Thai
Los Angeles
Andiario
West Chester, Pa.
Apteka
Pittsburgh
Audrey
Nashville
Bacanora
Phoenix
Bacoa Finca + Fogón
Juncos, P.R.
Bonnie’s
New York City
Brennan’s
New Orleans
Cafe Mutton
Hudson, N.Y.
Canje
Austin, Texas
Chicken’s Kitchen
Gretna, La.
Daru
Washington, D.C.
Dear Annie
Cambridge, Mass.
Dear Margaret
Chicago
Elvie’s
Jackson, Miss.
Evette’s
Chicago
Freya
Detroit
Gabriella’s Vietnam
Philadelphia
The Harvey House
Madison, Wis.
Here’s Looking at You
Los Angeles
Kabob Grill N’ Go
Phoenix
Kann
Portland, Ore.
Kato
Los Angeles
Kitty’s Cafe
Kansas City, Mo.
Leah & Louise
Charlotte, N.C.
Leeward
Portland, Maine
Little Mad
New York City
Little Saint
Healdsburg, Calif.
Locust
Nashville
Lucian Books and Wine
Atlanta
Lutèce
Washington, D.C.
Ma Der Lao Kitchen
Oklahoma City
Mamey
Coral Gables, Fla.
MÄS
Ashland, Ore.
Matia
Eastsound, Wash.
The Musket Room
New York City
Neptune Oyster
Boston
Off Alley
Seattle
Petite León
Minneapolis
San Ho Won
San Francisco
Semma
New York City
Sister
Dallas
Smoke’N Ash B.B.Q.
Arlington, Texas
Thaily’s
Chandler, Ariz.
Tito & Pep
Tucson, Ariz.
Twelve
Portland, Maine
Yeyo’s
Bentonville, Ark.
Zaab Zaab
New York City
Zitz Sum
Coral Gables, Fla.
View List
Abacá
San Francisco
Anajak Thai
Los Angeles
Andiario
West Chester, Pa.
Apteka
Pittsburgh
Audrey
Nashville
Bacanora
Phoenix
Bacoa Finca + Fogón
Juncos, P.R.
Bonnie’s
New York City
Brennan’s
New Orleans
Cafe Mutton
Hudson, N.Y.
Canje
Austin, Texas
Chicken’s Kitchen
Gretna, La.
Daru
Washington, D.C.
Dear Annie
Cambridge, Mass.
Dear Margaret
Chicago
Elvie’s
Jackson, Miss.
Evette’s
Chicago
Freya
Detroit
Gabriella’s Vietnam
Philadelphia
The Harvey House
Madison, Wis.
Here’s Looking at You
Los Angeles
Kabob Grill N’ Go
Phoenix
Kann
Portland, Ore.
Kato
Los Angeles
Kitty’s Cafe
Kansas City, Mo.
Leah & Louise
Charlotte, N.C.
Leeward
Portland, Maine
Little Mad
New York City
Little Saint
Healdsburg, Calif.
Locust
Nashville
Lucian Books and Wine
Atlanta
Lutèce
Washington, D.C.
Ma Der Lao Kitchen
Oklahoma City
Mamey
Coral Gables, Fla.
MÄS
Ashland, Ore.
Matia
Eastsound, Wash.
The Musket Room
New York City
Neptune Oyster
Boston
Off Alley
Seattle
Petite León
Minneapolis
San Ho Won
San Francisco
Semma
New York City
Sister
Dallas
Smoke’N Ash B.B.Q.
Arlington, Texas
Thaily’s
Chandler, Ariz.
Tito & Pep
Tucson, Ariz.
Twelve
Portland, Maine
Yeyo’s
Bentonville, Ark.
Zaab Zaab
New York City
Zitz Sum
Coral Gables, Fla.

Abacá 

 San Francisco

In a soaring, sunlit dining room framed with hanging plants, Francis and Dian Ang and the team behind the Filipino pop-up Pinoy Heritage make every dinner feel like a party, complete with pancit and lumpia, habit-forming barbecue sticks of beef tongue and homemade longanisa, and a series of platitos that change in step with Northern California’s seasonal seafood and produce. Look for a QR code that leads you to a “secret” menu of some of the Ang family’s favorite snacks, including balut and duck hearts. TEJAL RAO

OpenedAugust 2021

Websiterestaurantabaca.com

Photographs by Melissa de Mata / Creative West

Anajak Thai 

 Los Angeles

Technically speaking, Anajak Thai is 41 years old, but when Justin Pichetrungsi took over the Sherman Oaks bistro from his parents a couple of years ago, he built on the Thai menu and natural wine list in thoughtful and utterly delicious ways. Go for the more experimental omakase-style menu on the weekend, the freewheeling spirit of Thai Taco Tuesdays, or anytime you manage to get a table and spend time with the whole grilled sea bream in a bright green pool of tangy nam jim or Southern Thai-style fried chicken. TEJAL RAO

Opened1981

Websiteanajakthai.com

Photographs by Lauren Justice for The New York Times

Andiario 

 West Chester, Pa.

When Tony Andiario and Maria van Schaijik moved from Phoenix to West Chester, Pa., in 2017, they landed in his home state and not far from her parents. The restaurant the couple opened the following year suggests other incentives. The peppery local radicchio, for instance, which Mr. Andiario sets in a tangle over sheer slices of porchetta di testa, atop a golden round of chestnut crespelle. Or Pennsylvania guinea hens coated in a cream sauce thick with local mushrooms. Italian restaurants are popular vehicles for showcasing regional ingredients. Mr. Andiario takes things a step further, persuading diners to believe, at least over the span of a meal, that there are few places better situated for cooking Italian food than this college town 30 miles west of Philadelphia. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedMarch 2018

Websiteandiario.com

Photographs by Dan Sauer

Apteka 

 Pittsburgh

It is not shocking to find an excellent Eastern European restaurant in a city where pierogi listicles count as clickbait. The twist at Apteka is that the food is vegan; the thrill is that you won’t notice anything missing. The co-chefs, co-owners and life partners Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski build depth, texture and flavor with fermentation, ingenuity (don’t miss the celeriac schnitzel) and cultured nut milk as lush as crème fraîche. Their produce-driven food is shaped in part by Mr. Skowronski; a son of Polish immigrants, he grew up visiting relatives with abundant gardens in and around Warsaw. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedFebruary 2016

Websiteaptekapgh.com

Photographs by Christine Armbruster for The New York Times

Audrey 

 Nashville

Sean Brock brings every bit of his culinary, intellectual and history-loving self to this restaurant, which was named for his grandmother and is dedicated to interpreting and honoring Appalachian food. What does that look like? Some dishes come from a Noma-like lab where, for example, he extracts the essence of the dried snap beans called leather britches and turns it into a demi-glace, which he uses to slick a succotash built from nixtamalized hominy and a pickled version of the same bean. An ember-roasted lion’s-mane mushroom crowns the dish. Mr. Brock’s hand has touched every part of the restaurant, from the rare collection of outsider art on the walls to the meditation room for staff upstairs. KIM SEVERSON

OpenedOctober 2021

Websiteaudreynashville.com

Video and photographs by William DeShazer for The New York Times

Bacanora 

 Phoenix

At this corner restaurant lit up in neon, the caramelo stands apart. It’s a nontraditional take: a corn tortilla grilled until crisp and piled generously with salsa, queso fresco, plump pinto beans and shreds of carne asada. But this place is hardly a one-hit wonder. There are practically no misses on the short menu of Sonoran food, anchored by a large grill (there are no ovens or stoves) and the chef Rene Andrade’s uncanny ability to balance brightness, salt and acidity. He’s the kind of cook who puts as much care into a side of beans as he does into a special of grilled yellowtail collar glazed with tangy chamoy — and it shows. PRIYA KRISHNA

OpenedFebruary 2021

Websitebacanoraphx.com

Photograph by Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

Bacoa Finca + Fogón 

 Juncos, P.R.

Unlike a typical farm-to-table restaurant, Bacoa plants its tables right in the middle of the farm, in the rolling mountains about 30 miles south of San Juan. In truth, the property grows just a fraction of the ingredients that Raúl Correa, Xavier Pacheco and René Marichal transform, most often over fire, into dishes that are rustic and sophisticated in almost equal measure. But the sense of place is so firm you can almost touch it as you sit on the verandah eating thin, almost delicate bacalaítos on a stick with improbably good garlic ketchup; shrimp over smoky fideuà with the requisite crisp bottom crust; marinated rabbit left on the grill until it starts to char and served under crisscrossed leaves of flash-fried culantro. PETE WELLS

OpenedAugust 2019

Websitebacoapr.com/en/

Video and photographs by Sebastian Castrodad for The New York Times

Bonnie’s 

 New York City

Decades ago, Cantonese cuisine spread far and wide through the United States. At Bonnie’s, the chef Calvin Eng makes it all seem new again, no easy trick. He serves a creamy dressing thick with garlic chives — he calls it Chinese ranch — as a dip for salt-and-pepper squid. There is a version of cacio e pepe in which the pungent sheep’s milk cheese is replaced by fermented tofu. You could probably write a dissertation about his char siu McRib as a metaphor for the experience of Chinese immigrant families in America. The dining room is packed pretty much from the minute the doors open, which suggests that Brooklyn understands what Mr. Eng is trying to say. PETE WELLS

OpenedDecember 2021

Websitebonniesbrooklyn.com

Video by Lanna Apisukh for the New York Times and photographs by Adam Friedlander for The New York Times.

Brennan’s

 New Orleans

Restaurants that last a long time go through phases, and Brennan’s has gone through more than most. In the mid-20th century, it helped put New Orleans on the culinary map. It has been mostly a tourist destination ever since, and not always a recommendable one. That changed when Ralph Brennan, a descendant of the restaurant’s founder, bought it. Since reopening in 2014, the sprawling, opulent, coral-pink restaurant in the French Quarter has been on a roll. There is a clean-lined sheen to the chef Ryan Hacker’s shrimp rémoulade, turtle soup and blackened redfish, interspersed with welcome innovations like octopus étouffée. If the strategy sounds familiar — a historic restaurant with one foot in the past, the other in the present — that’s because it is. What sets Brennan’s apart? It’s fun.BRETT ANDERSON

Opened1946

Websitebrennansneworleans.com

Photographs by Chris Granger (interiors) and Eugenia Uhl (food)

Cafe Mutton 

 Hudson, N.Y.

If you’ve been to Warren Street, the main drag of Hudson, N.Y., then you know just how upscale the small town has become. But Shaina Loew-Banayan’s Cafe Mutton, just steps from that main drag, is refreshingly down home. Orders are taken at a counter and seating is first come first served. If there’s anything upscale about this restaurant, it’s the careful attention paid to turning otherwise pedestrian items like fried bologna sandwiches, crepes and rice porridge into the very best versions of themselves, and the best version you’re likely to try in any small town anywhere. NIKITA RICHARDSON

OpenedMay 2021

Website@cafemutton on Instagram

Photographs by Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times

Canje 

 Austin, Texas

The chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph made a name for himself in Austin with the pastries at Emmer & Rye and Hestia, which he co-owns. Here at Canje — an ode to his Guyanese roots, with a menu that also stretches across the Caribbean — he has switched gears, with brilliant results. The food is a tangy, spicy, bright, coconutty dreamscape. Tilefish soaked in tamarind and rum butter. Prawns brushed with a verdant green seasoning and smoked chiles. A tres leches cake drenched in coconut milk. What makes the jerk chicken so supercharged with flavor? Mr. Bristol-Joseph ferments his seasoning. And plan on at least one order of the buttery Guyanese-style roti per person. PRIYA KRISHNA

OpenedOctober 2021

Websitecanjeatx.com

Video and photographs by Jessica Attie for The New York Times

Chicken’s Kitchen 

 Gretna, La.

The busiest day at Chicken’s Kitchen is the first Tuesday of every month, when customers start lining up as early as 7:45 a.m. (doors open at 10:30) for stewed oxtails. But there are always lines at this takeout-only restaurant, where the menu changes daily. On Wednesdays, crowds form for smothered turkey necks and braised greens, on Thursdays for blackened catfish and crawfish hush puppies. The restaurant is named for its owner, Marlon Chukumerije, a New Orleans native, known as Chicken, who taught himself to cook by watching his grandmother, his mother and the Food Network. And it’s well worth a trip to Gretna, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedSeptember 2020

WebsiteChicken’s Kitchen Facebook

Video and photographs by L. Kasimu Harris for The New York Times

Daru 

 Washington, D.C.

Back in 2017, Dante Datta and Suresh Sundas envisioned Daru primarily as a cocktail bar with some stellar bites. What finally materialized last August at the easternmost end of the city’s H Street corridor was a truly imaginative Indian restaurant, with dishes like a supple hunk of burrata submerged in a pool of fragrant black dal, and a sprightly moilee appetizer studded with scallops. Vestiges of the cocktail bar that never was remain in boozy concoctions featuring green cardamom, coriander and masala chai, as well as in the name: Daru is the Hindi word for country liquor, or hooch. TANYA SICHYNSKY

OpenedAugust 2021

Websitedarudc.com

Photographs by Scott Suchman for The New York Times

Dear Annie 

 Cambridge, Mass.

Vibes have officially come to the Boston ‘burbs. On Massachusetts Avenue, the main drag in Cambridge, Dear Annie is the perfect advertisement for itself. There is an effervescence to the room — playful neon signage, come-hither shelves of natural wines, brightly hued tableware — that spills out to the streetside patio dining area. The food is equally charming. Mussels pickled in house are the best dinner-party version of tinned fish. The grilled cheese with poblano and corn jam is a perfect high-summer bite, and the compulsively dippable seafood fumet may be the best thing to happen to the bread course since butter. BRIAN GALLAGHER

OpenedMarch 2022

Websitedearanniebar.com

Photographs by Sophie Park for The New York Times

Dear Margaret 

 Chicago

Ryan Brosseau and Lacey Irby know that French-Canadian cuisine is misunderstood. That’s why a message at the top of their restaurant’s web page warns, “No, we don’t serve poutine!” What they do serve is smooth duck liver pâté crowned by pink lemon marmalade and buckwheat granola; split pea panisse riding stewed mustard greens with housemade paneer; and beef-tallow-fried smelts from Mr. Brosseau’s native Ontario. Mr. Brosseau, the chef, and Ms. Irby are first-time restaurateurs. Thanks to the grace of its cooking and service, Dear Margaret feels like an old soul. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedJanuary 2021

Websitedearmargaretchi.com

Photographs by Michelle Litvin for The New York Times (food and exterior) and Anjali Pinto for The New York Times (portrait)

Elvie’s 

 Jackson, Miss.

Elvie’s opened in early 2020, six weeks before pandemic restrictions caused it to temporarily close and roughly 40 years after modern American bistro-trattorias started to proliferate across the Deep South. Meals here proceed seamlessly from New Orleans-style baked oysters to pork tonkatsu, vegetable lumpia to redfish amandine, shrimp remoulade to cacio e pepe. Chef Hunter Evans, who owns Elvie’s with his fellow Jackson native Cody McCain, brings a sure hand to these dishes, served in a tastefully restored, once-abandoned home in an emerging cosmopolitan section of Mississippi’s capital. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedFebruary 2020

Websiteelviesrestaurant.com

Photographs courtesy of Elvie’s

Evette’s Chicago

Mitchell Abou Jamra struck upon novel ways to make a splash with tacos in a city already rich with taquerias. The most ingenious may be the tortillas he fills with jalapeño tabouli, whipped feta and bacon-y crisp halloumi in a gloss of Aleppo pepper oil. If you choose to order the three tacos for $14 (as you should), you’re going to want to try the gyro and chicken shawarma versions as well. Take them to a windowside stool in the sunny little cafe Mr. Abou Jamra named after his Lebanese grandmother, and daydream of what could happen if the chef ever turned his talents to Middle Eastern enchiladas. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedOctober 2020

Websiteevetteschicago.com

Photographs by Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

Freya Detroit

Located in a neighborhood where the bones of the city’s past economic might are still visible, Freya’s resourcefully repurposed building is a sign of more recent resilience. Inside, the soundtrack is chosen by diners from a collection of vinyl records listed in a bound volume, like bottles of wine; Motor City artists are well-represented. And still the thing that feels most Detroit about the place is its food. Douglas Hewitt, an owner, and the chef de cuisine Phoebe Zimmerman execute the four separate prix fixe menus — the vegan one is particularly impressive — with cool confidence, producing gorgeous, skillfully balanced dishes that deserve to be sources of hometown pride. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedNovember 2021

Websitefreyadetroit.com

Photographs by Elaine Cromie for The New York Times (portrait) and Jacob Lewkow (food)

Gabriella’s Vietnam 

 Philadelphia

The presentation of the food here is as thrilling as the flavors, and a meal can quickly turn into a party. Bánh bèo chén, or water fern dumplings, arrive open face and in individual bowls topped with crackled pork and shrimp, with nước mắm on the side. Bánh bột lọc comes in the form of chewy tapioca sheathed in banana leaves that you unwrap like a gift. A catfish hot pot is housed in a tureen with tomatoes and okra bobbing at the surface of the tangy, sweet broth. The restaurant is minimally decorated — perhaps because the food does all the talking. PRIYA KRISHNA

OpenedFebruary 2021

Websitegabriellasvietnam.com

Video and photographs by Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times

The Harvey House 

 Madison, Wis.

The cavalcade of kitsch pervading many modern supper clubs invites diners to consume their meals with ironic detachment. But Harvey House distinguishes itself with sincerity. Joe Papach is a former French Laundry sous chef who opened the restaurant last year with his wife, Shaina. Their innovative but faithful takes on the classic supper-club repertoire beg one to ask, what’s not to like about pea soup (poured tableside into a cloud of Cheddar mousse)? A relish tray (with trout roe)? Lake Superior walleye (fixed with a thin, crouton-crisp slice of pumpernickel)? In the capital city of the supper-club capital of the world, Mr. Papach’s flirtations with perfection feel patriotic. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedJuly 2021

Websitetheharveyhouse.com

Photograph by Nicole Franzen

Here’s Looking at You 

 Los Angeles

Lien Ta and Jonathan Whitener’s quirky little restaurant on the edge of Koreatown reopened this year, buzzing with energy, noise and new ideas. It’s one of the restaurants that define the culinary moment in Los Angeles, as it continuously reshapes itself with dynamic dishes that are easy to love and hard to categorize, like frogs’ legs with salsa negra. TEJAL RAO

OpenedJanuary 2022

Websitehereslookingatyoula.com

Photographs by Oriana Koren For The New York Times

Kabob Grill N’ Go 

 Phoenix

Pick a skewer, any skewer. At Kabob Grill N’ Go, large cases display swords of lamb, beef, pork ribs and chicken, each marinating in a different blend of spices — cayenne, sumac, black pepper — the flavors rooted in Persian and Armenian cuisines. Once you’ve made your choice, the co-owner Tony Chilingaryan, who does the butchering himself, will grill your selection over mesquite wood to order, basting the meat with his secret sauce. Expect to wait at least 20 minutes, but you’ll be rewarded with kabobs that are juicy beyond belief. Douse everything in Mr. Chilingaryan’s pepper-forward take on chimichurri, and you’ve got what may be one of the best lunches in Phoenix. PRIYA KRISHNA

OpenedMay 2020

Websitekabobgrillngo.com

Video and photographs by Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

Kann 

 Portland, Ore.

At Kann, Gregory Gourdet realizes his long-gestating vision for a restaurant that treats the food of his Haitian forebears with the seriousness he learned to apply to Asian and European cuisine as a young chef working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten. With a staff led by the chef de cuisine Varanya J. Geyoonsawat, Kann leans into the lapel-grabbing power of dynamically spiced, live-fire cooking. If you didn’t know walking in that akra, griyo and legim were staples of Haitian cuisine, you’ll learn it soon enough, along with the history of Haiti and its food, both shaped by slavery and colonialism.

It’s hard not to admire a restaurant serving food this special, that dares to take so much more on its shoulders. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedAugust 2022

Websitekannrestaurant.com

Photographs by Celeste Noche for The New York Times

Kato 

 Los Angeles

When it was tucked inside a strip mall, Jon Yao’s restaurant was scrappy and ambitious — fine dining without the trappings or liquor license. In its new luxurious space, Kato has grown into a more polished, formidable splurge, with dish after stunning dish inspired by the foods of Mr. Yao’s Taiwanese American upbringing, and plenty of options for brainy cocktails and pairings. Dinner here is proof that the formality of the tasting-menu format, with all of its conventions, can still be electrifying. TEJAL RAO

OpenedFebruary 2022

Websitekatorestaurant.com

Video and photographs by Adam Amengual for The New York Times

Kitty’s Cafe 

 Kansas City, Mo.

This is the kind of place where a customer announces, “I think I’m going to keep it light today” before ordering a cheeseburger and fries. But the pork sandwich is really the reason you should not visit Kansas City without visiting Kitty’s. Charley Soulivong, the owner since 1999, uses the recipe passed down by Kitty Kawakami, who founded the restaurant in 1951 with her husband, Paul. Those Japanese American roots survive in three tempura-battered pork cutlets that come stacked with julienne iceberg, raw onions, pickles — crunch layered with crisp — and dressed with a hot sauce that eats like spicy ketchup. Kansas City is known for destination barbecue. It ought to be better known for the Kitty’s sandwich. BRETT ANDERSON

Opened1951

Website@kittyscafekc on Instagram

Photograph by Katie Currid for The New York Times

Leah & Louise 

 Charlotte, N.C.

At Greg and Subrina Collier’s little restaurant, the ride starts the minute fried chicken skins seasoned in the style of Zapp’s voodoo chips hit the table. The names of the dishes are almost as fun as eating them: Wabbit Season, a classic Country Captain made with rabbit, or Mud Island, a perfect piece of blackened catfish with catfish stew. The real sleeper, though, is Leah’s Cabbage, named after Mr. Collier’s sister. He roasts whole conical cabbage, then bathes it in pork-neck bisque touched with pepper honey and chunks of smoked sausage. It will forever change how you think of cabbage. The restaurant, in a repurposed industrial development called Camp North End, is the first of five new places the Colliers and their restaurant group have planned for the complex, designed to provide opportunities to Black cooks and managers. KIM SEVERSON

Opened March 2022

Websiteleahandlouise.com

Photographs by Peter Taylor

Leeward 

 Portland, Maine

While the phrase “summering in Maine” might inspire visions of split-top buns bursting with lobster meat, it may soon conjure memories of Leeward’s conchiglie tossed with sweet Jonah crab, softened tomatoes and chiles and then showered with bread crumbs. Or perhaps the tomato and zucchini panzanella, pleasantly fishy from pops of trout roe, or the remarkable corn gelato — though dishes less tethered to summer’s peak, like clams and fregola in a spicy, fennel-tinged broth reminiscent of the finest hot sausage, shine just as brightly. The owners, Raquel and Jake Stevens (who is also the chef), have managed to capture the essence of a season on the water, where everything feels like golden hour. TANYA SICHYNSKY

OpenedMarch 2020

Websiteleewardmaine.com

Photographs by Nicole Wolf

Little Mad 

 New York City

“Tasting menu” and “fun” don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, but at Little Mad, Sol Han’s Korean American restaurant, there’s no shortage of delight. Take the fried buhsut, deep-fried maitake mushrooms served with sour cream and onion dip and presented inside a halved onion, papery skin and all. Or the mad toast, which despite its amalgam of fine-dining buzzwords — truffle, caviar, Wagyu — sits perfectly at the crossroads of style and substance. And the prime galbi served “ssam party”-style may be one of New York City’s best new steak offerings. And that the whole thing comes out to $100 before tax and tip, well, that’s just magical. NIKITA RICHARDSON

OpenedJune 2021

Websitelittlemadnyc.com

Photographs courtesy of LittleMad

Little Saint 

 Healdsburg, Calif.

It may seem like a cheat to open a plant-based restaurant in the Sonoma Valley’s cradle of organic abundance. But it would almost be a shame not to open one, if you had not only a 24-acre farm nearby but also the cooking brain trust of Single Thread, Little Saint’s sibling restaurant with three Michelin stars. The food here, like the space, is bright and inviting. Chilled strawberry borscht levels up with a spike of curry and coconut yogurt. The smashed cucumbers with XO sauce and crispy rice lightly scorch and then refresh. And the crust on a chocolate tart will make you wonder why anyone uses anything but coconut cream as shortening. Most important, the preparations revel in the produce, rather than just ratcheting up the umami in a quest to conjure animal flavors. BRIAN GALLAGHER

OpenedApril 2022

Websitelittlesainthealdsburg.com

Video and photographs by Carolyn Fong for The New York Times

Locust Nashville

Ask Nashville chefs where they eat on their days off, and more likely than not they’ll say Locust, the deceptively unassuming restaurant run by Trevor Moran, an Irishman who spent four years cooking at Noma in Copenhagen before landing in Nashville at the buzzy tasting-menu counter the Catbird Seat. There are no servers here. Mr. Moran or one of his merry band of chefs will coax you past the small menu and onto an exhilarating (and expensive) ride. They might be stuffing escargot into halibut or turning caviar, rice and raw, chopped bottom round from a Tennessee ranch into deconstructed sushi. Of course, you’ll order the dumplings, but end it all with the only dessert: a wild version of the Japanese shaved-ice confection called kakigori. KIM SEVERSON

OpenedOctober 2020

Websitelocustnashville.com

Photographs by Andrew Thomas Lee

Lucian Books and Wine 

 Atlanta

That this perfect oasis in Atlanta’s glitzy Buckhead neighborhood was named after Lucian Freud, the renowned British painter and grandson of Sigmund, is only one indication of its sensibilities. Here you’ll find creamy omelets with caviar spooned over the top and French fries exactly the way you want them: crisp with hot, tender interiors, served with herbed mayonnaise. A roasted duck leg with crackling skin sits atop lady peas and cherry tomatoes. Ricotta gnudi might show up dressed in morels and English peas or cherry tomatoes and basil. All in a warm, light-filled cafe with about 40 seats, a small bar and a towering arched walnut bookshelf of art, fashion and cookbooks for sale, selected by Katie Barringer, who owns the place with her husband, Jordan Smelt, a gifted wine director. KIM SEVERSON

OpenedJuly 2022

Websitelucianbooksandwine.com

Photographs courtesy of Lucian Books and Wine

Lutèce 

 Washington, D.C.

At this charming Georgetown bistro, the chef Matt Conroy’s approach to French cooking is influenced not only by the progressive Parisian neo-bistros, but also at times by the cuisines of Mexico, the birthplace of his wife and collaborator, the pastry chef Isabel Coss. Charred napa cabbage is tucked between a sheet of creamy tahini and a duvet of sesame-flecked Parmesan, and the steak tartare is enlivened with fermented chiles. Ms. Coss’s desserts are refined yet playful. She is infinitely creative with the mille-feuille template, but other notable creations include a Concord grape granita with black sesame curd, and a honey ice cream hidden under shaved Comté cheese. You can leave your fate entirely up to the couple, who offer a surprisingly affordable four-course tasting menu. TANYA SICHYNSKY

OpenedAugust 2020

Websitelutecedc.com

Photographs by Isabel Coss

Ma Der Lao Kitchen 

 Oklahoma City

Lao food was once hard to find by name in American restaurants. But the chef Jeff Chanchaleune is one in a class of Lao American chefs boldly asserting their identity through food. And he is doing it on an artsy street in Oklahoma City. His cooking is unapologetic. Ground, roasted Thai chiles coat each grain of crispy rice in the nam khao. The moek paa — steamed catfish seasoned with two kinds of fish sauce and cooked in banana leaves — releases a pleasantly pungent fragrance when unwrapped. Coconut milk, galangal, makrut lime leaves and garlic weave eagerly through the food, and Mr. Chanchaleune wields these flavors with finesse. PRIYA KRISHNA

OpenedSeptember 2021

Websitemaderlaokitchen.com

Video and photographs by Brett Deering for The New York Times

Mamey 

 Coral Gables, Fla.

How Miami is Mamey? It would not be unusual to find yourself navigating a crowd wearing little more than swimwear on your way to the host stand. When you get to your seat, you’ll get a taste of why the chef Niven Patel loves living here. Mr. Patel was raised in Jacksonville, Fla., and established himself locally with Ghee Indian Kitchen. At Mamey he has turned his attention to Latin and Caribbean flavors. His intelligent takes on unpretentious dishes — conch fritters with cilantro aioli, ceviche redolent of coconut, sticky plantains with tamarind chutney, mojo roasted chicken — are the kinds of things you dream of eating while you watch the South Florida breeze blow through the banyan trees. And don’t skip the mango custard. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedAugust 2020

Websitemameymiami.com

Photographs by Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

MÄS 

 Ashland, Ore.

In a petite tasting menu restaurant down an alley in downtown Ashland, Josh Dorcak is creating what he calls Cascadian cuisine as a series of Japanese-influenced, picturesque miniatures of memorable poise. Salty plum-cured rockfish with fermented blueberries and compressed pluots; chawanmushi built from a corn dashi mixed with goat milk, enriched with king crab and finished with preserved roses and fresh marigolds. His eye-opening cooking requires almost no heat, is paired often brilliantly with sake and will leave you feeling as if you’ve drawn a breath of Technicolor mountain air. This summer, Sarah Cook became chef at Nama, the attached izakaya, giving southern Oregon yet another restaurant to brighten its star on the culinary map. BRETT ANDERSON

OpenedApril 2018

Websitemasashland.com

Photographs by Lindsey Bolling

Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/dining/best-restaurants-list-america.html