101 Best Restaurants in America

Break out your knife and fork, it’s time to dig into the country’s best restaurants


It becomes more difficult every year to rank America’s best restaurants. We say that having done it for nearly a half-decade. As interest in dining out increases, and more great chefs train younger good ones, fantastic food continues to spread out across the country. Exceptional culinary landscapes in big cities get even better, and new and different dining scenes are born and in turn attract and inspire even more greatness from a growing number of talented cooks. This makes trying to rank the country’s best restaurants in 2014 all the more challenging, but also all the more interesting, worthwhile, and intriguing. 

View Slides: 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2014

We have always believed that good food is good food, and so our previous 101s have compared iconic pizza parlors and joints serving transcendent cheeseburgers with the lapidary perfection of a French Laundry or the genre-bending inventiveness of a Next. That said, as we continue to watch the nation’s culinary scene improve, we’ve come to the conclusion that in fairness to both categories of restaurants we should now rank them in their own lists. In 2014, then, for the first time, The Daily Meal's ranking of 101 Best Restaurants in America will be followed by a list of America’s 50 Best Casual Restaurants — the most amazing spots in the United States serving the ribs, red hots, pizzas, burgers, tacos, and other less expensive (but no less important or mouthwatering) dishes. Watch for it next month.

We formed our first 101 list in 2011 by asking: Where did we, The Daily Meal’s editors, like to eat? Accounting for our mood, budget, and where we happen to be when we get hungry, how would we vote — not only with our critical faculties, but with our mouths and our wallets? Where would we send friends? We devised a list of 150 places and argued, advocated, and cajoled each other on behalf of restaurants ranging from old-fashioned to avant-garde, ultra-casual to super-fancy. Then we invited an illustrious panel of judges (restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, and bloggers) from across America to help order restaurants via an anonymous survey and tallied results to assemble a ranked list. We did that again in 2012, considering 2011’s winners and nominees, and suggestions from judges and readers, resulting in 202 nominations, and again in 2013, considering readers’ suggestions and those of panels with a wider geographic reach than ever.

Read More: 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2013

Read More: 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2012

Read More: 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2011

In 2014, we took the added step of asking restaurant experts and critics across the country to submit nominations of their own, both locally and nationally. We ended up with more restaurants to consider than ever, some 430 from Maine to California, Washington to Florida, and everywhere you can imagine in between.

The results were thought-provoking and contentious. Evenly distributed across the nation? Absolutely not. While we try hard to represent a wide geographical spread, and as good as our overall food scene has become, there are "food towns" around the country — Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, both Portlands, San Francisco, and a few others, including (grumble away) New York City — where many of the best restaurants are congregated, often because talented chefs and restaurateurs from other regions gravitate to them. We realize that there are some 71 urban areas in the U.S. with populations of 500,000 and above, and though they’re full of restaurants, does every one of them have one or two places that can really be compared with America’s best? Maybe. But even today, probably not.

As always, the question we’d encourage panelists (and readers) in areas that seem underrepresented to ask themselves is: Is the restaurant I love here, something I’d recommend people make a special trip to experience? The answer would be yes for most of the top-ranking restaurants that made 2014’s 101 best list.

There were slightly more avant-garde, modern American, and seafood restaurants that made the list this year than in 2013, and there was a modest jump in restaurants serving international cuisine.  More notable, was the rise in Asian restaurants (16 compared to 10 in 2013), and the drop off of Italian and regional and traditional restaurants (though the latter can be attributed to a number of casual restaurants that will likely resurface on the aforementioned list of America’s best casual restaurants).

There were more restaurants in both New York (up three to 24) and California (up four to 24) than there were last year, This still represents a drop from the 28 New York restaurants featured in 2012, and matches the 24 featured from California that year. More restaurants made the list from Washington, D.C. and Houston, and Portland, Charleston, Seattle, and Philadelphia stayed pat with the same number as last year. Aside from New York’s CIty's 23 restaurants, Los Angeles (10), San Francisco (9), and Chicago (7) were the cities that topped the list with the most restaurants.

As always, the question we’d encourage panelists (and readers) in areas that seem underrepresented to ask themselves is: Is the restaurant I love here, something I’d recommend people make a special trip to experience? The answer would be yes for most of the top-ranking restaurants that made 2014’s 101 best list, one that includes every kind of restaurant you could imagine.

You may question the results, you may think you know better than we do how to order this list, you may think it obvious that we should replace a number of winners with restaurants you think are more deserving. With a ranking like this, it would be surprising if there weren’t disagreements. Indeed, there were places we were pulling for ourselves that didn’t make the cut, and places we thought should have been higher or lower.

Please let us know what you think we missed or misranked — we do read your comments even if we don’t always agree with them. As we have every year, we’ll publish a follow-up with your opinions — and hey, if you turn us on to places we missed, so much the better.

We’re excited about our 2014 list of America’s best restaurants. Their quality and sheer diversity of menus and cuisines and the hundreds that almost, but didn’t quite make it demonstrate that we live in an exciting time in America for food. There are some truly exciting chefs in America, chefs raising the bar to a level this country has never seen. We salute the hard-working people who make dining out in America a rewarding adventure. We’d also like to thank our panelists for helping (click here for the full panelist list). You can be certain we will continue to sign up more trusted panelists and refine the process by which we make our choices. What will the next 101 installment bring? You’ll find out on The Daily Meal.

101. Spiaggia, Chicago, Ill.

100. The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.

99. Betony, New York

98. The Elm, Brooklyn

97. Zaytinya, Washington, D.C.

96. Rasika, Washington, D.C.

95. Night + Market, Los Angeles

94. Sushi Nakazawa, New York

93. Alder, New York

92. Underbelly, Houston

91. The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena

90. Roy’s Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

89. Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas, Nev.

88. Hugo's Regional Mexican Cuisine, Houston

87. Bacchanalia, Atlanta, Ga.

86. The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle, Wash.

85. Yank Sing, San Francisco (Rincon Center)

84. Cut, Los Angeles

83. Komi, Washington, D.C.

82. Providence, Los Angeles

81. Nobu, New York

80. McCrady's, Charleston, S.C.

79. City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.

78. é by José Andrés, Las Vegas, Nev.

77. Bäco Mercat, Los Angeles

76. Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Brooklyn

75. Spago, Los Angeles

74. Michael's Genuine, Miami

73. Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles

72. Herbsaint, New Orleans, La.

71. Al Di La, Brooklyn

70. CityZen, Washington, D.C.

69. Zahav, Philadelphia, Pa.

68. Fearing's, Dallas

67. Sushi Yasuda, New York

66. Masa, New York

65. Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tenn.

64. Vetri, Philadelphia, Pa.

63. Beast, Portland, Ore.

62. Hominy Grill, Charleston, S.C.

61. Mission Chinese, San Francisco

60. Momofuku Ko, New York

59. WD-50, New York

58. Guy Savoy, Las Vegas, Nev.

57. Minibar, Washington, D.C.

56. Quince, San Francisco

55. Joe's Stone Crab, Miami

54. Topolobampo, Chicago, Ill.

53. Ippudo, New York

52. Marea, New York

51. Gary Danko

50. Canlis, Seattle, Wash.

49. Uchi, Austin

48. Coi, San Francisco

47. Il Buco Alimentari, New York

46. NoMad, New York

45. Blue Hill, New York

44. Michael Mina, San Francisco

43. Lucques, Los Angeles

42. Fore Street, Portland, Maine

41. Bouchon Bistro, Las Vegas, Nev.

40. Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Colo.

39. FIG, Charleston, S.C.

38. Manresa, Los Gatos

37. Pok Pok, Portland, Ore.

36. O-Ya, Boston, Mass.

35. Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

34. Babbo, New York

33. Bouchon Bistro, Yountville

32. Bar Tartine, San Francisco

31. Gotham Bar & Grill, New York

30. Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, Nev.

29. Del Posto, New York

28. Bern's Steak House, Tampa

27. August, New Orleans, La.

26. ABC Kitchen, New York

25. Next, Chicago, Ill.

24. Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Va.

23. Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

22. Cochon, New Orleans, La.

21. The Publican, Chicago, Ill.

20. Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Ill.

19. Bazaar, Los Angeles

18. State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

17. Jean Georges, New York

16. Gramercy Tavern, New York

15. Galatoire's, New Orleans, La.

14. Le Pigeon, Portland, Ore.

13. Blackbird, Chicago, Ill.

12. Husk, Charleston, S.C.

11. Commander's Palace, New Orleans, La.

10. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

9. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York

8. Animal, Los Angeles

7. Daniel, New York

6. Alinea, Chicago, Ill.

5. Chez Panisse, Berkeley

4. Per Se, New York

3. The French Laundry, Yountville

2. Eleven Madison Park, New York

1. Le Bernardin, New York

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on TwitterColman Andrews, Dan Myers, Haley Willard, Lauren Gordon, Emily Jacobs, Jonathan Hirsch, Joanna Fantozzi, and Karen Lo contributed reporting to this article.


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31 Comments

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Pretty accurate list. I live just north of Orlando and can tell you , there are NO TOP OF THE LINE RESTAURANTS here. Every one of them is either fast food or some fly by night eatery. We only dine out about 1 time every 3 months and most of the time we visit Bern's Steak House in Tampa.

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Clear bias here. many great ones listed, but only two from Philadelphia? 5th largest city and one of the hottest food scenes in the country for the last several years. but that's ok, we don't want to share with too many people.

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How can you leave the Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA of the list? No list is legitimate without it, it blows some of these newbies off the map!

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ummm , it IS on the list, lol

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How does Addison in San Diego NOT make this list; 27 across the board Zagat scores and one of only seven 5-star Forbes-rated restaurants in California??? The Daily Meal dropped the ball!

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How does Addison in San Diego NOT make this list; 27 across the board Zagat scores and one of only seven 5-star Forbes-rated restaurants in California??? The Daily Meal dropped the ball!

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The biggest problem with your list is that you seem to conflate $$$$ with quality. Sometimes the best eats are hole in the wall, or simple home-cooked style not overly priced experiences.

Your list is completely inaccessible to 99% of americans and that immidiately makes it a list of the worst restaurants in america, because these places are not serving americans - rather they're serving a wealthy upper class.

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Not one in the state of Connecticut? Not one in the entire state?

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What about Bottega Louie in Los Angeles?

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I would love to try them all. Would also love to see a list of -Best Small Town restaurants. That would be fun- like 25 from each state.

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Very corporate and predictable. BS on most of these.

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I like to read these list to get a good laugh as most of the food critics have no idea what great or even good food is. Have not been to any of the top 100 and probable never will as they are probable over priced and are in cities with a high crime rate. But what i do miss is the good old local Greek,Italian ,Chinese,Japanese small restaurants we had all over this country as the large over price and chains have taken over. Hell you can't even get a good hot dog in Birmingham any more and they used to be all over the city.

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I am sure that many if not all on the list are very good or great restaurants but I really don't believe the top restaurants are only in those cities. I believe they are a purchased list and that the testers do not even go to very many other cities that have great food. very sad report and it will not change. same cities different day.

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Did any of the judges even eat in Minneapolis? We have some amazing restaurants and James Beard award winning chefs. Looks to me like all of the typical food cities continue to get all the accolades

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I totally agree with you! There are some fantastic restaurants in MN, let alone Minneapolis and/or St. Paul... I just need to find a decent list :)

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Ditto on Minneapolis. I would put Butcher and the Boar up with most restaurants on this list. I also think Restaurant Alma and Barbette are special places in the TC. I have eaten at a few on the list though and Spiaggia and Girl and the Goat definitely deserve it!

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Sorry but molecular gastronomy places like Alinea are ridiculous.

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Girl and the Goat in Chicago is amazing!! Been 3x, glad it made the list!

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Funny. Seems these folks think the only place to have good restaurant experience is the large cities. Ever hear the idea of getting close to the food source for the best quality? Get out and drive the country they might be surprised.

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Looking forward to trying many of the great restaurants across the nation!

~Pamela
http://enobytes.com

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I've been to 20 of these. Al good spots, but I'd certainly rank them differently, and there's plenty that should be on here, which are not. Example: Marea without question should be ahead of ABC, Del Posto, Babbo, Gotham, & Il Buco.

90. Roy’s Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
81. Nobu, New York
67. Sushi Yasuda, New York
60. Momofuku Ko, New York
59. WD-50, New York
55. Joe's Stone Crab, Miami
52. Marea, New York
47. Il Buco Alimentari, New York
41. Bouchon Bistro, Las Vegas, Nev.
34. Babbo, New York
31. Gotham Bar & Grill, New York
29. Del Posto, New York
26. ABC Kitchen, New York
17. Jean Georges, New York
15. Galatoire's, New Orleans, La.
11. Commander's Palace, New Orleans, La.
7. Daniel, New York
4. Per Se, New York
2. Eleven Madison Park, New York
1. Le Bernardin, New York

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To put Spago (LA) on the list is rediculous. I eat there a LOT and the food is good but not worthy of accolades. And why isn't Michael Mina (Vegas) on this list? Best meal I've ever had in my life.

Mon Goose's picture

What a great list...so hungry

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Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do - so many great restaurants, so little time...

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Great List...

Jeff Bauer's picturetdm-35-icon.png

Wow, a huge change from last year's list - no more Shake Shack!! Glad to see Brooklyn's Al Di La making the cut, and resolving to tick off at least one more of these this year - at that pace I probably won't live to finish the list - better make that three...

coalesce's picture

You mean to tell me that Peter Luger's Steak House in Brooklyn is NOT on the list? Anywhere on the list? It's tantamount to saying, "Well, yeah, that Mozart fellow also writes music, but if you want to hear something REALLY good, listen to this...!" Clearly, the list is woefully, criminally and irresponsibly incomplete.

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ArthurVee's picture

there's nothing special about peter luger's nor their dry aged, run of the mill corn-fed beef (barf)

girl_chef1's picture

Sorry, but no "best of" restaurant list is complete without something from Rick Bayless...

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