We probably should have tackled the 200 best restaurants in America, or maybe the 500. So many wonderful ones got left out. How could a list like ours not encompass… well… Spiaggia, Eleven Madison Park, Providence, Twist, Hakkasan, Charlie Trotter's, The Modern, Girl & the Goat, Má Pêche, Uchi, JiRaffe, Cyrus…?
All of those were, in fact, on our editors’ original list or were write-in choices by our panel of judges. For whatever reasons — pique, error, critical evaluation — their scores didn’t just add up to inclusion.
Here’s the complete alphabetical list of restaurants that came under consideration. All are doubtless worthy, and we reserve the right to patronize them at will. Oh, and that list of the 500 best? Maybe next year.
15 East, New York City
Alan Wong's, Honolulu, Hawaii
Bayona, New Orleans
Bibiana, Washington, D.C.
Big Star, Chicago
Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, N.M.
Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House, Addison, Texas
Charleston, Baltimore, Md.
Charlie Trotter's, Chicago
Colt & Gray, Denver, Colo.
Counter Cafe, Austin, Texas
Crush, Baltimore, Md.
Cyrus, Healdsburg, Calif.
Daisy May's BBQ USA, New York City
Davanti Enoteca, Chicago
Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, Miss.
Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Extra Virgin, Kansas City, Mo.
Feast, Houston, Texas
Flying Fish Café, Orlando, Fla.
George's at the Cove, La Jolla, Calif.
Girl & the Goat, Chicago
Hakkasan, Miami Beach, Fla.
Hearth, New York City
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Ala.
Hill Country, New York City
Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta, Ga.
Inn at Dos Brisas, Washington, Texas
Loteria Grill, Los Angeles
JiRaffe, Santa Monica, Calif.
Keens Steak House, New York City
Kokkari Estiatorio, San Francisco
Komi, Washington, D.C.
Kuruma Zushi, New York City
La Condesa, Austin, Texas
Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant, Los Angeles
Lantern Restaurant, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Lark, Seattle, Wa.
Le Cirque, New York City
Lexington Barbecue, Lexington, N.C.
Lucques, Los Angeles
Má Pêche, New York City
Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.
Mary Mac's Tea Room, Atlanta, Ga.
Mastro's Steakhouse, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Max Downtown, Hartford, Conn.
Myron & Phil, Lincolnwood, Ill.
Nick's Italian Café, McMinnville, Ore.
Olivia, Austin, Texas
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Dallas, Texas
Park Avenue Winter, New York City
Pearl Oyster Bar, New York City
Picasso, Las Vegas
Ping, Portland, Ore.
Pok Pok, Portland, Ore.
Prime 112, Miami Beach, Fla.
Providence, Los Angeles
RDG + Bar Annie, Houston, Texas
Red Medicine, Los Angeles
Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.
Sally's Appiza, New Haven, Conn.
Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch & Crab, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sea Salt, Berkeley, Calif.
Stika & Spruce, Seattle, Wa.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse, Dallas, Texas
SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Olathe, Kan.
Sushi Nozawa, Studio City, Calif.
Sidney Street Café, St. Louis, Mo.
Terroir, New York City
The Compound, Santa Fe, N.M.
The Little Owl, New York City
The Modern, New York City
The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, Houston, Texas
The Oval Room, Washington, D.C.
The Purple Pig, Chicago
The Royce at the Langham, Pasadena, Calif.
The Spotted Pig, New York City
Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York City
Towne Stove and Spirits, Boston
Trummer's On Main, Clifton, Va.
Twist, Atlanta, Ga.
Uchi, Austin, Texas
Uni, Washington, D.C.
Vincent on Camelback, Phoenix, Ariz.
WP24, Los Angeles