The 12 Restaurants Where You Need To Eat In 2015

The 12 Restaurants Where You Need to Eat in 2015

We asked a handful of the country's most esteemed food writers, "If a friend were coming to your city to visit, what's the one restaurant where you would tell them to dine?" and allowed them to suggest restaurants outside of their city along with that. 

Bazaar Meat, Las Vegas

"A dedication to careful sourcing and showcasing various types of meats in many forms separates Bazaar Meat from the pack." — Heidi Knapp Rinella, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa

Both Larry Olmsted and Heidi Rinella suggested making a special trip to Bern's. Here's what Olmsted had to say: "'Best' is very subjective and, in my opinion, there are very few big cities, like New York, London, and Paris where you claim just one 'must eat' restaurant. However, in a few places there is one restaurant so special in its way that, to me, a trip to that city is wasted if you miss it. A perfect example is Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa. I'm just never going to Tampa and not eating at Bern's, which, in addition to great food, has the best and most unique wine program in the country if not the world."

Galatoire’s, New Orleans

"Even though there is a branch of Galatoire's Bistro now in Baton Rouge, the original still looks, feels, smells, and tastes like New Orleans and its menu and cooking has only gotten better under new ownership. If you want to get a sense of Creole cooking unadorned and immutable and if you want to get a feeling for the particular character of New Orleans revelers, there's no better place to be than Galatoire's." — John Mariani, Esquire  

Gotham Bar & Grill, New York City

"Everything that typifies NYC is here at Alfred Portale's 32-year-old restaurant: a grand dining room and good long bar, swank, swagger, a very devoted New York crowd of regulars, and cuisine that is always inventive, always generous, never trendy. Service hits that ideal note of professionalism and personality." — John Mariani, Esquire

Hog Island Oyster Bar, Marshall, Calif.

"The DIY grilled oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall, California were incredibly memorable in November, and I think I'll have to find a way to get back out for a view of Tomales Bay in 2015." — Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly

Knife, Dallas

"Any visitor to Dallas is probably looking for at least one meal that involves steak, barbecue, or Tex-Mex, at least they should be. Chef John Tesar's Knife just opened last year, and it's a carnivore's playground. Tesar had his own dry-aging room where the beef goes as long as 240 days (which goes for a hefty $80 per inch), or you can get a four different cuts of beef grilled over wood for just $25." — Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly

Pecan Lodge, Dallas

"For barbecue, it's got to be Pecan Lodge in Dallas. The beef rib, brisket, and fried chicken are all fantastic." — Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly

Proof Pizza & Pasta, Miami

"Miami has a longstanding and not-undeserved reputation for being home to lousy pizza joints. So when a good one opens, people notice. And when a really great one comes around? We do a little happy dance over oven-blistered, Neapolitan-style pies topped with tender oxtail, black garlic, and caramelized onions. We twirl our forks tightly around fat ribbons of handmade pappardelle tossed with roasted mushrooms and a glossy glaze of sherry vinegar. We laugh with glee as we nibble macaron ice-cream sandwiches. And we raise a pint of local craft beer to it all at Proof Pizza & Pasta, the place to eat right now in Miami. The three-month-old Proof is the work of young, ambitious former fine-dining chef Justin Flit, who wanted to open his own spot to showcase local food at reasonable prices. He's already proven that to tourists (who came in droves during last month's Art Basel) and locals, including Miami Herald critic Victoria Pesce Elliott, who awards Proof 3.5/4 stars in this week's restaurant review." — Evan S. Benn,

Robataya NY, New York

"I'd send a visitor to Robataya NY, because where else can you have a whole fish grilled in front of you by a kneeling chef and handed to you on a paddle? The dishes are fairly simple in their preparation (as in: slice, skewer, add salt) but there's something about sitting around that U-shaped chef's counter with the night's ingredients (including the occasional exotic special, like blowfish) laid out in front of you that makes dinner feel like a real event. It can get a little loud with all the kitchen talk and the calls of irrashaimase, but if that gets to you just retreat to the heated toilet for a little peace and quiet." — Daniel Maurer, Bedford + Bowery

The Duck Inn, Chicago

"I had a blast at The Duck Inn — and a great meal. Duck, of course. I loved the location, in scrappy Bridgeport, I loved the nonpretention, and I loved watching Kevin Hickey give the once-over to every duck that rolled off his rotisserie." — Penny Pollack, Chicago Magazine

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco

"Tony's Pizza in San Francisco is an outlier that is totally unlike any other pizzeria in America, and is also crazy good." — Larry Olmsted, and USA Today

Que Huong, Houston

"When you say Houston has great Vietnamese food, most visitors picture phở or sandwiches. I like to take them to Que Huong restaurant and introduce them to dishes like the rare beef and shrimp salad with water spinach. The intensely aromatic mam ruoc (fermented shrimp sauce) served on the side is not for everyone. Many people are shocked to learn that this Asian salad is locavore food: Most of the nation's water spinach is grown in the Houston suburbs by Cambodian immigrants." — Robb Walsh, Houstonia Magazine