As 2016 nears its end, it’s time to take an inventory of exactly what kind of year the restaurant industry has had. There were highs and there were lows, but 2016 was a positive year for restaurants overall, as evidenced by the large number of very solid restaurants that opened. Out of all the restaurants that debuted in 2016, these are our picks for the ten best.
2016 certainly had its share of big, glitzy openings from top-tier chefs, but not as many as in years past. Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich opened La Sirena, their first freestanding Manhattan restaurant in 10 years; David Chang opened the still-finding-its-footing Momofuku Nishi, also in New York; and Jonathan Waxman opened Waxman’s in San Francisco, but the year featured no new major American openings from top culinary luminaries like José Andrés, Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Joel Robuchon, or Grant Achatz. This means that lesser-known chefs had the opportunity to claim the spotlight, and they ran with the opportunity.
In order to track down this year’s best new restaurants, we combed through reviews by both professionals and amateurs alike, consulted our roster of more than 20 city editors, studied rankings and roundups from local media outlets in America’s major cities, and canvassed smaller towns and cities for diamonds in the rough.
Even though these restaurants are new, and in many cases are still coming into their own, they’ve all made quite an impact in their cities, have already received heaps of praise, and are crowded every night of the week. We suggest you check them out for yourself… if you can get a reservation.