The Best Restaurants in America for 2019, According to Yelp
When we consult the internet to determine just where we want to go and what exactly we want to eat for our meals, more often than not we find ourselves on Yelp. Whether we are searching by highest rating or closest distance, we trust the advice of other diners to tell us all about the quality of a restaurant’s food and service. Using customer feedback as criteria, Yelp helped us identify “the best restaurants” for 2019.
Yelp employs internal researchers who are always working to develop new ways to make their treasure trove of reviews useful to diners. The Daily Meal got an exclusive look at a list of the most popular sit-down and food truck restaurants in America based on an algorithm that interprets a restaurant’s star rating and the volume of reviews devoted to it.
We have incorporated some of the most trustworthy-sounding Yelp reviews into this — but keep in mind that it’s still the internet, and some of the creative (and hilarious) spelling and grammar we encountered in the reviews did not make it onto this list, and we’ve lightly edited some other quotes for clarity.
This year’s list is also strikingly different from the restaurants listed in our 2018 version. A representative from Yelp explained those changes to The Daily Meal: “The list changes over time as Yelpers add more reviews and new businesses open every day. Just because a business ranks differently doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not as favored — it just means other businesses are getting attention from the Yelp community, too.”
So keep that in mind as you discover the best restaurants in America for 2019, according to Yelp.
Shawarma Guys (San Diego, California)
Not to be confused with Halal Guys, the Shawarma Guys food truck in San Diego, California has five stars and over 100 reviews on Yelp singing its praises. “The beef shawarma is superb!” wrote Lauren G. in her Yelp review of the South Park mobile kitchen. “I also had an Iraqi salad with garbanzo beans and beets, and this was a delightful, refreshing twist on a cold side to my plate.”
Local/Tropicali (Big Bear Lake, California)
Although Yelp lists its name as Local-slash-Tropicali, Big Bear, California regulars refer to it as the latter. Its interior has been likened to Disneyland’s Tiki Room, and everything from the fresh fish in its poke bowls to their “island-style” waffles has received top marks from diners.
“Hidden gem of Big Bear for sure! Closest to Hawaii's poke you can ever get without paying for a plane ticket. The people working here are so down to earth, they want you to feel right at home. Service is excellent,” wrote Hazel Chastine R. in her Yelp review of Local/Tropicali.
Feng Mao Lamb Kebab (Los Angeles, California)
Los Angeles, California's Korean and Sichuan spot Feng Mao Lamb Kebab has a cult following thanks to the expansiveness of its menu. While you can order chicken breast and beef skewers, guests can also choose from pig ears, bull penis and chicken hearts.
“I literally crave this restaurant every week,” die-hard fan Sharon K wrote in her Yelp review of this establishment. “Like, no kidding, I ate here two nights ago and I craved it the moment I digested everything.”
Great Maple (Newport Beach, California)
Great Maple serves comfort classics with a twist, and the Newport Beach community can’t get enough. Located in the Fashion Island mall (one of the biggest shopping malls in America) this Californian café offers massive French toasts, fruity pebble pancakes, homemade maple bacon doughnuts and healthy options like cauliflower hummus and salads.
Gyromania (Santa Clarita, California)
This Santa Clarita spot is serving up some of the top-rated Greek food in SoCal. Gyromania's Yelp page boasts an impressive 780 user reviews and still maintains a five-star rating. The service is unbeatable at Gyromania. It’s not unusual for the owner to go table to table giving out free Greek doughnuts for guests to try, which is a nicety much loved by diners.
“The food was great, but the service was even better,” wrote Brandon N. in his Yelp review of his experience at the restaurant. “They treated my little girls like princesses. They introduced themselves, complimented their dresses, and then gave them ice cream. They then stopped by 5+ times to check on us. Very happy and would definitely come back.”
Cocina Madrigal (Phoenix, Arizona)
Cocina Madrigal has been open for less than a year in Phoenix, Arizona, but it already has a five-star rating and over 500 reviews on its Yelp page. The Mexican restaurant is known for its mushroom enchiladas and has several reviews highlighting the fact that it’s great for vegetarians. The restaurant also has a happy hour during the week from 3 to 6 p.m.
Mr French Crepe (Irvine, California)
This creperie is actually located inside what sounds like the best supermarket ever. Mr French Crepe makes sweet and savory crepes that you can munch on before, during or after you’ve shopped at Wholesome Choice Market in Irvine. The owner is really what gets this spot top marks.
“The owner is very helpful and friendly. He was just so nice and delightful. It's good to know that the person who makes your crepe is truly a happy person,” wrote Yelper Sunny T. The owner has even been known to give crepe advice, like the best time to eat your crepe (before or after shopping) depending on its filling.
Common Stock (San Diego, California)
“I'll admit, the rest of the menu might as well not have existed after I saw the Nashville hot chicken. Common Stock murdered the hot chicken game and impressed me beyond belief. The balance of crispy chicken, tender/juicy meat, and a light dressing of hot sauce was absolutely perfect. I could have devoured another plate of the chicken, and I found it to be a great deal at about $18,” wrote Brad B. on Yelp of his experience at the restaurant.
Guy’s For Lunch (Roseville, California)
This small family-run café is only open for four hours every day at lunchtime — hence the name. The eatery’s subs, soups, and sides have a cult-like following in Roseville, California. “Talk about an awesome environment. I'm not one bit surprised by this shop's success. The service is on point, the staff is friendly, the patrons are all enjoying themselves and Guy’s is now at the top of our list of sub shops,” wrote Ana F. in her Yelp review of Guy’s For Lunch.
“The turkey chili is excellent… as is the chicken noodle soup. If you are a macaroni salad fan then I highly recommend trying theirs, so good.”
Famous Burgers (Ranch Cordova, California)
Famous Burgers is one of the top burger spots in the country, according to Yelpers. Not only are its beef burgers highly celebrated, the restaurant also offers vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options. Customers say there might be a bit of a wait because everything is made fresh to order, but they don’t mind because the staff is so friendly and nice.
“One time we had to wait an extra five minutes for our food because they were so busy, and the manager gave us some free fries! You couldn't ask for better customer service,” wrote Rachel F. on Yelp.
Gino’s Deli Stop N Buy (San Antonio, Texas)
Gino’s Deli Stop N Buy is a hidden gem buried in the middle of a strip mall in San Antonio, Texas. Multiple reviews laud the restaurant’s Philly cheesesteak for its authenticity and say that the customer service is the best around. Plus, first-time customers get free chips and a drink with their purchase, according to one Yelper.
TKB Bakery & Deli (Indio, California)
Diners on their way to Coachella love to stop at this family-owned sandwich shop in Indio, California. TKB Bakery & Deli serves up massive cold and hot sandwiches with names like “The Trump Sandwich” and “Mexican Marilyn Monroe” and “The Sexy Italian.”
Be forewarned, when we say these sandwiches are big, they’re seriously large. “It's the kind of place where the sandwiches are stacked so high with meat and produce that you're forced to develop a strategy for lifting the hero or hoagie or grinder or whatever you want to label it and fit it into your mouth,” wrote Yelper Jefferson L.
FreshCo Fish Market & Grill (Miami, Florida)
You’ll be hard-pressed to find fresher fish in Miami, Florida than at FreshCo Fish Market and Grill. Diners rave on Yelp about the quality of the restaurant’s seafood and its adjoining fish market. “The fish was super fresh and very tasty,” wrote Yelper Ed W. in his review of the Dade County location. “White flesh and mild flavor and on top of everything it wasn't expensive at all.”
Aga’s Restaurant & Catering (Houston, Texas)
Aga’s Pakistani and Indian dishes are halal, which many Yelpers have remarked is difficult to find in Houston, Texas. It’s been called “the most authentic Indian food in Houston,” and many reviewers have remarked that it often has a line that leads out the door.
The goat chops are a popular menu item, as is the butter chicken handi. Many have also been sure to mention the friendly staff, who are known to offer first-timers a free dessert to make the experience dining at Aga’s extra memorable.
Sultān Mediterranean Restaurant (Saint Louis, Missouri)
Sultān Mediterranean Restaurant is the best spot for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food in Saint Louis, Missouri according to Yelpers. Diners are welcomed to Sultān with complimentary lentil soup and naan.
“We also tried the saffron chicken curry and the lamb shank. The rice served with both was great. The lamb shank was flavorful, nicely cooked and presented very beautifully. The curry was pretty good... it looks like a chicken tikka masala but has a bit of a different taste to it. Quite good,” wrote Rakesh R. in his Yelp review of this Midwestern restaurant.
Bangers & Brews (Bend, Oregon)
Bangers & Brews serves all kinds of sausages and beers, making it the preferred place for both hot dog and beer-lovers in Bend, Oregon. The extensive menu (although heavy on bangers, aka sausages) does offer something for everyone — even vegetarians and children. Plus, they have quite a selection of toppings and sauces for you to customize your own brat.
“Finally, the service was excellent. Everyone was friendly and helpful and seemed to like working there and having fun,” wrote Melissa L. on Yelp.
Hush Public House (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Apparently making a reservation at Hush Public House in Scottsdale, Arizona, is essential as it barely holds 40 people. Yelpers enjoy its cool vibe, drinks menu and large-portioned and ideal-for-sharing gourmet menu. The crab hush puppies got several shout-outs on the review-based site, as did the bacon with salsa verde and radishes.
Edo Gastro Tapas & Wine (Las Vegas, Nevada)
The best place for authentic Spanish tapas is actually off the Vegas strip, in Chinatown. Edo’s Gastro Tapa's and Wine's small plates even attract foodies who have traveled to Vegas to dine at some of Nevada’s best restaurants. What’s unique about Edo is that they offer tweezer-like utensils for guests to use to eat tapas like lobster salpicon and Mishima wagyu.
“You'd have to try this Spanish gem out in Chinatown to get the full experience. Edo Tapas & Wine killed it...their ambiance, service, culinary creativity, flavors and value were top notch! “ wrote Yelper Lyla D., who tried a ton of different dishes and left quite the colorful review.
Brooklyn’s Best Pizza and Pasta (Las Vegas, Nevada)
It might seem crazy that Brooklyn’s best pizza is actually in Las Vegas, but Yelp has spoken. The desert restaurant may be about 2,000 miles away from New York City, but its reviewers say that Brooklyn's Best Pizza and Pasta is the best pizza this side of the Rocky Mountains.
Yelpers have even tested to its authenticity. “Staff are incredibly friendly! The owner sat down with us and chatted for a bit. It seems like just about everyone who works here really is from Brooklyn!” wrote Eric B.
Shaka Hawaiian BBQ (The Colony, Texas)
Yelpers say Shaka Hawaiian BBQ offers an authentic taste of Hawaiian cuisine in Texas. Their traditional-sounding Hawaiian plate lunch includes options such as chicken, beef, short ribs and chicken katsu as well as a side of rice and macaroni salad that really brings the aloha spirit. Since everything is bigger in Texas, the portions are huge. Shaka also offers a mini version of their plate lunch, which multiple guests recommend as it’s still enough food.
“To keep it simple... the service is great, the food is super, the restaurant is clean, open and inviting and you sure get a lot of food with your order!!” said Yelper Susan H.
Sushi By M (New York, New York)
This New York Citysushi spot received a ton of love on Yelp for its affordable omakase. For $50, Sushi By M will give you a 12-course sushi meal with uni, fatty tuna, scallops, eel and more. They offer specialty dishes like the “Big Mac,” which is two types of uni, toro and wagyu beef, and to wash it all down, they offer bottomless complimentary sake. This place fills up super quickly, so Yelpers recommend that you make reservations ahead of time.
“Every piece here was spot on... not a bad bite in the whole meal. Highlights of the meal for me were the botan shrimp, albacore with toasted garlic, o-toro, wagyu-uni, scallop and the oh so decedent Big Mac. The quality of the sushi here goes far above and beyond the $50 price point, and chefs are friendly and attentive,” wrote Dave F. in his Yelp review of the restaurant.
Catullo’s Italian (Jacksonville, Florida)
Many Yelper’s reviews started by saying they were skeptical of an Italian restaurant in a strip mall, but they ended by saying Catullo's is some of the best and most authentic Italian food you’ll find in the area. This neighborhood spot has a cult-like following for its fried mozzarella and pear fiocchi. As one Yelper described it, the pear fiocchi is an “an incredible development of flavors in a pear, gorgonzola, and goat cheese cream sauce and topped with fried prosciutto. This stuff is addictive. You've gotta try it!”
Broke Da Mouth Grindz (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)
Yelpers think this hole-in-the-wall Hawaiian spot has the best plate lunch in Kona. Many Yelpers say it’s a must for lunch if you’re in the area. “I remembered enjoying the food so much that the only words that came out of our mouths were repetitious statements and questions — ‘this is so good’; ‘wow the chicken is so good’; ‘isn't the adobe rice good?’; ‘the oxtail is sooooo good’ — repeatedly over and over again,” wrote Staci G. on Yelp of her experience at Broke Da Mouth Grindz.
The portions are massive, so diners recommend splitting. If you’re looking to get that lust-worthy food-stagram, they offer a truly purple potato salad that gets its color from ube, a purple yam.
Q39 Midtown (Kansas City, Missouri)
Yelpers have rated Q39 Midtown the best barbecue in Kansas City, Missouri. “Perhaps the best barbecue I have ever had. That includes the city of St. Louis from which I hail, and my own personal barbecue. This was impressive. Everything was juicy and perfectly smoked. The sauces were excellent as were the sides,” wrote Zen D. in his Yelp review of the restaurant.
Diners love their burnt ends, short ribs, and brisket best, but Q39 also has vegetables, beans, a whole plethora of comfort sides, and even apple sauce for kids!
Fratellino (Coral Gables, Florida)
This authentic Italian restaurant keeps the guests coming back with some of the best food and drink in South Florida and welcoming and comfortable ambiance. The generous portions of homemade pasta and such are reasonably priced, so you won’t have to shell out major clams on anything from the gnocchi to the osso buco or risotto alla pescatora at Fratellino.
“Hands down my favorite Italian restaurant ever. Every time I'm there, the owner comes out and greets us and thanks us for our time here. His whole family owns this restaurant and they absolutely kill it every single time. The food is, like I said, my favorite Italian food I have ever had. Everything tastes so fresh and you can tell it's just made from scratch everyday,” Adianez F. said in her Yelp review.
Sweet Soulfood (New Orleans, Louisiana)
This soul food spot is actually vegan. With its ever-changing menu and tons of samples, guests don’t miss meat or dairy in whatever they’re getting from Sweet Soulfood. The New Orleans, Louisiana, spot can meet virtually everyone’s dietary restrictions, without skimping on your favorite flavors. “This may be the best vegan spot in the world. Full stop,” wrote Lesley W. in her Yelp review. “If you are vegan and in New Orleans, just get outta here and go.”
MX Taco (Orlando, Florida)
If this Yelp review from Fernando S. doesn’t convince you that Florida's MX Taco is the real deal, we don’t know what will: “Fair warning: If you like Chili's and Cracker Barrel corn, this is not your place. They don't have ground beef Taco Bell tacos or [sic] like that here. Their meat is seasoned and cooked Mexican style using authentic Mexican recipes. The corn or esquites are made exactly how you buy them at the streets of Mexico and they taste amazing. The mole tacos use authentic Mexican mole poblano, aka mole from Puebla — and I know because I'm from Puebla. We were just in Oaxaca and their vegetarian tacos taste like Oaxaca!”
House of Mexica (Reno, Nevada)
As food trends change in America, more and more vegan spots seem to crop up. House of Mexica is the second vegan restaurant on the list of the best restaurants in America for 2019 according to Yelp, and it has an incredible following for its flavorful food. The whole menu is the vegan version of Mexican-inspired favorites, including things like carne asada fries, nachos and even al pastor tacos.
“The food here is unreal. Honestly, stop reading, go to House of Mexica and finish reading my review while you're sitting there because it's that amazing. Vegan or not, the food is delicious, flavorful and some of the best food I've had. I meant to take a photo but the food was so amazing we got lost in the moment,” wrote Elizabeth K. in her Yelp review of the Reno restaurant.
Taco Choza (Louisville, Kentucky)
This casual taco spot in Kentucky is a local gem. Taco Choza is fast-casual and has an extensive menu of Mexican food staples. Diners can even order margaritas and beer or check out the daily specials at this Louisville eatery.
Plus, you can customize anything. Many Yelpers chose to get their burritos and tacos covered in the restaurant’s queso, which reviewers describe as authentic and delicious.
Butcher Block Food & Drinks (Dallas, Texas)
You’ll find Japanese-, Korean-, Mexican- and Swedish-inspired dishes at Butcher Block. This Dallas restaurant offers a bevy of dishes that can satiate any food craving due to its fusion menu. The most popular dishes are Japanese Love, which is a sandwich with Japanese-style fried chicken on a croissant served with red cabbage slaw and sweet potato fries, and the Ugly Duckling Burger, which is a beef burger soaked in duck fat and topped with an onion ring and sounds like it might be the best burger in Texas.
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