Anasazi Restaurant & Bar/Yelp

The Best Special Occasion Restaurant in Every State

If you’ve got something to celebrate, these restaurants are always safe bets

Anasazi Restaurant & Bar/Yelp

Be it a birthday, holiday, anniversary, promotion, graduation or something different altogether, special occasions call for special meals, eaten at special restaurants. Finding that perfect restaurant can prove to be pretty stressful, though. That’s why we’ve tracked down the best restaurant for celebrating a special occasion in every state.

While many of these restaurants are great for celebrating, say, your teenager’s birthday or the in-laws coming for a visit, a lot of them are more upscale than America’s best casual restaurants. There are some places here best reserved for when you have a big thing to celebrate, like a major promotion, marquee anniversary or birthday and you’re looking to drop some big bucks.

Methodology

Methodology

Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993/Yelp

In order to track down the best special occasion restaurant in every state, we started by diving into local rankings and online review sites to get a sense of where the locals go when they’re looking to celebrate. We then judged each restaurant according to a set of criteria.

These are restaurants where you’ll want to dress up a little beforehand and be prepared to spend a little (or a lot) more money than you usually do when dining out. Maybe you had to work hard at securing that in-demand reservation. Maybe there’s a white tablecloth on your table and a menu that offers high-end fare (especially celebratory dishes like steak and lobster). If you’re really looking to splurge, maybe there’s a prix-fixe menu and add-ons like caviar or foie gras. There should ideally be a good wine list and a wide variety of cocktails, and of course a nice selection of desserts. It should be romantic, but not so romantic or highbrow that a family will feel out of place. And a private room for larger groups is always nice. Above all, it should be a restaurant that makes you feel special just by being there.

Alabama: Highlands Bar & Grill (Birmingham)

Alabama: Highlands Bar & Grill (Birmingham)

Michael B./Yelp

Highlands Bar & Grill put the Birmingham, Alabama, dining scene on the map when it opened in 1982, and its Southern-inspired fare is still drawing in crowds. There’s a swanky front bar and a high-ceilinged, elegant dining room with white tablecloths, huge front windows and some large round tables for bigger groups. Standout menu items include pheasant two ways, Mississippi wild redfish and lamb porterhouse chops. Highlands is one of the restaurants you absolutely must visit in America.

Alaska: Crow’s Nest (Anchorage)

Alaska: Crow’s Nest (Anchorage)

Jane B./Yelp

Located in the luxurious Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska, the AAA four-diamond Crow’s Nest offers 360-degree views from the upper floors and an upscale menu of French and New American cuisine from chef Reuben Gerber. It’s a restaurant with plenty of dark woods and a 10,000-bottle wine list. Menu items reflect the classy setting and include risotto, espresso-crusted rib-eye, bison filet and king crab, which makes the list of the one food you need to eat in every state.

Arizona: Orange Sky (Scottsdale)

Arizona: Orange Sky (Scottsdale)

Mo B./Yelp

With some of the most breathtaking views in Scottsdale, Arizona, Orange Sky is perched 15 stories up on the top of Talking Stick Resort. It offers 360-degree views from floor-to-ceiling windows. The modern and inviting eatery has well-spaced tables, private dining rooms as well as a beautiful patio, so there’s the perfect space for any kind of celebration. Wherever you sit, you can dig into agave-chile beef tenderloin, jalapeno bacon-wrapped shrimp and scallops, and grilled elk loin al fresco.

Arkansas: Bordinos (Fayetteville)

Arkansas: Bordinos (Fayetteville)

Bordinos/Yelp

Bordinos opened on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1996, and since then it’s become a centerpiece of the community. It’s modern and stylish, and the wine bar is always bustling while the main dining room is relaxed and comfortable, so it’s perfect for a round of drinks or a celebration. There are a variety of housemade pastas on the menu as well as steaks, a daily-changing fish selection and a blackened pork chop.

California: The French Laundry (Yountville)

California: The French Laundry (Yountville)

Jinnie N./Yelp

Thomas Keller is one of America’s most famous chefs, and his French Laundry in Yountville, California, (along with his Per Se in New York) is easily among the very best restaurants in the country. His famed wine country concept may be one of the toughest restaurant reservations to get in America, but if you can snag a table, you’ll be treated to a daily-changing, lavish New American tasting menu in a subdued and elegant dining room with white tablecloths and plenty of fresh flowers.

Colorado: Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder)

Colorado: Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder)

Frasca Food and Wine/Yelp

Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, Colorado, is run by the duo of owners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, who have created a warm and inviting corner space with dark wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows that set an ideal landscape for a celebratory meal. The menu changes regularly, but dishes like butternut squash with smoked ricotta and black truffle, or lamb with polenta and broccoli rabe make it one of America’s best Italian restaurants.

Connecticut: David Burke Prime (Mashantucket)

Connecticut: David Burke Prime (Mashantucket)

Kimberly S./Yelp

David Burke Prime, tucked away inside Mashantucket, Connecticut’s gleaming and expansive Foxwoods Resort Casino, is one of the best steakhouses in America, and a perfect setting for a special occasion meal. Steaks are dry-aged on-site in a salt-brick aging room, and the dining room is dim, sleek and modern, with comfortable high-backed chairs and a touch of Native American-inspired design, in tune with the rest of the casino-resort.

Delaware: Harry’s Savoy Grill (Wilmington)

Delaware: Harry’s Savoy Grill (Wilmington)

Len S./Yelp

With an inviting bar, a soaring dining room and plenty of space for large groups, Harry’s Savoy Grill in Wilmington, Delaware, is well-suited for a celebratory feast. The menu is expansive, but steaks are the highlight, especially the 45-day-aged 18-ounce rib-eye and some of America’s best prime rib available in three sizes. The chopped Greek salad, hot crab and artichoke dip, and freshly shucked oysters are also worth seeking out. There’s also a ballroom to host banquets that can be paired with a buffet or seated meal for a special occasion like a big birthday or anniversary.

Florida: Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)

Florida: Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)
Photo courtesy Bern’s Steak House

They just don’t make steakhouses like Bern’s in Tampa, Florida, anymore. It opened in 1956, and in its warm and inviting dining rooms or private rooms, you can indulge in 20 kinds of caviar and more than 50 individual cuts of steak. For the sweetest moments in life, go for one of the more than 50 desserts served in a separate “dessert lounge” and your choice of more than 500,000 bottles of wine. It’s no wonder we’ve named it No. 1 on our list of the best steakhouses in America.

Georgia: Bacchanalia (Atlanta)

Georgia: Bacchanalia (Atlanta)

Bob S./Yelp

Part of the Star Provisions complex, Bacchanalia opened in 1993 and has long been one of Atlanta’s premier fine-dining destinations. The dining room in this Georgia hotspot is trendy yet refined, with a long Chesterfield-style banquette, spacious tables, hanging Edison bulbs, soaring ceilings and plenty of windows. Highlights from chef Jonathan Kallini’s menu include Rohan duck with eggplant and onion, dry-aged Prime New York strip and Maine lobster with caviar and Champagne.

Hawaii: Alan Wong’s (Honolulu)

Hawaii: Alan Wong’s (Honolulu)

Damon A./Yelp

Chef Alan Wong has served traditional Hawaiian dishes with a contemporary twist using the finest island-grown ingredients at his eponymous Honolulu restaurant since 1995. It has a cool, understated ambiance with light woods and an open kitchen serving locally sourced dishes like seared ahi tuna with lotus root, Keahole lobster with curry butter and ginger-crusted red snapper. Alan Wong’s might no longer be a Hawaiian secret that only the locals know about, but it’s still a must-visit.

Idaho: Chandlers (Boise)

Idaho: Chandlers (Boise)

Steve S./Yelp

The upscale and classy Chandlers is a Boise, Idaho, institution. There’s a stylish martini bar, live jazz and private dining rooms for an intimate celebration. Steaks on offer include USDA prime strips and rib-eyes, Snake River Farms American wagyu, certified authentic Japanese wagyu and grass-fed filet mignon. There are plenty of deep leather booths with a sleek black color scheme illuminated by a cool, light blue ambient glow.

Illinois: Girl and the Goat (Chicago)

Illinois: Girl and the Goat (Chicago)

Girl & the Goat/ Yelp

Girl and the Goat, chef Stephanie Izard’s Chicago flagship, remains one of America’s hottest restaurants even though it opened back in 2010. It’s always a party at this modern Illinois classic, with a comfortable lounge, bar seating, standard tables and four seats that look right into the kitchen (if you’re lucky enough to nab them). There’s a vaguely industrial vibe, with exposed brick walls and wood beams. The color scheme may be surprisingly muted, but it’s the endlessly creative Asian-inspired dishes that really pop. Standouts from the always-creative menu include sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews, wood oven-roasted pig face with an egg and tamarind, and confit goat belly with lobster and crab.

Indiana: St. Elmo Steak House (Indianapolis)

Indiana: St. Elmo Steak House (Indianapolis)

Nisita K./Yelp

St. Elmo Steakhouse opened in Indianapolis in 1902, and it still retains that old-school atmosphere. The bustling bar room has a grand wooden back bar and stained-glass windows. Meanwhile, each of the dining rooms has a relaxed and upscale vibe, with framed black and white photos lining the walls in a couple and high wooden wainscotting in another. It’s the perfect setting in Indiana for a celebratory porterhouse, prime rib or bone-in filet. But don’t miss out on its famed super-spicy shrimp cocktail, which is one of America’s most iconic dishes.

Iowa: 801 Chophouse (Des Moines)

Iowa: 801 Chophouse (Des Moines)

Luke X./Yelp

An ideal white-tablecloth steakhouse, 801 Chophouse is a perfect restaurant for celebrating a special occasion in Des Moines, Iowa. All steaks are USDA prime, and the king of the menu is a surf and turf for two, which comes with a 36-ounce porterhouse and a 2.25-pound lobster. The restaurant and its private dining rooms are full of dark woods, and the combination of cozy booths and large round tables is ideal for any type of special occasion.

Kansas: Scotch & Sirloin (Wichita)

Kansas: Scotch & Sirloin (Wichita)

Scotch & Sirloin/Yelp

Wichita, Kansas’ Scotch & Sirloin was founded in 1968 and sources all of its beef from the Midwest. All the steakhouse classics are here (oysters Rockefeller, iceberg wedge salad, prime rib, rib-eye, lobster) and they’re served in a dining room with a striking black color scheme and exposed brick walls. It also has a whopping seven private party rooms, one of which can seat up to 100 people for the biggest celebrations.

Kentucky: Malone’s (Lexington)

Kentucky: Malone’s (Lexington)

Kelly M./Yelp

Malone’s opened in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1998, and has become a local institution thanks to its menu of USDA prime steaks and non-steak specialties like grilled sweet tea chicken, Chilean sea bass Vera Cruz and bourbon butter cake. The decor is classic steakhouse, with brick walls, plenty of leather and a festive, jovial atmosphere.

Louisiana: Commander's Palace (New Orleans)

Louisiana: Commander's Palace (New Orleans)

Maruko X./Yelp

Commander’s Palace is a slice of New Orleans dining history, dating all the way back to 1893, and it counts legends like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse as former chefs. Today, chef Tory McPhail is carrying the torch, turning out legendary Louisiana dishes such as turtle soup, pecan roasted gulf fish and Creole bread pudding souffle. Each of the restaurant’s many dining rooms has a fun and festive air while maintaining a true high-end atmosphere, a feat that’s not easy to pull off. Arguably, the best time to visit is on Saturday and Sunday mornings; Commander's jazz brunch is one of the best brunches in America.

Maine: Fore Street (Portland)

Maine: Fore Street (Portland)

Jerry C./Yelp

A wood-burning oven is the centerpiece of Fore Street, a Portland, Maine, icon since 1996. The oven is visible from most tables, lending the already-cozy restaurant a rustic, homespun feel. With large booths, brick walls, huge windows and a constant hum, it’s an ideal location for a celebration over a bowl of wood-oven-roasted Maine mussels, turnspit roasted pork loin, half chicken or wood-oven-roasted whole fish.

Maryland: Charleston (Baltimore)

Maryland: Charleston (Baltimore)

Charleston/Yelp

Open since 1997 in Baltimore, Charleston is the go-to destination for well-to-do Marylanders looking to celebrate. Drawing on both French and South Carolina lowcountry influences, the restaurant offers prix fixes with anywhere from three to six courses. These dining experiences include dishes like cornmeal-fried oysters with lemon-cayenne mayonnaise, shrimp and grits, and grilled French quail. You will dine in an elegant white-tablecloth dining room with flowers on the tables, a tangerine color scheme and a distinctly upscale vibe.

Massachusetts: Scampo (Boston)

Massachusetts: Scampo (Boston)

Daphne T./Yelp

Lydia Shire is one of Massachusetts’ legendary chefs, and her Boston restaurant, Scampo, is a whole lot of fun. The dining room, with its brick walls and tablecloths, is elegant and refined, but touches like a round corner banquette and a huge “Crime Does Not Pay” comic book cover on the wall hint at a more lighthearted, festive vibe. Handmade pastas, creative pizzas, a “mozzarella bar” and specials including roast suckling pig make Scampo one of America’s top Italian restaurants.

Michigan: Roast (Detroit)

Michigan: Roast (Detroit)

Michael M./Yelp

At his Detroit restaurant Roast, chef (and Food Network star) Michael Symon is putting his own spin on steakhouse classics. Think of a dry-aged rib-eye with umami butter and grilled endive, a filet topped with crab bearnaise, roast chicken with tzatziki and mint, or mussels and fries with Italian sausage. Roast also has a lively bar scene with a killer happy hour ($4 beers, $5 wines and half-off bar menu items) for celebrations. For a more subdued experience, hit up the dining room, which has a mellow, earth-toned color scheme, white tablecloths and a banquette that seats up to eight. For intimate evenings, there are also two private party rooms.

Minnesota: Murray’s (Minneapolis)

Minnesota: Murray’s (Minneapolis)

Michael U./Yelp

If you’re looking for a classic steakhouse experience in Minneapolis, look no further than Murray’s, which has been going strong since 1946. Opened by Art and Marie Murray, the Minnesota restaurant is still in the family, and many of Marie’s old recipes (including garlic toast and the famed 28-ounce "Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two") are still used. It’s been renovated, so it no longer looks like it did in the ‘40s, but there’s a sleek bar and an elegant and understated mirrored dining room that has a relaxed yet spirited vibe.

Mississippi: City Grocery (Oxford)

Mississippi: City Grocery (Oxford)

Stephanie A./Yelp

Oxford, Mississippi, has been home to New Orleans-born chef John Currence’s City Grocery since 1992. Snag a table on the second-floor balcony or take a seat in the rustic and elegant dining room and dig into classic Southern-inspired fare like Benton’s ham and white bean soup, shrimp and grits, or sorghum-braised duck leg with sweet potato puree and collard greens. Keep the celebration going after dinner with a visit to City Grocery’s world-class upstairs bar, which is right up there with America’s 150 best bars.

Missouri: The Rockhill Grille (Kansas City)

Missouri: The Rockhill Grille (Kansas City)

Milack T./Yelp

Located in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri, The Rockhill Grille serves new American fare in a comfortable, modern space with a long Chesterfield-style banquette and dark hardwood floors. Large garage doors open up into the bar area, creating an airy atmosphere, and the dining room is big enough to accommodate several large groups. There’s also an adjacent private event space and an upstairs lounge. The dinner menu has something for everyone, with standouts like roasted “pig wings,” housemade tater tots with jalapeno cheese, duck confit, a double-cut pork chop, blackened cauliflower and one of the best cheeseburgers in America.

Montana: TEN (Billings)

Montana: TEN (Billings)

Leigh E./Yelp

TEN, located in the Northern Hotel in Billings, Montana, is a destination for locals looking to celebrate. The magenta-hued dining room is large and inviting, with round booths for larger groups, a private dining room and an overall air of sophistication. Start off with a cocktail in the lounge before moving on to dinner, choosing from a menu that includes a 48-ounce tomahawk rib-eye for two, a trout filet with orzo, and pork osso bucco with gnocchi. Just be prepared to shell out: it’s up there with the most expensive restaurants in America.

Nebraska: Gorat’s (Omaha)

Nebraska: Gorat’s (Omaha)

D M./Yelp

Omaha, Nebraska, landmark Gorat’s has been going strong since 1944. Not only is it one of America’s best steakhouses and one of the country’s best date spots, but it’s also where Warren Buffet goes when he’s looking to have a festive meal. The dining room is simply appointed with wooden floors and paintings of steers on the walls, with a small stage for live music. Go big and order the 22-ounce T-bone.

Nevada: Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas)

Nevada: Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas)
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Joël Robuchon, located inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is fine dining at its absolute finest. This Nevada spot is modeled to resemble an ornate and luxurious Art Deco Parisian townhouse and has an eye-catching purple color scheme. It’s the perfect setting to indulge in opulent fare like Le Caviar Imperial (crustacean gelée dotted with cauliflower puree and topped with a ring of caviar) and Le Sphere (a sugar sphere filled with blackberry yogurt sorbet, candied lemon and violet cream). There’s also a private dining room for groups of seven or more. If you’re planning on celebrating your next special occasion here, however, be prepared to spend some cash: It’s one of the most expensive restaurants on Earth.

New Hampshire: Hanover Street Chophouse (Manchester)

New Hampshire: Hanover Street Chophouse (Manchester)

Paul M./Yelp

Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester, New Hampshire, is swanky, clubby, elegant and exactly the type of place where you’ll want to become a regular. It’s been a go-to since 2005, and there’s live piano every Friday and Saturday night for a true party vibe. For something a little different, check out the special $40 three-course Sunday dinner that’s ideal for those looking to celebrate on a budget. Any other day of the week, start off with a seafood tower, followed up with a Prime New York strip or bone-in rib-eye.

New Jersey: Scalini Fedeli (Chatham)

New Jersey: Scalini Fedeli (Chatham)
Dan Myers/The Daily Meal

Located inside a Chatham, New Jersey, farmhouse dating to the mid-1700s, the elegant and inviting Scalini Fedeli has been a go-to for New Jerseyans looking to celebrate a special occasion since it opened in December 1995. With white tablecloths, high vaulted ceilings and antique pine floors, the restaurant sets the stage for a celebratory meal. Highlights from the menu include soft egg yolk raviolo filled with spinach and ricotta and topped with melted truffle butter, capellini with Maryland crabmeat and leeks, and a veal chop with porcini-dijon sauce. Scalini Fedeli is perfect for an anniversary, as it just so happens to be one of the most romantic restaurants in America.

New Mexico: The Anasazi Restaurant (Santa Fe)

New Mexico: The Anasazi Restaurant (Santa Fe)

Anasazi Restaurant & Bar/Yelp

The rustic and luxurious Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is right up there with the most stunning hotels in the world. It’s also home to the upscale The Anasazi Restaurant. The decor is elegant and Native American-inspired, with light wood floors and muted earth tones throughout. The restaurant has partnered with local purveyors to ensure a constant supply of fresh and seasonal produce, and menu standouts include local trout with bacon and Swiss chard, a grilled double pork chop with Anasazi beans and red chile mole, and a grilled elk chop.

New York: Eleven Madison Park (New York City)

New York: Eleven Madison Park (New York City)

Derek S./Yelp

In a city with no shortage of great restaurants to celebrate a special occasion, Eleven Madison Park stands at the top of the New York City heap. The dining room, which overlooks Madison Square Park, has soaring ceilings and massive windows that let in plenty of natural light, and while there’s an overall air of elegance and sophistication, the mood is festive throughout (look no further than the always-popular bar area for proof). Chef Daniel Humm’s eight-to-10-course tasting menu changes daily, but will always include his honey-and-lavender-glazed duck. All together, Eleven Madison Park is among the 101 best restaurants in America.

North Carolina: Fearrington House Restaurant (Pittsboro)

North Carolina: Fearrington House Restaurant (Pittsboro)

Lesley L./Yelp

Open since 1980 just outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the elegant Fearrington House Restaurant offers a seasonal menu, a chef’s tasting menu and a vegetarian tasting menu served in a series of intimate and elegant dining rooms. Tables are well-spaced and draped with white tablecloths and flowers are abundant, and the upstairs private dining room is sunny and homey. The menu changes based on what’s fresh and in-season, but sample items include caramelized onion tart with vegetable consommé, braised pork with sunchoke custard and pumpernickel-crusted venison with quince and juniper. Be sure to get the famed chocolate soufflé for dessert.

North Dakota: 40 Steak & Seafood (Bismarck)

North Dakota: 40 Steak & Seafood (Bismarck)

Bruce K./Yelp

Each of the five dining rooms at Bismarck’s spacious 40 Steak & Seafood represents a different aspect of North Dakota — women of the prairie, cattlemen, governors, oil booms and families. While they each offer different décor and furnishings, they’re all down-home, comfortable and oozing old-timey charm. All beef is Certified Angus, and dry-aged options include rotisserie prime rib (available Mondays only), a T-bone, a 40-ounce porterhouse or a cowboy rib-eye.

Ohio: Red (Cleveland)

Ohio: Red (Cleveland)

. ../Yelp

Red, which has two locations in Cleveland, is classy, sleek, stylish and just about everything you look for in a steakhouse. And with dark hardwood floors, plenty of windows and well-spaced white-tablecloth-draped tables, it’s also everything you look for in a special occasion spot. Prime steaks (including a 40-day dry-aged rib-eye) make Red worth the visit, but don’t miss other dishes including stuffed hot peppers, linguini with clams and Shrimp De Jonghe (a Chicago regional specialty) that you don’t usually see on steakhouse menus.

Oklahoma: Red PrimeSteak (Oklahoma City)

Oklahoma: Red PrimeSteak (Oklahoma City)

Kristina D./Yelp

With red neon lights lending the dining room a clubby glow, Red PrimeSteak in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a stylish and quasi-futuristic-looking steakhouse with a perpetual fun and celebratory vibe. Share a baked brie and an order of beef tenderloin tamales to start, and follow up with a dry-aged, bone-in grass-fed rib-eye or an American wagyu skirt steak topped with your choice of 14 crusts and sauces ranging from a guajillo chile crust to roasted poblano chimichurri.

Oregon: OX (Portland)

Oregon: OX (Portland)

Josh K./Yelp

OX is a Portland-based Argentinian steakhouse, and it serves as a showcase for Oregon meats, fish and produce. Look no further than the cooks turning out expertly prepared Uruguayan rib-eye, skirt steak, 28-ounce beef short ribs, pork and lamb chops, homemade sausages, swordfish and vegetables on the massive wood-burning grill that’s located right out in the dining room. A meal inside this brick-walled restaurant is all but guaranteed to be a good time.

Pennsylvania: Morimoto (Philadelphia)

Pennsylvania: Morimoto (Philadelphia)

Darren L./Yelp

Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Philadelphia flagship, Morimoto, doesn’t look like any other restaurant in Pennsylvania. Head up to the cocktail bar and look down at the main dining room, taking in the undulating wooden ceiling, the wavy walls, the funky booths and a lighting scheme that alternates between blue and red, and you’ll see why this place is perfect for special occasions. Morimoto is fun and funky, and it’s home to some of America’s best sushi as well as signature creations like tuna pizza, rock shrimp tempura and miso black cod.

Rhode Island: Al Forno (Providence)

Rhode Island: Al Forno (Providence)

Neil L./Yelp

Open since 1980 in Providence, Rhode Island, Al Forno is a classic Italian restaurant that puts a creative spin on traditional Italian fare by cooking most of its entrees over a wood-burning grill. Flatiron steaks, prosciutto-wrapped veal tenderloins, seasonal vegetables, lamb and pork chops, chicken, scallops and short ribs all spend time on the grill, as well as its most famous and enduring menu item, grilled pizzas. The second-floor dining room has a timeless elegance to it, with huge windows and large round tables, and a bustling bar gives the ground floor a festive buzz. Ask for a table in the foliage-draped outdoor area on a nice day and be sure to order a pizza — it’s up there with America’s best pizza.

South Carolina: FIG (Charleston)

South Carolina: FIG (Charleston)

Mark N./Yelp

Chef Mike Lata and Alan Nemirow opened FIG in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2003, and since then the unassuming bistro has become one of the city’s most beloved and enduring restaurants. There’s a laid-back bar area serving top-notch cocktails and a casual and elegant dining room. The regularly changing menu showcases high-quality seasonal products and is a crowd-pleaser. Expect dishes like ricotta gnocchi alla bolognese, brick-pressed chicken with hazelnut and pesto, and duck rice with golden raisins and garlic sausage.

South Dakota: Minerva’s (Sioux Falls)

South Dakota: Minerva’s (Sioux Falls)

Adriana K./Yelp

Minerva’s today has eight restaurants in South Dakota, Iowa and Michigan, but the original Sioux Falls location, dating back to 1977, is the one to visit. With white tablecloths, dark woods and spacious booths, it’s a comfortable and inviting place to linger over a celebratory meal with a hand-cut filet mignon, roasted duck, Dakota buffalo burger, breaded Canadian walleye or the famous crab artichoke bake, preceded by a trip to the salad bar. There are plenty of private dining options available, and there’s outdoor seating in the summer.

Tennessee: The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland)

Tennessee: The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland)

Randy F./Yelp

The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, is indeed an old, early-20th-century barn, albeit one that’s been gussied up into an elegant and comfortable dining room with a roaring fireplace and soaring ceilings crisscrossed with original wood beams. It’s an ideal setting for a special dinner, and its semi-circular booths are especially romantic. The menu is rooted in what it calls Foothills Cuisine, and is inspired by local Appalachian ingredients. Sample menu items include a hearth-fried farm egg with roasted mushrooms and crispy chicken skin, sumac-glazed smoked pork belly, and hearth roasted trout with garden herbs. Blackberry Farm may be in the middle of nowhere, but it’s worth the trip.

Texas: Fearing's (Dallas)

Texas: Fearing's (Dallas)

Fearing’s Restaurant/Yelp

Located in the elegant Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Fearing’s is the playground of famed Southwestern chef Dean Fearing. The Texas restaurant is warm and inviting, with high ceilings, comfortable booths and tables for two that look into an open kitchen where Fearing himself is often present. Try his famous tortilla soup — it’s one of the best soups in America.

Utah: Powder (Park City)

Utah: Powder (Park City)

Powder/Yelp

Tucked inside Park City’s luxurious Waldorf Astoria, Powder is relaxed yet upscale, with reclaimed wood floors and large windows overlooking the Utah hotel’s courtyard. With menu items including local charcuterie and cheeses, a classic Waldorf Caesar salad, coq au vin and mushroom-crusted Norwegian halibut (as well as a four-course tasting menu), Powder is an ideal restaurant for both an après-ski meal after a day on the slopes or an anniversary dinner.

Vermont: Trattoria Delia (Burlington)

Vermont: Trattoria Delia (Burlington)

Trattoria Delia/Yelp

Located inside a historic early-1900s hotel, Trattoria Delia in Burlington, Vermont, is charming and rustic, and it warms the cold night with a fireplace and traditional regional Italian fare. In business since 1993, Trattoria Delia remains a standby for those looking for a special occasion meal or romantic dinner. Try the tagliatelle al ragu, aqua pazza (a Calabrian seafood soup) or braised short rib with rosemary red wine sauce.

Virginia: Inn at Little Washington (Washington)

Virginia: Inn at Little Washington (Washington)

Go B./Yelp

Chef Patrick O'Connell opened this Washington, Virginia, restaurant in 1978, and since then Inn at Little Washington has gained more accolades than we can count. The dining rooms are elegant and eclectic with a variety of ceiling patterns, hanging lamps, tapestries, wallpaper patterns and draperies all merging into a fantasy land of elegance and opulence. The menu changes regularly, but representative dishes include green beans from the restaurant’s garden with tomato vinaigrette, sorghum risotto with seafood, and pan-roasted quail with braised endive and huckleberries. There are 23 bedrooms and suites available for those who want to spend the night, also making this one of America’s best hotel restaurants.

Washington: Canlis (Seattle)

Washington: Canlis (Seattle)

Janice L./Yelp

Canlis opened in Seattle in 1950, and its modern-rustic design with angled ceilings, copious windows and plenty of light wood and stone, immediately put it on the map in Washington State. Today, it is one of the few jackets-required restaurants left in the country as well as one of the most historic restaurants in America. Certain dishes, like the famed Canlis salad with bacon, mint and lemon have become iconic, and it’s still pushing boundaries with Asian-inspired fare like caramelized mussels with pine nut green curry and geoduck XO sauce, dry-aged lamb leg and belly with fermented Brussels sprouts, and a bean stew made with 23 varieties of beans.

Washington, DC: Charlie Palmer Steak

Washington, DC: Charlie Palmer Steak

Alexander H./Yelp

Set amidst the iconic landmarks of Capitol Hill, the D.C. location of Charlie Palmer Steak (which has five locations across the country) is refined and elegant without coming across as snooty or pretentious. The dining room is light and breezy, with a large floral centerpiece and a celebratory ambiance. There are plenty of steaks on the menu, of course (try the double rib-eye steak for two or Japanese A5 wagyu), but this steakhouse stands apart from the pack by offering a wide variety of non-steak options, including Jerusalem artichoke bisque, stellar pasta dishes like squash agnolotti and Maine lobster ravioli, and slow-cooked lamb shank with poppy seed spätzle.

West Virginia: The Chop House (Charleston)

West Virginia: The Chop House (Charleston)

Philip R./Yelp

Since 2001, The Chop House has been the place in Charleston, West Virginia, (one of America’s most under-the-radar food towns) to celebrate a special occasion. The setting is elegant and upscale, the bar is always hopping and the beef is USDA prime and available in cuts including a 24-ounce porterhouse, a blackened or barbecued cowboy rib-eye and beef Wellington. Three private dining options are available, and there are discounts of up to 50% off the food portion of your bill if you dine there on your birthday, making it ideal for a celebration.

Wisconsin: Ristorante Bartolotta (Wauwatosa)

Wisconsin: Ristorante Bartolotta (Wauwatosa)

Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993/Yelp

On the outskirts of Milwaukee, esteemed chef Paul Bartolotta’s flagship Italian restaurant, Ristorante Bartolotta, is homey, intimate and bustling. With a lively bar area and plenty of old framed photos on the light tan-colored walls, this Wisconsin spot is certifiably cozy. Handmade pasta is the star of the show (splurge on the uovo in raviolo, a single truffle raviolo filled with egg yolk, ricotta and spinach and finished with brown butter and white truffles — it's one of America’s best pasta dishes), but other standouts include an assortment of grilled seafood and vegetables, a crisp roasted half-chicken with Brussels sprouts and potato puree, and whatever happens to be on the seasonal four-course prix-fixe menu.

Wyoming: The Granary at Spring Creek Ranch (Jackson Hole)

Wyoming: The Granary at Spring Creek Ranch (Jackson Hole)

Kristy B./Yelp

Boasting absolutely stunning views of the Tetons from floor-to-ceiling windows in its high-ceilinged, lodge-like dining room, The Granary at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, serves elevated Western-inspired American cuisine. Fig and cornbread stuffed poussin, grilled Idaho trout, bison short ribs, and Rocky Mountain elk loin are a few of the standout menu items here. A place like this is a carnivore’s dream, but if you’re looking for a burger, we suggest you visit the nearby restaurant Local, which serves some of the best burgers in America.

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