There are hundreds, if not thousands, of steakhouses in America of every stripe. There are clubby dining rooms loaded with brass and mahogany; expansive, no-frills chophouses; cavernous Wild West temples to beef where everyone’s wearing a Stetson; power-broker-filled clubhouses and modernist steakhouses that turn all the conventions on their head. But in selecting the very best steakhouse in America for this year’s ranking of America’s 50 best, we went with a tried-and-true classic: Bern’s, in Tampa, Florida.
To assemble our ranking of the best steakhouses in America, we started by compiling a list of more than 200 of America’s leading steakhouses. We then judged them according to strict criteria: Is the meat sourced reputably and USDA Choice or Prime? Is it dry-aged, and if not, is it as high-quality as can be? Is it served at the proper doneness without fail and with a touch of ceremony? Is it revered by locals and out-of-towners alike? We also considered the overall steakhouse experience. And Bern’s, which has been going strong since 1956, checks off all those boxes and more.
From the moment you walk into Bern’s, you know that you’re someplace special. There’s a grand two-story lobby loaded with fine art, and the theme continues into the multiple dining rooms, which have a deep-red color scheme. There’s a live pianist taking requests, besuited waiters and an elegant atmosphere of old-school (but not stodgy) elegance.
That old-world sophistication carries over to the menu. There are 20 kinds of caviar, two preparations of foie gras, four kinds of steak tartare (one with truffles), endless varieties of fish and shellfish, escargots, 15 different cheeses both domestic and imported, more than 50 desserts (enjoyed after your meal in a separate “dessert lounge”), house-roasted coffee and a 500,000-bottle wine cellar that very well might house the largest private wine collection on earth.
Oh, and did we mention steaks? There are six different cuts in a total of 51 different sizes (from 8 ounces of filet mignon to 60 ounces of strip sirloin, as well as 15 different sizes of châteaubriand), along with “luxe beef” options including a 100-day dry-aged Delmonico and dry-aged Japanese wagyu. Quite simply, Bern’s is everything you look for in a steakhouse, which is why it tops our list of the very best steakhouses in America.