Whether as a day trip from San Francisco or a destination unto itself, Berkeley's huge draw is its amazing roster of restaurants. Chez Panisse, the #7 restaurant in the country, long ago set the bar for the city's dining, but Alice Waters offshoots like Café Fanny, the heralded pizza of the Cheese Board Collective, and newcomers like Liaison Bistro uphold the gold standard. With its high concentration of fine dining, the North Shattuck Avenue area morphed into the “Gourmet Ghetto” in the ‘70s, a term of endearment supposedly coined by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Within a mile radius, there are more than 20 well-respected restaurants and gourmet shops in the main Gourmet Ghetto and Gourmet Ghetto West, and that density of greatness makes the locale so unique. A city like New York has many such dining districts, but one stands out among the rest as an apex of fine dining. According to a recent survey from Pinpoint Demographics, TriBeCa in downtown Manhattan triumphs as the neighborhood with the most restaurants per capita in the U.S., among them Bouley Restaurant, Locanda Verde, Tribeca Grill and landmarc.
As such a food epicenter, New York City’s best dining district is tough to decide — Midtown West and East come in as close seconds along with SoHo and Nolita. But what are the dining districts of other, smaller cities that also boast great restaurants?
When traveling, it can be helpful to know that Chicago’s West Loop encompasses high-caliber restaurants like Publican, Avec and the soon-to-open Next. Or that West Hollywood, home to Pink's and Lucques, is where a true gourmand should find a hotel. When in Boston, a ride on the T to Back Bay Station lands you in the middle of the city’s gourmet ghetto, though the area around Copley Square is anything but “ghetto.”