Can you recall the last meal that left an unforgettable taste in your mouth? 90% of us can. A delicious meal can be remembered forever. Some of the best restaurants in the U.S specialize in this, treating you to a memorable dining experience. In addition, they showcase some of the world’s top chefs, earning Michelin stars and revolutionizing how we view and appreciate amazing food.
In many U.S. cities, dishes and food culture that were previously difficult to find are now the main attraction, which means that all of us can now enjoy more Guyanese, South Indian, Palestinian, and Indigenous Mexican food.
The culinary scene is a rich, vast banquet packed with treasures. There are many options, and the reliability tends to reflect the numerous ingredients we can access, from traditional diners and seafood pubs to innovative establishments and integrated restaurants.
To ensure you have a memory-worthy dining experience more than once, we’ve put together eight of the best U.S. restaurants that will knock off your taste buds in 2022.
So keep scrolling.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cozy corner of this Brooklyn spot. The menu, heavily influenced by Eastern European cuisine, allows you to order a glass of cold borscht alongside some truly excellent Hungarian baked goods, such as fluffy knots of dough known as Ferdinand buns.
In the evening, a generous pour of natural wine is followed by simple plates of chicken liver mousse, spaetzle mac and cheese, and a hefty slice of New York-style cheesecake that will remind you that you’re still in Brooklyn.
Location: Cambridge, MA
The wine list at this sunlit Cambridge wine bar is new and interesting, and the food is as fun, bright, and exquisite as the wine. The menu will entice you to return two nights in a row.
Order small plates and wine from the counter along the back wall—glasses while dining, plus bottles to go—and, because the wine offerings frequently change, buy a bottle if you like it.
Try the house-preserved fish, seafood hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, and seasonal toasts. These dishes do not disappoint, especially when topped with caviar.
As the night progresses, the dining room becomes noisier, so arrive early with a group to sit out on the patio and try as many dishes as possible.
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One White Street
Location: 1 White Street, New York.
The second-floor dining room at One White Street is ready for a special dinner—the kind you plan for weeks in advance and remember long after you’ve paid. You’ll find a set menu upstairs in the elegant Tribeca townhouse turned restaurant, complete with such unwavering cuisine as foie gras with Parker House rolls and delicately stuffed chicken.
Downstairs, in a more relaxed à la carte setting, standouts include a shaved fennel salad with liberally distributed anchovies and a plate of fennel-crusted duck. In either case, you can enjoy the freshness and flavor a restaurant can achieve by sourcing many vegetables from its homestead.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Keeping the best restaurant title in a gastropub town like Portland is difficult. However, Higgins always makes a list with an incredible seasonal menu and cozy bar and is responsible for developing many of the city’s best chefs before opening their restaurants.
Everything is made in-house, and the service is second to none. This is the place to go if you want to experience the true beauty of dining in the Northwest in a truly farm-to-table setting.
Vera’s Backyard BBQ
Location: Texas, Brownsville
You’ve probably heard that the best barbecue can be found in small towns in reserved locations. If Vera has anything to say about it, it’s that it’s correct. The Brownsville institution is known for its barbacoa de Cabeza, or grilled cow’s head.
It might seem a little scary until you try it. The meat is exceptionally tender, thanks to a half-day of underground cooking. But it doesn’t end there; you can make your tacos with various types of meat, all of which are delicious. It recently received a well-deserved thumbs-up from the James Beard Base.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s difficult to exaggerate the contribution of the French to what we now call modern culinary arts. Gautreau’s is a typical French restaurant in a city that is all too aware of its clout. From glazed lamb ribs to their roasted garlic and ricotta caramelle, the uptown New Orleans restaurant thrives at it all.
Better yet, there’s a focus on regional flavors, such as gulf shrimp with green olive gnocchi, which shows expertise in classic Old World cooking and an appreciation for the surrounding river.
Having a restaurant with tasting menus is quite risky. When done incorrectly, the succession of courses can seem monotonous, the wait staff robotic, the ambiance self-serious, and the overly-manipulated food too expensive.
However, the impact of an outstanding tasting-menu establishment can be awe-inducing and envelop you in its charisma when the service, food, and design are all perfect. That sums up the March created by chef Felipe Riccio and master sommelier June Rodil.
March masterfully executes every stylistic detail, from the graphics on the cocktail menu to the chic sconces on the walls to the structural garnishes on the drinks to the savvy but unobtrusive service to each table setting to, finally, every single course that emerges from the kitchen.
The restaurant’s menu concentrates on the different cooking styles from the Mediterranean region, and twice a year, it takes a deep dive into a particular subregion. But every dish will be superb regardless of where it comes from.
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Location: Washington D.C
Arachosia is listed among the best restaurants in America in 2022 and boasts cuisine suitable for all dietary restrictions. The restaurant guarantees that its food will suit your needs, whether you’re on a vegan, vegetarian, or Paleo or Gluten-Free diet. Arachosia also promises that all of its meat is halal.
One of the best places to eat in Washington, D.C., this restaurant was founded by four Afghan-American women who are all related to one another. Look for traditional dishes with flavorful flavors, like the Qabuli Palou, which consists of a baked lamb shank with herbed basmati rice, raisins, and carrots. This dish is prepared with house spices.
Chef Junior Borges is showcasing food from his childhood in Rio de Janeiro at Meridian, a modern Brazilian restaurant, and fusing flavors from all over Texas and the rest of the world. First, there is Texas Wagyu beef, but the steak on offer is the picanha, which was first made popular in his home country.
Borges is taking the known and having fun with it at Meridian. Little Gem Caesar salads abound on restaurant menus, but he chose one made with kohlrabi instead. German turnip ribbons provide a crisp and refreshing contrast to the anchovy-filled aioli nestled in Meridian’s version. Fresh mint leaves add a herbal punch to an already flavorful dish. The fact that a salad could be this iconic is a testament to Borges.
You can’t help but be amazed by every single bite of food at Mena. But, even for the downtown darlings who have pounded the pavement here before, finding the entrance to chef Victoria Blamey’s new restaurant is a bit of an adventure.
Blamey, however, embarks on a culinary adventure as soon as you are seated in one of the blue chenille booths in this small, light-filled dining room. A ceviche honors Blamey’s native Chile and has squash Leche de Tigre that will briefly set your mouth on fire.
A lighter version of chou farci, or stuffed cabbage, made with scallop mousse and sea lettuce, has French origins but also evokes the flavors of West African cuisine.
If you’re looking for something healthier, the Spanish lentils placed beneath a layer of trumpet-mushroom chips are more substantial and subtle.