10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants
Proof that the hospitality industry is advancing in an enlightened direction, fourteen of the Top 40 Restaurants selected for our 2008 Restaurant Issue are located in hotels. Today's lodgings play host to some of the biggest names in the food world, from Jean-Georges Vongerichten to Michael Mina. Besides the food, we also use the décor, ambiance, level of comfort and the hotel itself as criteria for our selections. We love the idea of dining out and then wandering down the hall to our suite for a sweet, sated night's sleep. Because we hope you do, too, we're delighted to offer our picks for the best hotel restaurants in the country.
Romance is a through-line at the Bernardus Lodge, but at this Carmel Valley property it takes on a grounded, accessible form, one of fire-lit spaces, wine appreciation and fine dining. Under the direction of Cal Stamenov, Marinus restaurant offers guests a gastronomic journey where local products are transformed into California-French cuisine, presented on a menu that's divided into succinct categories. Astute wine advice and good-natured waitstaff are never far from hand.
The Dining Room
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
Craig Strong didn't miss a beat when this former Ritz-Carlton property changed hands and became The Langham Huntington, Pasadena. For a venue with historic chops, it's a lovely twist that Strong's cooking seeks such innovation: unexpected flavor pairings, froths and foams, pastry showing prominently and a suitably deep wine cellar. Get ready for a ride that veers far from the bucolic, leafy winding road that led you here.
The Grand Del Mar
Chef William Bradley's contemporary French cuisine flies as high as the standards set forth by the multi-tasking Grand Del Mar, a resort that counts this dining room among its star attractions. Bradley's inventive cooking is further elevated when wine director Jesse Rodriguez enters the picture, full of good advice for pairing dishes with a selection from the vast wine cellar. Named for the architect whose style inspired the property, Addison Mizner, the restaurant's décor is nothing short of plush; service is professional.
Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge
No stranger to the upper echelon of Bay Area dining, this boutique-hotel restaurant marries the contemporary French cuisine of chef Laurent Manrique with an enviable wine list and professional service. The happy union plays out in a revitalized room befitting the food and the originality of the landmark property. The luxe menu favors strong flavors and rusticity, and touches such as tableside presentations and standout desserts make dining here all the more memorable.
St. Helena/ Napa
The Restaurant at Meadowood
Meadowood Napa Valley
The great and the good of wine country living are wrapped up in one nifty, pampering package at Meadowood Napa Valley. The Restaurant at Meadowood extends the experience, inviting the outdoors in, with the bounty from Meadowood's gardens and fruit orchards playing a role in chef Christopher Kostow's California cuisine. Wine, naturally, has a prominent role, and sommelier Rom Toulon keeps the focus on Napa Valley bottlings.
The Belden-Stratford Hotel
In a case of what's old is new again, the contemporary seafood restaurant L2O opened its doors in the historic Belden-Stratford hotel. French chef Laurent Gras, formerly of New York City's Peacock Alley and San Francisco's Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, is at the helm, offering four-course and tasting menus that have featured the likes of salted cod with smoked gelatin and foie gras with port and cocoa nibs. A duo of sommeliers interprets a deep wine list that doesn't discriminate against the budget-minded oenophile.
The Carlyle Restaurant
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
The old-guard and seriously luxurious Carlyle hotel houses a restaurant of equal stature, where chef James Sakatos explores the best of French-Mediterranean cuisine. A richly appointed dining room (think crystal chandeliers and fox hunt paintings) is patrolled by an efficient waitstaff and the wine list strands nary a dish thanks to its scope and depth. A quintessential New York experience immersed in a landmark hotel, the energy of the Upper East Side a step away, may be more accessible (for a price) than you think.
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, amidst all its flash and circumstance, manages to house this singularly exquisite restaurant from legendary French toque Joël Robuchon. Settle in for a procession of dishes that might transform seemingly ordinary ingredients into the extraordinary, then take the best and make them better before segueing to a soaring sweet finale without ever looking back. The 1,000-label wine list keeps pace, with many good finds from small American and French producers at reasonable prices.
The Mansion Restaurant
at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
This once-Southwest-steeped room now offers a contemporary cuisine that benefits from the products of a custom-designed garden and is bolstered by top wine and mixology programs. Foie gras, Kobe beef and playful desserts—it's all here; presented not to a room of buttoned-down diners but to a crowd drawn to the evolved attitude and enlightened cooking of a Dallas landmark.
The Inn at Little Washington Restaurant
The Inn at Little Washington
Relatively close but worlds away in demeanor from the hustle and hand-wringing of the nation's capital, The Inn at Little Washington offers the contemporary American cooking of chef Patrick O'Connell. Each evening, the multi-course tasting menus are reinterpreted at O'Connell's hand. If he's not creating a new riff on a classic local dish, his attention may be on a luxe morsel like the "Tin of Sin" (osetra caviar with a crab and cucumber rillette). Either way, the dining experience at this getaway nestled by the Blue Ridge Mountains is more than on par with its transcendent surroundings.