Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants 2005

Proof that the hospitality industry is advancing in an enlightened direction, fifteen of the top 40 dining rooms selected for our "2005 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 Michel Richard. Like an extraordinary wine and cheese pairing, the right combination of hotel and restaurant is spiritually moving. 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 assume you do, too, we're delighted to offer our recommendations for the best hotel restaurants in the country.

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ARIZONA

Scottsdale

Mary Elaine's (The Phoenician)

Those looking for a cool, refreshing oasis in the desert will find it at Mary Elaine's. Under the guiding culinary hand of chef de cuisine Bradford Thompson, who developed his skills with predecessor James Boyce and prior to that Daniel Boulud in New York. His modern French style, fusion of old and new techniques, and acclaimed seasonal tasting menus—plus a $3 million wine collectionare highlights at The Phoenician, which has plenty to boast of in its own right, including the 22,000-square-foot Centre for Well-Being. With a spa this indulgent, working off a Thompson-inspired dish is as much a guilty pleasure as eating it.

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CALIFORNIA


Oakhurst
Erna's Elderberry House (Château du Sureau)

Don't let the name fool you. It may sound a little hokey, but there's nothing corny about the seasonally-inspired dishes from executive chef James Overbaugh. The prix-fixe six-course menu changes daily. It is paired with wines chosen by a dedicated wine director, who occasionally receives input from Erna's (the inn's founder) daughter, who served as a sommelier at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. The Yosemite Park-adjacent restaurant gets its name from the elderberries that surround Château du Sureau, which features a stone turret and Parisian style balconies.

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CALIFORNIA


San Francisco
Campton Place (Campton Place Hotel)

In 2004 Daniel Humm was one of only five Rising Stars in our annual Restaurant Issue. In 2005 his Campton Place landed on our Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list. This Zurich-born chef is a boon for Campton Place Hotel, which enjoys a Union Square location in a city worshipped by gourmets. Of course, Humm's sophisticated Modern French cuisine is one of the reasons San Francisco has such a strong culinary reputation. Refined surroundingsin champagne and gold tonesand a unique wine service cart enhance the dining experience, as does the service-oriented boutique hotel.

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CALIFORNIA


San Francisco
The Dining Room (The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco)

Sure, it's fun to talk about the fact that Ron Siegel was the first American to defeat an Iron Chef on the eponymous Japanese cult TV show, but his fifteen minutes of fame are nothing compared to the real reason Siegel deserves his laurels: his Eastern-influenced French cuisine on the menu at The Dining Room. Considering this restaurant's long-standing reputation, developed under such chefs as Gary Danko and Sylvain Portay, Siegel's accomplished helming of this landmark property is particularly notable. As a result, it remains a fitting ornament for one of San Francisco's classic hotels.

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CONNECTICUT


Greenwich
Thomas Henkelmann (Homestead Inn)

German heritage, classic French training and a professional education throughout Europe have shaped the cuisine of celebrated chef Thomas Henkelmann, whose eponymous restaurant made our Top 40 list. The excellent dining room is one of our favorites and is integral to the intimate inn, which was conceived by Henkelmann and his wife. You don't have to stay here to eat here, but we suggest you check in. That way, all you have to do is stroll a short way from your room for a taste of contemporary French cuisine paired with wines from a list Francophiles will adore.

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


Washington DC
Michel Richard Citronelle (Latham Hotel)

Of all the movers and shakers that frequent Michel Richard Citronelle, Monsieur Richard himself arguably is most deserving of the spotlight. This is saying a lot in a city filled with influential politicos, but we stand by our assessment, and we're sure you'll agree from the moment you take your first bite. Like the hotel, the dining room is subtle, the better to complement Richard's theatrics in the exhibition kitchen. Known for revolutionizing French-California cuisine, he now wows with an extravagant nine-course tasting menu. Like what you nibble? Then we suggest you take one of his innovative cooking classes.

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NEVADA


Las Vegas
Alex (Wynn Las Vegas)

When putting together his star-studded collection of chefs for his new Las Vegas hotel, Steve Wynn scored big with Alessandro Stratta. Wynn was so pleased with this asset, in fact, that he had a Belle Époque dining room built just for Stratta. The menu, blending flavors from France and Italy, assures Alex's position as a leader in this city that has surprised us with its turn as a destination for gourmet foodies. Tasting menus and à la carte dishes are paired with an excellent wine list heavy on French vintages, all served on the same property that boasts The Strip's only 18-hole golf course and the Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati dealership.

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NEW YORK


New York
Alain Ducasse (Jumeirah Essex House)


International man of culinary mastery, Alain Ducasse boasts restaurants around the globe, from New York to Las Vegas to Tokyo to Paris. We choose to applaud his consistent excellence at Jumeirah Essex House. With executive chef Tony Esnault in charge of the dining room, Ducasse's menu takes diners on a journey highlighted by product-oriented dishes, in the atmosphere of a modern manor house. The prix-fixe and tasting menus aren't cheap, but their sophistication suits the hotel's old money style and priceless Central Park views.

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NEW YORK

New York
Jean Georges (Trump International Hotel & Tower)

Another globetrotter with an international gourmet empire, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has made a celebrated name for himself with a foundation that is classic French and influences that include the time he spent mastering his craft in Asia. Still, this flagship restaurantthe centerpiece of his domainat the Trump Tower continues to set the standards. Executive chef Mark LaPico admirably tends to the day to day, which is complemented by Adam Tihany's Trump-worthy interior design.

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VIRGINIA

Washington
The Inn at Little Washington (The Inn at Little Washington)


With a seven-course tasting menu that changes every day, this restaurant proves a favorite with both those passing through and loyal guests. Along with the country inn, it's the gracious product of self-taught chef Patrick O'Connell and his partner, Reinhardt Lynch. While most restaurants on this list favor strong French influences, this one pays homagewithout flinchingto American cuisine. O'Connell works with instinct and imagination, and his dishes get a lift from the 15,000 bottle wine cellar. At the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this pleasant retreat makes a great weekend escape or day trip out of D.C.



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(Updated: 09/06/13 BLS)


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