10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants
Proof that the hospitality industry is advancing in an enlightened direction, fifteen of the top 40 dining rooms selected for our 2007 Restaurant Issue are located in hotels. Today's lodgings play host to some of the biggest names in the food world, from Gordon Ramsay to Michael Mina. We endeavored not to repeat any of our choices from last year’s list, but could not help but include Joël Robuchon, whom we once named "Chef of the Century." Besides the food, we also use the décor, ambiance, level of comfort and the hotel itself as criteria for our selections. 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.
Auberge du Soleil (Auberge du Soleil)
At this Napa Valley resort, chef Robert Curry prepares California cuisine that rivals the resort's striking views of the Mayacamas Range. Dishes such as ahi tartare or potato gnocchi may precede main courses like Alaskan cod with Manila clams and pomegranate-glazed beef short ribs. The professional waitstaff enhances the experience with their wine-pairing suggestions and intuitive service.
Michael Mina (The Westin St. Francis)
The hustle and flow of San Francisco’s Union Square is left out in the cold at Michael Mina’s. The comfortable corner dining room nestled just off the lobby of The Western St. Francis brings a taste of classic San Francisco back...to San Francisco. Californian Barbara Barry’s design instantly takes over once you breach the few steps separating the hotel from the restaurant. Expansive windows and Roman shades sweep this corner perch off its feet. Celadon blue covers chairs, and walls reach for ivories. Michael Mina’s menu is just as handsome. His trios with breezy names like "three little pigs" or Hudson Valley foie gras "hot to cold" play to his whimsy—and will to yours.
NoMI (Park Hyatt Chicago)
There are great views of Chicago and there are stunning views of Chicago. Sure, NoMI’s seventh-floor roost boasts views of Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan like a few other buildings in the city, but how many restaurants sport a 50-seat outdoor lounge and garden that serves cool salmonero soup and selections from the cheese cellar? Designer Tony Chi brings sexy back to Chicago with his 120-seat dining room, adjoining bar and adjacent chambers that strut Dale Chihuly glass and a fusion of Bolivian rosewood, mosaic and white marble. All the elements collide in seamless drama. Chef Christophe David's contemporary French cuisine moves to this global beat—culling top notch ingredients and shaping them into artful and sophisticated presentations.
Julian Serrano’s crafty culinary flair and Spanish accent feels just right in a room filled with the Malaga-born artist’s priceless paintings. Picasso opened in 1998, but has not lost any of its shock and awe. Colorful cubist carpeting designed by Picasso’s son swirls underfoot, and mountainous bouquets of fresh flowers are delivered daily. Serrano’s roots may be Spanish, but his style is French and his inspiration is ceaseless.
Robuchon (MGM Grand Hotel & Casino)
Joël Robuchon’s status among the culinary elite was further enhanced with the opening of his gastronomic showcase on the Las Vegas strip. The man we named Chef of the Century offers diners a chance to experience his cuisine via two dégustation menus, offering tastes such as seaweed and lemon-butter scallops and a sautéed veal chop with natural jus. A selection from the 1,000-bottle wine list will augment the sure-to-be unforgettable experience.
Gordon Ramsay at The London (The London NYC)
Gordon Ramsay’s first New York restaurant venture is carved deep inside The London, once known as The Rihga Royal. With Ramsay’s arrival, both hotel and restaurant were completely overhauled by British interior designer David Collins, who takes his cue from the cool London original on London's Royal Hospital Road. Ramsay—and chef de cuisine Josh Emett—sets the table for only 45; and the layout reflects this intimacy. The interior features vertical paneling in hand-carved timber and spacious chairs colored muted green. Strategically-placed porthole-style mirrors give this windowless dining room a large New York presence while respecting proper British acumen.
Fountain Restaurant (Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia)
The Four Seasons dining room is all about discreet elegance and luxe appointments. Enjoy the French Contemporary cuisine within a glimpse of the statuary and fountains of Logan Square, which helps make a visit here feel like a quintessential Philadelphia experience. Selected wine pairings will add to the bliss that comes from the tasting menu, made all the more satisfying when capped off with a decadent dessert.
The French Room (The Adolphus)
To say romance is the raison d’être of this downtown Dallas restaurant would be to minimize the efforts of chef Jason C. Weaver. From foie gras to seafood to Kobe steaks, his French Contemporary cuisine befits the elevated surroundings of the elegant, baroque-style hotel. Two prix-fixe menus and optional wine pairings, and service from the professional waitstaff, complete the experience.
The Inn at Little Washington (The Inn at Little Washington)
Patrick O’Connell’s cooking reaches to the top of the seasonal American stratum. The “cuisine de terroir” is offered in seven-course and ten-course tasting menus that change each evening. Chilled Maine lobster with lemon caviar vinaigrette may give way to medallions of local rabbit loin or pecan-crusted barbecue short rib paired with petit filet mignon. All this is matched by impeccable service and an extensive, treasure-filled wine list.
CityZen (Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC)
New York-based designer Tony Chi comes to D.C. At CityZen, wood, fire, earth, metal and water strike the right balance between warm and restful. The French Laundry alumnus Eric Ziebold takes to the exhibition kitchen working with the same technical precision taught at his alma mater. Ziebold’s modern interpretation of French cuisine glows under 20-foot dining room ceilings and amidst an amalgam of American wood, French limestone, stainless steel and textured fabrics. If you wish to sample the chef’s repertoire in a more informal place, pull up a stool at The Bar.
(Updated: 09/06/13 BLS)