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

Letter from the Editors

Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.
October 22, 2008

Dig In
by André, Sophie and Alain Gayot

Dear Reader,

Top 40 worthy? That's a question we contemplate repeatedly throughout the year, one that culminates in our Annual Restaurant Issue. It appears to be a daunting task, that is, selecting a mere 40 restaurants from the thousands and thousands of establishments reviewed on The winnowing process challenges, intimidates and proves tougher each year as the quality of restaurants increases. But with our more than 40 years of experience reviewing restaurants worldwide, we not only have our ears to the ground, but our eyes and mouths to the food! We're excited—once again—to present 40 such significant restaurants.

We've chosen our Top 40 with several considerations in mind. At, the nucleus of dining hinges on the food. But the overall experience encompasses supplemental details that cannot be overlooked. We hope a chef manifests a fanaticism for detail, scrutinizing his ingredients, the preparation, technique, and, of course, taste. When a chef pursues his passion with quality, rarity and creativity in mind, our jaws drop. When choosing the Top 40, the ante is upped when it comes to surroundings and service, singular vistas, meticulous planning, precision and professionalism executed in the dining room. All of these elements convey a special tone, one that's irreproducible.

In addition to uncorking our Top 40 restaurants in the country, we also unveil the Top 10 New Restaurants of the year, our Rising Chefs and Pastry Chefs who have impassioned the dining arena. We've added a few new categories this year to reach across the aisles and give props to those in the culinary field that complement the industry. Be sure to see who wins "Best Restaurateur" as well as "Top Restaurant Design." And, if you, like many of our readers, are stretching dollars and tightening belts, then check out our inaugural "Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S." There, we celebrate unbeatable food at terrific value, from America's plains states to our urban city centers.

Exciting Changes at

We've listened to you. You've wanted to jump in and participate in our restaurant reviewing and ranking process. "By all means!" we've responded. If you haven't yet discovered how our restaurant reviews have become more user-friendly, then it's time to start. Just search for some of your most heralded or hit-list restaurants and directly below our review, you'll find the words, "Write Your Own Review" reserved just for you to sound off or sing your praises. Be it to rave or to beef, your words appear beneath our review for the entire world to see and talk about.

Meanwhile, the popularity of our "Best of" lists keeps growing. If you need some tips on where to take your significant other for a romantic night out, we have suggestions. Need the best inexpensive restaurants, the best places that deliver in New York City, or the best takeout in Los Angeles? We already did the homework. Steakhouses? Best places to celebrate Thanksgiving? We've got 'em. And if you like these, you'll like our Top 10 "Best of" lists as well. See what we've selected as the Sexiest Restaurants in Los Angeles or read about San Francisco's Top 10 Seafood Restaurants.

You might have also noticed that our search and navigation is easier to use. Our restaurant reviews have been designed a little differently, amplified, so they are easier to read and you can get all the upfront information you are looking for—fast.

We're also up on all of the latest restaurant news. No other site has such a comprehensive reading room of what's going on in the restaurant community.

So, many thanks for counting on We're proud to be your official reviewing team and promise to continue to bring you the best possible coverage on the restaurant front at no charge.

The dining room of Jean-Georges restaurant in New York City, one of GAYOT's Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.


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