Best Restaurants in America for 2017
The year 2017 brought some significant changes to the realm of fine dining in the U.S.
We mourned the shuttering of Tru in Chicago and SAAM at The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles, both previous honorees of GAYOT’s top restaurant awards. The spirit of reinvention, an imperative motif in the culinary world, was embodied by Eleven Madison Park as the New York restaurant embarked on a renovation to fortify its future and continued success.
Meanwhile, stalwart chefs across America persevered in their pursuit of culinary innovation through refined techniques and pristine ingredients sourced from near and far. We’re proud to honor these excellent establishments on GAYOT’s 2017 Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., presented in alphabetical order.
1. Addison | Chef William Bradley
San Diego, CA
Seasonal haute cuisine, professional service, fine cuisine and opulent décor make for a sensory evening at Addison at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Chef William Bradley’s dishes are built around whatever produce is at its peak.
2. Alinea | Chef Grant Achatz
Chicago’s Alinea continues to be a paragon of innovation, thanks to the culinary wizardry of Grant Achatz and business savvy of Nick Kokonas. Patrons can look forward to an evening of suspense with an ending that’s as whimsical as it is delicious.
3. Atelier Crenn | Chef Dominique Crenn
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn is a canvas for the artistic self expression of chef Dominique Crenn. The menu is written in the form of a poem, while the unusual plates, silverware and dishes (a wood log, for example) put forth unique presentations.
4. Aubergine | Chef Justin Cogley
California’s coastal town Carmel-by-the-Sea is charming in its own right, but gourmands especially should make the trip to visit Aubergine. At this intimate restaurant inside L’Auberge Carmel, executive chef Justin Cogley delights diners with abalone, caviar and other delicacies from the deep.
• Read the full review of Aubergine restaurant.
5. Blue Hill at Stone Barns | Chef Dan Barber
Encompassing a working farm, education center and restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York, is the embodiment of chef/co-owner Dan Barber’s culinary activist spirit. Much of the food served in the restaurant comes straight from the grounds, and the result is impossibly fresh tasting fare with little complication.
6. Chef Mavro | Chef George Mavrothalassitis
Honolulu fine-dining restaurant Chef Mavro is changing things up after nearly two decades, introducing an à la carte menu. Never fear, though, for the illustrious Hawaii Regional Cuisine of chef-owner George Mavrothalassitis can still be enjoyed in a grand tasting.
• Read the full review of Chef Mavro restaurant.
7. Daniel | Chef Daniel Boulud
New York, NY
Chef Daniel Boulud oversees more than a dozen restaurants worldwide, of which his eponymous NYC fine-dining establishment Daniel is the apex. The French contemporary cuisine beguiles as a blend of informed hominess and truffle-steeped excess.
8. Eleven Madison Park | Chef Daniel Humm
New York, NY
Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara recently unveiled a new look for Eleven Madison Park in NYC. In this understated, sophisticated setting, patrons savor a tasting menu that pays homage to New York’s local ingredients and longstanding culinary traditions.
• Read the full review for Eleven Madison Park restaurant.
9. Everest | Chef Jean Joho
French refinement profoundly endures at Everest, which overlooks the Chicago skyline from its 40th floor vantage point. Chef-proprietor Jean Joho’s Alsatian roots are evident from the creative cuisine to the wine list.
Congratulations to Everest for returning to GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list.
• Read the full review of Everest restaurant.
• Watch our exclusive video interview with chef Jean Joho.
• Chef Jean Joho was 2012 GAYOT’s Best Restaurateur in the U.S.
10. Frasca Food and Wine | Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson
Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, takes diners on a journey through the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Chef/co-owner Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson’s Northern Italian fare is masterfully complemented by co-owner Bobby Stuckey’s show-stopping wine list.
• Read the full review for Frasca Food and Wine restaurant.
11. The French Laundry | Chef Thomas Keller
The French Laundry, chef-proprietor Thomas Keller’s iconic Yountville destination, attracts epicurean pilgrims from around the globe. The famed “Oysters and Pearls,” “sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar, is just the beginning of a meal that will long linger in memory.
Keller is the only U.S. chef to have two restaurants featured on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., with GAYOT’s highest rating of 19 out of 20 for both of them (the other being New York’s Per Se).
• Read the full review for The French Laundry restaurant.
• Read the full review for Per Se restaurant.
• Watch our exclusive video interview with chef Thomas Keller.
• Chef Thomas Keller was GAYOT’s 2013 Best Restaurateur in the U.S.
12. Gabriel Kreuther
New York, NY
Chef Gabriel Kreuther‘s Alsatian artistry is on display at his eponymous establishment in New York. After being featured on GAYOT’s Best New Restaurants in the U.S. in 2016, Gabriel Kreuther restaurant has ascended to GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. for the first time.
Divided into two sections — a more casual bar area with a menu showing off Kreuther’s renowned tartes flambées, and a beautiful, airy main room — the luxe restaurant beckons with a gastronomic experience that reinvents Manhattan fine dining.
• Read the full review of Gabriel Kreuther restaurant.
13. Georgian Room | Chef Julian Scheibel
Sea Island, GA
With its exquisitely turned-out room and professional service, it’s no wonder that heads of state have graced the Georgian Room at The Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia. Chef Julian Scheibel’s striking contemporary fare highlights pristine foodstuffs from local suppliers.
The elegant Georgian Room makes its reappearance on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list.
• Read the full review of Georgian Room restaurant.
14. Grace | Chef Curtis Duffy
Editor’s Note: Chef Curtis Duffy and general manager Michael Muser have since announced their departure from Grace on December 20, 2017. The restaurant has closed.
We include this excerpt from Duffy’s statement: “It is, therefore, with heartfelt gratitude that we announce our departure from Grace. While incredibly difficult to step away, it became evident that our evolving goals and aspirations were no longer aligned with the restaurant and its future, making this change necessary.”
We look forward to their future endeavors!
A breathtaking culinary experience is in store at Grace, chef Curtis Duffy‘s refined New American restaurant in Chicago. His innovative tasting menus, themed around “Flora” and “Fauna,” utilize vessels and plates that add to the wonderment.
• Read the full review of Grace restaurant.
15. The Inn at Little Washington | Chef Patrick O’Connell
Few chefs have a stronger culinary personality and style in the U.S. than self-taught chef Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington, situated 67 miles outside Washington, D.C. His imaginative contemporary American cuisine features signature dishes such as the whimsical “A Tin of Sin,” osetra caviar with sweet crab and cucumber rillette.
• Read the full review of The Inn at Little Washington.
16. Jean-Georges | Chef Vongerichten
New York, NY
At Jean-Georges in New York, the centerpiece of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s empire, guests can expect the highest quality ingredients and risk-taking dishes. His signature egg caviar and sea urchin lightly breaded with black bread crumbs are part of his sophisticated anthology.
• Read the full review of Jean-Georges restaurant.
• Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was GAYOT’s 2016 Best Restaurateur in the U.S.
• Watch our exclusive video interview with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
17. Joël Robuchon Restaurant
Las Vegas, NV
• Read André Gayot’s tribute to the Chef of the Century
Chef Joël Robuchon was one of the few who have made contemporary gastronomy what it is today, and the Las Vegas restaurant offers a grand experience. Executive chef Christophe De Lellis leads a talented kitchen team.
• Read the full review of Joël Robuchon Restaurant
18. L’Espalier | Chef Frank McClelland
Boston’s L’Espalier is the kind of dining experience most patrons reserve for big-number birthdays, anniversaries or business deals. Chef/proprietor Frank McClelland offers creative New American-French cuisine in stylish environs.
• Read the full review for L’Espalier restaurant
19. La Folie | Chef Roland Passot
San Francisco, CA
Chef Roland Passot established La Folie in 1988, and the San Francisco restaurant has served as a bastion for his elegant yet whimsical French cuisine ever since. He displays a particular talent for combining intriguing flavors and textures.
This is a homecoming for La Folie as it returns to GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.
• Read the full review for La Folie restaurant
20. La Toque | Chef Ken Frank
At La Toque in The Westin Verasa Napa hotel, chef Ken Frank demonstrates a passion for ingredients and attention to detail. A short stroll away lies an extensive chef’s garden and orchard that provides inspiration for his precise plates.
• Read the full review of La Toque restaurant
21. Le Bernardin | Chef Eric Ripert
New York, NY
Chef Eric Ripert works his Neptune-like charms with seafood at Le Bernardin. The restaurant has been a highlight of the New York dining scene since Maguy Le Coze and her late brother Gilbert opened it in 1986.
• Read the full review of Le Bernardin restaurant
22. Manresa | Chef David Kinch
Los Gatos, CA
Venture to the quaint town of Los Gatos, California, located outside San Jose, for an introspective eating experience courtesy of Manresa chef David Kinch. Local farms supply most of the restaurant’s produce, conceptually represented in Kinch’s star dish, “Into the Vegetable Garden.”
• Read the full restaurant review of Manresa
23. Mélisse | Chef Josiah Citrin
Santa Monica, CA
Mélisse in Santa Monica endows the Los Angeles area with a top-end French gastronomic experience. A California native, chef Josiah Citrin was partially trained in Paris and brings the two culinary cultures together by sourcing the choicest produce and herbs from the Santa Monica farmers market.
• Read the full review of Mélisse restaurant
24. Menton | Chef Barbara Lynch
French-Italian cuisine is elevated to another level at Menton. Owner-chef Barbara Lynch, one of GAYOT’s Best Female Chefs in the U.S., has made the Boston restaurant a hot fine-dining destination.
This year marks the return of Menton to GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.
25. Michael Mina
San Francisco, CA
A meal at Michael Mina’s flagship restaurant in San Francisco is more than just exquisite Modern American food — it is a complete dining experience that combines culinary presentation, refined service and well-curated wine choices.
• Read the full review for Michael Mina restaurant
26. NAOE | Chef Kevin Cory
At NAOE, a little omakase oasis in Miami, Japanese/sushi chef Kevin Cory treats diners to a cultural and culinary revelation they’ll be thinking about for years. Among the roughly 20 courses might be delicately firm petals of raw cobia, with fish roe and fresh wasabi, or meltingly tender slow-simmered pork jowl with parsnip mustard (a preparation that takes roughly 50 hours).
• Read the full review of NAOE restaurant
27. Patina | Chef Andreas Roller
Los Angeles, CA
Patina in downtown Los Angeles is the crown jewel of the culinary empire of chef/restaurateur Joachim Splichal. After years of dedicated service, Andreas Roller has assumed the executive chef role and assures that diners experience a luxurious gourmet experience.
• Read the full review of Patina restaurant
28. Per Se | Chef Thomas Keller
New York, NY
Making a triumphant return to GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list, Per Se in New York boasts a wealth of creativity and meticulousness that continually re-defines the concept of haute cuisine.
Chef Thomas Keller is the only U.S. chef to have two restaurants featured on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., with GAYOT’s highest rating of 19 out of 20 for both of them (the other being The French Laundry in Yountville, California).
29. Picasso | Chef Julian Serrano
Las Vegas, NV
Picasso in Las Vegas boasts views of Bellagio’s dancing fountains and prized original paintings from the master. Since the restaurant’s namesake artist spent much of his life in the South of France and Spain, those are the culinary influences chef Julian Serrano follows for his dramatically presented dishes.
• Read the full review of Picasso restaurant
30. Providence | Chef Michael Cimarusti
Los Angeles, CA
Chef Michael Cimarusti has expanded with other projects in Los Angeles (Connie and Ted’s, Best Girl, etc.), but Providence remains the city’s premier seafood destination. Patrons are treated to dishes like scrambled eggs with uni and a tableside presentation of salt-roasted Santa Barbara spot prawns.
31. Restaurant Guy Savoy
Las Vegas, NV
For the first time, this restaurant has achieved the highest rating possible on GAYOT, 19 out of 20.
Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is the only place in America to savor the cuisine of the celebrated French chef Guy Savoy, one of the pioneers of “Nouvelle Cuisine.” Executive chef Julien Asseo bears the responsibility of overseeing this temple of gastronomy — and he lives up to expectations.
• Read the full review of Restaurant Guy Savoy
32. The Restaurant at Meadowood | Chef Christopher Kostow
St. Helena, CA
At Napa Valley dining destination The Restaurant at Meadowood, chef Christopher Kostow and his crew present a cavalcade of courses tailored to each guest’s tastes. Even dishes with seemingly modest ingredients are complex and unforgettable delicacies.
• Read the full review of The Restaurant at Meadowood
33. Restaurant Nicholas | Chef Nicholas Harary
Red Bank, NJ
Chef/owner Nicholas Harary and his wife Melissa present a very fine dining experience at Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey. Expect a blend of sophisticated surroundings, professional service and remarkable New American food crafted from the best products the time of year has to offer.
• Read the full review of Restaurant Nicholas
34. Saison | Chef Joshua Skenes
San Francisco, CA
At Saison in San Francisco, diners are greeted by a stack of wood that feeds the hearth, which features prominently in the cooking philosophy of chef Joshua Skenes. The dining room only seats 18, and the intimacy helps preserve the quality of this gourmet gastronomic affair.
• Read the full review of Saison restaurant
35. SingleThread Farm – Restaurant – Inn | Chef Kyle Connaughton
SingleThread Farm – Restaurant – Inn in Healdsburg, California, showcases the prodigious cooking and farming talents of Kyle and Katina Connaughton, respectively. There is a consistent, well-integrated Japanese influence in the dishes, which arrive in serving pieces of custom and handmade design sourced from Japan.
Only open since the end of 2016, this newcomer makes its debut on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.
36. Studio | Chef Craig Strong
Laguna Beach, CA
EDITOR’S NOTE: CHEF CRAIG STRONG IS NO LONGER EXECUTIVE CHEF AT STUDIO
Chef Craig Strong’s French cuisine with local, seasonal influences works wonderfully well at Studio, as its home, the Montage Laguna Beach, is an ode to the sophisticated California lifestyle and palate. The setting is also impressive, as the restaurant sits atop a gorgeous bluff with panoramic views of South Laguna’s incomparable shore.
• Read the full review of Studio restaurant
37. Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Las Vegas, NV
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, located in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, has the distinction of being the only U.S. restaurant from this French fusion cuisine pioneer. The restaurant is small by Las Vegas standards, but the intimate size ensures consistent quality.
38. Vetri | Chef Marc Vetri
In the intimate setting of Vetri in Philadelphia, guests enjoy the earthy, eloquent and ambitious Italian food of chef Marc Vetri. His influences span from his Sicilian grandmother to kitchens in Italy, where he studied for years.
• Read the full review of Vetri restaurant
39. Vie | Chef Paul Virant
Western Springs, IL
Vie in Western Springs, Illinois, a suburb outside Chicago, is where chef-owner Paul Virant presents his innovative and artful American cuisine. He’s particularly touted for his pickling, canning and aigre-doux techniques, which are seamlessly incorporated into dishes that, at their root, are familiar.
• Read the full review of Vie restaurant
40. The Willows Inn | Chef Blaine Wetzel
Lummi Island, WA
A meal at The Willows Inn is well worth the two-hour journey from Seattle to Lummi Island. Chef Blaine Wetzel’s vision of “food telling a story of the land” breaks new ground in celebratory tasting menus with inventive combinations, unconventional flavors and out-of-the-box presentations.
• Read the full review for The Willows Inn restaurant