2020 Best Molecular Gastronomy Restaurants in the U.S.A.

Hugo's in Portland, Maine, presents avant-garde farm-to-table cuisine

Top 10 Modernist Cuisines in America

Molecular gastronomy — in which avant-garde cooking techniques and equipment are used to transform flavors and presentations — may be a divisive issue within the culinary community.

However, let there be no doubt that some chefs create molecular cuisine that is not only thought-provoking but also pleasing to the palate. Experience the best of this exciting epicurean frontier at these Top 10 Molecular Gastronomy Restaurants in the U.S., presented in alphabetical order.

 

1/

Alinea

Modern American, Progressive, Molecular
Alinea
18/20

Those who secure one of the highly sought-after tables at Alinea in Chicago are treated to the culinary wizardry of chef Grant Achatz. It's not fair to spoil the surprise by revealing what to expect on this molecular gastronomy journey. This is an evening of suspense with an ending that's as whimsical as it is delicious. See More

View Restaurant
Atelier Crenn
18/20

Chef Dominique Crenn's tasting menu at Atelier Crenn in San Francisco is written in the form of a poem where each line is the evocation of a dish. The memorable meal unfolds with luxurious ingredients, molecular techniques and unique presentations (wood logs as serving vessels, for example). See More

View Restaurant

3/

Baume

French, Contemporary, Molecular
Baume
16/20

At Baumé, there is a seamless balance between molecular gastronomy and modern French cuisine — foam, spheres and dry ice find their place in executive chef Bruno Chemel's repertoire. See More

View Restaurant
EL Ideas
15/20

A sense of whimsy prevails at Chicago's EL Ideas, featuring just a few in-demand tables. Molecular gastronomy techniques pop up in courses like a take on nachos with A5 Wagyu, black bean and avocado. See More

View Restaurant

5/

Hugo's

Contemporary, New American, Molecular
Hugo's
15/20

Local ingredients and modern techniques combine to make the avant-garde farm-to-table cuisine at Hugo's in Portland. Globetrotting options might range from pork chop bo ssäm with gochujang emulsion to a sangria dessert with tonic bubbles, mixed berry "Dippin' Dots" and peach curd. See More

Book a Table

View Restaurant
California, New American, Progressive
Juniper & Ivy
14/20

Executive chef Anthony Wells taps into molecular gastronomy on his playful, ever-changing menu at Juniper & Ivy in San Diego. See More

Book a Table

View Restaurant
minibar by José Andrés
16/20

At minibar by José Andrés in Washington, D.C., the lucky few patrons are treated to an avant-garde tasting menu of more than 20 courses. Creative bites might range from Parmesan cupcakes to "Pizza José's Way" (a wafer-thin crust topped with burrata, caviar and truffles) to a "Rubber Ducky" meringue filled with foie gras ice cream. See More

View Restaurant
Saint Germain
13/20

Is it a step into the past or a bold move into modernist times? Saint Germain in Norfolk, Virginia, plays it both ways with a romantic, opulent setting and a molecular gastronomy lab's wizardry. Classic charcuterie coexists with New Age dishes with components that might hail from a chamber vacuum or a rotary evaporator. See More

View Restaurant
Schwa
16/20

Foodies pack this small, artsy (and, sometimes, irreverent) Chicago spot for impressive avant-American fare from chef/proprietor Michael Carlson. Memorable bites at Schwa may include an oyster encased in a 7 Up soda sphere. See More

View Restaurant
Travail Kitchen and Amusements
15/20

Travail's Basement Bar, part of the three-story space of Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, serves à la carte dishes with touches of molecular gastronomy, along with cocktails, vibations (spirit-free beverages), beer and wine. See More

View Restaurant