States with major culinary cities are no stranger to restaurant accolades, but others can be hard-pressed to get a piece of the recognition pie.
OpenTable late last year released its list of the 100 best U.S. restaurants, culled from more than 10 million diner reviews. The spots that made the list churn out a mix of tasty dishes, quality service and attention to detail, according to the reservation service’s website. Here’s a roundup of the restaurants in more unexpected markets that made the cut, grouped by state.
Open since the early eighties, Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Ala., is the only restaurant in Alabama to make the list. Founder and chef Frank Stitt offers a menu inspired by French cuisine but with a Southern twist, such as grits with prosciutto, mushrooms and thyme. The menu incorporates local produce and changes daily based on what is in season.
Three restaurants in Colorado made the list: Carlos’ Bistro in Colorado Springs, Mizuna in Denver and Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone. Each restaurant specializes in a different cuisine, with Carlo’s serving global fare, Mizuna dishing out French cuisine and Ski Tip offering American-style eats. OpenTable diners commend each restaurant’s extensive wine list, ambiance and service—especially at Carlos’, where diners were impressed by its namesake owner and chef greeting and seating them at their tables.
Southern-inspired Antebellum and steakhouse Bones represent Georgia on the list. Located in Flowery Branch, Antebellum features a menu comprising local produce and livestock. Bones in downtown Atlanta offers traditional steakhouse cuisine, as well as a variety of sandwiches and seafood dishes such as seared scallops and crab-stuffed trout.
Originally a beach house, Mama’s Fish Hut in Paia offers traditional Polynesian fare served in an oceanfront setting. Touting a superlocal spin, Mama’s is known for serving fish caught within 24 hours and lists the fisherman who caught the fish and where it was caught on the menu, which rotates daily. While many OpenTable diners mention that the meals are pricey, they say the ocean views and the freshness of the food make up for the expense.
Every Wednesday through Saturday, State and Lemp in Boise offers guests a prix fixe four-course meal comprised of ingredients found throughout the Pacific Northwest. The meals normally cost $105; however, the restaurant hosts a reduced-price meal for $60 every Saturday night. Guests are invited to bring their own wine selection for a corkage fee or can partake in a wine pairing, which—along with the plating presentation—was noted as a favorite among reviewers.
Cafe Provence in Kansas City specializes in French cuisine in a quiet bistro setting. Along with its daily rotating menu, the restaurant hosts a prix fixe meal every Tuesday evening, and offers items to go at its French market around the corner. In addition to the authentic French food, OpenTable reviewers were impressed by Cafe Provence’s cozy and quaint atmosphere.
Since opening its doors in Midway in 2006, Heirloom serves contemporary American cuisine with a full lunch and dinner menu that changes seasonally. Chef-owner Mark Wombles makes an effort to source as many ingredients from Kentucky as possible. The beef tenderloin and tomato bisque were favorites among reviewers.
Both Capital Grill and Joan’s in the Park made the list in Minnesota. Located in St. Paul, OpenTable reviewers were impressed with Joan’s friendly neighborhood atmosphere and service. Located in the heart of the city’s theatre district, Capital Grill’s Minneapolis location offers beef that is dry aged and hand-cut in house. Users can also make reservations, view events, purchase gift cards and see the day’s wine list and sommelier-curated pairings via the restaurant’s app.
Geronimo has been providing fine-dining for Santa Fe for 25 years. The restaurant is known for its global cuisine and features menu items from around the world, including elk tenderloin that is sourced from New Zealand. Reviewers positively noted the quality and presentation of the dishes.
Chez Francois in Cleveland offers guests a rotating seasonal menu as well as themed drink nights such as Thirsty Thursdays and Martini Fridays. Many reviewers praised the concept’s extensive wine list and attentive staff. Across the state, Orchids at Palm Court in Cincinnati serves modern American cuisine with a French twist and a menu that rotates depending on the availability of local ingredients. Also in Cincinnati, Sotto serves up Italian fare during lunch and dinner and includes a gluten-free menu. A standout dish for reviewers was the ricotta donuts.
The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro in Nichols Springs has been open for business since the late ‘80s. Its menu features contemporary American cuisine along with 400 hand-selected wines. OpenTable reviewers, many of whom are regulars at The Metro, praise the restaurant for its consistency in offering great food, wine and service.
Husband and wife team, Andres and Ariana Asti Fernandez, are the duo behind Ariana in Bend. The restaurant, converted from a coffee shop, serves European cuisine made with regional. Reviewers praised the scallops and calamari.
Inside The Rockin’ Crab Cafe in Portland, Roe offers a petit tasting menu and chefs tasting menu comprised of seafood caught and delivered fresh from both coasts. Food is prepared in an open kitchen, and OpenTable reviewers repeatedly comment on the ability of Executive Chef Trent Pierce and Chef de Cuisine Patrick Schultz to take simple fish and transform them into a unique dish.
Castagna in Portland offers two dining options: a seasonal tasting menu with a vegetarian option and an expanded tasting menu. Reviewers were impressed by attention to detail shown in each dish as well as the pairings between flavor and texture.
Located in Oregon wine country, The Painted Lady is surrounded by over 200 wineries. Every winter, the restaurant hosts an experimental dinner series in which a new menu is offered to guests every Wednesday.
Located in Nashville, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen serves contemporary Italian food with a Southern twist. Every last Monday of the month, guests can partake in “no menu Mondays,” where a surprise four-course meal is served for $45 with an optional wine pairing.
In Memphis, Flight Restaurant and Bar offers guests flights of American cuisine. OpenTable reviewers praised the small plates format, saying that it allowed them to try a wide range of dishes.
Guests dining at Bistro San Martin in Arlington have the option of picking dishes from two menus: a regular menu available every day and a fresh sheet menu that changes daily. The restaurant uses farm-to-table ingredients throughout the dishes, and reviewers repeatedly praised its service.
Located just outside of Seattle in Kirkland, Cafe Juanita specializes in northern Italian cuisine. According to their website, 90 percent of raw ingredients used in the meals are organic.
Offering only vegan and vegetarian dishes, Harvest Beat in Wallingford offers prix fixe five- course meals Wednesday through Sunday. With sustainability in mind, the restaurant composts all of its food scraps and uses eco-friendly paint and furniture made from recycled materials.