Clean Plate Awards

Top chefs share their favorite restaurant dishes of the year

Once again, we’ve gathered an esteemed panel of industry insiders to name the restaurant dishes they enjoyed most over the last year—the ones that literally made them clean their plates. In 2013, these expert eaters sampled from menus close to home and around the country and the world, discovering new tastes and returning to familiar flavors. They sat down to elaborate tasting menus, visited family-run ethnic eateries and stopped at holes-in-the-wall for a special doughnut or pork bun. While tripe, live spot prawns and sea urchin made it to the top of their lists, simple, everyday fare also scored high. This was a big year for pizza, burgers, tacos and roast chicken. Bowls of comfort, like ramen, matzo ball soup and lobster bisque were favorites, too. As one panel member stated, “I live and breathe ‘refined cuisine’ ... and a steady diet of culinary perfection … so when I go out, I enjoy simple, natural and flavorful foods.”

All Chef Picks
Top dishes: Akamaru Modern Ramen, Squab With Ash, Okra, Pudding and Silk, and Whole Rabbit Roulade With Oyster Mushrooms.
Top dishes: Salad of Compressed Melon and Fig, Werp Greens, Feta and Roasted Pine Nuts, Hamburger, Salt and Pepper Squid, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
Top dishes: Guacamole, Wood-fired Lamb, Broccoli Soup, and Arugula Pizza.
Top dishes: Margherita Pizza, Crudo Tasting, Lengua Taco & Juevos Rancheros, Kurobuta Kakuni, Housemade Curried Mozzarella, and Lobster Roll.
Top dishes: Veal Meatballs, Lobster Roll, Poblano Tacos, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and Double Double Animal.
Top dishes: Scallops, Lamb Burger, Sea Urchin Clásico, and Birrieria.
Top dishes: Marinated Grilled Octopus, JW Roasted Chicken, Salumi and Funghi Pizza, Bucatini, and Fricassée of Escargot.
Top dishes: Sautéed Calamari Korean-style, Carnitas Dinner, Sidecar, and Red Kuri Squash Vadouvan.
Top dishes: Oysters on the Half Shell, Pork Four Ways, T-bone Steak, Hamburger, and Pizza.
Top dishes: Hot Pastrami Bruxie, Kobe Style Yakiniku Set, and Buffalo Chicken Flatbread