When diners want to visit the hottest place in town, which restaurants are going to top their lists? Here, based on 10 million reviews of more than 24,000 restaurants, is the 100 Hot Spot list, OpenTable's annual compilation of the establishments that are must-visit places for anyone in the know. The ranking varies from similar lists in that factors like entertainment, energy, ambience and buzz are weighed along with usual criteria like food quality.
Categorized by state, here are the public's must-visit places for an upbeat experience.
Texas de Brazil, Birmingham
This Brazilian steakhouse chain offers menu items such as cuts of lamb, chicken, pork and beef that are cooked over an open flame and carved tableside by gauchos. Diners are also able to create their own salad at the seasonal salad bar, which includes over 50 toppings.
Culinary Dropout, Tempe
Culinary Dropout combines live music and backyard games in a gastropub setting. The Tempe location also hosts events throughout the year such as its brunch and yoga series.
SumoMaya Mexican-Asian Kitchen, Scottsdale
Opened in 2014, SumoMaya serves Latin American- and Asian-fusion tapas. Most of the menu items include locally sourced ingredients. During the weekends, guests can also enjoy a bottomless mimosa and plates brunch and a late-night menu.
The Mission, Scottsdale
Tableside guacamole is one of the favorite dishes ordered by OpenTable Diners off The Mission’s modern-Latin-cuisine-inspired menu. The restaurant is dimly lit and includes a Himalayan salt block wall that is illuminated from behind.
- Culinary Dropout, Scottsdale
- Don & Charlie’s, Scottsdale
- Mastro’s Ocean Club, Scottsdale
- Steak 44, Phoenix
Perch, Los Angeles
Located on the 15th and 16th floors of a building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Perch offers French-inspired cuisine set to the backdrop of the city. The restaurant is known for its Jazz and Oyster Wednesdays, where servers bring a shucking cart to tables while live jazz music plays in the background.
Toca Madera, West Hollywood
Toca Madera offers guests Mexican-inspired shareable plates made from locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant’s 100-foot bar includes over 100 tequilas, and a live DJ is playing music most nights. Vegan diners are able to choose from a separate vegan dinner and brunch menu.
Originally opened in 1972, Yoshi’s began as a small sushi bar and became known over the years for its live Jazz. The restaurant and music venue now offers a post-dinner show most nights of the week.
- Barton G. The Restaurant, Los Angeles
- Broadway by Amar Santana, Laguna Beach
- Eight4Nine, Palm Springs
- Ink, West Hollywood
- Ironside Fish & Oyster, San Diego
- Juniper & Ivy, San Diego
- The Nest, Indian Wells
- Officine Brera, Los Angeles
- Pump, West Hollywood
- Trio Restaurant, Palm Springs
- The Tropicale, Palm Springs
- Vaca, Costa Mesa
Mercantile Dining and Provision, Denver
Mercantile Dining and Provision utilizes an open kitchen layout and emphasizes farm to fork cuisine with many of the ingredients being sourced from the restaurant’s dairy farm. Guests can buy select ingredients used in the dishes at the restaurant’s in-house artisanal market.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, Denver
Housed in a building that was once a brothel, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a combination restaurant, bar and live music venue outfitted with a boudoir style. The restaurant’s menu offers a mix of shared dishes and small plates such as flatbreads and wagyu beef sliders.
Root Down, Denver
The restaurant serves global cuisine and aims to be inclusive of all dietary needs, serving gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and raw small plates. Along with the food quality, OpenTable reviewers commented positively on the restaurant’s retro atmosphere and decor, which includes floor-to-ceiling garage doors.
- Acorn, Denver
Barton G. The Restaurant, Miami Beach
Describing itself as a restaurant that combines “fine dining with fun dining”, Barton G. serves traditional comfort foods with an over-the-top-presentation. Drinks are not left out of the avant-garde theme, as the restaurant’s bar has a series of below-zero nitro-bar cocktails.
Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando
Known for its sangria, Cafe Tu Tu Tango serves scratch-made tapas in an artsy environment. Throughout the meal, diners can watch live dancers, puppeteers, singers and an array of other entertainers perform in front of their tables.
Raglan Road Irish Pub, Orlando
Before making its way to its final resting place in Orlando, Raglan’s was first constructed in Ireland and then shipped overseas. The pub opened its doors in 2005 and continues to offer live Irish music, dancing and food seven nights a week.
- The Bazaar by Jose Andres South Beach, Miami Beach
- Bistro 821, Naples
- Brava Cucina Italiana, Naples
- Buccan, Palm Beach
- Campiello, Naples
- The Continental, Naples
- El Camino Mexican Soul Food & Tequila Bar, Delray Beach
- Grato, West Palm Beach
- Kaluz Restaurant, Fort Lauderdale
- Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria, Fort Lauderdale
- Selva Grill, Sarasota
- Shore Diner, Sarasota
- Ulele, Tampa
- YOLO, Fort Lauderdale
The Grey, Savannah
Operating out of a restored 1938 Greyhound bus terminal, The Grey provides guests with dishes inspired by Southern cuisine. The restaurant also hosts monthly pop-up dinners and events often centered on philanthropy.
This Southern-Asian-fusion eatery sources its fish both locally and from fish markets in Tokyo and Hawaii. OpenTable diners were impressed with the view from the restaurant’s rooftop patio.
Two Urban Licks, Atlanta
Two Urban Licks serves American fare in an industrial-themed atmosphere. The restaurant offers nightly live blues, and a majority of the dishes are cooked in the 9-foot front-of-house wood pit rotisserie.
Located in downtown Chicago, ingredients used in Carnivale’s Latin-American cuisine are often sourced on-site from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. OpenTable reviewers repeatedly commented on the restaurant’s fun and lively decor.
Girl & the Goat, Chicago
Diners at Girl & the Goat have numerous seating options available to them including lounge seats and seats right in front of the kitchen. Led by Excutive Chef Stephanie Izard, the restaurant serves American-style tapas.
STK Chicago, Chicago
A combination between a steakhouse and lounge, STK offers cuts of steak in a club-like atmosphere. The restaurant has a live DJ most nights and includes space for dancing. OpenTable diners repeatedly praised the attentive service.
Union 50, Indianapolis
Housed in a former bricklayers union hall, the industrial-style lounge, bar and restaurant is popular with diners both for its menu of cheffy food and craft cocktails and its entertainment-forward atmosphere. While dining on American fare like smoked pork chops and lamb sugo, guests can watch live music on a small stage near the host stand, or play the tabletop shuffleboard and Skee-Ball games in another area of the dining room.
To emphasize its dedication to serving fresh, seasonal fare that is locally sourced, Vida runs out of an open kitchen, complete with a hydroponic plant wall for guests to see. From local Cunningham Restaurant Group, the high-end restaurant serves up both an a la carte menu and a five-course tasting, all offered in a wood-slatted dining room, complete with a two-sided fireplace.
Centro Restaurant, Des Moines
This Masonic temple-turned-contemporary Italian restaurant is known for large portions of pizzas, housemade pastas, calzones and more. In addition to being a popular date-night locale, it’s become a hot spot among business lunchers, say many reviews, as Centro is often noted for its speedy but friendly service.
Tony’s of Lexington, Lexington
It’s got some salads and a raw bar, but Tony’s is known mostly for one thing: beef that is cut and trimmed in house before being broiled. The downtown spot has a large wine-and-bourbon-slinging bar, occupying one side of its first level, while the upstairs space is held mainly for weekend overflow and events.
Three Muses, New Orleans
It’s not easy to stand out in a dining mecca such as New Orleans, and this small bar and restaurant manages to do so with its space for jazz artists to perform on the famed Frenchmen street (with a second, slightly larger location that opened in fall 2016 in Uptown). The intimate dinner-only restaurant, with tables packed in close together, serves up small plates of internationally inspired cuisine such as lamb sliders and banh mi fish tacos. Diners looking to plunk down and enjoy music all night are out of luck, though; Three Muses has a strict 1.5-hour dining policy.
La Cuchara, Baltimore
Rustic pinxtos, tapas and other wood-fired cuisine inspired by the Basque area make up the menu of this Baltimore jaunt. Housed in a former manufacturing factory, the space is big (about 8,500 square feet), but it’s laid out as three sections to divide it up—a center area that houses a large bar and an open kitchen with a custom-designed grill divides the two dining areas, both of which have a casual vibe—giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a full meal or sit for a few small bites at the bar.
Beat Brasserie (aka Beat Hotel), Cambridge
Located in Harvard Square, the American bar and restaurant has an artsy vibe, complete with trippy, 60s-style art and a space for live jazz, blues and other music. The Bohemian-vibe space appeals to a wide range of diners; the menu lists classic bar foods such as nachos and a burger along with some more on-trend dishes like Buffalo cauliflower and vegetarian-friendly Earthly Delight bowls, plus wine on tap and a range of craft cocktails.
Capo Restaurant, South Boston
Capo may be slinging pasta and other rustic Italian classics, but its two big bars with a large wine selection, including house options on tap, are a real draw for diners. Open for just over a year, Capo—translated in Italian to “boss”—features a front, tiled room and a back room that is all about wood: wood planks on the walls and ceilings, salvaged wood banquettes, wood-burning fireplaces and wood-fired pizza on the menu.
Strip by Strega, Boston
Located in the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, this modern Italian steakhouse from local restaurateur Nick Varano has a bit of a high-end club feel, with curved white booths and what Zagat calls a “Vegas-style sparkle.” Known as more of a special-occasion spot, the menu lists traditional raw bar offerings, tartares and carpaccios, antipasto, seafood and classic steak cuts served with house truffle butter.
The setting is configured for comfort—“a modern take on an old world tavern experience,” in the words of the proprietors—with the excitement and edginess coming in the food and drinks. The daily menu of the downtown Detroit establishment is seasonal, with a spotlight on local ingredients and a nose-to-tail use of animal proteins. Specialties might include a steak of locally grown pork, charred and dressed with Michigan cherries and apples. Yet the experience is intended to be a comfortable adventure—“we’re just friends cooking for friends,” as Republic’s motto attests.
Texas de Brazil, Detroit
The local branch of the Brazilian churrascaria chain is a downtown hit and one of several Latino steak concepts to be highly scored in the Midwest.
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
The story behind the nationally acclaimed restaurant is almost as celebrated as the food: A local boy introduced to the industry as a Subway employee leapfrogs his way from French restaurant to French restaurant, eventually studying under European star Marco Pierre White before heading back to the States for a gig under America’s French legend, Daniel Boulud. But, homesick, Gavin Kaysen returns to Minneapolis and opens Spoon and Stable in a 100-plus-year-old former horse stable. He indulges his French fine-dining instincts by taking advantage of a bounty of ingredients from the Upper Midwest, making his venture one of the most buzz-generating establishments of recent years.
The Butcher & the Boar, 4 Bells, Minneapolis
The elements behind the 5-year-old restaurant are simple: local ingredients served in a communal setting lubricated with quality bourbons and beers. The emphasis at Butcher & the Boar is on high-craft meats, including housemade sausages and charcuterie. The seafood-rich low country cuisine of South Carolina is the focus of the meat house’s younger sister, 4 Bells.
Chino Latino, Minneapolis
A granddaddy of the Minnesota dining scene, the brainchild of local multiconcept operator Parasole Restaurant Holdings continues to morph with the times. In its 17th year, the menu of highly spiced dishes is being recast with recipes gleaned from a monthslong trek through Southeast Asia, with stops first in New York City. The result is what co-founder Phil Roberts calls the most significant reiteration of the teenaged brand.
- Fogo de Chao, Minneapolis
Prasino, St. Charles
The emphasis at the St. Louis-area restaurant is on ecological friendliness (the name is Greek for “green”), with a farm-to-fork menu of hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, sustainable seafood and organic produce and eggs. Prasino serves all three meals, starting with an egg- and baked-good-heavy morning menu. Midday, the emphasis switches to familiar hand-held foods (burgers and sandwiches) as well as salads, available with a protein for an upcharge.
Dinner selections range from tacos to sushi, steaks and wood-grilled chicken.
One unusual feature is the organization of the menu, particularly at lunch. The categories include Green (salads, including several that are veggie-based), Big (harissa chicken, salmon), Hands On (burgers) and Tacos (including chorizo seitan and short rib).
Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Las Vegas
In true Las Vegas form, this salute to a classic supper club is packed with over-the-top touches, be it the caviar tacos, the spontaneous entertainment (a tap dancer may suddenly appear out of nowhere), or the bathroom tucked away in a private area. The place is less celebrated for its food than for its cocktails, but it’s the whole scene, an ambience dripping with the exotic, that seems to be the true draw.
STK, Las Vegas
Elsewhere in The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino is the Las Vegas outpost of STK, the steakhouse concept that strives to be upscale without being stuffy. The bar is the energy epicenter, but chef Stephen Hopcraft has given the One Hospitality holding a serious yet decadent menu. Signatures include two lobster tails that are coated in Rice Crispies for the crispness and served with green chili aoli.
Tao, Las Vegas
The Las Vegas branch of the restaurant-nightclub chain generates about $48 million annually in sales—the highest of any restaurant in the nation—through a layered approach. Customers can eat, have a martini, throw back shots, enjoy the music, star gawk, wander from interior place to interior place, or all of the above. The facility is huge, but so is the volume (nearly 23,000 meals served per year) and the reasons to stay on premise rather than pump money into another joint on the Strip.
The Empire State boasts nine restaurants in the Hot 100, but don’t expect them all to be in New York City. Consider this Buffalo draw, a place that uses the bountiful agricultural output of central upstate, as residents call it, to evoke the flavors and prep styles of the Deep South. The beverage selections are similarly far-reaching, extending from Louisiana-style daiquiris to cider.
Besito Mexican, Huntington
Eleven years ago, chef John Tunney decided to distill what he’d learned eating his way across Mexico into a restaurant using fresh ingredients to duplicate the flavors he’d found. Today there are six Besitos, including one in Huntington, a Long Island bedroom community for New York City commuters. Dishes familiar to the most casual of Mexican-food fans, from flautas to fresh guacamole, share space on the menu with such upscale alternatives as pistachio-crusted salmon and baby back ribs cooked “Sonoran-style,” or slow-cooked with an agave-chipotle and lime glaze.
Beauty & Essex, New York City
Yes, another pawn-shop-and-fine-dining-restaurant mashup—in this case, the original. The Beauty & Essex formula—combining the down-and-out feel of an actual working pawn shop with the decadence of a Gilded Age club—has worked so well for Tao Group that the king of restaurant-nightclub combos now boasts three Beauty & Essex locations.
The original, located in the once-seedy Lower East Side of New York City, consists of four dining rooms, two bars and the pawn shop, which patrons walk through en route to the restaurant component. The menu ranges from a tomato tartare appetizer to a $65 bone-in ribeye.
- Blend on the Water, Long Island City
- Buddakan NY, New York City
- Red Rooster Harlem, New York City
- Tao Uptown, New York City
- Tao Downtown, New York City
- Vandal, New York City
Bida Manda, Raleigh
Cocktails share marquee booking with the food in this Laotian restaurant and bar in Raleigh. The liquid signatures include a pho broth and moonshine blend, served hot, and a mash of bourbon, rosemary, tangerine and lemon.
The food specialties include a whole local fish, with the species dependent on availablilty, and a crispy pork belly soup.
The first solo venture of locally acclaimed chef Matthew Kelly, most recently of Vin Rouge, features what the restaurant describes as “Spanish small plates with a Southern inflection.” The selections include a Spanish deviled egg served with chorizo, pickled white anchovies and barbecued-pork “croqueta” served with an Alabama white sauce.
The wine list is dominated by sherry selection, both dry and sweet.
The second restaurant from James Beard nominee Jose Salazar offers both traditional and modern foods from Spain and Latin America, including tapas, ceviches and cured hams. The 130-seat restaurant in the heart of downtown combines modern architecture and 25-foot windows with more classic elements such as colorful Moorish tiles.
The Twisted Olive, Green
The restaurant occupies a former lodge on 10 acres of property within Southgate Park and federally protected land. Along with classic Italian American fare, diners can enjoy a view of the park and some of its lakes.
Forno Kitchen + Bar, Columbus
This restaurant and bar in the city’s Short North Arts District is quite literally hot, thanks to the large stone-fired oven that serves as its centerpiece as well as its namesake (“Forno” means “oven” in Italian). The oven is also a main thoroughfare for many of Forno’s dishes, which include pizzas, burgers and other American cuisine.
- The Avenue Steak Tavern, Columbus
- E+O Kitchen, Cincinnati
- The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
- Michael Symon's Lola Bistro, Cleveland
- Nada, Cincinnati
- The Pearl, Columbus
Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland
The eatery’s perch atop the historic Meier & Frank building offers panoramic views of the city and Mount St. Helens to go along with its modern Asian cuisine. Executive Chef Gregory Gourdet pairs traditional Asian ingredients and cooking techniques with the “bounty of the Pacific Northwest” to create unique dishes.
The Millworks, Harrisburg
The building itself was cobbled together with bits of history—reclaimed lumber from a former millery, the bricks of a farmhouse and the side of a Pennsylvania railroad car—and is headed for the National Park Service Register of Historic Places. Housed within the bricolage are a brewery, a biergarten and three art galleries along with the restaurant, which serves sustainable, all-local dishes.
This seafood restaurant is modelled after an Aegean Estiatorio, a Greek eatery that is more upscale than the casual taverna. Fresh fish, shellfish and crustaceans are flown in daily from the Mediterranean and North Atlantic and prepared in an open kitchen in full view of the dining room. The restaurant also offers lamb from three domestic farms, including two acclaimed locals—Jamison Farm and Elysian Fields.
The Bayou, Bethlehem
Diners at this Southern-influenced restaurant are encouraged to pick and choose items from the menu to share with the table tapas-style. The options include creative takes on New Orleans classics such as gumbo and po’boys, along with custom cocktails with names like Voodoo Juice.
- Morcilla, Pittsburgh
- Warmdaddy’s, Philadelphia
- Whitfield, Pittsburgh
- Zahav, Philadelphia
Edmund’s Oast, Charleston
This brew pub is named after English-born brewer Edmund Egan, who began producing beer in Charleston in the 1760s and was dubbed “The Rebel Brewer” for his generous monetary donations to the American Revolution. An oast is a kiln used to dry hops. The pub brews a host of unusual draft beers on-site (such as a peanut butter and jelly “sandwich in a glass”) and offers a menu stuffed with charcuterie and seafood.
Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, Memphis
The upscale eatery has multiple dining options—a bustling main floor, a bar area for a quick bite or a balcony level for a more intimate experience. A wide selection of wine flights can be matched with a variety of seafood and meat entrees to create the perfect pairing, and a knowledgeable waitstaff is on hand to offer their expertise.
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Nashville
This comfort food standby touts itself as the place where “the locals go for real food, real people and real fun.” The operation began as a grocery store in the 50s, and still strives to offer a casual, communal atmosphere. Diners can enjoy Southern staples with a side of live music every night of the week.
The Southern Steak & Oyster, Nashville
The Southern, located in the city’s first LEED-certified high-rise, has taken sustainability to heart, from direct-sourced local beef to a wood-fired grill fueled by salvaged hickory wood. The restaurant interprets Southern cuisine broadly, drawing inspiration from places as far-flung as Nova Scotia and the Caribbean.
- Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, Germantown
Billing its menu as “progressive Southern,” Fixe brings an imaginative twist to the ritual of family dinner. An open kitchen puts the creative process in full view, giving guests a chance to see chef and Louisiana native James Robert in action.
Uchi and Uchiko, Austin
The twin ventures from James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole specialize in sushi made with sustainable seafood and local ingredients. “Uchi” means “house” in Japanese, and like many sushi bars in Japan, the restaurant is inside a refurbished home. Its partner, Uchiko, expands and refines dishes that originated at Uchi, billing itself “Uchi redefined.”