Travel Magazine Awards: The Top 10 Restaurants In The USA

best restaurants usa

For a restaurant to go from good to one of the best in America, it needs to stand out from the crowd. These restaurants can’t just serve the tastiest dishes – they’ll need to serve the tastiest dishes, in the most amazing settings, with the best attitude, doing it all in a unique way. It’s a tall order.  

Travel Magazine’s editorial staff has scoured the country in the search of the best restaurants in 2018, and the restaurants who made our top 10 restaurants in the USA list are all well deserving. These are the ten most delicious and exciting places to eat in the USA.

1. Turkey and the Wolf – New Orleans, LA

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by turkey and the wolf (@turkeyandthewolf) on

Chef Mason Hereford and his team at Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans are reinventing the classic dishes from your childhood. Nostalgic menu items include collard-green melts spiced up with pickled cherry peppers, and soft-serve reminiscent of what you would get at Dairy Queen – but topped with potato chips and tahini. Everything is served on eclectic dishware by the coolest staff in the South.

Tip: Bon Appetit Magazine named these guys the best new restaurant in America last year, so don’t be surprised to find a long line out the front door most days.

What to order: The deviled eggs with fried chicken skins and the wedge salad (which, in our opinion, tops any wedge salad at the finest steakhouses in America).

2. Franklin Barbeque – Austin, TX

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Franklin Barbecue (@franklinbbq) on

Franklin Barbeque is voted America’s best BBQ time and time again for a reason. Juicy, perfectly seasoned, fall-off-the-bone, the meat is every carnivore’s dream come true. It’s so good, in fact, that people will line up every Tuesday to Sunday, from 11AM until Franklin sells out. Which they do, every single time. Not only is it one of the best restaurants in Austin, but it’s also one of the best in the country.

Tip: Get there by 8AM to guarantee your spot in line. We know it’s early for BBQ, but we guarantee you won’t regret it.

What to order: Obviously the brisket, but the pork ribs are a sleeper hit, cooked in a custom-made rotisserie.

3. Hart’s – Brooklyn, NY

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hart’s (@hartsbrooklyn) on

The food at Hart’s in Brooklyn is as beautiful as it is unfussy, with dishes that feature fresh fish and local vegetables. This cozy spot has 30 seats and a big communal table. Want to watch the cooks in the small no-gas kitchen do what they do best? Sit at the backlit five-seat bar.

Tip: They offer a la carte dining for groups of up to seven guests. For groups of 8-14 people, they offer a three-course family style menu.

What to order: The grass-fed lamb burger. The olive oil cake. The shishito peppers with a chorizo vinaigrette. The better question is, what not to order?

4. Mister Jiu’s – San Francisco, CA

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mister Jiu’s (@misterjius) on

Farm-to-table spot Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco’s Chinatown is a James Beard Award semi-finalist. You’ll never be able to look at your cheap takeout the same after eating dishes like a black sesame cake with roasted strawberries, orange chicken wings, and a sourdough scallion pancake. Chef Brandon Jew is taking old-school Chinese-American dishes and making them his own, for everyone to enjoy.   

Tip: The restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays, but they make up for it the rest of the week, we promise.

What to order: Their steak fried rice is a classic, made with wagyu skirt, crispy garlic, broccoli, and tuna heart.

5. Drifter’s Wife – Portland, ME

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Drifters Wife (@drifterswife) on

The menu at Drifter’s Wife changes every day and is based on what the chef has found at the farmers market or in his fridge. Owners Orenda and Peter Hale change the wine list nearly as often as the menu changes, which means every visit to the restaurant is unique and delicious.

Tip: The restaurant even has their own retail wine store located inside, called Maine and Loire.

What to order: Well that depends on what they have, but the crispy-skinned half chicken shows up on the menu quite often and shouldn’t be missed.

6. Giant – Chicago, IL

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by giant (@giantchicago) on

Giant, located in Logan Square, is a big hit amongst Chicago locals, some would even say it’s a giant hit. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The cool menu features buttery uni shooters in a crispy panko coating, bacon and jalapeño pasta, and a vast selection of rotating cocktails and natural wine to balance the food’s bold flavors.

Tip: Snap some photos for your Instagram. They’ve been featured in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Bon Appetit Magazine.

What to order: The onion rings with Parmesan. You’re welcome.

7. The Walrus and the Carpenter – Seattle, WA

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Walrus and the Carpenter (@thewalrusbar) on

The Walrus and the Carpenter made our list of the best restaurants in Seattle, and we couldn’t help but name it one of the best restaurants in the USA as well. See what the great state of Washington has to offer and share small plates, including steak tartare and local cheese.

The Walrus and the Carpenter is best known for their oysters, so get an assortment to start your meal. Chef and owner Renee Erickson focuses on the best local ingredients in Seattle and serves them up with excellent music playing in the background to add to the ambiance.

Tip: The oyster happy hour runs from Monday to Thursday, 4-6 pm.

What to order: Oysters, obviously, but we have to mention the steak tartare again as well.  

8. Call – Denver, CO

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Call (@call_denver) on

Gluten intolerant? Unfortunately, Denver’s hotspot Call isn’t the place for you. With pretzel rolls, English muffins, sourdough boules, and brioche buns, it’s a warm and incredible-smelling paradise for those who can handle it. All kidding aside, Call also boasts beautiful salads that feature the likes of avocado purée and cauliflower. Like donuts and pancakes? The restaurant’s Danish treats are a mix of both.

Tip: In a rush? The kitchen puts out prepared sandwiches daily starting at 10:30AM for customers who prefer to take food to go.

What to order: All the freshly-baked bread you can handle.

9. South Philly Barbacoa – Philadelphia, PA

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by South Philly Barbacoa (@barbacoachef) on

South Philly Barbacoa in Philadelphia has just enough room for 30 guests. Chef Christina Martinez serves tortas from Tuesday to Thursday and barbacoa tacos Friday through Sunday. The lamb is steaming hot, and the corn tortillas are made on site in a wet-stone mill from Mexico. It’s as traditional as it gets – and as good as it gets.

Tip: There is no breakfast, lunch, or dinner menus, just two specialties: tortas and barbacoa tacos.

What to order: The specialty. Go back again to try the other specialty. We won’t judge.

10. Gjusta – Los Angeles, CA

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Gjusta (@gjustabakery) on

Gjusta, and its nearby sister restaurant Gjelina, have changed the restaurant scene in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice. Gjusta is an all-encompassing all-day spot. Think a juice bar, a café, a deli, a pizza joint, a sandwich spot, and a bakery all rolled into one. Oh, and they handle vegetables so well you won’t have a hard time getting your daily servings in.

Tip: Don’t forget to grab a number as soon as you get there, and snag a seat outside to eat.

What to order: The salmon lox bagel. The mushroom bowl. A croissant. You really can’t go wrong.