I lost count of how many restaurants I visited in 2019 but it was in the hundreds. After many, many hours of reviewing all the photos I took last year of every restaurant I visited and documented, I’ve put together this master list – The Best 40 Restaurants of 2019. It spans multiple continents, countries and cities and it includes everything from multi-course Michelin star restaurants to dive bar fried chicken joints. Bookmark this piece for your travels friends!
- Adana // Seattle, WA: Chef Shota and the team at Adana are bringing exceptional kaiseki style dining to Seattle with their monthly rotating menus that offer three, five and seven course dining options. I’ve indulged in the tasting menu many times but one of my favorite things here is Ramen Night. It happens every Wednesday night and you’ll want to get there early because they have a limited amount.
2. Art of the Table // Seattle, WA: This spot has been on my list to visit for years and I finally crossed it off in 2019. It completely lived up to the hype. Go for the extravagant tasting menu or head to the bar for a more low key experience (I actually did that for my birthday last year).
3. Artusi // Seattle:, WA Happy hour here was absolute bliss. From the daily pasta, to the fried bread, I vividly remember every bite of every dish.
4. Boka // Chicago, IL: Countless accolades including multiple James Beard nominations and wins and a Michelin Star are among the many reasons Boka has been on my radar for quite some time. My dad and I were both delighted in the tasting menu here.
5. Cabra // Chicago, IL: Stephanie Izard’s new rooftop bar, Cabra, was hands down the best brunch I’ve ever had. The Peruvian inspired restaurant offers fantastic views and to-die-for dishes like this Crab Causa.
6. Canard // Portland, OR: These little steam buns were definitely one of the highlight of 2019 for me. They are absolute perfection, just like the rest of Gabriel Rucker’s masterpiece, Canard. I’ve dined here for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and had almost everything on the menu; it’s magnificent.
7. Commander’s Palace // New Orleans, LA: This New Orleans classic is really special. We did the Jazz brunch here with my mom and she absolutely loved it. Definitely do not miss this Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé.
8. Cured // San Antonio, TX: We loved this place so much we ate here twice when we were in San Antonio. Expect insanely delicious $0.50 fried quail legs on happy hour and the cheese board of your dreams in a rustic yet chic space.
9. Eden Hill // Seattle, WA: This family owned and run restaurant is both elegant yet extremely familiar and welcoming. The tasting menu here is a super special experience. See my full blog on Eden Hill here.
10. Eem // Portland, OR: Thai barbecue at is finest! It’s no surprise that Eem was named Restaurant of the year by the Oregonian. The White Curry with brisket burnt ends are heaven.
11. Fol Epi // Victoria, BC: This is the most perfect little bakery in darling downtown Victoria. The pastries and coffee are superb, and the space is just lovely. Every time I’m in Victoria I stop by here for their uber-flaky kouign amann. (See my full blog on where to eat in Victoria, BC here!)
12. Greens Restaurant // San Francisco, CA: This iconic vegetarian restaurant works closely with local, organic farmers to source the very best fruits and veggies for their dishes. Greens has been a San Francisco staple for over 35 years and won numerous awards as well as introduced countless diners to its sophisticated, meatless cuisine. The shakshuka pictured above was divine.
13. Husk // Savannah, GA: A restaurant that both celebrates and expands on southern cuisine, Husk was absolutely one of the best dining experiences I had last year. We feasted on beautifully fresh peel and eat Georgia shrimp, corn tortellini with okra, pimento cheese and oysters on the half shell with a horseradish-pecan relish.
14. Il Nido // Seattle: Mike Easton of the beloved Il Corvo brought this gem to West Seattle in 2019 and it was immediately met with rave reviews (one being from me, read my full blog on Il Nido here.) This restaurant is so well done, every element is top tier from the service to the space to (of course) the food.
15. Issaya Siamese Club // Bangkok, Thailand: Issaya Siamese Club specializes in classic Thai dishes with a modern twist, like this Khao Soi Osso Buco. This restaurant has received numerous awards and was featured on Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil” (which was where I first heard of it, I absolutely love that show.)
17. Jackson’s Corner // Bend, OR: This is my all time favorite breakfast spot. (They serve lunch and dinner too, but I’m all about their breakfast.) They bake all of their breads in house and that’s why those breakfast sammie buns are so absolutely perfect.
17. Jan // Nice, France: Chef Jan Hendrik celebrates his South African heritage with food inspired by the markets and bounty of Southern France. We dined at this Michelin Star spot for lunch and opted for the full seven course menu which was definitely the way to go. (See my full blog on “12 Delicious Spots Not to Miss in Nice” here.)
18. Jay Fai // Bangkok, Thailand: This Michelin starred, street food restaurant has been featured in numerous publications and television including Netflix’s popular “Somebody Feed Phil” and “Street Food”. I have to tell you, it completely lived up to the hype. Watching Jay Fai cook on the streets of Bangkok is like seeing a show – she’s incredible. The crab omelette, which she’s famous for, was absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
19. Kumiko // Chicago, IL: This intimate cocktail bar is absolutely magnificent. It’s no surprise it was named one of the Best New Restaurants of 2019 by Food and Wine. We snacked on steam buns and Japanese Milk Bread and sipped on unique, thoughtful cocktails. See my full blog on Kumiko here.
20. Le Bocal // Nice, France: My sister and I stumbled upon this place on a walk through town and were immediately drawn to the darling streetside tables made of barrels and the blackboard menu. It was written entirely in French of course; our server was kind enough to read us the entire thing in English.
21. Lecosho // Seattle, WA: This is my all time favorite restaurant in Seattle. It was one of the very first places I discovered when I moved here six years ago. Since then I have spent countless hours at the bar and had dozens of business lunches here. The burger and ragu are standouts.
22. Next // Chicago, IL: Dining at Next was truly a dream come true. Brought to you from the Alinea Group, Next has received multiple impressive accolades including being named Best New Restaurant in America from the James Beard Foundation in 2011 and receiving a Michelin star last year. (See my full blog on everything I ate in Chicago here.)
23. Nourish Kitchen & Cafe // Victoria, BC: This darling restaurant is an old house with multiple rooms for dining, a counter for take away coffee to go, and upstairs cafe to lounge and a beautiful garden out back. They focus on the fresh, seasonal and local that nourish your body. Make sure to try their bone broth, I stop by for some daily when I’m in Victoria!
24. Oliveira // Nice, France: Any food lover will fall in love with this charming restaurant in Old Town Nice. The husband will pour you samples of local French olive oils as his wife cooks you the most delicious pastas, salads and more featuring the beautiful oils.
25. Ong Tong Khao Soi // Bangkok, Thailand: The highest quality ingredients go into every dish here where everything is made in house and khao soi is the star. They boast arguably the best in the city and I absolutely inhaled my bowl (along with the other northern Thai dishes we ordered here).
26. Pasta Casalinga // Seattle, WA: This is my favorite place to get pasta in Seattle. They’re only open for lunch (11am – 6pm), so you’ll need to get your pasta fix early. Located in the Atrium at Pike Place Market, it’s almost always busy but it’s definitely worth the wait. You can feel the love and authenticity in every dish here from Chef Michela who changes the menu every couple of weeks.
27. Red Fish Blue Fish // Victoria, BC: Located on the waterfront in an upcycled shipping container, the small but mighty Red Fish Blue Fish is serving up the best damn fish and chips I’ve ever had. They also have a seafood chowder with chipotle coconut and corn that’s to die for. These guys are open seasonally. (Read my blog on Where To Eat in Victoria, BC here!)
28. San Tung // San Francisco: San Tung is known for it’s bomb dry fried chicken wings and handmade noodles (I tried both and, y’all, – insane) . Considered to be the best Chinese food in San Francisco, be prepared for a wait.
29. Sisters and Brothers // Seattle: I adore Sisters and Brothers. My boyfriend, Marcus, introduced me to it in 2017 and I think that may have been the moment I fell in love with him. It’s absolutely the best fried chicken I’ve had in Seattle and it comes with bomb southern sides like mac and cheese and fried okra. All this in a funky, dive bar setting; perfection.
30. Spork // Bend, OR: Spork is serving up globally-inspired street food in a super fun and vibrant setting. Dishes from and inspired by Latin America, Africa, Asia and beyond are represented on this unique and delicious menu. Think bomb spicy fried chicken, street tacos, coconut green curry and Mexican street corn (pictured above).
31. Sushi Kashiba // Seattle:, WA From the great sushi master Shiro Kashiba, Sushi Kashiba is flawless. The freshest, highest quality fish and ingredients, impeccable service, and a stunning setting overlooking Pike Place Market create an always unforgettable experience here. The real fun happens at the sushi bar, where Shiro himself works four days a week.
32. Tarsan i Jane // Seattle, WA: The dishes here are truly works of art; beautiful masterpieces that Chef Perfecte composes on stunning plateware that’s been hand made for the restaurant. It’s an incredibly intimate space with one massive chef’s table laid out right in front of the kitchen for guests so you see all the magic happening before your eyes. Chef Perfecte’s wife, Alia, leads the front of the house team as the general manager and together they have curated a flawless atmosphere for fine dining.
33. The Elysian Bar // New Orleans, LA: I’ve shared this photo many times already on social media and in multiple blogs because I absolutely love this photo and I absolutely loved this dish. These roasted gulf shrimp were outstanding, but honestly everything I had here was delicious and why it’s no surprise that Food & Wine named them one of the 10 “Best New Restaurants of 2019”. (See my full blog on The Elysian Bar here!)
34. The Exchange // Los Angeles, CA: The mulit-cultural flavors of Los Angeles meet Isreali food in this stunning Mediterranean restaurant located inside the Freehand Los Angeles. I stayed here for four days last summer and ate here at least 6 times; the hummus was perfection.
35. The Fat Radish // Savannah: My mom, sister and I had a positively blissful lunch here when we were in Savannah. This stunning scotch egg, ricotta toast, and boozy fresh watermelon cocktails were the highlights.
36. The Grey // Savannah, GA: I was beyond inspired and captivated with Chef Mashama Bailey when I saw her on “Chef’s Table” last year and pretty much immediately start planning my trip to Savannah in the back of my mind so I could eat her food. After several months it finally happened and it was even better than I had imagined. What Chef Bailey is doing here with local, southern food is transcendent.
37. The Metropolitan Grill // Seattle: The Met is such a classic. Marcus and I love doing date night here; it’s so old school and elegant. Their steak selection is beyond impressive (I had the best steak of my life there last year) and their wine program is top notch, too. There’s really nothing I love more than a good steak and mashed potatoes.
38. Turkey and the Wolf // New Orleans, LA: These guys have so many accolades that I can’t begin to name them all. James Beard nominations and wins, Food & Wine Restaurant of the Year, and multiple television appearances to name just a few. I ate so much here I was hurting but it was worth it. The fried bologna sandwich with potato chips is magnificent. This is glorified stoner food in the very best way.
39. Unsworth Restaurant // Cowichan Valley, BC: This charming restaurant sits on the stunning Unsworth Vineyards estate in an old farmhouse that was built in the early 1900s. Expect beautiful wine pairings from Unsworth to go with their seasonally inspired menu.
40. Ursa Minor // Lopez Island, WA: Ursa Minor is a magical restaurant on sleepy Lopez Island. Chef Nick Coffey curates a constantly evolving menu that focuses on the local flora, fauna and seafood of the island. The restaurant itself is a stunning rustic yet elegant space with lots of natural wood and dried herbs hanging from wooden beams. It’s definitely worth the trip to Lopez Island from Seattle.