Last month, Esquire announced its list of best new restaurants in America for 2019, and food-oriented travelers now have a wealth of dining destinations to add to their list. From rarified French, Taiwanese, and Latin American fare to BBQ, pizza, and seafood, these are the places you’ll want to try. 

black and white shot of the open kitchen at Benne on Eagle
The African-inflected soul food at

Skewing heavily toward the east and west coasts, the magazine’s list features five restaurants from New York, six from California, four from the south, and three from Washington, DC, plus representatives from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon, for good measure.

In the nation’s capital, Seven Reasons took top honors for 2019. With Latin American roots and a contemporary approach, chef Enrique Limardo’s refined menu is full of flare, from the snacks to the large plates – think: mini Venezuelan arepas, hamachi tiradito, jelly tomato salad with cilantro-mint pesto and smoked carrot puree, and black rice with chorizo and prawns. 

In San Francisco, Pim Techamuanvivit’s Nari marries traditional Thai cuisine with California’s famed produce, while the modern brasserie Bon Temps keeps the good times rolling in LA – its chef, Lincoln Carson, was named rising chef of the year. Philadelphia’s Pizzeria Beddia came in fourth, and the African-inflected soul food at Asheville’s Benne on Eagle rounded out the top five. 

Fresh off the publication of his buzzy memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, Kwame Onwuachi was named chef of the year for his DC restaurant, Kith/Kin, and his menu pays homage to his Afro-Caribbean roots, pulling inspiration from Nigeria, Jamaica, and New Orleans. 

Austin’s Comedor is hailed as the best Mexican food of the year, and in New York’s Hudson Yards, David Chang’s upscale ode to his Korean heritage gets a nod as well. In Portland, a Texas transplant is serving on-point barbecue at the hotel-lobby restaurant Bullard, and in Birmingham, Alabama, Automatic Seafood and Oysters serves stellar southern-style seafood. 

To check out the full list, visit

Explore related stories

baked tasty margerita pizza near oven

Food and Drink

9 of the best pizzas in the US and where to try them

Jun 13, 2024 • 13 min read