BEST IN CLASS
ALABAMA: CAFÉ DUPONT
Café Dupont is a rare bird among fine-dining establishments, devotees say, because it manages to be upscale without being stuffy. An AAA Four Diamond Award winner, it emphasizes locally sourced ingredients and has a menu that changes daily. However, dishes with a Southern influence are a safe bet.
Reviewer rave: "This is a white-tablecloth eatery that you'll find not the least bit pretentious (in mannerisms or prices). It's got what I'd call 'down-home elegance' — and in the case of this cafe, that's not an oxymoron." — desrlmt on TripAdvisor
ALASKA: THE CROW'S NEST
Go for the sweeping views of the water and the mountains, stay for the impeccable service and top-notch food. This AAA Four Diamond restaurant high in the Captain Cook Hotel has a small but mighty menu featuring plenty of elegantly prepared meats and local seafood. Patrons love the bananas foster, which is flambéed tableside.
Reviewer rave: "I was shocked at how warm and friendly the overall experience was given how upscale The Crow's Nest is, and the fact that we were only having dessert and cocktails, which were as nice as the views and very reasonably priced." — kelphxpdx on TripAdvisor
One of only a handful of restaurants to notch five stars from Forbes and five diamonds from AAA, the Sheraton Grand Resort's Kai sets itself apart with a menu inspired by the Pima and Maricopa tribes native to the area. Patrons say particular highlights include the foie gras and buffalo tenderloin, but the real star might be the Arizona sunsets outside the large windows.
Reviewer rave: "From the moment you arrive to when you return to your car or room, you know you are somewhere special. Interesting and delicious food, excellent service, special surprises throughout the evening." — 907MaryM on TripAdvisor
ARKANSAS: ONE ELEVEN AT THE CAPITAL
Elegant but understated, One Eleven at the Capital has a James Beard Award-winning chef at the helm and a shiny AAA Four Diamond Award to its credit. The menu is elevated Southern comfort food that is bound to please even picky palates. Diners recommend the scallops for dinner; at brunch, the shrimp and grits or eggs benedict reign supreme.
Reviewer rave: "Excellent, imaginative food and exquisite service in a luxurious but comfortable setting. Met or surpassed all of our expectations." — OnALark_1 at TripAdvisor
CALIFORNIA: THE FRENCH LAUNDRY
It's hard to say anything new about Thomas Keller's much-lauded French restaurant in Napa Valley, one of just a handful in the U.S. to earn the coveted three-star Michelin rating. True foodies know to expect a high price tag (right now, $325 a head for a nine-course menu), but they also need to act quickly to score one of the coveted reservations.
Reviewer rave: "It's a rarity, but this restaurant truly lives up to the hype. The entire experience — food, service, setting — was perfect." —McN2 on TripAdvisor
COLORADO: THE PENROSE ROOM
Honored as both an AAA Five Diamond and Forbes five-star restaurant, The Penrose Room is all about European elegance and sweeping mountain views, easily enjoyed from its perch in the famed Broadmoor resort. Reviewers say splurging on one of the tasting menus is the best way to get a feel for the often locally sourced cuisine and impeccable service.
Reviewer rave: "Each server was professional but fun. The sommelier was spot on with his recommendations. The food was extraordinary. It was not a meal, but an experience. Just treat yourself and do it!" — Lana V on TripAdvisor
CONNECTICUT: THE RESTAURANT AT SPICER MANSION
This intimate spot at Spicer Mansion, awarded four stars from Forbes and four diamonds from AAA, relies on local farmers, fishers, and other providers to source its contemporary coastal cuisine. The postcard-perfect setting inside a luxury boutique hotel just adds to the experience, as does the basement speakeasy that is a must-stop before or after dinner, diners say.
Reviewer rave: "Fine dining at its finest. A seven-course taster menu which surprised and delighted throughout. A wine pairing that hit the right notes of provocation — complementing but not stealing the show. Just fabulous." — Andrew R on TripAdvisor
DELAWARE: THE GREEN ROOM
To sample the over-the-top elegance of the Gilded Age, it's hard to beat The Green Room at the Hotel du Pont. Coffered ceilings, gold chandeliers, oak-paneled walls and heavy, ornate drapes transport diners to another time while they enjoy French cuisine that has snagged a spot on the AAA Four Diamond list.
Reviewer rave: "This is truly the finest restaurant I have ever been to, and that includes the top restaurants in New York, San Francisco or New Orleans. Presentation, flavor, service and atmosphere are of the highest quality." — SisterBJBrown on TripAdvisor
FLORIDA: VICTORIA AND ALBERT'S
Be their guest, indeed. As the fine-dining restaurant at Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort, Victoria and Albert's is firmly enmeshed in the spirit of over-the-top Disney hospitality. However, guests say there's nothing cartoonish about the harp music, opulent old-world decor, and comprehensive continental tasting menu at this Forbes five-star restaurant.
Reviewer rave: "If you can swing it, it is amazing. The staff makes you feel special and no question was too small. My daughter even asked about how to get a job a Disney World. They took our picture after we finished (five hours later). It is well worth the experience." — petersY3786DZ on TripAdvisor
GEORGIA: GEORGIAN ROOM
Georgia's only Forbes five-star restaurant, the Georgian Room is "full of fine things: chandeliers, hand-painted china, European linens, world-class wine list." If that's not over the top enough for you, snag a seat at the Chef's Table to get a behind-the-scenes peek at a fine-dining kitchen, or request a spot in the tranquil garden for some al fresco perfection.
Reviewer rave: "Quite simply, it was the best ever. Everything — from the amuse-bouche oyster with Granny Smith apples to the grilled octopus and raclette of Italian truffle cheese — was outstanding. It was an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to any foodie!" — bunnyjudge on TripAdvisor
HAWAII: LA MER
The incomparable ocean views at La Mer, part of the Halekulani resort on Waikiki Beach, are the ultimate backdrop for what diners say is some of the best food and service in the Aloha State, if not the country. Though some vacationers grouse about having to throw on dinner jackets over their Hawaiian shirts, most agree that the fusion of tropical and French cuisine at this AAA Five Diamond and Forbes five-star winner is worth it.
Reviewer rave: "Translate this restaurant to anywhere outside of Honolulu, and it would be in the two-three Michelin star category. What a find for folks on vacation! Put it on your list as it is the best Oahu has to offer ... in a class of its own." —Lawrence2300 on TripAdvisor
The sweeping views of Lake Coeur d'Alene are more than worth the trip to Beverly's, but this restaurant serving Northwest cuisine isn't coasting on location: It's one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America's top spots in the U.S. Try the bison carpaccio while browsing the enormous wine menu, some 14,000 bottles strong.
Reviewer rave: "Everything about the restaurant is first class. The menu is extensive and I've not had a bad meal there, ever." — Tom P J on TripAdvisor
Alinea has honors in spades: It's a three-star Michelin restaurant, an AAA Five Diamond Award winner, and was named the most outstanding restaurant in the U.S. by the James Beard Foundation in 2016. Hidden behind its unassuming Lincoln Park façade are elaborate molecular gastronomy tasting courses that reviewers call inventive, artistic, and even theatrical.
Reviewer rave: "This meal is every bit as much of a show as anything you could pay to see. They play on all of your senses every single course, and you will not be disappointed in the least." — JackMc1120 on TripAdvisor
Interestingly, one of Indiana's handful of AAA Four Diamond restaurants isn't in Indianapolis but Elkhart, a small city in the northern part of the state near South Bend. Accordingly, Artisan says you'll get "fine dining flair without the formality," and diners agree — this is the spot for an elegant new twist on Midwestern cuisine, no pretension necessary.
Reviewer rave: "Wonderful example of focus on quality even in a small, Midwest town. Location, ambiance, and service were exemplary almost to the place of exuberance (lots of explanation of their dishes). All excellent." — Peter M. on Yelp
Iowa might not be the first spot you'd think to find fine Mediterranean and North African cuisine, but Proof is out to, well, prove you wrong. Housed in a sleek, open space, the restaurant offers a modern spin on fine dining. True foodies will want to check out the second Saturday of each month, when Proof serves a reservation-only 10-course blind tasting menu.
Reviewer rave: "The food is fantastic at Proof, and beautifully presented. I have never eaten a meal there when I felt as though I was not getting my money's worth in quality and ingenuity. The dishes are unique, beautiful, and above all, they contain flavors that I have never experienced before." —JustOldLight on TripAdvisor
This suburban Kansas City restaurant has been quietly turning heads with its contemporary American cuisine and upscale atmosphere, earning honors from Wine Spectator and The Diner's Club, among others. Diners can stick to à la carte fare or opt for a six-course tasting menu. Either way, reviewers say you can't miss the smoked duck empanadas, served with black beans, avocado, jicama, and barbecue sauce.
Reviewer rave: "The service was impeccable. The food, oh so delicious. The restaurant was quiet even though full of people, but it wasn't stuffy at all. It was so nice to have a conversation between the three of us where we didn't have to raise our voices to be heard. I had the green salad, Mahi Mahi, and a perfect lemon dessert. Oh, and did I tell you about the bread? Baked in house — it had soul. Altogether, a perfect meal!" — Roxy236 on TripAdvisor
KENTUCKY: THE ENGLISH GRILL
This AAA Four Diamond historic restaurant is tucked in the famous Brown Hotel, where the iconic open-faced Hot Brown turkey sandwich was invented. Diners will appreciate the rich wood-paneled walls, ornate ceilings and refined table settings as they dig into Southern-influenced fare. There are also two chef's tables for true foodies.
Reviewer rave: "Lovely place, old world charm. The food is beyond wonderful. The service was above and beyond. ... Great place to dress up and be spoiled." — jesbarn76 on TripAdvisor
LOUISIANA: THE GRILL ROOM AT WINDSOR COURT
Though it might be easy to overlook this AAA Four Diamond, Forbes four-star restaurant in the Windsor Court hotel, devotees say it's one of the most elegant spots to dine in New Orleans. Service is warm without being stuffy, they enthuse, and the menu is filled with elevated Southern favorites. Don't want to spend a fortune? Try the $20 weekday lunch, which pairs an entrée with three sides.
Reviewer rave: "Everything about dining here is very good. The food and the service were excellent. The salads were very good, the crab cakes were outstanding, and the red fish with lump crab meat was great. Do not miss the crème brûlée to finish off the meal." — Dave W on TripAdvisor
MAINE: THE WHITE BARN INN RESTAURANT
Don't let the barn fool you: This restaurant has an AAA Five Diamond Award and five stars from Forbes. It offers fresh, seasonally inspired fare on a prix fixe menu that's fine enough to please any gourmet. The view out the floor-to-ceiling windows changes with the seasons — expect lush gardens in warmer months, while the winter can bring a fresh coating of snow and twinkling holiday lights.
Reviewer rave: "I've dined in many great restaurants around the world, but few have the extremely orchestrated service like The White Barn. It operates like a fine Swiss watch and it is a joy to watch such perfection and teamwork in action." — Codfish1 on TripAdvisor
You know you're in good hands at Charleston, where Chef Cindy Wolf is a seven-time James Beard Award finalist. This Inner Harbor restaurant is a staple on "best of Baltimore" lists, and for good reason, diners say. The prix fixe menu combines elegant French technique with Low Country comfort food: think cornmeal-fried oysters or creamy shrimp and grits.
Reviewer rave: "Friends, believe the hype — the food was delicious, the ambience lovely, the chef herself came out and wished me a happy birthday with a complimentary dessert. The service was gracious, not pushy or snobby ... I will always remember my birthday dinner there and recommend it highly!" — sanvi777 on TripAdvisor
Menton has been racking up accolades since its 2010 opening. It's earned five stars from Forbes and five diamonds from AAA, and it was a James Beard nominee for best new restaurant in 2011. Diners can choose from an à la carte menu of elegant French and Italian cuisine, or go for the eight-course "Chef's Whim" tasting menu — an experience that reviewers say is hard to beat.
Reviewer rave: "The ravioli and Arctic char were some of the best dishes I've ever had. Portions were generous for French-style high-end cuisine. For dessert, we ordered one option to share but they brought us a complimentary dessert because it was our anniversary." — Jonnylops on TripAdvisor
This AAA Four Diamond restaurant at the MotorCity Casino Hotel has all the trappings of a special-occasion spot: a swanky contemporary American menu, an unbeatable view of the city, and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. If you don't mind an early dinner, the Wine and Dine special is hard to top, offering a four-course dinner and a glass of house wine for $55 a person five days a week.
Reviewer rave: "Service was impeccable, a combination of perfectly professional and attentive with recommendations that were exactly on point. And not to mention that my server surprised me with a truly decadent birthday dessert complete with candles." — Angela S. on Yelp
MINNESOTA: TRAVAIL KITCHEN AND AMUSEMENTS
Just outside Minneapolis, Travail is a rustic-chic foodie hotspot run by three James Beard Award semi-finalists who aim to "curate a chef-driven customized dining spectacular." Great food is a given, reviewers say, but what you might not expect is how interesting and innovative the experience is — a departure from your typical special-occasion spot. The 20 (yes, 20!) course tasting menu is a must-try.
Reviewer rave: "The food is inventive and the staff here are amazing — the meals are all timed and coordinated flawlessly as you move through the courses. The staff are so fun — they really enjoy what they do and this makes the experience even more memorable. Highly recommended." — 475damienG on TripAdvisor
MISSISSIPPI: MARY MAHONEY'S
Stepping past the ivy-covered walls and into the brick courtyard at Mary Mahoney's makes diners feel like they've found a secret gem, but this historic seafood and steak restaurant is deservedly well known. Built in the 1700s, some rooms feature cracked plaster and exposed brick, while others have crystal chandeliers and fine art.
Reviewer rave: "A delightful experience in old-school fine dining with a wonderfully attentive waiter. Our meal was supremely cooked and dessert was worth every calorie!" — gapayne86 on TripAdvisor
Bluestem is led by a James Beard Award-winning chef, and diners say that polish and passion is apparent in every dish. The contemporary American cuisine is served from a tasting menu, and diners can choose from three, five, or seven courses. The atmosphere is modern and streamlined, reviewers say, without that stuffy feel that accompanies many other fine-dining spots.
Reviewer rave: "Service is professional, classy and efficient. Ambience is pleasant and understated. If you like to watch the open kitchen in action, request a table where you can do that. This is easily one of the best restaurants in Kansas City and, even though it's pricey, it's a restaurant where you can feel like it was worth it. Highly recommended — edible art is made here." — JimH983 on TripAdvisor
MONTANA: RAINBOW RANCH LODGE RESTAURANT
Big Sky Canyon Village
The Rainbow Ranch Lodge Restaurant is everything you'd want from a fine-dining experience in Montana: rustic but refined, with a menu that focuses on local proteins like elk, bison, and trout. Also stars here: The wine list, which has earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and the incomparable view of the Gallatin River and mountains beyond.
Reviewer rave: "Everything about it was a lovely surprise. The restaurant was cozy with a beautiful lodge feel to it. Lighting was low and intimate. The meal was amazing! Service was top notch. Attentive without being overbearing. Good wines by the glass. The food was wonderful — good suggestions by our server. ... Everything outstanding and perfectly prepared." — Patricia B on TripAdvisor
NEBRASKA: V. MERTZ
Tucked away in Omaha's brick Old Market district, V. Mertz has all the ambience of a romantic hidden gem, even though its reputation for fine contemporary American cuisine is well known. Diners recommend splurging on the wagyu beef, and the cheese plate also receives plenty of raves. The surrounding area is perfect for an after-dinner stroll.
Reviewer rave: "What a dining experience. Our server, who has worked there 12 years, was excellent. His advice was spot on, and he was always on hand while not being intrusive. The meal ... ahhhhh ... one of the best I have ever had in 50-plus years of fine dining. Everything from the amuse-bouche to the bacon-wrapped pork pate to the wagyu sirloin was exceptional." — Poospouse on TripAdvisor
NEVADA: JOEL ROBUCHON
In a city where the most gorgeous restaurants can have a theme-park feel, Joel Robuchon's AAA Five Diamond eatery at the MGM Grand is sumptuous but never gimmicky. The dazzling, dramatically purple space features marble floors, plush banquettes, crystal chandeliers, modern art and towering mirrors that complement the artfully over-the-top French cuisine.
Reviewer rave: "Great service and amazing food, we were received and served as king and queen. We had the degustation menu, which was such an experience. Will be back for sure on my next visit." — YoannG159 on TripAdvisor
NEW HAMPSHIRE: BEDFORD VILLAGE INN RESTAURANT
This AAA Four Diamond restaurant is actually made up of seven gorgeous dining rooms — some intimate, some larger. What they have in common: Modern New England cuisine, with ingredients sourced whenever possible from local suppliers. The ocean-to-table menu is a safe bet, as is the cheese selection, served with local honey. Looking for something more laid back? The inn also hosts the clubby-feeling Tavern Pub.
Reviewer rave: "The Bedford Village Inn is more than just a restaurant. The warmth and cozy feel to the entire property is hard to explain, but it feels like a warm embrace just stepping inside the door and seeing the open fires. The dining room will always have special memories for our family." — jimmybat23 on TripAdvisor
NEW JERSEY: RESTAURANT NICHOLAS
With accolades from AAA, The New York Times, Zagat, Gayot, and more, Restaurant Nicholas certainly seems to have made good on its promise to "redefine modern fine dining absent of the big city." Those who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience will want to check out the Chef's Table, a private booth that is actually inside the heart of the kitchen. Champagne and a special tasting menu complete the experience.
Reviewer rave: "Nicholas (the owner) just keeps on going and going and going while getting better all the time, when that never seems possible. Close your eyes and you could be anywhere in the world with this beyond-first-class restaurant. It's so good I hate to tell you about it in order to keep it a local secret." —jawemail on TripAdvisor
NEW MEXICO: GERONIMO
It's hard to do any better than the ambience at Geronimo, housed in an adobe house that was built in the 1750s, complete with kiva fireplaces and wooden beams. But reviewers say there's much more to dining here than the surroundings, and the restaurant's globally inspired menu, awarded with four stars from Forbes and four diamonds from AAA, bears that out.
Reviewer rave: "After one of the most enjoyable dining experiences we ever have savored, my husband and I returned Geronimo the following evening to do it again. ... The chef artfully combines flavors and textures with amazing skill, and the plating is skillfully designed to please the eye as well as the palate. By the way, the mushroom bisque is a gift from the angels." — paula m on TripAdvisor
NEW YORK: ELEVEN MADISON PARK
New York City
It's no small feat to stand out in New York City's crowded fine-dining scene, but Eleven Madison Park still manages to do so. This elegant three-star Michelin restaurant is regularly lauded as one of the world's best spots to dine, even with a $315-per-person price for an eight- to 10-course contemporary tasting menu.
Reviewer rave: "Every course delivered a highlight. From the oysters with smoked butter, to the caviar soufflé, and then the duck. It was just brilliant. The side dishes were such a wonderful surprise, too. The service was superb. It costs, but it's worth it!" — 561sue on TripAdvisor
NORTH CAROLINA: HERONS
This fine-dining stalwart at the Umstead Hotel and Spa is an AAA Five Diamond winner, and it's received Forbes' coveted five-star rating. Patrons can choose from three- or four-course prix fixe menus, or go all out with the artful chef's tasting menu. Despite the high-brow feel and haute seasonal American cuisine, diners say the service still manages to be friendly instead of stuffy. Brunch here also receives high praise.
Reviewer rave: "This restaurant hits the mark and beyond in every category of a dining experience. Exceptional service from multiple servers. Creative and beautiful food presentations. Every course unique and every bite delicious. Cannot wait to return!" — PeedinS on TripAdvisor
NORTH DAKOTA: MEZZALUNA
Mezzaluna, in a historic downtown warehouse, has an eclectic, urban feel that stands out among the state's typical rustic fare. You'll find tin ceilings, exposed pipes, dripping crystal chandeliers, plush booths, billowy white curtains and a horseshoe "Alleyway Bar" serving up craft cocktails to go with the new American dishes.
Reviewer rave: "Living here in Fargo I have had the opportunity to dine at Mezzaluna on many occasions. In their many years in business, I cannot think of a poor experience. They just knock it out every time." — Markjfargo on TripAdvisor
OHIO: ORCHIDS AT PALM COURT
Ohio's only AAA Five Diamond Award winner is tucked inside the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza downtown. Hard-to-impress internet reviewers praise the elegant, old school feel of the Art Deco surroundings, but they're equally enthusiastic about the service and menu. Try the chateaubriand, they recommend.
Reviewer rave: "Throughout the evening, the staff was so attentive I began to think they had mistaken us for celebrities. The food, both in presentation and quality, was beyond my expectations." — jbercaw on TripAdvisor
OKLAHOMA: POLO GRILL
For three decades, Polo Grill has been among the best that Oklahoma has to offer, and it has numerous AAA Four Diamond and Wine Spectator awards to prove it. Longtime patrons love the old-school atmosphere, which they say is elegant but unpretentious. The menu changes seasonally, but diners rave about the steaks and lobster bisque.
Reviewer rave: "My family has lived in Tulsa for years, and the Polo Grill is always a go-to for us. I remember my dad taking me here on dates when I was little, and I loved the free chocolate truffle they'd sometimes give us after our meal. Consistently amazing!" — maddieperkie on TripAdvisor
OREGON: THE PAINTED LADY
Tucked away in a charming Victorian home in Oregon's wine country, this AAA Four Diamond and Forbes four-star restaurant is a picture-perfect spot for an intimate, romantic meal. The tasting menu changes seasonally, focusing on ingredients that can be sourced from local farmers. If you really want to go all out, stay in the adjacent guest cottage and take a cooking class, too.
Reviewer rave: "The restaurant has captured an alluring ambience with just the right amount of romantic lighting and background noise. The food was equally special. From the first course of artichoke panna cotta and flash-fried smoked oyster mushrooms, you knew things were going to be great." — Randall P on TripAdvisor
How's Italian fare made with locally sourced Amish ingredients sound? That's what you'll get at Te, the restaurant at the Inn at Leola Village. This AAA Five Diamond, Forbes five-star eatery also uses veggies, edible flowers, fruit and herbs from its 3-acre Chef's Garden. Guests can choose from a nine-course degustation menu, or opt for a five-course prix fixe menu for a little more flexibility.
Reviewer rave: "If you ever wondered what fine dining is, this is it. If you ever wanted to be treated like royalty for just a few hours, this is it. Food was inventive and delicious, service impeccable. This is a presentation along with dinner, so make this your only plans for the evening." — Elaine W on TripAdvisor
RHODE ISLAND: COAST
Forced to choose menu highlights at this Forbes five-star restaurant at Ocean House in Watch Hill, a reviewer from Rhode Island Monthly could only write, "Everything. Everything. Everything." Offering a seasonal menu sourced mostly from local farms, Coast offers a four-course prix fixe menu that changes daily. True foodies can also visit Ocean House's Center for Wine and Culinary Arts for wine or cooking classes.
Reviewer rave: "We frequent fine dining establishments with gourmet tasting menus, but this was really something else. Everything was excellent — the food, the presentation, the atmosphere, but most of all, it was the wonderful and attentive staff who made all the difference." — Dm1try on TripAdvisor
SOUTH CAROLINA: CIRCA 1886
It doesn't get any more charming than a restaurant housed in the old carriage house of a resplendent Charleston mansion. So it goes without saying that Circa 1886, awarded four diamonds by the AAA and four stars from Forbes, has romance and atmosphere in spades. Patrons say the food is delicious enough to match its surroundings, though. Diners can choose from a traditional menu of Low Country favorites with a modern spin, or opt for a five-course tasting menu.
Reviewer rave: "We had our 18th anniversary dinner at Circa 1886 and we could not have had a more lovely evening. I loved walking under the arbor and into the beautiful carriage house. The service was impeccable ... The cocktails were delicious, and they have a great wine menu as well. Our dinner was top notch and the presentations were beautiful. This will definitely be moving into our regular rotation!" — shbickerstaff at TripAdvisor
SOUTH DAKOTA: MINERVA'S
Though now a nine-location chain, the original Minerva's in Sioux Falls still knows how to make its longtime patrons feel special, reviewers say. The menu is packed full of crowd-pleasing steaks and seafood dishes, and the impressive wine list has something for everyone, too. A reviewer favorite? The roasted half duck, served with wild rice, asparagus, and either orange brandy or lingonberry sauce.
Reviewer rave: "Minerva's has stood the test of time for good reason. It is Midwest fine dining at its best right here in Sioux Falls. It's Midwestern in the best sense — the atmosphere is friendly and efficient, while not being snooty. The staff doesn't have to try too hard — they serve very, very good food with very good and attentive service in a great atmosphere." — 56monil on TripAdvisor
TENNESSEE: THE BARN AT BLACKBERRY FARM
Yes, you'll really be dining in a turn-of-the-century barn, and no, there is definitely nothing low class about it. The Barn at Blackberry Farm is a James Beard Award-winning restaurant that can satisfy even the toughest fine-dining critic with locally sourced "Foothills Cuisine" and a staggering 9,000-selection wine cellar. Not a wine drinker? There are more than 300 kinds of whisky and brandy to choose from. Note that guests at the Blackberry Farm resort are given first crack at reservations.
Reviewer rave: "This is one of the best places you will ever experience a meal. Everything is thought out and planned. The service is pristine, the menu creative, and the wine list is expansive ... Keep in mind this is an establishment that is on the forefront of farm-to-table and they foster this by evolving their 'Foothills cuisine.' Be prepared for the experience as much as the meal." — SCD200 on TripAdvisor
TEXAS: THE INN AT DOS BRISAS
As the Inn at Dos Brisas brags on its website, this is the only Forbes five-star restaurant in Texas. It sources many ingredients from its very own 42-acre organic farm, berry patch, herb garden and orchard, and the tasting menu changes frequently depending on what's fresh. Inside, you'll find decor befitting of a Spanish country manor; outside, there are sweeping views of the rolling Texas countryside.
Reviewer rave: "Dining at Dos Brisas is perhaps one of the most amazing restaurant experiences I have ever had! My husband and I dined there for our 25th anniversary, an occasion made all the more special by the attentive service staff and incredible culinary selections. While the restaurant was full for the evening, we were made to feel as though we were the only couple in the room." — honolulu624 on TripAdvisor
UTAH: RIVERHORSE ON MAIN
A robust lineup of local musicians makes for a lively scene at Riverhorse on Main, a AAA Four Diamond, Forbes four-star restaurant in the heart of this ski town. The atmosphere is upscale but casual, reviewers say, making this a great option for foodies who don't necessarily want to wear a jacket or wade through a tasting menu. A must-try, according to reviewers: the macadamia nut-crusted Alaskan halibut, served with tender-stem broccoli, herb-whipped potatoes and mango.
Reviewer rave: "I can say with confidence that this was one of the best meals I have enjoyed. The service and atmosphere was excellent. But the food was the masterpiece. The soup course was merely excellent. The fish was truly spectacular. ... If you want an unquestionably great experience, this is the spot." — williaml881 on TripAdvisor
VERMONT: HEN OF THE WOOD
Housed in an old converted grist mill next to a dazzling waterfall, Hen of the Wood has plenty of New England ambience. But the locally sourced food and attentive service match the atmosphere, reviewers say. Diners particularly recommend the gnocchi and hanger steak, but patrons should expect frequent menu changes at this farm-to-table spot.
Reviewer rave: "This restaurant is a must for anyone who takes food seriously, and for those who don't, this is the type of place that can immediately turn you into a 'foodie.' " — icopnick on TripAdvisor
VIRGINIA: THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON
Savoring a classic French meal inside the self-described "wondrous cocoon of luxury" at the Inn at Little Washington is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate. Tapestries, ornate curtains, flowers, gilded mirrors, and intricately painted ceilings all compete for your attention at this much-lauded restaurant, an AAA Five Diamond Award winner.
Reviewer rave: "Well, it was everything we imagined it could be — and left us with memories to last a lifetime. Food was wonderful, atmosphere lovely and the staff is second to none — from the sweet lady who tends to the animals on the farm to the waitstaff to the Chef himself — can't imagine how it could be better." — mimimon008 on TripAdvisor
Mid-century modern Canlis, an AAA Four Diamond winner, is a Seattle landmark. Go, and you'll see why: Perched above Lake Union, the restaurant and its angular windows jut out dramatically. There are gorgeous views of the pines and Cascade Mountains beyond as smartly dressed diners inhale well-regarded dishes with local and Japanese influences.
Reviewer rave: "The most incredible all-around experience we've ever had. Stunningly beautiful restaurant with impeccable style, class and service. Every dish looked like fine art. Each bite tasted like the best morsel you've ever put in your mouth." — tommyd55_dallas on TripAdvisor
WEST VIRGINIA: BAVARIAN INN DINING ROOM
German food isn't the go-to cuisine at most fine-dining restaurants, so diners are the Bavarian Inn, an AAA Four Diamond winner, are in for a nice change of pace. Not in the mood for sauerkraut or wienerschnitzel? There are some contemporary American dishes on the menu, too, and brunch earns raves. Not on the menu, but an equally big draw: lovely views of the Potomac River.
Reviewer rave: "We've come here for the last 3 years for our anniversary. The ambiance is great, scenery is fantastic. ... Their menu changes with the season. They do have a few items on the year round, but everything I've had is good to great." — VatoNurse on TripAdvisor
WISCONSIN: THE IMMIGRANT RESTAURANT
Contemporary American cuisine gets a European twist at the Immigrant Restaurant, a destination in its own right at Kohler's top-shelf American Club resort. Six of the AAA Four Diamond, Forbes four-star restaurant's rooms are a nod to some of Wisconsin's immigrant settlers, including the French, Dutch, and Germans. Though a five-course tasting menu is available, so are traditional à la carte choices. Diners particularly recommend the sea bass, served with an indulgent smoked tomato butter sauce.
Reviewer rave: "Cheese plate appetizer, aged steaks and duck, crème brûlée ... ahhh ... Can I do that again, please?! Might be worth the two-plus-hour drive just for the coffee." — Todd P on TripAdvisor
WYOMING: JENNY LAKE LODGE DINING ROOM
If you can tear your gaze from the splendor of the mountains right out the window, you'll appreciate that the food at the Grand Teton National Park's Jenny Lake Lodge Dining Room is a major cut above most national park fare. Of course, it's also more expensive, but at the current price (five courses for $94) this is still a relative bargain in the fine-dining world. Take note: It's only open seasonally, from June to October.
Reviewer rave: "I've eaten at high-end restaurants all over the world, and would place this little gem near the top of the list. The menu changes daily, and the food is amazing. Five courses and you'll savor each one. The servers are attentive and informed, able to give information on each course. ... Treat yourself while you're visiting Grand Teton and eat here." — RevLex101 on TripAdvisor