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Q: "Best" restaurant in the United States? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   9 Comments )
Subject: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Restaurants and City Guides
Asked by: nautico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 14 Jan 2004 12:17 PST
Expires: 13 Feb 2004 12:17 PST
Question ID: 296479
On April 6, 2001 I had the most sublime dining experience of my life:
dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville (Napa Valley), CA. The bill
for two was $518, $73 of which was the automatic 18% gratuity and $37
in taxes. Is there any other eatery or chef that can compare with the
"FL" or Thomas Keller? I have heard that Chicago's Charlie Trotter's
comes close, though Keller's culinary virtuosity would seem
unsurpassable. (The "FL" and Trotter's are among only 14 restaurants
rated 5 stars by the Mobil Guides.)

Clarification of Question by nautico-ga on 14 Jan 2004 13:15 PST
What seems to set 5-star restaurants apart from all the others is
their prix fixe tasting menus, which in most cases amount to a
succession of what one might regard as large canapes.
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
Answered By: leader-ga on 14 Jan 2004 18:32 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello nautico-ga:

It is a pleasure to answer your question. Since, I had the Zagat guide
to America?s best restaurants, my curiosity took over.

Beside Mobil?s guide there are a few other very reputable sources that
will allow you to refine your search. Allow me to discuss:

Zagat Guides
Many American?s believe that Zagat is the standard for other travel
and recreation guides. I will advise you to subscribe for its monthly
or yearly online restaurant guides for a tiny amount and enjoy the
comprehensive ratings. You cannot go wrong with thousands of people
who have eaten in the restaurant of your choice. I am a subscriber to
its online version and to me it is probably the only guide that I
might ever need.

This is probably the most respected online website when it comes to
food. They have free online guide to the best restaurants in selected
regions. Yes, they do have a fantastic review of the French Laundry.
They also have their top 50 restaurant picks in America. Here is the

Travel Magazines

You may also want to check the world?s best ratings of the best hotel
restaurants in the world from Travel & Leisure Magazine. The ratings
can be checked at

Another famous travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler has the same but
brief ratings at

Useful Keywords

I will also like you to use the term ?best restaurants? in Google. My
search revealed a variety of websites for top restaurants in the
individual cities.

I hope this will help. Please clarify if you are not satisfied. I will
be happy to discuss this very interesting issue.

nautico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thanks, Leader. I also agree with Revbrenda that "best," when applied
to restaurants, is in the eye of the beholder (or mouth of the diner).

Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: omnivorous-ga on 14 Jan 2004 12:41 PST
Nautico --

I don't know where it sits in the Mobil Guide, but The Herbfarm in
Woodinville, WA deserves serious consideration.  It's not classical
French cuisine, but a new cuisine accented heavily by local products
and herbs:

Chef Jerry Traunfeld has published a pair of cookbooks.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: nautico-ga on 14 Jan 2004 13:11 PST
It's interesting that, although the Herbfarm, which I had never heard
of, got 5 diamonds from AAA, it receives no rating from the Mobil
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: revbrenda1st-ga on 14 Jan 2004 18:42 PST
Evening nautico!

Well, from feet to taste buds between dawn and dusk. I'm not brave
enough to nominate any American restaurant as the 'best,' especially
since I'm a Canadian. That being said, I wouldn't even presume to pick
a Canadian one! I feel no amount of on-line research could provide an
accurate answer, either.

You could go out on the street and ask 100 people this question.
Chances are you'll get 100 different answers. Chances also are you
could ask ME at various points in my life and get a different answer
every time.

There is an Indian restaurant in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It has a
five star rating in the Michelin Guide. Hands down (within driving
distance for me) it's the best place to get an ethnic meal, for the
food, the service, and the ambiance. Unfortunately, you need to climb
about 45 steps to get to it, and that's physically impossible for me

Curry Village, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

mmmmm ... In Prague, my companion and I ate at a neighbourhood corner
restaurant. The total price of the meal, including two mugs of beer
each, came to about three USD. Sorry, the name escapes me.

I wish I could remember the Pennsylvania town where T. Tommy's
restaurant is located.

If you ever get to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, drop into Flo's
Place. My goodness, it ain't fancy but it's got style! And the cajun
food is soooooooo darned good. I ordered alligator stew and my teenage
daughter got up from the table and sat in the Bronco in the parking
lot until my son went out and told her it was off the table.  <<grin>>

Flo's Place in Murrells Inlet

I had a great pita sandwich on a street corner in Budapest, and some
wonderful dumplings at U Fleku in Prague. Not haute cuisine by most
people's definition, but Lord luv a duck, it was good!

As for 'fancy' meals, I suppose Bonnie Castle Manor in Alexandria Bay,
New York takes the cake. I closed MY restaurant for a night around
Christmas time one year and took my employees there for a treat. We
had a nice meal (portions too small) and after a few drinks, and over
100 USD per person, headed back across the river to a local bar where
we filled up with appetizers, snacks, and a few pitchers of beer
(Canadian style celebrating.)

So here is my take on the whole thing -- if you like the food, if
you're with good company, if you woke up on the right side of the bed
that morning, and if you've got the bux to spend without hurting the
next day, you've been to the best restaurant, not just in the United
States, but in the whole darned world.

Bon appetit,

Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: nautico-ga on 15 Jan 2004 06:34 PST
I suppose there are two definitions of "best" when it comes to
subjective enjoyment like food, music, and theatre. The
eye-of-the-beholder meaning and the eye-of-the-professional-critic
meaning, and, of course, the former often doesn't agree with the
latter. One can also make the argument that in the very best
restaurants, as so judged by critics, the margin of difference between
them and less costly eateries is not worth the hefty premium one is
required to pay. Though it would not be credible for me to claim that
my $518 dinner at The French Laundry was "worth it" in terms of bodily
sustenance, it was as one helluva life experience!
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: leader-ga on 15 Jan 2004 07:23 PST
Thanks for the tip and a five star rating. Yes, I agree.
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: nautico-ga on 16 Jan 2004 14:07 PST
One of my faves, regardless of the number of stars awarded, is The
Oyster Bar in the basement of NYC's Grand Central Station. I know of
no better place for oyster stew and a voluminous choice of fresh fish.
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: nouveauangleterre-ga on 21 Jun 2004 05:36 PDT
I have long understood that Chez Panisse on Shattuck Avenue in
Berkeley, California is regarded by many to be "The Best Restaurant in
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: nautico-ga on 21 Jun 2004 07:46 PDT
Chez Panisse is owned and operated by chef Alice Waters, who's done a
lot to further the popularity of organic haute cuisine. Perhaps she
hasn't been in business long enough yet to earn more than the three
stars awarded by Mobil.
Subject: Re: "Best" restaurant in the United States?
From: claudietta-ga on 14 Nov 2004 15:23 PST
And now you can have another heavently French Laundry experience in New York!


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