Go off the beaten path and visit extraordinary eateries that are unknown to the average tourist. Stop by a rustic Italian restaurant in Staten Island, New York, where the nonnas are in charge, a perfect pizza joint outside the bright lights of Las Vegas, a dining destination only for those in the know in Hawaii and a cool spot for shaved ice under the palm trees.
Everyone knows Las Vegas for its bright lights, humming slot machines and big shows. But if you play your cards right, you can also eat at some of the most interesting, delicious and unique restaurants. We're going on and off the strip to discover those eateries. After this, you'll be convinced to spend an evening outside of the casino.
We're taking a trip to the 50th state for an indulgent culinary weekend, finding out which chefs and restaurants make Hawaii a true foodie destination. From unique takes on traditional Hawaiian seafood to inventive drinks to keep you cool beachside, it's a palate-pleasing trip through paradise.
We feature restaurants that are pushing the envelope on some of America's beloved comfort foods. Plan Check in Los Angeles offers the most indulgent burgers, fried chicken and pastrami sandwiches, plus a unique towering doughnut dessert. A food truck in Nashville uses big, fat biscuits for hearty sweet and savory sandwiches. Cold fried chicken and baked potatoes are transformed into imaginative pizzas at Pete Zaaz in Brooklyn. And, in Atlanta, guilty pleasures can be found in creative hot dogs, sausages and fries at HD1.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to dive into some of the most unique seafood dishes. A traditional oyster roast and seafood boil prepared right on the water in Charleston, S.C. A New York restaurant that features twenty five different mussel pots, complete with French fries and bread to sop up all the unique flavors. A cozy restaurant in the heart of Boston's North End where you can get two different lobster rolls and lobster spaghetti. And Montreal, Canada, where a Texas chef adds global flavors to his seafood menu.
We've found the most unique Asian food in the country. Find out where all the foodies go to fill their bellies with the best dumplings and noodles in Chicago. Take a seat at the bar and be dazzled by Japanese robata-style cooking in New York City's East Village. Sample creative Chinese cooking like tea-smoked chicken, salt and pepper shrimp and steamed duck egg custards in North Carolina. And step inside a funky retro diner in Boston where a husband and wife team serve up innovative Cantonese and Taiwanese dishes.
We're checking out some of the most unique delis in the country. Deli by day, intimate restaurant at night, Torrisi Italian Specialities in New York's Little Italy neighborhood is celebrating Italian-American food but peppered with many modern and delicious twists. Joan's on Third is the go-to gourmet deli in Los Angeles where you can rub elbows with celebrities while devouring a grilled cheese short rib sandwich. The humble hot dog gets a culinary upgrade at Neal's Deli in North Carolina, and for Jewish delicatessen classics just like bubby used to make, step into Eleven City Diner in Chicago.
Atlanta is a hotbed for unique eats. Heirloom Market BBQ brings together Korean and American barbecue in a quirky roadside eatery. Seafood dishes are brought to delicious new heights at swank newcomer The Optimist, while cozy corner restaurant One Eared Stag serves edgy American food. And Abattoir adds global touches to its Southern dishes.
Americans continue to pine over all things swine. Korean restaurant Palsaik in Los Angeles serves bacon in eight different flavors. Martin's Bar-B-Q in Nashville smokes whole hog right in the center of their dining room. At Cemitas Puebla in Chicago, diners sink their teeth on quesadillas stuffed with chicharones or their signature Mexican sandwich stuffed with sliced deli ham, fried pork and grilled pork. New York's The Cannibal celebrates nose-to-tail eating with their whole slow-roasted half pig's head, whipped lardo toast and boudin noir sausages.
Authentic global flavors can be savored right here in America. Folks craving Mediterranean and Israeli food flock to charming Balaboosta in New York. Popular Nashville food truck Riff's Fine Street Food marries Caribbean and Asian flavors. At Cook's Torta in Los Angeles, there's always a crowd for their Latin-style sandwiches, while Pecking Order in Chicago serves Filipino-style chicken that comes roasted, grilled or fried.
Pull up a barstool at these unique pubs where the food is delicious and daring. Step into Joe Beef in Montreal for their signature creamy lobster spaghetti, rich Swedish Meatballs and indulgent Foie Gras. Visit Double D. Longman and Eagle in Chicago where there is a critically acclaimed gastropub downstairs and a cozy inn upstairs. Go to Citizen Public House in Boston for the Carpetbagger, a filet mignon with fried oysters and oyster butter. And, it's a step back in time at Henry Public in Brooklyn for pre-prohibition cocktails and comfort foods like braised turkey sandwiches and made-to-order doughnuts.
You don't have to go all the way to Europe to have the best bistro fare. In Los Angeles, a hip restaurant updates French bistro classics, while in Boston, seafood is highlighted in the famous Provencal dish, bouillabaisse. La Fourchette in South Carolina celebrates hearty French countryside dishes, and at Landmarc in Tribeca, Chef Marc Murphy pays homage to the foods he grew up eating in France and Italy.
Spend a food-filled weekend in Portland, Oregon, where up and coming innovators meet local legends. Enjoy a breakfast of baked eggs and tomato stew, your favorite comfort foods turned into dumplings and Asian street food turned on its head.
Chicago continues to draw hungry foodies from all corners of the country with their innovative restaurants. Publican Quality Meats sells farm-raised meats and housemade charcuterie from their butcher counter, but the real draw is the hearty, meat-filled sandwiches. Yusho creates a buzz with their creative Asian-inspired street food. Antique Taco in Wicker Park offers authentic Mexican tacos and classic American comforts foods with a Mexican twist. Familiar brunch dishes get a fine-dining makeover at the Trenchermen.
The lunch hour just got a little longer because the dishes at these restaurants are meant to be savored. Perla in New York City's West Village serves rich Italian sandwiches and delicious pizzas. It's all about the unique "baco" sandwich served daily at Baco Mercat in downtown Los Angeles. At Local Three Kitchen and Bar, diners order fast food classics without the guilt because only fresh, top-quality ingredients are used. Merchants Restaurant in downtown Nashville is a quiet retreat from bustling Broadway and serves elegant Southern food.
These restaurants are putting their modern spin on some Italian classics. Parm in New York's Little Italy dishes out classic Italian-American sandwiches and brings out the kid in all of us with their colorful ice cream sandwich cake. Italian comfort food is paired with beer at gastropub Alla Spina in Philadelphia, while Superba Snack Bar in Venice, California, crafts their own pastas using unusual ingredients and cooking techniques. City House in Nashville puts a Southern twist on Italian sausages and seafood and uses leftover pizza dough to create gnocchi.
The beloved American comfort food is raised to new culinary heights. At Jane in Montreal, the thick, sweet and chewy pizza crust is a tribute to their city's bagels, and they're covered with wild combinations like macaroni and cheese with meatballs and smoked meat, cheddar and pickles. At Domenica in New Orleans, pizzas are topped with rare Mangalitsa pork and baked in a wood-burning, rotating oven. Pizza lovers cram into Great Lake in Chicago where they feature only three pizzas, and none of them are deep dish. And Neapolitan-style pizza is celebrated in the most delicious ways at Motorino in Brooklyn.
Whether you like it fried, roasted, grilled or smoked, we've got a chicken dish you will want to sink your teeth into. Two different styles of Korean fried chicken are the delicious draw at Crisp in Chicago. Approximately 5,000 people come to Wright's Farm in Rhode Island on the weekend for their $10, all-you-can-eat roast chicken dinner. Romados in Montreal specializes in Portuguese rotisserie grilled chicken that's slathered with a top-secret sauce, and at Hill Country in New York, chickens and game hens are smoked with Texas post oak and dunked in a sticky, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
If you're hungry for big flavors without breaking the bank, these unique cheap eats will deliver. In Chicago, a honky-tonk whiskey bar serves amazing tacos, and a small restaurant dresses house-made haute hot dogs and sausages with global flavors. In downtown New York, students flock to a delicious Cambodian sandwich shop the size of a dorm room, while in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a quirky Venezuelan restaurant offers 17 different arepas that will fill you up quickly.
These innovative chefs are creating uniquely modern food across the country. In Austin, Chef Paul Qui is keeping it weird and uniquely delicious at East Side King. In New York City's Atera, Chef Matt Lightner and his kitchen are the stars of this jewel-like culinary theater. A well-known Philadelphia innovator keeps it kosher while wowing the crowds, and in Los Angeles, a couple has gone from illegal dinners in their apartment to a full-fledged restaurant serving irresistible Pan-Asian fare.
It's easy to sample everything on the menu when it comes in the form of small bites. My Ceviche in Miami Beach, Florida, keeps it light with the freshest local fish and zesty dressings that define the traditionally Latin-American ceviche dishes. Barley Swine in Austin, Texas, features 13-15 small plates a day, each highlighting ingredients from the local farmers' market. Amis in Philadelphia puts a twist on classic Roman trattoria food where diners are encouraged to order several dishes to share, and Momo Sushi Shack in Bushwick, Brooklyn, serves sushi and dumplings that have Manhattanites crawling through the tunnel to try.
We're looking for the most unique old-school eats across America. Yardbird in Miami gives a taste of the true South with its fried chicken and fried green tomatoes. Dinic's in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal has been serving up some of the best old-school sandwiches to crowds for decades. In New York, old school meets new school at Quality Meats steakhouse, while La Camaronera in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami honors a family seafood tradition.
We're checking out the most unique spots for the ultimate guilty pleasure, fried food. At La Banquise in Montreal, choose from 25 different toppings to go with your poutine. Also in Montreal, a fish and chips shop offers different fish and unique batters like orange soda and maple syrup. In Brooklyn, fried risotto balls go gourmet with unique sweet and savory fillings, and in Austin, Texas, big fat doughnuts are piled high with the craziest combinations like deconstructed peach cobbler, fried chicken and honey butter.
Longing to take that lunch break? These unique restaurants will encourage you to step out of the office and linger over a leisurely lunch. M. Wells in Long Island City, New York, looks like a diner, but there's nothing ordinary about the food and atmosphere. At Parish Cafe in Boston, all the sandwiches are created by a famous local chef. At Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, Connecticut, one bite of the arepa or empanada lunch plate will transport you to the beaches of Venezuela. And in New Orleans, time seems to stop at Boucherie Restaurant so you can enjoy your po' boys and glazed doughnut bread pudding.
Some of the country's best wine bars are serving innovative small plates to go with your glass or bottle. Simple, rustic Italian dishes shine at Terroir in Tribeca, New York, and at the Purple Pig in Chicago, a young chef impresses with his Mediterranean menu. At Cochon Butcher in New Orleans, shop for provisions and then have a delicious bite to eat and a glass of wine to sip. And at Max's Wine Dive in Austin, Texas, the portions and flavors of their American comfort food menu is anything but small.
We love classic dishes, but appreciate when they're uniquely reinvented. The Wakin' and Bakin' Brunch at Eating House in Miami, Florida, has something new for both savory and sweet lovers. Lucy's Fried Chicken in Austin, Texas, spruces up the traditional fried chicken dinner with lots of creative fixings and sides, while Josh's Deli in Surfside, Florida, brings the traditional Jewish deli to a whole new level by reinventing the ubiquitous matzoh ball into gnocchi. And Easy Tiger in Austin combines an artisanal bakery with a beer hall.