The 10 Best Fancy Restaurants in America, According to Data
There is no doubt that many celebratory dinners were put on hold during the pandemic. Now that we can finally enjoy going out to a fancy dinner again (at least, for the moment), there's no reason to settle for a subpar dining experience.
Tripadvisor recently announced the 10 best fine dining restaurants in America based on data from this year's Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" Restaurants Awards, so you know exactly where to head for a memorable night out. The winners were chosen based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings for restaurants on Tripadvisor collected from January 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021, as well as an additional editorial process. Note that each recipient consistently provides outstanding service and quality food for travelers.
If you don't live near one of Tripadvisor's top picks, perhaps it could inspire your next getaway! Speaking of fancy nights out, check out The Most Romantic Restaurant in Every State. Now, here are the top 10 best fine dining establishments in the country, ranked from the best to the absolute best.
Please note: All of the included restaurants are open as of publication. However, please call or check the restaurant's website or social media before running out the door.
Kokkari Estiatorio in San Francisco, CA
This Mediterranean spot is an absolute must, according to Tripadvisor. Reviewers cannot get enough of the classic Greek dishes at this restaurant, from the Souvlaki to the Spanakopita. From our perspective, it doesn't sound like you can order a bad dish at this establishment.
Circa 1886 Restaurant in Charleston, SC
Based on the reviews, Circa 1886 Restaurant is the place to go for a special occasion or, at the very least, for a meal that you'll likely never forget.
"Great ambiance, wonderful service, delicious food," writes Alexandra R. of Westminster, Maryland. "I also appreciate the small details of fine dining and loved that this restaurant a) is still practicing the art of serving fresh bread and butter (in a silver dish) as you wait for appetizers b) was thoughtful enough to provide the utensil for enjoying a bite of your partner's dish c) has proper soup/stew spoons and d) uses the specific glass for your ordered wine (as in, different types of glasses for different types of reds).
It's special touches like these that allowed this restaurant to score a spot in Tripadvisor's 10 best fine dining establishments.
Lahaina Grill in Lahiana, HI
Visiting Hawaii anytime soon? If so, Lahaina Grill needs to be on your restaurant list, based on Tripadvisor reviews. Once you set foot inside, reviewers say it'll be obvious why it's one of the top restaurants in the United States. Garnering nearly 4,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating, this spot offers top-notch steak and seafood options such as filet mignon and seared lion paw scallops. Based on reviews, the service is the icing on the cake with regard to the overall dining experience.
"Expensive, yes, but this restaurant was truly the highlight of our week on Maui. Service is excellent, with personable servers who were attentive to our needs and willing to provide whatever was requested," writes TheMaraginatrix.
GW Fins in New Orleans, LA
Located in the famous French Quarter of New Orleans, GW Fins takes fresh seafood to a whole new level. The chef is known to serve only what's in season and fly in the highest quality ingredients from around the world—now that's what makes it the "best of the best" if you ask us!
Don't miss These Major Mistakes Caused the Decline of America's Largest Seafood Chain.
Mama's Fish House in Paia, HI
This is yet another Hawaii destination spot to add to your list (have we convinced you to book a trip, yet?). If you do end up heading to Hawaii, Mama's Fish House is not to be missed. If you're looking for authentic Hawaiian delicacies like Mahi-Mahi and Ahi tuna dishes, this is without a doubt the place to try—nearly 14,500 reviewers have taken the time to share just how special this place is.
Heads-up, you'll want to make a reservation in advance, though, because the world knows how superb both the cuisine and service are at this establishment. And, more importantly, don't skip out on dessert if you go. With options like a coconut chiffon cake and Kuau chocolate pie, it will be hard to resist ordering a few plates for the table.
Check out One Major Side Effect of Giving Up Dessert, Says Science.
Collage Restaurant in St. Augustine, FL
This cozy restaurant is perfect for a fancy date night or intimate celebration. It offers a menu inspired by global eats, with some of the most popular items being lobster ravioli, tenderloin au Poivre, and baked brie. Many of the reviews give praise to the esteemed staff at this spot.
"Very cozy restaurant! Skillful staff, tremendous food, nice ambiance and fun romantic evening. Would definitely come here again," writes ibjpw.
Sazón in Santa Fe, NM
Sazón in Santa Fe, New Mexico has garnered an impressive 5-star rating by Tripadvisor reviewers for its authentic Mexican cuisine and warm atmosphere. One reviewer wrote, "Chef Fernando Oleo is not only a master at the art of cooking, but he's also charming and down to earth. He visited our table multiple times throughout our meal to make sure we were loving the entire experience."
In addition to its delicious traditional appetizers such as Oaxaquenos (Oaxacan-style tamales) and Timbales, the restaurant itself is adorned with oil paintings from artists based in Mexico City.
Halls Chophouse in Charleston, SC
Charleston is clearly a top foodie destination in the country. The second establishment from the South Carolina city to earn a spot in Tripadvisor's top 10 best fine dining restaurants, Halls Chophouse has over 6,300 reviews and a 5-star rating on the site. Come for a fancy dinner in the regular dining room or rent out one of their private dining spaces with 32 of your closest friends for a dinner party you're bound to never forget.
"Hands down best dining experience I ever had. Most polite staff, best steak, and most amazing oysters. If you have the opportunity, stop. You won't be disappointed," writes natk363.
Now, be sure to read The Worst Foods You Should Never Eat on a First Date, New Survey Says.
Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale, AZ
If you find yourself in Scottsdale, Arizona, there is no question that the Cafe Monarch is a must-try for an exquisite meal. Reviewers liken this restaurant to top-tier restaurants in major food cities like New York and Los Angeles. There is a four-course tasting menu that really makes this experience worthwhile—and it's highly recommended by many Tripadvisor reviewers.
"No sunset views, but you won't miss them because the tasting menu and superb service will keep you engaged. Very accommodating tiny but interesting bar is [the] perfect perch for people watching," writes GTBDA.
Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA
Before we even discuss the food, we have to point out that Inn at Little Washington has an award-winning 14,000 bottle wine cellar inside. This spot boasts classic French dishes such as carpaccio of herb-crusted Elysian Fields baby lamb loin with Caesar salad ice cream. Oh, and did we mention the restaurant has three Michelin stars?
For more, be sure to check out These Beloved Restaurants in NYC Are Officially Open Again.