The Best Restaurants In America, According To Robert Irvine - Exclusive

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine has always had an appreciation for history. "I find [it] more exciting than the food," he told Tasting Table at a GRUBBRR press event on a rainy day in New York City. Since his stardom on Food Network, Irvine has extended his entrepreneurial spirit to his investment in GRUBBRR, a self-ordering technology brand that will encourage more AI opportunities in the restaurant and retail industry.

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, the "Restaurant: Impossible" host shared about his fair share of traveling (especially in the United States), tasting foods from the most unsuspecting establishments, and aiding chefs along the way. There might not be anybody better to recommend restaurants and explain exactly what makes them great. So, naturally, we thought to turn to one of the most well-known celebrity chefs for a list of his favorite restaurants across the country.

We knew we were in good hands, too. The "Restaurant Rivals” star has actually checked on every restaurant that has ever been showcased on his hit television series since 2011 (that is, except for one Ohio restaurant that didn't take his professional advice). With that level of thoroughness, you can bet Irvine's opinions are well-considered and his recommendations are as good as it gets. These are the best restaurants in America according to Robert Irvine.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse in Chicago, Illinois

You know what they say: A steakhouse a day keeps the doctor away. Okay, so they definitely don't say that, but apparently this American steakhouse is really worth the visit. Chicago Cut Steakhouse provides all the classic steak cuts, from rib eyes to porterhouses. Irvine recommends the famous restaurant for not only its delicious food but also for the experience. 

"A great steakhouse experience is half food, half atmosphere," Irvine explained. He says he enjoys visiting establishments with a rich history. "And yes, of course, I'd only recommend places with great food, but it's the dark, cozy, old-world atmosphere at Chicago Cut that will really warm your heart, make you want to take three hours to eat, and ultimately stay with you long after your meal is over."

In terms of the eatery's history, Irvine identifies the experience as old-world-inspired with old-school service and spectacular food. Chicago Cut Steakhouse opened in 2010, and guests will often spot high-profile celebrities (like Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Seacrest). 

Parc in Philaldelphia, Pennsylvania

Next up on Irvine's best restaurant list is a French Bistro. Parc in Philadelphia covers everything from breakfast to brunch to dessert, all curated from classic French cuisine. Some specialty dishes include coq au vin (braised chicken), bouillabaisse (a traditional fish soup), and escargots (snails). Irvine gave Parc extremely high praise. "Outside of Paris," Irvine said, "this is some of the best French cuisine you can get in the whole world." The Food Network star categorized the menu as "incredibly ambitious" and "simply outstanding."

Per the eatery's website, Parc offers fresh-baked croissants, an oatmeal brûlée, and eggs Florentine (involving sautéed spinach, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce) — although we were sold at "fresh-baked croissants." Parc is located in Rittenhouse Square Park, which is a popular spot among visitors and locals — especially with warm weather just around the corner. One of the more favorable items on the menu is the Mushroom Tart, which the restaurant describes on Instagram as "baked to a crisp, topped with beech mushrooms and truffle pecorino." 

Cala in Scottsdale

Looking for out-of-this-world Mediterranean food? According to Robert Irvine, Cala in Scottsdale has you covered. The chef behind the food is actually friends with the "Restaurant Rivals" host, but that's not why he recommends grabbing a bite to eat there. "Is the chef Beau MacMillan a great personal friend of mine? He certainly is," Irvine said. "But I'm not mentioning Cala as a favor to him; please, the man needs no favors from me."

Nevertheless, Irvine has plenty of compliments for MacMillan and his latest endeavor. "He's so immensely talented and passionate, his restaurants consistently annihilate my expectations, and his (relatively) new place Cala is no exception," Irvine added. Relatively new is a good descriptor, as the restaurant opened back in January 2022. Scottsdale is a seemingly hot travel destination right now, and Cala is certainly helping, filling up plates with artisanal, hand-tossed pizzas and cocktails curated from fresh local ingredients. According to the restaurant's website, the cuisine is classified as modern coastal with influences from countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. We are particularly intrigued by the black truffle cavatelli (made with homemade pasta) and the mouth-watering Chilean sea bass.

Bern's Steak House in Tampa

Three words: perfectly aged steaks. Bern's Steak House located in Tampa has been serving guests since 1956 with prime steaks and locally grown vegetables on the side. "Their whole schtick is steak elevated to an art form, and my experience there has been true to their mission," Irvine noted. "It's fitting that a place that opened in the '50s still has a dress code — and trust me, this is food worth dressing up for."

Per the restaurant's website, the dress code is identified as business casual to semi-formal clothing, with jackets and ties "encouraged" — so make sure you dress to the nines. What makes Bern's really stand out, though — besides the steak, of course — is its wine collection. The steakhouse won a James Beard Award for its Outstanding Wine Program in 2016 and is said to hold one of the largest restaurant wine lists in the country, with a collection consisting of over half a million bottles and 6,500 different labels. If it's a luxury wine-and-dine kind of night, Bern's Steak House is the place to be. 

Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach

Miami Beach has an up-and-coming food scene, with Joe's Stone Crab being one of Irvine's favorites. The restaurant, originally known for its fish sandwiches and fries, has been around since 1913, which is a thoroughly impressive feat in the culinary world. "​​To make it a decade in the restaurant industry, you've gotta be pretty damn good. To make it eleven decades? 110 years? You've gotta be legendary," Irvine said.

What does the "Restaurant: Impossible" host recommend ordering from Joe's Stone Crab on your next trip to South Florida? The surf-and-turf. "Probably the best surf-and-turf in Miami Beach, and they ship nationwide: crab cakes, key lime pie, and a bunch of other items," he added. The food is slightly pricey, which can be a caveat for some, but Irvine says it's worth the cost. A New York strip goes for $79.95 with an added cost of $29.95 for a lobster tail (aka a classic surf-and-turf). Although the food may put a dent in your wallet, Joe's Stone Crab does have a 4.5-star rating on Google, with over 8,000 ratings — so do with that information what you will!

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Yes, you read that right — Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, the chain restaurant, made it to Robert Irvine's best eateries list. Don't laugh, either — Smokey Bones gets a "big thumbs up" from Irvine as he added that, at the very least, you get consistency with chain restaurants. "Or, in a best-case scenario, you get a place like Smokey Bones, which I'd go as far to call excellent," Irvine said. "It has a really inspired menu for people who love ribs, and I love ribs."

The barbecue restaurant offers a variety of meat and poultry, including pork, steaks, chicken, and seafood. Smokey Bones also sells bulk BBQ platters like hand-pulled pork, Texas-style beef brisket, and sliced smoked turkey breast — all served with two regular sides (fries, loaded baked potato, macaroni & cheese, and more). Founded in 1999, the franchise now has approximately 67 locations, and depending on the day, you might just find Irvine in one of them.

Robert Irvine's Public House in Las Vegas

You might be shocked to find that Irvine rates his restaurant as one of the best in the U.S. — but we can't blame him, because the food is top-tier. "Shameless plug aside, my first love is pub food, and the mission of Public House is to elevate pub food with the worldly sensibility I've developed since I was a lad," Irvine told Tasting Table. "And I'm proud to put it up against anyone else's." The celebrity chef opened Public House on the Las Vegas strip back in 2017 — specifically, at the Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Resort — complete with a wraparound bar and offering three meals a day.

Robert Irvine's Public House boasts classic American food inspired by the chef's United Kingdom roots. Cod fish & chips, ultimate BLT, and chicken soup are just a few staples on the menu, along with several shareables, pastas, and pizzas. For dessert, why not opt for a decadent red velvet cheesecake? After you top off your dinner with cheesecake, take a stroll down the strip, because Las Vegas is no stranger to celebrity chef restaurants. Irvine is (semi-adjacent) neighbors with Martha Stewart's fairly new establishment, The Bedford, and Gordon Ramsay's infamous Hell's Kitchen.

Keens Steakhouse in New York City

As we stated before, Irvine loves a restaurant with plenty of history. Keens Steakhouse is marketed as a classic New York City steakhouse founded in 1885. What is Irvine's favorite part of the restaurant, you ask? The 90,000 or more pipes that line the room. "My favorite steakhouse in New York made a cameo appearance in [the show] 'Billions,' and it's easy to pick out with a ceiling that's lined end to end with churchwarden pipes — the largest such collection in the entire world," Irvine explained.

With the uniqueness of the building structure, Irvine claims that Keens Steakhouse also comes with some pretty "amazing" steak and chops. According to the restaurant's Instagram, the served mutton chops and dry-aged prime steak are customer favorites — or "legendary," as the biography profile so described. The culinary spot has housed famous faces like Anthony Bourdain, which should tell you all you need to know about the allegedly pristine food.

Café Fiorello in New York City

It might seem a bit ironic since he hosts a show called "Restaurant: Impossible," but Irvine doesn't subscribe to "impossible" as a concept. "I don't believe in the word," he told us. Still, he thinks Café Fiorello accomplishes something pretty darn close to it. "It is very hard to be all things to all people, and yet somehow, this Italian restaurant does just that," Irvine said. The Manhattan establishment is an option for all hours of the day, but its dinner menu is delectable and the unquestioned star of the show. "It's simultaneously an upscale fine dining experience and a great place to pop in for a pizza."

You can actually order a three-course meal here — antipasto, entrée, and dessert — all at a fixed price of $37 per person five days a week. There's also a brunch menu for all of you sbagliato spritz lovers out there. Café Fiorello opened back in 1974 across the street from Lincoln Center, and, aside from its delicious food, is well-known for its late-night hours — which is fitting given its location in the city that never sleeps.