The 20 Best US Restaurants To Open In 2023 So Far

After two years of closures that made home delivery and takeout our only options, the world couldn't wait to return to dining out. No more sad-faced eating alone while staring out the window. No more doing your best to look excited about engaging in a virtual dinner after spending the entire day in a state of virtual work. For most established restaurants, 2022 was about surviving the trials of the two past years. 

In 2023, a new crop of restaurants points to a revival of the industry and a welcome return to dining out in America. All you need is a great attitude and an empty belly to make the most of what the latest and greatest establishments offer.

What better place to celebrate a return to dining than at one of the best new restaurants in the U.S.? We've amassed a shortlist of 20 — whether you're in the mood for casual comfort or high-end fine dining — that opened within the last five months and offer everything from food, service, and ambiance.

Ember Kitchen - Austin, Texas

If we're talking about the best new restaurants to visit in the U.S. in 2023, then we have to talk about Ember Kitchen. Executive Chef Nayely Castillo makes miracles over live-fire cooking in a proprietary Josper oven — which utilizes charcoal embers to produce both tapas-style and entree-sized Latin American dishes. Originally opened in February of this year, with now-consulting chef Maria Mercedes Grubb at the helm, the restaurant remains a contender for one of the best dining establishments in the country.

The menu boasts a plethora of meat, seafood, and veggies, so there's bound to be something for everyone. Popular examples like Salpicon de Pulpo, spicy Escebeche-marinated octopus with charred salsa quemada, avocado mousse, and blistered tomatoes, is a small platter that offers a sense of the creative dishes on the menu. On the heavier side, a towering display of seafood comes out of the Josper oven in a tomato-based Veracruz sauce. 

Copra - San Francisco, California

A quick jaunt to San Fran takes us unexpectedly to South Asia. Where modern Indian cuisine in San Francisco is concerned, Copra joins the ranks of a new crop of contemporary restaurants challenging the status quo of what Western diners think of when they envision this food. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Chef Srijith Gopinathan based the menu on his lived experience on the Southern Indian coast, reflected in a seafood-packed dining venture beyond the usual butter chicken offerings. 

Take black cod pollichathu, encrusted with shallot and cooked in a cast iron pan wrapped in banana leaves, plated with coconut milk cream moilee, and red matta rice, a popular grain from Kerala. A real West Coast vibe is ever present, with hanging plants, lots of natural light, earth tones, and Kinfolk-style ceramics providing as casual an ambiance as you can expect in a fine dining establishment like Copra. 

Le Select - Chicago, Illinois

In Chi-Town, Michelin star Chef Daniel Rose's hotly anticipated ode to a Parisian brasserie, Le Select, is open for business and hungry lovers of classic French fare. Expect impeccable white-shirt service with a palatial design reminiscent of Marie-Antoinette's dining room, minus the beheading (yet with lots of red). Newly opened in January, the upscale brasserie is rich in both food and design, but rest assured the cost of your dinner is bound to reflect that. Paupers won't do well in this court.

House specialty, Steak au Poivre, seasoned with peppercorns in a cognac cream, will set you back $58, while Duck Breast à l'Orange, another mainstay of French cuisine served with orange and endives, comes in a little less pricey at $41. You will find classics like escargots in garlic butter, french onion soup, and steamed bone marrow glazed in cherry liqueur on an impressive list of appetizers.

Kisser - Nashville, Tennessee

In bluegrass country, Tennessee, Kisser — themed around Japanese kissaten (a local eatery and café) — is the brainchild of married chefs Brian Lea and Leina Horii. The restaurant detours from the regional norm while integrating elements of smoke and grilling. Farm-to-table is more than a buzzword; most of the herbs and produce on your plate come from a tiny farm owned and operated by the dynamic duo.

Such offerings look like crunchy market vegetables topped with a dressing from the chef's father or crispy tofu with grilled maitakes and tsuyu — a Japanese condiment of bonito flakes, soy sauce, sake, rice wine, and dried seaweed. As for mains, poultry, vegetables, and fish take center stage. Oyakodon adds an extra layer to the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? A caramel custard with a miso base acts as a crème brûlée, and matcha tea cake with white chocolate confection makes for very welcome dessert choices.

Cavaña - San Francisco, California

Cavaña is a jewel in the crown of LUMA Hotel San Francisco. A dinner here grants eaters a bird's eye view of the skyline and the surrounding bay from a rooftop location while also celebrating Latin American culture with its Central and South American-influenced menu and ambiance. Billed as a craft cocktail bar with live music, where agave and sugar cane provide the sugar base for most concoctions, the tapas are no slouch here either. Like the wooden and stoneware platters the food is served on, the design is high-end yet earthy.

Whether in natural sunlight or the bright lights of Mission Bay by night, either are a welcome accompaniment to dishes like Aguachile de Manzana — cured white fish dressed in cilantro and lime — and white corn arepas packed with a black bean brisket stew adorned by peppers and cotija cheese. The cocktail program makes use of Latin-Caribbean fruits like papaya, kiwi, and lemon and adds character with other cultural favorites like blackened corn, ancho chilies, hibiscus, and cinnamon.  

Petite Cerise - Washington, DC

According to DCist, Petite Cerise is James Beard-winning chef Jeremiah Longhorn's ode to an authentic French Bistro. The idea had been brewing since 2017, with Petite Cerise in the pre-construction phase in 2020 before COVID-19 scuttled those plans. The 90-seater establishment acts as a comfortable café by day and a casual bistro by night while taking inspiration from Longhorn's classical French culinary training and its accompanying values of seasonality, quality, and respect for tradition.

The spirit of "joie de vivre" makes its way onto split breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. There are decadent French pastries like pain au chocolat and freshly baked brioche with a strawberry compote and camembert cheese mousse; breakfast items like Croque Monsieur with heritage ham and gruyère cheese and béchamel. Lunch and dinner bring heavier options. Think potato-crusted halibut with fennel, bacon, lemon, and pearl onion or braised lamb with spring vegetables.

Rosette at The Brooklyn Winery - Brooklyn, New York City

Inside Brooklyn Winery, an independently owned event venue usually booked for weddings, is the newly opened Rosette, a modern American restaurant serving seasonal fare on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It's easily one of our top picks for the best NYC restaurants to visit in 2023

The menu includes both tapas-sized platters for sharing as well as a unique wildcard option, the "chef's whim" board, where Executive Chef Shaun Lafountain offers his choice of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats, and accompaniments on a chef's choice charcuterie board. Of course, the benefit of launching a restaurant in a winery is the number of stellar wines available. Brooklyn Winery sources all of its grapes from American producers and makes several varieties onsite. 

Sado - St. Louis, Missouri

As per St. Louis Magazine, James Beard award semifinalist chef Nick Bognar opened the adventurous sushi restaurant Sado — Japanese for "tea ceremony" — as a "translation of all [his] experiences." The space is ambitious, with 97 indoor seats and plans for a heated and cooled outdoor patio with a sushi bar and separate entrance. While standard sushi styles like nigiri, sashimi, tempura, robata yaki, makimono, and cold tastings abound, Bognar's dry aging fish makes this experience unique.

Dry aging brings out more flavor in the fish and practically melts in your mouth after a few bites. At Sado, cold appetizers include the unexpected, like a wagyu tartare topped with a quail egg yolk and umami aioli alongside seaweed chips for spooning. Unique market fish include uni, golden eye snapper, and Otoro caviar, all with helpful flavor profiles describing each fish's varied tasting notes. 

Lost Letter - Richmond, Virginia

According to Richmond Magazine, Richmond, Virginia's Lost Letter is actually a restaurant within a restaurant located in the front dining room of Longoven. Owned by pastry Chef Megan Fitzroy Phelan, her husband Chef Patrick Phelan, and Chef Andrew Manning, Lost Letter was inspired by their original desire to make Longoven a place for riveting multicourse tasting menus. Both Phelans and Manning have spent years working in Italian restaurant kitchens at home and abroad and bring that experience to a menu influenced by the Piemonte region of Italy.

At the time of writing, a seasonal menu is broken up by antipasti, primi (such as a knife-cut pasta in a Piedmontese ragu), and secondi, which leans on traditional offerings like roasted swordfish dressed in lemon, capers, and olives, or braised pork shank in a white wine mustard sauce. Limoncello tiramisu and a torte round up the dolci and make for a fine end to the meal. 

Zhego NYC - Manhattan, New York

Over in New York's Woodside, Queens, comes super authentic Bhutanese cuisine courtesy of two long lost friends; Chef Tobden Jamphel — who gained his initial experience in the kitchen cooking for his siblings in Bhutan — and partner, Sonan Tshering Singye. The two were friends growing up before reuniting again in New York by happenstance.

Restaurant Zhego imports spices like chilies and herbs directly from Bhutan, contributing to the authenticity of menu items like ema datsi, a plate of green chilies with cheese melted on top. Phaksha bayzum brings stir-fried pork belly into the chat, although several vegetarian options are typically accompanied by savory or spicy rice or noodles. We're thinking specifically of items like the jangbuli, a ginger-tinged noodle dish with a kick of Bhutanese Sichuan peppers. It's not big — the restaurant seats 12 at a time — but what Zhego lacks in size, it more than makes up for in flavor and character. 

Itsumono - Seattle, Washington

In Seattle, mukokuseki gastropub Itsumono is being lauded for its food and drink selections. Mukoseki is Japanese for "no nation," and Chef Sean Arakaki's borderless menu follows that theme closely. Chinese American meets the American South, meets Japan, Hawaii, and somewhere in the Mediterranean with a hybrid culinary style that borrows from several influences to come up with something unique (via The Seattle Times).

In practice, that may look something like Itsumono's miso soup risotto, where white miso replaces chicken broth or wine, tofu stands in for pancetta, and wasabi pea furikake — a Japanese topping of seaweed and sesame seeds — replaces a few dollops of truffle oil with nutty, salty umami over carnaroli rice. Tikka Tonkatsu Don unites South Asian tikka masala curry with a traditional Japanese breaded pork tenderloin cutlet. 

Hey Kiddo - Denver, Colorado

Hey Kiddo opened at the end of January on the top level of a boutique hotel, per Westword. Aside from the breathtaking views of Colorado, expect Chef Kelly Whitaker's take on everything from pasta to Korean fried chicken to be an experience in itself. Hey Kiddo seats somewhere around 45 diners with a winding menu that isn't afraid to straddle the map while being firmly set in a foundation of Korean dining.

San Fran Chef and author Deuki Hong helped develop the multi-influenced menu built on a foundation of Korean fried chicken, while chef de cuisine Jonas Zukosky — who ran the pasta program at another of Whitaker's restaurants — ensures the pasta at Hey Kiddo is on point. Whitaker eschews the "New American" label, preferring "true American" as better reflecting the different traditions and food on a menu where bucatini noodle and in-house fermented black bean isn't out of place. 

Mad Nice - Detroit, Michigan

Detroit's Mad Nice is a play on words for another restaurant speaking to the unexpected ways in which its menu, and the techniques involved in preparing it, unexpectedly intersect. According to the Detroit Free Press, the massive 10,000-square-foot restaurant opened last month in midtown Detroit. 

Executive Chef Myles McVay pulls out all the stops with pasta bowls like duck pastrami cavatelli, made with cured egg yolk, sambuca liquor, and parmesan in a broth. Roasted and grilled offerings include a 32-ounce porterhouse steak with crispy leeks, chili, and roasted mushrooms. Then there's a rotisserie chicken with slivers of crispy garlic, olives, honey, and farm greens. Pizza shines with an out-of-the-ordinary clam bake topping of lemon preserves, lardo, and scallions or a gorgonzola dolce of charred radicchio, tarragon, and honey. 

Bona Fide Deluxe - Atlanta, Georgia

Bona Fide Deluxe in Atlanta, Georgia, is a casual, downhome sandwich shop and bar but is no less worthy of its place on our "best of list" as far as we're concerned. A sandwich can be as basic or awe-inspiring as the person making it, and executive Chef Nolan Wynn has ensured the latter takes precedence. The 60-seater restaurant offers nine deli-style sandwiches, not including what they're calling "bread bombs," packed with the explosive taste of garlic butter, cheddar, bacon, and scallion.

A traditional cold-cut sandwich is a literal mouthful jammed with pepperoni, finocchiona, mortadella, pepperonata, provolone, lettuce, tomato, pepperoni, and mayonnaise. A vegan bahn mi borrows from the Vietnamese cultural sandwich and adds a dash of Chinese and Filipino influence with a Maggi seasoning (think soy sauce with a more concentrated flavor profile) and mayonnaise. 

Figlia - Queens, New York

Switching from sandwiches to pizza, Queens, New York's Figlia leverages specialty ingredients, long fermented dough, and an old-school wood-fired pizza oven to create Astoria's latest and greatest pizzeria and one of NYC's best restaurants of 2023. A 750 degrees Fahrenheit oven produces a few of the most incredible non-Neapolitan pizzas alongside antipasti and housemade pasta. 

According to QNS, owner Riccardo Dardha planned the 25-seat restaurant's pizza menu with baker and chef de cuisine Ariel Villegas. What sets Figlia apart from other pizzerias is a particular fermentation process involving a pair of unbleached flour types. The Nduja & Burrata pizza with crushed tomato, roasted onions, garlic, and basil, or the classic quattro formaggi with caramelized onions reminds us that the best restaurants don't always have to be overly complex in their execution nor require an expense account to enjoy. 

Poltergeist - Los Angeles, California

Chef Diego Argoti's Poltergeist isn't making food that's anything but scary. Launched in February inside an old arcade, the thesis revolves around Asian-Italian mashups of profound flavor.A recent menu boasted grilled dorade on green malawach — a Jewish flatbread — with blueberry gooseberry chili crisp, salsa verde, and soft herbs is a mix of Latin American, American, and Israeli cultures.

Mapo tofu stuffed cabbage with smoked shiitake, coconut garlic rice, and fermented chilies is a vegan science experiment bringing together Eastern Europe and China in a golden serving bowl that arrives at your table in blue flame. Broccoli beef ravioli, made with short ribs, brown butter, broccolini, and parmesan cheese, leans the Asian elements toward Italy, while green curry bucatini with lime leaf noodle, sunchoke curry, scallion confit, and pistachio gremolata steers Italian tradition way south toward India. 

Basilico Ristorante Italiano - Las Vegas, Nevada

Basilico bills itself as a modern Italian restaurant nestled securely in an upscale residential complex in Vegas. More than a restaurant, the 160-seat event venue can accommodate indoor and outdoor dining, as well as live music and performances. Chef Francesco Di Caudo veers toward an ethos of local, farm-to-table sourcing, which includes — housemade pasta — while drawing on his Sicilian heritage. 

Although this is definitely an Italian restaurant, Di Caudi is still versatile enough to pull off dishes like scallops and oxtail with bone marrow bordelaise alongside more traditional dishes like a simple spaghetti with pomodoro, fior di late, and basil. An impressive yet customary panna cotta with lemon thyme goat's milk, port sauce, nutmeg, and seasonal berries works next to an extraordinary Parmigiano gelato with a lemon ginger pound cake, spiced poached pear, and Italian mulled wine. 

Puritan Oyster Bar - Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts, knows seafood, and Puritan Oyster Bar does nothing to disprove that fact. Chef Will Gilson's raw bar is walk-in only, so you may have to wait a bit to enjoy the surprises the menu has in store. Prepare yourself for well-made classics like crab salad with grapefruit, dill, and celery root, or clam chowder accompanied by cornbread and instant gratification. 

However, items like the caviar cone served in an edible sesame wrap with sour cream and egg salad or the crab rangoon with sweet scallion chili and wontons point to a more creative state of mind. The showstopper is the Puritan Oyster Bar's seafood tower, where ceviche, oysters, shrimp, and more are piled high over ice with green chili and a cucumber ginger mignonette. A five-course chef's tasting is available for your entire table for $75 per person. 

Ramen Del Barrio - Austin, Texas

Chef Christopher Krinsky has restaurants in his blood. As a small child and U.S. citizen, he traveled between the States and Mexico, where his parents owned and operated a restaurant. He attended school in Mexico until graduating (via Texas Monthly). Returning to America as a teen, specifically in Austin, Texas, Krinsky began cutting his teeth in professional kitchens of Japanese restaurants. This influence of cultures appears in the Japanese-Mexican ramen menu. 

More of a food stall in an Asian grocer than a full-fledged restaurant, the ingenuity of Krinky's mashup makes this establishment unique. Menudo Tonkotsu Ramen, with tripe guajillo salsa tare, chili oil, hominy, and ramen noodles or carnitas tonkatsu ramen featuring pork belly and buche carnitas, chile toreado and grilled onions perfectly exemplifies the spirit of this cultural culinary collaboration. 

Jūn - Houston, Texas

Chef Evelyn Garcia, a contestant on the 19th season of "Top Chef," launched her new Asian American restaurant in February alongside chef and business partner Henry Lu. The reviews have been glowing. At Jūn, Asian meets Central and South American flavors in dishes where the humble carrot is elevated by salsa matcha, Salvadorian cheese, and a quail egg. 

On the menu, fried chicken is introduced to shrimp paste, ginger, Thai chili, and herbs, taking Southern cooking to Thailand and back. Cocktails like Thai One On mix sake, Thai basil, ginger, and cucumber tonic water. Jūn's commitment to displaying new Asian American cuisine in ways unexpected and delicious makes it, without a doubt, one of the best U.S. restaurants to try in 2023

Static Media owns and operates Mashed and Tasting Table.