New York City
Gristmill: Unusual grains like warthog wheat, a red wheat from Massachusetts, work their way onto the menu, which features pizzas that are fired in a custom wood oven, with toppings like fennel, bacon, dandelion and balsamic. There are also intriguing small plates, such as curds ‘n whey with garganelle, porcini and kale, and a panzanella reimagined with squid, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers and pea greens.
Denino’s: In the New York pizza scene, Denino’s is legendary. But unless you live on Staten Island, it’s always required a ferry ride to get your hands on the pie. Now for the first time, the crew is bringing their pies to Manhattan. Pro tip: Go with friends; these pies are big.
Soothsayer: Solid Vietnamese food is in short supply in New York City. Soothsayer, which opened earlier in the year and then shuttered, is back as a pop-up through the summer, with a banh mi burger; heirloom tomato salad with pineapple and galangal; and fried rice with duck sausage, smoked chicken and apple. Come fall, the team hopes to find a new, more permanent space.
Gwen: It’s all about the meat at Curtis Stone’s new restaurant and butcher shop in Hollywood. Dinner is served as a five-course meal that’s revealed to diners throughout the evening. Not to spoil too much, but look out for slow-smoked lamb ribs, excellent house-made orecchiette and a refreshing melon sorbet.
Here's Looking at You: Diners in L.A. have been eagerly awaiting this opening from Animal alums Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta, and, finally, the wait has ended. The 50-seat restaurant is open in Koreatown serving a sort of forward-thinking, fusion menu with dishes like chicory, watercress, five-spice, blue cheese and Chinese sausage and kingfish with radish, wakame, serrano, onion and charcoal.
Erven: Nick Erven is serving an entirely plant-based menu at his new Santa Monica restaurant. There’s the requisite kale salad, along with white gazpacho, a beer-battered tofu sandwich, and a peanut butter and jelly whoopie pie for dessert.
71Above: At the top of the U.S. Bank Tower 950 feet off the ground, sits the highest restaurant in the country west of the Mississippi. It’s all about the stunning 360-degree view, so keep that in mind when reserving a table. For dinner, there’s strawberry gazpacho with pickled green strawberries, black pepper and shiso, and grilled octopus with peach, lemon and pickled onion.
Citizen: Retro cocktails inspired by the 1960s coincide with a full menu at this new Beverly Hills spot. To drink, there’s the tiki-inspired “blue Hawaii” (white rum, blue curacao, pineapple and Key lime shrub) and a Citizen Champagne cocktail with Champagne, bitters, sugar and a citrus twist. To help fuel all that drinking, there’s hamachi with citrus, fennel pollen and dried cherries, and rabbit and wild mushroom lasagna to eat.
Waxman’s Pizzeria: He returned to the Bay Area with Waxman’s, a very Cali spot in Fhirardelli Square, four months ago, and now Jonathan Waxman has a pizza place to go with it. But there’s more than just pies here, like the JW chicken salad sandwich, a spin on his famous dish that makes for the perfect summer meal.
Mission D&A: Let every time you flip your calendar be a reminder to book another reservation at this monthly themed pop-up. This month is a five-course meal consisting of Belarusian food, like lamb rice pilaf, stuffed cabbage and spirit-soaked truffle candies. Come August, it’s all about the Parisian bistro vibe.
Tratto: Enjoy classic thin pizzas and rustic Italian small plates like eggplant caponata at this Tendernob spot. It’s located inside the boutique Joie de Vivre hotel, so you can book yourself a room if the bourbon-limoncello house cocktail gets the best of you.
Angry Crab: The second location of the popular shellfish shrine is now open in Wicker Park with all the crab, lobster, oysters and shrimp you could ever want. Don’t be afraid to try the “hella spicy” heat level: Milk is available to help sooth your decision.
Snow Junkie: Don’t let this be just another summer of making ice cream your frozen dessert of choice. Go for Taiwanese shaved ice instead, which you can get inside those adorable bubbly waffle cones, topped with whatever you’d like, fro yo-style.
Steadfast: Shareable plates like smoked sweetbreads, chocolate-covered foie gras and green garbanzo hummus make this an ideal post-work hangout. Not to mention the cocktails, which come from one of Chicago’s top mixologists, and a wine menu, which has bottles from around the world.
Casolare: Michael Schlow's channeling the Italian seaside at his new restaurant with dishes like cioppino; shrimp with chiles and bread crumbs; and cheese-less pizza with tomato sauce, capers, anchovies and olives. When the lights go down, the restaurant has a homey look to it.
Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar: This Basque pop-up finally has a place to call home. Expect pintxos (Basque bites) like cheeses, meats, salt cod fritters and fried pigs’ ears. There’s also a prix fixe meal for two that offers a rib eye steak, Idiazabal cheese with walnuts and quince, and more for $125. As you might have guessed from the name, its beverage program is all about cider.
Love Buzz: Pizza, beer and Skee-Ball. That—and the fact that you can get a side of cool ranch dressing for less than a dollar—should be more than enough to lure you to this new Montrose bar. It’ll also have one of the most attractive specials in the city: When you order a drink after 9 p.m., you get a slice of pizza on the house.
O.W.L.: Twenty-four-hour diners can be a glorious thing, especially when they are made for the 21st century with a custom mural, vintage signage and sleek wooden barstools. To boot, there are double-layer nachos, chicken wings, burgers and avocado toast.
Lili Koi: Surf’s up at this health food-focused bistro in South Beach. The chef spent his formative years in Maui, which is reflected in dishes like half a papaya served with tahini, bee pollen and cacao nibs, and the fact that you can opt to add mahi to your quinoa salad.
Doce Provisions: You’d be remiss to skip the Cuban sandwich, seeing as the chef was born in Cuba and this buzzy restaurant is nestled right in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood. Other highlights include the crispy Brussels sprouts, chorizo croquettes and short rib tacos.
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