America's Best Places to Eat Like a Local

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Coral Von Zumwalt

Memorable meals at one-of-a-kind restaurants are the hallmark of any trip. Follow this list of local favorites and you can’t go wrong.

He’eia Pier General Store & Deli, Kaneohe, HI

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Fishermen, paddle-boarders, the odd biker gang—everyone on Oahu’s windward coast stops into this ramshackle diner/bait-and-tackle shop perched on an old pier over Kaneohe Bay. You’ll find hearty plate-lunch staples such as musubi rice balls, mac salad, and pork luau stew; the owner’s mother runs a shave-ice stand next door. 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy.; 808/235-2192. $$

America's Best Places to Eat Like a Local

He’eia Pier General Store & Deli, Kaneohe, HI

Fishermen, paddle-boarders, the odd biker gang—everyone on Oahu’s windward coast stops into this ramshackle diner/bait-and-tackle shop perched on an old pier over Kaneohe Bay. You’ll find hearty plate-lunch staples such as musubi rice balls, mac salad, and pork luau stew; the owner’s mother runs a shave-ice stand next door. 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy.; 808/235-2192. $$

Coral Von Zumwalt

America's Best Places to Eat Like a Local

New York City may offer the quintessential pizza slice—a blistered and puffy, fold-it-in-half, red-sauced number (oregano, garlic powder, and pepper flakes optional)—but locals know that in this global town when you want your flatbread fix you can just as easily reach for a Spanish coca or an Indian uttapam.

Down in New Orleans denizens know that cravings for tried-and-true Creole classics (turtle soup, absinthe-poached oysters) are best dished up by Commander’s Palace, touristy reputation be damned. And in Seattle, it’s a chanterelle, apple, and egg dish at Sitka & Spruce that will keep the glooms at bay.

To find America’s best regional fare, you’ve just got to know where to look—and whom to ask.

We charged our network of staffers and contributors to eat their way across the 50 states for Travel + Leisure’s annual Best Places to Eat Like a Local. Their results: a crib sheet to authentic deliciousness. From pho shops and noodle joints in Las Vegas’s Asian micro-hood to San Francisco’s most essential sandwich, from sticky buns in Boston to 45-plus flavors of handmade ice cream down in Dania Beach, FL, America’s best local restaurants are instant classics. Hope you’re hungry. —Justin Ocean

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

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