It’s a common predicament: You arrive in a city and realize you don’t have a dinner reservation. Never fear, there are a couple ways to work the system in your favor. Here, some food for thought on what to do.
Tip 1:Call in the afternoon. Around 3 p.m., restaurants start confirming that evening’s reservations and waiting list. Call in the afternoon, and you just might snag a newly canceled reservation.
Portland International Airport is now in the pop-up food-truck game, with the launch of mobile versions of Pok Pok (from Michelin-starred chef Andy Ricker) and Koi Fusion—both local spots with cult followings. It’s all part of a new program that gives small businesses a chance to test their success at the airport by letting them set up for six months at a time.
London culinary institution, Chef Mark Hix, has opened his first restaurant south of the Thames River, just a stones throw from the Tate Modern and Borough Market. At Hixter Bankside he’s once again working with the formula that proved so popular at his East London restaurant Tramshed, focusing on succulent whole roast chickens and Flinstones-sized beef cuts to share.
Who doesn’t love a sexy bar with delicious bites? Our new haunt: the banquette-lined, mahogany-clad NoMad Bar ($$$), from the team behind the adjacent NoMad hotel. They had us at pot pie and foie gras, but we stayed for the bacon-wrapped hot dogs with black-truffle mayonnaise, artisanal beers, and perfectly balanced cocktails. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, chef Michael Psilakis is close to opening a yet-to-be-named beer hall ($$), a 5,000-square-foot homage to Greek street food—crab keftedes; pork-shoulder gyros—with local brews on tap.
In the up-and-coming Avondale neighborhood, the laid-back, Korean-American Parachute ($$) is the first opening from Top Chef vet Beverly Kim and her husband, John Clark. Order the boudin noir with nam phrik and coconut yogurt, and anything from the Asian bread menu (but especially the Chinese bing). Hyde Park’s dining scene just cranked up the dial with Promontory ($$), where chef Jared Wentworth, from Logan Square gastropub Longman & Eagle, serves hearty classics such as lamb navarin and vegetable pot-au-feu.
Unexpected encore: those mad geniuses at innovative Japanese restaurants Uchi and Uchiko take a more traditional approach with St. Philip ($$), a pizzeria and bakery in Sunset Valley.
Capitalizing on the flyaway success of State Bird Provisions, the Progress is Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s locavore-minded follow-up next door, set to open by the end of the year. In the meantime, head to the Presidio and hit the Commissary ($$$), from Traci des Jardins of Jardinière. Her 112-seat restaurant serves Spanish-inflected dishes such as salt-cod fritters and octopus with pimenton.
Quinn and Karen Hatfield, the duo behind Hollywood favorites Hatfield’s and the Sycamore Kitchen, are launching Odys & Penelope ($$$) on La Brea Avenue. Main attractions: grilled Monterey Bay squid, smoked short ribs, and whole-bird churrasco. Save us a seat.
Hometown hero John Besh teams up with Brooklyn-based chef Aarón Sánchez (of the Food Network’s Chopped) to open the farm-to-table taqueria Johnny Sánchez ($$) in the Central Business District. The tacos we’re craving: Wagyu-beef barbacoa; squash blossom with burrata.
Restaurants $Less than $25 $$$25 to $75 $$$$75 to $150 $$$$More than $150
Jennifer Flowers is the Hotels & Food Editor at Travel + Leisure. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
This is about Italy’s secret coast—the other Sardinia. Not the Sardinia of the Aga Khan, yachts, celebrities, oligarchs, and tycoons. Not, in other words, Porto Rotondo, where Italy’s Caviar Left came every summer to populate a brand-new colony built to its high-flying specifications. That vociferous, in-your-face Sardinia reminds me of the film Swept Away, whose director, Lina Wertmüller, was inspired by my aunt, the designer Mariuccia Mandelli, who founded Krizia; her even more formidable sister Giancarla; and their court of influential intellectuals and entrepreneurs. Lying topless in the sun—it was part of the liberation of forceful women nurtured in a traditional society—they conducted lively conversations, mostly about politics, that anyone might have mistaken for fights and that resounded across the wild Mediterranean maquis.
The blue-eyed chef is making waves at his seasonal, Gulf-inspired restaurant, FT33—he even snagged a spot on Food & Wine magazine’s prestigious roster of Best New Chefs this year. We caught up with McCallister to find out his top local haunts in Dallas.
This summer, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson adds yet another restaurant to his growing Georgia empire. Following in the footsteps of his four existing Peach State successes, The Florence, Acheson's highly anticipated take on Italian cuisine, opened this June in a former ice factory, just minutes from Savannah College of Art and Design's campus.
Serving a menu of contemporary Italian fare infused with Southern ingredients (think a Sicilian fisherman's stew filled with fresh Savannah seafood or Neapolitan-style pizza piled high with local cheeses), the restaurant is a welcome addition to the coastal city's growing food scene.
Below, the Top Chef judge fills us in on his favorite Savannah spots, travel tips for foodies, and what diners can expect from The Florence.
Beware the “shuffle” button! I create playlists for all my restaurants. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I love the process. If I have 100 things to do, “Make soundtracks” is the one I’ll jump to first. (Right after “Test these four pasta recipes.”) At each place, it’s the same list every night, in order. So I know it’s 9:45 when Broken Bells comes on at the Dutch ($$$). Playlists are a progression—you want the music to unfold throughout the night, in terms of genres, BPM (beats per minute), the mood you set.
When the restaurant’s full, you shouldn’t really “hear” the music. You’ll know it’s there, but it won’t take over. Then again, if the room is too quiet—you hear waitstaff gossiping, glasses being cleaned—that’s distracting as well. Music fills that sonic space. It actually helps you focus on your conversation. But no 14-minute cuts! It’s annoying when a song is droning on and on while you’re waiting for dessert. You need a fresh track every three to four minutes.
London's newest members-only lounge, Clubino Piano Bar, is proving to be an exciting option for discerning locals and guests at the Baglioni Hotel London. On a recent trip, club founder Luca Del Bono invited me to preview the intimate space, tucked beneath the hotel’s park-view bar.
“I’m trying to bring back a setting where people [can] drift away,” said Clubino’s founder, Luca Del Bono, “[like] we used to enjoy back in Italy a few decades ago.”