Surveying the restaurant landscape for 2024, there’s a lot to be excited about. From hitmakers expanding their empires to chefs planning fine-dining restaurants that could become world class to accomplished chefs venturing into new cities, you’ll find plenty of great food being served across America. Here are the restaurants we can’t wait to visit this year.
M. Frances, Washington, D.C.
Chef Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek of the LEE Initiative will open an ambitious new fine-dining restaurant in the nation’s capital. The seven-course tasting menu spot will be a nonprofit that serves as a think tank for independent restaurants, publishing its findings as it tackles issues within the industry. The hyper-local, seasonal menu will be led not by Lee but by a chef collective and will operate for five years with the help of university partners, mentor chefs, and an in-house research team.
More from Robb Report
Stella, West Hollywood
Toronto chef Rob Gentile has teamed up with fellow Canadian Janet Zuccarini—the restaurateur behind Venice’s beloved pasta palace Felix and 11 more spots north of the border—on an ambitious and elegant two-story space where they’ll serve modern Italian fare. Gentile has embraced the bounty of ingredients available in California after years in frigid Toronto, but there will be certain things he’ll import. For instance, one dish will combine a rare Canadian olive oil, creamy Italian burrata, and a dollop of Astrea caviar from China. The downstairs level of the restaurant will have a pasta lab so diners can see their noodles being handcrafted. And Gentile will be bringing to America su filendeu, which roughly translated means “threads of god.” It’s a style of thin, hand-stretched pasta that only a small number of people in the world can actually make.
Bar Bludorn, Houston
Like his mentor Daniel Boulud, Aaron Bludorn isn’t standing pat on one restaurant. The chef and his co-owners Cherif Mbodji and Victoria Bludorn are readying their third Houston dining destination on the heels of their hits Bludorn and Navy Blue (one of our Best New Restaurants in America for 2023). Bar Bludorn, which will be led by chef Alexandra Peña, will lean into that vibe of a comforting-yet-refined neighborhood restaurant serving New American and French-inspired fare with Gulf Coast ingredients.
Lola’s, New York City
At 232 Bleecker, chef Suzanne Cupps served up vegetable-forward, woodfired fare, but at her forthcoming Lola’s, expect to see more slow-cooked and fried food on the menu. The chef who also helmed Untitled at the Whitney will be leaning into her Filipino-American heritage as well as her South Carolina upbringing and her career in professional kitchens at this new Manhattan spot.
Wildland and Lilo, Carlsbad, Calif.
The pandemic led to a lot of unfortunate closures, and Eric Bost’s Auburn was one of them. The beautiful L.A. space was coming into its own for both dinner and brunch when Covid-19 dealt it a blow it couldn’t recover from. Fortunately, Bost has more than bounced back. He headed a few hours south to Carlsbad to take over the casual wood-fired spot Campfire and the Michelin-starred Jeune et Jolie with restaurateur John Resnick. The duo plan to open two more restaurants in town this year inside a 10,000-square-foot former garage. One will be Wildland, an all-day café and bakery with woodfired pizza and a rotisserie. The second is Lilo, a 22-seat chef’s table experience with a seasonal tasting menu. Michelin three-starred Addison has turned the north side of San Diego County into a global dining destination, and Lilo may make those culinary tourists want to extend their SoCal stay.
Marigold Club, Houston
From the Goodnight Hospitality crew (master somm June Rodil, chef Felipe Riccio, and proprietors Pete and Bailey McCarthy) comes a lush supper club serving continental cuisine that’s influenced by head chef Austin Waiter’s recent experience working in London kitchens. As with any restaurant from Goodnight Hospitality, we expect the design, service, and food to fit together seamlessly.
Camelia, Los Angeles
On L.A.’s east side, Courtney Kaplan and chef Charles Namba have built a loyal following with their izakaya Tsubaki and its little brother sake bar Ototo. Now the duo is planning a French Japanese bistro downtown in the city’s Arts District. The restaurant will feature a list filled with both sake and wine as well as a cocktail program.
James Kent on Park Avenue, New York City
Following up his hits Crown Shy, Saga, and Overstory, James Kent is heading to Park Avenue South in the fall. By day, the space will be a bakery led by pastry chef Renata Ameni with pastries that the team hopes will lure worker bees in the offices above. And at night, Kent will create a seafood-focused dining destination that will have chef de cuisine Danny Garcia running the savory side of the kitchen.
John Manion has created one of Chicago’s best steakhouses at El Che, giving the Windy City a taste of wood-fired Argentine cooking—as well as an education in South American wine. Now he’s moving over to Argentina’s World Cup rival to explore the cuisine of Brazil. The 120-seat restaurant in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood will also be built around live-fire cooking, serving dishes like flame-roasted whole chickens with garlic-chili oil; shrimp and coconut-scented rice; and the Brazilian fish stew, moqueca, filled with mussels.
Chef Nicholas Bazik has taken a space that formerly housed a 90-seat restaurant in Philly’s Society Hill neighborhood and is turning it into an intimate 18-seat spot. Inside he’s planning on serving a seafood-focused tasting menu rooted in classic French technique with some modern twists.
Eylan, Menlo Park, Calif.
The team behind our 2023 restaurant of the year, Copra in San Francisco, is heading to the ‘burbs for a bold take on Indian cuisine. At Copra, chef Srijith Gopinathan focused on South Indian and Sri Lankan fare, but with Eylan, he’ll offer riffs on food from all around the subcontinent—with the help of a wood-fired grill.
Joe Flamm in Fulton Market, Chicago
The Top Chef winner came out of the gate firing. His first restaurant, Rose Mary, an ode to both Italy and Croatia, has been a hit for the Windy City native. With that success, he took the helm of his business partners’ steakhouse Blvd that had opened before he joined the hospitality group. Now the team is planning another restaurant a stone’s throw from Rose Mary in the bustling Fulton Market neighborhood. Flamm has been coy with the details, but expect a late summer or early fall opening.
Brass, New York City
The Contra boys can’t be counted out. Yes, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske closed their Michelin-starred tasting-menu spot last year, but they’re still pushing hard with new projects. On top of reimagining the Contra space as a forthcoming bar, they’re venturing to NoMad to develop the Evelyn Hotel’s new restaurant Brass. This boisterous French brasserie will have dishes like Wagyu culotte with prune and stilton, lobster tartare, and a creative take on moules frites where marinated mussels sit atop a chickpea baton.
Kwame Onwuachi at Salamander, Washington, D.C.
The James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi first made his name running a restaurant in the nation’s capital. In the wake of the pandemic, he found his way back to his hometown of New York to open one of the city’s hottest spots, Tatiana. Now, Onwuachi is returning to D.C., partnering with billionaire businesswoman and hotelier Sheila Johnson for a new restaurant at her Salamander hotel on the waterfront.
Douro, Portland, Maine
When the pandemic hit, Colin Wyatt was one of those New Yorkers who decided to leave the city for more comfortable environs. The former chef at Eleven Madison Park and Daniel ventured with his family to Portland, Maine, creating the New England-focused restaurant Twelve. At his follow-up, Douro, he’s creating an all-day spot with a focus on the region’s outstanding seafood.
Osteria Alberico, Englewood, Colo.
The team behind the lauded, Michelin-starred Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder is expanding yet again. This time Peter Hoglund, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, and Bobby Stuckey’s hospitality group will venture just south of Denver to open a restaurant inspired by neighborhood restaurants in Italy. The rustic fare will include Neapolitan-style pizzas, pasta, and a deep list of Italian wines. With master sommelier Stuckey at the helm, expect that list to be exceptionally curated.
Tre Dita, Chicago
The pasta maestro isn’t exactly turning his back on carbs, but Evan Funke’s forthcoming restaurant inside the new St. Regis Chicago will lean into what the Windy City does so well: meat. Tre Dita will be a Tuscan steakhouse serving thick slabs of bistecca Fiorentina to a populace that’s no stranger to great beef. Chicagoans can still expect handmade pasta from Funke as well as a night in a grand space that’s nestled on Lakeshore East where it meets the Chicago River.
Somni, West Hollywood
The original Somni, tucked inside the SLS Beverly Hills and part of José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup, was a Michelin two-starred jewel box of restaurant. Chef Aitor Zabala’s creativity, technical proficiency, and embrace of whimsy made it one of the best fine-dining experiences in Southern California. After the restaurant closed during the pandemic, Zabala secured the rights to the name Somni (Catalan for “dream”) and he has been dreaming up the restaurant’s next chapter in studio spaces around town, conceiving and refining future dishes. Version 2.0 is near, and it will open in a larger space that serves 14 diners a night. Zabala’s opus will unfurl in front of diners over 20 courses, where cuisine is inspired by his time at El Bulli, growing up in Barcelona, and living in Southern California. This chef has the skill and imagination to create one of the world’s great restaurants.
Best of Robb Report