Ivana De Domenico- Restaurants Worth Traveling For

One of the best parts about traveling to a new place, for me, is the opportunity to visit new restaurants and try new foods. If you’re anything like me, you’ll look up the best restaurants of wherever traveling to and scour their menus, maybe choose what you’d like to order for dinner, before even setting foot in your destination. Food is a universal language. It brings people from all cultures and backgrounds together and the range of flavors that exist are like words on a page spelling out various emotions and reactions.

Travel publication Conde Nast recently released a list of the best restaurants in the world called “The 97 Restaurants We’d Travel the World For.” There were so many phenomenal options in the United States alone that Conde Nast published a separate list called “The 49 Restaurants We’d Travel For.” Experiencing exotic new flavors is pretty much a given when traveling to a foreign country, so I thought I’d pull out a few of the 49 U.S. restaurants Conde Nast features. It may seem a little crazy planning a vacation around a restaurant, but like I said, food is such an essential part of traveling for people, that we do it all the time without even realizing. Maybe food isn’t the only reason for traveling to a certain place, but it’s a pretty big part, so here are a few restaurants throughout the United States so good you could plan a trip around them.

Woodberry Kitchen- Baltimore, MD.

Chef Spike Gjerde takes the idea of cooking local to extreme and uses only locally-sourced ingredients in all of his dishes. He doesn’t even use olive oil for cooking because it’s not local to the mid-Atlantic! Housed in an old warehouse, the restaurant features local specialties like Maryland crab soup and Chesapeake oysters.

Lilia- Brooklyn, NY.

How do you choose just one restaurant from New York when New York city is the unofficial restaurant capital of the world? Well, Conde Nast chose 14, but I thought I’d highlight this one. There are a plethora of award-winning restaurants in the city that charge top dollar, but Lilia isn’t quite one of those. You’ll still have to contend with NYC prices, but the restaurant isn’t pretentious. It features classic Italian dishes with a modern twist that are both comforting and refined.

Herbsaint- New Orleans, LA.

Herbsaint is NOLA soul food at its best. The head chef, Rebecca Wilcomb, prepares all of her dishes with love and passion, and she won a James Beard award for her cooking. You can try classic, yet refined creole dishes like gumbo or plates featuring local meats and seafood.

Alinea- Chicago, IL.

Alinea is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the world, but it’s not the food alone that makes it so special. With three distinct dining areas, Alinea offers diners a culinary experience like no other. According to travel writer, Elaine Glusac, Alinea, for all its delicious ingenuity, isn’t about food. It’s about theater.” You may be asked to hold your plate and eat street-food style, for example. If you want to find out more about the Alinea experience is all about, you should find out for yourself- just be prepared to shell out a small fortune and book a reservation.

Shed- Healdsburg, CA.

Shed is probably unlike any restaurant you’ve been to before; it’s a market, cafe, and community gathering space all in one. The winner of a 2014 James Beard Award for restaurant design, the restaurant considers itself a modern day grange and is situated on a family farm, so you know you’re consuming only the freshest, healthiest ingredients.

I only skimmed the surface of the 49 American restaurants and 97 international that Conde Nast chose to feature, plus there are so many other amazing hidden gems that didn’t even make the list! If you want to satisfy your adventurous palette, check out this list, and be sure to do some exploring of your own as well, and let your love of food guide you.