These are the West’s culinary roots––the classic restaurants that weave together culture, atmosphere, and the best ingredients
Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Mozza
Pizzeria Mozza is the queen bee of the upscale-downscale scene, where a wood-burning oven turns out cutting-edge, stunning pizzas with super-fresh tomatoes and mozzarella—not to mention with egg, bacon, potato, and onions.
Photo by cliff1066 (on Flickr Creative Commons); written by Jan Newberry
Step into the two-story brick tavern, and you’re back on the frontier. The menu stars the signature prime beef steaks, plus buffalo and other game, served in a dining room filled with more than 500 pieces of taxidermy. The upstairs bar is the best place to nurse a glass of whiskey during performances by singing cowboys.
Photo by Flickr user Arnold Gatilao
Hawaii wasn’t yet a state when the late Helen Chock opened her doors. Over sixty years, U.S. statehood, and a James Beard Foundation award later, her colorful cafe is run by her grandson, but tourists and locals alike still vie for one of the 12 tables to feast on traditional Hawaiian dishes like poi, poke, kalua pig, and luau chicken.
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jan Newberry
Everything about this Financial District icon is old school: the waiters in white coats, the dark wood booths, the straightforward seafood menu worthy of its spot near the waterfront. Yet despite being sandwiched between two of the city’s top dining destinations, Tadich Grill continues to draw crowds—regulars, business people, and tourists who clamor for its famous cioppino served with San Francisco sourdough, best paired with a glass of California Chardonnay.
Photo courtesy of Huber's Cafe
In the land of house-cured pickles and barrel-aged cocktails, this decidedly untrendy place rests its reputation on turkey dinner and flaming Spanish coffee (pictured). Housed in the historic Oregon Pioneer Building, the restaurant has an art deco skylight as dramatic as the coffee, which is prepared tableside by the waiters.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jeremy Noble
Run by the same family for three generations, The Shed occupies a sprawling, brightly painted hacienda built in 1692. The menu hinges on the famed Hatch chiles, milled on-site before being put to good use in dishes like blue-corn burritos filled with beans and cheese and drenched with spicy red chile sauce.
Photo courtesy of WCities/ Flickr Creative Commons
In 2008, this landmark ditched the sauced fish fillets and chops that made it famous, and recruited chef Jason Franey from Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York City. Now classics like prawns sautéed in dry vermouth appear alongside Franey’s more modernist smoked foie gras. The restaurant’s 180° views of Lake Union and the Cascade Range remain, as do traditions that require men to don a jacket to sit at certain tables.
Photo courtesy of Langer's Deli / Scrise.com; written by Jan Newberry
Even the late Nora Ephron, New York City’s opinion maven, once claimed that this no-frills deli in L.A.’s MacArthur Park neighborhood makes the “finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world.” You could tuck into a button-back banquette and read the dense menu, but don’t bother: Hand-cut pastrami with Swiss and homemade coleslaw on rye is all you need to know.
Thomas Keller's "temporary" restaurant is now a permanent fixture, and that's a good thing. Ad Hoc raises family-style dining to a new level: no tater tots here, but four-course prix fixe meals that feature superbly done comfort foods. Don't miss the artisanal-cheese third course.
Brown Cannon III
Everyone from ranchers to Hollywood moguls and ski bums jostles for a table next to the soapstone Finnish hearth or a seat at the bar inside the 1930s log cabin for the best breakfast (but there’s also lunch and dinner).
Hit the Plaza early to grab a spot at the community table at Santa Fe’s favorite breakfast nook, Cafe Pasqual’s, home of the best huevos in town. The hordes line up before 8 for smoked-trout hash over poached eggs, gruyère potato cake, and tomatillo salsa, served in a cozy room decorated with hand-painted tiles and murals.
The steelhead trout is the iconic, wild part of the Pacific Northwest mystique and this Pike Place Market diner honors it by not serving it, but by instead using only local, sustainable products. Go for the alder-smoked salmon rillette, sweet Dungeness crab cakes, and perfectly crisped fish and chips.
Photo by Andrea Gómez Romero
Milpas Street’s Mexican dive is famous for serving freshly made antojitos to people who don’t necessarily know what the word means (little portions, aka appetizers). Must-try: La Super-Rica Especial (marinated pork and cheese-stuffed pasilla chile).
More than 25 local purveyors of all things organic, artisanal, and delicious have gathered in a 40,000-square-foot cathedral of sustainable yumminess. Need to pick up organic, handcrafted charcuterie? Look no further. In the mood for a piping-hot Venezuelan arepa? It’s here. Seasonal produce? Local wine? Freshly baked bread? Check, check, and check.