Bon Appétit just unveiled its list of the year’s best new restaurants. And though the range of cuisines represented is striking, all ten places stand out for stretching the definitions of what it means to be—and thrive as—a restaurant in America today.
The featured spots include Yangban Society, a deli-meets-minimart in downtown Los Angeles. The hybrid joint, steered by chefs and co-owners John and Katianna Hong, exhibits an impressive scope, serving up plates that reflect the Hongs’ Korean American backgrounds and Katianna’s adoptive father’s Jewish American roots. República in Portland, Oregon, said farewell to a tacos and quesadilla-heavy menu in summer 2021, paving the way for Mexican delicacies such as huitlacoche (corn smut) and and escamoles (ant larvae), courtesy of an ever-evolving, five-course tasting menu. Baba’s Pantry, a Palestinan American cafe decked with family heirlooms in Kansas City, Missouri, represents the fulfillment of a dream that’s been brewing for over 40 years: Despite spending decades steering various food businesses since 1979, it’s the very first restaurant for owner Yahia Kamal.
“Restaurants are approaching things differently than in the past,” writes Bon Appétit’s restaurant editor, Elazar Sontag, as he reflects on revolutionary approaches to cooking and hospitality. “They’re cooking food that shakes off the expectations and burdens of what certain cuisines are supposed to look or taste like.”
Congratulations to all the boundary-breaking restaurants Bon Appétit highlighted this year. Check out the winners below.
Yangban Society (Los Angeles)
Canje (Austin, Texas)
República (Portland, Oregon)
Baba’s Pantry (Kansas City, Missouri)
Bocadillo Market (Chicago)
Cafe Mutton (Hudson, New York)
Daytrip (Oakland, California)
Semma (New York City)
Supperland (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Aarti Virani is the blog editor at OpenTable. She is based in the cultural melting pot that is Jersey City, New Jersey. She has covered the South Asian diaspora for publications including Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal, and The Juggernaut, and is most energized when telling stories about communities and culinary traditions that don’t always get the spotlight.