Food

What Restaurants Do You Love?

Frankies Spuntino

During lockdown in April, my friend Josh asked me what I was most looking forward to doing once things opened up a little. My answer was easy…

Frankies

Sitting in the garden at Frankies Spuntino, our homey neighborhood Italian spot. The Aperol Spritzes! The fennel salad! The cavatelli with sausage and sage! It’s worth going even if you run into your ex.

Eventide Portland

Eventide Portland

Also, I can’t wait to return to Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine, with their brown butter lobster rolls. My heart!

papalote

papalote

And Papalote Taco House in Austin, Texas, for those incredible breakfast tacos.

I’m rooting so hard for these — and all — restaurants to survive during these wild times. To help support them, you can purchase gift cards for future use, and here are a few other ideas. Where would you love to beam yourself right now? xoxo

P.S. Six favorite Brooklyn restaurants, and the restaurant surprise we’re still thinking of two decades later.

  1. Olivia Jane says...

    The restaurant I couldn’t wait to get back to — Montmartre in Capitol Hill (D.C.) — didn’t make it through the pandemic. It was our anniversary restaurant, the place we’d pick for every special occasion, or just when we wanted to escape and connect with one another. I can’t believe I won’t get to enjoy their octopus and cocktails again!

    But, in happier news, a dear friend is opening an amazing wine bar complete with lots of outdoor seating. So now I can’t wait to go to St. Vincent’s, right near Howard University.

  2. gilli says...

    Chez Panisse in Berkeley, right down the hill from my house, I miss it so much.

  3. Em says...

    I moved from Portland, ME last year, but still fantasize about the many great restaurants there. TIpo and Baharat specifically are SO fantastic. I want to move back just for the food and can’t wait to visit again xoxo

  4. Isabelle says...

    I couldn’t afford to eat out even before the pandemic, so typically my only experiences in restaurants were going to a work dinner or being treated to dinner by my family. Typically I wasn’t choosing the restaurant and it was always very exciting to find out where we were going and scope out the menu. I can’t wait to do that again! I did have a family member buy me takeout from an Indian restaurant in my neighborhood for my birthday this summer – such a treat.

  5. Emily says...

    This is going to sound silly, but my favorite restaurant is Freebirds World Burrito. I started going there multiple times a week when I was pregnant since low carb burrito bowls were one of the few things I could eat on a diabetic diet and since I do low carb anyway, it was easy to get my burrito bowl in the next town over when I was running errands. The staff affectionately called my son “queso baby” and they people who worked there became like a little family. They closed all of their locations outside of Texas and I am heartbroken. It was my one constant friend I could go to for a delicious meal that is sometimes hard to find low carb that is good and I don’t feel like I am “missing” anything. So sad :(

  6. Steph says...

    RIP Veritable Quandary here in Portland, Oregon. The unique property they occupied for years was sold two years ago and VQ was reborn a few blocks away in a brand new building with a new menu, and it’s not the same :/. It was my Special Occasion spot for birthdays and celebrations with my extended family. They had a wine cellar in a basement that you accessed from a staircase in the middle of the dining room. It had one big round table and felt like a secret hideout, with servers silently stopping in to pull bottles for their tables.

  7. I just want to go to restaurants soon. It’s been a long time due to covid I haven’t went outside. I hope everything will be fine soon.

  8. Lisa says...

    We keep kosher, so in London the options are really limited, and there are a handful of restaurants that are good, but two of them are amazing – hummus bar. I miss sitting at the bar, having a beer or glass of wine and eating their baos or sloppy joe hummus. The other one is delicatessen. We can get take out from them, but it’s not the same. They used to have a Niçoise salad, which in principal is simple but they made it a work of art. Or my favourite – arayes and having them with their fresh corn polenta.

    Further afield – Abaita on NYC. I think of your pizza often (same for Ba Ghetto in Rome). The tapas place in Paris – one day I will return. Rendez-vous in Tel Aviv – your pasta and pizzas haunt my dreams. Same for you Anita Ice Cream in Neve Tseddek

  9. Julia says...

    With young children, our going-out-to-eat shifted pre-pandemic to breakfast and coffee spots, and that’s what I miss most here in Raleigh, NC:

    -Leisurely scouting out the pastry counter in hole-in-the-wall Boulted Bread, maybe snagging a peach galette or a “savory” croissant with asparagus and some sort of delicious cheese combo, or a corn and tomato tarte (everything is always seasonal!). Then sitting down to eat them outside in their garden.
    -Taking the newspaper up to the second floor of The Morning Times to grab a table by the window while one of us stood in line downstairs for fried chicken biscuits drizzled with honey, breakfast burritos and maple lattes.
    -Bellying up to the kitchen window-facing bar counter at Place At the Table with yogurt, peanut butter, fruit and granola bowls and rose cardamom lattes, alongside people from EVERY walk of life (this pay what you can cafe has an amazing mission).

  10. Georgette N says...

    So agree about Eventide! I miss Portland so much! Also miss Back Bay Grill in Portland as well!

  11. Martha Patterson says...

    Ok, and one more….Cheese and Crack in Portland, OR…called an adults snack shop…design your own cheese and antipasto trays, ( Brie Brulee…sweet mother of God!) wine, prosecco slushies, fondue French Onion soup and soft serve ice cream with an elegant twist!
    I miss travel!

  12. Martha Patterson says...

    Luckily my favorite Asian place does take out..Origami Sushi and Asian Grill in Silverdale, Wa…Their Spider Roll is primo, and their Honey Walnut Prawns are to die for. I live in a somewhat isolated area , a ferry ride away from Seattle, but in my travels over the years, I can say these are restaurants I can’t wait to return to….
    In Victoria BC Canada..Don Mee …AMAZING Dim Sum, the best I’ve ever had. There is usually a wait, and the service isn’t the greatest..but oh my goodness, the sticky rice in banana leaves, and shrimp noodle!
    Just about ANY tapas restaurant…sadly Pinxto closed in Seattle…Jaleo in DC is fabulous!
    Le Mediterranne in the Bay Area…was my go to restaurant in my 20’s. Developed a love for avgolemono soup and tiropita there!
    So many choices!

  13. Lynn says...

    What I mostly miss is talking for hours in an ambient environment with tea light candles, wispy flowers on the table, dim lighting, and good music. Hearing the clang of dishes in the kitchen, low conversations all around, and wine pouring is so, so missed. Europe and the east coast have so many small little local eateries like this, but in LA they are hard to find. Some places I really miss are Elf Cafe and Botanica.

  14. As a foodie this pandemic time has been the most disastrous time of my life. I like visiting places exploring various food dishes and enjoying. Thank you for sharing it with us

  15. Brittany says...

    I live in Connecticut and I’m so sad that my favorite pizza place, Vero Pizza, closed during quarantine. They closed for two weeks in March and never opened again. I was eagerly awaiting ordering takeout when they opened again! I will forever miss their prosciutto and pineapple pizza! They also had the best house salad and dressing. :(

  16. Daxi says...

    I would have looooved to go to Austin this fall and appetizer-hop down 6th Street but things a not back to normal at all, so that’s on hold for me. So many great places were looted and vandalized this summer. I hate that these business owners (many BIPOC and/or women) and their employees have had to deal with such destruction.

  17. Rachel says...

    Oh, so many!

    Locally:
    Bull Valley Road House, Port Costa, CA
    Belotti Ristorante, Oakland, CA
    Hopscotch, Oakland, CA
    Pizzetta 211, San Francisco, CA
    Pearl 6101, San Francisco, CA

    Further flung:
    The Gardner’s Cottage, Edinburgh, Scotland
    Septime, Paris, France
    The Table, Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Senia, Honolulu, HI
    Wickman House, Ellison Bay, WI
    Rolf and Daughters, Nashville, TN
    Cafe Amelie, New Orleans, LA

    Love food! Miss travel!

    • Julie says...

      oh Rachel, you must be local! I love Belotti big time, and miss it so much. I know they have seats on the sidewalk, and to go food, but I have not made the effort… wanting the real experience of being squeezed into the table spots, or at the bar…

    • Tierney says...

      A third note of support for Belotti; we moved back into SF from Oakland during the pandemic, but still think about their pasta.

    • Rachel says...

      Julie, I know! However, we got takeout recently and it was honestly the happiest I’ve been in weeks. The spinach ravioli and the tagliatelle with sangiovese marinated wild boar sugo…so good.

    • Danielle says...

      We moved away a few years ago but Pizzetta 211 used to be our neighborhood pizza joint. I used to work in bakery and over the work table my friend and I would fantasize about the perfect pizza restaurant we were going to open. Pizzetta 211 is so exactly that fantasy. They are perfect even down to the bathroom :)

  18. lizzy says...

    Song e Napule on Houston at the edge of greenwich village and soho was the first restaurant I went to in new york, and for my four years of college the owner and waiters were my constant companions, through highs and low, heartbreaks and first dates, bringing me the best pizza I’ve had outside of italy. I had to move out remotely when I finished school, but I have been dying to go back just to walk in and hear, “bella!!” boom out from the kitchen.

  19. Court says...

    Papalote is around the corner from my house (and on speed dial in my phone)!!! They oblige my picky kids by making them breakfast tacos for dinner at least once a week. They seem to be doing decent takeout business, so hopefully they will still be here for your next visit to Austin, Joanna!

  20. Very much in love with Sofreh in Prospect Heights. It’s a labor of love and I really hope they make it.

    We’ve been getting weekly takeout from our local diner. Diner food is really only good inside the diner, but we NEED them to survive, so we’re having lukewarm omelettes for a while so that we can come back for chrome seats and diner coffee and ice cream sundaes when the pandemic is over.

    • Anneka says...

      LOVE Sofreh so much.

  21. Meghan says...

    I would love to stand in the line at the Cheese Shoppe again! Fellow W&M grad, Class of 2010 :)

    • Tierney says...

      Ah, another W&M alum – yes to Cheese Shoppe and bread ends!

    • Jessica says...

      I’m a Virginia native, and LOVE the Cheese Shop! We’ve been once during quarantine, and got our sandwiches to eat outside!

  22. Ali says...

    My very favourite thing is dining out alone at a bar with a book and a cocktail … But also the tiny spots for a quick bite and the small cafes for an afternoon work session that becomes at glass of wine at the dot of 5 pm. OH GOD I MISS IT SO.

    In no particular order : The Smile on Bond St. in NYC and Roberta’s in Brooklyn, Whalesbone on Elgin in Ottawa, EDNA in Halifax, Nora Gray and Candide in Montreal, Sous Sol in Winnipeg, Woodlot, The Walton, Sukhothai, Lady Marmalade and The House on Parliament in Toronto, Mariela’s Tacos in Silverlake.

    … Now I’m hungry.

  23. Laura says...

    I was really missing the movies, finally rolled the dice last night to see Tenet (masked and socially distanced) and it was stupendous. For restaurants, I can’t wait to go have a really good steak and order too many cocktails. I’ve been trying to get Mexican food takeout and it’s just not the same when the queso’s in a cardboard cup!

  24. I’m also scared that our favorite restaurants would close down. We have been frequenting them to get take outs, and thankfully they seem to be busy with takeouts. I’m also showing my support of local restaurants by posting them on FB, IG or Yelp. Our support means so much in this troubled time.

  25. Lorraine says...

    Now that I have two kids at home, long gone are the days of frequenting restaurants, going to one on a whim, or casually leaving the house in slow, carefree search of food. I’ve missed that for over 7 years now, as I used to love eating out so much. Pre-pandemic we would occasionally go on a very planned date or also take the kids out – with no expectation of adult conversation.

    To see everyone here pining after their favorite restaurants, I realize I suddenly have company in this nostalgia. It’s oddly comforting!

  26. NN says...

    Oh my goodness, all of this looks so amazing. I worry about all the small businesses and especially those of ethnic minorities who don’t have the same overall financial support behind them. What an absolute wallop this year has been.

    Also: I really miss my public library.

  27. Ivy says...

    I live in Des Moines where we are allowed to eat on the patio. Kind of a dicey situation depending on how well the restaurants follow protocol. (Iowa is like… the worst state for the covid outbreak. Avoid at all costs right now.)

    ANYWAY, my favorite place is a teeny restaurant called Simon’s. They only take reservations for groups of six or more and I bet the max capacity is 40 people. At the end of every meal they give guest a piece of complimentary red velvet cake. We loved it so much we asked if we could buy one as our bride and groom cake. It was only $30 and SO delicious!

    • Susie says...

      Putting Simon’s on my list to remember for a future trip to Des Moines!

    • Nadine says...

      My friends will not stop talking about Simon’s. I’m waiting for them to take me, haha.

      I’ve been ordering St. Kilda Surf + Turf often for takeout. Their fish tacos are just as good in the comfort of my own home.

    • Marit says...

      Simons is the BEST!

  28. Em says...

    Prune in the East Village

    • Hilary says...

      closed due to pandemic—- sad! love that place. great but devastating NY Times article by chef

  29. Andrea says...

    Noodle Pudding on Henry Street in Brooklyn. We made a special trip there a few weeks back and had the same, amazing Italian food sitting in a long table in the street!

    Our fave NYC restaurant!

  30. Carolyn LM says...

    If you’re looking for a delicious lobster (or crab! Or clobster!) roll in Brooklyn while you wait for a safe trip up to Maine, the Crabby Shack in Crown Heights is amazing! They’re so kind, BIPOC woman owned and their food is delicious!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      THANK YOU!

    • Emily says...

      Strongly second this recommendation! Love the Crabby Shack.

  31. I’m trying to help my local small business restaurants out by writing them reviews. I like to include the pandemic precautions they’ve put in place. This way, people who are venturing out to a restaurant have a sense of how conscientious some of these places have been. I love the no touch doors with handles you can pull with your foot. Some places have set up long tables so we can eat “with” others yet stay separate. I only do outdoor dining (hot, still in Houston). Though I did eat inside once, and we were the only table. I feel ok about that.

  32. Eliot says...

    Dalí in Cambridge, MA; Eventide in Portland, ME; and El Alma in Austin, TX

    I’m hungry…

  33. Julie says...

    I miss restaurants so much. I live in Philly, and I’m excited to go back to Bing Bing Dim Sum, Chabaa Thai Bistro in my neighborhood, Zahav for amazing Israeli food, The Good King Tavern for French food, The Oyster House for buck a shucks…so many.

    But mostly I want to go to a bar with friends and park for 2 hours and get cocktails without worrying about whether sitting near strangers could kill me.

  34. Kara says...

    Pok Pok, Kachka, Beast, Clyde Common and Kask. And like, 80 other places that make Portland the stuff of dreams.

    • Lorraine says...

      I still dream of the Kai-yang chicken and muu-sateh at PokPok. I don’t live in PDX anymore but this was one of our favorites!

    • BlueAlma says...

      Pok pok! Yes!

  35. Megan says...

    Even pre-pandemic, I’d always beg my social butterfly of a husband, “Can’t we just order in and eat dinner on the couch while watching a movie?” I love restaurant food but as an introvert I really dislike the commotion of restaurants, talking to the waiter, and pretty much everything else involved, haha! With that said, I can’t wait for my favorite deli/bagel/coffee shop to fully open back up (they’re only doing take-away orders right now) so I can sit by the window with all their plants, enjoy a quiet breakfast with a book, and people/dog watch :-)

  36. Megan says...

    Bacaro on Division Street in the Lower East Side. When they opened back up in June for pick up, we were one of their 1st orders. The owners are lovely people and its a rare mix of neighborhood families and young adults with their friends. Right now, its obviously outdoor seating but in “normal times” you can sit in the cozy downstairs “wine cave” but our family always sits at the bar along the front window so we can chat with the staff all night and watch the people walk by outside the big open windows.

  37. RS says...

    Shay’s in Cambridge, MA. I was a regular there for a decade before moving away 11 years ago, and whenever I return I have to stop in and sit on the patio. Great staff, great music, great vibe, perfect menu, and the people watching can’t be beat. I cannot wait until I can visit again!

  38. Mimi says...

    Eduardo’s Enoteca, Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, and Old Jerusalem in Chicago!

    • katie says...

      I love Bavette’s! I could eat their smoked trout ceasar nightly.

      G&O reopened, it is our neighborhood place where the staff know us, so I’m ready for a burger and a cocktail. And we’ll be leaving gigantic tip.

    • Mimi says...

      ooh Katie, I need to check out G & O! And I feel like Bavette’s is open again, with reservations?

  39. Michelle says...

    Sushi on Bloor in Toronto, Ontario: one of those cheap sushi restaurants in the heart of Toronto. It’s dark in there, and you’re basically seated table to table with other people it’s so close, and there is always a line up out the door – doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. When there, I always saw someone I once knew from high school, college, Jewish summer camp, an old friends ex, etc. I now find myself angry that I wouldn’t appreciate those glances more at the time and how lovely it would be to bump into an old friend from high school and ask how they’re doing.

  40. Carolina says...

    My favorite casual restaurant in NYC is Communitea in Hunter’s Point (Long Island City). It’s a coffee house/tea house/cafe, and they have set up a nice shaded patio in the back for these Covid times as well as sidewalk seating. It’s just…a very nice place to be run by a lovely staff (and Black woman-owned!). And it’s a block from MoMA PS1, which is opening again in a couple weeks.

  41. Katie says...

    Zahav in Philadelphia is the best dining experience (food and hospitality) that I have ever had in my life. Every time I have ever gone there (and able to snag a reservation), I have left so satisfied and yearning for the next time, even before I step out the door. A master of hummus, vegetables, and Israeli laffa bread, it is a must if you are in the city, but do plan ahead at least 3 months if you are looking to dine. Reservations are must, but luckily, indoor dining starts back soon!

    • Julie says...

      Zahav was on my list too! I had reservations at Solomonov’s new place Laser Wolf for the end of March and I was SO excited. One day!

    • Marci Generose says...

      Katie –
      If you’re into outdoor dining, my friend has been to Zahav three times this summer because the outdoor seating is easier to get. I haven’t been this year but from the photos, it looks responsibly spaced out (can’t say that about a lot of places in the city) and it has shade!

  42. Geraldine says...

    April this is so precious. I love how much you love your father and both have a beautiful connection. Hold him close x

  43. Anne says...

    Can we dream a little bit and think of the days when we will all be allowed to travel, and our American friends will fly again to Paris to say hi to the Eiffel Tower (she misses you all dearly), the Bateaux Mouches (how I miss making pictures of families visiting my dear city)?
    So, in preparation of your future trips to Europe:
    Le café des ministères (rue de l’université, Paris 7), a fabulous French brasserie serving the best truly classic French dishes. The chef has worked with 3 star chefs before opening this lovely place, everything is to die for, and quite affordable given the quality and quantity (bring your appetite!). A tip for vegetarian: when booking (mandatory – Monday to Friday), specify that you are vegetarian, you’ll eat the best vegetable vol au vent. They don’t have vegan option (because butter…), but the vegetarian dish is amazing.
    La Robe et le Palais (rue des Lavandières Sainte Opportune, Paris 1), a beautiful wine bar with a beautiful fresh menu which you can order tapas style to share with your friends. They love natural wines, and the best is to let them guide you.
    Le Potager de Charlotte (2 addresses, one in 9th arrondissement, on in the 17th), both fantastic. The best vegan restaurant in Paris, where even meat lovers come over and over again. Their sunday brunch is perfect.
    L’Entente (rue Monsigny, Paris 2) a British brasserie serving beautiful british food. Their full English breakfast (classic or vegetarian, saturday & sunday) is perfect. They make great Pimm’s cocktails. They are kind, welcoming, the food is beautiful, you feel at home there.
    Take care, stay safe, cannot wait to meet American visitors in our streets again!

    • celeste says...

      Awww, a French person who wants to see Americans again! Thank you for your kind recommendations!

    • Andrea says...

      Merci Mille fois, Anne! I am always here for the Paris restaurant recs!

    • Betsy says...

      Oh this comment made me so happy! More than restaurants, I have this itch to travel to Paris (and/or the UK)- le Jardin du Luxembourg, strolling St-G-des-Pres, oh how I want to go back soon!!

      I live in Atlanta, and most restaurants are open for outdoor dining. We’ve ventured out a couple times, and it’s been amazing!

  44. MozartsGirl says...

    I’m British but dearly love the US…restaurants I adore and miss there are The Corson Building & Damn the Weather in Seattle and Le Perche in Hudson, NY…but many, many more spring to mind. Happy times spent with wonderful friends…food, wine, love and laughter (four of my very favourite things) America seems as far away as the moon right now and that’s a dreadful thing. We’re near London and have been in a few times in the past month, venturing to some of our favourite places there that have (thankfully) reopened. They have all had great and reassuring systems in place and we’ve felt safe. But the amount of shops, restaurants and cafes (and hotels) that have permanently closed is truly appalling and we’re very aware that this is all far from over…be safe everyone.

    • I live in Seattle and I came here to say I miss Damn the Weather! Cozy, great cocktails, and duck fat french fries…what more could you want?

      We’ve been really lucky that so many of our favorites in Seattle have adapted brilliantly to COIVD-times. They’re still struggling, but the quick shift to excellent takeout has been incredible. We’ve gotten takeout cheese/charcuterie plates from DeLaurenti during COVID and are trying out best to keep all of our Pike Place Market favorites (Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Perrenial Tea Room, etc.) in business during this weird time.

      My boyfriend and I celebrated the one-year anniversary of our first date in late March with an amazing takeout dinner from Homer and wine from Sous Sol. While my favorite thing about dinner at Homer is being in their beautiful space, the housemade pita bread and labneh were just as good.

  45. Rebecca says...

    Ember in Arroyo Grande, CA. I live in Northern CA and my friends and I drive 4 hours to this restaurant for all of our special celebrations. Next weekend we are going down to celebrate a birthday. They only have a small outdoor patio that is open due to COVID but we love going to support this place that has housed so many wonderful memories and delicious meals for us!

  46. Andrea says...

    I’m reading this post + comments while cluster-feeding our newborn on our last night at the hospital.

    It feels so nice to dream about all of this. I’m nostalgic for a restaurant patio, for meeting a friend for a cocktail and pasta, for casually stopping into a cafe for a latte or matcha, for hanging out with friends and our kids on picnic blankets at a brewery with a great food truck visiting. And for my fellow Minnesotans – for state fair food.

    I found out I was pregnant with this baby on New Years Eve, and of course never imagined I’d deliver her in the midst of a global pandemic. When our now 3-year-old was born, we had what seemed like a constant stream of friends and family visiting us in the hospital, filling our room with love. Since visitors aren’t allowed now, my husband has made this birth center stay feel special by supporting our favorite local spots with takeout and delivery rather than ordering hospital food for dinners. I’m still yearning to be at these places in person again someday, but it’s made these past couple nights feel like we’ve had back-to-back dates, with this little baby tagging along. I think my heart will always swell when I remember these nights following this baby’s birth and the tasty food we’ve shared here that’s made this strange, sad situation feel so sweet.

    • Jules says...

      Congratulations, Andrea!

    • Jessica says...

      Love the idea of ordering takeout during the hospital stay!

  47. Asha says...

    Transporting myself back to Encinitas to get my fill of burritos at Raul’s, gelato after the beach, Tofu House on Convoy (you know if you know ;) ), and my favorite chaat shop. Being so many states away has made my kids and I more homesick than usual…not only for the food but the friends and family as well.

    • Em says...

      I love and miss Encinitas!!

  48. Kamina says...

    Interesting that the post title was “What restaurants do you love?” and many people have actually answered “what restaurants do you miss?” <3

    Here in Sydney, Australia…I love a place called Pizzeria Rosso Antico. I joke that it's a cheap way to visit Italy for a couple of hours. The ambience, waiters and the PIZZA are all so reminiscent of being in Naples, it's like we've been transported back there.

  49. Poppy says...

    I nearly cried when I saw that photo of Frankie’s! I lived in Brooklyn for many years and Frankie’s was the sight of countless memorable meals. I love the soft glow of the overhead fairy lights in the garden in the summer and the warm coziness of the dining room in winter. It was the site of a going away dinner when I moved abroad and the first place I wanted to take the Englishman I fell in love with when I brought him home for a visit. We now have a John Donohue illustration (https://alltherestaurants.com/) of Frankie’s hanging on the wall in our apartment in SF (where Pizzetta 211, mentioned in another comment, is the closest thing I’ve found to a Frankie’s substitute on this coast).

  50. JM says...

    Writing from Seattle. Very much miss candlelit dinners with my husband over fancy French food I could never make myself at Bastille in Ballard. Or a grilled cheese with tomato soup that I could definitely make myself but not nearly as well at the Latona Pub in Greenlake. Also all the pokey little restaurants in the Pike Place Market…Michou, DeLaurenti’s, Sister’s, Three Girls Bakery. It was our favorite Sunday to take my son to the aquarium and then climb the stairs to sit at the counter at one of the restaurants in the market. I miss all of it.

    • Claire says...

      Michou sandwiches (the crispy chicken! the caesar chicken and bacon!) are so good (and so affordable, all things considered), and Cinnamonworks’ giant pumpkin cookies are legendary. I miss seeing the bustling Pike Place Market filled with flower vendors and tourists!

  51. Helen says...

    République in LA – early Friday date night at the bar to beat the crowds. I miss date nights in general. Eating take out in our background just doesn’t feel the same.

  52. Hayley says...

    I love Frankie’s (and all of those things there)! :) And Eventide and that lobster roll are THE BEST. I’m not even much of a fan of lobster and that lobster roll is just transcending. I’d pay an embarrassingly large amount just for those 4 perfect bites.

    I haven’t been to a restaurant since March 12th and am having major withdrawal (definitely one of the things I miss the most during these hard times)!

    In NC where I live, I desperately miss Panciuto (in Hillsborough), Poole’s Diner (in Raleigh), Gocciolina (in Durham), and Vin Rouge (also in Durham), among so many other special spots near and far.

  53. Sam says...

    I just ordered Eventide’s lobster rolls via Goldbelly, counting down the days till I get to eat them again!

  54. Sujata says...

    Hope Lilia, Claro, Ippudo, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Cafe Mogadishu stick around forever but as for outside of NYC meals, I hope to one day get back to Gjusta in LA/Venice Beach and I still crave the Turkish brunch at Cafe Zola in Ann Arbor, MI.

    • Sujata Thawani says...

      Whoops Cafe Mogador gotta love iPhone spell check Oy!

  55. Nora says...

    L’Express on 20th and Park. Always and forever. Any time, any day.

    Au Cheval in Tribeca. For fun group dinners with friends.

    4 Charles Prime Rib. For special occasions. And if you can get a resy!

    Shuko and O Ya for sushi.

    God how I miss NYC ;-( Literally tearing.

    • Diana K says...

      I love L’Express!

  56. I’ve lived in Austin for 16 years and I’ve never really like tacos, which is a very controversial thing to say here. But, since the pandemic started, I’ve been doing taco takeout every Saturday morning and it’s something I get so excited about. Suddenly I like tacos! It gets me through the week and is a kind of bookend, you know? So, I’m making up for lost time trying all the tacos I thought I didn’t like before. Tyson’s, Veracruz, Tacodeli, El Chilito, Suerte, I try a new place every week. Obviously, I need to try Papalote. Thanks for the recommendation, Joanna!

    • Caitlin says...

      Put Con Madre on Oltorf on your list too! The best homemade tortillas in town

  57. K says...

    i love a diner. any diner!

  58. Kay says...

    Half a world away, my favorite places to eat in good old KL are:

    1. Dave’s Bistro — this is where I bring out of town guests for a foolproof meal because it’s not an exaggeration to say absolutely everything on the menu is delicious!! It’s a homey neighbourhood bistro that’s been open since 1999 serving the *best* most tender pork ribs and pork knuckles, incredible salads with lashings of bacon, stuffed mushrooms, creamy soups, super yummy pizza, but my all time favourites are the bacon meatball and mushrooms angel hair pasta, and the absolutely to die for mango milkshake that’s so insanely thick it shouldn’t be allowed! The minute lockdown was partially lifted I was there and the waitress recognized me even under my face mask!!
    2. La Risata — the best lobster pasta in the city, a wood fire oven that makes the most delectable pizzas, and gorgeous cocktails in an elegant yet somehow also down to earth ambience;
    3. Edo Ichi — a Japanese place that does a killer garlic butter grilled hotate (scallops), the freshest and most generous cuts of salmon belly sashimi I’ve ever seen outside of Tokyo, and brilliant crab meat salad;
    4. Pantai Seafood — the acoustics are horrible (you’ll barely be able to make out what the person next to you is saying with the echoes in the place) and there’s zero ambience, but it absolutely will not matter to you once your steaming hot plate of steamed crabs in a crazy delicious sweet and sour sauce arrives, along with the requisite deep fried mantou buns with a crispy golden exterior and warm fluffy bite. I challenge anyone who loves seafood not to wind up mopping up every last drop of that sauce with the buns!! Eating here is definitely an adventure because you’ll have to attack the crabs with what looks like torture devices (think mini hammers, hand clamps and the like provided by the restaurant) to get at the succulent meat under the hard shell, and in the process you WILL inevitably end up splattering ppl and getting splattered in turn with bits of flying crab shell, but that’s all part of the fun! They also do fish, clams, chicken etc but the house specialty is definitely the 🦀 It’s been absolutely an age since I’ve been because it’s best enjoyed with a big group of family or friends, and times being what they are we’ll probably have to wait a while until everyone’s comfortable eating out again, but I can’t wait!
    5. Citrus — I love love love the nasi lemak here with the fluffy rice cooked in coconut milk and the tender beef rendang, with lashings of crispy fried anchovies, peanuts, hard boiled egg and sweet-spicy sambal.
    6. Fierce Curry House — I ADORE the butter chicken, chicken briyani rice, the eggplant masala and aloo gobi, along with the fluffy garlic cheese naan breads and palak paneer. To die for!!!
    7. Village Roast Duck — the roast Peking Duck is absolutely dreamy, the noodle dishes are all great especially the seafood Cantonese fried “hor fun” and Hokkien fried noodles. This is another one of those quality establishments where they do absolutely every dish on the menu well, and they have an extensive menu! The prices tend to reflect that as well but to me it’s well worth the money.
    8. Kayra — YOU GUYS. It’s no secret that I love me some Northern Indian food but HOLY SHIT this place is SO GOOD that if it were possible for any restaurant to convert me into a full-time vegetarian, this place would be it!!! I just tried it not too long ago with my bestie and we were both absolutely *blown away* by the explosion of flavours on the tongue with every bite, how the meats were tender yet cooked to perfection, how the veggies were used in fresh, inventive and scrumptious creations, and the curries were all on point — spicy yet terrifically nuanced with an unbelievable depth of flavour. Prices are definitely on the steep side but it’s most definitely worth it!!!

    Special mention must go out to other long-closed eateries (even pre-pandemic) that I will forever mourn/remember fondly — Reunion (the best damn Chinese restaurant that ever opened in my city and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise), and Jaya Noodle House, a mainstay of my childhood that served the best damn Hainanese chicken rice, comforting double boiled lotus root soup and double boiled old cucumber soup, and crazy delicious curry noodles that my husband misses to this day.

    • Elisabeth says...

      I’ve never been to KL, but you’ve sold it marvelously. All of these sound delicious!

    • Ming says...

      Fellow Malaysian here and MAN i’m missing home sooooo bad. Thank you for this. Some gems that I’ve been and love, but lots to try the next time i’m home. :)

    • Val says...

      Hi Kay,

      Even though I am so far away from KL right now, I will probably refer to this list when I get a chance to go back. I can have Hainanese chicken rice any time of the day.

    • Kay says...

      Aww you guys, thank you so much for your kind comments! I’m so so happy my unabashed gushing/fangirling over my fave eateries inspired others to want to try them too.

      I have to correct myself here though, because I just realized the crab place (#4 on the list) that I had in mind when I was writing about the sweet and sour crab was really Lala Chong instead of Pantai Seafood!! I keep getting the 2 mixed up in my head because they’re both located literally on the same street (and serve more or less the same types of dishes) and we went to Pantai first before discovering Lala Chong. But personally, the transcendent sweet and sour crab was definitely Lala Chong’s. AND they have a satay stall at Lala Chong’s where you can order a few sticks of chicken or beef satay to nibble on before the star 🦀 attraction arrives, which is just about the icing on the cake in my mind 😆

  59. JL says...

    The one and only Gjelina in Venice, California. My husband and I lived on Electric Avenue behind Abbot Kinney when I first moved to LA (cross country to be with him, despite never living in the same city before and courting one another long distance), and we randomly stopped by a dark, mysterious restaurant when it first opened. Since that day, we visited it many times, even sometimes after a dinner elsewhere just for their salted butterscotch dessert! I miss the evenings (and daytime brunches) there. I’ve moved to Brooklyn, and then to NJ, since then, but still have my most fond restaurant memories there.

    • Gina says...

      My husband and I just went for the first time in December to Gjelina- we did a weekend getaway to Venice…..ahhhh I’m still dreaming about it. The ambiance and the food. Actually all the places we went in Venice were amazing.

    • Tracy says...

      My friends and I go there for all of our celebration meals and I’ve loved every dish I’ve ever had, but I dream of The Butterscotch Pots De Creme (and, I will not share). The recipe in the cookbook produces a close copy.

    • Aimee says...

      I love Gjelina. And Gjusto. My husband and I came up with and decided on our first daughter’s name while at dinner in Gjelina during our babymoon in LA. I will forever have an affinity for that place as well. Plus the food is amazing!

    • Sofija says...

      JL, yes to Gjelina! I had a chance to eat there two years ago. It was my first time eating alone in a restaurant. I had a wonderful chat with a couple across from me. They were regulars and helped me figure out who the celebrity in the corner was: Actress Sophia Bush, no big deal!

  60. Amanda says...

    Diners while traveling

  61. When we were in the thick of it in April, I started writing postcards to restaurants near and far that I missed. Wishing them the best and letting them know that they and their employees were in my thoughts and prayers. Starting with the Kofte Piez downstairs, Slimak a few blocks away, The Pho 5 in Manhattan and even Juniper in St. Louis. I still need to send one to Spenard Roadhouse in Anchorage!

    I was so touched when a neighbor texted when they saw a postcard from me hanging in a window of a cafe.

    Now we’ve been able to be out and about a little more, and visiting Slimak was the highlight of May for me. I was gushing all over the employees and trying to make sure they and their families were okay.

    • Forgot to mention that we’re here in Brooklyn, too. 😊

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh that’s such a kind gesture, Tara!

  62. Katy Grubbs says...

    I moved away from Brooklyn a couple years ago but I man, I miss that brown butter cavatelli dish at Frankie’s. I hope all of our favorite restaurants make it – rooting for them too!

  63. Louisa says...

    Here to represent Boise, where I miss pizza at Wylder, tacos at Madre, neighborhood date night at Hyde House, croissants (and everything else) at Janjou, and beer outside with the pups at Payette. We also have a family tradition of voting and then eating Ethiopian at Kibrom’s — this year we’ll vote by mail and order take out!

    • Kelly says...

      Woot Boise!!!

    • Hannah says...

      We missed neighborhood night at the Wylder too! So happy they’re back open 😊
      Also, happy hour at Richards with the most delicious truffle chips.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I miss Modern ❤️

  64. K says...

    My magic place is Pizzetta 211 in San Francisco. My husband and I lived in the city for 9 years and it became a frequent date spot. It has the most romantic, provincial, simple charm. It seats probably 20 people and is worth the wait (if you have to wait, but sometimes we’ve sat right down). The bathroom is like you have been transported into the film Amelie. I tell my husband all the time that I want our future kitchen to be designed after the way Pizzetta makes me feel.

    • E says...

      Ah! Thank you for this sweet reminder. Snagging one of the two outside tables on the rare sunny day feels like a special bit of San Francisco luck. My boyfriend and I moved away, but drinking wine from tiny cafe cups on their sidewalk remains our *best* date.

    • Rachel says...

      Love Pizzetta 211! My husband and I went there on our second date and have made visiting regularly part of our relationship for the last 8 years, we even recommended it on our wedding website. I love their seasonal appetizers and desserts almost as much as the pizza. Best broccoli soup I’ve ever had in my life!

    • Danielle says...

      I commented on another Pizzetta 211 mention but I had to comment here too because it’s wonderful. You nailed the bathroom description. I used to describe the restaurant as “If the movie Amelie were a pizza restaurant”. The tiny dining room and perfect flickering light. My favorite spot is sitting at the two person bar and watching the magic come out of the tiny kitchen. It’s the most romantic spot without being over the top. Once we were eating at the bar looking around the tiny dining room and my husband said” Look around. Everyone here is getting lucky tonight”

  65. Mims says...

    I love to eat out (literally outside on a nice patio) and try to support local restaurants. But I eat vegan, whole foods plant based and gluten free for health and environmental reasons. It is so hard to find decent food eating out. I can walk to about dozen restaurants from my house and they all serve some version of burger on a bun with fries or tater tots. Almost everything has wheat, dairy or meat. So I just end up with some sad rice and beans and salsa usually. Or the curry fried rice with tofu and extra brocolli. I wish more restaurant owners would understand people want this kind of food (not just vegans) and offer more inspired healthy choices, because it can be DAMN tasty. If restaurants are looking to survive they need to identify an unmet need and cater to it and expand their palate, for at least one or two menu items anyway. And just substituting a GF bun for an extra $2 just shows lack of imagination. Our town needs more diversity, not another “American food” joint. I daydream about this place: https://www.seabirdskitchen.com/ in SoCal. I would order this in a heartbeat: Bibimbap Bowl: brown rice, gomasio, steamed kale, korean jackfruit, fermented cauliflower, fried kimchi, crushed peanut, gochujang, aji crema, green onion.

    • Jill says...

      Omgosh Where do you live?! Open a restaurant when this is all over! I’ll be there! ;))

    • Emma says...

      Oh this looks soooooo good and I want to eat there. Thank you for sharing this place with us. I want all their recipes to try at home as I fear eating out anymore….brown rice with all the veggies I can buy and eggs and some wine to top off the meal.

    • Elisabeth says...

      When you come to SoCal for Seabirds, stop at Cafe Gratitude in LA. You’ll love it, despite the silly entreé names. And Gracias Madre! xo

    • Mims says...

      I used to live near a Cafe Gratitude in the North Bay, it was awesome. In fact once while eating there I happened to look over and see Ed Norton and his girlfriend having lunch. Honest! I know it was him because the waitress was gushing. I actually like the hippy names, I love a place that wears its heart on its sleeve. The Grateful Bowl was my go-too. I actually do dream of opening a restaurant but I have worked in them and know it is really difficult on the body and at my age of almost 60 it is not likely to happen. But I am not ruling out a GF vegan pop-up place one night a week after I retire and I have more time.

  66. HK says...

    Kentucky Native Cafe in Lexington, Kentucky is so lovely. It has always been an outdoor only, April-Oct, walk up to order, vegetarian dream restaurant. It’s a florist in the front, restaurant around back in the shade garden. You just walk through a magical greenhouse to access. We always get the soft pretzels and a drink. Sometimes they have blueberries topped with almond gelato and lemon whipped cream. Since they have always operated this style, when we go now and sit at those little bistro tables under the patio lights among the native shade plants it feels like nothing is different from last year (other than masks).

  67. Hannah says...

    Veselka’s! I miss coming into NYC on the train in the morning, taking a full day to leisurely walk downtown and experience everything in between, catching a show or concert, then heading back home on the train happy and exhausted.

  68. April says...

    My dad is 80 years old and pretty much home bound due to the pandemic. We live in different states, and when he gets bored he gives me a call and we talk about odd and ends. About a month ago, when I asked him about his day, he chuckled and said that one of his new favorite things to do is look at restaurant menus online! We had a good laugh, and then I found myself doing the same thing! We both love eating out, and now we often share our favorite menu items and what we’d pick for dinner….a yummy burrata scooped on grilled bread, a classic cheeseburger with seasoned fries and homemade ketchup, sweet potato tacos with a margarita on the rocks, or brown butter and sage gnocchi with a glass of house red. It’s been the next best thing to sitting across the table from him!

    • K says...

      This is so sweet. LOVE THIS.

    • Louisa says...

      I love this!

    • Charlotte says...

      April this is so sweet and made me smile. Thank you :)

    • Mims says...

      Doesn’t everyone do this, read menus online? ; ). I follow it up by reading yelp and Google reviews. Props to your dad for being so internet savvy at 80 to be doing this and to you for connecting with him in this lovely way.

  69. M says...

    Night + Market Song in Silver Lake… we go for takeout as often as we can justify, but I miss being smooshed in the gaudy foyer with 20 other strangers (and occasional celebrities) waiting for a table on surprisingly chilly LA nights, seeing what the table next to us is ordering, trying to guess the relationships between people at all the other two-tops, and going to the bathroom that is, for some reason, always playing Daft Punk on a separate stereo system from the restaurant.

    I swear I will never complain about a line or a crowd again after this. I miss all waiting for the same thing.

    • Anya says...

      Here here! Have been meaning to get takeout from there and I’m now inspired!

  70. Susannah says...

    Breakfast at Bird Bird Biscuit in Austin, TX. NO ONE makes better biscuit sandwiches. NO ONE.
    Lunch at La Frite Belgian restaurant in San Antonio, TX. The omelettes are *chef’s kiss*!
    Happy hour at Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy Park.
    Dinner at Chez Nous in Austin, TX. We’ve celebrated pretty much every major milestone there- my graduation, anniversaries, birthdays. We always load up on bread and butter, escargots, scallops, and profiteroles for dessert. All with delicious wine in the most unpretentious and warm atmosphere.
    After dinner drinks at the Sazerac at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

    • Tyler says...

      La Frite! Love that place! I went to school in SA. I could name about a dozen restaurants there I wouldn’t mind being teleported to right now – but no restaurant on earth for me will ever compare to the old Liberty Bar location on Josephine.. I miss it so. The new location is.. just ok.

    • Asha says...

      I’m still becoming familiar with the Austin area and I’m adding ALL of your recommendations to my list of places to try! Really can’t wait to get back out and explore once more. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Susannah says...

      Asha that’s great! There are so many good places to eat in Austin. Il Brutto for Italian, Wu Chow for dumplings, Wholly Bagel for NY style bagels, Maria’s Taco Express for breakfast tacos. I could go on and on.

      Tyler, if there are any other places in SA that you recommend, I’d love to hear!

    • Erin says...

      Susannah and Tyler, more San Antone recs please! I have lived here two years and never thought to go to La Frite!

      For me, my dream spot is to be crammed into Garcia’s on Fredericksburg Rd. in San Antonio for one brisket and guacamole breakfast taco and one carne guisada breakfast taco + bottomless coffee.

  71. Tyler says...

    Osteria Mozza in LA is our favorite fancy date night place. I can’t wait to go and sit at the bar and have the tagliatelle with oxtail ragu and their amazing salty gin cocktail and enjoy my cute husband without distraction. Takeout is just not. the. same.

  72. Lisa says...

    We moved from Chicago to Brooklyn last year, but I still regularly dream of my Chicago favorites: 1) Thursday night nachos at Honey Butter Fried Chicken; 2) biscuits & gravy at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits; and 3) a long leisurely beer-filled happy hour at Hopleaf ending with a plate of mussels and frites. Also I lived in Wellfleet Mass (Cape Cod) for a few years a decade ago and would go back in a heartbeat for some oysters and rosé at Winslow’s and a basket of clam strips at PJ’s.

  73. Clare says...

    I think of this often, as I’ve moved states twice in the past five years.
    In my former city of Portland, Ore.: Pok Pok (RIP Whiskey Soda Lounge!), Salt & Straw for the olive oil ice cream on a fresh cone, St. Honoré fresh bread, Paley’s Place, Little Bird and Le Pigeon for special occasions. Blue Star and Pip’s for donuts. Lompoc (also RIP) for $0.50 wings on Tuesdays and a neighborhood vibe. Banh mi from Lela’s.

  74. Alex says...

    We can also support restaurants by ordering takeout from them and also dining in! Wear you mask until you are at your table, be safe, follow the rules and leave a nice tip :) we don’t have to be scared to visit our local favorite places if we make safe choices! I have lots of friends in the industry and they want people to visit their outdoor dining patios! Especially because most people are very grateful and appreciate and kind when they visit during this post COVID world :)

    • Emma says...

      Post covid?

    • Julie says...

      I get takeout from my favorite places but I’m high risk, there is no way I’m dining in for the remainder of 2020.

    • Tazza says...

      Thanks for this, Alex. I’m in the SF Bay Area, and I’ve been dining on lots of restaurant patios here and in Tahoe over the summer. I try to tip more generously than usual when I do. I feel for these businesses; they’re hurting! Obviously, those that are high-risk probably shouldn’t do this, but I don’t feel unsafe.

    • Isabelle says...

      This world is not post-COVID. I won’t dine in restaurants until I know the cooks and my servers are being taken care of and precautions are taken for their safety, so that they’re not relying on customers to make the right choices. I want the staff to be able to make a living but risking their health isn’t helping – and what about restaurant staff who are high risk and have to decide whether they risk their health or quit their job?

  75. Ella says...

    Chicagoans, where are you?! Tell me your places! I love Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Duck Duck Goat, and Nella.

    • Sanja says...

      Cafe Ba Ba Reeba was one of my favorites when I lived there!
      Star of Siam for Thai food
      Union Sushi for sushi + their truffled tuna
      Pizza Metro or Homeslice for non-deep dish pizza
      Pho 777 for Vietnamese

      Oh, I can’t wait to go to Chicago again! *sigh*

    • Mimi says...

      Eduardo’s Enoteca, Bavette’s Bar et Boeuf, Southport Grocery, Federales (not for the food, but for the ultimate crowded patio margarita experience, which sounds unusually appealing in isolation now), Summer House Santa Monica (their cookies!), Avec…ah to sit outside on a muggy summer night with a pitcher of sangria, with garlic aeoli fries!

  76. Jenny says...

    I wish I were wearing a slinky satin dress that had that slippery, heavy feeling of good drape and chowing down on homemade pasta shaped like witch fingers at Nashville’s Rolf and Daughters. I’d eat all the bread and seaweed butter they placed before, and talk too loud to my big assemblage of friends

    • Yes, Jenny! This is my favorite restaurant, too!

  77. Ginger says...

    – Screen Door, Luc Lac, and Andina in Portland, OR.
    – Hugo’s, The Highroller Lobster Co, Duck Fat, Paciarino, and Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, ME.
    – Endolyne Joe’s, Bimbo’s Cantina, Geraldine’s Counter, and The Westy in Seattle.
    – Terra Rossa, Blue Mussel Cafe, and Landmark Oyster House on Prince Edward Island.

    Someday, hopefully I’ll get to go back…

  78. Anna says...

    Totally agree! Going to a restaurant was definitely the thing I missed the most when everything was shut down. Over the summer the restaurants got clearance to expand outdoor dining onto the streets in Los Angeles. It suddenly feels so European, and it’s so pleasant (and obviously safer) to sit and eat outside.

  79. Hilary says...

    I’m dying to go back to my favorite little neighborhood joint, West 29th.

    For any Denver peeps, it’s a hidden gem in Wheat Ridge with delicious strip steak, sweet potato lasagna, and the warmest staff. They have a beautiful patio for summer and a fireplace in the dining room for cozy winter nights. It’s the best. We’ve been ordering from them to support them during the pandemic, but it’s just not the same without the ambiance and the sweet waiters who will ply your toddler with endless breadsticks and make them giggle.

    • Cara M says...

      I’ve never been to West 29th and will now immediately add it to my future visit list. I’m over in Arvada, so not terribly far from there. Thank you!

  80. Margaret Roche says...

    Kismet is closed. :( My son was a busser there.

  81. J says...

    Oleana in Cambridge, MA

    • K says...

      Same! My husband and I got takeout from Oleana last weekend and ate it on our back porch and pretended that we were on the patio <3

      We also love Sofra, their sister-bakery. We used to go every Sunday morning to do the crossword over Turkish breakfast and pastries. We've been getting a lot of takeout from them, too, and are crossing our fingers that they can stay in business throughout covid.

    • Hattie says...

      We’ve gone to Oleana a few times
      for my birthday and order a few
      appetizers so as to save room
      for the divine Baked Alaska,

  82. Jessica says...

    That’s easy, Minetta Tavern in NYC. Boy, do I miss it. One of the most romantic rooms in the city – it exudes money, history, and sex appeal (those red banquettes!). There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, and wonderful for people watching. The bar is beautiful and convivial and is the only place I really feel comfortable – even swanky – eating alone. Service is always great – no matter what kind of day you are having, you know you are in good hands from the minute you step in out of the fray on MacDougal street. And the food!!! My perfect meal: Caesar salad, bone-in strip steak, potatoes Anna, spinach, and a slice of ethereal coconut layer cake. We love that cake so much we made it our wedding cake! I am really hoping they come out okay on the other side of these challenging times. I would hate to think I had my last meal there.

  83. Bb says...

    Row 34 in Boston.

    • Alex says...

      We can also support restaurants by ordering takeout from them and also dining in! Wear you mask until you are at your table, be safe, follow the rules and leave a nice tip :) we don’t have to be scared to visit our local favorite places if we make safe choices! I have lots of friends in the industry and they want people to visit their outdoor dining patios! Especially because most people are very grateful and appreciate and kind when they visit during this post COVID world :)

  84. Agnès says...

    One thing I don’t like: fancy restaurants. The scenery is always so much better than the food. I don’t know, the carpets, the cutlery, the designs, the atmosphere make me imagine exquisite dishes and I am ALWAYS disappointed. I live in Paris, 12th and I adore a little thai restaurant (you eat in the street), also the couscous where my son never ever peays for his meal, or the mexican dinner where I feel at home. Yes, definitely, after quarantine, restaurants feel glorious! (and live music, and just seeing people, really). Sending many thoughts your way, from France.

    • miranda says...

      Where is this Thai place??!

  85. Mallory says...

    I’d beam myself to Taqueria Del Sol in Atlanta (the westside location please), Han Oak in Portland (OR), or Grand Banks in New York for oysters.

    I have beautiful memories of each of these places. The food and the settings only enhanced the company and the love I felt when I was there.

  86. Delia says...

    Last spring, I visited a restaurant in SF called Mister Jui’s and another one called Devil’s Teeth Bakery. I think back to both meals often. The former had wonderful chicken fried rice and the latter served spectacular breakfast sandwiches.

    I clearly remember sitting on a surf shop’s bench eating that sandwich. I felt so West Coast in that moment.

    • Calla says...

      Yes I love Devil’s Teeth, the wait is insane but it definitely hits the spot after a cold surf session!

    • Delia says...

      Calla, I’d give anything to live a life where I waited in line for bake goods after a “cold surf session”. Haha!

    • Calla says...

      Girl rents are dropping like crazy, get out here!

  87. Jules says...

    Oh yes. This is my jam! I have many restaurants I love, but these are my enduring favorites.

    San Francisco: Burma Superstar. The tea leaf salad is the best salad on this planet. I will not hear any argument.

    San Rafael, CA: Sol Food. The cubano sandwich, sweet plantains, and limeade…*chef’s kiss*

    Paia, Maui: Mama’s Fishouse. The view & the food combine to make it a perfect meal.

    Lahaina, Maui: Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop. I dream of the banana cream pie just as my husband does of the coconut cream pie. Perfection.

    • Abbe says...

      Jules, I love that you shouted out Sol Food! I don’t live in the Bay Area but visit often and both Burma Superstar and Sol Food (I have a good friend living in San Rafael) have given me such good food memories. My mouth is watering just thinking about their rice and beans….

    • Sarah S says...

      I am in full agreement about Burma Superstar and Sol Food! Two of my most favorite restaurants and dishes.

    • Calla says...

      I went to Burma Superstar for the first at the beginning of the year. I was a little underwhelmed given all the hype EXCEPT for the tea leaf salad. So delicious

    • Lorraine says...

      Just another shoutout for that tea leaf salad. It is unreal and otherworldly!

    • Jennifer says...

      Oooooh, Leoda’s – yuuuuum. I would like a eggs Benedict & any pie

    • Rachel says...

      Yes yes yes! Fellow Bay Area resident here and those spots are great. I had the good fortune to visit Maui last year and I am still dreaming of Leoda’s lilikoi chiffon pie… such a happy memory!

  88. Brittany says...

    I moved with my newlywed husband (!) to Boston in July for grad school. This post comes at such a funny time for us, who, like so many other COJ readers, feel so connected to the restaurants and food around us. We’re reminiscing on the small, family-owned restaurants we’ve left behind, and are excited to discover new beautiful restaurants in our new little home– by takeout for now, but with the optimism for dine-in when it’s safe to do so! If anyone has any recommendations for the Jamaica Plain/Brookline area, I’d love to hear and send some support their way!

    • Maureen says...

      Comedor in Newton!

    • may says...

      Hi Brittany,
      In JP, I can recommend VeeVee (intimate family “American” food), Tres Gatos (tapas), Chilacates (casual Mexican/Mexican-American food), Exodus Bagels (though only their Roslindale kitchen is open for pickup right now), and Brassica (if you’re closer to Forest Hills). Go to Cutty’s in Brookline for delicious sandwiches, Clear Flour for delicious pastries.
      Welcome to the neighborhood!

    • Aleah says...

      Hi! As a former JP/current Roxbury resident, I’d love to recommend a few. Tatte has the best pastries, coffee (their honey halva latte is to die for!) and brunch. 4H and Cafe Fixe for coffee. Ganko Ittetsu for ramen and Rod dee by Sitti for Thai and Otto for their pizza (the butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry pizza, however odd it may sound, is amazing). Blue Nile for Ethiopian—also the owner is the kindest, and supporting Black owned businesses is a must! Haley House in Roxbury for their cookies, community events, and for a good cause.

      Finally, it’s not in Brookline, but the Southeast Asian small plates at Myers + Chang blow my mind every.single.time (also the mango sticky rice pudding!)

      Welcome to Boston!!

    • Kim Windyka says...

      Welcome to Boston, Brittany! I second the Tres Gatos recommendation above and the others, too—Chilicates is amazing! I’ll add Ten Tables (reopening soon after renovations) and Galway House for massive portions of tasty Italian food for cheap. In Brookline, Publick House is an awesome beer bar with great food, and The Abbey has one of my all-time favorite meals: bison bolognese. Salivating just thinking about it!

    • Lynn says...

      The Haven in JP has THE BEST burger. It’s a Scottish bar/restaurant and the people are so warm and the place small and cozy on cold nights. When we occasionally get back to Boston we always go there. And their fish n chips is also excellent!

    • Lauren says...

      My husband and I lived in Brookline for a short time about three years ago. Our absolute favorite was Murphy’s for delicious cocktails and fancy pub food. We still talk about it all of the time, and are constantly on the lookout for a similar place in San Francisco.

    • LK says...

      I go here for my birthday, but it’s great any day, too. And one of the best bar programs in the US! Blossom Bar in Brookline (Brookline Village). Their drinks are…OUT of this world. As for dishes, the Chendgu Dry Hot chicken is insane, and I love the green beans and caramel short ribs.

      Also JP is my favorite area. It’s wonderful <3 If you need a new salon, Station 8 is the best.

    • Brittany says...

      You all are so kind!! Writing all of these down now. Thank you!!

    • Hattie says...

      Maureen, sorry but the Globe reported today that Comedor has closed and replaced with a gastropub named Thistle & Leek.

  89. Sarz says...

    Shoutout to Baan Thai restaurant in a little strip mall in Ottawa, Canada! ❤ I don’t want to know how much coconut cream goes into their panang. Because it’s transcendent. 🥺 I’ll work my diet around it!

  90. nora says...

    Just read about Mermaid Inn on 2nd Ave closing and kind of devastated :(

    • Joaquina says...

      Came here to post this. I am veganbut this was my go-to for drinks anytime I am in Manhattan. I recall Jo had also put it on her NY Guide for restaurants. Huge bummer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh that’s heartbreaking! Loved that place.

  91. hali says...

    I’m not even a huge fan of oysters but for some reason, this pandemic (and our continued aversion to eating AT restaurants) paired with a pregnancy has me day dreaming constantly of an unknown restaurant somewhere on the coast with a view of the ocean, lots of people about, on an outdoor patio with a very cold glass of white rose and a tray of oysters on ice and a basket plate of salty fries. I wonder when it will finally happen!

    • Hillary F. says...

      Bucs Bay Shellfish Company on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington. It is exactly as you described—put it on your list :)

    • Maggie says...

      I will meet you there!

  92. Kelley says...

    Strangely, I’m craving the food of old, familiar places way more than the restaurants close to home want. I want to drive to Williamsburg, VA (where I went to college) right now and get a turkey sandwich dripping n house dressing from the Cheese Shoppe for lunch, and a huge veggie sandwich from Paul’s Deli for dinner, with a CW ginger cookie and cider in between as a snack.

    • Abbe says...

      THE HOUSE DRESSING from Cheese Shoppe!! I didn’t go to W&M but attended debate tournaments there often during my college years and no trip was complete without getting a jar of house dressing. :)

    • L says...

      HOUSE DRESSING!! Another fellow W&M grad here. It’s been over 10 years since I graduated and oh man, that dressing hasn’t lost its appeal!

    • Kelley says...

      Isn’t that stuff the best?! Apparently they now sell it in jars. Am tempted to order some, but wouldn’t be the same.

    • Jana says...

      THE CHEESE SHOPPE all day errday

    • Danielle says...

      I spent a week in Williamsburg for a college history major trip. It’s been 18 years and I still think about a sandwich I had at Cheese Shoppe that had cheese and lentils dressed in vinaigrette.

  93. E says...

    Oh this is such a good question…there are so many restaurants I miss dearly. And it’s funny how much my heart has been dwelling on those last couple of dinners that we had out in March (that seemed so trivial at the time). Cooking and having take out for all my meals has been such an important reminder for me (for the rest of my life!!!) to cherish every single meal I get to have out at a restaurant. A few I miss most…

    The Grove in San Francisco (Fillmore St): The Grove is a casual cafe / restaurant prides itself on being “San Francisco’s living room” and with consistently delicious food, great music, excellent service, and NO WI-FI (!), it has always been my SF family’s (me, my sister + my fiancé’) “home base” – for Monday night reunions after weekends away, weekend brunches, hard conversations, and everything in between.

    Elephante in Santa Monica: probably the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever visited – I miss it because I miss 1) people-watching; 2) warm bread (their homemade bread + whipped eggplant OMG); 3) cocktails that I have not made in my own kitchen; and 4) Santa Monica sunsets.

    Universal Cafe in San Francisco: because of how delicious the food is (that comes straight over the counter from the kitchen), because the tables are so close they almost touch (?!), because you can’t go and NOT enjoy a whole bottle of wine, and because it exudes the most comforting, familiar, neighborhood / community vibe that I’ve ever felt in San Francisco.

    I could go on for pages…I think that sharing a meal at a restaurant is one of my “love languages” and I miss it dearly (and am so grateful to everyone in every pocket of the food industry for their bravery and resilience)!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love these recs and REALLY resonate with these words!!
      “I think that sharing a meal at a restaurant is one of my ‘love languages’ and I miss it dearly (and am so grateful to everyone in every pocket of the food industry for their bravery and resilience)!!!”

  94. Lee says...

    Ai Bozzi in Trastevere, Italy. The food is insane… artful and the most delicious I’ve ever eaten. The quiet piazza in the most happening section of Rome feels like a secret. The people who run it are full of love for what they do and you can taste it in every bite.

  95. Lisa says...

    That second picture makes my heart skip a few beats – I got married at Frankies a year ago this month (and have since moved from NYC) but I would give anything to be in their garden on a September evening reminiscing about that night. Can’t wait to get back there soon…and probably with a baby in tow, as I’m 6 months pregnant :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, that’s so lovely, Lisa. and congratulations on your baby news!

  96. Eleanor says...

    I live in DC and for my birthday in May I asked my friends to buy dinner for themselves at my favorite restaurants to keep them alive, and sent them a list, including my favorites in many different cuisines to account for different tastes. If you’re in DC, here’s the list: Taqueria Habanero, NuVegan Cafe, Eerkins, Pho Viet, Bombay Street Food, Panda Gourmet, Dumplings and Beyond, and Fare Well.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I LOVE that, eleanor!

    • RR says...

      So many solid Columbia Heights/Petworth options on this list :) :) :)

    • Emily says...

      I live in DC too and just added all of these to my “Restaurants to Try” list—thanks! I’ve been to Eerkins and heard amazing things about Panda Gourmet, but the others are all new to me. If you haven’t already tried them, I love Indigo and Sweet Sosumba Jamaican Vegan Cafe!

    • Calla says...

      What I great idea! I’d love to add Ercilia’s empanadas (in Mt. Pleasant, my old neighborhood) and Kangaroo boxing club in Columbia Heights (if either is still there)

    • Zoe says...

      Tail up Goat and Big Bear Cafe. <3 And if I could stop covid and also walk back in time… Stetsons. xoxo

    • Varina says...

      Oh Eleanor, I was so hoping there’d be some DC recs – and I don’t know some of these. Thanks for sharing!

      For my part:
      Worth the trek (we live on the Hill) to NW: Sakuramen, Etto
      Special occasion: Little Pearl (now open for socially distant outdoor dining), Iron Gate
      Best takeout/delivery: Indigo, Sushi Hachi, Sfoglina
      Our every day ride or dies: Bullfrog Bagel, Radici Market, Mangialardo

    • Lina says...

      I also love this idea (and Taqueria Habanero!). I once lived in Columbia Heights – to the other commentator: KBC is no longer there; was replaced by an asian restaurant that I have yet to test since I’m not in the neighborhood any longer.

      During COVID, we’ve tried to support some of our favorites with take-out orders (Cielo Rojo, Cafe Fili) and we also discovered two new spots we’ve enjoyed for take-out (Baan Siam – who bravely opened doors during the Pandemic & Little Minor Tacos).

      I look forward to someday eating in at Supra, Little Pearl, Red Hen – the places I like for the atmosphere AND the food.

    • Sophie says...

      Hi Eleanor,
      Great shout-outs for DC!
      Calla,
      KBC was replaced by Queen’s English, a Hong Kong cuisine restaurant with a really cute homey renovation, big flavors and a strong natural wine list. And Meridian Pint next door has been replaced by Makan, a Malaysian pub with all the taps intact! With my favorite Bad Saint (Filipino) two blocks down, 11th St in DC has had a huge “Asian Restaurant” glow-up, with specific cuisines that need to be shouted out and not lumped together under a continent label. Let’s take the time now while we have it to reframe how we perceive cuisines through our social lenses to better support and represent them going forward!

    • Emily says...

      I read Pho Viet and melted. I’m really hoping Thip Khao (Columbia Heights) can make it and that Baan Thai comes back. They were supposed to re-open in a new location (originally on 14th just north of Thomas Circle) this year but I’m sure that has been postponed due to COVID. Anyone know what’s up?

      I dream of the day I can celebrate Oktoberfest at Old Europe (Glover Park/Cathedral Heights). Also love Chiko (DuPont and Capitol Hill). And Compass Rose (U Street Area). We must save Compass Rose!

    • Lisa says...

      Eleanor: I will try Dumplings and Beyond. Thanks for recommending. I like a lot of your other call-outs.
      Emily: Baan Thai is now Baan Siam. It recently opened in Mount Verson Square. Lina mentioned them and I can also vouch for their take-out. I was a frequent diner at their 14th St restaurant. A few other DC restaurants I like that no one has mentioned so far: DCity Smokehouse and the Royal.

  97. Calla says...

    Art’s Cafe in the Inner Sunset, San Francisco. It’s a Korean-American diner about 3 feet wide with a single counter, when you are seated the cook is about a foot away and his wife has to squeeze by him to come take your order. Sadly they are retiring after over 30 years. Happy for them but will dearly miss it as the neighborhood is changing fast and these staples are closing all the time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sounds incredible xo

    • K says...

      Calla, YES! My husband and I lived in the Inner Sunset for three or four years a few years ago and that was our favorite place. They always gave my husband such a hard time for ordering an omelette AND french toast (but in a funny, sweet way). I could only ever get the San Francisco Burger with fries. I loved Art’s so much!

    • Hilary says...

      Art’s! Yes!! As a former Inner Richmonder, we would journey over to the Sunset for Art’s all the time. Sad to hear they’re retiring :(

    • Danielle says...

      Art’s counter was the best. The hashbrown sandwiches!

  98. Cooper says...

    To combat hopelessness one night, I spent a few minutes writing rave reviews of all of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, making sure to highlight specific details related to take-out when possible – convenient ordering, compostable packaging, food-still-warm, etc. I received some nice notes in reply and can only hope it encouraged some other orders!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that!!!

  99. I rarely eat out (going to coffee shops to write is about it), but pre-pandemic I was hired as a part-time baker at a new diner in town called Magpie (https://bit.ly/3jJFHUW). We opened a couple months ago in the middle of covid, and ever since we’ve been operating at max capacity (which is, for now, only 50%), sometimes with lines stretching down the block at the start of the day. It’s really quite wonderful to be a part of the team creating a safe (we hope!) and delicious meet-up spot for our local community.

    • Abigail says...

      Shout out to fellow Harrisonburg resident! Magpie’s such a wonderful addition to our town.

  100. Tara says...

    ThreePenny for Hill Farmstead beers and Kismet for dinner (where we got married, too!)- both in Montpelier, VT. Or Hen of the Wood in Waterbury, VT where I had my all time best meal!

  101. Lorraine says...

    When I lived in Portland (2005-2010), Ken’s Artisan Pizza was my favorite restaurant, hands down. How I would love to beam back there (circa 2006, perhaps their best year)! By the time I moved, the wait time there was sometimes over an hour. I checked their site recently and saw they are doing takeout – sigh! I would beam back there for takeout.

    I miss Hibino and Henry Public and Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill – our favorites when we lived there.

    Actually if we could also time travel as I did to Ken’s, I would love to stumble into Florent, an old gem of a French diner in the Meatpacking – circa 1999, when I was fresh out of college and exploring my new neighborhood (and Meatpacking was a smelly one back then!). I loved the french fries and the coffee with heavy cream at Florent, even at 4am.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg florent! I loved that place!!! so many memories.

      also, in portland, Oregon, I love Ava genes. the most intense, delicious flavors.
      https://www.avagenes.com

    • Ken’s Artisan Pizza was the last restaurant I went to before lockdown. :'( It was such a lovely, fun date night with my husband and I was wearing the best lipstick!

    • Karly says...

      The six seasons cookbook for Ava Gene’s veggies and Ken’s cookbook for pizza really hit the spot of you do it right!

  102. Elizabeth R says...

    Beetlecat in Atlanta or West Egg in Atlanta or Silo in Nashville or any really good coffee place anywhere.