Restaurants: Best-Ever by City

By Dom Nozzi

The following restaurants excel in the quality, health and uniqueness of their food, the authenticity (local cuisine in particular) they provide, and their location in the community (the best locations for restaurants are those that are easy to get to by bicycle, walking or transit). They tend to have a pleasant, vibrant and festive ambience, and are regularly frequented and loved by locals. They also tend to be reasonably priced. Restaurants I enjoy usually have a very charming interior design. Having outdoor seating on a slow-speed, walkable street or on a rooftop is a big plus.

Anchorage AK:  Mooses Tooth

Atlanta GA:  Cafe Hinds, The Great Good Gym

Boston: Monica’s (North End Italian), Beer Works, Lucia’s, Giacomo’s

Boulder CO:  Nabil’s, The Med, Dot’s Diner, Salt, Aji’s, Dagabi, Cafe Gondolier (homemade pasta), Taj (Great Indian lunch buffet), Lucile’s (creole breakfast/lunch/brunch), Tea House, Half-Fast Subs (good tempeh lunch), Jill’s at St Julien (superb buffet lunch), IL Pastaio (awful ambiance, but homemade pasta is excellent), Pasta Jay’s, Centro, Zoe Ma Ma (authentic chinese), Foolish Craig’s (1700 blk Pearl St)

Bradenton FL: Captain Brian’s

Breckenridge CO:  Mi Casa, Giampietro

Bristol VA:  Shanghai

Buena Vista CO:  Eddyline (homemade beer, calzone’s)

Charleston SC:   Southend Microbrewery, Il Cortile Del Re, Gaulart Cafe (lunch), Sermets, Poogan’s (peanut-encrusted catfish)

Charlottesville VA:  Revolutionary Soup, Orzo

Chicago:   Planck’s Cafe, Exchequer, Italian village

Washington DC:   Tunnicliff’s Tavern, Capitol Ale House, Arucola

Decatur GA:  Brick Store, Raging Burrito

Ft Collins CO: Crown Pub

Gainesville FL:  Satchel’s, Leonardo’s 706, Emiliano’s, Tim’s Thai, Daniella’s, Bahn Thai, Paramount, Wine & Cheese Gallery (lunch), Dragonfly Sushi, Ivey’s, Liquid Ginger, The Melting Pot, The Gelato Shop, Steve’s, Coney Island, The Top

Idaho Springs CO:  BeauJo’s

Jacksonville FL:  River City Brewing

Key Largo FL: Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen

Melbourne FL: Mr. Beau Jeans (breakfast), Ozzie’s Seafood

Miami FL: Joe’s Stone Crab

Neptune Beach FL:  Ragtime, Mezza Luna

New Orleans:  Joe’s Cozy Corner

NYC: La Mela in Little Italy

Orlando FL: Opium

Philadelphia:  Mcgillin’s Ale House

Portland OR:  Portland Brewing Co.

Richmond VA:   Balliceaux, White Dog, European Market, Nile (superb, authentic Ethiopian), Verbena, Legends, Penny Lane, Europa,  Perlys Diner, Semsi (homemade pasta), 27, Kuba Kuba, Hill Cafe, Havanna, Sidewalk Cafe, Cafe Gutenberg, Ipanema, Hardshell, Capt Buzzies Cafe, Bin 22 Wine Bar, Capital Ale House, Mama Zu’s,  Amici’s, Richbrau Brew Co., Akida Sushi, NY Deli, Bacchus, Sticky Rice, 6 Burner.

Rochester NY:  Nick Tahou’s, Pontillos.

Saint Augustine:   OC White, Gypsy Cab Company, A1A Ale Works

Salida CO:  Amica’s (homemade beer, calzones), Feraro’s (homemade pizza)

San Francisco:   Tadich Grill, Michealangelo’s (in Little Italy), Square One

St Louis: Schlafly

Sarasota FL: Cafe Baci, Epicure

Seattle WA:   Blue Moon Tavern, Chinooks

Tampa/Ybor City FL: Columbia Restaurant

Winter Park FL: 310 Park South (grouper filet)


I urge you to email me ( or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.


Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality. Each list is a work in progress.

50 Years Memoir CoverMy memoir can be purchased here:

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My Adventures blog

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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