Where to eat in 2019’s Most Popular Destinations

For most travelers, where you eat on vacation is almost as important as where you go or stay. But figuring out the right restaurant for you can be tricky (especially if you’re traveling in a group where everyone has #opinions). Luckily, OpenTable can help you figure out the perfect restaurant, no matter the occasion.

For our 2019 Travel Hacker Guide, we’ve teamed up with OpenTable to find some of diners’ top-rated restaurants for over 40 destinations. By crunching the numbers on over 1.5 billion annual KAYAK searches, we’ve uncovered the year’s top travel trends from popular destinations to wallet-friendly trips. New this year, we introduced OpenTable restaurant recommendations on our destinations pages, so you have what you need to plan the perfect trip.

And if you needed one more reason to make your restaurant reservations while planning your getaway, thanks to our new program, you can now use OpenTable’s Dining Points towards hotel discounts on KAYAK. Win-win-win.

See where OpenTable diners are saying you should eat out in 2019’s most popular cities:

1. Las Vegas

Vegas remains our most-searched-for destination of the year. From elaborate displays to incredible restaurants, the city of neon makes every day into a grand occasion. And the good news is, traveling to Vegas is relatively affordable — median airfare is below $250 year-round. So use what you save on your flight towards at least one night of all-out dining. Here are OpenTable’s suggestions on where to plan an evening that’s truly jackpot:

  • Joel Robuchon’s 3-Michelin-star-rated restaurant at MGM Grand is an icon. This decorated chef’s first US restaurant offers a menu full of inventive dishes. The Menu Degustation (tasting menu) is the most popular pick, giving you a survey of the kitchen’s talents. Just be prepared to shell out nearly $500 per person on it. Remember: you go here for the experience.
  • Partage is where you go for a show, just not one that’s on a stage. This French-inspired restaurant is committed to using only top-quality ingredients, creating dishes that look like contemporary art. Try their halibut served with dragon fruit and ceviche or the veal with sweetbreads and lotus roots.
  • Andrea’s at the Wynn Casino is where to head for an exciting, stimulating culinary experience. The restaurant’s Asian-inspired menu is full of shareable options that make this the perfect group experience. For the perfect end to your night, order the Flaming Mr. Fuji dessert, which consists of Devil’s Food cake with caramel, coffee rum mousse and toasted marshmallows, set ablaze.

2. New York

New York’s travel-hub status is key for travelers — it means that you can find flights for under $300 here, year-round. Be sure to book your trip at least a month in advance for a great deal. And what will you do in the City that Doesn’t Sleep? Each diverse and vibrant neighborhood has everything from local boutiques to theater shows to world-class dining. Here are 3 Japanese restaurants OpenTable recommends you add to your list, each with its own specialty:

  • Yopparai is an intimate Japanese bar and restaurant whose main culinary focus is sake. They serve fresh sashimi, traditional dishes and more because of how they compliment the restaurant’s sake offerings. This intimate space — there are only 30 seats — allows for Yopparai’s sommeliers to tailor each diner’s experience based on their order.
  • Tempura Matsui is a Michelin 1-Star establishment dedicated to the art of tempura. The space itself is designed to emulate a Japanese cottage and guests can elect to have a seat at the counter or tables. The real highlight of dining here is the preparation — guests can watch the chefs lightly fry fresh fish and vegetables before serving.
  • While you’re bound to find a sushi restaurant on every block, nothing quite compares to Sushi Kaito. Here, the art is taken very, very seriously. And there’s virtually no menu. When you go, you have the option of choosing between 2 omakase (meaning “I’ll leave it up to you”) courses — either a 12 or 16 piece course. The restaurant has a daily rotation of seasonal fish, so what they offer may change every day. And while they’re willing to make some accommodations, there are no options for vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diners.

3. Los Angeles

LA is studded with stars — and we don’t just mean the movie kind. The food scene in this city is cutting-edge, marrying a host of different flavors and traditions. And with flights available throughout the year for under $400, the City of Angels is an affordable vacation option as well. But before you book your trip, get your restaurant reservations lined up. These three restaurants highlight some of the iconic — and diverse — dining experiences OpenTable diners say you can get from LA:

  • MANPUKU is the Japanese barbecue chain you didn’t know was missing from your life. Originating 60 years ago in Tokyo, this LA outpost continues to delight diners with an array of salted meats and dishes prepared at your table, yaniuku-style. And, based on customer reviews alone, you’re bound to leave “happy with a full stomach,” as the restaurant’s name indicates.
  • If you’re down for some old-school Hollywood glamour, Vincenti Ristorante is one of those iconic Italian restaurants that looks like a movie set. Elegant and sophisticated, the chef takes a seasonal approach, frequently rotating menu items from house-made pasta to secondi plates. Service here is a standout and provides an atmosphere perfect for an intimate evening or group dinner.
  • Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse is a Melrose Ave institution that has served the community for over 20 years. OpenTable diners love that, even after so many years, the quality of food and service remains consistent. Start your meal off with some Hongos Rellenos (chicken-stuffed mushrooms with a cabernet reduction) and pair your choice of meat with a side of garlic fries (you won’t be disappointed).

4. Orlando

There’s more to Orlando dining than theme park food courts. With new restaurants opening at a breakneck pace, there’s always something new for families and solo travelers alike to try out. While January sees the lowest median airfare ($159 round-trip), you can expect to find flights for under $250 year-round. And as long as you’re booking one month ahead, you can find a great price on your flight. Whether you’re putting on mouse ears and hitting the parks or taking time to explore other parts of Orlando, here are 3 places you should reserve your table at now before the opportunity passes you by:

  • Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando serves up what it calls “New World cuisine.” By combining the flavors of the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia, the fusion of cultures comes out in highly inventive dishes like the Yuzu Mojo Organic Roasted Chicken with Pad Thai noodles. If you’re not sure where to get started, however, the seasonal tasting menu gives a great review of the restaurant’s top dishes.
  • New York City style comes to Florida at Bull & Bear. Located in the Waldorf Astoria, this restaurant is an outpost of the famous NYC steakhouse. Expect traditional menu items — like different cuts of meat and Caesar salad — alongside a rotation of specials Go here for a special occasion, date night, celebration or to impress a potential client.
  • After a day spent at the water park, talk to your hotel concierge about babysitting services and book a date night at Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster. Order up some lobster bisque and a prime cut and be instantly transported to a time and place where you didn’t just spend 2 hours waiting in line for a water slide.

5. Chicago

The Windy City is known for its culinary feats, but hot dogs and deep-dish pizzas aside, this town has become central to starting foodie trends. If you want to experience Chi-town flavors for yourself, head there in September when temps are still warm, but airfare has dropped from its summer highs (median $205 in September). Use the cash you saved on your flight to expand your palate at these highly rated restaurants, found on OpenTable:

  • Since 1978, Les Nomades has been a Chicago gold standard. Serving French-style cuisine, its impressive wine list and attention to service have made the restaurant a timeless piece in an ever-changing food scene. Order the Escargots (served with yellow tomato coulis and Roquefort cheese) or the Roasted Duck Breast and Confit Duck Leg (served with Savoy cabbage, parsnip and sauce Rouennaise).
  • If you’re looking for a meal that bucks tradition, then goosefoot is your place. With just 30 tables, one server, hostess and chef, this intimate space is where you go to have an experience. Each seating is for a multi-course tasting menu ($145) that will take about 3 hours to complete. The restaurant is BYOB (no corkage fee), but they conveniently own a wine store immediately next door. You can even call ahead and request a bottle, which they’ll have ready for your reservation.
  • Hidden down an alley-like street in the West Loop, the 2-Michelin starred Oriole is no secret. The space seats 28 and diners pay $215 to be treated to an evening of expertly crafted dishes that highlight the best the season has to offer. Each menu item is carefully curated, from malpeque oysters with smoked finger lime to jamon mangalica with egg yolk and quince. And while you can’t eat this way every night on vacation, Oriole offers the perfect place for that supremely special occasion.

6. Denver

With back-to-back years as our #6 Most Popular destination, Denver’s chill attitude makes it one of the most searched-for places on KAYAK. It also ranks as our #1 Wallet-Friendly Destination, where you can expect to spend 55% less on a trip here than you would almost anywhere else. According to our data, you should be able to fly here for less than $250 and stay for less than $220/night. Which can help you afford at least one all-out evening. Here’s where to eat in the Mile-High City:

  • The Family Jones Spirit House is an affordable and popular eatery that’s part distillery, part tasting room. Its casual setting and classy food presentation make this spot perfect for both special occasions and family dinners. Cocktails here range from classic to creative, like the Second Divorce Martini, made with house-distilled vodka and gin. Snack on trail mix and drink or go for gold with menu items like the 48-Hour Beef.
  • Denver is all about playing it casual, so it’s refreshing to dine at Bistro Barbes, which upholds all the traditions of French culinary culture without the fuss. The chefs here experiment with traditional French techniques while introducing flavors from North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean to their dishes.
  • If you’re looking for a casual spot serving “New American” dishes, Satchel’s on 6th has you covered. Try the Duck Fat Fries or the Green Gazpacho for clever takes on comfort foods. But for an exceptional meal, reserve your table for their Sunday Brunch. Perfect for the group that travels together or for a solo celebration of your vacation.

7. Miami

Stylish Miami can take the heat. This sunny destination is in constant change-mode from South Beach to Coconut Grove. New developments are popping up in and around the city, as it continues to attract crowds to its cultural activities, art fairs, sandy beaches and sporting events. Airfare is cheapest in January (median $200), but year-round you should be able to find tickets for under $300. When there, be sure to check out Miami’s food scene, which is as diverse and vibrant as its residents. Here are a few recommendations from OpenTable to get you started:

  • You can’t miss reserving a table at Palace. As the city’s first LGBT bar and restaurant, this Ocean Drive destination eatery is quintessential South Beach glam. Drag queens are your servers and evening entertainment, making every moment a total delight. Go for breakfast or head straight from the beach to start your evening.
  • If you’re looking for Italian food with soul, you can’t miss Macchialina Taverna Rustica. Located in South Beach, it is operated by a James Beard-nominated chef whose focus is on bringing fresh flavors to classic Italian dishes. Considered a “neighborhood gem,” it’s one of the few South Beach restaurants where you can expect to find more locals than tourists.
  • Market – The Miami Beach Edition takes on the role of marketplace and restaurant in one. Jean-Georges created this mash-up to bring an inspired new take on Italian dining. Set up “food-court style” with different counters for meats, cheeses, entrees and desserts, this eatery — located at the Miami Beach EDITION hotel — is the perfect place for a quick and casual meal that doesn’t skimp on taste and quality ingredients.

8. San Francisco

No other metro area on our list has as many restaurants per capita as San Francisco. The starting point of so many food movements, San Fran’s allure as a foodie capital is certainly not lost on travelers. February is when you’ll find the most affordable airfare (median $238) and some of the best hotel rates (median $220/night). Just be sure to book at least 1 month ahead. Wondering where to go in this culinary capital? Here are 3 of OpenTable’s most highly rated restaurants in the city:

KAYAK Tip: As with many restaurants offering a tasting menu, if a cancellation is made less than 48 hours in advance, expect to pay a significant fee.

  • Quince is quintessentially San Francisco. This 3-Michelin-starred restaurant serves a seasonal tasting menu ($295) that highlights the agricultural traditions of Northern California. Dishes can rotate daily, so diners can experience something new at every seating. Foodies can’t resist placing themselves in the hands of Chef Michael Tusk, a decorated kitchen veteran and one of America’s top chefs.
  • Another top-rated restaurant with an acclaimed tasting menu is Benu. Also boasting 3 Michelin stars, this eatery is known for its attention to detail. With its quiet, intimate atmosphere, Benu’s curated selection of dishes change according to what’s available at the market that day. For the experience, expect to pay $310 plus 20% gratuity on a meal here. Note: Young children are not allowed at Benu.
  • If you’re looking for a classic, Boulevard has you covered. Opened in 1993, and located by the city’s waterfront, the restaurant serves Chef Nancy’s Oakes fusion of American regional flavors with French-influenced style. Boulevard’s interior design centers around a Belle Époque style, providing an intimate and elegant atmosphere perfect for a special occasion. Start with the violin squash ravioli with burgundy truffles and finish with the decadent bittersweet chocolate and caramel s’more.

9. London

As the only international destination on our Most Popular list, airfare to London is significantly more expensive than the other Top 10 cities. However, we found that year-round, flight prices stay below $800. Go in May when spring starts to warm things up and you can find airfare for around $608 before it spikes for summer. And as long as you’re booking 6 months ahead, you can be confident you’re getting a good deal. While “English cuisine” is a long-standing joke, London proves that British tastes change. Here’s where OpenTable diners eat out when traveling across the pond:

  • CORE by Clare Smyth is a relative newcomer to London’s food scene. Set in historic Notting Hill, the restaurant pairs a cozy, modern aesthetic with creative, fantastical food presentation. Inspired by traditional British fare, the kitchen offers an elegant tasting experience for diners. Dishes frequently change as they are highly dependent on seasonality.
  • The Ledbury, a 2-Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill, takes a modern twist on traditional English dishes. Diners enjoy a tasting menu of four courses, where they can choose among updated entrees like steamed cuttlefish and guinea fowl.
  • No trip to London is complete without indulging in at least one afternoon tea. And the experience at The Rosebury is at the top of OpenTable’s diners’ lists. Founded as a tea room in the 1920s the restaurant retains much of its old school glam. Go for finger sandwiches, house-made pastries and an awesomely curated range of teas.

10. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale has the best of both worlds. This city has gone to great lengths to become a family-friendly vacation destination. Plus, it’s 45 minutes from Miami, making it the perfect jumping-off point for cultural adventure. While you can expect to pay under $275 for your airfare year-round, January and May are when you’ll find the best deal (median $165). And in its effort to attract vacationing families, Fort Lauderdale’s food scene reflects the comforts of home. Here are 3 restaurants OpenTable diners are talking about:

  • Great for date nights or business meetings The Capital Grille in Fort Lauderdale pairs a familiar upscale atmosphere with classic dishes. This steakhouse chain maintains quality in all its restaurants, serving top quality meat with friendly service.
  • For food that’ll satisfy the family, head to The Grill at Calvary Chapel. Pizza, wings, burgers and sandwiches — you can’t go wrong. All the basics get an updated twist, however, whether it be from the wood-fired pizza oven or the guava chicken sandwich.
  • Eat like you’re in your Italian grandmother’s kitchen at Cafe Martorano. The restaurant features the classics of Italian-American cuisine, like bucatini carbonara and meatball salad. It’s a place locals love to enjoy, praising its warm service and inviting atmosphere.

 

When you need help planning a trip from start to finish, KAYAK and OpenTable have your back. From finding the right flight to reserving the perfect table, we’re here to make you confident you’re planning an epic trip.

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