Hottest New Restaurants

From a rotating menu in Chicago to a Ligurian masterpiece in New York, The Daily Beast presents the recently opened restaurants generating the most buzz from coast to coast. VIEW OUR GALLERY.

Christian Seel

Christian Seel

Next restaurant, Chicago

Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz
Grant Achatz

The Buzz: One of the most anticipated restaurant openings in America, from molecular gastronomy chef Grant Achatz, best known for Alinea. Next transform into an entirely different restaurants every three months and diners must buy tickets to get a table. The first iteration is Paris 1906, with a menu drawn of turn-of-the-century cuisine: truffled custard with black truffle shavings, poached cucumber stuffed with chicken mousse wrapped in pork, lamb rilletes, sliced loin and sweetbread course. Mike Sula of the Chicago Reader wrote that the “heavy, exquisitely rich food is so far removed from current culinary practice it might as well be totally new again.”

Red Rooster Harlem, New York

Owners: Marcus Samuelsson/Samuelsson Group
Chef: Andrea Bergquist
Cuisine: Southern

The Buzz: Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, the Ethopian-born, Swedish raised celebrity chef who has defied genre since he began turning heads at Aquavit almost two decades ago is at it again in the neighborhood he has long called home, Harlem. On paper, this is a southern/soul food joint: fried chicken (“yard bird”), shrimp and grits, mac-and-greens. But Samuelsson and the day-to-day chef Andrea Bergquist, a veteran of Tabla and Craft Steak, throw in a lot of the owner’s heritage into the menu: his grandma’s Swedish meatballs, an Ethiopian chicken stew with injera bread, etc. It’s not really about the food here – which is merely good, far for great – but rather the vibe. Located right off 125th Street, literally and figuratively between the Apollo Theater and Bill Clinton’s office, Red Rooster is a buzzy mix of races, backgrounds and incomes, who pack the curvy deco bar, the bi-level dining rooms and the club downstairs. It’s the new Harlem Renaissance, personified.

Alma, Dallas

Owner: Tristan Simon
Chef: Michael Brown
Cuisine: Mexican

The Buzz: Put together a creative, Latin-themed bar menu, street corn and short rib enchilada and you get the basic delights of Alma. The man behind the menu is Michael Brown, a Rick Bayless protege and former executive chef of Los Angele’s Red O. As well, the restaurant features drink inventions from Christy Pope, a Manhattan mixologist. Much of the food is sourced from its native province, including chocolate from Oaxaca, Michoacan avocados and shrimp from the Mazatlan coast. But, from appetizer to dessert, the food has been attracting rave reviews for its seamless integration into Dallas with regional cuisine. As Sarah Reiss wrote in D Magazine, “Alma is quite possibly the place where the soul of the city can come home to roost.”

Tres Gatos, Boston

Owner: David Doyle
Chef: Marcos Sanchez
Cuisine: Tapas

The Buzz: In the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, Tres Gatos offers a new dining concept: part-tapas bar, part-music and book store. Owner David Doyle opened the space earlier this year. Inspired by trips to Spain, he converted his indie vinyl store into a foodie gathering spot. Kathrin Kavrilla of Time Out Boston called the hotspot’s chilled tortilla Espanola with pimento aioli “perfection” and the sugared churros “heavenly,” but of course the real pull is the ambiance. In a neighborhood known for its cool-factor, Tres Gatos’ communal tables and low-key vibe is already a popular favorite.

Evan Sung

Ai Fiori, New York

Chef/Owner: Michael White
Cuisine: Italian

The Buzz: For the past decade, Michael White has been the hottest Italian chef in New York (sorry, Batali), from Alto to Convivio to Marea. And yet again, he’s nailed it, mixing southern French precision and technique with the Ligurian cuisine of Italy’s northwest coast. Dinner at Ai Fiori is four-course affair – at $84, a New York fine dining bargain – which is key, since the pasta course is essential, whether the saffron-gnocchi, made richer still by urchin and blue crab or the veal-stuffed agnolotti perfumed in truffles. In fairness, there’s no weak link in the meal, including the service, the sleek Fifth Avenue view and the northern Italian wine list. Bonus: a top-notch option in the culinary wasteland, just north of the Empire State Building.

The Royce, Los Angeles

Owner: Stephen W. Royce
Chef: David Feau
Cuisine: New American

The Buzz: With a storied chef and a high-brow ambiance, The Royce, located in Pasadena’s Langham hotel,, has quickly become the area’s top dining spot. Feau is known as the protégé of Guy Savoy and grew up under the culinary tutelage of his mom in France. Before The Royce, he oversaw Lutece in New York. Offerings incorporate house-made bread and seasonal produce and seafood cooked with a French-inspired finish. Current menu highlights include Beef au Poivre (which S. Irene Virbila of The Los Angeles Times wrote may be “the best steak I've had this year”), poached lobster with raw and cooked carrots and warm foie gras with chervil relish.

Frank Huster Photography

Golden Beetle, Seattle

Chef/Owner: Maria Hines
Cuisine: Mediterranean

The Buzz: The James Beard-winning and Top Chef Masters chef Maria Hines opened Golden Beetle in February after taking a tour through Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Morocco in a hunt for inspiration. The primary point of interest: a stainless steel oven covered in a glass-tiled mosaic that was created by a local arts studio. The plated ingredients are also local, featuring local, organic fare from the region. Golden Beetle is the third restaurant in the country to snag Oregon Tilth’s organic certification. Among the menu highlights: Skagit River Ranch Ground Beef Skewers with tamarind glaze.

Courtesy of Niko

Niko, New York

Owner: Cobi Levy
Chef: Hiro Sawatari
Cuisine: Japanese

The Buzz: There are many things to like about Niko: its clandestine SoHo location, its glamorous, arty vibe (model sightings aplenty), the killer sake list. But above all, Niko is a world-class sushi destination. Chef Hiro Sawatari comes here from the immaculate Sushi Yasuda, the raw fish offerings here are similarly transcendent. All the sushi offerings detail the source country with he precision of a wine list – the fish is sourced with sustainability in mind, in consultation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium -- and the those who let “Chef Hiro” take care of the choices, whether at the table or the onyx-topped sushi bar, will find their head spinning (cod roe from Maine? Japanese orange clam?). For those who prefer their protein cooked, the miso-cured salmon and skinless fried chicken are revelations.