The BEST restaurant I've ever been to is...

Drunken Jack’s, hands down. If you live in or near Myrtle Beach you probably know what I mean.
OK, so maybe it was the fact that my mom and I vacationed to Myrtle Beach when I was thirteen, and then I was absolutely enchanted by anything having to do with the ocean. Fish, sailing, pirates…LOVED it. Drunken Jack’s had that ambience that I pretty much flipped out over.
And maybe it was the fact that scallops were at the time and still are my favorite food, and they know how to make a damn good bacon-wrapped scallops dish (I peeled the bacon off, but still).
And IT’S NOT A FREAKIN’ CHAIN!!! We didn’t eat at one single chain for an entire week and it was one of the best spring breaks I’ve ever had.

What restaurants do you love?

The best steak I’ve ever had was at the fanciest and most expensive steakhouse I’ve ever been to, Del Frisco’s. My girlfriend’s family took us around Christmastime, and while they all ordered filets that came a la carte, I opted for a larger New York strip steak that actually came with “chateau-style” mashed potatoes and was actually cheaper. I’ve never bought into the filet hype. Anyway, I asked for it rare and it came RARE and just melted in my mouth. Buttery, peppery, perfect. The potatoes were also the best ever, as were the fried oysters appetizer and this amazing orange cake for dessert. I couldn’t even afford to eat there myself or bring my girl back there on a date, but as a gift and a treat, it was hard to beat.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have a finer sandwich than the pastrami on club bread I recently enjoyed at the iconic Katz’s deli in New York’s Lower East Side. I love delis and pastrami sandwiches, but with all seriousness, it was like eating at McDonald’s your whole life and then trying a burger at Fuddruckers or a nice steakhouse. Katz’s is crowded, loud, chaotic, and completely intimidating when you order at the counter, clutching the ticket they give you for dear life, but you could travel the world and never find a finer sandwich. (It costs $15, but it was seriously worth it.)

Texas de Brazil is pretty awesome, too. Total decadence reigns supreme at the Brazilian churrascuria, where “gauchos” continuously bring long skewers full of various perfectly-grilled meats to your table and cut off as much as you want. Various cuts of steak, beef, pork, chicken, sausages, lamb, more exotic organ meats, just about any of the above wrapped in bacon, anything you could ever dream of. They also have an ornate salad bar filled with artisan cheeses, roasted vegetables, and even sushi, among other things. It costs about $40 per person, or half-price at lunch for almost all the same stuff (which is when the smart people go).

I keep kosher, so obviously my selection is more limited than most, but my personal favorite is Sushi Metsuyan. I’ve never had a thicker or more tender steak than their Polynesian rib-eye, their French fries are to die for, the lamb riblets appetizer, their chocolate souffle for dessert, even the cole slaw makes me want to go back. And the ambience is nice too. And when it’s your birthday, they strike a gong for you.

G-d, I need to go back there NOW.

I really wasn’t expecting that restaurant name to serve the meal you describe, but I imagine a lot more people would visit “sushi” restaurants if that’s what they could get. :slight_smile:

Lockkeepers in Valley View, OH

Mistral in Charleston, SC

Flo’s Place in Murrell’s Inlet, SC

It’s a toss up between The Chop House right here in my lovely little town (we can only afford to eat there once a year), and Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy.

Le Sirenuse would win for ambiance alone–it’s a terraced view of the beach, the mountains, and the church, with live vines and plants.

Le Sirenuse I

Le Sirenuse II

And since it was my first time eating actual fresh mozzarella (caprese salad), perhaps I’m a bit biased. But the Sea Bass was divine. You have to climb lots and lots of stairs to get there, but it was worth it.

Yet I lean toward the Chop House because of how much I love beef, and how good the au gratin potatoes are. And when they serve the butter, it has the little imprint of a bull on it, the Chop House symbol. Sooo cute. 50% off the bill for 2 on birthdays, so of course it’s a once-a-year thing. Makes it that much more special.


Oh, they do have quite the extensive sushi menu, but they serve non-sushi dishes as well, which is what I prefer - I’m not into fish. They refer to themselves as a “Sushi Bar and Fusion Steakhouse.”
This is their web site.

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Vegas. We brunched there and I quite literally very nearly fell under the table with the first bite of my spicy chicken and sweet potato hash. SO. GOOD. The presentation was gorgeous as well; I wish I’d have taken pictures.

I was fortunate enough to eat at The French Laundry in Yountville (Napa) last year, and it really does live up to its hype. I didn’t time it, but the meal lasted several hours, and everything tasted like something you’d never had before. It’s also the most expensive restaurant* I’ve ever eaten in, so that needs to be taken into consideration, too.

*I’ve probably eaten at more expensive restaurants in Asia (particularly in Japan), but I wasn’t paying and never saw the bill (thankfully).

Many years ago, there was a hole-in-the-wall just a few blocks from my work in Charlotte called The Brown Derby Cafe.

Especially Wednesdays.

The special was Country Style Steak. It was fork-touch tender, swimming in a pool of delicious brown gravy, and nestled in a bed of perfectly cooked rice. On the side, I would have fried squash, delicately breaded and seasoned. Black-eye peas cooked for hours with bacon slabs. I always asked for those in a bowl because they were so soupy. My third veggie varied between a carrot and turnip slaw made with a propriety dressing, and a big helping of mushy green beans glistening with liquid pork fat.

This was all topped off with a steaming hot basket of biscuits and cornbread and a bottomless glass of ice old tea. Tooth jarringly sweet, of course.

To this day, the best restaurant I’ve ever been to was Cherry’s Steak House, in my home town, Ravenna, Ohio. Perfect steaks, every time. Also, perfect fried chicken, red snapper, Italian wedding soup, spaghetti with homemade noodles; the whole menu was perfect.

It blew up in the late 60s after some work had been done. It was blamed on a leaky gas pipe, but many suspected Mafia involvement (Cherry-Boy Rufi ran the slots in town during WWII).

Business then moved to Elite (pronounced EE-light) Restaurant, run by members of the same extended family. It had a similar menu to Cherry’s, and while it was not quite as good, it was close enough. Eventually everybody got old, and it was sold to a moron who ran it into the ground within five years.

Cherry’s bartender, Babe Senerchia, moved to the Elite (as did several waitresses) after Cherry’s exploded. He was the greatest bartender ever. I’d kill for one of his whiskey sours today.

Apparently it has perhaps lost a step or two, but my wife and I dined at the New Heights restaurant in Washington D.C. in 2002 (I think) and it was one of the most memorable and wonderful meals I’ve ever had.

It remains the only restaurant I have ever written to to ask for a recipe, and they were kind enought to share their recipe for Moulard duck breast with garlic-truffle gratin.

We found out the next day that President Clinton and Hillary had eaten there a couple of hours before we did, apparently it was one of their favorite restaurants.

Toss up between Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans and Osteria Pepo in Florence.

At Mr. B’s I had probably the best roast chicken in my entire life. It’s listed as Garlic Chicken on their menu. Soooo gooood.

At Osteria Pepo their pappa al pomodoro is fantastic, and I’ve also loved a roast pork dish that I don’t current;y see on their menu. Might have been a special.

Both those restaurants are places I make a point of visiting when I am in their respective cities.

Hard to say.

The Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA wins for New England cuisine.

Lola’s in Oak Bluffs, MA wins for biscuits, fin fish, and dessert, notably their creme brulee. I’m a big fan of whiskey in desserts.

The Greenery in Rockport, MA, wins for catfish and salad. But they lose on the loss of their salad bar. (They make a better one than I ever could, though.)

Florida House on Amelia Island, FL, wins for fried chicken and general Southern

Maison Robert in Boston, MA wins for fancy expensive French grub. And service. It takes four waiters to bring you bread!

Aloha in Rochester, NY wins for atmosphere. When there’s a footbridge over a pond in the middle of the restaurant, that’s a hands-down winner.

Offshore Ale Company in Oak Bluffs, MA wins for beer. The food? Kind of meh.

Schooner’s in Hyannis, MA for hottest waitstaff.

The French Laundry, no doubt about it.

My husband and I had dinner there with a few other Dopers a couple of years ago.

It was absolutely the best dining experience of my life. (I made a list a couple of days after that night. ) Everything was amazing.

I’ve been to a lot of the fancy big name places most of you have heard of but the one I love the most is probably “The Manse” in Tillsonburg Ontario. The steak I had was hands down, the best steak I’ve ever eaten. It’s an expensive restaruant in a small town that isn’t exactly a major tourist area so it isn’t exactly a recipe for success but here’s hoping it pulls through.

Some small town restaurants are the best I’ve ever been to. Rowley, MA, is about as antithetical to touristy or populated as it gets. About the only thing that drew me there was that it was away from it all. And yet it has (at least) three fantastic restaurants, which should have made my list. Of particular note is the Eagle House. Best steak I’ve ever had. The place is so remote that you can’t even get in there on a Saturday night.

I have a tie, and they are both steak houses.

The first was Hy’s in downtown Vancouver.

I went with 2 friends and everything was awesome from the hand-made ceasar salad beside your table to having an after dinner cigar in the illegal smoking room upstairs behind the staind glass windows.

Truely epic.

The second was when I was on course in Schaumburg and I went to Morton’s. I was by myself and ended up spending ~$130 on dinner but it was well worth it! The funny thing was I was seated at a table but they seemed to had forgotten about me. after about 7-8 minutes I flagged down a water boy and asked him to send a waiter over to take my drink order. A waiter came over and I told him how long I had waited and said I’d like a glass of water and a Glenlivet on the rocks. 2 minutes later the manager came with my drink and apologized and said the drink was on the house.

Then after my dinner the waiter came by with a tray full of liquoures and gave me a nice glass of Graham’s port on the house.

After a scotch, a bottle of wine (I paid for that!) and a port I stumbled across the parking lot to my hotel.


Brandt’s Little Cafe (Palatine, IL) - one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. (I’m not sure just how ringing an endorsement this is, though - I like the steak at Lonestar. :wink: ) Definitely the best hamburgers. Best calamari, too. In fact, it’s the only place I will even EAT calamari.

The Patio (Tinley Park, IL) - best ribs I’ve ever had.

Horizons in Fernandina Beach, FL, where my parents live. It was closed for a while but it’s back and evidently just as good, although I haven’t been there. They had these dessert souffles… well, you’d have to have it to understand.