In our opinion, summer is the most foodie-friendly season. There’s the fresh seasonal produce, the alfresco dining, the barbequing, and the fact that we can basically eat whatever we want, whenever we want, by virtue of our *extra active* lifestyle. Where we’re bringing our appetite this month? From a Korean steakhouse in New York to a veggie-centric spot in Chicago, here are the best new restaurants to check out this August.
Casa Publica, Williamsburg
For a taste of Mexico City in Williamsburg, check out Casa Pública, where home-style cooking and cheery, bright interiors (think: Saltillo clay tiles, floor-to-ceiling windows, communal tables) will make you temporarily forget you’re in Brooklyn. Your order: tuna tostadas with yellowfin, avocado creme, chile oil and crispy onions, followed by squash blossoms stuffed with requesón and swiss chard. And be sure to order a cocktail to wash it all down; Meaghan Montagano —formerly at La Sirena and Extra Fancy—is behind the creative drinks menu, which includes micheladas like the Conquistador (a heady mix of Milagro Blanco Tequila, Ancho Reyes, tamarind, pineapple) and frozen cocktails like the Classico “Fro Marg,” with El Jimador Blanco, Cointreau, citrus, and Tajin.
No Name Chinese, Miami
For a restaurant without a name, this South Miami eatery sure is memorable. There are the eye-catching interiors (all exposed brick walls, leather banquettes, navy blue subway-style tiling); the mouthwatering grub, which includes old school classics and house specialities; and the fun, vibrant atmosphere, enhanced by the action of the open kitchen. Order the red snapper filet with Sichuan peppercorn and shaved leeks, but leave enough room for desert— the Cantonese walnut tart tastes like a pecan pie on steroids.
The Salt Line, Washington DC
At this New-England themed restaurant in D.C.’s southeast riverfront, you can tuck into crowd-pleasing bites like oysters, French fries, and fluffernutter milkshakes in a decidedly elegant space with arched doorways, seafoam-hued booths, and pendant lights. Want some water views to accompany those lobster rolls? Go early to snag a spot on the on the water-facing outdoor patio and order a round of drinks (we’d recommend the rum-based fish house punch) to toast the sunset. If you’re watching your waistline, there are also plenty of more health-minded bites (think: grilled monkfish with couscous and pepper sofrito) to fill you up.
Clever Rabbit, Chicago
This Wicker Park newcomer specializes in veggies—raw, cooked, roasted, braised, pickled, you name it. But we guarantee you’ll still leave satisfied, especially if you dig into the crudité platter, a beautiful assortment of raw and pickled veggies with goat cheese, truffles, hemp seed naan bread and smoked mushroom mousse. The drink menu, too, is plant-based. We slurped back the carrot margarita (cold-pressed carrot juice, ancho chile liequeur, tequila, lime, and salt) and the Sauced and Found, a tropical concoction of rum, a rhubarb-based digestif, pineapple cordial, grenadine, and lime juice. And meat-eaters, if you absolutely must, there’s also a diner-style cheeseburger on the menu.
Jean-Georges Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
With LA’s dining scene on fire these days, it takes a lot for an out-of-town chef to truly impress. But acclaimed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has done just that with the arrival of his eponymous restaurant at the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Done up in wood accents, high ceilings, and towering potted plants, along with a sun-drenched outdoor patio (it is California after all), the floor-level eatery is as glamorous as the A-list crowd who dines there. As for the food, expect hits from the chef’s New York restaurants (think: toasted egg yolk with caviar and herbs and Vongerichten’s legendary chocolate cake), plus distinctly California dishes like organic kale and watercress salad and avocado carpaccio with serrano chili, cilantro, and lime. Vongerichten also helms the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, which looks out over the entire city, and is the place to see and be seen after-hours in Beverly Hills.
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Tallula's, Santa Monica
If restaurants were solely judged on the basis of their location, this casual, beach-adjacent spot just off the PCH in Santa Monica, would take the cake. Luckily for us, however, Tallula’s has way more to offer than just its picture-perfect locale—namely, soulful Mexican fare with a SoCal edge. We’re talking braised barbacoa, mole-slathered organic chicken, grilled fish tacos with malt aioli, and turkey enchiladas with black recado-quinoa sauce. Still hungry? Opt for the sweet corn ice cream sundae, which is topped with Murray Family Farms blueberry compote and caramel popcorn.
Nothing tastes quite like food cooked above campfire. And at Gather, a hip spot near Detroit’s Eastern Market, Chef Nate Vogeli draws from his time cooking at a Montana lodge to serve up “campfire-style” dishes like char-braised pork belly with cabbage and charred wings with celery yogurt and buffalo sauce. The seating is communal and the place gets pretty loud when it’s busy, so it makes a great precursor to a night on the town.
Duna, San Francisco
We didn’t know what to expect this new fast-casual restaurant on San Francisco’s Valencia Street, where “classic Central-European peasant food with noble ingredients” is the focus. But after tucking into the hearty, belly-warming fare—think: stuffed cabbage rolls, spätzle, chicken paprika, Belgrade salad with roasted cauliflower, spinach, and yogurt—we count ourselves among fans. Go on Sunday, when the restaurant hosts a dinner inspired by specific regions of Central and Eastern Europe, like Southern Bulgaria, Belgrade, and Budafok, Hungary.
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Cote, New York City
You’ll cook your own food at this new Korean barbecue steakhouse, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not high-end dining. Simon Kim, the restaurateur behind Michelin-starred Piora, is at the helm of the Flatiron concept, whose menu features chophouse classics, dry-aged sirloins and marinated short rib (all cooked on your table’s $4,000 grill), plus an array of Korean dishes like bibimbap, scallion salad, and kimchi stew (prepared in the kitchen). Order the “Butcher’s Feast” and tuck into the chef’s selection of beef, condiments, salads, stews, and dessert—plus cocktails like a classic Martinez and the soju-based Seoul-Side.