Who says hotels are just for sleeping? Or stealing stuff? Sure, the dining options at the Snellville La Quinta may not be world renowned (although there's probably a Waffle House nearby), but some of the country's most exclusive restaurants happen to be hidden inside hotels. Here are 11 gourmet meals worth the trip.
NoMad, NoMad Hotel -- New York City
Signature dish: Whole roasted chicken for two, with foie gras, black truffle, brioche.
Designed to capture the belle epoque aesthetic of an early 20thC Parisian eatery, the cluster of dining rooms in this impossible-to-get-a-reservation spot surround a sun-drenched, glass-enclosed atrium. Food/drink-wise, expect classic cocktails and suckling pig to accompany your foie-gras stuffed poulet.
Wit & Wisdom, Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore -- Baltimore
Signature dish: JM Clayton blue crab cake, horseradish creamed cabbage, heirloom beets, pistachio butter.
Located on Baltimore's historic Inner Harbor, this "modern American tavern" cooks up "Eastern seaboard classics" like bourbon steak burgers and lobster pot pie in/on their hearth oven and live-fire grill, while outside the 85-seat patio (dubbed Wit on the Water) offers guests views of the harbor.
Parallel 37, The Ritz-Carlton -- San Francisco
Signature dish: Boneless chicken wings, poached hen egg, cannellini beans, persimmon.
With an interior highlighted by slab wood light fixtures, windows into the kitchen, and an etched swinging glass door (!!), this Nob Hill bar and restaurant focuses -- as the name cleverly hints -- on food from the Bay area and includes a five- or eight-course tasting menu for the table.
The J. Parker, Hotel Lincoln -- Chicago
Signature dish: J. Parker Burger, dry-aged beef, butterkase cheese, belly fire mayo, lettuce, charred onion, pickles.
With an epic 140-seat deck that sits atop the Hotel Lincoln, The J. Parker offers unobstructed views of Chicago and Lake Michigan to go along with a rotating-quarterly lineup of cocktails and smaller bites like burgers, braised beef, and hot wings.
Aubergine, L'Auberge Carmel -- Carmel, California
Signature dish: Sablefish, Napa cabbage, emulsion of oyster.
Tabbed as "Best New Chef" in 2013 by Food & Wine, Chef Justin Cogley is the reason to stop at Aubergine. Seriously, the dude used to be a professional ice skater -- although that's really more of a fun fact. As for the food, ordering is simple: there's a $110 five-courser ($20 extra for artisan cheese) or a $145 Tasting Menu that features over 20 ingredients like spot prawn, green tea, and fennel.
The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, Ace Hotel -- New York City
Signature dish: Chargrilled lamb burger with feta, cumin mayo and thrice cooked chips.
With a vintage decor hat-tip to old New York, this insanely popular no-reservation gastropub on 29th street allures with Scotch eggs and crispy pig's trotters, before smacking you over the head with a lamb burger considered by many to be one of the city's best.
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