Dining out is a joy experienced all year round, but it feels extra special come summer. Sidewalk seating with scenic views, be it rural or urban, can easily become the highlight of the day, weekend, or season. There’s no shortage of great restaurants in NYC and beyond. But if you can’t decide where to start or are looking for something new, we’ve got you covered.
From fresh seafood and amazing beach views to out-of-this-world Thai curries, VinePair staffers have enjoyed a range of hospitality experiences in 2022. Read on to see the best places we’ve dined this year.
“Outside of NYC the best place I dined this year was Brushland Eating House. It’s located in a small town in the Catskills called Bovina and is a true gem. The best place I’ve eaten at in the city would have to be Tacoway Beach in Rockaway Beach. They have some of the BEST fish tacos and tasty cocktails that will make you feel like you’re on vacation.” ––Bobbie Thorn, account manager, brand partnerships
“I’m forever obsessed with Sweet Ginger Asian Bistro in Denver. The Thai curries are simply what dreams are made of, and the drink menu is quite lovely, too. Don’t miss the patio seating or the chill vibe of the restaurant’s interior; it’s the perfect place to meet friends for dinner.” —Nicolette Baker, news writer
“The best place I’ve dined this year is at Fager’s Island in Ocean City, Md. It has delicious seafood, waterside views, and every evening they celebrate the sunset. It’s a great experience and such a vacation treat!” —Jennifer Riddell, director of brand partnerships and events
“OMG! Moon and Turtle in Hilo, Hawaii, is definitely up there for me!”—Rob Gearity, senior director, integrated marketing
“The best meal I had so far this year was the first meal I had while traveling outside of the country for the first time since the pandemic. A couple hours after landing in Amman, Jordan, I kicked off a street food tour with a stop at Reem, on the 2nd Circle, for some incredible shawarma.” —Josh Malin, president and co-founder
“Wayside Tavern in Portland, Maine, was without a doubt my meal of the year. The scallops, cheeky freezer Martinis, seasonal veg, the vibe, the staff! It just all intersects in a special way that I hadn’t experienced in what feels like a really long time. The environment feels so relaxed and collaborative, but you can sense the strength reverberating from people who are clearly in control of their small universe. Just this morning I had a lucid dream that I was eating their cubed mortadella and Castelvetrano olive dish.
I also spent a lot of time at Winona’s in Brooklyn this year. Chef Kirstyn Brewer kills it; she is the queen of texture. There’s always an insane flavor combination with a crunchy, crispy surprise snuck in here and there. I could eat her food every single day and Leanne Favre did the cocktail program and absolutely nailed it. The space is so damn hip, it’s the kind of place you take someone when you want to look effortlessly cool for sure.” —Emily Arseneau, director, brand sales and partnerships
“I know it’s become very much an NYC staple, but I hadn’t been to Fish Cheeks until a couple of months ago. Centered around the heat of fresh Thai herbs and spices, everything we ordered was incredible. From the crispy rice salad and Zabb wings to their Tom Yum and fried fish, though I will say the green curry was my absolute favorite. Hands down some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had.” —Dario Foroutan, social editor
“This is a really tough one to answer but if I had to choose just one I’d go with Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar in New Orleans. I stopped by during a recent trip to the Big Easy and I’m still thinking about that sandwich to this day (I actually went for the roast beef over the shrimp or catfish — don’t judge me). Paired with some ice-cold beers and the often-necessary Bloody Mary after a night on the tiles in the French Quarter, this, to me, is dining. Hats off to VinePair’s own Emily Arseneau for showing me the ropes.” —Tim McKirdy, managing editor
“This might be a bit of a cop-out, but the best place I’ve eaten this year was my parents’ house. They live in the mountains of Colorado and my mom has a new hobby of mushroom foraging. One day, she came home with lots of porcinis, and we made a delicious risotto with them. You can’t beat a meal made with that much love.” —Katie Brown, editor
“I have been very lucky to have dined at some really incredible restaurants so far this year. One of my most memorable experiences was at Fradei Bistro in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. The affordable tasting menu changes regularly with always inventive dishes and the wine list is exciting and interesting. The owner Clement is usually on the floor and he always recommends interesting bottles and glasses to try. It’s a restaurant that should be on everyone’s hit list.”—Adam Teeter, CEO and co-founder
“The best place I’ve dined at this year was Limoncello in Baltimore. The Italian restaurant offers authentic cuisines and an array of fresh seafood dishes that are too delicious to just choose one. If you’re in the area I recommend trying the Mozzal D.O.P with balsamic pearls, grilled octopus, or any of the seafood courses. They’re all so good!” —Jessica Fields, assistant editor
“It will be hard to beat the dining experience I had at Ancoradouro on the island of Pico in the Azores. Known for its oceanside location and fresh seafood, their garlicky prawns are some of best I’ve ever had. A little closer to home, a recent meal I shared with colleagues at Talat Market in Atlanta was also exceptional, the crispy rice salad and fried potatoes with eggplant two standouts on the menu.” —Joanna Sciarrino, editor in chief