These eateries are more than just local favorites--they epitomize a sense of place.
Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
Pizzeria Mozza is the queen bee of the upscale-downscale scene, where a wood-burning oven turns out cutting-edge, stunning pizzas with super-fresh tomatoes and mozzarella-not to mention with egg, bacon, potato, and onions.
Natural Selection, Portland
Natural Selection is a restaurant built on vegetables, fruits, and grains. Served in a stylish and warm European supper club setting, the cuisine features both rustic and modern cooking techniques while highlighting the flavors of France, Italy, and Spain.
Coi, San Francisco
Daniel Patterson's superb, cerebral cooking is shown off with an 11-course tasting menu that ranges from dishes like spiny lobster salad with fennel and chervil to quince parfait with huckleberry and thyme. The Michelin guide has handed the place two coveted stars.
Ad Hoc, Napa Valley
Thomas Keller's "temporary" restaurant is now a permanent fixture, and that's a good thing. Ad Hoc raises family-style dining to a new level: no tater tots here, but four-course prix fixe meals that feature superbly done comfort foods. Don't miss the artisanal-cheese third course.
Nora's Fish Creek Inn, Jackson Hole
Everyone from ranchers to Hollywood moguls and ski bums jostles for a table next to the soapstone Finnish hearth or a seat at the bar inside the 1930s log cabin for the best breakfast (but there's also lunch and dinner).
Cafe Pasqual's, Santa Fe
Hit the Plaza early to grab a spot at the community table at Santa Fe's favorite breakfast nook, Cafe Pasqual's, home of the best huevos in town. The hordes line up before 8 for smoked-trout hash over poached eggs, gruyère potato cake, and tomatillo salsa, served in a cozy room decorated with hand-painted tiles and murals.
Steelhead Diner, Seattle
The steelhead trout is the iconic, wild part of the Pacific Northwest mystique and this Pike Place Market diner honors it by not serving it, but by instead using only local, sustainable products. Go for the alder-smoked salmon rillette, sweet Dungeness crab cakes, and perfectly crisped fish and chips.
La Super-Rica, Santa Barbara
Milpas Street's Mexican dive is famous for serving freshly made antojitos to people who don't necessarily know what the word means (little portions, aka appetizers). Must-try: La Super-Rica Especial (marinated pork and cheese-stuffed pasilla chile).
Oxbow Public Market, Napa Valley
More than 25 local purveyors of all things organic, artisanal, and delicious have gathered in a 40,000-square-foot cathedral of sustainable yumminess. Need to pick up organic, handcrafted charcuterie? Look no further. In the mood for a piping-hot Venezuelan arepa? It's here. Seasonal produce? Local wine? Freshly baked bread? Check, check, and check.
Elote Cafe, Sedona
Indulge in Sedona's best Mexican food-we love the lamb adobo. The cafe is a labor of love for Chef Jeff Smedstad, who spends as much time in Mexico as he can, visiting markets and dining in Mexican homes, honing his authentic techniques.