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James Beard award-winning restaurants worth traveling to

Posted by Melanie Nayer  May 10, 2012 06:42 AM

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Looking for a fabulous new place to indulge in your culinary cravings? Last week, the James Beard Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary and awarded honors to top chefs, restaurants and food writers around the country at the James Beard Foundation Awards dinner.

While the esteemed group gathered to nosh and nibble, the editors at - the website for Forbes Travel Guide - rounded up their favorite eateries from the list of James Beard winners, including a Boston favorite!

Next time you're planning a trip for your taste buds, take note of Startle's favorite places and make a reservation at this Four- and Five-Star restaurants:

no9park.jpgNo. 9 Park, James Beard winner for Outstanding Wine Program and Forbes Four-Star restaurant.

Outstanding Wine Program: No. 9 Park, Boston gave sommelier Cat Silirie props for curating some of the best wine lists in the industry. says: "Stop in to split small bites and a bottle of Italian wine at the bar, or make a reservation for the seven-course tasting menu. Each server is trained by Silirie and will recommend wines to suit your meal, such as small-batch whites from Mount Etna or rich Spanish reds."

Best Chef: Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, New York City
The Gramercy Tavern is lead by award-winning chef Michael Anthony, who creates a menu that matches the rustic-chic interior of this Four-Star restaurant. says: "The approachable three-course dinner menu features house favorites such as chilled asparagus soup and braised lamb, but we recommend a seven-course journey through Anthony’s seasonal tasting menu, which features refined courses of fresh seafood and meat."

Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard, San Francisco
Chef Nancy Oakes’ Boulevard in San Francisco has been on the James Beard nominees list for seven years, but finally got its award this year. says: "Start with ito-zukuri (ribbon-cut) ahi tuna before sampling the California lamb that shares a plate with rapini ravioli and nettle fonduta. The atmosphere is clubby, lively and unstuffy, which keeps famous faces coming back to the Embarcadero waterfront eatery with views of the Bay Bridge."

Humanitarian of the Year: Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago
It's not all about the food for these chefs (although, Charlie Trotter’s has 10 James Beard Foundation Awards to its name). This year, the chef won for being a mentor to culinary students and for his philanthropic work. says: "Charlie Trotter runs a scholarship fund for culinary students and a program that allows high schoolers to visit the restaurant and to be motivated by his staff. The chef has been influencing the culinary world since the restaurant opened in 1987, offering tasting menus that feature seasonal and organic ingredients."

Outstanding Chef: Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Last year Eleven Madison Park ("Eleven Mad" for those in-the-know) won for Outstanding Restaurant, and this year the restaurant’s chef and new owner, Daniel Humm, won for Outstanding Chef. says: "Humm applies traditional French technique and rich sauces to light components, creating balanced, delicate dishes. Guests receive a 16-ingredient menu of mix-and-match seasonal foods such as foie gras, langoustine or veal, allowing you to pick your favorites for your own four-course tasting menu."

Still hungry? Check out the full list of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Want more restaurant recommendations? Check out the Four- and Five-Star Restaurants from

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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