Wheels Up: The Best Restaurants in the U.S. Are Worth the Plane Ticket

In the food world,В the James Beard Awards are akin to the Oscars; they're the penultimate recognition for outstanding culinary talent. Year after year, theВ James Beard Foundation hosts a prestigious award ceremony, rewarding household chefs and rising stars in a variety of categories that spans the entire countryВ across various categoriesВ from wine and pastry to service and restaurateur. But just like the Oscars took a stance this year with theВ #MeToo movement, something felt different at this year's James Beard Awards. For the first time in history, over half of the categories were won by women or people of color, according toВ The New Yorker.

This year, women were at the forefront of the James Beard Awards-and for good reason. They have been behind the country's best restaurants, best dishes, and best pastries. Ready to turn yourВ culinary experiences up a notch? From the best Carribean to Israeli food and more, here are theВ best restaurants in the U.S. this year, according to the James Beard Foundation. Save these to your Google Maps and make a reservation next time you're in town. You won't be disappointed.

In Brooklyn: Try Lilia

Courtesy of Lilia

Chef Missy Robbins scooped up the award for best chef in New York City, not an easy feat in a place whereВ culinary competition is fierce. Her Williamsburg restaurant, Lilia, located in a former auto-body shop, serves up some of the best Italian food in the city (we told you so), from housemade pasta to wood-fired pizza. Missy Robbins's 2016 return to the New York culinary scene was a relief for many, who grieved when she left A Voce in 2013.

Order: The sheep's milk agnolotti drenched in saffron

In San Francisco: Try Atelier Crenn

Courtesy of Atelier Crenn

Across the country on the Pacific coast,В Dominique Crenn took home the award for Best Chef: West (comprising of California, Hawaii, and Nevada). We can't say we're surprised. HerВ San Francisco restaurant, Atelier Crenn, was awarded two Michelin stars in 2012. She was also named the world's best female chef by World's 50 Best Restaurants, an award she has been vocally critical of: "It's stupid. A chef is a chef,"В she toldВ The WashingtonВ Post. Her cuisine consists ofВ artfully presented French-inspired dishes.

Order:В Grains and seeds-smoked buckwheat, quinoa soil, smoked trout roe, and smoked sturgeon pearls with a warm bonito dashi broth

In New Orleans: Try CompГЁre Lapin

Courtesy of CompГЁre Lapin

In the South, the best chef award went to former Top Chef contestant Nina Compton ofВ CompГЁre LapinВ in New Orleans. The restaurant (which stands for brother rabbit in French), featuresВ a Caribbean- and Creole-inspired cuisine with French influences. Born in St. Lucia, Compton cut her teeth alongside Daniel Boulud andВ ScottВ Conant before opening her New Orleans restaurant in 2015.

Order:В Curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi and cashews

In Boston: Try Myers + Chang


In the northeast, Karen Akunowicz took home the best chef awards for New England and upstate New York. She is the executive chef and partner of Boston'sВ Myers + Chang, an indie diner serving interpretations on Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese specialties. This was the fourth James Beard nomination for the Top Chef contestant, who has received many accolades for her innovative cooking at Myers + Chang.

Order:В Pan-roasted soy glazed salmon, HakkaВ eggplant, and cold Taiwanese dan dan noodles

In Philadelphia: Try Zahav

Courtesy of Zahav

Stemming from North Carolina, Camille Cogswell brought home the rising star chef of the year award. At 27, Cogswell is an outstanding pastry chef at Zahav, an Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia serving up elevated twists on traditional cuisine. The restaurant has received many accolades, in part for its tasting menu. One thing's for certain: Keep roomВ for dessert.В

Order:В The Malabi custard with Sachleb, mandarin, and sesame

In Birmingham: Try Highlands Bar & Grill


Back in the south, DolesterВ Miles won the outstanding pastry chef award for her work atВ Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. The restaurant, which serves a farm-to-table French-inspired Southern fare, is known for having revolutionized Birmingham cuisine in the '80sВ when the definition of gastronomy was still tied to flambГ©ed dishes and country club dinners. The chef, Frank Stitt, received a James Beard award, himself, in 2008.

Order:В Classic coconut pecan genoise, chantilly cream, and crГЁme anglaise cake

In New York City: Try Prune

Courtesy of Prune

Last, but certainly not least, the outstanding chef of the year award (equivalent to the Oscar's best picture), was given to New York City's Gabrielle Hamilton of East Village's Prune. Hamilton, known for her best-selling bookВ Blood, Bones & Butter and her season onВ Mind of a Chef, is a longstanding icon in Manhattan's culinary scene and already took home a best chef award for New York City in 2011.

Order:В Roasted lamb ribs and skordalia

Gabrielle Hamilton Blood, Bones & Butter $13ShopDominique Crenn Atelier Crenn $38ShopJoanne Chang Myers + Chang at Home $22Shop

Next up: TheВ best restaurants in Paris will convince you to cross the pond.