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  1. #1

    Default Is there such thing as fine dining in the US ????

    I am sure that there a lot of European visitors that will totally enjoy driving round your fine country and taking in the sights, but, I found that with over 11,500 miles in 21 states we could not find a fine dining restaurant anywhere, everytime we asked, we were told about steak houses and the like. I am sure if there was a list of great restaurants in various towns and cities where you could get a meal that wasn't all you can eat for $$$ and had a wide range of fresh vegetables there would be a lot of happy travellers.
    Ironically the best meal we had on our trip was in a Italian restaurant on Disney next to the Fultons Crab house. DISNEY I wasn't expecting that !!

    Come on you guys help out us Europeans who enjoy fine cuisine and not Rib eye steaks and fries with everything.

    Tell us about fine dining restaurants in your area it could help you know
    Thanks

  2. #2
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    You name the town, I'll name the fine dining.
    We eat out often, and honestly, I've never had a Rib-eye steak.

    Several good, cheap bitebooks are available to get you dialed in for every city, just like Duncan Hines did for Europe.

    America is a vast area, it's hard to wing it and eat gourmet if you don't get a little knowledge first. Plan ahead a little and it's easy.

    Name the US location, I'll give you great places to eat beyond burn't meatloaf and mashed potatos.

    Now you got me wanting to try rib-eye steak.

  3. Default

    I suspect Europe has more fine dining than America; our society tends to value convenience and casual attitude more than service and upscale atmosphere. That doesn't mean the food isn't as good; it's just a different style served in a different venue -- more FiestaWare, less silver and crystal. We also are more meat-oriented than Europeans.

    Yes, fine dining does exist in America, but little of it is located near the interstate. Since you did 11,500 miles and 21 states, you may've been in the wrong areas for fine dining.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Fine, Fine Dining

    Hi,

    I tend to agree that there is more "fine" dining in Europe. On our several trips there we rarely had a meal that wasn't better than the average restaurant food in the US, for about the same price. Surprisingly, we found that on average, the best food we had was in Ireland, especially the seafood! Though France was a very close second.

    That said, it can be hard for the traveler/roadtripper to find the good places unless you know a local, or find one you can trust. Case in point: we live in a small, rural county in California with a population of about 40,000. A local hotel near us in a town of 100 people has an excellent continental restaurant, but you'd really have know where it is. We have a very good Italian restaurant in the county seat (about 4,500 people), and an astoundingly good California cuisine restaurant in another town of about 3,000 people. None of these stand out, visually, none are on the main highways, and none advertise adequately to travelers.

    I'm sure there are many other areas of the country that are similar. We find that we have to get away from the highways, look for old hotels, railroad depots, converted bank buildings, etc. to find the good restaurants. Often, the decor is not spectacular, but sometimes it is.

    Another example: the best sandwich and clam chowder meal we've ever had was in Concrete, Washington - not a town name that immediately says "fine dining" but the cafe was clean, stylish, had good service, and served amazing food. Is that "fine dining"? Depends on your perspective, I guess. For us it is the quality of the ingredients, the imagination applied to the presentation and the value for the money. That makes a fine dining experience for us.

    If you want upscale fine dining, where the waiter wears a tux, you pretty much have to spend your time in the big cities.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  5. Default What cusine?

    I do have to add in, in what cusine do you want to do fine dining in? A lot of times "fine dining" means French, or Northern Italian, or English (Prime RIb, etc.). But there are a lot more cusines than just those....

    In the US there are quite a few regional cusines, and you can find outstanding examples of these regional cuisines in the different parts of the country. But they won't usually match up with the tuxedoed waiter, tableclothes and candlelight, and long wine list type place.

    Plus, we're a nation of immigrants from all around the world. Within 15 miles of my place you can do fine dining in Thai, Mexican (at least 3 different regional cusines), German, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Brazilian, Hawaiian/Polynesian, Peruvian, Japanese, Indian, and Latin American cusines. And by fine dining, I mean above average foods of high quality, well prepared and presented, and served in a friendly, polite and graceous manner. Definitely not fast food, and not meals to be rushed through.

  6. Default

    Sorry to bring this back from the abyss, but is there any recommended book/guides for places you 'must' eat at on your travels?

    I'm looking forward to some American eating (big steak fan!), but if there are any places with a reputation of being really good, or fun/quirky, i'd love to visit them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default The Food Network

    The Food Network has a section on Travel on its site and also the Travel Channel has a section on Food and Wine. These channels often explore the famous and/or quarky places. May be a good place for you to start.

    Laura

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Do share!

    Quote Originally Posted by RedCorral View Post
    Hi,
    Another example: the best sandwich and clam chowder meal we've ever had was in Concrete, Washington - not a town name that immediately says "fine dining" but the cafe was clean, stylish, had good service, and served amazing food. Is that "fine dining"? Depends on your perspective, I guess. For us it is the quality of the ingredients, the imagination applied to the presentation and the value for the money. That makes a fine dining experience for us.
    My son is going to college in Bellingham, not too far from Concrete. So I know I'll have plenty of chances to get there in the next couple of years. Please share. I am cuckoo for good clam chowder.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Baker Street Cafe

    Hi,

    Judy, it has been a few years since we were in Concrete, but the unassuming cafe in the middle of town was a wonderful surprise. Let me know if it is still there.

    Craig

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default You're not the only one!

    I am sure if there was a list of great restaurants in various towns and cities where you could get a meal that wasn't all you can eat for $$$ and had a wide range of fresh vegetables there would be a lot of happy travellers.[...] Come on you guys help out us Europeans who enjoy fine cuisine and not Rib eye steaks and fries with everything.
    I'm not a big fan of big juicy steaks and fries either and I agree that finding fine dining in many places the U.S. is a strenuous task. One time, I've been to San Francisco to a so-called fine restaurant and I was stunned to find mac & cheese and meatloaf on the menu! There are always little gems hidden in bigger cities though, you have to carefully look for them and ask around.

    I'm from French descent and I live in the Province of Quebec which is probably as close you can get to Europe in America. I'm used to endless formal 7 services dinners with argenterie and good wine. A good road snack for me is not a triple ham and bacon sandwich with Doritos and a Large cherry Coke, I prefer cheeses, pâtés and crudités and fruit juices. But, when I travel through the U.S. I have to adapt to the culture, including the gastronomy. So I eat eggs in the morning instead of croissants and fruits and I eat more meat and potatoes. I tend to try several regional specialties : fried green tomatoes, mexican dishes, etc. I personally think that if you travel, you have to accept the fact that you won't necessarily be able to find everything you have or use at home.

    It's easy for me to complain about the quality of food in French restaurants. Of course, it won't be as authentic as what I know, it figures. But what if I was missing something by just going to French restaurants all over the United States? I found out a long time ago that in the U.S., the best places to go eat are often not so good looking. You'll find the best seafood in old rattling shacks not in fancy restaurants by the sea. However, I do agree that there should be more variety in vegetables in restaurants. After all, the U.S. are a big veggie/fruits producer!

    Geneviève

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