In an era of smartphones, on-demand everything, and sixty-hour workweeks, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to sit down to a nice meal. We’re so used to calling the local food delivery guy three times per week that it doesn’t even cross our minds that there’s more out there. Dinner has become a race to finish first or something that we multi-task through; fork in one hand, fingers tapping the computer keyboard on the other.

Believe it or not, dining out is not a completely lost art. In fact, award-winning restaurants are thriving and they’re springing up all across the United States. The chefs are meticulous in their craft, the wait staff is extremely well-versed in their offerings, and the plates are oh so Instagram worthy. The end goal may vary - maybe hopes of a coveted Michelin Star or just a mention in a local blog - but the efforts do not go unnoticed.

Good food doesn’t have to be expensive, but it certainly can be. Many of these top restaurants come with a hefty price tag, upwards of hundreds of dollars per person. A little extravagant? Yes. Absolutely necessary? Probably not. An experience you’ll always remember? Definitely.

We’ve put together a list of the twenty best restaurants in the U.S.A. From melt-in-your-mouth seafood in Maine to internationally-inspired fare in Oregon, there’s something for everyone (and a few budget-friendly places, too). Start saving up now and make room on your calendar because you’ve got some feasting to do.

20 Alinea: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago favorite, Alinea, ranks thirty-fourth on this year’s fifty best restaurants list. With options for private dining or family style seating, there are many ways to get in the door. Tasting menu prices start at $190 per person and sail up to $395 per person (drinks and service charges not included).

Want to book dinner for three? You’ll have to pay for four. The restaurant offers a per table rather than per seat menu, so pack your appetite if it’s just you and two buddies so you can get your money’s worth. Or, sell your extra seat to one of the restaurant’s Facebook followers (many of whom are waiting for such an opportunity). You will have to share the experience with someone you don’t know, but there’s nothing like bonding over edible helium balloons that taste like green apple to make fast friends.

19 Cosme: New York, New York

Sitting unassumingly on a quiet block near the Flatiron Building, Cosme is an adventure in contemporary Mexican food. It is currently ranked the twenty-fifth best restaurant in the world, according to the 2018 list.

Stop by for brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, or just a cocktail. The menu is simple and the space is relaxed, but you’ll know in that first bite why the place is so highly regarded. The duck carnitas (priced at $94 for a share plate) come highly recommended. Whatever you’re in the mood for, chef Daniela (one of New York City’s top young chefs and a former James Beard rising star winner) will deliver.

18 Benu: San Francisco, California

Corey Lee took the lessons he learned as head chef at The French Laundry and opened his own space called Benu in 2010. Benu has been named one of America’s essential restaurants for three years in a row by Eater, earning it a spot in the Eater Hall of Fame. It’s also a non-child-friendly zone, so you’ll have to find a sitter to help you out during the three-hour meal.

The food choices are all spinoffs from chef Lee’s home of Seoul, a city for which he serves as a goodwill ambassador. The tasting menu, which can be adjusted to accommodate dietary restrictions, is $295 per person.

They’re also hiring. No word on what the employee discount is.

17 Blue Hill At Stone Barns: Pocantico Hills, New York

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the highest rated restaurant in New York outside of New York City, coming in at number twelve on the best fifty list. Its location just thirty miles outside New York City makes it a delicious escape from city life. To dine here is to truly fall in love with homegrown produce. You can’t get any more locally sourced than Blue Hill as the ingredients are grown right on the property. Under the guidance of Dan Barber, the staff whisks you through an ever-changing menu that flows with the seasons.

You’re going to be too stuffed to drive anywhere after that meal and too tired to make it far, so add in an Uber charge and a hotel for the night and you’re looking at around a $350 per person base rate.

16 Eventide Oyster Co.: Portland, Maine

With twenty variations of oysters on the menu, over half of which are from Maine, Eventide offers the oyster tasting expedition you didn’t know you needed. Fried, raw, or in a sandwich, they have every kind of oyster preparation imaginable. Shirt and shoes required, but not much else in this relaxed nautical environment.

Even better than the local, unpretentious food might be the low price. You can totally afford to eat here and definitely should if you find yourself in Portland, Maine. Its co-owners are James Beard Award winners and they’ve bolstered Eventide to an Eater Hall of Fame Restaurant, securing a spot on Eater’s essential US list for the past three years.

15 Poole's Downtown Diner: Raleigh, North Carolina

Don’t let the word 'diner' trick you into thinking this is a hole in the wall place. People have been traveling far and wide for decades for a taste of the south at Poole’s Downtown Diner in Raleigh. You’ll travel back in time with the 1950s décor, all while munching on modern twists of the best comfort food the south has to offer.

While the entire menu features age-old savory and sweet dishes, the macaroni au gratin may have single-handedly earned the restaurant its Eater Hall of Fame status. No reservations are accepted, so get there early for a bite of cheesy goodness.

14 Prince's Hot Chicken: Nashville, Tennessee

Passed down from generation to generation, Prince’s has remained in the family for nearly one hundred years. In that time, they’ve perfected their original hot chicken recipe and made it into the Eater Hall of Fame.

What started as a spicy prank between lovers is now a southern staple. It’s hot, it’s delicious, and it’s the cornerstone of any trip to Nashville. With two locations serving up chicken six days per week, you’ll have every chance to taste a true legend (just make sure to have some milk handy, the heat will really give you a kick in the mouth).

13 The Publican: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is home to the Cubs, Cloud Gate (The Bean as locals know it), and stunning architecture. It’s also home to one of Eater’s Essential US Restaurants.

The Publican’s landing page when you go to their website proudly boasts “beer, pork, and oysters”. But if you thought this was just a joint to pick up some pub food, you’re in for a surprise.

The food is sustainably sourced, reasonably priced, and utterly creative. It’s the midwest, so expect super friendly service and generous portions. If you’re not in the mood for an entire pork belly, scoot over there for the oyster happy hour on the weekdays.

12 Zahav: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This year, we’re thankful that Philadelphia’s Zahav is getting the attention it deserves. The City of Brotherly Love has a lot of love for Chef Solomonov and his groundbreaking Israeli restaurant, helping launch Zahav into the Eater Hall of Fame.

The colors pop and the food is as authentic as it comes. Pass the hummus, please, and experiment with the laffa bread as you are transported to another place. If you order a few small plates (we’re thinking some veggies and a couple meat skewers) your total bill will fall well under $100. The amazing service isn’t included though, so be sure to tip your waiter.

11 Kachka: Portland, Oregon

The beauty of the Pacific Northwest makes it hard to imagine spending time inside, but you might want to step out of nature long enough to give Kachka a try. A rising star in Portland’s food scene, Kachka is the brainchild of a US first-generation from the former Soviet Union and her husband.

Kachka turns four years old this year and has already made it into the Eater Hall of Fame, appearing for three consecutive years on Eater’s Essential Restaurants list. You can bet on herring, cured meats, stuffed peppers, and lots of the beverage of choice for that region.

10 Eleven Madison Park: New York, New York

When it comes to dining out in New York City, you’ve got options (lots of options). None more refined, however, than the fourth best restaurant in the world, Eleven Madison Park.

Led by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, the staff has more combined awards than anyplace else in America. The full tasting menu, eight to ten courses of French specialties, is priced at roughly $300 per person. That includes caviar on everything you could ever want to put caviar on. Alternatively, stop up front at the restaurant’s bar for a cocktail while you scheme up a plan to convince your office to host their holiday party there.

9 Saison: San Francisco, California

Coming in just under the wire on the Fifty Best List, forty-sixth ranked Saison (already awarded three Michelin Stars) is poised for a takeover. The restaurant is literally and figuratively built around its wood fire - an open concept design used in every meal. You won’t find any imported ingredients, it’s all grown on local soil.

While most fine dining establishments only allow reservations sixty days in advance, Saison is saluting the planner in each of us by accepting reservations up to three months prior to our desired date. It will cost you $88 just to secure a table, but that fee is included in the $300 per person charge on the night you dine.

8 Le Bernardin: New York, New York

When you think about it, a hot dog from a random vendor on any street corner in New York is going to be the most expensive hot dog you’ve ever purchased (it’s just the nature of the city). So you may as well cough up the money for a culinary experience you won’t soon forget (if that sort of logic works for you).

Le Bernardin is one of the most sought after restaurants in New York City and around the globe, etching its place as the twenty-sixth best restaurant in the world. The signature chef’s tasting menu, complete with every kind of fish possible, totals $225 per person (or $370 with the wine pairings). A four-course prix fixe menu is also available at a lesser rate if you desire the experience but still want to have money left over to eat at some point during the rest of the year.

7 The French Laundry: Yountville, California

Chef Thomas Keller is no stranger to food. Over the years, he’s given us Ad Hoc, Per Se, and Bouchon. For now, we turn our attention to Yountville’s own, The French Laundry. You won’t find it on the World’s Fifty Best list or in the Eater Hall of Fame, but it does occupy the number three spot on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America.

The restaurant offers two tasting menus daily, carefully crafted so that each ingredient is used only once making every bite unique in flavor. Everything from their olive oil to coffee beans is diligently sourced, ensuring quality products. Prices for the nine-course menus vary from $325 to $450 per person.

6 Daniel: New York, New York

If you’re as talented as Chef Daniel Boulud, you can most certainly name a restaurant after yourself. Today, more than 150 staff members work tirelessly to keep Daniel on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America list (where it currently sits fifth).

The classic French cuisine is as timeless as the restaurant itself, which originally opened in 1993. Patrons can choose from the main dining room and lounge or feel like royalty in one of the many private rooms. Three and four-course prix fixe, as well as seven-course tasting menus, are available starting at $129. Save space for the dessert, we hear chocolate cheesecake and avocado tartlets might be involved.

5 Providence: Los Angeles, California

Chef Michael Cimarusti considers it a privilege to be able to serve some of the best seafood around. Snatched up by Wolfgang Puck at the beginning of his career, Michael eventually set out on his own and opened Providence in 2005. It’s holding steady in the number six spot on The Daily Meal’s list of best restaurants in America.

Many of its seafood offerings (like the Santa Barbara spot prawns and Vermilion Rockfish) are pulled straight from neighboring waters, so you know you’re eating the freshest food out there. There’s a hefty fee for late cancellations, but we don’t think you’d want to miss this anyway so that won’t be an issue.

4 Joel Robuchon: Las Vegas, Nevada

If you’re not taking advantage of the fine dining opportunities in Las Vegas, you’re doing that city all wrong. At least that’s what we keep hearing. We’re going to take a recommendation from The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America and peel ourselves away from our hotel pool to book a table at Joel Robuchon, ranked seventh on the list.

Located in the MGM Grand (past the buffet, through the casino, and in front of the theatre), the Français-themed menu is designed by Chef Robuchon himself (who was once named “chef of the century”). He focuses on natural flavors so you’ll be blown away by how flavorful a simple looking dish actually is. The tasting menu offers a remarkable sixteen dishes.

3 Manresa: Los Gatos, California

Coming in at number ten for Best Restaurants in America according to The Daily Meal, is Manresa. Part farm to table, part experimental, part traditional, Manresa opened in 2002 to a community that had never seen ingenuity at that level.

A kitchen fire in 2014 nearly closed the restaurant permanently, but Chef Kinch persevered and Manresa is doing better than ever (probably thanks to the $275 tasting menu that guests can’t get enough of). Unfortunately, their website notes another fire just occurred and they are pushing back reservations for the next few weeks. Fingers crossed the Los Gatos mainstay will open again.

2 Husk: Charleston, South Carolina

The ambitious efforts of Charleston’s Chef Sean Brock have earned Husk the twelfth spot on The Daily Meal’s 101 Best Restaurants in America. The rules of the restaurant bring new meaning to making do with what you have, the kitchen only incorporating ingredients provided to them by local suppliers on that day.

The food you eat there today is every bit as southern as the food that was served there years ago. Items like boiled peanuts, pickled okra, free-range quail, and wild blackberries frequently make the day’s menu and are offered at affordable prices to make the restaurant accessible to all. The flavors will tickle your senses and remind you that the simple life is indeed the good life. If you’re lucky, Chef Brock will even hand-deliver your order.

1 Frasca Food & Wine: Boulder, Colorado

If you’re reading this and thinking how almost every restaurant on the list has been on either one coast or the other, we’ve got you covered. Rounding out the recent additions to Eater’s Hall of Fame is Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, Colorado.

Combining worldly and regional flavors, this restaurant is inspired by seasonal gathering places for friends and family in Italy known as “frascas”. When you dine here, you’re treated like family and gifted with delectable tasting menus overflowing with the finest ingredients (including lots of truffles) starting at $115. Ask the resident Master Sommelier for advice on the best wine pairings.

References: The World's 50 Best Restaurants, Eater, The Daily Meal