Think it’s hard for Julia Kramer, BA’s deputy editor, to narrow down hundreds of meals in dozens of cities across America to a list of 10? Same here. That’s why we start by naming our 50 nominees, all of which are worthy of celebration in their own right. Check back on September 17 to find out which of these spots made it to the final Hot 10 list. (And while you’re thinking about it, save the date for our extremely epic Hot 10 party in NYC on October 19. Buy tickets now!)
Long Island City, NY
Powerful, purposeful, firing-on-all-cylinders Indian hits
Best-in-class baklava at a homey Syrian café
New York City
This is Korean-inflected fine dining at its, well, finest.
Balkan Treat Box
Wood-fired flatbreads, sandwiches, and other extreme forms of deliciousness
Every other bagel sandwich just became meaningless.
Benne on Eagle
New Southern with deep roots from chef Ashleigh Shanti
Chef James Mark’s one-of-a-kind Japanese hideaway
Blood Bros. BBQ
Stellar Texas ’cue with Chinese and Vietnamese influences
Bungalow by Middle Brow
A more fun place to drink interesting beer and eat interesting pizza there simply is not.
A hand-roll counter with a surplus of personality
Call Your Mother
The deli where a bagel should be followed up with a black-and-white alfajor
The plate-size cutlet says it all at this way-more-than-a hotel restaurant. [Ed note: Andrew Knowlton, BA's editor-at-large, is involved in the restaurant]
Does Charleston need another trendy seafood spot? Only if it’s as delightful as this place.
Immensely craveable Eastern European food (hello, beautiful khachapuri)
The khao soi alone proves that America needs another fast-casual restaurant.
The Elysian Bar
A magical hotel bar with a storied past
Fadensonnen, Larder, and Sophomore Coffee
Sorry, we’re not choosing a favorite among this trio of like-minded businesses: the bi-level biergarten and wine/sake bar (Fadensonnen), the earthy café (Larder), or the on-point coffee shop (Sophomore), united by a communal patio with picnic tables.
Where farm-to-table feels fresh as ever
Serene tea shop, for sake and Taiwanese fried chicken too
Heartfelt, precise cooking with a Korean bent
Khao Noodle Shop
Fun-size Laotian noodles and snacks turn a strip mall into a destination.
Isn’t it nice when Japanese sandwiches this insanely popular are also this insanely good?
New York City
The Malaysian coffee shop that has us craving nasi lemak day and night
Le Comptoir du Vin
Try and find a more charming French bistro and natural wine bar.
New York City
Stunning pastas in the kind of plush setting they just don’t make anymore
The breezy restaurant that celebrates what locals in Hawaii eat
Tweezer food you’ll actually enjoy!
A set menu dedicated to expertly fried tempura: Yes.
Matt’s BBQ Tacos
Breakfast tacos + serious barbecue = our happy place.
Nina & Rafi
A chef from Jersey makes Detroit-style pizza in Atlanta—and it couldn’t be more natural.
Ambitious coffee, bread, pastry, and breakfast situations in the cheeriest café
Petra and the Beast
Misti Norris is the master of cured meats at this charcuterie-and-fresh-pasta haven.
Pizza saint Joe Beddia’s expanded digs live up to the hype.
Porridge + Puffs
Where a bowl of creamy grains is the base for greatness
Reunion Bread Co.
Two words: churro croissant.
Root Baking Co.
Because if you’re milling your own heirloom grains, you should definitely be turning them into lamb shawarma pizza and morning buns.
Rosalita’s Backyard Tacos
Why do tacos taste so much better eaten in an off-the-beaten-track alleyway?
Filipino favorites served family-style in a setting that feels like home
Nordic precision at a Midwestern chef’s counter
Sister Liu’s Kitchen
Unforgettable dumplings, for carryout only
A colorful back patio made for sheer taco enjoyment
Where Gujarat meets the Deep South—in dinner party form.
Tawakal Halal Café
The Somali comfort food spot that should be your first stop off the plane.
The Quince team’s newest spot has all the wine we want to drink and all the pâtés and croquettes we want to eat.
Outstanding pastries (both sweet and savory) as works of art.
The Wolf’s Tailor
House-made pasta and robata, so well executed that it works.
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit