Where to dine across the US this winter

Chase the winter blues away at one of these cozy culinary destinations

Table setting with wine glasses and candles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Winter means "cold" for much of the continental U.S. With that comes an opportunity: dine heartily and heftily while your hunger demands goodly sustenance. These nine restaurants across the country offer a breadth of kinds of eating — all built for dining well during winter: 

1. Hungry Eyes, New Orleans

The latest venture from the crew behind Turkey & the Wolf and Molly's Rise & Shine lean hard into the 1980s. Neon all over; Nagel art a-go-go; checkerboard floor tiling: If you're going to run with a theme, make it a marathon. The cocktails conjure the ostentatiousness of the decade, serving a variety of Martinis including an apple Martini and an espresso Martini. The food at Hungry Eyes is less literally '80s but the cheekiness remains. Just ask the artichokes Rockefeller — and its rabid fans. 

2. Twelve Maine, Portland, Maine

A little fancy, a little homey, very New England: This restaurant located in a more-than-a-century-old brick building zeroes in on local ingredients and flavors. That might include monkfish with radicchio and hard cider, or bay scallops with horseradish and watercress. The desserts at Twelve Maine are comforting with an edge: the chocolate sundae features a miso caramel and smoky Urfa pepper. 

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3. Ilis, New York City

Wood-fired cuisine has been a hallmark of chefs for some years — and for ancient humans long before that. More recently, inventive chef-restaurateurs have been grappling with ways to bridge the longstanding divide between the staff of the kitchen and the dining room. This new restaurant in Brooklyn solely serves food cooked over open fire and has also fully eliminated the line between kitchen staff and dining room employees. Here, the cooks serve the food. The formula is striking a chord: Ilis was just awarded Restaurant of the Year by Esquire magazine.

4. Xin Chao, Houston

There is endless great Vietnamese cuisine in Houston. Xin Chao comes at Viet cooking through a different modality than most, merging classic Vietnamese techniques and flavors with a Texas-specific bent. The rice noodles come with smoked beef rib; the oysters are served Viet-Cajun-style; the fried rice is larded with smoked brisket.

5. Frasca, Boulder, Colorado

As far as we're concerned, there is no better time to eat at Frasca than in the dead of winter. Sure, the 19-year-old restaurant devoted to the cuisine of Friuli in northeastern Italy, is sublime any old month. But being that much of Friuli is located in the mountains, there is a wintry echo with Frasca's home base in Boulder. The temperature there drops and the hearty, heady flavors of winter squash, funky cheeses and truffles become precisely what you want to eat. And with one of the vivacious Friulian wines on the expansive wine list, of course. 

6. Lula Cafe, Chicago

This Chicago institution, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days of the week, does it all — and has done so for more than 20 years. Lula Cafe is beloved for its homey ambience, smart comforting cooking and its unwavering presence in the Chicago dining scene. Go. Eat. Or emulate the food by cooking through the restaurant's new namesake cookbook.

7. Baroo, Los Angeles

There has always been a felicitous glut of Korean food in Los Angeles. The City of Angels does, after all, have the largest Koreatown in the States. But when Baroo closed its doors in 2018, it left a gaping hole in the city's Korean dining-scape. Well, finally, Baroo is back. There are still oodles of fermentation afoot at the reborn iteration. But now the restaurant exclusively serves a tasting menu revolving around, in part, Korean philosophy. May Baroo never disappear again.

8. Bacanora, Phoenix

The border between Mexico and the United States is as fluid as it is fixed. And, so, at Bacanora the kitchen harnesses the spirit of Sonora, the Mexican state directly across the frontera with Arizona. It is a tight menu of one burrito (filled with carne asada and beans), one grilled chicken, a few other items and a battery of rotating specials that take advantage of the kitchen's wood-fired grill. 

9. The Chicken Supply, Seattle

Oh, how the people love a fried chicken restaurant. The Chicken Supply plies the cherished crackly bird parts with a battery of Filipino-inspired accompaniments. That means your wing or drum or skewer or thigh could be flanked by pancit or coconutty collard greens. These are the friends you never knew your fried chicken needed. 

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