What's the best restaurant in America?
Is it The French Laundry in Yountville, California? Or Le Bernardin in New York? Maybe Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas?
Not according to the elite corps of gourmets who vote on Opinionated About Dining's annual list of the country's best restaurants. For the second year in the row, the group has voted Saison, a tasting menu temple in San Francisco owned by star chef Joshua Skenes, the top restaurant in the United States. (See the entire Top 10 below.)
The group, led by globetrotting attorney-cum-gourmet Steve Plotnicki, aims to produce restaurant recommendations that are better-informed than those on traditional crowdsourcing sites like Yelp and Zagat, but more democratic than those in the Michelin Guide or local publications. Plotnicki solicits restaurant reviews from fine-dining obsessives who are wealthy enough to travel the world in search of terrific food. Their favorite restaurants tend to be at the forefront of the world's culinary trends, while also offering top-tier service and decor. (It should be noted that, for those reasons, these restaurants are also for the most part very expensive.)
The runner-up in the 2015 OAD list is Willows Inn, a small hotel restaurant on Lummi Island, Washington, with a focus on hyper-local and foraged ingredients. Like Saison and all the other restaurants in the top 10, it serves only set tasting menus every night.
Most of the restaurants on the list are found in major cities. 50 of them are located in New York City alone, although none of the top seven are.
All 200 restaurants can be found ranked on the Opinionated About Dining website. Here are the top 10:
Saison -- San Francisco
Pictured: Chef Joshua Skenes of Saison in his kitchen (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
The Willows Inn -- Lummi Island, Washington
AFP via Getty Images
Pictured: Blaine Wetzel, chef at The Willows Inn on Washington's Lummi Island, at an event in New York (AFP PHOTO/ Andrew EAVES/ Getty Images)
Urasawa -- Beverly Hills, California
Pictured: Red snapper and half-cooked botan ebi wrapped in seaweed with Marinated radish, shiso, miyoga and plum sauce. (casesimmons/Flickr)
Manresa -- Los Gatos, California
Pictured: The exterior of Manresa Restaurant (pengrinâ¢/Flickr)
é by José Andrés -- Las Vegas
Pictured: Chef Jose Andres preparing a Veal Cheeks braised in Rioja Wine with Tzatziki meal in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Minibar -- Washington, D.C.
Pictured: A dish of organic baby carrots with coconut at Jose Andres' Minibar restaurant in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Alinea -- Chicago
Pictured: Grant Achatz places one of the many courses on a server's tray in the Alinea Restaurant kitchen in Chicago, Thursday, April 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Masa -- New York City
Pictured: Owner-chef Masayoshi Takayama, of New York's Masa Japanese restaurant in the Time Warner Center, prepares toro (tuna belly) in the establishment Feb. 10, 2005. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The French Laundry -- Yountville, California
Pictured: The exterior of Thomas Keller's restaurant The French Laundry (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
STAN HONDA via Getty Images
The main dinning room, which used to house cattle, at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant, 12 May, 2005, at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture on the Rockefeller family estate in Pocantico Hills, New York. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)