2012 Dining Trends
Restaurants from New York City to California are always fine-tuning the food they serve, adopting a variety of trends to impress diners in 2012.
Breakfast All DayBreakfast All Day
At B.A.D. Burger in New York City, the B.A.D. stands for "burgers/breakfast all day" -- a perk that's on the radar of many foodies. Open 24/7, this comfort-food joint serves up classic breakfast options (steak and eggs, anyone?), as well as vegan alternatives (such as shroom burgers), for cravings from dusk till dawn -- and beyond. 960 1280
Bread Upon RequestBread Upon Request
There's nothing quite like warm bread right out of the oven, and many restaurants are catching on to the idea. At Fishtails Café in Newport, OR, the bread is baked fresh daily. So are the muffins, biscuits and pies. 960 1280
Sustainable FoodSustainable Food
At Triangle Char and Bar in Mount Pleasant, SC, the ingredients are homegrown and sustainable. The head chef has developed relationships with area farmers and bakers to provide the freshest bar food around, such as burgers made from local grass-fed beef. 960 1280
Small PortionsSmall Portions
Tapas, antojitos, small plates -- call them what you will, but this trend isn't leaving the culinary scene anytime soon. Restaurants such as Oyamel, a Mexican eatery in Washington, DC, are giving patrons the opportunity to taste many different plates at once. 960 1280
Spicy FoodSpicy Food
Part of the fun of dining out is getting the chance to taste cuisines from around the world -- especially spicy ones. If you’re looking for watery eyes and beads of sweat on your brow, head to new Thai restaurant Stang of Siam in Baltimore for its drunken noodles. 960 1280
Menu NarrativeMenu Narratives
Menus can showcase a chef's vision for the food he prepares. At Pican restaurant in Oakland, CA, the menu tells the story of Southern culinary traditions; it includes complimentary corn bread and a comprehensive bourbon guide. 960 1280
Veggies for DessertVeggies for Dessert
A few restaurants are surprising diners with vegetable-themed desserts. Del Posto in New York City proudly serves celery sorbet with a fig sweet-and sour-sauce, giving patrons a great excuse to eat dessert first. 960 1280
Mobile TechnologyMobile Technology
Restaurateurs are seeing the advantages of finding technology at their tables. Lark Creek Steak in California uses tablet computers to display its menu. Diners can see photos of the farm where their steak was sourced and what it will look like when it arrives tableside. 960 1280
Fine Dining BurgersFine Dining Burgers
A burger can be so much more than fast food. With locations in Georgia and Alabama, Top Chef's Richard Blais's Flip Burger Boutique artfully crafts burgers with toppings such as pomegranate ketchup, seared foie gras and cucumber relish -- not all together, of course. 960 1280
Fine Dining for KidsFine Dining… for Kids
Fine dining no longer has to exclude the kids. High-end French country restaurant Sel de la Terre in Boston offers a kids' menu, with choices such as chicken fingers or grilled cheese with pommes frites. Mom and dad no longer have to sacrifice fine dining for family-friendly fare. 960 1280
You May Also Like
Matthew’s Expert Vagabond website
Food in South Africa: Springbok or Bunny Chow?
South Africa’s Wine Country 960 1280
Aroma Kitchen & WinebarThis East Village Italian restaurant and wine bar focuses on regional Italian dishes and seasonal specialties. Chef Vito and his team are hosting an intimate celebration, featuring a 5-course menu that includes risotto lobster Bolognese and pan-seared Crescent Farms duck breast with wine pairings. 960 1280
AffaireRing in the New Year Parisian-style without leaving the East Village! This cozy French bistro's New Year’s Eve party includes 3 rooms of music by in-house and guest DJs, a 5-hour open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight. Dress code is semi-formal or burlesque … if you really want to get into the mood. 960 1280
Bistro Chat NoirThis is every Francophile’s dream spot for ringing in the New Year. This slice of Paris on the Upper East Side is hosting a masquerade ball on New Year’s Eve, with 3 seatings. The first is kid-friendly, the second has a Broadway pop show, and the third has the Broadway pop show and a midnight toast. And if you can’t get enough, come back for the bistro’s New Year’s Day brunch. 960 1280
Cé La Vi in Singapore
Cé La Vi (formerly called Ku Dé Ta) is a premier rooftop party bar — emphasis on the rooftop, as it sits on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, an architectural landmark in Singapore. Part of the spectacular SkyPark, the bar lets guests take in one of the best unobstructed views of the city and the rooftop's infamous infinity pool. Whether you’re watching the sun set over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish, or you're just mesmerized by the nightly laser show, Cé La Vi is a place to see and be seen.
Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail, such as the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rosewater, is $16, roughly the same fee the resort complex charges to board the elevator to the observation deck just below — so think of it as breaking even.960 1280
Plunge in New York City, New York
Taking over the Gansevoort Hotel's 14th-floor penthouse in the Meatpacking District, this granddaddy of New York's rooftop bars is still among the city's best — with some of the most stylish parties, an amazing outdoor pool and, of course, a sick view of the N.Y.C. skyline and the Hudson River. Plunge is packed with pretty young things on the weekends, so those not looking to be part of the scene may prefer to watch the sunset from the wraparound balcony midweek.
Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped, American bistro-style menu, with its fresh chopped salad, jumbo shrimp skewers and rooftop sliders, a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised.960 1280
The Roof in Madrid, Spain
If your first glimpse of this club atop the ME Madrid is the line to enter — at its peak length during summertime — know that it's worth the wait. Once you board the private elevator to the penthouse terrace, you'll be treated to unmatched views of Madrid's skyline. Owned by Rande Gerber (also known as Cindy Crawford's husband), this swanky rooftop consistently attracts beautiful locals and celebrities alike, thanks to guest DJ sessions, inviting daybeds and a VIP bar embedded in a stone wall.
Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list, the Roof serves cocktails that are on the pricier side. If you're going to have just one, make it the Black Mojito.960 1280
Three Sixty in St. Louis, Missouri
For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, pass on the nosebleed seats and instead, head to this slick rooftop bar atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Panoramic views of the Gateway Arch serve as the backdrop for gourmet bites prepared by chef Rex Hale, such as house-smoked salmon chips, mini New England lobster rolls and Korean BBQ pork tacos. Save room for the sweet stuff; the desserts — especially the house-made Kit Kat bars — are among the best in the city. The 6,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space accommodates cozy fire pits, flat-screen TVs and several bars, making Three Sixty a year-round destination.
Insider's Tip: Cardinals fans, hold on to your ticket stub and get the $10 cover charge waived. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field, Three Sixty opens at least two hours before every home game.960 1280
POV in Washington, D.C.
To see the Washington Monument in all its recently unscaffolded glory, head to this trendy bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquettes and black wicker chairs are first-come, first-served, so we suggest arriving in plenty of time to watch the sun go down, or you may have to wait in line to board the elevator to the 11th floor. Drinks are expensive by D.C. standards, which makes it mostly a popular spot for tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here). But enjoying unobstructed views of Washington lit up at night has its price.
Insider's Tip: The scene is more club than cocktail bar after 10 p.m., so we suggest either springing for a table with bottle service next to the dance floor or, for a more economical option, meeting up around the corner at the Hamilton for dinner and drinks before taking in the view.960 1280
Sevva in Hong Kong, China
If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong — and possibly even the world — look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. The 360-degree views of Norman Foster's HSBC Building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower from Sevva's wraparound terrace, combined with dazzling interiors that reflect owner Bonnie Gokson's iconic style, has made this the top spot for impressing out-of-towners. The well-coiffed crowd clamors for dishes such as baked truffled mac and cheese and signature crunch cake from the Taste Bar. Also popular is the traditional high tea, where you'll be Instagramming three tiers of Ms. B's treats — including chocolate fudge cake with marmalade and mini short rib burgers — as much as the scenery.
Insider's Tip: The Sevva terrace is an ideal vantage point for the popular "Symphony of Lights" laser show that illuminates Hong Kong's famous skyscrapers.960 1280
The American Bar in Innsbruck, Austria
End your day with a relaxing sundowner and panoramic views of the Alps on the heated rooftop terrace of Innsbruck's glass architectural gem, the Penz Hotel. Order the signature Fifth Floor cocktail, a Bellini Royal made of peaches and Champagne, or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. A bonus for hotel guests is that they can begin the day with an extensive breakfast buffet (with more fresh fruit than you can name) served against the same beautiful backdrop.
Insider's Tip: People who don't like smoke should be aware that cigars are permitted inside.960 1280
New York Bar in Tokyo, Japan
This landmark bar, situated on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, served as the backdrop of Lost in Translation. Rather than shy away from the Sofia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. cocktail, made with sake, Sakura liqueur, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy panoramic views of Shinjuku; order from the extensive wine menu (which has more than 1,600 bottles to choose from); listen to live jazz; and try to get in a New York state of mind — while in Tokyo.
Insider's Tip: We recommend arriving before 6:30 p.m. to avoid a line, and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After 8 p.m., there is a cover charge of about $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt.960 1280
Bramante Terrace in Rome, Italy
Just one block from the Piazza Navona, atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multilevel rooftop garden boasts sweeping views of the Eternal City in the summer. Order an omelet of artichokes, red onions and fresh mint for lunch from chef Jean-Luc Fruneau's creative Mediterranean menu (now completely vegetarian), or watch the sun set between St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo over a dinner of fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil.
Insider's Tip: It's one of the most romantic places in Rome, so don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here!960 1280
Vue Bar in Shanghai, China
Spread over Levels 32 and 33 of the five-star Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, China, Vue offers guests two floors and two distinct views overlooking the historic waterfront and the futuristic Pudong skyline on either side of the Huangpu River. Pull up a seat at this sophisticated lounge's circular cocktail bar or continue up the spiral staircase to the open-air terrace, where you can lounge in a four-poster daybed or take a dip in the marble whirlpool.
Insider's Tip: For those who can justify a $100-plus price tag, Vue's bottomless brunch is hard to beat: free-flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne, a Bloody Mary counter and chefs preparing dishes that include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche.960 1280
Galaxy Restaurant & Bar in Athens, Greece
The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis — and there's no place where it seems to glow more brightly than from the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar atop the Hilton Athens. A hot spot for locals and tourists, this chic open-air terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner. We suggest starting with one of the restaurant's inventive (read: not just Greek) salads or sesame-crusted seared tuna with caviar, pickled pearl onions, black and yellow cherries, and a truffle vinaigrette, followed by an assortment of sushi. Otherwise, try the surf 'n' turf — a beef tenderloin and lobster tail atop a sizzling hot stone.
Insider's Tip: If you can't snag a reservation, stop by for an aperitif. The bar typically opens two and a half hours before dinner service starts.960 1280
360 in Istanbul, Turkey
True to its name, this spot offers 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait that are enough to take your breath away — but so are the "special occasion" prices. Forgo 360's Turkish-fusion menu and instead, come early, score a coveted window seat and nurse your drink while snacking on stuffed olives and nuts before grabbing some street food nearby. On weekends, the restaurant turns into a club from around midnight until the wee hours, with avant-garde entertainment (including burlesque), up-and-coming DJs and well-mixed cocktails.
Insider's Tip: The unassuming entrance in the historic Misir Apartment building is easily missed, but don't let that deter you. Once you've entered the lobby, take the elevator directly to the eighth floor and follow the candlelit stairs.960 1280