Only 67 restaurants in North America currently have what it takes to hold AAA’s distinctive Five Diamond Rating, including three restaurants added this year—Atera, COAST and Oriole. The coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award restaurant list makes up just 0.2 percent of the nearly 32,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Among the exclusive number of high-end establishments that have attained the Five Diamond Rating, AAA’s inspectors note many are adopting a much more casual environment in response to evolving guest preferences for a more relaxed experience. High-end restaurants are adopting simple, streamlined décor and, thanks in part to the popularity of cooking shows and competitions, some continue to highlight lively open kitchen designs that allow guests to watch and even interact with culinary staff.
“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment,” says Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “To be considered leading edge, chefs must incorporate a laser-focused approach using innovative concepts and menus featuring the finest ingredients. Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining.”
Following a rigorous evaluation that includes anonymous dining by an experienced AAA inspector and review by a panel of experts, these restaurants earned Five Diamonds for the first time this past year.
- Atera (New York, New York): A treat for all the senses, the tasting menu slowly builds and excels with never-before-seen visual presentations and combinations. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a lone side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this.
- COAST (Watch Hill, Rhode Island): Located within a stately seaside inn with dramatic views of the ocean, this restaurant prides itself on using local Rhode Island and Atlantic Coast farm-to-table ingredients. The menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest items from local farmers and fishmongers.
- Oriole (Chicago, Illinois): The classy dining room is made more interesting by the brightly illuminated display kitchen that allows diners to watch the artful assembly of each plate. A multi-course menu is designed to be a surprise for guests.
Atera and Oriole both debut as AAA Five Diamond restaurants, while COAST—Rhode Island’s first Five Diamond restaurant—was upgraded from Four Diamonds.
Those at the Four Diamond level, just 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, are also an exclusive group. They offer a distinctive fine-dining experience, employing creative preparations that are skillfully served amid upscale ambience. This year, there are 656 Four Diamond restaurants located across North America, including 39 additions this year. Here are the other U.S. AAA Five Diamond Awards:
- Kai (2006) in the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona
- The Belvedere (1995) in The Peninsula Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California
- Manresa (2017) in Los Gatos, California
- Erna's Elderberry House Restaurant (1996) in the Château du Sureau in Oakhurst, California
- The Kitchen Restaurant (2011) in Sacramento, California
- The Restaurant at Meadowood (2013) in the Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, California
- Addison Restaurant (2008) in the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, California
- Benu (2012), Gary Danko (2003), and Saison (2014) in San Francisco, California
- The French Laundry (2005) in Yountville, California
- The Penrose Room (2007) in The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Restaurant at Winvian Farm (2010) in the Winvian Farm in Morris, Connecticut
- Pineapple and Pearls (2017) in Washington, D.C.
- Palme d’Or (2014) in The Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables in Coral Gables, Florida
- Salt (2012) in The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, Florida
- Victoria & Albert's (2000) in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
- The Georgian Room (2015) in The Cloister in Sea Island, Georgia
- Chef Mavro (2008) and La Mer (1990) in the Halekulani in Hawaii
- Acadia (2013), Alinea (2006), and Oriole (2018)* in Chicago, Illinois
- White Barn Inn Restaurant (1992) in the Grace White Barn Inn & Spa in Kennebunk, Maine
- Menton (2011) in Boston, Massachusetts
- The Portico by Jeffrey Thompson (2005) in the Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts
- TOPPER’S (2017) in The Wauwinet in Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Joel Robuchon (2006) in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Le Cirque (2003) in the Bellagio, Picasso (2001) in the Bellagio, Restaurant Guy Savoy (2008) in the Caesars Palace, and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (2014) in the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Atera (2018)*, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (2017), Daniel (1999), Del Posto (2011), Eleven Madison Park (2012), Gabriel Kreuther (2015), Jean-Georges Restaurant (1998) in the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York, Le Bernardin (2012), Marea (2011), Per Se (2013), and The Modern (2016) in New York, New York
- Blue Hill at Stone Barns (2011) in Tarrytown, New York
- Herons (2011) in The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary, North Carolina
- The Fearrington House Restaurant (1995) in The Fearrington House Inn in Fearrington Village, North Carolina
- Orchids at Palm Court (2014) in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Lautrec (2007) in the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, and LEOLA TÈ (2015) in The Inn at Leola Village in Farmington, Pennsylvania
- Vetri (2017) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- COAST (2018)* in the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island
- McCrady’s (2017) in Charleston, South Carolina
- The Catbird Seat (2017) in Nashville, Tennessee
- The Inn at Little Washington Dining Room (1988) in The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia
- The Herbfarm Restaurant (2002) in Woodinville, Washington
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