Attempting to name America’s best restaurants is a gargantuan task doomed to disappoint many. We don’t envy Bon Appetit, the food publication that’s been around since the 1950s, for trying.
Since 2009, they’ve put out a Hot 10, a list of “America’s best new restaurants.” Seven years ago, they started sharing the 50 nominees vying for the top prize. They released the 2019 nominees today and, once again, a Florida city did not make the list.
Is Bon Appetit aware that Florida, the country’s third most populous state, even exists?
According to USA Today, Bon Appetit deputy editor Julia Kramer visited 200 restaurants in 34 cities, meaning she didn’t visit every state. In fact, there are only 21 states (and Washington, D.C.) represented on this year’s list. Some states, and even some cities, make the list multiple times: Food giants New Orleans and Chicago have three mentions each; the tiny Providence, R.I., is on there twice. North Carolina has five entries. Five!
In previous years, Florida’s exclusion may have stung less, when top restaurants were limited to the bigger, restaurant-dense cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. But, as USA Today noted, “cities including Maui, Hawaii; Baltimore; and Richmond, Virginia, all had restaurants hit the top 50 list for the first time this year.”
Where’s the love for the Tampa Bay area? Our 2019 list of the area’s best restaurants was the biggest one we’ve ever published. According to plenty of national publications, 2018 was the year Tampa Bay became an emerging culinary destination.
So we’re here to help, Bon Appetit. We know Florida is a big state. Here’s a list of our Top 10 restaurants in Tampa Bay. It’s a good place to start for research on next year’s list. Swing by Miami while you’re at it. Orlando has some gems, too.