9 restaurants across America that you have to try in your lifetime – CNBC

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There are great restaurants all across America but few offer history so compelling and food so legendary that you have to try them at least once in your lifetime. These nine famous eateries fit that bill.

1. Mama’s Fish House, Maui, Hawaii

Fishermen catch fish mere hours before it’s served at Mama’s Fish House, so meals are island fresh. But it’s not just the food that makes this restaurant famous, with reservations going two weeks deep. Mama’s is situated on a secluded beach (rare for a Hawaii restaurant) under tall palms, which makes for amazing sunset views and a romantic and elegant atmosphere.

The restaurant, opened in 1973, has old-school Hawaii vibes. The open-air dining rooms (with vaulted ceilings and made with local woods) have retro decor, including old Hawaiian paintings on the walls, colorful floral-print table cloth and real wooden canoes hanging from the ceilings. Tiki torches blaze at night for a feeling of “aloha.”

TripAdvisor ranked Mama’s Fish House one of the 10 best restaurants in the world.

Entrees average $55.

2. Katz’s Deli, Manhattan, New York

The French Laundry has been awarded three Michelin stars annually since 2006 (one of few restaurants in America with three stars). It’s also ranked high among the best restaurants in the world by World’s 50 Best Restaurants, ranking No. 1 twice (2003 and 2004, and the first U.S. restaurant to top the list). Chef and owner Thomas Keller is iconic in the culinary industry, winning dozens of highly coveted awards, like the Lifetime Achievement Award by Restaurant magazine.

Housed in a rustic, historic building, in the 1920s, the location was a French steam laundry, which inspired the restaurant’s name. It’s a big spot for celebrations, like anniversaries, proposals and birthdays.

The dinner lasts two to three hours with a tasting menu based on what’s fresh that day (you only find out the menu when you arrive). The oysters and pearls amuse bouche (pearl tapioca with beau soleil oysters and white sturgeon caviar) is famous and frequently on the menu. Most produce is pulled from the on-site garden or nearby purveyors.

Dinner is at a minimum $300 per person (depending on the menu), and it can get more expensive with supplements to dishes, like Japanese wagyu ($100) or Kaluga caviar ($60), as well as wine, which can go up to $40 per glass.

5. Polo Lounge, Los Angeles, California

There is no other chain in America that has a cult following like In-N-Out Burger. Celebrating its 70th birthday this year, the fast food joint is known for its delicious burgers that are never frozen and cooked to order, including the famous “Double Double.” It also serves hand-cut French fries and there’s a “secret menu” with burgers that don’t appear on the regular bill of fare.

“People fetishize In-N-Out, and it’s cool to know the brand and doubly cool to know its secret menu,” Culinary Institute of America associate professor and food anthropoligist Willa Zhen told QSR magazine.

At the end of the day, the high-quality burgers for cheap are a must when visiting California (it’s based out of Irvine) or locations in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Oregon.

A Double Double Burger is $3.45; a cheeseburger is $2.40.

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9 restaurants across America that you have to try in your lifetime – CNBC

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