The Nation's 10 Best Restaurants

PHOTO: Le Bernadin
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

For many people, food and travel go hand in hand, so it's no surprise travelers are both passionate and knowledgeable about restaurants. TripAdvisor has combed through reviews of 576 restaurants around the world to find out which ones travelers named their favorites as part of the 2012 Travelers' Choice Restaurant awards.

Click through the next few pages to see what your fellow travelers picked.

PHOTO: Dish at Le Bernadin

Excellent, inventively prepared seafood and impeccable yet unpretentious service make Le Bernardin a worthy splurge in NYC. On a budget? Consider the three-course lunch menu. Also, don't hesitate to ask the sommeliers for advice—as one TripAdvisor traveler notes, they "take pride pairing your glass or bottle to your meal while taking your budget into account."

PHOTO: Dish at Gary Danko

A stop at chef Gary Danko's eponymous restaurant is a must-do for San Francisco–bound foodies. TripAdvisor travelers praise the flexible tasting menus, fantastic cheese course and exceptional dessert menu. Single diners who haven't had the foresight to make a reservation can often find a seat at the bar.

PHOTO: Dish at Le Cirque

TripAdvisor travelers agree that while dinner at Le Cirque isn't cheap, it's "worth every penny." Le Cirque gets high marks for its effortless service and great degustation menu—and the pre-theater prix fixe menu is always a good bet.

PHOTO: Dish at Girl & The Goat

Top Chef winner Stephanie Izzard's Chicago restaurant is a perfect choice for foodies with adventurous palates. (Three words: roasted pig face.) The atmosphere is casual, even a bit loud, but the focus here is on the unusual and amazing food.

PHOTO: Dish at Toulouse Petit

They do a lot at Toulouse Petit-- breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a happy hour with unusual cocktails and small plates at great prices. This might be overly ambitious for some restaurants, but TA travelers say PT executes everything superbly. Breakfast gets especially high marks-- try the beignets.

title Fruition Restaurant, Denver

PHOTO: Dish at Fruition Restaurant

This small and charming Denver restaurant is known for seasonal food "with a twist." For foodies who like to cook, this might be paradise—one TripAdvisor traveler who inquired about ingredients was "invited to e-mail the chef and assured that he would share the recipes."

PHOTO: Dish at Alinea

Chef Grant Achatz's famed Chicago establishment is perhaps the foremost place to experience molecular gastronomy in the United States. Menus change regularly, but you might be served a green-apple helium balloon, lamb with a tray of 60 tiny condiments, or edible peppermint snow. As one TA traveler wrote, "The food is perfect, but the presentations will blow your mind."

PHOTO: Dish at Island Creek Oyster Bar

Seafood lovers in Beantown should definitely put Island Creek Oyster Bar on their itinerary. (Just make sure to reserve a table well in advance.) TripAdvisor travelers recommend the fried oyster sliders and the lobster knuckle and corn soup-- as one reviewer put it, "If I could have politely licked out the bowl, I really would have."

PHOTO: Dish at Uchi

"Sushi? In Austin? Really? YES, really YES," wrote one reviewer. Friendly staff are happy to explain the complex, imaginative dishes… or simply trust the chef and try the tasting menu for a mind-blowing experience.

PHOTO: Dish at Screen Door

Screen Door is known for fried chicken, delicious biscuits and pecan-crusted bacon, but you'll find plenty of lighter sides and even vegan fare on the menu as well. "Don't be put off by the 20-deep line… it is clear no one is disappointed, they chose to wait," advises one TripAdvisor traveler.

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