Esquire best new restaurants
Retro Montrose pizzeria scores coveted spot on Esquire's Best New Restaurants in America list
Two Texas restaurants are basking in the national spotlight. Both are recognized on Esquire magazine’s new list of The Best New Restaurants in America, 2023.
They are Este, a Mexican seafood restaurant in Austin, and Nonno’s Family Pizza Tavern, a pizzeria in Houston that’s not on the main list but earns a shoutout for being the Pizza Joint of the Year. The 50 restaurant list is led by Ilis, a New Nordic-inspired restaurant in Brooklyn whose name is adapted from the Danish words for “fire” and “ice” (ild and is, according to the magazine).
Este, the only Texas restaurant on the main list (down from three in 2022), earns recognition for its ceviche, oysters with salsa negra and chiltepin mignonette, fried fish tacos, and more. The Austin restaurant is no stranger to these kind of lists, having earned similar shoutouts from the New York Times, Bon Appetit, and Texas Monthly.
“You might think you’re on the Mexican coast, but alas, you’re in good ol’ landlocked central Texas. East Austin, to be exact,” Omar Mamoon writes. “While the fish has a bit of a journey, many of the vegetables and floral garnishes are plucked from the garden behind the restaurant.”
Mamoon heaps similar praise on Nonno’s, citing its retro design, comprehensive wine and cocktail lists, and Chicago-style cracker-thin pizzas. “Nonno’s in Houston evokes the retro pizza parlors of my youth, Pac-Man and all, but the pizza is much, much better,” he writes.
Published Tuesday, November 28, Esquire writers Jeff Gordinier, Joshua David Stein, Omar Mamoon, and Kevin Sintumuang compiled the 50 restaurant list by visiting more than 200 establishments across the country, according to the magazine. In addition to Ilis, New York City claims eight more spots on the list, including Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi’s Caribbean restaurant Tatiana and Torrisi, an homage to New York City’s food culture from the restaurant group behind acclaimed Italian restaurant Carbone.
“Honest innovation doesn’t always work in the kitchen, but when it does, it’s like rocket fuel for the soul,” Sintumuang writes in the article’s introduction. “You leave not just full, not just filled with delight, but with a spark. It’s a rare thing, but it’s worth chasing. Consider this your map.”