We’re all coming to terms with the new normal. Trying to understand where our boundaries lie when it comes to traveling, dining out and visiting family has been difficult, especially during warm-weather months when all we want to do is get outside. But there are so many ways to social distance while still enjoying a little of what summer has to offer, whether it’s taking off on a classic American road trip or dining at some of the poshest places in town. There are plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants across the U.S. that offer the best dining with all the social distancing you and your posse could possibly require.
The French Laundry-Yountville, CA
Arguably one of the most well-known names on this list with three Michelin stars, Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry has reimagined their fine-dining restaurant outdoors. With an outside dining room, open-air courtyard and private indoor dining room, there are plenty of ways for you to book an evening at this iconic eatery—whether you’re in a small group or looking for an intimate night for two—and still maintain a safe social distance. Their seasonal menu currently offers delectable favorites like their Ossetra Caviar, a summer melon salad, Moulard duck foie gras, sweet butter Nova Scotia lobster and Japanese Wagyu.
To still allow diners the best of what Chef Achatz creates in Alinea’s kitchen, the restaurant offers two new ways for guests to enjoy their three-Michelin star meals. AIR, Alinea in Residence, is a rooftop dining experience in the West Loop, just across from Next. It’s the best of social distancing and enjoying the summer air. If you prefer the safety of your home they also offer Alinea To Go, a selection of single meals created from regional classics to six-course tasting menus, all of which can be picked up curbside and enjoyed from your couch. Either way, you’ll be enjoying Chef’s molecular gastronomy with a global twist in a new—and spacious—way.
The Inn at Little Washington
The Inn at Little Washington—Washington, VA
Here, there’s no outdoor dining or take-out to be seen, but The Inn at Little Washington has always been a little socially distant. About an hour and a half outside the DC area, near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in a town of fewer than 200 people sits this three-Michelin star restaurant. Self-taught chef Patrick O’Connell pioneered the farm-to-table movement and over the last 42 years has been cooking up some of the best food in America in this little corner of Virginia. Reservations are hard to come by, but those who manage a table will enjoy tasting menus with favorites like tuna and foie gras confit in a black truffle vinaigrette, fennel-dusted Pacific halibut, chanterelle “meatloaf” with potato purée and jalapeño ketchup, and grapefruit sorbet with Campari and tarragon.
Quince—San Francisco, CA
Trying to maintain a restaurant and keep it open during a pandemic is difficult, but it’s made a little easier when your farm-to-table restaurant has a spacious, open-air farm to relocate too. While Quince’s city location in Jackson Square is currently closed, Michael and Lindsay Tusk decided to temporarily relocate their three-Michelin star restaurant to Marin County, about an hour north of the city. Quince at the Farm offers lunch Friday through Sunday at two outdoor locations—Fresh Run Farm, their organic coastal farm in Bolinas, and McEvoy Ranch in the hills of Petaluma. Here you can take in the pastoral scenery while indulging in some of the freshest food with a Northern Italian flair.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Blue Hill at Stone Barns—Tarrytown, NY
Chef Dan Barber has a lot to celebrate with Blue Hill NYC and Blue Hill at Stone Barns nabbing two Michelin stars in its first year of eligibility. But with the pandemic Blue Hill New York has temporarily closed while the Pocantico Hills location can stay open with outdoor picnics that take place rain or shine. Just 30 miles outside of the city, Blue Hill at Stone Barns highlights the abundance of the Hudson Valley with ingredients fresh from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms. There are no menus at the Stone Barns picnics, instead, guests will enjoy the multi-course feast that draws on the best and freshest offerings from the fields.