Here is a beginning list of my favorite restaurants ever.
Flight - for a birthday or anniversary
Central BBQ - for the pulled pork nachos with hot BBQ sauce instead of regular
India Palace - the non-vegetarian meal is the best deal at night if you don't go for the buffet.
Golden India - Their bhindi masala (okra) is the best I've ever had.
Mayuri - for the buffet on Friday and Saturday night, the dosas and sambar with rice. And onion pakoras dipped in carrot pickle, mint chutney, or raita
The Melting Pot - because fondue is so much fun and delicious. My favorite course is the cheese course.
Ryu Sushi - the cowboy roll has fried chicken in it. The shrimp fried rice is my favorite ever.
El Porton at Poplar and Highland - for the chicken nachos with a side of pico de gallo and pickled jalapeños. The margaritas taste slightly medicinal but with added lime juice they're perfect.
Los Compadres at Holmes and Poplar - for Cuban food. The steak churrasco with grilled onions, plantains and white rice
Bhan Thai - for the thom kha soup with shrimp and the massaman curry chicken with red chili sauce on the side
Cafe Ole in Cooper-Young - the menu has changed over the years but the margaritas are delicious and strong, the new crazy corn is delicious
Shweinhaus - because it is grandmother food and I love all German food. The waiters and waitresses dress in German clothing.
Chuy's - It's a Texas chain that made its way to Tennessee. I love the dips, especially the ranchero sauce and the Elvis green chili fried chicken
Cheesecake Factory - Of course it's a chain but there isn't one in Memphis. Going there is a real treat! I would love to make my way through the whole menu someday. They used to have a drink called a French Kiss made from vanilla ice cream, cassis and champagne. Perfection. Now I usually have the Thai lettuce wraps, shepard's pie, and the banana cheesecake.
Burger Republic - I loved the gourmet burgers and the adult milkshakes and the Gulch is a cool neighborhood in downtown Nashville.
Ajax in Oxford, MS - for everything, but especially the cheese grits, sweet potato casserole and pot roast
Two Stick - Even though it is gone, it was my favorite sushi restaurant in the South for a long time. Sadly, it's parent restaurant Ruby Chinese is gone too. Besides homemade Chinese food from the family that owned Joe's Grocery in Sledge, MS, the first Chinese restaurant I ever tried was Ruby Chinese. It had delicious American favorites
In New Orleans
Rum House on Magazine Street - for ALL the tacos
Central Grocery - for the best muffulettas in the world, Zapp's VooDoo chips and random Italian groceries
Huck Finn's on Decatur - for the Cajun sampler plate and a great Bloody Mary
Giordano's - for the most delicious pizza I've ever had and will probably ever have
Argo Tea - for the bubble tea and the wide varieties of hot tea
Garrett's popcorn - I have no off-switch for eating this popcorn. For me it's the giant bag of "mixed" cheese and caramel popcorn.
Nuts on Clark - for popcorn and everything else they sell
The annual Spring Flours banquet
The Indonesian Restaurant in Hell's Kitchen
any Italian restaurant in Little Italy
Any deli in the city
In San Francisco
Pica Pica - for everything on the menu because it is gluten-free fried deliciousness.
In Los Angeles
The Stinking Rose- garlic everything!
Le Loup Blanc - I know you're supposed to enjoy French food when you're in Paris but I love the American "smashed potatoes" in this restaurant. And everything else on the menu.
L'Estival - for the cassoulet
Le Gai Moulin - for the kangaroo and the kir aperitif
Any cafe or bakery in the city. I've never been disappointed. After all, it's Paris! My favorite city in the world.
In St. Louis
The Range for the goat cheese and tomato jam burger with a banana caramel rum milkshake
Mary Mac's Tea Room - the whole menu is Southern food classics