The winners span Chicago, New York, and Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
There are plenty of awards out there that can tell you where to get a world-class meal, ranging from Michelin to the “World’s 50 Best” roundup. AAA—yes, the American Automobile Association—also runs a list that annually rates restaurants and hotels across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean for their quality based on a five-diamond scale. A Five Diamond rating signifies a restaurant that is “leading-edge,” while Four Diamond means distinctive; One Diamond refers to a quick-serve restaurant, according to the site. Today, AAA announced that three new restaurants joined the Five Diamond roster—Atera in New York City, COAST in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and Oriole in Chicago—for a grand total of 67 Five Diamond restaurants across the region. There are 656 Four Diamond restaurants total, so the distinction is pretty significant.
“Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining,” Michael Petrone, director of AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings, said in a statement.
COAST, which previously held a Four Diamond ranking, is now Rhode Island’s first Five Diamond restaurant. The refined seafood restaurant is located inside Ocean House, a luxury resort on the coast. The AAA inspector highlighted the “highly trained staff” and “extensive chef’s counter experience” in the review—and the ocean views don’t hurt either. Atera and Oriole, on the other hand, are both newcomers to the AAA list, and shot straight to the top. Atera received a nod for its tasting menu, which the AAA inspector called “a treat for all senses,” and the Golden Osetra caviar paired with pistachio and IPA cream also got a shoutout. As for Oriole, the dishes were hailed as “artfully assembled” and the waitstaff was deemed “exceptionally engaging.”