Whether you’re in Charleston or Austin, we all know there’s no shortage of great restaurants in the South. Today our sister site Food & Wine announced its 2016 Best Restaurants of the Year, and while the entire country is well represented, we can’t help but cheer for some of our local Southern heroes. Here are three favorites that made the list.

Chef Ashley Christensen added to her mini-empire this June with the opening of her latest project, Death and Taxes. Almost everything in her new restaurant—from dishes like steak with chimichurri to oysters with chili butter—has a wood-fired component. And be sure to check out the excellent cocktail list, featuring unique drinks such as the aptly-named Pine Box, which features IPA, Campari, charred pineapple, and rosemary.

 

105 West Hargett Street; ac-restaurants.com/death-taxes

 Photo: Nick Pironio

Death & Taxes - Raleigh, North Carolina: Cooking on a wood fire is at the heart, soul, and center of Chef Ashley Christensen’s newest restaurant.  

Chef Alon Shaya made a name for himself by helming the Italian bistro Domenica and its casual spinoff Pizza Domencia for New Orleans restaurateur extraordinaire John Besh. Now, with Besh’s support, the Israeli-born chef has opened the city’s hottest new restaurant (and its first to serve modern Israeli cuisine). An open flame, pecan-wood-burning oven chars fresh pita in the corner, which is served with hummus and curried fried cauliflower with caramelized onions or ikra featuring local paddlefish caviar. Don’t miss the eggplant carved out and stuffed with summer beans and muhammara, a Syrian hot pepper dip. 

 

4213 Magazine Street; shayarestaurant.com

 Photo: Cedric Angeles

Shaya - New Orleans, Louisiana: Chef Alon Shaya has brought classic Israeli pita and cuisine to mix with the Big Easy. A dynamic pairing of flavors, think of it as where East meets South.

Since opening earlier this year, Austin's Launderette has filled its seats. Chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki, known to locals as the team behind La Condesa and Sway, have deftly switched gears from Mexican and Thai to the Mediterranean flavors prevalent here. Ortiz's menu of "Snacky Bits," toasts, and wood-fired proteins is complemented by a large array of vegetable dishes, ensuring that there's something for everyone, whether it's Red Snapper Crudo or romesco-draped broccolini.

 

2115 Holly Street; launderetteaustin.com

 Photo Courtesy Giant Noise

Launderette – Austin, Texas: While converting a Laundromat into a restaurant is not a new idea, executive chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki, are creating quite the stir. The food is a mix of Mediterranean meets the South with possibly some Indian flavors thrown in.

See the full list of favorites here.

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