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New England James Beard semifinalists 2024: Outstanding restaurant, chef, bar & more


The James Beard Foundation Awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” have once again unveiled their nominees for 2024. The categories below showcase the diversity and dynamism within the culinary realm. From outstanding restaurateurs pushing the boundaries of gastronomy to emerging talents bringing fresh perspectives, these nominees contribute to the rich tapestry of the culinary world in New England.

Outstanding Restaurant

Photos by Winter Caplanson

Coracora, West Hartford, CT


Head Chef: Macarena Ludena (pictured)

About: Family-run Peruvian restaurant with a menu featuring all house-made offerings without any artificial preservatives.

Unique Menu Items: Anticuchos (grilled veal heart), yuca rellena (handmade yuca fries with mozzarella cheese filling), papa a la huancaina (boiled potato in a creamy Aji Amarillo sauce), housemade empanadas, various styles of ceviche

Bywater, Warren, RI


About: Seasonally changing modern menu featuring ingredients from local farms.

Unique Menu Items: Kohlrabi salad (Asian pear, summer peppers, puffed rice, shiso), lamb tartare, Wild Harmony pork, Gnarly Vines duck

Outstanding Restaurateur

Photo credits clockwise from top: Vinny Marino – EA Creative, Chris Viaud, Jenn Bakos Photography

Chris Viaud

Greenleaf, Pavilion, and Ansanm – Milford, NH

About: The menus at Greenleaf and Pavilion feature Contemporary American dishes with a focus on seasonal produce – much of which is harvested locally. Ansanm (meaning “together”) also focuses on local purveyors for its ingredients, which comprise dishes inspired by traditional Haitian comfort food.

Unique Menu Items: Greenleaf & Pavilion – Confit octopus, housemade Parker House rolls, hand-cut tagliatelle, crispy skin chicken; Ansanm – Duck confit croquettes, scallop crudo, braised beef Manti, Djon Djon risotto, Poule Nan Sòs (stewed chicken in Creole sauce), Griot (fried pork shoulder)

Cara and Cecile Stadler

BaoBao Dumpling House, Tao Yuan Restaurant, and ZaoZe Cafe & Market – Portland, ME

About: BaoBao Dumpling House – A core menu and regularly changing specials inspired by Asian comfort food; Tao Yuan Restaurant – Asian fusion small plates combined with the flavors of local Maine; ZaoZe Cafe & Market – A la carte lunch service, dim sum Sunday brunch, and grab-and-go fare.

Unique Menu Items: BaoBao Dumpling House – Somen noodles, beef bulgogi, shiitake wontons, lamb and paneer skewers, chicken karaage; Tao Yuan Restaurant – Salmon poke, claypot crispy rice balls, New England clam and kimchi jjigae, Hong Shao eggplant; ZaoZe Cafe & Market – Asian grocery staples, fresh produce from an aquaponic greenhouse, house-made sauces, sambals and kimchi, roast pork buns, Cara’s Asian slaw in kit form, and desserts with uniquely Asian twists

Outstanding Chef

Photos by Catherine Dzilenski

Renee Touponce

The Port of Call – Mystic, CT

About: A globally-inspired menu in an architecturally inventive space featuring floors and bar tops crafted from reclaimed sailing ship materials.

Unique Menu Items: Pupusas (El Salvadorian stuffed corn cakes with pork carnitas), Boquerones (vinegar- and herb-cured local smelt), squid ink empanadas, beef tongue gyros, smoking kofta

Best New Restaurant

Photos by Rita Ferreira (left, center) and Chris McIntosh

Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, MA

Comfort Kitchen

About: A Black-owned, immigrant-owned, and woman-owned restaurant that celebrates the diverse ingredients and flavors of the African diaspora, spanning Asia to the Americas.

Unique Menu Items: Okra, jerk jackfruit sliders, jerk-roasted duck, za’atar brown butter trout, yassa chicken, potato curry cake.

Tuxpan Taqueria, Central Falls, RI

Tuxpan Taqueria

About: A family-owned restaurant serving traditional-yet-inventive Mexican street food.

Unique Menu Items: Quesadilla de flor de calabaza (garden-harvested squash blossom), temporada de tamales rojos y verdes, (seasonal house-made red and green tamales), Pambazos, local Portuguese bolillo roll dipped in a signature red sauce and seared to perfection

The Alna Store, Alna, ME

The Alna Store

About: A restaurant and market that works with a plethora of local fishermen and farmers to curate the area’s best ingredients. Open for dinner, brunch, and a weekly pizza night.

Unique Menu Items: Local pinto potatoes with garlic oil confit, nori tempura fried maitake mushrooms, and honey; chicken fried steak with sauce chasseur, celery root and potato mash, and broccolini; Faroe Islands salmon with black garlic creamed spinach, dulse butter-roasted salsify, and shaved celery; seared scallops with baked peanuts, szechuan peppercorn roasted carrots, and jalapeño

Outstanding Bar

Photos by Carlos De La Rosa (left) and Ryan Lopes

Courtland Club, Providence, RI

Courtland Club

About: A dynamic venue blending a cocktail bar with a social club. DJ sets showcase local talent playing diverse tunes across eras and genres most nights, along with Live Jazz every Sunday.

Unique Menu Items: “Amabuki Kiss,” pink gin, junmai ginjo sake, blood orange liqueur, hibiscus demerara, and tart cherry and saffron bitters served up; “Ancestral Lore,” bourbon, dark rum, pomegranate liqueur, cinnamon, and angostura bitters served on the rocks; “Mother Theresa,” mezcal, beet, raspberry, cassis, campari, lime, rose water, and gold stars served on the rocks

Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, VT

Barr Hill Cocktail Bar

About: A distillery and cocktail bar that is the brainchild of Todd Hardie and Ryan Christiansen – a lifelong beekeeper and distiller, respectively. The duo has set out to perfect the use of raw honey and its botanicals in their spirits.

Unique Menu Items: “Barr Hill Saturn,” Barr Hill gin, passionfruit, house orgeat, falernum, lime; “The Golden Ticket,” Vermont dark chocolate-infused Tom Cat and bourbon, Cocchi di Torino, black walnut bitters; “Midshipman,” Tom Cat gin, Cynar, orgeat, lime, orange, angostura, pineapple, lime, rich simple, orange bitters


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