El Camino
     

El Camino

Louisville, Kentucky

Enjoy a taste of Mexico in the heart of bluegrass country at El Camino. This unusual restaurant features a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine that's heavy on seafood but still includes staples like tacos, enchiladas, and tortas, and a Tiki-inspired drink menu boasting classic cocktails like the Hemingway Daiquiri, Mai Tai, Zombie, and Scorpion punch, as well as healthy selections of tequila, mezcal, rum, and beer. As for the decor, it's a mashup of Mexican, mid-century retro, and surf shack, the latter of which makes even more sense when you first hear the surf music being played inside — the majority of which is on vinyl.

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Row 34
     

Row 34

Boston, Massachusetts

An oyster bar in Boston might not be the most original thing in the world, but that doesn't mean Row 34 isn't worth a try. Set in the Waterfront, this self-described "workingman's" venue offers an excellent raw bar with a variety of fresh oysters, as well as ceviche, chowders, lobster rolls, a daily whole fish, and other seafood. But almost as notable as the seaborne fare is the fantastic selection of beer — on tap, in casks, and in bottles — and the workweek-friendly lunch hours.

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BellaTrino
     

BellaTrino

Dallas, Texas

Many food trucks crank out consistently great meals, but lack the seating and atmosphere of a restaurant. BellaTrino seeks to offer both. This stylish, oversized truck features a display kitchen with walls of glass panels, and at the center, a wood-fired oven that heats to 1,000 degrees and can crank out a neapolitan-style pie in just over a minute. As if the tasty pizzas weren't enough, this truck has another surprise in store — a small bar on one end of the truck, giving you a place to sit down that rivals any casual sidewalk cafe.

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Trentina
     

Trentina

Cleveland, Ohio

With LeBron James coming home and Johnny Football holding the place down in the meantime, there's like an unexpected trip to Cleveland in a lot of your futures. A meal at Trentina is a good idea while you're there. Located in University Circle, this new, Kickstarter-backed eatery serves up inventive tasting menus created by chef Jonathon Sawyer that are inspired by the Trentino province in northern Italy and go light-years beyond the typical pasta and red sauce most people envision when they hear "Italian restaurant".

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Grand Banks
     

Grand Banks

New York, New York

There are plenty of great places to eat outside in New York — but few offer the unique views of Grand Banks. This seasonal oyster bar is located on the deck of a 142-foot sailboat docked in Tribeca at Hudson River Park's Pier 25. The menu is seafood-heavy, with fresh oysters, a collection of small plates, and some terrific summer cocktails. And should you somehow tire of the views of Manhattan (unlikely), you can always head downstairs to check out the on-board museum.

Photos: Christine N.
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Korean BBQ Taco Box
     

Korean BBQ Taco Box

Orlando, Florida

It might sound like an odd combination, but one meal at the Korean BBQ Taco Box will have you thinking differently. This bright yellow Central Florida food truck serves up a host of meat options like Bulgogi beef, spicy pork, and marinated chicken, any of which you can get on its own with rice, on a sub sandwich, or in a taco. Better yet, make your order a box, and enjoy some extra treats like spicy chicken wings and fried cheese rolls. And don't fret if you're not in the area — they just launched a second truck to serve Washington, DC.

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Westward
     

Westward

Seattle, Washington

There's no denying the nautical theme at Westward, but when you're cranking out seafood this good, it doesn't matter what the inside of the restaurant looks like. In fact, you don't even have to enjoy the excellent fare — influenced by both Northwest and Mediterranean cuisine, with many items making a stop in the wood-burning oven — inside, thanks to a large deck, fire pit, and beach area. Oh, and the cocktails are pretty terrific, too, making this an ideal spot to park your boat — they have a 150 ft. dock — and step inside for an afternoon refreshment.

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Bunk Sandwiches
     

Bunk Sandwiches

Portland, Oregon

It might have an unusual name, but it makes sense, as you won't be finding any normal ol' ham-and-cheese affairs at Bunk Sandwiches. Instead, they have a chalkboard menu of inventive, hand-held fare that changes daily, but includes such bread-bound delicacies as their pork-belly Cubano and a veggie option with marinated garbanzo bean salad, feta, arugula, and hot peppers. Every sandwich comes with kettle chips, and even better, you can add bacon to any sandwich. Mmmm, Bacon.

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Magnolia Smokestack
     

Magnolia Smokestack

San Francisco, California

The Magnolia Brewing Company has been going strong for over 15 years on Haight, but now it's expanding into food at Magnolia Smokestack. This unique new spot in Dogpatch combines a drinkery — complete with 12-15 taps of Magnolia's best, along with a full bar — with a killer BBQ joint run by Namu Gaji chef Dennis Lee. On the food side, you'll find two smokers and two grill pits serving up brisket, short ribs, chicken sausage, and more, with flavors influenced by barbecue destinations around the world. So go in, order up some food, grab a fresh beer, and find a seat. [via]

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Big Star
     

Big Star

Chicago, Illinois

Few things go together to create a great summer evening out like great food, good drinks, and terrific outdoor atmosphere. Big Star checks all three of the list. The simple menu includes a variety of tacos and tostadas, as well as grilled jalapeños, queso, salad, beans, and, of course, chips and guacamole, while the booze menu encompasses a solid selection of beers, an extensive bourbon list, an impressive variety of tequilas and mezcals, and a simple cocktail menu divided up into bourbon- and tequila-based drinks. Best enjoyed on the killer patio.

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Shady Lady Saloon
     

Shady Lady Saloon

Sacramento, California

Don't let the name fool you — there's very little "shady" going on inside the Shady Lady Saloon. Impeccably decorated for a classic look, this upscale spot offers up a great food menu of American classics, with a particular fondness for Southern favorites like fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and greens, and shrimp po'boys. Also on offer are outstanding cocktails both classic and modern, made from fresh, high-quality ingredients and the occasional house-made mixer like ginger ale, tonic, and cola. There's also live music several nights a week, should you decide to stick around after dinner — and with drinks as good as these, that's a good possibility.

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Tomboy
     

Tomboy

Collingwood, Australia

There are plenty of places to get a sandwich in Fitzroy, but you'll be hard-pressed to find one with more style than Tomboy. Powered by the duo behind Box Brownies, this unique café features a strong focus on sustainability, with an interior filled with repurposed items — including the vintage stereo built into the brick counter — and a menu filled with sandwiches, salads, and other baked goods made using seasonal produce from their own garden and other locally-sourced ingredients.

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