At the Field Company, we make tools. Our favorite tools, like cast iron skillets, are deceptively simple and reward time invested in pursuit of mastery. Our interests and aspirations tend to things that are timeless and will never go out of style—but we're delighted when we find ourselves in sync with a cultural moment.

Live-fire cooking is having a moment, but we believe in its timelessness. Great chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Alice Waters, and Francis Mallman have put wood-fueled flames in their restaurants for decades. They helped light the way. In the past few years, the sight—and smell—of roaring flames have become familiar to diners, while drawing young chefs to learn the craft of mastering heat.

In that spirit, we asked some of the best food writers in the country to help us identify America’s Best Live-Fire Restaurants. Think of this as a starting point for explorations from coast to coast—we want to hear about every worthy kitchen you find—and a reference guide for informing your own tastes and experiments with fire.

- Chris Muscarella, Field Company Co-Founder

Our Judges

Julia Bainbridge Writer, editor, podcast producer; Rachel Leah Blumenthal Eater Boston; Karen Brooks Portland Monthly; Adam H. Callaghan Eater Seattle; Tim Carman Washington Post; Emily Catalano Good Food Pittsburgh; Angela Covo Edible San Antonio; Matt Duckor Executive Producer, Condé Nast; Devra Ferst Food writer; Olee Fowler Eater Miami; Lori Fredrich OnMilwaukee; Andrew Friedman Writer; Meathead Goldwyn Author; Frank Guanco Food and wine blogger; Soleil Ho Racist Sandwich podcast; Scott Hocker Liquor.com; Rachel Hutton Star Tribune; Hillary Louise Johnson Sactown Magazine; Peter Kaminsky Author; Matthew Kang Eater LA; Julia Kramer Bon Appétit; Francis Lam The Splendid Table; Brett Martin GQ; Michael Mayo Dining critic, food writer; Anne E. McBride Conference program director, food writer, food studies professor; Klancy Miller Author of Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself; Jen Murphy Writer; Erin Byers Murray Nashville Lifestyles; Mai Pham Food writer; Allyson Reedy Food writer; Jordana Rothman Food & Wine; Farideh Sadeghin MUNCHIES; Robert Sietsema Eater New York; Alex J. Springer Salt Lake City Weekly; Kathy Stephenson The Salt Lake Tribune; Arthi Subramaniam Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Alex Tewfik Philadelphia Magazine; Mike Thelin Feast Portland, Hot Luck; Tan Vinh Seattle Times.

West

Bavel

Drawing on the Middle East for inspiration, Bestia owners Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s new restaurant in Los Angeles quickly landed a spot on Eater’s list of “The 18 Best New Restaurants in America.” Here, pita bread puffs up in the wood-fired oven while other dishes like grilled prawns marinated in harissa pick up a char from the hearth.

Visit Bavel.

Camino

Much of the seating at this Oakland restaurant is at a long communal table, and everyone has a view of the open kitchen. It’s fueled by a large hearth that’s used to cook a constantly changing menu with dishes like grilled pork leg and slow-cooked pork shoulder with escarole, fingerling potatoes, and tomatillos.

Visit Camino.

Campfire

“Gathering around a fire to share good food and drink with friends….as far as we’re concerned, there are few things better in life,” proclaims the menu at this Southern California restaurant. Chef Andrew Bachelier tends to the fire here, which is oak-fueled and used to grill dishes like brassica with Korean chiles and burrata. And for dessert, yes, there are s’mores.

Visit Campfire.

The Charter Oak

Christopher Kostow is a three-Michelin star chef, but the aim of his one-year-old Napa restaurant is to be anything but fussy. As GQ correspondent Brett Martin explains, “The hearth here works as the blazing anchor of a fun and delicious scene.”

Visit The Charter Oak.

Che Fico

Eleven Madison Park alum David Nayfeld wanted to keep things casual when he opened this Italian restaurant. While relaxed, it’s still one of the hottest spots in San Francisco at the moment. Diners line up for pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and chicken that comes with agrodolce, chilies, onions, and creamy polenta.

Visit Che Fico.

Ciudad

There’s a “fun atmosphere, lots of outdoor space, and wonderfully flavorful wood-fired fare,” says Eater Seattle editor Adam H.Callaghan. Meats from the grill like cider-brined pork shoulder and harissa chicken are sold by the pound, so it’s easy to mix and match here.

Visit Ciudad.

Herb & Wood

Chef Brian Malarkey’s menu changes daily, but live fire is always present. Pizzas like one topped with marrow still in its bone are cooked in a wood-fire oven, while avocados which are served with trout roe, fish sauce, sesame seed crunch and burrata get a nice char on a Grillworks grill. On warm days, grab a seat on the giant patio that features a double-sided fireplace.

Visit Herb & Wood.

Imperial

At Vitaly Paley’s all-day restaurant in Portland’s Hotel Lucia, native hardwoods and fruitwoods burn in a 60-inch grill and rotisserie from Universo in Italy. The menu is a celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s bounty, including hazelnut-finished pork that’s served with romesco and grilled leeks and a coal-roasted sweet potato with charred onion butter.

Visit Imperial.

Ned Ludd

“Wood-fired cooking is Ned Ludd's M.O. There is no fryer, no grill, no range, no flat-top...just the oven,” explains the team at this Portland restaurant. From that oven comes a whole roasted trout with a caper-herb vinaigrette and shaved vegetables and for dessert, a cast-iron chocolate chip cookie with vanilla milk.

Visit Ned Ludd.

Odys + Penelope

Husband and wife team Karen and Quinn Hatfield, who are also behind The Sycamore Kitchen and The Mighty, serve a menu that celebrates live fire with dishes like the house’s oak-grilled burger. There are also nightly selections from the brasero like bacon-wrapped chicken thighs with lemon date sauce.

Visit Odys + Penelope.

Opus Co.

Nearly everything served at this Seattle restaurant is cooked over the restaurant’s custom wood-fire grill. That includes grilled broccoli with spicy peanut relish and pickled cherry tomato as well as lamb with yogurt, eggplant escabeche, and spicy pepita. If you’d prefer to leave the decisions up to the kitchen, opt for the “Opus feast.”

Visit Opus Co.

Otium

Build up your appetite at the contemporary art museum The Broad, then head next door to what the late critic Jonathan Gold called “L.A.’s most ambitious new restaurant in years.” Chef Timothy Hollingsworth employs wood smokers along with a wood-burning oven and grill to prepare dishes like a tomahawk steak with seasonal vegetables and bordelaise sauce for the table.

Visit Otium.

Ox

Argentina’s superb grilling tradition meets the Pacific Northwest at this James Beard Award-winning Portland restaurant. “At the entrance, the flames of a hand-cranked grill greets you like the burning bush. Ox has a message: follow us into a land where risk, reach and familiarity can cohabit happily, forever,” says Portland Monthly food critic and editor Karen Brooks. “It's the next iteration of the steak house.”

Visit Ox.

Pa'La

Phoenix chef Claudio Urciuoli uses a handmade wood-burning oven and steel grill to turn out a vegetable-focused menu that’s announced on a chalkboard daily. Expect dishes like wood-baked rye topped with avocado, tomato, and peekytoe crab. While the restaurant has gained critical acclaim, the vibe is anything but stuffy—fittingly, meals are served on paper plates.

Visit Pa'La.

Salazar

Pull up a seat at this mostly outdoor dining destination in Los Angeles, where the menu draws inspiration from Sonora, Mexico, near Baja California. Fittingly, flour tortillas are grilled and served hot with carne and pollo asada, and al pastor or pork sweetened with pineapple.

Visit Salazar.

Tarsan i Jane

“Valencia meets Pacific Northwest” here, explains Adam H. Callaghan, Eater’s Seattle editor. The result is a constantly changing tasting menu prepared over a wood-fire hearth of “daring and delicious dishes, a focus on wild-foraged and fermented foods, a strong wine list, and a luxurious setting.”

Visit Tarsan i Jane.

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Central

Annette

A large wall at this Colorado destination is lined with wood, ready for chef Caroline Glover and her team to throw into their wood-fire grill and smoker. “Almost every dish touches our grill (or smoker),” she says.

Visit Annette.

Birch + Butcher

The home of Milwaukee’s only open-fire hearth serves a menu that’s inspired by the Midwest and changes often. Here, the standard meat and potatoes are reimagined as coal-roasted dry aged ribeye and smoked lard potatoes with salsa verde.

Visit Birch + Butcher.

Black Rabbit

Every savory dish that comes out of the open kitchen at Trey Cioccia’s downtown Nashville restaurant and cocktail den is cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fire oven or the hickory-fueled Demant grill. That includes sourdough served with vegetable butter, charred peppers with country ham, and a half chicken that comes with beans in buttermilk and Hawaiian rolls.

Visit Black Rabbit.

Cattivella

Chef Elise Wiggins returns to Italy every summer to bring back new inspiration for her Denver restaurant. Grill options include half a cornish game hen stuffed with pheasant sausage, but if you’d prefer pizza, try a wood-fired pizza with nduja, burrata, fontina, spigarello and fennel pollen.

Visit Cattivella.

Citizen Rail

It’s hard to miss the custom wood-fire grill here. The kitchen is open to the dining room, and a few diners get a front row seat at the kitchen counter. Meats are butchered and dry aged in house then served simply with sides like grilled broccoli and hickory-grilled snap peas.

Visit Citizen Rail.

Dai Due

Grilled meat takes center stage at this Austin restaurant and butcher shop. Choose from composed plates like grilled wagyu baby back ribs with spicy sweet corn honey, stewed pinto beans, and fermented zucchini, or from the a la carte section which includes pork chops and a 20-ounce Wagyu ribeye.

Visit Dai Due.

El Che Bar

An homage to Argentina’s grilling tradition is the heart of Chicago’s El Che Bar. The restaurant boasts two NorCal Ovenworks grills, three Wayward Machine Co. chapas, and a Wayward Machine Co. wood smoker. For the full effect, opt for the parrillada, a shared order of flank steak, morcilla, a marrow bone, sweetbreads, chorizo verde, and several sauces to go with the meats.

Visit El Che Bar.

Elske

Husband and wife David and Anna Posey helm the kitchen at this Chicago restaurant that’s powered by a custom-made wood-fire hearth and a binchotan grill. As the team explains: “Most [of our] proteins spend time on the grill [and] we hearth roast a lot of fruits and vegetables that end up on the menu in some form.” This includes dessert, which should not be skipped.

Visit Elske.

Husk

Like its predecessor in Charleston, Husk celebrates modern Southern ingredients and cooking, Nashville-style. The menu changes frequently, but look out spaghetti squash roasted in the embers, hearth cornbread, and locally-sourced proteins cooked on the grill.

Visit Husk.

Lena Brava

The restaurant’s name translates to “ferocious fire,” which is what one is treated to in Rick Bayless’s Baja-inspired spot. The chef has found a way “to make Mexican cooked inside taste as if it were cooked over an outdoor live fire in Mexico,” says food writer Anne E. McBride.

Visit Lena Brava.

Maple & Ash

Forget what you know about steakhouses: Chicago’s Maple & Ash is a decadent yet raucous party. Caviar comes with potato chips and there’s an “I Don’t Give a F*@k” option on the menu where you put yourself in the kitchen’s hands. If you’d rather choose for yourself, opt for one of the numerous steaks cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fire hearth.

Visit Maple & Ash.

Marjie's Grill

The flavors of Southeast Asia are paired with ingredients from the Gulf Coast at this casual spot in New Orleans. The entire menu—which features dishes like slow-grilled pork jowl, coal-roasted potatoes, and a honey-butter yardbird—is cooked in a ten-foot Santa Maria-style barbecue pit or on one of two custom charcoal grills.

Visit Marjie's Grill.

Martina

Born in Buenos Aires, chef Daniel del Prado has brought Argentine-inspired cooking to Minneapolis. Grilled fare appears all over the menu, inlcuding grilled cucumbers with chile oil, octopus with fingerling potatoes, and a parrillada for two with sweetbreads, blood sausage, and more.

Visit Martina.

Peche Seafood Grill

“Peche has found a way to breathe new life into traditional Louisianan dishes,” explains food writer Anne E. McBride. The James Beard Award winning team celebrates local and sustainable seafood like grilled tuna with tomato and a crispy rice salad cooked over live fire.

Visit Peche Seafood Grill.

Roister

Grant Achatz’s Roister serves “insanely cheffy food but it doesn't look or feel like it,” says Francis Lam, the host of The Splendid Table. It comes from a long, open kitchen and hearth. “[It’s] some weird combination of Southern and Japanese...and neither,” adds Lam. It’s best not to define the cooking here, and just enjoy.

Visit Roister.

Urban Cowboy Public House

Bon Appetit deputy editor Julia Kramer explains that this Nashville restaurant “is literally just a couple guys and an enormous live-fire grill. It's wild and crazy and fun and one of the most delicious meals I had last year.”

Visit Urban Cowboy Public House.

Vicia Restaurant

Open for less than two years, this St. Louis restaurant has already garnered a glowing mention in nearly every major restaurant-focused publication. Food & Wine restaurant editor Jordana Rothman calls the restaurant and its daily changing menu “radically light in the meat-and-potatoes Midwest. Cheeky, interactive, [and] fine."

Visit Vicia Restaurant.

Young Joni

There are Korean leanings at Ann Kim’s Minneapolis restaurant, found in dish like kimchi fried rice and Korean beef short ribs, but there are other influences at play, too. Expect wood-roasted corn with Calabrian chile butter, and an excellent selection of creative pizzas.

Visit Young Joni.

East

The Dabney

Jeremiah Langhorne is revitalizing Mid-Atlantic cooking in Washington D.C. at the much-lauded new restaurant. And nearly everything the kitchen turns out, from hearth-roasted vegetables with farro to whole grilled porgy with grilled cucumber and nduja vinaigrette, is made in the restaurant’s open hearth.

Visit The Dabney.

Death & Taxes

The latest restaurant from chef Ashley Christensen, who snagged last year’s “Chef of the Year” award from Eater, is dedicated to cooking with live fire. Evern the embers from her Grillworks grill fire aren’t overlooked; she uses them to cook sweet corn served with smoked butter, and to char tomatoes for a vinaigrette that tops heirloom tomatoes dotted with house-made ricotta.

Visit Death & Taxes.

Gaucho Parrilla

Everything is casual at this Argentine restaurant in Pittsburgh. Order one of five cuts of steak that’s cooked over live fire at the counter, and it will be brought to your table inside or on the patio if the weather’s nice.

Visit Gaucho Parrilla.

Hearthside

A short ride across the river from Philadelphia sits chef Dominic and Lindsay Piperno’s hearth-focused restaurant. Oak logs fuel the fires here, infusing dishes with smoke like a 30-day dry-aged porterhouse and specials like a hearth-roasted rack of lamb with kale saag, charred cabbage and black lentils. Make sure to grab a bottle of wine before heading over; the restaurant’s BYOB.

Visit Hearthside.

King + Duke

A 24-foot-long open hearth is at the center of acclaimed Southern chef Ford Fry’s restaurant. It’s used to cook scallops that come with romesco and marinated peppers, a house burger called “The Duke,” and duck finished with blackberries and watercress.

Visit King + Duke.

KYU

At this Miami restaurant, chef Michael Lewis turns out wood-grilled Asian-inflected fare like beef tenderloin with toasted garlic soy butter and fire-roasted kimchi, and grilled jumbo tiger prawn with black bean vinaigrette and Korean mint. Don’t miss the duck breast burnt ends. Plus, for every tree burned, the team replants five to take its place.

Visit KYU.

La Brasa

“Our planning phase is getting the product here. Once it’s here, I have fun with it,” says chef Daniel Bojorquez. He cooks much of it over a wood-fired grill and oven, including a skirt steak, wood-roasted oysters and a sweet potato loaded with goat cheese, pistachios, walnuts and a honey vinaigrette.

Visit La Brasa.

La Cuchara

Chef Ben Lefenfeld takes his inspiration from the Basque region of Spain, changing his menu daily. Expect dishes such as calamari a la plancha with Calabrian chiles, piquillo, anchovy oil, and scallions to be cooked over a grill—either in a black steel pan or directly over the flames.

Visit La Cuchara.

Lilia

Missy Robbins’s Brooklyn restaurant is perhaps best known for its fresh housemade pasta, but, as food writer Andrew Friedman explains, “It's not the only style of cooking done here... from the steaks to seasonal specials, some of the best food comes from the wood-burning oven.”

Visit Lilia.Photo: Noah Fecks.

Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann

Arguably, there are few chefs who know more about live-fire cooking than Argentina’s Francis Mallmann. If you can’t swing a trip to his homeland, this Miami restaurant is a good stand-in. For the complete experience, opt for the meat parrillada, which comes with skirt steak, slow-cooked ribeye, chorizo, and more.

Visit Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann.

Lulu Kitchen & Bar

A refreshing find in the posh Hamptons, Lulu’s kitchen blazes with a Grillworks Infierno grill and oven. Fire-licked flavor shows up across the menu from a grilled heirloom cauliflower with spicy grapes, toasted sesame, and cooling yogurt, to Saturday night’s special: a cowboy ribeye that serves two.

Visit Lulu Kitchen & Bar.

Marta

Danny Meyer and his group Union Square Hospitality Group is known for exceptional service and restaurants that know just what you need. Here, they combine that with Roman fare and excellent pizza prepared in two wood-burning ovens and on an open-fire grill.

Visit Marta.

Maydan

The flavors of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucuses come together at this D.C. restaurant—and everything is centered around the restaurant’s fire pit. “It is a lot of fun, to say the least,” says co-chef Chris Morgan. It’s used to grill carrots that are topped with harissa, fuel clay ovens where the house’s signature flatbread is cooked, and singe kebabs like duck breast with ras el hanout.

Visit Maydan.

Metta

Walk by Metta and you might mistake it for a neighborhood Brooklyn restaurant, but the ambitions of the kitchen far outpace that definition. Argentine-born chef Norberto “Negro” Piattoni tends to the hearth here, imparting smoke and char in a delicate way, says Francis Lam, the host of The Splendid Table. “It touches many items on the menu but rarely takes center stage.”

Visit Metta.

Roberta's

Home to a radio station, a fine-dining restaurant, a bakery, and more, this Brooklyn institution doesn’t fit easily into one category. At the center of the operation is a pizzeria with pies that are just barely singed in a wood-burning oven. Don’t skip the vegetables though like wood-fire cabbage and grilled radicchios with persimmons.

Visit Roberta's.

Terra (at Eataly Boston)

Escape the crowds at Boston’s Eataly and sneak up to the third floor to this Italian grill spot. As Eater Boston editor Rachel Blumenthal says: “There's something for everyone: bruschette; grilled things on skewers; charcuterie and cheese boards; pasta dishes; grilled meats and seafood.”

Visit Terra.