Alviso, California
Lunch is served up like nowhere else at Maria Elena's on Gold Street, especially their buffet Tuesdays through Fridays. Dig in to their mouthwatering chili verde, or try their delicious and tender chicken mole.
- Richard C. Gattey, Boulder Creek, California

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
I am originally from New York, where I think the best pizza is made. But I don't get there often these days, and I have found pizza that is just as good on the road. In Chambersburg there's a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant called Pat and Carla's, and they make great pizza. When I lived in Maryland, I'd go way out of my way just to pick up a few pies to take home with me.
- Richard Ednie, Rockledge, Florida

Corona Del Mar, California
My absolute favorite place to eat is a little restaurant in Corona Del Mar called Oysters. It is very cozy, with a live jazz band playing most nights, and the food is excellent! My personal favorite choices are the kung-pao calamari appetizer and the tibiko oysters for starters, and then the macadamia-crusted sea bass for the main course. I usually don't have any room left for dessert, but Oysters' flourless chocolate cake is to die for!
- Mike Ingles, Shady Shores, Texas

Indianapolis, Indiana
St. Elmo Steak House in downtown Indianapolis is a must if you want scrumptious and tender steak. Don't forget to order their signature shrimp cocktail as an appetizer, and make sure you have plenty of liquid to wash it down with. The cocktail sauce is heavy on fresh horseradish - maybe that's where the term St. Elmo's Fire originated!
- Richard C. Gattey, Boulder Creek, California

Maui, Hawaii
I travel to Maui two to three times a year for business, and I'll share my two favorite restaurants. The first is Isana, which is a sushi and Korean restaurant and karaoke bar in Kihei, near Sugar Beach. The first thing I do when I arrive is stop at Isana for lunch and catch up with Andy, the owner and sushi chef. I'll usually go to Isana two or three times during my stay. Andy's poke is the best on the island, and so is his Korean cuisine. My other favorite is a little hole-in-the-wall in Wailuku called Tasty Crust, which is frequented mostly by locals. They have great Hawaiian cuisine, like loco-moco and chicken katsu, but what they really boast about (and rightfully so) are their hotcakes and their Southern-fried chicken!
- Steven D. Silverstein, Los Angeles, California

Miami, Florida
One restaurant I cherish is Graziano's Parrilla Argentina, in Miami. These folks offer the best steaks in the city and fabulous Argentine cuisine, all while keeping a pretty low profile in the heart of Miami's old Westchester neighborhood.
- Dennis D. Mullert, McKinney, Texas

Miami Beach, Florida
My favorite restaurant is in my own hometown, Miami Beach. It's an unassuming little fish restaurant called Altamar, located far west on Lincoln Road, past the tony eateries and boutiques. The selection is fresh and diverse, the preparations inventive, the flavors exquisite, the hospitality genuinely warm, and the prices moderate. I haven't told many people about it ­- that way I can keep it my own quaint, secret spot for entertaining friends and clients.
- Mark J. Lewis-Jones, Miami Beach, Florida

New Fairfield, Connecticut
I've become very fond of the huge portions of delicious, inexpensive food at the Seven Stars Diner in New Fairfield, Connecticut. They have the most wonderful Greek dishes, including moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, salads, and more, for less than $20.
- Mary C. Hall, Redondo Beach, California

New York, New York
The best meal I've ever had in New York City was the chicken strips and french fries that I washed down with a Bud Light at a Yankees game. Not because it was haute cuisine, but because of the entire experience - the game, the fans, the sights, sounds, and smells of America's number one sport. The other great meal I've had in New York was gnocchetti at Barbetta's on 46th Street. This year, the restaurant will celebrate its 100th year in New York City. Homemade cream sauce, dumplings as light as air. We sat in their exquisite garden with large trees shading the areas, a riot of flowers around us. The city seemed far away, as though we were in a small village in Italy.
- Nancy E. White, Carrollton, Texas

New York, New York
The best Italian restaurant is a place called Campagnola's, on the Upper East Side. You'll never see a menu - the waiter just asks who likes pasta, who likes fish, who likes veal, and the food just keeps coming out. When you get there, tell the bartender, Jack O'Connell, that Tom Wright sent you.
- Thomas A. Wright, Garden City, New York

New York, New York
I don't get to New York City as often as I would like, but I always find time to squeeze in lunch at a great deli, Manganaro's Italian Groceria & Restaurant. It's at Ninth Avenue at 37th Street and serves hot and cold food in addition to being an Italian grocery. There's a newspaper article posted inside that shows Luciano Pavarotti shopping there. You can't get more Italian than that. It's a family-owned store, and there are usually three (sometimes four) sisters working the counter. They never forget a face, and they don't take any nonsense from anybody. If you're not ready with your order when it's your turn, forget it! They'll pass you right by, and it's up to you to get back in the line! Wednesday is risotto day, so get in line early because it doesn't last long. The sandwiches are huge, and they're served on amazing home-baked bread. Even better is that the restaurant involves a long-simmering feud. From what I've been told, the Manganaro family has been feuding for years, and since nobody can decide who owns the rights to the family name, members have opened separate restaurants - right next door to each other. That's right ... next to Manganaro's deli is Manganaro's Hero Boy. Window signs alert passersby that the two establishments aren't affiliated. I've never been to Hero Boy. I'm afraid of what the sisters would do to me if they saw me going inside!
- Greg Schwem, Lemont, Illinois

New York, New York
The Metropolitan Cafe on First Avenue in New York City is a favorite of mine. I love their steak, green apple, and Gorgonzola salad. It's absolutely delicious. The staff is friendly, and it never bothers me to eat there alone, either in the restaurant or in the lovely garden outside.
- Mary C. Hall, Redondo Beach, California

Norman, Oklahoma
Home tastes like Victoria's. Nestled in a corner near the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Victoria's is a tiny restaurant. The kitchen is open in the middle with small tables and chairs. The displays on the walls are by local artists and change every month. The menu is simple, five or six kinds of pasta with a few sauces to choose from and a few specialties like lasagna rolls. The spaghetti in lemon-garlic butter with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese has pulled me through some good and bad times over the past 10 years.
- Brandi K. McManus, Carrollton, Texas

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Recently, my team gathered in Philadelphia, and we ate at the City Tavern, a few blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The Tavern was rebuilt to the exact specifications of the original, which was destroyed by fire in the 1930s. The staff held the kitchen open for us, stayed a little after closing to accommodate us, and generally treated us like members of Congress ourselves. The menu was excellent; the wine and beer list, including George Washington's Mount Vernon Ale recipe, extensive; and the staff was exceptionally knowledgeable about the history, practices, and customs of the founding fathers. In the same area where Paul Revere informed Congress of the closing of the Port of Boston, where John Adams first met George Washington, and where Washington formed the Society of the Cincinnati, we had a wonderful dining experience.
- Joseph F. Kenny, Nevada, Texas

Portland, Oregon
Whenever my travels take me to Portland, I always make sure to stop for lunch or dinner at Typhoon!, a wonderful Thai restaurant. The miang kum - a traditional Thai peasant dish that brings together a wide variety of ingredients - is every bit the explosion of flavors that the reviews say it is.
- Paul Gewirtz, Hoboken, New Jersey

Raritan, New Jersey
My absolute favorite places to eat are smaller restaurants that are probably only well known in their particular area. A good example is Uncle Vinnie's in Raritan, New Jersey. The fried calamari is the main entry at Vinnie's, and the garlic is strong enough to keep Dracula at least three blocks away, but it is the most wonderful calamari I have ever eaten.
- David Bricker, Greenwood, Indiana

San Antonio, Texas
I can't drive anywhere within 30 miles of San Antonio without stopping by Chris Madrid's for a Tostada Burger. No, it's not just a hamburger; it's piled with homemade refried beans, chips, onions, and creamy Cheddar cheese, topped with homemade salsa and jalapeños on a beef patty! The restaurant is set in an old gas station and cantina, and the walls are adorned with Tex-Mex decor. The folks there are the nicest you'll find anywhere, and their philosophy is "cook each item as if you were cooking it for a friend." Please, do me a favor and try a Tostada Burger - you won't be disappointed!
- Jamie E. Debney, Austin, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
My ultimate meal is breakfast at the Taco Haven on the south side of San Antonio. This is a wonderful Mexican restaurant owned and managed by the members of the Torres family. Papa Torres built this store from a small taco stand, and now his children and grandchildren run it. Reggie and Olga do a great job handling the staff, and they are an institution on the South Side. The food is fantastic, and the red sauce (warmed-up hot sauce) makes you feel warm all over.
- Rhonda E. Harris, Dallas, Texas

San Diego, California
I love Buono Apetito, in the heart of San Diego's Little Italy (near the airport). This little Italian place has fabulous food, and if you like risotto, you have to try the Risotto de Funghi - it's wonderful.
- Dennis D. Mullert, McKinney, Texas

San Jose, California
Who would think that vegetable soup could be something to die for? Well, it is, at Il Fornaio at the Sainte Claire hotel in San Jose, California. The minestrone defies logic, delights the palate, and satisfies the belly.
- Philip M. Rego, Santa Cruz, California

San Juan, Puerto Rico
I am frequently teased for not being able to go to Puerto Rico without eating at a fabulous neighborhood restaurant, Miro. It has wonderful fresh seafood, terrific wines, outstanding service, and a warm atmosphere. They always make me feel at home.
- Karen C. McShea, Winchester, Massachusetts

St. Croix, USVI
My husband and I visited the island of St. Croix for its beautiful beaches and superb diving, but we were pleasantly surprised to find culinary creationism at its best. Villa Madeleine was one of our favorites, and it's a must-see for anyone who visits. Getting there is half the fun: It is high on a beautiful hill, and the drive up is a treat. As we pulled into the driveway, we discovered a substantial stone building with a magnificent porch that stretched out over a cliff. Sparkling lights twinkled above the tables, which were dressed in white linen. We were seated at a table and were treated to a breathtaking view. The menu offered a large variety, but we chose fish dishes. Everything tasted like it was caught that day, and the sauces were bursting with flavor. Best of all, the waiter made bananas Foster at our table in a fantastic display.
- Madeleine A. Parker, Dallas, Texas

St. Louis, Missouri
Oddly enough, my absolute favorite restaurant is here in St. Louis. It's called Eleven Eleven Mississippi, and it's near downtown. When the Final Four was in town this past April, I sent and took colleagues and coworkers from out of town there for dinner. All of them went back again on their own and brought others with them. I knew a guy who ate there three times in the four days he was in town!
- Elsa S. Hasch, St. Louis, Missouri

Seattle, Washington
Palisade Waterfront Restaurant is one of Seattle's gems. Only reachable by boat or by going over a bridge, it sits snuggled under a sheer cliff that then descends to a small clearing of land perched right on the water's edge. The flavors are both regional and Asian, and the service is attentive. Floor-to-ceiling windows peer out onto Elliott Bay, with downtown Seattle's cityscape as the backdrop.
- Rahul Banta, San Francisco, California

Seattle, Washington
My husband and I were wandering near Seattle's Pike Place Market when we came upon a sleek little restaurant called Etta's Seafood. Terminally hip waitstaff circled the room, which was decorated with a mix of West Coast chic and Pacific Northwest flair. When the cedar-planked salmon came to our table and I took the first bite, I had that rarest of experiences: food euphoria. Oh, you know what I mean - that thrill of excitement and utter pleasure that comes when you bite into a perfectly crisp Granny Smith apple or sip the ultimate hot chocolate on a cold night after sledding. That perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked piece of salmon had just the right touch of saltiness, just the right hint of smokiness, and just the correct combination of sweet and tart in its fruit garnish. The dish provided a rush of sensation that has been unparalleled since.
- Laura L. Marlow, Festus, Missouri