Favorite Restaurant Foods

Posted: January 18, 2018

Trends come and go, but perennial favorites are forever

As part of our 2018 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, we asked 700 professional chefs to share diners’ Top 10 perennially favorite foods. If you guessed shellfish, barbecue or gelato, you’re right on trend. Here’s what they said:

1. Shellfish
Think shrimp, lobster, crab and scallops to name a few. You can eat them chilled, broiled, steamed in butter, baked or broiled, and they taste great every time!

2. Barbecue
Whether it’s prepared slow, grilled in the backyard or smoked by a pit master, Americans love their ribs, chicken and burgers. That popularity continues to grow as more barbecue joints and television shows devoted to the craft pop up.

3. Bacon
It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Restaurants are offering everything from bacon cheeseburgers to maple-bacon ice cream to bacon jam. It’s also in ethnic cuisines. Pork belly never tasted so good.

4. Comfort food
Why do we order mac and cheese or pizza? Because they make us happy. Now, because of growing demand and changing demographics, comfort foods are becoming more global. Add Kung Pao chicken, quesadillas and ramen to the menu mix.

5. Gelato
Consumers love ice cream, but now many want its Italian cousin. They think it’s healthier because it contains less butterfat and cream, but holds flavor well.

6. Hand-made pasta
Sophisticated diners crave more artisan-crafted options that they can’t easily create themselves.

7. Breakfast burritos/tacos

This breakfast sandwich is popular in all day parts. A combination of eggs, breakfast meat, cheese and, maybe, potato wrapped in a tortilla, it’s no wonder this filling item is a fan-favorite of many.

8. Mediterranean flavors
Known for its use of herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, Mediterranean food is usually associated with Greek food. But it’s more than that. It includes the versatile foods of Southern Italy, Spain, and Morocco, among others.

9. Juice or milk in kids’ meals
More Americans want healthful beverages for their children when they dine out. Restaurants are offering low-fat milk, water and juices as additional options.

10. Breakfast hash
Restaurants are adding this typically bowl-based item to their menus. Fast, delicious and flavorful, it’s a hit with consumers.

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