In the world of seasonal cuisine, trends come and go, but the latest craze may have legs. Or, at least, leaves. It’s chicory, and it’s not only our Crop of the Month, but also Bon Appetit’s vegetable of the year. “Crisp, leafy salad is a miraculous thing: It lends satisfying bulk to a light meal and bright balance to a heavy one,” they said. “But the restaurant leaves, they are a changin’. It seems like just yesterday that chefs of every stripe were obsessing over alt-Caesars, crunchy piles of Little Gem, and reinvented wedges. But this year it’s definitely chicories—a family of hardy, pleasantly bitter, multihued lettuces—that are having their moment in the salad spotlight.”
Of course, salad isn’t the only place chicory is showing up. Take a trip with us as we explore the best chicory restaurant dishes right now.
Brenda’s French Soul Food
San Francisco, CA
Can’t get to Cafe du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee? Just head to San Francisco’s Civic Center area, where Chef Brenda Buenviaje has brought a taste of New Orleans to the bay. Brenda’s French Soul Food has won acclaim for her inspired menu, with the coffee satisfying that need for rich, roasted flavor and the beignets having been described as “addictive” and one of the “must-try dishes” from Zagat.
Santa Cruz, CA
The menu you see today may be totally different next week, because Santa Cruz mainstay Bantam keeps it moving to accommodate what’s fresh and seasonal. If you can get in when they’ve got Italian chicory gracing their wood-fired pizza, by all means, do. You’ll also want to order the chicory Caesar salad, with anchovy, Reggiano and bread crumbs.
Chef David Kinch serves up a nightly tasting menu featuring hyper-seasonal selections—one of many reasons the restaurant earned three Michelin stars.
Not knowing what’s on the menu that evening until you arrive for dinner is part of the allure of Manresa. However, if you see the chicory coffee ravioli, consider yourself very fortunate.
An international menu and a historic downtown Los Angeles location converge for a unique experience at Bäco Mercat. Their chicory & arugula salad with heirloom baby tomatoes and pecorino is one of many lively offerings surrounding their signature flatbread sandwich, the Bäco.
There’s a reason this Venice darling so often finds itself on our “Crop of the Month” list; the restaurant keeps it fresh and seasonal, with dishes like the chicory salad with fresh Barhi date, fennel, Caesar dressing, and parmesan. Chicory also adds flavor and texture to a plate of crispy duck confit with concord grape and hazelnut.
San Diego, CA
Lionfish Modern Coastal Cuisine is known for its menu of fresh, sustainable seafood in San Diego’s hot Gaslamp District, and their salad of grilled chicories and sunchokes with parmesan and broccoli top pesto is just one reason to plan a visit.