2017’s Most Popular Restaurant Trends


Can’t believe the year’s almost over. And you know what that means for us trend people?  It’s time to look back in order to look forward!

Here are the top 5 restaurant trends that have been on my radar. And I anticipate these will all live to see another year. Although, some have a longer shelf life than others.

Trend #1:  Pink

Millennial pink is everywhere – but especially in female-skewing spots. I’ve never seen food and fashion so closely aligned.

  • I first became aware of it at Brooklyn’s Carthage Must Be Destroyed (pic, upper left) but it has spread far and wide. It’s very inviting.
  • Pink has a feel-good vibe that conveys fresh, healthy, stylish and fun – and is perfect for the instagram world we live in. That said, it also strikes me as being more of a fad than a trend.
  • I anticipate pink will continue to be popular through 2018 but not much longer. It will look extremely dated the instant its expiration date comes due. Some prognosticators indicate lilac will usurp pink – I am not so sure. Walking into a lilac room does not have the same impact as pink.

Read on below for more trends.

Trend #2:  Ice Cream

Just when you think it can’t possibly get any more popular, it does!

  •  Newest development is soft serve. I especially love NYC’s Soft Swerve for their Filipino Ube purple yam flavor (pic below). One of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten – I was planning just to do a taste but I ate the whole damned thing!!


  • Clothing stores are adding ice cream parlors. One of the best is Treats at the newly opened Kith store in Nolita.

Treats ice cream parlor at Kith


Trend #3:  Dumplings and Dim Sum

In NYC, the madness started last year with the opening of Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan in the East Village. Lines were insane. When I finally made it in – eating at the stand-up counter as they do in Hong Kong – I loved the pork buns (maybe best I’ve had) but dumplings and everything else, not worth the hassle.

  • In the meantime, several new places have opened but the one I am keeping my eye on is Dale Talde’s Rice & Gold.
  • It’s a hip, Westernized Dim Sum Parlor that opened recently in the Hotel Bowery 50.
  • It’s a huge restaurant (200 seats) and it’s expensive – I’ve been three times and it always come in at around $80 or $90 per person which is a lot for dim sum. So I hope they figure it out because the food is really good but that’s a lot of seats to fill nightly.
  • And last nite I got to meet Dale Talde!! Note to self: take photos when you meet your idols!

Rice & Gold


Restaurateurs are clearly keen on the dim sum concept because it is a less expensive option for them but hasn’t worked out that way for me as a customer.

  • And I know there are a lot of cheap spots like Vanessa’s which people rave about but I thought it was just meh and would not go back there.

On a side note: look for more peking duck restaurants to open in 2018.

  • Da Dong, one of the best restaurants in China will be opening in NYC in November. They’ve opened reservations already and it’s fully booked through late December.

Rendering for NYC Da Dong opening November 2017


Trend #4:  Bowls

Symbolic of the casualization of dining.

  • Whether it’s ramen, grain bowls, or poke – we will continue to see more of this mode of plating.
  • Newest seem to be shallow bowls e.g. at Lighthouse Outpost where I had the most delicious freekeh bowl with whitefish and feta.
  • Poke bowls, on the other hand, may have jumped the shark. I’ve eaten poke at dozens of restaurants and it is always disappointing with the exception of 3 restaurants: Seamore’s, Wisefish Poke and Soho House West Hollywood.


Trend #5:  Open Table Gets Usurped by Newer, Less Expensive Competitors like Resy

Restaurants are increasingly fleeing Open Table and signing with less expensive competitors.

  • I noticed this earlier this year, when in the space of one week, I found all my favorite restaurants were no longer on Open Table.
  • Interestingly the  blog post I wrote on the topic has become my most widely read post and readership continues to build every week – so people are clearly googling the subject. Spells trouble for Open Table.

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