Welcome to our new OpenTable City Guides: Austin, London & Los Angeles

We don’t know about you, but the absolute first thing we do when planning a trip is decide where to eat. After all, there is no more authentic way to the heart (or stomach) of a culture than through its local dining scene. At OpenTable, we believe in the power of what happens around the restaurant table—so we thought it was about time we take a step back and help you get there.

And so, we took to the streets, in three of the most interesting, exciting food cities around the world today—London, Austin, and Los Angeles. Each unique in their culinary history and characters, they share a certain edge and willingness to experiment with the dining status quo. Discover the London dining scene, home to world-renowned chefs like Fergus Henderson and Yotam Ottolenghi, and also exploding with young, creative talent. And, how much more than barbeque there is in Austin (not that you shouldn’t make a point of hunting down the best ribs and washing them down with craft brew.) Los Angeles leads the nation’s food avant-garde, with arguably the most nationally influential food critic, Jonathan Gold, in charge and fusion, fermentation, and fenugreek for days.

In our guides, we hope you’ll have a first taste of these towns through the eyes of those who know them best—a curated set of tastemakers who represent the face of the industry in each place. From executive chefs to craft coffee brewers, notable bakers to it-pop up leaders, these influencers are the ones to follow. So, in London we hobnob with the couple behind buzzy Ta Ta Eatery and get their picks for where to nosh authentic Chinese now; then in Austin, Tyson Cole, Chef/Owner of Uchi and Uchiko weighs in on the definitive mainstays, and Franklin Barbecue tops most every tastemaker’s list (no surprise there.) In Los Angeles, it’s all about edge—from Mexican vegan at Gracias Madre to Cali-korean fusion at Here’s Looking At You.

You may have a trip on the books, or you may just enjoy a healthy dose of armchair travel — either way, step inside and get inspired. We can’t wait to see the tables you unearth.

Let us know your favourite picks from the new OpenTable city guides here or over on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

This is a guest post from Francesca Gilberti Burke, a freelance writer and editor living in San Francisco, where along with OpenTable, she contributes to Vogue, Architectural Digest, and Mind Body Green, among other outlets. A restaurant junkie and native of New York, four years ago she moved west for love and avocado toast and never looked back.