AAA has awarded its prestigious Five Diamond Ratings for 2019, with two restaurants in the AAA Northeast footprint earning the coveted awards for the first time.
Coast, a farm-to-table restaurant in Westerly, R.I., received the distinction, as did Atera, an exclusive, chef-driven eatery in New York City.
Coast is the first restaurant in Rhode Island to earn Five Diamond status.
“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment,” said Michael Petrone, director of AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “To be considered leading edge, chefs must incorporate a laser-focused approach using innovative concepts and menus featuring the finest ingredients. Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining.”
The eateries were among 67 in North America to earn the award. Only 0.2 percent of the 32,000 AAA Diamond Rated restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean earn a Five Diamond distinction.
Among Five Diamond establishments, AAA inspectors note many are adopting more casual environments to guest preferences for a more relaxed experience. Thanks to popular cooking competition shows, many high-end restaurants continue to showcase open kitchens where guests can watch the chefs at work.
Located in the upscale Ocean House – also Five Diamond Rated – Coast showcases Rhode Island seafood with a menu that changes daily to showcase the freshest ingredients from local fishmongers and growers. Its dramatic seaside setting earned it a AAA Inspector’s Best of 2019 Scenic View award, with the inspector noting, “It’s merely one of the best views I have seen, which makes it extremely hard to leave after the dining experience.”
Coast was upgraded from its previous Four Diamond Rating.
Atera – located in Tribeca – debuted with its Five Diamond Rating. Inspectors call it a treat for all the senses, with a tasting menu that slowly builds with creative presentations and ingredients. It received a AAA Inspector’s Best of 2019 Personal Favorite award for its innovation and dazzling food and presentations. “My mood at this tiny eatery is charged with anticipation as I await a series of courses which are visually unlike anything else in town,” the inspector wrote.
A third restaurant – Oriole, in Chicago – also earned its first Five Diamond Rating this year.
A number of restaurants also earned Four Diamond distinctions this year. There are 656 Four Diamond eateries in North America, with 39 of them earning Four Diamonds for the first time in 2019. Only 2.1 percent of AAA Approved restaurants earn the Four Diamond Rating, which require creatively served plates in a fine-dining setting.
To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts.