Just three months after its opening, the Japanese izakaya (an "informal Japanese gastropub") restaurant Monkitail at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL was recognized as the No. 1 Best Hotel Restaurant by USA Today. The modern, fine-dining spot is helmed by celebrity chef and restauranteur Michael Schulson.
Monkitail is chef Schulson’s seventh restaurant, and its menu is composed of shareable small plates and sushi. Beyond the main dining room of Monkitail is the accompanying Nokku, a cocktail lounge with four private rooms, each with karaoke capabilities.
A panel of restaurant and hospitality experts partnered with the editors of USA Today’s "10Best" to pick the initial 20 nominees based on the dining and hotel experience at each restaurant, and then the top ten winners were decided by popular vote. Another panel of experts then ordered the top ten. The Top 10 are as follows:
- Monkitail, Diplomat Beach Resort—Hollywood, FL
- Bardot Brasserie, Aria Resort & Casino—Las Vegas
- Jiko, The Cooking Place, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge—Orlando.
- é by José Andrés, The Cosmopolitan—Las Vegas
- Chefs Club, The St. Regis Aspen Resort—Aspen
- Immigrant Restaurant, American Club—Kohler, WI
- Lacroix, The Rittenhouse—Philadelphia
- Orchids at Palm Court, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza—Cincinnati
- Joël Robuchon, MGM Grand—Las Vegas
- La Mer, Halekulani—Honolulu
The oceanfront, 1,000-room Diplomat Beach Resort has more than ten culinary concepts, re-imagined public spaces, a spa and more than 209,000 square feet of meetings and event space. The hotel is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton.