Recipe Spotlight

9 Famous Restaurant Dishes You Can Make At Home

Turn your cravings for your favorite dining-out meals into at-home cooking experiences.

Published May 26, 2020.

Avery Lowe

There’s nothing quite like eating one of your favorite dishes in your favorite restaurant. There’s a particular essence to restaurant food that makes the meal inherently special and distinctively tasty. While countless restaurants are closed or reframing how their business runs, or too far away for us to travel to and visit, we’ve been working on emulating that restaurant spirit at home by preparing dishes inspired by them.

The following are some of our most beloved restaurant-influenced recipes from establishments and chefs who have inspired us over the years. Let these recipes tide you over until you’re able to visit your favorite restaurants again. (And if you happen to live near the restaurants where these dishes originate, you can still taste the real thing—many of them are open for take-out.)

Skillet Roasted Chicken in Lemon SauceChicken TendersGrilled Pizza
From left: Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce, Chicken Tenders, Grilled Pizza

Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce Inspired by Rao’s (Harlem, NY)

Rao’s, an exclusive Italian restaurant in Harlem, New York, is famously booked solid for decades out, so our take on their skillet-roasted chicken may be helpful to have in your back pocket for years to come. We adapted Rao’s recipe by substituting easy-to-find chicken parts for the small whole bird they use in the restaurant, as well as implementing a unique browning technique that makes up for the restaurant broiler power most home ovens can’t replicate. [GET RECIPE]

What You'll Need
½ cup salt
3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot
1 garlic clove
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves

Chicken Tenders Inspired by Puritan Backroom Restaurant (Manchester, NH)

If there’s anyone you can trust with the almighty chicken tender, it would be the Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire. We were inspired by the Puritan Backroom’s hard-to-resist, classic take on chicken tenders, which they’ve perfected over their one hundred years in business. These tenders come together with easy-to-find ingredients and are best served alongside one of our many dipping sauce recipes. We suggest letting the chicken marinate overnight for maximum flavor development. [GET RECIPE]

What You’ll Need
1 cup water
½ cup duck sauce
Salt and pepper
2 lbs chicken tenderloins
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil

Grilled Pizza Inspired by Al Forno (Providence, RI)

It’s been said that grilled pizza originated at Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, where the pies are cooked on a custom wood-fired grill. Our version takes on similar qualities to Al Forno’s, such as a thin, crisp-tender crust with even browning, but it’s done on a standard home grill that favors hot coals specifically arranged to prevent the formation of a hot spot in the center. [GET RECIPE]

What You’ll Need 
3 cups King Arthur bread flour
1½ tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ cups Parmesan cheese
8 ounces fresh whole-milk mozzarella
3 tablespoons fresh basil

Greek MeatballsRoast Chicken with Warm Bread SaladNeiman Marcus Dip
From left: Greek Meatballs, Roast Chicken with Warm Bread Salad, Neiman Marcus Dip

Greek Meatballs Inspired by Johnny’s Restaurant (Homewood, AL)

These Greek meatballs, inspired by Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama, are packed with bright citrus and a slurry of herbs and spices, and they’re roasted—as opposed to pan-fried—to help streamline the browning process (not to mention eliminate the splatter mess that can come from searing in a skillet). These meatballs are perfect appetizers when served with the accompanying tahini yogurt dip, but no fancy dinner party is required. [GET RECIPE]

What You'll Need
20 square saltines
½ cup milk
½ cup fresh mint
6 scallions
2 tablespoons dried oregano
5 garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Salt and pepper
2 pounds ground lamb
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
½ cup tahini

Roast Chicken with Warm Bread Salad Inspired by Zuni Cafe (San Francisco, CA)

Having a solid roast chicken dish in your repertoire is a must for all home cooks, and our adaptation of the late, renowned chef Judy Rodgers’s recipe served at Zuni Cafe is one you’ll want to make whenever you’re in the mood for comfort food. This recipe takes the components of a meal that might typically stand alone—chicken, salad, and bread—and seamlessly works them together to create a hearty trio of flavors that balances each other well. Bread cubes moistened with oil and broth lay beneath the chicken absorbing its drippings while it cooks, which creates a uniquely savory crispy-fried chew with each bite. [GET RECIPE]

What You'll Need
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
Salt and pepper
4 slices country-style bread
¼ cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 scallions
2 tablespoons dried currants
5 ounces baby arugula

Neiman Marcus Dip Inspired by Zodiak Restaurant (Dallas, TX)

This beloved dip originated at the Zodiac Restaurant at the Neiman Marcus flagship store in Dallas back in the early fifties. Our spin on this old-school classic combines sharp cheddar and mayonnaise for a rich and creamy base with fried bacon, slivered almonds, and scallions for crunch and texture. It’s finished off with just the right amount of hot sauce to add a mellow punch. [GET RECIPE]

What You'll Need
8 slices bacon
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup slivered almonds
4 scallions
2 teaspoons hot sauce

Eggplant PecorinoFrench Style Mashed PotatoesCioppino
From left: Eggplant Pecorino, French-Styled Mashed Potatoes, Cioppino

Eggplant Pecorino Inspired by La Campagna (Westlake, OH)

Italian food, no matter how you slice it, is pretty much foolproof. However, when it comes to making a classic like eggplant parmesan at home it can easily turn into a mess of an off sauce to cheese ratio rendering the breaded eggplant soggy and struggling. After a visit to Westlake, Ohio, we were impressed with a technique served up at the small Italian restaurant La Campagna. They’re restrained in their usage of cheese and sauce, letting the eggplant shine in all its crisp glory. Our version replicates this ideology by omitting the breadcrumbs altogether and frying thin slices of eggplant dipped only in egg and flour. The flavor of our sauce is layered with the help of anchovies, onion, red pepper flakes, and oregano to complement the satisfying bite of the thin, crispy eggplant. [GET RECIPE]

What You'll Need
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup onion
3 garlic cloves
2 anchovy fillets
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup fresh basil
Salt and pepper
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 (10-16 ounce) eggplants
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese
4 ounces Fontina cheese

French-Styled Mashed Potatoes Inspired by Chef Joël Robuchon

Decadence has always been a trademark of the humble mashed potato, a dish bolstered by liberal amounts of butter and cream, but there’s often a distinct silkiness to restaurant versions that can seem mystifying. The Parisian chef Joël Robuchon created a mashed potato recipe in the early 1980s that amplified the whole experience. However his adaptation of the dish poses some roadblocks for the home cook, namely: peeling scalding-hot whole-boiled potatoes, incorporating a pound of cold butter and passing the mixture through a restaurant-grade sieve called a tamis. Our version stays true to the essence of Robuchon’s recipe by highlighting the two most important features: a pointed incorporation of butter and obtaining the perfect smoothness with the use of a food mill instead of a tamis. [GET RECIPE]

What You’ll Need:
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
20 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⅓ cups whole milk
Salt and white pepper

Cioppino Inspired by Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery (Moss Landing, CA)

Cioppino, a dish famous in San Francisco, is an Italian-American seafood stew. Our version is inspired by Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery, a waterfront restaurant just down the coast. This stew comes together effortlessly using pantry staples and foregoes the extra step of making a pesto, as Phil does, and instead directly incorporates the olive oil, basil, and garlic into the dish. Our version scales back the range of seafood found at Phil’s, using a still hearty quartet of shrimp, seabass, scallops, and mussels. This recipe packs the brightness native to the Golden State and transportes it directly to your kitchen. [GET RECIPE]

What You’ll Need
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup canned tomato puree
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1½ pounds skinless sea bass fillets
12 ounces extra-large shrimp
12 ounces large sea scallops
1 pound mussels
¼ cup dry sherry wine
½ teaspoon saffron threads
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (12-inch) baguette
Lemon wedges

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