A Grand Rapids restaurant ALMOST nabbed the top spot in a national contest for the best new place to dine out in the U.S.

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MDRD (pronounced Madrid) downtown Grand Rapids ended up taking the No. 2 spot in a USA Today 10Best Reader's Choice Poll on the Best New Restaurants of 2021. A panel of experts chose 20 new restaurants from around the county and then it was put up to a public vote.

Given how difficult it's been for the hospitality industry during the pandemic, even though it  didn't nab that top spot, I think the honor is still really impressive!

And I still really want to go there!

I've heard rave reviews about the Spanish restaurant on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza and have been drooling over their social media posts. Photos of their food AND the views overlooking the Grand River and downtown GR look stunning!

In Fall of 2020 we learned that MDRD would be moving into the Amway Grand Hotel, replacing Cygnus 27. As with so may things, the grand opening was delayed by the pandemic a few months, but MDRD was finally able to open it's doors in February 2021.

Tapas start at $9 and MDRD's decadent desserts at $14. Entrees range in price from $30 to $55 and include roasted chicken breast, roasted pork belly, pan seared scallops, beef tenderloin steak, and paella for one or two. For drinks, MDRD serves lavish cocktails, beer, and wine. You can check out the full menu here.

Here's USA Today's praise for MDRD,

MDRD has found its niche in the Grand Rapids restaurant scene with its unique take on modern Spanish cuisine. On the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza restaurant overlooking the Grand River, start with a tapas selection before moving to the main menu - Pollo Asado, bacalao al ajullo, filete a la plancha, cochinillo asado, or vieiras. The paella mixta includes shrimp, chicken, morcilla, bomba rice, artichoke, piquillo, and aioli. Top off your dinner (if you can!) with your choice of mousse, souffle, or custard for dessert.

So which restaurant ended up beating out GR's MDRD?

Empress by Boon in San Francisco, California was ranked No. 1 in USA Today's poll.

Here's the rest of their Top Ten:

  1. Empress by Boon - San Francisco, CA
  2. MDRD - Grand Rapids, MI
  3. Hawksmoor - New York City
  4. Dory - Memphis, TN
  5. Dear Margaret - Chicago, IL
  6. Matū - Beverly Hills, CA
  7. Ember & Ash - Philadelphia, PA
  8. The Chastain - Atlanta, GA
  9. Best Quality Daughter - San Antonio, TX
  10. Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie - Indianapolis, IN

As we head into the new year, any other other new restaurants in West Michigan you're really loving?

We recently asked for your input on new restaurants in the area you think are worth trying. Check out what you had to say below!

50 Newish Restaurants & Bars In West Michigan You Should Check Out

These are newish restaurants and bars people in west Michigan recommended for good food and drinks.

What about restaurants you really WISH we had in West Michigan? Here are some you said you'd love to see in the area:

Top 25 Restaurants West Michigan Wants Right Now

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