A chef places ruffage on top of a meal at Skogen Kitchen in Custer

Award-Winning Restaurants & Chefs in South Dakota

Pull up a chair at one of South Dakota’s most honored restaurants

From Mediterranean delights to nationally recognized pizza, South Dakota is home to award-winning meals created by renowned chefs. Enjoy!

Sanaa Abourezk prepares food at Sanaa's 8th St. Gourmet in Sioux Falls
Sanaa's 8th St. Gourmet, Sioux Falls

Sanaa Abourezk has racked up plenty of praise in the 20 years since she opened Sanaa’s 8th St. Gourmet. That praise reached a new height in 2023 when she was named one of five finalists for a Best Chef (Midwest) James Beard Award. With rich Mediterranean and Middle East flavors and options you’d never suspect were vegetarian and/or gluten-free, Sanaa’s keeps attracting national attention – and a lot of repeat customers.

A plate with a waffle wrapped around fried duck wings
The Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge, Brookings

Say hello to the first South Dakota restaurant to ever win a James Beard award. Beginning as a gas station and cafe in 1949, Brookings' oldest full-service restaurant secured a coveted James Beard America's Classics Award in 2024, in part because of their quality dishes that range from the classic (hot beef sandwich) to the refined (duck wings) to the brunch-weird (a hot beef waffle). At The Pheasant, your order has no choice but to be delicious. 

Delicious food from Skogen Kitchen in Custer
Skogen Kitchen, Custer

Tucked in the sleepy Black Hills town of Custer, Skogen Kitchen quickly made a name for itself with fresh ingredients and exciting dishes. Chef Joseph Raney’s creations earned prestigious national attention in 2023 when he was named a semifinalist for the Best Chef (Midwest) James Beard Award. Taste for yourself why that won’t be the last time this gem gains honorable accolades.

Dempsey’s Brewery, Pub & Restaurant – Watertown
Dempsey’s Brewery, Pub & Restaurant, Watertown

This legendary location is known for its staggering number of awards almost as much as its pizza and beer. A graduate from the International School of Pizza, Sean Dempsey has racked up plenty of national awards at the International Pizza Expo and Conference, including best pizza in the region. Taste for yourself why the second-oldest brewery in SoDak keeps gaining national attention. And that’s just this at this location…

A chef tosses pizza dough at Dempsey's in Watertown
Danger Von Dempsey’s Pizzeria and Brewhaus, Aberdeen

It didn’t take long for the newer Dempsey’s location to win its own awards. Manager David Solum placed second overall in the traditional pizza category at International Pizza Expo and Conference in 2021, and he did it all with a cheese pizza.

An award-winning burger at Crawford's in Sioux Falls
Crawford’s Bar & Grill, Sioux Falls

Held every January, the Sioux Falls Downtown Burger Battle soared from 8 entries in the first year to 32 in 2023. The competition didn’t scare one of Sioux Falls’ top-rated restaurants, as Crawford’s Bar & Grill took 1st place in 2023 with its Truffle Jam burger. Diners loved the prime beef patty with baby arugula, tomato & pepper jam, jalapeno bacon and black truffle cheese spread on a pretzel bun so much that Crawford's might keep it on the menu for a while. And then in 2024, they won again. It's easy to see your taste buds will thank you for a meal at Crawford’s.

Steak and asparagus served on a plate at Harvester Kitchen in Sioux Falls
Harvester Kitchen by Bryan, Sioux Falls

Before Chef Bryan Moscatello moved to Sioux Falls in 2020, he spent years in big cities winning bigger awards, including running one of Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants in the Country” (2002), being Food & Wine’s magazine’s “Best New Chefs in America” (2003), and being named 2003 Chef of the Year from Denver’s 5280 magazine. And that was all before getting a Forbes Five-Star award (2015) and serving patrons like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, John Lithgow, and more at The Oval Room in Washington, DC. Today, you can taste how Moscatello uses locally grown and sourced ingredients at his restaurant in downtown Sioux Falls. Bon appétit!

Chislic is served at Meridian Corner outside of Freeman, SD
Meridian Corner, Freeman

Chislic is South Dakota’s official nosh. In 2018, Argus Leader readers named Meridian Corner the best spot to get the lamb version of the tasty dish. Come for the award-winning skewered meat cubes, stay for the cozy ambiance of this hidden gem at the corner of Highway 18 & 81.

Chislic with a side of ranch at The Attic in Sioux Falls
The Attic Bar & Grill, Sioux Falls

For a beef version of the state’s official nosh, Argus Leader readers said The Attic was the place to dine. Taste the savory fried or grilled beef cubes for yourself. Every bite is like an award for your mouth.

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