Although we’ve only been publishing since early August, there have definitely been numerous menus that stand out and I thought it would be fun to start the tradition of naming what I think are the best menus on Art of the Menu of each year.
The good thing about having only four months worth of content is that it made my job easier, because there is a lot of good stuff to choose from. Listed here are my twelve favorite menus that we have featured.
Click on each restaurant’s name to see the full menu.
Great, subtle color palette against the inimitable typesetting and typecasting of Mucca Design. Plus, delectable ornamentation.
I have to admit that this is me liking shiny things: the layout and design of the menu aren’t anything to ask the chef to come out for compliments but, dude, the menus light up when you open them!
The name of the restaurant says it all. 1970s style graphics as an ode to the championship season of local NBA team, the Trail Blazers.
Probably not the prettiest menus out there, in the traditional sense, but there is something kind of kinky about it, with all that metal and pointy serifs and rough edges.
Luscious and contemporary yet rugged and homey.
I love the complete monoweight approach and all the swoops in the typography and iconography.
White space be damned! These menus occupy every inch with heavy-handed typography and more split fountains before you can say “Basta!”
This is another example where the menus themselves aren’t superb, but their delivery is bad-ass, and it doesn’t get more bad-ass than license plates with the establishment’s logo stenciled in spray paint.
Of all the menus we’ve posted this is one where the typesetting and layout stand apart from others. There is great, nuance, subtlety, and clarity to the menu that contrasts the messiness that is about to come once you get your hands on some BBQ.
Beautifully typeset and delivered in a dead-pan approach, this oversized menu doubles as a wrapper for french fries and take-away containers.
The only thing keeping the frenetic, lo-fi Shopsins’ menu from being the best menu of the year is that it also happens to be, well, the worst menu out there. But this duality is what makes it so awesome. Read the comments (from when we had them open) to feel the love and hatred the menu generates.
With three selections in this top twelve being Mexican restaurants it seems that that’s the cuisine where cool things can happen. But no one pulls off the Mexican inspiration better than Mucca, with this very authentic rendition of Mexican signpainting and hand-lettering. Plus, the food is to die for and it’s only 15 minutes from our house.
Art of the Menu, is a division of UnderConsideration, cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.
Art of the Menu uses Typekit to render Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson and Adelle by Type Together.
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UnderConsideration is a graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events and judged competitions, and designs for clients.
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Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design / 2009, Rockport.
Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration from the Original Trailblazers to the New Groundbreakers / 2008, HOW Books.
The Word It Book: Speak Up Presents a Gallery of Interpreted Words / 2007, HOW Books.