Best return of a New York institution: The Oak Room

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OTHER NOMINEES: Bouley, International Bar, La Fonda del Sol

Though the restaurant's opening chef, Jol Antunes, didn't last long into 2009, the Oak Room's revival late last year still managed to capture your affection. It's too soon to tell how Antunes's replacement, Eric Hara, will fare tempering the previously extravagant menu (touting truffles, escargots and foie gras). One thing that won't change: the carved oak walls and painted tableaux at the heart of the turn-of-the-last-century setting. The Oak Room (at the Plaza Hotel) The Plaza Hotel, 10 Central Park South at Fifth Ave (212-758-7777)

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