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The 100 best restaurants in NYC

From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best restaurants in NYC you need to know about right now

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Carrots Wellington at Narcissa

Where are you eating tonight? With hot new venues opening each week, it’s tough to keep track of the best restaurants in NYC—the impeccable landmarks that never disappoint, the divey honky tonks serving life-changing brisket, and the sexy upstarts everyone who’s anyone is clamoring to try. Whether you’re craving an artful tasting menu, a soul-satisfying platter of crackling fried chicken or simply a great bloody steak, there’s a New York restaurant that will satisfy. Here are the best of them: The 100 places that Time Out New York’s food editors can’t do without. Did we miss your favorite New York restaurant? Join the conversation in the comments.

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best restaurants in NYC

15 East

Critics' pick

Toqueville co-owner Marco Moreira returned to his aquatic roots—he was trained as a sushi chef—when he opened this solemn temple of Japanese cuisine in 2006. The room, designed by architect Richard Bloch (Masa), feels like a sanctuary, and, fittingly, the food has a near-religious following among raw-fish fanatics. Sushi is punitively expensive, but consistently luscious: The scallop is as smooth as chocolate mousse and almost as sweet. For tuna aficionados, a sampler with six different cuts includes an otoro on par with the city’s best.

 

 

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Union Square

Ayada

Critics' pick

The menu of this pretty little Thai restaurant attracts foodies citywide: Not only does it span the culinary regions of Thailand, but it includes some Japanese twists, too, thanks to the owners’ experience working in Bangkok’s Japanese hotels. Even if you skip the sushi-inspired dishes (like the oft-namechecked raw shrimp appetizer), the spicy, incredibly complex curries (around $7) are still a radical departure from most pad thai–pushing joints.

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Queens

Brick Lane Curry House

Critics' pick

Specializing in phal, a habanero curry popular along London’s Brick Lane restaurant row, Curry House issues a how-hot-can-you-go challenge to every diner. The nine types of curry are ranked by burn level. Because the menu warns that phal, the hottest, is “more pain and sweat than flavor,” nonasbestos palates should go with gentle but bouncy jalfrazi sauce, which is excellent over lamb.

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East Village

Brushstroke

Critics' pick

David Bouley’s name may be behind this venture, but the star chef is not in the kitchen. Instead he has handed the reins to talented import Isao Yamada, who turns out some of the most accomplished Japanese food in the city. The ever-changing seasonal menu, which rotates through 5,000 dishes that Yamada spent years testing, is best experienced as an intricate multicourse feast known as kaiseki. A meal might start with muted petals of raw kombu-wrapped sea bass before building slowly toward a subtle climax: asparagus tips with pristine lobes of uni leading to earthy stewed pork cheeks with cider reduction and green-apple puree. In keeping with the basic tenets of this culinary art form, the savory procession concludes with a rice dish—top-notch chirashi or seafood and rice cooked in a clay casserole—and delicate sweets such as creamy soy-milk panna cotta. 

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Tribeca

Hide-Chan Ramen

Critics' pick

Hideto Kawahara, a ramen chef based in the Hakata region of Fukuoka, Japan, oversees the steaming bowls at this midtown noodle shop. At Hide-Chan, Kawahara focuses on tonkotsu (pork) broth—a luscious, meaty soup, more cloudy than creamy. The best way to taste it is in the ma-yu ramen, with earthy, crunchy kikurage mushrooms, a sheet of briny nori, raw scallions and bean sprouts, plus bits of carbonized garlic that lend a deep charred flavor to the soup. There’s also a less sweat-inducing option—chewy chilled noodles, served with a side of spicy, sesame oil–flavored soba broth for dipping—and worthy add-ons like mini pork gyoza, bound in translucent wrappers and crisped on one side.

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Midtown East

Ippudo NY

Critics' pick

This sleek outpost of a Japanese ramen chain is always packed with New Yorkers and Nippon natives who queue up (often for two hours or more) for the simple pleasure of a bowl of soup. Shigemi Kawahara, the chain’s self-styled “Ramen King,” specializes in tonkotsu, a pork-based ramen from southern Japan. The house special, Akamaru Modern, involves mixing three pork broths at different temperatures and potencies. The resulting milky soup, topped with scallions, cabbage, a slice of roasted pork and a pungent soy-based sauce, is smooth and buttery, and infuses the pleasantly elastic noodles with deeply savory flavor. Request one of the half-dozen barstools to get a full view of the frenetic action in the kitchen—the chefs call out to each other and guests in Japanese every 30 seconds or so.

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Downtown

Junoon

Critics' pick

The heart and soul of this luxe Chelsea eatery is its glassed-in spice room, where chef Vikas Khanna hand-grinds and mixes house blends each morning. He deploys seven whole spices—including star anise, cloves and cardamom pods—in a pungent, burgundy-hued curry that coats a lamb shank, slow-braised until the meat nearly slides from the bone. Other evidence of the room’s sorcery fills the regionhopping menu, organized by traditional methods of Indian cooking—not just tandoor and handi (pot cooking), but also tawa (cast-iron), sigri (fire pit) and patthar (stone). Along the way, the thoughtful spicing also appears in plump Goan shrimp with blazing piri-piri sauce, a ginger-marinated chicken kebab cooled by pureed avocado and even cocktails served in the sultry front lounge.

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Flatiron

Kajitsu

Critics' pick

Diners often compare eating great food to a religious experience, but at Kajitsu—possibly New York's only kaiseki restaurant to offer the centuries-old Zen Buddhist vegetarian cuisine known as shojin, from which modern-day Japanese cooking is thought to have developed—there's something literal in the restaurant's connection to the divine. The sparse, hushed interior suggests a reverence for nature that is also expressed in the food. For those accustomed to bold flavors, the preparations can at first seem understated to a fault. But with each jewel-like course, the meal emerges as an artful meditation on simplicity and seasonality. A clear soup with white yam harbors grassy yomogi (Japanese mugwort) paste; a mochi orb, speckled with bits of crisp lotus root, contrasts nicely with a dab of preserved-plum sauce, and wedges of grilled fresh bamboo shoots leaning against their own husks are mildly sweet. Though nothing we ate shouted for attention, all the subtleties added up to a memorable, if not exactly sacred, meal.

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East Village

Kuma Inn

Critics' pick

A clandestine second-floor location makes this dinner-only spot feel like a true find. Chef King Phojanakong channels his culinary pedigree (including stints at Daniel and Danube), along with his Thai and Filipino heritage, into elegantly presented small plates, such as an omelette studded with plump Washington Bay oysters, and hunks of seared ahi tuna luxuriating in a spicy miso vinaigrette. Desserts like the coconut-ginger rice pudding, and a custardy twist on key lime pie made with calamansi, might inspire you to keep your discovery close to your vest.

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Lower East Side

Kyo Ya

Critics' pick

The city’s most ambitious Japanese speakeasy is marked only by an open sign, but in-the-know eaters still find their way inside. The food, presented on beautiful handmade plates, is gorgeous: Maitake mushrooms are fried in the lightest tempura batter and delivered on a polished stone bed. Sushi (we tried the salmon) is pressed with a hot iron onto sticky vinegared rice. The fish is topped like a still life with its own microgreen forest. The few desserts—including an extra silky crème caramel—are just as ethereal as the savory food.

 

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East Village
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ABC Kitchen

The haute green cooking at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s artfully decorated restaurant is based on the most gorgeous ingredients from up and down the East Coast. The local, seasonal bounty finds its way into dishes like a clam pizza, topped with pristine littlenecks, Thai chilies, sweet onions, garlic, lemon and herbs. Larger plates include a roasted chicken bathed in a vinegary glaze with wilted escarole and butter-sopped potato puree. Desserts, meanwhile, include a dazzling brown-butter tart with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate ganache. ABC delivers one message overall: Food that’s good for the planet needn’t be any less opulent, flavorful or stunning to look at.

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Downtown

Blue Hill

More than a mere crusader for sustainability, Dan Barber is also one of the most talented cooks in town. He builds his oft-changing menu around whatever’s at its peak on his Westchester farm (home to a sibling restaurant). During fresh pea season, bright green infuses every inch of the menu, from a velvety spring-pea soup to sous vide duck breast as soft as sushi fanned over a slivered bed of sugar snap peas. Start to finish, there’s a garden on every plate—from buttery ravioli filled with tangy greens to just-picked cherries under a sweet cobbler crust. Once among the most sedate little restaurants in the Village, this cramped subterranean jewel box has become one of the most raucous.

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Greenwich Village

Buttermilk Channel

This bright, charming restaurant has a way with the locals, and the menu—from Stanton Social chef Ryan Angulo—emphasizes its hometown flavor. New York State dominates the taps and the wine list; and a first-rate starter layers vibrant local delicata squash with tart house-made ricotta. Comfort-food entrées—like duck meat loaf, packed with caramelized onions and raisins—also hit close to home. Try the pecan pie sundae for dessert: Nutty brown-sugary pie is pressed into a tulip cup and layered with butter-pecan ice cream—made nearby, of course.

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Carroll Gardens

The Commodore

With its old arcade games, Schlitz in a can and stereo pumping out the Knight Rider theme song, this Williamsburg gastrodive offers the city’s best cheap-ass bar eats. The “hot fish” sandwich, for one, is a fresh, flaky, cayenne-rubbed catfish fillet poking out of both sides of a butter-griddled sesame-seed roll.You'll be thankful it's available after a few rounds of the Commodore's house drink—a frozen slushy piña colada.

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Williamsburg

Dovetail

This upscale gem occupies a small class of UWS restaurants that justify a special trip uptown. Though the earth-toned look smacks of a hotel restaurant, the successful menu from chef John Fraser (Compass) has a rich, seasonal emphasis. Foie gras and butter infuse many dishes (monkfish, pillowy veal short-rib gnocchi), and meat, such as a charred sirloin accompanied by beef cheek lasagna layered with paper-thin slices of turnips, is equally hearty. Though the clientele skews local, Fraser’s permanent residence might change that dynamic.

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Upper West Side

The Dutch

From the moment it opened, Andrew Carmellini’s rollicking Soho eatery seemed destined to join the ranks of neighborhood classics like Balthazar and Blue Ribbon. The virtuoso chef offers diners an exuberant gastro-tour of the American melting pot, making stops in the barrio (supple and spicy tripe with avocado, diced radish and Fritos), New England (gorgeous picked crab in horseradish-infused tomato water) and even the Mexican border (a genuine 30-ingredient red mole). That all of it tastes good—and, somehow, works well together—explains why reservations are hard to come by. Wait it out over a newfangled riff on a classic cocktail and exceptional bar snacks, including fat-fried oysters on house-made slider buns. And save room for fine updates on classic desserts, such as a creamy lime-custard pie tricked out with a spritz of Maldon salt and passion-fruit syrup.

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Soho

élan

David Waltuck has never been one to shirk decadence—at his late, great Chanterelle, a 30-year-old Tribeca trailblazer that deftly married fine-dining finesse with mom-and-pop familiarity until it shuttered in 2009, zucchini blossoms came gorged with black truffles, and sausages famously burst with lobster beneath their casings. And this follow-up is just as unabashedly awash in duck fat but is heaps more playful: guacamole swirled with ocean-brine uni ($16); potato pot stickers—hitting the sweet spot between panfried crisp and dumpling chew—stuffed with delicate summer truffles ($17); and tender General Tso’s–style sweetbreads, boosted from the takeout container with a ginger-carrot mirepoix and the pep of fresh chilies ($29).

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Flatiron

Fatty 'Cue

Zak Pelaccio has forged a formidable empire of “Fatty” establishments, and this one is the sexiest of the bunch. The menu here is notable for its balance and breadth—this is the first of the Fattys that won’t give you gout if you eat there too much. Delicate, shareable starters include cured artic char (a sort of Southeast Asian gravlax) and a zippy spin on a classic Caesar featuring red Russian kale tossed in a tart, creamy dressing. There’s also barbecue—roasted lamb, excellent smoked fatty brisket—and challenging dishes from Southeast Asia, like the delicious, pungent Thai-style sour-fermented pork sausage. Desserts are strange, surprising and mostly delicious: Try modernist South East Asian–influenced creations like artisanal blue cheese crumbled on buttered brioche and jackfruit puree.

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West Village

Fedora

Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman (Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery) expands his West Village mini-empire with this clubby French-Canadian knockout, the most chef-focused of any of his ventures. Au Pied de Cochon vet Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly produces some of the most exciting toe-to-tongue cooking in town, plying epicurean hipsters with Quebecois party food that’s eccentric, excessive and fun. Feast on crispy octopus with brown-buttered sweetbreads—an inspired take on surf and turf—and a monster double-thick pork chop for two, or grab a stool at the bar for a killer steak sandwich and an old-fashioned, polished up with pecan bitters.

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West Village

Fette Sau

The name of this glutton-friendly smokehouse from Joe and Kim Carroll (Spuyten Duyvil) translates to “fat pig” in German. Hog-happy highlights include a deli-style ’cue station featuring glistening cuts of beef and pork by the pound. Stick to staples like smoky espresso-and-brown-sugar-rubbed ribs, and the less-than-orthodox pastrami. The sides and desserts leave something to be desired, but the bar makes up for it with an encyclopedic bourbon menu and 10 tap beers available in gallon-size jugs—perfect for sharing at a communal picnic table.

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Williamsburg
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al di là vino

Aspiring restaurateurs in Park Slope should study this convivial Fifth Avenue pioneer. Nine-year-old al di là remains unsurpassed in the neighborhood. Affable owner Emiliano Coppa handles the inevitable queue (due to the no-reservations policy) with panache. The wait is worth it for co-owner and chef Anna Klinger’s Northern Italian dishes. It would be hard to improve on her braised rabbit with black olives on steaming polenta; even simple pastas, such as the homemade tagliatelle al ragù, are superb.

 

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Park Slope

Balthazar Bakery

Critics' pick

Not only is the iconic Balthazar still trendy, but the kitchen rarely makes a false step. At dinner, the place is perennially packed with rail-thin lookers dressed to the nines. But the bread is great, the food is good, and the service is surprisingly friendly. The $99 three-tiered seafood platter casts the most impressive shadow of any dish in town. The frisée aux lardons is exemplary. The skate with brown butter and capers and a standard-bearing roasted chicken on mashed potatoes for two are both délicieux. Don’t hate the patrons because they’re beautiful; just join them.

 

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Soho

Boqueria

Given that Boqueria is named for Barcelona’s centuries-old food market, you might expect the menu to lean toward the classics. Not quite. Bacalao (salt cod), a standard tapas ingredient, is served here as an airy and crisp beignet. The most successful sangria is an unorthodox beer-based version that mixes lager, pear puree, lemon juice and triple sec. The Flatiron location is small and the bar area packed; a better bet is the 16-seat communal table, where you can nibble shaved jamón under the glow of filament bulbs.

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Soho

Buvette

Critics' pick

Jody Williams may have designed her intimate Gallic-themed eatery with friends and neighbors in mind, but the food here is too accomplished to keep gastro groupies at bay. Those who wait for an evening table are treated to excellent small plates, which arrive all at once like an indoor picnic: exceptional fluffy brandade (house-cured salt cod emulsified with garlic-steeped milk), rustic hand-cut steak tartare and a delicious cocotte of falling-off-the-bone coq au vin (the closest thing to an entrée here). Every detail of the place is thoughtfully curated, leaving you to revel in the chef’s very good taste as you linger over fat slices of perfectly caramelized apple tarte Tatin.

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West Village

Café Boulud

Critics' pick

This uptown mainstay recently received a face-lift, but the food remains a reflection of the iconic Daniel Boulud. Accomplished chef Gavin Kaysen prepares modern variations of French cuisine, plus more-whimsical seasonal and international dishes. Among the market-driven plates is vodka-cured salmon paired with tiny potatoes and rye-bread puree. Meatless options include delicate mushroom ravioli filled with hen-of-the-woods specimens, black trumpets and truffles. Dessert is just as elegant: A complex pastry layered chestnut mousse and cassis gelée.

 

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Lenox Hill

Daniel

Critics' pick

A vibrant redesign by Adam Tihany has brought Daniel Boulud’s classically opulent restaurant into the 21st century. The food is as fresh as the decor: A raw starter of wasabi-kissed hamachi tartare is paired with hamachi sashimi marinated in a subtle tandoori rub. Unusually generous entrees include astonishingly tender halibut, roasted on a slab of Himalayan sea salt and served with Thai basil, hearts of palm and a mellow yogurt-curry sauce. Sure, Daniel is still a big-ticket commitment, but Boulud and his team make a powerful case for keeping the high-end genre alive.

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Lenox Hill

DBGB

Critics' pick

Even in a city awash in unruly menus, the one at DBGB—chef Daniel Boulud’s most populist venture—stands out for its kitchen-sink scope. There’s high-end junk food in the form of sausages (the best of the bunch is the Beaujolaise, infused with red wine, bacon and mushrooms). And there’s haute bistro fare like pink duck breast with boozy cherries and marcona almonds. The best way to get your head around the schizophrenic enterprise is to bring a large group and sample the range—including a sundae, layered with cherry-flavored kriek-beer ice cream and speculoos cookies, for dessert.

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East Village

Del Posto

Critics' pick

With four-star ambitions and prices to match, Mario Batali’s Del Posto set the bar awfully high when it opened in 2005, but the cavernous restaurant has become nothing less than the city’s top destination for refined, upscale Italian cuisine. The clubby dining room, serenaded nightly by a twinkling grand piano, feels like the lobby of an opulent grand hotel. The kitchen, under the stewardship of longtime Batali protégé Mark Ladner, challenges its French competition in butter consumption. A gorgeous mixed mushroom appetizer is drowning in the stuff, as do ethereal ricotta-filled gnudi and flaky thyme-flower sprinkled turbot fillets. The most showstopping dishes, intended for sharing, include hunks of lamb and veal and pitch-perfect risotto for two. The all-Italian wine list is suitably encyclopedic and exorbitantly priced.

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Chelsea

Frankies 457 Spuntino

Critics' pick

This casual Spuntino was an instant classic when it debuted in Carroll Gardens in 2004. The mavericks behind the place—collectively referred to as “the Franks” Castronovo and Falcinelli—went on to become neighborhood pillars, opening German-leaning steakhouse Prime Meats down the block and a coffee shop, Café Pedlar, in Cobble Hill. But their flagship remains as alluring as ever, turning out an impressive selection of cheeses, antipasti and cured meats, distinctive salads and exceptional pastas to a mostly local crowd. Cavatelli with hot sausage and browned sage butter is a staple, as are the flawless meatballs—feather-light orbs stuffed into a sandwich or served solo, lavished with raisins and pine nuts. Frankie’s is also a popular venue for private parties: A former stable has been converted into a cozy cabin with a patio, a set of turntables (bring your own DJ) and a roasting pit.

 

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Carroll Gardens

Franny’s

Critics' pick

The sweet smell of smoke greets diners—and sticks to their hair and clothes—at this insta-classic. Thin, bubbly locavore pizzas are the soul of this operation, helmed by husband-and-wife team Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg (Savoy). A sausage-and-cheese pie doesn't just sate your cravings—it’s a work of art. The chewy, charred pizza, with coins of funky house-cured meat, buffalo mozzarella and fragrant Parmesan cheeses, a sauce that’s so sweet it reminds you that tomatoes are fruit, plus a drizzle of olive oil, is among the city’s best. Between the other excellent pies—like the clam-dotted version with chili and parsley—and multiple appetizers (if it’s on the often-changing menu, order the house-cured cod with crisp radishes), it’s tough to choose. Note: The place is popular and they don’t take reservations. 

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Prospect Heights
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2nd Ave Deli

After the 2006 shuttering of the deli’s original East Village location, Jeremy Lebewohl, the founder’s nephew, reopened the place at this misleading Murray Hill address, menu intact. Most things are as good as ever: Schmaltz-laden chopped liver is whipped to a mousselike consistency, and the deli meats, including juicy pastrami and corned beef, skillfully straddle the line between fatty and lean. Good news for wistful aficionados: The decor, from the Hebraic logo to the blue-white-and-brown tiles and celeb headshots made the trip uptown too.

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Lenox Hill

Balaboosta

The word balaboosta connotes an endearing Jewish type: The homemaker who possesses just the right touch in everything. Israeli chef-owner Einat Admony—also of the falafel joint Taim and a veteran of the kitchens at Tabla, Danube, Patria and Bolo—embodies that multiplicity. She’s well versed in the ingredients of India, Europe, South America and of course, her native Middle East, combining them in daring dishes at this personal venture. Balaboosta excels with entrees. A marinated half chicken cooked under a brick is ideal comfort food, featuring crisp and juicy heritage fowl with gremolata and apricot-studded Israeli couscous. Lamb three ways offers a tender lamb chop  bathed in lime sauce; soft tenderloin wrapped in Swiss chard; and fried kibbe filled with a hearty mixture of lamb, pine nuts, raisins and spices. Desserts—such as a buttery date-banana bread pudding—hew close to Admony’s Middle Eastern roots.

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Nolita

Barney Greengrass

Critics' pick

Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call “schmutzy,” this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch. Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or cold pink borscht served in a glass jar.

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Upper West Side

Black Seed

Noah Bernamoff (Mile End) and Matt Kliegman (the Smile) are behind this Nolita bagel shop, serving hand-rolled, poached bagels and house-made spreads (scallion cream cheese, smoked mackerel).

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Nolita

The Breslin Bar and Dining Room

The third project from Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield offers the most opulently fatty food in New York—served in medieval portions in a raucous lodgelike setting. You’ll wait an hour or more for a table, but once you’re seated, the gastropub delivers a near-perfect dining experience. A giant pig’s-foot-for-two entrée is stuffed with cotechino sausage, breaded, fried, and doused in a mix of white wine and cream. The pork belly roulade is sweet, smoky and fragrant with red wine and apples. Desserts—like a warm sticky-toffee pudding spiked with Turkish coffee—turn the end of the meal into a Dickensian Christmas feast.

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Midtown

Cosme

Critics' pick

New York is a rough town for newbies—whether it’s bright-eyed hopefuls yearning for a Swiftian utopia that doesn’t exist or an out-of-town chef who’s proved his culinary clout in the global arena, only to be chewed up and spit out by Gotham’s surly dining public. This city has devoured the best of them: Spain’s Dani García, Toronto’s Susur Lee and, most glaringly, France’s Alain Ducasse. Enter Enrique Olvera, the megawatt Mexico City talent behind Pujol, regularly ranked one of the 20 best restaurants in the world. His stateside debut Cosme, a bare-concrete Flatiron dining room, wasn’t met with the disregard that crippled his carpetbagging comrades. The response was the opposite: a bellow of buzz that hit before doors were even hinged, let alone opened. That’s because this is the Mexican restaurant New York has been missing.

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Flatiron

Empellón Cocina

Critics' pick

Wd~50's talented pastry chef, Alex Stupak, shocked the food establishment when he abandoned avant-garde desserts to open a West Village taqueria. At this follow-up East Village project, Stupak leaves behind tacos to delve further into Mexican regional cuisines. Stupak is a notorious tinkerer, and a table cluttered with his most impressionistic fare feels Mexican in the most cosmopolitan sense. Miniature roasted carrots arrive sprouting from an earthenware bowl that’s been artfully streaked with cool yogurt and sweet-spicy mole. Another beautiful abstraction features black mole splattered like a Rorschach blot around seared calamari curls, an explosion of super savory elements with fried potato nuggets and drips of chorizo mayo. Desserts, which are the purview of Lauren Resler (a former pastry chef at Babbo and Stupak’s wife), bring high-end polish to regional tastes. Her marquesote—a traditional jam-topped Mexican sponge cake—arrives deconstructed, the moist cubes of vanilla cake surrounded by bitter orange marmalade, crumbled brown-butter streusel and café con leche ice cream.

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East Village

Hecho en Dumbo

Critics' pick

Beyond bulging burritos and fussy upmarket cantinas, New York’s Mexican options were once pretty bleak. But Hecho en Dumbo brought new life to the genre, with serious cooking and a rollicking atmosphere. Chef Danny Mena’s menu includes beautifully creamy cold hearts of palm soup and an epic spin on carnitas: gorgeously blistered Berkshire shoulder and ribs alongside confited skin and roasted belly. For dessert, try pillowy almond cake with intense spiced-chocolate ice cream—one of the most sophisticated Mexican sweets in New York.

 

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Downtown

ilili

Critics' pick

D.C. restaurateur Philippe Massoud’s stylish Lebanese eatery would feel right at home in cosmopolitan Beirut: Wood-paneled walls pocked with windows and mirrors create the impression of a giant kaleidoscope, and the menu is flush with elevated takes on the familiar. Kebabs, like the lean, moist lamb skewers, are near perfect, and a beautiful chankleech cheese-and-tomato salad is chopped fine with scallions, thyme and oregano. Err on the gluttonous side and over-order—the too-small portions may leave you craving more.

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Midtown

Katz’s Delicatessen

Critics' pick

This cavernous cafeteria is a repository of New York history—glossies of celebs spanning the past century crowd the walls, and the classic Jewish deli offerings are nonpareil. Start with a crisp-skinned all-beef hot dog for just $3.10. Then flag down a meat cutter and order a legendary sandwich. The brisket sings with horseradish, and the thick-cut pastrami stacked high between slices of rye is the stuff of dreams. Everything tastes better with a glass of the hoppy house lager; if you’re on the wagon, make it a Dr. Brown’s.

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Lower East Side
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Aldea

Critics' pick

This Portuguese eatery is a low-key stage for one of the city’s most original chefs: George Mendes. While the minimalist space is restrained, the food certainly isn’t. Tender baby cuttlefish is the centerpiece of a complex starter featuring coconut curry broth, sea beans, bonito flakes and mint. More-traditional fare also gets an haute spin. Beautiful garlicky shrimp alhinho are finished with an intense shrimp-and-brandy reduction. Desserts strike the same rustic-refined balance. Among the simple pleasures: custard-soaked brioche served with pink-peppercorn ice cream and blood orange gelée.

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Flatiron

Annisa

Critics' pick

A fire shut down chef Anita Lo’s sparely apppointed West Village flagship, but the restaurant’s rebirth makes it once again worthy of citywide buzz. Lo’s complex, refined food—much of it inspired by her global eating adventures—is more exciting than ever. From the Japanese canon there’s a tuna starter: a shimmering tartare on one side and grilled belly seasoned with yuzukosho (a condiment made from hot peppers and yuzu) on the other. Lo’s reverence for French technique comes through in a veal loin entrée, drizzled with truffled veal jus, oyster cream sauce and brown butter. Her desserts are as nuanced as everything else: Conclude with crispy beignets filled with warm salted butterscotch.

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West Village

Eleven Madison Park

Critics' pick

Swiss chef Daniel Humm mans the kitchen at this vast Art Deco jewel, which began life as a brasserie before evolving into one of the city’s most rarefied and progressive eateries. The service is famously mannered, and the room among the city’s most grand. But the heady, epic tasting menus are the true heart of Eleven Madison Park, a format that spotlights Humm’s auteur instincts. Tableside flourishes are part of the fun: Look out for even more dazzling showmanship—including one dish presented by way of a sleight-of-hand trick—when the restaurant relaunches its tasting menu format in fall of 2012.

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Flatiron

The Kitchen at Brooklyn Fare

Critics' pick

Chef César Ramirez spends his days preparing deli-case items at the Brooklyn Fare supermarket—and one luxurious 15-course meal in the store’s kitchen at night, which is some of New York's best small-plate cuisine. The dinner-party vibe is convivial: Diners perch on stools around a prep table, the menu changes daily, and wine is BYOB. A Kumamoto oyster reclines on crème fraîche and yuzu gelée; halibut is served in a miraculous broth of dashi and summer truffles. For dessert: an airy parfait layering mango mousse, coconut froth, candied cashews and rum-soaked brioche.

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Boerum Hill

Momofuku Ko

Make it through the reservations ringer (the system mandates booking six days in advance, at 10am, only via momofuku.com) to gain access to chef David Chang’s minimal 12-seat spot. Here the chefs double as waiters, serving eight or so dazzling courses from behind a counter. The ever-evolving menu features raw fluke, in a coating of tangy, mellow buttermilk, poppy seeds and sriracha chili sauce. A frozen foie gras torchon is brilliantly shaved over lychee puree and pine-nut brittle. Ko’s embrace of dessert may signal Chang’s high-end arrival. A panna cotta made from milk that’s been mingling with cornflakes is nothing short of genius.

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East Village

The NoMad Bar

The luxurious setting, flawless service, and preponderance of foie gras and truffles call to mind an haute cuisine titan. But with its fashionable crowd and cool, voluptuous vibe there are clearly some young Turks behind the wheel. Chef Daniel Humm and William Guidara, the celebrated team behind Eleven Madison Park, turn the music up for their sophomore venture in the NoMad Hotel. Ditching EMP's tasting menu–only format, Humm takes a more democratic approach with an à la carte menu of seasonal French-inflected fare. The food, like the space, exudes unbuttoned decadence. A poached egg stars in one over-the-top starter, its barely contained yolk melting into a sweet, velvety soup of brown butter and Parmesan, with shaved white asparagus and toasted quinoa for crunch. And while there are plenty of rich-man roasted chickens for two in New York, the bird here—with a foie gras, brioche and black truffle stuffing under the skin—is surely the new gold standard. Try it with the sweet amber Le Poulet, a Brooklyn Brewery ale designed to be paired with the designer fowl.

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Midtown

Per Se

Critics' pick

Expectations are high at Per Se—and that goes both ways. You are expected to come when they’ll have you—you might be put on standby for four nights, only to win a 10pm Tuesday spot—and fork over $150 a head if you cancel. You’re expected to wear the right clothes, pay a non-negotiable service charge and pretend you aren’t eating in a shopping mall. The restaurant, in turn, is expected to deliver one hell of a tasting menu for $250 ($280 if you want foie gras). And it does. Dish after dish is flawless and delicious, beginning with Thomas Keller’s signature salmon tartare cone and luxe oysters-and-caviar starter. Have you tasted steak with mashed potatoes and Swiss chard, or burrata cheese with olive oil drizzled on top, or chocolate brownies with coffee ice cream? Possibly. Have you had them this good? Unlikely. In the end, it’s all worth every penny (as long as someone else is paying).

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Upper West Side

How many have you eaten at?

Checklist: 100 best New York restaurants

Fancy yourself a real NYC foodie? Test your eating and drinking knowledge by seeing how many of the city’s best restaurants you’ve visited.

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By: Tazi Phillips

Comments

16 comments
Chuck D
Chuck D

There are some great restaurants on this list. My personal favorite in NYC is Uncle Jack's Steakhouse. Their new lunch menu is filled with delectable options. One of my favorites is the Local Striped Bass, topped with butter glazed English peas, fire roasted spring onion, English pea and roasted garlic puree, and lemon. It tastes as good as it sounds! Plus, they have a new guy's night (drink samples every Wednesday at the bar) and ladies night (free drinks every Thursday at the bar). I highly recommend checking out Uncle Jack's Steakhouse.

Daniel I
Daniel I

Can anyone help I'm looking for some where to eat in New York where there are up and coming actors waiting for you as you eat don't know what it's called thanks wendy

angela l
angela l

what is this chicken dish you have as the promo shot?! i can't find it in the slideshow!

Kerry J
Kerry J

I'm getting married in City Hall in August and am looking for a restaurant where we can go afterwards.  They'll be 6 of us, and want somewhere fun and friendly where we can drink champagne, get some nice food (but not posh) and have a some fun.  Any suggestions gratefully received.  thanks 

ShNyUsAsL
ShNyUsAsL

DeafTelkno...Congratest  Restaurant in NY of the World...

More again NYC...

alvin
alvin

Good to see Various Restaurants in One Website with the Reviews.Recently ,I visited MEGU Restaurant One of the Japanese Restaurant.The food was delicious.The Sushi was awesome.www.megurestaurants.com/

Sara Stone
Sara Stone

The #1 Italian Restaurant is Ecco- They are located on Chambers Street in Downtown Manhattan- They make the best Branzino and Dover Sole that I ever tasted. The flavors and the seasonings that they use are terrific. Once I put a piece of Branzino or Dover Sole in my mouth I feel as if it melts in my mouth. Also, their fresh vegetables-string beans, spinach or brocolli are cooked in garlic which is delicious. The tri color salad is a great appetizer. This is the only restaurant that I will go to whenever I am in the Downtown Manhattan Area. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is decorative. Don't go to lower Manhattan without experiencing ECCO. You will love it.

Doris Uzcategui
Doris Uzcategui

I love this product is very useful and convenience, plus I love NY

Jupiter Saturn
Jupiter Saturn

I vote on Fazoli's. They sell bow and arrows. (%Pr

STEPHEN LOHBRANNDT
STEPHEN LOHBRANNDT

LOOKING FOR HIGH END DINNING W/ VIEW COULD YOU SUGGEST ??? [[ MY WIFES BIRTHDAY]]

Elena
Elena

Whatever happened to the best 100 meals and drinks list? Also are you going to provide a map for this list? Thanks!

Carly
Carly

Finally a much needed best of list