The best Soho restaurants

Our critic-approved selection of Soho restaurants includes trusty favorites and the latest hot spots

Photograph: Noah Fecks

Spanning everything from iconic brasserie Balthazar to more recent arrivals like Andrew Carmellini’s instant classic The Dutch, these Soho restaurants are some of the best restaurants in NYC. Whether you crave Jamaican jerk chicken, delicious cheap eats or standout pasta from top-notch Italian restaurants, you’ll find it here.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Soho, New York

Best Soho restaurants

Balthazar

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. Roasted chicken on mashed potatoes for two, délicieux. Skate with brown butter and capers, yum. Don’t hate the patrons because they’re beautiful; just join them.

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Soho

Blue Ribbon Sushi

Whether you settle on a $4 bowl of make-it-yourself miso soup and some California rolls, or opt for the top-of-the-line $125 chef’s choice sushi platter, you’ll find the service equally friendly and enthusiastic at this below-street-level Soho fave. The cooked dishes (like the miso-cured aged black cod) are worthy alternatives to the sushi, which, short of dining aboard a fishing vessel, is as fresh as it gets. Order a serving of the flawless green-tea crème brûlée to end your night on a high.

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Soho

Charlie Bird

Sipping wine out of a $60 Zalto stem is an activity typical of more formal surroundings, but at Charlie Bird, you swirl a smoky Rodano chianti riserva while nodding your head to the Notorious B.I.G. Devoted in equal measure to seasonal cooking and serious wine, this West Village spot roughs up its own polish with subtle hints of the street, like large graphic prints of boom boxes and the now-ubiquitous restaurant soundtrack of early-’90s hip-hop.

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Soho

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.

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Soho

La Sirene

Fishing nets and posters of the Côte d’Azur may not entice you into this French bistro, but the exuberant cooking of Marseille-born chef-owner Didier Pawlicki should. The chef lavishes his mussels with curried cream and apples, and his garlicky, ruby-red slices of rare hanger steak are served with a sensuous trio of sides (carrot puree, potatoes au gratin in a cheesy veil, and a pot of zucchini flan). A dessert of fluffy profiteroles had us moaning—very French indeed.

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Downtown

Lure Fishbar

The retro yacht interior at this sexy subterranean restaurant might make you forget you’re docked in Soho. Hit the sushi bar to compare the flavors and textures of premium catches, or grab a table for a more extensive meal. Lure’s greatest achievement is its treatment of the classics. Dishes that have become rote at so many fish-focused eateries—seared yellowtail glazed in dashi, a lobster roll stuffed with sweetmeat—are executed here with the dazzling skill usually reserved for more ambitious menus.

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Soho

Miss Lily's Variety

The downtown flock colonized this buzzy Caribbean spot from the day it opened its doors, and it's been radiating heat ever since. But it’s not all scene and no substance. The gorgeous staff is warm and accommodating, and chef Adam Schop brings real chops to Jamaica’s trademark dishes. Bypass standard-issue party grub like “jaquitos”—bland mini tacos—in favor of spicy, shell-on Middle Quarters pepper shrimp. Satisfying main courses, like remarkably tender goat curry and tasty but subdued jerk chicken, showcase Schop’s knack for elevating island comfort foods.

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Greenwich Village

Navy

Top Chef toque Camille Becerra (Paloma) steers the ship at this 51-seat, maritime-themed restaurant, offering a seafood-focused menu. A raw bar features uni toast, sardines with seed crackers, and blini topped with house-cured fish, while the kitchen turns out plates like gnocchi with tonnato (tuna-and-anchovy sauce) and a trout en croute for two. The WWII-inspired space is decorated with walls covered with military canvas and partitions made of naval signal flags.

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Soho

Osteria Morini

Chef Michael White (Alto, Marea) is one of New York’s most prolific and successful Italian-American chefs, and this terrific downtown homage to a classic Bolognese tavern is the most accessible restaurant in his stable. The toque spent seven years cooking in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, and his connection to the area surfaces in the rustic food. Handmade pastas—frail ricotta gnocchi in light tomato cream, fat tortelli bundles oozing an absurdly rich mix of braised meats—are fantastic across the board.

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Nolita
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Comments

3 comments
Tami
Tami

Tell me about a restaurant called balabusta; i think on or near mulberry st.