January 2021: As another year begins, we can’t help but reflect on how much has changed for the hospitality industry during the course of the current crisis. We have mixed feelings about jumping back into full-service restaurant experiences—whether it’s dining outdoors or indoors (if dining rooms reopen in the near future, that is).
For those of us choosing to dine out, it also comes at a time when the restaurant industry is re-examining how to create a more equitable workplace, from fairly paying employees to ensuring the safety of its employees. But we realize that many of you, dear readers, will nevertheless be choosing to support your local spots and want guidance of who is doing what right now.
While restaurants are evolving to meet the needs of this new landscape and additional guidelines for the reopening process are changing daily, we hope you’ll find this list helpful as you navigate these new waters. Please bear in mind that we have not been able to hit up all these spots since their reopenings (or all the latest openings), but we have stood behind their food and service in the past. Check back as we will be updating this list more often than we did prior to lockdown to reflect the ebbs and flows of the dining out scene. And, remember, with so many service workers putting themselves on the frontlines to feed us, we hope you’ll be gracious and tip kindly.
Back in 2019, we made some radical changes to Time Out New York’s EAT List, gutting it from the ground up to forgo mentions to those uber-expensive fine dining spots. Instead, we focused on curating a feature you can use more readily in your day-to-day life than just on special occasions. Frankly, no subjective best-of list is perfect, but we are committed to regularly updating this list to make sure it’s not only useful but a more diverse and equitable representation of our vibrant city.
Note: A number of the best chefs, restaurants and concepts in the city have been welcomed into the Time Out Market. Because that is the highest honor we can award, and we now have a tighter relationship with them, establishments related to market vendors have all been included in the EAT List but not ranked alongside other great establishments in the city. You can find those places below. Due to the NYC indoor dining ban, Time Out Market is temporarily closed.
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