When it comes to food, New Yorkers are spoiled AF with the best restaurants in NYC. With an endless supply of buzzy restaurant openings, well-worn stalwarts and quirky locales, us Gothamites are never bereft of uber delicious dishes to order around town. So when we had to narrow down the list of the 100 best restaurants in New York City, we knew it would be no easy feat. But we put in the grunt work, detailing everything from the city’s best Italian restaurants and best sushi, to the cheap eats and Michelin stars—all so we could present to you the best of the best. Here are the 100 best restaurants that we—and New York itself—can’t live without.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best dishes and drinks in NYC
100 best restaurants in NYC
Swiss chef Daniel Humm still mans the kitchen post-revamp at this Gramercy 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.
Why go? It's consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in the world
New York dining mores have experienced a seismic paradigm shift in the past decade, toppling Old World restaurant titans and making conquering heroes of chefs that champion accessible food served in casual environments. But Le Bernardin—the city’s original temple of haute French seafood—survived the shake-up unscathed. Siblings Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze brought their Parisian eatery to Gotham in 1986, and the restaurant has maintained its reputation in the decades since. Le Bernardin is still a formal place, with white tablecloths, decorous service and a jackets-required policy in the main dining room.
Why go? For delectable French seafood
When world-renowned sushi chef Masa Takayama arrived in New York, he came offering the most expensive dining experience in the city’s history. To be clear, Takayama doesn’t overcharge for his meals: He overspends, and the mystique of it all—his exquisite materials, his rare ingredients and his labor-intensive techniques—can be lost on a diner who doesn’t know the ins-and-outs. Takayama prepares each perfect bite-size gift, then places it in front of you on a round slate; you almost eat out of his hands, and the sushi seems to melt in your mouth. This process is, to some serious food lovers, a priceless experience.
Why go? Takayama doesn’t distract diners from the meal: the space feels like a temple
Although a slew of Luger copycats have prospered in the last several years, none have captured the elusive charm of this stucco walled, beer-hall–style eatery, with well-worn wooden floors and tables, and waiters in waistcoats and bow ties. Excess is the thing, be it the reasonably health-conscious tomato salad, the famous porterhouse for two or the decadent apple strudel, which comes with a bowl full of schlag. Go for it all—it’s a singular New York experience that’s worth having.
Why go? For 44 perfect ounces of sliced prime beef
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 with unusually generous entrees consisting of seafood stunners. Sure, Daniel is still a big-ticket commitment, but Boulud and his team make a powerful case for keeping the high-end genre alive.
Why go? No place does better nouveau French fare
The painstakingly crafted Neapolitan pies—cracker-thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are widely considered among the city's best; dough is made fresh several times a day. To keep kids occupied during what feels like an interminable wait, point out the window boxes full of herbs used to flavor the sauce.
Why go? It’s NYC—we take our pizza very seriously
Chef-owner Alfred Portale made his name with towering New American constructions, and though the menu doesn’t push any boundaries, the execution is impressive—as is the restaurant’s soaring masculine space. It’s pricey, but Gotham delivers.
Why go? For upscale food that’s not too esoteric
The fashionably cookie-cutter decor—exposed brick, globe lights, hulking marble bar, you know the drill—suggests you’ve stumbled into another bustling rustic restaurant-cum-bar that’s not worth the wait. Far less common are talents like Ignacio Mattos, the imaginative Uruguayan-born chef cooking in this Mediterranean-tinged spot. Mattos has reined in his modernist tendencies at Estela, with an ever-changing, mostly small-plates menu that pivots from avant-garde toward intimate, bridging the gap between space-age Isa and the homey Italian he used to cook at Il Buco.
Why go? Because if it’s good enough for Michelle and Barack, it’s good enough for you
After decades of New Yorkers’ sushi shrugs, this one-stop Little Tokyo flips that script, and its revenge is a nigiri best served cold—and aged (Ginza hews to edomaezushi). Ginza’s seasonal omakase is not just freshly flown in from Tokyo’s prestigious Tsukiji market, nor is it dependent on exotic varieties. Ginza delivers fish the way a diamond delivers carbon: with spectacular flawlessness lush with luxury. This is fish that traps us.
Why go? It’s the only Michelin two-star Japanese restaurant in the city
Make it through the reservations ringer 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 can feature dishes like 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.
Why go? David Chang is the contrarian pioneer that the city needs