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Ugly Baby
Time Out/Ali Garber

The best restaurants in NYC right now

The best restaurants in NYC highlight everything from Peruvian-Japanese fare to Puerto Rican bites

By Bao Ong and Time Out contributors
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July 2020: As New York restaurants open their doors, 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 when that’s allowed (remember those days?).

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, 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. We look forward to welcoming you back into our markets when it is safe to do so again. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best dishes and drinks in NYC

Best restaurants in NYC

Ugly Baby
Photograph: Time Out / Ali Garber

1. Ugly Baby

Restaurants Thai Carroll Gardens

What is it? Tucked away on a quiet stretch of Smith Street in Carroll Gardens is a Thai restaurant that will keep you coming back for more self-inflicted pain. Whether you’re ordering the “stay-away spicy Udon Thani’s duck salad” or the khao soi, the servers will warn you over and over to be careful of the spice. You’ll go against their advice and end up begging for more of the cooling cucumbers to ward off the heat.

Why go? You’ll keep coming back even through the tears and sweat because the food is that good.

Superiority Burger
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

2. Superiority Burger

Restaurants Hamburgers East Village

What is it? James Beard Award winners don’t have to open a fancy-ass restaurant to show their prowess. Take Brooks Headley: His tiny East Village eatery’s tofu-cabbage wraps and vegetarian sloppy joes have guests lining up outside. 

Why go? Of course, there’s also the uber-popular (for good reason) namesake patty, a gooey, Muenster-loaded monster that’s not just the best veggie burger you’ll ever have but also one of the best burgers—period.

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Via Carota
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

3. Via Carota

Restaurants Italian West Village

What is it? This cozy Italian restaurant, run by the chef power couple of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, is a rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling gem.

Why go? The simple food—towering insalata verde, hearty chopped steak and any of the soul-satisfying pastas—makes this Village favorite a place where everyone wants to be a regular. 

Usha Foods
Photograph: Emma Orlow

4. Usha Foods

Restaurants Indian Queens

What is it? A vegetarian Indian food haven in Queens specializing in fast casual bites, savory snacks and colorful desserts. 

Why go? Usha is one of the best vegetarian destinations for generous portions, combo platters that allow you to try a little bit of everything and a menu that strongly demonstrates you don't need meat to have one of the city's most satisfying meals. It's just down the road from Patel Brothers, one of our favorite supermarkets for hard-to-find Indian pantry staples.

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Photograph: Courtesy Atla

5. Atla

Restaurants Mexican Noho

What is it?  We’re confident to stand behind this all-day spin-off of Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes’ Flatiron megahit Cosme. This more casual, cooler follow-up spotlights healthy Mexican and Central American fare.

Why go? Soto-Innes and Olvera have introduced New Yorkers to a much more nuanced understanding of its cuisine, in a way that is elevated and experimental while still remaining approachable, in their hip-yet-casual environment on Lafayette Street.

A&A Bake & Doubles
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

6. A&A Bake and Doubles

Restaurants Bedford-Stuyvesant

What is it? This small, stellar Caribbean joint in Bed-Stuy has three specialties: bake, doubles and—you guessed it—roti. The first is a handheld fried-dough bun stuffed with salt fish or fried sand shark and topped with a tangy-sweet tamarind sauce.

Why go? Doubles are the real hit. The $1.50-a-pop Trinidadian snacks are built on a base of bara (fried dough) wrapped around a savory potato-channa curry. Napkins are a must.

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Adda
Photograph: Courtesy Adda/Noah Fecks

7. Adda

Restaurants Indian Long Island City

What is it? The kitchen at Adda stays true to its roots without imparting gimmicky modern touches on Indian dishes. Whether you order butter chicken or a kale pakoda, there’s no holding back on flavors—the heat of peppers and warmth of cumin are just examples—that make you crave even more.

Why go? For a convivial dining experience where the food is as exciting as the vibe.

Ho Foods
Photograph: Courtesy Ho Foods/Dan Ahn

8. Ho Foods

Restaurants Taiwanese East Village

What is it? Your bowl of perfectly al-dente noodles sits in a bowl of broth that took hours to cook, but you’d slurp all the noodles between bites of the tender beef within minutes if you could. Our advice is to savor every bit while you also snack on the other small dishes of delicate tofu and hearty bowl of minced pork over rice.

Why go? It's worth the wait for one of the city’s best bowls of Taiwanese beef noodle soup (or any soup for that matter).

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Don Angie
Photograph: Ashley Sears

9. Don Angie

Restaurants Italian West Village

What is it? Everything feels timeless yet modern here. Exhibit A: the lasagna for two hits all the nostalgia of a nonna-approved recipe, yet the pinwheel presentation of the pasta with robiola cheese makes us crave another bite.

Why go? Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli have set a new standard for red sauce restaurants.

Photograph: Gabi Porter

10. Pata Paplean

Restaurants Thai Elmhurst

What is it? It doesn’t matter if you can’t read the Thai menu here. Pick any bowl of noodles (we’d recommend the boat noodles) and you’re sure to be satisfied at this bar, which only serves food on weekends.

Why go? You’ll taste bowls of noodle soups that make you feel like you’re in Bangkok.

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Punjabi Grocery
Photograph: Noah Fecks

11. Punjabi Grocery and Deli (reopening July 10th)

Restaurants Delis East Village

What is it? One reason New York cab drivers have been coming here for 25 years is the food: chana masala (spiced chickpeas), yellow dal, chat and everything else is vibrantly spiced and vegetarian-friendly.

Why go? This deli serves a simple menu that’s always satisfying and functions as a lifeline to many New Yorkers.

teranga
Photograph: Ali Garber

12. Teranga

Restaurants West African East Harlem

What is it? At this café nestled inside the Africa Center, you’ll find West African-inspired dishes that will introduce you to some of the continent’s most popular dishes (currently available for delivery). From jollof rice to fufu, the gluten-free menu surprises us every time.

Why go? One of the leading chefs from West Africa offers a fast-casual concept unlike any other.

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Photograph: Cafe At-Your-Mother-In-Law

13. Cafe at your Mother-in-Law

Restaurants Uzbek Brighton Beach

What is it? Cafe at your Mother-in-law is a way more enjoyable experience than actually dining with your partner's parents. Try the wonders of Uzbek-Korean-Russian food through dishes like pelmeni and kuksu, a beef soup with pickled cucumbers and fresh dill. 

Why go? Stop by for some history of the former U.S.S.R. through the menu. Afterwards, head to Brighton Beach for a swim.

Lhasa Fast Food
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

14. Lhasa Fast Food

Restaurants Nepalese Jackson Heights

What is it? Jackson Heights has no shortage of excellent restaurants, as the city’s most ethnically-diverse neighborhood. Lhasa Fast Food specializes in Tibetan momos, such as the chive version available with a side of chutney.

Why go? Fans of speakeasies will enjoy the mysterious journey to find Lhasa Fast Food. Hidden inside You and Me mobile-phone shop, you’d never know there treats over yonder behind the electrical devices.

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court street grocers
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

15. Court Street Grocers

Shopping Grocery stores Carroll Gardens

What is it? What began as an artisanal sandwich shop on the actual Court Street in Carroll Gardens by Matt Ross and Eric Finkelstein has expanded, now with four locations across the city. But today, the spot still offers some of the city’s best sandwiches, that is, if you’re willing to shell out more than $12 for them. In addition, Court Street has come to be known for its specialty pantry staples, perhaps more common in today’s New York, but still adds charm nonetheless. 

Why go? It’s the perfect hangover food.

Thursday Kitchen
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

16. Thursday Kitchen

Restaurants Korean East Village

What is it? Chef Kyungmin Kay Hyun’s sleeper hit boasts approachable dishes with a host of influences—Korean, French and Spanish, to name a few. Expect saucy gnocchi with a Korean chili-pepper sauce, rich duck-confit empanadas, and plantains with chimichurri and ricotta, which is fluffier than the usual cotija.

Why go? While feasting, dig the visual delights, like the soju cocktails served in LED Capri Sun–style bags.
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Uncle Boons
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

17. Uncle Boons/ Thai Diner

Restaurants Thai Nolita

What is it? Before the hospitality industry went on pause, the team owned a trio of stellar Thai restaurants: Uncle Boons, Uncle Boons Sister (for takeout) and newcomer hit Thai Diner. One positive to everything that's happening with restaurants right now  is that many are finding creative ways to adapt. You  can now get dishes from all their restaurants via the same delivery services and mix-and-match your order. Don't skip out on Thai Diner's egg sandwich wrapped in roti. 

Why go? For some of the hippest Thai food in the city.

Cactus Taco at Los Tacos No 1
Photograph: Filip Wolak

18. Los Tacos No.1

Restaurants Mexican Chelsea

What is it? New York may not be like the West Coast when it comes to Mexican food, but with Los Tacos No. 1, we’re getting closer. Behind the taqueria-style counter, you’ll see cooks rolling masa and slicing spit-roasted pork as fast as they can to keep up with this popular eatery.  

Why go? Three transplants from California and Tijuana, Mexico dole out casual, authentic South of the Border eats (grilled cactus tacos, carne asada quesadillas) and homemade aguas frescas (horchata, tamarind).

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Bo Ky
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

19. Bo Ky

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

What is it? One of the few restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown specializing in the cuisine of the Chaoshan region of China, Bo Ky’s menu showcases a mix of  Cantonese and Southeast Asian flavors. The number of noodle dishes is long but you can also find roasted duck and any number of rice dishes.

Why go? One of the best noodle shops in Chinatown where you’ll find comforting dishes for a taste-to-cost ratio that can’t be beat.

Bunna
Photograph: Bunna/Theodora Johnson

20. Bunna Cafe

Restaurants Ethiopian East Williamsburg

What is it? At this vegetarian Ethiopian charmer, you’ll get a spread of traditional bites, including red lentils in berbere sauce, mashed split peas simmered with tomato, and a chickpea stuffing with kale. Cool the heat of the spicier flavors with a strip of injera.

Why go? Bunna is an awesome date spot to order to-go food from. Some might tell you differently, but think eating with our hands from a shared bed of injera, is the perfect way to build intimacy.

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White Bear
Photograph: Ali Garber

21. White Bear

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

What is it? Dumpling aficionados trek to this closet-size eatery to order the No. 6: A dozen pork wontons ($7), doused in roasted chili oil and topped with a smattering of diced pickled vegetables, arrives on a Styrofoam plate. Despite more than 30 items on the menu, it’s main dish that everyone seems to order—and for good reason.

Why go? If you love dumplings, this is a must-visit destination for the tasty morsels. We dare you to have just one.

Llama San
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

22. Llama-San

Restaurants Peruvian West Village

What is it? Chef Erik Ramirez's playful interpertation of Nikkei cuisine, a mash-up of Peruvian and Japanese flavors, is masterfully executed at this stylish restaurant. He manages to surprise us while introducing New Yorkers to a lesser known style of cooking.

Why Go? Chef Erik Ramirez's interpretation of Nikkei cuisine results in dishes that are equal parts innovative and mouthwatering. 

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Noreetuh
Photograph: Courtesy Noreetuh

23. Noreetuh (reopening on July 9th)

Restaurants American East Village

What is it? For far too long Spam has been given a bad rep. But at Noreetuh, Spam is among the menu’s specialties with dishes like spicy Spam musubi, which ask you to reconsider the canned meat. 

Why go?  Few restaurants in New York take on Hawaiian cuisine. Noreetuh’s does so with gusto, leaving behind all clichés at the door (yeah, no lei decor here).

Tim Ho Wan
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

24. Tim Ho Wan

Restaurants Chinese Greenwich Village

What is it? The dim-sum juggernaut from chef-owners Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung—which has five locations in its native Hong Kong and another 39 sites worldwide—became the world’s least-expensive Michelin-starred restaurant when it surprisingly scored a sparkler in 2009.

Why go? For its freshly made pork buns and translucent shrimp dumplings.

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Oxomoco
Photograph: Gabi Porter

25. Oxomoco

Restaurants Mexican Greenpoint

What is it? Created by the Speedy Romeo team, the recently Michelin-starred Oxomoco focuses on wood-fired dishes; our favorite is the beet “chorizo" tacos.

Why go? It feels like you’re dining in a trendy Mexico City restaurant. More important than ever, when travelling around the world remains largely on hold. 

Taïm
Photograph: Courtesy Taïm

26. Taïm

Restaurants Israeli West Village

What is it? Chef Einat Admony has made a name for herself by creating some of the most fresh tasting falafel we’ve ever had paired best with marinated beets and spicy Moroccan carrot salad.

Why go? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better meal in NoLita, perfect for a little pre-game to spending hours walking around the neighborhood. 

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Joes Steam Rice Roll
Photograph: Noah Fecks

27. Joe's Steam Rice Roll

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

What is it? You’ll fall in love with cheong fun—the wide, translucent rice noodles that are often filled with pork, beef or shrimp—because Joe’s does it well. 

Why go? It’s one of the city’s best bang-for-your-buck and an essential primer to New York dining. With each cheong fun doused in sweet soy sauce, there are few restaurants this comforting. 

Golden Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Golden Diner/Helen Lee

28. Golden Diner

Restaurants Diners Two Bridges

What is it? The former Momofuku Ko and Torrisi chef, Sam Yoo opened an unlikely solo project: a diner in Two Bridges. In addition to classics like grilled cheese, expect yuba club sandwiches, matcha crumb cake and chicken katsu BLTs.  

Why go?  Diners are dwindling in New York and Yoo’s spot represents a new wave of restaurants creating a modern spin on the nostalgic, old-New York classic.

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Photographs: Courtesy Con Poulos for Levant Cookbook
Con Poulos for Levant Cookbook

29. Tanoreen

Restaurants Mediterranean Bay Ridge

What is it? Since 1998, this cult destination in Bay Ridge has been alone at the top of local Middle Eastern establishments, a standard-bearer in a category that has few highlights. The Palestinian-born chef and owner takes extra steps in reviving the flavors of her Nazareth childhood—charring eggplants in charcoal, rolling out pita, hand-making savory yogurt. Her efforts pay dividends in an endless variety of silky spreads—lemony labna, smoky baba ganoush and more.

Why go? More Palestinian restaurants should be getting credit in New York.

Arepa Lady
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

30. The Arepa Lady

Restaurants Street food Jackson Heights

What is it? What began as a modest cart is now upgraded to a sit-down restaurant specializing in arepas and other Colombian bites in Jackson Heights. The kitchen is run by Maria Piedad Cano and her family. 

Why go? Some of the best South American corn cakes found in New York.

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Claro
Photograph: Gabi Porter

31. Claro

Restaurants Mexican Gowanus

What is it? Everyone loves a good taco, but at Claro, your notion of New York Mexican food is greatly expanded. The aguachile is not exactly your run-of-the-meal ceviche: scallops marinate in a bath of bright citrus and also have an unexpected hit of heat. The tortillas are house made and make a perfect vehicle for the complex moles that feel tradition yet modern.

Why go? Oaxacan cuisine gets a New York touch in a sprawling backyard.

L&B Spumoni Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Sinclair

32. L&B Spumoni Gardens

Restaurants Pizza Gravesend

What is it? We suggest ordering your grandma-style pie at the to-go counter and sitting outside. There are two rules here: Fight for that Parmesan shaker, and no matter how stuffed you are, you must finish your meal with spumoni, a tricolor ice cream.

Why go? We can’t imagine a better way to spend a post-beach afternoon than snarfing down one of its saucy, pillowy squares in the sun.

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Com Tam Ninh Kieu
Photograph: Courtesy Com Tam Ninh Kieu

33. Com Tam Ninh Kieu

Restaurants Vietnamese The Bronx

What is it? These days it’s easier to find Vietnamese food done well, but it’s often served with a "modern" twist. For a more traditional, home-style version of the Southeast Asian cuisine, we head to this no-frills restaurant that’s located in the Bronx, once an enclave of the Vietnamese population in New York.

Why go? Two Hanoi House alums have taken over this neighborhood spot and given the menu a few updates while staying true to the kitchen’s comforting Vietnamese recipes.

Sofreh
Photograph: Gabi Porter

34. Sofreh

Restaurants Persian Prospect Heights

What is it? In one of New York's few Persian restaurants, the incredibly fragrant cuisine of Iran is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. Dine on roasted eggplant dip, beef-and-potato kebab and rosewater sorbet at this Prospect Heights favorite. 

Why Go? One of the best and only representations of Persian cuisine in town.

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Kiki's
Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

35. Kiki's

Restaurants Greek Chinatown

What is it? There's a Chinese sign hanging out front, but the restaurant actually only serves Greek food. 

Why go? Kiki Karamintzas' namesake restaurant manages to be one of the neighborhood's hippest spots without maintaining much of a Instagram presence or photographable interior design. Which is to say, Kiki's is cool and lively without feeling like it’s trying too hard.

Oasis
Photograph: Time Out / Ali Garber

36. Oasis

Restaurants Mediterranean Williamsburg

What is it? Oasis is our no-fail, no-frills, trusty best friend for falafel platters and pita sandwiches. Beyond just damn good falafel, we really appreciate the bounty of pickled veggies that don't feel like an afterthought or filler.

Why go? These days, Williamsburg is a circus of high-rises and overpriced eateries. In one of the most gentrified neighborhoods in Brooklyn it's becoming harder and harder to find affordable vegetarian bites.

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MeMe's Diner
Photograph: Noah Fecks

37. Meme's Diner

Restaurants Diners Crown Heights

What is it? A modern take on the retro diner, MeMe’s offers playful diner-style bites that feel so nostalgic, you might just find yourself calling up your granny afterwards to tell her you love her.  

Why go? The queer-run restaurant has created a space that’s open and inviting to everyone and that feeling of community is more important than ever in these uncertain times.   

Lokanta
Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

38. Lokanta

Restaurants Turkish Astoria

What is it?  From soups and stews to braises and a butternut squash dessert, you get a taste of Turkish food not often found in New York. 

Why go? Pillowy, yogurt-doused manti that is precisely the type of food we're looking for to soothe our anxieties about the world. 

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Kopitiam
Photograph: Courtesy Kopitiam

39. Kopitiam

Restaurants Malaysian Two Bridges

What is it? A Malaysian all-day café offering cozy dishes like nasi lemak and fish ball soup that's gained critical acclaim beyond just neighborhood appeal.

Why go? Relax with their all-day menu of affordable small plates and snacks.

Peppa's Jerk Chicken
Photograph: Courtesy Peppa's Jerk Chicken

40. Peppa’s Jerk Chicken

Restaurants Caribbean Flatbush

What is it? There’s a wonderfully fragrant goat curry and tender stewed oxtail served over coconut rice, but it’s the smokey, perfectly grilled smoked chicken that keeps us coming back to Peppa’s Jerk Chicken. You can easily pay over $50 for a roast chicken in New York at sit-down restaurants, but we think this chicken is as a satisfying, if not more, than many of the best birds in town.

Why go? There are plenty of West Indian restaurants in New York but for jerk chicken, Peppa’s is the hands down winner.

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

41. Mission Chinese Food

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Two Bridges

What is it? James Beard Award–winning chef Danny Bowien could be dubbed a mad scientist of modern Asian cuisine. While he draws on his Korea-American heritage, his food at Mission Chinese spans a wide-range of flavors from the largest continent. You’ll find dishes with modern riffs on classics like Kung Pao Pastrami, which feel creative but not gimmicky. The dining experience is equal parts nostalgia and fun—think lazy Susans atop tables in rooms with neon lighting as you sip an MSG Margarita or the Hairdresser en Fuego.

Why go? To spice up your next delivery order.

Hanoi House
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

42. Hanoi House

Restaurants Vietnamese East Village

What is it? Hanoi House from Stephen Starr alums Ben Lowell and Sara Leveen is a perennial favorite with its nod to traditional Vietnamese dishes with some cheffy touches, from a 16-hour broth for the classic beef pho to the filet mignon in the shaking beef.

Why go? Vietnamese comfort food that tastes modern yet homey.

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B&H Dairy
Photograph: Ali Garber

43. B&H Dairy

Restaurants Diners East Village

What is it? A kosher diner in the East Village serving up tuna melts, pierogies, kasha varnishkes and borscht.

Why go?  Regulars know to look out for the heaping portions of complementary challah bread. And yeah, we even have one of their signature bubblegum pink t-shirts which read 'Challah, por favor' in slime green bubble letters. It's one of the last remaining old New York spots in the neighborhood.

 Cafe China
Photograph: Courtesy Cafe China

44. Cafe China

Restaurants Chinese Midtown

What is it? We’d chase down superb Szechuan cuisine whether it’s a tiny mom-and-pop run operation in Flushing or a more upscale setting like the recently-opened Hutong. Cafe China strikes a great balance with a 1930s glam vibe of Shanghai and dishes, from pork dumplings in chili oil to spicy cumin lamb, that make the wait worth it. 

Why go? You feel like you’re on the set of an old Shanghainese film as you order a feast of Szechuan dishes.

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Photograph: Courtesy Jake Lindeman

45. Gertie

Restaurants Cafés Williamsburg

What is it? A modern luncheonette in the heart of Williamsburg serving Old school New York nostalgia through a soulful menu of comforting dishes like rotisserie chicken, lasagna and bialys,

Why go? One of the most pleasant brunch experiences you’ll have on this side of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Marlow & Sons
Photographer: Courtesy Talia Simhi

46. Marlow & Sons

Restaurants American creative Williamsburg

What is it? Before there was a destination restaurant on every Williamsburg corner, Andrew Tarlow was quietly pioneering restaurants that functioned like community hubs for artists in the otherwise barren neighborhood. Beginning with Diner, Marlow & Sons was Tarlow’s follow-up that opened in 2004. Tarlow has since expanded his Brooklyn restaurant empire with Marlow & Daughters, Roman’s and Achilles Heel.

Why go? Last year, chef Patch Troffer completely reinvented the menu, focusing for the first time on Japanese-American farm food: a kombu pork shoulder with sauerkraut and kabocha squash or a sour cabbage pancake with togarashi and bonito flakes keeps the same locally-minded, ethical sourcing, this time from a new perspective.

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Smor
Courtesy Smor/Paul Quitoriano

47. Smør

Restaurants Cafés East Village

What is it? “Smør” means “butter,” which is fitting, as smørrebrøds—open-faced toasts with buttered rye bread—are this shop’s signature. 

Why go? Thanks to our surplus of Jewish delicatessens, we New Yorkers have a deep appreciation for everything pickled and cured. But at Smør, the Danish version of pickled herring is served with capers, dill, periwinkle-onion slices and Korean purple radishes with kaleidoscopic lines.

Tzarevna
Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

48. Tzarevna

Restaurants Russian Lower East Side

What is it? A restaurant serving excellent “New Russian” cuisine with beef stroganoff served with pomme purée instead of noodles and a crab version of khachapuri.

Why go? Tzarevna has no vodka bottles; instead, Georgian wines are the thing here. That same fresh approach gives a nuanced perspective on Russian cuisine, inspired by Georgian, Ukranian and Uzbeki cooking.

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Photograph: Courtesy of The Freakin Rican

49. The Freakin Rican

Restaurants Puerto Rican Astoria

What is it? It’s an exciting time for Puerto Rican food in New York (one of our favorite caterers specializing in the cuisine, Que Chevere is about to get their own stall at Essex Crossing). Derick López’s The Freakin Rican has gained much critical acclaim. 

Why go? The pasteles, broiled plantains with pork are worth the trip.

Maya Bed-Stuy
Photograph: Courtesy of Maya Bed-Stuy

50. Maya Bed-Stuy

Restaurants Sandwich shops Bedford-Stuyvesant

What is it? An East Asian general store with bites at the counter, the recently opened Maya Bed-Stuy specializes in modern takes on congee.


Why go? Though Maya may not serve the single best congee in the city, it’s an entirely noteworthy experience updated with quinoa, avocado and other tasty ingredients you see in fashionable grain bowls.

Local chefs, restaurants and concepts we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Bessou
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

Bessou

Restaurants Japanese Noho

Why we selected it? Chef Emily Yuen adds a modern touch to Japanese classics with her bento bowl teeming with soy beef brisket and the chicken karaage dusted with Moroccan spices—trust us, you won’t be able to resist dipping each forkful into the spicy mayo. 

Why go? We quickly learned that Bessou lives up to its name, which loosely translates from Japanese as a second home.

Bread Bakery
Photograph: Courtesy Breads Bakery

Breads Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Union Square

Why we selected it? If Breads Bakery only sold its chocolate babka and nothing else, we'd still sing its praises to no end. But this exceptional Israeli bakery offers a stellar array of breads, pastries and sandwiches.

Why go? The best babka you’ll ever have.

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Clinton St. Baking Company

Restaurants American Lower East Side

Why we selected it? Neil Kleinberg’s fluffy pancakes alone are more than enough reason to hit up this brunch favorite. But the rest of the menu, from biscuit sandwiches to a smoked salmon scramble, makes a case for why breakfast can be just as good for dinner.

Why go? Some consider brunch a sacred experience in New York, and this Lower East Side classic doesn’t disappoint between its delicious bites and buzzy dining room.

Felice

Restaurants Italian Financial District

Why we selected it? The Tuscan-inspired dishes, wine-bottle-lined walls and leather banquettes serve as the perfect backdrop for comforting Italian fare.

Why go? If there are two words that describe FELICE, we’d choose cozy and carbs. The bowls of pasta beckon us to this intimate restaurant no matter the time of year.

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Fish Cheeks
Photograph: Courtesy Kylie Thompson

Fish Cheeks

Restaurants Thai Noho

Why we selected it? Named after the Asian delicacy, this seafood-forward Thai restaurant is as family-style as it is family-run. You won’t find your typical takeout favorites but dishes that don’t hold back, whether its heat or Southeast Asian spices, under the directions of brothers Chat and Ohm Suansilphong.

Why go? Regional Thai cooking is trendier than ever these days and the food here doesn’t hold back when showing this country’s diverse cuisine.

best ice cream nyc
Photograph: Courtesy of @Food.Drunk

Ice & Vice

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Two Bridges

Why we selected it? We don’t go here when we’re looking for typical flavors of ice cream like vanilla or strawberry. The experimental shop features a rotating menu of envelope-pushing flavors like American Beauty (crème fraîche and rose petal jam) and Opium Den (white sesame, toasted poppy seed and lemon bread croutons).

Why go? The concoctions as tasty as they are funky.

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jacob's pickles
Photograph: Courtesy Jacob's Pickles

Jacob's Pickles

Bars Gastropubs Upper West Side

Why we selected it? Jacob's Pickle helped the Upper West Side shed its sleepy restaurant reputation by offering gastropub fare we could get behind.

Why go? The comfort food, mac and cheese to patty melt, pair effortlessly with the extensive beer list and whiskey cocktails.

Juliana's

Restaurants Pizza Brooklyn Heights

Why we selected it? Patsy Grimaldi has had his hand in New York’s most influential pizza spots: Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, and, his latest chapter: Juliana’s. 

Why go? Patsy Grimaldi is nothing short of a New York icon.

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Miss Ada

Restaurants Mediterranean Fort Greene

Why we selected it? One of Brooklyn’s best restaurants gained five stars from Time Out New York for Tomer Blechman’s (Bar Bolonat, Gramercy Tavern) Fort Greene hit. 

Why go? Employing tangy yogurt, fragrant spices, zippy chilies and heaps of fresh herbs to build layers of flavors in complex dishes, Miss Ada is at the forefront of the Middle Eastern restaurant scene.

Photograph: Courtesy of Mr. Taka Ramen

Mr. Taka Ramen

Restaurants Japanese Lower East Side

Why we selected it? New York is teeming with ramen options, but this Lower East Side spot commands a loyal following for good reason: the overall quality and consistency of its broth, whether a hearty tonkotsu or spicy miso, is always on point.

Why go? We can't get enough of the hearty tonkatsu and basically any dish from this kitchen.

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