Get us in your inbox

Search
Sauce Pizzeria
Photograph: Courtesy Heidi's BridgeAl Pastor slice at Sauce Pizzeria

NYC’s best dishes and drinks of 2018

We binged and quaffed our way through NYC to bring you this taste-tested list of 2018's best dishes and drinks

Written by
Jake Cohen
&
Alyson Penn
Advertising

We eat and drink a lot—it's one of the perks of the job—so we take this list of NYC's buzziest and best dishes and drinks really seriously. Luckily for us, our fair city is constantly churning out new classics, from mouthwatering main courses and desserts to creative cocktails and inspired additions to the best brunch in NYC. Discover what you need to get in your belly below. Hungry for more city essentials? Check out the 101 very best things to do in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best dishes and drinks in NYC right now

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

This standout is a reminder that, sometimes, you’ve gotta keep it simple, stupid. Carb queen Missy Robbins tosses her homemade noodles with only buffalo butter, Parmigiano and black pepper for a stunning al dente bowl of cheesy, creamy goodness, shining a spotlight on a just a few quality ingredients. The result is a soul-warming masterpiece that brings us more joy and comfort than anything and everything else we’ve tried all year. $22 

  • Restaurants
  • Israeli
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

In a city that takes its burgers seriously, this Israeli import, known for its whole-roasted cauliflower, goes against the grain and proffers its patty in a pita. The burger is showered with white cheddar that melts around the edges, crisping into a crunchy crown. The magic happens in the few minutes before the beauty hits your table, when the folded patty steams in the warm pita alongside garlic aioli, sour cream, tomato and pickles, allowing the flavors to fuse and amplify. $11.50 

Advertising
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

This isn’t your typical slice of the Italian-American classic. Underneath a veil of cocoa and thin caramel shards sits velvety whipped mascarpone and layers of lemon sponge cake that have been soaked with espresso, aged rum and Cynar. Bonus: Since the dessert is served in a coupe, it’s totally acceptable to lick the glass clean. $9

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Fort Greene
  • price 3 of 4

You may not have heard of it, but this flaky-AF Yemeni fry bread is starting to pop up on Middle Eastern menus throughout the city. In his recently launched brunch program, chef Tomer Blechman is dishing out the best version in New York, featuring a hard-boiled egg, tahini, tomato and schug. $14

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Tribeca
  • price 3 of 4

The espresso martini is back and better than ever. The OG vodka Redbull has inexplicably debuted on bar menus across the city this year in rebooted, elevated versions, but the very best we tried came courtesy of Primo’s, a stylish, midcentury-accented bar that concocts an indulgently rich espresso martini made with fresh espresso, cold brew and crème de cacao. $23

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • West Village
  • price 3 of 4

While the chicken (and the rabbit) at this fancyish French bistro is lovely, the true showstopper is this platter of veggies. A cart rolls up to your table with a Technicolor rainbow of cold vegetable preparations, each one more vibrant than the next. While the offerings change with the seasons, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing alternative to the basic Pret a Manger salad that you ate at your office desk. $23

Advertising
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

The pastry magicians at Doughnut Plant have managed to fuse vanilla and dark-chocolate doughs to create a truly authentic black-and-white doughnut, inspired by the quintessential New York cookie. Just don’t forget that you have to eat it the same way: Get both flavors in every bite. $4.50

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

The extremely photogenic Japanese import has been making its way into menus across the city, including the one at this Flatiron hotel restaurant. Here, it contains pork collar that is breaded and flash-fried, then placed on toasted white bread for a sweet-and-salty sandwich that packs a concentrated punch of umami. $18

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Canadian
  • Greenpoint

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t waste it on lackluster pancakes when you can devour this fluffy stack. The light and airy center is surrounded in crisp edges that are slightly burnt (in the best way possible) for a dish begging to be drenched in maple syrup. $13

Advertising
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

While everyone pours frosé all summer long, only the best versions can thrive into the chillier months. This frosty take crowned with a pink-flamingo straw is our hands-down favorite, laced with pineapple liqueur and citrus for stunning floral notes. $16

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Persian
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

If you’ve never experienced the glory that is Persian food, it’s high time you started with a meal at this Prospect Heights pioneer. The vibrant menu sports this Flintstones-sized, turmeric-braised lamb shank that falls apart beautifully when casually nudged with a fork. $28

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Beyond the lovely bowls of noodles lies the true highlight of this East Village slurp shop: cabbage. Tender but toothsome and perfumed with sweet garlic and spicy chilies, the simple leafy green is everything you have ever wanted in a veggie dish. $18

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Financial District
  • price 3 of 4

This warm vanilla soufflé is the sweetest end to any meal. When your waiter pours the butterscotch sauce over this lighter-than-air tower of still-steaming-from-the-oven whipped eggs, you won’t even notice the new restaurant’s sky-high panoramic views. Three-course prix fixe $78

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

Just when we thought we couldn’t love this Detroit-style pizza parlor any more, Emmy Squared opened a Manhattan location that slings a couple of new pies, like this square sensation that’s inspired by the muffaletta’s mortadella, pepperoni and olives. $21

Advertising
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Tribeca

Naturally, we were skeptical when, earlier this year, this “meat speakeasy” hit Tribeca, ditching the typical BBQ-joint aesthetic for retro-steakhouse vibes. But one bite of the ultra-tender Wagyu brisket drenched in a tangy barbecue sauce confirmed that the chefs truly know their way around a hunk of meat. $26 per half pound

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Kips Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Usually, patrons don’t notice the mediocre drinks at rooftop bars because they’re too busy enjoying the view, but it’s a different story at Broken Shaker. This sweet ode to the spot’s neighborhood is balanced by a sharp kick from the pineapple and red-curried honey. (Please note, the cocktail is no longer available on the menu, but if you ask super kindly, the bartender might whip you up something similar.) $16

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Financial District

Past two cheaper menu options comes this pricey Ozaki Wagyu number, served with nori-dusted fries and a pickle. Hailing from a single farm in Japan, the delectable beef makes for a truly melt-in-your-mouth creation that’s as perfectly unctuous as it is expensive. $180

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Greenpoint
  • price 1 of 4

Paulie Gee’s spinoff slice shop get the ambiance down exactly from the faux-wood Formica tables and letter-board menu to the red plastic trays and the paper plates on which each slice is served. The star of the menu is this pepperoni slice drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey for some sweetness and spice. $4.25

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 3 of 4

The backroom speakeasy on the second floor of Freemans pours this pyrotechnic quaff, a smoky, spicy mix of tequila, mezcal, turmeric, ginger and curry leaves. But before you can even enjoy a sip, the waiter singes the top of a submerged banana leaf to evoke a campfire aroma. $18

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

At this bar that’s decorated like a brothel, you can drink in bed: In fact, there’s a bedroom in the back, natch. The staff crafts drinks with cheeky, on-brand names, such as our fave: Harlot’s Progress, a frothy combo of blackberry liqueur, egg white and smoky Scotch. $14

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

Ophelia may be the best-looking bar we visited this year, but her looks are more than just skin-deep. The glittering Purple Tuxedo is a sharp lilac haze of gin, absinthe, plum bitters and edible gold flakes. Although this sip goes down smooth and sweet, it’s punctuated with a subtle licorice tinge. $20

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Craving more? Check out the best dishes and drinks from past years:

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising