Some restaurants find their strength in diversity, while others risk it all on one dish. This year saw plenty of the latter—cevicherias, banh mi shops, a mozzarella bar—with Socarrat emerging as the victor. While the restaurant excels at tapas, it's pretty clear that when you go to a place named for the golden crust of a properly made paella, you'd be wise to order that dish. Hunks of seafood and meat, spoonfuls of rice and yes, that crispy base make culinary monogamy worthwhile. Socarrat Paella Bar259 W 19th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-462-1000)
There seems to be a slicery on nearly every street corner in the city, but sometimes, you need a pizza with a bit more finesse. Petaluma has been dishing out Italian-American cuisine for more than 30 years on the Upper East Side. The restaurant’s popularity is thanks in part to its wood-fired thin-crust pizzas with toppings like spinach artichoke ($21) and fried eggplant, ricotta and tomato ($18). The pasta menu offers classics such as orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage ($20), shrimp scampi ($24) and spaghetti carbonara ($22). The carb-conscious might want to skip the heavy stuff and go straight for a protein-centric entree, like the veal marsala ($29) or the pan-seared Atlantic salmon ($28). Select a drink from a long wine list with vintages available both by the glass and the bottle, or order that non-alcoholic Italian classic, San Pellegrino Limonata ($5).
Venue says: “We have opened our large outdoor cafe! Join us on Wine Down Wednesday for half price bottles of wine to sip on outside.”