As 2019 comes to a close, the Time Out New York Food & Drink team isn’t slowing down in our search for the best restaurants in NYC. Chefs—young and well established ones—struck out on their own while others keep revolutionizing our plant-based options. We’ve also noticed the demand keeps growing for bars focused on natural and low-intervention wines (watch out for a few to join our best bars in NYC list). Whether you’re looking for the best Christmas things to do during one of the busiest times of the year for kitchens across the city or to check off a bucket list restaurant, these are the buzziest openings we recommend checking out.
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Located inside the multiuse Essex Crossing (that features both the relocated Essex Market and a movie theater), this sprawling food bazaar brings together additional outposts of New York institutions like Veselka and Nom Wah Tea Parlor. New concepts—such as, Peoples, a wine bar and shop from the team behind Contra and Wildair—are also worth checking out.
Chef-owner Nick Anderer’s first solo project is an ode to old New York. Named after his great-great-grandfather, the restaurant turns back the clock via throwback classics like Porgy & Prawns à la Manhattan and a simple salad of watercress and frisée.
Who better to take over MoMA PS1’s museum café than Mina Stone, a longtime caterer for galleries and artist studios? Her new restaurant offers Greek-leaning dishes, such as strapatsada (scrambled-egg toast with tomatoes and feta) and peinirli (boat-shaped cheese bread).
Alfred Portale, who left the much lauded Gotham Bar & Grill earlier this year, has opened an Italian restaurant with a more contemporary menu that’s focused on pastas, vegetables, crudos and grilled dishes. The sleek space also features the chef’s art curation, which manifests an Italy-meets-NYC theme.
This Brooklyn wine bar comes from the Gran Eléctrica and Colonie team. Expect small plates with an Italian influence, such as sunchokes with labne and lemon confit. You’ll want to lounge here while sipping on the low-intervention wines and custom amaro.
This LES eatery ushered in a wave of restaurants that are centered on regional Thai fare. The focus is no different at its latest location, which serves jaew hon, a seldom-seen Southeast Asian take on hot pot in which diners dip various cuts of meat and seafood into bubbling cauldrons of broth.
Amanda Cohen has been cooking some of the city’s most experimental vegan food—long before it was trendy—at Dirt Candy. Now, she’s debuting a fast-casual, plant-based burger spot that’s dishing out milkshakes, soft serve and even french fries.
An evolution of his recent and well-received pop-ups, chef Jae Lee (a disciple of Dale Talde) will offer a menu with Spam egg rolls, a jjajang clam dish as well as the kimchi burger he’s come to be known for.
Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross, the partners behind the iconic Court Street Grocers, have opened their first-ever, full-service restaurant concept.So you might find it surprising to learn that The HiHi Room, located in Boerum Hill (not too far from the duo’s original Court Street Grocers location in Carroll Gardens), is not about sandwiches at all. The kitchen, led by Battersby (before it closed) chef and co-owner Walker Stern, will be more focused on churning out "regional" dishes like shrimp with butter beans, Cincinnati-style chili with spaghetti, whitefish salad, burgers, scrapple, a play on Crab Louie, as well as vegetable sides.
Tali Ovadia's Portland-based bowl spot only serves one dish: a chili-like rice bowl with cheese, avocado, sour cream and black olives. Now this one-hit-wonder is available to Brooklynites, in a hip fast-casual setting.
With the opening of Kindred, the team behind Ruffian now has a larger stage for its smartly curated selection of natural wines. There, the small plates of pastas, salads and bar snacks are complemented by an impressive roster of orange wines from Italy and Slovenia.
Banter recently opened a second location of its Australian-inspired all day cafe with exposed white bricks, a pale pink accent wall and abstract art dotting the airy 34-seat space. The menu is overseen by executive chef Jake Hawkins, a Sydney native who's added new items such as a mango smoothie bowl, pulled chicken salad and the Golden Folded Eggs, a silky scramble that's a signature of the stylish eatery.