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Chikarashi Isso
Photograph: Courtesy of Chikarashi Isso

The 25 best new restaurants in NYC

Our favorite new sushi spots, slice shops, bistros, neighborhood restaurants and special occasion destinations.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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While we were busy catching up with all of New York's best restaurants, a whole new slew of excellent dining destinations started popping up to further complicate our reservation schedules and meticulously orchestrated walk-in efforts. While we’re always delighted to revisit those old favorites, everyone knows that sometimes only something shiny and new will do. 

How new? This perpetually updated list includes the best new restaurants that have opened over the past six months. That means Victor, Pig & Butter and Kuxé depart this edition, and October's joiners include vegan soul food, hard to find mole, the buzzy followup to a popular downtown spot, a 2019 opening’s excellent second act and the new restaurant at Manhattan’s only bourbon distillery.  

Best New Restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Midtown West

This two-table sushi restaurant on the second floor of a nondescript building in midtown is emblematic of why people love eating in New York. Enter what looks like a service entrance, ascend a staircase, step up to the counter and order some of the best sushi in NYC. We were taken aback by the beautiful knife work on a recent visit, before we learned that Sushi 35 West has Masa alums in the kitchen. The salmon roe, sea urchin, Spanish mackerel and striped jack are musts, so add one or all to your sushi and sashimi sets.

  • Restaurants
  • Financial District

Saga is chapter two for the team behind Crown Shy, one of the best restaurants in NYC. The new fine dining addition tops the dazzling Art Deco building that houses them both, with majestic views of NYC across several terraces. Its dining rooms are intimate, with room for 56 between a few plush, connected spaces. An eight-to-ten course tasting is $245 and includes one welcome cocktail. Saga’s opening menu included several fluke preparations, including kombu-cured with shiso, citrus-cured with honeydew and bruléed fluke rib with mushroom XO.

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  • Restaurants
  • East Village

New to First Avenue, this is the perfect East Village bar that also happens to be a restaurant. Everything you need to know about Sidney’s Five starts with its mini-martini flights–a trio of two-ounce pours–and ends with complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries. Fill in the middle with excellent fresh-shucked charbroiled garlic and herb charbroiled oysters and andouille corn dogs. 

  • Restaurants
  • Downtown Brooklyn

A long-awaited throwback met by unexpected delays, Gage & Tollner’s opening has been electrically anticipated since . . . well, now it’s hard to say. Even just the history bits on G&T’s site are worth a cursory peep (with appearances by prohibition, TGI Fridays and Arby’s!), as the one-time “most famous restaurant in Brooklyn'' certainly has a past. Presently, Gage & Tollner’s dining room is absolutely beautiful. Thanks to both preservation and restoration, it’s simultaneously easy and confounding to imagine how close it skews to the original. Some of the food harkens back, too, particularly seafood items like its raw bar selections (we’re told the original G&T had dozens of oyster preparations a night), mighty steaks and chops and classic cocktails with discrete twists. Ask about the erstwhile turtle.   

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  • Restaurants
  • East Village

This excellent new venture from plant-based restaurant behemoth Overthrow Hospitality (Avant Garden, Ladybird) serves one of this year’s most exciting new menu items. Executive chef Shenarri Freeman’s southern fried lasagna combines pasta, pine nut ricotta, spinach and a red wine Beyond Meat bolognese and deep fries it all to sensational effect. Smoked grits and palm cakes are also highlights. 

 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Greenwich Village

Even in its infancy, Yuco is off to a good start toward its goal “to be the single most innovative Yucateco restaurant in the world.” Its marvelous mole, made with rare Yucatán chiles, is unlike any other in NYC, the braised oxtail it's served with is peak form and house-made heirloom corn tortillas are standard-setting. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Financial District

Recently reopened with a new chef and new menus, Chikarashi Isso specializes in tempura and sukiyaki. Shrimp, scallops and chrysanthemum are all covered in a delicate golden coating, and thin slices of Wagyu beef are bathed in broth over a flame at your table. Suntory whiskey highballs are also available on tap.  

  • Restaurants
  • Chelsea

The follow-up to highly-regarded Shuka is a lively new addition to Chef/partner Ayesha Nurdjaja’s hospitality portfolio. It’s also very popular, so be prepared to make your reservations outside of primetime hours to try the salt cod dip, grape leaves, joojeh chicken and steak kebab.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Gowanus

The new restaurant in the old Two Toms space also trades in red sauce Italian in a light, bright, refreshed environment. Like any great place in its category, Fai Bene’s menu is long, including grilled octopus, fried calamari, bucatini in tomato or white wine sauce, veal Parm, chops and personal pizzas. It’s BYOB with a corkage fee at press time. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

It took a while for the team behind Le Crocodile to open its second venture in the Wythe Hotel, but its new sixth-floor viewstaurant was worth the wait. Bar Blondeau looks out over the East River to the NYC skyline from seating areas inside and out, with abundant drink menus including frozen cocktails and interesting non-alcoholic options to pair with French, Spanish and Portuguese-inspired small plates. 

  • Restaurants
  • Carroll Gardens

Years in the making, Baby Luc’s is the casual slice follow-up to the perpetually packed premier NYC pizza destination, Lucali. But, after opening near the original location on July 17, it still isn’t exactly easy to sample the pepperoni, sausage and peppers, ricotta and broccoli rabe and margarita squares, as lines are still winding down Court Street from opening until they run out. Bring a book and some patience and you’ll be rewarded with a taste of the city’s most coveted new pies. 

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  • Restaurants
  • East Harlem

Seasonal Peruvian dishes, cocktails and a respectable wine list with a good selection by the glass fill the dining room at Contento, which was designed with people with disabilities in mind. Opening entrées include arroz con pato and a burger with caramelized onions and Raclette. 

  • Restaurants
  • Lower East Side

The brick and mortar conclusion of a popular 2020 pop-up, Sami & Susu’s permanent spot on the Lower East Side serves half zhug chicken, lamb stuffed cabbage ($22) and chicken soup with matzoh ball alongside a tidy selection of olive oil, spice blends and housemade items like baba ghanoush and muhammara available in its tiny little shop section. It's the kind of place you could quickly peruse the papers over a pastry in the morning and swing by again around sunset to share a bottle of wine–most of which are around $50. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Queens

Although we were able to walk right in on a recent visit, we don’t expect Monkey Noodle Bar to stay that way. For one, it’s especially photogenic, with a snuggly cartoon monkey painted huge on its facade, and more cuddly creatures lining the space inside all the way to our favorite image of a contemplative primate (and a nod to a famed Banksy) in the bathroom. As if that weren’t enough (and, according to our social media diet, it sometimes is,) the food is also worth repeat visits. Fight the desire to fill up on the piquant house-made kimchi, which is cut tableside, and start with the spicy tuna, squid or Spam Monkey gimbap. Then choose from big bowls of kalguksu (knife-cut noodle soup) teeming with seafood or spicy chicken, or the bulgogi in a rich broth that factors into our daydreams from time to time. Though absent a bar proper, soju and beer are also available. 

  • Restaurants
  • Midtown East

Little Mad is infused with fun. Many of its 50 seats have views of a lively open kitchen, where chefs move with expert choreography and controlled flames dance at close range. The Korean-American menu ignites joy, too, starting with an amuse of fluffy little pancakes fashioned after fish and a side of seaweed butter, that together call to mind an impossibly soft everything bagel. Beef tartare with shiitakes arrives under a brittle maesangi chip that you’re invited to shatter with a wooden hammer. Your tap (or smack!) creates the perfect ratio of crispy vehicles to scoop up the tiny deep pink cubes beneath. Envelopes of Asian pear with yellowtail and Shin Ramyun-inspired crispy duck noodles with umami foam are less theatrically interactive, but just as delicious. A few cocktails and plenty of wines are available to pair, but plan to finish with the smooth and cloudy ruby-hued Red Monkey rice wine, which could also stand in for dessert. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Noho

The first thing you’ll notice about Jolene is its fresh new look. The squat space’s previously orange exterior (famed from its 35-years as Great Jones Cafe and then, briefly, The Jones) has been painted white. The second thing you’ll see is the Elvis bust gazing out from the narrow right-hand window. The King is one holdover from previous iterations of the neighborhood restaurant, which now serves snacks like house-made potato chips, anchovies in oil and littleneck clams, along with larger plates like crispy chicken Milanese and chopped steak frites. It’ll be easy to rosé (or cocktail or cappuccino) all day here in moneyed-cabin-in-the-woods style once hours are expanded earlier than dinner service.  

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Upper East Side
  • price 4 of 4

Things rarely get more affordable. This summer’s NYC Restaurant Week’s two lower-price tiers are an odd exception to the general rule that things that cost are gonna keep on costing. So who would have thought that one of the city’s best sushi restaurants would become more approachable by hundreds of dollars? Do not worry: if you’ve recently crimed your way into more money than you know what to do with, you can still order Sushi Noz’s $395 tasting menu in its Upper East Side dining room. But now, you can also sample its exquisite cuts of fish right outside at Outdoors at Noz Market. The $75 four-course prix fixe includes an assortment of sashimi, your choice of wide-roll futomaki and temaki handrolls, plus ice cream flavors like ginger, matcha or furikake for dessert. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Greenwich Village

Dame glowed on everyone's radar when it was but a humble, incredibly popular, critically acclaimed pop-up early last year and through 2020. Now, the English seafood restaurant has a forever home on MacDougal Street. Presently dinner-only but with room to grow in its new digs, Dame serves fried soft shell crabs, grilled blowfish tails and the fish and chips that helped earn its acclaim in beachy environs alongside Pimm’s cups, negronis and a trio of vesper, dry gin or dirty vodka martinis. 

  • Restaurants
  • Flatiron

Boy, have there been times when we could have used this place! New to Flatiron near Union Square, Tacos Güey is a multi-purpose renaissance restaurant. The long, L-shaped bar can serve as a spot in its own right, dark and cool and replete with frozen cocktails like the mezcal and rum-based This Güey and the tequila That Güey. Or, you can turn drinks into snacks with orders of potato and queso flautas and lime-salted guac. Then–Would you look at the time?–settle in for dinner with six types of tacos, including carnitas, carne asada, pollo asado and lamb birria, and entrées like the whole fish of the day or the chef’s selection of meats. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Midtown East

Le Pavillon’s three-course tasting is $125, and that’s before you’ve even had a sip from any one of its 650 bottles of wine, which are also, you know, not cheap. If you are still reading, please find us on Venmo, and then start planning which items you’ll select from those prix-fixe categories. The choose-your-own-expenditure includes wood-fired octopus, roasted Maine lobster, and a milk chocolate crémeux for dessert. An à la carte bar menu provides a less-spendy opportunity to see Le Pavillon’s sprawling, flora-filled space, with a yellowfin tuna tartare, Maryland soft shell crab tempura and oysters Vanderbilt, each around $20. Sidecars, old fashioneds and gimlets will also run you about that much. If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, snap a few of Le Pavillon’s nicely-framed shot of the Chrysler Building to get your letter’s worth. 

  • Restaurants
  • DUMBO

Em Vietnamese Bistro follows the success of Em Vietnamese Kitchen, which opened four years ago about eight miles south of this spot in Dumbo. The newer of the two serves minced pork, shredded chicken, beef and tofu rice and noodle dishes, bánh mì varieties and apps like crispy spring rolls and fried chicken wings at lunch. Ngheu hap xa (clams in lemongrass broth), chao so diep (scallop rice porridge with garlic, butter, scallion and cilantro) and banh xeo (turmeric rice crepe with shrimp, pork belly, calamari, bean sprouts and scallions) are available at dinner, when the sun starts setting outside the crisp, mid-century-modern space. Slushies, smoothies and aloe drinks are available at the Bistro’s window spots and multi-tops while it awaits its liquor license.  

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

This is neither a promise nor a contract, but if you go early enough, even on a weekend evening, and if you go now, before word spreads and nearby bar-goers catch on in force, Atithi has ample room to settle in and enjoy generous lunch ($10) and dinner ($18) prix-fixe menus at tables spaced far enough apart to actually hear your own conversation. Of course, hardwood floors and white-painted brick walls don’t exactly make the acoustics conductive to secret-sharing, but order recent hits like the fried bok choy, lamb spring rolls with mint and raita and lamb saag, and you probably won’t do too much talking, anyway. 

  • Restaurants
  • Park Slope

The wonderfully-spiced birds at Peri Peri Grill House’s Bed-Stuy location started building a following in 2018, and now they’re poised to do the same in Park Slope. Choose your chicken quantity: quarter, half, or whole, and maybe a little extra for tomorrow, cross-check your own heat tolerance with the menu’s “peri scale” to select extra mild through extra hot options, tack on a few sides like mac & cheese or jasmine rice and start thinking about your next order before you’ve even finished the first in this quick stop spot. Even at the top of the peri scale, this is not the hottest chicken that ever has or ever will be, but its lovely seasoning is worth returning to. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Soho

Hovering two stories above the sidewalk, Veranda has a bit of a what light through yonder window breaks quality, but this is no Juliet balcony. Veranda’s space can accommodate you, your beau, and dozens of other star-crossed lovers under (or not!) its retractable roof. Veranda’s bar shakes and stirs juleps, palomas and dirty martinis to accompany snacks like French fries and salt cod croquettes. Dinner includes Norwegian salmon, piri-piri chicken and a dry-aged New York Strip.

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