The 60 Best Restaurants in New York City

Editor’s note: I lived in the city from 2009 to 2016, so these suggestions represent that time of my life and may be a bit outdated! For my fully up-to-date recs, click here. 

After 7.5 years of living in New York City, writing a total of 600 blog posts  (I’M FULL!), and literally eating my way through the city, I have decided to put together a list of my current favorite 60 restaurants that made my heart skip a beat and my eyes twinkle. This includes anything as casual as where I like to pick up my lunch “al desko” ( I ate lunch from Hu Kitchen for at least three years straight) to a one time meal and unreal dining experience at Le Bernardin. Basically, anything goes here folks as long as it’s life changing and meaningful in some way. See below for my list of favorite restaurants and food in New York City as of October 2016 in no particular order, cuisine, or price. For those of you who ask me regularly, I hope you are happy!

  1. Scalinatella (UES) – They don’t even have a website they are that slick. Just picture a downstairs brick dining room with Italian waiters that read you so many specials you think you’re in Italy. Always get the bouillabaisse.
  2. Via Carota (West Village)– The quaint Italian restaurant that makes you think “we are SO New York!” But, seriously.
  3. Rosarito’s Fish Shack (Williamsburg)– When seafood and Mexican food mix, you’ve got yourself a fiesta!
  4. Carbone (Greenwich Village)– The $50 veal parmesan is still the best parmesan I’ve ever had. If you can’t imagine paying for this, just come here and order it with one friend. You’ll forget the price at first bite. When it’s the best, you forget about the price.
  5. 11B (East Village)– The best BYOB and most underrated pizza in the city. Love a place with every topping you can think of and crunchy crust.
  6. Estela (Nolita) –  You might not want to order everything on the menu at first glance, but somehow everything ends up being just what you wanted.IMG_1063
  7. Legend Bar + Restaurant (Chelsea) – A lunch special staple. A simple chicken and broccoli, egg drop soup, and brown rice combo for $7.95, and it’s NOT swimming in oil.
  8. Pasquale Jones (Little Italy) – A place that has chef counter seating, the best vegetables, clam pizza, and a stellar wine list is not a place you find on every corner.FullSizeRender 30
  9. Pies ‘n Thighs (Williamsburg) – Fried chicken, biscuits, and pie.
  10. Babu Ji (East Village)– When Indian food feels authentic, modern, and edgy at the same time.
  11. Joseph Leonard (West Village)– That egg sandwich on a croissant with brussels sprouts and sriracha is never allowed to be removed from the menu.
  12. Barrio Chino (Lower East Side) – Fun Mexican food, great tequila, easy date spot.
  13. Uncle Boons (Nolita) – Perfect for big groups, perfect for parties of two, and the best Thai curry, rotisserie chicken, and cauliflower salad all at one stop.
  14. Le Bernardin (Midtown)– Fancy pancy, seafood centric, and outstanding service. If you ever want to splurge on one tasting menu in New York, I’d recommend this one because you have so many options and the portions are large.
  15. Hu Kitchen (Union Square)– Best sweet potatoes in New York City, and they are cold!
  16. Ngam (East Village) – An awesome Thai place that’s not a hole in the wall but casual enough to drop in. I love their zucchini noodles and coconut rice.
  17. Ruby’s (Murray Hill and SoHo) – Besides the adorable 100% Aussie staff, the large salads, satisfying egg dishes, and Bronte Burger with sweet chili sauce make this affordable spot stellar.
  18. L’Artusi (West Village)– Memorable pasta, memorable desserts, and an awesome wine cellar room.
  19. Hometown BBQ (Red Hook)– Texas authenticity and the best brisket.
  20. La Vara (Cobble Hill) – Picturesque neighborhood, and I’ll never forget that fideos dish.
  21. Marea (Central Park) – The first time I ever met a Dover Sole, but not the only time I downed that fusilli pasta with bone marrow and octopus. Michael White is a pasta whisperer.
  22. Babbo (Greenwich Village)– The first fancy restaurant I ever went to in New York, and the first time I tried octopus and beef cheek. Pretty sure this restaurant changed my ordering habits forever and is the reason for my adventurous dining.Processed with Snapseed.
  23. Maialino (Gramercy) – A restaurant that can have a successful brunch just as delicious as their dinner is hard to find.
  24. Restaurant Marc Forgione (Tribeca)– This has my favorite fish dish in all of New York City- I mean it is called Halibut with Proposal Sauce for a reason.
  25. Quality Eats (West Village) – I didn’t think I’d find my favorite octopus at a meat focused restaurant, but I did. The Don Ameche steak is the best one though.IMG_2511
  26. Catch (Meatpacking District)– The 2.5 pound Cantonese Lobster is every reason to come here. Luckily the “Hit Me” Cake with layers of ice cream, brownie, devil’s food cake, and klondike adds the cherry on top.IMG_3073
  27. Gramercy Tavern (Gramercy) – While the tasting menu is an enjoyable and one of the less formal one’s in the city, the bar menu in the tavern is even better. Order the off the menu burger, and you’ll be sold. Also, the flowers in this restaurant really make your expeirence pop.
  28. Katz’s Deli (Lower East Side)– 1/2 Pastrami Sandwich and Chicken Noodle Soup…any hour of the day.FullSizeRender 4
  29. Mission Chinese (Lower East Side)- When a Chinese restaurant can feel authentic and a bit trendy at the same time while also having amazing bread, you go.
  30. Momofuku Ssam Bar (East Village)– The pork buns may be the most popular, but that whole fish is unreal! Any place that can make your friends like sardines also deserves some credit.
  31. Atlantic Grill (Upper East Side)– When theres sushi and simply prepared, fresh seafood, it’s a keeper.
  32. Philip Marie (West Village)– I love a good chicken sandwich with pesto and the waffle fries are a huge bonus.
  33. Blue Ribbon Sushi (Downtown)– There are a few locations, but the one I frequented the most was in the Sixty LES Hotel. People forget it’s there and you can always get a ressie.IMG_8854
  34. Prune (East Village) – If I had to pick a restaurant to eat at for the rest of my life, it just might be Prune. Chef Gabrielle Hamilton won me over when I had the pleasure of having her food for the first time at a beautiful wedding in Nantucket. No one makes better vegetables, and her whole fish is killer.
  35. Roberta’s (Bushwick)– Fluffy, crispy, and doughy pizza with Mike’s Hot Honey! The vegetables are also a nice contrast with the carby pies.
  36. Santina (Meatpacking District)– When you want to eat light but also eat amazing food.
  37. Saxon + Parole (Bowery)– My favorite brussels sprouts, and a dining room that always puts you in a going out mood.
  38. Tacombi (Nolita and West Village) – Their breakfast tacos are legit and creamy and the ceviche with the thick, homemade salty chips is perfect for after a long night.
  39. The Dutch (SoHo) – I actually like brunch more than dinner. The gorgeous floor to ceiling windows that look onto the streets of SoHo are irreplaceable and they serve my favorite turkey sandwich.
  40. The Smith (All Over) – You can take anyone here, and the food delivers. I like their Mac ‘n Cheese, Salads, and Biscuits at brunch.
  41. Westville (Downtown)– Turkey burger, veggie burger, market plates, and egg sandwiches on their weird but awesome Portuguese muffins. They also make their own ice cream!
  42. Barbuto (West Village) – Those garage doors sure stand for something iconic. The Roast Chicken is a staple, but sneak in for lunch for their pizza.
  43. The East Pole (East Village) – The only place I get super stoked about going to in this area. The carrots and every other veggie dish is a goldmine.
  44. Nix (East Village) – The only vegetarian restaurant that makes you instantly forget you aren’t eating meat all night.
  45. Wildair (Lower East Side) – Everything about this place defines where the restaurant scene is headed. Enjoyable food, unique offerings, wine bar feel.IMG_0759
  46. Balthazar (SoHo)- This restaurant still takes my breath away after all these years.
  47. Hill Country BBQ (Chelsea)– The first real authentic Texas BBQ restaurant to open in New York before all the newcomers. The fatty brisket, mac ‘n cheese, and apple crisp never get old.
  48. Bohemian (NoHo)– A place where you have to have a secret number to get in and walk through a butcher’s shop to enter sure heightens the entire evening immediately.
  49. Palma (West Village)– No one talks about how cute this restaurant is which somehow makes the eggs taste even better.
  50. Mokbar (Chelsea Market)– Korean ramen and buttery, pork ho cakes.
  51. Ducks Eatery (East Village) – You will try goat’s neck and love it.
  52. Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster (East Village)– Oysters, scallops, and you’re almost in Maine.
  53. Lil’ Frankie’s (East Village)– Pizza party for as many friends as you can fit!
  54. Sushi of Gari (Tribeca) – Sushi all dressed up like you’ve never had it before. My first omakase.
  55. Scarpetta (Meatpacking District)– I’d be happy just eating their salami and mozzarella bread basket, but the spaghetti with tomato and basil just gets the taste buds slinging.
  56. Luke’s Lobster (All Over)– The best lobster roll and the cheapest.
  57. Cookshop (Chelsea)– My go-to brunch, and my go-to order: Cookshop Scramble (eggs, smoked salmon on a buttery biscuit).
  58. Tortilla Flats (West Village)– Party in your glass and party in your mouth. Best birthday dinner deal you can find with drinks included.
  59. Havana Alma de Cuba (West Village)–  Cuban food, sangria, and legit black beans.
  60. Minetta Tavern (Greenwich Village)– Say what you want and judge me if you must, but I still love the Minetta Burger more than the Black Label.