Where to Eat in New York City Right Now

When I lived in NYC from 2009-2016, I went to a new restaurant or bakery almost every single day it seemed (bakery for sure). With all my UT and high school friends switching off weekends visiting me, I was “responsible” and loved planning our dinners and brunches that it would make sense I’d go to a new spot at least 5 times in one weekend and buff up my restaurant resume.

 I left the city 7 years ago, and when I come back to visit, I like to mix up my time with some old favorites but always check out new ones. I’m always updating this list since I go back to New York at least twice a year, and one weekend is never enough time so I try to have week-long periods in the city, like in May 2023 when my long visit made my eyes pop out and my chest giddy as I literally knew NOTHING or any new hot spots. Not to mention almost zero in Williamsburg/Greenpoint.

About two weeks into that trip, before I jetted back, I started reading Infatuation and Eater lists and “cheked” in with my trustworthy food and chef friends. What you’ll see below are my current top picks with a heavy hand leaning to Brooklyn restaurants – how FUN! I ate there probably only 3 times a year when I lived there, so to fill this list with chefs and spots from here is really exciting and eye opening. I’ll tell you what to order, why I loved it, and a few little diddy’s from my experience with my friends. I cannot rank in order of favorite but I will say the first 7 are my most memorable.

1. Theodora (BK) — This is my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn right now, and it’s in the Fort Greene neighborhood. I am a sucker for counter dining, especially when it’s in front of the kitchen so you get to watch the live fire and dishes flying out, while you chat with the staff. It’s every emotion from the theater, except I’ve never cried watching a kitchen scene. Alright, this is like a Mediterranean/Israeli/Mexican flavored restaurant. You don’t need to put it in a box, you just need to put it in your mouth! The Seeded Laffa that comes with a smoky eggplant dip might stop you in your tracks, but you’d be a fool if you didn’t order that “Extra Pita $6” on the menu as it’s a doughy ball bursting with energy, and I’d be devastated if you didn’t try it. New York really does their soft/doughy center bread well! The Beets done with a Salsa Macha (the Mexican influence) with Balsamic Reduction and Wood Fired Broccolini with Basil and Dilly Dressing and Manchego are why you can come here and be a vegetarian for the night. We also loved the Wood Fired Sweet Potato with Crème Fraiche and The Falafel that had a Thai Curry dipping sauce — this is when I screamed out loud about how much I loved this restaurant. It’s the Half Chicken roasted before your eyes in that Josper Oven with Green Garlic that made us forget we were full because it’s so juicy, you just can’t stop. I’ll admit that I’m not that big of a Tahini fan, but we dipped into the Baklava Sundae that tasted like a crunchy cone with Tahini Ice Cream and I think caramel sauce. Also, I loved the dense chocolate cake that wasn’t too sweet or rich so, yes, somehow we fit what felt like the whole menu in our stomachs. I LOVE THIS PLACE and all the wooden tables, brick walls with hand-drawn body outlines, cute random lamps and a fish suitcase on the shelves. Make a res early in advance!

2. Nura (BK) – This was my last meal in New York and while I didn’t hear anyone talk about it, I peeked at the menu online and booked it because I loved the vegetable forward menu covered in herbs that read flavor. As soon as you walk in, it feels like a Mexico City style restaurant loaded with plants hanging from the ceiling over the back open kitchen and potted trees on the other side of the dining room. We started with the BREAD + DIPS, which honestly seems to be at every restaurant these days. The Parker House Roll and Naan were definitely the best breads I had at any of the Mediterranean restaurants this trip. Salty, doughy, soft, addicting. Hell yeah, I’m still so stoked we started that way. I loved the Roasted Carrots, Big Green Lettuces, Crunchy Coconut Rice, and even the Coffee Ice Cream (I NEVER like coffee ice cream) with the crumbly brownie chocolate cake. Our server even ended the night as if he knew me, dropping off some complimentary amaro and even unraveling the pin on the leather bottle to go on my denim jacket. I’ve begun to realize that while I am obsessed with food and always shoving the best tasting things in my mouth each day, it’s also a VERY emotional experience and whoever you are with can affect how things taste. I shared this meal with 3 gals that I met at our Todos Santos Yoga Retreat, and it was our first gathering since we met! We dove in talking our successes, dreams, goals for the next few months, and legit love for one another. Now, THAT is a treat that truly makes your tummy warm and full after dinner

3. Zou Zou (Hudson Yards) – This Mediterranean spot had the best actual DIPS. Damn, that Whipped Ricotta with Saffron Apricot ruled. The Carrot Muhammara, Ember-Roasted Eggplant stayed on the table throughout the entrees if that means anything.  So proud to see my old clients, Quality Branded, open this spot, the dining room took my breath away. It almost reminded me of a fancy place somewhere in Europe that seemed older but really just so gorgeous and casually lavish that you think it must have been around forever. We shared the Fattoush Salad – how fun to have pita chips in your greens!—I recommend the Chicken with crispy skin and tender meat, but my absolute favorite dish was the Roasted Sweet Potato with Hazelnut and Dukkah melted perfectly into it with blackened edges that allowed it’s insides to melt in your mouth. Perfect for big groups, you’ll want to share everything and the round tables and cozy booths make catching up ideal. No way will I eat in Times Square, so we dined here before seeing Funny Girl on Broadway and caught the subway about 20 min before the doors shut.

4. Thai Diner (LES) – This restaurant which is owned by what used to be Uncle Boon’s is the main reason Thai food is my favorite cuisine. They made me like curry when I thought it wasn’t for me and exposed me to all kinds of dishes I now love and always eat in Austin. Massaman Golden Curry with the Chicken Leg is the best I’ve ever had here. The design is also so much fun here with some nods to Thailand and also a trendy New York City restaurant. Go for lunch if you can’t get in for dinner. Their outdoor dining area with black and white tiled floors is adorable. 

 

5. Lilia (BK) – An old favorite by Chef Missy Robbins who gave pasta a whole new game when she opened years ago, this place is always a classic and one I’ll revisit when I come back. Heck, I don’t even care about pasta in my daily life, but I love the dining room, and it is truly the best pasta I’ve had with such great vegetables and grilled fish as well. Get the Agnolotti as it’s pillowy, savory, and a little sweetness with the honey. The escarole really stood out, and the Grilled Sardines with a hunk of butter under the dill shocked me, but we still went in for it. I remember loving the Olive Oil gelato, but skip the chocolate chip cookie if you go to the daytime café.

6. Russ & Daughters (Multiple) – Jewish immigrants started Russ and Daughters as an appetizing shop in 1914, where people would get whitefish salad, babka, and other food products, but in 2014, they opened for sit-down dining in the LES as their first expansion. On my last NY trip, I was having a stressful day because I was trying to do everything all at once and it wasn’t all working out, so I Just need a comforting bowl of Matzoh Ball Soup, and found the best I’ve ever had in my life here. THey don’t take reservations, but I went by myself and ended up sitting next to a Jewish girl from Dallas and having a really nice conversation. Go alone, or go really early to snag a spot! I’ve never had potato latkes quite like their really tick and put together crispy latkes with applesauce and sour cream. In the past, I’ve enjoyed their Babka French Toast and fish platters — you can’t go wrong. 

7. Leo (BK) This sourdough pizza joint in Williamsburg gave me the best restaurant pizza I’ve had in New York with its sturdy, but still doughy and crunchy crust, plus great cocktails and a solid wine list. I’m completely obsessed with their Chopped Salad with dates, olives, and cheese — it might just be the best salad I’ve ever had. Also, they apparently serve really good bagels for brunch and just opened a weekend bagel shop called Apollo in Manhattan. If you’re looking to have NY pizza in a restaurant-style atmosphere, this is the place.

8. Fra Dei (BK) – While I actually despise tasting menus (unless it’s sushi), my friend Angela didn’t let me get out of trying her favorite Fort Green spot. We went to a lovely live music yoga class down the street and scooted into our 8:45 p.m. dinner res here after. One of the owners is French and they offer a 5 course menu that changes every few weeks for $90 each and wine BTG for $16-$17. You don’t even get a menu, you sit down, order some house wine and they just start bringing you the most delicious dishes that are no fuss, not complex, but SO thoughtful and eye popping. The small vibe with probably less than 10 tables and a few bar seats feels exactly like France or Italy and you just know with the hip hop tunes, you are in for a treat. We indulged in the best tartare I’ve ever had (lamb I think?) with RAMPS. They were SO good—made the whole dish. The small but just right fish portion with greens, then pasta with white asparagus and trout roe, and the chicken was superb. This was one of my favorite dining evenings because it was an experience and not over the top or too much food. Loved the Sumenjak Pet Nat and Antico Amaro.

9. Rule of Thirds (BK) Located on my favorite stretch of Williamsburg meets Greenpoint, this is the ultimate space to plan for a big group whether it be a birthday, private dinner, or even wedding space next door! I love this Japanese restaurant so much, and my old clients Adam and Todd started this restaurant group along with Sundays in Brooklyn after I left NYC years ago. The romantic indoor space makes for a great date and the private little bungalows with almost omakase counter seating was perfect for my cousin’s celebration dinner with a group of 12, family-style. Every bite we put into our mouth was better than the next, and I was praying that I could find more space in my stomach after just the four appetizers because I wanted seconds of those! Get the Chicken Meatball Skewers for something meaty but light, plus the Maitake Mushroom with Herb Gremolata, Hot Honey Gem Salad, the best Chicken Karaage I’ve ever had that’s tender and just enough for a little crunch, Wagyu Nikujaga, which comes with egg yolk you sir in with all the veggies and a very thin tender wagyu you just need your chopsticks for; Market Fish, and the ideal vegan White Sesame Soft Serve to finish it all off.

10. Coqodaq (Manhattan) – Coqodaq is the sexiest dining room and dinner experience in New York right now — if you can get in. From the owners of Cote, this fried chicken champagne smoke show of a restaurant is like theater, starting with the bouncer at the front door. The bright, fluorescent arches take over the entire ceilings as you walk down the pathway to your cozy plush booths. It feels like a right of passage to eat here, yet the staff is so friendly and warm. How to eat here: from The Bucket List, ($38 pp) you get 1 original bucket without any seasoning on your fried chicken, which is about 6 to 8 pieces PER person then you choose your glaze for the next round — Soy Sauce Garlic or Gochujang Glaze. I actually liked the sauce-free chicken first the best and tried all the different squeeze bottles of sauces to decorate my bird when they came out on the lazy susan — yes, a lazy susan. Sexiest dining experience, I tell ya. This also all comes with Chicken Consommé to start, Ban-Chan pickled veggies, Cold Perilla Seed Noodles, and finishes with a Soft Serve cup. Definitely add on The Golden 24 Karat Caviar Nugget to start for an extra $28 per piece — silly, I know, but you have to! This is the only place that has made me love Chicken Liver Paté with their marmalade, and I couldn’t stop picking at the cole slaw. Now, is it the best fried chicken I’ve ever had? It wasn’t even about that. It’s about the luxurious yet glorified experience that makes you feel special in a gorgeous place without caring who’s who or what you are wearing. The chicken was fine!! It’s just how they made me feel that I will remember. 

11. Ippudo (Theater District) – This old Japanese ramen shop from Fukuoka used to only have one location near Astor Place, and the lines would be in que well before they opened for dinner at 5 p.m. Now, they have a location not far from Rockefeller Center and in the Theater District, which we popped into at 11 p.m. after Saturday Night Live! I got the Bonnie Bonito Ramen, which is a fish-flavored tonkotsu broth with silky noodles, scallions, seasoned bamboo shoots, Naruto, and Yuzu peel. I don’t eat a lot of pork so I never order ramen, and let me tell you, fish broth is light, still cozy, and where it’s at! I also really loved the Cucumbers (Goma Q). They are RICH, as in you feel rich eating them because they are pungent, unlike any other cuke you’ve ever had, and dressed in sesame oil with mild chili flakes.

12. Di An Di (BK) – I feel like you can’t call this a Vietnamese restaurant because it is so unique from all my other favorite ones that it deserves its own category! It’s a huge space once you walk through the front part through to the kitchen and with a lovely quiet back area. Funny enough, it was a space where I opened a restaurant, Hail Mary, right before I moved back to Austin in 2016 with Sohla. One of my top 5 favorite dishes in the city right now is from here and it’s the Rice Cake Omelette (yes, for dinner!). Made with a daikon rice cake and tamari dipping sauce, I could eat this for 3 meals a day. We also loved the Roast Chicken with crispy rice, the crispiest skin, shallot aioli, and dandelion greens. It’s pretty easy to get a reservation here, and I’d say this could be a go-to in the hood! Skip the Rice Paper Salad because no, you don’t want this rice paper to cut your mouth like it did ours. They also have pho, grilled tofu, beef short ribs, and a whole sea bass!

13. Baby Blues Luncheonette (BK) – This feels like a modern, cool girl diner with blue everywhere and a wall filled with the most ridiculous things, like a thick mini TV, chess, records, books, and a bunch of other junk, really. I dined here with my favorite food blogger Rachel from The Carboholic, and Fig Jam Toast, Chia Pudding, Bacon Egg & Cheese, Tuna Melt, Salads, and Egg Plates with Halloumi fill the menu. The bright yellow eggs look like you’ll scarf them down ASAP, but it’s the fluffy buttermilk blueberry pancakes with whipped cream, jam, and the MOST ideal pancake taste that you should run here for. 

14. Balthazaar (Soho) – You can’t come to New York and not go to a Keith McNally restaurant. I came here with my mom in college for the first time. You’ll see the same amount of locals, Europeans, and tourists here, and it never gets old. The food is also still great! I love the French Onion Soup, Omelet, and it was the place I accidentally fell in love with Bouillabaisse which is a fish stew and still their Friday special. He created so many trends and staples in the city such as the dish towels as napkins, messy mirrors in the bathrooms, communal sinks for men and women, raw bars, etc.

 

15. Laser Wolf (BK) – If you are a Zahav or Michael Solomonov fan, then this Philly outpost which newly opened in the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg is where you need to venture to immediately. Definitely the best dining experience from a view and unique service perspective. There are just enough seats tableside the ledge overseeing the East River and Manhattan buildings. Seeing the golden and pink sun set here on one side with the open flames and grill fire on the other side is just so unique and luxurious. I love how you barely have to order— every table gets the traditional Salatim which are vegetables to dip and spread on the fluffy homemade pitas. Then, each person chooses a grilled entrée (we got a Whole Fish, Tuna, and Short Rib), and the dinner is finished off with their creamy soft serve and sour cherries. Stay as long as you want to enjoy the views as you will feel high on life all the way up on this rooftop with the airy space. Also, I put myself on Resy’s Notify list for this and everyday something opened up, I also checked religiously like a game that I’m pretty sure I used this app more than Instagram that month. It works though, you’ll get in! 

16. Gupshup (Gramercy) – This is a fun Indian restaurant I’d been wanting to try for a couple years. Located right by Gramercy Park, we dove in right before seeing Cut Copy at Webster Hall. The Paneer Cheese Rolls are what they are known for and they were fun and different with coriander pesto and chili mango chutney. Loved the traditional Chicken Biryani, and Saag Paneer, plus Paratha is always my favorite Indian bread. The Hot Like Kohli cocktail with tequila, mezcal, matcha, cilantro, mint, pear cordial, lime and chili salt was the best cocktail I had all trip!

 

17. Planta Queen (Flatiron) – is really the only fancy feeling plant-based restaurant I’ve been to that feels like it could be a special night out due to the Miami-style palm wall paper greenery and open kitchen. You’d never miss meat eating here as everything is so unique and flavorful. The Ahi Watermelon Spicy Tuna Roll made with slaw, avocado, gochujang, and peanuts was my favorite dish. Looking at it and even eating it you have no idea that it’s NOT tuna. It’s definitely a wild mind thing and tastes just like a tuna roll—no watermelon flavors at all. I also recommend the Sweet Corn dumplings with tom yum, cilantro, and chimichurri; Bao Sliders with “chicken” fried mushroom, hoisin, pickled cucumber; Udon Noodles with truffle mushroom cream and shaved black truffle. The coconut flavor tasted warm and comforting. 

 

18. Bangkok Supper Club (Meatpacking) – A new Thai spot that feels trendy and international, Bangkok Super Club is kind of hard to get into, but worth the visit. The old-school neon sign outside calls you in, but when you enter, the space almost feels like an upscale cocktail lounge with clean lines and a smooth, modern design. We got the green beans to start with a tofu cream and chili oil, followed by the Sea Bass Curry + a Stuffed Eggplant, my two favorite dishes here! Everyone told me to try the Beef Tartare, but it was too spicy for me. We sat in the back of the sexy dining area and watched the chefs in the kitchen, so ask for that seat to get in on the action.

19. Nami Nori (Multiple Locations) – If you love raw fish and want to try something new, the temake sets here create an entirely new experience. It’s a bit more expensive than you can find sushi otherwise. 

 

20. Margot (BK) I felt like I was part of the team watching the chefs in action at Margot, where you’ll swipe every herby ingredient off your plate. The Beets + Feta, Chicory Salad, Rigatoni with Kale, and Sea Bass felt like a steal at $70 per person, and you can see the chefs cooking on open fire from any seat in the restaurant. 

21. Mokbar (Chelsea Market) – I used to visit Chelsea Market every weekend when I first moved to NYC just to explore and as entertainment I guess. It’s a great place to take visitors and is truly the first food market that ever existed before food halls became so popular. While the vendors and outposts have changed over the years, Mokbar remains one I crave when you need an easy place for lunch that’s fresh. Go for the Ho’ Cake which is a crispy bun filled with pork belly and a kimchi pear dippin sauce (almost seems like a fried thicker scallion pancake stuffed sandwich) Tuna Poke, Bibimbap with pulled ginger chicken and purple rice.

22. Saigon Social (LES)After eating out for so many meals in a row, I wanted something healthy and warm and I turn to Vietnamese cuisine for that so we went to brunch at Saigon Social, a little Vietnamese spot in the Lower East Side. We walked in for a super casual, healthy brunch and absolutely loved the Cabbage Salad and side of their Beef Pho Broth, which they let us order since we didn’t want a full bowl of pho. 

23. Blue Ribbon Sushi (West Village) – My number 1 sushi spot I have to visit every time I go back. It hits all the marks as far as ambiance, service, and I get the exact same thing every time. All I ever want is a sushi and nigiri combo plate and some extra tuna toro pieces that make me stand up and do a jig upon first bite. It’s also one of the more afforable sushi places that has a nicer vibe. No need to go all in on an omakase somewhere else.

24. L’Industrie (BK) – This slice shop in Williamsburg is easy, has fun outdoor seating, and gets the job done when you are looking for New York style ‘Za made from quality ingredients. I like the Burrata Pie the most as it’s the perfect amount of cheese and cream and doesn’t overpower the slice. Choose Pepperoni over Margherita, and they also have a location in the West Village.

25. Shuka (Soho) – This Mediterranean restaurant is from one of my favorite groups and opened Shuka where Hundred Acres in Soho used to be. It’s airy, good for big groups, and feels like a farm house. Start with any of the dips, def get the Fried Halloumi, Falafel, or the Shakshuka at brunch.

26. Pastis & 27. Minetta Tavern (Meatpacking + Greenwich Village) – Two more Keith McNally restaurants that I’m looping together in one because I love both of their burgers. Go to Pastis in the Meatpacking District if you want to feel like Sex & The City era. The burger here gets the job done, the fries are super salty, and the side salad is satisfying. Go here for great people watching and if you’ve never been to New York. Now, for my favorite burger in all of the city go to the darker more masculine Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village. Now listen to me here. People write about going for the $38 Black Label Burger that’s made with prime dry-aged beef cuts. I, however, swear by the Minetta Burger at $30 which has cheddar and caramelized onions. This is where I learned that caramelize onions are the one and only topping that I need on my burger. Why don’t more restaurants have this? It’s perfect.

28. Baba Cool (BK) – This is a casual, easy to miss spot located in both Williamsburg and Fort Greene. While you might look at the menu and think you can make all of these bowls at home, nothing tastes better than someone else making you lunch. This is the place to go when you want something healthy, tasty, and memorable. If I lived in Williamsburg for real, I’d go to Good Day Pilates, and then meet a friend for lunch here weekly! They also have a cute back patio set up with a disco ball and comfy lounge area that feels like you are on vacation. Get the Bag Bowl with roasted butternut squash or the Jo Bowl with sweet plantains and coconut curry slaw. Always add salmon.

29. Cafe Spaghetti (BK) -Heavy, cheesy pastas aren’t usually my first preference when looking for a restaurant, but when in need of some rich Italian, I’d stop for dinner at Cafe Spaghetti. The Fussili Grosso Alla Bolognese is the coziest red sauce I have ever had, perfectly al dente and just the right amount of ragú to make your belly warm. I’m also a huge fan of the Ceasar Salad, so don’t skip it! This place feels like you’re in the middle of Italy with their tiny indoor bar filled with Aperol. A big plus is they have one of the largest outdoor dining patios I’ve seen in New York.

30. Chez Ma Tante  (BK) – You don’t go to Chez Ma Tante if you’re not getting their tall, crispy on the outside, and cakey on the inside pancakes, that are absolutely the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I had no trouble getting a reservation and actually ended up sitting next to a girl I used to work with at The Today Show during my NYC PR days! Every table in the small, small place had the pancakes, but we also ordered the really good Chicory Salad and English Muffin with Whitefish. And of course, pancakes for dessert!

31. Misi(BK) – After the killer success of Lilia in Williamsburg, Chef Missy Robbins and Sean Feeney opened up a second restaurant called Misi in the old Domino Sugar building right on the water in Domino Park. While everyone knows dinner reservations are nearly impossible at both locations, the secret to get in is Friday afternoon lunch! I love sitting at the chef’s counter, watching them boil, twirl, and make art out of the bowls of pasta. The menu is all antipasti vegetable plates and artisan pastas, so honestly, a vegetarian would have as much fun here as a pasta eater — is there a word for someone who only eats pasta? Haha. The stark space screams “We Are Serious About Our Food,” with not much color and straight-up neutral and sleek counter tops. The whole point is to sit at the counter, for real though. I loved the special Corzetti Pasta, a disc-shaped pasta with ramps, pine nuts, and basil. My vote goes to the Grilled Baby Artichokes with Mint Salsa Verde because you can typically only find this dish in London! I usually go for a red sauce-based pasta and was delighted to have my mind changed. For two people, 2 veg and 2 pastas are plenty, and I’d skip gelato and try a bakery nearby.

32. Pomp and Circumstance (BK) – I think you’d only know about this place if you lived across the street because I for sure don’t know anyone that knows about it, and I’ve never read about it. Luckily, this Mediterranean and Italian mash-up is one of the best neighborhood walk-in restaurants that you could ever stumble upon. The Forno Bravo brick oven cooks the most pillowy and fluffy rye pita I’ve ever had — dare I say it’s better than Laser Wolf? Or maybe I was just in such shock because I had zero expectations. The sugar snap peas are also finished off in this oven, and while the menu changes, if you can catch the Shrimp Bolognese pasta, your mind will be bouncing off the walls from this delicious flavor combination that you’ve never had before. I also loved the Chicken!

33. Dame (West Village) – Dame is a tiny restaurant in the West Village that I could never get into when it first opened, but now it’s pretty easy to get a res! It feels very European to me, with simple interiors in a tiny space that exudes, “We have simple food with bold flavors, and the wine is good, too!” A couple owns it, and the wife is from Austin, and her husband is British! You could probably order the whole menu if you were able to get a large enough reservation, but if it’s only two of you, the Whitefish Salad on Polenta is very playful and a fun new way to eat both ingredients. I used my hands to eat it like a little French fry toast! The Fried Soft Shell Crab with Ramp Aioli and Peas tasted like a garden and was very light and crisp, and the Kedgeree Rice with Grilled Monkfish was my favorite dish of the night because I love that extra curry spice. You can’t leave here without trying the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which might be the best dessert on any restaurant menu, so gooey and sweet after a flavorful meal.

34. Suzume (BK) – This was a witchy moment as I was truly only craving tuna, broth, and something green while we discussed what to have for dinner. Suzume is an adorable corner Hawaiian restaurant in Williamsburg that feels like a tropical tavern — almost like a laid back version of Mama’s Fish House in Maui — with its wooden bars, tables, and funky tchotchkes on the shelves. Turns out, I do have magical powers because that night they added a SALMON BROTH to the menu as a side, and a tuna poké bowl. This was the most comforting and nutritious dinner that’s easy, still fun, and perfect for a weekday. Don’t miss the Bok Choy Salad to start.

35. Wu’s Wonton (LES) – This is my favorite sit-down restaurant in Chinatown. Well, I guess it’s actually in the LES. It’s the place where I learned to love Rice Rolls and I’ve never had a better one — yes, I’ve been to Yi Ji Shi Mo, but I recommend that one for you if you’re doing a Chinatown crawl, although our order took 45 min. Otherwise, walk right into Wu’s on a weekday anytime, and you’ll be met with fast service. Go for the Shrimp and Chive Dumplings, — also best I’ve ever had — Congee, and Shrimp Rice Rolls. We did get the Peking Duck with Rice for lunch, but it was pretty boney for me, and I just oohed and ahhed over all the other dishes. They also greet you with green tea and you’ll see the chef drying the Peking Ducks in the window. I LOVE THIS PLACE!

36. Le Botaniste (Manhattan) — If I lived in New York, I’d eat at Le Botaniste for a $20 lunch everyday. This place is like a pharmacy for food. When you walk in, you see the veggie bar, which holds Le Creuset-style pots on the stove behind a glass where it says “Prescription” in place of “Menu.” The employees are all wearing lab coats, which makes me giggle and love this place more and more. Go through the line and pick from the menu or DIY your own bowl. It’s all plant-based, and they have options ranging from a Tibetan Coconut Peanut Butter Curry to Quinoa Fusilli Bolognese with herbal Oil, Spicy Chili Sin Carne, and I got the special Saag both times with their incredible Turmeric Lemon Hummus. This place is exploding with healing and nutrient dense bowls, and you must visit if you are in Soho!

37. Brasserie Fouquet (Tribeca) – This spot feels like one of those places you’d run into the Real Housewives of Tribeca or a big company’s CEO. You’ll find yourself scanning the room to see if you recognize other diners as you settle into your big red booth. The service is a tad slower than I would expect given the menu prices, but the Cheeseburger with the Macaroni & Cantal Cheese and a side of the French Onion Soup is worth it. Fouquet’s is the type of restaurant you go to with your girlfriends when you’re visiting NYC and want the full “New York” experience.

38. Malibu Farms (South Street Seaport) – If you are looking for somewhere healthy and that everyone can get along with the menu down at the South Street Seaport, this is the ticket! What a joy walking along the pier looking at the boats, the gorgeous architecture of the old buildings, and the Brooklyn bridges. Order the Build Your Own Fish Tacos and Kale Caesar Salad. 

 

While I didn’t visit them this last time, my other all time favorites are: Restaurant Marc Forgione, Cookshop for Brunch, Cervo’s, Scalinatella, Joseph Leonard! And when you’ve eaten as much as I have, be kind to yourself and have a bone broth for breakfast one day at Springbone.

 

Places I didn’t get to visit during my 3 week stint but are on my list and should be on yours:

Fish Cheeks – Thai on Bowery

Wen Wen – Taiwanese in Greenpoint

Shukette – Mediterranean 

Semma – Indian

Ci Siamo –  Italian Hudson Yards

Whipped – Oat milk ice cream in LES