Indulge your taste buds with a culinary adventure through the bustling streets of New York City. Whether you crave the rich flavors of kosher vegetarian cuisine or the mouthwatering sizzle of a perfectly cooked steak, the city's best restaurants have it all. From the iconic Katz's Delicatessen to the hidden gem SpaHa Soul, this article will take you on a gastronomic journey, showcasing the top dining destinations that make NYC a food lover's paradise. So get ready to tantalize your senses and discover the diverse and delectable flavors that await you in the city that never sleeps.

The Original Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant

Although veganism is often portrayed as a passing fad, the concept of mock meat has been deeply rooted in Chinese culinary traditions for centuries. Since its establishment in 2004, Buddha Bodai has been proudly serving the renowned dim sum of Chinatown, catering to customers with diverse dietary restrictions (in addition to being meat-free, it also adheres to kosher guidelines).

A bamboo steamer filled with delectable white-and-pink dumplings.

Led by James Beard semifinalist Kyo Pang, this casual Malaysian all-day cafe offers the country's national dish, nasi lemak, along with crispy anchovies, kaya butter toast, and fish ball soup. Don't miss the opportunity to sample their set platters that allow you to indulge in a little bit of everything. And make sure to save some room for the delightful kuih, a tantalizing layered glutinous rice dessert.

A table adorned with a tempting array of dishes at Kopitiam in New York City.

Misi, the brainchild of renowned chef Missy Robbins, serves as a follow-up to her beloved restaurant Lilia. Don't be fooled by its more accessible reservations—it doesn't compromise on the sheer pasta expertise that has become its hallmark. Situated just steps away from Domino Park, this eatery boasts a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere that perfectly complements its mouthwatering ricotta toast. When it comes to pasta, there's no wrong choice, and the indulgent gelato desserts are simply irresistible.

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An enticing display of dishes awaits you at Misi.

The Four Horsemen, launched by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy in 2015, emerged just as the natural wine bar trend was gaining momentum. Nearly a decade later, this bustling bar and dining room continues to attract wine enthusiasts, scenesters, Francophiles, and food aficionados. It's a rare accomplishment for a wine bar to excel in both its drink and food offerings, but this beloved Williamsburg establishment strikes the perfect balance with its knowledgeable staff and small plates that could easily earn a coveted Michelin star. Despite its intimate portion sizes, the prices align with the expectation of a truly memorable night out.

A delectable spread of food and wine at the Four Horsemen.

Since its opening in 2017, L’Industrie has transitioned from being one of Brooklyn's best-kept secrets to a renowned slice shop. Under the guidance of Massimo Laveglia, this naturally leavened pizza joint has undergone an expansion, including the addition of an indoor counter space and a spacious outdoor area. While lines now stretch out the door for most of the day, the experience remains worth the wait. Picture yourself savoring a slice on a greasy paper plate, with a perfectly crisp crust and generous toppings such as burrata and pepperoni, showcasing their exceptional quality.

Slices adorned with burrata, pepperoni, basil, and other sumptuous toppings at L'Industrie.

Dept of Culture, a unique Nigerian restaurant in New York City, stands in a league of its own. It primarily focuses on the culinary traditions of the Kwara state, earning a spot on Eater's esteemed list of the best restaurants in America for 2022. Despite the nearly $100 prix fixe menu, the restaurant maintains a laid-back and casual ambiance. It represents a burgeoning trend of dinner party-style establishments that encourage communal dining with strangers. What truly sets Dept of Culture apart, however, are the fascinating stories shared by owner Ayo Balogun, which accompany each course, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the dining experience.

A Black man adorned in a black shirt and clear glasses delicately places a piece of food onto one of several plates lined up on a table.

Ugly Baby, the spiciest Thai restaurant in Brooklyn, has gained notoriety since its opening in Carroll Gardens in 2017 and has since remained a popular destination. This establishment takes an unconventional approach to Thai cuisine, prioritizing intense flavors and spices. The menu predominantly features spicy dishes and even includes creative symbols such as flying saucers and airplanes alongside items like the infamous "stay away" duck salad. While these symbols may hold various meanings in other contexts, here they serve as a clear warning that ordering these dishes will leave you perspiring. If the heat becomes unbearable, their extensive craft beer menu offers a cooling respite.

A dining room table adorned with several dishes, two iced orange beverages, and petite ornamental cacti.

If you're in search of the best barbecue in New York City, look no further than Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook. Delight in their pink-rimmed and generously piled high beef pastrami, or savor the unparalleled fatty brisket, a true standout among the boroughs. While the menu leans towards Texas-style barbecue, don't overlook the non-Texas offerings, including Vietnamese hot wings, jerk rib tips, and Oaxacan chicken. These dishes are widely celebrated and partly responsible for the never-ending queues that form outside. Please note that walk-ins are the only mode of admission.

Sumptuous beef brisket piled high on a sesame seed-studded roll, accompanied by a side of vibrant pickles.

This Palestinian gem, which first opened its doors in October 2020, has flourished into an empire, with plans for sibling locations across the city. The portions at this restaurant are exceptionally generous, making it ideal for sharing dishes such as mansaf (a flavorful yogurt and lamb specialty) and mezze platters overflowing with baba ghanoush and other delectable dips.

A delectable mezze platter showcasing hummus, baba ganoush, muhammarah, tahini, tabouleh, and labne dusted with sumac, presented in a clay bowl atop a vibrant tablecloth.

Joe's, a classic Sicilian haunt nestled in the seemingly ominous Brooklyn neighborhood of Gravesend, showcases the island's cuisine with unwavering authenticity. Expect an abundance of garlic-infused vegetables, pasta harmoniously adorned with uni, tripe stew, and an impressive array of seafood. The presence of a mural depicting Sicilian peasants from a bygone era adds an extra touch of charm to this beloved establishment.

The dining room of Joe's of Avenue U adorned with captivating Sicilian murals.

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When Roberto Paciullo established his namesake restaurant in Belmont, it came as a delightful surprise amidst the sea of traditional red-sauce joints on Arthur Avenue. Here, you'll discover an Italian dining experience reminiscent of a rustic countryside trattoria, complete with farmhouse-inspired furniture. As always, be sure to peruse the specials listed on the chalkboard, which may feature tantalizing dishes such as radiatori in cartoccio or fricasseed rabbit.

A delectable seafood and white bean starter at Roberto's.


Situated right on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Papaye ("doing good") is a longstanding Ghanaian eatery where the dishes are prominently displayed on the counter by the steam table. Opt for Joloff rice with stewed chicken or fried fish for a great choice. The dish has a relatively mild flavor, but for those who prefer some heat, you can request a spicier version with the addition of shito hot sauce.

A chart simplifies the ordering process.


Dubbed as the "Queen of Soul Food," Sylvia Woods opened Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem in 1962, bringing generous servings of comforting Southern cuisine to the neighborhood. This iconic restaurant is renowned worldwide for its timeless cooking and Southern charm, which continue to captivate patrons even after decades of operation. Although Sylvia Woods passed away in 2012, her family carries on her legacy by running the restaurant to this day.

A large fish filet with breading accompanied by two side dishes.

Le Bernardin

Eric Ripert's acclaimed fine dining establishment, Le Bernardin, has managed to retain its rare four-star status from the New York Times. Since its opening in 1986, this classic French restaurant has celebrated the wonders of seafood through a tasting menu featuring an array of delectable dishes, including tuna tartare, sea urchin, Dover sole, and halibut. Surprisingly, Le Bernardin also offers a vegetarian tasting menu that rivals its pescatarian counterpart, showcasing courses centered around hearts of palm, artichokes, and white asparagus.

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A speckled maine lobster tail accompanied by leek cannelloni and a rich dark brown red wine rosemary sauce

Haidilao Hot Pot

Haidilao stands as one of the largest hot pot chains in the world, with over 1,300 locations across China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. While Flushing, New York boasts numerous Chinese hot pot options, Haidilao's sole outpost in the neighborhood continues to excel. Their affordable and diverse selection of meats, along with delightful additions like the tableside-prepared "dancing noodle" for just $4 and bottles of soju immersed in watermelons, add a fun twist to the experience. Moreover, Haidilao offers complimentary soft serve ice cream and a range of household supplies, including disposable razors, cologne, and toothbrushes, in their bathrooms.

Raw meats, seafood, and vegetables displayed on a table next to two bubbling pots of broth.

Szechuan Mountain House

When Szechuan Mountain House opened in 2016 within a new real estate development on Prince Street, it sent shockwaves through Flushing. Designed to resemble a Chinese village, this restaurant offers dining in cozy nooks and hut-like enclosures, complete with a stunning waterfall. Breaking away from tradition, the menu at Szechuan Mountain House not only embraces Sichuan peppercorns but also incorporates trendy and stylish presentation methods currently in vogue in China.

Sliced pork belly and cucumber arranged to resemble drying laundry, served with chile garlic sauce underneath

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Since 1913, Grand Central Oyster Bar has occupied the subterranean space within Grand Central Station. The award-winning establishment, featuring vaulted tiled ceilings, is a major attraction in itself. With an extensive menu showcasing 25 varieties of seafood, including raw oysters, stews, pan roasts, and sandwiches, this is the ideal spot for seafood enthusiasts. However, please note that new operating hours mean the restaurant is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Grand Central Oyster Bar's dining room featuring high ceiling arches

Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse holds a special place in history, not just because of its establishment in 1885, but also due to its previous roles as a famous theater and literary group venue, followed by a pipe club headquarters. To this day, the restaurant boasts dozens of pipes lining its walls, lending it a uniquely warm and inviting ambiance. The signature dish at Keens is the mutton chop. Alternatively, you can choose from the bar menu, which offers a smaller portion of the mutton chop as well as a substantial prime rib hash.

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The dining room at Keens Steakhouse.


In a sea of Korean barbecue options, Baekjeong stands out as our top choice for grilled meats in Manhattan. This two-story restaurant, which opened its doors in 2014, marked the first New York location of a chain with several branches in California. A meal at Baekjeong begins with a generous spread of banchan, along with scrambled eggs and a tantalizing well of gooey corn cheese on the grill. While raw short rib, pork belly, and jowl are available as individual plates at premium prices ($40 to each), the more affordable dinner combos are perfect for small or large groups. Expect a lively atmosphere, with occasional strobe lights for birthdays.

A table at a Korean barbecue restaurant adorned with meat, banchan, and cheese corn.

Sushi On Me

In a city filled with $400 omakase establishments frequented by sushi enthusiasts, Sushi On Me sets itself apart as a truly unique experience. Located underground in Jackson Heights, this restaurant offers an all-you-can-drink, lively atmosphere complete with colorful language. For a price of less than $100, you can enjoy a memorable meal that feels more like a house party. However, if you're not a drinker, this place may not offer as much value since the experience is more vibrant with libations. While there is now a sibling location in Williamsburg, we still believe the original Queens spot is the one to visit.

Black caviar delicately placed on top of a pink slice of fatty tuna sushi.


Koloman is a complete transformation of what was previously the Breslin at the Ace Hotel. The new space features restored tin ceilings, a bar with a clock-themed design, and a modern Austrian menu crafted by head chef and co-owner Markus Glocker. With dishes like celery root tartare, gougeres, souffle, and veal schnitzel to choose from, diners are spoiled for choice. Enhance your meal with a selection from the exquisite Austrian wine list or indulge in post-dinner schnapps, featuring rare and hard-to-find varieties. Don't miss out on the desserts, including the Lübeck marzipan, apple strudel, and caramelized milk bread, which truly live up to their reputation.

An assortment of delectable dishes displayed on a black background.

Noz 17

Prices start at $435 per person for an extraordinary dining experience at Noz 17, a sibling of Sushi Noz. This intimate restaurant, comparable in size to a Toyota Corolla, seats only seven guests at a time. Chef Junichi Matsuzaki presents an exceptional and unconventional tasting menu that is considered one of the most remarkable in New York. The meal may commence with a dumpling made from lotus root and tofu skin, followed by a gizzard shad sushi, a tiny fish with a tartness akin to vinegar. A couple of courses later, sushi makes another appearance in the form of yuzu-dusted sea bream.

The image showcases a curled fish filet on a decorative plate, with a lime wedge placed beside it.

Los Tacos No.1

Since its arrival at Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No. 1 has cemented its status as a top contender in New York City's vibrant taco scene. Although the restaurant now boasts multiple locations, it remains renowned for its adobada, which continues to draw long lines. Additionally, the food hall hosting Los Tacos No. 1 features a mariscos spot and serves breakfast tacos in the mornings. 

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The image shows an overhead view of tacos, chips, guacamole, and plastic containers of salsa.

Chama Mama

In the past decade, Georgian cuisine, known for its khachapuri (a cheese-filled bread with a handle), has gained popularity in New York City. Chama Mama is a place where you can enjoy freshly made variations of this bread, along with charcoal-grilled kebabs, herb-based stews, and a unique selection of wines that may introduce you to unfamiliar varietals.

The image presents a teal bowl filled with red bean stew alongside a white plate adorned with an assortment of fermented vegetables.


Offering a truly unique Indian dining experience, Semma stands as one of the most distinctive restaurants in New York City. Created by the same team behind popular hot spots like Dhamaka on the Lower East Side and Masalawala & Sons in Park Slope, Semma specializes in South Indian cuisine. Similarly to Dhamaka, Semma features a limited-reserve dish each night, which, in this case, is a colossal crab that comes with bibs. However, even without the crab, Semma offers an extensive menu full of exciting options, from snails to their unique spin on the gunpowder dosa.

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The image showcases a lobster tail, immersed in a thick gravy, resting on top of its own removed shell.

Via Carota

Found in the West Village, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams have created a collection of renowned restaurants within a couple-block stretch, including Buvette, I Sodi, and Bar Pisellino. Although all their restaurants are highly acclaimed, Via Carota stands as a beloved favorite amongst locals. Offering simple yet perfectly executed Italian dishes, the restaurant was previously known for being walk-in only. Fortunately, they now have a limited number of tables available for reservations.

The image features a storefront sign displaying the name Via Carota, along with the address 50 Grove Street.

NY Dosas

For nearly two decades, Thiru Kumar has delighted New Yorkers with his exceptional dosas from his food cart in Washington Square Park. These crepe-like delicacies, made from fermented rice and lentils, are known for their fluffy texture, setting them apart from the crisper options found in the city. With a diverse and small menu, it's virtually impossible to make a wrong choice. The Pondicherry special, filled with spicy potatoes and fresh vegetables, is a definite crowd-pleaser. Additionally, the pancake-style uttapams and empanada-like samosas are equally delightful.

The image showcases a white paper plate containing a dosa, a green cilantro sauce, a samosa, and a red sauce in a plastic cup, all placed on a wooden bench.

B&H Dairy

Since 1938, B&H Dairy has been a staple in New York's kosher lunch counter scene. Despite the changing neighborhood dynamics, this quaint establishment manages to serve up affordable fare, such as tuna melts, pierogies, borscht, and carrot cake. The narrow space often pushes longtime customers to squeeze in next to each other, eager to indulge in New York history and listen to tales from the captivating staff.

The image displays a tuna melt on a white plate, accompanied by pickles on the side.

Taqueria Ramirez

Blowtorched tripe or cactus with chicharron? Longaniza on its own or mixed with suadero? These are not the typical questions one would think of when it comes to north Brooklyn, but at Taqueria Ramírez, the answers are crystal clear: We'll have it all. Although their menu is small, usually featuring only six taco options, this petite taqueria opened in 2021 and quickly became a hit for its delectable stewed meats, cooked in a bubbling choricera. While there are a few indoor seats available, most patrons spill out onto the sidewalk, savoring the flavorful treats.

The image exhibits a gloved hand holding a sieve containing crumbly red meat over a vat of orange fat and oil, alongside other meats.


At Raku, a neighborhood Japanese noodle restaurant with a second location in Soho, you can enjoy a bowl of udon and tea for under $40, including tax and tip. As part of the Cloud Nine Hospitality Group, Raku has been serving vegetable dishes, gyoza, donburi, and hot and cold udon since 2016. The restaurant boasts a serene and minimalist ambiance and is even planning to expand into the adjacent space.

The image presents a bowl filled with udon noodles at Raku.

Ho Foods

Richard Ho's small Taiwanese eatery is known for serving one of the best beef noodle soups in town, along with satisfying lu rou fan, radish cakes, and garlic cucumbers on the side. The weekend breakfast menu is also a must-try, featuring housemade soy milk, fan tuan (sticky rice wrapped around a cruller with pork and pickles), and scallion pancakes with egg. While the space may be cozy, the flavors of the food are anything but small.

The image showcases a bowl of beef noodle soup from Ho Foods, with artfully arranged noodles surrounding chopsticks.


Balthazar, the French brasserie created by restaurateur Keith McNally in 1997, marked a turning point in the downtown Manhattan landscape, transforming it from an industrial, art-filled area to a hub of gastronomy. It reflected the evolving desires of New Yorkers in terms of their culinary preferences. Even today, the menu continues to offer timeless favorites such as seafood towers, French onion soup, steak frites, and profiteroles. What sets Balthazar apart is not just its food, but also the Instagram commentary provided by McNally himself and his exceptional treatment of solo diners, who are treated like VIPs with a glass of Champagne. Moreover, Balthazar is renowned for its unparalleled people-watching opportunities in the heart of New York City.

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The iconic red awning of Balthazar.

Katz's Delicatessen

Katz’s has been a fixture on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow streets since 1888. Its pastrami alone has become an iconic symbol of New York. The bustling cafeteria-style dining room requires some know-how from patrons. Join the line, remember to tip the slicer (they might offer you an extra piece to nibble on), and most importantly, don't lose that ticket!

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The iconic red neon letters spelling “Katz’s Delicatessen” on the exterior of the sprawling corner store at night.

Una Pizza Napoletana

Prepare for long queues at this revered pizza destination that has become a pilgrimage site for enthusiasts. Anthony Mangieri, known for his unwavering dedication to the art of Neapolitan pizza-making, offers a simple yet exceptional menu of classic pizzas. Last summer, Mangieri's Una Pizza Napoletana tied for the prestigious title of the world's best pizzeria awarded by the organization 50 Top Pizza.

An aerial view of a pizza pie with mozzarella, basil, and red sauce, with a beautifully charred crust.

Thai Diner

Thai Diner, brought to you by the team behind the former Uncle Boons, offers a fusion of inventive dishes in a delightfully quirky setting. From cabbage roll tom khaa to khao soi and a breakfast sandwich made with roti, the menu has attracted crowds since its opening in early 2020. Vegetarian options are available for many of the dishes, and the ice cream sundaes are served with adorable little edible faces.

An aerial view of a spread of dishes, including vibrant cabbage rolls, pink head-on shrimp on phat Thai noodles, fried chicken larb, and a Thai tea pain perdu made with marbled babka.

Russ & Daughters Cafe

The full-service sibling of the iconic Russ & Daughters appetizing store, the Russ & Daughters Cafe reopened last year after a temporary closure due to the pandemic. With a modern luncheonette atmosphere, it serves up platters of smoked fish, egg creams, and matzo ball soup.

A man stands behind the counter at Russ and Daughters Cafe.

Great NY Noodletown

For an authentic taste of old-school Manhattan Chinatown, settle into a seat at this Chinese restaurant known for its noodles and especially its wonton soup. Since its opening in 1981, Noodletown has been a beloved institution. Despite closing earlier than it used to due to the pandemic, the restaurant's plates of salt-baked squid and sauteed water spinach remain as delicious as ever. Try their combination plate with various cuts of barbecued meats served over rice for a mouthwatering experience.

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A heap of three barbecued meats with a drizzle of green sauce, served over rice.


This relaxed Malaysian all-day cafe is led by James Beard semifinalist Kyo Pang. The menu features signature dishes like nasi lemak, a national favorite made with crunchy anchovies, kaya butter toast, and fish ball soup. Don't miss out on the set platters that offer a taste of everything, and be sure to indulge in the kuih, a delightful layered rice dessert.

A tabletop filled with several delectable dishes at Kopitiam in New York City.


Misi, the brainchild of chef Missy Robbins as a follow-up to Lilia, holds its own when it comes to crafting delightful pasta dishes. Located just steps away from Domino Park, Misi's more relaxed atmosphere makes it easier to secure a table compared to its sister restaurant. Don't miss the decadent ricotta toast, and rest assured that any pasta selection you make will be exquisite. And make sure to save room for the creamy gelato desserts!

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A spread of mouthwatering dishes at Misi.

The Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen, which opened its doors in 2015 under the ownership of James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, arrived just as the trend of natural wine bars was gaining momentum. Almost a decade later, this bar and dining establishment is still a beloved gathering spot for wine enthusiasts, Francophiles, scenesters, and food connoisseurs alike. What sets it apart is not just its exceptional wine selection, but also the well-curated menu of small plates that has earned it recognition from Michelin. The prices are commensurate with the experience, making The Four Horsemen an ideal destination for a special night out.

An enticing spread of food and wine from The Four Horsemen.

The Pizzeria of Industry

Established in 2017, L'Industrie used to be a well-kept secret in Brooklyn. It was a renowned pizza joint where you could drop by and enjoy a pie or a scoop of gelato with just olive oil and salt, all without enduring long queues. Massimo Laveglia's naturally fermented pizza place has now undergone a major expansion, including the addition of an indoor counter space and a spacious outdoor setup. These days, customers line up out the door for most of the day, but it's still worth waiting in line. The slices come on greasy paper plates with crispy, naturally leavened crusts and generous toppings like burrata and pepperoni, which are of exceptional quality.

Slices with burrata, pepperoni, basil and other delicious toppings from L’Industrie.

Unattractive Baby

Ugly Baby has earned its reputation as the spiciest Thai restaurant in Brooklyn. Since its opening in Carroll Gardens in 2017, it has remained immensely popular even after half a decade. This restaurant takes an unconventional approach to Thai cuisine, one that does not hold back on the spice factor. The menu mainly consists of spicy items, with only a few non-spicy options available. For instance, they have the notorious "stay away" duck salad, which is accompanied by flying saucer and airplane emojis on the menu. While these symbols can have various meanings in text messages, their purpose is clear here: if you order this salad, you'll be sweating from every pore. To provide some relief, Ugly Baby offers an extensive craft beer menu.

A dining room table with several dishes, two orange beverages with ice cubes, and a few ornamental, palm-sized cacti.


This Palestinian restaurant, which opened its doors in October 2020, has become a rising star, with plans to expand its presence all over the city. The portions here are enormous, so it's a good idea to bring a friend along to share dishes like the mansaf, a yogurt and lamb creation, and the mezze platters overflowing with baba ghanoush and other dips.

The vibrant mezze platter of hummus, baba ganoush, muhammarah, tahini, tabouleh, labne dusted with sumac is presented in a clay bowl on top of a colorful tablecloth.

Joe's from Avenue U

Joe's is an authentic Sicilian restaurant located in the enigmatic neighborhood of Gravesend, Brooklyn. This establishment presents Sicilian cuisine with a distinct focus on the flavors of the island. Their menu showcases a range of dishes, including garlic-infused vegetables, pasta adorned with uni, tripe stew, and an abundance of seafood. An eye-catching mural depicting Sicilian peasants from a bygone era adds to the ambiance of the dining room.

The dining room of Joe’s of Avenue U is adorned with Sicilian murals.

Cafe Kashkar

At the terminus of the B and Q subway lines lies Brighton Beach, an often overlooked dining destination in the city (partly due to its position on the outskirts of the city). However, those who venture here will discover delightful sour cherry vareniki at Varenichnaya, baklava imported from Istanbul at Brighton Güllüoglu Baklava Cafe, and an abundance of prepared foods, including decadent blintzes, at Brighton Bazaar. Among these options, the first spot to visit should be Kashkar Café, a place renowned for its rich Uzbeki-Uyghur cuisine that showcases flavors like cumin, lamb, beef, and noodles.

  • Contento

    The team at Contento is deeply devoted to making their restaurant welcoming to all. In fact, Bon Appetit awarded Contento with the prestigious Heads of the Table Award, recognizing its efforts in creating an inclusive dining space. This recognition is attributed to features such as wheelchair-accessible bar seating, menu QR codes that provide a spoken version for visually impaired diners, and a Wines of Impact list showcasing offerings from Indigenous-, Black-owned, and socially conscious wineries. Executive chef Oscar Lorenzzi, hailing from Lima, Peru, brings forth the flavors of his heritage, with dishes like traditional ceviche, Peruvian barley with roasted mushrooms and winter truffles, arroz con pato featuring pickled fennel and onion, and roasted scallops with pumpkin stew and Peruvian corn. Whether you visit Contento for its accessibility, curated wine selection, or Peruvian-inspired cuisine, your evening will be a delightful experience. This place is open to everyone.

  • Win Son

    Taiwanese cuisine takes the spotlight at Win Son, and the extensive menu offers a delightful array of dishes. From marinated cucumbers and clams with basil to fried eggplant dipped in black vinegar, every item is a delightful surprise. Pan-griddled pork buns, tofu stir-fried with garlic chives and yunlin black beans, and sesame noodles featuring black sesame, mushrooms, snow pea leaves, and peanuts are just a few highlights. For a sweet ending, tian miantuan, a fried doughnut served with vanilla ice cream and condensed milk, awaits.

  • Jiang Nan

    When it comes to Chinese restaurants in New York, there are plenty of options to choose from, making it challenging to select just one for this list. However, Jiang Nan stood out for us. Although the menu claims to offer fusion dishes, the culinary principles of the Jiangnan region shine through in every creation. These dishes employ simple combinations with delicately seasoned sauces that accentuate the freshness of the ingredients. The food at Jiang Nan strikes the perfect balance, and with the wide range of cooking styles found within Jiangnan, their Flushing location (along with its outposts) has endless possibilities for creating unique and hybrid dishes. From seafood dishes to vegetarian options like shredded potato or loofah melon, the menu showcases the diversity of flavors. Additionally, the Peking Duck, despite the distance from Beijing, is a must-try here. The décor of the restaurant is reminiscent of a sheltered garden, with koi fish adding to the ambiance. The dragons adorning the walls gracefully captivate the imagination. Jiang Nan is the perfect place to enjoy the surroundings while indulging in artfully presented dishes accompanied by a mini-cask of pineapple beer.


    Sofreh offers an impeccable experience by combining refined aesthetics with excellent Persian homestyle dishes, all without adopting an elitist attitude. The plates at Sofreh beautifully juxtapose against the variety of vibrant colors presented on them. Chef and owner Nasim Alikhani achieves a sublime balance in her cooking without relying on trendy gimmicks that can sometimes homogenize cuisines in the city's restaurant scene. Equally important, Sofreh caters to vegetarians without making them feel like they are missing out. In fact, many of the recommended dishes lean towards vegetarian or even vegan options, making it an ideal place for a mixed-diet outing where everyone can find something satisfying. You wouldn't be disappointed ordering $30 worth of steamed green beans here. Sofreh stands out as one of the rare establishments where you simply must try their rice.

    Elegance and sophistication permeate the atmosphere, yet the restaurant feels like a cozy home. This ambiance is partly influenced by Alikhani's personal experiences and her hometown. The best restaurants often reflect a chef's unique perspective rather than striving for mass appeal. Sofreh embodies this notion, serving as a culmination of a lifetime of experiences and learnings that visitors can also learn from.


    Claro, a Michelin-starred Mexican gem, provides a snapshot of its dedication to authenticity through its stone-ground corn meal tortillas, made from non-GMO corn sourced from Oaxaca. Organic, locally sourced produce takes center stage in the kitchen. Situated in an open concept space, Claro's kitchen boasts the captivating process of pressing and grilling the tortillas, transforming devoted dishes into a complete culinary experience. While the tortillas serve as the foundation for many menu items, one must not overlook the allure of their beautifully nuanced mole.

    In a broader sense, Claro remains dynamic, changing its menu frequently to deliver a fresh experience, even to its most loyal patrons. Aligning with the vision for this article, this reservations-only establishment encourages guests to take two hours to savor their meal without any rush. Revel in the company of good friends, relishing the memories of Chef T.J. Steele's time spent in Oaxaca. Claro beautifully embodies an authentic ode to Oaxacan cuisine and convivial dining that finds a perfect home in Brooklyn.

    Pugsley Pizza

    Pugsley pizza continuously improves its pizza year after year, but that's not the primary reason why people flock to this place. The true star of the show is the chicken roll, consisting of two succulent chicken strips and stretchy mozzarella swimming in flavorful tomato sauce, sprinkled with an enchanting blend of seasonings that illuminate the pizza dough. To label this creation as a mere calzone would be unjust, for once you've tried the chicken roll, calzones will never measure up.

    But even that is not the only reason why you should pay Pugsley Pizza a visit.

    This establishment exudes a cozy 1970s ambience, nestled in the shadow of Fordham University. Homemade artworks and philosophical musings adorn the walls, creating an atmosphere unlike anything else in the city. If you spend an afternoon here, you'll witness local luminaries and Fordham students alike paying their respects to Sal Natale, the owner and resident philosopher who greets everyone with stream-of-consciousness poetry on life, love, and beauty. If things slow down, he might even grace you with a saxophone performance or encounter him playing at the Arthur Ave. market while he's not holding court.

    Pugsley Pizza isn't just a pizzeria; it's a symposium. Every person who enters through the doors of this former stable becomes part of its rich, ever-evolving history. Sal Natale, his wife Pina, and now their son Pete have extended their family to the Belmont community, creating a welcoming space where countless college students have found solace in their homesickness.


    Malii's closure of their northern location was a heavy blow, but the Gramercy edition is moving forward, not backward. It skillfully replicates the cozy charm of its sister restaurant while avoiding exact duplication in design. It remains an incredibly charming spot for a date night. The cuisine is exceptional, and opting for takeout is always a safe bet. However, when you dine in, the experience becomes even more enchanting as you sit and admire the world passing by on a summer evening. The An Chan cocktail, made with butterfly pea flower, is not just visually appealing for Instagram, but also backed up by the substance of Malii's clever social media campaign. In fact, the actual experience surpasses the expectations set by their social media posts.

    The same team also runs When in Bangkok in Flushing, a hidden gem that offers both beauty and character. It surpasses all other Thai restaurants in the area, sparking lively debates among food enthusiasts from Woodside to Hell's Kitchen. It's an ideal spot for holding hands with your loved one and simply exhaling. Just beware, because the enticing aromas wafting from the kitchen are absolutely phenomenal.


    Hometown immediately comes to mind when considering top-quality barbecue worth traveling for. Anyone claiming that New York has no good BBQ is either out of touch or staunchly loyal to a specific regional style. Alternatively, they may be forgivably fixated on the notion of what barbecue should be (and its associated price). Regardless of their preconceived notions, Hometown manages to satisfy even the most reluctant visitors. While Brooklyn has long been a leader in northern BBQ with places like Pies & Thighs and Fette Sau, Hometown undoubtedly deserves the title of the king of NYC BBQ.

    Nestled in Red Hook, this cozy and classic restaurant perfectly aligns with the neighborhood's history, something that Tesla and IKEA will never quite accomplish. The bonafides of Chef Billy Durney, who honed his BBQ skills in the south and uses oak wood for smoking, add authenticity. Hometown prioritizes quality over quantity, graciously removing menu items as supplies run low rather than hastily introducing replacements. If the restaurant runs out of food to serve, they don't hesitate to close up shop. These traits embody the essence of a timeless barbecue joint, even with Durney's strong connection to Red Hook.

    However, who said authenticity is the only path to success? Offerings like the lamb banh mi showcase Hometown's commitment to honoring New York City's role as a melting pot. While presenting Brooklyn-style barbecue, Hometown tips its hat to Texas, a state that competes fiercely with Queens for the title of the most diverse county in the nation.


    We deliberated for a considerable amount of time over including Masa using what we affectionately refer to as The Rao's Rule. Ultimately, we decided to feature it because the true challenge lies not in securing a reservation but in paying the bill. This is New York City's most expensive sushi by a wide margin, with each seat priced at a staggering $1,000. Debating between Masa, Nobu, and Noz based solely on price would be missing the point entirely. It's time to set aside the dollar value and embrace the pursuit of perfection. When you demand excellence, any experience exceeding a certain level becomes a diminishing return. With that in mind, let's appreciate Masa's full understanding of the value it provides, which is why the restaurant strictly prohibits cell phones and photography.

    Masa exemplifies Chef Masayoshi Takayama's philosophy of elevating a project to the highest possible level, amplifying its true essence. Securing a reservation at Masa, even for the wealthiest individuals, is a considerable challenge. In this city filled with distractions, it's worth devoting a moment of focused attention to experiencing the three-Michelin-star perfection that Masa offers.

    Flip Sigi

    The original location of Flip Sigi perfectly embodied Chef Jordan Andino's personality, with a cozy space that made every diner feel as though they were attending a lively dinner party. Bartenders, and at times, even Andino himself, indulged guests with free-flowing drinks and secret menu items, fostering a sense of camaraderie. Since relocating to 7th Avenue South, Flip Sigi has finally gained the recognition and breathing space it deserves, situated in an area that better resonates with its target audience, rather than the more formal atmosphere of the high-heeled West Village crowd found on Hudson Street. While the relocation may have transformed it into a more intimate dining experience, the outstanding quality of the food ensures that conversation becomes secondary as your taste buds revel in the vibrant flavors.

    Flip Sigi offers affordable comfort food that never fails to captivate, perfectly suited for those orbiting around NYU and individuals exploring the lively nightlife scene in the area. Although the communal ambiance may have somewhat evolved, every visit to Flip Sigi feels like the first, as the zestful and fulfilling food provides enough excitement while also allowing for excellent people-watching opportunities. The restaurant adapted seamlessly to its new surroundings and has become a go-to destination in the neighborhood. Among the numerous triumphs in the past year, including a Netflix show, Andino is ready to impress once again with the addition of Chris Maier, an alumnus of Employees Only, at Carriage House.

    Laser Wolf

    It's impossible to forget a name like Laser Wolf. This establishment serves kabobs and dips in an ambiance deserving of its intense moniker, where securing a reservation is a competitive feat. However, despite its trendy status, the focus remains on the food rather than being seen at the latest hotspot. With unrivaled cuisine, Laser Wolf invites you to savor every bite, distinguishing itself from other venues where people are more concerned with capturing the perfect photo than indulging in the delicacies presented. Nevertheless, Laser Wolf remains the ideal destination for enjoying a meal with friends while still being able to boast about the experience. While gaining entry may pose a challenge and leaving might prove equally difficult on an emotional level, rather than for reservation purposes, the rewarding culinary journey at Laser Wolf is well worth the effort.

    Embracing open coals and offering sweeping views of the city skyline, Laser Wolf presents a vibrant atmosphere that further solidifies the notion that Brooklyn has surpassed Manhattan in terms of being the pinnacle of coolness. Manhattan may boast exclusivity, but Brooklyn thrives on novelty. In a world where attention is a valuable currency, Laser Wolf fully embraces this concept, as reflected in its name, all while situated on the rooftop of a trendy hotel. Let the debate begin, staying true to our city's ethos: dancing until the early hours.

    Minetta Tavern

    The city houses a particular breed of traditional NYC bistro that continually exceeds expectations, seemingly since the concept of surpassing expectations became popular. This is the type of place where you might sit alongside fries steeped in the aroma of beef fat, satisfying your appetite while the scent permeates the historic walls. Minetta Tavern is notoriously difficult to walk into, often overcrowded even with a reservation. Yet, it consistently proves to be the right choice. It's a quintessentially New York institution, particularly for lower Manhattan, to the point where imagining the city without it seems impossible (Apologies, Balthazar, but you've lost this MFK round).

    Of course, it's crucial to mention that Minetta Tavern also serves two of the most exceptional burgers you will ever encounter. Half the fun of visiting Minetta for the first time comes from experiencing both the Black Label Burger and the Minetta Burger and engaging in a lively comparison with a friend or date. However, nothing stops you from embarking on this delicious exploration solo to determine which one reigns supreme in terms of umami.

    4 Charles Prime Rib

    If you manage to secure a reservation at 4 Charles Prime Rib, prepare yourself for the best prime rib experience in all of New York. The establishment exudes an atmosphere reminiscent of a period drama, transporting you to a different era. While a handlebar mustache and a bowler hat are not prerequisites for dining here, they could enhance the overall experience. 4 Charles Prime Rib offers an exquisite display of rich perfection, delivering an array of flavors through their prime rib, shellfish, chocolate, and digestifs in an environment that feels like a work of art.

    Other meats and the occasional vegetable await, each meticulously prepared with chicken jus and cream sherry, resulting in delectable yet indulgent dishes. Accompanying this culinary feast is a carefully curated selection of intense beers, which effectively complements the extravagant dining experience. You may choose to indulge in the cocktail tour of the James Bond franchise listed on 4 Charles' menu, leading to a gout-inducing extravaganza, both unforgettable and subtly impactful, much like the Chicxulub crater. It's the kind of experience that etches itself into your memory forever.

    Indian Accent

    Have you ever dined somewhere so incredible that it evokes a mix of awe and frustration? You know you'll eventually reach the end of the meal, which feels like a heartbreaking betrayal after immersing yourself in the culinary journey and allowing yourself to fall in love, only to be hurt once more. That's the kind of experience Indian Accent delivers, and yet, we willingly subject ourselves to this rollercoaster of emotions time and time again. Yes, we have been to Jackson Diner.

    We understand that many might expect us to mention Jackson Diner, but we argue that Mughlai surpasses it, and even Mughlai is incomparable to Adda. Yet, Adda itself cannot reach the same heights as Indian Accent (although its sister restaurant Dhamaka, spearheaded by Chintan Pandya, has been an exciting addition to the culinary scene).

    At Indian Accent, the extension of the iconic New Delhi original, Chef Manish Mehrotra caters to the Carnegie crowd, making reservations highly recommended (or arriving five minutes after the show starts may be another option). Dressing stylishly is encouraged, considering the restaurant's location at Thompson Central Park. In return for your efforts, you are rewarded with the incredible and innovative creations from one of the world's most esteemed chefs. The venue, talent, and ambiance are perfectly aligned, offering an unparalleled epicurean experience.

    Red Rooster

    Harlem encompasses a multitude of restaurants that make it a truly exceptional destination, encapsulating a unique sense of community and character. While Sylvia's may hold the esteemed title as the heart of Harlem dining, Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster feels like the next step in the neighborhood's development.

    This multifaceted venue continuously evolves by introducing new experiences, such as a to-go counter serving ice cream and a new party room designed by manager Charles Washington. Red Rooster constantly grows, changes, innovates, and becomes more intertwined with the surrounding neighborhood. Visiting Red Rooster imbues a sense of importance, as if an unbreakable thread of significance runs through every corner. It often feels like a series of celebrations intertwined, with incredible music and exceptional food enriching each moment.

    Marcus Samuelsson has embraced Harlem as his capital, despite owning restaurants around the world. An embodiment of this commitment is Harlem EatUp!, a food festival that showcases local businesses and outstanding chefs. Red Rooster has become a landmark within the Harlem hospitality scene, not by conquering it, but by elevating the entire community surrounding it.

    Family Meal at Blue Hill

    You haven't truly experienced food until you've savored the offerings at Blue Hill. While their Stone Barn destination provides an idyllic retreat for an evening, easily accessible by car from the city, Family Meal extends the same farm-fresh experience to those who prefer the metropolitan lifestyle. This extraordinary concept exemplifies the epitome of farm-to-table dining and feels like a culinary institute for gifted chefs while remaining a perennially sought-after reservation for two decades. If it's special enough to be the Obamas' top choice for a midterm date night, it undoubtedly holds the same appeal for the average New Yorker, assuming one can secure a seat.

    What awaits you here is a family-style feast priced at an expensive yet attainable $145 per person. There are no menus, but the restaurant is more than accommodating when it comes to dietary needs. Nearly everything served at Blue Hill comes directly from their stunning farms, which cultivate their own herbs, crops, and livestock, all with the intention of practicing regenerative farming, even if the execution may vary. It would be remiss not to mention the expose by Eater, uncovering alleged issues at Blue Hill, including mistreatment of staff. However, the dedicated staff deserves recognition for their unwavering commitment to ensuring guests thoroughly enjoy their experience.

    Gabriel Kreuther

    What sets Gabriel Kreuther apart? The creations presented here are visual spectacles, transforming food into delicate Tiffany glass. If it weren't for their captivating textures and colors that tempt the palette through the eyes, one might mistake this French fare for pop art, heavily influenced by German cuisine. Gabriel Kreuther offers cutting-edge culinary marvels while remaining deeply rooted in mid-20th-century traditions. The chocolates resemble gemstones from another planet. This establishment boasts two Michelin stars and four from the Crab Nebula, a star system we confidently predict Gabriel Kreuther would masterfully cook for.

    And yet, despite being a restaurant that doesn't enforce a tie requirement, it possesses an allure that makes you yearn to be the kind of person who does. Remarkably, the cost ranges from $150 to $250 per person, presenting a fair value considering the generous portions and skillful preparation that goes into each dish. When you take into account what you receive in terms of flavor and presentation, it feels like a genuine bargain. Some may disagree, waiting for the return of Eleven Madison Park to its former glory while clinging to the hope of securing that elusive Dorsia reservation.

    SpaHa Soul

    We should probably keep SpaHa Soul a secret. We can't afford too many people to discover the immense love poured into this establishment by chef and owner, Artist Thornton, otherwise, getting a table will become an impossible feat. Let those seeking soul food remain west of 2nd Ave, ignorant of this exceptionally perfect gem. Thornton treats every guest like family, as he prepares his family's recipes exclusively for them. You can feel that there's something more at SpaHa, something that may not be immediately apparent until you peek at their vibrant social media feeds. Sharing his love with others seems to bring Thornton genuine peace.

    In fact, running SpaHa Soul is a dream come true for Thornton, a dream so palpable that it's evident to every visitor. Stepping into SpaHa feels like entering a space where the world aligns with our collective vision of how it should be. Live music performances create a shared experience, uniting everyone in the dining space. As much as it's possible in a bustling New York venue, SpaHa feels like being welcomed into someone's home, where they eagerly anticipate your arrival.

    And let's not forget about the food! Everything at SpaHa is made from scratch using local, organic, and sustainable ingredients whenever feasible. While the restaurant opened its doors in 2016, bone broth was not a fleeting trend, but rather a foundational element. Reservations are a must, and once again, we reiterate that we probably shouldn't encourage you to take a spot here.

    In the bustling food mecca that is New York City, where countless culinary delights tempt both locals and tourists, the search for the best restaurants can often be overwhelming. But fear not, as this list of establishments will guide your taste buds to pure satisfaction. From the delectable vegetarian fare at The Original Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant to the succulent prime rib at 4 Charles Prime Rib, this diverse and tantalizing selection offers something for every palate. So whether you're craving traditional American comfort food, mouthwatering sushi, or fiery Szechuan dishes, these outstanding eateries are sure to leave you craving more. Prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure and immerse yourself in the sensational flavors of the best restaurants NYC has to offer.