Shell Tu/Thrillist
Jordy Trachtenberg/Thrillist
Courtesy of Ganso Yaki
Courtesy of Black Tap
Courtesy of Gabi Porter/SRO
Courtesy of Michael Tulipan/Javelina
Courtesy of Nicole Franzen/Pizza Beach
Courtesy of Cafe Clover
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1. Rocky Slims 338 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

Located in Kips Bay, Rocky Slims is the brainchild of Angelo Romano (who cut his avant-garde chops at Roberta's and then The Pines) that offers "seasonal Italian-American classics" with a modern twist served in an edgy-yet-casual atmosphere. But seriously, the pizza (and the pasta, and the crispy-skinned duck) are all excellent.

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2. The Camlin 175 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (New York)

Named after the river in Ireland where one of the owner’s husbands grew up fishing, this sleek Kent Ave spot is perfect for when you're not sure what exactly you want to drink (or eat). There's an impressive selection of 100+ bottles from all over the globe to choose from, plus a number of great by-the-glass options, and the menu offers plenty of small, interesting bites (there are lots cheese and charcuterie options, and oysters are just $1 all day every day). The Camlin also does brunch, serving up the classics like eggs Benedict and some of the city's best Bloody Marys.

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3. Ramen Lab 70 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

A culinary laboratory devoted to all things ramen, this pint-sized shop in Nolita cranks out creative iterations of the Japanese noodle soup daily. Run in conjunction with Sun Noodle, the company that makes the noodles used at many of the country's ramen shops, Ramen Lab is constantly experimenting with different broths and toppings. Aside from nightly dinner service, it frequently hosts pop-ups and tasting dinners.

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4. Santina 820 Washington St, New York, NY 10014 (Chelsea)

From the team behind Dirty French, Torrisi, Carbone, Parm, and ZZ’s Clam Bar, Santina is situated beneath the High Line and is done up to feel like you're at some tiny restaurant on the Italian coast, even though you're in the heart of the Meatpacking District. The space is full of plants, and pastel colors pop from the chandeliers, dishware, and wall art. The food fits the vibe as well -- the menu is almost entirely made up of seafood and vegetables, keeping everything light, fresh, and delicious.

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5. Ganso Yaki 515 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

A sequel to nearby Ganso Ramen, this spot from Chef Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat has a broad menu that's inspired by street food in Japan and includes the likes of whole Surume squid, Nagoya-style chicken wings, and the classic okonomiyaki pancake with cabbage and pork belly.

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6. Game 248 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

Located in the space that used to be home to SNAP, this sports bar has top-notch chefs from Saul offering up pub favorites like baked cheddar dip, short rib and oxtail chili, and a prime beef burger, plus it's equipped with everything you need to get down with whatever games are on.

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7. Black Tap 529 Broome St, New York, NY 10013 (Soho)

Black Tap is rolling seven burgers deep with creations like the steak au poivre prime steak burger (with blue cheese and green peppercorn sauce), the lamb burger (with Swiss and homemade pickles), and the falafel burger (with tahini, pickled onion, feta, and hummus). Michelin-starred Chef Joe Isidori’s burger & milkshake spot is doing a very serious brunch burger and cocktail list, too, including a spicy Bloody Mary and sangria.

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8. Goemon Curry 29 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

From team behind next door Cocoron (aka probably the best soba shop in the city), this curry joint (which says its bowls have all kinds of health benefits) will ladle you either plain or veggie curry with optional (hahahahaha... right) toppings ranging from a poached egg, to Japanese pickles, to deep-fried chicken katsu.

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9. SRO 334 Bowery, New York, NY 10012 (Noho)

It’s a pizza speakeasy from Giulio Adriani. That’s right, a pizza speakeasy. Enter through a “hidden” door in Espoleta Tapas & Wine Bar that reads vacancy or "no vacancy." Except for the margherita and the deep-fried montanara, the pizzas all change daily.

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10. Javelina Tex Mex 119 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

Boldy claiming to do the joys of actual Tex-Mex cuisine justice, this cantina -- complete with boar taxidermy! -- is offering tacos with all kinds of fillings (brisket, carnitas, lamb...), skirt steak nachos, the San Antonio puffy taco with marinated pork shoulder, and the "Bob Armstrong," which is either regular or white queso with guac, ground beef, pico de gallo, and sour cream.

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11. Pizza Beach 1426 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (Upper East Side)

Sadly, this isn't a beach made of pizza. What it IS though, is a breezy, bright, seaside-themed pie shop serving up classic pizza buttressed by more inventive takes on everyone’s favorite thing, like a purple kale & butternut squash option, and more.

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12. Cafe Clover 10 Downing St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Focused on health and ALSO being delicious, this corner joint worked with a nutritionist to create dishes like cauliflower “steak” with romesco and veggie chutney, roasted oyster with truffle and pickled shallot, and actual, no-air-quotes-necessary steak, with Brussels sprouts and olive oil potato puree.