Leland Eating & Drinking House
Leland Eating & Drinking House | Photo by Belathée Photography
Leland Eating & Drinking House | Photo by Belathée Photography
Eat Seeker

Everywhere You Need to Eat in NYC Right Now

Against all odds, new restaurants are still opening and need your support.

At this current moment in 2021, the word “best” is, understandably, most acceptable to use when describing how we’re all just trying to get through our days. In the tumultuous era of COVID-19, we applaud any restaurant that has managed to stay open through what has been the most calamitous and financially devastating time ever for NYC’s small businesses.

Since the first government mandated shutdown of indoor service last March, the industry has been reeling. From navigating a citywide 10 pm curfew, to the closure of indoor dining, to the health and safety risks posed for those still working daily, to dealing with precarious weather or factoring in the exorbitant costs needed to merely operate—the past year has been a nightmare for everyone in the restaurant world. 

And that brings us back to this “best” restaurant list. The thing is, we totally get it—right now, compiling a list of this sort might seem irrelevant. Because when it comes down to it, we’re rooting for every single eatery that has their doors open and know each is deserving of our support. But as challenging as the pandemic has been, against all odds, some new restaurants have not only debuted, but they’ve also made a strong impression, offering glimmers of hope in a landscape that can feel despairing at times. Here’s a glance at some of the newest spots, along with a few other new-ish favorites, that you can now check out for takeout, outdoor dining, and, starting February 14, indoor dining. And as always, please tip generously, wear a mask, and social distance responsibly.

Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19, the daily operations of restaurants are subject to change. We recommend contacting ahead prior to booking or ordering and double-checking websites before making plans during this time as information becomes outdated quickly.

Leland Eating And Drinking House
Mussels available in the Cozy Cabin menu. | Photo by Belathée Photography

The gist: With over 25 years of experience in the NYC hospitality world, Leland Eating & Drinking House is industry veteran Randi Lee’s (Del Posto, Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk) first independent project. Located in Prospect Heights and named after his great uncle, Lee signed the lease at the former Dean Street Tavern space in February 2020 and built out the restaurant himself throughout the pandemic, transforming the interior with plenty of natural light and a modern aesthetic. Leland opened its doors in December, and in addition to its laid back environment and Mediteranean-inspired cuisine, the eatery’s takeaway options include goods from a “boutique bakery” and booze from its wine and liquor shop. A new heated Cozy Cabin that can accommodate a party of six is also available, in addition to outdoor dining.
The food: Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by chef Delfin Jaranilla (Fedora, Quality Eats) featuring nose-to-tail butchery and seasonal ingredients from local farms. Offerings include chicken jook porridge with rice, egg, ginger, and scallions; spiced carrots with almond romesco, basil, and parsley; charred lemon-skillet mussels with housemade sourdough; and roasted chicken with salt-citrus brined. Baked goods include focaccia, olive bread, a vegan cinnamon bun, and crème brûlée pie.
The cost: Baked goods are $3-8, soups and sandwiches are $5-14, and plates are $11-33. Hot drinks like a boozy Mexican hot chocolate and mulled wine are $10-12, cocktails are $10-11, beer is $5-8, and wines by the glass are $10-12.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for the heated Cozy Cabin, and outdoor dining is first come, first served. Order takeout via website.

Xilonen
Photo courtesy of Xilonen

Xilonen

Greenpoint

The gist: Xilonen in Greenpoint is the latest project from the crew behind lauded Oxomoco, with chef/owner Justin Bazdarich and chef de cuisine Alan Delgado teaming up once again. Opened just before the new year and located at a bustling intersection at the northwest corner of McCarren Park, the plant-based offerings here focus on regional Mexican fare. Named after the Aztec Goddess of Young Corn, the restaurant’s strong commitment to sustainability is partly driven by Bazdarich’s current studies on the subject, in addition to his plan to launch a special initiative this year aimed to encourage more chefs to create plant-based menus. Starting on Monday, February 1, the restaurant plans to extend their hours and offer two different menus: Dia from 10 am-4 pm, and Noche from 4 pm-9 pm.
The food: Plant-based regional Mexican fare that’s 75% vegan and 25% vegetarian (some items may contain eggs and dairy). Select offerings include a masa pancake with deep mountain maple syrup and salted butter; scrambled egg tostada with salsa mucha and queso chihuahua; carrot tostada with navy beans and carrot top salsa verde; and green chorizo quesadilla with hoja santa, black bean salsa, and avocado. Sweets include churros with Oaxacan chocolate and a cinnamon roll made with Mexican cinnamon and a vanilla oat milk glaze.
The cost: All food items are $6-17, coffee drinks and oaxacan hot chocolate are $4-6, aguas frescas are $5, and beverages are $4-5.
How to order: Storefront, tables for heated outdoor seating are available. Order takeout and delivery via Caviar, DoorDash.

Medan Pasar
Photo courtesy of Medan Pasar

Medan Pasar

East Village

The gist: Opened just before the new year, Medan Pasar in the East Village serves up traditional Malaysian cuisine. After signing the lease in February of last year and dealing with delays and setbacks due to COVID-19, the restaurant debuted on 7th Street in December and offers a select menu of offerings under $10. With previous industry experience at New Jersey eateries, owners Chao Chen and Chuan Tan, this is the first solo venture for the duo who helm the kitchen together. From nasi lemak and soups to meats and fried prawn fritters, diners can also place orders through an electronic self-ordering kiosk located near the restaurant’s entrance.
The food: Select offerings include Malaysian style roast half chicken rice, nasi lemak with beef rendang, curry chicken wonton noodle, curry laksa noodle, prawn fritters, curry ayam, barbecue sambal stingray, and more. Dessert is bubur cha cha coconut milk.
The cost: All mains are under $10, with sides $2-6, and soft drinks $1.25.
How to order: Storefront, outdoor seating available. Order takeout via website, and takeout and delivery via DoorDash, Seamless, UberEats.

Frenchette Bakery
Photo courtesy of Frenchette Bakery

The gist: There are things that not even the pandemic could dampen, like the massive demand for Frenchette from New Yorkers. In addition to the Tribeca restaurant’s takeout/delivery and the Frenchette Crepe Truck at Rockefeller Plaza, chef-owners Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr (formerly of Keith McNally spots and the opening team behind Balthazar in 1997) teamed up with Peter Edris (Bourke Street Bakery) and Frenchette's pastry chef, Michelle Palazzo, to open Frenchette Bakery this past October. Located in Tribeca at the former Arcade bakery (which previously baked Frenchette’s bread), this hidden downtown destination can be found on the ground level of a generic office building towards the back of the lobby. Once you spot the sleek signage above a no smoking placard at 220 Church Street, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
The food: Breads, savory baked goods, and pastries from an award-winning culinary team. Whole breads baked with local grains that are milled inhouse include a baguette made with bolle wheat; a city loaf made with spelt, rye, oat, and wheat; and a fruit, raisin, and seed bread. Savory items include the signature eggs savory available in kimchi, market greens, or mortadella; croissants; and two recently debuted pizz’ettes (tarte flambeé and la margherite) available from 12 pm-3 pm. Pastries include Sicilian pistachio twice-baked croissant; pain viennois with fleur d'oranger and anise; canele; breakfast cookies, and more.
The cost: Whole breads are $3-10; savory baked goods and pastries are $4-7; pizz’ettes are $14; and coffee, tea, and beverages are $3-6.
How to order: Storefront.

Mark's Off Madison
Photo by Alex Staniloff

The gist: Queens-born cookbook author and chef Mark Strausman considers his first namesake restaurant, Mark’s Off Madison, as his “third act” in his more than 30-year career in the NYC food world. He takes his past experience from legendary eatery, Freds at Barneys New York, and Italian spot, Campagna, to offer some of his greatest hits like Belgian fries and lasagna at this all-day restaurant and New York-style bagel bakery located off Madison Square Park. With M.O.M. in the works pre-COVID, Strausman debuted the spot in November. Currently, its menu offers a range of items and dishes that include artisanal breads, pizza, salad, seafood, meats, desserts, and bagels that are available through the Bagel Take Out Counter.
The food: Quintessential NYC dishes of Italian, Jewish, and European roots made with sophistication. Offerings include homemade soft pretzel with mustard, pickled vegetables, and red onion confit; sauteed chicken liver with port wine sauce served over sourdough crostini; Mark’s house salad with soft lettuces and bistro dressing; linguine al fruitti di mare; and rib eye steak with Françoise string beans and mashed potatoes. Hand-rolled bagels, cream cheeses, smoked fishes, pastries, bialys, black and white cookies, and more are also available. Cocktails include margaritas and bloody marys.
The cost: Appetizers are $6-24, sides are $9-14, pasta is $23-28, pizza is $21-26, seafood is $28-38, and meats are $24-45. Bagels with toppings and baked goods range from $4-15.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via Caviar, Grubhub.

Kokomo
Photo courtesy of Kokomo

Kokomo

Williamsburg

The gist: Wife-and-husband duo Ria and Kevol Graham have created a tropical paradise of sorts near the Williamsburg waterfront with Kokomo, a restaurant focused on Pan-Caribbean flavors. Opened last July—during a time when the industry was coming to grips with the harsh reality of so many notable eateries closing—the spot’s bright energy and vibrant menu items have made it a popular addition to the local dining scene. With Ria’s industry background in Caribbean restaurants and Kevol’s hospitality experience in events of over 13 years, from decor to menu, the culinary destination they’ve created continues to be a much needed (and appreciated) oasis for New Yorkers. In addition to dinner, Kokomo offers brunch Friday-Sunday.
The food: “A tasting tour across the Caribbean” with Latin, French, Asian, and African influences. Choose from signature wood-fired flatbreads, seafood, braised oxtail, jerk chicken, and Koko’s island pasta with island cream sauce. Dedicated vegan selections include jackfruit tacos; lentil meatballs in coconut curry; and a spicy portobello burger. Brunch includes Koko’s chicken & waffles; sweet plantain pancakes; and callaloo egg frittata. Pair it with cocktails like a coconut negroni, special good juice mango rum punch, or a tiki Aperol spritz.
The cost: Starters are $14-16, and flatbreads and main courses are $17-32. Vegan dishes are $12-25, all sides are $7, desserts are $14-15, and brunch dishes are $16-32. Cocktails and wines by the glass range from $12-18.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website, DoorDash, UberEats.

Kimika
Photo by Evan Sung

Kimika

Nolita

The gist: Well-executed Japanese-Italian mashup dishes are the focus at Kimika, a Nolita restaurant that delayed its original spring opening last year to the summer because of COVID-19. Opened by Rivers and Hills Hospitality Group, the team behind places such as homestyle Thai cuisine spot, Wayla, Kimika’s kitchen is led by executive chef Christine Lau (Bar Chuko Izakaya). At the helm with over 15 years of industry experience, chef Lau’s dishes, like the very ‘grammable crispy rice cake lasagna, have successfully captivated New Yorkers with a delicious approach to an oft-attempted (and oft failed) cuisine hybrid. In addition to brunch menu, the restaurant also recently launched DIY meal kits that include both food and cocktail elements.
The food: The focus here is Japanese-Italian dishes made with locally sourced and seasonal produce. Offerings include a pizzette fritte section of dedicated flatbreads like lobster & uni; small plates like the signature tuna tartare with spicy mayo; pasta like shrimp & prosciutto tortellini with mochi, naruto, scallions, and kanto brodo; and large plates like the very Instagrammable eggplant katsu with caponata, porchetta with miso mustard; and ribeye with sesame ponzu and wasabi chutney. A dedicated brunch menu includes French toast with matcha mochi, vanilla custard, and citron syrup; and baked farm eggs with sweet italian sausage, spicy cabbage, and scallions. Cocktails include a chamomile negroni and a kaga milk punch.
The cost: Snacks, small plates, and sides are $6-22, flatbreads and pastas are $19-42, and mains are $21-52. Cocktails, beer, and wines by the glass are $8-16.
How to order: DIY meal kits and reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website.

The gist: Situated between Soho and Chinatown on Howard Street, the East Asian spot is the sophomore restaurant effort from owners Eddy Buckinham and Jeff Lam of the popular Chinese Tuxedo (which recently offered delivery for the first time through Thrillist Ghost Kitchen) and cocktail bar, Peachy’s (both temporarily closed). The duo had originally planned to open The Tyger in April of 2020, but the pandemic forced construction delays, pushing the restaurant’s debut to last September instead. At The Tyger, Buckingham and Lam once again replicate the distinct stylish experience their projects are known for, with executive chef Paul Donnelly’s menu taking inspiration from time spent cooking in Southeast Asia early in his career, in addition to stints in Sydney, Australia.
The food: Southeast and East Asian flavors with influences from Pakistan, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and more. Highlights include a take on the traditional Vietnamese dish Banh Xeo—a crispy turmeric and coconut crepe; steak tartare with chili & lime dressing, lemongrass, and crab cracker; Phnom Penh fried chicken with lime and white pepper dressing; “Nasi Goreng” crispy squid ink fried rice; and slow-cooked beef short rib in red curry with house baked potato buns. A feast menu for $65 per person is also available. Signature cocktails include The Tyger Strype Slushie, a frozen tequila drink with a striking orange and black aesthetic.
The cost: Snacks are $11-15, small plates are $18-$22, vegetables are $14-21, rice and noodles are $18-27, and seafood & meats are $29-$42. Cocktails are $16, wines by the glass are $11-$17, with beer ranging from $8-$12. 
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for greenhouse and heated outdoor dining. Order takeout via website and delivery via Caviar.

Sami & Susu
Photo courtesy of Sami & Susu

Sami & Susu

Lower East Side

The gist: As former colleagues at the James-Beard Award winning restaurant, Maison Premiere—Amir Nathan (Via Carota) and executive chef Jordan Anderson (Olmsted)—pull inspiration from each of their own family recipes for Sami & Susu, a casual Mediterranean eatery operating out of The Ten Bells, a natural wine bar in the LES. After COVID-19 required pivoting from a previous concept of a natural wine bar and general store with a focus on Medierranean offerings, Sami & Susu debuted last summer in Williamsburg as a takeout/delivery-only concept instead. They recently relocated to their current Broome Street location in November, and now also offer onsite dining with outdoor seating, in addition to delivery across Manhattan and to Brooklyn and Queens from Wednesday - Sunday.
The food: Casual Mediterranean fare inspired by Nathan’s upbringing in Israel, and Anderson’s American-Jewish roots. The menu’s breads section has a bevy of options including pita with cauliflower or chicken; and rolled bureka with spinach, pecorino, and ricotta. Spreads include a matbucha with red pepper and tomato confit; and a smoked salmon option with crème fraîche and dill. Choose from a variety of plates like chicken liver terrine; mom’s chicken soup with matzo ball; the signature spicy carrots with harissa, labneh, and pistachios; and zhug chicken with Israeli chopped salad, lemon, and pita. Add on natural wines and Oddfellows ice cream or a vegan cinnamon babka for dessert.
The cost: Breads are $3-12, spreads are $9-11, and plates are $12-22. Bottled wine is $19-24.
How to order: Reservations are available via reservations@tenbellsnyc.com for outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website, Caviar, Doordash, Seamless.

Maki Kosaka
Photo courtesy of Maki Kosaka

Maki Kosaka

Flatiron District

The gist: Mihyun Han and Key Kim, the couple behind the acclaimed West Village omakase spot, Kosaka, offer a more casual, hand-rolled sushi restaurant in Flatiron with Maki Kosaka. Opened last July and accessible by walking through a flower shop (when indoor dining was still a thing), executive chef Sho Boo, originally born and raised in Osaka, serves up sushi in a multitude of forms with a menu inspired by her native Japan. In addition to fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables, Maki Kosaka offers an array of combinations and sets, allowing diners one less hurdle to consider when it comes to curating a first-rate sushi meal.
The food: Japanese seafood and hand-rolled sushi, maki, temaki, onigiri, and playful “grab sushi” with the protein resting on the rice. Offerings include bluefin toro with caviar; scallop with seared uni; Japanese red snapper with Kizami wasabi; yellowtail with jalapeno miso; and more. The menu’s kitchen (non-sushi) items include shrimp balls with crispy roe; fried Chilean sea bass with ginger tartare sauce; and kale salad with walnuts and quinoa. The restaurant exclusively uses nori from the island of Kyushu in Japan, and additional specials like a Hokkaido uni cup with caviar or uni ikura and snow crab don can all be paired with beer, wine, and sake. Desserts by La Pâtisserie de Lauren are as minimal as the food, with options like matcha almond toffee or hazelnut cookies.
The cost: Single items start at $7, sets and combos are $25-80, kitchen dishes are $12-18, desserts are $20, and beer, sake, and wine range from $6-70.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout via website, takeout and delivery via Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats

Dante West Village
Photo by Giada Paoloni

Dante West Village

West Village

The gist: Last summer, the team behind the beloved Negroni spot and Greenwich Village bar, Dante, opened a second location further west on Hudson Street, dubbed Dante West Village. As the younger sibling to the MacDougal Street stalwart (that has origins dating back more than a century), this newer locale in one of NYC’s most picturesque neighborhoods offers serious style in all that they do. Expertly concocted aperitivos and martinis served in elegant glassware are listed on the menu in categories such as martini hour, spritz selections, Dante’s signatures, and negroni sessions. Pair them with a seafood-focused menu featuring dishes straight from a wood-fired grill and charcoal oven.
The food: Mediterranean-inspired dishes with a focus on seafood invoking Northern Spain and Southern Italy. Offerings include small dishes like a salad with pistachio, parmigiano reggiano, crispy pancetta and Dante dressing; and shrimp cocktail with pimenton aioli. Mains include crispy fried calamari with spicy marinara sauce; roasted branzino with sauce gribiche and rosemary potatoes; a signature beef burger with smoked bacon, gruyere, beets, tomato, and lettuce on a housemade brioche bun; and skirt steak with salbitxada and grilled spring onions. For dessert, order up flourless chocolate cake or tres leches with strawberry salad and cinnamon.
The cost: Cocktails are $16-17, brunch is $5-21, and lunch and dinner menus range from $10-34. Desserts are $10-16.
How to order: Outdoor dining is first come, first served. Order to-go drinks by calling 212-982-8799, visiting the storefront, or downloading the Dante app.

Casa Ora
Courtesy of Casa Ora

Casa Ora

Williamsburg

The gist: Casa Ora’s story is what NYC dreams are made of: Ivo Diaz, a hospitality industry veteran of over 18 years (The Nomad Hotel, Eleven Madison Park, One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge) opens his own restaurant. He based the menu off childhood Venezulean dishes he loved and appointed his mother, Isbelis Diaz, as executive chef, and his partner, Rachel Diaz Pirard, as pastry chef. A portion of proceeds go to Venezulean families seeking asylum. 
The food: Upscale Venezuelan-American cuisine made with a mother’s love. Offerings include varieties of arepas like braised short rib; chicken salad and queso; and shredded pork with curry mayo and tomatoes. Bites and appetizers include tequeños with guasacaca; Venezuelan corn doughnuts with white cheese and nata: and black bean soup with caramelized coconut milk. Entrees include pabellon with brisket, sofrito, and pureed sweet plantain; asado negro with burnt papelón sauce, yucca, pickled papaya, and peanuts; and chicken breast seared with crispy arroz dulce, corn, and sofrito. A creative cocktail menu provides plenty of pairing options.
The cost: Snacks and appetizers are $10-$16, and entrees are $26-$38. Cocktails are $14-$16, and wines by the glass are $7-8, 
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website.

The gist: For anyone still bummed out about the closure of Uncle Boon’s in Nolita last summer due to the pandemic, the kid-sibling energy of nearby Thai Diner is sure to cheer you up. Opened in February of 2020 by wife-and-husband team Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Thai Diner focuses on hearty dishes inspired by chef Ann’s Thai-American background, all offered in a vibrant environment to match with plants, lacquered wood, and pops of color and excitement comforting from all sides. A visit here is almost transporting to a time that’s pre-COVID, when going to a restaurant provided a distraction from NYC’s grind and felt like a true outing—and even more so because you’ll also find some Uncle Boon’s favorites on the menu here as well.
The food: Thai dishes with a mix of diner-inspired classics. Offerings include breakfast items (available until 5 pm) like the Thai Diner egg sandwich with cheese, Northern Thai sausage and Thai basil; and Thai tea babka French toast with salty condensed milk syrup. House specialties include the kuaytiew pet with duck noodle soup-braised duck leg; fried chicken laab; and Uncle Boon’s khao pat puu of traditional crab fried rice with egg. Additional items include wok-fired dishes; Thai disco fries smothered in massaman curry; a classic burger with an American cheese option; and spicy chopped chicken liver.
The cost: Breakfast, salads, soups, and sandwiches are $9-15, and house specialties and mains are $17-25. Cocktails are $13 and also available in $50 pitchers, with wines by the glass and beer $6-15.
How to order: Thai greenhouse heated outdoor dining is first come, first served. Order takeout and delivery via website.

Đi ăn Đi

Greenpoint

The gist: Since opening in May of 2018, this hip Greenpoint restaurant remains one of NYC’s most talked about spots. At Đi Ăn Đi, chef Dennis Ngo’s Vietnamese-American menu offers a perspective that’s common across dining tables across the country: A culmination between the ancestral roots of individual Americans inspired by the tastes each of us grew up with in towns and cities across the U.S. For chef Ngo, that means dishes influenced by Vietnam and Texas. While the dining room’s signature lush greenery (with plants everywhere) and natural sunlight remains closed to diners due to COVID-19, their pho and other popular items are available in their outdoor seating.
The food: Vietnamese-American cuisine via Texas that’s a Brooklyn original. Appetizers include cha gio served with butter lettuce for wrapping; goi xoai with poached shrimp and Thai basil dressed in ginger nuoc cham with sesame crackers for scooping; and cuon diep with a spicy coconut dipping sauce. Mains include bun suon bo nuong with grilled lemongrass short rib and Vietnamese shiso; thit kho with pork belly braised in Coco Rico soda; and mi xao gion chay with fried tofu, mixed vegetables, and shiitake mushroom caps. Pho varieties include pho thin with wok-seared brisket; pho ga; and pho chay oyster and shitake mushrooms. During lunch, add on a variety of banh mi that comes with housemade salt and pepper potato chips.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-15 and mains are $17-26. Beer and sake is $7-26, 8-ounce batched cocktails for two is $16, 16-ounce batched cocktails for four are $30, and Vietnamese coffee is $6. 
How to order: Outdoor seating is first come, first served. Order takeout and delivery via website, Caviar, Grubhub

Ernesto's

Lower East Side

The gist: Chef Ryan Bartlow’s first independent project (formerly of Quality Eats and Frenchette) draws inspiration from early in his career of cooking at Akelarre, a three Michelin-starred spot in the Basque region of Spain. When it comes to the celebrated cuisine from this part of the world, think fish, meats and veggies that have been salted, grilled, fried, and seared and often served in appetizer style portions called pintxos. Like so many great restaurants in NYC, a low-key vibe and outstanding food go hand-in-hand here.
The food: Basque-inspired pintxos and mains from a menu that changes daily. Their unique presentation of a simple dish of housemade chips with sliced Iberico ham piled high has been an Instagram favorite. But also try the grilled mini chorizo sausage; chicken croquetas; gilda; or macarrones con hongos with chanterelles and idiazabal cacio e pepe; all on a menu categorized by small bites, large tapas-style plates, and mains. Also choose from cheeses along with natural wines and Spanish-influenced aperitif cocktails.
The cost: Entradas are $16-$23, platos principales are $23-$30, and postres are $12-$16. Signature cocktails are $16, and wines by the glass are $12-$2. 
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via Caviar.

Golden Diner
Photo by Marcus Lloyd

Golden Diner

Two Bridges

The gist: It’s going to require a bit of extra charm and personality for a NYC diner to debut in our current times and be considered New York-legit, but Golden Diner achieves just that. At this spot from chef Sam Yoo (Torrisi Italian Specialties, Momofuku Ko) that opened in the spring of 2019, nostalgic diner classics with an Asian twist and renditions inspired by its Chinatown neighborhood are served up in a picturesque location below the Manhattan Bridge. It’s the best version of a modern diner Manhattan has seen in quite a while, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with rotating specials like Jamaican beef ddukbokki and sullung tang risotto. Yoo’s talents made the spot a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2020 for Best New Restaurant.
The food: An “Asian Diner” rooted in NYC classics with influences from its Chinatown neighborhood. Offerings include breakfast items like honey butter pancakes; the Chinatown egg and cheese sando with soft scrambled eggs; green tea coffee cake; and kale and Parmesan biscuits with chicken gravy. Lunch and mains include Matzoh ball soup; Korean fried chicken wings; chicken katsu club with chicken cutlet, blt, and bulldog sauce; vegan nachos; and the signature Golden cheeseburger with mushroom gochujang sauce. Pair everything with cocktails based on Korean liquors like bloody mary with soju or a makgeolli horchata; wine, beer, and Korean spirits.
The cost: Entire food menu is $6-16 and specials are $16-22. Coffee, freshly squeezed juices, and beverages go up to $4. Cocktails are $12-13, beer is $4-9, and Korean spirits and wines by the glass are $12-15.  
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website.

Leo

Williamsburg

The gist: As a hybrid between a casual all-day cafe and bakery/pizzeria in Williamsburg, Leo is from the same team behind Bushwick’s popular pizza spot, Ops. The eatery specializes in naturally fermented breads, Neapolitan pies made with sourdough crusts, and square Roman-style slices with a thin crust, in addition to natural wines (a pairing that should replace pizza and beer). With items fired in an electric oven, order up some pizza and be sure to keep space for additional dishes like meatballs, Caesar salad, and a mortadella panino. Leo also offers breakfast from 8 am-4 pm with coffee, bagels, and egg sandwiches, in addition to pastries that are available during set hours. 
The food: Naturally fermented pizza beyond the corner slice shop. Expect neapolitan pies with soft and chewy dough and square Roman-style slices with a thin crust. Pie offerings include marinara and Margherita; along with specialty pizzas like the San Giuseppe with spicy sausage, onion, olive, and provolone; and the Hill with mushrooms, shallots, taleggio cheese, parm, and greens. Roman-style offerings include mushroom; potato; and the Rossa with tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and oregano. Plates include house-made sourdough with Normandy butter; pork and beef meatballs; and an Italian combo sandwich with mortadella, finocchiona, alpine cheese, salsa verde, aioli on focaccia.
The cost: Pies are $16-34, slices are $3-$4, vegetables are $10-14, and plates are $6-12. Wines by the glass are $14, bottles of wine are $22-95.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website.

Rezdôra
Rezdôra | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Rezdôra

Flatiron District

The gist: When it comes to house-made pasta, Grandma knows best—and so does Rezdôra in Flatiron. With its name translating to “head of household,” this acclaimed Italian spot from chef Stefano Secchi (an alum of what’s been previously considered the best restaurant in the world, Modena’s Osteria Francescana in Italy) and partner David Switzer has been around since the spring of 2019, and is both inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region and an ode to nonnas who hand roll pasta with love from scratch. Enjoy Rezdôra’s traditionally prepared dishes with a wine list also focusing on Northern Italy, alongside cocktails and a specially dedicated spritz menu that you can still enjoy during winter. The restaurant also launched meal kits during the pandemic.
The food: Hand rolled pasta and Italian cuisine inspired by nonna. Antipasti includes burrata centered in a moat of Prosciutto di Parma; fluffy gnocco fritto with Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, and capocollo; and signature fried mushroom scarpetta. An array of pasta selections include cappelletti verdi with roasted leeks and black mushroom puree; bigoli duck ragu; and a single large raviolo with ricotta, egg yolk, and white truffle. Secondis include scallops with pistachio and beets; sirloin steak with sauces from Emilia-Romagna and herb salad; veal cheeks; and a 60 day dry aged bone-in ribeye. Desserts include tiramisu, gelato, and more.
The cost: Antipasti are $5-19, pastas are $23-25, secondi are $29-31, and the 60-day dry aged bone-in ribeye is market price. Regional pasta tasting menu is $90 with a wine pairing for an additional $55. Cocktails are $15-18, wines by the glass are $12-22, and beer is $9-15.
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heating outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website.

Sofreh
Sofreh | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Sofreh

Prospect Heights

The gist: Open since summer of 2018, authentic and traditional Persian food takes center stage at Sofreh in Prospect Heights. Named after a Persian cloth and term that signifies celebration, sharing, and the cultural idea of spreading the fabric and blanketing it with food for everyone to enjoy, chef and owner Nasim Alikhani cooks with love while drawing inspiration from her mother and countless other strong women who’ve had an impact on her life. Alikhani’s Brooklyn restaurant showcases all of the wonderfully colorful and fragrant details featured in Iranian cuisine (rice based dishes, herbs, sweet and sour flavors, and tender meats). Since COVID-19, Sofreh started offering takeout in June of last year, with delivery following in December, and signature cocktails are available in 200ml flasks as well.  
The food: Rice offerings include a take on the classic tahdig (saffron rice with a crispy bottom) and entrees include Persian plum chicken with saffron sauce and barberries; the signature braised lamb shank with dried lime and turmeric broth, crispy onions, fava beans, and roasted garlic; pomegranate beef ribeye with roasted campari tomatoes and grilled onions; and smoked eggplant with slow roasted tomato garlic sauce, poached eggs, and house bred. Signature cocktails include  the Saffron Vesper with gin, vodka, Lillet, housemade saffron and rose water syrup; and the Sekanjabin Martini with gin, signature sekanjabin mint syrup, and cucumber.
The cost: Appetizers, salads, and rice options are $5-$14, and entrees are $22-$38. Cocktails are $15, wines by the glass are $9-$15, and traditional Persian coolers are $7. 
How to order: Reservations are available via Resy for heated outdoor dining. Order takeout via website and delivery via ChowNow.

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