Everywhere You Need to Eat in NYC Right Now
Whatever your price point, exciting new restaurants continue to make their mark.
It hasn’t exactly been the “hot vax summer” we were all thinking it was gonna be (well weather-wise, certainly) but we’re in a much better place than we were a year ago with most of NYC’s adult population vaccinated and indoor dining fully open.
Restaurateurs continue to face challenges like a shortage of employee applicants and constantly changing mandates since all COVID-related restrictions were lifted on June 15 (learn more about the upcoming proof of vaccination requirements). Nevertheless, our local dining scene feels busier and more poppin’ than ever with revelers looking to make up for over a year of quarantining.
In addition to celebrated favorites like Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, and Momofuku Ssam Bar returning to life, against all odds, an exciting new crop of eateries continue to help maintain NYC’s standing as one of the best dining destinations out there. Here’s a glance at 30 of them—and as the Delta variant continues to remain a concern, we ask that you always be kind when dining out, tip generously, and be respectful of regulations that can differ by each establishment.
The gist: On those days when you want to go big with a decadent meal—which we are all deserving of right now—head to Carne Mare. This two-story Italian steakhouse in Seaport opened this summer and is the latest restaurant from chef Andrew Carmellini and his NoHo Hospitality Group (Locanda Verde, Bar Primi, The Dutch). With a menu from chef de cuisine Brendan Scott (Lafayette), go for drinks or to eat solo at the ground floor dining room’s gorgeous horseshoe bar, or work your way up the grand spiral staircase to the second floor for banquettes and views of the East River. But no matter where you’re planted, prepare yourself for a full-throttle chophouse experience with an array of steaks and meat along with Italian specialties.
The food: A swanky Italian steakhouse with an abundance of steaks, chops, and luxury. Choose from chophouse snacks like grilled oysters, King crab lettuce cups, and a pairing of mozzarella sticks and caviar in addition to tartare and carpaccio dishes like yellowfin tuna or Spanish octopus. Salads and pasta include the house wedgini and spicy lobster spaghetti. Steaks and chops include prime boneless ribeye, pasture-raised rack of lamb, 30-day dry aged tomahawk, 45-day dry-aged porterhouse, wagyu, and a special porchetta-spiced roast prime rib. Additional mains include Italian specialities like salt-baked black sea bass wrapped in fig leaves; Milanese cowboy veal chop with charred lemon; and whole roast duck d’Ivan with mustard fruits and roasted potatoes. Pair it with signature cocktails like the Granita (Campari, grapefruit, limoncello, prosecco) or Alpino (vodka, blackberry, alpine amaro, limonata).
The cost: Raw bar and starters are $3-25, salads are $15-17, sides are $13-16, and pasta is $40-48. Steaks for one are $36-72, selections for two are $165-185, and Italian specialties are $39-85. Signature cocktails are $16, beer is $8-11, and wines by the glass are $16-38.
The gist: When you spot the luxurious shades of deep green on the block of Bleecker St. between West 10th and Christopher, you know you’ll have arrived at Saint Theo’s. This Italian-inspired restaurant from Kyle Hotchkiss Carone’s Grand Tour Hospitality (American Bar) and executive chef Ashley Rath (The Grill, Santina, Dirty French) opened in June and serves a menu highlighting flavors of Venice and the Italian coast. In addition to housemade pasta and seafood, scope out a dedicated section of Venetian cicchetti as snacks to enjoy with your first round of drinks. Also, get ready for some celebrity sightings given Carone’s extensive rolodex (he worked for the likes of hoteliers André Balazs and Sean MacPherson).
The food: Seafood-centric dishes and housemade pasta spotlighting the flavors of Venice and the Italian coast. Varieties of cicchetti include breaded beef meatballs with fig jus; funghi fritti with anchovy emulsion; and fried mozzarella with raw tomato sauce. Appetizers include hamachi crudo and the signature roasted oysters in parsley-pesto broth with charred bread. Choose from pasta like the popular ricotta gomiti with Calabrian chili oil; or seafood chitarra with shrimp, mussels, and clams. Entrees include branzino with salsa verde, mint, and basil; lamb chops with pickled mushrooms and onions agrodolce; cuttlefish; and dover sole with matchstick potatoes. Finish your evening with desserts like lemon olive oil cake or strawberries & cream with balsamic vinegar, black bepper, and creme fraiche.
The cost: Cicchetti is $12-15, appetizers and vegetables are $22-32 and $125 for caviar, pasta is $22-38, and entrees are $38-72. Signature and classic cocktails are $18-19, beer is $9-12, and wines by the glass are $16-32.
The gist: Longtime Village Mediterranean favorite Shuka gave birth to a sibling in Chelsea this summer. Brought to you by The Bowery Group (Cookshop, Rosie’s Vic’s) and chef/partner Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shukette’s arrival had been long anticipated and was subsequently delayed due to COVID-19. With a focus on cuisine found in the Levant, Shukette’s energetic yet laid-back vibe makes for a memorable outing. Here, the visuals of each dish pop—the design, interior, and plateware are bright and colorful; and different menu sections even have cheeky titles like “When You Dip, I Dip, We Rip,” (those are for spreads and dip, btw). The Mediterranean food here is too good to enjoy alone, so definitely go with your crew to catch up over lots of sharable items that include house-baked breads, small plates, charcoal grilled protein, and spritz-style signature cocktails from bar director, Tim Harris.
The food: Mediterranean dishes inspired by the Levant with a fun and convivial spirit. Spreads and dips include a labneh with crispy squash blossoms and colorful chive flowers; and the jobneh with Syrian string cheese, nigella seed, and aleppo. House-baked breads include frena, lafa, pita, and gozleme. Small plates include charred romano beans, feta-toush with chickpea crackers; and grape leaves with lamb, saffron, and garlic yogurt. Choose from mains like the Fish In A Cage, a grilled whole porgy with vegetables; crispy squid kebab; grilled tuna; or joojeh chicken with toum and shata. For dessert, end your night with the sole option: The Mic Drop labne soft serve with plums, halva floss, and hazelnut.
The cost: Breads, dips, and spreads are $5-11, small plates are $5-14, mains are $18-28, and the soft serve is $8. Spritz-style cocktails are $14, wines by the glass are $12-18, and beer is $8-10.
The gist: Since closing his iconic Union Square restaurant, Republic, in 2017, restaurateur Jonathan Morr’s newest opening, Mother Duck, marks his latest addition to the local dining scene (on top of running BondST). Located in the former Pizza Beach space, this eatery officially debuted earlier this month and features a menu of noodles, bao, rice bowls, and more that are all priced under $20 each. Even with plenty of nearby dining options to choose from, this spot is worth checking out for a meal or a quick bite before hopping to your next bar, and can accommodate up nearly 130 guests within their dining room, bar, and sidewalk seating.
The food: Asian-inspired noodles, rice bowls, and more with the familiar quality of the now-closed Republic in Union Square. Starters include spicy salmon crispy rice with gochujang and serrano chili; cauliflower tempura with green curry and lemongrass vinaigrette; bao; and the must-try peanut noodles made with bucatini. Noodle dishes include selections both with and without broth like pad thai; veggie wonton noodle soup; charred squid with black rice noodles; and sour coconut black sea bass soup. Rice bowls include mushroom donburi or miso glazed salmon, and dessert is green tea or chocolate frozen yogurt. Pair everything with beer, wine, sake, or punch concoctions available both with or without alcohol.
The cost: Entire food menu is under $20. Signature cocktails and punch are $8.75-12.57, wines and sake by the glass are $10-12, and beer is $8-9.
The gist: This Japanese soba restaurant’s storied history dates back to 1789, and the recently opened Flatiron location marks Sarashina Horii’s first branch outside of Japan. The signature dish here are the white soba noodles made from the core of buckwheat seeds, and is available either hot or cold in a refined dining room with design elements inspired by the shape of soba noodles. Additional menu standouts are the duck dishes, with one offering available in every category of the expansive menu. When it comes to the soba, we recommend going for the sets that can be paired with tempura, uni, clams, pork belly, and more. A special tasting menu is also available for both lunch and dinner.
The food: Soba noodles unlike anything else found in NYC. Starters include sashimi, sushi rolls, braised duck, salads, an egg omelet, and Japanese duck meatballs. Tempura options come in eight varieties like prawns, assorted mushrooms, lobster, and soft-shell crab. Choose from the signature “sarashina” white soba or traditional “mori” soba noodles either cold with a sauce for dipping, or hot in a broth, all available in sets paired with tempura and more. Additional mains include black cod, sukiyaki with trumpet mushrooms, and stone-grilled duck with seasonal vegetables. For beverages, choose from sake, Japanese whiskey, shochu, wine, or signature cocktails.
The cost: Raw bar, cold & hot appetizers, sushi rolls, and salads are $6-37. Tempura is $17-38, soba is $16-39, additional mains are $29-42, and desserts are $9. The tasting menu is $48 during lunch and $98 during dinner. Signature cocktails are $16-18, sake and wines by the glass are $12-36, and beer is $8-15.
The gist: The latest addition to restaurateur Gabe Stulman’s esteemed portfolio of NYC restaurants is Jolene in NoHo. Located on Great Jones Street (in the former space of his previous eatery, The Jones, in addition to the iconic Great Jones Cafe), this spot’s name is similar to Stulman’s other restaurants inspired by matriarchs (Perla, Fedora) and pays homage to awesome human being, artist, and philanthropist: Dolly Parton. Here, partner and executive chef James McDuffee serves a menu of American bistro dishes with influences of Parisian cafes. Like other Stulman restaurants, expect a fashionable crowd of fellow diners and take in the beautiful views of its Downtown Manhattan street.
The food: American bistro dishes with the charm of Parisian cafes. Snacks include creamy arancini with taleggio and calabrian chili; and salmon rillette with trout roe and Ritz crackers. Vegetables and appetizers include roasted sweet peppers with sheep’s milk ricotta; lamb tartare with preserved egg yolk, capers, and warm toast; and littleneck clam toast with a watercress and garlic sauce. Entrees include branzino with zucchini marinated capers and anchovies; chicken milanese with artichokes and lemon aioli; and the signature cheeseburger with pickled fresnos, crispy shallots, and tomato jam. Pair everything with natural wine, beer, and cocktails like the Dirty Jolene, a play off a dirty martini.
The cost: Snacks are $6-16, vegetables and appetizers are $14-19, and entrees are $20-17. Cocktails are $13-17, wines by the glass are $13-18, and beer is $6-8.
Sami & Susu
The gist: As former colleagues at the award-winning restaurant, Maison Premiere—Amir Nathan (Via Carota) and executive chef Jordan Anderson (Olmsted)—pull inspiration from each of their own family recipes at this casual Mediterranean eatery. After originally launching as a pop-up last summer, Sami & Susu’s Lower East Side brick and mortar restaurant officially debuts this week with a morning cafe featuring breakfast items beginning at 8 am, and an all day menu from noon until closing at 7 pm. Expect natural wines and beer to be added soon, and while there, stock up on domestic and international pantry staples before grabbing some prepackaged items and baked goods for later.
The food: Casual Mediterranean fare inspired by both Israel and American Jewish cuisine. Breakfast items include the BEC Bureka with bacon, egg, and cheese; and a mini Tunisian baguette with tuna, harissa, soft egg, arugula, and preserved lemon. Order all day dishes like pita sandwiches in three varieties (cauliflower, chicken, and shrimp); a beef tongue baguette; summer corn tabbouleh with herbs, crushed almonds, and red onion; lamb stuffed cabbage with pistachio and eggplant caponata; Turkish rice pilaf with chopped tomato, caramelized onion, and nuts; and zhug chicken with chopped salad. Housemade spreads include matbucha and baba ghanoush, and choose from pantry meats like lamb tongue and duck prosciutto.
The cost: Breakfast items are $4-6, spreads are $7-8, sandwiches and salads are $10-17, and plates are $11-25.
The gist: This fast-casual eatery on St. Marks opened in May and specializes in a local Southern-California style burrito with a signature element: they’re stuffed with French fries (a San Diego specialty). Electric Burrito was born out of the pandemic when Alex Thaboua and Will Wyatt of nearby cocktail spot, Mister Paradise, originally started selling the items from their bar during COVID-19. At this brick and mortar now dedicated to the popular fare, go for a California burrito with carne asada, carnitas, or pollo asado, or choose from a selection of breakfast or specialty burritos in addition to tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and burrito bowls. With a limited number of counter stools and seats on the sidewalk, the spot has also become a destination for homesick San Diegans.
The food: Southern-California style burritos stuffed with french fries. Choose from California burritos (fried, cheese, pico de gallo) or conga burritos (beans, rice, crema) with carne asada, carnitas, or pollo asado as the base. A selection of breakfast burritos include egg n’ cheese, veggie, or chorizo; and specialty burritos include shrimp, portobello, and bean n’ cheese. Additional items include tacos, nachos, and carne asada fries. For beverages, inquire about a housemade salsa soda that has limited availability.
The cost: Burritos range from $9-16, tacos are $4-5, and additional items are $11-14.
The gist: Opened last summer, the Victorian vibes of Irving Place in Gramercy Park have an exciting dining destination from the team behind Korean gastropub Osamil. Highlighting new American cuisine with accents of Korean flavors, Café Salmagundi is a self-proclaimed love letter to its historic neighborhood—and especially for anyone who endured the pandemic while in town—and features seasonal ingredients from the nearby Union Square Farmers Market. Here, enjoy quality food along with a cocktail program designed by Gelo Honrade (Osamil, Jeepney) inside the dining room or at one of the covetable sidewalk tables that’s ideal for people-watching to anyone again braving the dating game.
The food: New American with accents of Korean flavors. Expect starters like crispy squid with spicy pickle aioli; signature double-fried wings; ocean trout tartare with lime ginger dressing; and gambas with piquillo pepper, bamboo shoots, and bird’s eye chili. Oh, and don’t sleep on the hand-cut Korean sweet potato fries with jalapeno mayo dip. Large plates and mains include whole squid with pickled jalapeno; burrata with heirloom tomatoes and crispy jamon serrano; and shared dishes like braised short rib; seared bronzini; and pork belly with burnt sunchoke purée, a fig glaze, crackling pork skin. Signature cocktails include The Irving with Scotch, Punt e Mes, and local honey; in addition to favorites like a penicillin, mezcal negroni, and Pimm’s Cup.
The cost: Small dishes and appetizers are $7-28, and shared dishes are $24-34. Cocktails are $17, draft beers are $9, and wines by the glass are $13-16.
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 bases the menu off childhood Venezulean dishes he loved and appoints 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, and the restaurant remains a neighborhood stalwart.
The food: Upscale Venezuelan American cuisine made with a mother’s love. Offerings include varieties of arepitas like chicken salad and queso blanco; shredded beef & cheddar; and curry mayo and tomato black beans. Table snacks and appetizers include bollitos pelones with ground beef & spicy tomato sauce; hallaca; and ceviche with grapefruit, orange, papaya, ginger, and pickled red onion. Entrees include scallops with corn dumplings; pabellon with sofrito, and refried rice & beans; and asado negro with burnt papelón sauce, yucca, pickled papaya, and peanuts praline. A creative cocktail menu provides plenty of pairing options with signature drinks like the Tio Simon (white rum, clove, pineapple, cucumber) and Purple Banana (tequila, blue pea tea, banana)
The cost: Snacks and appetizers are $10-$18, and entrees are $25-$38. Signature cocktails are $14-$16.
The gist: This Upper West Side eatery from owner and chef Jun Park (also of Jun-Men Ramen) doesn’t just limit itself as a Korean fried chicken restaurant, but instead, considers itself as a fried chicken destination in general. At Chick Chick, Korean-inspired items cooked with a batter of 15 spices are crunchy and juicy sans an overtly greasy flavor, and additional menu options include classic American-style dishes along with choices like chicken ramen (are you also seeing the theme here?). If you’re too hungry to share your food, grab one of their counter stools that offer a primetime view of their open kitchen.
The food: Korean fried chicken and more. Korean fried chicken is available in half/whole chicken, wings, and tenders with the option for sauces like Korean sweet gochujang and hot honey. Sandwiches selections include a Nashville hot chicken option; a chicken & French toast item with apple chips and maple bourbon; and the signature Chickwich with Chick Chick sauce. Add on homemade biscuits, truffle fries, salads, ramen, and kimchi fried rice or opt for fried chicken sets that go as big as 50 wings with 3 sides. Currently, the menu only offers soda as beverage options, but expect beer to be available in the near future.
The cost: Korean fried chicken is $8-28, sandwiches are $12-15, sides are $3-9, ramen is $18-22, salads & fried rice are $15-18, and sets run $60-85. Sodas are $3.
The gist: The menu at restaurateur Simon Oren’s (Nice Matin, Bouillon Marseille, 5 Napkin Burger) latest spot, Dagon, is helmed by executive chef Ari Bokovza (Claudette). Here, Nokovza takes inspiration from his Israeli roots for Mediterranean offerings served inside a dining room with beautiful interiors and ‘70s vintage wallpaper that transports guests to a relaxing seaside home. The extensive wine list includes over 100 varieties from the Mediterranean and the cocktails menu offers spritzes options that are perfect for the summer weather.
The food: Mediterranean-inspired offerings including the flavors of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Turkey. Signature mezze includes whipped eggplant, labneh, chicken liver mousse, and Moroccan carrots. Small plates include shish barak (dumplings) with warm yogurt, pine nuts, and spicy herb sauce; and flash fried cauliflower with shishito peppers, olives, and lemon-feta aioli. Entrees include crispy roasted lamb with cucumbers, dates, walnuts, and wild rice; whole charcoal grilled branzino; harissa BBQ chicken; and dry aged beef kebabs. Desserts include silan; lemon tart; labneh cheesecake; and the Malabi Panna Cotta with rose water, strawberry compote, kadaif cookie, and pistachio ice cream.
The cost: Mezze is $10 each or 3 for $25/6 for $36, small plates are $16-25, breads and salads are $4-18, entrees are $29-41, and desserts are $14. Wines by the glass are $13-19, beer is $9-16, cocktails are $15-17, and limonadas are $8.
The gist: By highlighting dishes from underrepresented regions of India, Dhamaka aims to transform the experience that many New Yorkers have when it comes to eating Indian cuisine. Located just off the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge, this restaurant from chef/partner Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, the duo behind lauded spots Rahi and Adda Indian Canteen, offers vibrancy in all that they do. From the menu and hand-painted murals inside the dining room, to the dish presentations and colorful cocktails, the restaurant name’s Hindi translation of “explosion” says it all.
The food: Indian cuisine with dishes unlike anywhere else in NYC. Through traditional cooking methods like pressure cookers, clay pots, open fire cooking, and grills, expect snacks like ragda pattice with potato patty, white pea, and green chili; and gurda kapoora with goat kidney & testicles, red onion, and pao. Grilled items include goat belly seekh with cilantro, coriander, and garam masala. And for mains, choose from macher jhol made with baby shark, turmeric, and tomatoes; along with the Rajasthani Khargosh, a whole rabbit special that must be ordered 48 hours in advance.
The cost: Snacks are $9-14, grilled items are $9-16, pulao & biryani are $29-39, mains are $27-32 (and $190 for the rabbit special), and breads/rice/sides are $3-9. Cocktails are $16-18, and beer is $9-12.
The gist: Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito fell in love in the 2010s while working together at restaurants like Park Avenue Summer and Quality Italian in Midtown. Their union eventually led to marriage and working together on projects as a chef-duo at endeavors that include a pasta omakase pop-up and even a speakeasy concept called dinner table, before they returned to the Quality Branded family to open and helm this smash-hit homage to Italian American fare that originally debuted in 2017. Believe it or not, it’s still a notoriously tough table to snag even four years later, and held strong even throughout the industry’s roughest days of the pandemic. As the West Village eatery continues to win industry accolades, it’s made the clamor for reservations even trickier.
The food: You’ve likely seen their viral lasagna rolls dish all over your IG feed—and handmade pasta is definitely what Don Angie does best. But you won’t want to miss creative starters like the stuffed garlic flatbread; chrysanthemum salad; and BBQ calamari with pepperoni fried rice and herbed labneh. And you’ll want to double down on orders of their stracchino gnocchi with zucchini flowers; garnarnelli giganti; and sourdough pasta cacciatore with mezcal-braised chicken and nduja. For mains, scope the veal “da Pepi” and chicken scarpariello in addition to the famed lasagna for two.
The cost: Starters and appetizers are $14-20, pasta is $27-29, mains are $29-110, and desserts are $8-12. Wines by the glass are $14-33, cocktails are $12-17, American maros are $9, and sweet wines are $15-35.
Dante 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), Dante West Village differs from its predecessor in its nod to coastal traditions of Southern Italy and Northern Spain. Expertly concocted aperitivos and martinis served in elegant glassware are listed on the menu in categories such as martini hour, spritz selections, and a recently debuted Cosmopolitan Collection featuring eight selections like a coconut cosmo or Cosmotini. Pair everything with a seafood-focused straight from a wood-fired grill and charcoal oven, and check out their newly launched breakfast service beginning at 10 am daily.
The food: Mediterranean-inspired dishes with a focus on seafood invoking Northern Spain and Southern Italy. Offerings include small dishes like calamari with spicy marinara; carciofi with lemon zest and chives; scallop crudo; and heirloom tomato & seasonal peach salad. Mains include roasted branzino with salmoriglio sauce and sauteed zucchini; a signature beef burger with smoked bacon, gruyere, and beets on a housemade brioche bun; fire roasted organic chicken; and black angus sirloin with horseradish cream. For dessert, choose from tiramisu, coconut chiffon cake, or keep the party going with the signature boozy affogato.
The cost: Small plates are $10-36, salads and raw dishes are $18-24, mains are $18-60, sides are $12-14, and desserts are $12-16. Cocktails are $16-18.
Gage & Tollner
The gist: After a 13-month delay due to COVID-19, Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn made its highly anticipated debut this April. The legendary oyster and chop house’s origins date back to 1879, and its revival is brought to you by veteran restaurateurs Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider (the wife-and-husband duo behind The Good Fork and Insa), and St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance). Inside a space that stuns with its Gilded Age glory, use an evening here as a reason to get dressed up for a night out and prepare for some prime people-watching of your fellow diners within the intimate dining room—all the while enjoying a menu of seafood platters, steaks, and much more.
The food: Classic steakhouse fare with modern touches and an old-school opulence (and a stellar martini menu) to match. Think raw oysters, chilled Maine lobster, and towering seafood platters as starters, followed by oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, chicken liver pate, pillowy house rolls, and a wedge salad. Mains include seafood like roasted skate and hearty options such as pork pot pie, fried chicken, and roasted chicken breast. Steaks and chop include t-bone sirloin, bone-in ribeye, NY strip, or twice-cooked cauliflower for plant-forward eaters. Add on sides like creamed spinach, cornmeal fritters, and the butter roasted hash brown before finishing it off with desserts like coconut cake; malted milk and dark chocolate torte; or the baked alaska.
The cost: Raw bar and appetizers are $8-$85 (and $255 for the seafood royale), sides are $7-14, entrees are $27-36, steaks are $52-MP, and desserts are $5-24. A dedicated martini selection comes in at $16 each; and stirred cocktails, smashes, sours, cobblers, and long drinks are $15. Beer is $5-8, and wines by the glass are $13-30.
The gist: At this spot from chef Sam Yoo (Torrisi Italian Specialties, Momofuku Ko), 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. Yoo’s talents made the spot a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2020 for Best New Restaurant, and in addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, check their IG on the regular for special collabs with different eateries and industry talent. Also, the restaurant recently suffered a setback due to a fire in its kitchen and was forced to temporarily close. While Golden Diner is set to reopen this weekend, you can show even more support by making a donation to their Fire Fundraiser.
The food: An “Asian Diner” rooted in NYC classics with influences from its Chinatown neighborhood. Offerings include breakfast items like the popular honey butter pancakes; Chinatown egg and cheese sando with soft scrambled eggs; Thai tea tres leches coffee cake; Matzo ball soup; and kale and Parmesan biscuits with chicken sausage gravy. Mains for lunch and dinner include a vegan caesar salad; Korean fried chicken wings; a chicken katsu club with 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 $7-17. Coffee, freshly squeezed juices, and soft drinks go up to $6; cocktails are $12-13, beer is $5-9, and Korean spirits and wines by the glass are $12-40.
The gist: Well-executed Japanese-Italian mashup dishes are the focus at Kimika, a Nolita restaurant led by executive chef Christine Lau. Bringing over 15 years of industry experience and opened by Rivers and Hills Hospitality Group—the team behind places such as homestyle Thai spot, Wayla—the dishes here successfully captivate with a delicious approach to an oft-attempted (and oft-failed) cuisine hybrid. When enjoying your meal, don’t be surprised if one of their signature dishes, the crispy rice cake lasagna, looks familiar, as it’s been an IG hit since the spot opened last summer.
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 summer squash, burrata, or mortadella. Small plates include the signature tuna tartare with spicy mayo; various pasta and rice dishes like shrimp & prosciutto tortellini in brodo; sticky rice risotto with fiddlehead ferns and truffle summer veggie fricassee; soy butter bigoli; and crispy rice cake lasagne. Choose from large plates like eggplant katsu; porchetta with miso mustard; and ribeye with sesame ponzu and wasabi chutney. Signature cocktails include a chamomile negroni (gin, chamomile, shiso) and the Eastside Haiku (vodka, italicus bergamotto, butterfly pea flower).
The cost: Snacks, small plates, and sides are $5-29, pizzette fritte and pastas/rice are $21-27, and mains are $24-52. Cocktails, beer, and wines by the glass are $8-16.
The gist: Translating into “skewers” in Korean, this restaurant’s seven-course tasting menu of mostly food on sticks seems apropos for our current times. But don’t let the sticks fool you, though, because the wonderful bites at the end of each are inspired by a gastronomical approach to traditional Korean food in addition to the historic royal cuisine of Korea. This unique dining experience from chef Sungchul Shim (Neta, Le Benardin, Per Se) and co-chef Byeongseok Lee’s (Neta, Commerce) also includes courses requiring utensils, in addition to offering optional add-ons like dumplings stuffed with short rib, duck breast, and foie gras.
The food: Seven-course tasting menu (in addition to a 10-course chef tasting menu) on skewers inspired by a gastronomical approach to Korean food. Expect chilled pine nut summer squash soup; mul hwe with yellowtail and strawberry cho jang; crispy shrimp with charred eggplant sauce and sweet and sour gochujang; doenjang marinated char grilled halibut; slow cooked pork belly with ramp chimichurri; steak tartare bibimbap with seaweed soy rice; and a black sesame seed ice cream sandwich for dessert. Opt for an alcohol pairing of Korean booze, or order drinks a la carte with signature cocktails, wines by the glass, beer, and Korean liquors.
The cost: Tasting menu is $85 with an additional charge of $75 for alcohol pairing (the special 10-course chef’s tasting is $125). Signature cocktails are $15-$16, wines by the glass are $12-18, beer is $6-$9, and Korean liquors by the glass are $12-$15.
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. Since opening last summer, the spot’s bright energy and vibrant menu items have made it a popular addition to its 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) place of celebration for New Yorkers.
The food: “A tasting tour across the Caribbean” with Latin, French, Asian, and African influences. Starters include seafood fritters; crispy fish tacos; and gochujang wings with a sweet heat glaze. Choose from signature wood-fired flatbreads in four varieties along with mains like slow braised oxtail; chicken & waffles with house made syrup and coconut whipped cream; Koko’s Island Pasta with island cream sauce; jerk chicken; a signature burger with guava BBQ and cilantro sauce; and seafood dishes like salmon filet or snapper. Dedicated vegan selections include jackfruit tacos; lentil meatballs in coconut curry; and a spicy portobello burger. 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, flatbreads and main courses are $17-32, vegan dishes are $12-25, sides are $8, and desserts are $12-14. Cocktails and wines by the glass range from $14-16.
The gist: After hibernating in the winter and reopening this spring, this highly acclaimed Williamsburg restaurant (from the same team behind nearby Chez Ma Tante) is back to hold its place as one of NYC’s best brasseries. At Le Crocodile, chefs Jake Leiber and Aidan O’Neal serve French fare inspired by their favorite haunts in both Paris and NYC, and offer a dining experience that distinguishes it as one of the area’s must-try culinary destinations that feels grown up, fancy, and sophisticated in a neighborhood crowded with basic food spots. The duo also just recently debuted Bar Blondeau, a French-style bar located just a few floors up within the Wythe Hotel.
The food: French brasserie with an expansive menu of classics and more. Seafood starters include oysters; jonah crab with avocado and yuzu kosho; and scallops with ginger, parsley, and Meyer lemon. Hors d’oeuvres include Parisian sausage and a plethora of pâtés like mushroom, chicken liver, and country with foie gras and pistachio. Entrees include venison tartare; onion soup with gruyère and lardon; orzo cacio e pepe with Pecorino Romano; and escargot with parsley, pernod, and fennel. Mains include summer vegetable tagine with artichokes; halibut; an omelette du fromage with lettuces and frites; skate; duck breast with beets and endive; and the signature roast chicken with herb jus and frites. An array of desserts include sticky banana date pudding, apple tarte tatin, creme brulee, and profiteroles.
The cost: Seafood starters and hors d’oeuvres are $9-25, entrees and mains are $15-38, and desserts are $7-15. Cocktails are $16, and wines by the glass and beer run from $7-$21.
Leland Eating And Drinking House
The gist: Walk one block over from the busy-ness of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights and you’ll find the oasis that is Leland Eating & Drinking House. As industry veteran Randi Lee’s (Del Posto, Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk) first independent project that opened last December, the spot that was formerly known as the Dean Street Tavern space has been transformed into a new neighborhood favorite with plenty of natural light and a modern aesthetic. In addition to the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, the eatery’s takeaway options include goods from a “boutique bakery” and booze from its wine and liquor shop.
The food: Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by chef Delfin Jaranilla (Fedora, Quality Eats) featuring nose-to-tail butchery and seasonal ingredients from local farms. Starters include chicken jook porridge with rice, egg, ginger, and scallions; trout rillette with with fennel, mustard seeds, and potato chips; radishes with ramp butter and sea salt; smoked pollock fritters with potato and horseradish tzatziki; and charred lemon-skillet mussels with toast. Mains include a whole fried fish with fennel salad; roasted chicken with a salt-citrus brine; and a rendition of pork & beans comprised of a grilled pork chop and gigante beans. Baked goods from head baker Angela Reid include focaccia and sourdough loaves along with sourdough cinnamon buns, cheddar jalapeno biscuits, and zucchini bread available during brunch.
The cost: Baked goods and snacks are $5-9, starters are $11-18, and mains are $26-34. A selection of six signature cocktails are $10-11, beer is $5-9, and wines by the glass are $11-14.
The gist: As a hybrid between a casual all-day cafe and bakery/pizzeria in Williamsburg, this self-proclaimed “laid back bistro” is from the same team behind Bushwick’s popular pizza spot, Ops. At Leo, 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. For the summer, stay extra cool with a rotating selection of soft serve (previous flavors include melon sorbet, grapefruit brulee, and an update to a PB&J with concord grape and caramel).
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. Plates include house-made sourdough with Normandy butter; pork and beef meatballs; and an Italian combo sandwich with mortadella, finocchiona, cheddar, and salsa verde on focaccia.
The cost: Pies are $16-28, slices are $3-$5, sandwiches are $10-12, plates are $6-16, and dessert options like tiramisu and soft serve are $8-10. Signature cocktails and wines by the glass are $14-15, and beer is $5-8.
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. With the flower shop, Kinka, also located inside the front space, here, 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 toro uni caviar; seared scallop with scallion; red snapper with plum sauce; yellowtail with jalapeno miso; snow crab with ikura; and more. The kitchen menu also (non-sushi) includes items like shishito peppers with garlic chili sauce; agedashi tofu; shrimp balls with crispy roe; and fried Chilean sea bass with ginger tartare sauce. The restaurant exclusively uses nori from the island of Kyushu in Japan, and additional specials like a Hokkaido uni cup with caviar can 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 are $6-20, sets and combos are $32-50, kitchen dishes are $10-24, and desserts are $18. Wines by the glass are $15-30, sake by the glass or bottle is $12-400, and beer is $10-16.
Mark's Off Madison
The gist: Variety is key at Mark’s Off Madison, and the restaurant has plenty to offer when it comes to dishes considered to be local NYC favorites. Here, Queens-born cookbook author and chef Mark Strausman takes 30 years of experience from places like 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 spot and New York-style bagel bakery located off Madison Square Park. Whether opting for a warm homemade soft pretzel or a rib eye steak, expect a level of expertise that any New Yorker would approve of.
The food: Quintessential NYC dishes of Italian, Jewish, and European roots made with sophistication. Offerings include artisanal breads, pizza, soup, salad, seafood, meats, desserts, and bagels that are available through the Bagel Take Out Counter. Expect sauteed chicken liver with port wine sauce served over sourdough crostini; Mark’s house salad with soft lettuces and bistro dressing; linguine alla vongole; and rib eye steak with sage and mashed potatoes. Signature items include Estelle’s Chicken Soup and the Belgian fries. Hand-rolled bagels, cream cheeses, smoked fishes, pastries, bialys, black and white cookies, and more are also available. Cocktails include customized classics like Mark’s Manhattan and the Santa Monica Citrus Martini.
The cost: Appetizers are $9-24, sides are $9-14, pasta is $25-38, pizza is $24-26, seafood is $32-38, and meats are $24-45. Bagels with toppings and baked goods range from $4-15. Cocktails are $16-18.
The gist: This casual spot currently serving Singaporean dishes was born out of a successful 2019 run as a vendor at the Queens Night Market. A signature laksa dish by founder and Singapore native, Amy Pryke, helped make Native Noodles a hit, and her plans to open a Washington Heights storefront in 2020 were delayed to February of this year because of the pandemic. Operating in partnership with executive chef Joseph Medina (co-owner of Hawaiian restaurant, Makana), the uptown eatery initially launched through counter service, takeout, and delivery only, but now also offers indoor seating for 12 and an outdoor table for four. And for any devotees living in Long Island City and Sunnyside, a new Queens ghost kitchen offering takeout/delivery is set to launch by late September.
The food: Singaporean street food that’s become a NYC mainstay. Expect the traditional influences of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and other ethnic flavors showcased through dishes like the signature laksa with a slow-cooked coconut shrimp-based curry and thick rice noodles; wok-fried thin rice noodles with mixed vegetables and shredded egg; and the Roti John Sandwich Omelette, (an item not easily found in NYC) with ground beef, caramelized onions, and spicy ketchup on a toasted hero. Be sure to add on an order of pork & shrimp wontons and the chili crab pasta with egg drop sauce, linguine, and spring onions—in addition to new summer items like shrimp cold noodles or soy ginger cold noodles along with mango pudding for dessert. Beverages include tea, soda, and an iced Milo malted chocolate drink.
The cost: Snacks go up to $8, mains are $9-14, desserts are $5-6, and beverages are $2-4.
The gist: Authentic and traditional Persian food takes center stage at Sofreh, a warm and inviting restaurant 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. Here, showcased through gorgeous dishes are all of the wonderfully colorful and fragrant details featured in Iranian cuisine (rice based offerings, herbs, sweet and sour flavors, and tender meats).
The food: Warm and inviting Persian food showcasing the vibrancy of Iranian cuisine. Rice offerings include a take on classic tahdig (saffron rice with a crispy bottom); with orange zest & carrot rice; and herb rice with dill, leek, and fenugreek. Choose from starters like eggplant and whey dip; feta & herbs flatbread; and beef served in a tomato saffron broth. Entrees include chicken with Persian plum and barberries; the signature raised lamb shank with butter beans and dried lime broth; pomegranate beef ribeye kebabs with roasted campari tomatoes and grilled onions; and smoked eggplant with slow roasted tomato garlic sauce. Finish everything off with desserts like saffron rice pudding, carrot halva, Persian rosewater sorbet, and more. Signature cocktails include the Tehran Dirty (vodka, pickled almond brine) and Taste of Cherry (gin, sweet vermouth, sour cherry syrup).
The cost: Appetizers, salads, and rice options are $9-$16, and entrees are $24-$42. Cocktails are $15, wines by the glass are $9-$16, and traditional Persian coolers are $7.
The gist: For anyone still bummed out about the closure of Uncle Boons 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 dynamic environment to match with plants, lacquered wood, and pops of color and excitement comforting from all sides. In thanks to its fun—and very approachable—vibes, this restaurant continues to be one of Downtown Manhattan’s most popular eateries, and was even name-dropped in a recent episode of the Gossip Girl reboot.
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, Sai Oua sausage, and Thai basil; and Thai tea babka French toast with salty condensed milk syrup. House specialties include the stuffed cabbage tom kha; laab with options for mushroom, fried chicken, or lamb; and a signature dish from Uncle Boons: khao pat puu of traditional crab fried rice with egg, cilantro, and lime. Additional items include wok-fired dishes; soups & salads; Thai disco fries smothered in massaman curry; a classic burger with an option to add American cheese; and yum kai hwa pli with spicy rotisserie chicken and banana blossom. The desserts here are a must-try and include the Uncle Boons Coconut Sundae, banana rum pudding, mango & sticky rice, and more.
The cost: Breakfast, snacks, salads & soups, and sandwiches are $9-17; house specialties and mains are $18-28; and desserts are $9. Signature cocktails are $14 and also available in $54 pitchers, with wines by the glass and beer $9-14.
The gist: The Tyger is a Southeast Asian-inspired spot and the sophomore restaurant from owners Eddy Buckinham and Jeff Lam of Chinese Tuxedo and the cocktail bar, Peachy’s. Here, Buckingham and Lam once again replicate the distinct downtown stylish experience their projects are known for with a striking 3,000-square-foot dining room lined with yellow banquettes. This scene-y spot’s menu helmed by executive chef Paul Donnelly includes influences from his 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. Categorized into sections like raw items, small plates, vegetables, rice & noodles, and seafood & meats, menu highlights include a take on the traditional Vietnamese dish banh xeo as a crispy turmeric and coconut crepe; steak tartare with lemongrass and crab cracker; Phnom Penh fried chicken with lime and white pepper dressing; a take on nasi goreng as crispy squid ink fried rice; and slow-cooked beef short rib in red curry. For groups of 8 or more, a feast menu for $75 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: Raw items are $12-22, small plates are $11-$18, vegetables are $14-21, rice and noodles are $18-27, and seafood & meats are $29-$59. Signature cocktails are $17, wines by the glass are $14-$22, with beer ranging from $8-$12.
The gist: Xilonen in Greenpoint is the latest project from the founders behind lauded Oxomoco, with chef/owner Justin Bazdarich and co-owner Chris Walton teaming up once again. Located at a bustling intersection at the northwest corner of McCarren Park, the restaurant’s plant-based offerings from chef de cuisine Yara Herrera focus on regional Mexican fare while centered on sustainability. Named after the Aztec Goddess of Young Corn, from the decor to its dishes, this is a stylish (and unfussy) destination for both plant-forward eaters and meat-eaters to enjoy. The food is separated into two menus: Dia in the day and Noche at night, and a cocktail program headed by Linds Moore (Hunky Dory, Studio at the Freehand Hotel) recently launched with a particular focus on mezcal, agave spirits, and additional Mexican distillates.
The food: Plant-based regional Mexican fare from award winning founders. Offerings in its succinct menu include a masa pancake with deep mountain maple syrup and salted butter; scrambled egg tostada with salsa macha and queso chihuahua; the signature green chorizo taco with smoked pecans, roasted mushrooms, and salsa verde; and newer additions like a farmers market salad or the chocolate tamal with cherries, espresso cajeta, and La Rifa cacao. Signature cocktails include the See No Evil (Charanda, watermelon, bitter orange), Double Life (jalapeño infused tequila blanco, pineapple, green chile), or Gato Rosado (mezcal espadin, hibiscus, canela, pimento).
The cost: All food items are $6-13, coffee drinks and oaxacan hot chocolate are $3-5, aguas frescas are $4, and beverages are $3-5. Cocktail prices vary.