Everywhere You Need to Eat in NYC Right Now
The city’s best new restaurants including an exciting class of early 2022 openings.
When spring hits, New Yorkers are all about two things: shedding layers to finally reveal some skin again, and blowing our tax refund on the best and most legit new restaurants in town. And with the end of mandates like mask requirements and proof of vaccination to enter (fyi, rules and regulations differ by each establishment so be sure to double check), there’s no better time to hold off on adulting on our finances and treat ourselves to great food instead.
In addition to our 50 essential Brooklyn restaurants, Italian restaurants, and the best food in Queens; and celebrated favorites like Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, and Momofuku Ssam Bar, exciting new eateries continue to help maintain NYC’s standing as one of the best dining destinations out there. From Midtown to Williamsburg, no matter your price point or preferred ambiance, there’s an option for everyone on this list. Here are the 30 best new restaurants to eat at in NYC right now.
In a city where alleyway restaurants are scarce, beholding Mena’s picturesque Cortlandt Alley location when approaching is the first indicator of good things to come. As the long-awaited solo endeavor of the acclaimed chef Victoria Blamey (Gotham Bar & Grill, Chumleys, Blue Hill at Stone Barns), this new Tribeca eatery opened in January and offers a four-course prix fixe filled with creative and stellar dishes in a 50-seat dining room with wall-to-wall windows. The food here is inspired both by Blamey’s Chilean roots and years spent cooking in kitchens in Spain, Australia, and NYC. Expect offerings like the Japanese Sardine with potato mayonnaise, piquillo pepper; Spanish Lentils with donko shiitake and vadouvan; and Cholgas Secas of charred cabbage. Helmed by Gustavo Zamora (ATLA), the beverage program includes organic/biodynamic wines, South American spirits, and cocktails highlighting seasonal fruits.
Dept Of Culture
This new spot from chef and owner Ayo Balogun transports diners to an intimate dinner party inside a home in Nigeria during the ‘70s/’80s. At Dept of Culture, the cozy space can accommodate up to 16 guests via a large communal table and counter seats while surrounded by Balogun’s family photos and records from legendary Nigerian artists like Ebenezer Obey play in the background. Diners are then guided through a four-course prix fixe of Balogun’s cooking along with heartfelt stories about his family and time growing up in North Central Nigeria. While the BYOB menu’s offerings rotate every two weeks, previous dishes include the sweat-inducing Eja tutu ati oshuka cilantro (red snapper pepper soup); Wara ati obe (cheese cooked in stew); Iyan ati egusi pelu eja alaran ati efo (pounded yam, fermented melon seeds, smoked fish); and Dodo ati ice cream (with caramelized plantain). Reservations are required and can be made via its website.
This lavish Indian restaurant from entrepreneur Maneesh K. Goyal, industry veteran David Rabin (American Bar, Café Clover), and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas opened last spring, and offers diners a white tablecloth type of experience in a spacious flatiron dining room inspired by 1980s Mumbai. At Sona, the menu from executive chef Hari Nayak features contemporary renditions of dishes from Goyal and Chopra Jonas’ respective upbringings, and all arrive beautifully plated with vivid colors. The menu in its entirety is filled with stellar options, including the Gunpowder Gobhi of crispy cauliflower; Crab Puri & Caviar; Ghee Roast Chicken Wings; and India House’s Butter Chicken. Cocktails include signature drinks like the Spicy Chili Margarita and a dedicated section of gin-based concoctions, and brunch is available on the weekends.
In addition to operating his namesake Tribeca restaurant, Restaurant Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione debuted as the new chef and owner of Peasant—a wood-fired Italian spot and popular neighborhood gem on Elizabeth Street known for its rustic food and charm—right before the start of COVID-19. After initially operating as a pizza pop-up early on in the pandemic, the restaurant is currently back in all its full glory. With dishes like Bucatini Carbonara served tableside, Rotisserie Lamb Ragu, and a Family Style Pig Roast, Forgione has ushered in an exciting new chapter for this romantic and homey Nolita restaurant that’s been open since 1999. Another recent addition of his is Peasant Wine Bar, a candle-lit space accessed through a hefty barn door from the sidewalk in what was previously their wine cellar now serving lesser-known Italian grape varietals along with hearth-cooked dishes.
Following the success of Dhamaka (also on this list), the all-star duo of chef/partner Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar continue their mission of highlighting Indian cuisine from underrepresented regions of the country with Semma, a new spot dedicated to the flavors of Southern India. Inside a vibrant space with design elements honoring the Deccan peninsula, executive chef Vijay Kumar takes inspiration from his upbringing in the state of Tamil Nadu and offers signature items like the Nathai Pirattal, a snail dish with tamarind and kai dosa. Additional standouts include the tender Kudal Varuval made with goat intestines; Goanese Oxtail; and Kanyakumari Nandu Masala for two with dungeness crab, parotta, coconut rice. Drinks include custom cocktails like the Thalaivaa (bourbon, spiced jaggery syrup, coconut ice), beer, and non-alcoholic refreshers.
This Cantonese-American restaurant in Williamsburg opened late last fall with some media fanfare and thankfully, lives up to the hype. Named after his mother, at Bonnie’s, Brooklyn native chef Calvin Eng (Nom Wah, Win Son) offers his own interpretation of Cantonese cuisine along with recipes inspired from his childhood that make for a unique dining experience that’s become one of the most coveted reservations in town. From updated versions of American classics Hup to Ha of honey walnut shrimp, to the must-try Fuyu Cacio e Pepe Mein or even his own rendition of a McRib, a meal here—served on classic blue and white porcelain plateware—will easily be the highlight of your week. Custom cocktails include the Bonnie’s Negroni (gin, pineapple Campari, baiju) and Yuen Yeung Espresso Martini (orange pekoe tea, coffee infused vodka), and choose from deserts like the Chow Nai Sundae with malted fried milk and ovaltine hot fudge; and a fruit plate.
Located at the new Manhattan West development near Hudson Yards, Zou Zou’s is from the same group behind eateries like Don Angie and Smith & Wollensky. Here, chef Madeline Sperling (Gramercy Tavern, The Nomad) and executive sous chef Juliana Latif serve Eastern Mediterranean cuisine inspired with eye-catching presentation. The gorgeous space designed by AvroKO features a wonderful smoky scent wafting from a sizable wood-fired oven via its open kitchen and offers plenty of elbow room, high ceilings, and roomy banquettes while dining on signature dips; mezze; the Little Gems salad with roasted grapes (which are served delightfully cold); Duck Borek with a l’Orange; and Fire-Roasted Leg of Lamb.
Located at the new Manhattan West development near Hudson Yards, Ci Siamo is the latest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Translating into “we’ve arrived,” executive chef Hillary Sterling’s menu of Italian-inspired dishes uses wood-fired cooking as its foundation for comforting dishes reminiscent of what she’d serve guests at her home. Once you’ve worked your way up the super chic staircase, you’ll find a large dining room near the open kitchen (there’s also a private dining room on the third floor). Here, feast on starters like the Pizza Bianca with anchovy; pasta like the Rigatoni Alla Gricia with guanciale; and hearty mains like Braised Lamb with celery pesto, all within a rustic and massive setting with smoky scents wafting from the hearth. The pastry program is helmed by James Beard-award winning executive pastry director Claudia Fleming.
Located on the second floor of Genesis House, a massive cultural center backed by the luxury Korean automotive company, Onjium is the recently opened NYC outpost of an award-winning Seoul restaurant celebrating royal Korean cuisine. With a focus on the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and housed within an innovative space with its design inspired by a former palace, here, chefs/artisans Cho Eun Hee and Park Sungbae of the original location serve a traditional menu with contemporary interpretations for a fresh dining experience that’s an oasis in its extremely busy neighborhood. Along with signatures like the chilled dish Suranchae with seafood and sweet Korean pear in a pine nut sauce; Seolyamyeokjeok of grilled wagyu sirloin with chestnut; and desserts like the airy Bampyeon made with chestnut cream and custard, be sure to check out the building’s various concepts (futuristic floor-to-ceiling LED-lit stage, car showroom, tea pavilion) along with views of The High Line, Little Island, Hudson River, and more.
Jack & Charlie’s
At Jack & Charlie’s, executive chef/partner, Ed Cotton (No. 9 Park in Boston, Daniel, David Burke Townhouse) brings over two decades of industry experience to his recently opened New American restaurant paying tribute to supper clubs, speakeasies, and icons of NYC’s culinary past. Within the railroad layout that features a teal palette, its walls are adorned with pictures and cozy design details that bring an extra warmth to the place, and the eatery has four different areas: The Bar Room, Turner Room, Astor Room, and Oyster Room. The offerings here include bar bites like Black Truffle Toast; a selection of seafood starters; housemade pastas; entrees like Duck Meatloaf or the weekends-only Slow-Roasted Prime Rib; and desserts like Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with a rum-butterscotch sauce.
Translating to “recipe,” since opening in the summer of 2020, the Thai offerings at Soothr have made it a popular destination for many New Yorkers and food/restaurant industry folks as well. The restaurant’s core concept is centered around family recipes of what locals in Thailand would eat, along with the vibe of street food found in bustling sois (aka alleys) and the energetic area of Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowarat Road. Here, chef Nate Lingwan’s (Fish Cheeks) menu is known for everything from small bites and soups to wok-fired or entrees, but a dedicated menu of signature noodle dishes—that include broth-less dry noodle specialties like the Ba Mii Pu (crab noodles with tom yum flavor)—are some of the most memorable.
As You Are
After opening its doors in Boerum Hill last summer, the Ace Hotel Brooklyn debuted its all-day ground-floor restaurant in the fall. Located at the nexus of several neighborhoods, at As You Are, chef Ryan Jordan (John Dory, The Breslin) uses the locale as inspiration to offer a new American menu saluting the culinary flair of its home borough. Signature dishes include Chicken Liver & Onion on a bay leaf madeleine; Octopus Mezcal Ragu with house-made radiatore; and Confit Lamb Ribs with chili crisp
Pastry chef Daniel Alvarez (Dominique Ansel New York, Daily Provisions) oversees the desserts program at this stylish eatery and also offers his baked goods in the mornings at 7:30 am daily that includes must-trys like a Black & White Donut and Pastel De Nata.
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 last 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, meat, Italian specialties and dishes like Mozzarella Sticks & Caviar and Spicy Lobster Spaghetti. The restaurant also makes for a solid brunch destination on weekends.
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 without an overtly greasy flavor, and additional menu options include classic American-style dishes along with choices like Chicken Ramen (are you seeing the theme?). Fried chicken is available in half/whole, wings, Heavenly Crispy Bites, and tenders with the option for sauces like Korean sweet Gochujang and Soy Garlic. Sandwiches selections include the Nashville Hot Chicken and signature Chickwich. Grab one of their counter stools that offer a primetime view of their open kitchen and tack on Housemade Biscuits, Truffle Parm Fries, salads, and special fried chicken sets that go as big as 50 wings or 25 chicken tenders.
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, Bokovza 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. Signature mezze includes Japanese Eggplant Confit; Labneh; Sasso Chicken Liver Mousse, and Moroccan Carrots. Small plates include the Shishbarak (dumplings) with warm yogurt and Flash-Fried Cauliflower with shishito peppers, and signature entrees include the Crispy Roasted Lamb with wild rice and shawarma spice. The extensive wine list includes over 100 varieties from the Mediterranean and head over to their lunch service for dishes like Schnitzel or the Dagon Burger made with a blend of brisket and short rib.
Dante West Village
With a focus on spritzes, martinis, and food inspired by the coastal traditions of Southern Italy and Northern Spain, Dante West Village is from the same team behind the beloved Greenwich Village negroni spot bar with origins dating back more than a century, Dante, Located further west on Hudson Street, when here, go for a seafood-focused menu straight from a wood-fired grill and charcoal oven with dishes like the Sant' Andrea Calamari, Roasted Cauliflower, Fire-roasted Organic Chicken; Dry-aged Ribeye with black lava salt; and Dante’s Signature Burger. Pair it all with expertly concocted drinks listed in categories such as Martini Hour, Spritz Selections, Dante Signatures like the Fireside Old Fashioned.
From the menu and hand-painted murals inside the dining room, to the dish presentations and colorful cocktails, the name Dhamaka, which translates to “explosion” in Hindi, pretty much sums it up. Located just off the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge and declaring itself as an “unapologetic Indian” spot, here, chef/partner Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar—the all-star duo behind lauded places Adda Indian Canteen, Semma, and the newly-opened Rowdy Rooster—highlight off-the-beaten-path dishes from underrepresented regions across India with the goal of transforming what many New Yorkers have come to define as Indian cuisine. The restaurant has been a much sought-after reservation since opening last year. Signature dishes include fried snacks like Beguni (eggplant, turmeric, kasundi); Gurda Kapoora (goat kidney & testicles, red onion, pao): and Rajasthani Khargosh, a whole rabbit special that must be ordered 48 hours in advance.
This fast-casual eatery on St. Marks opened last 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. With a limited number of counter stools, enjoy menu items like the California Burrito (fries, cheese, pico de gallo); Conga Burrito (beans, rice, crema) with carne asada, carnitas, or pollo asado as the base; breakfast burritos like Egg n’ Cheese, Veggie, or Chorizo; and specialty burritos like Shrimp, Portobello, or the Johnny Utah. Additional dishes include tacos, nachos, and carne asada fries.
Gage & Tollner
After an initial 13-month delay due to COVID-19, Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn made its highly anticipated debut last spring. 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 an intimate 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. And check out the restaurant’s recently opened nautical-themed bar upstairs, Sunken Harbor Club, which contains no windows to the outside world to transport visitors to the ocean floor.
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 concise menu of American bistro dishes with influences of Parisian cafes through dishes like Brandade Croquettes, Roast Chicken with salsa verde, and the signature Cheeseburger with tomato jam. Like other Stulman restaurants, expect a fashionable crowd of fellow diners and take in the beautiful views of its Downtown Manhattan street.
Well-executed Japanese-Italian mashup dishes are the focus at Kimika, a Nolita restaurant led by executive chef Christine Lau. Bringing over 17 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. 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 in the summer of 2020. In addition to popular items like the Tuna Tartare with spicy mayo; Soy Butter Bigoli with Tokyo negi and shallot gremolata; and Sticky Rice Risotto with truffle cream, don’t miss out on must-try desserts from pastry chef Clarice Lam.
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 during the initial summer of the pandemic, the spot’s bright energy and vibrant menu items like wood-fired flatbreads, Koko’s Island Pasta, and Slow-Braised Oxtail 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 must-try place of celebration for New Yorkers. Custom cocktails include the Plantini (rum, plantain puree) and Tropical G&T (gin, pineapple, mint).
Leland Eating And Drinking House
With more than 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, the menu’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine by chef Delfin Jaranilla (Fedora, Quality Eats) features nose-to-tail butchery and seasonal ingredients from local farms. In addition to their newly launched basement bakery with goods from head baker Angela Reid, go for signature dishes like the Chicken Jook Porridge, Charred Lemon-Skillet Mussels, and a rendition of Pork & Beans consisting of a grilled pork chop and gigante beans.
Mark's Off Madison
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 (Freds at Barneys, Campagna) takes 30 years of experience 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, Lasagna Della Nonna, or Grilled NY Strip Steak, expect a level of expertise that any New Yorker would approve of. The menu also includes artisanal breads, pizza, soup, salad, sandwiches, pasta, large entrees, desserts, and bagels that are available through the Bagel Take Out Counter.
Focusing on Singaporean cuisine, Native Noodles was initially born out of a successful 2019 run as a vendor at the Queens Night Market (which is set to return next month). A signature Laksa Noodle dish by founder and Singapore native, Amy Pryke, helped make her brand a hit, and after pandemic-related delays, the Washington Heights brick and mortar debuted last year. Operating in partnership with executive chef Joseph Medina (co-owner of Hawaiian restaurant, Makana), the casual all-day uptown eatery offers seating on a first come, first served basis. Popular menu items include Pork & Shrimp Wontons; Chili Crab Pasta with egg drop sauce; Satay Peanut Noodles; and an item not easily found in NYC, the Roti John Sandwich with egg, ground beef, caramelized onions, and spicy ketchup on a toasted hero. Desserts include kaya butter Toast, Fluffy Pandan Waffles, and Mango Pudding.
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), Robert Goldman, and executive chef Ashley Rath (The Grill, Santina, Dirty French) opened last summer and serves a menu highlighting flavors of Venice and the Italian coast. In addition to signatures like the Roasted Oysters in a parsley-pesto broth and Ricotta pasta with calabrian chili oil, the menu offers plenty of dishes highlighting vegetables, seafood, and more. Start everything off with the dedicated section of Venetian cicchetti as snacks to enjoy with your first round of drinks, and for a nightcap, the restaurant just recently debuted their secret bar accessed behind a velvet curtain near the host stand, Venice Bar.
Sami & Susu
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 early on in the pandemic, Sami & Susu’s Lower East Side cozy brick and mortar cafe and natural wine bar officially debuted last fall. Open daily, lunch runs from 11 am-4 pm and dinner starts at 5:30 pm. Dine on signature items like the BEC Bureka with bacon, egg, and cheese; Chicken Liver Mousse; Beef Tongue Baguette; Fluke Crudo; and Chicken Schnitzel; and be sure to stock up on domestic and international pantry staples before grabbing some prepackaged items and baked goods for later. For beverages, choose from a selection of beer and natural wine.
This Japanese soba restaurant’s storied history dates back to 1789, and the Flatiron location marks Sarashina Horii’s first branch outside of Japan. The signature dish here is the Sarashina 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. In addition to starters like raw bar items, sushi, salads, and cold appetizers, menu items include entrees like the Gindara Saikyo Yaki (black cod) and Beef-Ishiyaki (stone-grilled beef). A special tasting menu is also available for both lunch and dinner.
This all-day restaurant in Greenpoint opened last fall and serves New American fare by executive chef Dennis Hong (Lincoln, Le Bernardin). While Sereneco is located in the historic Pencil Factory building that dates back a century, the space inside is modern, airy, and bright and boasts gorgeous 20-foot ceilings with skylights and a 25-foot white-oak bar (equipped with under-bar outlets to charge your gadgets). When it comes to the menu, it too features contemporary elements through hearty seasonal dishes—like Seared Octopus with black garlic puree and Braised Short Rib with crispy brussels sprouts—to highlight vegetables and familiar classics. In the mornings and throughout the day, go for pastries, sandwiches, and more that can be ordered via a special take-out window.
As the sister spot to Shuka, Shukette is from The Bowery Group (Cookshop, Rosie’s, Vic’s) and chef/partner Ayesha Nurdjaja, and focuses on cuisine found in the Levant. The restaurant’s energetic (yet laid-back) vibe makes for a memorable outing, and 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 for signature dishes like the Joojeh Chicken marinated in saffron yogurt; along with house-baked breads; market-driven small plates; and charcoal grilled protein. For dessert, end your night with the sole option: The Mic Drop Tahini Soft Serve.