The eagerly anticipated NYC outpost of Israeli chef Eyal Shani’s mini-pita empire (with locations in Paris, Tel Aviv, and Melbourne) has found a home in bustling Chelsea Market. Just as his other locations reflect each city’s foods, NYC’s Miznon serves signature pita sandwiches like lamb short ribs, as well as pitas with New York and East Coast-favorite fillings like corned beef and pickles or lobster and creme fraiche. Shani’s namesake dish also graces the menu: a crispy, blackened roasted cauliflower, served whole, slick with olive oil.
South Korea native Soogil Lim (late of Daniel and Hanjan) draws inspiration from his Korean heritage and years in New York City’s premier French Kitchen at his eponymous East Village restaurant. Wide French windows let the light shine in from East Fourth Street and jellyfish-like overhead fixtures further illuminate the space’s muted color scheme. Plump sweet potato beignets arrive alongside a chilled kimchi soup, and the slow-cooked half chicken is spiced with gochugaru (a blend of red pepper flakes) and fermented shrimp sauce and paired with an array of root vegetables.
Upper East Side
This steakhouse sits just up the street from chef Skinny Mei’s former home Philippe. Cuts are standard issue (filet mignon, bone-in rib-eye), but the rest of the menu serves up an Asian flair with wagyu carpaccio, six fried rice selections, and a long roster of sushi and sashimi. Cocktails, too, are infused with Asian tastes: their Old Fashioned is served with a twist on the original by way of fresh plums.
This is one all-day, LA-inspired, community-focused, grain-forward vegetarian cafe with a cause. Owner Camilla Marcus has pledged to donate a portion of every purchase to The Door, which will provide hospitality job training for area youth -- some of whom will then be hired onto the West~bourne team. Help a neighborhood kid get a job with a Center Your Chia (coconut chia pudding, rose halva, toasted almond crumble, raspberries, mint) or an Over the Rainbowl (brown basmati rice, lentil falafel, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, pickled beets, jalapeño tahini). Beer and wine are also available.
The teeny-tiny Ho Foods is your new destination for cold weather warmer-uppers. The menu, like the space, is slim, but looming large is a Taiwanese beef noodle soup, where handmade noodles, grass-fed beef shanks, and mustard greens swim in a 24-hour bone and marrow broth. Little extras round out the menu, like pickled cabbage, homemade tofu, and minced pork rice.
From the family behind Sunset Park’s beloved Yun Nan Flavour Garden comes South of the Clouds, where the main attraction is the Crossing the Bridge Noodle -- a dish native to China’s Yunnan province. Hours-long simmered chicken broth is served in an elegant wooden box alongside myriad other ingredients (bean sprouts, tofu skin, sliced raw meat). Diners toss everything into the hot broth, creating a complex, flavorful finished soup. Less labor-intensive small plates include Yunnan ghost chicken and seaweed salad.
From West Village restaurateur Gabriel Stulman (Joseph Leonard, Fairfax, Fedora), Studio is a bright, all-day restaurant on the second floor of Flatiron’s Freehand Hotel. The menu is steeped in a mix of North African and Near East influences: puffed black kale bourekas are brimming with onion jam and feta and heartier dishes like a sumac-rubbed rotisserie hen sits atop raisin-studded couscous. Breakfast and brunch menus emphasize Studio’s bread program, featuring house-made date dulce de leche babka and brown butter poppy seed Danish.
Chefs Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes’ follow-up to their much-lauded restaurant Cosme is a pretty big departure from the upscale Mexican theme. At Atla, there’s a stronger focus on casual, somewhat healthy, and veg-forward dishes. For breakfast, you can expect things like ranchero eggs and flax seed chilaquiles, while the all-day menu features the likes of ceviche verde, quesadillas, and an arctic char tostada. Most of the dishes are also affordable, falling around $20.
From the team behind Freek’s Mill, Claro is an ode to Oaxaca in Gowanus. Everything from the restaurant’s tiles and dishware to the menu’s ingredients are sourced from Mexico, and the food leans heavily on barbacoa and corn. Order a few dishes to share, including salmon crudo and rabbit consomé, and pair those with a mezcal-based cocktail. Be sure to grab a seat in the backyard while the weather's still nice.
Cote is something of a first for New York: part-steakhouse, part-Korean BBQ joint. All the meat is dry-aged in-house, then served raw at the table, ready to be cooked by diners on personal tabletop grills. Your best move is to opt for the $45/person “Butcher's Feast” which comes with four chef’s choice cuts, plus traditional KBBQ accompaniments like ban-chan, kimchi, and savory egg soufflé
If you're having trouble getting a table at the new Union Square Cafe, opt instead for the restaurant's adjoining bakery/coffee shop, which offers crullers, everything croissants, and other pastries in the mornings, and rotisserie chicken and roast beef sandwiches for lunch (plus lots of fresh-baked loaves to take home).
If you haven’t tried NYC’s most Instagrammed pizza (or even if you’re a hardcore devotee) and can’t decide between the thin and crispy round pies at the original Emily in Clinton Hill or the doughy Detroit-style squares from Emmy Squared in Williamsburg, you’re in luck. The latest addition to the Pizza Loves Emily family, located in the West Village, offers both styles with a variety of toppings, in addition to the equally popular dry-aged Emmy Burger.
After years of growing his Mexican-inspired empire, with three distinct locations bearing the Empellón name, Alex Stupak has finally launched a flagship Empellón. His inventive tacos -- like one made with falafel -- are still the main draw here, but there are also plenty of snacks and large plates worth trying, like crab nachos with sea urchin “queso” and roasted red prawns with chipotle.
The old Perla Cafe space on W 4th has been transformed into Fairfax: another bright and homey spot from the same team, with a focus on wine and small plates (think white bean hummus with flatbread and diver scallops with watermelon, chili, and Thai basil). Stop by at 11:30am-7pm when you can get one small plate and a wine for $20.
Upper East Side
Thomas Carter and Ignacio Mattos have seen plenty of success downtown with Estela and last year's Café Altro Paradiso, but the duo has proven to be most impressive uptown, at their new seafood-focused spot, Flora Bar, inside the Met Breuer. More akin to Altro Paradiso in size and Estela in menu, Flora Bar feels decidedly not Upper East Side-y. It's upscale but casual, boasting leather banquettes; a long, marble bar; and a menu featuring the likes of tuna tartare, lobster crudo, and a rutabaga and raclette tart.
A stylish brick-walled space with an aromatic wood-burning oven, this oddly named restaurant is one of those seasonal-themed, small-plates joints with an ample cocktail list, which seems like standard MO for modern Brooklyn -- but this one does it better than most. The open kitchen is run by Union Square Cafe alum Chad Shaner, who cranks out dishes like dry-aged duck with cranberry beans and roasted pork jowl with smashed cucumbers. In keeping with the seasonal theme, the menu changes regularly, but one constant is the wood-roasted oysters, spritzed with lemon and sprinkled with garlic-y breadcrumbs.
Major Food Group’s takeover of the old Four Seasons space is officially underway, with the first of three restaurants, The Grill, now open. The luxe restaurant is an homage to old New York, with a Tom Ford tux-clad staff, newly restored Philip Johnson interiors from 1959, and throwback dishes like lamb chops, New York strip, prime rib, and a daily “chilled crustacean.” Suffice to say, you probably won’t be dining here unless someone else is paying (assuming you can even get a reservation).
Hometown is certainly a destination. Located in the far-flung Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, the roadhouse-y BBQ spot offers some of the most varied meats in all of NYC -- from authentic Texas-style brisket and beef ribs, to Vietnamese hot wings and lamb belly banh mi.
The first US outpost of this popular chairless Japanese steakhouse chain is the perfect alternative to a stuffy steak dinner (and a great solution for a crazed New York schedule that still demands meat). At Ikinari, steak is ordered by the gram at the counter, cut by the butcher, and served on a cast-iron platter. From there, you can grab a spot at a standing-room-only table (complete with various steak sauces).
Plopped down on the corner of the mostly non-commercial King Street is the aptly named King, a bright and airy French/Italian restaurant from co-chefs Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt, who met while working together at River Café in London, and GM Annie Shi, previously of London's Clove Club. The slightly upscale but totally frill-less menu changes daily, pulling inspiration from both countries for dishes like hand-cut tagliarini verde and poached ox tongue. Also look out for a number of great wines and house cocktails.
Lilia straddles the line between hip and comforting better than almost any restaurant in New York. You may be sitting in a packed, converted garage that was very much designed to fit the vibe of Williamsburg (metal chairs, gray banquettes, exposed wood beams and white-painted brick walls), but it's Missy Robbins' simple yet thoughtful approach to homestyle Italian cooking (like the ever-popular mafaldini, with handmade ruffled noodles, cooked perfectly al dente and tossed simply with Parmesan, butter, and ground pink peppercorns) that makes it feel like you're at home on your couch with a bowl of pasta.
From Chef/owner Tomer Blechman (previous of Lupa, Gramercy Tavern & Cookshop), this modern Israeli restaurant, complete with a 30-seat backyard, offers fresh takes on traditional Middle Eastern dishes, like homemade labne, grilled octopus, and three types of hummus. Be sure to kick your meal off with a shot of vodka with pickled mushroom -- an ode to Tomer’s Russian relatives.
Equal parts cafe, bar, and bakery, this Scandinavian spot (from two famed Scandinavian chefs) takes up a significant portion of a sprawling Greenpoint design space, offering a rotating seasonal menu of some of the city’s best Nordic dishes (think ancient grain porridge and slow-roasted pork sandwiches). Be sure to stop by at lunch for the daily $14 special (including an entreé and vegetable side dish with freshly baked bread).
Some of NYC’s most interesting Middle Eastern food can be found at this newcomer from one of Israel’s most famous chefs, Meir Adoni. Your main focus here should be on the bread (like Kubaneh, a traditional Yemenite bread, and a sweet and savory honey and garlic challah) but Nur also has a great roster of shareable dishes that approach traditional dishes from a new angle -- like the smoked eggplant carpaccio and Palestinian tartare (hand-cut beef, smoked eggplant cream, yogurt, baby carrots, and raw tahini).
After years of anticipation, the team behind Chicago’s Michelin-starred Alinea has finally landed in NYC with an upscale speakeasy-style bar/restaurant inside the Mandarin Oriental. This strictly special-occasion spot (assuming you don’t have a hedge fund) is decked out in plenty of dark wood and leather, and offers $23 spirit-forward cocktails and dishes like a foie gras terrine, prime ribeye tartare, and one of the best vegetable crudité platters you’ll find in the city.
Named after Frederick Law Olmsted and located just two blocks from the Olmsted-designed Prospect Park, this charming Prospect Heights spot comes from chef Greg Baxtrom and horticulturist Ian Rothman, both previously of Atera. The seasonal menu features light and colorful fare like trout, carrot crepes, and lamb porchetta, best enjoyed in the restaurant's string-light-lined garden (in the warmer months), where much of the menu's produce comes from.
Did you just somehow come into a colossal sum of money? First of all, congrats. Second, now is a great time to dine at Major Food Group’s latest addition to the former Four Seasons space, which will cost you approximately one extra-fancy Fitbit per person. The Pool maintains the Four Seasons’ iconic pool in the center of the room, and offers a lavish seafood-focused menu, featuring things like caviar service, raw bar options, ribbons of foie gras, and lobster Floridian.
Chef Denisse Lina Chavez’s El Atoradero family continues to grow with a new taqueria inside Gowanus’ Parklife venue space. The walk-up window service spot is focused on Mexico City-inspired tacos and burritos filled with everything from chorizo to French fries. Also look out for those standout nachos from the original restaurant (which you can get topped with fries as well).
From the chef behind the widely acclaimed (and now-shuttered) Kao Soy in Red Hook, Ugly Baby is your new go-to for traditional, unfussy Thai food. The colorfully designed spot draws inspiration from different Thai regions for spice-centric dishes like the standout kua kling (dry shank beef curry), which is probably one of the spiciest things you’ll try all year.
The old Mr. Donahue’s space is now home to an Uncle Boons spinoff, focusing on fast-casual Thai take-out at more affordable prices ($9-16) than the OG restaurant. The menu ranges from small plates and soups to large plates inspired by Thai street food and classic NYC takeout -- like the Phat Thai with prawn rice noodles and peanuts in tamarind sauce. While there are a few tables to post up at, the place can get cramped, so your best bet is to take your meal to-go.