Best burger: Bareburger

153 8th Ave
There's a reason this place was in the running to be the best burger in the entire city, and it's not because people are vibing on the ursine decor. Customize one of the specialty burgers on the menu with exotic patty meats like bison, elk, and wild boar, or go rogue and build a tailor-made burger from the ground up to your exact specifications. Whichever you choose, just make sure it's got the special sauce inside. And ask for extra special sauce for fry dipping -- just do it.

Best Japanese: Juban

207 10th Ave
Sushi Seki on 23rd is a solid choice if you're looking for upscale sushi in the neighborhood, but the best Japanese comes from this traditional comfort food spot on 10th Ave. The dishes comes in small portions, which ends up being a good thing as you'll want to get one of everything on the menu. The fish is always fresh, and there are a number of great rolls and sushi/sashimi options, but be sure to also order some of the other sharable plates like skewers, raw-bar options, and fried rice (also note the seriously extensive sake list).

Flickr/Adam Kuban

Best pizza: NY Pizza Suprema

413 8th Ave
This family-owned pizza haven's been slinging doughy street slices in Chelsea since 1964 (four years before MSG moved here), and although the first 24 years of its life were spent serving "plain slices only," that mandate has since been lifted. Now, you can add a whole host of classic toppings to your pie or slice, from pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs to mushrooms, garlic, and fresh-roasted red peppers.

Best tacos: Los Tacos No. 1

75 9th Ave
Admittedly boastful name aside, this place really does have the best tacos in Chelsea, and at a price point that also makes this your best cheap food option as well. Plus, although it can get pretty long, the line actually moves quickly, so you'll be out the door with your carne asada tacos in no time -- provided you don't inhale them before you get there.

Courtesy of Del Posto

Best fancy meal: Del Posto

85 10th Ave
It's tempting to dismiss this place as surviving solely on the star power of chef-owners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, but unlike plenty of other big-name restaurants, the food here is actually pretty spectacular. If you and your party are feeling particularly flush, you can splurge on the colossal, eight-course Captain's Menu tasting experience.

Courtesy of Blossom Restaurant

Best vegetarian: Blossom Restaurant

187 9th Ave
The intimate flagship location of this animal product-free powerhouse offers vegan delights -- like rigatoni in porcini cream and seitan scallopini -- that are actually delicious enough to appeal to meat lovers. Try out the chef's sampler first, then dive straight into the Moroccan tagine.

Best breakfast sandwiches: Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

286 8th Ave #1
With one location in Chelsea, three in Astoria, and absolutely zero in Brooklyn, this artisanal bagel purveyor might not have the most accurate name in the world... but when the hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagels are this delicious, who gives a crap about a name? Choose from a rotating selection of spreads, or just order a classic bacon, egg & cheese and damn the bloat-consequences to follow.

Courtesy of The Red Cat

Best BYOB option: The Red Cat

227 10th Ave
The Tasty Burger at Red Cat is indeed tasty, and it's one of our favorite under-the-radar burgers in the city, but there's more to eat here than grilled meat and Gruyere cheese: like, shrimp tacos and slow-roasted duck breast, for instance. On top of all this deliciousness, patrons can bring their own wine bottles (up to two per two people) to enjoy with their meal. Yes, there's a $35 corkage fee per bottle, but it all balances out if you're bringing some Two Buck Chuck.

Best late-night eats: Chelsea Papaya

171 W 23rd St
Places with the word "papaya" in the name have a proud history of serving up late-night hot dogs to boozy wanderers who aren't quite ready to call it a night at 3am, and this 24-hour Chelsea spot's no exception. Order yourself a chili-cheese dog, some fries, and a cup of mango juice, before woefully realizing you lost your wallet two bars ago.


Best sandwich (and bacon caramels!): Rocket Pig

463 W 24th St
There's technically only a single sandwich on the menu here, but it's one helluva sandwich: smoked pork, red onion jam, mustard sauce, and house-made pickles on a crusty ciabatta roll, with some "rocket pig hot sauce" on the side. You can also snag a bag of six bacon caramels for five bucks -- which is to say, you absolutely need to snag a bag of bacon caramels.

Best date spot: Salinas

136 9th Ave
Between the plush velvet seats, the fresh flowers at your table, and the dim, romantic mood lighting, this place will absolutely be your last-minute anniversary jam going forward. Sharable Spanish dishes like paella and tapas are perfect for breaking the ice with a new love interest, too, provided they're not into double-dipping. Actually, given your plans for the rest of the night, that's probably not that gross.

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1. Bareburger 153 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Born out of Astoria, Bareburger is a national burger chain known for its impressive variety of meat options (bison, elk, duck, ostrich, wild boar, and of course, regular beef) and untraditional sides like kimchi slaw, crispy Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato fries. The menu lets you build your own burger or choose one of the specialty combos, like the spicy bison El Matador, made with queso fresco, pickled jalapeños, guac, and pico de gallo.

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2. Juban 207 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Juban's a classy, trendy Japanese spot on NYC's West Side. The tavern-like locale offers shochu and sake alongside inventive iterations of classic Japanese comfort food, like tempura, seafood skewers, fried rice dishes, and sushi. Open for dinner and brunch, Juban's small plates are tasty any time of the day.

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3. Pizza Suprema 413 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Colin "Slice Harvester" Hagendorf, famed for eating a slice of pizza at every spot in the city, rated the crispy-crusted plain slice at this joint above all others (435 others, to be exact). And we agree: Suprema is definitely up there with the best of ‘em. This family-owned pizza haven has been slinging doughy street slices in Chelsea since 1964, and although the first 24 years of its life were spent serving "plain slices only," that mandate has since been lifted. Now, you can add a whole host of classic toppings to your pie or slice, from pepperoni, sausage &meatballs to mushrooms, garlic & fresh-roasted red peppers.

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4. Los Tacos No.1 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Located in Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No.1 is the brainchild of three friends, collectively from Mexico and California, who wanted to bring authentic Mexican food to the East Coast. You can expect affordable prices, fresh ingredients, and family recipes.

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5. Del Posto 85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Brought to you by Mario Batali et al., Del Posto is arguably one of the best upscale Italian restaurants in New York. On a Chelsea block near the High Line, the large, loft-like space has an elegant interior with lots of black, red, and gold decor, as well as a candle-lit marble staircase in the center of the dining room. In true Batali fashion, the menu is rich but classic in nature, featuring delicious house-made pastas (gnocchi with caviar, oxtail ravioli) and beautiful cuts of meat (seared lamb chop, braised veal).

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6. Blossom Restaurant 187 9th Ave , New York, NY 10011

Originating in Chelsea, Blossom has quickly expanded into three brick & mortars, multiple fast-casual outposts, and even a bakery. And if that lightening-quick expansion isn’t enough to convince you that their vegan fare is off-the-chain, then the food certainly will. Dedicated to locally sourced, 100% animal-free ingredients, Blossom delivers tasty Italian-inspired eats like mushroom calamari with spicy arrabbiata sauce, cashew cream ravioli with smoked tempeh, and a tapioca cheese lasagna with roasted eggplant and tofu marinara. The prices are reasonable, too, with most entrees priced around $20.

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7. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company 286 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

The small chain is focused on quality coffee, robust soups, sandwiches, and -- most of all -- your health, which sounds kind of strange considering they're a BAGEL SHOP. But it's also kind of true: they only use unbleached and unbromated flour and offer spelt and gluten-free bagels. Best part, though? None of that ruins the bagels in any way.

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8. The Red Cat 227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

New American comfort food is king at this narrow, popular eatery in Chelsea, which has been in operation since 1999. Menu highlights include options like shrimp tacos, slow-roasted duck breast, burgers, and steaks. What puts this spot on the map, however, is its extensive wine offerings and BYOB status, which is especially great during brunch.

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9. Chelsea Papaya 171 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

This counter service spot in Chelsea has to be on your NYC bucket list. Centrally located and open late, Papaya sees all walks of life come into its door for the pursuit of its insanely cheap, insanely good hot dogs, cheesesteak, french fries, chili, and onion rings.

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10. Rocket Pig 463 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

Rocket Pig serves up casual deliciousness like oysters, bacon caramels, and a signature sandwich with pork shoulder that's rubbed with "Old World" European spices, brined for three days, and smoked for three hours before being piled onto fluffy ciabatta.

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11. Salinas 136 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Salinas is a buzzy, romantic Spanish/Mediterranean tapas resto in the heart of Chelsea. Chef Luis Bollo's bright, flavorful menu shines in this magnificent space, where patrons can enjoy a glass of vino on the glass rooftop bar (!!) and ceviche, croquettas, and crudo within the open air dining room.