Food & Drink

11 New-ish Restaurants Reopening for Indoor Dining

Some restaurants are opening their dining rooms for the first time ever.

After months of dining on snow-covered patios and attempting to recreate the restaurant experience with elaborate takeout meals from our favorite spots, indoor dining is finally back in NYC at 25% capacity. And it’s here just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year.

The return of indoor dining has been met with mixed reactions. Many argue that COVID-19 numbers are still too high for Cuomo to responsibly reopen, while others are excited to once again have the option (including some hard-hit restaurant owners). Since the latest ban on indoor dining went into effect at the beginning of December, restaurants have been fighting for the right to open their doors, even filing a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Two months later, Cuomo announced restaurants could offer service in their dining rooms starting on Valentine’s Day, but he later changed the date to Friday, February 12 and expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to restaurant workers.

Restaurants have been gearing up for months to offer indoor dining again, so we’ve rounded up about a dozen new-ish spots that are excited to reopen their doors this weekend. For some, it’ll be the first time any guest occupies a seat in their dining room. So make a reservation, mask up, and be safe while supporting your favorite restaurants.

Banh Vietnamese Shop House
Photo courtesy of Banh Vietnamese Shop House

With success at Com Tam Ninh Kieu in the Bronx under their belts, owners Nhu Ton and John Nguyen added a new Vietnamese spot on the Upper West Side to their portfolio just a few weeks ago. At Banh Vietnamese Shop House, you can try weekly specials or go for classic bánh mì, rice and noodle salad bowls, and regional favorites like bún bò hue (spicy beef noodle soup), thit kho (claypot braised pork belly), and bò kho (beef stew), and walk in to secure a seat in the dining room.
How to book: Walk in

Chito Gvrito

Gramercy

When this new Georgian spot opened in the fall, outdoor diners and takeout patrons immediately found comfort in the chef Lasha Jikia’s slate of khachapuri, a soft loaf with molten cheese, egg, and butter pooled in the center. Most Georgian restaurants offered one or two versions of this classic comforting dish, but Chito Gvrito has six options, alongside other modern takes on Georgian dishes, that you can try when you reserve a spot with this Gramercy Park-adjacent newcomer.
How to book: Website

Dagon
Photo courtesy of Dagon

Dagon

Upper West Side

A brand new Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper West Side is debuting right in line with indoor dining’s reopening. Chef Ari Bokovza, previously at Claudette focusing on Provençal cuisine, is digging into his Israeli roots with this new venture, serving up plenty of sharable mezze and heartier main courses like chicken barbecued with harissa, plus Jerusalem bagels and other baked goods.
How to book: OpenTable

Double Chicken Please
Photo by Sahid Limon

Double Chicken Please

Lower East Side

After a long journey on the road, pop-ups around town, and outdoor dining at their permanent spot on the Lower East Side, the team at Double Chicken Please is finally ready to welcome you inside. Double Chicken Please is perhaps best known for perfecting on-tap cocktails, but chef Mark Chou, whose resume includes stints at Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, isn’t messing around in the kitchen. Now that indoor dining is back, you can enjoy fried chicken sandwiches infused with salted duck egg yolk and equally inventive, hot dog-shaped ice cream sandwiches for dessert in the restaurant’s sleek front dining area and back room.
How to book: Resy

Francie

Williamsburg

Space restrictions took outdoor dining off the table when this Williamsburg spot opened in early December—and while the team found success with takeout and delivery, they’re ready to welcome diners indoors starting February 17. The European brasserie has Michelin star honorees helming the main kitchen operation and pastry program, so you’ll find delicate pastas, braised meats and other large-format entrees, and inspired dessert offerings.
How to book: Resy

Isabelle's Osteria

Flatiron District

When chef James Tracey first opened the doors of Isabelle’s Osteria back in December, he had no idea when they’d be able to serve contemporary Italian dishes in the restaurant’s sprawling dining room. Luckily, the time has come, and you can now enjoy pasta made in-house and cozy entrees like braised short ribs atop polenta with roasted carrots and gremolata.
How to book: OpenTable

Kimika

Nolita

When the team behind Wayla opened up Kimika in mid-August, they began serving a mashup of Italian and Japanese fare to packed patios five nights a week. Now the restaurant’s dining room on the ground level of the Nolitan hotel is open again and guests can book an elaborate Wagyu Shabu Shabu dinner with multiple courses featuring A5 wagyu strip loin, 100 day dry aged ribeye, and rich bone marrow bollito misto broth or order a la carte from the restaurant’s standard menu.
How to book: Resy

Leland Eating And Drinking House
Photo by BELATHÉE PHOTOGRAPHY

Randi Lee secured Leland Eating & Drinking House’s location about a year ago, built out the restaurant himself throughout the pandemic, and will open the dining room for the first time this weekend. In the Prospect Heights kitchen, chef Delfin Jaranilla is churning out Mediterranean-inspired fare focused on nose-to-tail butchery and seasonal ingredients from area farms.
How to book: Resy

Omakase Room by Mitsu
Photo by Melissa Hom

Chef Mitsunori Isoda took the helm at beloved Omakase Room back in October, but he only had about a month to show off his 30 years of experience with Michelin-star worthy sushi before indoor dining closed. Now the intimate Japanese tradition is back and you can book a spot in the dining room for a 14-course omakase experience.
How to book: Resy

Rangoon

Crown Heights

After debuting to rave reviews just before the pandemic and offering takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining since, Rangoon is finally ready to offer you a seat in its dining room. Inside the stark white dining room amid pops of color and rattan furniture, you’ll feast on Burmese cuisine like hot bowls of mohinga (a lemongrass fish noodle stew) from chef Myo Moe who brings traditional flavors from her family to the table.
How to book: OpenTable

Ras Plant Based

Crown Heights

This organic and locally sourced Ethiopan restaurant opened just before the onset of the pandemic last March, and after months of takeout and outdoor dining, there’s a spot for you open in the colorful, mural-covered dining room. Romeo and Milka Regalli have another Ethiopian spot in Cobble Hill called Awash, but the latest venture has injera and classic communal dishes along with other entrees on an entirely vegan menu.
How to book: Resy

Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant at Thrillist. See what she eats on Instagram.
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