The best restaurants in New York City

From a Thai diner that feels like a party to a historic chop house in Brooklyn, a local food writer and longtime New Yorker shares the best restaurants in New York City

 

Words by Devra Ferst
Last updated: November 27, 2023
The bets restaurants in New York City | Rice and curries from Masalawala & Sons
Masalawala & Sons

New York City has always been a great place to eat, but the city’s dining scene currently has a fresh, invigorating energy about it. Experienced restaurateurs and chefs are debuting new projects, and not always in the neighbourhoods you would expect – dinner in Rockefeller Center, anyone?

But, some things haven’t changed. Diversity remains at the heart of New York’s vibrant dining scene from a Koreatown tofu house, to a standout slice shop, to a restaurant cooking dishes inspired by Kolkata, and beyond.

Like we said, New York is a great place to eat. Many restaurants are also perfectly positioned for those exploring the city’s finest art galleries and museums. Looking to make a night of it? continue at one of New York’s excellent cocktail bars, and finish up in a gorgeous boutique hotel.

Here are the best restaurants in New York City to visit right now.

The best restaurants in New York City | Dungeness Crab from Wu's Wonton King garnished with cilantro
Dungeness Crab, a house special at Wu's Wonton

Downtown Manhattan

Wu’s Wonton King

Best for: Wonton soup, casual dining, and big groups, with a BYOB offering
Address: 165 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Price: Mains starting at 13 USD

The cluster of blocks where Chinatown converges with the Lower East Side is now known as Dimes Square, but long before its rebranding, Wu’s was here serving large bowls of plump wontons bobbing in broth. It’s remained a favourite of New York City’s food writers and chefs who come for the soup, chicken with crispy garlic, and giant crabs that can be ordered for large parties. If you are looking for wine or liquor, be sure to pick some up on your way to take advantage of the restaurant’s BYOB policy, as the only alcohol they sell is beer.
wuswontonking.com

The best restaurants in New York City | A line of booths at Scarr's Pizza in the Lower East Side
Old school booths at Scarr's Pizza

Scarr’s Pizza

Best for: An excellent slice of pizza
Address: 22 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Price: Pies starting at 18 USD

Great pizza in New York City can require commitment. At classic joints like Lucali in Carroll Gardens or Di Fara in Midwood, expect to wait and indulge in a full pizza pie – not always a bad thing. At Scarr’s on the Lower East Side, the slices are made with house-milled flour and worth waiting in line for. If you can’t get a seat, take your slice two blocks east to Seward Park.
scarrspizza.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Chicken hotpot with citrus basil at Mam served with a side of noodles and sauces.
Chicken hotpot with citrus basil at Mắm

Mắm

Best for: Imagining you’re in Vietnam
Address: 70 Forsyth Street, New York, NY 10002
Price: Changes daily

Mắm isn’t like most restaurants. The tiny space accommodates just a couple of tables inside, and one on the street, lined with little plastic stools, and is open just a few days a week. Ordering is simple though, as the kitchen serves one main dish at a time. It might be bún hến (a clam noodle soup loaded with fresh herbs), lẩu dê sả chao (goat hotpot), or richly-flavoured bún hò Huế – a classic of central Vietnam that’s hard to find in these parts. Whatever it is, be sure to pay in advance to reserve your spot and pick up some beers at a bodega nearby.
@mam.nyc

The best restaurants in New York City | Thai breakfast sandwich at Thai Diner
The Thai breakfast sandwich at Thai Diner

Thai Diner

Best for: Creative Thai food with a party vibe
Address: 186 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012
Price: Mains from 20 USD

Even when you’re not celebrating, a meal at Thai Diner always feels like a party, which kicks off at brunch time and runs well into the evening, seven days a week. The restaurant places a Thai twist on a traditional American diner, all with rattan screens, lacquered wood panelling and plants surrounding a central bar. Start with Thai disco fries with massaman curry sauce and move on to the fried chicken larb. Don’t skip the stuffed cabbage (trust us) or dessert – go for either the banana Thai rum pudding or a the Thai coffee cake, presented like a cartoon monster with googly eyes.
thaidiner.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Orange coloured pasta dish garnished with parmesan shavings at Foul Witch
Foul Witch. Photo by Erik Kantar

Foul Witch

Best for: Outstanding pastas and natural wine
Address: 15 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Price: Mains from 25 USD

Chef Carlo Mirarchi and business partner Brandon Hoy are still planning to reopen their celebrated tasting menu spot Blanca in Bushwick, but in the meantime, they debuted Italian restaurant and wine bar Foul Witch on the southern edge of the East Village. The ambient space has some gothic touches like a vaulted ceiling in the centre, and a strong natural wine list, but come for the thoughtful and nuanced cooking. Dishes like the veal tortellini with amaretto and polenta with uni appear small, but are packed with flavour and often much more than they seem.
foulwitchnyc.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Oysters, scotch eggs, steak and salads on a table at Lord's
An array of dishes at Lord's. Photo by Evan Sung

Lord’s

Best for: nose-to-tail dining, when you need a cosy reprieve from the city
Address: 506 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012
Price: Mains from 39 USD

Lord’s in Greenwich Village bills itself as an English bistro in New York City, with a focus on nose-to-tail dining. It is the sister restaurant to seafood spot Dame, where tables pre-10pm are often hard to come by. Chef Ed Szymanski’s menu leans towards the UK with dishes like Welsh rarebit, an ox cheek, carrot and stilton pie, and curried lamb scotch eggs. Once you’re enveloped in Lord’s cosy surroundings, you’ll quickly forget the chaos of the city.

The best restaurants in New York City | Doorway to Raku with a curtain over the door
Raku in the East Village

Raku

Best for: Chewy udon at affordable prices
Address: 342 E 6th Street, New York, NY 10003
Price: Mains from 14 USD

Raku in New York’s East Village is so tiny and unassuming, you could easily miss it. Look out for the dyed noren – the long sheet of Japanese fabric that hangs in Raku’s doorway. Once you step through, you’ll be met with a restaurant packed with people enjoying bowls of chewy udon noodles. There are a surprising number of soups on offer for a place this size, including several vegan options, stirred with the likes of nameko mushrooms and wakame seaweed. The restaurant is cash only, but has an ATM that’s discreetly tucked into a cabinet.
rakunyc.com

The bets restaurants in New York City | Plate set up with wine at Koloman in Koreatown
Koloman

Chelsea, Koreatown & Midtown

Koloman

Best for: Austrian-inflected fare and a swank night out
Address: 16 W 29th Street New York, NY 10001
Price: Mains from 32 USD

It’s fitting that chef Markus Glocker’s Vienna-meets-Paris restaurant Koloman is situated on the first floor of the Ace Hotel, having been raised helping out at his family’s hotel in Austria. There’s no official dress code at Koloman, but there’s a touch of Old World glamour and ceremony here, so feel free to smarten up for dinner. Dishes like salmon en croute and fennel tagliatelle finished with caviar are formal, but not fussy.
kolomanrestaurant.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Empty dining area at Txikito
Txikito

Txikito

Best for: Basque cooking in Chelsea
Address: 240 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Price: Mains from 24 USD

After a long pandemic pause, Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s acclaimed Basque restaurant reopened  in summer 2022 in Chelsea. With wood-panelled walls and unfussy candlelit tables, Txikito exudes the warmth of a neighbourhood favourite, while the cooking has more finesse than you might expect from that dining category. Octopus carpaccio is thinly sliced and finished with piment d’espelette, artichokes are accompanied by shaved beets and caviar, and turbot is roasted and served whole.
txikitonyc.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Bibimbap at Cho Dang Gol with rice and spring vegetables
Bibimbap at Cho Dang Gol with rice and spring vegetables

Cho Dang Gol

Best for: Restorative Korean tofu stews
Address: 55 W 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Price: Bibimbap for 17 USD, entrees start from 29 USD

There’s no shortage of superb, high-end Korean restaurants in New York City, like the  two-Michelin-starred tasting counter Atomix and Korean steakhouse Cote. But after a long day, the homestyle cooking at laidback Cho Dang Gol is just the thing to restore you. Made in house, tofu is the star here, so be sure to order one of the tofu stews and bring a few friends, since many of the dishes like the bossam are best shared. Arrive early to avoid a long wait and head out for a stroll through K-Town after your meal.
chodanggolnyc.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Le Rock dining table with emerald green coloured leather booths
Le Rock in Rockefeller Center

Le Rock

Best for: A destination-worthy meal in Rock Center
Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Price: Mains from 38 USD

For a long time, Rockefeller Center was no one’s idea of a dining destination. That’s changed in the past couple years with the help of Ignacio Mattos’ Italian cafe and bakery Lodi, Korean tasting menu spot Naro, and Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson’s Le Rock. The latter duo brought a downtown sensibility from their restaurant Frenchette to this art deco space in Midtown. There are plenty of little bites to try at the start of your meal, and meatier options like the steak hache with fries for the main course. Dishes are served in a soaring setting, with Lee Lawrie artworks hung on the wall and a two-tonne cast-bronze bar at its centre.
lerocknyc.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Tables set at Tatiana with red and green toned chairs
Tables set at Tatiana

Tatiana

Best for: A fine dining meal to remember in Lincoln Center
Address: 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Price: N/A

Bronx-born chef Kwame Onwuachi is only 33 years old, but has lived more lives than most of us. He sold candy on the subway to raise money to open a catering company at 21, competed on Top Chef, ran two restaurants in Washington D.C., wrote a memoir and a cookbook, and launched a nail polish line. Now, he’s telling his stories at Tatiana, a fine dining restaurant with a touch of glamour in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Don’t miss the soup dumplings with crab and egusi stew – a nod to his father’s Nigerian roots – and the New York bodega classic chopped cheese dressed up here with taleggio and truffles. Everything is made for sharing, while expansive windows offer views across Lincoln Square while you eat.
tatiananyc.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Meat leg served with seasoned rice and pickled onion salad at Contendo
Contento. Photo by Colin Clark Photography

Uptown

Contento

Best for: Everyone, truly, but particularly wine lovers
Address: 88 E 111th St, New York, NY 10029
Price: Mains starting at 39 USD

Contento is a restaurant built for all. There’s space for a person who gets around in a wheelchair to navigate the dining room comfortably and a bar where one can roll up to. The menu also includes a QR code for a spoken version of the menu for those living with low vision. The kitchen serves Peruvian-inspired dishes like crispy yuca, arroz con pato (rice with duck), and Peruvian chocolate mousse. The accompanying wine list is deep and includes a section called Wines of Impact, which are sourced from Black, female, and Indigenous-owned wineries, including Kishor, a winery in a kibbutz in Israel that cares for adults with learning disabilities, who are invited to join in the wine making process.
@contentonyc

 

The best restaurants in New York City | Different plates of Indian food at Masalawala & Sons in Brooklyn
Masalawala & Sons serves authentic Indian food in Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Masalawala & Sons

Best for: Outstanding Indian food in Park Slope
Address: 365 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Price: Family style plates from 27 USD

In just a few years, Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya’s Indian restaurants Semma and Dhamaka have become icons of the Manhattan dining scene. Their latest project in Brooklyn explores India through the eyes of Mazumdar’s father, who moved to the US from Kolkata. His birth city in West Bengal sits close to the coast, so expect lots of fish and seafood dishes like daab chingir – tiger prawns cooked in a young coconut shell that’s decanted tableside – and the biyebarir fish fry that’s a staple of Kolkata weddings. Set in a former bakery, tables go quickly at this tightly packed restaurant, which is decked out with colourful garlands and wall murals.
masalawala.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Red velvet booths at Gage & Tollner
Gage & Tollner. Photo by Lizzie Munro

Gage & Tollner

Best for: A classic New York steak, set in a 19th-century building
Address: 372 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Price: Mains from 30 USD

New York City is a place that values tradition, but also expects that tradition to evolve. Gage & Tollner, which first opened in 1879 in downtown Brooklyn, has done just that. Its current owners, Ben Scheider, St. John Frizell, and chef Sohui Kim, have kept the ornate interiors, and restored them to a fine sheen. The menu has all the steakhouse classics like the New York strip and Parker House rolls, but also a few additions like fried chicken with kale and kimchi slaw, and clams kimsino made with bacon kimchi butter.
gageandtollner.com

The best restaurants in New York City | Bean puree topped with sautéed spinach and drizzled with oil
Roman's bean puree

Roman’s

Best for: Excellent pastas and vegetables, and warm service
Address: 243 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Price: Mains from 26 USD

Andrew Tarlow’s Fort Greene Italian restaurant Roman’s never lets you down. Never. The short menu is constantly changing, but vegetable dishes like chicories with citrus, and pastas such as fusilli with fava beans and meyer lemon are always at its heart of it. When you arrive, ask the team if they still have loaves from Tarlow’s bakery Shewolf available – add it to your bill and take the loaf home at the end of the night.
romansnyc.com