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Local’s Picks for Best Restaurants in NYC

In Eat & Drink, Guides, New York by Guest AuthorLeave a Comment

Looking for the best restaurants in NYC? We got you. There is truly no shortage of incredible places to eat in New York. It’s been named the culinary capital of the world and boasts over 27,000 restaurants and that number keeps growing. Without a doubt, this is one of the best foodie destinations on the globe so it goes without saying, enjoying the dining scene here is one of the best things to do in New York City.

The city not only does pizza and bagels right, but you can find just about any cuisine from around the world from one of the largest multicultural cities on the planet.

Keep in mind, these lists are never complete, they are ever-changing. This post will change and evolve just as the food scene does here in New York City. If you truly feel like your favorite places to eat in NYC aren’t represented on this list, let us know in the comments below. After all, this website is run by locals who are passionate about food and eat out a lot, but according to data from Open Table, it would take 22.7 years to eat at every restaurant in New York City without repeats!

So as of now, here are our foodie picks for the best restaurants in New York City.

PS this guide features alot of carnivore-friendly restaurants, for our plant-based diet friends check out our guide to the best vegan restaurants in NYC.

Top Restaurants in New York City

Lilia 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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567 Union Avenue, Williamsburg

There is no way you’ve googled the best Italian food in the city and Lilia is not one of the top results. Not only is it one of the hardest reservations to secure (set your Resy notifications now) but it is also one of NYC’s best restaurants and also one of the best restaurants in Brooklyn as well.

Located in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Lilia offers some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had outside of Italy.

I’ve been fortunate to get into Lilia more than once and my only recommendation is to come very very hungry because you’re going to want some of everything. The rigatoni diavola, malfadini, and sheep’s milk cheese filled agnolotti are all over social media but are definitely not overrated. The salads and appetizers are also all great and really you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Make sure you save room for dessert because their gelato is some of the best around. 

Reservations are very much recommended here although I do hear they save some spots for walk-ins. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining. If you’re having trouble getting into Lilia, you can head over to Misi for a just as incredible experience from chef Missy Robbins. 

Nom Wah Tea Parlor 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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13 Doyers Street, Chinatown

The list of great places to eat in Chinatown is a long one and I’m not going to lie and say this was an easy category to narrow down. Nom Wah Tea Parlor stands out as one of the top restaurants in New York City for not only Chinese food but also for service, vibes and an all-around incredible meal. Not to mention, this was New York City’s first and oldest Dim Sum restaurant.

Another one of those places to eat in NYC that doesn’t accept reservations, it is very important to get to Nom Wah on the earlier side. Their waitlist system is old school, providing you only with a piece of paper with a number on it and if you’re not around when they come out and call the number, you’re SOL. The good news is that they do have tables set up outside and you can order beers while you wait. 

As far as the menu goes, you’re going to want some of everything. The first time I came, I was with three friends and I think we ordered everything on the menu. We had leftovers for days but I can honestly say I enjoyed everything we ate. Favorites include the dumplings (fried and boiled), the scallion pancake and the noodle dish. The OG egg roll is something everyone needs to try but I do prefer the veggie spring rolls. 

Nom Wah is a no-frills establishment and hands down one of the best restaurants in New York City. 

Veselka 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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144 2nd Avenue, East Village

Just like so many places listed on this guide, another one of the most iconic restaurants in NYC is Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant that has stood the test of time (and the decor makes you feel like you’re there since it opened in the 1950s in the best way possible).

Located in the heart of the East Village, Veselka offers not only some of the best vibes but is also one of the best places to eat in New York. 

The menu is large but the only thing you’re going to have difficulty with is narrowing it down. Breakfast is also served all day but the star of the menu is without a doubt the pierogies. They’re my favorite in the city. They also let you order singles so you can try more variety and you can pan fry or boil them! 

Veselka is open every day from early until late. They do not accept reservations but offer both indoor and outdoor dining. Veselka is a great place to take your friends from out of town, visit post a night out or if you’re just craving some of the best pierogies in the city. 

Via Carota 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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51 Grove Street, West Village

Sorry but actually not sorry for the number of Italian restaurants that are included in this guide. New York thrives in the Italian food scene and I would be remiss to not include all the best, leading me to the next spot and one of NYC’s best restaurants, Via Carota

The hardest decision you’re going to have to make at Via Carota is deciding what you want to order. The menu rotates pretty regularly but if you’re here over the summer months, don’t skip out on the melon and prosciutto appetizer. The arancini is also some of the best in the Village and should not be missed. 

As far as mains go, order the cacio e pepe. It is by far my favorite in the city. 

Reservations are not accepted and I recommend getting here early to put your name on the list. They call you when your table is ready and even with a two hour wait, there are plenty of options for delicious wine and cocktails around, including Rita Sodi’s bar across the street. For more immediate seating, visit for lunch! 

Via Carota is located in the West Village and has both indoor and outdoor seating available. 

Carbone 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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181 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village

Another one of my picks for the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy is what seems to be world-famous Carbone, not only one of NYC’s best restaurants but also has one of my top 5 favorite dishes in the world (three out of five also included in this guide). 

You might think this is one of those places that is not worth the hype because first of all it has become nearly impossible to get a reservation and second of all it’s all over social media and a celebrity hot spot. You would be wrong in assuming this because the spicy rigatoni will change your world. 

As far as everything else at Carbone, expect a great dining experience without feeling the pretentiousness that you feel at some other restaurants. The waiters are knowledgeable and the sommelier suggests great wines at a very reasonable price. Expect to spend more money here but it will definitely be money well spent. 

Carbone accepts reservations and is open daily for lunch and dinner. Lunch reservations are definitely easier and the menu is the same. They offer both indoor and outdoor reservations and walk-ins (even if you’re Justin Bieber) are not accepted.

Don Angie 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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103 Greenwich Avenue, West Village 

Another incredible Italian restaurant located in the West Village is Don Angie. Not only do they have one of my favorite lasagnas I’ve ever eaten but they also have one of the best menus and just received a Michelin star! 

As far as what to order, the specials are always incredible but you must start with the garlic cheese bread. It is by far one of the best garlic breads you will ever try. Follow that with the chrysanthemum salad, one of the best salads you will ever eat. Follow that with a pasta or a main (these change regularly and are all delicious) and of course, the infamous lasagna for two. 

Don Angie offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Some of their outdoor seating is heated. They open daily for dinner and while reservations are accepted and definitely encouraged, they do accept walk-ins at the bar. If you get there right when they open, your chances are pretty high to get a spot at the bar at this incredible place to eat in NYC. 

Reservations open on Resy 7 days in advance at 9 am! 

Pastis 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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52 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District 

Switching gears from some of my picks for best restaurants in New York for Italian to French cuisine, the next incredible place to eat in New York is Pastis, a French restaurant located in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. 

The minute you walk inside Pastis you feel like you are in a Parisian bistro. The outside is also something to be desired with a nearly perfect Parisian sidewalk cafe feel, chairs and all. 

As far as food goes, start with the french onion soup and finish with the burger. Both are incredible and the burger is one of my favorite burgers in the city. 

Pastis is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are also open till midnight on the weekends for your late night burger cravings. Reservations are accepted and Pastis has both indoor and outdoor dining options available. 

Freemans 

interior-of-Freemans-Restaurant-in-New-York-City

Freeman Alley, Lower East Side 

There are good restaurants in NYC and then there are great restaurants in NYC. Freemans falls into the latter category and is a top place to eat in NYC. 

The decor alone will win you over at this Lower East Side restaurant. Not only does it resemble a log cabin but it also feels like you’ve stepped out of New York City the minute you walk down Freeman Alley and step foot into this Colonial tavern hideaway. 

As far as what to order, the menu rotates regularly but two things remain constant and for good reason. First off, start with the artichoke dip. Even after first stepping foot into Freemans for the first time in 2013, this is still something still a decade later I continue to recommend to out-of-towners and locals alike. The mussels and clams are also great and as far as entrees go, make sure you save room for the filet. This is the other stand out dish at Freemans. 

Freemans accepts reservations and offers both indoor and outdoor dining. I rarely prefer indoor to outdoor but in the case of Freemans, sit indoors, preferably at the back bar or in a room covered in taxidermy upstairs. They are open every day for lunch and dinner. 

Maison Premiere 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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298 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg

Heading back over to Brooklyn for another better-than-good restaurant in NYC is Maison Premiere. Considered one of the best restaurants in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, this oyster bar restaurant is one of my favorite places to eat in New York.

Oysters are the star at Maison Premiere so make sure you order some. Other menu highlights include the lobster roll, red snapper and clams. As far as drinks go, you won’t be disappointed with any on the menu and should come with a group so you can sample them all. 

If the weather is permitting, please sit outside. Their garden feels like a courtyard in New Orleans covered in plants and ivy. Not possible to sit outside? Indoors feels just as nice in a New Orleans styled setting with an old timey bar and waiters wandering around in three piece suits. 

Reservations are accepted for both indoor and outdoor seating. Maison Premiere is open daily for a late lunch/early cocktails or a late dinner.

Lucali 

lucali-pizza-in-carroll-gardens-brooklyn

575 Henry Street, Carroll Gardens

No restaurant guide would be complete without including Lucali, one of the best places for pizza in Brooklyn. Located in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn, Lucali speaks for itself in only offering two things on the menu – pizza and calzone, both of which will be one of the most incredible pizzas and calzones you’ve ever eaten, if not the best, easily making Lucali one of the best restaurants in NYC. 

For your first time at Lucali, you’ve got to start with the original that is topped with basil and the perfect crust, cheese and sauce combination. If you crave some toppings, the hot peppers and pepperoni combination is one of the best. 

Yes, Lucali is hard to get into on the weekends and yes, sometimes the line wraps around the bodega around the corner. Should that stop you from going? Absolutely not. For the best luck and shortest wait times, try going during the week as the lines always tend to be much shorter and you have much more availability to choose the time slot you want.

If you do go on the weekends, definitely get there by 4 PM to avoid the possibility of not getting a spot. Worst case, get it to go but it’s best enjoyed in the restaurant itself.

Lucali is BYOB and cash only. You are limited to one hour of dining when you sit down and are expected to be ready to order when the waitress approaches. They are open for dinner every day but Tuesday with the first seating at 5 PM and offer both indoor and outdoor seating. They also have a delightful garden out back and sidewalk seating out front. Make Lucali a priority because this is truly one of the top restaurants in New York City. 

Cafe Spaghetti 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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126 Union Street, Columbia Street Waterfront 

Another great restaurant in the Carroll Gardens area in a small area called Columbia Street Waterfront District in Brooklyn which is Cafe Spaghetti, another great Italian joint. Just like so many other restaurants on this list, you come for the incredible patio and stay for the even better food. 

As for food, make sure you begin with the cacio e pepe riceballs. They are perfectly fried and perfectly equal cheese and cacio e pepe. You should also try the Spiedini Alla Romana, a unique dish that I haven’t seen at a lot of other Italian restaurants. For entrees, pasta is a necessity here and the spaghetti pomodoro and the ravioli consistently remain at the top.

Cafe Spaghetti offers both indoor and outdoor dining and accepts reservations. This is definitely a new hit spot so a reservation is definitely recommended. 

Joe’s Pizza 

Joes-Pizza-in-Greenwich-Village-NYC

Multiple Locations: 216 Bedford Avenue (Williamsburg, Brooklyn), 150 E 14th Street (East Village/Union Square, Manhattan), 7 Carmine Street (Greenwich Village, Manhattan),  1435 Broadway (Times Square/Herald Square, Manhattan), 124 Fulton Street (FiDi, Manhattan) 

The other day I saw a video on TikTok that talked about someone from LA coming and saying that Joe’s Pizza was overrated that was immediately voiced over by a NYC local reminding everyone how incredible a slice from Joe’s Pizza is. In fact, this is not only one of the best pizza slice shops in NYC but also one of the best places to eat in NYC and best cheap eats in NYC

The menu is simple and for that reason, your first trip to Joe’s should be ordering a classic slice. The crust is perfectly crisp and perfectly thin for that classic NY fold. Once you’ve had your first bite, you will understand the addiction, which is when I recommend a slice of pepperoni or ricotta as your second slice.  

Each location has varying hours so check their website before visiting. They all offer both indoor and outdoor dining and this is a slice shop so prepare to wait in line, although it does move very quickly! Reservations are not accepted, this is a no-fuss, classic slice shop, grab your slice and eat it while you stand.

Laser Wolf Brooklyn 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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97 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg 

Another one of those places that is worth the frustration of setting millions of Resy reservation notifications is Laser Wolf. From those millions of Resy reservation notifications, I was able to get a 10:15 pm on a Sunday night that was worth the exhaustion of Monday because Laser Wolf is hands down one of the best restaurants in New York City. 

The Israeli-inspired menu is similar to a tasting menu in the sense that everyone gets the insanely photogenic (but not at all overrated) mezze or Salatim platter, one entree and their absolutely incredible, maybe the best dessert I’ve ever had, brown sugar soft serve with sesame and cherry crunchies.

For the entrees, you can choose between fish, vegetable or meat. If you’re a meat eater, do not skip the BBQ short ribs. You should also definitely order a side of fries because even though they cost extra, they are one hundred percent worth it. 

Laser Wolf is located in Williamsburg on top of the Hoxton hotel. I would normally say the views alone are worth the visit but the food is some of the best in New York so you truly are having your cake and eating it too. 

Minetta Tavern 

juicy-burger-from-Minetta-Tavern-in-Greenwich-Village-one-of-the-best-places-to-eat-in-NYC

113 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village 

Minetta Tavern is another one of those classic NY establishments that everyone should visit at least once. It also happens to be one of NYC’s best restaurants, especially if you’re catching a comedy show nearby after dinner.

Located in Greenwich Village, the vibes are old-school and in the best way possible. Old photos line the walls and there are red vinyl booths throughout the entire space. It also hails from the same owners as Pastis (listed above) and Baltazar, two more of the most iconic and best restaurants in NYC. 

As far as food goes, Minetta Tavern is known for their black label burger and while it is definitely not the cheapest thing (by a long shot) on the menu, it is definitely something that should be on every table. Other than the burger, stick with the classics, their bone marrow is also excellent. Also, a dirty martini is a necessity. 

Minetta Tavern is open for lunch Wednesday – Sunday and dinner daily. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining but for the best vibes, choose to sit inside. Reservations are accepted and encouraged. 

Rezdora 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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27 E 20th Street, Flatiron District 

Another incredible restaurant in NYC that is easily one of the best restaurants in New York City is Rezdora. Located within the Flatiron District, this Italian joint offers a new take on Italian classics. The chef also used to work at Osteria Francescana, one of the world’s most famous and incredible restaurants, and all of his pastas reference the region where it’s located, Emilia-Romagna. Not to mention, Rezdora also has a Michelin star. 

The menu at Rezdora is larger than you might expect but the good news is that whatever pasta you choose, you’re going to be very satisfied. With that being said, there are a few that you shouldn’t skip including the Grandma Walking Through The Forest In Emilia, the Uovo Raviolo and the Spaghettoni. As far as non-pasta dishes, make sure you order the Cacio e Pepe salad and the Gnocco Fritto.

Rezdora accepts reservations and is open for dinner daily and lunch or brunch every day but Monday. Reservations can be difficult for dinner but are usually more attainable for their daily lunch. The menus are the same for both lunch and dinner other than the pasta tasting menu, which is only available at dinner. Rezdora has both indoor and outdoor dining. 

Ci Siamo 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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440 W 33rd Street, Suite 100, Manhattan West

Continuing on the Italian train next up is Ci Siamo, a newer restaurant located in the newish neighborhood of Manhattan West and easily a top restaurant in NYC. 

The menu at Ci Siamo is unique in the best way but every time I’ve been there is one thing that I always have to order which is the onion torta. It’s large and meant to be shared but don’t be surprised if you want to eat it all yourself. The pizzette is also incredible and should be on your table. As far as mains and pasta goes, all are delicious and you will be happy with whichever style you prefer. 

Ci Siamo is open everyday for lunch and dinner. They close randomly throughout the day so make sure you check the hours before you visit. Indoor dining is your only option but the space is large. They also accept reservations. 

Cosme 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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35 E 21st Street, Flatiron District

If you’ve seen Chef’s Table on Netflix, you might recognize the name Cosme from the episode with the chef of Pujol in Mexico City. If you haven’t seen Chef’s Table, watch it and you’ll immediately know it’s time to make your reservation at Cosme or fly to Mexico City immediately. While the concepts are different at each restaurant, the food remains consistently incredible and Cosme is easily of one the best restaurants in NYC. 

The focus at this Flatiron restaurant is upscale Mexican fare. If you’ve read any of the other guides I’ve written you know I’m a sucker for Mexican food and Cosme defies all the odds of incredible Mexican food. Not only is the atmosphere incredible with its dark walls, long bar, and candle-lit tables but they also have one of those best things I’ve ever eaten that I mentioned above. 

And what is that best thing? The duck carnitas tacos. Yes, they are $$$$$$ but yes they are worth every penny. Truly. 

In addition to the duck tacos, the guacamole is amazing as well as many of their other small plates that change regularly with the season. They also have one of my favorite spicy margaritas around. 

Cosme is open every day for dinner and accepts reservations. Cosme is indoor dining only. Reservations fill up quickly but I’ve had luck grabbing a spot at the bar in a pinch. 

Sushi Kai 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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332 E 9th Street, East Village 

Omakase is something that I just recently realized I can’t live without. Sushi Kai offers some of the best in NYC in a BYOB experience for only eighty-five dollars a person. 

Located in the East Village, this small space is definitely one of the best places to eat in New York. The menu changes regularly and is determined by the chef but always consists of a trio appetizer, ten pieces of Nigiri, Uni Ikura Don and a hand roll. You can also add on anything you want for an additional fee.  

Sushi Kai is open everyday for dinner. Reservations are accepted and recommended as the space is very small. Indoor and outdoor dining is available, preferably a spot at the sushi counter inside. Sushi Kai is not only one of the best omakase experiences around but it is also a top restaurant in NYC. 

The Polo Bar 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1 East 55th Street, Midtown 

Another one of those good restaurants in NYC that falls into the impossible but worth the challenge to get a reservation category is the Polo Bar located right off Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. 

Yes, Polo Bar is in Midtown and I’m sure as a local you are cringing at the thought of spending your time in Midtown Manhattan and fighting the crowds of tourists flocking Fifth Avenue. I get it but I promise that the Polo Bar is worth it for the vibe alone. 

The space itself is a production style, starting with the bar at the front of the restaurant that is lined with parquet floors and leather banquets. Once seated, you will head downstairs for more of said floors and banquets only to now be surrounded by equestrian art and all of the brown and green plaid your heart desires. You will also see at least one celebrity during your time here.

As far as food goes, this is another American restaurant where the burger is king. Just don’t do what I did and tell them you are splitting by four because while it is great service, they cut into four small bites that seems to take away the glory of the burger itself. Other standout items include the shrimp cocktail, pigs in a blanket, corn beef sandwich and all the sides you can fit on your table. Outside the burger, the filet and skirt steak are wonderful. 

The Polo Bar is open every day for dinner except for Sunday and Monday. Reservations are accepted, even though they are nearly impossible to get unless you spend time calling right when they open and waiting on hold, which is honestly worth it. 

Kiki’s 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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130 Division Street, Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is consistently home to some of the best places to eat in NYC and Kiki’s is just one of those restaurants that ranks high in a top restaurant in NYC. 

The scene at Kiki’s is trendy but the food isn’t and in this case, that’s a good thing. They stick to Greek classics and they do the classics really, really well. Plus, they have carafes of wine for under $30 so really you can’t beat this place. 

Kiki’s does not accept reservations but is open for lunch and dinner daily and offers both indoor and outdoor dining options. Dinner service runs late and while the space looks small and the wait time seems long, you never end up waiting as long as you anticipate.

Plus, you are in one of the best neighborhoods for bar hopping in New York City so make the most of your wait time before you enjoy one of NYC’s best restaurants. 

Lil Frankie’s 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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19 1st Avenue, Lower East Side 

I’m sure you’re not surprised to see another Italian restaurant on this list. Lil Frankie’s is another one of those good restaurants in NYC that the more you eat at it, the more it becomes a great and top restaurant in New York City. 

The best thing about Lil Frankie’s is that it checks the box for everyone from vegetarians to picky eaters to your pretentious mother-in-law. Need a space for a big group? Lil Frankie’s. Need a space for a last-minute birthday dinner? Lil Frankie’s. Want to impress a first date? Lil Frankie’s. 

Known for their pizza and pasta, you won’t be disappointed with either. The best pasta for sure is the spaghetti limone while the margherita is the best in the pizza department. The whole roasted eggplant is great as an appetizer and the roast chicken is great for those avoiding carbs. 

Lil Frankie’s is open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are accepted and recommended. Both indoor and outdoor dining options are available. 

Katz’s Delicatessen 

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205 E Houston Street, Lower East Side 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Katz’s Deli, which is reason enough that it should be included as one of the best restaurants in New York City. It also consistently earns a Michelin Bib award making it easily one of the best places to eat in NYC if you’re looking for a classic Jewish deli.

Located on the Lower East Side, this Jewish deli has been a staple for over a hundred years. It goes without saying that you order the pastrami sandwich. Another one of those sandwiches that is $$$ but another one of those sandwiches that is worth every cent. The sandwich is big enough to split but is also great leftover so I’ll let you decide. Pickles are included with every meal but make sure to go ahead and get some extras. Throw in a bowl of matzoh ball soup and you’ll continue to want to come back to this top restaurant in NYC over and over again. 

The hours for Katz’s vary by day so make sure you check the hours before visiting. Don’t be deterred by the line that wraps around the block because it is always worth the wait but whatever you do, do not lose your paper ticket. 

And for those Harry Met Sally fans, you should definitely see if their table is available.

Mamoun’s Falafel 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Multiple Locations: 119 MacDougal Street (West Village, Manhattan), 30 St Marks Place (East Village, Manhattan),  508 Columbus Avenue (Upper West Side, Manhattan) 

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made was literally living directly above Mamoun’s Falafel in the East Village and never eating there. That was a big mistake on my part because I missed out on having one of NYC’s best restaurants at my doorstep (literally). 

With multiple locations in the city, Mamoun’s is known for their falafel sandwiches and for very good reason. They also have delicious shawarma and chicken kebob wrapped in a pita pocket with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tahini sauce. The classic, falafel, and hummus with the ingredients above, is my favorite but if you want something other than falafel, don’t miss the sullivan with chicken kebob, hummus, and tabbouleh. 

Mamoun’s is open daily but make sure you check the hours before you visit as each location varies. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining and it can also be taken to go. 

Keens Steakhouse 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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72 West 36th Street, Midtown

Keens Steakhouse is another iconic NYC restaurant and definitely one of NYC’s best steakhouses. Old school steakhouse/mob vibes dominate this restaurant located in the heart of Herald Square in Midtown. Not to mention it was one of the favorites of the late Anthony Bourdain. 

The restaurant itself has been around since 1885 and an experience. The walls are covered with antiques and the ceiling is lined with over 45,000 smoking pipes that belonged to former members of Keens’ Pipe Club, like Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, JP Morgan, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Albert Einstein.

You’re going to eat a lot of meat at Keen’s but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start with the thick-cut bacon. You should also order a lot of sides to go with whatever cut you choose. Everything is delicious but the porterhouse is probably my favorite cut and is big enough to split and perfect to save room for the hot fudge sundae at the end of your meal. 

Keens is open daily for lunch except on the weekends but open every night for dinner. They accept reservations and offer indoor dining. 

J.G. Melon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1291 3rd Avenue, Upper East Side 

As I said before, there are good restaurants in NYC and then there are great restaurants in NYC. There are also good burgers in NYC and then there are great burgers in NYC. J.G. Melon falls into both of those latter categories. Not only is it one of NYC’s best restaurants it is also reason enough to trek up to the Upper East Side. 

If it’s not clear enough from the paragraph above you come to J.G. Melon for the burger. They also have a great house salad and chili but you cannot come to J.G. Melon and not order the burger. Also, get an extra side of pickles. 

J.G. Melon is open every day but Sunday until 3 am but don’t worry you can still get your fix on Sunday until 1 am. They are also open everyday for lunch. J.G. Melon is cash only and reservations are not accepted. Both indoor and outdoor dining is available but the bar is definitely the best spot. 

Bonnie’s 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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398 Manhattan Avenue, Williamsburg

You’ve probably heard about Bonnie’s from just about anyone and everyone who lives in New York as yet another place to enjoy in Williamsburg. This Cantonese American-style restaurant is from a former chef at Win Son and is already known as one of those impossible-to-get reservations and for very good reason. 

The whole vibe of the restaurant is relaxed yet upbeat and you’ll often find Biggie blasting through the speakers as you enjoy all the best creative dishes including the standouts of their take on a McRib and the Cacio e Pepe. For more traditional and less flashy dishes, make sure to order the fermented long beans or dao gok, some oysters and the trout but whatever you do, don’t skip the tinned dace dip and the gerng jook. Wash all this down with an inventive cocktail while remembering that this might be the only time you snag a reservation for a while so full advantage should be taken.

Bonnies is open every day for dinner except for Mondays and while reservations are accepted, you should make a mental note to set your Resy notifications now. Both inside and outside dining options are available for this top restaurant in New York City. 

Rubirosa 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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235 Mulberry Street, Nolita

Rubirosa is definitely one of the most consistently delicious restaurants in New York. No matter how many times you go for however many different events, you always know your food is going to be good. They also, just like Lil Frankie’s, satisfy everyone on your list and has a little something for everyone on the menu. 

Located in Nolita in Manhattan, Rubirosa has stood the test of time. As far as what to order, the vodka pizza is the best on the menu followed very closely by the ricotta ravioli. They also have some incredible mozzarella sticks and obviously a tie-dye pesto pizza that not only looks pretty but also tastes delicious. 

Rubirosa offers both indoor and outdoor dining but the outdoor options are small. They are open daily for dinner and reservations are accepted. Earning Michelin bib status for several years in a row, make sure Rubirosa is at the top of your list to visit whether you live in New York or are just visiting. 

Red Rooster 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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310 Lenox Avenue, Harlem 

I first visited Red Rooster during restaurant week, which is sometimes the best time to try out new places because you get to try their food but you also aren’t committing to spending hundreds which can often be the case at a New York City restaurant. I’m happy to report that Red Rooster is worth the price and is a place that I will consistently and gladly make my way uptown for fried chicken. 

The food isn’t even the best part about Red Rooster though. The vibes are always immaculate and everyone here genuinely always seems to be in a great mood. On Sundays, they have live jazz and other days the DJ is blasting great tunes, the perfect company to some great Southern dishes. 

If you’re with a group, order the chicken tower. It has all the variety you need and saves enough room for you to order all the sides, which you will want them all. If you’re dining solo, the crispy bird sandwich is one of my favorites in NYC. 

Red Rooster is open daily for lunch and dinner. The closing hours vary by day so make sure you check the hours before visiting. They do accept reservations and offer both indoor and outdoor dining. 

Frenchette

 

 
 
 
 
 
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241 West Broadway, Tribeca

Not only is Frenchette one of the most beautiful restaurants in NYC, it is also one of the best brasseries in the city as well. Located in Tribeca, this upscale French restaurant changes its menu daily but you need to keep coming back until you find the duck frites on the menu. 

Each meal at Frenchette should start with something from the “Amuse” section of the menu. Everything in this section is perfectly portioned to where you just feel excited to eat more but aren’t too full from the appetizer. 

As far as the rest of the menu goes, make sure you get some wine to start. If the duck frites are on the menu, order them. You won’t be disappointed with anything you try so be adventurous and enjoy the rich, decadent, and unapologetically delicious French cuisine. 

Frenchette is open everyday for lunch and dinner. They have both indoor and outdoor dining but the indoor is where you should try to be for the black and white checked floors alone. Reservations are accepted and if you’re here early, make sure you check out their bakery around the corner as well. 

Olmsted 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights

Immediately when I started writing this guide I knew that Olmsted had to be included as one of the best restaurants in NYC and it is the perfect recommendation to wrap up this guide. Head chef, Greg Braxtrom, is a chef who spent time in the kitchens of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Alinea, and Per Se, among other impressive restsaurants and has taken those Michelin Stars and created some of the best food in Brooklyn.

Located in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, you feel the instant cozy vibes the minute you walk into Olmsted. There are wooden tables throughout, plants lining the walls and a long bar up front, which is the perfect place to dine in the colder months. When it is warm, I highly recommend enjoying your meal outside in their backyard. 

The menu changes regularly but each time I’ve been, everything I’ve ordered has been some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Whatever meal you are there for, start with the bread. I’m not sure anyone does bread and butter better. The butter melts in your mouth and the bread is so warm and truly feels like it is right out of the oven. 

Olmsted accepts reservations and is open daily for dinner and lunch on the weekends. It has a total neighborhood feel and is the perfect place for a solo date at the bar or a group dinner with friends.

Maison Yaki and Patti Ann’s are two other delicious Prospect Heights restaurants from Greg Braxtrom too.


About Our Guest Author 

Molly Royce – Originally from Oklahoma, I moved to NYC for grad school and have had a hard time wanting to leave ever since. There really is no better borough than Brooklyn where I live with my boyfriend and our black lab, Frankie. There’s no greater city in the world and I can’t wait to share my love of the city, eating, and drinking with all of you. 


Did we miss your favorite restaurant in New York City? Let us know in the comments below, as we said this list is always going to change and evolve if we haven’t been we’ll put it on our radar to check out. Happy eating!

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