The Best NYC Restaurants by Neighborhood

shakeshack

Shake Shack


My almost-daily requested guide on where to eat in NYC, by neighborhood. For restaurants by cuisine, click here. Updated weekly.

Note: Shake Shack and Xi’an Famous Foods have numerous locations, and are listed under their neighborhoods. Scroll to the end for what to order at each.

Brooklyn

  • Chuko: the best ramen across the five boroughs, also known as my home away from home. Newcomer Bar Chuko across the road has tasty yakitori and izakaya-inspired bites. Order: salt and pepper chicken wings; pork bone ramen. $$
  • Roberta’s: hipster pizza that’s worth any L train delays. Order: at least one pizza per person, they’re that good. $$
  • Peter Lugers: the quintessential NYC steakhouse. Cash only, so come with a heavy wallet. Reserve as soon as you can or prepare to dine at 5 or 10.30pm. Order: forget the menu, tell your waiter this: bacon, tomato and onion salad, and the porterhouse. $$$
  • Pies ‘n’ Thighs: one of the city’s top 3 fried chicken joints in a cute retro corner spot. Order: fried chicken and biscuit. $
  • Frankies: oh how I love thee. My favorite feel-good Italian – can I move in? Order: cavatelli with sausage. $$
  • iCi: beautiful, light-filled market-driven restaurant. Oh, and we got married here! Order: the Wednesday night $25 3-course prix fixe is one of the city’s best deals. $$
  • Nightingale 9: coming from Sydney, NYC’s Vietnamese is a huge disappointment. Thank goodness for Nightingale 9. Order: pho; spring rolls. $$
  • Shake Shack * and Xi’an *

Chelsea

  • Legend: always reliable Sichuan spot with one of the city’s best hot pots. Order: Sichuan spicy diced rabbit. $$
  • Los Tacos No. 1: amazing tacos, watch the signoritas make the tortillas by hand. Order: carne asada tacos. $
  • Txikito: authentic Basque bites and refreshing txakoli. Order: head-on shrimp. $$

Chinatown

  • Spicy Village: no frills, super cheap and always friendly, one taste of the famous Big Tray of Chicken and you’ll be hooked. Order: Big Tray of Chicken with hand-pulled noodles. If you have room, everything else is A-grade too. $
  • Royal Seafood:  sorry NYC, but your dim sum just doesn’t compare to Sydney. But when you need a quick fix, Royal Seafood is more hit than miss. Order: the $15 lobster in ginger scallion served at lunch is a steal.
  • Xi’an *
ssambarduck

Momofuku Ssam Bar rotisserie duck

East Village

  • Momofuku Ssam Bar: my top NYC restaurant recommendation. Everything is so ridiculously delicious and unique and fun and if you don’t love Ssam Bar we probably should not be friends. Order: EVERYTHING (especially the rotisserie duck lunch or dinner). $$
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar: where NYC’s ramen obsession all began 10 years ago. Order: ramen and as many small plates as you can muster. $$
  • Porsena: rustic, cozy Italian. Order: anneloni with spicy lamb sausage and mustard greens. $$
  • Motorino: fab pizzas with perfectly puffy, crispy crusts. Order: Brussels sprouts pizza. $$
  • Root & Bone: NYC’s best fried chicken. Read my review here. Order: D’oh, the fried chicken. $$
  • Xi’an *

Financial District

  • The Dead Rabbit: sanctuary of speakeasy cocktails, surprisingly few Gordon Gekko types. Order: bartender’s choice. $$
  • Shake Shack *

Flatiron

  • Hanjan: Hooni Kim’s cozy Korean izakaya. Order: fried chicken; pork fat ddukbokki rice cakes. $$
  • Cafe El Presidente: colorful all-day Mexican joint with yummy tacos and aqua fresca cocktails. Order: fish tacos. $$
  • Eataly: always a good idea whether you just want a gelato or a glass of wine with antipasti. Order: frito misto at Il Pesce. $$
  • Shake Shack *

Greenwich Village

  • Otto: very reasonably priced pizza and pasta by Mario Batali. Order: olive oil gelato. $$

Lower East Side

  • Katz’s: the classic NY deli experience. Be prepared to wait. Order: forget the menu, just order the pastrami as soon as you sit down. $$
  • The Leadbelly: transport yourself to the seaside at this briny cocktail shack. Order: oysters and more oysters. $$
  • Cheeky Sandwiches: hole-in-the-wall Southern sandwich shop. Order: fried chicken biscuit sandwich. $

Lower Midtown

  • Miss Korea: the best Korean BBQ in NYC, open 24 hours. Order: any of the BBQ, and if you can manage it, a bubbling pot of soft tofu stew with mandu in winter. $$
  • Cafe China: probably the best Sichuan in Manhattan reminiscent of an elegant Shanghai speakeasy. Order: Chungking braised fish in red soup. $$
  • Xi’an *
xian

Xi’an Famous Foods lamb dumpling soup

Midtown

  • Momofuku Ma Peche: a haven amidst Midtown’s less-than-inspiring options. Order: a cocktail and anything off the dim sum cart. $$
  • Yakitori Totto: NYC’s best yakitori specializing in chicken. Reserve a seat at the bar and watch the magicians at work. Order: as much chicken yakitori as you can afford. $$
  • Totto Ramen: Totto’s tiny ramen den is worth the (excruciating) wait. Order: spicy ramen. $$
  • Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen: it’s hard to find good eats near Times Square. Kung Fu to the rescue! Order: spicy ramen; soup dumplings. $
  • Sakagura: part of the fun of Sakagura is finding the place. When you do (in the basement of an office building), get ready to order plate after plate of small, perfect Japanese bites, washed down with the city’s best sake menu. Order: beef tongue stewed in miso. $$
  • Marea: Michael White’s special occasion Italian/seafood mecca on Central Park. Order: the tasting menu, it’s really the only way to go here. $$$
  • Shake Shack *

Nolita

  • Two Hands: my favorite Australian cafe in NYC. Read my review here. Order: avocado toast and a flat white. $
  • Cocoron: handmade soba noodles a steal at around $10. Order: hot soba in winter, cold soba in summer; house made tofu. $
  • Taim: NYC’s best falafel. This stuff is crack. Order: mixed falafel platter. $
  • Peasant: romantic, real deal Italian. Order: get here early for the pig’s head, only a few available each night. $$
  • Baz Bagel: come for the pineapple wallpaper and stay for the bagel sandwiches. Order: Rainbow Kitty: gravlax, cream cheese, tomato, onion on a pumpernickel bagel. And the blintzes. $$

Soho

  • Pinche Taqueria: cheap and cheerful Mexican. Order: Fish and shrimp tacos. $
  • Osteria Morini: my favorite Italian. Come after 9pm on Monday nights for $10 pasta. Order: garganelli with cream, peas, truffle butter and prosciutto. $$

TriCeCa

  • Locanda Verde: perpetually packed, the popularity of Andrew Carmellini’s Italian hot spot has not waned since it opened in 2009. Order: crostini; lamb meatballs. $$

Union Square

  • Breads Bakery: great pitstop after shopping at the Union Square greenmarket. Order: the extraordinary chocolate babka. $
  • ABC Kitchen/ABC Cocina: smart-chic, market-driven menu. Order: at Kitchen, mushroom pizza; ice cream sundae / at Cocina, sweet pea empanadas. $$
lukeslobster

Luke’s Lobster lobster roll

Upper East Side

  • Jones Wood Foundry: gorgeous gastropub with an authentic British menu, no modern twists here. Order: fish and chips; banoffee pie. $$
  • Luke’s Lobster: NYC’s best lobster rolls, although the shrimp roll is my personal favorite and a bargain at $8. An ideal cheap eat while museum-hopping. Order: the shrimp roll meal deal: $11 for a shrimp roll, chips, pickle and drink. $

Upper West Side

  • Grandaisy: more-ish slices of pizza. Order: cauliflower pizza. $
  • Epicerie Boulud: stock up for your Central Park picnic. Order: jambon beurre baguette sandwich to go. $
  • Salumeria Rossi: stop by for a pre- or post-show aperitif. Order: Tuscan meat and cheese plate. $$
  • Shake Shack * and Xi’an *

West Village

  • Takashi: obscenely delicious yakitori spot specializing in beef. One of NYC’s best offal restaurants. Order: raw beef liver (and if you can get a reservation, the late-night weekend ramen). $$
  • Piora: when meat lovers come away recommending the market vegetable plate, you know something special is happening at this Italian-Korean gem. Order: monkey bread with whipped lardo and seaweed butter; market vegetables. $$
  • Sushi Nakazawa: NYC’s best sushi from Nakazawa-san, of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. Order: reserve a seat at the bar for the omakase or don’t bother. $$$

* Shake Shack: the best real food, fast food burgers. Order: double cheeseburger and a shake. $
* Xi’an Famous Foods: originally located in a Flushing food hall basement, Xi’an put hand-pulled noodles on the map. Order: anything with their famous hand-pulled noodles. $

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