Where to Eat in the Big Apple, From Old Favorites to Hot New Tables
A high-profile location right under The High Line elevated greenway in the Meatpacking District might have been enough to get crowds to Santina. But critically acclaimed, affordable coastal Italian fare from noted NYC restaurateurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick doesn’t hurt, either. Memorable bites include a delectable grilled whole fish and chickpea cecina (thin pancakes) with rock shrimp. Cocktails, such as the View from Positano with gin, black pepper and strawberry, round out the experience, as does the warm yet chic glass-box design.
820 Washington St., (212) 254-3000, santinanyc.com
2. Chinese Tuxedo
The exterior neon sign simply reads “Tuxedo,” but one step inside this hot new eatery and you know it’s Chinese. Or is it? The vintage Chinatown look is a nod to its location in a former Chinese theater, but the food itself reveals multiple identities. Critics call it “smart fusion”—think sweet-and-sour pork with pork cheek set atop fresh pineapple chunks and vinegar sauce.
5 Doyers St., (646) 895-9301, chinesetuxedo.com
Grain bowls are all the rage, and celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has perfected them at his new veggie-centric eatery inside décor shop ABC Carpet & Home (hence the restaurant’s name). Vegetarian and vegan dishes include a breakfast chia bowl of dates, congee (an Asian rice porridge) and scrambled eggs with broccoli, as well as non-bowl dishes like avocado lettuce cups with serrano peppers, pepitas, lime and toasted cumin. Alternative medicine advocate and author Deepak Chopra and his wife, Rita, even contributed the recipe for a dish: kitchari (rice and lentils) with yogurt, mint, fermented carrots and turmeric.
Inside ABC Carpet & Home, 38 E. 19th St., (212) 475-5829, abchome.com/eat/abcv
Daniel hasn’t ceased to amaze diners, even after more than 20 years. The Michelin-starred flagship restaurant for New York–based French chef Daniel Boulud offers a three- or four-course prix fixe menu or a seven-course tasting menu—both of which change with the seasons. Boulud’s outstanding French fare with an American twist includes the finest meat and seafood, desserts and vegetables (there’s even a vegetarian tasting menu). Note that jackets are required—though ties aren’t—and loaners are available. Fun fact: The Daniel space was the original home of prestigious French restaurant Le Cirque.
60 E. 65th St., (212) 288-0033, danielnyc.com
The Hindi word for traveler is the perfect name for an Indian restaurant aiming to explore the subcontinent in ambitious new ways. Young restaurateur and first-generation Indian immigrant Roni Mazumdar breaks from tradition with dishes like softshell crab with coconut milk, squid ink, crab butter and mango curry. Zagat named the West Village eatery one of New York City’s hottest new restaurants for 2017.
60 Greenwich Ave., (212) 373-8900, rahinyc.com
6. The Grill and The Pool
Celebrities flock to The Grill and The Pool—sibling restaurants in the Seagram Building space that held the legendary Four Seasons restaurant from 1959 to 2016. Thankfully, the new restaurants’ renovations didn’t remove the iconic decorative bar ceiling in The Grill or the elegant marble pool next door. The food is still great, too, including the must-order Lobster à la Newburg (lobster prepared with butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and Cayenne pepper).
99 E. 52nd St., (212) 375-9001, thegrillnewyork.com
After receiving two prior nominations for Best Chef NYC by the James Beard Foundation, Gabrielle Hamilton took home the honor in 2011. And a huge honor it was for this creative writing major (who, incidentally, also won a James Beard Award for her memoir Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef) turned caterer who, with no formal training, opened Prune in 1999. Caviar sandwiches are a specialty, as are mains such as whole roasted fish.
54 E. 1st St., (212) 677-6221, prunerestaurant.com
8. Los Tacos No. 1
You know you’ve made it as a food stand when you get a Zagat review (and a good one at that). This humble stand in the food arcade at Chelsea Market has generated quite the cult following for tacos under $4, adobada pork, specialties such as nopal (grilled cactus) and delicious aguas frescas. You’ll probably have to wait in line and be okay with not having a seat, but the tacos are worth the wait.
75 9th Ave., (212) 256-0343, lostacos1.com
9. Gramercy Tavern
This New York City classic appeals to crowds and critics alike for its smart seasonal dishes and warm service. Tasting menus are reasonable by New York standards ($170 for the main dining room’s dinner tasting menu, $150 for the vegetable tasting menu) and demonstrate executive chef Michael Anthony and pastry chef Miro Uskokovic’s love for treating dishes as ingredient ensembles. Recent highlights included beef tartare with zucchini, cashews and pickled cherries, as well as an apricot and saffron sundae with pistachio cookie, spicy caramel sauce and rice pudding ice cream. Note: Dishes in the tavern are similarly seasonal and less expensive than those served in the dining room.
42 E. 20th St., (212) 477-0777, gramercytavern.com
10. Katz’s Delicatessen
Not a heck of a lot has changed since Katz’s opened in 1888 in what was then a neighborhood of Jewish immigrants—and that’s reason to love the place. The long counter, rows of Formica-topped tables and old signs make for the perfect atmosphere in which to enjoy Katz’s legendary hand-carved pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, along with soups, hot dogs and pickles. Visit during weeknights to avoid the lines. No matter when you go, you get a ticket as you enter—then get it stamped as you pick up your food at each station. Don’t lose it, or you’ll get fined! It’s just another part of the beloved tradition that is a trip to Katz’s.
205 E. Houston St., (212) 254-2246, katzsdelicatessen.com