The 20 best restaurants in NYC right now

Korean skewer sets, a stunning new Indian eatery, and old favorites are among the offerings.

May 2022: In addition to dining, what are the finest things to do in NYC? Check out our suggestions below, and while you’re at it, check out the greatest bars in the city! 

Choosing a favorite restaurant in New York City is a fun activity that offers a wide range of options depending on the occasion, mood, and even the season. Despite their varied traits, your favorite dive, fine dining restaurant, and ‘any night’ type of establishment may all occupy top ranks on your own best list.

Our list of the top restaurants in New York City is the same, including all of those categories and more to create a database of all the places we wish we were eating right now. They don’t have to be the newest or most well-known (though some are), simply locations that we want to visit again and again, and that we believe you will as well.

Best restaurants in NYC

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1. Kochi

Restaurants Korean Hell’s Kitchen

What exactly is it? Sungchul Shim, a Per se alum, created a nine-course skewer tasting inspired by Korean royal court food. Kochi is a new Michelin-starred restaurant that opens in 2019.

Why We Love it? Ordering everything on the menu is usually relegated to daydreams, but at Kochi, it’s possible. Its $125 prix-fixe includes nine courses like charcoal grilled Spanish mackerel and braised short rib. Supplements like caviar and sea urchin are also available. Why Do We Adore It? Ordering everything on the menu is normally a pipe dream, but it’s feasible at Kochi. The $125 prix-fixe menu features nine courses, including charcoal-grilled Spanish mackerel and braised short rib. Caviar and sea urchin supplements are also available.

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2. Crown Shy

Restaurants American Financial District

What exactly is it? James Kent, longstanding chef de cuisine at Eleven Madison Park and executive chef at NoMad, and Jeff Katz, managing partner of Del Posto, collaborated on this project. Crown Shy serves delicious meals and gorgeous beverages in an elegant setting that is equal parts special occasion location and pleasant evening whim.

Why do we adore it? Crown Shy has a powerful presence without being threatening. This-has-to-be-the-place atmosphere that manages to be friendly and approachable. The gruyère fritters, roasted short rib, and regally adorned Crown drinks are our favorites.

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3. Dhamaka

Restaurants Lower East Side

What exactly is it? The best new Indian restaurant in NYC, with delicacies rarely seen on local menus.

Why do we adore it? The Adda team’s second act included dishes such as gurda kapoora (goat kidney, testicles, red onion, and pao), doh khleh (pork with lime, cilantro, onion, and ginger), and champaran meat, which they describe to as “the neglected side of India” (mutton, garlic, red chili). Cocktails featuring gin, rose water, dragon fruit, lemon, and aquafaba, such as the Gulaabo, are also worth a visit to Dhamaka’s multicolored bar.

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4. Rezdôra

Restaurants Italian Flatiron

What exactly is it? Chef Stefano Secchi formerly worked at Osteria Francescana, the greatest restaurant in the world in 2018, and went on to create one of New York City’s best restaurants the following year. He uses the greatest quality cheeses and seasonal ingredients from farmers’ markets to create a sneakily astonishing array of pastas at Rezdôra.

Why do we adore it? Even for those who grew up on pasta night, dinner at Rezdôra feels like a fresh culinary experience. Individual meals are offered, but the $95 regional pasta tasting is a fun way to sample the finest of the restaurant.

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5. Atoboy

Restaurants Korean Flatiron

What exactly is it? Chef Junghyun Park’s collection of modern Korean small plates is served in five courses for $75. For $27, you can have fried chicken with spicy peanut sauce and gochujang sauce.

Why do we adore it? One of the greatest methods to try as much as possible is to use a tasting menu, although some are overly restrictive and prohibitively pricey. Park’s prix-fixe menu is more cheap than most, and most courses come with a few options.

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6. Gramercy Tavern

Restaurants American creative Flatiron

What is it? An NYC classic you can dress up or down(ish).

Why do we adore it? The dining area in the back and the tavern space up front, with a bar that feels like the place to be, provide a big night out vibe. The $158 five-course tasting menu in the dining room, which includes halibut with poached lobster and roasted duck breast right now, is a great way to splurge, or order à la carte in the (also wonderful) tavern section, where every main is $36 or less.

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7. Sushi Nakazawa

Restaurants Japanese West Village

What is it? Incredible and slightly more accessible omakase from Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s chef Daisuke Nakazawa.

Why do we adore it? Sushi Nakazawa boasts all of the fine quality and reverent ambiance of its higher-priced contemporaries for a slightly less account-clearing cost. Chef’s picks at NYC’s greatest sushi restaurants can easily cost $300 or more, but reservations at Nakazawa’s counter cost $180 for roughly 20 dishes that include fatty tuna, sea urchin, and yellowtail. The tranquil dining room costs $150, with exquisite sake pairings costing $90.

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8. Ugly Baby

Restaurants Thai Carroll Gardens

What exactly is it? Ugly Baby, a Thai restaurant that has been thriving on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens since 2017, will put your heat tolerance to the test. Do not be afraid of the spice, whether you order the “stay-away fiery Udon Thani’s duck salad” or the khao soi. Instead, order a bowl of calming tue ka ko and let the coconut cool your mouth.

Why do we adore it? Ugly Baby’s use of spice is a master class in heat that both beginners and experts will enjoy. The wait for tables can be long, as it is at many of the city’s greatest restaurants, but the food is also good for takeout and delivery. It has also lately started taking reservations.

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9. Oxomoco

Restaurants Mexican Greenpoint

What exactly is it? Oxomoco (from the same team as Speedy Romeo) specializes in wood-fired foods. Beet “chorizo,” salmon, and lamb tacos are among the alternatives.

Why do we adore it? The food is serious, the environment is upbeat, and the entire experience is enjoyable. For example, Oxomoco’s cocktail menu includes frozen cocktails, which many restaurants of this class do not.

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10. Gage & Tollner

Restaurants Downtown Brooklyn

What exactly is it? Gage and Tollner was formerly one of Brooklyn’s most prominent restaurants, but it closed in 2004 after more than a century of existence. After a baker’s dozen years, a trio of Brooklyn hospitality specialists got to work resurrecting it, and Gage and Tollner is now up for business after a hiatus in 2020.

Why do we adore it? Gage and Tollner’s previous estimated opening date of March 15, 2020 generated a lot of attention at the time, and the wait just added to the excitement. The venue is just as wonderful as we expected, with rich, sumptuous cuisine items that are repeated with occasional throwbacks. Walk-ins are given priority at the bar, making it a little easier to get in.

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11. Rangoon

Restaurants Burmese Crown Heights

What exactly is it? Chef Myo Moe’s Burmese cuisine pop-up in 2015 evolved into a full-fledged restaurant in 2020.

Why do we adore it? Moe’s menu gives a delightful introduction to this Southeast Asian cuisine, which is uncommon in the city. Lemongrass fish noodle soup and tamarind pumpkin stew are among the colorful foods served in the clean, all-white venue.

12. Petite Crevette

Restaurants Seafood Carroll Gardens

What exactly is it? Two tiny, eclectically fashioned dining rooms brimming with charm serve top-notch, relatively plain fish.

Why do we adore it? Petite Crevette is one of the city’s few BYOB restaurants, so you can easily mix wonderful whole fish dishes, filled cioppino bowls, and richly flavored Thai bass curry with your favorite bottles and still enjoy a fantastic, less expensive than normal meal out. Wait times reflect the restaurant’s under-the-radar status, but there’s always space at sibling wine bar Flying Lobster, which is immediately next door.

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13. Van Da

Restaurants Vietnamese East Village

What exactly is it? A Vietnamese restaurant that brightened up the area when it launched in 2019 and quickly received honors like a New York Times star and a Michelin Bib Gourmand mention.

Why Do We Adore It? Van Da’s original menu is still available, which is fortunate given how difficult it was to get a table. Early favorites like short rib grilled cheese with a shot of pho, shaking beef and shrimp, and pig tapioca dumplings are just as delicious to eat again as they are the first time.

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14. Olmsted

Restaurants Contemporary American Prospect Heights

What exactly is it? A multi-award-winning combination of special occasion venue and local eatery with a seasonal focus. Herbs from Olmsted’s own minifarm are used in the cooking.

Why do we adore it? Olmstead’s skillfully crafted and executed cuisine has long had overtones of gourmet dining, with dinners such duck pastrami with sauerkraut and turnips costing no more than $34. According to an Instagram post, it shifted to a tasting format early this year, but “it will be tailored to maintain our visitors’ price point the same.”

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15. Dirt Candy

Restaurants Vegetarian Lower East Side

What exactly is it? Before eating plant-based became mainstream, Chef Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy was serving up inventive, tasty, and tremendously popular vegetarian fare.

Why do we adore it? The prix-fixe menu at Cohen’s changes periodically, so there’s always an incentive to return. Hand-pulled kale noodles, delicata squash riblets, and black garlic sticky toffee pudding are among the dishes on the current $90 five-course menu.

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16. Adda

Restaurants Indian Long Island City

What exactly is it? This wonderful Indian restaurant is run by the same people who run the more recently launched (and more difficult to book) Dhamaka. Menu dishes like butter chicken and kale pakoda sing with flavor. Peppers’ spiciness and cumin’s warmth are only two examples of flavors that entice you to return.

Why do we adore it? It’s a fun eating experience where the food is as lively as the atmosphere. Every time we return, the food feels fresh, with a wonderful combination of inventiveness and tradition.

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17. The Freakin Rican

Restaurants Puerto Rican Astoria

What exactly is it? Executive chef/owner Derick López’s The Freakin Rican, which began as a street fair mainstay, quickly received critical praise after opening its doors.

Why do we adore it? If you’re not from Astoria, the plantain and pig pasteles alone are worth the journey.

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18. Leland Eating and Drinking House

Restaurants Prospect Heights

What exactly is it? A small local diner on a charming corner where you might find yourself unintentionally returning.

Why do we adore it? A modest menu provides for a wide variety of choices, visit after visit. Once we can resist the temptation of Leland’s trout rillette, scorched lemon skillet mussels, and full fried fish, we plan to try them all. The kitchen also produces some of the best bread in or out of any of NYC’s top bakeries.

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19. Pata Paplean

Restaurants Thai Elmhurst

What exactly is it? This quaint noodle bowl destination (we recommend the boat type) is already in its ninth year and is sure to satisfy.

Why do we adore it? You’ll be served noodle soups that transport you to Bangkok. When the temperature rises above the broth, colorful beverages will keep you cool.

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20. Bâtard

Restaurants Contemporary European Tribeca

What exactly is it? Tasting menus with “Modern European” influences that approach fine dining standards.

Why do we adore it? In New York City, fine dining has become so pricey that many items in the category are unsuitable for everyday, weekend, or even special occasion consumption. Bâtard’s two-, three-, and four-course dinner menus (for $77, $87, and $97) fall just below fine dining’s often prohibitive price point while preserving culinary beauty on the plate and visual grace in the room.

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21. Bo Ky

Restaurants, Chinese, Chinatown

What exactly is it? Bo Ky’s menu features a combination of Cantonese and Southeast Asian cuisines and is one of the few restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown that specializes in Chaoshan cuisine. The noodle menu is extensive, with roasted duck and rice dishes included.

Why do we adore it? One of the best noodle businesses in Chinatown, with soothing dishes at a price-to-quality ratio that is unmatched.

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22. Sofreh

Restaurants, Persian, Prospect Heights

What exactly is it? The extraordinarily fragrant cuisine of Iran is finally getting the attention it deserves in one of New York’s few Persian restaurants. This Prospect Heights favorite serves roasted eggplant dip, beef kebab, and rosewater sorbet.

Why we love it? One of the best and only representations of Persian cuisine in town.

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