The gastronomic offer of New York is impressive. And not only in quantity: the quality of the city’s bars and restaurants is extraordinary, the best reward after visiting its museums, its most emblematic buildings or doing some of those things that can only be found in the Big Apple.
Narrowing down the list of the best restaurants in New York is no easy task: the city offers a vast list of world-class restaurants, from longtime favorites to hot spots that enter the competition week after week. But we did this hard work: we’ve detailed the best Italian restaurants in town, the best sushi, and more. Here’s the best of the best: the best restaurants Time Out New York’s food editor — and New York itself — couldn’t live without.
Eleven Madison Park
What is? Don’t call it a comeback. After earning status as the world’s best restaurant and then closing for the summer due to a swanky redesign, this Gramercy treasure is back in style. After its new opening, Daniel Humm is still in charge of the kitchen in this ultra-progressive landmark where you will find an epic tasting menu in the great dining room. The eight to ten-course format highlights Humm’s authorial instincts. You’re in luck, those tasty black and white cookies are still there.
What is? Brothers Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze brought Le Bernardin to Gotham back in 1986 and this fine dining venue has maintained its reputation ever since. With white tablecloths, thoughtful service, and the mandatory Americana rule in the main dining room, the restaurant has an exuberant retro feel. Presided over by Éric Ripert, Le Bernardin is a French Haute cuisine-style seafood classic where you will be amazed by the presentation of its tasting menu, a four-course banquet, as well as a much cheaper but equally impressive snack bar.
What is? When Masa Takayama, the world-famous sushi chef, arrived in New York, he offered what is perhaps the most expensive dinner in the history of this city (today, a dinner for two can cost up to $1,500). It should be clear that Takayama does not overcharge for his food: he more than delivers. And the mystery of everything – exquisite raw materials, unusual ingredients, and laborious techniques – can be lost with a diner who does not know the world of sushi inside out. Takayama meticulously prepares each bite to perfection with sushi that almost melts in your mouth. For serious foodies (like us), this experience is priceless.
What is? Five glorious luxury rooms. Absolutely elegant service. Enough foie gras and truffles to make the biggest Francophile blush. The haute cuisine of Daniel Humm and William Guidara has perfected French food. They offer the roast chicken you’ve heard so much about, the slow-cooked suckling pig, and the dry-aged duck with a touch of jalapeño. The food, as much as the space, evokes sheer sophistication.
What is? What a view, right? Ask for a table by the window in this skyscraper that still smells new. Although any seat will grant you a spectacular view – if you turn your back to the window, there is a mirror above the kitchen to see the city skyline – you will want the dizzying experience of seeing outside through a few centimeters of glass at 60 stories tall. On the windowsill, you will find binoculars to take a better look at everything that is happening below.
What is? Let’s toast to the most authentic of Williamsburg. Though a few imitators have succeeded in the past decade, none have captured the charm of this brewery-like steakhouse, with its dark-wood tables, worn floors, and vest-and-bow-tie waiters. Excess is their thing, whether it’s a fairly healthy tomato salad, the famous 1.25kg ribeye for two, or the apple strudel that comes with a bowl full of ‘Schlag’ (whipped cream). Go for it! It’s a unique New York night.
Ginza Onodera Sushi
What is? We have taken the bait. After decades of disappointing New Yorkers in search of good sushi, this Little Tokyo spot changed everything when it opened in 2016, and for a time held the title of the city’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Fresh seasonal omakase is brought in daily from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market, but the menu doesn’t slavishly rely on exotic ingredients. Ginza serves fish the way a diamond delivers charcoal: with meticulous finesse.
What is? They will have to pick up the reservation phone to access the exclusive tasting menu by chef David Chang. This menu is constantly changing and consists of 12 to 15 dishes, such as raw turbot with a layer of slightly sour buttermilk, poppy seeds, and homemade chili sauce or a ‘torchon’ of frozen and grated foie gras on a purée of lychee and pinion guilloche. The presentation of the dishes is great and affirms that Chang is the kind of innovator the city needs right now.
What is? The front door of this managed luxury Korean restaurant is hidden in the lobby of an apartment building next to the Nomad. Once seated at the bar, with the 10-course tasting menu (at $175 per person), you will be given a series of menus. Each dish is a new chapter in this gastronomic narrative, with the details of each preparation and its history. The menu – which includes fried king prawns, braised and grilled turbot, and seared rice pudding – becomes a meal of fantasy.
What is? A lucky restaurant will have a star dish that will arouse the interest of foodies and encourage all lovers of good food in New York to cross bridges and go through the tunnels of the city to try it. Lilia – the Williamsburg ‘trattoria’ that is also the culinary comeback and chef debut of the renowned Missy Robbins of A Voce – has a full menu of star dishes; the biggest problem you will have, apart from finding a free table, is choosing.
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