New York City Restaurant Guide
Have you ever wished that there was a way to jet from the world's greatest cities one-by-one just to enjoy the most delicious of the world's finest cuisine? In New York City your wish has been granted. Better yet, without the need for your your own private jet, in New York City you can easily cab to enjoy the world's finest cuisine in more restaurants per square mile than most other cities in the world. Enjoy American, BBQ, Cajun, Creole, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Seafood, and more international fine cuisine within minutes of your New York City Hotel. We've put together a bucket list of some New York City dining establishments that you'll want to try out on your trip.
611 Fifth Ave., 8th fl.
New York, NY, 10022-6899
High atop Saks, this New American favorite of the shop-till-you-drop crowd offers restorative light lunches along with a glorious view of St. Patrick's; it makes for a civilized pick-me-up, but you must go early to avoid a long wait.
130 E. 39th St.
New York, NY, 10016-0906
Atmosphere is everything at this Murray Hill New American via Drew Nieporent, from the stylish crowd to the slinky design with tunnel-of-love lighting; cynics, contradicted by the menu's high ratings, say the kitchen's creativity plays second fiddle to the scene, adding you have to be young to stand the noise level.
824 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY, 10019-4404
Kitschy but tasty twists on diner favorites surface at this arty Hell's Kitchen American-Thai featuring conversation-starting record sleeve menus that echo its retro looks; low prices make it a great pre-theater option, despite occasionally laughable service.
15 E. 15th St.
York, NY, 10003
Surveyors give a tip of the toque to this diminutive New American beauty with a pronounced French accent, giving it high marks for its stylish, serious cooking and intimate (if underdecorated) setting just west of Union Square; dot-goners, however, may want to take out a loan first, since the bill may floor you.
COWGIRL HALL OF FAME
519 Hudson St.
New York, NY, 10014-2601
Corn dogs and tequila shots make an interesting meal at this West Village Southwesterner known for its trailer park eats served in campy digs, though the ultra-cheap tabs are no joke.
HOG PIT BBQ
22 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY, 10014-1204
Manhattan rednecks close their eyes and channel Texas at this Meatpacking District BBQ joint that supplies cheap, lurid fun with greasy food; there's agreement it looks like a rickety shack, but debate over what's saucier - the ribs or the barmaids?
99 E. 19th St.
New York, NY, 10003-1301
Everything's fried and true at this laid-back, down-home Southern BBQ comfort-grub joint with kitschy decor; although the beer-fueled, fratty after-work scene is a bit much, this Gramercy spot is kid-friendly and boasts good delivery.
143 Spring St.
New York, NY, 10012-3812
It's hard to believe this backwoods BBQ has put down roots in SoHo, but hillbilly fans pretend they're in the hollow and wallow in big ol' slabs of ribs; critics contend that this Jersey-esque approach, albeit inexpensive, is about as authentic as New England clam chowder in Memphis.
212 RESTAURANT & BAR
133 E. 65th St.
New York, NY, 10021
Despite a Euro-Hamptons bar scene right out of Sex and the City, this East Side American turns out surprisingly good chow; there's no truth to the rumor they're opening a street cart called 917.
ACME BAR & GRILL
9 Great Jones St.
New York, NY, 10012
Hog wild habitués insist it's all about the sweet potato fries at this grungy NoHo Cajun dishing out authentically fake Southern eats that make for inexpensive, messy fun; as for that faux roadhouse decor, let's just say it's not to everyone's taste.
308 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY, 10027-4405
Harlem's lucky to host this Cajun-Creole bit of New Orleans that's proving it's not too far north after all; revelers trumpet its fun feel, while stargazers hope for the possibility of rubbing shoulders with Bill Clinton at a power lunch.
DELTA GRILL, THE
700 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY, 10036-3603
Jambalaya junkies fix on cheap, calorific Southern comfort food at this Hell's Kitchen rajun Cajun where the spicy eats and enjoyable bayou atmosphere make up for the down-and-dirty digs.
LA BELLE EPOQUE
New York, NY, 10003-4783
This charming Central Village French-Creole transports you to a different era with its stylized take on 19th-century Paris; it's most fun on tango nights, but ratings show you could do better.
EXCELLENT DUMPLING HOUSE
111 Lafayette St.
New York, NY, 10013-4105
Go back to basics at this Chinatown dive where there's no decor whatsoever to distract from the mouthwatering potstickers; it's a must for blowing a jury duty stipend, since it's really cheap and there's no point in lingering.
MAPLE GARDEN DUCK HOUSE
236 E. 53rd St.
New York, NY, 10022-5201
Delectable Peking duck has folks flocking to this Midtown Chinese where you can duck in when the mood strikes, since you don't need to order it ahead; granted, the bland, suburban setting ruffles some feathers, but solid service and reasonable prices help smooth them.
1540 Second Ave.
New York, NY, 10028
Even though this Chinese Eastsider serves more than just pork, the dishes from its menu's porcine region are a cut above the rest; if some longtime patrons are still adjusting to the upscale revamp a couple of years back, most say it seems rejuvenated and still provides priceless pigging out.
148 Hester St.
New York, NY, 10013-4735
An off-the-beaten-path, quirky Chinatown find, this funky, always-crowded, Hong Kong-style joint resembles a dingy rec room; its adventurous menu offers great variety, which can be a problem, since some find it hard to figure out what's good and what's simply strange.
New York, NY, 10025-5654
So out of place and so welcome, this double-decker West Side French bistro presents well-thought-out fare that rivals that of far costlier establishments; just ignore your neighbor's elbows, the awkward space and somewhat scatterbrained service.
414 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY, 10036
As wonderful and dramatic as Josephine Baker herself, owner Jean-Claude's quirky Times Square paean to his mother gets you in the mood for the theater; its recently redone decadent decor and tasty French fare also add to the ooh-la-la factor.
New York, NY, 10025-7820
Captive audience Columbia students are divided on this good-looking French brasserie: fans claim it brings quality cooking to Morningside Heights, but foes find it a charming envelope with nothing inside, except poor service that's particularly gauling.
306 E. 81st St.
New York, NY, 10028-3931
An undiscovered Yorkville treasure, this cozy Asian-accented New French should be packed every night, since its delish dishes are such a good value (especially the wallet-friendly early-bird); but pickier eaters say this valiant effort doesn't always hit the mark.
1135 First Ave.
New York, NY, 10021
Large portions at low prices are a winning combination at this humble East Side Italian that's often elbow-to-elbow, even though picky eaters find the generic grub not heavenly.
157 E. 55th St.
New York, NY, 10022-4029
A congenial host makes first-timers feel like regulars at this upscale but homey Midtown Italian that's like eating at a friend's; maybe it's a little overpriced, but high and low rollers alike call it a safe bet for civilized dining and outstanding service.
967 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY, 10021-5103
Throngs of singles show up to be fed and seen at this frenetic Upper East Side Northern Italian; though the wild decor almost overwhelms its terrific pizzas, most people are having too good a time to notice.
LETIZIA AMORE RESTAURANT
1374 First Ave.
New York, NY, 10021
For a cozy, traditional Italian meal replete with Sinatra, Marilyn and Kennedy photos, you could do worse than consider this new Eastsider; the pastas and other standards are joined by less typical game dishes like pheasant and rabbit.
55 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY, 10014
Ok, it's so small you can't sneeze, but this flavorful West Village Italian find manages to turn out tasty home cooking at very fair prices (including bargain lunch specials); in clement weather, sidewalk seating relieves the jam-packed room.
325 W. 51st St.
New York, NY, 10019
What the waiters promise, the kitchen delivers at this highly innovative Italian standout on an unassuming block in Hell's Kitchen's burgeoning restaurant district; reasonable tabs, a sleek interior and an exquisite outdoor garden make this one a real winner.
6 Bond St.
York, NY, 10012-2312
Matisse meets sashimi at this ultra-cool NoHo Japanese where the artfully done, sushi-centric menu is as delicious as the rail-thin, leggy crowd; no surprise, you can count on high-octane attitude and prices that aren't as anorexic as the waitresses, but in return there's that sexy, sleek setting and downstairs bar that's quite the scene.
467 Columbus Ave.
New York, NY, 10024
Eat up and disco down at this wild West Side Japanese where the glaring neon and DJ-spun dance music delight the loud crowd just as much as the pretty good sushi; although a tacky, so '80s scene with killer decibel levels, it makes birthdays special and every day a celebration.
66 Park Ave.
New York, NY, 10016-3007
Traditional types pronounce the multicourse kaiseki dinner at this Murray Hill hotel Japanese the experience of a lifetime and say the great-tasting sushi, beautiful presentation and very formal service will make you feel like you're in Japan - unfortunately, the towering tab will too.
New York, NY, 10024-4902
Hailed as a huge step forward for the Upper West Side, this Nobu-esque Japanese nëwcomer arrives with excellent nontraditional fare centered around amazing sushi; an as-yet unconvinced minority bemoans sizable tabs for tiny portions - your stomach and wallet are empty an hour later.
248 E. 52nd St., 2nd fl.
York, NY, 10022-6201
Among the most generous of Japanese, this Midtowner's Saturday night half-off deal is worth waiting for, and it rises to the occasion with big pieces of fresh sushi and sashimi; despite its sterile environs, it's quite popular - go early.
5 Bleecker St.
New York, NY, 10012-2445
Cramped yet cozy, this shabby chic NoHo Mediterranean is a good bet if you're trawling for earthy cooking along the lines of a very authentic Portuguese fish stew; still, the smoking-allowed policy is a little too authentic for fresh-air fanatics.
160 Central Park S.
York, NY, 10019-1561
Breakfast is bliss amidst the flowers and greenery that mirror this delightful Med-French's lush Central Park views; though the cooking's typically delicious, its good value prix fixe deals and buffet brunches fit for a king are standouts.
New York, NY, 10010-7108
The ambiance is just right at this classy deco Flatiron Med-New American, a scene without attitude where jazz fans sip great cosmopolitans and watch the band playing above the bar; hep cats call the food nearly as tasty as the riffs and grooves, but those not in sync say just ok.
178 Second Ave.
New York, NY, 10003
Its thirtysomething fan base likes this dark, relaxed Med for its diverse menu that's always dependable for food with personality at old East Village prices; its few critics consider it uneven.
254 W. 72nd St.
New York, NY, 10023-2821
Owned by singer/songwriters Ashford and Simpson, this West Side African-Mediterranean draws a random crowd of yups and bups with an artful, seafood-leaning menu and a cool, recently renovated space; flat notes include pricey tabs and service that's not solid as a rock.
TERRACE IN THE SKY
400 W. 119th St.
New York, NY, 10027
Known for its spectacular skyline view, this classy, terraced Morningside Heights rooftop star in the sky also provides superb French-Med fare and gracious service, while a harpist strikes the right chords; granted, it all comes at what seem like splurge prices this far Uptown, but you get fantastic everything in return.
BABY BO'S BURRITOS
627 Second Ave.
New York, NY, 10016
Terrific, little-known Tex-Mex hiding out in Murray Hill, despite addictive burritos served in a cozy space; though prices are low in general, its fabulous lunch specials are especially noteworthy.
201 Third Ave.
New York, NY, 10003-2501
In the heart of NYU territory comes this new Mexican with a healthy spin, turning out fare made strictly from organic ingredients; even better, prices are right and it's open daily till 5 AM.
186 Ave. A (12th St.)
New York, NY, 10009
The union of Asian and Mexican cooking at this offbeat East Villager makes for some clever new tastes to wake up your mouth; though some snipe at fusion confusion, modest prices and caring service led by a personable owner make this a must-try.
19 Cleveland Pl.
New York, NY, 10012
Don't touch that dial: in its new NoLita digs, this above-average Mexican finally has some elbow room, although it may be too dark to see; while nostalgists miss the old charm, killer margaritas and tasty grub cut through any static.
767 Washington St.
New York, NY, 10014-1746
At this intentionally tacky West Village Tex-Mex hot spot, hula-hooping frat guys and bingo-mad bachelorettes down dangerous margaritas and bypass the bypass-inducing food; come have some laughs, but just make sure you don't have to work the next day.
13 W. 54th St.
New York, NY, 10019-5404
From its sublime Scandinavian fare to the therapeutic waterfall, this flawless Midtown Modernist classic from culinary magician Marcus Samuelsson celebrates the joys of salmon and just gets better with time; though the prices are as high as the [atrium] ceiling, its wonderful selection of aquavits numbs the sting and the casual upstairs cafe remains a bargain.
DALGA SEAFOOD GRILL
401 E. 62nd St.
New York, NY, 10021
The name translates as 'wave', and this small Turkish newcomer near the Queensboro Bridge is making a big splash stressing a wonderful selection of sensational seafood rather than the conventional kebabs; the soothing, marine-blue decor may get modest ratings, but the pleasant service does better.
35 Cooper Sq.
New York, NY, 10003-7107
Thirsting for a quiet oasis in the Cooper Square dining desert, nomads turn to this swell seafooder, which continues to surprise first-timers with its lovely garden seating and good selection of fin fare; it's also priced for value, with a certified steal of a $20 pre-theater prix fixe.
GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR
Grand Central, lower level
New York, NY, 10017
This 1913 Grand Central seafood tradition is a Damon Runyon-esque quintessential standard that's the place for anything on the half-shell; despite lousy acoustics, grouchy waiters and tabs that may run you a lotta clams, it more than redeems itself with wonderful fresh fish, a grand vaulted ceiling, lively counter seating and chowder to dream about - if only the trains were this reliable.
55 E. 54th St. New York, NY,
Phenomenal phish leagues above the rest defines this opulent yacht moored in landlocked Midtown that rises to the surface with slick nautical decor and flawless service directed by the best captain in the city; though priced way above the water (prix fixe only: $40 lunch, $65 dinner), this deep-sea shrine is worth every last dime - you'll never want to go back on shore again.
ROY'S NEW YORK
130 Washington St.
New York, NY, 10006-1523
Paradise comes to Lower Manhattan at this original, if expensive, Asian seafooder from star Honolulu chef Roy Yamaguchi, whose innovative use of exotic flavors is improving all the time; its airy digs feel almost as laid-back as Hawaii.
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