30 Best Restaurants in New York City for 2015 Gallery


#30 Blanca, Brooklyn

Say Roberta's is in the new class of restaurants that has fanned the flames of the Brooklyn vs. Manhattan debate, call it a great pizza joint, recall it as a frontrunner of the city's rooftop garden movement, and mention that Carlo Mirarchi was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine, and you'd still be selling it short. Roberta's is in Bushwick, six stops out of Manhattan on the L, and it's one of the city's best restaurants. Roberta’s Neapolitan pies are at the high end of the debate about which are the city's best, and pizza, tremendous pastas (cavatelli with oxtail, horseradish, and celery), and magnificently-prepared mains like wagyu flank steak with freekah and salsa verde aren’t even the point. You’re going to want to score one of the 12 seats at Blanca, the hard-to-reserve, 25-course (or more) tasting menu spot squirreled away in a separate building behind the complex’s main dining room. The cuisine? It’s an indulgent turn through Mirarchi’s culinary mind, at turns a bite of raw fish you’ll be tempted to compare to the best bite of omakase you’ve ever had, a thin slice of beautifully-marbled, duck egg yolk-dressed beef carpaccio that looks like it’s from your favorite steakhouse, and in between incredibly delicious pasta courses.

#29 Atera

After apprenticing at Noma and working under Andoni Aduriz at Mugaritz in Spain, chef Matthew Lightner made a name for himself at Castagna in Portland, before leaving the West Coast to establish this dark, cozy, and minimalist counter spot in TriBeCa, where he has commendably established himself by serving at Atera one of the city's destination tasting menus, one worthy of two Michelin stars and three stars from The New York Times. Two years, Lightner's canvas is just as relevant as it was when Michelin singled it out after being open for just six months. From beet embers to lichen chips, who knows what you'll be presented with by this downtown forager, but you can count on it being attuned to the culinary scene's cutting edge.

#28 The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons is a New York original, with a stunning, landmarked interior designed in 1959 by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, a faithful clientele of Gothamite high-rollers and power-lunchers, and an American menu that offers few surprises but usually manages to satisfy everyone's tastes. Located in Park Avenue’s historic Seagram Building (at least for now, there were reports last month that fueled rumors that the building’s landlord has new plans for the space), this is the place to order things like Dungeness crab salad, smoked salmon sliced tableside, grilled Dover sole, cassoulet, or crisp farmhouse duck, then sit back and dine like a grown-up.


#27 SriPraPhai, Queens


Yelp / Sara S

Consistently lauded by critics and Yelpers alike as the most authentic Thai restaurant in New York (although Portland-transplant Pok Pok Ny has its own Gotham following and East Village-newcomer Somtom der has made an impressive start) SriPraPhai boasts a menu as large as its reputation, from papaya salad with dry shrimp and crushed peanuts to fried fish with green mango sauce by way of classic pad thai and sauted pork leg with chiles, garlic, and basil. Feeling overwhelmed by the spread? Ask a member of the friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff for a recommendation, but be forewarned: things may get spicy.

#26 Torrisi Italian Specialties

Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone saved turkey from Thanksgiving and made everyone rethink New York's Little Italy (and Italian-American food in general) when they launched their shoebox of a shop on Mulberry Street in 2010. The chefs recognized the untapped potential of Italian-American cuisine, showing that with love for the genre and attention to detail, it has nothing to do with the foil baking pans filled with chicken Francese and the plates of criminally congealed Marsala sauces peddled to tourists. Their meteoric rise landed them Best New Chef accolades from Food & Wine in 2012

The proposition that skyrocketed Torrisi Italian Specialties to prominence however — an innovative and reasonably-priced tasting menu — has undergone a gradual transition seemingly as inevitable as its restaurant group's expansion (a spot under the High Line, a restaurant in the Ludlow Hotel, and new Parms in Williamsburg, Battery Park City, and the Upper West Side). It went from $45 to $75, then to $100 last September, with a more elaborate (and celebrated) 16-course $175 extended tasting menu now available too. It doesn't seem to have put off Torrisi's champions, but Major Food Group's treatment of critics has raised a few eyebrows (within months they turned away Guardian UK's restaurant critic Marina O'Loughlin and kicked New York Magazine critic Adam Platt out of ZZ's Clam Bar). 

Still, if the food’s great, when it comes to empire-building and demonstrating that you're not going to let yourself be defined by the press (unless it's good), hey, whatsamattawiddat?

#25 Carbone

Menus wider than your chest, the tile floor from “The Godfather,” waiters...er, "captains" hired for pure theater, and a vision for the upscaling of all of New York City's greatest Italian-American classic restaurants and their greatest hits as well as a commendable devotion to centralizing their cultures and atmospheric traditions, Carbone is a restaurant that New York City, with all its storied tradition of great Italian culture (think Mama Leone, Il Mulino, and Don Pepe), has been waiting for for decades. It just didn't know it. 

At this joint venture between chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone and their partner and talented restaurateur Jeff Zalaznick, Carbone arguably most represents the trio as a whole (he joined after they launched Torrisi, at least publicly). Pastas thrill. Consider the linguine vongole, the oxtail cavatelli, and one of the best renditions of rigatoni vodka you can imagine (spicy too!). Lobster fra diavolo and lobster Cantonese are terribly fun, and you have to appreciate a place that takes seriously the idea of taking Italian-American classics like chicken scarpariello and parm to the next level. And the meal ends with a modern-art carrot cake and homemade limoncello, nice touches, yes? But the prices! Forgive the literary crutch, but Mamma mia! A $54 veal parm that serves one? Is that Italian?

#24 Betony

Russian restaurateur Andrei Dellos’ ostentatious Midtown West restaurant Brasserie Pushkin, meant to be the New York version of his Moscow success Café Pushkin, closed after less than a year. Now with its gaudy décor toned down, a new chef and general manager in place (former Eleven Madison Park executive sous chef Bryce Shuman and Eamon Rockey, also of Eleven Madison, respectively), the restaurant has reopened; humbly renamed Betony for a minty herb, to much greater success. There are spectacular cocktails including a crystal-clear milk punch with the spirit of your choice, and a menu that’s been noted as derivative (though not pejoratively) of Shuman’s time spent with chef Daniel Humm, featuring much-lauded marinated sardines, chicken liver mousse, and roasted chicken. But it’s the hot foie gras and grilled short rib that you’re going to want to be sure to order; the first a seared slice under crisp kale and bathed in a smoked ham hock consommé was recently described as “the most soulful foie gras” by The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, and the second sous-vided with beef fat for two days and seared on a Japanese yakitori grill.

#23 Sushi Nakazawa

Those obsessed with sushi watched the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi with fascination and even a little bit of envy for the lucky diners sitting at the small bar in the tiny, three-Michelin-star restaurant tucked into a Tokyo subway station run by Jiro Ono, marveling at the many years his sons and apprentices took to master tasks like making rice and egg custard. A similar sense of marvel and fascination is now taking place in New York City at Sushi Nakazawa, the West Village restaurant opened by Jiro’s apprentice Daisuke Nakazawa in August of 2013. In just six months, America gained not just one of its best sushi restaurants, but one of its best restaurants period. Your two-hour meal at Sushi Nakazawa will feature about 21 pieces of sushi that Nakazawa prepares with dedication to tradition and ingredients. Prices are $120 for one of the 25 seats in the back, and $150 for a seat to the show at the counter.

#22 Alder

This restaurant might be a newcomer to New York’s dining scene, having opened in March 2013, but the man behind it, chef Wylie Dufresne, certainly isn’t. Dufresne opened wd~50 more than 10 years ago and it’s still a destination in its own right; remaining one of the finest – and earliest – restaurants to sing the virtues of molecular gastronomy. His newest creation takes his experimental and supremely creative approach and applies it to the most accessible style of cuisine around: bar food. Located smack dab in the heart of the young and bustling East Village, Alder takes the familiar and turns it on its head, with delicious results. French onion soup is transformed into "rings" with beef gravy and gruyre, jalapeño poppers are made with uni cream cheese and trout roe, pigs in a blanket are made with Chinese sausage and compressed hot dog buns, and rye pasta with shaved pastrami takes all the flavors of New York’s unofficial sandwich and turns them into a world-class pasta dish. And don’t skip the cocktails. Standouts include The Sanctimonious Kid, with Pimm’s, tequila, bay leaf, and blood orange; and the Burnt Reynolds, with rye, smoked vermouth, and Campari.

#21 Nobu

When chef Nobu Matsuhisa opened his eponymous restaurant along with pal Robert De Niro and restaurateur Drew Nieporent in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood in 1994, there was no way he could have imagined that 20 years later he’d be running 28 affiliated restaurants around the world; including four Nobu-branded hotels with two more on the way. But there’s a reason why Nobu has become a household name across the globe, and a visit to the Michelin-starred New York flagship tells you all you need to know. The design by architect David Rockwell evokes the Japanese countryside while conveying excitement and energy, and the cuisine fuses classical Japanese with that of Peru and Argentina, where Nobu trained. The standout dishes; including yellowtail with jalapeno, lobster with wasabi pepper sauce, and black cod with miso, are nothing short of legendary.

#20 Sushi Yasuda

It’s a special kind of restaurant that you can walk into, sit down, and without looking at a menu just say to the people preparing your food, "Yes, please," — and know that every bite is going to send you searching for new superlatives. For sushi lovers, that’s exactly what Yasuda and its minimal blond-wood dining room represents. To say the fish is fresh just doesn’t do the place justice — for many, experiencing the taste and texture of seafood at Yasuda will set the bar for what freshness means. The restaurant's namesake and founder, Naomichi Yasuda, decamped to return to Japan in 2010, but the standards he established here haven't faltered. His hand-picked successor, Mitsuru Tamura, keeps that Yasuda philosophy alive.

#19 Masa

Former New York Times critic Sam Sifton took Masa down to three stars from the four given to it by his predecessor, apparently at least in part because they made him wait outside when he showed up early, didn't explain all the dishes, and didn’t pay him much attention after dessert. That doesn't seem to have discouraged the high-rollers who crowd the sushi bar or — losing some of the immediacy of the experience — sit at one of the small tables. Masa's toro-stuffed maki rolls inspire lip-twitching and eye-rolling, and the toro with beluga caviar seems almost worth the price of admission; and what a price that is: The swanky Time Warner Center setting and elaborate omakase-only menu is accompanied by a high bar for entry. At $450 per person before tip or beverages, you're looking at a bill that can easily total more than $1,200 for two.

#18 Momofuku Ko

It was nearly five years ago when chef David Chang set New York’s culinary world aflame when he opened this revolutionary restaurant, and one can argue that the city’s restaurant scene hasn’t been the same since. A simple counter with a handful of stools and chefs preparing a constantly-changing menu in full view of the diners, the no-frills space had so many clamoring for a seat that they implemented an outrageous online-only reservations system that spawned its own black market. The most upscale and in-demand of Chang’s restaurants — which also includes several other Momofukus and Má Pêche — he’s decided to close the original restaurant and re-open several blocks away with a counter that seats 25 and four four-tops, and it’s one of the year’s most anticipated shuffles. We’re just hoping we’ll finally be able to snag a reservation.

#17 WD-50

“Molecular gastronomy" may be a buzzword, but a restaurant that takes an iconic dish and turns it into edible art is something to be recognized. With offerings like squash-roasted peanut soup with cockscomb and fig tobacco; milk braised pork collar with sunchokes, black sesame, and kaffir; and bartlett pear sorbet with honey-milk crisp and tarragon, Wylie Dufresne continues to prove himself one of our country's most imaginative and technically accomplished chefs.

#16 Ippudo

The big, slurp-worthy bowls of New York City’s best ramen draw customers back again and again to the East Village, to this original Manhattan location of one of Japan's best-known ramen chains (there is now a second location on the West Side). Sometimes you can see them sidling up to the bar to drown themselves in sake to make the wait at the glass-covered ramen bar at the front of the restaurant bearable. Once you do sit down… joy! There’s always the Shiromaru Hakata Classic, described as "the original silky 'tonkotsu' (pork) soup noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, menma [fermented bamboo shoots], red pickled ginger, and scallions." But the various limited-time-only specials are most often the fun way to go. A recent example is the Szechuan-style spicy tonkotsu ramen with black sesame sauce, topped with "niku-miso dame" [Japanese meat sauce], chashu pork, cabbage, cilantro, fragrant shrimp oil, and fresh lime.

#15 Marea

When it opened, Marea was immediately acclaimed as one of the most original and consistently wonderful upscale Manhattan restaurants in recent memory. This very handsome establishment on Central Park South; in a sunny dining room that long housed San Domenico, specializes in exquisitely fresh fish and shellfish in Italian-inspired preparations by skilled chef and restaurateur Michael White. Try the crostini with lardo and sea urchin; which caused waves of buzz at the time and has since become one of the city’s "checklist" dishes or the fusilli with octopus and bone marrow.

#14 Il Buco Alimentari

For almost 20 years, Il Buco has been one of New York City's most appealing Italian restaurants, serving unpretentious, savory food based on first-rate American and Italian ingredients. In late 2011, the proprietors opened this more casual sister restaurant  — a loose translation of Alimentari & Vineria is "food shop and wine bar" — and it's so lively, with such vivid, hearty food, that it has all but overshadowed the original. Chef Justin Smillie, who refined his craft at Barbuto; among other places, fries baby artichokes and grills quail with the best of them, makes great pastas in-house (lasagnette with ragù Bolognese, plump Neapolitan-style schialatelli with octopus and spicy tomato sauce), and delights diners with everything from short rib and gorgonzola panini at lunchtime to razor clam ceviche with hearts of palm and spit-roasted rabbit with endive and Taggiasca olives at night.

#13 NoMad

With an atmosphere The New York Times' restaurant critic Pete Wells described as “like a Riviera home rented out to a rock band,” the NoMad continues to impress with its extensive menu that includes the legendary roast chicken for two, roasted duck with winter citrus, suckling pig confit with pears and cabbage, and rich sweetbreads. Esquire named NoMad’s bar as one of the best in the country, and there’s nothing quite like that 12-story rooftop view.

#12 Blue Hill

Sure, you can travel all the way upstate to Stone Barns to experience chef Dan Barber’s exquisite brand of farm-to-table cooking, but at its sister restaurant; located on a quaint and charming block just off Washington Square Park, the farm comes to you. There are few other restaurants in the city that sing the praises of super-fresh, super-seasonal produce and pasture-raised meats quite as reverently and stunningly as Blue Hill does — and for as long as it has; since 2000. A glance around the room at those who come to worship at Barber’s altar in various states of quiet contemplation should tell you all you need to know. Take a bite of the goose egg pasta with sea urchin, ginger, and black trumpet mushrooms; the Berkshire pig with sweet potato, miso, peanuts, and yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms; or the braised hake with apple, fennel, soy beans, pine nuts, and clams, and you’ll find yourself at a loss for words as well.

#11 Babbo

Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant is a testament to his undying mission of keeping the food in his New York restaurants as close to Italy as possible. Whatever specialty ingredients aren’t imported from Italy are made at Babbo “as an Italian might in the Mid-Atlantic/Hudson region.” Although it’s difficult to get in without a reservation, it’s not utterly impossible. Arrive hungry, because the seven-course pasta menu is not for the faint of heart. Explore Italy by land and sea with dishes like grilled octopus in spicy limoncello vinaigrette, sea scallops, pig foot ‘Milanese,’ warm tripe ‘alla Parmigiana,’ and beef cheek ravioli.

#10 Gotham Bar & Grill

Like many of the finer things in life, Eleven Madison Park seems to get better with age. Although it opened to much fanfare and subsequent acclaim in 1998, it was Danny Meyer’s hiring of Swiss-born Daniel Humm to helm the kitchen in 2006 that elevated the place to the level of the finest restaurants in the country. Humm — who has won such plaudits for the restaurant as four stars from The New York Times and three from Michelin — bought Eleven Madison from Meyer in 2011, in partnership with his front-of-house counterpart, Will Guidara, and didn’t miss a beat. The chef is firmly in control here: While Humm will tailor his single $225 multi-course tasting menu to accommodate allergies, dietary restrictions, and ingredient preferences, there is no à la carte selection or smaller menu available. The particulars of the dishes change frequently, but the technique is contemporary French and modernist. The ingredients are heavily New York-based, and the culinary traditions on which the food is based are often those of Gotham street or deli food, producing notably unique results.

#9 Del Posto

Del Posto is the result of a collaboration between Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali. With these three big names banding together, the result is “the ultimate expression of what an Italian restaurant should be.” As a relative newcomer to the fine dining scene, Del Posto opened in 2010 in the Meatpacking District, and received a coveted four-star review from The New York Times, the first Italian restaurant to do so in nearly four decades. Enjoy gourmet modern twists on Italian classics like truffled carne cruda with grana padano & watercress buds, ricotta & egg yolk gnudi with black truffle, and the restaurant's famous 100-layer lasagna (less expensive and a bit easier to experience during lunch), before ending your meal with a chocolate ricotta tortina.

#8 ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen is a celebration of the best ingredients that each season has to offer, all served in the classically elegant style for which Jean-Georges Vongerichten is widely known. Market-fresh dishes from chef Dan Kluger, like roasted carrot and avocado salad with crunchy seeds, sour cream, and citrus, stand alongside Vongerichten mainstays like pretzel-dusted calamari. The décor is fresh, with an utterly cool urban sophistication that pairs perfectly with the style of the home furnishings store it’s connected to, ABC Carpet and Home. The restaurant remains in the rotation for serious restaurant-goers in New York City.  

#7 Jean Georges

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the few chefs in New York City with the distinction of four stars from The New York Times. At his eponymous restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower; one of the few restaurants left in New York where a jacket is required, his classic French technique bridges old and new worlds, eschews heavy sauces, and embraces the spice and flavors of Asian cuisine. The pre-fixe menu features an assortment of the chef’s signature dishes like the sesame-crusted foie gras with dried chilies. His signature Egg Caviar, a lightly scrambled egg topped with whipped cream and osetra caviar, is one of the city’s great bites of food.

#6 Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern is among the finest of the new wave of classic American restaurants; remember that Tom Colicchio was founding partner and chef here before he left to open his own restaurants and become a TV star. The restaurant received the number two spot from us last year. With Danny Meyer running the show and Michael Anthony (who previously spent time at Daniel and helped Dan Barber develop his influential style at Blue Hill at Stone Barns) in control in the kitchen, the restaurant continues to excel at serving refined American cuisine without pretension. Anthony; inspired by the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, has become known for his simply prepared vegetable preparations. Dishes use produce to great effect; such as flounder with cabbage, leeks, olives, and oyster mushrooms; or pork loin and belly with navy beans, tasso, and kale. From the artwork to the lavish floral arrangements, and from the copper-and-candle glow to the reputation for flawless service, a meal at Gramercy Tavern is one you’re not likely to forget any time soon.

#5 Momofuku Ssäm Bar

Meals at this ever-evolving East Village hot spot have wowed critics and won faithful followers since the beginning, and no wonder. David Chang's food offers bold, Asian-inspired flavors — like his duckaholic lunch and popular bo ssäm dinner (slow-cooked pork shoulder, oysters, rice, kimchee, and sauces to be wrapped in bibb lettuce leaves). Chang continues to be the culinary cool kid while cementing his status as a top-tier chef by constantly expanding his empire, and everything he touches seems to turn to gold (his high-tech cocktail bar kicked off with Dave Arnold, Booker and Dax, is already ranked among the city’s finest). As an influence on younger chefs, as an animator of the downtown New York restaurant scene, and as a really good cook, Chang deserves a high spot on this list.

#4 Daniel

This very grown-up restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side; Daniel Boulud’s flagship, maintains standards of service and cuisine — French haute cuisine, very much an endangered species today — that hark back to an earlier era. But the cooking is up-to-date and really, really good while the menu changes daily. If you are lucky enough to score a reservation, you may sample such dishes as black truffle-stuffed Dover sole; Elysian Fields roasted lamb chops with vadouvan sauce; grilled artichoke, ricotta barbajuan, and fennel salad; and caramelized puff pastry, bourbon vanilla cream, lingonberries confiture, and almond florentine. (Click here to watch The Daily Meal’s interview with Daniel Boulud on cooking across continents.)

#3 Per Se

In an elegant dining room overlooking Central Park in the Time Warner Center, Per Se upholds the standards set by Thomas Keller at The French Laundry; receiving an annual three-star rating from Michelin since 2006. As at the French Laundry, there are two $295 tasting menus, one of which is vegetarian but the Keller classic "oysters and pearls" is most definitely included in the non-vegetarian version. Here there is also a salon menu, with à la carte offerings including mascarpone enriched Yukon gold potago agnolotti with cipollini onion shoots and pea tendrils; and butter-poached Nova Scotia lobster with brussels sprouts, ruby red grapefruit, and smoked butternut squash purée. Chef Eli Kaimeh does Keller proud with his skillful interpretations of this most refined style of cooking.

#2 Eleven Madison Park

Like many of the finer things in life, Eleven Madison Park seems to get better with age. Although it opened to much fanfare and subsequent acclaim in 1998, it was Danny Meyer’s hiring of Swiss-born Daniel Humm to helm the kitchen in 2006 that elevated the place to the level of the finest restaurants in the country. Humm — who has won such plaudits for the restaurant as four stars from The New York Times and three from Michelin — bought Eleven Madison from Meyer in 2011, in partnership with his front-of-house counterpart, Will Guidara, and didn’t miss a beat. The chef is firmly in control here: While Humm will tailor his single $225 multi-course tasting menu to accommodate allergies, dietary restrictions, and ingredient preferences, there is no à la carte selection or smaller menu available. The particulars of the dishes change frequently, but the technique is contemporary French and modernist. The ingredients are heavily New York-based, and the culinary traditions on which the food is based are often those of Gotham street or deli food, producing notably unique results.

#1 Le Bernardin

This elegant seafood restaurant, headed by chef Eric Ripert, has topped many “best of” lists and has several accolades under its belt, including repeat four-star reviews from The New York Times (the first of them written only a few months of its opening), perfect food ratings in the Zagat guide from 2011 to 2013, and more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in New York City. Ripert is an artist working with impeccable raw materials. The prix-fixe dinner here features a long list of delicacies from the sea, ranging from “almost raw” first courses to “lightly cooked” mains. Eat in the newly revamped modern dining room against a backdrop of painted waves and enjoy dishes like layers of thinly-pounded yellowfin tuna, foie gras, and toasted baguette with chives and olive oil; king fish sashimi with caviar in a light mariniére broth; baked snapper with charred green tomaotes and Baja-style shrimp sauce; or pan-roasted lobster with truffle salsify and red-wine sauce Américaine.