31 Best Restaurants in New York City for 2014 Slideshow
April 12, 2012
31 Best Restaurants in New York City Slideshow
#31 La Grenouille, New York City
This iconic New York restaurant opened its doors on a snowy night in 1962, and has survived while its onetime counterparts like Lutce, La Caravelle, and La Cte Basque have shuttered. So what makes this restaurant so special that it's continued to flourish? Le Grenouille is a captivating snapshot of the dining trends of past eras, where the signature dish, pike quenelles lyonnaise, is the same as it was on the first night of service, and the luxurious dining room, decorated with fresh flowers and scarlet banquettes, feels positivelyrefreshing (even though the dcor hasn't changed at all, either). Yes, the prices are high (starting at $98 for a three-course prix fixe) and the menu is devoid of the kind of culinary drama often experienced at more modern fine dining restaurants, but when the food is as expertly prepared as it is here, there's no need to change a thing.
#30 Bar Masa, New York City
The casual counterpart to the restaurant at number 43 on our list, Bar Masa is sushi master Masa Takayamas slightly more economical spot next door. Unlike at Masa, where the only option is the omakase menu, the offerings at Bar Masa are la carte, including a variety of upscale sushi and modern twists on Japanese street food. The "bar" in Bar Masa, incidentally, refers not to the sushi bar, but to the vast selection of sakes and cocktails available.
#29 SriPraPhai, Queens, N.Y.
Consistently lauded by critics and Yelpers alike as the most authentic Thai restaurant in New York, 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.
#29 The Four Seasons, New York City
The Four Seasons is a New York original, with a stunning interior designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, a faithful clientele of Gothamite high rollers, and an American menu that offers few surprises but usually manages to satisfy everyone's tastes. This is the place to order things like assorted cold seafood, smoked salmon carved tableside, grilled Dover sole, pheasant coq au vin, or crisp farmhouse duck, then sit back and dine like a grown-up.
#28 Tertulia, New York City
One of New Yorks most heralded new restaurants; Tertulia is the first solo venture of chef Seamus Mullen, who was previously at Boqueria. You may also recognize him from Food Network, since hes been onThe Next Iron Chef (in 2010) and onChopped. For the West Village restaurant, Mullen took inspiration from a Northern Spain-style cider house and created a "nuevo rustico" (to quote New York Magazine) atmosphere and menu. The jamn Iberico, which shows up in three different items on the relatively small menu, gets special recognition, but the compact menu contains a range of familiar Spanish tapas as well as reimagined dishes like the Cojonudo Revisited, a cheeky name for "two bites" of smoked pig cheek with quail egg.
#27 Casa Mono, New York City
Inspired by the Boqueria market in Barcelona (slightly before most of their compatriots had ever heard of the place), Mario Batali who went to school in Spain and has a great love for the countrys cooking and chef Andy Nusser created this casual but superbly run Spanish and Spanish-ish establishment, bringing cod cheeks pil pil, tripe with chickpeas and blood sausage, squid with pork meatballs, and the like to a hip Manhattan clientele. It earned one Michelin star this year.
#26 Boulud Sud, New York City
You know a place has to be pretty spectacular when it lands on a list of the best restaurants in the country after only being open for 10 months but, if anyone is up to the task, Daniel Boulud is the chef and restaurateur to do it. Boulud Sud, the culinary legend's seventh New York City restaurant, is a celebration of the Mediterranean, specifically highlighting the cuisines of Sardinia, Gibraltar, Greece, Tunisia, and Turkey. The flavors and dishes of these areas are blended to create dishes that are new in concept but familiar in spirit, such as sea urchin and crab tartine with green olives, lemon cream, and seaweed rye bread; and zaatar baked cod with mussels and Greek yogurt. The dcor in this sprawling space (especially by New York City standards) reflects the same coastal sensibility as the food, decorated with warm wood furnishings, buttery yellow walls, and plush banquettes printed with stripes in hues of blue, yellow, and white. Attached to Boulud Sud is picerie Boulud, an eat-in and takeout market where customers can purchase oysters, house-made charcuterie, soups, salads, breads, pastries, and other sweets.
#25 Gotham Bar And Grill, New York City
Most New York City restaurants would consider themselves lucky to even get a review in The Times. In the 27 years that its been around, Gotham Bar and Grill has been reviewed no fewer than six times by the Gray Lady. Even more impressive? It has scored 15 stars five three-star reviews (four is the best) since chef Alfred Portale took it over in 1985. You can argue about what other restaurants could better stand in for this Greenwich Village institution as the standard-bearer of American haute cuisine, but few would debate the merits of its classics or its long-term commitment to innovation.
#24 The Dutch, New York City
The second restaurant on this list from chef Andrew Carmellini (the first is Locanda Verde at #44), The Dutch serves elevated Italian- and American-inspired fare in a spirited yet unfussy setting. The whimsical nature of the restaurant is fully apparent in the dessert menu, which is chock-full of nostalgic Americana items, such as sandwich cookies and banana cream pie. Carmellini opened the second branch of his critically acclaimed restaurant in Miamis W Hotel this year. The location serves most of the same dishes that are available at the original, along with his take on a few Miami specialties, such as a grouper sandwich.
#23 Osteria Morini, New York City
A few years ago, Mario Batali said Michael White deserved more praise than hed been getting, noting that this Wisconsin-born chef was someone who probably even "makes love like an Italian too, defo [sic] better than me." No longer hurting for praise, White has, with Osteria Morini, taken the opportunity to show off some of the food that means the most to him. In Italy, an "osteria" is a place where the owner "hosts" guests. And at Morini, the host draws on his experience in Emilia-Romagna, where he worked under chef Valentino Marcattilii for seven years. Amid the terra-cotta floors and timbers from a dismantled, Italian 1700s-era farmhouse, White serves cured sliced meats, crostini, antipasti, at least 12 different types of pastas, and fish and meat entres that show off the soulful cuisine of the region.
#22 Roberta’s, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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 recently 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 its one of the city's best restaurants. Bushwick! The Neapolitan pies are at the high end of the debate about which are the city's best, but pizza isnt even the point. Theres a hard-to-reserve tasting menu, great dishes (sweetbreads, foie gras, octopus), fantastic pastas (tagliatelle with squid ink, mussels, and sea urchin), and a brined, pan-roasted Red Wattle pork chop the citys best rendition. Bushwick!
#21 Minetta Tavern, New York City
Four years after its opening, Minetta Tavern continues to demonstrate the vision of restaurateur Keith McNally and his partners, chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr. Originally opened in 1937 and named for Minetta Brook (which once ran from 23rd Street to the Hudson), this Greenwich Village haunt was frequented by every literary figure of the day Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Eugene O'Neill, e.e. cummings, Dylan Thomas, and Joe Gould among them. The current incarnation boasts celebrities, too, but above all, the food is fantastic. Minetta has made its reputation on its fabulous Black Label Burger, ground dry-aged cte-de-buf with roasted marrow bones, and on potatoes, what potatoes! frites, Anna, aligot, and "punched." The crowds and the 6 p.m.- or 10:30 p.m.-only reservations aren't for everyone, but the new lunch service helps and brings with it one of New York's great new sandwiches: the French dip.
#20 The Modern, New York City
Given that this Danny Meyer restaurant is located within the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York, its no wonder that design plays such a vital role here, both in the dcor and on the plate. The restaurant is divided between the fine dining room and the bar room, which serves a completely different menu. The food is inspired by the cuisine of Alsace, but executed with a distinctly modern hand. The handcrafted cocktails, spiked with house-made liquors, and their notable wine program are also outstanding.
#19 Locanda Verde, New York City
Chef Andrew Carmellinis rustic Italian tavern, located in the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, serves up delicious food from morning until late at night. Dont miss pastry chef Karen DeMascos delicious baked treats, or any of the pastas on the menu. Youre in for a real treat if you land a seat at Trufflepalooza, Carmellinis three-course menu consisting entirely of the beloved ingredient, thats offered one night a year.
#18 Masa, New York City
This past June, former Times critic Sam Sifton pegged Masa down to three stars from the four given to it by his predecessor Frank Bruni. Given that his reasons seemed to be that they asked him to wait outside when he showed up early, some of the dishes werent explained, and the staff didnt pay him much attention after dessert, you may want to take a magnifying glass with you to discern the "wrinkles in Masa's fine silk." By all accounts, Masa's toro-stuffed maki rolls are still inspiring the lip twitching and eye rolling that characterized Bruni's 2004 review, establishing it as the premier sushi spot in New York City, if not the U.S. The swanky Time Warner Center setting and elaborate omakase-only menu is accompanied by a high bar for entry: the price. At $450 per person before tip, you're looking at a bill that can easily total more than $1,000 for two.
#17 The Little Owl, New York City
Chef Joey Campanaros gem of a restaurant in Manhattans Greenwich Village is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant in philosophy warm lighting and dark wooden fixtures make for a cozy and romantic atmosphere thats echoed in the thoughtfully prepared Mediterranean-inspired dishes on the menu. Signature dishes include the famed meatball sliders and crisp, juicy, roasted chicken. Theres just one catch due to the extremely tight quarters, reserving a table at The Little Owl is no easy task.
#16 Del Posto, New York City
Having earned a coveted four-star rating in The New York Times (the first Italian restaurant to do so since 1974), Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali's temple of contemporary Italian fine dining ranks in a class of its own. In a space that is both luxurious and remarkably comfortable, executive chef Mark Ladner, with the help of pastry chef Brooks Headley, serves dishes that build on the classics with a true innovative spirit, and get this theyve created a database of videos showing how to make dishes at home.
#15 Katz's Deli, New York City
"Send a salami to your boy in the army!" This Jewish kosher deli has been making converts with its salami and pastrami and hot dogs and more since 1888. You go in, get a taste at the counter from one of the expert slicers, and marvel at how great it is that a place like this exists. Then you dive into pickles and a huge pastrami sandwich with mustard and a big price tag. It's worth it. And the pastrami and eggs "made like the boss likes it," with eggs cooked on the hot dog grill to get that greasiness? Not many things better for breakfast. Just don't lose your ticket. You don't want to know what happens.
#14 WD-50, New York City
Say what you will about so-called molecular gastronomy, but you have to give it up to a restaurant that takes an iconic dish like eggs Benedict and reintroduces it to the plate as egg yolk cylinders with crispy cubes of molten hollandaise with dehydrated bacon. And it's so pretty that you almost don't want to attack it with your fork almost. Wylie Dufresne continues to prove himself one of our country's most imaginative and technically accomplished chefs.
#13 Marea, New York City
One of the most original and consistently wonderful upscale Manhattan restaurant newcomers in recent memory, this very handsome restaurant on the site of the old San Domenico specializes in exquisitely fresh fish and shellfish in Italian-inspired preparations (crostini with lardo and sea urchin, fusilli with octopus and bone marrow) by skilled chef Michael White.
#12 Daniel, New York City
This very grown-up restaurant on Manhattans Upper East Side 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. Its so good in fact, that President Obama is a regular of sorts he held a $15,000 (per person) fundraiser in January and has already visited again since then.
#11 Peter Luger, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Peter Luger is a New York classic an institution even. Serving steak since 1887, the restaurant presents a simple menu. Single steak, steak for two, steak for three, or steak for four. In other words, how many people are you going with? OK, so there's a little more selection than that, but the point here is high-quality, expertly prepared beef, along with the famous house sauce, sliced tomato and onion salad, and of course, the celebrated thick-cut bacon appetizer. Many imitators, one original.
#10 ABC Kitchen, New York City
ABC Kitchen, a trendy New York City restaurant, is a celebration of the best ingredients that each season has to offer, all served in the classically elegant style that Jean-Georges is widely known for. Market-fresh dishes, like roasted kabocha squash toast with fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar, stand alongside Vongerichten mainstays like pretzel-crusted calamari. The dcor is fresh, with an utterly cool urban sophistication that pairs perfectly with the style of the home furnishings store its connected to, ABC Carpet and Home. The restaurant was awarded the recognition of Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation in 2011.
#9 Jean Georges, New York City
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, his classic French technique bridges old and new worlds, eschews heavy sauces, and embraces the spice and flavors of Asian cuisine.
#8 Babbo, New York City
While Mario Batali certainly made headlines this year, Babbo stayed a New York essential. What can you say about this place that hasn't already been said? The pasta! That pork chop! Mario Batali is a genius! Rock music in a fine dining restaurant? Brilliant! At this longtime darling of the critics, after almost 14 years, you're still at the mercy of the reservation gods if you want to get in buona fortuna.
#7 Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
High-profile organo-loca-sustainavore Dan Barber has found the perfect home at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a beautiful restaurant in a bucolic but hardworking setting on a year-round farm and educational center. Most of what you eat here will be grown, raised, and/or processed on the property, and Barbers modern American food is full of color and flavor.
#6 L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, New York City
Multi-Michelin-starred chef Jol Robuchons swanky restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel offers peaceful solace amidst the noise and bustle of midtown Manhattan. A sleek, minimalist interior is the backdrop for executive chef Xavier Boyers classical, French-inspired menu. (The beef and foie gras burgers with caramelized bell peppers are a must.)
#5 Gramercy Tavern, New York City
Gramercy Tavern is among the finest of the new wave of classic American restaurants. With Danny Meyer running the show and Michael Anthony taking control in the kitchen, the restaurant continues to excel at serving refined American cuisine without pretension. Anthony has become known for his simply prepared fish dishes in particular, such as sea bass with spaghetti squash, walnuts, and sherry sauce. And lets not forget that this is the restaurant that helped to jumpstart Tom Colicchios career; he was a founding partner with Meyer before eventually leaving to open his collection of Craft restaurants.
#4 Momofuku Ssäm, New York City
Meals at this East Village hot spot wowed former New York Times critic Frank Bruni into a praise-filled three-star review in 2008, and no wonder. Chang's food offers bold, Asian-inspired flavors like his duckaholic lunch and popular bo ssm dinner (slow-cooked pork shoulder, oysters, rice, kimchee, and sauces to be wrapped in bibb lettuce leaves). David Chang continues to be the culinary cool kid. With Lucky Peach (his new magazine) and lots of buzz around Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi, he has definitely done something right.
#3 Per Se, New York City
This elegant dining room overlooking Central Park in the Time Warner Center remains a must-have experience in New York, even for Sam Sifton, who chose the restaurant for his final review as The New York Times' restaurant critic last year giving it four stars. Per Se upholds the standards set by Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, winning a James Beard Award in 2011 for Outstanding Service and being named the 10th best restaurant in the world in this past year by Restaurant Magazine.
#2 Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Like many of the finest things in life, Eleven Madison Park is a restaurant that seems to get better with age. Although it opened to much fanfare and subsequent acclaim in 1998, Danny Meyers hiring of Swiss-born Daniel Humm to helm the kitchen in 2006 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, three from Michelin, and a number 24 ranking on last years Restaurant Magazine list of the worlds 50 best restaurants bought Eleven Madison from Meyer last year, in partnership with his front-of-house counterpart, Will Guidara, so standards aren't likely to fall.
#1 Le Bernardin, New York City
Think Le Bernardin and you think accolades: Michelin, The New York Times, James Beard Foundation. Is it a little stuffy? Sure But with a super sleek renovation recently completed and a lengthy new lease, this iconic restaurant isnt going anywhere. And if cooking fish well is an art, then chef Eric Ripert is a Michelangelo; his contemporary French touch has led some to call his creations the world's best seafood.