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NYC's 100 Best Restaurants

October 1, 2013
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by Zagat Staff

The release of our 2014 NYC Restaurants Survey has arrived, and to celebrate, we're counting down the top 100 restaurants in NYC. From upscale sushi to Brooklyn comfort food, a wide array of cuisines and neighborhoods are represented in this blockbuster list. How many have you tried?

No. 100: The Little Owl

Food: 25
Decor: 19
Service: 23
Cost: $58

“Little” is an understatement at this 28-seat West Village “gem”, where chef Joey Campanaro whips up “fantastic” Med–New Americana in a “cramped”, “big-windowed” space; reservations are notoriously “hard to get” – even “if you can eat at 5:30” – so regulars make sure to “mark the calendar” and call 30 days ahead.

90 Bedford St.; 212-741-4695

No. 99: RedFarm

Food: 25
Decor: 17
Service: 21
Cost: $53

Famed for its “elevated” dim sum and “creative” locavore cooking, this “innovative” West Village Chinese is perpetually “packed” with “hip” young types; “tight” tables, a no-rez rule and “noisy” decibels can make the experience a bit “hectic”, but it’s popular enough to have an UWS spin-off in the works.

529 Hudson St.; 212-792-9700

No. 98: Jewel Bako

Food: 25
Decor: 22
Service: 23
Cost: $80

“Casually elegant” and “expensively” priced, this bamboo-lined East Village Japanese slices a “flawless symphony” of “incredibly fresh fish”; for best results, aficionados “sit at the sushi bar” and go the “omakase” route, though no matter where you land, owners Jack and Grace Lamb “really take care of you.”

239 E. Fifth St.; 212-979-1012

No. 97: Rose Water

Food: 25
Decor: 20
Service: 24
Cost: $47

Park Slope’s own “locavore heaven”, this way-“cozy” New American vet remains “consistently fabulous” with its “inventive”, “seasonally driven” menu and service “like a finely oiled machine”; it’s a “favorite” brunch pick, where the only thorn is “bumping elbows” in the “tight space.”

787 Union St., Brooklyn; 718-783-3800

No. 96: Il Buco

Food: 25
Decor: 22
Service: 21
Cost: $63

“Phenomenal” Med-Italian fare and “impressive wines” are served in “welcoming” fashion within “cozy”-yet-stylish “farmhouse” digs at this “fabulous” longtime NoHo “hot spot”; the scene’s just as “buzzy” – and the tabs equally “pricey” – at its nearby market/wine bar sibling, where “fun” communal seating is just the thing for sharing “wonderful small plates.”

47 Bond St.; 212-533-1932

No. 95: Bocelli Restaurant

Food: 25
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $50

With “delicious” seafood specialties that “aren’t lacking in pizzazz”, “professional” service and “pretty elegant” “Tuscan” decor, this Grasmere Italian “definitely stands out” among its Staten Island peers; despite city-style pricing, “reservations are a must” on weekends.

1250 Hylan Blvd., Grasmere; 718-420-6150

No. 94: Good Fork

Food: 25
Decor: 18
Service: 24
Cost: $46

“Rough Red Hook” gets its own “culinary outpost” via this “small” Eclectic where the “seriously good” Asian-accented menu is dispatched at a “fair price” point; “attractive” rustic looks, a back garden and “actually friendly hipster waiters” are further incentives.

391 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn; 718-643-6636

No. 93: Dovetail

Food: 25
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $81

John Fraser’s “suave” New American is a “memorable” UWS destination, offering an “exquisite symphony” of “original” dishes, “stunningly” presented by a “gracious” staff in a “serene”, bi-level setting; such “perfection” is understandably expensive, though the $52 ‘Sunday suppa’ is a “special treat.”

103 W. 77th St.; 212-362-3800

No. 92: Wolfgang's Steakhouse

Food: 25
Decor: 21
Service: 23
Cost: $79

“Real NY steakhouses at real NY prices”, this “fast-paced” chainlet is a “steady contender” for “succulent” cuts delivered in a “brusque but professional” style; their “manly” milieus can be “noisy and crowded”, but overall they “do it well” here.

Multiple locations

No. 91: Dirt Candy

Food: 25
Decor: 17
Service: 24
Cost: $50

“Clever”, “complex” vegetarian dishes that “look mouthwatering” and “taste even better” are the calling card of this “fun” East Villager where chef-owner Amanda Cohen’s “brilliant invention” “wins over” even “devout carnivores”; the “unassuming” digs are seriously “tiny”, though, so “snag a reservation.”

430 E. Ninth St.; 212-228-7732

No. 90: Bianca

Food: 26
Decor: 18
Service: 21
Cost: $33

The “hearty” Emilia-Romagna dishes are “clearly made with love” and a “fabulous bargain” to boot, making this cash-only NoHo Italian “gem” well worth the “tight squeeze”; no reservations means there’s “definitely a wait”, which those in the know spend “next door at the wine bar.”

5 Bleecker St.; 212-260-4666

No. 89: Wallsé

Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $78

"Top-notch" Modern Austrian fare keeps "fans of schnitzel" coming to Kurt Gutenbrunner's "welcoming" "Vienna-in-NYC" Villager that's hung with "artwork by Julian Schnabel"; "absolutely tops" service ensures the "sophisticated" experience is "worth" the steep tab.

344 W. 11th St.; 212-352-2300

No. 88: Scarpetta

Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 22
Cost: $75

Fans say it’s all about the “rightfully hyped” spaghetti at Scott Conant’s “sleek” 14th Street Italian, where the “modern” bill of fare consists of “elegantly simple” dishes; sure, you’ll “pay dearly” for the privilege, but “top-notch” service and a “beautiful” setting are compensations.

355 W. 14th St.; 212-691-0555

No. 87: Piccolo Angolo

Food: 26
Decor: 14
Service: 22
Cost: $47

Owner and “character” Renato Migliorini puts “heart and soul” into this “homey” West Village vet, where the “ample portions” of “wonderful” Northern Italian fare and “amiable” service inspire many a “permanent smile”; it’s a “tiny” place with “lines outside”, so insiders reserve ahead.

621 Hudson St.; 212-229-9177

No. 86: Keens Steakhouse

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 24
Cost: $76

You don't have to be a carnivore to appreciate the "rich history" of this circa-1885 Garment District "meat house", though "outstanding" steaks and "glorious" mutton chops ("yeah, you read that right") are key to its "charm"; with "seamless" service, a "superb" scotch selection and thousands of antique clay pipes "adorning the ceiling", it "doesn't get more old NY."

72 W. 36th St.; 212-947-3636

No. 85: Marc Forgione

Food: 26
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $72

Iron Chef Marc Forgione “takes comfort food to a new level” at this “candlelit, characterful” TriBeCa New American with an “upscale lodge” feel, patrolled by a “thoughtful” staff; it’s a “perfect date” place – just book far ahead, plan on a “pricey” tab and know that the “crowded bar” can be “noisy.”

134 Reade St.; 212-941-9401

No. 84: Roberta's

Food: 26
Decor: 17
Service: 18
Cost: $36

Redefining the “Brooklyn aesthetic”, this “super-popular” Bushwick Italian draws “throngs of hipsters” with its “phenomenal” wood-fired pizzas, as well as other “smashing” dishes crafted with “ingredients picked from their own garden”; despite “hit-or-miss service”, “communal tables” and “long waits”, most agree it’s “worth the extended trip on the L.”

261 Moore St., Brooklyn; 718-417-1118

No. 83: Maialino

Food: 26
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $67

Everything “comes together perfectly” at Danny Meyer’s “busy” Gramercy Italian, a near-“flawless” take on a Roman trattoria with a “delicious” menu highlighted by a “heavenly” namesake roast suckling pig; its “genuine hospitality”, “bright country setting” and attention to “detail” signal a restaurant “at the top of its game” – no wonder it’s so “hard to get a reservation.”

2 Lexington Ave.; 212-777-2410

No. 82: Taïm

Food: 26
Decor: 9
Service: 16
Cost: $13

“Basically a take-out counter” with a few stools, this West Village vegetarian Israeli draws “100-mile-long” lines with its “sublime” falafel and “amazing” smoothies; its NoLita sibling offers a bit more elbow room with the same “value” pricing.

Multiple locations

No. 81: ABC Kitchen

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 23
Cost: $59

An “eco-friendly delight” from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this “refreshingly” “whimsical” American in the Flatiron’s ABC Carpet & Home “continues to amaze” as chef Dan Kluger’s “organic sourcing” and “farm-to-table approach” yield an “exquisite”, “seasonal menu” presented by a “knowledgeable” staff; access to the “energized space” remains a “challenge”, but “keep on trying” for a rez – it’s “worth it.”

35 E. 18th St.; 212-475-5829

No. 80: Porter House New York

Food: 26
Decor: 25
Service: 25
Cost: $77

From “fabulous” cuts of meat to “interesting” sides, a “feast awaits” at Michael Lomonaco’s TWC “destination steakhouse” where “impeccable” service helps justify the “expensive” prices; indeed, the Central Park views from the “elegant” dining room are as “impressive” as the food.

10 Columbus Cir.; 212-823-9500

No. 79: Zenkichi

Food: 26
Decor: 25
Service: 25
Cost: $60

A “hidden treasure”, this “unique” Williamsburg Japanese izakaya features “artfully prepared” small plates – but no sushi – served in a “dark”, “date-night-nirvana” triplex by “superb” staffers summoned via “push button”; just “be prepared to splurge” for the privilege.

77 N. Sixth St.; 718-388-8985

No. 78: Tomoe Sushi

Food: 26
Decor: 10
Service: 16
Cost: $48

"Go early” or be prepared for “lines out the door” at this “tiny” Village Japanese where the lure is “entertainingly big” slabs of “wonderful” sushi at “value” tabs; “tight” digs, “nonexistent” decor and so-so service are the trade-offs, but no one cares given the “quality-for-the-dollar” ratio.

172 Thompson St.; 212-777-9346

No. 77: Tamarind

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 24
Cost: $58

This “civilized” duo, again rated NYC’s top Indian, provides “exceptional” gourmet cuisine and “gracious” service both at the “warm” Flatiron original and the more expansive TriBeCa spin-off; while it’s “not cheap”, the overall “superior” performance is “worth the rupees” – and the $25 prix fixe lunch works for those “on a budget.”

41-43 E. 22nd St.; 212-674-7400

No. 76: Perry St.

Food: 26
Decor: 25
Service: 24
Cost: $69

“Another Jean-Georges gem”, this “exquisite” West Village New American sees chef Cedric Vongerichten continue the family legacy (“like father, like son”) with “innovative” cooking in a “serene”, Richard Meier–designed space along the Hudson; perhaps it’s “expensive and a little out of the way”, but the “smooth” service alone ensures a “memorable" experience.

176 Perry St.; 212-352-1900

No. 75: Felidia

Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $80

“Long live Lidia Bastianich” cheer fans of the “TV” chef and her “elegant” East Side “flagship”, where “superb” Italian cuisine is ferried by a “professional” crew within a “truly charming”, “old-world” townhouse setting; you may need to “check your bank account before going”, but most agree the “wonderful experience” is “worth every penny."

243 E. 58th St.; 212-758-1479

No. 74: Roberto

Food: 26
Decor: 19
Service: 22
Cost: $57

For a “true Arthur Avenue experience”, fans of “old-world” cooking head to this “busy” Bronx Italian where chef Roberto Paciullo prepares “Manhattan”-worthy dishes delivered by a “gracious” staff; given the “small” setting, “sophisticated” mood and no-rez policy, there’s almost “always a wait.”

603 Crescent Ave., Bronx; 718-733-9503

No. 73: Quality Meats

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 24
Cost: $75

In a city populated by “classic” chop shops, this “sexy”, “modern” Midtowner is a “breath of fresh air”, teaming “skilled” service with a “creative” American steakhouse menu that runs the gamut from “fabulous” cuts of beef to “killer ice cream”; sure, it’s something of a “splurge”, but it certainly “lives up to its name.”

57 W. 58th St.; 212-371-7777

No. 72: Aburiya Kinnosuke

Food: 26
Decor: 20
Service: 22
Cost: $56

“The real deal” in Midtown, this “classic izakaya” “transports you” to Japan with a “top-notch”, sushiless lineup starring “grilled robata” bites and housemade tofu; since “course after course” can do some “damage to your wallet”, bargain-hunters are “bummed that they no longer serve lunch.”

213 E. 45th St.; 212-867-5454

No. 71: Totto Ramen

Food: 26
Decor: 11
Service: 17
Cost: $19

“Insanely delicious” ramen soups sold “cheap” inspire “ridiculous waits” at this teeny, “takes-you-back-to-Tokyo” Hell’s Kitchen nook, again voted NYC’s No. 1 noodle shop; skeptics shrug it’s over-“hyped”, but “there’s a reason people stand on line for hours” here – and it’s not the “bare-bones” decor.

366 W. 52nd St.; 212-582-0052

No. 70: River Café

Food: 26
Decor: 27
Service: 25
Cost: $130

The “million-dollar views” of Lower Manhattan are “indispensable” at Buzzy O’Keeffe’s “true NY classic” on the Dumbo waterfront, refurbished following Hurricane Sandy and still maintaining the “highest standards” via “glorious” New American cuisine from a “professional staff” in a “romantic” setting; granted, the prix fixe–only dinners are a “splurge”, but then again, the dining here is truly “memorable.”

1 Water St., Brooklyn; 718-522-5200

No. 69: Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen

Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 25
Cost: $53

Delivering “Manhattan-style” fine dining at Queens prices, this Forest Hills “culinary heaven” serves up “inventive”, “lovingly prepared” European fare matched with “wonderful” vintages; a “charming”, “sophisticated” setting and “knowledgeable”, “attentive” service complete the “first-class” experience.

104-02 Metropolitan Ave., Queens; 718-261-2144

No. 68: Aureole

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 25
Cost: $88

A rare “civilized” “oasis” near Times Square, Charlie Palmer’s “first-class” New American “does not disappoint” those anticipating “inspired” cuisine, a “fabulous wine list”, “pampering” service and an overall “polished” milieu; the “formal” main dining room’s prix fixe–only pricing is an “indulgence” for “expense-accounters”, but going à la carte in the “vibrant” front bar is “lighter on the wallet.”

135 W. 42nd St.; 212-319-1660

No. 67: Pearl Oyster Bar

Food: 26
Decor: 16
Service: 20
Cost: $49

“Delish” lobster rolls to “dream about” and other seafood dishes with “New England flair” leave regulars “happy as clams” at Rebecca Charles’ “lively” West Village “gem”; given the “close quarters” and “no-rez policy”, it helps to “get there early.”

18 Cornelia St.; 212-691-8211

No. 66: Taverna Kyclades

Food: 26
Decor: 13
Service: 19
Cost: $36

“Super-fresh” seafood worthy of the “Greek gods” draws “persistent crowds” to this Astoria Hellenic where the “can’t-go-wrong” prices offset the “tight, noisy” setting; the real rub is the no-rez policy and attendant “horrendous lines” – “go early” or “fight for a place to stand outside”; P.S. an East Village branch is in the works.

33-07 Ditmars Blvd., Queens; 718-545-8666

No. 65: Locanda Vini & Olii

Food: 26
Decor: 25
Service: 25
Cost: $54

“Marvelous” Northern Italian food is served in a “converted” former drugstore at this Clinton Hill “find” run by a “knowledgeable” team that “takes pride” in its work; in short, the “lovely” vintage setting, “really friendly” staff and “eclectic” eats are a prescription for “top-notch” dining.

129 Gates Ave., Brooklyn; 718-622-9202

No. 64: Denino's Pizzeria

Food: 26
Decor: 13
Service: 20
Cost: $21

“In Staten Island, this is the place for pizza” declare devotees of the “fantastic” “thin-crust” pies this “low-price” Port Richmond parlor has been producing since 1937; “don’t worry about the decor”, the noise from the adjoining tavern or the “no-plastic” policy – there’s a reason it’s “rarely empty.”

524 Port Richmond Ave., Staten Island; 718-442-9401

No. 63: Il Mulino

Food: 26
Decor: 18
Service: 23
Cost: $94

Forget Little Italy” say fans of this “old-school” Village “must” (with an UES offshoot following in its footsteps), where “old-school waiters” “stuff you with freebies” before rolling out “outstanding” Italian cooking in “copious portions”; despite “crowded” conditions and “outdated” decor, it’s an “expense-account paradise” – “if you can manage a reservation.”

86 W. Third St.; 212-673-3783

No. 62: Brushstroke

Food: 26
Decor: 25
Service: 25
Cost: $133

A “joint venture” between David Bouley and Osaka’s Tsuji Culinary Institute deemed a “dream come true”, this “transporting” TriBeCa Japanese presents “ethereal” kaiseki menus and “extraordinary” sushi enhanced by the “elegant service” and “beautiful, austere” setting (and matched with a “high-rolling” price tag); at the side-pocket Ichimura, the namesake “master” chef delivers “traditional omakase at its best” (menus start at $160).

30 Hudson St.; 212-791-3771

No. 61: Telepan

Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $73

Greenmarket cuisine “wizard” Bill Telepan oversees this “high-level” UWS New American, where “perfectionist” plates are served in a “soothing” townhouse setting by “first-rate” staffers; granted, it’s “costly” (the $28 prix fixe lunch aside), but the “serious foodies” and “Lincoln Centric” types who love it “don’t mind paying the price.”

72 W. 69th St.; 212-580-4300

No. 60: Salt & Fat

Food: 26
Decor: 17
Service: 23
Cost: $36

The name shows a “sense of humor”, but they “take the food seriously” at this Sunnyside “rising star” where “inventive” small plates showcase a “delectable” blend of New American and Asian flavors; given the “super-helpful” staff and “Queens prices”, it’s definitely one to “look out for.”

41-16 Queens Blvd.; 718-433-3702

No. 59: Perilla

Food: 26
Decor: 20
Service: 23
Cost: $63

"Harold Dieterle’s West Village American “fully delivers on its star-chef reputation” with “creative” American standards (witness the “glory that is the spicy duck meatball”) served by a “polished” staff; an “intimate” atmosphere and tabs that are “well priced for the quality” make it a “spot-on” choice for “inspired” dining.

9 Jones St.; 212-929-6868

No. 58: 15 East

Food: 26
Decor: 21
Service: 24
Cost: $81

At this Union Square Japanese, the “top-notch” sushi “presented with art and love” by chef Masato Shimizu “might ruin you for the everyday” stuff, likewise the “exquisite” small plates and “incredible sakes”; it’s “elegant all the way down the line”, from the “tactful” service to the “calming”, “minimalist” decor – paired with a predictably “maximalist bill."

15 E. 15th St.; 212-647-0015

No. 57: Ai Fiori

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 25
Cost: $91

“Michael White’s empire” encompasses this “culinary treasure” in the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel, where you “feel like a swell” relishing “lovely” Italian cuisine (notably “exquisite pastas”), “interesting” wines and “gracious service”; the “plush surroundings” befit a “class act” that’s “splurgy” but “worth every century note” – “especially for an occasion."

400 Fifth Ave.; 212-613-8660

No. 56: Craft

Food: 26
Decor: 24
Service: 24
Cost: $78

A “longtime favorite” “still going strong”, Top Chef star Tom Colicchio’s Flatiron American earns “high marks” for “pure”, “ingredient-centric” cooking that makes for “delectable” results; “impeccable” service and “chic”, “beautiful” digs boost the “delightful” but “pricey” experience.

43 E. 19th St.; 212-780-0880

No. 55: The Modern

Food: 26
Decor: 26
Service: 25
Cost: $127

Pure class all the way”, this Danny Meyer “triumph” is a “truly special” MoMA showcase for “inspired” French–New American cooking served by a “choreographed” team; the “exquisite” view of the sculpture garden helps justify the “steep” prix fixe–only tabs, though “more affordable" small plates are available à la carte in the “busy” front bar.

9 W. 53rd St.; 212-333-1220

No. 54: Sushi Zen

Food: 26
Decor: 20
Service: 22
Cost: $66

It’s “less touted” than some, but supporters say this Japanese “island of calm” is “one of the Theater District’s best” given its “pristine”, “beautifully presented” sushi; “excellent” service and “small” but “Zen”-like digs help justify the “expensive” tabs.

108 W. 44th St.; 212-302-0707

No. 53: Blue Ribbon Sushi

Food: 26
Decor: 19
Service: 22
Cost: $64

Long a “standard-bearer of cool” in SoHo, this Bromberg brothers Japanese slices “top-flight”, “work-of-art” sushi along with a “wonderful array” of cooked items; “proactive service” and “cozy”, “denlike” digs offset “pretty-penny” price tags and that “frustrating” no-rez thing.

119 Sullivan St.; 212-343-0404

No. 52: Morimoto

Food: 26
Decor: 27
Service: 24
Cost: $87

“More than a restaurant”, this “showy” West Chelsea “experience” reveals the “creative juices” of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto via an “ethereal” Japanese menu, served by an “exceptional” team; the “chic”, white-on-white setting is “calming” and the tabs “shocking”, though the “fantastic” omakase is “worth every penny;" P.S. the “rest-rooms are not to be missed.”

88 10th Ave.; 212-989-8883

No. 51: Di Fara

Food: 26
Decor: 6
Service: 11
Cost: $18

Taste the magical pies lovingly prepared” by octogenarian “pizza alchemist” Dom DeMarco at this ’60s-era Midwood “temple” and “all is good in the world”; “unnerving” waits, decidedly “nothing-fancy” digs and smile-free service are just part of the “total experience” – acolytes insist it’s more than “worth the trouble” for a “slice of heaven.”

1424 Ave. J; 718-258-1367

No. 50: Fette Sau

Food: 26
Decor: 16
Service: 15
Cost: $31

It’s the “quintessential Williamsburg experience” to “join the hipsters” at this “serious foodie” “heaven” for “awesome” dry-rub, by-the-pound BBQ – voted “NYC’s best” – that “matches so well” with the “artisan” beers and bourbons on offer; no rezzies means “crazy lines” for “cafeteria-style” service in a “former garage” outfitted with “communal picnic tables” – but to most it’s so “worth it.”

354 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn; 718-963-3404

No. 49: Traif

Food: 26
Decor: 18
Service: 22
Cost: $45

The name alone (which roughly translates as ‘non-kosher’) is a “surefire way to attract buzz” in the Hasidic Williamsburg vicinity, and this “pork-lover’s paradise” delivers an array of “dynamite” Eclectic small plates at a “reasonable” price; “helpful” service and snug quarters with an all-seasons patio round out this “great find.”

229 S. Fourth St., Brooklyn; 347-844-9578

No. 48: Aquagrill

Food: 26
Decor: 19
Service: 23
Cost: $62

“Definitely a winner”, this “classic” SoHo seafooder continues to deliver with a “top-notch” team serving up “well-executed fish” (“any fresher and it would still be on the boat”) and “oysters galore” from a “superior raw bar”; even given “high” prices, it stays “crowded and loud.”

210 Spring St.; 212-274-0505

No. 47: Tanoreen

Food: 26
Decor: 19
Service: 23
Cost: $41

It’s “worth the trip” to this “out-of-the-way” Bay Ridge “find” for “artfully prepared”, “beautifully seasoned” Med–Middle Eastern home cooking; some say it’s getting “a bit pricey”, but the “warm welcome” compensates – “charismatic” chef-owner Rawia Bishara “makes a point of stopping at every table.”

7523 Third Ave., Brooklyn; 718-748-5600

No. 46: Del Posto

Food: 26
Decor: 27
Service: 26
Cost: $111

Another “incredible dining experience” delivered by Mario, Joe and Lidia, this Chelsea “stunner” serves up “masterful” “upscale Italian” cuisine and “unrivaled” wines in “opulent” balconied environs overseen by a “first-class” crew; yes, the prices can seem “punitive” – “have a grappa ready when the check arrives" – but hey, it’s “cheaper than flying to Italy.”

85 10th Ave.; 212-497-8090

No. 45: Luzzo's

Food: 26
Decor: 15
Service: 18
Cost: $30

In an “area rich with good pizzerias”, the “outstanding” Neapolitan-style pies proffered at this East Villager have the distinction of being fired in one of the few remaining coal-burning ovens in NYC; despite “waits” and not much decor, purists “highly recommend” it.

211 First Ave.; 212-473-7447

No. 44: Pepolino

Food: 26
Decor: 19
Service: 24
Cost: $61

“Hiding in plain sight” on the fringes of TriBeCa, this “charming” trattoria delivers a “magic combination” of “savory” Tuscan farm cuisine and “attentive” service amid “rustic” surrounds; the experience is “not cheap”, but given the “high quality”, insiders still consider it a “deal.”

281 W. Broadway; 212-966-9983

No. 43: Trattoria L'incantro

Food: 26
Decor: 21
Service: 25
Cost: $59

Upholding its “well-deserved reputation”, this “destination” Astoria Italian is renowned for chef-owner Rocco Sacramone’s “outstanding” cooking paired with a “great wine list”; the “spot-on service” is a “show in itself” as the waiters rattle off the “voluminous” list of specials.

21-76 31st St., Queens; 718-721-3532

No. 42: Cafe Boulud

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 26
Cost: $82

Daniel Boulud’s “mastery shows through” at this Upper East Side “oasis” of “refinement”, where “perfectionist chef” Gavin Kaysen wows a “smartly dressed”, “blue-blood” crowd with “exquisite French cuisine” set down by “discreet” servers who “make you feel special”; the “soothing” atmosphere is “perfect for conversation” so long as “you can afford tab” – for tighter budgets, the “prix fixe lunch is a terrific bargain.”

20 E. 76th St.; 212-772-2600

No. 41: Tocqueville

Food: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26
Cost: $87

A “quiet refuge” for “grown-ups”, this “refined” Union Square French–New American offers a “most sophisticated” dining experience via “artful” chef Marco Moreira’s “exquisite” cuisine served by staffers “who take pride in their work”; of course, the “high standard” commands “upscale” pricing, but there’s a $29 prix fixe for bargain hunters.

1 E. 15th Street; 212-647-1515

No. 40: Grocery

Food: 27
Decor: 18
Service: 25
Cost: $64

Carefully sourced”, “superbly executed” New American food served with a “warm, personal touch” makes this enduring Smith Street “jewel” one of “Brooklyn’s finest culinary experiences”; given the “no-frills”, “closetlike” dining room, insiders say it’s “best when you can sit in the back garden.”

288 Smith St.; 718-596-3335

No. 39: The Four Seasons

Food: 27
Decor: 28
Service: 27
Cost: $103

Midtown’s “gold standard” of “classic luxury” draws “elite” folks with “delectable” New American cuisine, a “timeless” midcentury modern setting and “flawless service” under the aegis of owners Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini; the Grill Room is a magnet for lunchtime “movers and shakers” while the Pool Room is best for “romance”, but either way the tabs are “extravagant” and jackets are de rigueur for gents.

57 E. 57th St.; 212-758-5700

No. 38: Pylos

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 22
Cost: $52

The “refined” Greek menu is “creative in wonderful ways” at this “higher-end” East Village Hellenic tucked into a “tight” but “lively” space decorated with clay pots suspended overhead; “attentive” service “with a smile” makes it all the more “charming.”

128 E. Seventh St.; 212-473-0220

No. 37: Babbo

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $82

Year after year”, the Batali-Bastianich team’s Village “standard-bearer” for “elevated Italian” cooking “lives up to its rep” with a “daring and fulfilling” menu that highlights “unrivaled pasta” in “warm” carriage-house surrounds filled with “energized” “music and hubbub”; it’s still “worth the Byzantine reservations policy” and “big bucks” for a “dynamic” outing that’s “not to be missed.”

110 Waverly Place; 212-777-0303

No. 36: Al di La

Food: 27
Decor: 19
Service: 22
Cost: $49

The trattoria “everyone wishes was in their neighborhood”, this “all-time-favorite” Park Sloper “deserves its reputation” for “inspired” Venetian cooking that’s a “bargain” to boot; no reservations means “obligatory” waits (“bummer!”), though “lunch is easier” and there’s always its “wine bar around the corner.”

248 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn; 718-783-4565

No. 35: NoMad Restaurant

Food: 27
Decor: 26
Service: 24
Cost: $89

“All the hype is justified” at Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s NoMad Hotel “stunner”, offering a “first-rate” American-European menu led by what may be the “best chicken dish on the planet”; the multiroom setting is “stylish”, the service “suave” and the bar scene “sexy”, so even though it’s “definitely not cheap”, it’s still virtually “impossible to get a table” here.

1170 Broadway; 347-472-5660

No. 34: Masa/Bar Masa

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 25
Cost: $585

Chef Masayoshi Takayama’s “transcendent” skills yield “superlative sushi” worthy of a “last meal” at this “tranquil” Time Warner Center Japanese, though the notorious $450-and-up prix fixes leave a massive “hole in your wallet”; “a bargain compared” to the main room, the adjacent bar is an “excellent way to sample” the wares à la carte.

10 Columbus Cir.; 212-823-9800

No. 33: Sushi of Gari

Food: 27
Decor: 16
Service: 22
Cost: $83

For an “unforgettable sensory journey”, try the omakase at Gari Sugio’s “off-the-charts” Japanese quintet, where the “jewel”-like sushi is simply “sublime”; despite “modest”, “bento box”–size settings and “go-for-broke” tabs, finatics say these “bucket-list” destinations are the “last word” in raw-fish “bliss.”

402 E. 78th St.; 212-517-5340

No. 32: Nobu

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $84

Nobu Matsuhisa’s 20-year-old TriBeCa flagship “has lost none of its luster”, still offering “exceptional” Japanese-Peruvian fare to an “attractive” crowd in a “theatrical”, David Rockwell–designed space; its “more casual” next-door offshoot and more “touristy” Midtown outlet are “just as delicious” – and just as “expensive.”

105 Hudson St.; 212-219-0500

No. 31: Nougatine at Jean Georges

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 26
Cost: $68

Less formal” than Jean Georges, but “just as delicious”, this “classy-casual” front-room alternative provides “perfectly prepared” New French food that puts a “lighter hit on the wallet”; it’s best accessed for breakfast or after-work drinks and snacks, though that “marvelous” $32 prix fixe lunch may just be the “biggest bargain in the city.”

1 Central Park W.; 212-299-3900

No. 30: Momofuku Ko

Food: 27
Decor: 19
Service: 23
Cost: $163

Creativity” thrives at David Chang’s East Village “blast”, where “avant-garde”, Asian-accented American plates are served in a tasting format at a 12-seat chef’s counter; sure, the online-only rezzies are “tough” to get and the $125 set price is not for every budget, but the payoff is “truly memorable” dining.

207 Second Ave.; 212-254-3500

No. 29: Union Square Cafe

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 26
Cost: $72

Still going strong”, this Union Square “tent pole in Danny Meyer’s restaurant empire” bases its “well-earned reputation” on “stellar”, Greenmarket-fresh New American food served by “engaging” staffers in a “refined” setting made for “intimate conversation”; it’s a “special-occasion” place with appropriately “costly” tabs, and though scoring a reservation can be tough, insiders advise “dining at the bar.”

21 E. 16th St.; 212-243-4020

No. 28: Sripraphai

Food: 27
Decor: 14
Service: 17
Cost: $27

Still the champ”, this Queens “gem” is again ranked NYC’s top Thai thanks to a “staggeringly vast” choice of “legit” dishes that “burn with flavor” and incendiary spice; despite “pedestrian” decor, “unremarkable” service and a cash-only rule, the “fair” prices alone make it worth the “schlep to Woodside.”

64-13 39th Ave., Queens; 718-899-9599

No. 27: Blue Hill

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 26
Cost: $89

Dan Barber’s “farm-to-table” “temple”, this “top-tier” Village American “consistently wows” with “heavenly” “locavore” cuisine that “brings together the best ingredients and makes them shine”; a “serene”, “sophisticated” venue where the staff “couldn’t be more engaged”, it’s “well worth” the rez drama and “high-end” cost (“what’s good enough for Mr. President...”).

75 Washington Place; 212-539-1776

No. 26: Estiatorio Milos

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 24
Cost: $87

Absolutely delectable” seafood arrives in a “sleek”, “airy” room at this “gold-standard” Midtown Hellenic, where the “just-caught” catch is as “impeccable” as the “brisk” service; “by-the-pound pricing” adds up to “sky-high” tabs, but the lunch and pre-theater prix fixes are “experiments in Greek austerity.”

125 W. 55th St.; 212-245-7400

No. 25: Scalini Fedeli

Food: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26
Cost: $93

“Abundant with marvelous choices”, the prix fixe–only menus at Michael Cetrulo’s TriBeCa Italian feature “outstanding” dishes bolstered by an “equally lavish” wine cellar; “dedicated” staffers, “old-world” decor and “very expensive” tabs are all part of the “la dolce vita” package.

165 Duane St.; 212-528-0400

No. 24: L'Artusi

Food: 27
Decor: 23
Service: 24
Cost: $61

“Something special” from the Dell’anima team, this West Village Italian “justifiably lures throngs” with “top-notch” cooking matched with an “impressive” wine list (the “hip vibe”, “pretty” decor and “snap-to-it” service don’t hurt, either); sure, it’s pricey and sometimes “overcrowded”, but the payoff is “stylish” dining.

228 W. 10th St.; 212-255-5757

No. 23: Torrisi Italian Specialites

Food: 27
Decor: 19
Service: 24
Cost: $80

Exceptional dining” awaits at this “real-deal” NoLita nook, where “original” takes on Italian-American eats are “done to perfection” and presented by an “attentive” staff at a $60 prix fixe–only price; the “cozy” setting may verge on “cramped”, but it’s “worth the work to get a reservation” – the overall experience is “amazing.”

250 Mulberry St.; 212-965-0955

No. 22: Lucali

Food: 27
Decor: 19
Service: 19
Cost: $27

“If you can get in”, the pies and calzones are mighty darn “awesome” at this Carroll Gardens “neighborhood” pizzeria, again voted No. 1 in NYC; it takes neither credit cards nor reservations, and “long waits” are the norm, but the BYO policy is “pretty cool.”

575 Henry St.; 718-858-4086

No. 21: Kyo Ya

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 25
Cost: $99

With “stunningly good” Kyoto-style dishes “meticulously arranged” on an “array of pottery”, the “presentation alone is worth the trip” to this East Village “temple to kaiseki”; “attentive” service helps justify “expensive” tabs, but reservations are a must, given the “intimate” setting.

94 E. Seventh St.; 212-982-4140

No. 20: Picholine

Food: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26
Cost: $103

Thanks to “sophisticated” French-Med fare dispatched in a “classy” setting by an “impeccable” team, Terry Brennan’s “oasis of calm” near Lincoln Center continues to draw a “loyal clientele”, especially among “cheese lovers” who save room for the “unusual” selections; granted, the tabs will cost you “big bucks”, but the payoff is a “thoroughly elegant dining experience.”

35 W. 64th St.; 212-724-8585

No. 19: Annisa

Food: 27
Decor: 24
Service: 26
Cost: $87

Anita Lo’s care and craft” continue to “pay off” at this “high-end” West Village “gem”, a “civilized respite” renowned for its “brilliant, Asian-inspired” New American fare, “superb service” and “understated elegance”; a “smart”, “soothing” space where you “can actually have a conversation” rounds out this “rare treat.”

13 Barrow St.; 212-741-6699

No. 18: Soto

Food: 27
Decor: 19
Service: 21
Cost: $104

It’s “uni heaven” at this West Village Japanese, where chef Sotohiro Kosugi turns out “wonderfully creative” urchin dishes plus “beyond-all-expectations” sushi and “amazing” omakase; “efficient” service and a “tranquil”, “minimalist” setting help calm nerves jangled by the “splurge” pricing.

357 Sixth Ave; 212-414-3088

No. 17: Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

Food: 27
Decor: 20
Service: 25
Cost: $332

Affirming “Brooklyn’s continued place” on the “NYC cuisine scene”, this 18-seat prep kitchen in a Schermerhorn Street grocery presents Japanese-influenced French cooking from “extraordinary chef” Cesar Ramirez, favoring the “privileged” few who score “elusive” reservations with 20-plus “magical” small plates and “close-to-flawless” service; it may “take a second mortgage” to settle the $255 prix fixe–only tab, but “save up the dough” and “keep redialing” – “you won’t regret it.”      

200 Schermerhorn St.; 718-243-0050

No. 16: Peter Luger Steak House

Food: 27
Decor: 16
Service: 21
Cost: $83

Voted NYC’s No. 1 steakhouse for the 30th year in a row, this circa-1887 Williamsburg “landmark” offers a “classic, straightforward” menu (highlighted by a “terrific” aged porterhouse) that “hasn’t changed” in eons but still draws big “crowds”; “gruff” service and a “no-frills, boys’-club” ambiance are “part of the experience”, and don’t forget to bring “plenty of cash” – it doesn’t accept credit cards.

178 Broadway; 718-387-7400

No. 15: Mas (farmhouse)

Food: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26
Cost: $96

“Everything you could ask for in a dining experience”, this “cozy” West Village American is a “foodie must”, showcasing the “amazing”, “farm-to-table” skills of chef Galen Zamarra; “polished” service and an “intimate” ambiance set the stage for “romantic” dalliances, and although decidedly pricey, it’s “worth every penny.”

39 Downing St.; 212-255-1790

No. 14: Gotham Bar & Grill

Food: 27
Decor: 25
Service: 26
Cost: $84

Still going strong” after 30 years, “cooking genius” Alfred Portale’s “delightful” Village “destination” scores “high marks” all around, from the “towering”, “wickedly delicious” New American cuisine and “professional” service to the “classy, airy” room; it’s “a splurge sort of place” for sure, but the $25 prix fixe lunch is a “bargain.”

12 E. 12th St.; 212-620-4020

No. 13: Degustation

Food: 28
Decor: 20
Service: 24
Cost: $84

“Intimate” and “extraordinary” in equal measure, Grace and Jack Lamb’s “tiny” Franco-Spanish East Villager serves up “exquisite”, “smack-in-the-taste-buds” small plates via “friendly” chefs who work their “magic” in an open, behind-the-bar kitchen; be warned though, the “dollar-to-calorie ratio” isn’t always favorable.

239 E. Fifth St.; 212-979-1012

No. 12: Marea

Food: 28
Decor: 26
Service: 26
Cost: $105

“Memorable” is putting it mildly at chef Michael White’s Columbus Circle “stunner”, again voted NYC’s No. 1 Italian thanks to “exquisite” seafood and pasta dispatched in a “quiet”, “contemporary” setting by a “skilled, unobtrusive” team; it draws a “dressed-up” crowd of “celebs” and “one-percenters” who bring an “extra credit card” to settle the “astronomical” checks – though lunch is a “more affordable” option.

240 Central Park S.; 212-582-5100

No. 11: Sushi Seki

Food: 28
Decor: 14
Service: 22
Cost: $80

Transforming “pristine fish” into “phenomenal sushi”, “master-of-his-art” chef Seki “never disappoints” at this “something-special” East Side Japanese; “late-night” hours draw night owls who don’t mind the “costly” tabs and “needs-a-face-lift” decor.

1143 First Ave.; 212-371-0238

No. 10: Gramercy Tavern

Food: 28
Decor: 26
Service: 27
Cost: $120

“A classic that seems to maintain its standing effortlessly”, Danny Meyer’s Flatiron “favorite” promises a “wow experience” featuring chef Michael Anthony’s “top-of-the-line” New American cuisine, “superlative” pro service and a “beautiful”, “flower-filled” atmosphere; while you’ll spend a “handsome sum” to dine in the prix fixe–only main room, the “fabulous à la carte offerings” in the front tavern are a somewhat “more affordable” option.

42 E. 20th St.; 212-477-0777

No. 9: La Grenouille

Food: 28
Decor: 28
Service: 28
Cost: $113

With “lavish flower displays” amid “magnificent”, “artfully decorated” environs (“where Truman Capote entertained his swans”), the “visual feast is beyond compare” at Charles Masson’s “transporting” East Side “NYC classic”, which is equally beloved for its “exquisite” haute French cuisine and “seamless” service; the “first-class” experience is “worth your last dollar"– though the $38 upstairs lunch deal is a “bargain.”

3 E. 52nd St.; 212-752-1495

No. 8: Sushi Yasuda

Food: 28
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $88

Even though “chef Yasuda is gone”, the “raw talent” in the kitchen perseveres at this “top-of-the-line” Japanese near Grand Central known for its “succulent” sushi; don’t be misled by the “austere decor”, it’s “not inexpensive” – though the $28 prix fixe is a big-time bargain and there’s now a no-tipping policy.

204 E. 43rd St.; 212-972-1001

No. 7: Sasabune

Food: 28
Decor: 11
Service: 21
Cost: $115

“Trust the chefs” at Kenji Takahashi’s “outstanding” UES Japanese offering “unforgettable”, omakase-only meals featuring “delicate”, “skillfully prepared” sushi; even though the digs are “cramped” and the service “rushed”, devotees happily shell out “bank loan”–worthy sums for such a “high-quality” experience.

401 E. 73rd St.; 212-249-8583

No. 6: Jean Georges

Food: 28
Decor: 27
Service: 28
Cost: $153

“Every bit deserving of its praise”, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s CPW culinary “cathedral” persists as a “paragon” of “sophisticated” service and “marvelously inventive” New French cuisine, with “superb wines to match”; the “serene, civilized” (jackets required) setting rounds out the “top-notch dining experience” that’s “priced accordingly” – though the $38 prix fixe lunch promises the same "high quality" without "breaking the bank."

1 Central Park W.; 212-299-3900

No. 5: Eleven Madison Park

Food: 28
Decor: 28
Service: 28
Cost: $254

“Magical” is how admirers describe Daniel Humm’s French “knockout” next to Madison Square Park, where “well-choreographed”, “theatrical” tasting menus (think “card tricks”) feature “exquisite” dishes and “memorable” wine pairings, served with “perfect precision” by an “amazing” pro staff in “spectacular” “landmark” digs; you may need to “take out a mortgage” first, but it “doesn’t get much better” than this.

11 Madison Ave.; 212-889-0905

No. 4: Daniel

Food: 28
Decor: 28
Service: 28
Cost: $146

Still the “hautest of haute” after two decades, Daniel Boulud’s “magnificent” Eastsider offers a “religious experience” via “otherworldly” prix fixe–only New French cuisine, an “exquisite”, jackets-required setting and near-“flawless” service; sure, you’ll need a “Brinks truck” to settle the bill, but “it’s worth the gold” to “dine in heaven”; P.S. the comparatively casual lounge offers à la carte dining.

60 E. 65th St.; 212-288-0033

No. 3: Per Se

Food: 28
Decor: 28
Service: 29
Cost: $325

“Unpretentious perfection” starts with the “superb” nine-course tasting menu at chef Thomas Keller’s “flawless” French–New American in the Time Warner Center and continues with “inspiring” Central Park views and “approachable”, “amazingly well-orchestrated” service (again voted No. 1 in NYC); granted, the $295 set price may be “astronomical”, but overall this jackets-required destination is “hard to top” for a “bucket-list” indulgence.

10 Columbus Cir.; 212-823-9335

No. 2: Bouley

Food: 29
Decor: 27
Service: 28
Cost: $116

Engaging all the senses”, David Bouley’s TriBeCa “masterpiece” presents “superb”, “French-decadence-at-its-best” cuisine, “consistently superior” service and a “beautiful”, “formal” (jackets required) setting that add up to a “wonderful overall experience”; it’s “among NYC’s true elite”, with prices to match, but when you seek an “unforgettable” repast, it’s “hard to beat”; P.S. the $55 lunch prix fixe is a “bargain.”

163 Duane St.; 212-964-2525

No. 1: Le Bernardin

Food: 29
Decor: 28
Service: 28
Cost: $169

Dining doesn’t get much more “blissful” than at this “sublime” Midtown French seafooder via Maguy Le Coze and chef Eric Ripert, a near “religious experience” where “exquisite” meals, “meticulous” service and an “impressive”, revamped room have again earned it Top Food and Most Popular honors in NYC; granted, the tabs are equally “extraordinary” – the prix fixe–only dinners start at $130 – but then again, it’s “fabulous in every way”; P.S. a no-reserving lounge offers small plates, while a neighboring wine bar and private dining room in the former Palio/Piano Due spaces are in the works.   

155 W. 51st St.; 212-554-1515