The 6 Hottest Food Neighborhoods in NYC

By James Mulcahy  |  August 13, 2013
Credit: Alden Gewirtz, King Noodle

Tired of your regular restaurant choices and looking for a new neighborhood to explore? With so much restaurant world excitement happening across NYC, we decided to take a deeper dive into the areas with the most interesting culinary scenes. It's easy to say places like Greenpoint are hot, but to make it easier, we've identified the hottest streets and stretches in several sprawling 'hoods. They are filled with countless bars, restaurants and buzzy openings. The Zagat.com editiors came together and ranked them in order of hot-quotient, but if you're game for a little hopping around, none of these boulevards will disappoint.

  • No. 6: Bond Street

    The Bowery has been hot for awhile, but when you're North of Houston, it's actually one of the side streets that plays host to the real action. Tiny Bond Street is only a few blocks long, but it has more restaurants than most small towns. Start with nouveau (and surprisingly affordable) French at Le Philosophe, then hit up classic Italian Il Buco or underrated Circolo for some pasta. You can load up on pastrami at Mile End Sandwich if you have any room, or camp out inside The Smile for some coffee and snacks. This is the street that has it all, from high-end to low-key, and from casual to classy. 

  • No. 5: Havemeyer and Metropolitan

    The area around this intersection has become the unofficial heart of Williamsburg, just ask the hordes that descend on Fette Sau every weekend. While the BBQ spot may be the nexus of the food scene in the 'hood, there are plenty of other choice options in the few blocks that surround the brisket-laden heart of this mini-culinary zone. Start with a beer at Spuyten Duyvil and then hit dessert at Momofuku Milk Bar. After that, saunter down Havemeyer where you'll be impressed by the inventive take on Middle Eastern food at Zizi Limona and then walk a little farther to see the latest opening, Cerveceria Havemeyer (pictured), a casual new joint from the owners of La Superior.

  • No. 4: 26th Street Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues

    We've dubbed 26th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue "whiskey row" - you can have your brown hooch at quality establishments both high end and low end. On one side of the street there's Maysville, where you can enjoy hundreds of American whiskies and refined, Southern-inspired fare from chef Kyle Knall. On the other end there's Hill Country, where you can get Texas-style BBQ, and The Hog Pit, where you can really stock up for tomorrow's hangover (and don't forget swanky Flatiron Room, which pairs its massive Scotch collection with live entertainment).

    Throw in the high-end Korean at Hanjan and the penthouse views at Toshi's Living Room and Rooftop Lounge (pictured), and you've got enough for multiple nights of wining and dining.

  • Credit: Alden Gewirtz

    No. 3: The Morgan L Stop

    Most folks who get off the Morgan L stop in Bushwick head straight to Roberta's (or Blanca if you're feeling super fancy), but if you take a little while to explore, you'll find out why the surrounding blocks made our list. Falansai, a Vietnamese joint that opened a few months ago, has impressed with its pho offerings, while nearby bar Pine Box Rock Shop hosts an event called the Vegan Shop Up on the second Saturday of each month where you can gorge on cruelty-free treats. The Narrows keeps the cocktail crowd happy, and King Noodle (pictured) pushes the boundaries on what's an acceptable addition to a bowl of noodles (Taco Bell isn't the only joint to indulge the public's appetite for Doritos). Throw in French fare at Mominette and Japanese at Momo Sushi Shack, and this is one hood that will hook you up with, well, pretty much anything you need.

  • No. 2: Bowery and Elizabeth Street South of Houston

    Bowery below Houston is on a hot streak, with recent openings like The General and Pearl and Ash cementing the strip's status as a food destination. Of course there's Pulino's on the North end if you're feeling like pizza, The Bowery Diner if you want an easy late-night bite and Cata, a sexy tapas joint that should be getting more attention than it does (pictured). We propose that this food hood be extended a block West to Elizabeth Street. This quiet stretch is a world apart from the calamitous main thoroughfare, and if you venture over you'll find more refined offerings ranging from old-favorite Public, the elegant New Zealand-inspired Musket Room, standby taco joint Tacombi and upscale Thai at super hip Uncle Boons (which you'll find as you walk over on Spring Street).

  • No. 1: West Greenpoint

    The prime hub of Greenpoint is Manhattan and Nassau, but if you want to see the culinary offerings that have turned this once frumpy neighborhood into the toast of NYC's food world, head West. Sure, you've had Paulie Gee's pizzas before, but once you venture north of Greenpoint Avenue you'll run into some exciting openings. There's Andrew Tarlow's (Marlow & Sons) new bar Achilles Heel that offers coffee during the morning along with beer, wine and grub. There's also River Styx, which uses its decor to pay homage to the area's nautical past; similarly sea-themed The Bounty; and Alameda, which serves a small menu of decadent snacks in a stylish wood-paneled room. Finally, there's the gorgeous Glasserie, which is housed in the sprawling building that used to be the home of the Greenpoint Glass Works. A combo of culinary inventiveness, accessible prices and stylish spaces make this off-the-beaten-path area NYC's hottest culinary 'hood.