Best No-Reservation Spots in NYC

April 13, 2017
by Zagat Staff

You may have to wait for a table to open up at one of these popular no-rez joints, but trust us - the food, drinks and atmosphere are totally worth it.

Pok Pok Ny
Thai · Columbia Street Waterfront District · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

“Every bite is a revelation” at Andy Ricker’s Thai “tour de force” on the Columbia Street Waterfront, where the “delectable” regional dishes are “different from the ordinary” and “totally reasonable” costwise; since it's both “tiny” and very “popular” , it still can be “difficult to get in.”
al di la Trattoria
Italian · Park Slope · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

“Not much changes” yet it “always feels special” at this Park Slope “classic” that earns “Brooklynite love” with its “superb” Venetian fare, “decent prices” and “lively” , “warm” vibe; yes, the “no-rez policy” and inevitable “wait” are a “drag” , but getting into the “wine bar annex” is “easier” – or there's always a “more civilized” , rarely crowded lunch.
The Spotted Pig
Gastropub · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 3.9

A certified “hot spot” , this West Village gastropub is a “proven winner” where nightly “throngs” convene for April Bloomfield’s “mouthwatering” Modern European chow (including a “killer” burger) and sporadic “celeb sightings” ; too bad the “tight quarters” are always “jammed” and the no-reservations policy makes for “really long waits.”
The Breslin
Gastropub · NoMad · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Haute comfort food” reigns at this “NY version of an English pub” in the Ace Hotel, dishing up “elevated” , “unapologetically hearty” fare (including a “perfect” lamb burger) to the “hip throngs” ; despite a surplus of “attitude” , most find it “worth” the “steep” bill.
Italian · West Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

“Delicious yet light” Italian dishes are sourced “straight from the rooftop garden” at this “energetic” , all-day West Village trattoria with a “sunny” , “rustic” dining room; a no-reservations policy (for fewer than eight) makes it “difficult to get a table” and the big “bar scene” pumps out “loud” decibels, so insiders say it’s best “mid-afternoon.”
Pizza · Bushwick · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

“Legendary" by now, this this “hipster-chic” Bushwick destination is a “real standout” thanks to “expertly crafted” pizzas (try the “out-of-this-world” bee sting) and “equally amazing” Italian dishes, enhanced by homegrown produce; perpetual “crowds” make for “massive” waits, but once you're in it's “loads of fun.”
Fette Sau
Barbecue · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.5

It's the “quintessential Williamsburg experience” to “join the hipsters” at this “serious foodie” “heaven” for “awesome” dry-rub, by-the-pound BBQ paired with “artisanal” beers and bourbons; 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.”
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Ramen · East Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

“Noodle bliss” awaits at this “lively” East Village American where “master” chef David Chang offers specialties like his “hallmark pork buns” and “complex” ramen bowls; “crammed” quarters and “long waits” detract, but the payoff is “awesome” eating “without breaking the bank.”
SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
Japanese · Flatiron · $$$

From LA sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa comes this Flatiron instant hit offering a simple menu showcasing high-quality fish, including both à la carte and omakase options. Packed from day one, the elongated space is designed with exposed-brick walls and deeply grained woods.
KazuNori: The Original Hand Roll Bar
Japanese · NoMad · $$

A spin-off of LA’s Sugarfish (which has also landed on these shores), this NoMad spot focuses on its own style of sushi – hand-rolls made with thoughtfully sourced seafood, nori and warm rice, lightly embellished with housemade sauces. Customers line up to order from a check-off menu – which offers single-ingredient and combo rolls, as well as green tea, beer and sake – and can dine along the wooden counter in a cool, minimally done space.
French · Lower East Side · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

Little sister of the nearby Contra, this “hip” LES hang delivers a “carefully curated” American menu featuring “interesting” and “unexpected” dishes (including “amazing” housemade bread) plus natural wines; it’s “small” and doesn’t take reservations, so don’t be surprised by “long” waits.
St. Anselm
American · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Hipster” carnivores “leave smiling” from this “New Age” Williamsburg steakhouse supplying “mind-blowing” naturally raised beef and “excellent” sides in “rustic” , brick-lined digs; “modest prices” make up for the “daunting” waits caused by the no-reservations policy, though regulars “kill time” at its neighboring “sister bar” , Spuyten Duyvil.