Best No-Reservation Spots in NYC

November 20, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

Forgetting to make a reservation doesn't mean the only option for the night is takeout. These are New York's 14 best walk-in only restaurants - getting in might require some waiting, but the end result will be an excellent meal.

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.
Vini e Fritti
Italian · NoMad · $$$

Danny Meyer completes a Roman trio (including Marta and Caffe Marchio) with this NoMad wine bar that rounds out its reds and whites by the glass with spritzes, sparklers and digestivi, plus fried Italian snacks, salumi and panini. Soft lighting and black and white photos accent a casual space where the payment is plastic-only, with no tipping.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Ramen · East Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

Noodle “bliss” awaits at this “lively” East Village ramen spot 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.
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.
Roberta's
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.”
Frankies 457 Spuntino
Italian · Carroll Gardens · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Special local places” , these “homey” Italians serve “delicate” dishes with a “modern spin” , including “main-attraction” meatballs, at prices that won’t “break the bank” ; although they trend “noisy” , Carroll Gardens' “enchanting” patio is a summer “plus.”
RedFarm
Chinese · West Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Intense” flavors and “innovative” preparations make for “unbelievably good” Chinese plates and “contemporary” dim sum (a “strong suit” ) at these “lively” hangs from Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng; “long waits” (no reservations) and “elbow-to-elbow” seating are the downsides, but “incredible” cocktails help ensure “everyone leaves happy.”
Thursday Kitchen
Korean · East Village · $$

Chef Kyungmin Kay Hyun melds Korean cooking with French and Spanish influences to serve tapas-style plates (such as paella with caramelized kimchi) at this East Village neighborhood spot. Glowing cocktails served in clear squeeze-pouches add to the playful vibe.
Blue Ribbon Sushi
Sushi · SoHo · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“First-class” fish in “creative and classic” combos makes for “dazzling” sushi at these Japanese “go-tos” by the brothers Bromberg; you’ll also find brasserie favorites (like “surprisingly good fried chicken” ) at some locales, and while the SoHo original is more “minimalist” than the rest (minus the Hudson Eats counter), all will cost you a “chunk of change.”
Ops
Pizza · Bushwick · $$

Wood-fired pies with a sourdough crust are joined by a few simple openers (cheeses, salad and antipasti) at this Bushwick pizzeria, which also offers seasonal cocktails and a Bud and amaro combo. The converted garage space is welcoming with brick walls, tiled floors and marble-topped tables, and there’s no tipping.
Kiki's
Greek · Lower East Side · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

Behind the Chinese-characters signage, this LES hang is an “amazing Greek find” where “truly excellent” taverna staples ( “plan to share” ) arrive “at a decent price” in an “authentic rustic” setting; since reservations aren’t taken and “it fills up fast” , waits can be “significant.”
Ippudo NY
Ramen · Greenwich Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 3.9

“Rich” , “category-defining” ramen and “incredible” pork buns make for “insanely packed” conditions (and “ridiculously long waits” ) at these Japanese joints; digs are “more spacious” in Midtown, while the Village original is “darker” with “interesting” Asian-inspired decor, but expect a “warm” , “shouted” greeting at both.
Via Carota
Italian · West Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

Jody Williams (Buvette) and Rita Sodi (I Sodi) put out “distinctive” , “dream” -worthy dishes (including “super-creative” vegetables) at this West Village Italian, where the rustic setting will transport you “miles from the city” ; “excellent” cocktails add to the “magic” – just “go early” as it’s often “packed” and doesn’t take reservations.