The 50 Best Restaurants in NYC

November 19, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

From multi-course tasting menu spots to places for casual Italian food, the most impressive restaurants in New York come in a lot of different forms. Here’s what to expect at each: great food, top-notch service, and an overall experience that you’ll want to have again and again. Keep reading to see all of New York’s best places to eat.

Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

"Time after time" , Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Central Park West flagship "lives up to its billing" with "exquisite" New French cuisine that "dazzles your palate" served "with balletlike precision" in "a serene, luxurious" setting that requires a jacket; it’ll cost a "king’s ransom" to settle the tab, but those "willing to splurge" can count on an "unforgettable" meal.
Peter Luger Steak House
Steakhouse · Williamsburg · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

"Still the one and only" , this circa-1887 Williamsburg "monument to meat" sets the bar with its "buttery" house-aged beef ( "they define porterhouse" ) served by "cantankerous" career waiters in a "busy" "old-time" German beer hall setting; the "rough-and-tumble" style "only adds to the charm" , but prices are "stiff" and they don’t take plastic, so come with "a lot of cash."
Gabriel Kreuther
French · West 40s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

Prepare to be "wowed by" this French "standout" opposite Bryant Park, where chef Gabriel Kreuther produces "inspired" tasting menus with his signature "Alsatian twists" , served by a "seamless staff" in an "impressive" setting with "snazzy" "rustic" accents; though it’s "costly" , there’s also an à la carte bar menu if you’re "mindful of your pocketbook."
Tocqueville
French · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"Sophisticated" dining "to be savored" awaits at this "top-of-the-line" Flatiron "oasis" , where "knockout" French–New American plates pair with a "wine list that dazzles" in a "pristine" "adult" setting; it runs "expensive, of course" , but that makes the prix fixe lunch "a steal.
Gramercy Tavern
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

You can rely on "top-class" dining with "no gimmicks" at Danny Meyer’s enduring Flatiron New American, where chef Michael Anthony’s "outstanding" set menus are presented by "eminently suave" staffers in an "upscale-country" dining room arrayed with "gorgeous" flower displays; it’s "not cheap by any means" , though the front tavern offers a "reasonable" à la carte menu in a "colorful" walk-in setting; P.S. gratuity is now built into menu prices.
Sushi Yasuda
Sushi · East 40s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

Sushi "of your dreams" awaits at this "hidden jewel" near Grand Central, where disciples of the namesake master chef craft "heavenly" traditional cuts in a setting run by an "efficiently courteous" crew; "the price matches the quality" , so "be ready to spend a bundle" – especially if you "go for omakase" at the bar.
Marea
Italian · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

"Excellence abounds" at Michael White’s Italian "star" on Central Park South, where the "adventurous" seafood and "heavenly" housemade pastas "never fail to wow" ; the "impeccable" service matches the "sleek" , "convivial" setting – as well as the "power broker" prices (lunchtime set menus are a comparative "steal" ).
Nougatine at Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

"Jean-Georges style" extends to its "less formal" but "still stellar" front dining area, known for "superlative" New French fare and "on-point" service in a "smart" setting with a "lovely" terrace; "substantial savings" over the main room include a prix fixe lunch that’s "an outstanding deal."
Trattoria L'incontro
Italian · Astoria · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.5

This "special-occasion" Italian is a borough "institution" thanks to its "huge" menu of "divine" "traditional" dishes, plus a specials list "longer than the Sunday Times" ( "rattled off" by "patient" waiters); "multigenerational families" fill the "old-school" surrounds, where chef Rocco Sacramone can often be found "greeting each table."
Estiatorio Milos
Greek · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

A "class act" , this "glorious" Midtown Greek specializes in "fresh-as-it-gets" seafood served up in a "cavernous" white-on-white space that gets especially "energetic" at lunch; "by-the-ounce" pricing can add up ( "buying your own boat may be less expensive" ), but the prix fixe options are a relative "bargain."
Tamarind Tribeca
Indian · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

The "delight factor" is high at this "stylish" TriBeCa stalwart whose "exquisite" modern Indian cooking is served up in "gorgeous" , bi-level digs where "attentive waiters hover discreetly" ; yes, it’s "pricey" , but the "plentiful" prix fixe lunch is a "bargain."
The Modern
American · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

"Reliably superb" French–New American cuisine "as modern as the art" is the deal at Danny Meyer’s "effortlessly chic" eatery inside MoMA, where the "tranquil" dining room boasts "lovely" sculpture garden views and service is "impeccable" ( "refreshing" no-tipping policy notwithstanding); such "high-end sophistication" is unsurprisingly "pricey" , but the "more casual" front bar area is "easier on the wallet."
The River Café
American · DUMBO · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.5

"Is there a more beautiful setting in NYC?" swoon fans of this Dumbo waterfront "classic" whose "romantic" dining room offers "unbeatable" views of Manhattan, as well as a fairy-lit "Garden of Eden" just outside; "elegant" prix fixe–only American cuisine and "exceptional" service complete the "high-end" experience – for which an "expensive" price tag is "to be expected."
THE GRILL
American · East 50s · $$$$

In the landmarked space of the former Four Seasons in the Seagram Building, this luxe, second-floor steakhouse harks back to the 1950s with its midcentury style, classic menu by Mario Carbone (highlighting filet mignon, Dover sole and prime rib carved tableside) and a buffet table for charcuterie and other cold appetizers. Variations on the martini are prominent at the bar.
Le Coucou
French · SoHo · $$$$

Stephen Starr and star-chef Daniel Rose of the Paris hits Spring and La Bourse et La Vie are behind this high-end SoHo French in the 11 Howard hotel offering contemporary takes on classic dishes. Designed with softly toned wood and brick with white tablecloths and specially designed chandeliers, it also offers a pared-down selection of cocktails and a well thought-out wine list.
Union Square Cafe
Brunch · Gramercy Park · $$$

After relocating from its original digs of 30 years, this Danny Meyer groundbreaker (his first restaurant) is back with a similar New American menu, which includes old favorites alongside new choices; the Park Avenue South space is bigger but retains a familiar warmth, and gratuity is built into menu prices.
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.
Uncle Boons
Thai · NoLita · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

This "cutting-edge" NoLita hangout offers a "new-school" take on Thai cuisine via "vibrant flavors" and very "serious spicing" ; an "attentive" team tends the "knickknack" -filled basement space, where "must-try" beer slushies can be ordered from the "cozy" bar; its tiny Mott Street sib is a counter-serve, credit card–only outfit offering a takeout menu based on the original, with some seating available.
Her Name is Han
Korean · Murray Hill · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.0

A "refreshing addition" to Murray Hill, this "fantastic" Korean kitchen delivers "excellent" , "homestyle" cooking with "modern" touches in a warm setting overseen by the "nicest" staff; economical lunch specials and "on-point" house-infused soju add to the draw.
Carbone
Italian · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

"Amazing twists" on "old-school" Italian cooking (including "life-changing" rigatoni) make for a serious "feast" at this "clubby" Village "destination" , where the "classic" decor, "nattily dressed" servers and "throwback" soundtrack will take you back to "Little Italy of the ’50s" ; the bill might "set off the smoke alarm" (beware the specials), but reservations still remain "too hard to get."
il Buco
Italian · NoHo · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

"Marvelous" "cucina rustica" pairs with a "well-crafted" wine list in "intimate farmhouse-inspired" surrounds that’ll "transport" you to a "Tuscan home" at this NoHo Med-Italian; if it gets "loud" , the downstairs wine cellar is a "beautiful" alternative, though it’s "not cheap" no matter where you sit.
Cosme
Mexican · Flatiron · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

"Creative, brilliant" contemporary Mexican cuisine from chef Enrique Olvera comes in "chic" , "modern" quarters at this "über-trendy" Flatiron "scene" ; you’ll "spend a bundle" – assuming you score a "hard-to-come-by" reservation – and the "quintessentially ‘buzzy’ room" gets "loud" , but most hardly notice after an "original, delicious" cocktail or two.
Masa
Japanese · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

If you "don’t mind spending" , chef Masayoshi Takayama’s omakase meals are mighty "delectable" at this Japanese restaurant in the Time Warner Center that fans dub a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience; the $595-and-up set price strikes most as "prohibitive" , though à la carte tabs are somewhat more "tolerable" in the "less formal" bar.
Olmsted
American · Prospect Heights · $$$

A chef with an all-star history (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chicago’s Alinea) has teamed up with a farmer to open this Prospect Heights American drawing from super-local sources, including its own backyard garden. The woodsy interior brings nature inside with the beginnings of a live green wall, and has a chef’s counter for watching the action.
Casa Enrique
Mexican · Long Island City · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

A "fresh take on Mexican" , this LIC sib to Cafe Henri is a "hidden" local "favorite" for "incredible" regional cooking crafted with a "complex" , Chiapas-style "twist" and "served with a smile" for "reasonable" pesos; the cantinalike quarters may seem "sparse" , but "it’s not about the decor."
Rubirosa
Brunch · NoLita · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

"Amazing" thin-crust pizzas and "to-die-for" meatballs are the fortes of this "charming" NoLita Italian done up in "rustic-chic" style; "cozy" turns "tight" during prime times, and it can be "hard to get a table" , but "cool" vibes and "reasonable" tabs compensate.