The 50 Best Restaurants in NYC

From old favorites to hot and trendy newcomers
March 6, 2017
by Zagat Staff

In New York City, we’re lucky enough to have tens of thousands of restaurants at our doorsteps, many of which turn out stunning dishes that range from rustic to ultra-refined. A few, though, rise to the very top when it comes to the food they serve. Presenting the very best restaurants in New York City for food.

Le Bernardin
Seafood · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.9 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.9

Prepare to dine on “a higher plane” at this “dazzling” Midtown “star” where Eric Ripert’s “world-class” tasting menus highlight “transcendent” French seafood, earning it No. 1 Food honors in NYC for the eighth year in a row; a “deep” wine list, “exemplary” staff and “soigné” surrounds further justify the “sky-high” tabs, so for a “dream-come-true” meal, this is “as good as it gets.”
Bouley at Home
Bar · Flatiron · $$$$

This multifaceted enterprise by David Bouley brings together dining and education, offering nine-course dinners – drawing on French and Asian traditions – at counters arranged around cooking stations, where chefs both prepare and serve the dishes. Designed with streamlined wooden cabinets, the setting has elements of a home kitchen, while also providing culinary classes and a bakery in the same space.
French · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.8

“Time after time” , Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s CPW 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.
French · East 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

A “wow every time” , Daniel Boulud’s “luxurious” UES “icon” “sweeps you into another world” with “masterly” New French fare and a “rarefied atmosphere” defined by “magnificent” decor, “VIP” service and a “dressed-up” clientele (jackets are required); granted, the prix fixe–only tabs are “Himalayan” , but “you’ll understand why” – and the bar provides the “same stellar” quality à la carte.
Gotham Bar and Grill
New American · Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

“Longevity tells it all” at this circa-1984 Village “treasure” where Alfred Portale’s “picture-perfect” New American plates plus “savvy service” and a “gothamy” setting add up to “superior dining with no corners cut” ; longtime fans are “glad to pay the tariff” for an experience that “refuses to disappoint” , and the $38 greenmarket lunch “truly is a steal.”
Peter Luger Steak House
Steakhouse · Williamsburg · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.2

“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 4.7 · Service 4.7

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.”
French · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.6

“Sophisticated” dining “to be savored” awaits at this “top-of-the-line” Flatiron “oasis” , where chef Marco Moreira’s “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 a $29 prix fixe lunch even more of “a steal.”
Gramercy Tavern
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.7

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
Japanese · East 40s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.2 · 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 “spare, Zen” 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.
La Grenouille
French · East 50s · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.7

Ever “intoxicating” , this Midtown “bastion” of “fine-dining nonpareil” remains a “top-tier” source of “fantastique” French classics and “exemplary service” in a “dressy” , jackets-required setting heightened by “stunning floral displays” ; the “steep tabs” are “not for the timid” , but the consistent “level of taste” makes you “feel special.”
Eleven Madison Park
Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

“Brilliant as ever” , Daniel Humm’s New American “knockout” on Madison Square Park is “a total indulgence” where a “spectacular” tasting menu with pairings from a “massive” wine list provides a “culinary adventure” that’s “expertly” served in a “magnificent” art deco space; the “jumbo bill” is a given, but “throw the budget out the window” “you can’t afford to miss this place.”
Italian · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

“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” ).
Blue Hill
American · Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.7

A true “farm-to-table pioneer” , Dan Barber’s Village American “does a magnificent job” producing “unbelievably fresh and flavorful” American fare with “thoroughly satisfying” seasonal “integrity” ; set in a “lovely, calm” room run by an “especially caring” staff, it “isn’t cheap” but the performance is “worth repeat visits.”
Del Posto
Italian · Chelsea · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

“Hard to top” , this “magnifico” Chelsea Italian showcases the Batali-Bastianich “magic” with “inspired” cuisine and an “extraordinary” wine list in a “glamour palace” setting where “gracious” servers leave you “feeling totally pampered” ; just expect to “spend a whopping amount” , or try the lunch prix fixe for “a true bargain.”
Middle Eastern · Bay Ridge · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

“Complex flavors abound” in the “breathtaking” Med–Middle Eastern dishes at this Bay Ridge “local gem” , where chef Rawia Bishara’s “pride shows” as she “works the room” alongside the “skilled” staff; the “warm and hospitable” room is typically “packed – and that says it all.”
Cafe Boulud
French · East 70s · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

A “timeless” Daniel Boulud “success story” , this “classy” UES “mainstay” impresses with “invariably artful” French fare served by an “expert staff” in “subdued” , “grown-up” surroundings; “1%ers” say the “high standards” are “worth every nickel” , though the prix fixe lunch remains “a relative bargain.”
Nougatine at Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

“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.”
Scalini Fedeli
Italian · TriBeCa · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.7

This TriBeCa class act from Michael Cetrulo matches “marvelous” Italian cuisine with “top-notch” service in a “lovely” , “traditional” setting exuding “Old Europe” vibes; with prix fixe–only menus starting at $75, it’s “not cheap” , but “worth it for a special occasion.”
Sushi Nakazawa
Sushi · West Village · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.7

The “ultimate showstopper” from “sushi master” Daisuke Nakazawa, this “extraordinary” West Village Japanese specializes in “breathtaking” omakase meals served like “a well-oiled machine” at the bar and in a “serene” dining room; scoring reservations remains a “difficult task” and the cost is “off the charts” , but an attached lounge should help on both fronts.
Trattoria L'incontro
Italian · Astoria · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.6

“Worth a trip to Astoria” , this “special-occasion” Italian is a borough “institution” thanks to its “yuge” 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.”
Don Peppe
Italian · South Ozone Park · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.9

“Bring a crowd” to this circa-1968 South Ozone Park Italian that’s “still cranking out” the “fantastic” old-world comfort classics ( “clams! clams! clams!” ) in portions to “feed an army” , washed down with “lotsa house wine” ; it’s cash only, the interior’s “tired” and service can be “snippy” , but fans shrug “so what?”
Estiatorio Milos
Greek · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.7 · 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.”
Indian · East 50s · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

It’s “not your usual” Indian lineup at this “exceptional” East Midtowner, where a “warm” staff serves “beautifully spiced” multiregional plates, plus tasting menus that are a “revelation” for vegetarians and omnivores alike; the “homey” yet “sophisticated” space can get “cramped” , but it’s “perfect for conversation.”
American · SoHo · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

A “mainstay” for “consistently excellent” seafood, this SoHo “institution” offers “perfectly cooked” fish and “super-fresh” oysters, plus a “fabulous” brunch; if the “low-key” dining room is “showing its age” , service remains “seamless” and the seasonal patio is a “delight.”
Italian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

“Incredible” pastas and other “creative” Italian dishes are “done with great care” at this “happening” West Village “standout” where the “polished” staffers also curate an “impeccable wine list” ; the “intimate” bi-level digs “bustle” with a “youngish crowd” , so “bring ear plugs” – and good luck getting a reservation.
Tamarind Tribeca
Indian · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · 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
New American · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

“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 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

“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.”
Japanese · TriBeCa · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

David Bouley and Osaka’s Tsuji Culinary Institute present “sublime” kaiseki menus in an atmosphere of “serene” “elegance” at this “splurge-worthy” TriBeCa Japanese, where the “picturesque plates” (including “melt-in-your-mouth” sushi) are also offered à la carte; if you’re really “prepared to shell out” , try chef Eiji Ichimura’s “world-class” omakase at his “intimate” 12-seat bar.
Per Se
French · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

Thomas Keller’s Time Warner Center “high temple” of French–New American cuisine is “truly an event” given the “fabulous” tasting menu, “unimpeachable” service and “posh” , jackets-required surrounds overlooking Central Park; while the “through-the-roof” set price may limit visits to “once in a blue moon” , those of more limited means “love the à la carte option” in the lounge.
The Sea Fire Grill
Seafood · East 40s · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

This East Midtown seafood “oasis” provides “exceptional” catch and “premium” steaks ( “the best of both worlds” ), backed by a “limitless” wine list and served in “sophisticated” confines complete with fireplace and “high-energy” bar; factor in “a big welcome” from the “stellar” team, and the upmarket prices are “worth every penny.”
New American · West 70s · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

Something of a “surprise gem” on the UWS, John Fraser’s “sophisticated” New American delivers “terrific” tasting menu–only cuisine in “chic, modern” and “serene” environs via an “intelligent, caring” crew; “wonderful for special occasions” , it’s unsurprisingly “expensive” – though the ‘Sunday Suppa’ and “veggie-focused Monday” are relative “bargains.”
Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca
Italian · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

“Still a bastion of fine Italian dining” , this Village “star” in the Batali-Bastianich firmament continues to “impress” with “phenomenal” pastas and other “exceptional” dishes delivered by a “polished” team in “warm” (if “boisterous” ) carriage house digs; yes, it’s “a pain to get a table” and tabs run “high” , but to most the “always-spot-on” experience is “well worth it.”
Pearl Oyster Bar
Seafood · West Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

“Just get the lobster roll” say fans of this “nothing-fancy” West Village “landmark” and its “luscious” signature sandwich – though pretty much “everything’s delicious” on the classic New England seafood menu here; it doesn’t take rezzies, and the “cute” space can get “cramped” , so just “go early or expect to wait.”
Hometown Bar-B-Que
Barbecue · Red Hook · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.8

A “destination-worthy” home to “honest” BBQ, this Red Hook “champ” supplies “terrific” Texas-style meats (think “melt-in-your-mouth” brisket and “caveman-sized” ribs) in a “converted garage” with a “roadhouse party vibe” ; “energetic” crowds line up for the counter service, but the “smoky” “excellence” “rewards the wait.”
Sushi of Gari
Sushi · East 70s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.2

The “out-of-body” omakase experience “never fails to amaze” at these Japanese “standard-bearers” from Gari Sugio, long known for their “sublime bites” of “imaginative sushi” ; the “cramped” quarters and “plain decor” are less impressive, but regulars advise “just open your wallet” and “eat at the bar.”
Austrian · West Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

An “elegant” “taste of Vienna” , Kurt Gutenbrunner’s West Village “marvel” crafts “Nouvelle” Austrian fare that’s “both hearty and delicate” , served by a “talented” team in a “sophisticated” space appointed with Julian Schnabel paintings; most agree the “budget-busting” bill is “warranted” for such a “memorable” meal.
Lupa Osteria Romana
Italian · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.2

“They’re still doing it right” at Mario Batali’s “unpretentious” Village trattoria, an “all-time favorite” for “superior” Roman dishes, “terrific” Italian vinos and service that “never slacks” “at fairly reasonable prices” to boot; but even those who “love the warmth” warn it’s a “squeeze” with molto “bustle and noise.”
American · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

“Elegant, calm” surroundings and “spectacular views” over Central Park make an “incomparable” backdrop for the “exquisite” New American cuisine at this “special-occasion” go-to “atop the Mandarin Oriental” ; the prices are equally “out of this world” (dinner is prix fixe–only), but “stellar” service helps take the sting out – and the 'express' lunch is a “steal.”
Piccola Venezia
Italian · Astoria · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.8 · Service 4.4

The “classic” Northern Italian cooking is “superb” and “they’ll make whatever you want” at this Astoria “oldie but goodie” that’s kept “regulars returning” “for generations” ; if “the decor needs a redo” , that’s “easy to overlook” given “fabulous” service from a staff out of “central casting.”
The Simone
French · East 80s · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.6

A “class act” , this “tiny” UES retreat pleases “adults” with “exceptional” French cooking and “spot-on” wine pairings in an “elegant” setting conducive to “civilized conversation” ; though it’s “hard to get into” , “flawless service” is another reason it’s “worth the effort” – and the “splurge.”
Taïm Nolita
Middle Eastern · NoLita · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.1 · Service 3.6

“Fresh and fabulous” falafel is “the really real thing” at chef Einat Admony’s “hole-in-the-wall” Israeli joints, where “glorious” eats at “gentle prices” are “a vegetarian’s dream come true” ; they’re both “fast” and “satisfying” , though the West Village original’s “vest-pocket” space means it’s “best to take away.”
Sushi · Chelsea · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

“Sushi master” Masaharu Morimoto’s “Iron Chef–quality” omakase and other “unbelievably good” Japanese dishes are served in a “striking” , ultramodern setting at this West Chelsea destination; it’s true, you’ll “pay handsomely” , but when you need “to impress” , this is “as good as it gets.”
al di la Trattoria
Italian · Park Slope · $$$
Food 4.6 · 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.
Sushi Seki
Japanese · East 60s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.6 · Service 4.1

Renowned for its “extraordinary” omakase showcasing “beyond-fresh” fish, this “spendy” Japanese mini-chain slices “spot-on” sushi that’s “lovely to behold” ; though the settings can feel “somewhat lacking in charm” , the bi-level Hell’s Kitchen flagship has “significantly better” decor plus a “fancy” whiskey bar (Chelsea also boasts a whiskey bar).
Perry St
New American · West Village · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

It's “serenity defined” at this Jean-Georges Vongerichten “retreat” in the far West Village, where “superb” New American cooking from chef (and chip off the old block) Cedric Vongerichten comes in “sleek” Richard Meier–designed quarters “overlooking the Hudson” ; “caring” , pro service completes the “refined” picture – and helps justify the “not cheap” tab.
Ai Fiori
French · West 30s · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

A “Michael White triumph” on the second floor of the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel, this “classy” Italian delivers Riviera-inspired dishes, including “sublime” pastas, via a “polished, unobtrusive” crew; the “glamorous” setting feels “so magical” , you almost don’t mind the “astronomical” tab, especially if it’s a “special occasion.”