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.

Le Bernardin
French · 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."
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.
Daniel
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 "expensive" , but "you’ll understand why" – and the bar provides the "same stellar" quality à la carte.
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.
Eleven Madison Park
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.6 · 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."
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" ).
Tanoreen
Middle Eastern · Bay Ridge · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · 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 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

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; the "high standards" are "worth every nickel" , though the prix fixe lunch remains "a relative bargain."
Nougatine at Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$
Food 4.6 · 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."
Sushi Nakazawa
Sushi · West Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.6

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 4.6 · 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."
Lucali
Pizza · Carroll Gardens · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

It’s "hard to beat" the "ethereal" pizzas and "league-of-their-own" calzones that emerge from the brick oven at this cash-only Carroll Gardens joint; the BYO policy "makes it a great value" , but the trade-off is notoriously "insane waits."
Momofuku Ko
American · East Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

A "phenomenal experience" for an "open-minded foodie" , David Chang’s East Village "event" provides a "fascinating tour" of Asian-inspired American cuisine via "extraordinary" tasting menus crafted at a sleekly "comfortable" chef’s counter; the "steep" price tag is considered "well worth" it, so reservations are still as "tough" as "getting past heaven’s gates.
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."
Per Se
French · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

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 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.
Sushi of Gari
Japanese · East 70s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

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."
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.
Lilia
Italian · Williamsburg · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

Missy Robbins’ "mind-blowing" housemade pastas and wood-fired entrees are declared "exactly what Italian food should be" at this "outstanding" arrival to the Williamsburg dining scene; the "spare-but-warm" space – complete with "lovely open kitchen" , "sweeping bar" and plenty of "buzz" – is overseen by an "excellent" staff, so the only real problem is "getting a reservation."
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.
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.
Diner
Diner · Williamsburg · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

"Handwritten menus" announce the daily roster of "consistently excellent" New American bites (including a "phenomenal" burger) at this "funky" local fixture in Williamsburg; set in a 1920s dining car and overseen by a "knowledgeable" crew, it has a "quintessential hipster" vibe that carries over to the outside seating area.