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Friends of Eater Name the Best Dining Neighborhoods of 2014

The East Village is going strong as always, but the area around Madison Square Park had a banner year.

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Their answers will appear throughout the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Please, add your answers in the comments.

Jordana Rothman, food writer and editor, cocktail expert:The East Village always has it. Special nod to Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill for holding steady with destination restaurants that double as the best neighborhood spots in New York City.

Bret Thorn, Nation's Restaurant News senior food editor:
Times Square followed by Restaurant Row and Little Italy. Just kidding; I think it's still Williamsburg.

Mimi Sheraton, legendary critic and author of 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die:
A tie between West Village and NoHo

Darin Bresnitz, Snacky Tunes/Finger on the Pulse:

Hillary Dixler, Eater associate reports editor: East Village.

The dining room at Marta. Marta

Ryan Sutton, Eater NY restaurant critic/data lead:
The Lower East Side. No other neighborhood has boasted such an impressive crew of newcomers in the past two years. There's Sushi Ko and Ivan Ramen on Clinton, Dirty French on Ludlow, then Contra, Fung Tu, and Mission Cantina on Orchard, and finally, further down on East Broadway, the revamped Mission Chinese. Related: Why the heck did I just move to Midtown West?

Michael Kaminer, New York Daily News restaurant critic:
Harlem continues to reign.

Ben Leventhal, Resy co-founder; Eater co-founder:
Park Avenue South Corridor.

Mitchell Davis, James Beard Foundation executive vice president:
East Village.

Marguerite Preston, Eater NY editor:
The Lower East Side had a banner year (or two). But the Gramercy/Flatiron area gets honorable mention for being the neighborhood I never thought I would spend so much time dining in this year.

Elmhurst's Thai food scene keeps getting better and better.

Kim Davis, The Pink Pig:
The East Village rides again.

Danyelle Freeman,
Gramercy/Flatiron made a surprising showing toward the end of this year with openings, like Cosme, Upland, and Marta. And I'm still shocked about the number of restaurant openings in Tribeca, like Little Park, Batard and White Street. (I have major neighborhood envy!)

But for the most part, I think we were all over the place in terms of great openings. The Upper West Side even got its own RedFarm & Parm.

Helen Rosner, Eater, features editor:
Wait, so, is the Lower East Side actually kind of coming back?

Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats senior features editor:
Call me biased as I just moved nearby, but Elmhurst's Thai food scene keeps getting better and better. The neighborhood saw a flurry of new openings like Khao Kang and Paet Rio that join an already strong roster, and the variety and diversity of regional cooking there keeps growing. Oh, and let's not forget the Arepa Lady's new restaurant on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue. No more summer midnight sojourns required.

Devra Ferst, Eater NY associate editor:Flatiron, the entire borough of Queens.


Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief:
Loosely, the Madison Square Park environs: you've got Marta, Cosme, The NoMad, Sweetgreen and The Little Beet Table if that's your thing, the Ace complex, Maison Keyser, and (if you're masochistic) Eataly.

Joe DiStefano, Chopsticks and Marrow/enabler of gluttons:
I'm going to have to with Elmhurst, where the hoods's Little Bangkok has transformed into a veritable Thai Town with four restaurant openings, including the matriarch of Manhattan's Wondee minichain-Phimploy Likitsansook-coming to Queens to open Paet Rio and the doubling in size of Thai snack mecca Sugar Club.

The East Village is still the center of it all.

Matt Rodbard, Food Republic contributing editor:Even though it's never ever where you want to find yourself on a Saturday night ever, the East Village is still the center of it all. The great new places (Tuome, GG's, Sushi Dojo, Empellon al Pastor, Box Kite) have almost caught up with the Establishment (Prune, Degustation, PDT, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Brindle Room, Hearth).

Kat Odell, Eater editorial producer:
I found myself most in the East Village and Lower East Side this past year.

Andrew Steinthal, The Infatuation co-founder:
East Village.

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media editorial director, Eater co-founder:
Midtown West. When Eater HQ relocated from its longtime perch near Astor Place to the Vox Media offices on West 40th Street near Bryant Park last spring, let's be honest: we feared for our stomachs. First we sussed out Culture and Cafe Grumpy, two real solid coffee shops. The sandwiches and salads from Maison Kayser almost made us forget Il Buco Alimentari. (Almost.) Then someone figured out that Szechuan Gourmet delivers, a fact which changed the life of Eater's head of product, Eliot Shepard, and everyone on the 10th Floor forever. Toss in this fall's opening of the Midtown outpost of sandwich shop Alidoro, and well, dude, it's all happening in Midtown West.

Nick Solares, Eater NY senior editor:
East Village.

russ and daughters

Robert Sietsema, Eater NY restaurant critic:
Bushwick – For the first time, the Mexican taquerias of this neighborhood moved into first place in the city, providing wonderful cheap eats, while Roberta’s came to dominate whatever slew of dining categories it handily occupies, and ambitious small bistros like Fritzl’s, Northeast Kingdom, and Montana’s Trail House conspired to make Bushwick a better place to eat than Williamsburg

Special shoutout to what I have dubbed The New Bagel Triangle.

Chris Stang, The Infatuation co-founder:
The Lower Lower East Side

Greg Morabito, Eater engagement editor:
I almost always hate going out in this neighborhood on weekend nights, but the East Village continues to be an amazing area for affordable and delicious food.

Foster Kamer, Complex / First We Feast senior editor: For the first time in a while: East Village/LES. Between Russ & Daughters Cafe, Ivan Ramen, Tuome, Au Zataar, Ko 2.0, Bowery Meat, Cherche Midi, and others, it felt like a high concentration of new restaurants everyone went to were around there. And special shoutout to what I have dubbed The New Bagel Triangle (Russ & Daughters Cafe, Baz, and Black Seed).

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