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The Top New York City Dining Neighborhoods of 2015

The Lower East Side and the East Village had particularly strong years

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. We've heard about the top standbys, the hot newcomers, and the words of the year. Now it's time for the hottest dining neighborhoods. Please add your answers in the comments.


Q: What is the best dining neighborhood of 2015?

Matt Buchanan, editor at The Awl — If one were to consider the former borders of the Lower East Side, it's kind of hard to deny its cultural primacy for a certain kind of largely affluent New York dining, right?

Charlotte Druckman, NYC-based food writer — West Village (but I always think this because it's where I live and convenience biases a person).

Matt Duckor, Epicurious senior editor — Never thought I'd say this after spending 2008-2011 in what was then a food desert, but the Lower East Side. I find myself in the neighborhood at least once a month because of new-ish joints like Contra, Wildair, Bar Goto, and Ivan Ramen and stalwarts like Schiller's, Cafe Katja, and Russ & Daughters.

Jordana Rothman, NYC-based food writer — Los Angeles is NYC’s best neighborhood right now. But otherwise…what are we calling that little Lower East Side-ish Chinatown-ish area with Dimes, Fung Tu, Cheeky, Lost Weekend etc.? I really like it over there, so…that.

Kenzi Wilbur, Food 52 managing editor — The ones close to wherever I am when I’m hungry.

Matt Rodbard, NYC-based food writer — With Threes Brewing killing it, and the newly opened Insa sure to impress, that little section of Upper Gowanus / Downtown Brooklyn is making moves.

Serena Dai, Eater NY reporter — I went back to Two Bridges by accident more than I expected to this year — Dimes, Pies N Thighs, Mission Chinese, and Taste of Northern China are all in the same few blocks. Add Ice and Vice, which I think is the best ice cream in New York, and Two Bridges is a very small but formidable place to eat.

Foster Kamer, Mental Floss executive editor — Nørrebro NO COME ON I'M KIDDING. This was the East Village's year. Superiority, Babu Ji, Fuku, Mother of Pearl—finally, for the first time in a while, some interesting places showed up in a decent-sized cluster. Midtown, frighteningly, also made some strides.

Hillary Dixler, Eater's senior reports editor — ​L​ower East Side

Levi Dalton, Eater wine editor/host of I'll Drink to That — I was happy to see Chelsea Market up its game. It is still no Ferry Building, but it also isn't an embarrassing comparison any longer, either. There are a lot of ways to eat really well in Chelsea Market right now.

Helen Rosner, Eater features editor/co-host of The Eater Upsell — East Village, Prospect Heights, the Soho penumbra.

Daniela Galarza, Eater news editor — LES

A hand holds up a fried chicken sandwich, with the patty extending far beyond the bun. Nick Solares/Eater

[East Village champions.  Top: Superiority Burger by Solares.  Bottom: Babu Ji by Krieger and Fuku by Solares]

Lockhart Steele, Vox Editorial Director and Eater co-founder — What was the best dining neighborhood in 2015? Honestly, what’s left to be conquered, what’s left to emerge? In Manhattan, at least, it’s possible we’re living in the post-best-dining-neighborhood age, or will be any day now. Soon all the best new chains will be everywhere anyway, and we’ll have to change this question to best dining block of the year. In that spirit, if you lived at the corner of East 9th Street and First Avenue in the East Village — at an apartment perfectly equidistant between Superiority Burger and Fuku — you won, as did folks living between Buvette and Via Carota at the corner of Grove and Bleecker. I am jealous of these people.

Kat Kinsman, Tasting Table editor-at-large — Anywhere that's not Columbus Circle or Union Square. Especially at lunchtime. The former is pricey as all hell. The latter just dire.

Devra Ferst, Tasting Table senior editor — East Village/LES.

Robert Sietsema, Eater NY senior critic — Lower East Side

Joe DiStefano, editor/publisher of Chopsticks + Marrow — Elmhurst, Queens for its hyperauthentic Thai town.

Dan Saltzstein, editor at the NYT Travel section — High-end: Flatiron/Madison Square (Cosme, Nomad, EMP, Gramercy Tavern, the ABCs, Breslin/John Dory, etc.). Low-end: Elmhurst, Queens (a seemingly endless number of quality restaurants of all Asian stripes).

Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief — The East Village.

Ryan Sutton, Eater NY critic/data lead — My culinary heart has long belonged to South Brooklyn; I don't think there's anywhere I'd rather live more than Carroll Garden, and perhaps one day I'll get there. But this year's big neighborhood story was about the continued revival of Midtown, where I've proudly called home since 2006, and which remains one of the more affordable places to live in this wildly expensive city. The hits just keep on coming here: Fuku+, Tori Shin, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, Lupulo, and, if you extend Midtown down to 23rd, Clocktower and Upland.

Nick Solares, Eater NY senior editor — The answer is always the East Village but Flatiron/Nomad had a particularly strong showing.

Greg Morabito, Eater NY editor and co-host of The Eater Upsell — As a dining neighborhood, Noho is basically all killer, no filler. The Noho restaurant vortex includes: Lafayette, Vic's, Il Buco Alimentari, Great Jones Cafe, Acme, Il Buco Original, The Smile, Mile End, Le Philosophe, The Library at The Public, The Wren, Bohemian, and Indochine (still a great place for drinks in that front bar area). If you blur the lines a little bit, you can add Narcissa and Bar Primi to the list too.

Top photo: Dimes on the Lower East Side, by Daniel Krieger.

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