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The Top Restaurant Standbys of 2016

These are the places that NYC's food writers kept visiting throughout the year

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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.

What were your top standby restaurants of 2016?

Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief: A good portion of this dining year was taken by maternity leave for me, so I stuck pretty close to home in Williamsburg. That meant multiple visits to Roberta's (usually with a stroller, which they were always overly gracious about) and Barano (very baby appropriate) and Egg (ground zero for babies in that 'hood) during the day, Lilia and St. Anselm for dinner.

Ryan Sutton, Eater critic/data lead: Tacuba. Donburi Ya. Guantanamera. Totto Ramen. Marta. The Ace Hotel Lobby. With the exception of Tacuba, all are venues where you can eat after 11 p.m. on a weeknight.

French Louie by Daniel Krieger

Matt Rodbard, TASTE editor/Koreatown co-author: Nightingale 9 and French Louie are my ride or die. There are many reasons, from consistent food and drinks to interesting specials and great staff, that keeps me going back. But, mostly, the owners Rob Newton and Doug Crowell as just pure class. And that's a major reason they've kept things running for so long, in such an insane and overcooked market. Avlee is a great Greek restaurant in my neighborhood that is very consistent. I also try to make it to Pok Pok Ny and Cafe Zaiya as much as possible. And High Street on Hudson is great on the weekends (breakfast) and weeknights. Her Name Is Han is my go-to in Koreatown.

Helen Rosner, Eater executive editor: Wildair, Olmsted, El Atoradero, Hearth 2.0, Emmy Squared, and the Red Flame Diner and Le Coucou for breakfast.

Devra Ferst, senior editor at Tasting Table: This year — more so than other years — I leaned on my standbys to get me through it all. A visit to Wildair and Estela will always reminder that NYC is one of the best dining cities around. Frankies is my little piece of Italy in Brooklyn. I go at lunch on the weekends to skip the crowds. Buvette and its exceptional steak tartare is a strong decision no matter the hour or season. Hibino in Brooklyn is underrated and in need of a spruce, but as long as they continue to serve really solid sushi, I'll be a regular.

Daniela Galarza, Eater news editor: Té Company, Le Coucou, Le Coq Rico, Wildair, Uncle Boons.

Foster Kamer, Mashable managing editor: My usuals (Diner, Jack's Wife Freda, Roberta's) all played in heavy rotation again, this year, but I found myself revisiting a nu-classic I haven't seen in a minute, that I forgot I loved as much as I do: Spotted Pig.

Jordana Rothman, restaurant editor at Food & Wine: Annual s/o for my locals: Prime Meats, Long Island Bar, Nightingale 9, Grand Army, and big squish for my main chick Maison Premiere. I spent lots of time at Russ & Daughters Café and Kings County Imperial. And I ate Emmy Squared delivery in the comfort of my own living room many, many, many times. (Even though I never get the side of ranch I feel I so richly deserve. #sendranch)

Robert Sietsema, Eater senior critic: Mitchell’s Soul Food, Achilles Heel, Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, Mi-Ne Sushi Totoya, DeNino’s (Manhattan and Staten Island), Roberto’s, Zum Stammtisch, Taqueria Izucar, Sahib.

Kat Odell, author of Day Drinking: Sushi Zo, Le Coucou, Nix, Le Turtle, Babu Ji, Wildair, and Sweetgreen. If you looked at my Seamless account, you’d see Taboonette (NY’s best *warm* kale salad!), Legend, and Szechuan Gourmet.

Superiority Burger Photo by Nick Solares

Superiority Burger by Nick Solares

Marian Bull, food writer: Romans, the most perfect neighborhood restaurant where you can always find some olive oil-drenched vegetables and a well-tailored wine list and a dim-but-not-too-dim, all-purpose ambience (I take my mom there and I've taken dates there and I've taken myself there, all with great success). A rule is that any time they offer a puréed legume on crusty bread you have to order it.

Mission Chinese Food, if only for the fact that the thrice-cooked bacon without bacon is my favorite dish in New York.

Superiority Burger, because any time I'm feeling peckish and anywhere close to the East Village I can stop by for a fun vegetable side and a little cup of gelato and then take a burger in my bag to be eaten cold out of the refrigerator the next morning. Also, fewer people should sleep on the megamouth ("it's not a bigger burger, it's just a bigger sandwich").

Estela, because it's the best bar to eat at and it's hard to have a bad time there, and also they have this insane smoked whitefish at brunch that's on a homemade English muffin with raw onions! (Full disclosure: I’m helping out w their cookbook.)

Sonia Chopra, Eater managing editor: I think I went to Kopitiam (kaya toast, cold sesame noodles, teh tarik), Miscelanea (torta, chilaquiles, cafe de olla), and Superiority Burger (burger, sorbet) more than any other place in 2016. More tiny restaurants putting out small menus with great food and stellar coffee/tea, please.

Melissa McCart, Eater NY editor: Yuji Ramen/Okonomi, Bunker, Superiority Burger, Grain House.

Lockhart SteeleEater co-founder/Vox Media editorial director: The Odeon, this year more than ever. Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the bar — sometimes starting with oysters, always finishing with the steak frites — became my weekend-defining move this year. (It's that single move that determines my standbys, as there is really only room for one true standby restaurant in any of our lives.) Will the opening of Augustine change that in 2017? It's the Right Question.

Laurie Woolever, food writer/Appetites co-author: I spent the bulk of my dining time and money in Queens this year, eating lots of chicken and ceviche from Pio Pio, consistently excellent Thai from Sripraphai and Kitchen 79, pozole and chilaquiles from Juquila, arepas from Arepa Lady's brick and mortar, Colombian pastries and empanadas from Rico Tinto, tacos from the carts on Roosevelt Avenue near the 74th Street station, laksa from Taste Good Malaysian, and octopus and sardines at Agnanti. In Manhattan, my standbys were Woorijip and Soju Haus in Koreatown, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Keens, Casa Mono, and Rosemary’s.

[Cafe Altro Paradiso by Nick Solares

Charlotte Druckman, food writer/cookbook author: Barney Greengrass, Babu Ji, Buvette, Cafe Altro Paradiso, City Bakery, Doughnut Plant, El Quinto Pino, Estela, Haven's Kitchen (the cookies and scones, people!), Houseman, High Street on Hudson (for the excellent bread & pastry counter), I Sodi, Lilia, Mah Ze Dahr, Nourish Kitchen + Table, Red Farm, Saraghina, Superiority Burger, Sushi Yasuda, Te Company, Tanoshi, Via Carota.

Matt Buchanan, Eater features editor: The unavoidable conclusion is that I ate more food from Speedy Romeo and Emily than any other restaurant — at least if one discounts Midtown's chopped salad / grain bowl dispensaries as restaurants — because more food entering my body in 2016 was mediated by a platform powered by the largesse of venture capitalists than ever before, and no one has really developed delivery food that works better than pizza. (And I've eaten a lot of food "engineered for delivery" this year, for better or for worse.)

In fact, Okonomi and Superiority Burger are maybe the only actual restaurants I go to anymore? Oh well.

Nick Solares, Eater NY restaurant editor: Bruno Pizza, Joe Junior, Augustine, Beatrice Inn, Smith & Wollensky, Momofuku Ssäm Bar.

Joe DiStefano, Chopsticks + Marrow blogger/food tour guide: Pata Paplean, Ben’s Best, Tang, Lhasa Fast Food.

Bret Thorn, NRN senior food & beverage editor: East Wind Snack Shop, John’s of Bleecker St. for whole pies, Antonio’s by the 7th Avenue stop of the B/Q train in Park Slope for slices, Authentic Szechuan Tofu of 5th Avenue (in Park Slope) for Chinese takeout, Otto for salumi and wine, Sakagura to impress out-of-town guests with cool Japanese food.

Serena Dai, Eater NY news editor: I literally took all my visiting out-of-town friends to Oiji, meaning I went constantly for like a five month period. (It always killed.) When I lived in Bushwick the first half of the year, Amaranto, Taqueria Izucar, Lucy’s Vietnamese, and Roberta’s brunch were all in my regular rotation, too. Her Name is Han and Spicy Village were my comfort food go-tos, and Spaghetti Incident always, always did me a solid when I needed affordable pasta on a night out with friends. In my new neighborhood Park Slope, the only place I eat from regularly is Kulushkat, which has healthy, delicious, affordable, and speedy Mediterranean food delivery.

Patty Diez, Eater NY associate editor: ​Uncle Boons, Cherche Midi. I think I said this last year? Mother's Ruin was my standby bar ftwc.

Greg MorabitoEater Upsell co-host: Reynard was still in heavy rotation this year. John Brown Smokehouse became my favorite place for a take-out splurge. And in a surprising twist, I also got sucked into the Sweetgreen cabal. If anyone's reading this, please send help...

Top photo: Wildair by Daniel Krieger

Cherche Midi

282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012 212-226-3055 Visit Website


26 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249 (347) 987-4500 Visit Website

The Spotted Pig

314 West 11th Street, Manhattan, NY 10014 (212) 620-0393 Visit Website


401 Franklin Street, , TX 77201 Visit Website

Emmy Squared

1920 Colorado Avenue, , CA 90404 (310) 447-3669 Visit Website


510 Rehoboth Avenue, , DE 19971 (302) 227-3447 Visit Website


80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249 (718) 460-8004 Visit Website

Uncle Boons

7 Spring Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (646) 370-6650 Visit Website


142 Orchard Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (646) 964-5624 Visit Website

Superiority Burger

119 Avenue A, Manhattan, NY 10009 (646) 422-7707 Visit Website
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