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The Top Newcomers of 2016

These are the new restaurants that defined the year in dining

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, writers, and experts. 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. Earlier today, we heard about the top standbys. Now it's time for the best newcomers. Please, add your answers in the comments.

Lockhart Steele, Eater co-founder/Vox Media editorial director: 2016 was a fabulous year for new restaurants in NYC, don’t @ me. The first half of the year, I spent a lot of time at Cafe Altro Paradiso; the second half at Le Coucou and Olmsted. Loved all three of them something fierce. Leuca and Augustine both bowed late in the game but will figure seriously in my 2017 planning. But thinking about which new restaurant I’ll most often return to, it’s Pasquale Jones. Like Charlie Bird before it, it’s a restaurant that suits all sorts of moods and every kind of dining companion. The location, the neon sign, the two seats at the end of the bar that perch over the open kitchen. And the vibe. Always the vibe that keeps us coming back.

Helen Rosner, Eater executive editor: Le Coucou and Olmsted

Laurie Woolever, food writer/Appetites co-author: I missed most of the big Manhattan openings this year, but Oceanic Boil in Jackson Heights made the biggest impact for me, locally. Ootoya is a great addition to the range of excellent Japanese food now available in New York.

Matt Rodbard, Taste editor/Koreatown co-author: This year I did something for the first time in my life. I made a future reservation at a restaurant before finishing dessert. The restaurant was MIMI, and I plan to keep going back even if the chef Liz Johnson has left town. Just delicious, all of it. The stone crab and sea urchin salad is my restaurant highlight of the year. I also really enjoyed Bessou, Black Walnut, Atoboy, Dizengoff and Taylor Street Baristas.

The back garden at Olmsted

.Ryan Sutton, Eater critic/data lead: Olmsted, Aska, Le Coucou, Lilia, Empellon Cocina Chef’s Table, Indian Accent, Paowalla, Bolivian Llama Party, Emmy Squared, Pasquale Jones, Salvation Burger, High Street on Hudson, Dizengoff.

Matt Buchanan, Eater features editor: Olmste8ayskghjaak, sorry I couldn't get the word out.

One could quibble as to whether it technically counts as a restaurant — it serves food, which is mostly fine — but Black Fox is certainly the best new cafe of 2016. I'm of two minds on its immediate ascendance as one of New York's best coffee shops: The multi-roaster establishment is a dying breed in the city — in part because it's much cooler now to roast your own coffee, even poorly — and Black Fox is an exemplary multi-roaster shop. And yet one could be appalled that the city has almost wholly outsourced the opening of ambitious, or at least interesting, new cafes to Australians, whose dominion over the upper echelons of the city's cafes is spreading like an overripe avocado on undercharred Balthazar toast.

Nick Solares, Eater NY restaurant editor: Le Coucou, Olmsted, Augustine, Mr. Donahue’s, Chumley's.

Joe DiStefano, Chopsticks + Marrow blogger/food tour guide: Dawa’s for its blend of Tibetan cuisine and classic American brunch; Violet’s Bake Shoppe for bringing the banh mi Queen of Broome Street to Forest Hills; and Kamala Gauchan’s Dhaulaghiri Kitchen, which marked the arrival of real deal Nepalese in Curry Hill.

Bret Thorn, NRN senior food & beverage editor: There are many that I haven’t visited yet; Agern is at the top of that list. But newcomers I enjoyed were 21 Greenpoint, Massoni, Pig Beach, Black Tail, and a cool little Thai place on the Fort Greene-Navy Yard border called Samui.

Serena Dai, Eater NY news editor: OLMSTED. Always delightful, always charming. I also loved Emmy Squared, El Atoradero, and Mister Dips, which serves the best veggie burger I’ve ever had, Superiority Burger included. And I eagerly await the day that Dizengoff opens a location that’s more convenient to me, slash doesn’t require battling tourists for a seat. The dinner there was one of the best I had all year, and I’m positive it would be more of a destination if you could sit at a normal table.

Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief: Le Coucou, Olmsted, Lilia, Pasquale Jones, and an honorable mention to the very new Union Square Cafe.

Devra Ferst, senior editor at Tasting Table: Olmsted, Le Coucou, the return of Union Square Cafe, The BK iteration of El Atoradero (ok, technically opened end of 2015) and Agern/The Great Northern Food Hall, which sells one of my favorite loaves of bread anywhere.

Daniela Galarza, Eater news editor: Sugarfish, Dizengoff, Le Coucou, Lilia.

Robert Sietsema, Eater senior critic: Auntie Guan’s Kitchen 108, Sauvage, El Atoradero, Pasquale Jones, Grain House, Olmsted, Lalo.

Foster Kamer, Mashable managing editor: Olmsted, Lilia, Llama Inn, Rider, Barano, and Westlight, but mostly for the view. I'm sure some decent stuff opened up in Manhattan but Manhattanites are the new B&T anyway so who cares.

Jordana Rothman, restaurant editor at Food & Wine: If 2015 asked questions, 2016 supplied answers. Such a fantastic year for new restaurants and bars: Missy Robbins at Lilia, Angie Mar at the Beatrice Inn, Daniel Rose at Le Coucou which is just a 360 awesome experience. AC is having fun at sexy, sexy Leuca, Thomas Waugh is smiling behind the bar at Karasu, everyone is smiling at Augustine. The bar room at Fowler & Wells is goddamned magical. And if you haven’t been out to Hail Mary in Brooklyn you are totally missing the party.

Kat Odell, author of Day Drinking: Le Coucou, Nix, Grand Central’s Nordic Food Hall, Sugarfish, Aska, Secchu Yokoya, Olmsted, and (my current crush) Chinese Tuxedo.

Marian Bull, food writer: My god, Emmy Squared, the cushiness and crisp edges of their dough, this is such a welcome alternative to the Neapolitan craze that is totally fine but needs a good alternative. The way their pepperonis curl up really gives Prince St. Pizza a run for its money.

Dizengoff, if only for the charred pillowiness of their pita and their ability to provide a Chelsea Market dining experience that does not give me panic attacks.

Pita, dips, and salads at Dizengoff.

Sonia Chopra, Eater managing editor: I'm thrilled to have Dizengoff in New York. Loved Lilia, loved Atoboy. I didn't make it to Mr. Dips before it got cold but any place with soft serve and a veggie burger is probably worth praising blindly.

Melissa McCart, Eater NY editor: I've been visiting restaurants around Long Island, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Le Coq Rico for a master chef's wide world of birds; Le Coucou for Stephen Starr outdoing himself; Olmsted as a superfine neighborhood restaurant. Latecomer in Dec. 2015 that I'm excited to revisit: Szechuan Mountain House in Flushing, part of a shiny revamped corner of the neighborhood.

Charlotte Druckman, food writer/cookbook author: Dizengoff, Le Coucou, Lilia, Mah Ze Dahr, Sushi Zo*

*but I haven't been to any of these places and many of them sound as good as if not better than the above

Patty Diez, Eater NY associate editor: ​Mr. Donahue's, Flora, Pasquale Jones.

Greg Morabito, Eater Upsell co-host: The year belonged to Missy Robbins (Lilia), Greg Baxtrom (Olmsted), and the dynamic duo of Stephen Starr & Daniel Rose (Le Coucou). In 2016, I particularly enjoyed meals at Salvation Burger, Pig Beach, Emmy Squared, Bar Omar, and Dizengoff.

Top photo: Pasquale Jones


567 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 576-3095 Visit Website


659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238 Visit Website


75 9th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10011 (646) 833-7097 Visit Website

Pasquale Jones

187 Mulberry Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 Visit Website

Emmy Squared

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

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