clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in NYC

Weekly inspiration for last-minute dining

Randall’s Barbecue
Randall’s Barbecue
Photo by Molly Tavoletti

Welcome to your weekend planner, where Eater editors recommend restaurants, cafes, and bars — whether they’re new and hot or the old standbys. As always, please let us know if you’d like to see something specific.

August 31

For new dumplings and noodles near Union Square: On 13th Street near the NYU dorms, find newcomer Silky Kitchen. Seating around 30, it offers Chinese fast food with a distinctly Hunan bent, one of a handful of similar restaurants in the surrounding blocks. The menu offers an admirable flexibility, with 11 distinctive selections that can be had over noodles, in soup with noodles, or over rice, including hot and sour chicken gizzard, stir fried egg with pepper, and braised pork ribs, with the meat conveniently removed from the bone. Also on the menu, there’s a quartet of dumplings and simple salads featuring beef tripe and wood ears and a dish called Hunan fried tofu. 137 East 13th St., between Third and Fourth avenues, Union Square — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For clams several ways in West Village: Clams at the aptly named restaurant the Clam in West Village come in many forms: littlenecks on the raw bar menu, as a dip, in spaghetti, on a pizza, steamed with drawn butter, stuffed, and in chowder. There are other seafood offerings of the non-clam variety, like a grilled whole fish and a roasted monkfish. And the drinks are solid, too. Try the mezcal spritz. 420 Hudson St., at Leroy Street, West Village — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For barbecue on the Lower East Side: Randall’s is a recently opened barbecue in a traditionally Jewish part of the Lower East Side, a stone’s throw from Kossar’s, the bialy baker, and the menu shows it. Thereon find a chicken liver appetizer smoked and pureed, and a pastrami sandwich whose extra quantity of smoke sends it into orbit. The usual meats and some unusual sides like Israeli salad are available, in an informal space that’s already totally mobbed. 359 Grand St., between Essex and Clinton streets, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For great wine on the Lower East Side: It feels like there’s a wine bar on every block these days, but Ten Bells stands out for the selection. The menu has anything you could possibly want— a fun rose, a chilled red, a pet-nat in an Instagrammable bottle — along with a surprisingly large selection of small plates, cheese, charcuterie, and oysters. The cozy, crowded front space and the communal tables in the back are both perfectly suited for first dates, post-work happy hours, and taking friends when they come in from out of town. 247 Broome St., near Ludlow Street, Lower East Side — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

For drinks during a Flushing food crawl: Dumplings alone could sustain you on a Flushing visit, but for those who want to hit a bar too, dive bar Kelly’s Pub is a fine pit stop. Though Flushing is a Chinatown in Queens, the bar is packed with people of all ethnicities, all of whom seem to know if you’re a visitor. Still, the bartender will be welcoming when she fills up your $11 pitcher of Bud. People who really want to go hard should stop by upstairs private room karaoke spot next door, Party Point KTV. 136-11 41st Ave., near Main Street, Flushing — Serena Dai, editor

August 24

For a laid-back alcohol-free brunch in Tribeca: Bakers Monica Von Thun Calderón and Jim Lahey founded Sullivan Street Bakery in the ’90s, but parted ways a decade later. Calderon went on to create Tribeca’s Grandaisy Bakery, named after her grandmother, with more emphasis on sweet rolls, panini, pizzas bianca, and other Italian-leaning specialties. The dining room offers tables littered with today’s newspapers, good coffee, and a nice place to relax while enjoying both. Best choice of all is the epic bread pudding, cut in wedges and delightfully sweet, buttery, and squishy. 250 West Broadway, at Walker Street, Tribeca — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a last shot at the city’s best hummus: To many’s dismay, Chelsea Market hummus stand Dizengoff closes next week. The Philadelphia import from chef Michael Solomonov has dreamy, creamy hummus; super-fluffy, extra-fresh pitas; and a shakshuka that stands out. In case you can’t tell, I am supremely upset it is closing. 75 Ninth Ave., between 15th and 16th streets, Chelsea Market, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For simple Greek food on the Lower East Side: The setting, vibes, and menu at Kiki’s, a casual and unfussy Greek restaurant just outside of Chinatown, strongly evokes the tavernas of Athens — specifically in the old historical neighborhood of Plaka. The restaurant serves carafes of wine in the same tin pitchers all over restaurants in Greece (get the rosé or the orange), and the menu is full of all the classics, including a mountainous moussaka. Don’t skip the tirokafteri to start, and the grilled whole fish is one of the best deals on the menu. 130 Division St. at Orchard Street, Lower East Side — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For the best brisket in Bed-Stuy: This ancient Jewish deli is now run by Muslims, exploring the commonality of kosher and halal. Once there was also a Bay Ridge branch, now closed. Luckily, this David’s Brisket House and Deli is still turning out good corned beef and pastrami (get a combination sandwich), but better yet is the roast brisket, with a fatty brown edge. Make sure you get the sandwich (available in three sizes and priced accordingly) on either rye or a club roll, and ask for gravy on the side. Then dip and enjoy. 533 Nostrand Ave., between Herkimer Street and Herkimer Place, Bedford-Stuyvesant — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a night out with cocktails in West Village: New Japanese-American cocktail bar Katana Kitten is so fresh, laid-back, and charmingly eclectic that it almost feels like it doesn’t belong in the modern day West Village. The mustachioed bartender/owner Masahiro Urushido is all smiles and energy, making the room feel like you’re in a game of Mario Kart and have just passed through a star. Cocktails like the yuzu spritz taste great, too. The boilermakers are pricey, but the bar feels so much like a party that you’ll want to pay for one anyway. 531 Hudson St. at Charles Street, West Village — Serena Dai, editor

August 17

For honky tonk vibes in Brooklyn: Prospect Heights’ Branded Saloon is straightforward when it comes to the drinks, but it draws a solid crowd on weekends and often has shows and dance parties in its events space in the back at night. The menu is available until 1 a.m. and has indulgent Southern-tinged bar food like a pulled pork sandwich, shrimp and grits, and fried chickpeas. There’s poutine and a vegetarian Frito pie, too. 603 Vanderbilt Ave. at Bergen Street, Prospect Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For chicken pho in a laid back LES setting: In other cities in the United States and in Vietnam, chicken pho is every bit as popular as the beef variety, partly as a result of convenience and cost. New York City has only one restaurant that I know of that specializes in chicken pho — Bep Ga. This small pink place with stool seating offers only a short menu, including a bang-up chicken pho, as well as a chicken with turmeric rice dish and an herby cold chicken salad that’s the perfect thing for hot weather. 70 Forsyth St., between Grand and Hester streets, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For sturdy Yemeni fare in Downtown Brooklyn: Yemen Café is the best place to get a glimpse of the vernacular cuisine of the southern reaches of the Arab Peninsula. Open since 1986 on bustling Atlantic Avenue, the menu presents soup, beans, and bread dips, many in a familiar vein and offered with giant, freshly baked pitas. Entrees favor lamb and chicken, much of it roasted and served over rice, but go for some of the more unusual stuff like saltah (meat and vegetable tidbits in a delicious bubbling pot of fenugreek goo) and agada (a lamb and okra stew). A newer branch is located in Bay Ridge. 176 Atlantic Ave., between Court and Clinton streets, Downtown Brooklyn — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For refreshing Greek food in a homey space: Located in a darling corner location perfectly suited to the West Village — think exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and not nearly enough space — is Snack Taverna. The casual Greek restaurant goes beyond Greek salad and tzatziki (though it has both of those) to dishes such as ultra-lemony sauteed calamari with gigante beans, garlic, and cilantro and rosemary chicken with chickpeas, golden raisins, and amfissa olives. 63 Bedford St. at Morton Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For the return of some of NYC’s finest soup dumplings: The Bao suddenly discontinued its soup dumplings last year, but thankfully, it’s serving them once again — and they’re still quite good. The skins are thin, and the plump little things are filled with a more-than-respectable amount of broth. (The pork is a safer bet than the pork-and-crab.) To round things out, the rest of them menu is solid, too. Water spinach, braised pork belly, and dan dan noodles are all fine choices, but it’s also fine to just go nuts with anything else that catches your fancy, especially if it’s Sichuan. 13 St. Marks Place, between Third and Second avenues, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

August 10

For ramped-up Punjabi classics: If you want northern Indian fare in a spiffed-up setting, try Chawla’s 2, an Indian import that takes special care with Punjabi and other northern Indian cuisines, as well as providing comfortable seating in an upbeat atmosphere. The chain boasts 110 branches in India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and pays special attention to tandoori specialties like butter chicken, which the chain one-ups with an invention called cream chicken. Try it. Other recommended dishes include kukuri bhindi (shredded okra), palak paneer, and Amritsari kulcha, a flatbread referring to the holy city of the Sikhs. 216 Third Ave., between 18th and 19th streets, Gramercy Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For frozen drinks with New Orleans vibes: From the same team behind Crown Heights Cajun restaurant Catfish, Bed-Stuy’s the Holler is a New Orleans-inspired dive bar with an oldschool jukebox and pinball. It serves unfussy but boozy frozen drinks for $8 in a compact space, but there’s a backyard, too. 348 Franklin Ave., between Lexington and Greene avenues, Bed-Stuy — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For an old classic in a new space: After 113 years of making thin-crust, crispy pizza in a coal-burning oven in Nolita, Lombardi’s has sneakily opened a second location in Chelsea. I am here to report that it is not only very good, but also easy to walk into. Detractors are sure to denounce the lack of coal, but the pizza was still thin, charred, and tasty. A pie and a wedge salad make for a fine meal. 290 Eighth Ave., between West 24th and West 25th streets, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For brand-new izakaya fare: The Japanese gastropub known as izakaya has often been a license to experiment with Western food, as well as present tweaked Japanese food of a common sort. Newcomer Katana Kitten takes this license seriously. For vegetable lovers, there’s a substantial bowl of crudité served with just-made aioli, but most of the choices on a short menu devoted to short dishes are more transgressive. Highlights include a crustless sandwich of fried mortadella, french fries drenched in a salty curry sauce, and deviled eggs topped with uni. The highball-centered list of invented cocktails easily eclipses the sakes, beers, and wines that are the usual province of the izakaya. 531 Hudson St., between West 10th and Charles streets, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For pasta and spicy eggs at brunch: I’ve been on a pasta kick lately, and sometimes that means seeking it out during the brunch hour in my neighborhood, Park Slope. Luckily, Italian classic Al di La is just as charming during the day, and thankfully, not that difficult to get into. The spaghetti carbonara arrives at the perfect creaminess and texture, and the eggs in a spicy tomato sauce are a stellar order, too. Get a seat by the window. 248 Fifth Ave., at Carroll Street, Park Slope — Serena Dai, editor

August 3

For excellent food from China’s Dongbei in Flushing: The region in the northeast corner of China adjacent to the Korean Peninsula has some of the meatiest and most interesting food in the country. If you’re a fan of lamb, go for the “Mongolia style lamb chops” at Xing Shun Da — a humongous rack of mutton dusted with a cumin and chile powder that turns the meat red. Other recommended dishes include razor clams with spicy sauce, brown stew pork (really, pork belly), and loofah with baby shrimp. The premises are modest and homey, and the prices run from super cheap to somewhat expensive, mainly for premium seafood. 44-18 Kissena Blvd., between Cherry and 45th avenues, Flushing — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For cocktails and a laid-back neighborhood vibe: The food menu at 21 Greenpoint isn’t necessarily innovative or surprising, but it’s reliable. And when it comes to the drinks, there’s a little more pizzazz. The restaurant’s setting makes it a very chill spot for a weekend meal with its beautiful bar and cozy atmosphere. Try the oysters with spicy butter. It’s great for date night, too. 21 Greenpoint Ave., near West Street, Greenpoint — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For Peruvian sandwiches in Greenwich Village: The offshoot of Williamsburg’s Llama Inn has finally opened in a very pleasant space, with a zigzagging counter flanked by stools for eating, a modest amount of theme merchandise displayed, and the rotisserie chickens one normally associates with Peruvian carryouts. Go instead for the Peruvian sandwiches, which are far rarer in the city. The one called simply “pork shoulder” ($14) at Llamita features roast meat with a wonderful crunchy edge layered with sliced sweet potato and salsa criolla. Back home in Lima it’s known as pan con chicharron. For vegetarians, there’s a nice cauliflower sandwich smeared with aji verde. 80 Carmine St., between Bedford Avenue and Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For Californian food in an iconic setting: The garage-like room at Barbuto in the West Village is simply one of the city’s best restaurant spaces. (It’s been allegedly closing for years now, but there seems to be no sign of that actually happening.) It’s an eminently enjoyable place to sip some wine, eat a kale salad that should be an example of the form, taste the roast chicken that made chef-owner Jonathan Waxman famous, and watch people stroll by. Find a sunny moment this weekend to do just that. 775 Washington St. at West 12th Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For critically acclaimed tacos and summer vibes: The indoor/outdoor Gowanus bar Parklife is a great place to drink on a summer night, and it’s made even better by the fact that Denisse Lina Chavez is once again serving her popular El Atoradero tacos on blue corn tortillas there. Tacos come two to an order, and there’s a late night menu of snacks. 636 Degraw St., between Third and Fourth avenues, Gowanus — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

July 27

For top-notch sushi in the East Village: When I first wrote about Uogashi soon after it opened in early 2017, it was a slightly off-price sushi spot that distinguished itself by concentrating only on sushi, and by sourcing its fish from its own fleet. It provided a great alternative to places like Sugarfish and Mi-Ne Sushi Totoya. In the interim, Uogashi has drastically upped its game. While more modest assortments are still inexpensive, a couple of omakase are far more ambitious, priced at $95 and $150. Recently, the more expensive one comprised four introductory dishes and 18 pieces of sushi, including Hokkaido raw octopus, river eel cooked on premises, amberjack, needlefish, and dark orange Coho salmon. 188 First Ave., between 11th and 12th streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a taste of Nashville: A trip earlier this year to Nashville started my obsession with hot chicken. I visited the big three — Prince’s, Bolton’s, and Hattie B’s — and came away in love with the aggressive spicing, crunchy exterior, and juicy meat. The only place I know of that offers it here in NYC is Peaches Hothouse, a very chill Southern bistro in Bed-Stuy. It’s not quite as good as the original, but is anything ever? Go for the gold and order the extra-hot. 415 Tompkins Ave. at Hancock Street, Bed-Stuy — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For Italian with a Southern twist: In Brooklyn’s Columbia Street Waterfront District, Popina blends Italian cuisine with Southern flavors for a truly delightful comfort food mashup that’s not nearly as heavy or indulgent as it sounds. The best examples of the style: arancini, made with Carolina Gold rice and drizzled with honey, and the hot chicken milanese, which I find myself regularly craving. Don’t skip the pastas which, while more subtly Southern, are pleasantly al dente. Pair everything with a glass from a solid list of reds and whites. The restaurant isn’t huge but the sprawling backyard (complete with bocce court) means that right now, it’s pretty easy to snag a table. 127 Columbia St., between Degraw and Kane streets, Columbia Street Waterfront District — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For Korean food at a restaurant partly owned by Quentin Tarantino: When it debuted in 2000 as an offspring of the East Village’s now-defunct Dok Suni, Do Hwa was one of the first restaurants to take Korean food out of Koreatown, via the mother and daughter team of Myung Ja and Jenny Kwak. The menu remains pared down from what you might find on 32nd Street, but plenty of crowd pleasers remain, including a range of bibimbaps, table-top barbecuing, and dumplings and rice cakes galore. The fried chicken app heaped with pickled garlic is particularly good, but watch out for high noise levels at peak hours. 55 Carmine St., between Bedford Street and Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For steaming hot dumplings at a karaoke dive bar: The first time I went to karaoke dive bar Up Stairs, the bartender apologetically told me that the food is just okay. The menu is weird, with a combo of Chinese food and American bar food, and nothing about this tiny bar suggests it should be good. But the dumplings, which come eight for $8, are solid! They come out hot and are more than serviceable. And they have a well cocktail that perhaps every bar in America should adopt: whiskey with cold green tea, poured straight out of a giant plastic bottle that could probably be purchased in any Chinese grocery store. It’s perfect. Regardless, you’re not here for the food and drink: You’re here for $1-per-song karaoke, and the dumplings and whiskey-tea concoction are bonus. 59 Canal St., 2nd floor, between Allen and Orchard streets, LES — Serena Dai, editor

July 20

For some excellent Ethiopian hiding in plain sight: Named after former emperor Haile Selassie, five-year-old Haile Bistro offers some of the best Ethiopian food in town, tucked away in Alphabet City. The menu is spare, but all the selections are good, and every meat or chicken main comes with a pair of extra vegetable dishes, meaning you can fill up your injera-covered tray for a group of five or six without much expense. Three Ethiopian beers are the only ones offered, and they match particularly well with the food. 182 Ave. B, between 11th and 12th streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For above average fish tacos and perfect margaritas: It’s not often I find myself in this stretch of Midtown, but I’ve found my new go-to for the area in Salvation Taco. Since the forecast says we’ll be getting rain all weekend long, I’d suggest hiding out in the expansive yet cozy downstairs of the Pod Hotel, now under new ownership by Empellon’s Alex Stupak. Grab seats at the long bar or tables near the ping pong area and just make sure fish tempura and al pastor tacos are nearby. I’m partial to the smoky mezcal margarita, and just get the guacamole and chips, ok? 145 East 39th St., between Lexington and Third avenues, Midtown East — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For hot, hot, hot Greek food: Long Island import Kyma is already making a splash in Flatiron, drawing fashionable crowds and even Billy Joel. The room is whitewashed and bright, the food is fresh, and the service is highly hospitable for a Manhattan establishment. Make a great meal out of the eggplant and zucchini chips, whole grilled branzino, and galaktoboureko dessert, washed down with some very drinkable Greek white wine. 15 West 18th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Flatiron — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For less-commonly-seen Cypriot food: The island of Cyprus has its own foodways, with a different catalog of sausages, cheese that tends to catch fire or get grilled, and an affection for miniature meatballs sometimes scented with mint or orange peel. In a setting that recalls a rustic village, Zenon lives up to this promise and has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The wine list is a particular pleasure. 31-10 31st Ave., between 34th and 35th streets, Astoria — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For pastries and an above-average packaged sandwich to take to the park: A pro move when visiting Prospect Park from South Slope is to stop by Colson Patisserie before a day of lounging. Besides outstanding pastries, the bakery’s wrapped sandwiches are tasty — and a super convenient way to bring a heftier option to the picnic. The porchetta, with lemon pesto and romaine, is a great option. Grab a pear and caramel turnover, too. 374 9th St., at Sixth Avenue, Park Slope — Serena Dai, editor

July 13

For new Thai on the Lower East Side: Open only a few weeks in a tentative way, and sounding like the name of a country-western singer, Little Wayla occupies a pair of walk-up store fronts facing Sara Roosevelt Park, with a more formal restaurant soon to follow downstairs in the old Birds & Bubbles space, via chef Tom Naumsuwan. A steam table offers a choice of two or three dishes along with rice or in a salad. Call it a Thai meat-and-three. My favorite dish so far is a fiery Penang pork curry with sticky rice, but the stir fry of ground pork and bamboo shoots was almost as good. 100-102 Forsyth St., between Broome and Grand streets, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For brunch pizza and spritzes: At brunch, Barboncino in Crown Heights shakes up its usual Neapolitan pizza list to include pies like a pancetta, egg, and cheese variation. Its excellent and simple margherita is still on the brunch menu, too, and there are also pizza frittatas, like one made with eggs, brussels sprouts, and prosciutto. The brunch cocktails are very Italian, including a classic Aperol spritz as well as a drink made with espresso, grappa, fernet, and sambuca that is quite the wake up call. 781 Franklin Ave., near St. Johns Place, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For live music and a cocktail to help ease into the workweek: Every Sunday night at 8 p.m. at the Upper East Side’s influential cocktail bar the Penrose, a live band chills out the expert cocktail-swilling crowd near the back bar. The Penrose is an always-reliable UES cocktail bar that has since inspired several others in the neighborhood that try as they might, just aren’t as good as the original. Ending a weekend here is a super solid way to beat back the Sunday scaries. 1590 Second Ave., between 82nd and 83rd streets, Upper East Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For perfect Portuguese seafood in Newark’s Ironbound: It’s only a short ride away from the West Side of Manhattan or the World Trade Center on the PATH train. Seabra’s Marisqueira is a splendid Portuguese seafood restaurant with a formal dining room in the rear. Instead, sit in the blue-tiled barroom and order from a seasonal menu that often includes sardines grilled whole, octopus vinaigrette, raw oysters, and pork and clams cooked in a cataplana, a classic preparation in southern Portugal. Portuguese wine and beer are available, and don’t miss the fried potatoes. 87 Madison St., between Ferry and Lafayette streets, Newark, NJ — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For natural wine and a bowl of pasta: The ultra-narrow space of Williamsburg restaurant Have and Meyer avoids thoughts of claustrophobia by packing in a ton of charm. Wine bottles line the walls, as do lots of little postcards. Better yet, it’s got more than 90 natural wines, including a particularly long list of orange. The fairly slim menu is ideal for wine bar eating, with cheeses and cured meats, but pasta like the cacio e pepe, though not outstanding, is perfectly serviceable as well. More important is to go for wine, either solo or on a date. Just have the server give you a recommendation on a glass. 103 Havemeyer St., near Hope Street, Williamsburg — Serena Dai, editor

July 6

For Polish food in the East Village: Long ago in the East Village (say 25 years ago), the main choices for a cheap, belt-busting meal were Ukrainian and Polish restaurants. These places ladled kielbasy, pierogi, and multiple variations on goulash from vertical steam tables, but cooked the blintzes and schnitzels to order. One of the few old timers left is Little Poland, founded in 1985, where a big pork schnitzel topped with a fried egg runs $17.95, and comes with a double scoop of mashed potatoes and saucer of mayo slaw. 200 Second Ave., between 12th and 13th streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For chilling with a luscious burger and a frozen drink: In case you wanna keep the Fourth of July vibes going, hit up Threes Brewing and order is super juicy, totally indulgent burger from the Meat Hook guys this weekend. The space tends to get crowded, but it’s not impossible to nab a seat between the indoor and outdoor space. And though Threes is known for beer, the frozen cocktails hit the spot on a hot day, and thankfully, the wine options aren’t phoned in, either. 333 Douglas St., between Third and Fourth avenues, Gowanus — Serena Dai, editor

For Southern Italian off the beaten track in Williamsburg: Yes, Bamonte’s can be tough to get into at peak times, but there’s an alternative not far away. While Frost Restaurant is not quite as old (it dates to 1959, while Bamonte’s was founded in 1902), it has a similar menu and a comfortable dining room that will send you back to Williamsburg the way it once was. Most recommended are eggplant rollatini, baked clams, stuffed artichoke, baked ziti Siciliana, spicy chicken Siciliana, and, of course, spaghetti with meat balls. 193 Frost St., corner of Humboldt Street, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For spicy frozen drinks and grilled snacks: In the enclosed backyard of Diamond Reef, it’s easy to forget you’re literally on the always-loud Atlantic Avenue. The bar has made an outdoor space that genuinely feels secluded and cozy, and a food trailer churns out backyard cookout treats like charcoal grilled skewers and Mexican-style grilled corn. Inside is spacious and often lively. As far as the frozens go, skip the daiquiri in favor of the “Penichillin” — which is super gingery — and the “Spicy Canary,” a spicy mango tequila situation. 1057 Atlantic Ave., between Classon and Franklin avenues, Crown Heights/Bed-Stuy border — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For a cool solo dinner with iconic pizza in Greenpoint: Paulie Gee’s is a perfect respite from the heat this summer in Greenpoint. It’s cool and dark inside, the pizza list is long, and the drinks are cold. And while it’s known for its long waits almost as much as for its lauded honey-and-soppressata Hellboy pizza, solo diners can often walk in and nab a spot at the bar right away. 60 Greenpoint Ave., between Franklin and West streets, Greenpoint — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

June 29

For chowders and other down east food in Greenwich Village: It’s been 21 years since Maine native Rebecca Charles opened this gem of a seafood cafe in the Village, in what is now a double storefront sparsely decorated with nautical gear. At Pearl Oyster Bar, the clam chowder is one “don’t miss” dish, flavored with bacon and bobbing with oyster crackers, best washed down with a beer. Others include the whole grilled fish, lobster roll served with shoestring fries, and grilled lobster with corn pudding. 18 Cornelia St., between Bleecker and West 4th streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For jerk chicken and chill vibes: Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily’s is an eminently enjoyable place to chill with friends and share some jerk chicken and mac and cheese pie. It may not be the best jerk chicken in the city, but everyone in there is ready for a party. 132 West Houston St., between Sullivan and Macdougal streets, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For a light, flavorful lunch before a stroll around Brooklyn: I finally made my way to Greenpoint hit Chez Ma Tante, and it truly is a very pleasant place to eat brunch. The orange wine by the glass is outstanding, and the crispy, slightly thick pancakes are among the best I’ve ever tried. Everything manages to feel light and airy, yet still flavor-packed and interesting. Greenpoint, thankfully, is somewhat less tourist-packed than Williamsburg and well-worth exploring afterward. 90 Calyer St., at Franklin St., Greenpoint — Serena Dai, editor

For Middle Eastern food in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge: Casablanca Cafe is an intimate café that catches the vibe of urban North Africa, though the menu is mainly Middle Eastern. Flame-grilled kebabs are a strong point in pitas and on platters; my favorite is lamb kefta, a ground meat kebab scented with onion. It’s easy to put a bargain vegetarian platter together here, and your selections might include stuffed grape leaves, babaganoush, feta cheese, and — most Moroccan of all — house-pickled vegetables. 1132 First Ave., at 62nd Street, Upper East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a leisurely, comfortable meal in Soho-Chinatown: The area north of Canal where Soho and Chinatown meet has become more of a fashion hotspot, particularly with places like La Mercerie and high-end clothing stores. A restaurant in the area that’s been more overlooked is Nickel and Diner, but it’s a worthy place to dine and relax in the area. The space, which looks like a fancier, fashion person version of a diner, is lovely; the booths are spacious; and the iced coffee is tasty. The roasted maitake mushroom bowl is hearty, filling, and a seemingly healthy option that’s also delicious. 1 Howard St., at Centre Street, Soho — Serena Dai, editor

June 22

For Moroccan food in the West Village: Chef Einat Admony of Taïm fame has just opened a new restaurant called Kish-Kash specializing in couscous. The couscous is not of the coarse sort, but exceedingly fine grained and, in contrast to that served in other restaurants around town, oasis moist rather than dry as the desert. Flavored with preserved lemon and green olives, the chicken tajine that’s one of the menu’s six couscous options was spectacular, served with a saucer of harissa made in house. I can’t wait to try the other five couscouses (one vegetarian, one featuring fish) on the spare menu. 455 Hudson St., between Morton and Barrow streets, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For stellar iced coffee and Japanese fare: On the South edge of Williamsburg, on a sleepy stretch of Montrose Avenue, find the Brooklyn Ball Factory, a Japanese cafe that serves a charming menu of Japanese and French-style pastries (condensed milk bread toast; chocolate croissants), snacks (made-to-order onigiri), and lunch options like curries and bentos. But most people go for the coffee. A recent taste of their iced coffee — made via a slow drip in an Oji brewer —was so stunningly smooth I had to ask them to walk me through the steps in how they sourced their beans, warmed them, ground them, and finally let them brew so slowly over 12 to 24 hours. 95 Montrose Ave., between Leonard Street and Manhattan Avenue, Williamsburg — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

For a legit happy hour in a backyard: The happy hour at Bonnie Vee on the Lower East Side is better than many in that it runs until 8 p.m. and includes a frozen cocktail for $10. Head to the backyard to lounge on couches and drink a cooling Jessica Rabbit, with Thai chili-infused tequila, strawberry, and lime. 17 Stanton St., between Chrystie Street and Bowery, Lower East Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For fun cocktails and raw bar delights: Grand Army in Boerum Hill is a little more low-key than the very hip Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, but the oysters and other raw bar offerings are just as good. There’s a $90 seafood tower as well as a splurgey $120 option. The neighborhood spot also has whimsically themed cocktails that change with the seasons. Recently, the drinks have been inspired by My Little Pony characters, like the “Starlight Glimmer,” made with cappelletti, aquavit, manzanilla sherry, grapefruit liquor, celery bitters, and sparkling wine. 336 State St. at Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For regional Nepalese food in Jackson Heights: Of the many Himalayan restaurants in the neighborhood, Mustang Thakali Kitchen is one of the largest and most elegant. It presents a menu centered on the Mustang District of north central Nepal, a rugged region with some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. Try bhatmas chiura (toasted soybean salad), yohsi (kneaded buckwheat starch), gajar ka halwa (carrot pudding), or momo — massive dumplings filled with beef, chicken, or vegetables, served with a grainy red hot sauce. 74-14 37th Ave., between 74th and 75th streets, Jackson Heights — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

June 15

For an always-reliable Union Square meet-up: Union Square wouldn’t be Union Square to me without Coffee Shop, the Brazilian-leaning diner of sorts with the iconic sign at the corner of 16th and Union Square West. I hadn’t been in a couple of years, but a recent visit shows it’s still as solid as ever. Nothing will blow you away, but the breakfast options, salads, and sandwiches are great for an easy meet-up with friends. The place has settled down a bit, too, no longer mobbed with the fashion crowd, even though servers are still very waif-like. 29 Union Square West at 16th Street, Union Square — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For French rotisserie chickens in the Village: Le Coq Rico is justifiably famous for its $100 French chickens, available in several breeds. At less than one-quarter the cost, Village newcomer Cocu also does pedigreed rotisserie chickens with a Gallic flare. The birds are herbed, roasted, and made available for carrying out by the quarter, half, or full chicken, in deals that come with sides and sauces. The mashed potatoes and green beans are particularly good, and though you can also eat in, why not carry out and sit at one of the outdoor tables at the nearby Hudson River Park? 26 Carmine St., between Bleecker and Bedford streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For dollar oysters on the weekend: Dollar oyster happy hours tend to be way too packed these days, especially now that summer has started. If you have to put your name down just to get a half dozen oysters on the cheap, it’s almost not worth it! OTB in Williamsburg is hardly under-the-radar — it’s well known for its cocktail program and late-night offerings — but its weekend oyster happy hour is pretty much never too packed, running on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. The fried pickle chips and gruyere mac and cheese are solid late-night snacks, too. 141 Broadway near Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For mall-style Mexican food in Western Queens: Yes, the food is slick and nicely plated at this new restaurant that reminds me of Mexican chains in Dallas shopping malls that I ate in as a kid. At Corazon de Mexico, near the first stop into Queens on the 7 train, a table of friends and I particularly enjoyed the shrimp tostadas with chipotle sauce, pork carnitas served with rice and red beans, and shrimp fajitas — which added another Texas touch. With its uniformed waiters and kitschy décor, this restaurant is a nice change of pace from other Mexican restaurants in town. 10-09 50th Ave., between Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, Long Island City — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For complex cocktails in a chill setting: The late-night scene at King Tai in Crown Heights is often bustling, but also laid-back. The house cocktails change seasonally, and right now the lineup is excellent. Try the “Gilded Lily,” made with black rum, cognac, sherry, orange, vanilla, lime, pineapple, coffee, and nutmeg — it’s like a boozy dessert. The bar also runs pop-up food specials from time to time. Plus, every Monday in June, there are Campari-based cocktail specials for just $9. 1095 Bergen St. near Nostrand Avenue, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

June 8

For sashimi and cold udon a hot summer day: Omen Azen specializes in the cuisine of Kyoto. A well-kept secret among its devotees, it has been a fixture on the fringes of Soho since 1981. Those fans fill the dark and serpentine dining rooms clad in exposed brick and dark woods nearly every evening. Perfect sashimi is an obsession (though there’s no sushi), and so is tempura made with shrimp, sardines, and avocado. But my favorite dish is a cold udon with a sesame dipping sauce and little heaps of vegetables and mushrooms, also for dipping. Nothing could be more refreshing in summer. 113 Thompson St., between Prince and Spring streets, Soho — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a fluffy, bready pizza by the park: The yellow and sunny storefront of Park Slope pizza spot Mother Dough is lovely, but baker Elisa Rizzi’s pies will carry well to nearby Prospect Park for a great meal, too. The pies claim to be healthy; don’t let that deter you — the flavor and texture is all there. The pies are fluffy and bready and perfectly squishy, and the tomato sauce that tops them is as tart as any less noble pie. One $20 pizza will feed two. 72 Seventh Ave., between Lincoln and Berkeley places, Park Slope — Serena Dai, editor

For nachos in the sun: The sidewalk patio at Gueros in Crown Heights is almost always popping off on the weekends. And for good reason: The margaritas are massive and the breakfast tacos (served only on weekends until 4 p.m.) are solid. There’s lots of crispy, fried comfort food (the fried chicken, avocado, and shrimp taco options are all great) and, seriously, where else can you get a 20-ounce marg for $12? 605 Prospect Pl., near Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For a solid deli sandwich that can come smothered: The temperate weather of early June is the perfect time to head to the Bronx. That includes the hilly, tree-lined streets of Riverdale, the Bronx, where kosher deli Liebman’s has been located since 1953. Sit in the formica-clad interior and enjoy great pastrami, corned beef, or brisket with gravy, or a snappy skinned hot dog — have it put in a bun and smothered with potato salad. 552 West 235th St., between Johnson and Oxford avenues, Riverdale — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a meal as you walk through Soho: Like my pal Robert Sietsema, I hold a steady love for walking and eating around the streets of New York. Blessedly, they’ve started closing down Mulberry Street to traffic on the weekends from Canal to Broome Streets — which makes for an incredibly mild version of the San Gennaro Festival — and dotted at the top of this petite pedestrian mall is the Nolita location of Taïm. While the weather is allowing, pick up a falafel sandwich from these experts and take a stroll up, down, and around Mulberry. On the way back north, pick up a cup or con from Van Leeuwen’s new Spring Street location for dessert. 45 Spring St. at Mulberry Street, Nolita — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

June 1

For a discovery of a hidden bistro in the West Village: Open on a West Village side street in 2013, with a quirky layout that finds tables stuck here and there around the premises, Wallflower is just the kind of intimate Village bistro you may have been looking for. Divided into three sections of five dishes each, the menu is mercifully short. The first two sections are short dishes, including mushroom toast with ricotta, a cold spring pea soup that owes nothing to cream, and an oyster service. For me, this was prelude to a lush cheeseburger served with a baby kale salad rather than haystack of fries. 235 West 12th St., between Greenwich Avenue and West 4th Street, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For an unfussy power lunch: Chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer and manager Annie Shi, the trio that runs Soho’s King, are queens of subtlety. The restaurant has been attracting a steady stream of diners at dinner since it opened nearly two years ago. At lunch, though, it’s filled with daylight that streams in through pale woven caned screens, and diners who take their mid-day meal at a European pace. The way to start a power lunch here is to order a glass of wine followed by the carta di musica, an Italian flatbread that’s smeared with anchovy butter, drizzled with grassy olive oil, and topped with a healthy helping of fennel fronds and dill. Follow this with the mackerel — topped with a rough and bold black olive tapenade — or chicken paillard, grilled and a little bit smoky under a pile of saucy lentils and braised spinach. Leave room for a second glass of wine. 18 King St. at Sixth Avenue, Soho — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

For bar snacks and brunch in Ditmas Park: Mondayoff, which really is closed on Mondays, is one of Ditmas Park’s new crop of ambitious Thai restaurants. It’s an offshoot of Look by Plant Love House in Prospect Heights, with more space and a glitzier dining room, featuring neon, of course. Some of the edgier dishes are in an Isan vein, including hor mok pla, a fish mousse flavored with shredded screwpine leaves and lemongrass, and Isan sour sausage served with roasted peanuts, red onions, and raw ginger. Wow, is this grainy pork sausage sour! 752 Coney Island Ave., at Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For geeky beer and stellar nachos: Blind Tiger in the West Village can get a little crazy at night, but weekend afternoons are a much more civilized time to taste through the deep and varied rotating draft list. Order by number, and if you’re stuck on what to get, the bartenders will gladly pour you a taste and make spot-on recommendations. When your stomach needs lining, opt for the queso-covered nachos. 281 Bleecker St. at Jones Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For unfussy brunch in Prospect Heights: Prospect Heights’ romantic neighborhood restaurant Sunshine Co. — with its biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, shrimp and grits, and steak and eggs — isn’t exactly reinventing the brunch game, but its reliable staples are done well at a price that isn’t upsetting. For something a little different, get the grilled bread with chicken liver mousse and blueberry jam — an ideal brunch blend of sweet and savory. 780 Washington Ave., near Sterling Place — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world