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5 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in NYC

Weekly inspiration for last-minute dining

Pier I Cafe Pier I Cafe [Official Photo]

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.

May 31

For some casual waterfront dining: One of my favorite places to eat in warmer weather — such as this weekend’s — is Pier I Cafe on the Upper West Side. It’s right on the Hudson River and way chiller, and cheaper, than most outdoor restaurants. My ultimate recommendation is to take a bike ride up or down the West Side Highway, landing at the cafe and ordering a burger and a drink from the window. West 68th Street at Riverside Boulevard, Upper West Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For a pleasant breakfast in the West Village: My group was one of the first to arrive at Joseph Leonard on Memorial Day; we easily grabbed a seat at a booth in the back of the tiny, rustic restaurant. I heard it can get pretty busy in there, but for us, getting in was a breeze. Everything we ordered — the breakfast burger, French toast, Cuban sandwich, and goat cheese omelette — was delightfully pleasing. My omelette, neatly rolled around creamy and tart goat cheese, sat atop a bed of sweet leeks and chopped asparagus. It was the simplest yet, in my opinion, the tastiest dish on the table. 170 Waverly Place, on Grove St., West Village — Carla Vianna, reporter

For a standout Japanese meal in Bed-Stuy: 750 Myrtle Diner is an unlikely little spot in the northern reaches of Bed-Stuy. It’s not located in a picturesque part of the neighborhood, has no significant online presence, and doesn’t have the name recognition of nearby Hart’s or Saraghina. But it’s awesome. I went on Saturday night and liked it so much I returned on Thursday. The restaurant offers an extensive list of sakes and a daily changing menu of affordably priced and super seasonal Japanese food. Simmered chrysanthemum in dashi, perfectly grilled chicken parts, buttered enoki mushrooms that almost impersonate cacio e pepe, and lightly fried eggplant in a vegetable agedashi were some of my favorites but I found no dud in over a dozen dishes. The room is kind of strange and the service might be slow if it’s busy, but it’s worth your time. 750 Myrtle Ave., near Nostrand Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Amanda Kludt, editor in chief

For Chinese noodle bowls near Bryant Park: Needing something fast to eat before a matinee of the Broadway show Network, I was relieved to remember that Junzi Kitchen has recently opened up a Bryant Park location. The fast-casual chain from Eater Young Gun Lucas Sin serves northern Chinese noodles and bing. The customizable noodle bowls are satisfying, but not overly filling, and there are options to suit just about any dietary restriction. With more time, it’d be nice to take a bowl of knife-cut noodles and chrysanthemum tea box (there are several different options for tea) and sit in Bryant Park. 135 West 41st St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For fresh fruit juices in a plant-filled space: After carb-loading all weekend, a veg-friendly meal at the Butcher’s Daughter was a much-needed respite. The plant-filled space is undeniably pretty, and the menu has all sorts of fun vegetarian dishes, as well as many fruit juices and smoothies. I would personally stop by for just the juice: The watermelon option with honeydew, cactus pear, lime, and agave was served in a generously tall, cold glass — it had just the right amount of sweetness and was very refreshing. I would have ordered a second round if I hadn’t already ordered a plate of food. 581 Hudson St., near Bank Street, West Village — Carla Vianna, reporter

May 24

For a scenic beer garden in Brooklyn: Grand Prospect Hall is a rambling, multi-building party space that dates to 1892. It stands somewhat forlornly on a precipice above the Prospect Expressway. The tangled private park on its east side has lately been turned into Brooklyn Bavarian Biergarten, with a nice list of Teutonic suds on tap, and a predictable menu that runs to schnitzels, sausages, and pierogi, with a wan attempt to introduce vegetables into what is basically a German drinking menu. No matter, the food and beer is good and reasonably priced, and the gardens themselves are fascinating, so filled with copses, fountains, and secret corners that you and your friends will have no problem staking out your own territory. 265 Prospect Ave., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Park Slope — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For an sun-filled meal on the Upper East Side: It was a beautiful Sunday last week and with no reason to stay indoors, I searched for a nearby restaurant with an outdoor patio to eat under the sun. I landed at Jones Wood Foundry, and while British pub-y fare wouldn’t be my first choice for breakfast, the atmosphere made up for it. I did enjoy my avocado toast with ricotta and fig, but not as much as I enjoyed the plant-filled, sunlit patio. It’s a tiny space, but even if you can’t grab a seat there, there’s additional seating in the middle dining room that essentially has the same spring vibe, as the dining room opens up to that patio. 401 East 76th St., near First Avenue, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

For some new discount sushi in Chelsea: Traipse along a metal fire escape between two buildings to reach the entrance to Chelsea’s latest sushi bar. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor establishment with a slightly different omakase concept, Sushinao is a warren of attractive rooms arranged around a Japanese rock garden. Four sushi assortments and almost nothing else are offered, besides a wine, sake, and beer list: at $24, $34, $44, and $54, each assortment building on the cheaper ones that went before it. The sushi is of high quality, but at some point you might wish you’d also had a salad, bowl of miso soup, or some other app. 311 West 17th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Chelsea — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For relaxed day drinking on the Upper West Side: Bar Veloce on the Upper West Side is by no means a hot new opening — the Italian wine bar is a certifiable chain, now with seven locations across New York City, including JFK’s JetBlue terminal (for those of you flying out for the long weekend). But the latest location, on Amsterdam Avenue on the UWS, actually has a nice neighborhood-y feel, with a friendly bar, a few communal tables, and enormous windows that open directly onto the sidewalk and are perfect for perching in. Which makes it a nice addition to a neighborhood sorely lacking for interesting wine options, not to mention a great place to sip and linger over a sunny long weekend. 466 Amsterdam Ave., between 82nd and 83rd streets, Upper West Side — Ellie Krupnick, managing editor

For a chill new cocktail bar in an area lacking: Chelsea residents (hi!) got a major boon this week to the generally lacking dining and drinking scene with new Swedish bakery Fabrique and throwback cocktail bar Jungle Bird. Both are great, but this blurb is specifically about Jungle Bird and its chuggable drinks in a jovial space. The Fools Rush In (bourbon, ginger, sumac honey, lemon) is super refreshing and almost too easy to drink, while the Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (mezcal, habanero tequila, cucumber, cilantro, lime) is exactly as fiery as one hopes a spicy tequila drink will be. 174 Eighth Ave., between 18th and 19th streets, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

May 16

For new ice cream in Crown Heights: Temperatures may have been up and down for a while, but now that it seems like things will skew warm this weekend, it will truly feel like ice cream season. A new shop scooping certified organic ice cream just opened up in the former Nagle’s Bagels space on Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights, dubbed Strawberry Peacock. Recent flavors include a spicy chocolate, nitro cold brew, and some more elaborate combos like matcha, turmeric, honeycomb and whiskey, sea salt, cinnamon. 728 Franklin Ave., between Park and Sterling places, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For killer brunch among flowers: There’s no better brunch in Brooklyn than two-year-old Yellow Magnolia Cafe. Open only during midday, and located in the midst of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the greenhouse setting is engulfed in flowers, and the sunny dining room flanked with a mural of branches and leaves. Start with a strong bloody mary, and order the cakey house biscuits to go with it, sided with maple butter and cherry preserves. Then on to a meal size salad or the house fried chicken, which comes with wild rice, collard slaw, and a vial of spicy honey. Plenty of breakfast stuff, too. 990 Washington Ave, in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Grand Army Plaza — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For solid Turkish fare with warm service in Midtown: My family was in town recently, and I needed to find a restaurant near their Midtown East hotel that would accommodate my two grandmothers, who often use wheelchairs and are always vegetarian. Enter Sip-Sak, an airy Turkish restaurant on Second Avenue. The service was excellent — kind, welcoming, and extremely helpful — and the food was maybe even better. A tip: Ask what vegetarian options they serve, which aren’t all on the menu. Our table loved the mezze platter, especially the flaky borek stuffed with feta cheese and dill; the walnut-and-red pepper muhammara; the fava bean stew with rice; and the ali nazik, ground beef with peppers, tomatoes, and garlic served over smoked eggplant. 928 Second Ave., between 49th and 50th streets, Midtown — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

For tortas and tacos on a colorful Bushwick patio: Anchoring the menu at La Loncheria on Wilson Avenue is a selection of tortas, all of which take big steps from tradition. There’s the cuando tienen hambre — a mash of chicken, queso fresco, breaded avocado, and tomato that’s not as filling as the name suggests; and the ven a mí, which comes with abodo-marinated brisket. Dinners will probably find better tacos in Bushwick, but the ones here definitely won’t disappoint. The battered cod is among the best. For a follow-up drink on a different patio, make the short walk to the Narrows on Flushing Ave. 41 Wilson Ave., between George and Melrose streets, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For a glass of natural wine or two in the East Village: The tiny, narrow space of Ruffian doesn’t stop it from having a robust and interesting menu of natural wine by the glass. Currently, all of them are themed around Game of Thrones, but for a non-Thrones fan, the experience won’t be obnoxious. They’ve got a bunch of light, summer-ready reds, as well as a ton of skin contact options, including two wonderful ones from the country of Georgia. The cheaper one is drinkable and breezy — an option that will feel just about right in this weather. 125 East 7th St., between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

May 10

For a great date restaurant in East Williamsburg: Yes, old-time resto Frost is only a block away, and rock club Brooklyn Steel not much further, in an East Williamsburg neighborhood that retains much of its historic ambiance. Named for a children’s street game in which two teams try to capture the other team’s players, Ringolevio is an intimate date spot that offers lots of good snacks (including a full list of crostini) to go with its beer, wine, and mixed drinks, as well as pastas made on the premises. Of particular interest is a Sicilian seafood spedieno, a dainty grilled brochette that is also a popular bar food in Binghamton, New York. 490 Humboldt St., at Richardson Street, East Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For surprisingly solid drinks and snacks in Midtown: I ended up at Gibson + Luce, the basement cocktail bar at the Life Hotel, somewhat accidentally on a recent weeknight. My group had a reservation at JJ Johnson’s restaurant Henry at the Life Hotel but due to a private event we instead ended up eating at the bar downstairs, where there’s full lineup of inventive cocktails plus a few items from Johnson’s restaurant upstairs. I was particularly into the Ryde or Die (mezcal with ginger, passion fruit, lassi, pineapple, lime, vanilla) and, to be frank, kind of surprised to find such a stellar option for drinks and snacks n Midtown. 19 West 31st St., between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, Midtown — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For afternoon tea in a whimsical setting: After a visit to the Met, take a little walk downtown along Fifth Avenue to Alice’s Tea Cup, Chapter II, an outpost of the vaguely Alice in Wonderland-themed tea house offering set menus and afternoon tea service. The tea for two option comes with enough food for a genuinely filling lunch for two: three scones with various spreads, two tea sandwiches, and a large piece of cake with cookies. The two-floor space has plenty of room, and taking a leisurely afternoon meal here is encouraged, the servers never rushing. 156 East 64th St., near Lexington Avenue, Upper East Side — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For giant Mexican sandwiches and smoothies in Sunset Park: Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos is a colorfully decorated Mexican café that offers twin counters. One offers a selection of huge tortas, while the other squeezes fresh juices, making a perfect lunch combination. The sandwiches are geographically identified with Mexican cities, while the juices can be simple or quite elaborate, with some named after body builders, such as the Mr. T smoothie: coffee, banana, almond butter, almond milk, and whey chocolate protein. 3908 Fifth Ave., between 38th and 39th streets, Sunset Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a chill neighborhood coffee shop to meet a friend: I feel lucky to live near the Commons, a neighborhood coffee shop through and through. Though I wish it were a little larger, it’s usually easy enough to find a table to sit down for espresso drinks, matcha lattes, and a surprisingly robust menu of eggs, sandwiches, salads, and pastries. This is my go-to place to meet a friend for breakfast or coffee on the weekends, or stop by before work for a drink to go. Laptops not allowed on weekends. 128 Seventh Ave., between 17th and 18th streets, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

May 3

For mostly on-point bar food in a congenial space: Park Slope is full of great neighborhood bars, and the Commissioner is one that also happens to serve a roster of pretty solid bar food. The fried pickles, sliced insanely thin, are an ideal salty snack, and the hot dogs come from Williamsburg butcher the Meat Hook, filling concoctions that come two for $8. Word is that the hot chicken sandwich and, bafflingly, the kale and farro salad are decent picks, too. (Skip the burger.) Mostly, though, it’s just a chill spot to hang; the staff is extremely friendly, and the bar doesn’t charge a fee to reserve party space. 247 5th Ave., between Carroll Street and Garfield Place, Park Slope — Serena Dai, editor

For alcohol-free drinks that are surprisingly good: Getaway in Greenpoint looks and feels like a bar, but there’s no booze to be found. It goes all-in on the no-alcohol cocktail trend that’s gathering speed in the drinking world, offering a menu of exclusively no-ABV drinks. In other words, it’s just juice. And it’s natural to be skeptical, but these drinks are complex, layered, and exciting, like the “that’s just my face,” made with mango and jalapeño puree, lime, elderflower tonic, and black sesame. It’s spicy and fruity. For now, there’s no food. 158 Green St., near Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For a relaxed, homestyle Brazilian meal: Favela Grill is a true neighborhood spot. The Astoria Brazilian restaurant is inviting, casual, affordable, and filled with locals looking for a place to gather over food. The food is straightforward and comforting, from fried appetizers to steak and shrimp platters. It was also my first time eating catupiry, a creamy cheese that in my opinion is a far superior stand in than mozzarella for sticks. 33-18 28th Ave., between 33rd and 34th streets, Astoria — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For perfect picnic fare: Long-running banh mi shop Ba Xuyen is only a block east of the hilltop Sunset Park, the patch of green descending toward the Upper Bay that gives the neighborhood its name. If the weather clears this weekend, grab a banh mi sandwich (my favorite is the one made with sardines) and make your way to the park, which provides magnificent views of downtown Brooklyn, the Manhattan skyline, and Jersey City beyond. If the weather is rainy, eat your sandwich in the dining room. 4222 Eighth Ave., between 42nd and 43rd streets, Sunset Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For creamy soft-serve in Chinatown: It’s hard to resist Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory when seeking sweets in the area, but last week, I was tempted by the siren call of a new, nearby spot called Milkcow, which specializes in milk-flavored soft serve. Turns out it’s the first NYC outpost of a Korean chain, and it delivered. The soft serve is thick and creamy, far more flavor-packed than most renditions of soft serve at shops around town. My friend and I split a cup that had a hunk of fresh honeycomb on top, adding a touch of floral sweetness. Milkcow offers tons of over-the-top versions, too, like one with a massive piece of cotton candy, but I’m not so tempted. Next time, I might opt to go even simpler, with no toppings at all. 69a Bayard St., near Mott Street — Serena Dai, editor

April 26

For spicy Thai in a glam space: The Upper West Side is shadily home to some pretty good Thai spots, like Land on Amsterdam. A newer option, though, is Sala Thai. In the eight months it’s been open, it’s already become a huge hit in the neighborhood for dishes such as razor clams sautéed in a blazingly spicy but also sweet coconut milk and chile sauce with basil or crispy rice salad with Thai pork sausage. The interior is also a fun departure, lushly decorated with chandeliers, wood paneling, and gold ornaments. 307 Amsterdam Ave., between 74th and 75th streets, Upper West Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For a healthy Brazilian breakfast in Bushwick: It’s become a weekly routine to stop by Pitanga on a Saturday or Sunday morning for an açaí bowl, and I’m not the only Bushwick dweller doing so. The namesake bowl here tops the blended fruit with strawberries, bananas, coconut, and easily the best almond butter around (it’s homemade). There are also egg bowls like the Brazilian Breakfast with black beans, avocado, baked eggs, and homemade pão de queijo, the bouncy cheese bread. There’s no rush to get moving, a good thing since you’ll be charmed easily by the staff here. 207 Starr Street between Wyckoff and Irving, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For vegetarian dosas in Murray Hill: Pongal was among the wave of vegetarian and also kosher dosa restaurants that hit lower Lexington Avenue starting around 1995, offering a menu based mainly on lentils and grains. Dishes like idli (dumplings), upma (a cream of wheat dish), rasam (the spiced lentil soup), and the eponymous pongal (a composed rice dish) formed part of the menu, but front and center were a series of dosas, including a butter masala dosa that offered a huge, thin, crisp, ghee-saturated pancake with a separate filling of spiced potatoes, constituting a gluten-free meal long before gluten-free was popular. 110 Lexington Ave., between 27th and 28th streets, Murray Hill — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a spicy meal before going to see that hot Adam Driver and Keri Russell play: Go check out Taladwat. The new-ish restaurant has effectively taken over the reigns as top Thai spot in Hell’s Kitchen in the wake of Larb Ubol’s closure. David Bank (Pure Thai Cookhouse) and Brian Ghaw serve homestyle cooking in a set-menu format: You choose two dishes for $20 ($16 at lunch), then add on more courses as needed for about nine bucks each. Among the highlights are crabmeat tom turmeric, with the flesh sitting in a fiery chile-laced coconut broth; a soft omelet with seasonal herbs; and an achingly tender pork belly stew, the flesh sweetened with five spice and soy. 714 9th Avenue near 49th St. — Ryan Sutton, chief food critic

For Hong Kong-style Chinese food in Brooklyn: This mini-chain, with other another branch in Chinatown (the Bath Beach branch is closed), brings Hong Kong style Cantonese food to Sunset Park. Known as bao zai fan, the specialty of King’s Kitchen is a rice dish steamed in a clay pot with thick sweet soy sauce and a main ingredient that runs to duck, salted fish, pork knuckle, beef navel, and eel, infusing the rice with rich flavor. Dumplings, charcuterie, congee, and noodles fill out the pleasing and inexpensive menu. Open early for breakfast. 5223 Eighth Ave., between 52nd and 53rd streets, Sunset Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

April 19

For a comfy cafe to spend literally all day in: Outpost in Bed-Stuy is so laptop friendly that there are even outlets in the back patio, which gets ample sun during the day and has a mix of seating. Inside offers plenty of space to post up, too, and the food menu keeps it simple with sandwiches, a huge bowl of mac and cheese that can be topped with chili, as well as salads and pastries. There are also a few wines and draft beers on hand along with coffee drinks and juices. 1014 Fulton St., between Irving Place and Downing Street, Bed-Stuy — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For a speedy meal in Bushwick that will fuel the night: There’s really only one move when ordering at Bunna Cafe — Bushwick’s beloved vegan Ethiopian restaurant — and that’s to order the feast for you and however many are in your party. The massive platter will include garlic-y enguday tibs (cremini mushrooms), berbere-spiced misir wot (red lentils), shiro (a yellow split pea mash with more berbere and garlic), and if going this weekend the seasonal dish will be a slightly sweet stewed squash. Of course it’s accompanied by all the housemade injera one could hope for, and it will all arrive at the table within five minutes of ordering. Do try some highly rare Ethiopian wine like a semi-dry honey wine that’s light and refreshing; do chat up the very friendly staff. Note that it’s cash only. 1084 Flushing Ave, between Knickerbocker and Irving, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For some chic Passover fare: Chill all-day seafood restaurant Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village is not only holding Seders this weekend for Passover, but it’s also extending that menu for the entire length of the Jewish holiday. Stop in for matzah ball soup with kimchi, deviled eggs with trout roe, a lamb shank with madras curry, and other Passover-friendly specials. 172 Waverly Pl., at Christopher Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For great pasta near downtown Jersey City: It’s hard to still get excited about Italian pasta these days, when we have so many restaurant choices and so many types of pasta to contemplate. But Jersey City’s Pasta dal Cuore (“pasta from the heart”) makes pasta exciting again, with a lengthy menu with many unexpected pasta and sauce combinations. That menu runs from the conventional (lasagna alla bolognese and spaghetti alla vongole) to the frankly unusual (cauliflower ravioli and spinach linguine in a funky Amatriciana sauce). A noodle retail counter stands in front, with a spare dining room in back, and the place is BYOB. 527 Jersey Ave., between Christopher Columbus Drive and Maxwell Alley, Jersey City, NJ — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a massive Italian sandwich in the Financial District: I recently traveled to Italy and returned to New York with a constant craving for the Italian panino sold from sidewalk cafes in Florence. When researching “where to find an Italian panini in FiDi” I came across the aptly named Pisillo Italian Panini and decided to give it a shot. The “Bari,” named after the port city on the Adriatic Sea, which originally comes with fresh mozzarella, olive paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and salami — but I subbed the salami for prosciutto — was the largest sandwich I have ever seen. A heaping mountain of prosciutto was piled in between two round slices of focaccia, followed by layers of mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. It was so big, I ate half for lunch and the other half for dinner. It was delicious, and the menu has at least two dozen other options. Cash only. 97 Nassau St., near Ann Street, FiDi — Carla Vianna, reporter

April 12

For a cafe-bar that transitions well from day to night: Sunrise/Sunset in Bushwick has an impressive wine list and cocktail menu for a low-key, neighborhood cafe. It’s an ideal place to do work at during the day, with coffee and bites like a breakfast sandwich and avocado toast. But then it transitions well into evening, with heartier food including a simple but excellent chicken and rice dish and a braised beef sandwich. 351 Evergreen Ave., at Bleecker Street, Bushwick — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For NYC’s oldest French cuisine: Dating to 1937, the East Side’s La Veau D’Or (“the golden calf”) is the city’s oldest French restaurant, and eating there is to travel back in time. The dining room is decorated with watercolor landscapes of France, and red banquettes ring the dining room. Head for the most traditional fare, including leeks vinaigrette, onion soup, roast duck with cherry sauce, and tripe Caen style. And don’t neglect dessert. Not a bad spot for an unusual date. 129 East 60th St., between Park and Lexington avenues, Upper East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For an easy meal in Nolita: Lower Manhattan on the first nice day of the year feels a little hectic, to say the least. There are people everywhere, all trying to go to the exact same places, and half of them are on their phones instead of paying attention to anything. The restaurants that have any sort of outdoor seating boast interminable waits — doubled if there’s a brunch menu — and if hunger pangs hit and you need something fast, it can be a nightmare to find a place that will serve you an easy, healthy snack. Enter vegetarian Israeli hummus stop Taïm! It’s in the perfect location at Spring and Mulberry, and a side of falafel, served in a cute brown bag with tahini to dip ’em in, and a smoothie (date-lime-banana or strawberry-raspberry-Thai basil sound pretty great) makes an order that could tide even the hungriest shopper over until their next meal. 45 Spring St., at Mulberry Street, Nolita — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

For breakfast and coffee to-go in Bushwick: The warmer weather forecasted for this weekend means it’s not out of the question to enjoy a bagel out on a street corner, and easy-to-miss Mixtape under the M train is one of the best places for it around Bushwick. The tiny storefront serves expert bagel sandwiches — with bagels provided by Bagelsmith — from a staff that is as lovely as they are quick. They’ve also never served me a bad coffee or tea. Take your order to go, maybe to enjoy at Maria Hernandez Park, or from one of the benches or stools underneath the train’s overpass. 1533 Myrtle Ave., between Linden Street and Gates Avenue, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For crisp-bottomed soup dumplings: Some of NYC’s best soup dumplings are served on Saint Mark’s Place at the Bao, a spin-off of Flushing restaurant Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao that serves various regional specialties from China. On the XLB front, there are the traditional pork-filled variety, but then there’s also ones with wasabi and chocolate. Hidden on the menu under a different name, though, are “12 finger bao,” ones that are pan-fried and served in the pan, so they come even more hot than usual and with a crispy bottom. Be super careful before you eat one, but once it’s cooled off a bit, you’ll be rewarded with hot dog-like pork and savory soup inside a crispy and soft dumpling. 13 St. Mark’s Pl., between Second and Third avenues, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

April 5

For some of the city’s best new pastries: With the addition of pastries from Melissa Weller, now is the perfect time to head to High Street on Hudson for brunch. The former Sadelle’s baker is putting out familiar baked goods with twists, like pistachio croissants and black sesame kouign amanns. Best of all, brunch at High Street on Hudson includes all the comforting brunch foods you could want (like hearty breakfast sandwiches and crispy old bay fried potatoes) in relaxed, coffee shop-like environs absent the brunch crowd. On Sunday, the host even let me sit down before my full party had arrived — a rarity in New York! 637 Hudson St., at Horatio Street, West Village — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For Bushwick brunch with any size group, including for one: Bushwick’s Le Garage is a naturally lit space that’s very choice in the daytime hours when the sun comes pouring in from nearly every angle. (The chicken for two that’s served during dinner is alternatively the strongest argument for dining here during the evening.) The weekend lunch menu holds its own with dishes like steak and eggs ($17) that’s accompanied by crispy and fatty duck fat potatoes, as well as a seasonally topped pain perdu (French toast), and a homey croque monsieur. You’ll likely find that each bar seat is occupied by a solo diner, enjoying their plate of eggs and a brunch cocktail, too. 157 Suydam St., between Wilson and Central avenues, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For a cupping pepperoni slice in the West Village: If you crave a slice with the currently fashionable cupping pepperoni, you don’t have to stand in line at Prince Street Pizza. Instead, drop by Il Mattone, a newish pizzeria that constitutes a slightly premium establishment, with slices about 30 percent more expensive than the usual neighborhood pizza parlor. In this case, the $5 wedge-shaped slice with cupping pepperoni also comes optionally with fresh jalapeños. Pastas and compact heroes are also available at this cute spot near the gardens of St. Luke’s Church. Carry out a slice and sit in the garden, weather permitting. 450 Hudson St., between Barrow and Morton streets, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a varied, homey Brazilian meal in East Harlem: When Eater critic Robert Sietsema told me he found a buffet-like Brazilian restaurant that casually served churrasco from a tiny grill, I instantly knew I had to check Paladar out. These restaurants are called “kilo restaurants” in Brazil because you pay by the kilogram. Here, of course, it’s by the pound, but the idea is the same: It’s a self-service situation in which you pile on various salads — like Brazilian-style potato salad with lots of mayo and veggies — as well as traditional churrasco pairings like rice, beans, and farofa. Then you make some room on your plate for the meat; I personally suggest going with the extra salty picanha (sirloin cap) and crispy-pink pork sausages. Top it all off with a guaraná, the sweet Brazilian soda. It’s a fun place to get to know Brazilian gastronomy, especially since you can pick and choose a little bit of everything. 358 East 112th St., near First Avenue, East Harlem — Carla Vianna, reporter

For a biryani specialist that surpasses its competitors: There are currently a half dozen places specializing in biryani along Newark Avenue’s India Square. At least that many more have opened and closed in the last few years in the ultra-competitive realm of Hyderabad-style biryani in Jersey City. My current favorite is Biryani Darbar, which offers 16 varieties of the composed rice dish, each with unique flavorings and treatments. Some offer geographic identifications, as in Vijayawada biryani, from a town in the Southern state of Andhra Pradesh. But the menu of this fantastic place goes beyond biryani, featuring breads, vegetable dishes, plenty of seafood and goat, and a smattering of Indian Chinese. 769 Newark Ave., between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Herbert Place, Jersey City, NJ — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

March 29

For fine fare to fuel a night out in Brooklyn: A small group dinner can often be the best pregame, one that starts the night off with a meal that will fuel the maybe long evening ahead, and soak up any and all alcohol to be had. Since Loosie Rouge may very well be one of the stops in mind for a night in North Brooklyn, it’s a no-brainer to have sit down dinner first at Loosie’s Kitchen — the bar’s attached and equally charming restaurant. The dual space provides an excellent double header evening. Start with bowls of risotto with Chinese sausage and the addicting braised beef with a parsnip-garlic puree, and follow it with a cocktail at the moody bar upfront. A dish that shouldn’t be missed is the charcuterie board, a collection of chicken liver mousse, that Chinese sausage, and brisket rillette — all made in house by chef Henry Lu. 91A South Sixth St., between Berry Street and Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For a simple, satisfying diner burger: Nothing quite hit the spots like a no-frills diner burger, and Bonnie’s Grill in Park Slope does the trick, especially since during primetime, when many other restaurants along that section of Fifth Avenue tend to have long waits. The meat gets cooked to the requested temperature, and it’s spiced — though it’s still more simple than bold. The accompanying french fries, too, are crispy. Every table will have a portion of wings; might as well get some of those (plus a cheap beer) as well. 278 Fifth Ave., Garfield Place and 1st Street, Park Slope — Serena Dai, editor

For a chill restaurant to catch up with friends: Playa Betty’s on the Upper West Side is a great service to the neighborhood, providing a place to gather with a group around tacos and beer and margaritas in a breezy, California-inspired space. No one rushes you, making it a good venue to catch up and linger over a casual dinner. Beyond tacos, there are salads and bowls, making it an ideal place for people with any dietary restriction. 320 Amsterdam Ave., at 75th Street, UWS — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For food 24 hours in Chelsea: It may not be the hotspot it was during the Sex and the City era, but Cafeteria is still a nostalgic throwback to a specific NYC vibe, especially now that most of the other SATC restaurants have shuttered. The drinks are still strong, and the menu of American, occasionally fusion-y comfort foods is dependable. The meatloaf is a surprise winner. 119 Seventh Ave., at West 17th Street, Chelsea — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

For an affordable steak dinner (and other options) on the Upper East Side: I swung by Quality Eats for the first time last week for a family dinner. Although I’m not a huge steak fanatic myself, everyone around me is, and I have to say, this is a great spot for people like me. While everyone thoroughly enjoyed their $28 steak dishes — which I happily tried, and yes, they were very good — I enjoyed a patty melt served with a citrusy and spicy slaw, mixed in with tangy pickles. One of us also ordered the salmon, which looked like a beautiful alternative to the bountiful steak dishes on the table. Next time, I may even go for that. 1496 Second Ave., at 78th St., UES — Carla Vianna, reporter

March 22

For a dive bar reimagined: Once it was Bait & Tackle, a dive bar in a corner location in downtown Red Hook. (If Red Hook can be said to have a downtown, that is.) The new menu is Mexican, under chef Norberto Piattoni, and the tavern is now known as the San Pedro Inn. A sense of decrepit age reflects calculated renovations on the part of the proprietors. Now the chef can be seen up a few steps through a kitchen window, making tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, and tamales. Standouts on an early visit included a tostada heaped with ceviche, and a trio of black bean quesadillas oozing cheese. The margaritas are excellent, and so are the micheladas. 320 Van Brunt St., at Pioneer Street, Red Hook — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For quick and easy breakfast or brunch in Bushwick: Alongside the sandwich and salad options (and the expensive groceries) at Foster Sundry is a portion of the menu dedicated to biscuit sandwiches, all of which are stacked high. It’s impossible to go wrong with fillings like scrambled eggs and ham which can be accompanied by a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey, or even just a sandwich with egg and sausage. No matter the filling, it’ll all be complemented by the biscuit: a moist, crispy, and highly buttery marvel. Diners can also always opt for a toasted biscuit with butter and jam. 215 Knickerbocker Ave., at Troutman Street, Bushwick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

For a pastrami sandwich in the Theater District: Against all odds, the Upper East Side’s Pastrami Queen has cloned itself, though in far larger form. The new premises lies across the street from the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and its long running Book of Mormon, and has taken maybe a little design inspiration from the Russ & Daughters Café. The $18.95 pastrami sandwich is thicker and cheaper than expected, the meat sliced thinner than usual for the genre, but it works. That price also includes a pickle and dish of slaw or potato salad, making a very good deal, and the meat is nicely fatty. 233 West 49th St., between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, Times Square — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a pleasant Indian dinner on the Upper East Side: I had a delicious meal at Moti Mahal Delux this week, enjoying everything from the samosas paired with tamarind chutney to the roasted cauliflower with potatoes served in a slightly spicy tomato sauce (dum ki gobhi aloo). There was no wait, and my date and I were seated promptly in a dimly lit two-top surrounded by windows. Even better than the food was the service, and the dishware was especially pretty, too. 1149 First Ave., between 62nd and 63rd streets, UES — Carla Vianna, reporter

For a relaxing and refined last-minute brunch: A friend and I were able to make day-of brunch reservations at Union Square Cafe this past Sunday, so try your luck this weekend on Resy. It was such a pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning, with the restaurant’s renowned hospitality and satisfying brunch fare. Be sure to order the duck fat tater tots. 101 East 19th St., at Park Avenue, Gramercy — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

March 15

For a new twist on a wine bar in Hamilton Heights: There are no shortage of wine bars, but most of them involve food that is basically Italian, French, or Spanish. Now a new formula has emerged. With a sophisticated wine list by the bottle — including Chilean, Argentine, and Uruguayan wines, in addition to more usual offerings — Barepas highlights Venezuelan food in miniature versions. Sure, there are the usual stuffed arepas, but there are also creative twists to cachapas and pabellon, and a very nice salad of sour mango and fennel. 1792 Amsterdam Ave., between 148th and 149th streets, Hamilton Heights — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For an afternoon of fancy tea and pristinely cooked Chinese food: One of the new restaurants in the crew of sleek East Village Chinese restaurants specializes in tea and pan-regional fare, including dim sum and luxurious pots of tea — all of which are both plated for Instagram and delicious. Uluh Tea House has a long menu, and everything I tried was on-point, including a jellyfish and pulled chicken dish, the shumai, and a heaping plate of boneless pig trotter. I initially got sticker shock from a $14 pot of tea for one, but it was a pleasant departure from having a cocktail during a meal, and servers actively refilled the pot when needed. 152A Second Ave., between East Ninth and 10th streets — Serena Dai, editor

For overlooked and underrated Greenwich Village pizza: In the shadows of pizza greats like Joe’s, John’s, and Keste, Fiore’s lies hidden. The slice shop is fairly average on the inside, with a few tables, white tiled walls, and a case displaying what’s available. But the thin-crust pizza has a crunchy bottom and tender dough, with above average ingredients on top — including the uber-trendy roni cups. It’s a very ideal way to end a night in the area. 165 Bleecker St., between Sullivan and Thompson streets, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

For reliable Greek fare in a semi-posh setting: Pylos has been serving Greek food in the East Village since the early aughts. I hadn’t been for nearly a decade, but on a visit earlier this week, I was relieved to see that not much has changed. While the restaurant advertises “rustic Greek home cooking,” the vibe is a bit upscale, with dim lighting and comfortable seating arranged under a ceiling covered in hanging clay pots. The meze at the top of the menu, like gigantes in a tomato-dill sauce or saganaki cooked in a clay pot, are the real draw; but entrees, like egg noodles with scallops and shrimp in an ouzo cream sauce, are served in refreshingly substantial portions. Dessert, a stack of custard-filled crispy phyllo triangles drizzled with honey and cinnamon, was the best thing I’ve eaten all week. 128 East Seventh St., between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For satay-centric Thai on the fringes of Chinatown: Who would’ve thought a Korean fried chicken chain would spawn such a good Thai restaurant? But Bonchon Chicken has done just that at Noree Thai Bazaar, adjusting our expectations only slightly. That adjustment features an enhanced emphasis on satays, exploiting their compatibility with mixed drinks and other forms of alcohol. Starting at $2 each, and perfectly grilled, choices run to shrimp, chicken, pork, and a host of vegetables, dunked in peanut sauce, marinated in lemongrass, or rubbed with cumin, Xinjiang style. Lots of good curries, salads, and noodles, too. 274 Grand St., between Forsyth and Eldridge streets, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

March 8

For premium fusion Cantonese not in Chinatown: If you’re tired of the dozen or so types of regional Chinese food available in the city (though I’ve never met anyone who was), you might give the cryptically named August Gatherings a try. On a stretch of Canal considerably to the west of Chinatown, it provides a very staid and elegant dining room, and a menu that stretches your idea of what traditional Cantonese food is. The restaurant serves up premium seafood and well-aged steaks and chops, with all sorts of Japanese and French flourishes, including truffles and foie gras. Expect prices to match. 266 Canal St., between Broadway and Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For charming Italian food in Brooklyn: Locanda Vini e Olii in Clinton Hill has so many charms to recommend it. The corner restaurant exudes warmth with plates of satisfying Tuscan fare and decor that recalls the early 20th century pharmacy it once was. There’s a long list of Italian wines, orange included, and with some of the bottles, you can choose to pay for only what you drink. With four or more people, opt for the four-course tasting menu for $55 per person. Dishes like black pepper pici, parpadelle with braised rabbit, and roasted cod are all served in heaping family-style portions. Share them with your favorite friends. 129 Gates Ave., at Cambridge Place, Clinton Hill — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

For a restaurant that feels like an upscale pizza party: My future parents-in-law were in town recently and suggested we meet them in Tribeca for dinner. I was expecting something either too hip or too stuffy, but we ended up at Adoro Lei, a loungey Italian restaurant on Hudson Street. The space is big, the service is great, and the food is really, really good. A favorite of the night was the extremely well done eggplant parm pizza, and I particularly appreciated that the menu tells you how many arancini come in the risotto ball appetizer so there’s no awkward halving when they come to the table. Most of our party had wine, but there’s also a smoked cocktail section from which drinks will be poured tableside for a little extra dinner theatre. 287 Hudson St., between Spring and Canal streets, Tribeca — Sonia Chopra, director of editorial strategy

For good bargain sushi that still exists in a high rent neighborhood: In the world of sushi, it seems like there are only two options these days: buy your sushi as a fast-casual chain and perch on a stool to eat it, or pay $200 or so for an omakase in a place that still looks like a sushi bar. Yes, there are a couple of discount sushi bar where $50 gets a meager eight pieces or so and the quality is acceptable, but these expect you to eat up fast and pay for extras to stay longer. Enter the unfortunately named Umami Sushi in Greenwich Village, where $25.95 gets you a 10 piece sushi deluxe with a maki roll thrown in for good measure. The selection runs to arctic char, flounder, and sardine, with the occasional piece of medium fatty tuna thrown in for good measure, and the fish is notably fresh. Sake is a bargain, too. 50 Greenwich Ave., between Perry and Charles streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a cute breakfast in Bed-Stuy: The breakfast sandwich at Bed-Stuy Provisions comes on a crispy seeded slab of ciabatta, loaded up with avocado, cheese, and a soft boiled egg. Add a preserved duck egg for something a little funkier. There are other sandwiches and various congee options on the menu, and the casual, cozy space is the perfect setting for a low-key brunch or breakfast. For those in the neighborhood, the sandwiches also hold up when delivered. 563 Gates Ave., near Tompkins Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter