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Eater Staffers’ Favorite NYC Restaurant Cookbooks

Just some solid cookbooks from the city’s restaurants to peruse while dine-in spots are closed

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Two bookshelves filled with food books.
Staying at home? Now’s a good time to explore your cookbook collection.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Even though your favorite restaurants may no longer be open, with most not even doing takeout and delivery, there’s still a way to recreate the food: Many New York establishments have published cookbooks. Now is the time to turn to them and try your hand at the continuing game of Chef for a Day. It may not quite be the same, but perhaps it will soothe at least part of the desire for a meal at favored local establishments. Here are just some of the cookbooks associated with New York City restaurants, heartily recommended by Eater staffers.

Jack’s Wife Freda: Cooking from New York’s West Village by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz

A cookbook with a green cover and a sketch of a woman.

When Maya and Dean Jankelowitz opened their cozy restaurant in Soho back in 2012, New York magazine described the food there as “South African Israeli Jewish grandmother cuisine.” The same can be said of the recipes that fill the pages of this lushly colorful cookbook, which also gives readers a little bit more on what brought Maya and Dean together and about their diverse culinary backgrounds and influences. Breakfast staples at the restaurant like the eggs benny with beet hollandaise and the rosewater waffles are included, along with South African desserts like Malva pudding. The cookbook’s charm reflects how popular the three NYC locations of the restaurant continue to be today. — Tanay Warekar, reporter
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop | Google Play

Estela by Ignacio Mattos and Gabe Ulla

The book cover shows a salad of endive.

“We can talk and talk about creativity, but at the end of the day, everything comes from somewhere else,” Ignacio Mattos writes in the Estela cookbook, describing how his avant-garde ricotta dumplings were inspired by the cooking of Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe, who in turn was influenced by Elizabeth David. And there, with one fell swoop, the Uruguayan-born chef essentially lets readers know they won’t find deep, expository, theoretical insights into what makes dining at his restaurants such an innovative experience. What makes the cookbook so vital, rather, is how it acts as a cheat sheet to understanding precisely what you’re tasting at Estela, and the sometimes unlikely sources of inspiration. The savoriness of the beef tartare is the product of fish sauce. The extra depth in the fried black rice comes from dried seafood and green garlic juice. And Mattos, we learn, was moved to pair steak with taleggio sauce after slathering taquitos with Cheez Whiz at a 7-Eleven in the Hamptons. The Estela cookbook, as it turns out, is as cool as Estela — Ryan Sutton, chief critic
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop

Eating Like Queens by Suzanne Parker

Book cover with a crown from a folded street map.

This landmark book — published 15 years ago and still available on Amazon — offers thoughtful descriptions of 38 cuisines found in Queens, along with lists and brief blurbs on restaurants that serve them. A quick check of the restaurants proves that around half are still open. But more interesting now are the recipes provided. Not only can you read about pad Thai, you can make it, with a set of ingredients you might have already. Of course, one of the great skills of the home cook is knowing what you can substitute and not do violence to a dish. The recipe for Uzbek plov is particularly enticing, and there’s one for Brazilian feijoada, too. Or maybe Jamaican ackee and saltfish, particularly if you live in Brooklyn, where a can of ackee is never far away if you happen to be shopping on Fulton or Flatbush. — Robert Sietsema, senior critic
Buy: Amazon

Superiority Burger Cookbook by Brooks Headley

Cookbook cover with a vegetarian burger.

Superiority Burger has been an essential New York restaurant almost since its debut in 2015, and in 2018, chef Brooks Headley and his team published a cookbook revealing the secret sauce behind the vegetarian and accidentally vegan dishes that have garnered a dedicated fanbase. It is very much a restaurant cookbook, meaning that the lists of ingredients aren’t short and the steps aren’t always simple. But anyone who’s had the pleasure of eating sandwiches like the Sloppy Dave, New Creation, or the namesake Superiority Burger at the East Village shop would agree that they’re worth the effort. And for the less ambitious home cook, the recipes for vegetable sides, soups, sweets, and around two dozen salads, including the must-order burnt broccoli, at the very least provide a jolt of vegetable inspiration — Monica Burton, editor
Buy: Amazon | Abe Books | Bookshop

My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes by Hooni Kim

Cookbook cover with napa cabbage in cross section.

This debut cookbook from one of my favorite Korean chefs in New York City, Hooni Kim, captures the beauty and fundamentals of Korean culture and flavors. Kim is a chef and owner of two popular Korean restaurants in New York, Hanjan and Danji, and he is one of the restaurateurs who kickstarted NYC’s current vibrant Korean food scene. As a big fan of the chef’s restaurants, I looked forward to getting to know the chef’s life story as much as cooking recipes. They range from easy and simple banchan recipes like sauteed grey squash to labor-intensive dishes like traditional whole cabbage kimchi and 12-hour Korean ramen, a signature noodle dish from Hanjan. The book is ready for a pre-order, and it will officially be available on April 7. — James Park, social media manager
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop

All Things Sweet by Paul Allam and David McGuiness

Cookbook cover with a tart and nougat.

When Bourke Street Bakery opened its first U.S. location in the Flatiron District last May, Eater likened the hype behind the Australian bakery to the iconic Tartine Bakery of San Francisco. In the last year, though, Bourke Street has shown New Yorkers that it’s so much more than that. While the Australian bakery and cafe is beloved for its sourdough loaves and savory sausage rolls, its latest cookbook focuses exclusively on pastries and dessert. In All Things Sweet, founders Paul Allam and David McGuiness break down all of Bourke Street’s greatest hits in a cookbook that doubles as a conversation piece with its stunning full-page photo spreads. The recipe behind Bourke Street’s lighter than-air-croissants appear in its pages, as does the one for its decadent creme brulee tarts — assuming you can find flour at your local grocery store. Even if you can’t, there will always be the bakery’s flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake. It may also inspire you to order a bread and pastry delivery from the masters themselves. — Luke Fortney, reporter
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop | Thrift Books

The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito by Alexandra Raij, Eder Montero, and Rebecca Flint Marx

A cookbook with a picture of the Basque country on the cover.

Cookbooks, like restaurants, aren’t just collections of dishes. They are a forum for ideas. They are conduits for cultural exchange. That’s precisely the sentiment I feel for Alex Raij’s the Basque Book, which, amid a terrible case of writer’s block, helped me more deeply understand the excellent cooking at Txikito during my review process. “In an era where garnishes and condiments are often a substitute for substance, Basque cooking stands out as a cuisine of subtraction, where fancy embellishment is stripped away until you are left with the essence of an ingredient,” Raij writes, adding that the cuisine “doesn’t hide behind strong Mediterranean flavors. Instead, it celebrates single ingredients.” That doesn’t always mean fewer ingredients; the crab gratin contains heavy cream, sriracha, vegetable marmalade, and cream cheese, but when it’s prepared at the restaurant, it somehow manages to taste more like crab that most pricier crab cakes out there. (Disclosure: Rebecca Flint Marx, who was hired as Eater’s features editor last year, is credited as a co-author.)Ryan Sutton, chief critic
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop

Korean Home Cooking: Classic and Modern Recipes by Sohui Kim and Rachel Wharton

Cover of a Korean cookbook

Chef Sohui Kim has created an ultimate stop for all things Korea in her Brooklyn restaurant, Insa. The restaurant has everything required for a party: a bar serving solid cocktails, a Korean BBQ restaurant with traditional Korean dishes, and a karaoke. But in her cookbook, she has positioned herself as everyone’s Korean mom, with lots of guidance on essential recipes. From comforting kimchi stew to spicy, chewy noodles, this book offers an overview for anybody hoping to become more fluent in Korean flavors. If I can’t sing my heart out at Insa, I will do it at the comfort of my kitchen, cooking and eating meaty, tangy, spicy kimchi stew. — James Park, social media manager
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop | Indigo

Alfredo Viazzi’s Italian Cooking

A cookbook with a sketch of the chef.

Born in the Ligurian town of Savona, Italy, Afredo Viazzi was one of the most influential New York chefs of his time. In the 1970s and 80s, he ran a small restaurant at Hudson and West 12th Street in the West Village called Trattoria Da Alfredo that changed the way chefs thought about Italian food. He cooked in what came to be known, perhaps erroneously, as the Tuscan style: uncomplicated, with lots of handmade pastas cooked for mere minutes and scintillatingly fresh ingredients. Going to his restaurant became a sort of culinary pilgrimage for many of the city’s proto-foodies. I tasted pesto there for the first time, which he used on a scrumptious dish of green beans and potatoes. James Beard, who lived on 12th Street a few blocks east, was a fan. Other recipes in this lush book include a sausage- and sage-laced risotto alla Piemontese, and a beef ragu that used both butter and olive oil, for added richness. Copies available online, but not cheap. — Robert Sietsema, senior review editor
Buy: Ad Infinitum Books | Amazon


346 West 52nd Street, Manhattan, NY 10019 (212) 586-2880


47 East Houston Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 219-7693 Visit Website


240 9th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 242-4730 Visit Website

Bourke Street Bakery

15 East 28th Street, Manhattan, NY 10016 Visit Website


328 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 855-2620 Visit Website


36 West 26th Street, Manhattan, NY 10010 (212) 206-7226 Visit Website

Superiority Burger

430 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009 (212) 256-1192 Visit Website