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A truffle slice, spicy salami slice, burrata slice, and square slice at L’Industrie sit on a paper, with green basil and white parmesan dotting every slice
A selection of slices at L’Industrie, one of the city’s best new pizza spots.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City

From Nepalese momos to a restaurant paying homage to the Lone Star State with tacos and vegan queso, here’s where to eat in NYC right now

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A selection of slices at L’Industrie, one of the city’s best new pizza spots.
| Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

It’s the simplest and most difficult question to answer whether it’s coming from a lifelong New Yorker or an out-of-town visitor: “Which restaurant should I check out in NYC?” The type of cuisine, price point, outdoor dining options, the neighborhood, and occasion are just few factors to consider. Luckily, there are countless options in the five boroughs — and on Eater New York’s map of 38 stellar restaurants, which we update quarterly. This curated list of venues now includes street carts and even one heralded pizzeria in New Jersey. We’ve also added newly eligible restaurants (Eater 38 venues have to be open for six months, or thereabouts, before they merit inclusion) that aim to capture the diversity of NYC’s offerings.

We also recognize this list is subjective and NYC’s dining scene is constantly changing. If you have a favorite, let us know. For the newest places that food obsessives are checking out, see the heatmaps for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Removal from the Eater 38 does not mean a restaurant isn’t still awesome and won’t return in the future.

Added in January 2022: Dame, Four Horsemen, Killmeyer’s, L’Industrie, Liebman’s Deli, Nepali Bhanccha Ghar, Soothr, Taqueria Ramirez, and Yellow Rose are joining the list. To make room, Cervo’s, Denino’s, Di An Di, Ernesto’s, Katz’s, Miss Ada, Ops, Thai Diner, and Tong, while all worth visiting, are leaving the list for now.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Liebman’s Deli

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552 W 235th St
Bronx, NY 10463
(718) 548-4534
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Our dwindling supply of Jewish meat delis luckily includes a few outliers, which have survived partly due to their obscure locations free from the usual challenges of NYC real estate and gentrification. Riverdale’s Liebman’s is one such case. It was founded in 1958 by the Dekel family and the decor is pure 1950s. So slide into one of the blue Naugahyde booths and enjoy pastrami or corned beef cured on the premises, a hot dog topped with potato salad, or one of Liebman’s signature round knishes.

The glass window of a storefront with neon letters that read: “Liebman’s Delicatessen, Caterers.”
Outside of Liebman’s Deli in Riverdaale.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Africa Kine

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2267 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10027
(212) 666-9400
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Africa Kine has been open in NYC since 1996, run in various locations by founders Kine and Samba Niang, who grew up in Dakar. It moved north a few years ago into a more compact space, with a menu paradoxically larger than the original. Included are such Senegalese mainstays as thiebu djen (stuffed fish and vegetables over joloff rice), mafe (lamb or chicken in a peanut sauce), and yassa (chicken or fish in a lemon and onion confit), mainly available at lunchtime. At dinner, expect shrimp skewers, grilled leg of lamb, fish balls in tomato sauce, and baked fish.

A plate of stuffed fish and vegetables over red joloff rice at Africa Kine.
The thiebu djen at Africa Kine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Hudson Smokehouse

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37 Bruckner Blvd
Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 872-7742
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The South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven is exploding with restaurants lately, and one of the most remarkable is Hudson Smokehouse. It’s remarkable not only because of the range of barbecue styles it presents on its playful menu, but also because of its dedication to extensively smoking the meat using lots of wood. The brisket is a case in point, but so are the spare ribs, chorizo, and pork belly burnt ends. The premises doubles as a spacious beer garden featuring local brews, with indoor and outdoor areas.

Thickly stacked barbecued brisket overflows from a small bun.
Hudson Smokehouse’s brisket sandwich.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Bánh Vietnamese Shop House

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942 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024
(917) 639-3151
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NYC’s Vietnamese food scene has drastically changed — for the better, no doubt — over the past five years or so. It’s no longer just about pho and banh mi (though we can never get enough of those staple items). A new wave of restaurants are serving lesser-seen dishes, at least for many Americans, such as the glutinous banh chung chien (fried, crispy rice cakes) and brothy bun rieu (a tomato, crab, and pork soup) at this Upper West Side newcomer. There are plenty of classic Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle soups, as well, but the smaller plates steal the show.

A rice cake on top of a sesame cracker laid on a plate with colorful toppings piled on top of the rice cake. A dipping bowl with sauce is set nearby. Both dishes are set on a light wooden table.
Banh dap, a central Vietnamese street food.
Rachel Vanni/Eater NY

5. Sushi Noz

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181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075
(917) 338-1792
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In a city replete with pricey omakase options, a meal at Noz is a breathtaking place to start. Since the restaurant’s beginnings, chef Nozomu Abe has used his bar as a stage to dismember live king crab, to grill eel over eucalyptus, and to form ethereal bites of nigiri. A tasting menu is $395 in the hinoki room, while a sushi-only meal runs $225 in the ash room. Prices are inclusive of service.

Chef Nozomu Abe brushes a slice of fatty tuna sushi with a soy reduction.
Chef Nozomu Abe brushing a slice of fatty tuna sushi with a soy reduction.
Matt Taylor Gross/Eater NY

6. Blue Willow

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40 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 213-2299
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Midtown has long been a haven for ambitious and sometimes pricey Chinese restaurants, but few have concentrated on a regional cuisine other than Cantonese, except for the occasional Sichuan spot. Named after a 19th century dinnerware pattern that features Europeanized Chinese motifs, Blue Willow specializes in Hunan cuisine and its catalog of sour-and-spicy flavors, along with utilization of preservation methods like drying and pickling.

In bowls and blue china, five dishes from the restaurant on a red picnic table.
A selection of Hunan dishes from Blue Willow.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Ruta Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

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35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106
(929) 349-1228
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The complex historic moles of Oaxaca have excited much attention in New York City over the past decade, but never have they seen such a comprehensive treatment as at Ruta Oaxaca. Heralded by a hot pink outdoor structure, this Astoria restaurant specializes in moles prepared in shades of yellow, green, scarlet, and dark brown, and offers mezcal flights at several price points. The restaurant serves its food on festive plating that might make you feel like you’re vacationing on the beach or in the Sierra Madre del Sur.

Four square browned pastries with salad and brown sauce on top.
Oaxacan bunuelos are a showcase for the state’s black mole.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Golden Palace Gourmet

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140-09 Cherry Ave
Queens, NY 11355
(718) 886-4383
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The provinces in China’s extreme northeast are sometimes known as Dongbei, and the food shows many influences that reflect the region’s early industrialization, including Korean and European ones. This wonderful restaurant makes many of its own dishes from scratch, including shredded and fermented cabbage, and loamy blood sausage, incorporated into platters and hot pots. Unexpected starches abound, including steaming bowls of sorghum and loaves of cornbread.

Pork cabbage cakes lined up on a white platter at Golden Palace Gourmet in Flushing.
Pork cabbage cakes from Golden Palace Gourmet.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Mariscos El Submarino

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8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
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Summer is behind us, but the cauldrons of seafood at Mariscos El Submarino are proof that ceviche season can be year-round if you know where to look. Owners Amy Hernandez and Alonso Guzman opened this Jackson Heights storefront last year, known as much for its mustached submarine mascot as its generous ceviches served with tostadas and saltines on the side. Order the aguachile negro, a dramatic preparation more than capable of feeding two and packed with shrimp, octopus, and avocado in a molcajete seasoned with a touch of soy sauce.

The aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights comes served out of a hulking molcajete.
The aguachile negro comes served out of a hulking molcajete.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

10. Birria-Landia

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77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(347) 283-2162

Birria has long captivated cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are closer to the dish’s home state of Jalisco, Mexico. Now New York City is having its own moment, and for many, their first taste of the fat-slicked, brick-red meat was on a disposable plate from the cult-favorite Birria-Landia. Run by brothers José and Jesús Moreno, the Jackson Heights truck is often credited with putting birria on the city’s radar, and vendors slinging versions of the dish made with cheese, oxtail, and lamb have since popped up across the city. Order one of everything on the menu, including a large consomé for dunking your tacos.

A corn tortilla is dipped into rendered beef fat, giving it an orange hue. Several other tortillas wait on the grill next to it.
Birria-Landia’s tortillas are dipped in beef fat before heading on the grill.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

11. Nepali Bhanchha Ghar

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74-15 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(917) 745-0533
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Nepali Bhanchha Ghar was opened by Yamuna Shres in 2015 and has quickly cemented itself as one of the city’s most essential restaurants. Currently only open for outdoor dining or takeout, Shres’ casual restaurant joins a number of Nepali restaurants that have opened in Queens, specializing, among other dishes, in the unctuous delight of momos. Here, the dumplings are served fried or steamed in a glistening tomato-based sauce stuffed with potato, paneer, goat, shrimp, beef, or chicken. Note: no alcohol is served on premises but diners are usually busy sipping up all the savory juices anyhow. There’s no wonder that for the past three years that Bhanchha Ghar has won the Jackson Heights Momo Crawl.

12. Bread & Salt

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435 Palisade Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07307
(201) 500-7338
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It’s a fact of life that while New York has some of the country’s best pizza, some of New York’s best pizza happens to be located in New Jersey. Razza is one fine example, another is Rick Easton’s Bread & Salt, which sells Roman-style al taglio slices in Jersey City Heights. Expect tart, umami-rich tomatoes, ultra-milky mozzarella, and bread whose crispness and airiness sometimes bears more resemblance to a good croissant than a typical slice of pizza. Weekend takeout only.

Two slices of pizza facing the opposite direction with red tomatoes, and yellow cheese.
Slices of pepperoni pizza from Bread & Salt.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. Jua

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36 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10010
(646) 590-1598
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Chef Hoyoung Kim spent eight years working at Jungsik in Tribeca, the tasting menu spot that helped thrust modern Korean fare into the New York spotlight. Shortly before the pandemic, he striked out on his own with Jua, an excellent wood-fired restaurant in Flatiron. For $130, diners experience seven precise courses, including intricate banchan, delicate caviar kim, jook, and hotteok dessert pancakes. It’s an expensive meal, but it’s a much more affordable alternative to the tasting menus at Michelin-starred Korean restaurants Atomix or Jungsik.

An order piece of sliced duck is arranged on a granite plate in a low-lit photograph.
Sliced duck at Jua.
Dan Ahn/Jua

14. Bolivian Llama Party

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44-14 48th Ave
Queens, NY 11377
(347) 370-9102
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Bolivian food is already rare enough in New York, but the Oropeza brothers have achieved an even unlikelier feat during the pandemic: They’ve taken their fast-casual sandwich and salteña concept and transformed it into a proper sit-down restaurant with more ambitious composed dishes. Bolivian Llama Party, located in the old Mi Bolivia space, offers silpancho (pounded and fried beef cutlet), fricase (spicy pork soup), chola pork sandwiches, and a stunner of a vegan jackfruit sandwich. All the classic salteñas — Bolivian soup empanadas — are available here too. Outdoor only, self-service dining.

A crowd of diners sits at a large table at Bolivian Llama Party; the old Mi Bolivia sign hangs above the storefront
A crowd of diners outside of Bolivian Llama Party in Sunnyside.
Gary He/Eater NY

15. Yellow Rose

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102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 529-8880
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One of the most consistent restaurants recommendations among Eater NY staffers is this restaurant devoted to the Lone Star state. With its playful interiors, affordable prices, and always-fun environment, Krystiana and Dave Rizo’s Yellow Rose is a no-brainer pick. There are always daily-changing specials with something new to find on each visit. That said, we’ll always be partial to the San Antonio-style tacos on offer — made with fresh, handmade flour tortillas that Eater critic Ryan Sutton called “otherworldly.” — are best enjoyed with a cherry coke and a side of vegan queso.

An overhead photograph of chips and tacos made with corn and flour tortillas at Yellow Rose.
Tacos strewn out on flour and corn tortillas at Yellow Rose.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

16. Soothr

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204 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 844-9789
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Founded in early summer 2020 just as the pandemic was taking hold, Soothr is an ambitious East Village Thai restaurant focused on the food of two locales: Udon Thani in Isan and Sukothai, a town in central Thailand venerated as a UN World Heritage Site. Sukothai is famous for its meal-size soups, more elaborate versions of appetizer soups common on other Thai menus; meanwhile, Isan food is well known here for its tart and fiery flavors. But Soothr also offers southern Thai food, including a vegetarian massaman curry and koong karee, a shrimp dish in a bright yellow egg sauce originating in Bangkok’s Chinatown.

Several pieces of chicken with an orange dipping sauce.
The had yai chicken, coated in fried shallots.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. NY Dosas

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50 Washington Square S
New York, NY 10012
(917) 710-2092
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For nearly two decades, Thiru Kumar has been serving up some of the best dosas New York City has to offer, still attracting lines even during the pandemic. Kumar’s dosas — crepe-like creations made of rice and lentils — are particularly fluffy, compared to some of the crisper options in the city, and it’s nearly impossible to go wrong on the food cart’s tiny menu. The Pondicherry special, stuffed with spicy potatoes and fresh vegetables, is a surefire hit, but equally good are Kumar’s pancake-style uthappams and samosas. Closed Sundays.

A white paper plate placed on a wooden bench with a dosa on it, a green cilantro sauce, a samosa, and a red sauce in a plastic cup.
A dosa and samosa from NY Dosas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

18. Dame

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87 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012
(929) 367-7370
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You’d be forgiven if images of stuffiness come to mind at the mention of a small-plates seafood restaurant holding court next to hyped-up cocktail bar Dante on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. But at Dame, owners Patricia Howard and Ed Szymanski, who is also the chef, have worked hard to sidestep pretentious pitfalls and open a small-plates seafood restaurant — rooted in Szymanski’s English background — that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s nothing precious about the menu here: Curlicues of squid are skewered and splashed in parsley oil, a humble cucumber salad dotted with meaty mussels was one of Eater critic Ryan Sutton’s favorite dishes of 2021, and the restaurant’s crispy fish and chips practically have their own fan club.

A colorful spread of dishes and cocktails laid out on a table
The fish and chips (right) among other dishes at Dame.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

19. Taqueria Ramirez

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94 Franklin St
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Blowtorched tripe or cactus with chicharron? Longaniza on its own or mixed with suadero? These aren’t the type of questions New Yorkers are used to asking themselves in north Brooklyn, especially not on a residential side street of Greenpoint, but standing at the counter of Taqueria Ramirez, their answers are obvious: Order one of everything. This small taqueria with an even smaller menu — six items, most days — opened last summer, becoming an immediate hit for its tacos filled with stewed meats plucked from a bubbling choricera. There are a couple seats inside the restaurant, but if the weather allows, there are few better meals than the ones enjoyed here while standing with a plate of these tacos right out front.

A gloved hand holds a tortilla filled with suadero and crumbled longaniza meat
Crumbly longaniza sausage is spooned from a choricera.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

20. Cadence

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122 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(833) 328-4588
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At one of restaurateur Ravi DeRossi’s most talked about ventures to date, Shenarri Freeman leads the kitchen with a vegan menu that puts her own twist on Black southern cooking. Freeman has impressed diners with her Southern fried lasagna (stuffed with a meatless red wine Bolognese), a crab cake made of hearts of palm, and a not-to-miss maple cornbread. The Virginia native is offering creative, comforting flavors that are helping define a new era of vegan dining in New York.

A white bowl with two pieces of fried lasagna atop some marinara sauce.
Fried lasagna at Cadence.
Overthrow Hospitality

21. Dhamaka

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119 Delancey St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 204-8616
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Roni Mazumdar and chef-owner Chintan Pandya continue with their streak of modern Indian hits, building on the success of the tandoor-centric Adda with Dhamaka, located in the Lower East Side’s Essex Market. The venue is dedicated to brilliant and often blazingly spicy regional dishes not frequently seen on local South Asian menus. Expect excellent preparations like ragda pattice, a potato patty with sweet tamarind chutney and green chile; gurda kapoora, a stew of goat kidneys and testicles meant for mopping up with soft pao bread; rich paneer methi, the farmer’s cheese enriched by cashew cream; and goat neck biryani, whose incendiary heat levels require one to eat pomegranate-topped yogurt to free the tongue from pain.

An overview shot of various Indian dishes in colorful plates at the restaurant Dhamaka.
Various dishes from Dhamaka.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

22. Wu's Wonton King

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165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-1111
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This Cantonese favorite holds court on a stretch of East Broadway that’s now home to a handful of hip restaurants with trendy menus of natural wine and small plates where diners are surrounded by plants. But Wu’s Wonton King adheres to a different formula that’s more common in Chinatown: glistening roast ducks line the front window and there’s often a crisp suckling pig ready to be carved for one table. Whether it’s a Lunar New Year gathering or a weekend lunch, Wu’s seems to cater to any occasion. The Dungeness crabs are popular but orders of wonton noodle soup, congee, snow-pea leaves, and a selection of barbecue, from ribs to steamed chicken, are also crowd-favorites. If you want to bring along a bottle of that natty wine, Wu’s is also known for its BYO policy.

A bowl of congee with crullers seen in the background.
Congee from Wu’s Wonton King.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

23. The Four Horsemen

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295 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-4900
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The wave of natural wine bar openings was just around the corner when LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy first opened the Four Horsemen in 2015. Today, the always-packed bar and dining room is still one of the best spots in town for good reason: It’s a wine bar where diners can sip on a glass of fun pet-nat and find Michelin-worthy plates, such as the popular orders of squid ink farfalle and Berkshire pork cheeks paired with crispy black rice. It’s rare for a wine bar to hit a home run with both its drink and food menus, but this Williamsburg favorite strikes the right balance by creating a place where wine lovers, the seen-and-be-seen fashion crowd, Francophiles, and restaurant enthusiasts can all sit elbow-to-elbow.

A spread of food and wine from the Four Horsemen.
A spread of food and wine from the Four Horsemen.
The Four Horsemen

24. Golden Diner

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123 Madison St
New York, NY 10002
(917) 472-7800
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Momofuku veteran Samuel Yoo runs this cozy, comforting spot in Two Bridges, where a relaxed vibe belies a menu that is punching way above a typical diner’s weight class. Egg sandwiches feature a crisp, golden hash brown patty resting on a sesame scallion milk bun; a griddled tuna melt on rye bread boasts a layer of crunchy salt and vinegar chips; and pastrami-spiced portabello mushrooms are stuffed into quesadillas. Round out any order with a generous square of green tea coffee cake.

The chicken katsu club on a plate at a table inside Golden Diner.
The chicken katsu club at Golden Diner.
Joyce Kim/Golden Diner

25. L'Industrie Pizzeria

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254 S 2nd St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-0002
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Massimo Laveglia’s naturally-leavened slice shop, which opened in 2017, underwent a major expansion last spring, debuting an indoor counter space and a serious outdoor dining area. The net result is that this neighborhood institution now boasts some of the comforts of a proper sit-down restaurant, except with a menu that pretty much remains pizza-only. But what pizza it is, with chewy crusts nearly as thin as matzoh. Expect a selection of 10 or so slices, including a superb white slice with fresh ricotta and pungent truffle sauce, as well as a serious burrata slice, juxtaposing tart tomato sauce with cool, creamy dairy. Do not miss whatever soft-serve gelato is on tap for the day.

Slices with burrata, pepperoni, basil and other toppings from L’Industrie.
Slices with burrata, pepperoni, basil and other toppings from L’Industrie.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

26. Falansai

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112 Harrison Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 381-0980
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Bushwick has emerged as one of Brooklyn’s premier dining destinations in recent years, a neighborhood where up-and-coming chefs can test inventive restaurant concepts at a fraction of the cost in rent. Anchoring the local dining scene is Falansai, a Vietnamese restaurant that changed its owner — but not its name — amid the pandemic. Chef Eric Tran, an alum of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is now helming the kitchen. He serves a style of Vietnamese fare with distinct American and Mexican touches, stuffing avocado into spring rolls and pairing rice crackers with chicken liver brûlée. Dishes rotate regularly, but standbys include barbecued duck necks, fiery seafood curries, and tasting menus priced at $45 or $83.

A spread of dishes at Falansai, including chicken skewers, a fish head, a beef spring roll, and assorted condiments.
A spread of dishes at Falansai.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

27. Bunna Cafe

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1084 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 295-2227
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One of NYC’s best vegan restaurants is also one of its best purveyors of Ethiopian food. Started as a pop-up by owners Sam Saverance and Liyuw Ayalew in 2011, Bunna Cafe has since become a brick-and-mortar staple in Bushwick. The restaurant is known for its warm, welcoming vibes as diners chat over shared plates of lentil and vegetable preparations served atop the thin injera, a savory sourdough pancake-like bread. Bunna has also been serving these meals in pizza boxes to allow for sharing at home. Don’t skip out on the Ethiopian coffee and the selection of cocktails here, either. 

28. Gage & Tollner

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372 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(347) 689-3677
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The long coming revival of Brooklyn institution Gage & Tollner — from restaurateurs Sohui Kim, Ben Schneider, and St. John Frizell — has been well worth the wait. Grab a martini from the bar and settle in for a parade of nostalgic New York fine dining staples including shrimp cocktails, oysters Rockefeller, and hulking ribeye steaks. Cap off the meal with a photogenic baked Alaska, from star pastry chef Caroline Schiff.

An ornate indoor dining room, with a white countertop bar to the left and tables set for the service to the right.
The revival of Gage & Tollner is equal parts nostalgia and innovation that makes dining out a fun affair.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

29. Indian Table

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234 Court St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(347) 689-3882
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Chef Eric McCarthy, a veteran of Tamarind and Tulsi, reconfigured Cobble Hill restaurant Indian Table seven months ago, wiping out its rather conventional menu and substituting one rich in regional dishes from the northern and southern regions of the subcontinent, and featuring some dishes that were pure inventions. Many of the regional recipes hail from Goa, his home state, including Goan shrimp in a creamy, coconut-milk gravy tinted purplish with mangosteen, and caldo verde, an adapted Portuguese soup. The chicken vindaloo seems mild in comparison with a fiery chicken chettinad, and an invented dish of compressed cubes of paneer arrives veined with basil and topped with cranberry chutney. The interior will remind you of the hold of a merchant ship.

Four bowls of curry in shades of brown, dark red, and orange on a slatted table.
A selection of dishes from Indian Table.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

30. A&A Bake Doubles and Roti

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1337 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(347) 425-0016

There’s often a line snaking out the door of this Bed-Stuy institution, where customers are lured in by the spicy-and-sweet smell of fried doubles ($2 each). The traditional Trinidadian breakfast item — which are perfect anytime of the day, really — features a fluffy fried flatbread brimming with curried chickpeas. The owners, Noel and Geeta Brown, opened their shop in 2002 but it wasn’t until 2019 that they won a coveted James Beard award — a nod to the Trini specialties and the neighborhood’s rich Caribbean history.

A close-up shot of a hand holding doubles.
Fried, stuffed doubles.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

31. Haenyeo

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239 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 213-2290
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The chef credited with helping expand the city’s idea of Korean food brought her cooking to Park Slope in December 2018, this time executing thrilling fusion options alongside homey Korean classics. Chef Jenny Kwak’s must-orders at Haenyeo include a gochujang-infused bouillabaisse and a chorizo tteokbokki made with milky, stretchy white cheese. More traditional Korean fare like kimchi chigae and grilled fish are just as satisfying, as is the beignet dessert, a nod to her husband and owner Terrence Segura’s New Orleans childhood. The core of the drink menu is cocktails, such as the mizu lemongrass shochu-based the Squid and the Whale.

A hand using a utensil to pull up a string of cheese from the fundido dish at Haenyeo.
The rice cake fundido at Haenyeo.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

32. Winner

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367 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

It takes a very special bakery to end up on a list of restaurants, but chef Daniel Eddy has shown his Park Slope spot is more than up to the task. The former Rebelle chef opened Winner a week before the onset of the pandemic, and the bakery found early fans in the neighborhood’s work-from-homers, who lined up for its loaves of sourdough bread in half-hour queues. As its menu has expanded with weekly pop-up dinners and “perfect” rotisserie chickens, so too has its following. Get there early or prepare to be greeted by two of the most common words on its chalkboard menu: Sold out.

33. Peppa's

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738 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226
(646) 683-6012

Some of the city’s best jerk chicken can be found in Prospect Lefferts Gardens at take-out spot Peppa’s Jerk Chicken. Owner Gavin Hussey has perfected his own recipe over the last two decades and started slinging the perfectly spiced, perfectly charred bird at Peppa’s on Flatbush Avenue in 2004. Be sure to add a few fried festivals to an order, and ask for an extra side of oxtail gravy. Peppa’s has additional locations in Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and most recently, the Lower East Side.

A staffer drizzles sauce over Peppa’s jerk chicken.
Peppa’s famous jerk chicken.
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

34. Chuan Tian Xia

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5502 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(929) 295-0128
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When it comes to Sichuan fare in the city, family-owned Chuan Tian Xia in Sunset Park is a master at the form. The colorful, upbeat restaurant plays with heat and spice levels to deliver dishes that go beyond mouth-numbing and make for a lasting, entertaining meal. It’s hard to go wrong anywhere on the menu: The zingy griddled cauliflower morphs the sleepy vegetable into a rich, formidable star; delicate whole tilapa and grouper wrapped in parchment paper comes apart in a savory, scented cloud at the table; and don’t miss the impressively thick and creamy salted egg yolk tofu.

Cauliflower with green stems in a wok.
Chuan Tian Xia’s griddled cauliflower.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

35. Coszcal De Allende

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6824 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 921-3523
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This Mexican restaurant in Bay Ridge successfully channels the vibe of San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Guanajuato, Mexico, famous for being an arts center. The menu includes the town’s signature enchiladas Sanmiguelense, stuffed with cheese and smothered in more cheese. Other dishes worth ordering include the sopa de panza, a tripe soup renowned as a hangover remedy. With its carved wood folk motifs, the decor makes you feel like you’re in a northern Mexican mountain village.

An overhead shot of a brick red soup with swatches of tripe.
Sopa de panza from Coszcal De Allende.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

36. Ayat

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8504 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 831-2585
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Ayat is one of only a handful of Palestinian restaurants in the city. Owned and operated by Abdul Elenani and Ayat Masoud, the storefront is open to the street in the summertime and the interior features striking murals cloning the vibe of Middle Eastern walk-in snack shops. In addition to Levantine standards like babaganoush and shawarma, Ayat offers home-style casseroles that layer such ingredients as rice, chickpeas, toasted almonds, and flatbreads. The mansaf — perching giant hunks of lamb marinated in a fermented and dried yogurt solution, with more of the marinade provided for pouring and dipping — is one of Bay Ridge’s most delicious dishes. 

Meatballs, sliced-thin potatoes, and peppers bathe in an oily yellow broth in a brown bowl.
Ayat has been one of the most notable restaurant openings in NYC during the pandemic.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

37. Kashkar Cafe

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1141 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 743-3832

This BYO Brighton Beach staple remains one of the city’s finest restaurants for top notch yet affordable Central Asian fare. Kashkar in particular is a halal Uzbek-Uighur restaurant, though the venue’s name refers to the city in China’s Xinjiang province, where the predominantly Muslim Uighurs face continued persecution — and possibly genocide. Menu highlights include tart, Korean-Uzbek style carrot salad; stretchy lagman noodles in a spiced, vegetable-laced meat broth; and samsa, flaky pastries filled with lamb.

Lamb and peppers sit in a pool of sauce next to steamed dough on a white plate over a patterned tablecloth.
A dish of lamb and steamed dough at Kashkar Cafe.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

38. Killmeyer's

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4254 Arthur Kill Rd
Staten Island, NY 10309
(718) 984-1202
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This rambling frame house with views of the Arthur Kill channel and New Jersey is Staten Island’s oldest tavern, which was founded in 1859 as an inn. Now Killmeyer’s is one of the city’s best German bierhalle with an antique carved wooden bar that you’ll never tire of looking at, and a dining room filled with stuffed animal trophies. The tap beer selection is unparalleled and the menu is a predictable selection of wursts, hot pretzels, schnitzels, and other pleasing meat-and-potatoes fare. Finding out how to get to this remote location is the only challenge.

A white plate with mashed potatoes, several sausages, and a smaller plate with red cabbage.
A plate of sausages and mashed potatoes at Killmeyer’s in Staten Island.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

1. Liebman’s Deli

552 W 235th St, Bronx, NY 10463
The glass window of a storefront with neon letters that read: “Liebman’s Delicatessen, Caterers.”
Outside of Liebman’s Deli in Riverdaale.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Our dwindling supply of Jewish meat delis luckily includes a few outliers, which have survived partly due to their obscure locations free from the usual challenges of NYC real estate and gentrification. Riverdale’s Liebman’s is one such case. It was founded in 1958 by the Dekel family and the decor is pure 1950s. So slide into one of the blue Naugahyde booths and enjoy pastrami or corned beef cured on the premises, a hot dog topped with potato salad, or one of Liebman’s signature round knishes.

552 W 235th St
Bronx, NY 10463

2. Africa Kine

2267 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027
A plate of stuffed fish and vegetables over red joloff rice at Africa Kine.
The thiebu djen at Africa Kine.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Africa Kine has been open in NYC since 1996, run in various locations by founders Kine and Samba Niang, who grew up in Dakar. It moved north a few years ago into a more compact space, with a menu paradoxically larger than the original. Included are such Senegalese mainstays as thiebu djen (stuffed fish and vegetables over joloff rice), mafe (lamb or chicken in a peanut sauce), and yassa (chicken or fish in a lemon and onion confit), mainly available at lunchtime. At dinner, expect shrimp skewers, grilled leg of lamb, fish balls in tomato sauce, and baked fish.

2267 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10027

3. Hudson Smokehouse

37 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454
Thickly stacked barbecued brisket overflows from a small bun.
Hudson Smokehouse’s brisket sandwich.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven is exploding with restaurants lately, and one of the most remarkable is Hudson Smokehouse. It’s remarkable not only because of the range of barbecue styles it presents on its playful menu, but also because of its dedication to extensively smoking the meat using lots of wood. The brisket is a case in point, but so are the spare ribs, chorizo, and pork belly burnt ends. The premises doubles as a spacious beer garden featuring local brews, with indoor and outdoor areas.

37 Bruckner Blvd
Bronx, NY 10454

4. Bánh Vietnamese Shop House

942 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
A rice cake on top of a sesame cracker laid on a plate with colorful toppings piled on top of the rice cake. A dipping bowl with sauce is set nearby. Both dishes are set on a light wooden table.
Banh dap, a central Vietnamese street food.
Rachel Vanni/Eater NY

NYC’s Vietnamese food scene has drastically changed — for the better, no doubt — over the past five years or so. It’s no longer just about pho and banh mi (though we can never get enough of those staple items). A new wave of restaurants are serving lesser-seen dishes, at least for many Americans, such as the glutinous banh chung chien (fried, crispy rice cakes) and brothy bun rieu (a tomato, crab, and pork soup) at this Upper West Side newcomer. There are plenty of classic Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle soups, as well, but the smaller plates steal the show.

942 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

5. Sushi Noz

181 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075
Read Review |
Chef Nozomu Abe brushes a slice of fatty tuna sushi with a soy reduction.
Chef Nozomu Abe brushing a slice of fatty tuna sushi with a soy reduction.
Matt Taylor Gross/Eater NY

In a city replete with pricey omakase options, a meal at Noz is a breathtaking place to start. Since the restaurant’s beginnings, chef Nozomu Abe has used his bar as a stage to dismember live king crab, to grill eel over eucalyptus, and to form ethereal bites of nigiri. A tasting menu is $395 in the hinoki room, while a sushi-only meal runs $225 in the ash room. Prices are inclusive of service.

181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

6. Blue Willow

40 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
In bowls and blue china, five dishes from the restaurant on a red picnic table.
A selection of Hunan dishes from Blue Willow.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Midtown has long been a haven for ambitious and sometimes pricey Chinese restaurants, but few have concentrated on a regional cuisine other than Cantonese, except for the occasional Sichuan spot. Named after a 19th century dinnerware pattern that features Europeanized Chinese motifs, Blue Willow specializes in Hunan cuisine and its catalog of sour-and-spicy flavors, along with utilization of preservation methods like drying and pickling.

40 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

7. Ruta Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

35-03 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106
Four square browned pastries with salad and brown sauce on top.
Oaxacan bunuelos are a showcase for the state’s black mole.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The complex historic moles of Oaxaca have excited much attention in New York City over the past decade, but never have they seen such a comprehensive treatment as at Ruta Oaxaca. Heralded by a hot pink outdoor structure, this Astoria restaurant specializes in moles prepared in shades of yellow, green, scarlet, and dark brown, and offers mezcal flights at several price points. The restaurant serves its food on festive plating that might make you feel like you’re vacationing on the beach or in the Sierra Madre del Sur.

35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106

8. Golden Palace Gourmet

140-09 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355
Pork cabbage cakes lined up on a white platter at Golden Palace Gourmet in Flushing.
Pork cabbage cakes from Golden Palace Gourmet.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The provinces in China’s extreme northeast are sometimes known as Dongbei, and the food shows many influences that reflect the region’s early industrialization, including Korean and European ones. This wonderful restaurant makes many of its own dishes from scratch, including shredded and fermented cabbage, and loamy blood sausage, incorporated into platters and hot pots. Unexpected starches abound, including steaming bowls of sorghum and loaves of cornbread.

140-09 Cherry Ave
Queens, NY 11355