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A large sandwich laid face-up on a blue and white plate to show its contents of chicken, strips of carrot and onion, and green cilantro
Banh mi ga chien, a sandwich with spicy turmeric fried chicken and red pepper garlic sauce, from Banh Vietnamese Shop House
Rachel Vanni/Eater NY

The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City

From a Vietnamese newcomer on the Upper West Side to a restaurant spotlighting regional Indian cooking, here’s where to eat in NYC right now

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Banh mi ga chien, a sandwich with spicy turmeric fried chicken and red pepper garlic sauce, from Banh Vietnamese Shop House
| Rachel Vanni/Eater NY

It’s the simplest and most difficult question to answer: “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 Eater New York’s map of 38 stellar restaurants to dine at now, which we update quarterly. This curated list of venues now includes street carts, food trucks, and 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 July 2021: Banh Vietnamese, Blue Willow, Cervo’s, Chez Ma Tante, Chuan Tian Xia, Coszcal De Allende, Dhamaka, Ernesto’s, Falansai, Hudson Smokehouse, Ras Plant Based, Ruta Oaxaca, and Tong are joining the list. To make room, Adda, Bo Ky, Court Street Grocers, Crop Circle, Fiaschetteria Pistoia, Hot Happy Hunan, Jeju Noodle Bar, La Morada, Qanoon, Scarr’s, Tony and Tiny’s Pizzeria, Xi’an Famous Foods, and Yi Ji Shi Mo are leaving the list for now — we’ve taken off some favorites to make room for other stellar restaurants.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 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 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 brochettes, roast leg of lamb, grilled lamb chops, and baked fish. For now, the restaurant is only doing takeout and delivery.

Thiebou djenn at Africa Kine
Thiebou djenn
Robert Sietsema/Eater

2. 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.

A thickly stacked barbecued brisket sandwich
Hudson Smokehouse’s brisket sandwich
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Fieldtrip

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109 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10026
(917) 639-3919
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Chef JJ Johnson has expanded his rice-focused concept to Long Island City and Rockefeller Center, but the Harlem original remains a fast casual gift to the city. Expect a great brisket bowl with Texas brown rice, cream cheese-laced crab pockets, and a remarkably spicy seafood gumbo that mixes scallops and shrimp with Chinese lap cheong sausage — for a smoky-sweet finish. Don’t miss the light and refreshing vegan hibiscus rice milk soft serve for dessert.

A variety of food items from Fieldtrip’s menu, including rice bowls and sides, laid out on a light blue background Noah Fecks/Fieldtrip [Official]

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-known dishes (at least to many Americans), such as glutinous banh chung chien (fried, crispy rice cakes) and hearty pha lau (an offal stew served with a baguette) that can be found at this Upper West Side newcomer. There are plenty of classic Vietnamese dishes, including a variety of noodle soups, 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

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. In the past year, Abe has added a number of takeout and delivery options to Sushi Noz’s lauded menu, including a $525 temaki kit and a number of chirashi options starting at $35 for one serving.

A wooden box with pieces of sushi placed in it Connor Cowden [Official]

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. And imagine this a stone’s throw from Trump Tower, with an interior clad in antique woodwork.

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, the Astorian restaurant specializes in moles painted pretty shades of yellow, green, scarlet, and the darkest brown, but also focuses on mezcal, a liquor also associated with Oaxaca. The restaurant provides festive platings that make you feel like you’re on vacation 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. Farida

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498 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018
(646) 863-2020
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With the exception of perhaps Taam Tov in the Diamond District, there’s nothing in Manhattan quite like Farida. Brought to us by the husband-and-wife team of Farida Gabbassova-Ricciardelli and chef Umitjon Kamolov, Farida focuses its bill of fare on the delicious and diverse foodways of Central Asia. The dumplings called manti are more delicate than usual, with a filling of lamb or pumpkin, while the plov, Uzbekistan’s famed rice pilaf, exudes powerful aromas of heady lamb and sweet carrots. As is the case with most great such restaurants, the kebabs cooked over charcoal are unforgettable: smoky, greasy, and meaty. Get the lamb rib or chicken wing for maximum enjoyment. Patrons can dine in a large outdoor space, eat inside, or get delivery. Closed on Tuesdays.

Shashlyk assortment on a white plate at Farida Alex Staniloff/Eater

9. 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 raw materials, 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, Golden Palace Gourmet Flushing Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 cult-favorite taco truck 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 consomme for dipping.

A corn tortilla is dipped into rendered beef fat, giving it an orange hue. Several other tortillas wait on the grill next to it. Christian Rodriguez/Eater

11. 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 the 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, but the restaurant does offer nationwide shipping.

Two slices of pizza facing the opposite direction with red tomatoes, and. yellow-ish cheese Robert Sietsema/Eater

12. 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. The new Sunnyside flagship, located in the old Mi Bolivia space, offers a stunning picante de pollo (spicy half-chicken with potatoes), silpancho (pounded and fried beef patties), 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. Pickup and delivery available as well.

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

13. Via Carota

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51 Grove St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-1962
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This all-day hangout by chefs Rita Sodi and Jodi Williams remains one of the city’s most vital — and packed — Italian spots. Snag an outdoor table for excellent West Village people watching, sip away at an Aperol spritz, and order from the restaurant’s fine selection of hearty rustic fare. Start off with porky ‘nduja arancini, move onto Roman artichokes with mint and anchovies, share a plate of excellent cacio e pepe, then finish off with a sizable plate of fried rabbit or fritto misto. Note that Via Carota now accepts limited reservations via Resy, with some tables blocked off for American Express Platinum cardholders.

Fired rabbit looking like fried chicken with a rosemary sprig sticking up. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. 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 Robert Sietsema/Eater

15. Di An Di

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68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 576-3914
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Di An Di made a splash when it opened in spring 2018 for its stunning interior design and comforting, yet thrilling Vietnamese fare. During the pandemic, co-owners Dennis Ngo, Kim Hoang, and Tuan Bui have adapted the restaurant’s shareable meal sets and excellent noodle dishes for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. There’s no substitute for a meal in Di An Di’s meticulous, plant-filled dining room, which is undergoing a renovation, but its outdoor setup — made up of houseplants and market lights — makes for a comfortable lunch or dinner outdoors.

Chicken over rice, pho ga, and clam pizza Alex Staniloff/Eater

16. Chez Ma Tante

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90 Calyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-3606
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French-style bistros are a dime a dozen in NYC, but this French-Canadian spot sets itself apart: The airy, light-filled room feels more like a laid back all-day cafe than a Parisian dining room dotted with antique mirrors. There’s chicken live pate and a terrine on the menu like at many bistros, but other dishes like kedgeree (curried rice served with poached cod and a celery salad) and a can’t-miss pancake for brunch gives this Greenpoint spot an option for a variety of diners.

An assortment of dishes are placed on a dark wood table, including a steak bathing in oil, oysters, and what appears to be a Negroni Stephen Yang/Eater

17. Katz's Delicatessen

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205 E Houston St
New York, NY
(800) 446-8364
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For more than 130 years, little has changed at Katz’s. It remains one of New York’s — and the country’s — essential Jewish delicatessens, with beef brisket offered in three guises: as smoked pastrami, brined corned beef, and roasted brisket. Sandwiches on rye or club rolls can be made with a combination, and they are massive, best when shared and washed down with a celery soda. Order at the counter, and don’t forget to tip the slicer. Get a hot dog while you wait, and whatever you do, don’t lose your ticket. Indoor and outdoor seating available.

Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

18. Thai Diner

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186 Mott St
New York, NY 10012
(646) 559-4140
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Ann Redding and Matt Danzer stunned New York when they announced that they’d be closing their Michelin-starred Uncle Boons early in the pandemic. The silver lining: Their second full-service restaurant, Thai Diner, now serves a handful of its predecessor’s greatest hits, including fiery rotisserie chicken salad with banana blossoms, as well heaps of buttery crab fried rice. Order the restaurant’s zippy fried chicken larb salad; the stuffed cabbage rolls with coconut milk and makrut lime; and one of the city’s best damn banana puddings. Open for takeout, delivery, and indoor and outdoor dining.

A spread of dishes shot from overhead, including verdant cabbage rolls, phat Thai noodles with pink head-on shrimp, fried chicken larb, and Thai tea pain perdu made from marbled babka Gary He/Eater

19. 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 and the internationalist Rahi 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.

20. Bolero

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177 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 388-6801
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Opening over a year ago, this Vietnamese fine-dining establishment on Williamsburg’s main drag made it through the winter with a lovely heated rear garden, in which many of the lush herbs used everywhere on the menu also flourished. Chef Matt Le-Khac’s menu showcases innovative and often surprising takes on such classics as a bun bo Hue based on savory mushrooms rather than meat, and a spare pho incorporating ground beef that channels contemporary street versions in Saigon — there’s nothing else quite like it in town. For those who appreciate herbaceous and pungent flavors, the latter including three contrasting types of fish sauce, Bolero is a palace of umami.

A jam packed bowl of dark broth, noodles, tiny meatballs, and green herbs. Robert Sietsema/Eater

21. Cervo's

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43 Canal St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 226-2545
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Restaurateur trio Nialls Fallon, Nick Perkins, and Leah Campbell have a dining room for every occasion. Their first joint operation, Hart’s in Bed-Stuy, is an unfussy neighborhood hangout with of-the-moment natural wines. The Fly, located right around the corner, pairs gloriously juicy rotisserie chicken with under-$15 cocktails. And set apart on the Lower East Side is Cervo’s, which technically opened second but remains first in our hearts. From this low-ceilinged, no reservation restaurant, chef and partner Aaron Crowder is slinging crispy shrimp heads and clams bathed in vinho verde. Seafood is the focus, but don’t let that stop you from ordering the excellent piri piri chicken or lamb burger with anchovies.

A red bowl of picked-apart clams rests on a table in the evening, illuminated by candlelight with a lounging person visible in the background
The manila clams with vinho verde
Luke Fortney/Eater

22. Ernesto's

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259 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(646) 692-8300
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One of the finest ways to spend a summer night is to sit outside at chef Ryan Bartlow’s Basque spot in Two Bridges, sipping a gently astringent palo cortado while picking at nutty slices of Iberico gently draped over a mound of potato chips. The menu changes on a daily basis; highlights might include lamb neck-stuffed piquillo peppers, a mixed grilled with fresh chorizo and pork ribs, a fritto misto of fried calamari and sepia, and of course, a splendidly eggy tortilla. This might just be the city’s most ambitious Basque spot at the moment.

A variety of pinxtos, a tapas-style snack dish popular in Basque country, are placed on a wooden table Rachel Vanni/Ernesto’s [Official]

23. 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 popular. If you want to bring along a bottle of that natty wine, Wu’s is also popular for it’s BYO policy.

A bowl of congee with crullers seen in the background. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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 hashbrown patty resting on a sesame scallion milk bun; an upleveled tuna melt is constructed with a layer of crunchy salt and vinegar chips; and no order is complete without a hefty square of green tea coffee cake. T

The chicken katsu club at Golden Diner Joyce Kim for Golden Diner [Official Photo]

25. Tong

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321 Starr St
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 366-0586
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Here in Bushwick, near the border of Ridgewood, chefs Chetkangwan Thipruetree and Sunisa Nitmai send out nightly feasts of kub kalem, breathtakingly delicious drinking snacks from across Thailand. Chef’s Thipruetree laces his beef tartare with culantro, rice powder, and enough chiles to cause a proper brow sweat; scoop up the tender flesh with taro chips. The Issan-born Nitmai, known for her work at Pata Cafe in Elmhurst, serves stunning wok fried noodles; consider the kee mao gai, a drunken rice noodle with garlic and basil. Really, choose just about anything from the long selection of small plates, though keep in mind that Tong claims to be the only New York spot for mum, a minerally Issan beef and beef liver sausage.

A white painted facade with the name in large letters painted on top and a table of diners on the sidewalk in the sun. Robert Sietsema/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. His menu explores modern Vietnamese cooking through the lens of fermentation, nose-to-tail butchery, and other methods gleaned from his time at the Michelin-starred upstate restaurant. Dishes rotate regularly, but standbys include barbecued duck necks, fiery seafood curries, and a four-course $45 tasting menu.

A messy assortment of dishes, including one made from red curry and mussels, and wine glasses are dispersed over a wooden table
Remains from the spicy red seafood curry, made with mussels
Luke Fortney/Eater

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 with abandon 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. With indoor dining now back, the restaurant has resumed service indoors and has temporarily suspended its outdoor seating. Don’t skip out on the Ethiopian coffee and the selection of cocktails here, either. 

28. Ops

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346 Himrod St
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 386-4009
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Bushwick pizzeria Ops is compact in both restaurant size and menu, but the sourdough crust — made with a custom blend with whole wheat flour from upstate New York — has made its Neapolitan-ish pies a favorite of pizza obsessives in the city. Options include a basically perfect marinara or one with guanciale and onions, accompanied by a tight cocktail, wine, and beer list. Specials, like a calzone, stand-out as well.

A calzone with parmesan cheese on top and a side of tomato sauce Serena Dai/Eater

29. Miss Ada

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184 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(917) 909-1023
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Find both the best of modern Brooklyn neighborhood dining conventions and genuinely inspired Middle Eastern food at Miss Ada, a Fort Greene restaurant from Israel-born chef and owner Tomer Blechman. Start with an order of fluffy pita bread and a selection of shareable plates, like its fall-apart short rib skewers, housemade labne, or a deep bowl of hummus, which can — and should — be topped with lamb shawarma. The whipped ricotta is non-negotiable, a small-but-mighty, bowl of butter, sage, cracked pepper, and honey. Indoor and outdoor dining is available.

A spread of four dishes including a hummus plate laid out over a dark wood table. Miss Ada [Official]

30. Peaches HotHouse

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415 Tompkins Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(718) 483-9111
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Wait times at Peaches HotHouse can be long, and not for no reason. This Tompkins Avenue restaurant comes from owners Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel, the same duo behind popular brunch spot Peaches and Fort Greene’s pivotal but now-closed Southern barbecue spot the Smoke Joint. Though HotHouse also excels at frying catfish and shrimp, an order of the restaurant’s Nashville-style hot chicken is a must. Note that the restaurant’s heat levels are coded in accordance with Nashville standards, meaning “regular” carries a kick, “hot” might make you sit upright, and “extra hot” often warrants a boozed-up fruity cocktail. Ask nicely, as guests sometimes do, and the restaurant might be able to summon a glass of milk from the back.

Three pieces of flakey, fried chicken rest in a red-and-white checkered napkin in a takeout basket Clay Williams/Eater

31. 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 doubles Robert Sietsema

32. Haenyeo

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239 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 213-2290
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The chef credited with expanding 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 chochu-based the Squid and the Whale.

The rice cake fundido at Haenyeo Alex Staniloff/Eater

33. Ras Plant Based

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739 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 622-6220
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Dressed-up vegetables, tofu, and seitan take center stage at year-old Crown Heights spot Ras Plant Based, a meatless Ethiopian restaurant that made waves early and often after it opened right before the pandemic. From owners Romeo and Milka Regalli, the restaurant is known for its ambitious, modern take on classic Ethiopian dishes like sauteed seitan tibs that pack a slow-burning spiciness, with onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and a Berbere sauce. Be sure to stock the table with extra rolls of the restaurant’s excellent spongy, tangy injera to mop up every bit of the vibrant, saucy food.

A yellow plate with multi-colored vegetables and lentils placed on it in a row Ras Plant Based [Official]

34. Peppa's

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738 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226
(917) 673-6225

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. Add a few fried festivals to an order, ask for an extra side of oxtail gravy, and make it a picnic at nearby Prospect Park, weather permitting. Peppa’s has additional locations in Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and most recently, the Lower East Side.

A staffer at Peppa’s sauces jerk chicken Louise Palmberg/Eater

35. 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 turns the sleepy vegetable into a rich, formidable star; delicate whole fish wrapped in parchment comes apart in a savory, scented cloud at the table; and the salted egg yolk tofu is an impressively thick and creamy delight.

Griddle cauliflower
Chuan Tian Xia’s griddled cauliflower
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

36. 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 as 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 traditional turkey tamales and 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.

A brick red soup with swatches of tripe
Sopa de panza from Coszcal De Allende
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

37. Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern

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524 Port Richmond Ave
Staten Island, NY 10302
(718) 442-9401
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Staten Island has the city’s most vigorous pizza culture with the possible exception of Brooklyn, and Denino’s is one of its brilliant mainstays. It was founded in 1937 as a longshoreman’s bar (the tugboat dock is just down the hill), and eventually added a pizzeria in back, where the pies resemble those of New Haven in some ways. The delightful clam pie, for example, with many deshelled bivalves and lots of garlic and olive oil and no tomato sauce, with a crust thicker than most neighborhood Neapolitan pies. Lots of other southern Italian and Sicilian dishes, including the city’s best conch (scungilli) salads.

A round pizza pie with peppers and mushrooms that’s been cut into slices Robert Sietsema/Eater

38. Kashkar Cafe

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

1. Africa Kine

2267 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027
Thiebou djenn at Africa Kine
Thiebou djenn
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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 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 brochettes, roast leg of lamb, grilled lamb chops, and baked fish. For now, the restaurant is only doing takeout and delivery.

2267 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10027

2. Hudson Smokehouse

37 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454
A thickly stacked barbecued brisket sandwich
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

3. Fieldtrip

109 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10026
A variety of food items from Fieldtrip’s menu, including rice bowls and sides, laid out on a light blue background Noah Fecks/Fieldtrip [Official]

Chef JJ Johnson has expanded his rice-focused concept to Long Island City and Rockefeller Center, but the Harlem original remains a fast casual gift to the city. Expect a great brisket bowl with Texas brown rice, cream cheese-laced crab pockets, and a remarkably spicy seafood gumbo that mixes scallops and shrimp with Chinese lap cheong sausage — for a smoky-sweet finish. Don’t miss the light and refreshing vegan hibiscus rice milk soft serve for dessert.

109 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10026

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

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-known dishes (at least to many Americans), such as glutinous banh chung chien (fried, crispy rice cakes) and hearty pha lau (an offal stew served with a baguette) that can be found at this Upper West Side newcomer. There are plenty of classic Vietnamese dishes, including a variety of noodle soups, 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
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A wooden box with pieces of sushi placed in it Connor Cowden [Official]

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. In the past year, Abe has added a number of takeout and delivery options to Sushi Noz’s lauded menu, including a $525 temaki kit and a number of chirashi options starting at $35 for one serving.

181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

6. Blue Willow

40 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019