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A black-and-white photo of a dining room, facing floor-to-ceiling windows, with shelves of wine glasses in the foreground
The dining room at Flora Bar
Nick Solares/Eater

The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City, Fall 2019

From an ambitious Oaxacan restaurant in the Bronx to a cozy pasta house downtown, here’s where to eat in NYC right now

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The dining room at Flora Bar
| Photo by Nick Solares/Eater

Welcome to the Eater 38, an elite collection of restaurants from across the city that define New York City’s dining scene right now — and that will satisfy the restaurant needs for locals and visitors alike: Find an NYC classic as well as a top-notch neighborhood restaurant, mind-numbingly spicy Chinese, and cutting-edge Korean fare.

Every quarter, a few restaurants drop out of the list to make room for places that have stepped up their game or have increasing relevance. To warrant inclusion, a restaurant has to have been open for at least six months.

Rather than having a stage-four meltdown over the exclusion of a favorite restaurant from this list, wouldn’t it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion? And for the newest places that food obsessives are checking out, see the heatmaps for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Added in October 2019: For the fall, Fort Greene Israeli restaurant Miss Ada — a place that’s both a neighborhood spot and a creative Middle Eastern food destination — joins the list. Bronx Jewish institution Liebman’s Deli comes on, as does the borough’s small but ambitious Oaxacan restaurant La Morada. Cozy Tuscan restaurant Fiaschetteria Pistoia lands a spot for its charming vibes and on-point pastas, and finally, on the Upper East Side, elegant upscale seafood restaurant Flora Bar returns to the 38 as a high-end option as well.

To make room, Cote, Roberto’s, Nur, Claro, and Marlow & Sons — though all still worth visiting — are leaving the list for now.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Liebman’s Deli

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552 W 235th St
The Bronx, NY 10463
(718) 548-4534
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Jewish deli in its most nostalgic form can be found at Liebman’s in Riverdale, a small and diner-like institution that’s been serving up kosher pastrami, corned beef, and hot dogs made in-house since 1958. It doesn’t look like the dining room or clientele has changed since then, with a retro feel from faded sea-green booths and gruff but pleasant servers. Any of the overstuffed sandwiches makes an ideal meal, preferably preceded by matzo ball soup and accompanied by the chip-like fries and gravy. There is absolutely nothing modern about Liebman’s, and that’s the best thing about it.

A double decker pastrami and corned beef sandwich on rye Stefanie Tuder/Eater

2. Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

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2461 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10027
(212) 281-1800

Chef Charles Gabriel started his Harlem soul food institution out of his house then moved onto a food truck, and finally to a storefront. The latest rendition of the restaurant is in a more prominent location, though he continues to serve the same tender, crispy chicken cooked in a cast-iron pan that pushed him into the limelight. This new outpost is still humble, with a menu above the counter and cafeteria-style ordering, but also, thankfully, has more seating.

Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens in a styrofoam container Khushbu Shah/Eater

3. La Morada

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308 Willis Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 292-0235
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Mott Haven cafe La Morada is one of the small number of New York restaurants specializing in Oaxacan cuisine, and the family operation is best known for the variety of difficult-to-prepare moles. Chef (and matriarch) Natalia Mendez offers six total, including mole verde (with green chiles and jalapeños), mole pipian (with pumpkin seeds), and the much spicier mole Oaxaqueño, which contains seven kinds of dry peppers. But other menu items pull their weight, too, like hand-patted sopes or a crisp tlayuda loaded with toppings. The petite space also doubles as a community center; the family members are immigration activists.

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down” Alex Staniloff/Eater

4. Gregory's 26 Corner Taverna

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26-02 23rd Ave
Long Island City, NY 11105
(718) 777-5511

Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna has been dishing out homey, traditional Greek cooking in Astoria for years, always with a friendly demeanor. Everything from grilled lamb chops to the Greek salad are solid options, and fish — which comes fried or grilled — is a particularly smart order. Entrees stay under $30, with many options under $20. The petite restaurant with red-and-white checkered tablecloths also has a few outdoor tables in warmer weather. 

Gregory’s Corner 26 Taverna Robert Sietsema/Eater

5. Flora Bar

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945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021
(646) 558-5383
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There’s expressive elegance to the plated fare at Flora Bar, the Upper East Side restaurant in the basement of the Met Breuer museum. Chef Ignacio Mattos has a way taking seemingly simple seafood dishes like a tuna tartare or raw clam and making them sophisticated yet creative bites worthy of their splurge-level price tags. Vegetables and mains, too, get beautified, like a purple endive salad that comes layered in a circle like a rose. It’s by far the Estela chef’s most upscale restaurant, worth a special occasion dinner. And do not miss dessert, a rotating selection that comes from Natasha Pickowicz, one of the most creative pastry chefs in the city today.

A sunny dining room flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows Nick Solares/Eater

6. Bolivian Llama Party

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1000 S 8th Ave Suite 5.5 Underground @ the corner of 57th st and, 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(347) 395-5481
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Bolivian Llama Party — the tiny counter-service stall inside the Columbus Circle subway station — is one of the few places in New York to offer the hearty cuisine of Bolivia, from the minds of brothers Alex, Patrick, and David Oropeza. The right move is the salteña — a plump pastry pocket with a thick, sweet exterior and a soupy filling. Bite off the tip, suck out all the gelatinous broth, and then eat the chicken and egg-rich dregs ($8). Drizzle on the in-house hot sauce to add a kick. Also look out for the garlic chicken and bacon sandwich.

Bolivian Llama Party’s chicken salteña Nick Solares/Eater

7. The Grill

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99 E 52nd St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 375-9001
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Major Food Group’s revamp of the historic Four Seasons space — one of the few landmarked interiors in the city — will be worth visiting for the stunning room alone, but the group also makes a meal there feel like a lively, theatric, and delicious ode to midcentury New York chophouses. Visit the Midtown bar for a drink just to check things out, and for a splurge dinner with a see-and-be-seen vibe, book a reservation well in advance. Chef Mario Carbone’s standouts include the prime rib, pheasant Claiborne, and pasta a la presse, a dish where the server first comes to the table to dramatically squeeze juice out of duck bones using an antique press.

The Grill Gary He/Eater

8. Adda Indian Canteen

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31-31 Thomson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 433-3888
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Adda is one of the most exciting Indian restaurant newcomers in New York City. The Long Island City addition is from the team behind West Village’s modern Indian restaurant Rahi — except here, owner Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya pivot to homey fare like tandoor grill dishes, curries, and biryani. Inspired by canteens found throughout India, Adda serves dishes a degree hotter and richer than Rahi, aiming to showcase the way food is made at home in India. Standouts include the dum biryani, a rice casserole sealed within a sheet of naan dough.

Dum biryani at Adda, with the crust open Gary He/Eater

9. Noda

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6 W 28th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 481-2432
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Opulent decor goes along with a well-paced omakase at Michelin-starred Noda, where the charming and chatty chef Shigeyuki Tsunoda runs a 10-seat counter with two dinners nightly. A meal begins with small appetizers before heading into edomae-inspired nigiri and then dessert. Unlike many local high-end omakase, Noda differentiates itself with a lush room filled with velvet and red lighting, designed by famed designer Ken Fulk. At $285 per person for 20- to 22-courses, it’s a splurge — but unlike some of the other high-priced sushi menus around town, the crowd and vibe here is conducive to feeling like the meal is a special occasion. Note: The meal must be paid for in advance on the reservations website.

Noda Noda [Official Photo]

10. Atomix

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104 E 30th St
New York, NY 10016

At Michelin-starred Atomix, a 10-course tasting menu doubles as a playful yet elegant education in Korean cooking. Beautifully composed dishes come with equally striking illustrated flashcards that explain an element of Korean culture, all of which can be read at the table or taken home for later. A dish with golden osetra caviar, baby artichokes, and fresh curd, for instance, may arrive with a card explaining soo, a dairy product that Korean elites once ate. Of course, the meal can be enjoyed without the cards; it’s just another additional thoughtful element of husband-wife team chef JungHyun “JP” Park and JeongEun “Ellia” Park that makes the experience feel special. Note: The $205 per person meal must be paid for in advance on the reservation site.

Atomix’s artistic menu cards Louise Palmberg/Eater

11. Los Tacos No. 1

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75 9th Ave
New York, NY
(212) 256-0343
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While this isn’t the most relaxing or comfortable place on the Eater 38 — it’s in Chelsea Market, with too few seats and long lines — there’s good reason to visit: It’s where to find some of the city’s best tacos asada, adobado, pollo, or nopal. Flour tortillas here are just as good as the corn ones. There’s also a location near Times Square. Don’t forget the chips and guacamole.

Los Tacos No. 1 Robert Sietsema/Eater

12. E.A.K. Ramen (West Village)

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469 6th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(646) 863-2027
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In this tonkotsu-obsessed town, E.A.K. Ramen stands out with the less ubiquitous iekei broth — a clean style that’s a blend of fattier pork with chicken and soy-based ramen. The most popular options come with noodles that are thicker, curlier, and chewier than most around the city, though several meat-free options include thinner noodles, too. The Zebra is a favorite, arriving with roasted garlic oil, butter, nori, spinach, and pork chashu. A sleek dining room features bar and table seating overlooking an open kitchen, ideal for a small group or fulfilling a solo ramen craving. Go for a pitcher of beer and some apps when with a crew. There’s also a new Hell’s Kitchen location of the Japanese chain with a bigger menu.

13. Via Carota

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51 Grove St
New York, NY 10014

West Village Tuscan restaurant Via Carota is a neighborhood place that has turned into a destination — in part due to the simple and rustic, yet always surprising cooking of beloved chefs Rita Sodi and Jody Williams. The menu changes regularly, and everything is worth sharing. Any of the rotating vegetable dishes will be solid orders, as will mainstays of the menu like the homey braised tripe and silky cacio e pepe. Expect to wait at prime times since there are no reservations, and snag a seat outdoors in better weather. It’s particularly great for late-night dining, when the wait will also be slimmer; the full menu is available until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday.

Via Carota Daniel Krieger/Eater

14. Momofuku Ssäm Bar

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207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500
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Though superstar chef David Chang doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen at Ssäm anymore, executive chef Max Ng has breathed new life into the menu at the East Village restaurant, adding addictive dishes like spicy shell-on shrimp with Sichuan garlic butter and skate roasted in banana leaf. The greatest hits — pork sausage rice cakes and pork buns — are still there by request, but the restaurant as a whole has grown up as Chang has, with soundproofing and more comfortable seating. It’s also an excellent option for brunch and great for groups, with large format meals available by reservation.

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.

Bo ssäm at Momofuku Ssäm Bar Momofuku [Official Photo]

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 with its stunning design that maximizes neighborhood restaurant trends and its comforting, yet exciting Vietnamese fare. And the hype hasn’t stopped: The restaurant from the An Choi team often requires long waits for its pho and other Vietnamese noodle soups, which pull some inspiration from the team’s childhoods in Houston and Virginia as well as their travels throughout Vietnam. There are also non-soup share plates, and the cocktails stand out, too, served from a soft green brick-walled bar with copper accents. The space’s meticulous design — anchored by plants, tropical vibes, and shiny copper — is part of its allure in addition to the food.

The plant-filled dining room at Di an Di Alex Staniloff/Eater

16. Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co.

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189 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(646) 864-0967
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Harry & Ida’s is a thoroughly modern riff on the traditional Jewish delicatessen, with a short but strong menu. It’s named after the grandparents of sibling owners Julie and Will Horowitz, and the deli itself channels the aesthetic of a Catskills country store. The hot pastrami is the dish to get at this counter-service shop, though the smoked eel and bluefish sandwiches are solid options, too.

The overstuffed pastrami sandwich with dill from Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co. Nick Solares/Eater

17. Le Sia

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11 E 7th St
New York, NY 10003
(646) 370-6423
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Simple meat skewers and steaming seafood boils laced with Chinese flavors and spices make up most of the menu at Le Sia, a spicy shellfish destination in the East Village that stays open late during the week. Be prepared to get messy — there are bibs and gloves if needed — and dig into crawfish tossed in aromatic sauces that come in six options. The price points for shellfish here are on the lower side for NYC, but the quality remains high. It’s all served in a casual, brick-walled space with booths and a communal table that stretches down the center of the oft-packed room.

18. Cheburechnaya

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9209 63rd Dr Ste A
Flushing, NY
(718) 897-9080
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Cheburechnaya is tucked in a no-frills dining room that offers kosher Uzbek dishes like chebureki, deep fried turnovers bursting with potatoes and meat, rice pilaf, and lamb kebabs grilled over a charcoal trough. Don’t miss the borscht as well as lagman with handmade, irregular-shaped noodles, beef, and plenty of dill.

Cheburechnaya Stefanie Tuder/Eater

19. Superiority Burger

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430 E 9th St
New York, NY
(212) 256-1192
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Brooks Headley’s tiny East Village cafe is so much more than a veggie burger spot — it's one of the best restaurants in Lower Manhattan — because he’s shopping for the finest ingredients and offering the same vegetables served at a fine-dining spot for a far more affordable price (most dishes are under $6). In addition to the must-get burger, go Mondays for the fried tofu and Fridays for the focaccia. Do not miss the spectacular gelato and sorbet. There’s not much seating; the pro move is to bring food to nearby dive bar Doc Holliday’s and accompany a burger with cheap beer. 

Superiority Burger Nick Solares/Eater

20. Atla

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372 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
(646) 837-6464
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Mexican cuisine gets a stylish, uber-hip setting at Atla, the highly-acclaimed all-day restaurant in Noho from Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes. Expect a fashionable crowd and lots of light yet flavor-packed dishes, including a split pea tlacoyo, an egg white omelette with zucchini, and an herb guacamole. Fresh juices, coffee, and cocktails are available. The sunny space works well for daytime meetings, as well as late-night snacking. 

A black and white photo of Atla’s dining room, where a woman sits at a bar on her laptop Nick Solares/Eater

21. Fiaschetteria "Pistoia"

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647 E 11th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 777-3355
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Cozy Alphabet City Tuscan restaurant Fiaschetteria Pistoia delivers when seeking a comfortable and and unpretentious evening of rustic pastas and affordable bottles of wine. All the pastas — from the cacio e pepe and spaghetti con bottarga to the pappardelle with beef ragu — are expertly executed without lots of flourish, and at $22 and under, they’re approachable in price, too. When requesting a bottle of wine, a server will bring over the selection in a crate and slam it onto a stool, an act that will ultimately come off as charming. Everything is about what it seems, which is to say, very good. Get the tiramisu; it’s nostalgia in a cup. A slim West Village location across town equally delights.

Fiaschetteria Pistoia’s dining room has posters of canned goods on the wall and a wooden table in the middle Fiaschetteria Pistoia [Official]

22. Fish Cheeks

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55 Bond St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-2223
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Everything should be shared at Fish Cheeks, a rambunctious and bright restaurant on idyllic Bond Street in Noho that serves high-octane versions of neighborhood Thai dishes. Owners Jenn Saesue and brother chef-team Ohm and Chat Suansilphong offer lots of loud, flavor-packed dishes, including Manila clams doused in sweet basil sauce, hyper-spicy Southern-style curry with crab, and fried chicken wings covered in a chile, lime, and mint powder. The chef’s selection, where an abundance of popular dishes come for $45 per person, is a solid way to try a sampling. Get a cocktail; they’re Thai-influenced, and several are available at happy hour for $10.

Fish Cheeks Fish Cheeks [Official]

23. Katz's Delicatessen

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205 E Houston St
New York, NY
(800) 446-8364
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In more than 125 years, little has changed at Katz's. It remains one of New York's — and the country's — essential Jewish delicatessens. Every inch of the massive Lower East Side space smells intensely of pastrami and rye loaves. The sandwiches are massive, so they are best when shared. Order at the counter, and don't forget to tip the slicer. Get a hot dog while you wait, and don’t lose your ticket.

24. Frenchette

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241 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 334-3883
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The everyday French bistro is fresh again at Frenchette, a lively restaurant in Tribeca from the chefs behind mainstays like Balthazar. Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson offer a constantly changing menu with simple yet compelling options like rotisserie lobster, soft scrambled eggs with escargot, and charred carrots. A natural wine list culled by Jorge Riera means that both by-the-glass and bottle lists are worth exploring, too. But a warm room and even warmer service makes Frenchette a modern destination, where downtown dining feels alive. Reservations, or dining in the bar area, are highly recommended, as it gets wildly busy even on weeknights. It’s also now open for lunch and weekend breakfast.

The bar room at Frenchette Louise Palmberg/Eater

25. Scarr's Pizza

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22 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 334-3481
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Scarr’s on the Lower East Side looks like any other unpretentious old-school slice shop, but owner and NYC native Scarr Pimentel mills his own flour for the classic New York pizza here. It’s available by the floppy slice on paper plates, or by the whole pie for walk-ins and delivery for lunch and dinner. Those who choose to dine inside the narrow space can opt for beer or natural wine set to hip-hop tracks. Vegan options are also available.

Mushroom and pepperoni pie at Scarr’s
Mushroom and pepperoni pie at Scarr’s
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

26. Xi'an Famous Foods

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45 Bayard St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 786-2068
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Xi’an Famous Foods, which started as a stand in Flushing, now has more than a dozen locations across NYC. But despite its chain status, the family-run restaurant has maintained quality, gaining cult following status for spicy, tacky hand-ripped noodles. The cumin lamb is particularly popular, but the cold-skin noodles come in close second, often selling out on busy days. Though prices range from location to location, a satisfying meal can be had for under $15 at this counter-service restaurant.

Xi’an Famous Foods Nick Solares/Eater

27. Cervo's

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43 Canal St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 226-2545
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The team behind cult favorite Bed-Stuy neighborhood restaurant Hart’s run this wine bar and restaurant that turns to the Iberian peninsula for a casual seafood-heavy menu. Ordering several dishes to share is the way to go, with options like manila clams in vino verde, shrimp heads, and Spanish mackerel. Wine is a big draw to the narrow, hip space, featuring a selection of natural options that pair well with fish.

Cervo’s Cervo’s [Official Photo]

28. Kopitiam

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151 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(646) 609-3785
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Colorful coffee shop and cafe Kopitiam has plenty of seating for a full meal of Malaysian specialties, but since it’s open all day and has tons of smaller options, the Lower East Side spot from chef Kyo Pang and restaurateur Moonlynn Tsai is also ideal for a mid-afternoon snack with coffee. Go for a curry puff, chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, or any of the sweets. For a bigger meal, options include the nasi lemak (coconut rice with fried anchovies) and pan mee (hand-pulled noodle soup in an anchovy broth). Breakfast is available all day, and both the slightly sweet kaya toast and the umami-laced half-boiled eggs are musts. Everything is under $16 at the counter-service restaurant. Closed on Wednesdays.

Malaysian-style half-boiled eggs Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

29. Peter Luger Steak House

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178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 387-7400
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Peter Luger was founded in 1887 when Williamsburg was a city onto itself, and some say Luger is the greatest steakhouse in the world. Even if that’s an overstatement, the steaks are damn good, especially the signature dry-aged prime porterhouse, which flies from the kitchen sizzling and already sliced. Don’t miss the bacon appetizer or lunch-only hamburger either, in these bare-bones and endearingly antique premises. Note that the restaurant doesn’t take credit cards, only cash, debit card, U.S. checks with an ID, or a Peter Luger Card.

The Peter Luger porterhouse Nick Solares/Eater

30. Win Son

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159 Graham Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(347) 457-6010
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This casual, lively restaurant on an unassuming corner of East Williamsburg delivers some of the most exciting food in New York right now. Owners Josh Ku and chef Trigg Brown use classic Taiwanese cuisine as a base for the menu, but don’t expect tradition here. Marinated cucumbers reach levels of umami bliss with the addition of mullet roe, and a fluffy, fried egg-coated scallion pancake arrives stuffed with beef tartare. Also worth ordering: Win Son’s version of pork-over-rice classic lu rou fan and the breakfast of champions, a cocktail with rum, peanut milk, black sesame, and lots of toasted coconut shavings. Try brunch, too.

The dining room at Win Son Gary He/Eater

31. 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 dining room 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 that caps out at $13 a drink. Specials, like a calzone, stand-out as well. Keep in mind that gratuity is already included in prices.

A calzone topped with parmesan cheese on a metal tray with a side of tomato sauce Bill Addison/Eater

32. 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 fluffy pita bread and a selection of small plates like sweet potato hummus or a whipped ricotta with brown butter, sage, and honey. Tack on a bigger hummus, too, which can come topped with proteins such as lamb shawarma or chicken liver. And though that could theoretically be enough for an entire meal, entrees like hanger steak will be equally satisfying. Accompany it all with a cocktail or a glass of natural wine, and finish off with the light labneh mousse. There’s also an outdoor space and Sunday brunch, when there’s a particularly strong bloody mary lineup. 

Miss Ada’s dining room has a long bar and wood paneling on the back wall Miss Ada [Official]

33. La Vara

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268 Clinton St
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 422-0065
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Tucked into a tree-lined residential street in Cobble Hill, La Vara is one of the city’s best Iberian spots. Chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero tip their hats to the Moorish and Sephardic traditions of Spain, serving up coriander and cumin-spiced half chickens, spreadable Menocrcan sausages with honey foam, and suckling pig with rose petal quince sauce. Be sure to book well ahead, as bar seating can command waits in excess of 90 minutes on a weekend.

La Vara La Vara [Official Photo]

34. MeMe's Diner

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657 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 636-2900
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Brooklyn casual all-day dining takes on a new meaning a MeMe’s, a breezy and photogenic modern diner in Prospect Heights from owners Libby Willis and Bill Clark. Expect a rotating menu of cheeky, punched-up versions of classics, like a meatloaf sandwich on garlic toast and babka or funnel cake that’s savory instead of sweet. The patty melt and chile oil fried eggs are favorites that are typically available, and do not miss any sweet baked goods, whether its Vietnamese coffee cake or an eton mess cake. Weekend brunch is the most popular meal; expect bit of a wait unless going right at opening. Closed Monday.

MeMe’s Diner Gary He/Eater

35. Olmsted

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659 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 552-2610
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Chef Greg Baxtrom — formerly of fine dining stalwarts like Blue Hill and Alinea — has crafted a dining destination with the look and service of a neighborhood restaurant. A backyard garden both supplies the Prospect Heights restaurant with fresh ingredients and acts as a lovely spot to wait for a table. The menu, which is quirky and often earnest, constantly evolves, but signatures like the carrot crepe and frozen yogurt dessert are frequently on deck. It now also offers brunch with an equally creative menu, though expect wait times. Mondays are walk-ins only.

Olmsted Nick Solares/Eater

36. Haenyeo

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239 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 213-2290
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The chef credited with expanding New Yorkers’ idea of Korean food has brought her cooking to a bright corner in Park Slope, this time executing thrilling fusion options alongside homey Korean classics. Chef Jenny Kwak’s must-orders at Haenyeo include a gochujang-infused bouillabaisse and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) made with chorizo and a milky, stretchy white cheese. But more traditional fare like tofu seafood stew and beef short rib ssam 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 & the Whale. The bistro space, far more lively than most in the family-packed neighborhood, is good for date night. Reservations and bar seating are available.

The dining room at Haenyeo Alex Staniloff/Eater

37. Hometown Bar-B-Que

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454 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY
(347) 294-4644
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Barbecue aficionados agree that Billy Durney is cooking up some of the best Texas-style barbecue in the city. Straightforward classics like smoked brisket and baby back ribs are always a strong choice, but there are also options like pork belly tacos and a lamb belly banh mi. The Red Hook space is sprawling in a way that feels like the real deal, and Durney himself can usually be found working the room, keeping a watchful eye on the smoking meats. It's counter service only, and there's often a line. But for the scene and certainly for the meat, it's easily worth the trip.

38. 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. 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 in 2004. Add a couple festivals (long sticks of fried dough) to an order of chicken, and bring it to nearby Prospect Park for a picnic. Peppa’s also has a second location in Crown Heights with a few seats and delivery, and an outpost in Flatbush.

Peppa’s jerk chicken on the grill Louise Palmberg/Eater

1. Liebman’s Deli

552 W 235th St, The Bronx, NY 10463
A double decker pastrami and corned beef sandwich on rye Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Jewish deli in its most nostalgic form can be found at Liebman’s in Riverdale, a small and diner-like institution that’s been serving up kosher pastrami, corned beef, and hot dogs made in-house since 1958. It doesn’t look like the dining room or clientele has changed since then, with a retro feel from faded sea-green booths and gruff but pleasant servers. Any of the overstuffed sandwiches makes an ideal meal, preferably preceded by matzo ball soup and accompanied by the chip-like fries and gravy. There is absolutely nothing modern about Liebman’s, and that’s the best thing about it.

552 W 235th St
The Bronx, NY 10463

2. Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

2461 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10027
Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens in a styrofoam container Khushbu Shah/Eater

Chef Charles Gabriel started his Harlem soul food institution out of his house then moved onto a food truck, and finally to a storefront. The latest rendition of the restaurant is in a more prominent location, though he continues to serve the same tender, crispy chicken cooked in a cast-iron pan that pushed him into the limelight. This new outpost is still humble, with a menu above the counter and cafeteria-style ordering, but also, thankfully, has more seating.

2461 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10027

3. La Morada

308 Willis Ave, The Bronx, NY 10454
La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down” Alex Staniloff/Eater

Mott Haven cafe La Morada is one of the small number of New York restaurants specializing in Oaxacan cuisine, and the family operation is best known for the variety of difficult-to-prepare moles. Chef (and matriarch) Natalia Mendez offers six total, including mole verde (with green chiles and jalapeños), mole pipian (with pumpkin seeds), and the much spicier mole Oaxaqueño, which contains seven kinds of dry peppers. But other menu items pull their weight, too, like hand-patted sopes or a crisp tlayuda loaded with toppings. The petite space also doubles as a community center; the family members are immigration activists.

308 Willis Ave
The Bronx, NY 10454

4. Gregory's 26 Corner Taverna

26-02 23rd Ave, Long Island City, NY 11105
Gregory’s Corner 26 Taverna Robert Sietsema/Eater

Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna has been dishing out homey, traditional Greek cooking in Astoria for years, always with a friendly demeanor. Everything from grilled lamb chops to the Greek salad are solid options, and fish — which comes fried or grilled — is a particularly smart order. Entrees stay under $30, with many options under $20. The petite restaurant with red-and-white checkered tablecloths also has a few outdoor tables in warmer weather. 

26-02 23rd Ave
Long Island City, NY 11105

5. Flora Bar

945 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021
A sunny dining room flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows Nick Solares/Eater

There’s expressive elegance to the plated fare at Flora Bar, the Upper East Side restaurant in the basement of the Met Breuer museum. Chef Ignacio Mattos has a way taking seemingly simple seafood dishes like a tuna tartare or raw clam and making them sophisticated yet creative bites worthy of their splurge-level price tags. Vegetables and mains, too, get beautified, like a purple endive salad that comes layered in a circle like a rose. It’s by far the Estela chef’s most upscale restaurant, worth a special occasion dinner. And do not miss dessert, a rotating selection that comes from Natasha Pickowicz, one of the most creative pastry chefs in the city today.

945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021

6. Bolivian Llama Party

1000 S 8th Ave Suite 5.5 Underground @ the corner of 57th st and, 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019
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