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A view of a dining room with a white marble top bar on the left and brown booths and high top tables along mirrored walls and a chandelier.
Gage & Tollner’s opening this past year kept many of the historic touches of this revered restaurant.
Lizzie Munro/Gage & Tollner

The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City

From a rare Palestinian newcomer in Bay Ridge to a restaurant spotlighting regional Indian cooking, here’s where to eat in NYC right now

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Gage & Tollner’s opening this past year kept many of the historic touches of this revered restaurant.
| Lizzie Munro/Gage & Tollner

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 October 2021: Ayat, Cadence, Gage & Tollner, Indian Table, Jua, Mariscos El Submarino, and Winner are joining the list. To make room, Bolero, Chez Ma Tante, Farida, Fieldtrip, Peaches Hothouse, Ras Plant Based, and Via Carota 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. 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

4. 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. In the past year, Abe has added a number of takeout and delivery options, including chirashi platters starting at $45 for one serving.

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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, Golden Palace Gourmet Flushing Robert Sietsema/Eater

8. Mariscos El Submarino

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8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
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Summer may be behind us, but the cauldrons of shrimp and octopus at Mariscos El Submarino are a reminder that ceviche season can be year-round if you know where to look. Couple Amy Hernandez and Alonso Guzman opened this Jackson Heights storefront last summer, where they have become as well known for their hairy, submarine mascot as their ceviches served with ample tostadas and saltines on the side. Order the aguachile negro ($19), a dramatic preparation more than capable of feeding two that brings together shrimp, octopus, cucumbers, and avocado in a molcajete seasoned with a touch of soy sauce.

A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
Ceviche is available year round at Mariscos El Submarino.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. 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

10. 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, 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

11. 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. But since shortly before the pandemic, he’s been striking out on his own at Jua, an excellent wood-fired restaurant in Flatiron. For $130, diners experience seven precise courses, including intricate banchan, delicate uni kim, foie gras jook, medium-rare galbi, and hotteok dessert pancakes with candied nuts. It’s an expensive meal, but it’s a much more affordable alternative to the tastings at 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

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. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. 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

17. 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

18. 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.

19. 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 cocktails that are mostly under $15. 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

20. 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 an autumn night is to sit outside at chef Ryan Bartlow’s Basque spot in Two Bridges, sipping a gently astringent palo cortado while picking at grilled octopus and pear skewers. The menu changes on a daily basis; highlights might include roasted Caraflex cabbage with garlic sauce, heady crab txangurro, cod cheeks in salsa verde, and 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]

21. 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

22. 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 serious 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.

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

23. 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 klaem, breathtakingly delicious drinking snacks from across Thailand. Chef’s Thipruetree laces his beef tartare with culantro, toasted rice, 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

24. 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 $45 or $83. Drop by on Sundays for pork tacos.

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

25. 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. 

26. 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

27. 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, juicy ribeye steaks, and pork pot pies. 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

28. 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]

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 doubles Robert Sietsema

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.

The rice cake fundido at Haenyeo Alex Staniloff/Eater

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 coronavirus 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
(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

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 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

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 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

36. 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

37. 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 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 the past year.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

38. 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 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. 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

4. 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. 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. In the past year, Abe has added a number of takeout and delivery options, including chirashi platters starting at $45 for one serving.

181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

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

40 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

6. 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, 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.

35-03 Broadway
Queens, NY 11106

7. Golden Palace Gourmet

140-09 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355