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Danzi noodles, oyster omelet, fly’s head, and other dishes at Win Son Gary He/Eater

The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City

From a Taiwanese American restaurant in Brooklyn to a lunch counter in Manhattan, here’s where to eat in the city right now

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It’s the most simple and difficult question to answer, whether it’s coming from a lifelong New Yorker or a first-time visitor: “Where should I eat in New York City?” The type of food, price, neighborhood, and occasion are just a few factors to consider, but that only goes so far in a city of more than 25,000 restaurants. Enter the Eater 38.

This guide is our shortlist of the city’s must-hit restaurants, updated quarterly to reflect changing tastes and trends. Newly overhauled for the spring, the list includes the relocation of Superiority Burger, a relaunch of a decades-old luncheonette, and a Manhattan steakhouse stalwart.

We’ve visited the restaurants on this list again and again — they have to be open for at least six months before they merit inclusion. For guides to the hottest new openings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, see our Heatmaps for those boroughs.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.


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When Roberto Paciullo established his eponymous restaurant in Belmont in 1989, it was surprising: There among the red-sauced joints of Arthur Avenue was a different kind of Italian restaurant, closely approximating the food you might find in a rural trattoria, with the farmhouse furniture to match. Check the chalkboard specials, which might include radiatori in cartoccio or fricasseed rabbit.

A seafood and white bean starter at Roberto’s.
A seafood and white bean starter at Roberto’s in the Bronx.

Located right on the Bronx’s Grand Concourse, Papaye (“doing good”) is a long-running Ghanaian diner with the dishes posted prominently over the steam-table counter. Joloff rice with stewed chicken or fried fish is a good bet. The dish is relatively mild but a hot sauce called shito can be requested to make it spicier.

A chart makes ordering simple.
A chart makes ordering simple at Papaye.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY


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Dubbed “the queen of soul food,” Sylvia Woods opened the doors on Sylvia’s Restaurant in 1962, bringing generous servings of Southern comfort food to Harlem. The neighborhood restaurant is world-famous for its timeless cooking and Southern charm, which still endures decades after opening. While Woods died in 2012, her family continues to run the restaurant.

A large breaded fish filet with two side dishes.
Catfish at Sylvia’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bánh Vietnamese Shop House

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New York’s Vietnamese food scene has drastically changed over the last half decade, welcoming a new wave of restaurants with lesser-seen dishes. Bánh, an offshoot of an acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant in the Bronx, brought the fried, crispy rice cakes known as banh chung chien and brothy bun rieu (tomato, crab, and pork soup) to the Upper West Side in 2021. There are plenty of classic Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle soups, but the rotating selection of smaller plates steals the show.

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

Gallaghers Steakhouse

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Gallaghers is something of a sleeper among steakhouses, with places like Luger, Cote, and Keens stealing the spotlight. But that is also a virtue, as the excellent steaks hang dry-aging in a window on the sidewalk against which you can press your nose and drool. Gallaghers was founded in the late 1920s as a speakeasy, and the down-low atmosphere prevails. Ribeye steak and prime rib are house specialties, the last to be ordered in advance.

An overhead shot of the rosy pink prime rib, sitting in brown jus.
Prime rib at Gallaghers
Eater NY

Le Bernardin

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Eric Ripert’s temple to fine dining has still got it, holding onto a rare four-star status from the New York Times. Open since 1986, the classic French restaurant is a celebration of seafood, with a tasting menu that ranges from tuna tartare and sea urchin to Dover sole and halibut. And yes, there is a vegetarian tasting menu that rivals the pescatarian one, with courses centered around hearts of palm, artichokes, and white asparagus.

Speckled maine lobster tail sits next to leek cannelloni and dark brown red wine rosemary sauce
Lobster tail next to leek cannelloni with a wine rosemary sauce at Le Bernardin.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Haidilao Hot Pot

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Haidilao is one of the world’s largest hot pot chains, with some 1,300 locations. New York’s only outpost is in Flushing, and even in a neighborhood as dense with Chinese hot pot options as this one, the restaurant has held its own. The selection of meats is affordable and varied, with fun touches on the menu like a “dancing noodle” prepared tableside and bottles of soju submerged in watermelons. Soft serve is free, as are disposable razors, cologne, toothbrushes, and other household supplies in the bathrooms.

Raw meats, seafood, and vegetables are arranged on a table beside two bubbling vats of broth.
Haidilao, the largest hot pot chain in China, has an outpost in Flushing.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Szechuan Mountain House

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Szechuan Mountain House shocked Flushing when it opened in a new real estate development on Prince Street in 2016. It includes a restaurant designed like a Chinese village with dining in nooks and semi-private enclosures, a waterfall, and a menu that doesn’t stint on Sichuan peppercorns. It also imports many stylish presentation methods currently popular in China

Sliced pork belly and cucumber hanging over a device to look like drying laundry, with chile garlic sauce underneath
Szechuan Mountain House has another location in the East Village.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

Ci Siamo

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A chef with an enthusiastic following, Hillary Sterling runs this Italian spot from the Danny Meyer empire that’s adjacent to Hudson Yards. The two-level spot offers a front lounge for walk-ins with a focus on aperitivi and cocktails; the second is the more formal reservation dining area. Look for live-fire cooking with dishes like focaccia or pizza bianca; onion torta; pesca fritti; cavatelli with crab; and a roast chicken among mains.

A spread of dishes from Ci Siamo’s menu laid out on a light wooden table interspersed with two glasses of wine.
A spread from Ci Siamo.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Grand Central Oyster Bar

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Grand Central Oyster Bar has occupied the subterranean space in Grand Central Station since 1913. The award-winning room, with its vaulted, tiled ceilings is one of the main attractions here, and one of the best seats for sampling among 25 varieties of seafood, from a menu of raw oysters, stews, pan roasts, sandwiches, and more. Note new hours mean it’s closed Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Central Oyster Bar’s dining room with high ceiling arches
The dining room at Grand Central Oyster Bar.
Eater NY

Mariscos El Submarino

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Mariscos El Submarino is a small restaurant in Jackson Heights known for its massive portions of seafood served in volcanic stone bowls. The restaurant has been hugely influential since it opened in 2020, inspiring a new wave of interest in the Mexican seafood dishes known as mariscos. The most popular order is the aguachile, a cousin of ceviche that’s ubiquitous in Mexico but harder to find in New York. They come in shades of green, red, yellow, and dark brown with a generous portion of shrimp, avocado, and sliced cucumber for around $20.

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


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In a sea of Korean barbecue options, Baekjeong remains a top pick for grilled meats in Manhattan. The two-story restaurant opened here in 2014, becoming the first New York branch of a chain restaurant with a handful of locations in California. Meals begin with a generous spread of banchan, plus scrambled eggs and gooey corn cheese. Plates of raw short rib, pork belly, and jowl are sold individually at premium prices ($40 to $80 each), but dinner combos are more affordable. Expect a packed dining room, where lights occasionally strobe for birthdays.

A table at a Korean barbecue restaurant is busy with cheese corn, meats, and banchan.
A table at Baekjeong is busy with cheese corn, meats, and banchan.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Sushi On Me

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In a city with $400 omakase parlors crawling with sushi bros, Sushi On Me is in a league of its own. This subterranean restaurant located in Jackson Heights is an all-you-can-drink, raucous affair. The meal here will run you less than $100, and you’ll leave feeling like you went to a house party. If you don’t drink this place might be a skip, since there’s less bang for your buck without it. There’s now a sibling spot in Williamsburg, but the Queens version is still the one to hit.

Black caviar sits above a pink slab of fatty tuna sushi.
Black caviar on a slab of fatty tuna at Sushi On Me.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY


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Koloman is an overhaul of what had been the Breslin at the Ace Hotel, now in a room with restored tin ceilings, a clock-themed bar, and a modern Austrian menu by head chef and co-owner Markus Glocker. Choose among dishes like celery root tartare, gougeres, souffle, and veal schnitzel. Pair them with a compelling selection from an Austrian wine list, or consider an after-dinner hard-to-find collection of schnapps. Save room for desserts like the Lübeck marzipan, apple strudel, or caramelized milk bread that live up to superlatives.

A collection of dishes arranged on a black background.
Find Kolomon in the old Breslin space in the Ace Hotel.
Gary He/Eater NY

Starting at $435 per person, Noz 17 is a sibling to Sushi Noz and serves as a Toyota Corolla-sized restaurant with room for just seven diners at a time. Chef Junichi Matsuzaki offers one of New York’s most epic and unconventional tasting menus. Dinner might begin with a lotus root dumpling with tofu skin, followed by gizzard shad sushi: a tiny silver fish as tart as a spoonful of vinegar. Two courses later, sushi arrives again, this time in the form of yuzu-dusted sea bream.

A fish filet sits curled upon itself on a decorative plate; a lime wedge sits on the side.
A fish filet sits curled upon itself on a decorative plate.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

This year has become the year of the modern luncheonette: S&P is one of the forerunners of the group, a counter-service restaurant from the team behind the sandwich makers at Court Street Grocers. The location used to be Eisenberg’s, which closed during the pandemic and its spirit remains throughout, with tuna melts, peanut butter bacon with rye, cottage fries, and egg creams — few places feel more New York.

A hairy hand passes a plate with a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread.
A ham and cheese at S&P.
Melanie Landsman/Eater NY

Chama Mama

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For the last decade, the food of the former Soviet republic of Georgia has been taking off in New York City, launched by our love of the bread with a handle that surrounds a lake of cheese called khachapuri. Well, the bread freshly made is available in several variations at Chama Mama, along with charcoal kebabs, stews in which herbs function as vegetables, and a distinguished wine list with some lesser-seen varietals. There are several locations now in the city.

A teal bowl filled with red bean stew next to a white plate with an assortment of fermented vegetables arranged on it.
Lobio red beans at Chama Mama.
Erika Adams/Eater NY


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This two-story Thai restaurant is a little bit of Bangkok on University Place. The multiple dining rooms — some on a balcony — are decorated like a market with wrought iron, period movie posters, and swagging electrical lines, and there’s even a fake stand selling lottery tickets. The food is colorful, and includes selections from all over the country, including many examples of Bangkok street food.

A person an orange vest stands in the middle of multiple dining rooms on two levels.
The interior mimics a Bangkok market.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Via Carota

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Rita Sodi and Jody Williams have several top restaurants in a couple-block stretch of the West Village (including Buvette, I Sodi, and Bar Pisellino). Via Carota remains the crowd favorite for good reason, with its simple Italian dishes dressed up to perfection. Long known for being walk-in only, these days the restaurant thankfully has some tables open for reservations.

Via Carota’s insalata verde salad.
Via Carota’s insalata verde.
Gentl & Hyers/Alfred A. Knopf

Taqueria Ramirez

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Blowtorched tripe or cactus with chicharron? Longaniza on its own or mixed with suadero? These aren’t the type of questions New Yorkers are used to asking in north Brooklyn, but standing at the counter of Taqueria Ramírez, their answers are obvious: We’ll take it all. This small taqueria with an even smaller menu — six tacos most days — opened in 2021, becoming an immediate hit for its stewed meats plucked from a bubbling choricera. There are a handful of seats indoors, but most people spill out onto the sidewalk out front.

A gloved hands hold a sieve of crumbly red meat over a vat of orange fat and oil, also filled with other meats
Suadero (left) and crumbly longaniza stew in a choricera.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Order a perfect bowl of udon and tea for under $40 including tax and tip at this neighborhood Japanese noodle restaurant with a second location in Soho, part of Cloud Nine Hospitality Group. Here since 2016, chef Norihiro Ishizuka’s restaurant has assembled a menu of vegetables and gyoza, donburi, hot and cold udon in a soothingly minimalist space that’s on track to expand next door.

A bowl of udon at Raku.
A bowl of udon at Raku.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

Superiority Burger

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Founded by former pastry chef Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger — reopened recently in bigger digs right on Tompkins Square — is among the meteoric success stories of the NYC restaurant industry. It started out closet-sized, serving a small selection of mainly vegan dishes and gelato of the day, with a vegetable burger as its centerpiece. Now the vegetarian menu partly parallels that of the Ukrainian diner that was in the space before, with dozens of surprising selections, including the collards-on-focaccia sandwich, stuffed cabbage, and funnel cake, among many other great desserts.

A sesame seeded flatbread with collard greens in the middle.
Collards on focaccia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY


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Balthazar, restaurateur Keith McNally’s French brasserie opened in 1997, representing a changing tide in what had been an industrial, art-filled downtown Manhattan, and a shift in how and what New Yorkers wanted to eat. Today, the menu still includes mainstays like raw bar seafood towers, French onion soup, steak frites, and profiteroles. It remains relevant as ever, with McNally’s running Instagram commentary, his insistence on treating solo diners as VIPs with a glass of Champagne, and people watching like few places in New York.

Balthazar’s red awning.
The iconic Balthazar awning.

Katz's Delicatessen

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Katz’s has stood on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow streets since 1888, and the pastrami alone is a New York icon. The expansive, cafeteria-style dining room is almost always bustling, and diners have to know how to navigate the system. Get in line, remember to tip the slicer (they might give you an extra piece to snack on), and no matter what, don’t lose that ticket.

The front of a sprawling corner store at night, with red neon letters that read “Katz’s Delicatessen” in capital letters.
Outside of Katz’s Delicatessen.
Daniel Krieger/Eater NY

Una Pizza Napoletana

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Expect lines at this destination that inspires many a pizza pilgrimage. Anthony Mangieri is known for his almost militant approach to Neapolitan pizza making, and a simple menu featuring classics done well. Last summer, Mangieri’s Una was tied for the first-place title of the best pizzeria in the world, by the organization 50 Top Pizza.

An overhead shot of a pizza pie with mozzarella, basil, and red sauce, and a charred outer crust.
Una Pizza comes with a knife.
Una Pizza Napoletana

Russ & Daughters Cafe

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This Lower East Side restaurant is a full-service sibling to the iconic appetizing store in the form of a historic Jewish dairy restaurant, complete with baked goods and preserved fish departments — but no meat whatsoever. Here, is a traditional luncheonette recast in modern form, where you’ll find platters of smoked fish, egg creams, and matzo ball soup.

A man stands behind the counter at Russ and Daughters Cafe.
Russ and Daughters Cafe.
Russ and Daughters Cafe

Bánh Mì Saigon

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One of the city’s earliest and best examples of the iconic sandwich is found at Bánh Mì Saigon, a small restaurant that opened in the back of a jewelry shop in 1989. (It relocated to this storefront in Little Italy in 2010, and its crusty baguettes are now baked on the premises.) They’re sold with barbecued pork, Vietnamese ham, pate, and other meats for around $10. Cucumber spears, pickled carrots, and cilantro are added by default.

A banh mi sandwich with carrots, cilantro, and meat on crusty bread.
The #1 at Bánh Mì Saigon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY


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Pushing the boundaries in exploring local Indian cuisines, Dhamaka’s new menu is divided by snacks, grill, pots, rice, sides, and a $210 hunting meal; each dish features lines that point to a state of origin on a detailed map of India. It’s still the same lively dining room that feels like a party — and there’s even brunch now, too.

A menu on a plate at Dhamaka.
The new menu at Dhamaka.
Gary He/Eater NY

Great NY Noodletown

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For a taste of old-school Manhattan Chinatown, pull up a seat at this Chinese restaurant named for its noodles but known for its wonton soup. Located off of Bowery, N.Y. Noodletown opened in 1981, and the addition of the word “great” came later on. At one point, the restaurant served plates of salt-baked squid and sauteed water spinach until 4 a.m. For a proper study in barbecued meats, many of which glisten in the restaurant’s window looking out on Bayard Street, order a combination plate with several cuts over a bed of rice.

Three meats with green sauce on top heaped on rice.
Barbecue meats over rice with ginger-scallion relish.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Misi is chef Missy Robbins follow-up to Lilia. But just because the restaurant is easier to get into than its sibling, doesn’t mean it's any less of a pasta palace. In fact, we prefer the more lowkey energy at this restaurant located just steps from Domino Park. The calling card here is the decadent ricotta toast and there’s no way to go wrong with your pasta selection. Don’t sleep on the creamy gelato desserts.

A spread of dishes at Misi
The ricotta toast is a must at Misi.
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

The Four Horsemen

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The wave of natural wine bar openings was just around the corner when LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy opened the Four Horsemen in 2015. Almost a decade later, the always-packed bar and dining room remains a gathering place for wine lovers, scenesters, Francophiles, and restaurant enthusiasts. It’s rare for a wine bar to hit a home run with both its drink and food menus, but this Williamsburg favorite strikes the right balance with its knowledgeable servers and Michelin-worthy small plates. Plates are small and prices are in line with a celebratory night out.

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

L'Industrie Pizzeria

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Opened in 2017, L’Industrie was once one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets: a top-tier slice shop where it was possible to pop in for a pie or a cup of gelato with olive oil and salt without lines. Massimo Laveglia’s naturally leavened slice shop has since undergone an expansion that included adding an indoor counter space, and a sizable outdoor setup. Slices come out on greasy paper plates with crisp, naturally leavened crusts and ample toppings like burrata and pepperoni.

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

Win Son

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Win Son is as packed as it was when it first opened seven years ago. It’s no secret: This Taiwanese American restaurant has gotten better with time. Win Son has become our go-to for date nights, family in town, and big-group birthdays crowded around a lazy Susan. Bring a few friends, because the list of must-order dishes here has grown with time. Taiwanese staples like fly’s head and lu rou fan hit the spot, and there are tasty riffs on pork buns, pea shoots, and fried chicken sandwiches. For all the popularity, it’s almost always possible to walk in here with a short wait.