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An employee works behind the light wooden bar of a restaurant in a Manhattan restaurant, Hav & Mar.
Marcus Samuelsson opened Hav & Mar on 11th Avenue last fall.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/Eater NY

25 Essential Restaurants in Chelsea

The Manhattan neighborhood is bursting with Dominican, Italian, Burmese, Basque, and Ethiopian Swedish flavor

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Marcus Samuelsson opened Hav & Mar on 11th Avenue last fall.
| Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/Eater NY

In the latter half of the 19th century, Chelsea went from being a bucolic suburb to an industrialized city neighborhood, with smoke-belching factories lining the Hudson River, including a former Nabisco production facility, now Chelsea Market. Today, its attractions remain numerous, including bustling 14th Street to the south, the twisting elevated path of the High Line running like the neighborhood’s backbone, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the boutique hotels and art galleries serving as a buffer between residential Chelsea and the Hudson River. The precise borders are controversial, but for the purposes of this map, the neighborhood runs from around Sixth Avenue on the east to the Hudson River on the west and from 14th Street on the south to 30th Street on the north.

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Ddobar by Joomak at Olly Olly Market

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This counter in Olly Olly Market offers a sushi omakase experience of 11 courses for $75, a very reasonable price since it often involves luxury ingredients like wagyu, bluefin, and caviar. The sushi often takes the form of what Ddobar calls yubu tarts — morsels of fish atop rice-stuffed envelopes of tofu skin, much like inari sushi. Especially for sushi lovers it’s a unique and unusual experience.

A pink piece of fish with mound of black caviar on top.
One course of hiramasa and caviar in the yubu tart form.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hav & Mar

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On the western edge of Chelsea, find Hav & Mar, another restaurant from Marcus Samuelsson. Handily merging the food of Sweden, Ethiopia, and New York, he presents an array of unlikely dishes, including Addis York, his version of Ethiopian doro wat, featuring glazed chicken drumsticks triumphantly pointing skyward. The bread basket alone is worth visiting the restaurant for, and the best dish on the menu is the cavatelli with seafood in a creamy uni sauce.

Red glazed chicken legs point skyward with a boiled egg on the side.
Addis York, a playful take on the national dish of Ethiopia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ovest Pizzoteca

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This decade-old pizza pioneer opened in Chelsea’s gallery district way before most other restaurants appeared there, with the exception of the Red Cat and a couple of other old-timers, most now long gone. The space is warehouse-like, the bar provides cocktails in addition to beer and wine, and the exemplary pizzas fly from a wood oven that casts flickering shadows on the brick walls — a perfect date spot.

A red and deeply browned margherita pizza with white pools of cheese and a basil leaf.
A wood-oven pizza from Ovest.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Salumeria Biellese

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Before the current mania for Italian authenticity swept over the city, many cured pork products such as guanciale and lardo were tough to find unless you dropped by Salumeria Biellese. These ingredients are still for sale in glass cases, even though manufacturing has since shifted to Hackensack, New Jersey. These days, this 90-year-old pork store mounts a steam table full of red-sauce pastas at lunchtime, plus a menu of giant hero sandwiches.

An Italian deli interior with red checked tablecloths and guys standing behind a counter with glass cases.
Glass cases display the lunch options at Salumeria Biellese.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Not to be confused with a more ambitious and expensive restaurant of the same name on the Upper West Side, Chelsea’s Swagat is a steam-table establishment, though a really exceptional one. The all-day special includes one meat and one vegetable dish, plus dal, rice, and a naan; lamb curry is often one of the possible choices.

Vegetables, meat in brown gravy, yellow split peas, and rice on a white plate.
Lamb curry with two vegetable sides at Swagat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New York Burger Co.

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The burgers here are grilled over flame and cooked to order, developing a smoky taste that elevates the output and makes this a burger destination. Multiple sauces are offered at a station in the corner, and the fries are as worthy of the toppings as the burgers. Another highlight at this corner space with a view of the High Line: a foot-long hot dog that’s actually a foot long.

A long long hot dog in a boat on a checkered tablecloth.
The epic foot long at New York Burger Co.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Txikito

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After a several-year hiatus, Txikito has returned to Chelsea with a bang, peddling Basque small plates of octopus, poached cod, beef cheek and jowl, and king oyster mushroom carpaccio. The chefs are the wife-and-husband team of Alex Raij and Eder Montero, and the premises recall a Spanish tapas bar in style, intimacy, and good smells.

Many small plates with Spanish food on them.
A spread of Txikito tapas.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Sullivan Street Bakery

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A branch of the prized bakery that opened in Greenwich Village in 1994, this handsome and trim lunchroom serves pastries and egg breakfasts in the mornings before switching to sandwiches and Roman pizzas until closing. The bomboloni, either vanilla or chocolate, is worth seeking out, as are the loaves of bread and square slices of focaccia topped with ingredients like potatoes and zucchini, available all day.

A rectangular slice of pizza with potatoes and rosemary on top.
Potato focaccia at Sullivan Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hey Yuet

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Hey Yuet is one of the city’s better restaurants serving Cantonese dim sum and dishes from Hong Kong. From classic har gow to newfangled black bao adorned with a gold leaf, some of the best dim sum in town is to be found here all day and into the night.

Two hands hold up a steamer with three round black steamed buns inside.
This dark color is achieved with powdered charcoal.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Empire Diner

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This railroad-car diner vastly extends the diner food genre to accommodate many international dishes from a modern perspective. Sure, there are lavish breakfasts and a memorable fried chicken, but there’s also tuna tartare, rye pancakes, and Waldorf salad.

A diner interior with counter, swiveling stools, and booths by the window.
Interior, Empire Diner.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pepe Giallo

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This homey Italian restaurant on the edge of Chelsea’s gallery district makes a nice refuge after an afternoon of art-hopping. Founded in 1997, it used to be part of a great chain specializing in discount pastas whipped up on the spot, and part of that aura remains, though the menu now concentrates on antipasti, panini, and pizzas, with the occasional risotto or lasagna thrown in for good measure.

A crumbed and browned chicken cutlet under a nest of arugula and tomatoes.
Chicken milanesa makes a nice shared secondo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cookshop

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Located in one of Chelsea’s quieter sections surrounded by distinguished older buildings, Cookshop was founded with a farm-to-table ethos in 2005 and has gradually grown to be a favorite spot for a tumultuous brunch or a quiet dinner. Vegetables are emphasized — even in its inventive pizzas — and there’s a substantial commitment to seafood, while many appetizers and entrees are prepared in a wood-fired oven.

People sitting at the corner or a bar with a bartender with blue hair and a very old building out the window.
Cookshop is one of the city’s best brunch options.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Occupying an elegant townhouse in western Chelsea, Qanoon slings distinguished Palestinian food. Many of the short dishes called mezze have rarely been produced so well in this area, including muhammara, hummus, baba ghanoush, and labneh configured as orbs for dipping. Main dishes are complete dinners, best of which is makloubeh, a lamb and eggplant casserole.

A basket of cut pitas in the upper left, plus a plate of hummus and chickpeas and three green orbs in a separate bowl.
Labneh balls and hummus are among Qanoon’s mezze highlights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Star on 18

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Ensconced in an ancient diner, and with a core menu of diner specials, Star on 18 has an extensive list of more modern offerings like quesadillas, grilled salmon, and fried calamari listed on a chalkboard. The club sandwich is top notch, made with freshly baked turkey breast, and oodles of bacon, and the booths are as comfortable as comfortable can be.

A diner interior with a potted plant in the foreground and blue upholstered booths in two rows.
The comfortable interior of Star on 18 encourages you to linger over the bottomless cup of coffee.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Johny's Luncheonette

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When it opened in 1994, Johny’s was located in Chelsea’s warehouse district between Sixth and Seventh avenues, an area also famed for its flea markets, now mainly gone. Johny’s was and still is just a tiny lunch counter serving eggs, pancakes, hamburgers, and sandwiches, but it has adapted to more modern times with a longer menu of invented heros with names like Sloppy Johny and Curious George. Some sandwiches even have french fries tucked inside.

A hero sandwich with eggs, ham, and french fries tumbling out.
Here’s a hero you could eat for breakfast or lunch.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Latin American

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Once largely a Latin American neighborhood, most of Chelsea’s Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban restaurants are now long gone. And after the tragic closing of Milanes on West 25th Street, only Latin American remains, peddling pernil, Cuban sandwiches, chicken fricassee, liver and onions, and other dishes, many rotating on a weekly basis.

Red beans, yellow rice, stewed chicken.
Chicken fricassee at Latin American.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Memo Shish Kebab

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Memo is a Kings Highway Turkish establishment founded in 2000, which popped up here at one of Chelsea’s busiest corners. The doner kebab is fantastic (and quickly served); pick lamb and be assured you’re getting lamb and not the unsatisfying lamb-beef hybrid currently being peddled elsewhere. Plenty of salads, bread dips, pastries, and other kebabs also worth trying.

At Chelsea’s Memo Shish Kebab, doner is queen.
Two twirling doner cylinders.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dickson’s Farmstand Meats at Chelsea Market

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This grass fed and sustainable meat market has spun off an eatery in the basement that’s also a butcher shop, with all sorts of hamburgers, roasts, hot dogs, fries, and hot sandwiches for sale — or get a baguette and dive into a thick slice of pate, available at a separate counter. The seating is summer camp style, and it’s a great place to meet friends for a bite, and beer and wine are served.

Three butchers in white coats break down hanging sides of beef.
Watch butchers at work in the basement eatery of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Rangoon

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Chef Myo Moe introduced the city to Burmese food seven years ago with pop-ups in Bushwick bars, then opened her own place in Prospect Heights. Now there’s a branch in Chelsea, brightly decorated with white tiles and walls, and big windows that create a sense of airiness. For an introduction to the food of Myanmar, consider the mohinga, a noodle soup made with a strong broth flavored with crushed fish.

A nest of noodles with crunchy shallots and fried shrimp on top.
Garlic noodles with fried chicken.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Commons Chelsea

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Founded in 2011 and inspired by high school cafeterias, this tiny tile-lined spot serves excellent coffee, all-day breakfasts, avocado toasts, soups, and pastries. The seating inside is limited, but the outdoor tables are popular with neighborhood regulars, and prices are reasonable for the location. The porchetta sandwich, a frequent special, is wonderful.

A sandwich on a roll held open to reveal sliced pork and a green relish.
The porchetta sandwich at Commons Chelsea
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

BoCaphe

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This spot excels at the most basic of Vietnamese dishes in a coffee house setting. Three kinds of pho are available, slightly better than average, plus banh mi, and green papaya salad with a large variety of add-ins, aiming to be the perfect luncheon main course. With its filled bao, the place strays into Chinese territory. The Vietnamese coffee, hot or cold, is particularly good.

A steamer with some cut up rolls filled with vegetables.
Vegetable spring rolls at BoCaPhe.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Portale

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This restaurant, named for its chef Alfred Portale, offers a menu of Italian classic dishes in a fine dining vein, with the conventional three courses plus pizzas and desserts. The antipasti are particularly fine, including a perfect seafood salad of lobster, scallops, octopus, shrimp, and avocado. The menu also lists a handful of pasta and secondi, and the one labeled “maiale” (Italian for “pig”) combines hunks of pork with polenta cake and a zingy mostarda.

A clump of seafood salad with a sprig of frisee on top.
A dressed up seafood salad at Portale.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Donut Pub

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This Chelsea doughnut mainstay founded in 1964 mounts a colorful display of 30 or so doughnuts in front for carryout, and a snaking lunch counter — we mean, a real old fashioned lunch counter — in back where, not only can you enjoy a doughnut and some acceptable coffee, but a catalog of sandwiches like ham, tuna salad, and the sainted BEC. And the place is open 24 hours.

Two clerks stand before row upon row of colorful donuts.
The doughnut counter at the reopened Donut Pub.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chama Mama

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As Georgian restaurants in the city have moved into Manhattan and become more sophisticated, they’ve added impressive wine lists focusing on the grapes of the region and expanded their menus of pomegranate-strewn appetizers, herby stews, and, of course, a wide variety of khachapuris, the famous cheese-stuffed bread with an egg in the middle. Chama Mama rates as one of the city’s best Georgian spots; among its better dishes are the lamb-stuffed grape leaves and game hen in garlic broth.

Khachapuri at Chama Mama.
Khachapuri at Chama Mama.
Chama Mama

This quintessential sushi takeout spot moved a block up last year and got fancier in the process. Three sushi chefs are now spotlit at the counter, rapidly packaging fish for a line of delivery cyclists while the three elegant dining rooms nearby sit largely empty. The prices are better than expected for sushi of this quality, and chefs will occasionally slip customers who dine in a complimentary piece of tuna belly as part of the budget assortment.

A decorative Japanese bowl filled with sliced fish in a variety of colors.
Chirashi at Mikado.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ddobar by Joomak at Olly Olly Market

This counter in Olly Olly Market offers a sushi omakase experience of 11 courses for $75, a very reasonable price since it often involves luxury ingredients like wagyu, bluefin, and caviar. The sushi often takes the form of what Ddobar calls yubu tarts — morsels of fish atop rice-stuffed envelopes of tofu skin, much like inari sushi. Especially for sushi lovers it’s a unique and unusual experience.

A pink piece of fish with mound of black caviar on top.
One course of hiramasa and caviar in the yubu tart form.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hav & Mar

On the western edge of Chelsea, find Hav & Mar, another restaurant from Marcus Samuelsson. Handily merging the food of Sweden, Ethiopia, and New York, he presents an array of unlikely dishes, including Addis York, his version of Ethiopian doro wat, featuring glazed chicken drumsticks triumphantly pointing skyward. The bread basket alone is worth visiting the restaurant for, and the best dish on the menu is the cavatelli with seafood in a creamy uni sauce.

Red glazed chicken legs point skyward with a boiled egg on the side.
Addis York, a playful take on the national dish of Ethiopia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ovest Pizzoteca

This decade-old pizza pioneer opened in Chelsea’s gallery district way before most other restaurants appeared there, with the exception of the Red Cat and a couple of other old-timers, most now long gone. The space is warehouse-like, the bar provides cocktails in addition to beer and wine, and the exemplary pizzas fly from a wood oven that casts flickering shadows on the brick walls — a perfect date spot.

A red and deeply browned margherita pizza with white pools of cheese and a basil leaf.
A wood-oven pizza from Ovest.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Salumeria Biellese

Before the current mania for Italian authenticity swept over the city, many cured pork products such as guanciale and lardo were tough to find unless you dropped by Salumeria Biellese. These ingredients are still for sale in glass cases, even though manufacturing has since shifted to Hackensack, New Jersey. These days, this 90-year-old pork store mounts a steam table full of red-sauce pastas at lunchtime, plus a menu of giant hero sandwiches.

An Italian deli interior with red checked tablecloths and guys standing behind a counter with glass cases.
Glass cases display the lunch options at Salumeria Biellese.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Swagat

Not to be confused with a more ambitious and expensive restaurant of the same name on the Upper West Side, Chelsea’s Swagat is a steam-table establishment, though a really exceptional one. The all-day special includes one meat and one vegetable dish, plus dal, rice, and a naan; lamb curry is often one of the possible choices.

Vegetables, meat in brown gravy, yellow split peas, and rice on a white plate.
Lamb curry with two vegetable sides at Swagat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New York Burger Co.

The burgers here are grilled over flame and cooked to order, developing a smoky taste that elevates the output and makes this a burger destination. Multiple sauces are offered at a station in the corner, and the fries are as worthy of the toppings as the burgers. Another highlight at this corner space with a view of the High Line: a foot-long hot dog that’s actually a foot long.

A long long hot dog in a boat on a checkered tablecloth.
The epic foot long at New York Burger Co.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Txikito

After a several-year hiatus, Txikito has returned to Chelsea with a bang, peddling Basque small plates of octopus, poached cod, beef cheek and jowl, and king oyster mushroom carpaccio. The chefs are the wife-and-husband team of Alex Raij and Eder Montero, and the premises recall a Spanish tapas bar in style, intimacy, and good smells.

Many small plates with Spanish food on them.
A spread of Txikito tapas.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Sullivan Street Bakery

A branch of the prized bakery that opened in Greenwich Village in 1994, this handsome and trim lunchroom serves pastries and egg breakfasts in the mornings before switching to sandwiches and Roman pizzas until closing. The bomboloni, either vanilla or chocolate, is worth seeking out, as are the loaves of bread and square slices of focaccia topped with ingredients like potatoes and zucchini, available all day.

A rectangular slice of pizza with potatoes and rosemary on top.
Potato focaccia at Sullivan Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hey Yuet

Hey Yuet is one of the city’s better restaurants serving Cantonese dim sum and dishes from Hong Kong. From classic har gow to newfangled black bao adorned with a gold leaf, some of the best dim sum in town is to be found here all day and into the night.

Two hands hold up a steamer with three round black steamed buns inside.
This dark color is achieved with powdered charcoal.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Empire Diner

This railroad-car diner vastly extends the diner food genre to accommodate many international dishes from a modern perspective. Sure, there are lavish breakfasts and a memorable fried chicken, but there’s also tuna tartare, rye pancakes, and Waldorf salad.

A diner interior with counter, swiveling stools, and booths by the window.
Interior, Empire Diner.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pepe Giallo

This homey Italian restaurant on the edge of Chelsea’s gallery district makes a nice refuge after an afternoon of art-hopping. Founded in 1997, it used to be part of a great chain specializing in discount pastas whipped up on the spot, and part of that aura remains, though the menu now concentrates on antipasti, panini, and pizzas, with the occasional risotto or lasagna thrown in for good measure.

A crumbed and browned chicken cutlet under a nest of arugula and tomatoes.
Chicken milanesa makes a nice shared secondo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cookshop

Located in one of Chelsea’s quieter sections surrounded by distinguished older buildings, Cookshop was founded with a farm-to-table ethos in 2005 and has gradually grown to be a favorite spot for a tumultuous brunch or a quiet dinner. Vegetables are emphasized — even in its inventive pizzas — and there’s a substantial commitment to seafood, while many appetizers and entrees are prepared in a wood-fired oven.

People sitting at the corner or a bar with a bartender with blue hair and a very old building out the window.
Cookshop is one of the city’s best brunch options.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Qanoon

Occupying an elegant townhouse in western Chelsea, Qanoon slings distinguished Palestinian food. Many of the short dishes called mezze have rarely been produced so well in this area, including muhammara, hummus, baba ghanoush, and labneh configured as orbs for dipping. Main dishes are complete dinners, best of which is makloubeh, a lamb and eggplant casserole.

A basket of cut pitas in the upper left, plus a plate of hummus and chickpeas and three green orbs in a separate bowl.
Labneh balls and hummus are among Qanoon’s mezze highlights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Star on 18

Ensconced in an ancient diner, and with a core menu of diner specials, Star on 18 has an extensive list of more modern offerings like quesadillas, grilled salmon, and fried calamari listed on a chalkboard. The club sandwich is top notch, made with freshly baked turkey breast, and oodles of bacon, and the booths are as comfortable as comfortable can be.

A diner interior with a potted plant in the foreground and blue upholstered booths in two rows.
The comfortable interior of Star on 18 encourages you to linger over the bottomless cup of coffee.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Johny's Luncheonette

When it opened in 1994, Johny’s was located in Chelsea’s warehouse district between Sixth and Seventh avenues, an area also famed for its flea markets, now mainly gone. Johny’s was and still is just a tiny lunch counter serving eggs, pancakes, hamburgers, and sandwiches, but it has adapted to more modern times with a longer menu of invented heros with names like Sloppy Johny and Curious George. Some sandwiches even have french fries tucked inside.