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Chrysanthemum caesar at Don Angie
Chrysanthemum caesar at Don Angie
Alex Staniloff

18 Refreshing and Satisfying Restaurant Salads in NYC

From shredded papaya to flawless takes on the caesar, cobb, and niçoise

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Chrysanthemum caesar at Don Angie
| Alex Staniloff

New York City’s fast-casual salad market is certainly thriving — see Sweetgreen, Smile To Go, City Bakery — but the appeal of a well-made restaurant salad shouldn’t be underestimated. These 18 standout restaurant salads are good enough to be the meal’s main attraction, not the obligatory-feeling addition, simply to get something green and vaguely virtuous on the table.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Serafina Upper West Side

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2178 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
(212) 595-0092
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This Italian chain is typically just a solid choice for kid-friendly meals or (at its Midtown locations) a reliable business lunch. But it also makes a tangy, satisfying shaved raw artichoke salad, tossed in a simple lemon-olive oil dressing, covered with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings, and served with lemon slices for further citrus spritzing.

A post shared by Serafina NY (@serafinanewyork) on

2. Taverna Kyclades

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33-07 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 545-8666
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One of the city’s top places to find Grecian fare, Taverna Kyclades whips up a very faithful take on the classic Greek salad. A big hunk of feta sits atop diced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, and hot peppers, doused in olive oil and a showering of oregano. There’s an East Village outpost in addition to the Astoria original.

3. Michael's

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24 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 767-0555
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With California roots, this longtime power lunch spot serves a justifiably famous Cobb salad, filled with roasted chicken, thick-cut bacon, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and creamy avocado, all dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. As for the crowd, it’s a media industry favorite, populated by the likes of TV execs, on-air personalities, and Hearst heavyweights.

4. Don Angie

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103 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10014
(212) 889-8884
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Don Angie’s take on the caesar salad manages to be refreshing and inventive. Dressed chrysanthemum leaves take the place of romaine, and they’re showered in parmesan cheese — sometimes to the point of hiding the greens. Garlic adds pungency, while sesame brings in some toasted notes. It’s a flavor-packed addition to the table at this buzzy West Village modern Italian restaurant.

Chrysanthemum caesar at Don Angie Alex Staniloff

5. ABC Kitchen

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35 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-5829
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While there are plenty of light, flavorful, and often vegetable-driven items on stylish ABC Kitchen’s menu, the roast carrot and avocado salad is a longtime highlight. The sparse salad consists of carrots roasted in a marinade that includes citrus (both orange and lemon), cumin, garlic, and thyme, finished with a dollop of crème fraîche and toasted sunflower seeds for some crunch.

ABC Kitchen Photo via ABC Kitchen/Facebook

6. Barbuto

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775 Washington St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-9700
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Jonathan Waxman’s West Village spot gets a lot of love for its superb pollo al forno, and rightfully so. But don’t sleep on the kale salad, which has been around for a long time and predates the ubiquity of the leafy dark green on seemingly every menu. Packed with with pecorino, anchovies, and breadcrumbs, it’s simple but flawless, best enjoyed at a sidewalk table.

A post shared by Barbuto (@barbutonyc) on

7. TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie

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21 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 989-1000
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This Japanese udon export doesn’t only offer steaming bowls — go for the sashimi udon salad, which combines thinner, bucatini-like strands served cold with mixed greens, fresh slabs of fish (tuna, hamachi, salmon, snapper, and scallop), crispy shallots, onion, edamame, and a sesame dressing.

8. Gotham Bar and Grill

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12 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 620-4020
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The seafood salad has been on the menu for over two decades, and is one of the original dishes chef Alfred Portale has served his entire, lengthy time at Greenwich Village’s Gotham Bar and Grill. Created as a riff on seafood salads Portale first encountered in Florence, the ultra-fresh dish has Spanish octopus, scallops, lobster, and shrimp, poached to order and tossed with a light lemon-olive oil dressing, herbs, shallots, and spices, served with a bit of avocado and greens.

Photo via Gotham Bar and Grill/Facebook

9. Buvette

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42 Grove St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-3590
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This snug Parisian charmer from Jody Williams does a lot of things very well, like any of the delicately steamed egg dishes, for example. The roasted chicken salad is a highlight, too: Tossed with haricots verts, potatoes, and vinaigrette, it’s like a more nuanced, relatively lighter mash-up of chicken salad and potato salad, sans the mayo. Be prepared to wait for it.

A post shared by BuvetteNYC (@buvettenyc) on

10. Carbone

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181 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 254-3000
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The Caesar salad is pricey at Major Food Group’s ode to old-school American Italian fare, but so is everything on the menu. What makes it worth it? It’s a top example of the form, where the salad is prepared table-side, with ample anchovies, croutons made from sister restaurant Parm’s semolina rolls soaked in compound butter, and showered in cheese.

Carbone’s Caesar salad Bill Addison

11. Charlie Bird

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5 King St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 235-7133
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It’s hard to fathom a farro salad superior to chef Ryan Hardy’s version at Charlie Bird: The longtime item stays put on the ever-changing Soho restaurant menu and mixes the toothsome grain with pistachios, cherry tomatoes, thinly shaved radishes, basil, and Parmigiano. Be sure to fill the rest of the table with pastas.

A post shared by Charlie Bird (@charliebirdnyc) on

12. Somtum Der

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85 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 260-8570
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Head to this spicy Alphabet City Thai restaurant for a multitude of takes on papaya salad, the spicy Northeastern Thai dish that delivers assertive heat and refreshing crunch and tanginess in each bite. There are eight varieties of the salad, which originates from Isan, with additions like mackerel, grilled pork neck, and salted egg, all ringing in at $11 to $15.

Papaya salad at Somtum Der Photo via Somtum Der/Facebook

13. Estela

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1st floor, 47 E Houston St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 219-7693
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The endive salad at Noho charmer Estela may not look like much, but like the rest of Ignacio Mattos’ acid-driven fare, looks can be deceiving. Mattos simply dresses crunchy endive leaves with vinaigrette and orange zest, and hiding underneath is a pile of crunchy toasted walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso cheese. The result is absolutely addicting.

14. Five Leaves

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18 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-5345
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Another bowl of kale truly worth ordering in NYC, aside from Barbuto’s version? The chopped black kale salad at Greenpoint go-to Five Leaves. The excellent all-day dining option is currently a spicy riff on a Caesar, with gouda and hazelnuts; a previous iteration had mint, pine nuts, salted lemon, and yogurt.

Five Leaves Will Femia

15. Balthazar

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80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 965-1414
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Find one of the city’s finest Niçoise salads at this Keith McNally Soho institution. Seared tuna is draped over mixed greens, haricots verts, potatoes, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, and anchovies, served with a lemon dressing. But the exemplary take on the Niçoise, priced at $30 at lunch and $31 at dinner, isn’t solely for special occasions or expense-account lunches: A to-go version, with romaine in lieu of mixed greens and sans roasted peppers, is available at Balthazar Bakery next door, for $12.25.

Balthazar Photo Balthazar/Yelp

16. Greecologies

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379 Broome St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-0100
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The main attraction at this airy Nolita cafe is the homemade Greek yogurt, available strained or unstrained and in various savory and sweet toppings, but the Greek salad merits a visit, too. A generous slab of feta sprinkled with capers, oregano, and mint leaves sits atop halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, red onions, and high-quality Kalamata olives. The bottom has a foundation of Cretan rusks, or nutty crouton-like crackers made in-house, which soak up a generous glug of olive oil.

17. Buttermilk Channel

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524 Court St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 852-8490
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At this Carroll Gardens mainstay, there’s a particularly filling, standout salad, composed of warm lamb and romaine. The lettuce leaves are dressed with a tangy buttermilk, mustard, mayo, and red wine dressing and topped with lamb, roasted cauliflower, croutons, fried capers, and a soft-boiled egg.

Buttermilk Channel Photo via Buttermilk Channel/Yelp

18. Tanoreen

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7523 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 748-5600
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At this Bay Ridge restaurant, one of NYC’s 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmands, mother-daughter owners Rawia and Jumana Bishara turn out top-notch Middle Eastern home cooking, including an exemplary fatoush salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers are tossed with parsley, mint, sumac, pita, lemon and olive oil, with the option to add on grilled chicken and/or feta.

Tanoreen Photo via Tanoreen/Yelp

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1. Serafina Upper West Side

2178 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

This Italian chain is typically just a solid choice for kid-friendly meals or (at its Midtown locations) a reliable business lunch. But it also makes a tangy, satisfying shaved raw artichoke salad, tossed in a simple lemon-olive oil dressing, covered with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings, and served with lemon slices for further citrus spritzing.

2178 Broadway
New York, NY 10024

2. Taverna Kyclades

33-07 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105

One of the city’s top places to find Grecian fare, Taverna Kyclades whips up a very faithful take on the classic Greek salad. A big hunk of feta sits atop diced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, and hot peppers, doused in olive oil and a showering of oregano. There’s an East Village outpost in addition to the Astoria original.

33-07 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105

3. Michael's

24 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

With California roots, this longtime power lunch spot serves a justifiably famous Cobb salad, filled with roasted chicken, thick-cut bacon, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and creamy avocado, all dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. As for the crowd, it’s a media industry favorite, populated by the likes of TV execs, on-air personalities, and Hearst heavyweights.

24 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019

4. Don Angie

103 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014
Read Review |
Chrysanthemum caesar at Don Angie Alex Staniloff

Don Angie’s take on the caesar salad manages to be refreshing and inventive. Dressed chrysanthemum leaves take the place of romaine, and they’re showered in parmesan cheese — sometimes to the point of hiding the greens. Garlic adds pungency, while sesame brings in some toasted notes. It’s a flavor-packed addition to the table at this buzzy West Village modern Italian restaurant.

103 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10014

5. ABC Kitchen

35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003
ABC Kitchen Photo via ABC Kitchen/Facebook

While there are plenty of light, flavorful, and often vegetable-driven items on stylish ABC Kitchen’s menu, the roast carrot and avocado salad is a longtime highlight. The sparse salad consists of carrots roasted in a marinade that includes citrus (both orange and lemon), cumin, garlic, and thyme, finished with a dollop of crème fraîche and toasted sunflower seeds for some crunch.

35 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

6. Barbuto

775 Washington St, New York, NY 10014
Read Review |

Jonathan Waxman’s West Village spot gets a lot of love for its superb pollo al forno, and rightfully so. But don’t sleep on the kale salad, which has been around for a long time and predates the ubiquity of the leafy dark green on seemingly every menu. Packed with with pecorino, anchovies, and breadcrumbs, it’s simple but flawless, best enjoyed at a sidewalk table.

775 Washington St
New York, NY 10014

7. TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie

21 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003

This Japanese udon export doesn’t only offer steaming bowls — go for the sashimi udon salad, which combines thinner, bucatini-like strands served cold with mixed greens, fresh slabs of fish (tuna, hamachi, salmon, snapper, and scallop), crispy shallots, onion, edamame, and a sesame dressing.

21 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003

8. Gotham Bar and Grill

12 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
Photo via Gotham Bar and Grill/Facebook

The seafood salad has been on the menu for over two decades, and is one of the original dishes chef Alfred Portale has served his entire, lengthy time at Greenwich Village’s Gotham Bar and Grill. Created as a riff on seafood salads Portale first encountered in Florence, the ultra-fresh dish has Spanish octopus, scallops, lobster, and shrimp, poached to order and tossed with a light lemon-olive oil dressing, herbs, shallots, and spices, served with a bit of avocado and greens.

12 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003

9. Buvette

42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

This snug Parisian charmer from Jody Williams does a lot of things very well, like any of the delicately steamed egg dishes, for example. The roasted chicken salad is a highlight, too: Tossed with haricots verts, potatoes, and vinaigrette, it’s like a more nuanced, relatively lighter mash-up of chicken salad and potato salad, sans the mayo. Be prepared to wait for it.

42 Grove St
New York, NY 10014

10. Carbone

181 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012
Carbone’s Caesar salad Bill Addison

The Caesar salad is pricey at Major Food Group’s ode to old-school American Italian fare, but so is everything on the menu. What makes it worth it? It’s a top example of the form, where the salad is prepared table-side, with ample anchovies, croutons made from sister restaurant Parm’s semolina rolls soaked in compound butter, and showered in cheese.

181 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012

11. Charlie Bird

5 King St, New York, NY 10012

It’s hard to fathom a farro salad superior to chef Ryan Hardy’s version at Charlie Bird: The longtime item stays put on the ever-changing Soho restaurant menu and mixes the toothsome grain with pistachios, cherry tomatoes, thinly shaved radishes, basil, and Parmigiano. Be sure to fill the rest of the table with pastas.

5 King St
New York, NY 10012

12. Somtum Der

85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Papaya salad at Somtum Der Photo via Somtum Der/Facebook

Head to this spicy Alphabet City Thai restaurant for a multitude of takes on papaya salad, the spicy Northeastern Thai dish that delivers assertive heat and refreshing crunch and tanginess in each bite. There are eight varieties of the salad, which originates from Isan, with additions like mackerel, grilled pork neck, and salted egg, all ringing in at $11 to $15.

85 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

13. Estela

1st floor, 47 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012

The endive salad at Noho charmer Estela may not look like much, but like the rest of Ignacio Mattos’ acid-driven fare, looks can be deceiving. Mattos simply dresses crunchy endive leaves with vinaigrette and orange zest, and hiding underneath is a pile of crunchy toasted walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso cheese. The result is absolutely addicting.

1st floor, 47 E Houston St
New York, NY 10012

14. Five Leaves

18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Five Leaves Will Femia

Another bowl of kale truly worth ordering in NYC, aside from Barbuto’s version? The chopped black kale salad at Greenpoint go-to Five Leaves. The excellent all-day dining option is currently a spicy riff on a Caesar, with gouda and hazelnuts; a previous iteration had mint, pine nuts, salted lemon, and yogurt.

18 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

15. Balthazar

80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Balthazar Photo Balthazar/Yelp

Find one of the city’s finest Niçoise salads at this Keith McNally Soho institution. Seared tuna is draped over mixed greens, haricots verts, potatoes, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, and anchovies, served with a lemon dressing. But the exemplary take on the Niçoise, priced at $30 at lunch and $31 at dinner, isn’t solely for special occasions or expense-account lunches: A to-go version, with romaine in lieu of mixed greens and sans roasted peppers, is available at Balthazar Bakery next door, for $12.25.

80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

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16. Greecologies

379 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

The main attraction at this airy Nolita cafe is the homemade Greek yogurt, available strained or unstrained and in various savory and sweet toppings, but the Greek salad merits a visit, too. A generous slab of feta sprinkled with capers, oregano, and mint leaves sits atop halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, red onions, and high-quality Kalamata olives. The bottom has a foundation of Cretan rusks, or nutty crouton-like crackers made in-house, which soak up a generous glug of olive oil.

379 Broome St
New York, NY 10013

17. Buttermilk Channel

524 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Buttermilk Channel Photo via Buttermilk Channel/Yelp

At this Carroll Gardens mainstay, there’s a particularly filling, standout salad, composed of warm lamb and romaine. The lettuce leaves are dressed with a tangy buttermilk, mustard, mayo, and red wine dressing and topped with lamb, roasted cauliflower, croutons, fried capers, and a soft-boiled egg.

524 Court St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

18. Tanoreen

7523 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Tanoreen Photo via Tanoreen/Yelp

At this Bay Ridge restaurant, one of NYC’s 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmands, mother-daughter owners Rawia and Jumana Bishara turn out top-notch Middle Eastern home cooking, including an exemplary fatoush salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers are tossed with parsley, mint, sumac, pita, lemon and olive oil, with the option to add on grilled chicken and/or feta.

7523 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Related Maps