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A chef uses tweezers to place purple borage flowers over a bowl of scallop ceviche with cherimoya Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

18 Places to Splurge for a Special Occasion in NYC

Where to go for a long overdue blowout meal

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Maybe you got that new job. Maybe you got that paycheck a day early. Maybe you quit that awful job. Sometimes these occasions call for fiscal prudence — the prevailing ethos for so many people right now — but sometimes, these occasions call for a splurge. This list concerns itself with the latter situation.

New York is home to some of the country’s most expensive restaurants, but not all of them are very good restaurants. The venues here are a curated selection of the best blowouts at diverse price levels; to some, a $100 solo dinner might be as much of a study in excess as a $500 meal for two. The bulk of these restaurants offer a la carte options, though tasting menus are often available as well.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

For more New York dining recommendations, check out the new hotspots in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Hamptons and our guides to brunch, food halls and Michelin-starred restaurants right now.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sushi Noz

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Read Review |
181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075
(917) 338-1792
Visit Website

This omakase stunner is back to offering sedate indoor tastings of some of the city’s best sushi. A tasting menu orchestrated by Nozomu Abe in the hinoki room runs $395. A shorter sushi meal in the ash room costs $225. The chef places each piece of nigiri in front of you, directly onto the smooth wood bar. Real Cost: Anywhere from $300-$500 per person after beverages and tax. Prices are reflective of service.

Noz chef Nozomu Abe blows over a portable grill he’s using to lightly smoke sea eel
Noz chef Nozomu Abe blows over a portable grill for smoking eel
Matt Taylor-Gross/Eater NY

2. Yakitori Torishin

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362 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-0108
Visit Website

One of the city’s best yakitori spots is open for both indoor and outdoor dining. Indoor omakase offerings run $100 at the main counter (14 courses), or $180 at the luxury chef’s counter. More affordable options are available outdoors or at the tables. Dinner might involve skewers of chicken thigh, heart, liver, crunchy knee bone, or prized chicken oysters. Meats are grilled directly over binchotan charcoals. Real Cost: About $150 per person or more for a full meal after tax, beverage, and tip.

[The counter at Tori Shin]
[The counter at Tori Shin]
Nick Solares

3. Le Bernardin

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155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 554-1515
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Eric Ripert’s three-Michelin-starred temple to French seafood remains one of the top places to dine in New York, which makes Le Bernardin a tough reservation. But the bar and lounge, where the full menu is served, is open to walk-ins. The four-course menu is $185, while the chef’s tasting runs $280. A vegetarian menu is $220. Real Cost: Over $300 per person after wine, tax, and tip.

A server pours orange Thai shellfish broth onto a white plate, which holds a slide of poached skate covered by a multi-colored dice of papaya and squash Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

4. Aquavit

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65 E 55th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 307-7311
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Chef Emma Bengtsson’s two-Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant is open for indoor dining and takeout. Bar room dishes include herring trios, lojrom roe, gravlax, and Swedish meatballs. The more extravagant tasting menus run $155 and $275. Real Cost: Over $200 per person for the tasting.

Aquavit grav

5. ILILI

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236 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001
(212) 683-2929
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Chef Philippe Massoud continues to run one of the city’s top Middle Eastern restaurants at Ilili in Flatiron. Expect silky kibbeh nayeh steak tartare with mint and bulgur, duck shawarma with fig jam, and generous mixed grill platters with beef kebab, kofta, lamb kebabs and other assorted treats. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Real cost: About $100 per person after drink, tax, and tip.

6. Cote Korean Steakhouse

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16 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10010
(212) 401-7986
Visit Website

Simon Kim’s Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse offers indoor and outdoor dining, where diners can enjoy the $58 or $165 set menus, with extensive a la carte beef, shellfish, and caviar selections as well. Real Cost: Expect to spend at least $115 per person or more after tax, tip, drinks, and extras.

A circular beef-filled tabletop grill sits at the center; around that gold-rimmed grill are small banchan, including kimchi and egg omelet
An assortment of grilled meats and sides at Cote
Daniel Krieger/Eater

7. Rezdôra

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27 E 20th St
New York, NY 10003
(646) 692-9090
Visit Website

Chef Stefano Secchi, an alum of famed Italy restaurant Osteria Francescana, has gifted New York with one of its most popular Italian restaurants in years, serving up hearty (but rarely heavy) a la carte specialties from the butter-and-cheese-loving region of Emilia-Romagna. The $95 pasta tasting is a smart move, showing off rich preparations like tortellini en brodo, and a tagliatelle bolognese packing a profound, perception-altering meatiness. Indoor or outdoor seating is available. Real Cost: At least $125 per person a la carte, or more for the pasta tasting.

The tagliolini al ragu, held up by a fork, at Rezdora
Tagliolini al ragu
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

8. SONA

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36 E 20th St
New York, NY 10003

Sona: Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s and chef  Hari Nayak’s Flatiron restaurant is a sedate and luxurious counterpart to the excellent and more face-melting regional fare one will find at Dhamaka downtown. Expect very good crab puri with caviar, creamy butter chicken, and a take on Floyd Cardoz’s spicy Goan fish curry. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip.

Stuffed chicken wings sit on a platter next to crab puri topped with quenelles of black caviar Ryan Sutton/Eater

9. Shuko

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47 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-6088
Visit Website

Masa alums Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, two of the city’s best and most innovative sushi chefs (think: torched toro sinew with Thai bird chiles), have reopened for indoor dining. Dinner is $228 per person for a series of small plates and 16 pieces of sushi. Supplemental sushi like toro with uni and caviar is also available. Real Cost: About $300 per person or more.

A slice of pink fatty tuna, marbled with fat, sits over a small mound of rice
Bluefin tuna nigiri
Daniel Krieger/Eater

10. I Sodi

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Read Review |
105 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-5774
Visit Website

Rita Sodi’s Tuscan cuisine is unequivocally bare bones: She adds no cream to her polenta. But with carefully sourced ingredients, studied cooking, stellar cacio e pepe, killer brick chicken, and a head spinning selection of amari, she’s turned I Sodi in the West Village into one of the city’s best Italian restaurants. Real Cost: About $110 per person for four courses.

Customers dine at a busy I Sodi, with one wall lined with wine bottles
The dining room at I Sodi
Alex Staniloff/Eater

11. Llama San

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Read Review |
359 6th Ave
New York, NY 10014
(646) 490-4422
Visit Website

Erik Ramirez’s creative take on Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei fare initially made Llama San one of the city’s toughest-to-get-into restaurants with tables for two regularly booking up a month out. Amid the COVID-19 era, however, reservations are easier to come by. Diners will encounter visually striking and delicious compositions like scallops with yuzu kosho, aged duck breast nigiri with banana, and Iberico pork tonkotsu with green udon. Real Cost: At least $125 per person before for a four-course a la carte meal with wine.

Green nasturtium leaves sit over a plate of aged duck nigiri, set on a blonde wood table
Duck nigiri with roasted banana
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

12. Momofuku Ko

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8 Extra Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 203-8095
Visit Website

Momofuku’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, under the helm of chef Esther Ha and general manager Su Wong-Ruiz, is finally offering its longer counter tasting again, at $280 per person. Patrons in the smaller bar room can also order a shorter $110 menu, or choose from a la carte fare including cold fried chicken, caviar, and excellent mustard pizza. Real Cost: About $75 per person or more after beverage and tax in the bar room, or $350 per person and up for the counter menu. Prices are inclusive of service.

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

A few tongues of orange uni sit next to a yellow chickpea puree in a pool of green olive oil
Uni with chickpea hozon
Daniel Krieger/Eater

13. Frenchette

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241 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 334-3883
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Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson’s modern French restaurant and natural wine hub is open for indoor and outdoor dining. Expect the duo’s signature oysters with sausages, soupe de poisson, and tartare frites. Real cost: At least $115 per person for three courses plus drinks, tax, and tip.

Frenchette duck frites Louise Palmberg

14. Dhamaka

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119 Delancey St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 204-8616
Visit Website

The $190 Rajasthani rabbit, which can be quite difficult to reserve, might be the one literal splurge item at Chintan Pandya and Roni Mazumdar’s breathtakingly spicy Indian spot, but the other more affordable preparations are so unique and expertly prepared it would be remiss not to include this venue on a special occasion map. Expect fiery gurda kapoora (goat testicles and kidneys), a flaky fish fry, and fragrant goat neck biriyani. Real Cost: About $75 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip.

15. Lilia

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Read Review |
567 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 576-3095
Visit Website

This Williamsburg Italian restaurant from chef Missy Robbins and partner Sean Feeney remains one of the city’s best and toughest-to-get-into pasta spots; outdoor reservations can book up thirty days out. In exchange for these efforts, however, diners are treated to spectacular baked clams with Calabrian chiles, ruffled malfadini pasta with pink peppercorns, and heady lamb steaks. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person.

A corner of Lilia’s dining room with lights that hang over the tables
The light-filled dining room at Lilia
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater

16. Falansai

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112 Harrison Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 381-0980
Visit Website

Chef Eric Tran’s Vietnamese American hangout in Bushwick is a fine place for a quick weeknight dinner, but the longer $83 tasting offers the type of elegant, spicy, sometimes offal-y experience that one would hope to find more frequently at fancier restaurants. The menu changes nightly but one might encounter beef tartare-stuffed spring rolls; chicken liver brulee; or fish head, collar, and belly meant for wrapping up in lettuce leaves. Real Cost: About $75 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip, or over $120 per person for the tasting menu plus beverages.

Fish head, collar, and belly sits on a plate next to a separate dish of lettuce leaves Alex Staniloff

17. La Vara

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268 Clinton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 422-0065
Visit Website

Tucked into a tree-lined residential street in Cobble Hill, La Vara is one of the city’s best Iberian spots. Chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero pay homage to the Moorish and Sephardic traditions of Spain, serving up beef jowl terrine with pistachio and mustard oil, toasted fideos with squid, shrimp, and aioli; and roast suckling pig with tximitxurri. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person for a full meal with multiple plates, drinks, and dessert.

Chef Alex Raij stands in front of La Vara in a white-and-black-striped search with her hand on her hip
Chef Alex Raij stands in front of La Vara
Daniel Krieger/Eater

18. Claro

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Read Review |
284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(347) 721-3126
Visit Website

Tostadas, moles, and mezcal flights are all up for grabs at this one-star sensation in Gowanus. The Oaxacan restaurant from chef TJ Steele serves a four-course, $72 menu by reservation through Resy, with a short a la carte menu available at the bar. Real Cost: About $115 or more per person at dinner after beverage, tax, and tip.

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1. Sushi Noz

181 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075
Read Review |
Noz chef Nozomu Abe blows over a portable grill he’s using to lightly smoke sea eel
Noz chef Nozomu Abe blows over a portable grill for smoking eel
Matt Taylor-Gross/Eater NY

This omakase stunner is back to offering sedate indoor tastings of some of the city’s best sushi. A tasting menu orchestrated by Nozomu Abe in the hinoki room runs $395. A shorter sushi meal in the ash room costs $225. The chef places each piece of nigiri in front of you, directly onto the smooth wood bar. Real Cost: Anywhere from $300-$500 per person after beverages and tax. Prices are reflective of service.

181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

2. Yakitori Torishin

362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
[The counter at Tori Shin]
[The counter at Tori Shin]
Nick Solares

One of the city’s best yakitori spots is open for both indoor and outdoor dining. Indoor omakase offerings run $100 at the main counter (14 courses), or $180 at the luxury chef’s counter. More affordable options are available outdoors or at the tables. Dinner might involve skewers of chicken thigh, heart, liver, crunchy knee bone, or prized chicken oysters. Meats are grilled directly over binchotan charcoals. Real Cost: About $150 per person or more for a full meal after tax, beverage, and tip.

362 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

3. Le Bernardin

155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
A server pours orange Thai shellfish broth onto a white plate, which holds a slide of poached skate covered by a multi-colored dice of papaya and squash Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Eric Ripert’s three-Michelin-starred temple to French seafood remains one of the top places to dine in New York, which makes Le Bernardin a tough reservation. But the bar and lounge, where the full menu is served, is open to walk-ins. The four-course menu is $185, while the chef’s tasting runs $280. A vegetarian menu is $220. Real Cost: Over $300 per person after wine, tax, and tip.

155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019

4. Aquavit

65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
Read Review |
Aquavit grav

Chef Emma Bengtsson’s two-Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant is open for indoor dining and takeout. Bar room dishes include herring trios, lojrom roe, gravlax, and Swedish meatballs. The more extravagant tasting menus run $155 and $275. Real Cost: Over $200 per person for the tasting.

65 E 55th St
New York, NY 10022

5. ILILI

236 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Chef Philippe Massoud continues to run one of the city’s top Middle Eastern restaurants at Ilili in Flatiron. Expect silky kibbeh nayeh steak tartare with mint and bulgur, duck shawarma with fig jam, and generous mixed grill platters with beef kebab, kofta, lamb kebabs and other assorted treats. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Real cost: About $100 per person after drink, tax, and tip.

236 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001

6. Cote Korean Steakhouse

16 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
A circular beef-filled tabletop grill sits at the center; around that gold-rimmed grill are small banchan, including kimchi and egg omelet
An assortment of grilled meats and sides at Cote
Daniel Krieger/Eater

Simon Kim’s Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse offers indoor and outdoor dining, where diners can enjoy the $58 or $165 set menus, with extensive a la carte beef, shellfish, and caviar selections as well. Real Cost: Expect to spend at least $115 per person or more after tax, tip, drinks, and extras.

16 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10010

7. Rezdôra

27 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Read Review |
The tagliolini al ragu, held up by a fork, at Rezdora
Tagliolini al ragu
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Chef Stefano Secchi, an alum of famed Italy restaurant Osteria Francescana, has gifted New York with one of its most popular Italian restaurants in years, serving up hearty (but rarely heavy) a la carte specialties from the butter-and-cheese-loving region of Emilia-Romagna. The $95 pasta tasting is a smart move, showing off rich preparations like tortellini en brodo, and a tagliatelle bolognese packing a profound, perception-altering meatiness. Indoor or outdoor seating is available. Real Cost: At least $125 per person a la carte, or more for the pasta tasting.

27 E 20th St
New York, NY 10003

8. SONA

36 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
Stuffed chicken wings sit on a platter next to crab puri topped with quenelles of black caviar Ryan Sutton/Eater

Sona: Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s and chef  Hari Nayak’s Flatiron restaurant is a sedate and luxurious counterpart to the excellent and more face-melting regional fare one will find at Dhamaka downtown. Expect very good crab puri with caviar, creamy butter chicken, and a take on Floyd Cardoz’s spicy Goan fish curry. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip.

36 E 20th St
New York, NY 10003

9. Shuko

47 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
A slice of pink fatty tuna, marbled with fat, sits over a small mound of rice
Bluefin tuna nigiri
Daniel Krieger/Eater

Masa alums Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, two of the city’s best and most innovative sushi chefs (think: torched toro sinew with Thai bird chiles), have reopened for indoor dining. Dinner is $228 per person for a series of small plates and 16 pieces of sushi. Supplemental sushi like toro with uni and caviar is also available. Real Cost: About $300 per person or more.

47 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003

10. I Sodi

105 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014
Read Review |
Customers dine at a busy I Sodi, with one wall lined with wine bottles
The dining room at I Sodi
Alex Staniloff/Eater

Rita Sodi’s Tuscan cuisine is unequivocally bare bones: She adds no cream to her polenta. But with carefully sourced ingredients, studied cooking, stellar cacio e pepe, killer brick chicken, and a head spinning selection of amari, she’s turned I Sodi in the West Village into one of the city’s best Italian restaurants. Real Cost: About $110 per person for four courses.

105 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014

11. Llama San

359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014
Read Review |
Green nasturtium leaves sit over a plate of aged duck nigiri, set on a blonde wood table
Duck nigiri with roasted banana
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

Erik Ramirez’s creative take on Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei fare initially made Llama San one of the city’s toughest-to-get-into restaurants with tables for two regularly booking up a month out. Amid the COVID-19 era, however, reservations are easier to come by. Diners will encounter visually striking and delicious compositions like scallops with yuzu kosho, aged duck breast nigiri with banana, and Iberico pork tonkotsu with green udon. Real Cost: At least $125 per person before for a four-course a la carte meal with wine.

359 6th Ave
New York, NY 10014

12. Momofuku Ko

8 Extra Pl, New York, NY 10003
Read Review |
A few tongues of orange uni sit next to a yellow chickpea puree in a pool of green olive oil
Uni with chickpea hozon
Daniel Krieger/Eater

Momofuku’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, under the helm of chef Esther Ha and general manager Su Wong-Ruiz, is finally offering its longer counter tasting again, at $280 per person. Patrons in the smaller bar room can also order a shorter $110 menu, or choose from a la carte fare including cold fried chicken, caviar, and excellent mustard pizza. Real Cost: About $75 per person or more after beverage and tax in the bar room, or $350 per person and up for the counter menu. Prices are inclusive of service.

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

8 Extra Pl
New York, NY 10003

13. Frenchette

241 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Read Review |
Frenchette duck frites Louise Palmberg

Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson’s modern French restaurant and natural wine hub is open for indoor and outdoor dining. Expect the duo’s signature oysters with sausages, soupe de poisson, and tartare frites. Real cost: At least $115 per person for three courses plus drinks, tax, and tip.

241 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013

14. Dhamaka

119 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002

The $190 Rajasthani rabbit, which can be quite difficult to reserve, might be the one literal splurge item at Chintan Pandya and Roni Mazumdar’s breathtakingly spicy Indian spot, but the other more affordable preparations are so unique and expertly prepared it would be remiss not to include this venue on a special occasion map. Expect fiery gurda kapoora (goat testicles and kidneys), a flaky fish fry, and fragrant goat neck biriyani. Real Cost: About $75 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip.

119 Delancey St
New York, NY 10002

15. Lilia

567 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read Review |
A corner of Lilia’s dining room with lights that hang over the tables
The light-filled dining room at Lilia
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater

This Williamsburg Italian restaurant from chef Missy Robbins and partner Sean Feeney remains one of the city’s best and toughest-to-get-into pasta spots; outdoor reservations can book up thirty days out. In exchange for these efforts, however, diners are treated to spectacular baked clams with Calabrian chiles, ruffled malfadini pasta with pink peppercorns, and heady lamb steaks. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person.

567 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

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16. Falansai

112 Harrison Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Fish head, collar, and belly sits on a plate next to a separate dish of lettuce leaves Alex Staniloff

Chef Eric Tran’s Vietnamese American hangout in Bushwick is a fine place for a quick weeknight dinner, but the longer $83 tasting offers the type of elegant, spicy, sometimes offal-y experience that one would hope to find more frequently at fancier restaurants. The menu changes nightly but one might encounter beef tartare-stuffed spring rolls; chicken liver brulee; or fish head, collar, and belly meant for wrapping up in lettuce leaves. Real Cost: About $75 or more per person after beverage, tax, and tip, or over $120 per person for the tasting menu plus beverages.

112 Harrison Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11237

17. La Vara

268 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Chef Alex Raij stands in front of La Vara in a white-and-black-striped search with her hand on her hip
Chef Alex Raij stands in front of La Vara
Daniel Krieger/Eater

Tucked into a tree-lined residential street in Cobble Hill, La Vara is one of the city’s best Iberian spots. Chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero pay homage to the Moorish and Sephardic traditions of Spain, serving up beef jowl terrine with pistachio and mustard oil, toasted fideos with squid, shrimp, and aioli; and roast suckling pig with tximitxurri. Real Cost: About $100 or more per person for a full meal with multiple plates, drinks, and dessert.

268 Clinton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

18. Claro

284 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Read Review |

Tostadas, moles, and mezcal flights are all up for grabs at this one-star sensation in Gowanus. The Oaxacan restaurant from chef TJ Steele serves a four-course, $72 menu by reservation through Resy, with a short a la carte menu available at the bar. Real Cost: About $115 or more per person at dinner after beverage, tax, and tip.

284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Related Maps