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The Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan Right Now, December 2014

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More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what's new, what's hot, which favorite chef just launched a sophomore effort, what Michael White is up to these days. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the "it" places of the moment. Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to always highlight where the crowds are flocking to at the moment.

Check out the map of Manhattan's 20 hottest restaurants below, then take a look at the hottest restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens.

Restaurants are listed by opening date.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kang Ho Dong Baekjong

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319 5th Ave
New York, NY 10016

The first Manhattan outpost of a wildly popular Korean barbecue chain run by Korean comedian/wrestler Kang Ho Dong. There's also an outpost in Flushing, but that one's a franchise, and under different management. This is the chain's flagship, and Momofuku vet Deuki Hong is at the helm in the kitchen. The restaurant has already been generating a lot of buzz, especially among those familiar with the LA outpost, which has a cult following that includes critic Jonathan Gold. [Photo courtesy Kang Ho Dong Baekjong]

2. Happy Ending

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302 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

Gallery owner Max Levai and Oliver Stumm of Café Select and Rintintin recently took over this former music venue dive and gave it a retro makeover. They kept the name, but changed just about everything else, transforming it into restaurant with French, Italian, and Asian leanings. Francis Gabarrus, who once ran France's Michelin-starred La Ville Stings, is the chef in charge, turning out dishes like salmon with green curry sauce and bacalao tagliatelle. [Daniel Krieger]

3. Momofuku Ko

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Read Review |
8 Extra Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 203-8095
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David Chang's Michelin-starred tasting counter just packed up and moved to a larger space on Extra Place. The menu is longer and more expensive now at $175 a head, and much of it is new (although a few old classics, like the shaved foie gras and lychee, still made the cut). There are more seats around the counter, a separate bar, and even a couple tables, which will be used for reverse wine pairing dinners, in which chef Sean Gray builds a meal around wines chosen by the diners. Note that just because it's bigger, doesn't mean it's any easier to get a seat.

4. Chefs Club by Food & Wine NY

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275 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 941-1100
Visit Website

Food & Wine magazine just opened this guest chef-centric restaurant in the Puck building. Every season, four top notch guest chefs from across the country contribute a few dishes to the menu, and do at least a brief stint in the kitchen. Right now those chefs include Gabriel Rucker of Portland's Le Pigeon and Erik Anderson, formerly of the Catbird Seat, serving dishes like smoked and seared foie gras, and a bone-in strip steak for two. The rest of the menu, and the kitchen, is overseen by former Adour chef Didier Elena. [Daniel Krieger]

5. Via Carota

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51 Grove St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-1962
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Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, who have already won over the West Village with Buvette and I Sodi, just opened this rustic Italian restaurant right up the block from Buvette. The menu includes many small plates, plus a few pastas and meat dishes. From an early visit, Robert Sietsema likes nearly everything, but especially the fried artichokes, the grilled sardines, and the guinea hen. [Daniel Krieger]

6. Dojo Izakaya

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38 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009
(212) 253-5311

Sushi whiz David Bouhadana recently opened this casual offshoot of his hit Sushi Dojo. The menu includes house-made soba noodles, served in various hot or cold iterations, plus plenty of grilled or fried things like uni cream-filled croquettes and miso-marinated grilled pork neck. [Photo: Kat Odell]

7. Almanac

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28 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-1795

Chef Galen Zamarra has transformed his once grill-centric restaurant Mas (La Grillade) into the very seasonal, tasting menu-focused Almanac. Now he offers the choice of a three-course prix fixe (for $75), a five-course tasting menu (for $95), or an eight-course tasting menu (for $145), all of which change almost daily. While it's winter, expect dishes like mushroom-stuffed cabbage, squash with lamb bacon, and duck with sweet potato hash. [Daniel Krieger]

8. Pier A Harbor House

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22 Battery Pl
New York, NY 10004

For the first time in its 128-year history, this once-decrepit city building is open to the public. Also for the first time, it now houses a massive beer hall on its first floor, from restaurateurs Harry and Peter Poulakakos. The menu is German pub meets raw bar, with seafood towers, clam chowder, soft pretzels, and bratwurst, but the space (and the view) is the real draw here. Early next year, Poulakakos and team will open several more upscale restaurants on the second floor. [Daniel Krieger]

9. SHUKO

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47 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-6088
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This new sushi restaurant from former Neta chefs Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau has just 20 seats, and offers two menus: a sushi-only omakase, or a longer kaiseke-style omakase. The former costs $135, the latter is $175. The menus change, but expect clean, classic sushi, occasionally dressed up with luxe ingredients like truffles and caviar. [Daniel Krieger]

10. Little Park at the Smyth

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85 W Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 220-4110

Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom just opened this stylish, modern hotel restaurant. Here the focus is on all things seasonal and local, and the menu includes a lengthy section devoted to vegetables. Expect dishes like beet tartare, artichoke stuffed with lamb, kale ravioli, and a fire-roasted dry aged duck. Tucked away behind a fireplace in the hotel lobby is also Evening Bar, Carmellini's cocktail lounge, which is serving up both classic and original cocktails, including one "porcini nog" made with actual mushrooms. [Daniel Krieger]

11. Bowery Meat Company

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9 E 1st St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 460-5255
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A modern version of a steakhouse from John McDonald and chef Josh Capon (both of Lure, El Toro Blanco, B&B). The menu isn't without the classics — there's a New York strip, a burger, and a broiled lobster — but it also includes a duck lasagna for two, foie gras parfait, and live sea scallop. And the space (once home to Veselka Bowery) is now dark and modern, and includes the salvaged remains of MercBar in the ceiling. [Photo courtesy BMCo]

12. The Little Beet Table

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333 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010

Franklin Becker just opened this full-service offshoot of his popular, health-conscious Midtown lunch spot. The menu is entirely gluten-free, and heavy on the vegetables, but that doesn't mean there's not a burger and a roast chicken on the menu. Otherwise expect green juice alongside straightforward cocktails, and dishes like mushroom flatbread, grilled carrots with whipped ricotta, and quinoa "risotto." [Bess Adler]

13. Upland

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345 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010
(212) 686-1006
Visit Website

Former Il Buco Alimentari chef Justin Smillie just opened this big California-style brasserie with Philly-bsed big box restaurateur Stephen Starr. The seasonal menu leans Italian, with some pizzas and pastas like spaghetti with sea urchin, and pappardelle with sausage ragu. Other dishes range from lobster ceviche to a shortrib for two with olives, walnuts, and celery. [Daniel Krieger]

14. Empellón Al Pastor

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132 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
(212) 367-0999
Visit Website

With two more upscale Mexican restaurants already under his belt, Alex Stupak has now added this dive-inspired taco bar to his Empellon family. There's a long list of tequila cocktails and micheladas (some designed by chefs like Wylie Dufresne), and a shorter list of classic tacos and sides, which have to be ordered at a counter. Robert Sietsema and Ryan Sutton agree that the namesake al pastor is the way to go. [Daniel Krieger]

15. Cosme

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Read Review |
35 E 21st Street
New York, NY
(212) 913-9659
Visit Website

This modern Mexican restaurant from acclaimed Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera is one of the most wildly anticipated openings of the fall. The menu includes a mussel tostada with Russian salad, burrata with salsa verde and "weeds," duck carnitas, and freshly pressed tortillas made from heirloom varieties of corn from Mexico. Tables are allegedly booked up until 2015, but it still possible to walk in and wait, or sit in the lounge up front and dine on bar snacks like guacamole or the burrata. [Daniel Krieger]

16. Kappo Masa

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976 Madison avenue
New York, NY 10075

Masa Takayama, the sushi chef responsible for New York's most expensive tasting menu (at Masa), has teamed up with Larry Gagosian to open this restaurant in the Upper East Side Gagosian Gallery. The menu is lengthy, ranging from spicy wings to traditional sushi rolls to the trademarked noodles made entirely out of fish, and features plenty of toro and caviar. Don't expect prices to be much gentler than Masa. [Daniel Krieger]

17. Birds & Bubbles

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100B Forsyth St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 368-9240
Visit Website
[Daniel Krieger]

18. Marta

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Read Review |
29 E 29th Street
New York, NY
(212) 651-3800
Visit Website
[Daniel Krieger]

19. GG's

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511 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 687-3641
Visit Website
[Bess Adler]

20. Dirty French

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Read Review |
180 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 254-3000
Visit Website
[Daniel Krieger]

1. Kang Ho Dong Baekjong

319 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

The first Manhattan outpost of a wildly popular Korean barbecue chain run by Korean comedian/wrestler Kang Ho Dong. There's also an outpost in Flushing, but that one's a franchise, and under different management. This is the chain's flagship, and Momofuku vet Deuki Hong is at the helm in the kitchen. The restaurant has already been generating a lot of buzz, especially among those familiar with the LA outpost, which has a cult following that includes critic Jonathan Gold. [Photo courtesy Kang Ho Dong Baekjong]

319 5th Ave
New York, NY 10016

2. Happy Ending

302 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

Gallery owner Max Levai and Oliver Stumm of Café Select and Rintintin recently took over this former music venue dive and gave it a retro makeover. They kept the name, but changed just about everything else, transforming it into restaurant with French, Italian, and Asian leanings. Francis Gabarrus, who once ran France's Michelin-starred La Ville Stings, is the chef in charge, turning out dishes like salmon with green curry sauce and bacalao tagliatelle. [Daniel Krieger]

302 Broome St
New York, NY 10002

3. Momofuku Ko

8 Extra Pl, New York, NY 10003
Read Review |

David Chang's Michelin-starred tasting counter just packed up and moved to a larger space on Extra Place. The menu is longer and more expensive now at $175 a head, and much of it is new (although a few old classics, like the shaved foie gras and lychee, still made the cut). There are more seats around the counter, a separate bar, and even a couple tables, which will be used for reverse wine pairing dinners, in which chef Sean Gray builds a meal around wines chosen by the diners. Note that just because it's bigger, doesn't mean it's any easier to get a seat.

8 Extra Pl
New York, NY 10003

4. Chefs Club by Food & Wine NY

275 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

Food & Wine magazine just opened this guest chef-centric restaurant in the Puck building. Every season, four top notch guest chefs from across the country contribute a few dishes to the menu, and do at least a brief stint in the kitchen. Right now those chefs include Gabriel Rucker of Portland's Le Pigeon and Erik Anderson, formerly of the Catbird Seat, serving dishes like smoked and seared foie gras, and a bone-in strip steak for two. The rest of the menu, and the kitchen, is overseen by former Adour chef Didier Elena. [Daniel Krieger]

275 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012

5. Via Carota

51 Grove St, New York, NY 10014
Read Review |

Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, who have already won over the West Village with Buvette and I Sodi, just opened this rustic Italian restaurant right up the block from Buvette. The menu includes many small plates, plus a few pastas and meat dishes. From an early visit, Robert Sietsema likes nearly everything, but especially the fried artichokes, the grilled sardines, and the guinea hen. [Daniel Krieger]

51 Grove St
New York, NY 10014

6. Dojo Izakaya

38 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Sushi whiz David Bouhadana recently opened this casual offshoot of his hit Sushi Dojo. The menu includes house-made soba noodles, served in various hot or cold iterations, plus plenty of grilled or fried things like uni cream-filled croquettes and miso-marinated grilled pork neck. [Photo: Kat Odell]

38 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009

7. Almanac

28 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

Chef Galen Zamarra has transformed his once grill-centric restaurant Mas (La Grillade) into the very seasonal, tasting menu-focused Almanac. Now he offers the choice of a three-course prix fixe (for $75), a five-course tasting menu (for $95), or an eight-course tasting menu (for $145), all of which change almost daily. While it's winter, expect dishes like mushroom-stuffed cabbage, squash with lamb bacon, and duck with sweet potato hash. [Daniel Krieger]

28 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014

8. Pier A Harbor House

22 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10004

For the first time in its 128-year history, this once-decrepit city building is open to the public. Also for the first time, it now houses a massive beer hall on its first floor, from restaurateurs Harry and Peter Poulakakos. The menu is German pub meets raw bar, with seafood towers, clam chowder, soft pretzels, and bratwurst, but the space (and the view) is the real draw here. Early next year, Poulakakos and team will open several more upscale restaurants on the second floor. [Daniel Krieger]

22 Battery Pl
New York, NY 10004

9. SHUKO

47 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

This new sushi restaurant from former Neta chefs Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau has just 20 seats, and offers two menus: a sushi-only omakase, or a longer kaiseke-style omakase. The former costs $135, the latter is $175. The menus change, but expect clean, classic sushi, occasionally dressed up with luxe ingredients like truffles and caviar. [Daniel Krieger]

47 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

10. Little Park at the Smyth

85 W Broadway, New York, NY 10007

Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom just opened this stylish, modern hotel restaurant. Here the focus is on all things seasonal and local, and the menu includes a lengthy section devoted to vegetables. Expect dishes like beet tartare, artichoke stuffed with lamb, kale ravioli, and a fire-roasted dry aged duck. Tucked away behind a fireplace in the hotel lobby is also Evening Bar, Carmellini's cocktail lounge, which is serving up both classic and original cocktails, including one "porcini nog" made with actual mushrooms. [Daniel Krieger]

85 W Broadway
New York, NY 10007

11. Bowery Meat Company

9 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003
Read Review |

A modern version of a steakhouse from John McDonald and chef Josh Capon (both of Lure, El Toro Blanco, B&B). The menu isn't without the classics — there's a New York strip, a burger, and a broiled lobster — but it also includes a duck lasagna for two, foie gras parfait, and live sea scallop. And the space (once home to Veselka Bowery) is now dark and modern, and includes the salvaged remains of MercBar in the ceiling. [Photo courtesy BMCo]

9 E 1st St
New York, NY 10003

12. The Little Beet Table

333 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

Franklin Becker just opened this full-service offshoot of his popular, health-conscious Midtown lunch spot. The menu is entirely gluten-free, and heavy on the vegetables, but that doesn't mean there's not a burger and a roast chicken on the menu. Otherwise expect green juice alongside straightforward cocktails, and dishes like mushroom flatbread, grilled carrots with whipped ricotta, and quinoa "risotto." [Bess Adler]

333 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010

13. Upland

345 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010
Read Review |

Former Il Buco Alimentari chef Justin Smillie just opened this big California-style brasserie with Philly-bsed big box restaurateur Stephen Starr. The seasonal menu leans Italian, with some pizzas and pastas like spaghetti with sea urchin, and pappardelle with sausage ragu. Other dishes range from lobster ceviche to a shortrib for two with olives, walnuts, and celery. [Daniel Krieger]

345 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010

14. Empellón Al Pastor

132 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

With two more upscale Mexican restaurants already under his belt, Alex Stupak has now added this dive-inspired taco bar to his Empellon family. There's a long list of tequila cocktails and micheladas (some designed by chefs like Wylie Dufresne), and a shorter list of classic tacos and sides, which have to be ordered at a counter. Robert Sietsema and Ryan Sutton agree that the namesake al pastor is the way to go. [Daniel Krieger]

132 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

15. Cosme

35 E 21st Street, New York, NY
Read Review |

This modern Mexican restaurant from acclaimed Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera is one of the most wildly anticipated openings of the fall. The menu includes a mussel tostada with Russian salad, burrata with salsa verde and "weeds," duck carnitas, and freshly pressed tortillas made from heirloom varieties of corn from Mexico. Tables are allegedly booked up until 2015, but it still possible to walk in and wait, or sit in the lounge up front and dine on bar snacks like guacamole or the burrata. [Daniel Krieger]

35 E 21st Street
New York, NY

Related Maps

16. Kappo Masa

976 Madison avenue, New York, NY 10075

Masa Takayama, the sushi chef responsible for New York's most expensive tasting menu (at Masa), has teamed up with Larry Gagosian to open this restaurant in the Upper East Side Gagosian Gallery. The menu is lengthy, ranging from spicy wings to traditional sushi rolls to the trademarked noodles made entirely out of fish, and features plenty of toro and caviar. Don't expect prices to be much gentler than Masa. [Daniel Krieger]

976 Madison avenue
New York, NY 10075

17. Birds & Bubbles

100B Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002
[Daniel Krieger]
100B Forsyth St
New York, NY 10002

18. Marta

29 E 29th Street, New York, NY
Read Review |
[Daniel Krieger]
29 E 29th Street
New York, NY

19. GG's

511 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
[Bess Adler]
511 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009

20. Dirty French

180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
Read Review |
[Daniel Krieger]
180 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002

Related Maps