Planning ahead for a trip to New York City is a smart move considering the vast amount of exciting things you can do and experience: Broadway, Central Park, the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty. The list goes on and on! Some people go for the food alone. If that’s you, you’ll want to know where the best eateries are. With all the choices out there, it can be overwhelming.
That’s why I’ve grouped the 25 best restaurants in New York City based on the type of cuisine. Keep reading to find your new favorite restaurant in the big city!
Best Restaurants in New York City – Contemporary
1. Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park is first on the list of best restaurants in New York City. Created by Chef Daniel Humm, the contemporary, plant-based menu is prized for its fresh ingredients.
The restaurant was renovated in 2017 to reflect the stylish Art Deco-style building that it occupies in the middle of Manhattan. Not only is the inside beautiful, but the view overlooks Madison Square Park.
If you needed another reason to visit Eleven Madison Park, the restaurant is a part of the Rethink Food program. Every meal you purchase goes toward feeding others in food-insecure neighborhoods via their Eleven Madison Park food truck.
2. Gramercy Tavern
Located in the Flatiron District, Gramercy Tavern features a seasonal menu, using ingredients from local farmers and vendors. Popular dishes at Gramercy Tavern include their famous burger, beef tartare, duck breast, and lobster salad.
Though most of the charm comes from the restaurant’s atmosphere, including the restaurant’s hospitality and the neo-Colonial décor.
Gramercy Tavern is one of the best restaurants in New York City to celebrate a birthday, where you can enjoy one of their seven featured desserts such as the chocolate pudding cake or caramelized cheesecake.
3. Per Se
Of the best restaurants in New York City, Per Se offers a unique view. As you dine in one of their three tastefully decorated dining rooms, you can enjoy views of Central Park or the Upper East Side skyline.
Per Se has two nine-course tasting menus offered to customers every day for a fixed price. Per Se has earned three Michelin stars and is a great choice if you want to experience upscale dining in Manhattan.
Using local ingredients, Chef Thomas Keller provides contemporary dishes such as “Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster” and “Liberty Farm Pekin Duck Breast.”
4. The River Café
Nested under the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll find The River Café. This classic restaurant is the perfect dinner destination for couples looking for a romantic night out. Between the gorgeous river views, mellow lamp lighting, and hand-crafted floral arrangements, it’s hard not to find the charm here.
As far as the menu goes, you’ll be as impressed as you are with the views. Try their rack of lamb or duck breast for the main course, while enjoying the chocolate Brooklyn Bridge for dessert.
The Michelin-starred River Café has a business casual dress code, so men should expect to wear jackets and collared shirts.
Best Restaurants in New York City – Steakhouse
Let’s not forget the steakhouses when it comes to the best restaurants in New York City! First is Cote, the famous Korean steakhouse located in the Flatiron District. Headed by Executive Chef David Shim, Cote serves top-notch USDA prime steaks daily.
Combining choice cuts with Korean side dishes, this restaurant is a unique experience that all meat lovers need to try. Considering Cote is a Michelin-starred restaurant, the menu is reasonably priced.
The drink menu is also notable as the restaurant has a whole team dedicated to finding the perfect wines and cocktails to pair with their steaks.
6. Gallaghers Steakhouse
If you’ve ever visited New York City, you may be familiar with the meat locker at Gallaghers Steakhouse. This is where Gallaghers ages their USDA prime steaks for over 21 days, and the process is on display for every passerby to see and take selfies with.
Gallaghers Steakhouse is an iconic restaurant located in the Theater District of Manhattan, and it’s no secret why it makes the list of best restaurants in New York City.
Combining the process of dry-aging their steaks and cooking them over hickory coals, Gallaghers has some of the most tender, juicy steaks you’ll find in the Big Apple.
7. Keen’s Steakhouse
With over 125 years of rich history, Keen’s Steakhouse easily makes the list of best restaurants in New York City. According to the steakhouse’s bio, they are the only survivor of the former Herald Square Theatre District.
Keen’s Steakhouse is also the home to over 50,000 smoking pipes saved from well-known patrons of their old Pipe Club, including Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth.
If you snag a reservation, make sure to try their legendary mutton chops, or get one of their dry-aged USDA prime steaks. Keen’s also has an extensive dessert menu to perfectly cap off your meal.
8. Peter Luger Steakhouse
What started as Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley in 1887 turned into what is now known as Peter Luger Steakhouse in 1950, when a happy customer bought out the restaurant to keep it afloat.
Now 70 years later, Peter Luger Steakhouse is one of the most infamous restaurants in New York City. Why infamous? While they have some of the most – if not the most – delicious steaks in the city, service can sometimes feel rushed and curt.
Nonetheless, it’s one of the best restaurants in New York City simply for the taste of the delectable steaks. If you dare to brave the crowds, the menu is worth it.
9. St. Anselm
Located in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, St. Anselm offers a more casual dining experience than the other steakhouses listed. St. Anselm steakhouse has a concise steak menu, but they also serve lamb, seafood, and poultry, so everyone can find something they enjoy on the menu.
The exposed brick and dark wood paneling give St. Anselm a quaint feel, and you don’t have to dress to the nines to fit in here. Casual dress, such as jeans, is allowed (and welcomed!).
Make sure to reserve your spot several days in advance if you want prime seating for dinner time. The dining room is small and fills up quickly.
Best Restaurants in New York City – Seafood
10. Fish Cheeks
If you love seafood, let me introduce you to the next place on our list of best restaurants in New York City: Fish Cheeks. Their menu is a family-style blend of Thai and seafood, so whatever you order, plan to share!
The restaurant has a fresh, Mediterranean-style décor, combining bright colors and textures. If you want a break from the traditional, dark restaurants of New York City, enjoy dinner at Fish Cheeks.
Fish Cheeks has made it their goal to provide a fresh twist on traditional Thai dishes, adding lots of spice as they go. Some of their popular dishes include coconut crab curry and steamed fish with Thai herbs.
11. The Fulton
Located on Pier 17 at Seaport, The Fulton is a modern seafood restaurant with an incredible view of the Brooklyn Bridge. From the giant windows to the contemporary, nautical-themed décor, you’ll have a hard time keeping your eyes on your food.
That’s not to say the food isn’t impressive though. The Fulton actually has some of the best seafood in New York City. From their warm octopus and fresh mozzarella to the yellowtail tartare, The Fulton uses fresh-caught fish and seafood in every dish. Don’t forget to order one of their cocktails or wines from the beverage menu to pair with your seafood!
12. Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin tops the list of best restaurants in New York City. If you don’t believe me, check their reservation schedule. This famous French seafood restaurant is booked out every weekend for two months.
Since 1986, Le Bernardin hasn’t dropped a star from its four-star rating from The New York Times – the only restaurant to do so for that period of time. Maguy La Coze started the restaurant in Paris and opened their second location in New York City.
The restaurant offers a fixed-price menu with different courses of upscale seafood. While you’re there, enjoy the elegant décor and attentive waitstaff. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
13. Pearl Oyster Bar
Pearl Oyster Bar, located in Greenwich Village, offers a casual dining experience with a menu consisting of oysters, shrimp, mussels, lobster, and clams. Reservations aren’t required, so you’re more than welcome to swing by last minute.
The traditional, coastal vibes match the Maine-inspired menu. While you’re there, make sure to try their famous lobster roll and shoestring fries. Pearl Oyster Bar is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and opens for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Best Restaurants in New York City – Italian
Carbone is one of the best restaurants in New York City if you’re craving Italian food. Located in Greenwich Village, Carbone is an ode to classic red-sauce joints that existed in 20th-century New York City, where Italian Americans served dishes that were passed down from their family.
The restaurant embodies a vintage feel with its retro patterned penny tile and leather seating. Reservations are notoriously hard to get here, but they are released a month out, so plan accordingly.
Popular dishes to try include lobster ravioli, spicy rigatoni vodka, and veal parmesan. Don’t forget to pick a wine from their expansive wine list to pair with your dinner.
15. Don Angie
Don Angie is a modern Italian restaurant located in the West Village. Run by husband and wife chefs, Don Angie focuses on taking classic Italian dishes and putting a contemporary spin on them. While you’re there, try the chrysanthemum salad or BBQ calamari.
The inside of the restaurant is absolutely Instagram-worthy, combining modern and retro design. From the checkered marble floor to the navy blue and stained wood accents, Don Angie is an architectural beauty.
Reservations can be difficult to get, so plan to make your reservation a couple of weeks in advance when spots are released.
16. Il Buco
What started as an antique store turned into one of the best restaurants in New York City. Located in NoHo, Il Buco provides three different locations in the city to enjoy their famous Italian meets Mediterranean dishes.
While taking in the French country décor, enjoy their famous risotto or tagliatelle. Il Buco focuses on making its dishes with seasonal ingredients, so the menu is subject to change based on the time of year. The restaurant offers reservations online, where you can choose indoor or outdoor seating.
Created by Chef Missy Robbins in 2016, Lilia is an Italian restaurant in Williamsburg that sits in a renovated autobody shop. That’s certainly not to say the restaurant isn’t beautiful with giant warehouse windows and clean modern lines.
You can expect a more casual experience at Lilia with unique, reasonably-priced dishes. Examples of the chef’s creations include “Sheep’s Milk Cheese Filled Agnolotti” and grilled clams or scallops. You’ll be glad you checked this one off your list of best restaurants in New York City.
Combining Italian recipes with local ingredients, Rezdôra creates homemade pasta dishes that have earned a Michelin star and three stars from the New York Times.Enjoy one of their most popular dishes “Grandma Walking Through Forest in Emilia”, a cappelletti verdi featuring seasonal vegetables. You can make your reservations for Rezdôra up to 21 days in advance.
Best Restaurants in New York City – Asian
Let’s talk about the best restaurants in New York City for Asian food! First is Buddakan. Walking into the restaurant, you’ll be surprised to see how lavishly it’s decorated from giant chandeliers to huge dining tables. It’s all part of the intended ambiance.
The prices on the menu don’t reflect the décor though. You can enjoy unique Chinese dishes for a reasonable price. Some customers come for the presentation of the food and service alone. When you go to Buddakan, you’re getting an experience that will leave an impression on you.
20. Momofuku Ko
If you’re in search of a high-end Asian restaurant, look no further than Momofuku Ko. Regarded as one of the best restaurants in New York City, Momofuku Ko offers a 10-course tasting menu that is inspired by Japanese kaiseki tradition and seasonal dishes.
The famous Japanese restaurant in East Village has two Michelin stars and is well-renowned for its excellent service. Reservations can be placed online, where the restaurant will hold your card information in case of a no-show.
21. Phillipe Chow
Phillipe Chow was started in 2004 on the Upper East Side by Chef Phillipe Chow. The upscale Chinese restaurant offers a tasting menu as well as separate entrée meals.
The restaurant focuses on famous dishes like the Peking duck, chicken satay, and crispy beef. You can also peruse their drink menu to pair with your dinner. Phillipe Chow is open daily, and reservations can be made on their website.
22. Pig and Khao
Pig and Khao is a Lower East Side restaurant that embodies bright colors and fun décor. Started by Ben and Leah Cohen, Pig and Khao is a casual dining experience with Southeast Asian dishes.
If you’re a fan of street food mixed with specialty drinks, this is a great restaurant to try out! Examples of Pig and Khao dishes include pork belly adobo, shrimp sinigang, and their Khao Soi – a red curry dish.
Make your reservations on their website, or simply order your food to-go, and enjoy New York City in the nighttime.
Best Restaurants in New York City – Mexican
23. Casa Enrique
Casa Enrique is a small restaurant serving Michelin-starred Mexican cuisine. It may not look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find one of the best restaurants in New York City.
Chef Cosme Aguilar moved to the city from Mexico, and with that move, he brought his family’s traditional recipes to incorporate into Casa Enrique.
For seven years now, Chef Aguilar has maintained his Michelin star rating. Popular dishes include the enchiladas de pollo in salsa verde, carne asada, and the mole de piaxtla.
Located in the Flatiron District, Cosme serves Mexican dishes with a contemporary twist, such as octopus tostada and soft shell crab served with chile morita salsa. Expect generous portions for a reasonable price.
Cosme is also known for its drink menu, serving high-quality cocktails and margaritas that pair perfectly with their meal choices. Don’t forget to order the meringue at the end of the night, which has helped Cosme get its status as one of the best restaurants in New York City.
25. Taqueria Ramirez
Last but not least is Taqueria Ramirez. Open Wednesday through Sunday on Franklin Street in Brooklyn, this restaurant brings casual Mexican street food to New York City.
You may not expect to see a restaurant with low-end prices on this list, but the tacos are just that good! If you’re wanting to grab a quick lunch in the city, don’t skip this place. Try the al pastor, campechano, or suadero tacos.
Wrapping Up the Best Restaurants in New York City
There are so many great places to eat in New York City, you may just have to make more than one trip! When it comes to the best restaurants in New York City, make sure to plan ahead of time, so you’re able to get reservations at your top choices.
While you’re planning your trip, check out our guide to Brooklyn, New York!