My Restaurant List 1.0
A small exercise in remembering: Here I attempt to list every restaurant that I've eaten at in New York hoping that, among them, you might find somewhere you'd like to eat. I have listed no major chains and no restaurants that are now no longer with us. I've also skipped a lot of faceless and not noteworthy neighborhood spots where I may have had a Chinese lunch special or a bento box once. As I type this intro places I didn't list already come to mind. I'll put them in the next update of the list, I've got to get this thing posted as it is.
For now the most I can say about this list is that it's alphabetical. No addresses have been included, but I've got neighborhoods listed for each place, along with general descriptors you can search ("Command + F" style) to find what you might be looking for (Tacos? Burgers? Tasting Menu?). Of especial importance: the Delicious tag. Search for "Delicious" for places that will make you slap the table and shake your head.
After some of these restaurants I've included "Recommended Dishes" but I stopped doing that after a while. It was a lot of work and often if there's something recommendable, I've included it in the description.
Current Restaurant Count: 215 or so.
Coming in Future Updates: Links, Addresses, More Restaurants, Photos?
Amazing 66 - I have a hard time when they serve the chicken chopped up into little pieces with the bones in. HOW am I supposed to eat this? Chinese. Chinatown.
Ample Hill’s - When there’s an Ample Hills nearby it’s like a magnet, I mean, how are you going to resist? Still, I’m waning on fancy ice cream. Ice Cream. Multiple Locations.
Arrogant Swine - A little too intellectually challenging for my underdeveloped barbecue tastes. Barbecue. Bushwick?
Artichoke Pizza - Namesake slice is big and gloopy and pretty cool. Worth getting every couple years. Pizza. Multiple locations.
Atla - every bite I have taken here has been absolutely perfectly delicious, but you’ll leave having spent a lot of money and you won’t be full, so it’s your call. This is supposed to be the baby brother Cosme, but, oddly, a mushroom quesadilla at Cosme is $9 and at Atla they’re $16. Mexican. Delicious. Noho.
El Atoradero Taqueria - I’m one of the few not taken by the El Atoradero restaurant and it’s weird, chunky carnitas but this place, this place is good. Carnitas are still weird and chunky, but most of the other protein options are really great. Scaled pricing model rewards over ordering and I appreciate that. Built for coming to with a group. Tacos. Gowanis.
Recommended Dishes: Consider adding fries to one of your tacos to have a little fun with it.
Babbo - First time I ate here was one of the top five meals of my New York life. Great food, good liveliness, modest luxury. Fancy. Italian. Delicious. Greenwich Village.
Balthazaar- Allegedly very beloved and definitely always bustling and good looking, but I can’t be too enthusiastic about the few meals I’ve had here. But it’s a flex to eat here. Makes you seem very not new to New York. Bistro. Soho.
Balthazaar Bakery - However, these sandwiches and salads are good and buying bread here makes you look like you really know what’s up. Bakery. Soho.
Banh Mi Saigon - Now that the banh mi smoke seems to have cleared, I dust myself off and say: “This is the one.” Little Italy.
Barbuto - people love this place but I went there once in 2007 and at the grossest dang porkchop of my life. It was so bad it made me wonder if I ate it wrong. Cool location, good outdoor eating, though. Italian. West Village
Bassanova Ramen - A pretty cool little semi-subterranean ramen shop in Chinatown. Very extremely good on terribly cold nights, particularly their body-warming green curry ramen. Bonus feature: A full feature Japanese toilet in the bathroom. Ramen. Chinatown.
Big Gay Ice Cream - You will get what you came for here. There is a simple charm to it that will win you over and draw you back as you fight a cynical voice saying “It’s just soft serve.” Ice Cream. East Village. West Village.
Bill’s Burger & Bar - I need an occasional reminder that this is actually an awesome smash-style burger. Burgers. Multiple Locations.
Blue Hill Stone Barn - My friend Trevor has the sickest burn about this place “Too much farm, not enough table.” BUT the concept is enticing: Fancy dinner in a renovated (fancy) barn on a farm where everything you eat comes from that farm. First time I went was with a group of friends and we all acted like we’d never been anywhere nice before (because we hadn’t) and it was very fun time. Second time I went they told my family our main course would be a big carrot cooked like it was a steak and I was ready to throw down my napkin and walk out at such disrespect. Fancy. Tasting Menu. Outside the City. Get a car.
Bon Chon Chicken - I know so little about Korean fried chicken, but I do know I love it and that this place will give you a ton of giant pieces of it. The biggest Korean fried chicken presence in the city, would love to be taught about the smaller Korean fried chicken presences. Korean. Fried chicken. Multiple Locations.
Boulevard Drinks - THE place to eat before going to the Loew’s Jersey theater. It’s a hot dog stand. Hot Dogs. Jersey City. Journal Square.
The Break Room - Wonderfully over the top burgers, tater tots, and tacos. Tons of hot sauce. It’s a special place in its own way. Chinatown. Burgers. Tater tots. Tacos.
The Breslin - Yo, I love the Breslin. The menu is not for the faint of heart, one of the reasons the lamb burgers come flying out of the kitchen is they’re the most normal dish on a menu of stuffed pigs feet and seafood sausage. (The other reason is the lamb burger is so so so so good). But it’s Bloomfield going full British here and it’s awesome. Between Madison Park and Koreatown.
The Brindle Room - VERY nice burger here. You’ll eat it up in a second and you’ll be sad that it’s gone. Burger. East Village.
El Bronco - This place is fine. More popular than it deserves, perhaps. They’ve got a couple of restaurants and a truck. When most people talk about El Bronco, they’re talking about the truck…so that’s what I’m criticizing with being a little overrated, the restaurants are actually pretty chill and nice. Mexican. Sunset Park.
The Brooklyn Star - Good southern cooking in Williamsburg, haven’t been since they had a big fire and moved into a new location, but felt like I got a lot of chicken fried steak for my money back then in ’09. Would return should the opportunity present itself. Southern. Williamsburg.
Brunch - I just don’t brunch. Leaves me with that “It’s 3pm on a Saturday and so far all I’ve done today is spend $30 on eggs” feeling. You may find a few entries here where I talk about “breakfast” or “weekend lunch” and that’s probably me avoiding saying “brunch.”
Burger and Barrel - So, the chef at this seafood restaurant called Lure kept winning so many burger competitions that he opened a burger place. Need a fancy burger place with big windows and all round generally good food? Here you go! Come here instead of Five Napkin Burger. Burgers. Soho.
The Burger Joint - back in 2004 you were either Shake Shack or Burger Joint, and I was Burger Joint. Very good, very classic. Still good, but the nearly forgotten Man Who Would’ve Been King of the NY Burger landscape. Other way of saying it: the Burger Joint burger is a perfect burger, the Shake Shack burger is a perfected burger. Burger. Midtown.
C&L Dumpling House - I call this place “My Secret Dumpling Restaurant,” not because I’m trying to keep it a secret, but because I can never remember its name. The dumplings are just about never fresh, they pull them from under a heat lamp, but I don’t mind. I get an order of them plus the pork rice cakes (called “rice noodle” on the menu and I always have to look real hard to find them and point to them so the cashier knows what I’m asking for) and maybe an orangeade Snapple and just have a nice little time here. Can attract entertaining folk who are waiting for (or arriving from) nearby Chinatown bus. Chinese. Dumplings. Chinatown.
Cafe Havana - Taught New York about elotes. The most Mexican Cuban restaurant you’ll ever go to. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything Cuban on the menu at all. Still looks busy all the time, haven’t eaten inside for a very long time. Haven’t had take out in a long time. But there’s some inarguably tasty stuff here. Mexican. Cuban. Nolita.
Cafeteria - The Smith before there was a Smith. Same sort of food, still, same sort of crowd, same sort of group-dinner fallback nature. It’s fine eating, but really, no real reason to come here. American. Chelsea.
Casa Enrique - Vaunted Michelin-starred Mexican home cooking that had me like “Okay, no big deal.” Mexican. Long Island City.
Recommended Dishes: I remember having mole.
Casa Bella - I used to live on top of this restaurant and the owner was my landlady. Please, do me a personal favor: Never ever eat here, never give these people a dime. Italian. Little Italy.
Cemitas el Tigre - Kind of can’t believe I made an afternoon of traveling out into Queens to have a just fine cemita and taco at this place. It is fine. Go if you live in Queens, not worth making a destination restaurant out of it. Mexican. Queens.
Cheeky Sandwiches - I like this place okay but the majority of the world is nuts for their fried chicken with gravy and slaw on a biscuit sandwich. Sandwiches. Lower East Side.
Cherce Midi - Nice and sunny at lunch. Your Mom will like it a lot. They serve Minetta Tavern’s famous Black Lable Burger here, too, for a dollar or two less. Bistro. French. Nolita. Bowery.
Chinese Mexican Take Out - go to a couple of these and you’ll learn to spot them from four blocks away. The names usually have words line “best” “fresh” and “tortilla” in them. And they’re actually not so bad. Identical menus throughout, chili (beef) or chicken hard shell tacos are good, as our steak and guacamole flour tortilla tacos. Mexican. Multiple locations.
Chuko - Honestly I have a hard time keeping all the good ramen places straight in my mind, especially with these unassuming names. Here’s another good one, if you’re ever in this part of Brooklyn. Ramen. Brooklyn.
La Chula - On principal, I am extremely against this place for having replaced the El Aguila taqueria at 116th and Lexington, a wonderful and reliable 24hr cheap and real place with a clean and good looking chefy place serving $4 tacos (FOUR DOLLAR tacos in East Harlem? It’s over. It’s just over. New York is dead) BUT…for now, at least, tacos al pastor are $2 on weekdays between 3pm and 8pm and their tacos al pastor are certainly worth the two bucks. Tacos. Mexican. East Harlem.
The Commodore - Intensely hectic Williamsburg divey-bar with good menu. Shout your order at the bartender and then wonder if they’ll ever find what table you went to. Somehow they do. I went here for their chicken sandwich. American. Williamsburg.
Cookshop - Related to Five Points, an old favorite that turned into a Italian restaurant, so that’s why I went and had lunch here nearly 9 years ago. I remember it being good. I’m sure it’s good. Chelsea. American.
Corner Bistro - Another of the city’s pre-Shake Shack burger greats. Big and good and it’s a bar. Burger. West Village.
El Cortez - Campy Mexican done very right. Chimichangas, nachos and taco-night tacos done right. Seems like it would be a fun place to drink. Mexican. Bushwick.
Cosme - Mexico’s (arguably) #1 chef’s first US restaurant. It’s absolutely beautiful in there and the food is super top notch. Dang expensive. Go, make an occasion of it, and throw money caution to the wind. Mexican. Fancy. Delicious. Madison Square Park/Gramercy
Le Coucou - 4 star dining room, 3 star food. French. Fancy. Soho.
Daily Provisions - Enjoy the finest conceivable bacon egg and cheese sandwich and maple cruller donut elbow to elbow with everyone else who ordered the exact same thing in this deservedly popular all-day counter service restaurant. Breakfast. American. Union Square. Gramercy.
Davey’s - I got a free scoop from them when they opened in Williamsburg that I didn’t care for. Ice Cream. East Village. Williamsburg.
DeKalb Market - Geeze this place is gigantic, and there’s no map, so I don’t know if I’ve seen all of it. Selection seems especially eclectic, like an indoor underground Smorgasburg. Food hall. Downtown Brooklyn. Fulton Mall.
Delicias Mexicanas - Very solid sit down Mexican. Good tortas, enchiladas and I love this meat and melted cheese on a bed of tortillas platter they call the “Bati-Taco.” Complimentary chips and salsa, too. Don’t laugh, that’s rare in New York. Mexican. Tacos. East Harlem.
Del Posto - Listen. You want to have a good time and be treated nice? And for the food to be Italian and real good? Go to Del Posto. Very extremely worth it. Can recommend the price/experience pay off a lot more enthusiastically than most of the other tasting menu restaurants on this list. Italian. Fancy. Delicious. Tasting Menu. Chelsea/Meatpacking District
Diner - This is a great place. An enduring classic. If Diner shuts down then the ravens have left the Tower. When I was new to the city, their’s was the burger that people who knew about food talked about. American. Burger. Williamsburg.
Dollar Pizza - having researched extensively, I can say that most of these are fine and few are bad. Best for when you absolutely have to eat something and also have a dollar. Pizza. Multiple Locations.
Dominique Ansel Bakery - Sure, Cronuts, ok, whatever. Yes, I have stood in that early morning line to get them. No, you don’t have to do that anymore. But the true Ansel heads know that the DKA is the actual move here. Pair it with their insanely rich hot chocolate and a seat on the patio and your day in the city with your parents is off to a nice start. Lunch sandwiches also very very good. Bakery. Lunch. Soho.
Don Pedro - Actually changed their name to Chili’s Grill or something trademark-infringing like that recently, but this place is chill with a cool variety of tortas, huraches and quesadillas. Solid recommendation. Closes kind of early, though. Like 7:30 or 8. Have been politely asked to wrap things up a couple of times. Mexican. East Harlem.
Don Pepe Tortas & Jugos - You want your mind to be a little blown, come to the back of this grocery store and just look at the board of torta opions. You could spend the rest of your life trying to eat all the different giant tortas they’ve got here. Mexican. Sunset Park.
Doña Zita - Not watered down for the masses, this is real deal outer burro quality stuff oddly situated off the Coney Island boardwalk. Nice big tortas. Coney Island.
The Donut Plant - Like, every now and then, I guess. But in principle, I am opposed to fancy donuts. Donuts. Lower East Side, Chelsea.
The Donut Project - So I’ll contradict myself and say that I found these particular fancy donuts to be rather interesting. Particularly a lemon-something one. Donuts. West Village.
The Donut Pub - MY favorite NYC donut place because it’s traditional and good and the crazy donuts are relegated to a corner. I am looking for 24hr places with old people drinking coffee at the counter. Donuts. Chelsea.
Dos Caminos - Eating here would never be my first choice. Or my second, third, fourth, or fifth choice. But, truth be told, the food is a little tasty. I would go here if it were out of my hands. Absolutely the Mexican the Smith. Fancy Mexican. Multiple locations. Group dinners.
Downtown Bakery - I sure went here a bunch before I admitted to myself that it was not too great. Once they made me chilaquiles using Tostito rounds right out of the bag and another time a Torta Cubana with just some chicken breast and a slice of ham on it. Mexican. East Village.
Dough Donuts - I like these gigantic soft donuts, but they make a mess. If you’re going to sneak a few into a movie, MAKE SURE you have napkins or you’ll walk out looking like a photo of a baby in a high chair. Donuts. Multiple Locations.
The Dutch - The place for people in nice sweaters to share a meal. Good food, good bustle. Recommend. American? Bistro? Delicious. Soho.
Earl’s Beer and Cheese - Criminally decadent things done here with melty cheese and thick slices of bread. I don’t refer to too many things as an indulgence, but… Cheese. Bread. Upper East Side.
Egg - Good and extremely chaotic during that weekend breakfast/lunch rush. Williamsburg. Lunch. Breakfast. Eggs.
Eleven Madison Park - went here a week or two after it was named the best restaurant in the world and a week before it closed for a total renovation. It was fun, the food was better than Per Se...but how can a restaurant be the best in the world when the bathroom is such a long walk from the dining room? Fancy. Tasting Menu. Delicious. Madison Square Park.
Emily West Village - Now Manhattanites don’t have to trek out to Emily or Emmy Squared for their great pizzas (circle and square) or burger. What a treat! Pizza. West Village.
Emmy Squared - Dang, these Detroit-style rectangular pizzas did a number on me when it first opened. Would find any excuse to get out there. Pizza. Delicious. Williamsburg.
Empellon Al Pastor - This downtown faux-taqueria dared to ask the question “What if we charged $6 for a normal taco al pastor?” and I don’t care to find out the answer. Tacos. East Village.
En - Great big fancy Japanese place in the West Village. They make a big deal about constantly whipping up their own in house tofu. The only place I’ve ever been for Restaurant Week and felt just as mistreated as I had expected. I think if you order off the normal menu they treat you nice and feed you well. Japanese. West Village.
La Esquina - Upstairs: Eh, whatever. Mexican. Tacos. Soho.
La Esquina - Downstairs: Actually, pretty good food. Impress the unsuspecting with a trip to this “secret” restaurant. Total scene, probably wouldn’t go back myself. Mexican. Soho.
Estela - Let me just say this place is delicious and you’re going to love it. Go go go go go! Mediterrean-ish, maybe? Soho. Delicious.
Famous Sichuan - My favorite restaurant in Chinatown! Chonqing chicken, twice cooked pork, dan dan or sesame noodles. Like, you’ll just have to take my word for it, it’s better than most and fun to eat at. Chinese. Sichuan. Chinatown.
Recommended Dishes: Chongqing Chicken, Twice Cooked Pork, Dan Dan Noodles, whatever gets your curiosity up.
Fette Sau - Meats, meats, meats, meats, meats. Get a group together and go nuts. A little rough on the pocket of the solo diner. Expect to wait because there’s only one person handling those orders. Barbecue. Williamsburg.
Recommended Dishes: Brisket, beans, a sausage.
First Avenue Indian Restaurants - The food is not good, but it’s edible. And it’s fairly fun and crazy inside with the lights and everything. Used to be dang cheap, not the case anymore. Go if the occasion requires it, you’ll be ok. Preferable to walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to wait for Grimaldi’s with your visitors. Indian. East Village.
“La Fonda” - Columbia-adjacent Mexican staple for the eternities. Complimentary fried in house tortilla chips with three salsas. Oddly, I usually get quesadillas here. Rice and beans are real nice, too. Always crowded, rarely a wait, quite the paradox. Not nuts about the tacos, I prefer an entree. Mexican. Morningside Heights. Upper West Side.
Frankie’s Spuntino - Eat here with friends or family, order right, and you’ve got a good chance at a positively perfect meal, particularly in the backyard of the Brooklyn original. The Manhattan one is convenient, but gets a little dark and loud at night. (Probably because the sun goes down and it fills up with people). Oh yeah, what did I mean by order right? Meatballs, celery root salad, brown butter cavatelli and hot sausage, anti pasti plate, eggplant marinara…how big is your group? Italian. Delicious. Carroll Gardens, West Village.
Freeman’s - Absolutely beautiful restaurant. Absolutely unremarkable food. But still, has some sort of significance for having opened up at the back of that alley and cracked open the Bowery as a place for destination restaurants. Definitely of a totally different New York era. See also: Lure Fishbar. American. Lower East Side, Bowery.
Fuku - When this place opened up those chicken sandwiches put me in a panic. I’ve since been able to settle down a little. Momofuku. Fried Chicken Sandwich. East Village.
Fuku+ - It’s Fuku with a bigger menu that gets a little crazy in the bar space overlooking Ma Peche. It’s a fun interesting midtown option. Fried Chicken Sandwich. Midtown.
Fuku Wall Street - The thing about this Fuku is they have a fried chicken dinner in the evening that’s like the poor man’s version of the Noodle Bar fried chicken dinner. Feeds 3-4 people, lost of chicken and accoutremants. Pretty cool, not a big deal. Fried Chicken Sandwich. Fried Chicken. Financial District.
Fu Ran - This is a fun place and a good place and worth the trip out to Flushing. Come with a group and maybe you’ll get the private room…which might also be a coat closet when there aren’t any large groups? Chinese. Flushing. Queens.
Go Go Curry - Daaaaaang I just love Go Go Curry. A great go to when you need to get filled up for ten bucks, their katsu and curry platters get the job done. Also like seeing how it takes my Dad back to his Tokyo days. A favorite restaurant in the city, unexpected locations actually all over the place, but I usually go to the west 38th street one. Japanese. Curry. Delicious. Multiple Locations.
Gotham West Food Hall - Good enough that sometimes the walk over to 11th Avenue doesn’t seem THAT far. Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, Ample Hills, Choza Taqueria all nice but the new star is Corner Slice Pizza. Even a man with undiscerning pizza-tastes like mine can be like “Wow, this is great pizza.” Food hall. Far west side/Hell’s Kitchen.
Gramercy Tavern - Tavern room in front is great, dining room in back is good. Fancy. American. Gramercy/Union Square.
Grand Sichuan St Marks - My first sichuan. My one friend worried she was having a stroke because things didn’t taste right and her tongue felt numb, but it was just the tingle of the sichuan peppercorns doing their thing. Here I learned that there’s a dish out there made specifically for me, and it’s called chonqing chicken. Sichuan. Chinese. East Village.
Grey’s Papaya - In principle, hard for me to like going here now that the Recession Special (2 dogs and a drink) is $6—I think it was 3 or 4 bucks when I moved here (…fourteen years ago…). There’s a new Grey’s across from the Port Authority where the Recession Special actually is 4 or 5 bucks, so I like that one. Hot Dog. Upper West Side. Port Authority. Times Square.
Great New York Noodletown - You know what’s weird? That the restaurants in Chinatown all close so early. But not Noodletown! Known to many for having inspired the ginger scallion noodles at the Momofuku Noodle Bar, get a platter of those and a plate of roast pork and you’re very set. Salt baked shrimp would be a good addition to that meal, though. Has an additional menu that isn’t printed on the placemats full of more hardcore stuff, like, you know, stuff you’re afraid to order. Chinese. Chinatown.
Grimaldi’s - Strictly for tourists who just walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. But also, good pizza. All the coal oven pizza is basically good! And comes with long waits in line. Pizza. Nolita.
The Halal Guys - Kings of Street Meat, I suppose. Quite tasty, really. Very generous portion. Way too spicy hot sauce. Last time I had Halal Guys there was a piece of plastic bag in my food. So. I haven’t been back for a while. Street Meat. Halal. Multiple Locations.
Han Dynasty - Excellent sichuan option. Just a step or two above so many others in quality and execution. Dan Dan Noodles, Twice Cooked Pork, Dry Pepper Chicken (that’s what they call their congking chicken), maybe smashed cucumbers, too? You’re fully set. Dan Dan Noodles and Dry Pepper Chicken if it’s just you. Chinese. Sichuan. Union Square/East Village
Harlem Shake - Too bad about the name but actually kinda good. A Shake Shack imitator with enough of its own menu innovation to be not such a bad place to meet up with a friend or two. East Harlem. Harlem. Burgers.
Hell’s Kitchen - Loud crowded fancy Mexican place in Hell’s Kitchen. You don’t so much order tacos and such here but, like, big pieces of meat with Mexican flavors to them, if you catch my drift. Mexican. Hells Kitchen.
Hidechan Ramen - Porky upstairs sibling to the east side Totto. Good, especially if one has a long wait and the other doesn’t. Ramen. Midtown East.
Hot Jalepeño - Seriously the only very bad Mexican restaurant I’ve been to in East Harlem. Couldn’t finish my tacos, stomach churning. Mexican. East Harlem
Hot Kitchen - Brightly lit and very good. Dan Dan Noodles, Twice Cooked Pork, Chongqing chicken. If those are three things you like to order, you’ll like ordering them here. Chinese. Sichuan. Chinatown.
Ice and Vice - I think the “Vice” refers to the number of ice creams here with alcohol in them? I guess that’s what gives it an edge over the other fancy ice cream places in the city. The non-Vicey ice creams I’ve had here were good. It’s located at the very ends of the earth, don’t know that I’d make the trip over here just for this ice cream and I don’t know what you’d be doing in the neighborhood besides coming here for the ice cream. Ice Cream. Lower East Side.
El Idolo - Downtown taco truck standby. Very into their taquitos and their very big sopes. West 14th and West 4th trucks. Taco truck. Mexican.
Ippudo Ramen - Man this place is never not packed, and my ramen tastes aren’t demanding enough to be willing to wait too often. Ramen. Hell’s Kitchen, Union Square/East Village, Midtown.
Jajaja - New all-vegan Mexican outside the East Broadway subway stop. Good, very fun, extremely attractive space. Go with a non meat-eating friend and live it up. Then find yourself considering eating their on your own as you walk by. Mexican. Vegan. Lower East Side
Ivan Ramen - Many good things on this menu, great use of garlic, fun space…but some how, just less than the total of its parts. Leaves me a little “Hmmm…not quiiiite what I wanted” every time. *Shrugging Emoji* Willing to go back and keep trying. Ramen. Lower East Side.
JG Mellon’s - Another classic burger to file under pre-Burger uprising. Very nice. Only been to the old Upper East Side original, but they’re starting to spread through the city…meaning there’s one in the Village, now, maybe an Upper West Side one, too? Burgers. Multiple locations.
Jin Ramen - Certainly the best ramen in Harlem, but also holds its own against everyone else. I dig their fried chicken, too. Ramen.
Joe’s Pizza - Good place for a slice. Clearly better quality than most. I think it’s the sauce? Pizza. West Village. East Village.
Joe Jr’s - There are bad diners and there are good diners and this is a great diner. All the biggest burger snobs love to whisper that the Joe Jr burger is one of the best in the city, like it takes a very sophisticated burger palette to recognize such simple burger perfection hidden in plain sight. But guess what: It is a very very good burger, and if you order a shake with it, you get the whole tin cup. Once I ate here on Halloween and they had little bowls of candy at every table. It’s the simple flourishes that set it apart and mark it with quality. Diner. Burger.
John Dory - April Bloomfield does crustaceans and bivalves of criminal deliciousness. You’ll be slapping the table in excitement. All the dishes are just pure flavor, it’ll get you worked up. Seafood. Delicious. Between Madison Park and Koreatown.
Juan Bar - You can get a massively gigantic torta cubana here, the largest I’ve seen in the United States. Mexican. Queens.
Katz’s Deli - I’ve actually only ever had a hot dog here, and it was fine. Please, let me know how much you like your gigantic $20 pastrami sandwich. Deli. Lower East Side.
Kimchi NY - A favorite midtown lunch spot. Here’s the secret: grab a to-go pre-made spicy pork or bulgogi and rice box but then walk to the seating in back (through the kimchi museum) for free kimchi from the buffet. Korean. Midtown. Rockefeller Center.
Kwik Meal - “Experts” say this is the best street meat cart, but what they serve is so different from your usual street meat that I don’t know if it even counts. White rice, not gross salad, totally different white sauce, green sauce instead of red sauce, chicken cooked with peppers. It’s not the normal. But also, it’s good. But also, it’s a lot less food for a little more money. 45th street between 6th and 7th Avenue. Halal. Street Meet.
L&B Spumoni Gardens - Really love this place no matter how out of the way it is (perhaps consider trekking here at the end of a Coney Island Day since you’ve already gotten that far out?) Go with some friends, eat a cheese Sicilian pie and one of the giant spumoni ice cream platters and you’ve got yourself a very good night. Pizza. Brooklyn.
Lalito - Kinda like this very Los Angeles 2015 hyper-millenial taste aesthetic channeled into sort of Mexican that actually hits and I’m surprised I haven’t been back yet because really it drove me a little nuts. Mexican. Not exclusively vegetarian, but vegetarian friendly. Chinatown.
Legend - You’ll find that I like all the sichuan restaurants on this list and that I recommend the chonqing chicken, twice cooked pork, and dan dan noodles at all of them. I have a type! Sue me! Sichuan. Chinese. Chelsea.
The Leopard at des Artistes - Fun Fact: Time Out magazine sent me to review this restaurant and never told me they had posted the review. That's what I've learned about magazines/websites: not tons of communication. Anyway. Upscale neighborhood Italian in famous space with famous murals (that not a lot of people have heard of). Food was very good, but I don't blame you if you never think to eat here. It just stays popular with the local wealth and celebrities and hasn't caught on throughout the city. I mean you could definitely come here with you parents before going to something at Lincoln Center but you just probably won't think to. Italian. Fancy. Upper West Side.
Lombardi’s - Sure, wait for a table. I can’t argue that it’s not good coal oven pizza or a total circus in there. Pizza. Nolita.
Lure Fishbar - Very cool yachty looking edge of fancy restaurant underneath the Soho Prada store. People used to whisper “You know they’ve got a good burger” and it was like the great excuse to eat in this interesting restaurant. Turns out the other food is good, too! But, in reflection, it just seems past its prime, or just too far fallen out of my eating rotation to bring back. Like if you said, “Hey, let’s go to Lure” I’d say “Wow, that takes me back.” In other words: Everyone I ever ate at Lure with moved away by 2010. Seafood. Burger. Soho.
Ma Peche - The forgotten Momofuku that every time I go to I’m like “Hey, this place is actually really good.” Maybe in this age of so many Momofukus the most stable yet creative option. Momofuku. Midtown.
Made Nice - The Eleven Madison Park people’s experiment where they ask themselves “We know what we can make you for a $300 meal, but what about for $15?” I actually always really like it, but it got murdered in the reviews. Don’t be fooled by the New York City Ice Cream market, their $6 Milk and Honey Sundae is very big and quite sharable. Between Madison Park and Koreatown.
El Maguey y La Tuna - Found this place in my early New York days search for Mexican restaurants. Many classic 2003-2005 meals were had here, last time I went was in 2007 and I was very “Ah, this place hasn’t changed a bit!” (and the waitress still remembered me!). Should really go check on it. Was never not happy with their nachos and enchiladas, etc. I guess sometimes you just move on and eat other stuff? Mexican. Lower East Side.
Los Mariscos - Tacos No 1’s semi-hidden seafood offshoot, here I finally love ceviche, thanks in part to their provocatively funky and spicy peanut salsa. Fish tacos are good, too, do not get talked into the spicy shrimp tacos, though. They’re a cruel letdown. Delicious. Tacos. Chelsea. Chelsea Market.
M. Wells Dinette and M. Wells Steakhouse - Sad shadows of the M. Wells that once was. I think the Dinette has downgraded itself to pure museum food since I last ate there and the Steakhouse left me very “Uh…what’s wrong here?” the time I went. Queens. Quebecoise.
Martina - From the creators of Shake Shack, a place that’s supposed to be the Shake Shack of pizza. Hmmm, no, I wouldn’t say they’ve cracked it yet. East Village.
May Wah Fast Food - I used to live next door to this place. It’s real good, you get a deepfried porkchop, have it with noodles instead of rice, they add some, like, preserved vegetables thing plus a brown gravy with the option to add black pepper. It’s just tasty! Sticks to your ribs, treats you right kind of food. Chinese. Little Italy.
Meadowsweet - my first favorite restaurant in the city was a place called Dumont. Dumont opened a fancier, even better restaurant called Dressler. Dressler closed. Dumont closed. But the Dressler chef opened a new restaurant in the old Dressler space with many of the great Dressler and Dumont dishes on the menu. Sometimes things work out! American. Delicions. Williamsburg.
The Melt Shop - I do not have a lot of fast casual eateries on this list and, I don’t know, Melt Shop might even be nationwide BUT I cannot deny that I really like their patty melt and tater tots. Typically I’d say I do not have guilty pleasures, that I’m not ashamed of anything that I like, but perhaps, perhaps eating at the Melt Shop is a guilty pleasure. Multiple locations.
Mighty Quinn’s BBQ - You know what it’s good and that’s the main thing about it. I’m glad they sell it by the portion and not the weight, takes the guess work out for the less barbecue educated (such as myself). A solid go to. Barbecue. Multiple locations.
Recommended Dishes: Brisket. Broccoli salad.
Mile End Deli - Feel it has strayed from the path it had been making for itself. Let me know if I’m wrong. Used to be into their Poutine Month, until it got hard to find people to hit up Poutine Week with. Quebecoise Jewish Deli.
Minetta Tavern - Pretty cool looking on the inside. Sells a million Black Label Burgers a night, many call it their favorite. My tastes weren’t discerning enough to fully appreciate. Steakhouse? Bistro? Burger? Village.
Mission Chinese Food - Generally speaking, no longer trying to murder you with spiciness and, generally speaking, no longer trying to murder you with three hour waits for tables. Great space and real fun for groups, invite me and I’ll say Yes, but of my own planning I’ll probably make it here about once a year. Chinese. Lower East Side.
Recommended Dishes: Thrice Cooked Bacon and Rice Cakes, Chongqing Chicken Wings (but be careful).
Momofuku Ko - I’ve been to the old location a couple of times and almost went to the new location a couple of times. I feel like the new location is such a progression that whatever I have to say about the old just doesn’t matter. Momofuku. Fancy. Tasting menu. East Village.
Momofuku Milk Bar - They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…but even though something ain’t broke, would it kill them to add something new to the menu if you’ve had every cookie, cake ball and slice of pie a million times? I cannot imagine eating a larger than sample-size portion of the cereal milk soft serve. Dessert. Multiple locations.
Momofuku Noodle Bar - Would kill to see something new on the menu I was interested in, particularly among their ramens. But what a singular New York dining experience, to hunker down with a friend at the bar overlooking the prep area and ordering everything that gets your curiosity up. Extreme classic, still tremendously popular. I’ve had the shared fried chicken dinner at least a dozen times. Momofuku. Ramen. East Village.
Momofuku Ssam Bar - My favorite restaurant? Or my favorite restaurant I haven’t been to for a long while. OR Momofuku Ssam Bar 2008 is my favorite restaurant ever? The current lunch menu is just so bad, but I bet dinner here sends you to heaven. (I don’t mean by killing you). The Bo Ssam (roast pork butt for sharing with a group of friend) is fun and delicious but the group brisket meal is fun and from a planet far beyond delicious. The group duck meal is decadent and tasty as well, but perhaps overwhelmingly ducky by the end (although all three group meals will leave you exhausted from eating for a week). Momofuku. East Village. Delicious.
La Morada - Now that El Atoradero has moved to Brooklyn, this is the Mexican we’re heading to the Bronx for from Manhattan. People talk up the moles, but what I especially liked were the tostadas. Mexican. Bronx.
Morgensterns - Starting to feel about fancy ice cream the same way I feel about fancy donuts. Great place if you love lines and standing in a packed room with a cone in your hand. But also you’ll instantly understand its Instagram popularity. Ice Cream. Bowery/Lower East Side.
Motorino’s - Yes, you should go. Pizza. Multiple locations.
Mu Ramen - Actually very cool. Worth the Queens trip. Ramen. Long Island City.
Nishi - The first Momofuku to struggle. It’s been renovated and retooled since I went, and I went there was good food and there was ok food, and I haven’t been back. Momofuku. Chelsea.
Nobu - In spite of the fame and legacy and celebrity magnet repuation, the truth is: Absolutely delicious Japanese comfort food. I do not know what you order besides the black miso cod and rock shrimp tempura unless the king crab tempura special is also on the menu. First place I ever spent more than $50 on dinner at, I think. Downtown and midtown locations both good. Tough dinner reservation, walk in at lunch. They say that no one goes there for sushi. Japanese. Multiple locations.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor - Charming as heck to look at, good enough for eating at. I’m not a dim sum expert, but it makes sense that it’s crowded. Located right at the crux of the Bloody Elbow of Pell Street, the most murdered-on corner in Manhattan’s history. Chinese. Dim sum. Chinatown.
Recommended Dishes: Small fried or steamed things.
Num Pang - Is it me or does everything here taste a little bit like tuna fish? I guess technically this is not a banh mi restaurant since they’re Cambodian sandwiches? But to the non-discerning, this sure will seem like a banh mi restaurant. Multiple locations.
No. 7 Subs - Used to love these weird and delicious sandwiches, but they’ve fallen off my regular visit list. I dig the broccoli sub but not the broccoli tacos they try to push so hard. Sandwiches. Multiple Locations.
Odd Fellow’s - Most underrated of the fancy ice creams? Ice Cream. East Village. Williamsburg.
Oiji - Fancy contemporary Korean food that will knock you out plate after plate and then you order the hot honey butter potato chips and ice cream dessert and it’s like an elbow drop off the top rope and you’re dead. Highest dessert recommendation, really impressed with how they raised the price of it to $16, though. (Suggested Gluten Free Power Move: Come in, order the fried mushroom salad, order the dessert, leave beyond content). Korean. East Village. Delicious.
Oriental Garden - Famous for inspiring the Momofuku pork buns with its Peking Duck, I once came here with a group of “friends” and a list of exactly what to order and the group absolutely refused to play along, everyone brought an extra friend, and I don’t think anyone even wanted to eat family style. A disaster! But I still trust this place is good. Chinese. Chinatown.
Otto’s Tacos - You know what I just like this place! Everything’s good. Something about it doesn’t match what I want or expect out of a taqueria, but the food is just good! And if you want to drop a tombstone in your belly, get the Gorgon (a giant, guac-laden puffy taco). It will be a good death. Tacos. Multiple locations.
Papaya King - I’m a Grey’s Papaya guy even if Papaya King may be the original. Hot Dogs. Multiple Locations.
Paquito’s - Good, straightforward enchiladas and stuff. I really like their chicken in pipian dish. An old standby, don’t live to closeby anymore, so I haven’t been in a while. But I’ve got some good Paquito’s memories, like the time I watched a mouse crawl out of the cow skull on the wall. They run a take out place next door with basically the same menu where everything is a dollar or two chaper. Mexican. East Village.
Parm - Go with someone, split a meatball hero and a slice of ice cream cake, tell me that’s not a delicious and good time. Although I just recommended two simple dishes, I dislike the scaling back of the menu at the original location and the unpredictable difficulty of getting a table at the Upper West Side location. Italian. Sandwich. Multiple Locations.
El Paso - If you want to get a burrito and you want a waiter to bring it to you, this is a good choice of where to go. Multiple locations. Mexican.
El Paso Taco Truck - It had disappeared for a while and I was worried it was gone forever, but now it’s back! Favorite thing here are the giant tortas and the friendly lady who takes the orders. Really don’t know if it has anything to do with the El Paso Mexican restaurants in the city. Taco Truck. 116th and 3rd Ave. East Harlem.
Patsy’s - Dang people love going to Patsy’s. And they should, it’s good pizza and they’re all over town. But when someone gets Patsy’s delivered? That’s when the room goes: Woah, you got Patsy’s? Pizza. Multiple locations.
Patsys’ [original one on First Avenue] - This Patsy’s is actually kinda different, menuwise, from all the other Patsy’s. The best thing about it is they sell slices in a space nextdoor and you can get a whole large cheese pizza for $11. Extremely good price/pay-off ratio. Pizza. East Village.
Patty's - This is a terrible taco truck. Don't. Tacos. Taco truck. Upper East Side. Upper West Side.
Paul’s - It has been a VERY long time since I last went to this East Village institution that predates the mid-00’s rise of the burger in New York. I remember them being gigantic and a great many different ones on the menu. Burger. East Village.
Peaches Hot House - Lively crowded place, came here for their Hot Chicken. It was not Hot Chicken. Still had a good dinner, still had fun. Brooklyn.
Per Se - Had a memorable and good meal here 5 years ago. My first white tablecloth 3 Michelin star experience. The main things I remember were a butter poached lobster, the bread basket, and how incredibly uncomfortable my chair was. My back still hurts. Fancy. Tasting Menu. Columbus Circle.
Peter Luger’s - The most famous steak house in New York. My first meal here was another one of my top five New York meals ever. Steak, slice of bacon, tomato and onion salad, maybe a shrimp cocktail, ice cream sundae. You’ll be in heaven. Stop in at lunch for a burger made of steak trimmings for a quick and easy taste of the Luger experience. Steak. Tough reservation. Delicious. Williamsburg.
Pies and Thighs - You know what, it’s pretty good. Too bad the Manhattan location closed, that was pretty weird, actually. That the Manhattan Pies and Thighs flopped. Fried chicken. Williamsburg.
Pig Heaven - I’m real sad that I’ve only had one meal at a Chinese restaurant called “Pig Heaven” that’s been around forever, and that there were only two of us at that dinner. Would love to come back to Pig Heaven with a group someday to find out what’s really up. Chinese. Upper East Side.
Pig and Khao - Strong No. Lower East Side.
Pizza Places with “Ray” in the Name - Feel like these are going the way of the dodo? Been replaced by street meat carts claiming to be the true original Halal guys. Anyway, the Ray’s at 10th and 6th, long gone now, that was my Ray’s…because I lived a couple blocks up the street and because Santa gave it a shout out in Elf. Pizza. Multiple locations, for now.
Pok Pok - Digestively, it just wrecked me. Would go back to try the famed wings. Thai. Brooklyn.
The Polo Bar - Not sure if this place closed down? Great clubby (as in country, not dance) scene beneath 5th Avenue Ralph Lauren flagship, quite good food for a clothing store restaurant. Enjoyed a dinner down here out of reach of cell signals as Donald Trump was being elected. Very much has that feeling that someone famous could be at the next table over. Midtown.
Los Portales - Only convenient if you happen to be headed to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, but this is an extremely good taqueria. Everything I’ve had here—from tortas cubanas to tacos al pastor to tostadas de tinga—has been spot on and great. Word of Warning: Not open for lunch. I’ve learned this a couple of times, but finally have it committed to memory. Tacos. Mexican. Queens.
Prime Meats - The Frankie’s folk go full Bavarian steakhouse. (I just wanted to say “Bavarian” instead of “German” without knowing the difference). It will treat you right if you don’t mind the trip or the investment. Steakhouse. Burger. Carroll Gardens.
Prince Street Pizza - Got so popular out of nowhere, but this used to be my neighborhood spot! The pepperoni square is crispy little pepperoni cups of grease heaven and, like all grandma (or is it Sicilian?) slices, comes out of the oven too hot to hold but with a cold center. Pizza. Nolita.
Prune - A New York legend and I’ve only been here for lunch on a weekend once. It’s a blur, but it was good. Since I do not have a closer relationship with Prune I do not fee like a very legitimate person to comment on New York City restaurants. American. East Village.
Rai Rai Ken - This place used to be tiny, now it’s twice as big and kind of flashy. It’s fine, though, especially if you’re wanting to get ramen in the East Village without it being a big deal. Conveniently located around the corner from the Momofuku Noodle Bar if you’d prefer more low key noodles. East Village.
Ramen Setagaya - Gets the ramen job done. Ramen. East Village.
Rico’s Tacos - This place is great. Not as popular as it should be. All the taqueria classices are in effect. Go on a nice day, park yourself by an open window, stick around. Mexican. Sunset Park.
Roberta’s - Yes. It’s good and cool. Hipster Chuck E Cheese, without the singing robots. You should go. Maybe the most food-culturally important restaurant to open in New York since 2004? Pizza. Bushwick.
Roll n Roaster - It’s worth having a friend with a car just so you can get all the way out to this place, and it’s worth coming to this place 1. for its moment caught in time early 80s fast food aesthetic and 2. Because both their signature roast beef and the fried chicken are great. Roast Beef. Fried chicken. Brooklyn. Delicious. Get a car.
Rosa Mexicano - Nope. In my mind the king of NYC fancy Mexican restaurants. Need to watch both your guacamole being mashed tableside AND your tortilla soup being poured into its bowl? Enjoy. Fancy Mexican. Lincoln Center, Union Square.
Rubirosa - I’ve only ever had their pizza takeout and it is very good and slightly fancy. I mean, you can get a handful of arugula on it and stuff. And if I remember right, I believe they make a dope gluten-free pie, too. Probably a great restaurant? I should go inside sometime. Pizza. Nolita.
Ruby’s - People LOVE going to this Australian burger spot. I should go back. Used to be tiny and packed, doubled in size recently, now it’s just small and packed. Burgers. Nolita.
Sabor a Mexico - This is one of those places that’s actually pretty good but they do that thing where you can only order orders of 3 tacos and they all have to be the same meat and that just bums me out. Big time. Let me try everything you have to offer! Sheesh. Mexican. East Village.
St Anselm - Great for when you want a steak without breaking the bank, but are also okay with a long wait for a table. Had a grilled avocado salad here once, too. Steakhouse. Williamsburg.
Salvation Taco - How come we forget April Bloomfield has a Mexican restaurant? I’ve had lunch here by myself a few times, I think the menu has totally changed since then, or totally changes all the time? Anyway, back in the day they made the best New York torta I’d ever had below 116th Street. I think now it’s a sceney Murray Hill place though? Mexican. Murray Hill.
Sammy’s Halal - This is a good cart, nice green hot sauce instead of red. I support it. Street meat. Halal. The Village.
San Loco - Came here for nachos a long time ago. You could say I learned my lesson, but I still came back a few times. This is the sort of place we had to eat before Chipotle came to New York. Not saying we were better off before or after. Just reporting. Multiple locations. Mexican.
Sapporo Ramen - I like this place because it pre-dates the mid late-00’s ramenmania that seized Manhattan, in fact, pretty sure it’s New York’s first ramen restaurant. More like a ramen diner, actually? Big menu of fast Japanese staples, actually I’m kinda into their moderately bland fried chicken. A very nice Times Square-ish option. I like it because it’s unfussy and old school and it’s not trying to be anything but itself. Ramen. Times Square.
Shake Shack - See Burger Joint. Sure. It’s quite good. I go for the Chicago dog. The chicken sandwich is no good. Burgers. Multiple locations.
Shen Wang - If you’re looking for the thrill of eating great cheap noodles in a big, well-lit basement on an unpopular Chinatown block, THIS is the place for you! Used to be a major go-to for me. Noodles. Chinese. Chinatown.
Singapore Noodle - Or “Singapore Mei Fun”—my go to Chinese take out order. Just a contain crammed with rice noodles and chicken, shrimp, fried egg, roast pork and shrimp with a little curry in there, too. Thank you, New York, for teaching me about Singapore noodle. You’ve been good for something.
The Smile and The Smile to Go - This place is for very cool people. Like, real deal very cool people. Not fake cool people. Are you cool enough? Noho, Soho. Sandwiches, Salads.
The Smith - Ok, honestly, although I'd prefer to play it too cool for the Smith, truth is thhe food is fine and the menu covers most tastes and there are The Smiths conveniently located all around the city so it’s okay if you go but beware the people who’ve come to the Smith to have fun. American. Multiple locations.
Smorgasburg - Went once, pure chaos, long lines, gimmicky food left and right. Enjoy. Probably not so bad on a clear, good weather day. For the record: I’ve never had a ramen burger and don’t understand why I should. Food hall. Multiple locations.
Somtum Dur - Real good. Not just pad thai and massaman curry. Thai. East Village.
Spice - Basically a chain, have watched this empire of cheap White people-friendly Thai served in futuristic surroundings expand and contract, but still it remains. And you know what? Never ever got made at their lunch specials. New York needs Spice so we can just stay fed and happy. Also, there’s a branch of Spice called Sea in Williamsburg that is very big and over the top looking. It’s fun to go to, it’s what we used to imagine New York was going to look like. Thai. Multiple locations.
Spicy Village - Man, a few years back I definitely had a season of mania for Spicy Village and trying to find people to go get the big tray of chicken with me (which is a large tray of stewy, peppery chicken that’s a real mess to eat but such a treat). It’s Chinese, but not like you’re usually used to (probably). Curiosity and daring will be rewarded. Will stop in whenever nearby to order a beef or pork pancake to go. Heaven. Chinese. Chinatown.
Spotted Pig - I’ve waited 25 minutes for a solo seat at the bar at 3pm on a weekday. So, yeah, it’s packed and you’re going to wait so I don’t go often. BUT if you’re ok with the fistful of blue cheese that it’s topped with, the burger here is deservedly one of the best regarded in the city. West Village.
Sripraphai - 15’ish years ago this is where the Chowhounds discovered “real Thai” out in Queens. Now that “real Thai” has discovered the rest of New York, it’s still fun to head out here with a group and go wild with your larbs and beef waterfalls, fried watercress salads and papaya salads and a niiiice beef massaman curry. Come! Have fun! You’ll like it. Thai. Queens. Delicious.
Stanton Social - To think how I excited I once was to go here for onion soup soup dumplings and other tiny foods and not realize that it was basically a club says a lot about how much I’ve grown over these years. Lower East Side.
Super Tacos Sobre Ruedas- Upper West Side taco truck standby. I like their taquitos and their carne enchilada tacos, not crazy about their tortas because they stick whole leaves of iceberg lettuce in them and the buns are kinda not great. Taco truck. Upper West Side.
Superiority Burger - An absolute favorite, one of the city’s best restaurants, probably Manhattan’s most punk rock restaurants. The creativity and quality is just electric. AND it’s a veggie burger place. And a veggie sloppy joe place. The move: pick a sandwich, several of their ever-changing side specials, and absolutely do not skip a gelato/sorbet combo dessert. BEST frozen treat in the city, coming from this guy that’s gotten tired of fancy ice creams. Vegetarian. Vegan. Delicious. East Village.
Sushi Yasuda - This place is good and worth it. High quality traditional sushi. No crazy rolls. Chef Yasuda left a while ago, but I hear the quality hasn’t dropped off. Sushi. Midtown. Grand Central.
Taco Mix - Probably the most famous taqueria in town aside from Los Tacos No 1? But you know what? I actually don’t like this place that much, I think their al pastor is kinda flavorless and it’s a panic attack to try to eat inside this place. BUT their cheesey tortas are a sight to behold that help me chill out and see the good in the establishment. Tacos. East Harlem.
Tacombi - It was such a headache to eat here in its early days that I forget I’ve had good meals there since. Tacos. Nolita. West Village.
Los Tacos No 1 - Saying Tacos No 1 is your favorite taco in New York is like saying Shake Shack is your favorite burger. No one can argue with your choice, but it’s not a very unexpected one. Go with me and I’ll rant about how their aesthetic is a calculated fraud, but I’ll also rant about how their off-menu cheese shell taco is an unfair flavor bomb. Maybe the most delicious thing available in the city for under 5 bucks? Maybe I’ve dipped in here three consecutive days in a row with three different visitors so they could all try one? The original Chelsea Market one is a panic attack, the Times Square location an unexpected oasis of tranquility. Tacos. Times Square. Chelsea.
Tanoshi Sushi - Looks like just a neighborhood sushi place but ACTUALLY it’s secretly a very good, low key, high quality sushi place. Like, world class sushi or whatever. Omakase only and you’re in good hands. Very cool flex to come here. Sushi. Upper East Side.
Tapatio - A little hit or miss, but the hits have been pretty good. Still, not really anything going on here to make you take a trip up to East Harlem or to pick it over, say, Delicias Mexicanas, if you are up in East Harlem. Mexican. East Harlem.
Taqueria Diana - Not nuts nuts about the tacos, but down with their tray of nachos. In a city short on great nacho options, this is an ideal meal for splitting and a touch of a bargain. I have eaten too many of them, but fortunately, not yet alone. Tacos. Nachos. Multiple locations.
Tasty Dumpling - Will take care of your cheap dumpling needs. You will probably not do backflips over them, but you’ll be satisfied. Dumplings. Chinese.
Tavern on the Green - You could say I wrote this list so you would have an option of 200+ other places to go with your uncle instead of Tavern on the Green. Central Park.
Totono’s - Well, it’s on a lot of lists and it’s very fine pizza, but no reason to kill yourself trying to get a table here on a busy day. Coney Island adjacent. Pizza.
Totto Ramen - You’ll hear a good number of people saying this chicken-based ramen is #1 in the city. I’m just not a big enough ramen dude to argue for or against. I recommend for sure, though. Ramen. Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown East.
Ugly Baby - Wow, here we are, the bottom of the (alphabetical) list and you know what? There are a ton of great Thai restaurants in New York right now. And don’t think we’re done yet! There’s still one that starts with a “z.” Anyway. Ugly Baby. Nice trim menu, very good food and also legitimately spicy left and right. Earns a “delicious” rating on its pork skin fried rice alone and just keeps sprinting along with the hits from there. Thai. Delicious. Brooklyn. Carroll Gardens. Popular.
Uncle Boon’s - This place is a PARTY and extremely delicious. Go! One of the best restaurants in the city. Shout out to my Thai restaurants with short menus and a vision. The banana blossom chicken salad will make your scalp sweat but people will still be fighting over the last bite. There’s funky stuff like snails and pig ears on the menu, but also things you can order with your parents, like a heavenly short rib massaman and the coconut sundae dessert. And that banana blossom salad. Thai. Delicious. Nolita.
Uncle Boon’s Sister - the Uncle Boon’s people recently opened this limited-seating takeout place around the corner from Uncle Boon’s proper. A significant amount better than your standard Thai take out place, but not as dope as Uncle Boon’s. Like its brother, this place does not relent on flavor or spice, so keep your guard up if you like things on the mild side. Thai. Nolita.
Underwest Donuts - It’s inside a carwash, lol (and also outside Penn Station). But also pretty good, this one dark chocolate donut in particular. Get a few, sit out on the nearby pier, stare at the Intrepid, it’s not a bad far west side expedition. Donuts. Far West Side, Penn Station.
Upland - Well, it’s beautiful in here. And the street it’s on is also honorary Herman Melville Square. But also, the food is good —though of course I’ve only had their burger, which is like a fancied-up In n Out Burger with avocado. Obama ate that burger, too. American. Gramercy adjacent.
Vanderbilt Food Hall - Grand Central adjacent and an absolute panic, but you can get a Roberta’s pizza here. The Delancey fried chicken sandwich is pretty good. So are the Japanese tacos. Not too bad a place. Food hall. Grand Central.
Vanessa’s Dumplings on Eldridge - Back in the day this was the Dumpling House on Eldridge, a literal hole in the wall (I mean it, it looked like they had knocked a hole in a wall and placed a stove and cash register inside) where you could get stuffed on dumplings and scallion pancakes for $4. Now that it has been remodeled, expanded and named it’s still pretty good and pretty cheap, but nothing like the old days. Dumplings. Chinatown.
Westville - Fine. Vegetarian friendly. Multiple locations.
Wilma Jean - Came out here once and split the pimento double cheeseburger and the fried chicken sandwich. Both treated me right. They have a stand in the DeKalb Market food court thing, too. Carroll Gardens. Southern.
White Gold - April Bloomfield comes to the upper west side. Ate lunch here once, had to stand in line with the most obnoxious collection of UWS stereotypes (the enraged elderly and listless teens) but had a good fancy chop cheese. April Bloomfield good just tends to be great so you’ll probably like it. Upper West Side.
Xi’an Famous Foods - So good. Go a few times and figure out what you love and then try to remember what it was the next time. Sad to see the prices creeping up, used to be a happy bargain. Chinese. Multiple locations.
Recommended Dishes: Lamb or pork “burgers”, Cold Skin Noodles, Tiger Salad.
Zabb Elee - A good choice if you don’t want to travel out to Sripraphai to escape from the monotony of pad thai and massaman curry. Surprisingly spicy. Like you’ll just be eating there with a friend, talking, no big deal, and then you’ll hiccup and be like “Oh man, this is spicy” and drink your whole glass of water and be glad you didn’t come with someone who doesn’t do spice at all. Or apologize for bringing someone who doesn’t do spice at all. Thai. East Village.