Best Of Food & Drink
A good diner serves you delicious food from breakfast to dinner, and a great diner specializes in more than one type of cuisine. And in the heart of the East Village sits the greatest diner of them all: Stage Restaurant. Open from 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., this sliver of...
Best Egg on a Roll
Much has been made of late of the rapid gentrification of Crown Heights, and all one needs is a quick stroll through the neighborhood to see why — especially if you happen upon the area's first Starbucks. Whether you're of the belief that this is good, bad, or questionable, one...
Buvette is the French neighborhood café you thought you would have to pack up your things and head for the Seine to find, except that it's located in the heart of the West Village, which makes it much easier to afford. Chef Jody Williams envisioned this as a place her...
When you put your name on the brunch wait list at Queens Comfort, the host might ask you to name a supervillain, divulge your favorite '80s show, or reveal what your mama says to wake you up. It's a ploy to keep the hungover sidewalk hordes entertained — and it...
Best Dim Sum
Open for just shy of a decade, Pacificana and its grand banquet hall — a sea of white, brown, red, and gold on the second floor of a nondescript office building — sets the standard for Cantonese grandeur in Sunset Park's Chinatown. Waitstaff loll around the dining room, pushing carts...
Best Takeout Counter
This space isn't much bigger than your first York Avenue railroad apartment, and the uninterested service rivals that of the woman who weighs your laundry — by the time your order of roasted Angus is hand-carved, baptized by tongs in a beefy jus, and tucked into a baguette, you'll have...
Best Food You Can Have Delivered
MilkMade becomes from humble beginnings: Founder Diana Hardeman wanted a better pint of ice cream than what was on offer at her local bodega, and she took it upon herself to craft locally sourced treats at home for friends and neighbors, who soon urged her to share her calling. Five...
Best 24/7 Restaurant
Sanford's has been caffeinating Astorians since its doors opened in 1922, but during the 1990s, when brothers Chris and Gus Karalekas took over for their father, the restaurant was launched into a delectable new era. One brother is a chef, the other a sommelier, and they offer contemporary American cuisine,...
Best Late-Night Dining
Punjabi Grocery & Deli
With its aggressively spiced vegetarian food and 24-hour door policy, Punjabi Grocery & Deli has been a haven for cab drivers, who used to make the short trip down the block from the nearby gas pumps on Houston Street to refuel their bodies after refueling their automobiles (the gas station...
Due partially to sheer size, New York is now one of the very best barbecue cities in the country, so there are enough great selections to start subdividing this category. But Hometown BBQ rises above them all. This cavernous Red Hook space can transport you all the way to Texas,...
Best Fried Chicken
Root & Bone
Fried chicken is one of those global comfort foods of which there are innumerable variations, but Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth's battered birds at Root & Bone seem practically otherworldly. Brined in sweet tea for over 24 hours, the meat boasts a sugary background note, its greaseless crust dusted with...
When Gabe Stulman and Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly relaunched their quirky izakaya Chez Sardine as the breezy, neighborhood-friendly Bar Sardine, they and beverage director Brian Bartels excavated their childhoods and summers past for inspiration. The gastronomic regression therapy seems to have worked, as the narrow West Village canteen currently houses a remarkable...
Best Burger (Non-Beef Division)
Funked-out burgers are all the rage, with plenty of outfits around town peddling dry-aged beef, game, and farm meats in hopes of patty-sandwich supremacy. At Louro, chef David Santos serves a goat burger so nuanced, it's more Barnard than barnyard. The freshly ground puck (an 80/20 ratio of goat meat...
Best French Fries
Squeezed into a rustic second-floor studio space along the nightlife tributary of MacDougal Street, La Frite fries up exemplary Belgian-style potatoes in both thick and shoestring cuts. And while it may not boast the most sauces in town, the various proprietary mayonnaise-, mustard-, and ketchup-based dips they do serve pop...
Best Hot Dog
If hot dogs are your guilty-pleasure food, the dark confines of Santa Salsa make an ideal retreat to release your meaty inhibitions. Located in the back of Over the Eight Bar, the Venezuelan street-food specialist cranks out a delicious dog known as the "Perro con Todo." This all-beef frank comes...
M. Wells Steakhouse
Hugue Dufour and wife Sarah Obraitis have a knack for creating urban oases, first with their ambitious diner (which ultimately succumbed to a rent increase) and then with M. Wells Dinette inside cultural center MOMA P.S.1. Their latest, a steakhouse built into the industrial husk of a former auto-body shop,...
Best Oyster Happy Hour
Just south of the madness that is the Bedford L stop sits 1920s New Orleans–themed Maison Premiere, which boasts one of the greatest oyster selections in the entire city. The list runs about 20 deep, with shells from beds located everywhere from Maine to New Zealand and an emphasis on...
Best Raw Bar
Jeremy and Jennifer Marshall opened this Soho seafood stalwart in 1996, and Aquagrill has since amassed a faithful clientele of bivalve fetishists who've kept the place humming nearly 20 years. A massive raw bar anchors the dining room, piled high with over 30 different oyster varieties and a number of...
Best Ethiopian Restaurant
While Bunna Café might seem like a Brooklyn cliché (it serves vegan Ethiopian food next to a vacant lot in Bushwick, after all), Ethiopian cuisine has long held vegetarian and vegan dishes in its repertoire thanks to extended fasting periods imposed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Chef Kedija Srage cooks...
Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
Chef Einat Admony and her husband, Stefan Nafziger, were already at the forefront of Middle Eastern cooking in New York: They followed up Taïm, a celebrated falafel shop, with Balaboosta, a Mediterranean restaurant that borrows heavily from the Middle Eastern canon. They've only expanded that legacy with Bar Bolonat, which...
Lebanese chef Philippe Massoud's Ilili Box sits in a shipping container on the edge of Madison Square Park, and is the grab-and-go offshoot of his successful nearby Mediterranean restaurant, Ilili. The stand serves an inventive menu that gives Middle Eastern fast-food staples a few global twists. No dish exhibits the...
Best Russian Restaurant
Brighton Beach has its seaside aromas, and Wall Street Bath and Spa's restaurant Matryoshka has the alluring scent of chlorine, at least until the fellow fresh from a swim dries off while digging into thick slabs of boiled veal tongue ladled with mushroom sauce. The windowless room inside this Financial...
Best French Restaurant
Breezy and convivial, Claudette takes its cues from Provence and the eponymous mother-in-law of renowned French chef Reine Sammut, whose recipes inform this West Village respite. Restaurateurs Carlos Suarez and Mark Barak (Bobo, Rosemary's) tapped Koren Grieveson to execute a menu of Moroccan and Mediterranean-inspired French fare, and her work...
Best Greek Restaurant
Yes, that is a line spilling out of a door onto the sidewalk on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Queens. And this is no small feat, especially when you consider that the people are waiting for Greek food in a neighborhood where every corner seems to hustle some...
Best Spanish Restaurant
Huertas chef and owner Jonah Miller noticed New York City was short on places that translate the Spanish dining experience — a lively traipse through bites and booze that unfolds spontaneously, with diners accepting tapas as they fly out of the kitchen over many hours of drinking. That's what the...
Best Italian Restaurant
Zahra Tangorra didn't train with Michelin-rated chefs; in fact, she didn't train professionally at all. But at the former hip-hop insider's low-key Cobble Hill trattoria, Brucie, Italian cuisine gets the greenmarket treatment with a daily-changing menu of boot-centric small and large plates. Balsamic tomato tarts share the table with atypical...
"It's soy sauce," chef and owner Mike Price divulged as he spilled the secrets of the terrific spaghetti and clams he dishes up at his West Village restaurant, The Clam. The soy sauce, he went on to explain, adds a bit of umami you don't often get in more classic...
On a quiet residential street in the center of Carroll Gardens sits the unassuming pizzeria Lucali, easily identified by the line of people waiting to put their names on the list at the door. Inside, wooden tables and candlelight fill a space warmed by a glowing brick oven, which is...
Best Pizza (Sicilian-Style)
Prince Street Pizza
Nobody tell Nick Kroll's Ghost Bouncers, but Prince Street must be home to some serious pizza-poltergeist action. That's the only way to reconcile with square slices so good they make us quake in our boots. As the storefront that launched a thousand pounds of mozzarella and confusion, Prince Street Pizza...
Best Pizza (Slice)
Dani's House of Pizza
Ramiz and Atush Dani opened Dani's House of Pizza way back in 1959 on a sleepy corner of Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens, and in the 55 years since, the family-run pizzeria has functioned as both community center and dining destination. The shop's voluminous slice manages to avoid floppy failure...
Best Caribbean Restaurant
Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine
The calypso beats of West Indian music spill from Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine, a tiny Crown Heights restaurant that's been around for decades. The menu centers around, unsurprisingly, the West Indies, a fusion of African and Indian culinary traditions, and offers such specialties as jerk chicken, aloo pie, and roti stuffed...
Best Cuban Sandwich
Cafetería La Mejor
Find the intersection of Suydam and Wilson in Bushwick, and we guarantee you won't miss Cafetería La Mejor — its façade is hued turquoise and magenta, so fluorescent we suspect you can see it from space. The place turns out a limited menu of Cuban coffees, a handful of sandwiches,...
Best Mexican Restaurant
There are two menus at the Bronx's El Atoradero. One is the printed selection of masa-based goodies, like tacos, huaraches, and gorditas. The other is a handwritten slip that outlines what chef and proprietor Lina Chavez has conjured up that day. No matter which list you choose from, though, there...
Deftly executed, the burritos at Mission Cantina are game-changers. Do not balk at the $11.50 price point: These aren't the largest packages in town, but it shouldn't be about how many ingredients a cook can cram into a flour tortilla, anyway. The kitchen here is more focused on pulling as...
Los Tacos No. 1
Good New Yorkers are rightly skeptical of the California newbies who blow into town; these restaurateurs often feel like they're blessing the Big Apple with taco art that's superior because they're from west of the Mississippi. But we can't quibble with Californian-owned Los Tacos No. 1, nor can we find...
Anyone can throw together a pile of chips and cheese, but it takes a special soul to put in the effort required to build a truly exemplary platter of nachos. Each ingredient should be lovingly selected and tended, and all should be layered evenly, lest you be stuck with dry...
Best Korean Restaurant
Home cooking hardly gets homier than owner and chef Gap Soon Cho's southwestern Korean fare at Myung San, an unassuming Flushing joint that's been in business for over a decade. Cho runs the restaurant with her two children and grows much of the menu's produce herself. Her array of vegetables...
Best Japanese Restaurant
The East Village is known for a brasher brand of Japanese restaurant, which makes Kyo Ya, hidden down a flight of stairs on 7th Street, a pleasant surprise. Chef Chikara Sono earned a Michelin star for his menu of exquisite dishes that are closely tied to the seasons, and each...
Is the ramen craze over? 2014 was a relatively quiet year for new shops, though we saw a few trendy ones open — and they make the old, reliable mainstays shine all the more brightly. One of those noodle houses is Minca, a humming Alphabet City cubby that still commands...
Sushi Dojo chef David Bouhadana grew up in Florida, but he exhibits a religious convert's zeal for his craft. He honed his skills under serious Japanese masters, and he's now putting the lessons to work in the East Village, where he turns out a board of fish that's well-rounded, exciting,...
Best Indian Restaurant
Nouveau North Indian cooking gets its due at Awadh, the newest restaurant from chef/owner Gaurav Anand of celebrated Mughlai restaurant Moti Mahal Delux. We've cycled through barbecue and rotisserie cooking trends, and we're now onto slow simmering, like the "dum pukht" style of dishes made famous in the city of...
Best Thai Restaurant
You won't find curry on the menu at Somtum Der, nor will you find many of the other specialties that fill the lists of more Americanized versions of Thai restaurants. This offshoot of a Bangkok eatery specializes in fare from the northeastern Isaan region of the country, and it's unyielding...
Best Vegan Pizza
All of the specialty pizzas at Vinnie's Pizzeria are made with 100 percent vegan ingredients, and there's much, much more here than just fake cheese and a few veggies. The kitchen takes strange ingredients and throws them together to make weird pies that are extraordinarily tasty, like the "Mac's Reprise,"...
Best Vegan Restaurant
Champs Family Bakery
Whether you're living meat-, egg-, and dairy-free or you're seeking a spot for lunch with a vegan dining companion, the classic diner fare at Champs Family Bakery is an excellent bet, which is why the line for a weekend seat extends outside. The corner café channels Williamsburg's DIY aesthetic, vintage...
Best Vegetable Dishes
Westville East has a fair number of vegetarian items on its regular menu, but its market menu is something special: It features a huge selection of vegetarian sides that are good enough to make a meal. Many items change daily depending on the season; others, like the cauliflower dijonnaise, are...
Best Vegetarian Deli
Hana Natural is actually a grocery store, and its main purpose is to provide Bushwick with organic and natural products. But it also houses a deli, offering its customers a huge selection of sandwiches, including a list of vegetarian options so numerous, it puts other vegetarian restaurants to shame. Many...
Best Vegetarian Hot Dogs
If you're a vegetarian and you've found that your diet is sorely lacking in hot dogs, that obligatory New York food group, then you should visit Crif Dogs. The menu here is rife with meaty selections, but it also offers a herbivorous silver lining: soy dogs. Use it to build...
Best Vegetarian Restaurant
The Queens Kickshaw
Located in the heart of Astoria, The Queens Kickshaw began as a neighborhood spot for coffee, craft beer, and cider. But over the course of the last three years, it has morphed into a destination for its food, a well-rounded menu of comfort food with a twist that happens to...
What kind of animal recommends a $25 salad? Apprehension is a sensible reaction to that figure, but the sophisticated lunchtime greens at Andrew Carmellini's Lafayette often elicit whispered gasps and mumbled exclamations of "saint-merde!" Expletives in any language are bound to fly when the Dutch and Locanda Verde chef subs...
Best Salad Bar
Hot chocolate and pretzel croissants may be City Bakery's bread and butter, but don't overlook the salad bars in the back — they provide a daily greenmarket feast fast disappearing from Union Square. After 11 a.m., bypass the bakery counter and pile a plate with seasonal vegetable dishes, like sweet...
Since Ratner's scion Theo Peck introduced borscht to his Myrtle Avenue shop, Peck's, last April, the chilled golden-beet soup, infused with a shot of Gefilteria's tangy kvass, has become a menu staple. Every cool slurp offers a balance of sweet and sour, enhanced by a pile-on of complementary garnishes, including...
Best Deli/Sandwich Shop
Sau Voi Corporation
Bánh mì sandwiches have a knack for showing up in surprising places, like the back of a jewelry store or, in the case of Sau Voi Corporation, as part of a tiny convenience store hawking Vietnamese pop music, makeup, and porn. A jury-duty haven, Sau Voi's been serving up overstuffed...
Like so many heroes before him, chef Will Horowitz is in possession a prized blade that belonged to his ancestors. But rather than slaying fantastical creatures, the soulful chef sharpens his steel for the purpose of slicing late-night smoked meat. Made from the deckle of the brisket and served after...
Best Bánh Mì
The bánh mì is the taco of Vietnamese cuisine: Our version bears little similarity to the original; we stack it with ingredients that no one in Vietnam has ever heard of, and there's pretty much no way you can screw it up. But the folks at the Pickle Shack in...
Breads Bakery master baker Uri Scheft learned pastry in both Israel and Europe, which gives the selection of baked goods at this Union Square shop unusual breadth. And so there's much to tempt you: a back counter doles out sandwiches to business lunchers; a front case displays croissants, rugelach, and...
Bond Street restaurateurs Matt Kliegman (The Smile) and Noah Bernamoff (Mile End) hit it big this year with Black Seed, their Nolita shop focused on Montreal-inspired bagels. We say "inspired" because the duo's offerings are hybrids, incorporating honey into both the dough and the water used for boiling. The eight...
Best Baked Good That Hasn't Gone Viral
Bakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito open the second branch of Baked, their Red Hook cake shop, in Tribeca later this year, but there's still no expectation that sweet-and-salty brownies, pumpkin whoopie pies, and caramel apple cake will draw the block-long lines of tourists and reporters Ladurée and Dominique Ansel...
Best Black-and-White Cookie
Glaser's Bake Shop
Located in a neighborhood that was once known as German Town, Glaser's Bake Shop has been making some of the finest baked goods in the city for over 112 years. This throwback to a different decade still holds on to its original tile flooring and wooden cases, and there's not...
Baking Soda Shop
Baking Soda Shop, a project from two former Eleven Madison Park employees, has no brick-and-mortar location. Instead, it sells a collection of cookies and other treats at local coffee shops and from a stall at Hester Street Market. Look for the mint chip cookie, which is made with both chocolate...
Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop
Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop has been serving the Greenpoint neighborhood for more than 60 years, and it's still bathed in the aura of yesteryear, thanks to its mid-century decor, its S-shaped counter, and its employees, who wear I Love Lucy–like green and pink dresses. Doughnuts are made fresh...
There is no shortage of sweet at Spot Dessert Bar, where chef Ian Kittichai offers a menu that showcases sugar in every conceivably consumable way — from tapas and tea cakes to bubble teas and steaming sippers. Most plates bear playfully incorporated Asian components, including Thai tea–infused cream custard for...
Best Ice Cream
Davey's Ice Cream
Owner David Yoo is the man behind the frosty magic at this East Village shop outfitted with a colorful, beckoning sign that's a nod to its creator's former life as a graphic designer. Davey's Ice Cream is made on-site from raw ingredients, and each batch requires a four-day-long production schedule...
Best Ice Cream Cake
New York's undergone a bit of an ice cream–cake renaissance this year, but you'll still need to trek to the outer boroughs to plant your candles if you want something far more epic than Fudgie the Whale (and trust us, you do). The very best in town is at Prospect...
Best Food on a Stick
Foie Gras Pop
Can a foie gras lollipop encapsulate the ambitions of resurrected chef David Waltuck and élan co-owner George Stinson? After closing beloved Chanterelle, a recession casualty, Waltuck returns to the kitchen at the former Veritas space in Gramercy. If the message is casual luxury delivered with a dose of whimsy, then...
Best Food Truck/Cart
Luzzo's Pizza Cart
When it rolled onto the pavement earlier this year, Luzzo's Pizza Cart added Italian style to the New York City street-eats scene with a trolley designed to look like the outside of a Neapolitan trattoria, fake chimney and all. If nothing else, it functions as a reminder that even the...
Now that star chefs like Danny Bowien and Eric Ripert have embraced the pop-up dining experience, temporary restaurants can generate considerable hype. Dinner Lab is not that kind of pop-up. The company — which now spans multiple cities — celebrates the restaurant industry's next generation, and gives would-be restaurateurs a...
Best Outdoor Dining
Grand Banks, the seasonal summer seafood restaurant located in a 142-foot schooner, is a piece of living history where maritime photographs, artifacts, and the occasional lecture create an immersive experience between diner and destination. It's also the largest wooden ship in New York City. But whether that interests you or...
Best Outdoor Drinking
The Honorable William Wall
Secret patios be damned — the best way to drink outdoors in this city is to head for the water and board a boat; four of the five boroughs are on an island, after all! Floating bars have seen an uptick in the last year, but the best place to...
Best Midtown Oasis
Radiance Tea House & Books
It's tough for midtown office workers to find respite from the suited masses crowding generic delis and salad bars, which makes a visit to Radiance Tea House & Books all the more transportive. This airily elegant and well-lit shop keeps an encyclopedic menu of Chinese loose-leaf teas, plus a worldly...
Best Power Lunch
If you need to use your lunch hour to seal a deal or impress a client, there's no place to go but Nougatine, the more casual sidecar to Jean-Georges. Positioned at the entrance to the grander room, Nougatine is more accessible — but it still boasts breathtaking views of the...
Best Tasting Menu
Contra, modeled after the neo-bistros of Paris, offers a $55, five-course nightly changing prix fixe rooted in local ingredients with New American influences. Chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske coax nuanced flavors from their market haul to go with an impressive selection of young and often natural wines. Bread's...
Best Tasting Menu for Dietary Restrictions
Dietary restrictions mean different things to different people, and they run the gamut from true allergies to trendy cleanse stipulations. No matter your aversion, though, Del Posto has you covered — and the restaurant deals with special requests so gracefully, you won't feel like you're missing out. If biology, morality,...
Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays
Forget the sheepish funk of the esteemed Keens Steakhouse mutton, it's the midtown chophouse's monster porterhouse that you want to order when you're not picking up the tab, its dry-aged pink peeking through melted fat. Start with a seafood tray? Don't mind if you do. No harm hinting that your...
Best Cheap Eats
Hiding behind the façade of tattered sign awaits Mamoun's Falafel, which serves one of the cheapest meals in New York City — and a falafel sandwich that's firmly entrenched in this town's food zeitgeist. Whether you hit the location on MacDougal Street off of Washington Square Park or the outlet...
Best Free Bread
The complimentary bread basket has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with many restaurants choosing to charge for their fussy loaves, butters, and other spreads. Paying bakery prices for high-quality carbs doesn't bother us in the least, but at Bâtard, Drew Nieporent and Markus Glocker's spiritual pivot...
Best-Kept Secret (Restaurant Division)
Follow the narrow hallway that runs alongside a Japanese butcher shop on Great Jones Street. When you reach the door, ring the buzzer and give your name. You'll be led into Bohemian, a members-only restaurant that looks like the apartment of an eccentric globe-trotter: See the miniature Japanese garden, skylight,...
Best Restaurant Restroom
In a city full of tight quarters and claustrophobic dreams, the very existence of a spacious and private bathroom feels like no small luxury. So it's worth a trip to Margaux at the Marlton Hotel, which sits just above Washington Square Park, to experience a particularly excellent commode. There are...
Best Menu Disclaimer
While taking in the sights and sounds of the Rockaways, a pizza from Whit's End is required eating. Whitney Aycock, the shop's temperamental owner, makes every pie himself, and there's no bad choice among the 12 varieties on offer. But while you're perusing the menu — which features the aggressively...
Best Restaurant for an Internet Date
This massive German beer hall offers several antidotes to blind-date awkwardness: Having trouble finding a conversation topic? Peruse the carefully curated draft and bottle list together, and wonder what a beer named "Old Engine Oil" might taste like. Encountering unbridgeable political opinions? Surely you can find common ground over shared...
Best Coffeeshop (For Coffee)
Picking the best coffee in NYC is a little like picking the best pizza: Your own favorite place is going to blend convenience, your preference for nostalgia versus innovation, and the type of drink you like. So should we consider espresso drinks or drip when it's just the brew we're...
Best Coffeeshop (For Working)
Working outside the home means using a laptop, not an abacus and ledger paper, so features such as functioning Wi-Fi and electrical outlets are as important as the coffee when you're considering where to hunker down. And for true productivity, you don't want your shop to feel like it's offering...
Best Cold-Brew Coffee
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Cold-brew coffee is often so doctored with milk and sugar that it begins to taste like dessert, or else it's served diluted by ice, so the best versions are rarely tasted in pure form. Don't miss your chance to sip the singular Stumptown Coffee Roasters version, offered only at the...
Ninth Street Espresso
Excellent espresso results from good beans, a proper machine, and a barista who understands the nuances of pulling a perfect shot — and that's a tall order in this city, despite our progressive café culture. Ninth Street Espresso, one of the original pioneers in the New York specialty-coffee movement, has...
Best Cocktail Bar
The Long Island Bar
Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini reopened The Long Island Bar in 2013, overhauling a space that had served the neighborhood for 50 years. The new owners made subtle but painstaking changes, preserving the feel (and the neon sign out front). Fittingly, the drinks are tuned-up classics, like a Boulevardier and...
Best Cocktail Name
Mmmmm...It Does Go Well With the Chicken
Anyone who has set foot in a Little Wisco establishment and taken a glance at the cocktail list has probably ascertained that the bartenders here have a lot of fun making drinks. Beverage director Brian Bartels leans on a handful of experiences to inform his libation labels, whether it's a...
Best Bloody Mary
A longtime staple of the hangover brunch, the bloody mary has become something of a blank canvas for bartenders — you find everything from bacon to shrimp to pickled vegetables accompanying the drink, which could be made with tequila instead of vodka or spiked with something strange, like an odd...
If we've learned anything from drinking in the mason-jar-issuing borough that is Brooklyn, it's not to judge a cocktail by its glassware. So when Julie Reiner and the team at Clover Club present us with a somewhat precious Nick and Nora glass filled with a serious manhattan, we know better...
Even before bartender Noah Small revamped the cocktail board at Empellón Cocina, this restaurant had one of our favorite margaritas in the city. It's been fine-tuned just slightly, and so the tightly executed classic version, a more tart than sweet blend of blanco tequila and fresh lime, is elevated by...
Saxon + Parole
Of all the classic cocktails, the martini is perhaps the most controversial: How much vermouth is correct? Is a vodka martini a real martini? What about a dirty martini? Is it ever appropriate to shake this drink? Mull these questions at Saxon + Parole, where you can have your martini...
Best Dive Bar
New York's great dive bars are a dying breed, but we still have places like Big Bar, an old watering hole that's smaller than your studio apartment and outfitted with just a few booths and a handful of stools. The drinks are good and stiff, the lighting (a dim red)...
Best Whiskey Bar
The Flatiron Room
Don't confuse this place with aughts-era favorite Flatiron Lounge a few blocks south — The Flatiron Room is a two-year-old Chelsea whiskey parlor that showcases nightly live music and a collection of 1,000 regional and international whiskeys curated by owner and operator Tommy Tardie. Pick up a bottle you like...
Best Wine Bar
Despite a lack of fresh energy in the category, Racines NY doesn't win "Best Wine Bar" by mere default. This Parisian original roared onto the scene this year to become an instant hit on a fine-wine-bar-starved stretch of Chambers Street in Tribeca. Rather than build a facsimile of its French...
Best Wine List in a Restaurant
Williamsburg grill St. Anselm, nationally recognized for its $16 hanger steak, edges out other city lists in the best value wine category not because it's the cheapest (a word often confused with value) but because oenophile owner Joe Carroll takes a minimal-markup approach to his eclectic array. Drawing heavily from...
Best Glassware in a Restaurant
If you're skeptical of claims that glassware changes the drinking experience, head to Charlie Bird for some experiential proof positive. The restaurant pours its reds, whites, pinks, and bubbles into stemware from Austrian glassblower Zalto, world-renowned for its fine (and expensive) chalices. Each whisper-thin goblet was crafted with respect for...
Best Bar for a Glass of Champagne at Intermission
Nobody wants to be caught on LastNightAtTheMet's Tumblr holding a plastic cup of house bubbly at intermission. Lucky for you, it takes time to wrangle that horse for Falstaff's third act, enough to peel down the opera house's red velvet steps, twirl past the Revlon fountain (channeling your best Bill...
Best Hipster Bar
Our loose definition of the term hipster associates them with hating a lot of things, but that's completely false. Hipsters love obscure art, artisanal anything, and, the most important of all, cute animals. Luckydog focuses on the animals part. This dog-friendly Williamsburg bar is a perfect place for you to...
Best Lesbian Bar
RIP the lesbian bar; it is, for previous intents and former purposes, all but extinct. The last two decades have seen steady shuttering of dedicated watering holes for ladies to meet ladies around New York, with only a few stalwarts (Cubbyhole, Henrietta Hudson, Ginger's) still standing. Nothing epitomized this trend...
Best Gay Bar
The Ritz is the city's most thrilling crossroads, where downtown mingles with uptown, Brooklyn gets down with Queens, and there's space for everyone. Open since 2006, the consistent lack of a cover charge and steady stream of potent drinks at this place have kept three diverse floors bouncing with the...
Best Place to Drown Your Sorrows
Dirck the Norseman
Shuffle down a ramshackle Greenpoint road to this cavernous tavern with an electric blue exterior and cozy, brick-and-dark-wood interior. The rustic watering hole hosts on-site brewing from Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. Alongside a list of imports, the local brewers at Dirck the Norseman deliver a variety of beer styles,...
Best Hotel Bar
Thomas Waugh, the bartender behind the precisely crafted drinkable collages at ZZ's Clam Bar, also developed the menu here at the Lobby Bar in the Ludlow Hotel, and he makes deft work of complex ingredients. Sip a Moroccan-inspired manhattan brightened with Japanese whiskey, suck down a guilty pleasure based around...
Best Old-School Hotel Bar
Finding an ethereal nightcap on the Upper East Side's nearly as challenging as stumbling upon a third-wave espresso on the crawl home from Dorrian's, but Bemelmans Bar boasts a timeless drinks list that still stirs nearly 15 years after legendary bartender Audrey Saunders stirred her last manhattan here. Cocktails are...
Best Beer Bar
The 30-deep tap list alone makes Fools Gold far from an average beer bar. Consider, too, its broad bottle offering and its commitment to bringing in the best beers from New York and beyond. Its first month alone was marked by numerous coveted pours, including Cisco Brewers' Rantom Scoot and...
Best Beer and a Shot
Last time we went to Milano's Bar, a giant St. Bernard was sitting right in front of the door, blocking the entrance. There was no way around the beast but to step over it, which took a bit of courage. Once past him, the bartender inside yelled, "You passed the...
Best 3 a.m. Bar
Sweet & Vicious
If you are brave enough to stay out until 3 a.m., you require some essential elements to your night: strong drinks, good music, and a crowd as intrepid as you are. Luckily, the LES's Sweet & Vicious has you covered for all of the above. With one of its signature...
Best Bar Food
The NoMad Bar
After the NoMad's Elephant Bar garnered a slew of accolades, owners Will Guidara and Daniel Humm finally opened the NoMad Bar in an attached bi-level space with its own side entrance. Beverage director Leo Robitschek helms the cocktail program here as he does next door, and he keeps a formidable...
Best Bar Trivia
Pine Box Rock Shop
Before Jeff and Heather Rush opened Pine Box Rock Shop, they spent seven years running a trivia night at another bar, where they mastered the art of writing questions (not too obscure and not too general, says Heather) and theming rounds. They now apply those lessons at their own joint,...
Best Asian Market
Just across the Hudson, and accessed from Manhattan by a $4 shuttle bus that leaves from Gate 51 at the Port Authority, lies Mitsuwa Marketplace, a shopping center devoted entirely to goodies from Japan. It's a nostalgia trip for anyone who has been to the island nation — and a...
Best Chicken Wings
Located in a part of the Upper East Side that can feel like a Greek-life social mixer, Bar Coastal is a laid-back sports bar with good service and plenty of televisions that does one thing incredibly well: chicken wings. The poultry here is fresh and juicy with crispy skin, and...
Dickson's Farmstand Meats
Chelsea Market butcher shop Dickson's Farmstand Meats sources its beef, lamb, pork, goat, and poultry from local New York farms that follow humanely raised, no-added-hormone standards. Each week, the staff breaks down five or six whole steers right on the premises. Best of all, Dickson's can fill just about any...
Best Wine & Liquor Store
Astor Wines & Spirits
New Yorkers have an abundance of wine shops from which to choose, but Astor Wines & Spirits bests them all in the one-stop-shop category thanks to sheer size: The breadth and depth of the selections here are unmatched — shoppers who need Crémant d'Alsace bubbles, a Pinot Noir from Central...
Best Food Hall
Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place
After languishing untethered from the World Trade Center for more than a decade, the Winter Garden's suddenly connected to the downtown dining scene thanks to Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place, an open-plan cafeteria for Condé Nast editors, ferry commuters, FiDi tourists, and Battery Park locals sick of Shake Shack and...
Best Food in a Church
Church of Sweden New York
Situated on a rare quiet block in midtown, the Church of Sweden New York is stately, Gothic, and lined with stained glass windows. It is also home to some exceptional Swedish food, served from what looks like a cross between a reading room and large home kitchen located just inside...
Best Local Brewery
Grimm Artisanal Ales
Grimm Artisanal Ales is rewriting the rubric on how to run a brewery. The brand launched in 2013 under artists Joe and Lauren Grimm, who have nearly a decade of brewing under their belts and a deep passion for experimentation, not to mention an interest in yeasts from around the...
Best Local Distillery
Catskill Distilling Company
Across the street from the Woodstock Festival grounds sits Catskill Distilling Company, where you can find some of the best spirits in the state. Owner Dr. Monte Sachs, a practicing horse veterinarian, is devoted to craft and innovation, and he developed an accelerated-maturation house that stimulates the flavor compounds and...
Best Local Winery
Red Hook Winery
If the clichéd "resurrected phoenix" metaphor could be employed earnestly without the eye-roll, Red Hook Winery would be the bird, and Hurricane Sandy would be the ashes. Facing the possible demise of their four-year-old urban winery business, owner Mark Snyder, winemakers Abe Schoener and Bob Foley, and a dedicated staff...
Best Restaurant in Chelsea
El Quinto Pino
If you find yourself hungry in Chelsea, forgo the warehouse spaces that line the West Side Highway and secure yourself a nook in the snug front barroom at El Quinto Pino, where you can dig into inventive Spanish dishes — the "Bikini de Huitlacoche," pressed triangles of dough stuffed with...
Best Restaurant in Chinatown
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
Finding a sub-$10 meal in this city isn't terrible, but if you're really strapped for cash — possibly even dipping into your rainy-day change jar so you don't die of starvation — options are scarce. For those times, you'll want to have Shu Jiao Fu Zhou in your back pocket...
Best Restaurant in East Harlem
New Ivoire Restaurant
Owner Cheick Cisse serves no-frills West African food at this round-the-clock Ivorian restaurant with a simple approach in the kitchen and even sparser décor. Cabbies converge on New Ivoire Restaurant in the early hours to feast on chopped beef sandwiches, and lunchtime brings verdant potato leaf stew and a captivating...
Best Restaurant in the East Village
Gentrification may have long since sunk its tenterhooks into the East Village, but thanks to rent stabilization and diehard denizens who refuse to move away, the neighborhood still holds the distinction of being the most eclectic in the city. That goes for the restaurants, too — here, you can find...
Best Restaurant in the Financial District
North End Grill
The financial district is mostly a restaurant wasteland, its tiny streets packed with fast-casual chains that command lines so long at 1 p.m., you'd think people were queuing up for the Cronut. If you need a good meal in this neighborhood, you'll need to head toward the water — and...
Best Restaurant in the Flatiron
Cafe El Presidente
There are dozens of Mexican treats worth sampling at Cafe El Presidente, from the freshly squeezed juices slung from a stand just inside the door to market ceviches stung with lime to traditional breakfast foods like empanadas. But the item here that most makes our heart sing is the platter...
Best Restaurant in Gramercy
Along a tony stretch of pavement, where Gramercy Park key holders push prams and insulate themselves from the city's grime, sits Maialino, Danny Meyer's Roman tribute, where, thanks to the hospitality that pervades all of this restaurateur's enterprises, you'll be treated like you, too, live life in the lap of...
Best Restaurant in Hell's Kitchen
In contrast to Midtown West's massive high-rises and big-box food venues, Lali Restaurant serves as a reminder of the kinds of establishments the neighborhood risks losing as developers have their way with the city's topography. With a 4 p.m. closing time, this petite greasy spoon delivers satisfying, hearty Dominican and...
Best Restaurant on the Lower East Side
The Lower East Side has no shortage of ambitious restaurants, and several spots here draw diners from all over the city and the world. But if you want to find the best place in the neighborhood, you need only look where the area's residents go, and they're filling the seats...
Best Restaurant in Midtown
Craning necks are more a staple of midtown dining than heads tilted toward plates, but at opulently outfitted Betony, you may find it difficult to focus on anything besides your food. Chef Bryce Shuman serves inspired modern American dishes, like tagliatelle thickened with ham hock and hen's egg, and dill-tweaked...
Best Restaurant in Murray Hill
In Murray Hill's desert of fist-pumping sports bars and non-distinct bistros, Resto is a relaxed oasis of refined meat-centric cuisine. The seven-year-old Belgian gastropub is a destination for buttery lamb ribs and crispy frites with sauces like lime pickle and French gribiche. The best play here is to get a...
Best Restaurant in Soho
At his eponymous restaurant Hirohisa, chef Hirohisa Hayashi serves kappo-style cuisine, a Japanese dining format wherein a chef cooks hot and cold dishes behind a counter. Here, each temperature gets its own prep area, and diners, between sips of sake, watch the chef devise nuanced plates like tofu with sea...
Best Restaurant Near Times Square
Sake Bar Hagi
Is it possible not to feel like a sucker when you're grabbing dinner before a Broadway show? It may not seem like it. The Times Square area is stuffed with chains and cheesy hellholes eager to rip you off. But there is an exception: Sake Bar Hagi, a small basement...
Best Restaurant in Tribeca
In a narrow basement beneath Japanese restaurant Daruma-Ya sits Sushi Azabu, a quiet counter devoted to edomae sushi, that pristine and simple combination of vinegared rice and fresh fish. You can order your pieces à la carte, but best is to submit yourself to an omakase, which nets you delicate...
Best Restaurant Near Union Square
As Union Square continues its unstoppable march toward becoming a soul-sucking center for chains, you'll want to look around the edges for sustenance. And if you venture a block east of the park, you'll come to Casa Mono and its dressed-down (and more fun) sibling, Bar Jamón. Head for the...
Best Restaurant on the Upper East Side
The East Pole
Fat Radish owners Ben Towill and Phil Winser teamed up with Brinkley's proprietors Tom and Anthony Martignetti to build The East Pole, taking over a garden-level space and giving it a vaguely nautically themed overhaul, complete with blazer-navy banquettes. The vibe is purposefully downtown and trendy, the crowd manicured and...
Best Restaurant on the Upper West Side
The taboon at Tuvia Feldman's and chef Efi Nahon's Upper West Side restaurant is covered in navy tiles, and is as impressive as any coveted Neapolitan wood-fired oven in town. At Bustan, the large furnace chars everything from whole fish and cuts of meat to six different kinds of flatbread...
Best Restaurant in West Harlem
It's standing room only at this 24-hour Caribbean takeout restaurant, but no one seems to mind hovering around the entrance to Rusty's Flavor for containers of ackee, callaloo, and amply spiced jerk chicken. Curry tenderizes goat and shrimp alike, and scotch bonnets have their way with snapper, porgy, kingfish, and...
Best Restaurant in the West Village
West Village stalwart Annisa won't be topped, despite the rotation of West Village restaurants challenging the reigning champ for best in the neighborhood each year. Chef Anita Lo — who still cooks her own food — paints nuanced Asian flavors onto contemporary American dishes with precise French technique, creating an...
Best Restaurant in Bed-Stuy
Do or Dine
Read crowdsourced reviews of Do or Dine and you'll notice Justin Warner's menu garners fervent fans and harsh critics at a near-equal rate. The Food Network Star winner's dishes have never been for everyone — they're bizarre combinations of ingredients that irreverently mash together different cultures, and you wouldn't be...
Best Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights is a place of quiet but enormous wealth, where actors and old-money types hide mansions and two-car garages behind tasteful, unassuming brownstone façades. So it's fitting that the best restaurant in the neighborhood is a tiny little place wedged onto a mostly residential street. Iris Café has grown...
Best Restaurant in Bushwick
Would you like to have a truly transcendent taco? The type that'll make you drop to your knees and praise Dios for giving us cornmeal, cilantro, onion, and braised meat? Of course you would, and for those of you who've sworn up and down that you'll never find that kind...
Best Restaurant in Carroll Gardens
Some call Walker Stern and Joseph Ogrodnek geniuses for their culinary aptitude (their shared résumé includes time at Blue Hill and Gramercy Tavern), but their business savvy isn't far behind: They used the pea-sized quarters of Battersby as honest character-building grounds (for chefs and diners alike) to get ready for...
Best Restaurant in Crown Heights
After realizing that serving up New American no longer excited him, Michael Jacober closed his Crown Heights restaurant, Glady's, and reopened with a bang. Inspired by living in the largely Caribbean neighborhood, he now serves West Indian food in an airy, aquamarine dining room. There's no doubt that the area...
Best Restaurant in Ditmas Park
The Farm on Adderley
Brooklyn's Ditmas Park is a cordial and cozy little neighborhood to live and eat in, and that is thanks to its collection of wonderful restaurants like The Farm on Adderley. The Farm has been in the area since 2006, and it's still a go-to spot for both neighborhood locals and...
Best Restaurant in DUMBO
There's always been a lot to love about DUMBO — the views of Manhattan across both bridges are unparalleled, and the riverside parks are gorgeous. And now, people are catching on: Folks are moving in, great restaurants opening up. You can add Superfine to the expanding list of reasons to...
Best Restaurant in Fort Greene
After delighting Lower Manhattan diners at Cómodo, Felipe Donnelly and Tamy Rofe (along with Mac Osborne and Carolina Santos-Neves) have brought their quirky pan-Latin flavors to Fort Greene for Colonia Verde, a rustic farmhouse cantina with a cozy front room that leads to an airy greenhouse. Honey-glazed shrimp top arepas,...
Best Restaurant in Gowanus
2 Duck Goose
On an otherwise dreary section of Fourth Avenue in Gowanus sits a beacon of good dining: 2 Duck Goose, a modern Chinese eatery taglined "Cantonese style with a twist." In the whitewashed, exposed-brick space, chef Ben Pope, a native of Hong Kong with French culinary training, shows off his mastery...
Best Restaurant in Greenpoint
When Paul Giannone made the leap from pizza-obsessed IT employee to professional pizzaiolo at Paulie Gee's, he netted a quick following for his chewy, nuanced Neopolitan crust, blistered and charred in an imported wood-fired oven and decorated with everything from hot soppresatta and honey (the "Hellboy") to kale and crimini...
Best Restaurant in Park Slope
Continuing to operate under the radar more than a decade in, Park Slope's Applewood remains a hearty alternative to Blue Hill, with a country-home aesthetic and hospitality that channels upstate warmth. The owners took leave of urban living years ago, but they continue to satisfy their devout following with seasonal...
Best Restaurant in Prospect Heights
Every neighborhood in Brooklyn has that one grown-up gem where the hospitality overcomes any guilt couples have about not being able to cook and entertain in the intimacy of their own apartments. In Prospect Heights, that neighborhood dining room is James, a seasonal American bistro that puts out half-pound Vermont...
Best Restaurant in Red Hook
Two years after Hurricane Sandy devastated this waterfront neighborhood, business has come back strong, and a strip of warm restaurants, combined with the close-knit feel of this community, make this one of the most charming areas for eating in the city. If you're not sure where to begin exploring, tuck...
Best Restaurant in Williamsburg
There's no sign outside Zenkichi, just dark wood paneling and a doorway lit by a pale yellow glow. That's all by design, and ducking inside the dim rock-garden antechamber feels like being let in on a secret. Silence your cell phone. Follow the hostess up the stairs, through a bamboo...
Best Restaurant in Astoria
Dining at Kabab Café is a highly personalized experience, in part by necessity, because food is prepared and served in a space not much larger than a studio apartment. Chef and owner Ali El Sayed hails from Alexandria, Egypt, and like the city's ancient library, he's a fountain of knowledge...
Best Restaurant in Far Rockaway
Husband and wife Robert and Metta Kaskel opened Thai Rock in 2010, and their seaside restaurant remains a highlight of the area. Soak up views of Jamaica Bay or get soaked renting water-sports equipment. Hit hard during Hurricane Sandy, the boisterous shanty has since bounced back, hosting a steady stream...
Best Restaurant in Flushing
Fu Run Restaurant
The deeply spiced flavors of northern Chinese cuisine are on full display at Fu Run Restaurant, and the modest Flushing canteen preaches its gospel with massive platters of mung bean jelly noodles and fall-off-the-bone lamb ribs sporting a crusty coat of cumin, sesame seeds, and chiles. Don't overlook the intense...
Best Restaurant in Jackson Heights
Mustang Thakali Kitchen
In recent years, the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights has seen an influx of immigrants from the Himalayas. And among the many restaurants reflecting this demographic shift, Mustang Thakali Kitchen stands out. The eatery is named for an area of northern Nepal with heavy Tibetan influences, and that blend of...
Best Restaurant in Long Island City
M. Wells Dinette
Appropriately planted right in the heart of MOMA P.S.1, M. Wells Dinette serves exotic, playful, and genuinely enjoyable dishes meant to evoke your sense of wonder. And what could better foster curiosity than a casual dinette that looks like a classroom, complete with school desks stocked with crayons and paper,...
Best Restaurant in Ridgewood
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory
On a desolate block lined with decrepit warehouses sits Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, a restaurant from Massimilano Bartoli and Pilar Rigon, first adopters of this Bushwick-Ridgewood border neighborhood (as they were 15 years ago of Williamsburg when they opened the Miss Williamsburg Diner). To get here, take the L train to...
Best Restaurant in Sunnyside
Salt & Fat
Salt & Fat looks like it could be in Brooklyn — reclaimed wood for the storefront sign, artfully arranged small plates that feature New American decadence — but owner Daniel Yi is a local boy. Born in Seoul and raised in Sunnyside, Yi has crafted a nation-hopping menu that reflects...
Best Reason to Eat Out in the Bronx
Manhattan's Little Italy may be disappearing, but up in the Bronx, an enclave of descendants from that southern European nation still lead a vibrant existence, turning out cured meats, freshly made cheeses, just-shelled clams, and filled-to-order cannoli from a stretch of shopfronts along Arthur Avenue. And you won't find the...
Best Reason to Eat Out in Staten Island
Staten Island boasts the third-largest Sri Lankan population in the world, and the borough's Tompkinsville neighborhood blooms with Sri Lankan food. Over the last 20 years, the area's become a haven for expats, many of whom settled here following a brutal civil war back home. Today the community is more...
Best Reason to Eat Out in New Jersey
At Martorano's, you can experience the joy of eating your grandmother's meatballs in the dark while watching a Godfather marathon on AMC — and that's only part of what South Philly tough guy Steve Martorano offers at his disco trattoria inside Harrah's Atlantic City. At this, the latest expansion of...
Best Place to Eat Out Alone
By and large, restaurant bars are the most common redoubts for solo diners. And while sitting in a row tucking into plates of pasta or cramming your maw with the ocean's finest inhabitants are fine times indeed, it's a whole different experience getting Slow Food–cerebral with chicken. Yakitori joints pepper...
Best Service in a Restaurant
"You from the neighborhood?" a cheery server asks as she leads you to the back patio at Grindhaus. "Oh, go on, take the bigger table — it's better," she'll add, when you move toward the smaller, slightly rickety seat out of respect to bigger parties that might walk through the...
Dead Rabbit bartender Pamela Wiznitzer stops at nothing to make sure her guests are having a good time — even if it's painful. "A successful night at work is one where my body hurts," she says. "It means that I was shaking, running up and down the bar, and dancing...
Just because farm-to-table has become an overused buzzword doesn't mean our work in that arena is done. Far from it, says Dan Barber, whose visionary 14-year-old West Village restaurant Blue Hill propelled him to a leadership role within the locavore movement. Barber later opened Blue Hill Stone Barns, which exists...
Best Pastry Chef
We are all the sum of our experiences, but Juni pastry chef Mina Pizarro leans heavily on her star-studded past — a pastry assistant position at db Bistro Moderne, an opening team post at Per Se, a professional sojourn in northern California — so that her dishes are complex in...
Best New Bar
Nitecap isn't a speakeasy — those fell out of fashion at some point during the last couple of years — but you will have to look hard for the sign, which is stenciled on a brick pillar next to Schapiro's on Rivington Street. You might notice the bouncer standing there,...
Best New Restaurant
Thomas Chen honed his knife skills and tended burners at Eleven Madison Park and Commerce, and now he's putting lessons learned behind those storied lines to work at Tuome, his East Village restaurant where he's turning out "ingredient-driven refined food with Asian influence in a casual setting," he says. It's...