Best of NYC®

Best Of 2015


  • + Allerton
  • + Alphabet City
  • + Astoria
  • + Auburndale
  • + Bath Beach
  • + Battery Park City
  • + Bay Ridge
  • + Bayside
  • + Bedford Stuyvesant
  • + Belmont
  • + Bensonhurst
  • + Boerum Hill
  • + Borough Park
  • + Brighton Beach
  • + Broad Channel
  • + Bronx
  • + Brooklyn
  • + Brooklyn Heights
  • + Brownsville
  • + Bushwick
  • + Cambria Heights
  • + Canarsie
  • + Carroll Gardens
  • + Central Park
  • + Chelsea
  • + Chinatown
  • + City Island
  • + Clinton Hill
  • + Cobble Hill
  • + College Point
  • + Coney Island
  • + Corona
  • + Crotona Park
  • + Crown Heights
  • + Cypress Hills
  • + Ditmas Park
  • + Douglaston
  • + Dumbo
  • + Dyker Heights
  • + East 100s
  • + East 40s
  • + East 50s
  • + East 60s
  • + East 70s
  • + East 80s
  • + East 90s
  • + East Flatbush
  • + East Harlem
  • + East New York
  • + East Village
  • + Elmhurst
  • + Far Rockaway
  • + Financial District
  • + Flatbush
  • + Flatiron
  • + Flatlands
  • + Floral Park
  • + Flushing
  • + Fordham
  • + Forest Hills
  • + Fort Greene
  • + Garment District
  • + Gerritsen Beach
  • + Glen Oaks
  • + Glendale
  • + Gowanus
  • + Gramercy Park
  • + Gravesend
  • + Greenpoint
  • + Greenwich Village
  • + Greenwood Heights
  • + Hamilton Heights
  • + Harlem
  • + Hell's Kitchen
  • + High Bridge
  • + Highland Park
  • + Hollis
  • + Homecrest
  • + Howard Beach
  • + Hunts Point
  • + Inwood
  • + Jackson Heights
  • + Jamaica
  • + Jamaica Hills
  • + Jersey City
  • + Kensington
  • + Kew Gardens Hills
  • + Kingsbridge
  • + Koreatown
  • + Little Italy
  • + Little Neck
  • + Long Island
  • + Long Island City
  • + Louisiana
  • + Lower East Side
  • + Marine Park
  • + Maspeth
  • + Meatpacking District
  • + Middle Village
  • + Midwood
  • + Morningside Heights
  • + Morris Park
  • + Morrisania
  • + Mott Haven
  • + Murray Hill
  • + New Jersey
  • + New Lots
  • + New Utrecht
  • + Noho
  • + Nolita
  • + Ocean Hill
  • + Out of Town
  • + Ozone Park
  • + Park Slope
  • + Parkchester
  • + Pelham Bay
  • + Pennsylvania
  • + Prospect Heights
  • + Prospect Park South
  • + Prospect-Lefferts Garden
  • + Red Hook
  • + Rego Park
  • + Richmond Hill
  • + Ridgewood
  • + Riverdale
  • + Rockaway Beach
  • + Roosevelt Island
  • + Rosedale
  • + Sheepshead Bay
  • + Soho
  • + South Park Slope
  • + South Riverdale
  • + South Street Seaport
  • + St Albans
  • + Staten Island
  • + Sunnyside
  • + Sunset Park
  • + Throgs Neck
  • + Tribeca
  • + Union Square
  • + Unknown
  • + Utah
  • + Washington Heights
  • + West 100s
  • + West 40s
  • + West 50s
  • + West 60s
  • + West 70s
  • + West 80s
  • + West 90s
  • + West Village
  • + Whitestone
  • + Williamsburg
  • + Windsor Terrace
  • + Woodlawn
  • + Woodside
Map It

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

Shopping & Services

Sports & Recreation

Readers' Choice


Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Chef Nir Mesika dives headfirst into experimental, modern Israeli cooking at Timna, the cozy restaurant he runs with partner Amir Nathan on St. Marks Place. Incorporating global flavors and an improvisational cooking style, the 31-year-old chef changes up his recipes and plating at will. The risky approach pays off: Crispy halloumi cheese and grilled calamari might join smoked gazpacho sauce on the plate one week, only to have the seafood and dairy mingle with charred corn and avocado mousse the next. He also offers three- and five-course tasting menus, moderately priced at $50 and $65, respectively. It's a lot to juggle, but this energized crew is up to the task. Mesika's grandfather baked for the Moroccan royal family, and here his progeny delivers regal treats of his own. Don't miss an appetizer of brioche-like kubaneh bread baked in a terra-cotta planter. Don't miss his desserts, either. Tropical fruits add a floral note to white chocolate semifreddo, and the "Fig & Olive," a dessert scattered with dehydrated olive crumbs, takes the Israeli milk pudding called malabi and reimagines it as a yuzu crème pâtissière drizzled with rose syrup and layered with fresh figs and berries and strands of shredded halva. 109 St. Marks Place, Manhattan 10009, 646-964-5181,

109 St Marks Place, New York,
Best-Kept Secret (Restaurant Division)

With its generic name and standard gastropub interior (brick, reclaimed wood), it's easy to see how The Grand Bar and Grill has stayed somewhat under wraps since opening in 2013. But in a neighborhood dominated by exotic ingredients and $17 small-plate dining, the Grand stands out for its flawlessly prepared classic fare from executive chef Wes Davis, modestly priced and served by the most affable staff in the area. Shishito peppers, lightly breaded and drizzled in citrus oil, put every other restaurant's version of this ubiquitous dish to shame, and the fluffy handmade pierogi (served with habanero jam and sour cream) have silenced the most skeptical Polish dining companions. The short-rib-and-brisket-blend cheeseburger has, for one neighborhood resident, turned the Grand into "a real problem. I've started coming here like three times a week, not even counting Seamless." With comfortable booths and a vast communal table in back, it's perfect for large parties; alternately, you could post up at the restored 1870s bar with a classic cocktail and a pile of organic wings. If you're tired of forking over $20 for a single jewel-like local beet, check out the Grand before it turns into Roberta's. 647 Grand Street, Brooklyn 11211, 718-782-4726,

Best Chef

Six months into her tenure as executive chef, Emma Bengtsson clinched a second Michelin star for the once trailblazing Aquavit — Håkan Swahn's polished Swedish restaurant that put Marcus Samuelsson on the map. The 33-year-old Falkenberg native was running the bread and pastry programs when management asked her to take over the whole operation after Samuelsson's successor departed. Within months, she breathed new life into the stalwart paean to Scandinavian cuisine, filling the smartly decorated dining room with her intricate, focused cooking style via three-, five-, and eight-course tastings. She has honored the humble crayfish with its own seasonal peel-and-eat "festival" lunch menu, and layers nubbins of the crustacean in elegant fashion with Norwegian cod, salty sea beans, and heirloom tomatoes. Contrary to the stark plating favored at many of the city's New Nordic outfits, Bengtsson's compositions are vibrant and cleverly playful, pairing fatty mackerel with tart gooseberries and topping coffee-scented dry-cured gravlax with sea urchin and dill. Lest you doubt her pastry prowess in the face of these new responsibilities, know that she's crafting high-concept desserts, like goat cheese "eggs" filled with an orange, astringent sea buckthorn "yolk" cradled by a nest of tuile ribbons. 65 East 55th Street, Manhattan 10022, 212-307-7311,

Best Pastry Chef

Jesus Perea's affinity for the pastry station blossomed under Michael Laiskonis at Le Bernardin. That passion eventually led the Bronx-raised chef to Mexico City and Enrique Olvera, a pioneer of modern Mexican cooking, who opened Cosme last year in the Flatiron. Perea's stunning dessert there, a charred corn husk meringue, became an instant classic when it debuted. The dish takes inspiration from a confection that Olvera and chef de cuisine Daniela Soto-Innes both enjoyed growing up, and it never fails to astound with its ashy, slightly savory shell juxtaposed against sweet corn mousse. Perea's non-Instagram-famous compositions are equally delightful, likewise illuminating traditional Mexican flavors through a creative prism: He's been known to top white-peach raspado (similar to granita) with a scoop of ice cream made from eggnog-like rompope, and once delivered a take on Bubu Lubu, a Mexican chocolate bar filled with marshmallow and strawberry jelly, but with cherries lending their fruity tang. Enjoyed after a memorable feast from Olvera and Soto-Innes, Perea's sweets leave strong impressions of their own. 35 East 21st Street, Manhattan 10010, 212-913-9659,

Best Dessert

When pot brownies have lost their luster (or better yet, if they haven't), head to Dominique Ansel Kitchen, where the pastry superstar and Cronut kingpin presents a chocolate-chip-spiked fatty, the moist and tubular brownie pressed with sage leaves and rolled up in a thin sheet of cedar. The kitchen torches the aromatic spliff right before serving. Its rich, woodsy scent adds a profound depth of flavor to the melty chocolate confection, with herbaceous notes from the sage. As much as Ansel gets playful at his mobbed bakery, here his sophisticated takes on relatable classics pack their own charming punch. He turns burrata cheese into soft-serve ice cream and fortifies brown rice with stout beer in a pudding studded with speculoos cookies. Many of the desserts are made à la minute, like a lemon-yuzu tart whose recipe is 50 percent butter and beignets dusted with both milk powder and slightly bitter matcha green-tea powder in a twist on the sugar-coated New Orleans treat. 137 Seventh Avenue South, Manhattan 10014, 212-242-5111,

Best New Restaurant

Sure, the handbag stands are a bit precious (at least they're not pedestals), but Gabriel Kreuther — set within the ground floor of the W.R. Grace building across from Bryant Park — marks a triumphant return for one of our city's most treasured European chefs, last seen mesmerizing midtown diners at the Modern. His new powerhouse of a restaurant hit the ground running. From deep within an elegant and cavernous space decorated with wood beams and stork motifs, Kreuther oversees the execution of some 40 dishes between the dining room and lounge. Bookended by a procession of amuses, bread courses, and petits fours, the standard $98 four-course dinner feels like actual value for the Benjamin you'll throw down — especially when paired with pastry chef Marc Aumont's stunning desserts and beverage suggestions from sommelier Emilie Perrier. We won't call this a comeback: This is Kreuther, having finally struck out on his own, realizing his dreams. After eating there, you're likely to have some nice ones of your own. 41 West 42nd Street, Manhattan 10036, 212-257-5826,

41 W. 42nd St., Manhattan, 10036

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Timna


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >