Food & Drink

  • Best Pizza

    Roberta’s and Luigi’s

    Robert Sietsema: While this distinction is usually awarded to one of the more venerable parlors in town—Lombardi’s or Di Fara, say—I was blown away by the wood-oven pies at newcomer Roberta’s, located so obscurely that you’ll be Googling as you go. Made with dough that rises high but doesn’t taste yeasty, the personal-size pies turn out smoky, crusty, cheesy, and… More >>
  • Best Pastrami Sandwich

    Katz’s and Mill Basin Deli

    Robert Sietsema: I’ve always revered the kosher Second Avenue Deli for its hot corned beef, even as they’ve migrated northward, but non-kosher Katz’s remains the king of hot pastrami. Still sliced by hand, the scarlet, pepper-rubbed meat settles thickly on the rye bread like a sunburned bathing beauty onto a hot beach. Sarah DiGregorio: Katz’s is the one to beat, but… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Jumbo Hot Dogs and Nathan's - CLOSED

    Robert Sietsema: Why settle for a skinny little frank when you can have a quarter-pounder? Jumbo Hot Dogs, a window implanted in an electronics store, peddles griddled, all-beef franks lovingly fabricated in Newark. Toppings include the New York standards of mustard, sauerkraut, and saucy onions that are actually homemade—which is amazing, come to think of it. Sarah DiGregorio: Sure, you can… More >>
  • Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Frost Restaurant and Forlini's

    Robert Sietsema: The meatballs are almost the size of slow-pitch softballs, as the pair lands on the well-sauced spaghetti mountain at Frost Restaurant, a palace of Italian-American cuisine hidden on a back street among the high-rise condos of Williamsburg. The founders hail from the southern Campania town of Teggiano, and, when it comes to meatballs, they know whereof they speak. Sarah… More >>
  • Best Hero

    Fiore House of Quality and Ba Xuyen

    Robert Sietsema: The best evocation of the famed Brooklyn roast-beef hero is found not in Bensonhurst, but in Hoboken—home of that Portuguese-surnamed singer, Frank Sinatra. Carved from a steamship loaf at Fiore House of Quality, the pink-tinged beef, caramelized on its surface, is shaved onto a baguette, layered with homemade mozzarella, and inundated with brown gravy. Sarah DiGregorio: What is more… More >>
  • Best Borscht

    Pastorale and Café Paris - CLOSED

    Robert Sietsema: It would be easy enough to send you to B&H for a bowl of excellent beet borscht, but why not make the trek to Pastorale in Brighton Beach for their superior version? Diced beets vie with other veggies in the purple broth, with the overweening sweetness cut by the cloud of rich sour cream that towers above the… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    DuMont Burger and Donovan’s Pub

    Robert Sietsema: Perch on the padded bar stool at Williamsburg’s DuMont Burger and enjoy the city’s best burger—a charred half-pound patty planted on a brioche bun, with a goodly heap of infant lettuces, purple onions, and homemade pickles (half-sour slivers and slices of sweet), along with a shit-heap of good, greasy fries. It’s nothing less than ground-meat Nirvana. Sarah DiGregorio:… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Mitchell’s Soul Food and BonBon Chicken

    Robert Sietsema: There’s no better fried bird in town than at Mitchell’s Soul Food, a working-class holdout in upscaling Prospect Heights. The skin does the crisping work—it’s only lightly dusted with flour, salt, and pepper—and the resulting product is juicy and crunchy at the same time, and the staff couldn’t be nicer. The sides are great, too! Sarah DiGregorio: The Korean-style… More >>
  • Best Egg Foo Young

    King Yum and Wo Hop

    Robert Sietsema: One of the crowning glories of Chinese-American cuisine is pork egg foo young, a battered and fried welter of sprouts, cabbage, and pig chunks sluiced with a dark-brown gravy that only European cooks could have invented. It’s fusion par excellence. Get the best at Queens’ oldest Chinese restaurant, King Yum (founded in 1953), and groove on the Polynesian… More >>
  • Best Blintzes

    Pierogi and Barney Greengrass

    Robert Sietsema: Sure, you can get great East Village blintzes at, say, Veselka, but why not do even better? The city’s über-blintzes are made fresh daily at Pierogi, a Polish deli on First Avenue (our favorites: cheese, blueberry, apple). The catch is that you have to take them home and cook them yourself, but it’s well worth it. Sarah DiGregorio: The… More >>
  • Best Pernil

    Victor’s Café and La Fe

    Robert Sietsema: The Cuban restaurants that New York was hopping with in the ’60s are now only a faint memory. But the best remains: Victor’s Café, where the iconic roast-pork shoulder known as pernil (styled “lechon asado” on the menu) is marinated in sour orange and comes heavily gobbed with crushed garlic. Sarah DiGregorio: La Fe in Sunset Park is… More >>
  • Best Clam Chowder

    Randazzo’s Clam Bar and Pearl Oyster Bar

    Robert Sietsema: It’s a toss-up whether I prefer the creamy white New England clam chowder or the greasier red Manhattan version, both boasting the slightly bitter aftertaste of clam broth. You can get superior renditions of both of these classics at Randazzo’s Clam Bar, a fixture of Sheepshead Bay since 1920. Chase either (or both!) with a divine plate of… More >>
  • Best Fried Clams

    Umberto’s Clam Bar and Bigelow’s Fried Clams - CLOSED

    Robert Sietsema: The Littlenecks fry up crisp, rubbery, tendrilous, profuse, and ungreasy at Umberto’s Clam Bar. I prefer the Bronx branch, which boasts a barn-like dining room and pretty tables out on the street that make the place look almost Parisian, at the quintessential Belmont corner of 188th and Arthur Avenue. Squeeze on the lemon and prepare to chew! Sarah… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Beacon and Pommes Frites - CLOSED

    Robert Sietsema: I’m still dreaming of the garlic-heaped fries at Waldy Malouf’s Beacon, which come decorated with parsley to freshen your breath as you gobble them. The accompanying hamburger seems almost like an afterthought as you contemplate those suntanned fries. Sarah DiGregorio: The twice-fried fries at Pommes Frites are golden-crisp and thick-cut. The place is so busy that the fries… More >>
  • Afghan

    Bahar Shishkebab House

    While we tend to think of the cuisine as relentlessly meaty, Afghan restaurants are actually good places for vegetarians. Try the bolani kadu at Bahar Shishkebab House, a flaky pumpkin pastry scented with cardamom: One bite and you’re hooked.… More >>
  • African-American

    Margie’s Red Rose Diner

    Following a move and an expansion, Margie’s Red Rose Diner remains the primary exemplar of soul food in Harlem, turning out supremely crisp fried chicken sided with leathery collards and cheddary mac-and-cheese.… More >>
  • Albanian

    Burektorja Dukagjini

    Albanian joints make the best bureks—round, flaky pies stuffed with spinach, cheese, ground lamb, or a combination thereof. We’re in love with the cheese burek at Burektorja Dukagjini, located near one of the Bronx’s best food corners.… More >>
  • Argentinean

    Boca Junior

    Named after a beloved soccer team, Boca Junior excels at all the usual South American steaks, but what really wowed us was the eggplant salad—a barely cooked, vinegar-laced julienne of the Barney-colored vegetable.… More >>
  • Armenian

    Garden Bay Café - CLOSED

    As Jerry queried in Seinfeld: “What is mutton, anyway?” Find out by ordering xashlama (no, it’s not llama!) at Garden Bay Café. Immersed in a rich red gravy, the tender, deeply flavored meat constitutes the stew’s sole solid substance.… More >>
  • Azerbaijani

    At Café Sim-Sim - CLOSED

    The best soup this year was Caucasian—meaning it originated in the Caucasus Mountains. Dushanabe is a mint-flecked broth rife with wrinkled dumplings. At Café Sim-Sim, it comes with a tiny pitcher of crushed garlic in vinegar—pour it in and swoon.… More >>
  • Bajan

    Culpepper’s - CLOSED

    The apex of Barbadian cooking is cou-cou—a cornmeal porridge laced with okra for extra slipperiness. Get it with flying fish at Crown Heights old-timer Culpepper’s, where you can chase it with the pastry called “lead pipe.”… More >>
  • Bakeries

    Almondine

    New York’s ultimate baked good may well be the staggeringly buttery almond croissant at Almondine. The calorific bomb is deceptively light and airy, the golden pastry harboring an almond paste that works the floral, nutty route instead of relying on too much sugar.… More >>
  • Bangladeshi

    Jhinuk - CLOSED

    Although Bengal is now split between India and Bangladesh, all Bengalis still love mustard oil. To taste the pleasant pungency, try alu-bhate at Jhinuk—mashed potatoes seasoned with mustard seeds, chilies, onions, and cilantro, finished with a head-clearing dose of mustard oil.… More >>
  • Barbecue

    Daisy May’s BBQ USA

    The gargantuan beef rib from Daisy May’s BBQ USA weighs as much as a small dog but tastes purely, awesomely bovine. The burnished surface gives way to lush meat, complete with pink smoke ring.… More >>
  • Belgian

    Burp Castle

    At the risk of alienating Belgians, it seems their most important culinary contributions have been frites and beer. Get them both at the aptly named Burp Castle. On Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, the bartenders serve free fries from Pommes Frites along with scores of Belgian beers.… More >>
  • Bosnian

    Stari Most

    The best Bosnian dish this year was the pljeskavica at Stari Most. Composed of lamb and beef ground with onions, the outsize patty is served with the traditional condiments of kimek (clabbered milk) and ajvar (pimento purée).… More >>
  • Brazilian

    Boi na Brasa

    Trek to Ironbound for churrascarias that beat the pants off the overpriced Manhattan versions. Our current fave is Boi na Brasa (“Bull on the Coals”), serving caramelized-surface sirloin, garlicked-chicken drumsticks, and turkey wrapped in bacon—all you can eat!… More >>
  • Bulgarian

    Bulgara - CLOSED

    Though the country is reportedly a tourist paradise, we don’t have many Bulgarian restaurants. Sporting a country-inn décor, Long Island City’s Bulgara jumps into the breach with a dish of veggies and scrambled eggs that goes by the mellifluous name of “mish-mash.”… More >>
  • Cambodian

    Kampuchea Noodle Bar - CLOSED

    One of only two Cambodian restaurants in town, Kampuchea Noodle Bar is a great place for num pang sandwiches (something like Vietnamese banh mi), but our favorite dish is bwah moun, a broken-rice soup with a dark, gingery broth.… More >>
  • Chilean

    San Antonio Bakery 2

    There are several formidable Chilean restaurants in town, but our favorite morsel from that neck of the South American woods is the hyper-dressed hot dog from San Antonio Bakery 2, luxuriantly topped with guacamole, tomatoes, mayo, and more.… More >>
  • Chinese

    Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodle

    Lanzhou is a city in central China famous for its hand-pulled noodles. In Sunset Park, Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodle fabricates those springy wheat noodles. Suck them down in our favorite soup: a tangle of noodles in beef broth with water spinach and salty, savory roast duck.… More >>
  • Chocolates

    Vosges Haut Chocolat

    The combination of fragrant curry leaves and toasted coconut in the Naga candy bar at Vosges Haut Chocolat makes for a warmly spiced, imaginative treat.… More >>
  • Colombian

    Tierras Colombianas

    Wednesday’s soup of the day, oxtail, cooks up rich and chocolatey, finding its proper context among the mellow red beans, oiled white rice, and perfect yellow arepas at Tierras Colombianas, a favorite destination for homesick Colombians.… More >>
  • Croatian

    Sutra

    We’re crawling out on a shaky limb here, but the best bureks in town are made by the husband of the proprietor of Sutra, a coffee bar near Green-Wood Cemetery. The moist and hearty spinach is our favorite.… More >>
  • Cuban

    Casa Havana - CLOSED

    Usually, Cuban food makes our thoughts turn porcine, but Casa Havana’s octopus salad is an unexpectedly delicious riot of tender, garlicky tentacle. The suckers are tossed in a punchy tomato-celery sauce that glistens with oil.… More >>
  • Czech

    Zlata Praha - CLOSED

    Czech places are becoming more common, but the headquarters of the game-driven cuisine remains Zlata Praha, where the tart tripe soup is one of the tastiest uses of the honeycombed digestive organ ever encountered.… More >>
  • Diners

    La Bonbonniere

    Though it’s a bit expensive due to occupying some very high-end real estate, La Bonbonniere is Greenwich Village’s quintessential diner, slinging just the sort of burgers, pancakes, and egg breakfasts you’d expect. Unpretentious normalcy is the whole point.… More >>
  • Ecuadorian

    Guagua Pichincha - CLOSED

    When it comes to the seaboard cooking of Ecuador, it’s all about the soups. At Sunnyside’s Guagua Pichincha (named after a volcano), minced swordfish and shrimp vie for supremacy in oniony fumet in the soup called encebollado mixto.… More >>
  • Egyptian

    Suez Canal

    Jersey City’s Alexandrian fish places have become legendary. The best is Suez Canal, where the modest premises belie some of the freshest locally caught fish around, rubbed with whole-wheat flour and charcoal-grilled—peel and discard the skin to reveal the smoky flesh.… More >>
  • English

    The Spotted Pig

    The Spotted Pig is an English gastro-pub, right? Chef April Bloomfield is English at least, though her menu is often Tuscan. No questions of provenance can keep us from adoring her gnudi—noodle-less ravioli, which she’s been dabbing with pesto lately.… More >>
  • Eritrean

    Massawa

    Massawa is the city’s only Eritrean restaurant, and we suggest you savor the things that differentiate the cuisine from Ethiopian, including ful (“fool”), a fava-bean stew. And note the baguettes offered in addition to injera.… More >>
  • Ethiopian

    Merkato 55 - CLOSED

    Merkato 55 has been much maligned, but its lamb kefta and smoked tomato sauce is magnificent. The meatballs are topped with a barely cooked fried egg, making the accompanying couscous gooey and rich with yolk.… More >>
  • French

    Chez Napoléon

    French immigrant Marguerite Bruno, 86, has been in the kitchen at Chez Napoléon for 25 years. To the strains of “La Marseillaise,” go for the civet de sanglier. The braised boar is enveloped in a velvety red-wine butter sauce scented with juniper.… More >>
  • Fusion

    Elettaria - CLOSED

    Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria tweaks Indian and New American flavors to create hybrid dishes like pig foot sprinkled with fried cashews, and samosas stuffed with braised rabbit. Best is duck kima—spiced ground duck studded with black cardamom pods and golden raisins, set off by a seared duck breast.… More >>
  • Gelato

    L’Arte del Gelato - CLOSED

    While long lines form for the gritty gelato at Grom, our passion is the creamier product found at L’Arte del Gelato, where, in addition to standard Italian flavors, you can get Americanized choices like butterscotch (salty!) and mint-chocolate (smudgy!).… More >>
  • Georgian

    Tbilisi

    Caucasian cooking (that is, cooking of the Caucasus Mountains) offers many barely known glories, of which the most formidable is chakapuli, a mossy casserole of lamb and fistfuls of green herbs. Tbilisi is where to grab it.… More >>
  • German

    Lederhosen

    Why can’t food writers avoid making the same dumb puns? For the wurst night of your life, hit Lederhosen (“Leather Hot Pants”), an indoor German biergarten where the sausage collection runs to wieners, knackwursts, bauernwursts, weisswursts, bratwursts, currywursts, and kielbasas.… More >>
  • Greek

    It’s Greek to Me - CLOSED

    For the meaty fare of the Greek mainland, check out It’s Greek to Me, a Jersey chain with an annoying name that offers killer zucchini fritters called kolokithokeftedes.… More >>
  • Guatemalan

    Tierras Centro Americanas

    Formerly known as Xelaju, Tierras Centro Americanas is now our soul purveyor of Guatemalan fare, and we can think of no better representation than salpicon, a minced-beef salad flavored with mint, onion, and sour orange.… More >>
  • Guinean

    Fatima - CLOSED

    If you really want to go green, we recommend the leaf-based sauces at Crown Heights’s Fatima, a chill restaurant where entrées begin with a Kilimanjaro of polished rice, over which is poured a lamb-dotted sauce de feuilles made with sweet-potato leaves.… More >>
  • Haitian

    Rocher D’Horeb - CLOSED

    Washed down with three fingers of famed Barbancourt rum, there’s nothing better than griot—pig chunks cooked with sour orange and shallots and then fried in rendered lard. Where? Rocher D’Horeb (“Rock of Horeb”).… More >>
  • Hamburgers

    Rhythm & Booze

    Technically, the burgers at Rhythm & Booze are not the best in town. But it’s here that you can best enjoy a great burger in its natural habitat. Sit at the bar to watch a Mets game alongside Windsor Terrace old-timers, and open wide for a proper fat burger on a toasted English muffin, its crevices soaking up the burger… More >>
  • Indian

    Ganesha Temple

    At Flushing’s Ganesha Temple, you can sample South Indian standards made for the faithful. The mini-tiffin, a Saturday special, is a godsend (heh) for the indecisive: a lentil-flour savory doughnut, kichiri (spiced rice and lentils), mini-dosa, mini-idli with spicy sambar, and other goodies.… More >>
  • Indonesian

    Minangasli - CLOSED

    A couple of years ago, we experienced a wonderful invasion of new Indonesian places in Elmhurst. We’re obsessed with the peanut-sauced Sumatran satays at Minangasli, which come on a bed of compressed rice starch called lontong.… More >>
  • Israeli

    Kosher Delight - CLOSED

    Don’t miss the chicken schwarma spinning in the front window at Kosher Delight. Served in a pita or the preferable laffa (bigger!), the cumin-dusted meat glows when heaped with the free selections from the salad bar—grilled eggplant, pickled peppers, and various slaws.… More >>
  • Italian

    Scarpetta

    Chef Scott Conant’s new meatpacker Scarpetta, named after the small piece of bread used to scoop sauces, knocked us out, especially the agnolotti dal plin—irregular pasta pouches bulging with a purée of cabbage, truffles, and veal.… More >>
  • Italian-American

    Colandrea New Corner

    Nothing beats the eggplant rollatini at the obscurely located Italian old-timer Colandrea New Corner, oozy with fresh ricotta in a sprightly tomato sauce.… More >>
  • Ivory Coast

    Treichville - CLOSED

    The fish-pepper soup at Treichville (named after a neighborhood in Abidjan) bristles with crab, mussels, fish, clams, and shrimp. Need we tell you it’s way spicy?… More >>
  • Jamaican

    Feeding Tree

    Just two blocks from the old Yankee Stadium, Feeding Tree dishes out the most spectacular goat curry—lush bits of bone-in goat meat in a fragrant slick of incendiary turmeric-yellow sauce.… More >>
  • Japanese

    Ippudo

    In the ramen wars, everyone wins. The most distinguished addition this year was Ippudo, which fashions noodles that are both gossamer and resilient enough to stand up to the milky pork-bone tonkotsu broth. Try the classic shiomaru ramen.… More >>
  • Jewish-American

    Russ & Daughters

    The chopped liver at Russ & Daughters is enriched with caramelized onion and chopped boiled egg. The rugged mash is pleasantly mild, with earthy, minerally chicken livers.… More >>
  • Jordanian

    Tabouleh

    Mansef is a lamb-shoulder stew thickened with yogurt and lavished with clarified butter. There’s no richer dish in Brooklyn. Find it as an occasional special at Tabouleh, where pita sandwiches are a neighborhood favorite.… More >>
  • Korean

    Book Chang Dong

    Book Chang Dong plies diners with plenty of banchan and all manner of bubbling, silken soondubu (tofu stews), the best of which combines pork, kimchi, and mushrooms. Ask for it spicy.… More >>
  • Lebanese

    Cedars Meat House

    Cedars Meat House is a grocery and halal butcher shop with a grill in the front, but skip the meat for once and check out the fried-cauliflower sandwich, rolled in a thin pita and dressed with sumac-dusted onions, purple pickled turnips, parsley, and a lip-stinging garlic mayo.… More >>
  • Malaysian

    K.L. Malaysia Beef Jerky Inc.

    The taciturn women of K.L. Malaysia Beef Jerky Inc. grill thin squares of porky goodness until they’re just caramelized. The resulting spicy pork jerky is a floppy, sticky treat, less like tough American jerky and more like meat candy.… More >>
  • Mexican

    Tulcingo Del Valle

    At Tulcingo Del Valle, stick to the chalkboard specials for such southern Mexican treats as chicken-mole pipian, the boiled bird swimming in a thick, khaki-green pumpkin-seed sauce.… More >>
  • Moroccan

    La Maison du Couscous - CLOSED

    Good Moroccan is hard to find in the five boroughs. The best place remains La Maison du Couscous, a closet in Bay Ridge where our favorite dish is a steaming tajine of lamb, artichokes, and peas.… More >>
  • Nepalese

    Yeti of Hiezen - CLOSED

    Channeling Bigfoot, Yeti of Haizen is a very strange restaurant conjoining cuisines from Japan and Nepal. Stick with the latter for samaya bajee, a wild selection of bar snacks that includes toasted soybeans, pork-organ tidbits, achar pickle, and “beaten rice.”… More >>
  • Pakistani

    Bukhari Restaurant

    A hunt through the well-oiled basmati rice in the mutton biryani of Bukhari Restaurant yields up treasures like meaty nuggets of mutton on the bone, shards of cassia stick, black-cardamom pods, and raisins.… More >>
  • Palestinian

    Tanoreen

    We dream about the sambousek—braided fritters stuffed with peas and potatoes—at Tanoreen, a delightful little restaurant that re-creates the West Bank in southeastern Brooklyn.… More >>
  • Panamanian

    Kelso Diner

    The only Panamanian restaurant in town is Afro-Panamanian: Kelso Diner slings food influenced by Jamaican, African, and Latin cuisines. Typical of the transcultural approach is mondongo, a soup of butter beans and tripe lubricated with cow foot. Yum!… More >>
  • Pastries

    Manna House Bakery

    The egg-custard tart at Manna House Bakery is a stunner of a mini-pie. The diminutive crust flakes into buttery shards under your teeth, and the jiggly soft custard tastes purely of eggs and sweet milk. No neon-yellow food coloring either!… More >>
  • Philippine

    Philippine Bread House

    If you love white bread, you’ll love the soft rolls called pan de sal at Philippine Bread House, where a steam table also presents savory stews and roasts, and every other baked good contains eye-searing purple yam.… More >>
  • Polish

    Karczma

    Karczma is an upscale Polish restaurant done up to look like a farm. The grilled fresh ham is the best entrée on the menu, offered in thick slabs, and the grilled asparagus wrapped in ham is the best appetizer to go with it.… More >>
  • Portuguese

    Convivium Osteria

    Convivium Osteria is small, warm, and guileless, trafficking in sun-drenched flavors from Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The charred sardines are fat and silver-skinned, their oily flesh mingling with a gloss of olive oil.… More >>
  • Puerto Rican

    Macondo

    Who would have thought that mofongo could be fancied up with such delicious results? At Macondo, the mash of green plantains sits in a creamy garlic sauce, liberally scattered with fried pork belly. It is (maybe literally) to die for.… More >>
  • Russian

    Gina’s Café - CLOSED

    The fattest potato pancakes are fried at Gina’s Café: hulking mounds of shredded potato and onion sizzled golden on the outside and dolloped with sour cream. Don’t forget a plate of homemade pickles, including vinegared watermelon.… More >>
  • Salvadoran

    Lainez family

    At the Red Hook ballfields, city-sanctioned trucks have replaced the improvised grills. If you can bear the wait, the Lainez family pupusas are just as spectacular as ever. The plump masa patties sputter on the grill, leaking their cheese and pork fillings. Try the new jalapeño-and-cheese option, too.… More >>
  • Sandwiches

    Tempo Presto - CLOSED

    Pretend it’s a video game—dodge strollers in the heart of Park Slope and score a Sicilian chickpea panelle sandwich at Tempo Presto. The chickpea fritter is swaddled in eggy brioche, along with a rich buffer of ricotta and sundried-tomato relish.… More >>
  • Scandinavian

    Ikea

    We didn’t want Red Hook to become a big-box-store playground either, but we’re not gonna lie: We love the Swedish meatballs at Ikea. Admit it, you like those strange orbs blanketed in sauce, too—especially with lingonberry jam on the side.… More >>
  • Scottish

    St. Andrews

    There aren’t a hell of a lot of Scottish places around, but we dote on St. Andrews, a golf-themed gastro-pub where you can get a deconstructed form of haggis (lamb stomach with organ-meat stuffing) that won’t send you screaming for the door.… More >>
  • Seafood

    Yiasou

    Sail out to Sheepshead Bay to enjoy the best whole-fish restaurant in the city, Yiasou (“Cheers” in Greek). The lightly breaded flounder is a masterpiece, moist and succulent, and the grilled branzino is every bit as cheap and tasty.… More >>
  • Senegalese

    Dibiterie Cheikh - CLOSED

    When Senegalese crave dinner, they think of the grilled lamb chops called dibi, and there’s no better place for dibi than Dibiterie Cheikh. The halal chops cook up tender and smoky and come accompanied by salad and rice.… More >>
  • Serbian

    Kafana

    The city’s first Serbian restaurant popped up on the rootin’-tootin’ East Village frontier this year. The cevapi (skinless sausages) at Kafana are ground from a lamb, beef, and pork combo, and the mixed-mammal formula results in superior grilled flavor.… More >>
  • Singaporean

    Singapore Café - CLOSED

    Singapore’s food is a tasty mishmash of Chinese, Malay, and South Indian. Singapore Café gets much of it right, most notably the baby-oyster omelet—a delicate flop of egg liberally dotted with the juicy bivalves, and served with a syrupy, spicy dipping sauce.… More >>
  • Slovak Republic

    Eurotrip

    Eurotrip, a new Eastern European bistro, has a Slovak chef, a great beer selection, and hearty, lovingly prepared food. Try halušky—tiny dumplings with a comforting chew, tossed with chives, bacon, and bryndza (tangy sheep’s-milk cheese).… More >>
  • South African

    Braai

    The meat fired atop smoldering olivewood at Braai competes with the best carnivorous pleasures in town. Try the pinkly gamey venison steak, which comes with a delicious mass of roasted sweet potato and eggplant better than most steakhouse sides.… More >>
  • Southwestern

    Los Dos Molinos - CLOSED

    Unknown to most New Yorkers, there’s a café serving the Sonoran Desert cooking common to New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and northwestern Mexico. Los Dos Molinos slings a bowl of Hatch-style green chile as good as any you’re likely to see this side of the Mississippi.… More >>
  • Spanish

    Boqueria

    Some evenings, we lie in bed dreaming of fuet—the damp, small-circumference Catalan sausage. Find it at the tapas bar Boqueria, which is so popular that you have to arrive at obscure hours to get in.… More >>
  • Sri Lankan

    New Asha Café

    Leading the pack of Ceylonese restaurants in the southernmost borough is New Asha Café, where one of our favorites is mutton kotthu roti, a cook-up of torn flatbread, spices, eggs, curry leaves, and geriatric sheep meat.… More >>
  • Steaks

    Strip House

    The steaks at Strip House are wonderful, of course, but even the bone-in rib eye cooked medium-rare can’t match the amazing texture of the potatoes fried golden-brown in goose fat.… More >>
  • Syrian

    Café Rakka - CLOSED

    p>No better cheap lunch in the East Village than the mujadara at Café Rakka, a fluffy salad of cracked wheat and green lentils, dressed with flavorful olive oil.… More >>
  • Thai

    Nusara Thai Kitchen

    Tom yum is usually nothing to write home about, unless you’re at Nusara Thai Kitchen, where the peanutty fish broth burbles with rice noodles, triangles of pork liver, fish balls, and ground pork.… More >>
  • Tibetan

    Himalayan Yak

    The wobbly white jelly called la phing is a mystical thing at Himalayan Yak, a Tibetan stalwart that added Nepalese and Indian menus, then closed for renovation. It should reopen any day now.… More >>
  • Trinidadian

    Ali’s Roti Shop

    We can’t wait to sink our teeth into another conch roti at Ali’s Roti Shop, where the pink-shelled sea creature comes wrapped with potatoes and chickpeas in the Bengali flatbread called dahl poori—with extra hot sauce, of course.… More >>
  • Tunisian

    Epices du Traiteur - CLOSED

    The signature fast meal in bustling Tunis is the brik, a flaky handheld pastry filled with tuna and runny-yolk egg. Gobble briks at Epices du Traiteur, one of the few North African restaurants in town with the cojones to serve this plebian delight.… More >>
  • Vegetarian

    Fratelli Pizza Café

    Somehow, the Fratelli brothers whip up the most spectacular sandwich without the meat or cheese. The broccoli-rabe hero at Fratelli Pizza Café is vegetarian sorcery—the bitter green vegetable in a sheen of olive oil, liberally dotted with golden cloves of garlic. … More >>
  • Vietnamese

    Pho Tu Do

    Out of all the Vietnamese joints on the Bowery, you’ll recognize Pho Tu Do by the Statue of Liberty on the awning. Order bahn beo, jiggly steamed-rice cakes topped with slightly sweet puréed mung beans, fried shallots, and dried shrimp. Douse it with fish sauce.… More >>
  • Best Thing to Come Out of Harlem’s Gentrification

    Nectar - CLOSED

    The little corner of South Harlem between 110th and 125th streets has been in the eye of the luxury-condo storm, with million-dollar one-bedrooms going up practically next-door to the projects. The subsequent disparities in income and skin color make for brittle relationships between new and old residents, and the political storm brought on by the city’s rezoning of 125th Street… More >>
  • The Don’t-Touch-Me-Bruce-Willis Cooler

    Yields: 1 large cooler 3/4 cup dry Riesling, chilled 1/4 cup Lillet Blanc, chilled 2 tablespoons Cointreau 2/3 cup bitter-lemon tonic water thin slice orange, to garnish In a large tumbler filled with ice, combine Riesling, Lillet, and Cointreau. Stir well. Add the lemon tonic water, and float the orange slice on top.… More >>
  • Flavored Popcorn

    Dale and Thomas Popcorn - CLOSED

    One of the craziest food fads to hit New York in the ’80s was flavored popcorn. It didn’t come in bags at the deli, but in storefronts scattered throughout the Upper West Side and midtown—at one time, there were nearly a dozen places offering it. Popping flavors that ranged from caramel to tutti frutti to chocolate (along with just plain… More >>
  • Fruit Roll-ups

    Back when moms and dads were less militant about the food that touched little Johnny’s lips, they sent us to school with these flappy, chewy things that were like Kool-Aid in plastic form. Now you can get virtuous, all-natural fruit leathers at health-food stores—or, better yet, make your own. Millennial Fruit Roll-Ups Yields: About 10 snacks 3/4 cup raspberries 3/4 cup strawberries, hulled 3/4… More >>
  • Jell-O Pudding Pops

    ShopRite or Stop & Shop

    When Jell-O Pudding Pops went to the big freezer in the sky in the ’90s, a cry went up from those of us who loved those weirdly chewy, icy treats. Even Bill Cosby, with his distinctively enthusiastic diction (“Jello Puddin’ Pops is frozen pudding on a stick!”) and his comforting dad-sweaters, couldn’t help us. There was even an online petition… More >>
  • Potato Skins

    Park Slope Ale House

    Talk about turning shit into Shinola! In the ’80s, somebody got the bright idea of filching the inside of the potato and selling just the skins. These skins—with a bit of potato adhering, like drowning sailors clutching a makeshift wooden raft—were then loaded up with all sorts of distractions like sour cream, chives, chili con carne, etc. Truth be told,… More >>
  • Bran Muffins

    Blue Sky Bakery

    Remember when you thought bran muffins were good for you? So you’d dutifully eat a leaden bran bomb that had more fat and calories than some African villages get in a year, and then put on your leg warmers and shake your booty to a Jane Fonda jazzercise video. Tragically, leggings are back in style, but thankfully, bran muffins have… More >>
  • Tiramisu

    Frankie’s

    You may find this hard to believe, but tirami sù (“pick me up”), far from being an Italian dessert of ancient vintage, was actually invented at El Toula restaurant in Treviso, just north of Venice, in the ’60s. It spread across the ocean like swine influenza, with such startling rapidity that by the ’80s, it was de rigueur in every… More >>
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette

    Caffe on the Green

    Every time raspberry vinaigrette is mentioned (not too often these days), we naturally think of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” one of the greatest songs of 1985. In fact, the two have much in common: Catchy yet cloying, both made a massive mark on an entire era. Vinaigrette is supposed to be sour, but raspberry vinaigrette is uncommonly sweet—almost as sweet as… More >>
  • Sushi

    Taro

    In 1974, an article in The New York Times calculated that there were 100 Japanese restaurants in the city, a number that had exploded from just 10 in 1964. (“With a gusto once reserved for chow mein and egg foo young, New Yorkers are now dipping their chopsticks into another Oriental taste treat—Japanese cuisine,” chirped the article.) By the time… More >>
  • Steak-Umms

    Carl’s Steaks - CLOSED

    Though Steak-Umms were invented in the ’60s, they reached their apotheosis in the ’80s, when every suburban house had an ample supply in the deep-freeze, deploying them in casseroles, burritos, sloppy joes, and lasagnas, in addition to the use for which the Reading, Pennsylvania, Steak-Umms company originally intended them—Philly cheesesteaks. Though the razor-thin portions of beef may have inspired the… More >>
  • Brie

    Stinky Brooklyn

    Brie peaked at an important time in American cheese history. Fatigued by the usual selection of cheddar, Swiss, and American, Yanks turned their gaze to Europe for inspiration. Brie was the first to step forward, becoming a bona fide food fad at receptions, cocktail parties, and other events, where the ease of spreading it on a cracker was an important… More >>
  • Frozen Yogurt

    öko - CLOSED

    When frozen yogurt came around the first time, it was like hearing that the laws of the universe had been reversed—ice cream that you can gorge on because it’s fat-free! Now we file frozen yogurt, along with trickle-down economics, under “Lies They Told Us in the ’80s.” But frozen yogurt is back, draped in an even more virtuous disguise: Fro-yo… More >>
  • Quiche

    Amy’s Bread

    The biggest book of 1982 (53 weeks at the top of the Times bestseller list!) was a slender volume by Bruce Feirstein called Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche. Though partly intended as a parody, the title alone telegraphed the idea that a food fad swiped from France—and a dominant dish of the ’80s—was irretrievably effeminate. Well, quiche has survived, packing… More >>
  • Cajun Blackened Fish

    Maggie’s Cajun Grill

    Poor hugely fat Paul Prudhomme! In the ’80s, he swept into town in his chef’s whites to establish a branch of his New Orleans classic K-Paul’s in Soho (minus the chilies—what a mistake!), only to have it tank soon thereafter. But the Cajun cooking style he accidentally invented persists: blackening spice-rubbed fish in a wok over fiercely hot flames. You… More >>
  • Packaged Ramen

    Ippudo

    The point of ramen used to be its Spartan edge—wickedly cheap, edible raw, unapologetically junky. In a nuclear winter, it would be the cockroaches and the ramen that survived. Improbable as it may have sounded then, the Cold War has given way to the East Village ramen wars. Our choice for the ramen crown is Ippudo, where the long-simmered broth… More >>
  • Ranch Dressing

    Wimpy’s III

    This may be hard to believe, but once upon a time there was a dude ranch named Hidden Valley in California, and that’s where ranch dressing (made with sour cream, buttermilk, mayo, green onions, and garlic powder) was invented in 1954. It reached its apogee of fame three decades later, achieving mass notoriety as a flavoring for Doritos. Ranch dressing… More >>
  • Wine Coolers

    Rusty Knot

    We may never recover from viewing, at an early age, the 1986 Seagram’s commercial in which a lecherous Bruce Willis intones: “It’s wet . . . it’s dry.” Two decades later, over on the West Side Highway, the Rusty Knot is single-handedly trying to pluck the wine cooler out of history’s dust bin. But the best wine cooler is always… More >>
  • Tuna Tartare

    Mushy, desiccated bits of ahi, molded into a little tower drizzled with some avocado-sauce refugee from the ’80s—what’s not to love? Well, as long as you aren’t watching your mercury levels, and don’t mind eating bits of Flipper or noshing a species on the verge of extinction . . .… More >>
  • Truffle Oil

    What the hell is truffle oil anyway? It’s a cinch it doesn’t have any truffles in it—in fact, most brands haven’t even been near an actual truffle, but are compounds of olive oil mixed with an aromatic chemical (2,4-dithiapentane) that mimics the odor and flavor of the real thing in a way that makes real truffle lovers nauseous. It also… More >>
  • Tapas

    “Tapas” once exclusively referred to Iberian bar snacks, including tidbits of cured meat, wedges of frittata, saucers of olives, and the like. Over the last decade, however, the term has been appropriated to signal any kind of small plate, be it Japanese, Italian, or invented out of whole cloth. But the real meaning now is “Hang onto your wallet,” because… More >>
  • Squirted Sauces

    Squiggles of sauce are shorthand for: “We couldn’t be bothered to make something tasty, so instead we squirted this sauce on top, and that’ll be a million dollars, please.” Maybe you, Chef Squirtsalot, should have been the next Pollock, but stay away from our pollock.… More >>
  • Sake Cocktails

    Community boards are a bitch these days, so if you don’t have your hard-liquor license, we understand. But dosing sake into overly sweet cocktails is fooling exactly nobody and getting nobody buzzed, either. Sake is meant to be sipped straight—the end.… More >>
  • Prosciutto

    We never thought we’d hear ourselves say, “We’re tired of prosciutto,” but we are! Pressed into innumerable panini, plastered on pizzas, folded into sauces, deep-fried and dumped into salads—the garnet-hued cold cut is too rarely presented in its rightful context: plain on a plate. Let prosciutto be prosciutto!… More >>
  • Kobe Beef

    Kobe beef comes from one place, and that’s Japan, and there’s not nearly enough to supply the demand. Accordingly, most beef labeled Kobe is Kobe-style: cross-bred with Angus beef and not massaged with beer. And, whether Kobe or fake Kobe, it certainly doesn’t belong in that slider!… More >>
  • Flourless

    FCC is the one thing you can find on every dessert menu. In fact, it’s the potato skin of desserts, leaving us wondering: “Who the hell took the flour?” While normal chocolate cakes are light, flavorful, and have crumbs, the flourless version drools out of its crust like motor oil out of a busted can and tastes about the same.… More >>
  • Friendly Servers

    How’re we liking that burger?” I don’t know—do you want a bite? “Have you dined with us before?” Nope, but we’re pretty sure we can figure this menu thing out, thanks. We’re not your fuzzy pet, a mentally challenged five-year-old, or your best friend.… More >>
  • Pork Belly

    Pork belly, a/k/a uncured bacon, has become the Morgan Freeman of food—ubiquitous and overrated. True, when it’s good, it’s very, very good, as in the oft-referenced Momofuku pork buns. But pork belly is a cheap trick—it’s half pork fat! And why neglect other parts of the oinker? Bring back pork shoulder!… More >>
  • Stacked Foods

    Dinner is not meant to be Jenga. We’re weary of staring down some teetering creation, wondering how exactly we’re meant to eat this. Push it over? Start from the top and work our way down? This deadly phenomenon could be cross-referenced under Squirted Sauces, as the two often go hand in hand and generally exist to distract your attention from… More >>
  • Bottled Water

    The greatest marketing scam of the ’80s was convincing the public that there was something wrong with good old tap water. First, bottled water was made out to be glamorous; then, tap water was made out to be unhealthy. Well, we’ve got news for you: Those petroleum-based chemicals leaching into your designer water from the plastic bottle aren’t too good… More >>
  • Meatiest Meat Pies

    DUB Pies - CLOSED

    The burnished, buttery, golden crusts at DUB Pies harbor all sorts of good things, like bits of steak in savory onion gravy, stewed chicken and vegetable, or English-pub-style vegetable curry.… More >>
  • Optimal Onigiri

    Oms/b - CLOSED

    The glass counter at Oms/b displays pert little triangles of onigiri (rice and fillings wrapped in seaweed), weirdly displayed like so many bonbons. What makes it the best? The seaweed swaddling is greenly briny and neither too dry nor soggy; the rice is warm, fresh, and sticky. Try the spicy scallop version or the pickled vegetable with cod roe.… More >>
  • Puffiest Pork Bun

    Golden Carriage Bakery - CLOSED

    Golden Carriage Bakery’s hot little number has a billowy, cloud-like bun that pulls apart to reveal large hunks of roast pork—no food coloring, no gristle, just a perfect pork bun.… More >>
  • Choicest Chaat

    Rajbhog

    Rajbhog is the most corporate of the snack joints in Jackson Heights, but it does mix up the ultimate papri chaat. It’s a glorious sweet/sour/salty jumble of papri (fried crisps) tossed with urad daal, chickpeas, cubed boiled potatoes, yogurt, and mint and tamarind chutney, and topped with sulphurous chaat masala. Each bite is a crazy-delicious riot.… More >>
  • Sexiest Samosas

    Curry in a Hurry

    No better quick snack exists than a bargain pair of samosas from Curry in a Hurry, a Curry Hill stalwart that still slings some excellent grub from diverse regions of India. The samosas are stuffed with potatoes and the occasional pea, and you can get them with either tamarind or cilantro-and-green-onion sauce.… More >>
  • Balmiest Baleadas

    Honduras Patio - CLOSED

    A baleada is a Honduran treat, a small and supple flour tortilla flopped over a filling of earthy beans and flocculent cheese. They’re hard to find in New York, but you can get one at Honduras Patio, the latest addition to New York’s very small collection of Honduran restaurants.… More >>
  • Most Savory Suya

    Festac Grill

    What can go wrong? A good piece of beef, flattened into submission, grilled over charcoal, and paved with crushed peanuts—a suya or two make the perfect snack at Festac Grill, the city’s most user-friendly Nigerian restaurant, just one block south of Atlantic Avenue in East New York.… More >>
  • Puffiest Piroshki

    M & I International Foods

    The expression “gut bomb” comes to mind when contemplating piroshki, the warm Russian snack of puffy fried pastry stuffed with potatoes, cabbage, or ground meat. You can score one for around $1.50 anywhere up and down Brighton Beach Avenue, but we’re most fond of those at M & I International Foods, where you’ll also encounter a landslide of snackable pork… More >>
  • Wiggiest Uighur Kebabs

    The only way that headline makes sense is if you pronounce Uighur correctly—“Wee-gurrrr.” This region in remote southwestern China is the point of origin for the delicate $1 kebabs of chicken or beef dusted with chili powder and Asian cumin vended from Strangely Chimneyed Carts at several corners in downtown Flushing. You can always count on finding one here: Corner… More >>
  • Toughest Tooth-Breakers

    Raffetto’s

    You’ve probably had the wonderful homemade pastas at Raffetto’s whether you know it or not—they’re served in many local restaurants. But we bet you haven’t tried their delicious Genoa toasts: fried ciabatta slices dotted with red-pepper flakes that soak up oil like a sponge. Sold by the pound or a fraction thereof. Crunch, crunch!… More >>
  • Cali-Cornication

    Pinche Taqueria - CLOSED

    A grilled ear of corn makes an elegant snack, especially when slathered with crèma, dipped in powdered red chilies, and dusted with dried cheese. Try one at Pinche Taqueria, a small, squished, and very orange place that traces its roots to Baja, California.… More >>
  • Awesomest Orange Snack

    Tony & Tina’s Pizza

    Snacking is a good excuse to observe vegetarianism, for reasons of cost, your health, and the environment. You won’t miss the meat in the pumpkin burek at Tony & Tina’s Pizza in Belmont—one quarter of a round pie, with creamy pumpkin deposited between layers of flaky phyllo, makes the perfect-sized snack. Also awesome: the cheese burek.… More >>
  • Best Snack for Two

    Pop Burger - CLOSED

    Nothing better for a quick pick-me-up than sliders, those miniature hamburgers that pack maximum flavor into a small volume of space. Usually, you have to sit in a restaurant tapping your foot waiting for them, but you can get them ready-to-go at Pop Burger: charred Black Angus patties deposited on shiny brioche buns, lavished with lettuce and tomato, and smeared… More >>
  • Up With Upma

    Dosa Hut

    Sure, we love the dosas on Newark Avenue in Jersey City—but we love the upma even more. You can get this gussied-up cream of wheat, studded with pistachios, black-mustard seeds, and mellow cardamom, at Dosa Hut. And it’s not just for breakfast anymore!… More >>
  • Best Way to Jerk

    Xai Xai

    If you’d also like a glass of wine with your snack and don’t mind sitting a bit, go for the unusual dried-meat products at the South African wine bar Xai Xai. These include droewors (dried sausages of beef and lamb) and biltong (beef jerky), both chewy and yummy. You’ll never look at a Slim Jim the same way again.… More >>
  • Best Mouth Bomb

    Sullivan Street Bakery

    One of the latest products to appear at Sullivan Street Bakery—which isn’t located on Sullivan Street anymore, but in Hell’s Kitchen—is bombolini: sugary spheroids filled with luscious, yolky custard. They don’t have a hole, so don’t you dare call them doughnuts (but, really, what’s the diff?).… More >>
  • Most Sumptuous Fish Tacos

    La Esquina

    There are now plenty of so-called Bajan fish-taco joints in town, but where’s a place you can really dash in and get one immediately? We’d try La Esquina, the rickety shed that sticks out like a sore thumb at the confluence of Lafayette and Centre streets, where the fish is grilled (rather than fried) to order.… More >>
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