Food & Drink

  • Best Afghan

    Balkh Shish Kabab House

    While most Afghan restaurants specialize in kebabs, pilafs, and fried things, Balkh Shish Kabab House, under the N tracks in Astoria, exhibits a penchant for boiling and braising. Most unique is a braised jerky called laundy, but you can also get a pair of shing: magnificent boiled lamb shanks oozing marrow. Other don't-miss dishes include fist-sized aushack dumplings stuffed with… More >>
  • Best Albanian

    Burektorja Dukagjini

    The foremost Albanian contribution to New York cuisine is the burek, a spare tire of a flaky filo pie, stuffed with spinach, cheese, meat, or a combination. Although many Albanians now run pizza parlors and turn out delicious bureks as a sideline (sometimes they're not even on the menu), Burektorja Dukagjini specializes in them and serves virtually nothing else except… More >>
  • Best Barbadian

    Culpeppers - CLOSED

    Don't you dare call them Barbadians! Former residents of this gentile Caribbean island prefer to be called Bajans, and Culpeppers is one of their most commodious outposts. The national dish of okra-flecked porridge called coo-coo plus steamed flying fish (sometimes they jump right into the boat!) is always available—unless it's not, when kingfish is substituted. Other delightful dishes include small… More >>
  • Best Belgian

    Petite Abeille

    The Petite Abeille chain has flourished since its debut more than a decade ago across from Old Navy in the Ladies Mile. The best remains in Tribeca, where such Belgian commonplaces as stoemp (mashed vegetables, with or without sausage), carbonnade Flamande (Flemish beef stew), and a selection of steamed mussels in various sauces, served with the classic twice-cooked Belgian fries.… More >>
  • Best Canadian

    Mile End

    We've had a flood of restaurants from Montreal during the past two years, and it's a toss-up which to choose for this category because all have their individual charms and their own bailiwicks. Since M. Wells has closed pending relocation, let's say Mile End, a Brooklyn deli that has done a magnificent job of cloning the smoked meat of Jewish… More >>
  • Best Chilean

    Pomaire - CLOSED

    Even though our food markets are filled with pristine Chilean produce, there are only a small number of Chilean restaurants in town. Yes, we have oodles of Argentine, Ecuadorian, and Peruvian places—but only a few Chilean. The best is Pomaire, an ancient Theater District spot with a predisposition for seafood. Sure, there are pan-roasted corvinas (the nation's favorite fish, in… More >>
  • Best Chinese—Hunanese

    Hunan Kitchen

    Not long ago, New York had no authentic restaurants offering the spicy cuisine of Hunan, celebrated as Mao's birthplace. Now we have two, both in Flushing. The best was launched by the Grand Sichuan chain not long ago: Hunan Kitchen is located on lower Main Street, among the new northern Chinese places. Unusual dishes to be found there include white-pepper-smoked… More >>
  • Best Dutch

    Vandaag - CLOSED

    Manhattan usually manages to have at least one Netherlandish café, and the current holder of that honor is Vandaag ("Today"). Cocktails made with genever—the forerunner of gin—rule the mixed-drink list, and Dutch culinary commonplaces such as stroopwafel (caramel-crusted wafer), spekdik (bacon-dotted roll), and bitterballen (oxtail croquettes) abound. Still, the menu ventures deep into Scandinavian territory for inspiration, too, so you're… More >>
  • Best Ecuadorian

    Sol de Quito

    If you want to eat big—we mean Andean big—grab one of the standard Ecuadorian platters at Sol de Quito. There's the montanero ("mountain climber"), featuring a thick hank of sausage, Pike's Peak of fried pork chunks, Lake Titicaca of beans, bigger plate of rice, and pair of cocktail franks, the last maybe intended to merely provoke a laugh from you.… More >>
  • Best English

    Jones Wood Foundry

    A little Brit invention called the gastropub—in which the bar food is ramped up to foodie standards, and, in addition, good wine and microbrews are ostentatiously offered—has taken Gotham by storm over the past five years, and its most perfect evocation lies at the Jones Wood Foundry, a warren of ancient rooms that were once a 19th-century hardware store and… More >>
  • Best French (South)

    Boulud Sud

    The South of France gets short shrift in most French restaurants, since the food is almost too . . . Italian, with its pistou soup, anchovy pizzas, and tomato-laced potages. But Boulud Sud tackles it, along with several other sunny cuisines that rim the Mediterranean. There's a soupe de poisson that serves as a sort of baby bouillabaisse, a plate… More >>
  • Best German

    Lederhosen

    No place better captures the rollicking elements of Teutonic culture than a beer garden, and the beer garden to go to is Lederhosen, squirreled away on an obscure West Village block. Yes, the bigger places are good, too, but as you down your choice of German beers and feast on sausages and the city's best homemade pretzel, the intimacy of… More >>
  • Best Ghanaian

    Accra - CLOSED

    Named after Ghana's teeming capital, Accra is a newish Bronx restaurant in the Morris Heights section that offers one of the longest steam tables in the borough, crammed with an entire cuisine, plus a corralled back seating area where you're invited to linger and kibbitz with the regulars. Highlights of the steam table include a mash made from dried yam-skin… More >>
  • Best Guinean

    Fatima - CLOSED

    Not New Guinea in the South Pacific, but Old Guinea on the West African coast, a country where leaf-based sauces served with rice form the heart of the cuisine. The most accessible of restaurants hailing from Guinea is Fatima (named after the Islamic moniker of Mother Mary), in a Crown Heights neighborhood becoming rapidly engulfed in hipsterism. Please help it… More >>
  • Best Haitian

    Ambiance Caribbean Restaurant - CLOSED

    Evidence of the growing migration of the Haitian community from Flatbush to Canarsie, Ambiance Caribbean Restaurant is not only a rollicking café, but it also offers a proscenium performance space in the back, where wedding receptions, dances, and political rallies are held. The bedrock fare includes fried snapper with onions, a stew of beef and vegetables that goes by the… More >>
  • Best Hawaiian

    L & L Hawaiian Barbecue - CLOSED

    There are only two Hawaiian restaurants in town we know of, and L & L Hawaiian Barbecue is the better one. Look for Japanese dishes like nori rolls and katsudon; Chinese spring rolls and dumplings; and—best of all—Honolulu-style barbecued pork, shredded and tossed with cabbage, and smoky as all get-out. Spam abounds on the menu, too. Don't be afraid of… More >>
  • Best Honduran

    La Orquidéa - CLOSED

    La Orquídea is one of those Latin-American restaurants where ketchup has long since been substituted for indigenous sauces, but don't let that deter you from tasting the finest Honduran food in town, with a big emphasis on seafood, including conch soup, sofrito-rubbed meats, and the stuffed wheat-flour or rice-flour pancakes called pupusas. The café also features gigantic Honduran, Guatemalan, and… More >>
  • Best Indian (North)

    Indian Clove

    People look at you funny when you point out that the best Punjabi restaurant in town is just down the hill from Silver Lake in Staten Island. Elaborate mixed grills emerge from the tandoori oven at Indian Clove, including such effete items as tiger shrimp and lobster, but the poultry doesn't lag, with a dozen subtly flavored nontandoori entrées featuring… More >>
  • Best Indian (South)

    Sri Ganesh's Dosa House

    Newark Avenue in Jersey City is lined with vegetarian Indian restaurants, but which one to choose? Sapthagiri is wonderful, but it has food from other regions. Better for our purposes is Sri Ganesh's Dosa House, where the elephant-headed god presides on an altar just inside the front door, and your choice of dosas, uttapams, iddlies, and their ilk runs to… More >>
  • Best Irish

    Galway Hooker

    Now that the so-called "Irish Miracle" has fallen apart (hey, we're not doing so great in the economy category ourselves), Irish immigrants have returned to New York, with great effect on the restaurant industry. In fact, the city probably now has more Irish bars than at any other point in its history. Many of the new ones fall into the… More >>
  • Best Istrian

    Rudar Soccer Club

    Istria is currently part of Croatia, but it has also been part of Italy in the past, bouncing back and forth like an Adriatic beach ball. The best Istrian food in town is found at Rudar Soccer Club, a sports bar founded by immigrant Istrian miners with a soccer team. Troop through the bar, where old men play whist, to… More >>
  • Best Japanese—Ramen

    Ramen Setagaya

    Just as good as the better-known places in its own efficient and unpretentious way is Ramen Setagaya, a cheap noodle joint in the East Village Tenderloin. The cold summer noodles are superb, and, next to that, our favorite is the hot miso ramen, which flagrantly burns with the fire of 40 furnaces. Ouch! 34 St. Mark's Place, 212-387-7959 (10003)… More >>
  • Best Japanese—Sushi

    Natori

    One would think there would be no overlap between lists of Cheap Sushi and Good Sushi, but there is at least one place in town that belongs on both: Natori, an old-timer on a rather uncommercial block of St. Mark's. It occupies a warren of underground rooms and manages to squeeze a few tables onto an entrance courtyard—evening-dining bliss! 58… More >>
  • Best Liberian

    Maima's

    Participating in this year's Choice Eats, the city's only Liberian restaurant, Maima's, might have gone mainstream, but the food is still the unreconstructed original, redolent of African Americans' being bounced back and forth between West Africa and North America for at least 250 years. Pepper shrimp is a wise choice, perhaps paired with "dry rice"—not desiccated in the least, it's… More >>
  • Best Malaysian

    Taste Good

    The best Malaysian in town doubles as the cutest Malaysian in town. Adjacent to the lovely park carved out of Clement Clarke Moore's former homestead, Taste Good is a small bathtub of a place with cordial service, among banks of aquariums that are your guarantee of good seafood. The set lunch called nasi lemak is here rendered better than elsewhere… More >>
  • Best Moroccan

    Café Mogador

    No one can quite explain why, but New York has been blessed with few Moroccan restaurants, and the ones that pop up in Bay Ridge and on Steinway Avenue in Queens tend to rapidly go out of business. Thus the head of this category is almost perennially occupied by Café Mogador, a long-running East Village spot that excels at the… More >>
  • Best Nepalese

    Bhim's

    There are now a half-dozen Nepalese cafés in Jackson Heights, most offering a hybrid of Himalayan cuisines. Named after its convivial hostess, Bhim's is a closet of a space with another closet upstairs for eating. And the wads of beaten rice, dried soybeans, and nuggets of spice-rubbed meat (reminding us that spices were among the earliest preservatives), feel as if… More >>
  • Best New Zealand

    Nelson Blue

    The city is hopping with Australian bars and refectories, but how many places do we have originating in New Zealand? Two, of which the best is Nelson Blue. Located in an untrammeled corner of the South Street Seaport and spewing tables onto the cobblestones, the place offers beers from home and pub grub with a twist. The club sandwich has… More >>
  • Best Nigerian

    Buka

    The Nigerians were among the first neo-Africans to arrive here in the '80s, and some of them rode in on a crest of oil revenues, creating middle-class institutions soon after arrival in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Founded recently and not far away, Buka ("Eating House") is the most elegant Nigerian eatery so far, a kind of African hipster hang that doesn't… More >>
  • Best Panamanian

    Kelso Restaurant by Veronica

    As the Panama Canal proves to be more and more popular as a tourist destination, we search in vain for places serving authentic Panamanian fare, and always end up returning to Kelso Restaurant by Veronica, which advertises its purview as "Panamanian, West Indian, Spanish, and American," which pretty much sums up the cuisine. There you'll find African flatbreads, Creole soups,… More >>
  • Best Peruvian

    Lima Limon

    While most of the city's new crop of Peruvian restaurants are mere rotisserie chicken joints, punningly named Lima Limon is a full-blown restaurant, with picture windows that look out on the hurly burly of Roosevelt Avenue. In an interior plastered with mementos of the homeland, wonderful savory dishes are turned out, many of them incorporated into omnibus platters with huge… More >>
  • Best Polish

    Polonica

    As the gentrification of Greenpoint proceeds apace, who should be surprised that the best Polish restaurant this year is found in Bay Ridge, rather than the northwest corner of Brooklyn? Polonica—as with most of its Polish café brethren—is a postage-stamp of a place, with a handful of tables and a menu much larger than you'd expect in a café so… More >>
  • Best Portuguese

    Sol-Mar

    There are damnably few Portuguese restaurants in the five boroughs, mainly because the Portuguese are all hanging out in Newark and other nearby parts of New Jersey. That's good, because it gives you an incentive to take the PATH to the Ironbound neighborhood, where there are Portuguese (and Brazilian) restaurants galore. Eat the way the Portuguese do themselves and go… More >>
  • Best Puerto Rican

    La Taza de Oro

    Hearkening back to the Latin neighborhood Chelsea once was, La Taza de Oro ("Cup of Gold") is a Puerto Rican (now with Dominican influences) coffee shop, which means you can get rich and creamy café con leche for a fraction of the price you pay at Starbucks. More important is the menu, shifting daily, of octopus salad, saucy pork chops,… More >>
  • Best Russian

    Skovorodka

    If you're tired of the Casio-thumping Russian restaurants of Brighton Beach and their ilk, where how much you're tipping commands more attention than the ditzy floor show, drop by Skovorodka ("the Skillet"), a Russian restaurant where the menu becomes the center of attention. That bill of fare is a compendium of post-Soviet cuisine, including Russian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and even… More >>
  • Best Senegalese

    La Galette - CLOSED

    Senegalese men selling counterfeit watches might have been the first of the modern Africans to hit town—they certainly had the first West African restaurants, which started out in SRO hotels around Times Square. The Senegalese genre has evolved to include—gasp!—a restaurant founded by Catholic Africans who can sell alcohol, and that atypical place is La Galette, where the fare runs… More >>
  • Best Serbian

    Kafana

    Kafana claims to be the city's only Serbian restaurant, and they might be right. Ensconced in a charming, wood-clad premises that resembles a cottage in a fairytale, the kitchen turns out the greatest hits of Balkan cooking, including finger-shaped skinless sausages called cevapi (here made with a combination of beef, lamb, and pork), vegetable-stuffed turnovers known as pites, and jagnjeca… More >>
  • Best Slovakian

    Korzo Haus

    Although the cuisine of this small, friendly bar just off Tompkins Square isn't exclusively Slovakian—one of the centerpieces of the menu is a dark take on Hungarian goulash—the style and personnel are at Korzo Haus. Thrill to the hamburgers wrapped in fried dough made to order, the beers with hand-carved taps, and, especially, the deep-fried spaetzle called halusky. 178 East… More >>
  • Best South African

    Braai

    Of the three South African restaurants in town, Braai is the one with the broadest menu. Although nominally a barbecue joint, Braai's bill of fare also runs to biryanis (demonstrating Indian influences on the cuisine), prawns piri-piri (a fiery Angolan dish), sliders (this is New York, after all), and tribal porridges, in addition to the Boer dried meats, and oddball… More >>
  • Best Sri Lankan

    Banana Leaf

    In Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan, we now have restaurants that represent the four major religions of Sri Lanka—Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. As the Jesus in the corner of the dining room attests, Banana Leaf is the one that reps for Christianity, though the menu overlaps with the other places by about 90 percent. Many fine starches front the… More >>
  • Best Taiwanese

    Taiwanese Specialties

    Taiwanese cuisine is just coming into its own in the Five Boroughs. As Taiwanese restaurateurs have been relieved of the necessity of cooking everyone else's food by the influx of immigrants from many regions of China, they've been freed up to concentrate more on their own. Taiwanese Specialties has changed hands several times, but this place just south of the… More >>
  • Best Traditional Thai

    Sripraphai

    In spite of the excellence of other places, Woodside's Sripraphai remains the best Siamese in the city. Where else can you get a beef tendon soup laced with blood (order the "dark" version), or a pig organ soup filled with liver, heart, and chunks of rich fatty meat? This was the first place in town to serve the specialties of… More >>
  • Best Tibetan

    Phayul

    There are a dozen Himalayan restaurants in Jackson Heights these days that offer Tibetan, Nepalese, or Bhutanese fare, or a combination. The best Tibetan place is Phayul ("Homeland"), a walk-up spot a yak turd's throw from the grandiose subway and elevated train station on Roosevelt Avenue. Many of the dishes surprisingly contain Sichuan peppercorns, and the dumplings called momo—with a… More >>
  • Best Trinidadian

    Ali's Roti Shop

    Favorite Bed-Stuy pit stop Ali's Roti Shop specializes in the flatbread sandwiches pioneered by Bengali field workers who arrived in Trinidad to harvest cane early in the 20th century. The flatbread in question is dal roti, with crushed yellow split peas between its flaky layers, and the fillings run from chicken, bone-in goat, shrimp, and conch. Ali's has been on… More >>
  • Best Uzbekistani

    Cupola Samarkanda II

    It turns out that most Queens Uzbek menus are restrained compared to the one found at Cupola Samarkanda II, a newish place that hunkers under the F tracks in Brooklyn and emulates the Russian pleasure palaces of Brighton Beach when it comes to glitz. While listening to the throbbing strains of a Casio orchestra, thrill to such arcana as geez… More >>
  • Best Venezuelan

    Guacuco

    Most Venezuelan restaurants in town are mere sandwich shops, featuring stuffed arepas in a cramped setting—wildly popular, yet not the sorts of places you want to linger. No so Guacuco, a rollicking den named after a beach on Margarita Island. The usual filled arepas are available (our fave: the vegetariana, with rubbery white cheese and avocado), but they're supplemented by… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese (Pho)

    Pho Mac

    It's not easy to get to, but a perennial candidate for best Vietnamese in the city—every since Bronx's sainted World of Taste closed last year—is Pho Mac, located in a strip mall right off the Staten Island Expressway. The core of the menu is a brilliant pho in the Saigon style, with a light broth laced with sweet spices and… More >>
  • Best Yemeni

    Bab Al Yemen - CLOSED

    For those who expect restaurants from Yemen to be holes-in-the-wall near or on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, Bab Al Yemen in Bay Ridge will be a pleasant surprise. The premises are modern and nicely decorated, and there's a special area for families of devout Muslims, who can pull the curtains on their booths and dine in privacy. (You non-Muslims… More >>
  • Best Use of Anchovies

    John Dory Oyster Bar

    At her seafood-centric restaurant, John Dory Oyster Bar, chef April Bloomfield (along with chef de cuisine Josh Even) transforms two of the most prosaic ingredients imaginable—anchovies and parsley—into a truly magical toast. Fashioning them into a chunky, bright green pesto finished with a touch of lemon, garlic, and olive oil, she spreads the mixture onto thin pieces of chewy toast.… More >>
  • Best Use of Blood

    Zabb Elee

    Most anything on the menu is a good bet at Zabb Elee, a new East Village restaurant specializing in food from Thailand's northern Isaan region. But the best brothy bowl is certainly the nam tok. Billed as "dark noodle soup," this hearty entrée plays host to sliced beef, thin rice noodles, and crunchy green morning-glory shoots, all in a broth… More >>
  • Best American Cuisine

    ABC Kitchen

    It might be surprising that one of the city's best spots for American fare, ABC Kitchen, is inside a furniture store (albeit a super-luxe one), but chef Dan Kluger's local, sustainable, veggie-friendly food has clearly distinguished him as one of New York's rising stars. The boho-chic, monochromatically white restaurant that's part of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's empire celebrates farm-fresh dishes like roasted… More >>
  • Best Use of Duck

    Kin Shop

    You'll encounter many spicy mouthfuls at Harold Dieterle's modern Thai restaurant, Kin Shop, but one of the hottest—not to mention yummiest—dishes on the menu is the spicy duck laab appetizer. The Top Chef winner cooks ground duck leg and breast meat with chiles, lemongrass, and fish sauce, before tossing the whole shebang with chopped long beans and fresh basil, mint,… More >>
  • Best Use of Egg

    Brushstroke

    Getting the full kaiseki experience at David Bouley's new Japanese restaurant, Brushstroke, will unquestionably put a dent in your wallet. (Set menus run $85 and $135.) But the bar room offers à la carte dining at a slightly more affordable price. One of the best options is the crab and truffle chawan-mushi. The steamed egg custard, flavored with soy sauce… More >>
  • Best Use of Foie Gras

    Do or Dine

    It would be easy to dismiss the foie gras donut at experimental Bed-Stuy newcomer Do or Dine as gimmicky. In truth, it is. But a forgivable one, once you actually experience the genius that is goose liver mousse stuffed inside of a lightly powdered donut from nearby bakery Dough. The addition of sugary apricot preserves (Polaner, don't tell), ensures that… More >>
  • Best Use of Grape Leaves

    Bi Lokma

    You'll find a bevy of inexpensive bites at Bi Lokma, Orhan Yegen's casual Midtown Turkish eatery. On chilly days when you're looking to fill up, you'd be wise to tuck into the hot yogurt soup or the smoky ali nazek. For lighter fare, though, definitely opt for the stuffed grape leaves. Filled with a savory mixture of rice, currants, and… More >>
  • Best Use of Habanero

    Barrio Chino

    Restaurants come and go in the Lower East Side, but Barrio Chino has held its own for a while now, dishing up reasonably priced Mexican fare and oh-so tasty margaritas. The best one available is the ridiculously spicy—but still smooth—habanero grapefruit. The chile peppers are infused in Sauza Hornitos reposado tequila, which is then combined with fresh grapefruit juice, served… More >>
  • Best Use of Ink

    Ai Fiori

    It has been quite a year for Michael White, who opened two Italian eateries within months of each other (not to mention while also pursuing ventures in Asia). Yet he has proved he can deftly command a mini empire while putting out some exceptional food. The man has a way with pasta, and one of the city's best noodle dishes… More >>
  • Best Use of Juniper

    Vandaag - CLOSED

    Plain old peanuts wouldn't do for a bar snack at Vandaag, one of the city's few Dutch restaurants, located in the East Village. Here, juniper-flavored pecans are the nibble with which to tipple. Lightly coated in sugar and tossed with the ground purple-black berries plus a hint of cayenne, these crunchy nuts perfectly complement the eatery's many cocktails made with… More >>
  • Best Use of Kimchi

    Danji

    Kimchi-fried rice is a staple at most Korean restaurants, but at Danji, Hooni Kim's tiny Hell's Kitchen small-plates eatery, the dish reaches unexpected heights of deliciousness. Served on a sizzling hot platter, the starchy grains—bolstered with both bacon and chorizo, because one type of pork is never enough—turn brown and crispy, just like the Spanish staple, paella. The spicy fermented… More >>
  • Best Use of Lentils

    Buvette

    The lowly legume gets an upgrade at Buvette, Jody Williams's West Village "gastroteque," or intimate, Francophilic, brick-walled small-plates joint. She minces black kale until fine, then cooks it along with lentils du Puy, adding a healthy dollop of cream for a soupçon of richness. The beans arrive at the table steaming hot and served in a miniature cast-iron crock so… More >>
  • Best Use of Marrow

    Hung Ry - CLOSED

    Hung Ry, a sleek Noho eatery, offers modern takes on Chinese–style soups, though the chefs' noodle-pulling skills are old-school all the way. Each bowl offers this contrast of new and old, but our favorite is the veal cheek, brimming with bobbing globs of pale white bone marrow plus sliced liver, Japanese sweet potato, and quartered quinces. The unctuous marrow lends… More >>
  • Best Use of Nectarines

    Four & Twenty Blackbirds

    Is there a sweeter story than two sisters from South Dakota who set up shop in Gowanus to make pies inspired by their grandmother's recipes? We don't think so, and especially not when the baked goods are this scrumptious. Melissa and Emily Elsen change up the fillings regularly according to the season, but if we had to pick an all-time… More >>
  • Best Use of Oysters

    Dutch

    No meal at the Dutch—Andrew Carmellini's Soho ode to the diversity of American cuisine—is complete without sampling the mini fried-oyster sandwiches, listed under "snacks." The Wellfleet oysters are coated in cornmeal and deep fried 'til crisp and golden on the outside but still sweet and briny on the inside. Pumped up with iceberg lettuce and a tangy tartar sauce made… More >>
  • Best Use of Pecans

    Peels - CLOSED

    This baked breakfast treat from pastry chef Shuna Lydon at Bowery restaurant Peels should really just be called sugar-coated crack because it's inexpensive, addictive, and probably unhealthy for you—but so gratifying to consume that nothing else matters. A rich, yeasty, cake-like bun is slathered in dripping caramel and covered with a substantial pecan topping, ensuring sticky fingers and an instant… More >>
  • Best Use of Quark

    Cafe Katja

    Cafe Katja has weathered the comings and goings of restaurants along Orchard Street over the past five years, and we like to think that the Lilliputian Austrian eatery's quark dumplings have something to do with that. The large and lumpy German farmers' cheese knobs flank a thick, gooey Emmentaler-spiked sausage for a dairy-lover's (who's also into meat) delight of a… More >>
  • Best Use of Ricotta

    Tenpenny

    If you strolled down East 46th Street, it's unlikely you'd realize that you're walking past one of Midtown's more exciting restaurant debuts of 2011. That's because Tenpenny is tucked way into the back of the rather nondescript Gotham Hotel. But you'd be remiss to overlook this spot, which serves one of our favorite pasta dishes: porchetta ravioli. Chef Christopher Cipollone… More >>
  • Best Use of Sausage

    Osteria Morini

    Pasta is arguably the starch that will lure you into Osteria Morini. Certainly, the cappeletti, garganelli, and tagliatelle are all worth breaking your Atkins diet. (Alhough why you're still on Atkins also needs to be resolved.) But for true gut-busting comfort, the polenta is the way to go. A terra-cotta crock arrives enshrouded in a steamy haze from the bubbling,… More >>
  • Best Use of Turkey

    Court Street Grocers

    The classic turkey triple-decker has about as much culinary excitement as the stodgy country clubs where they're so often served. But Court Street Grocers, a specialty grocery and snack shop in Carroll Gardens, has created a sammy that outdoes all those which came before it. The secret? The dark leg meat gets dry-rubbed and cooked in duck fat overnight while… More >>
  • Best Use of Uni

    Yuba

    Although it doesn't include any of the tofu-skin namesake, we're still smitten with the risotto-style uni rice at East Village Japanese newcomer Yuba. Several bright-orange California sea urchins perch atop a small mound of sweet Japanese rice that has been cooked in broth, like Italian risotto. Mix it all together so that each bite bursts with pure seaside flavor that… More >>
  • Best Use of Velveeta

    Brooklyn Star

    Two schools of macaroni-and-cheese philosophy exist: the highbrow, artisanal, gouda-gruyere-gorgonzola kind and the one devoted to the blue box. Yet at the Brooklyn Star, Joaquin Baca's reopened Williamsburg joint dedicated to highly caloric Southern favorites, you can sample the best of both worlds. Its version fills a cast-iron skillet with soft elbow noodles bathing in a bubbling, creamy Velveeta-and-sharp-white-cheddar sauce,… More >>
  • Best Use of Watercress

    Sripraphai

    Why have a salad when you can have a fried one? That might have been the thinking behind the unusual yet beloved fried watercress salad at Thai stalwart Sripraphai. The green veggie is battered, then deep-fried to a crisp, topped with dried chiles and toasted cashews, all showered in a tangy fish sauce dressing and bolstered with shrimp. It's unlike… More >>
  • Best Use of XO Sauce

    Nom Wah Tea Parlor

    The Chinese condiment made from dried seafood and chiles highlights the turnip cake from the recently reopened Nom Wah Tea Parlor, now brightly outfitted with a '60s diner decor and revamped menu. Unlike at other dim sum spots, the starchy cake is chopped into bite-sized pieces, then tossed with the sauce and garnished with pieces of bell peppers for slightly… More >>
  • Best Use of Yuba

    Cocoron - CLOSED

    The yuba soba at the 14-seat Lower East Side newcomer Cocoron promises to be "a hit with ladies everywhere," and this hearty dish certainly wooed me. Yuba, or tofu skin, is made by skimming off the film that rises in a vat of curdling soy milk. Here the delicate pale yellow sheets accompany a small mound of cold soba noodles,… More >>
  • Best Use of Za'atar

    Balaboosta

    Za'atar—a spice blend that combines dried hyssop, thyme, and sesame seeds—adds a lovely herbal kick to fish and poultry dishes. But one of the best uses of it in the city can be found on crispy potato chunks at Balaboosta, Einat Admony's Nolitan follow-up to her perennially popular falafel joint, Taïm. Here, patatas bravas, traditionally a Spanish dish served with… More >>
  • Best Mess

    Coolhaus

    New York was laid siege by ice cream sandwiches this past summer, each more winsome and pedigreed than the last. But none were more memorable than the exuberantly sloppy behemoths from Coolhaus, the ice cream truck that came to us from L.A. bearing creations as flavorful as they are outsized. Eating one under the mid-afternoon sun necessitates both numerous napkins… More >>
  • Best Semi-Obscure Regional Specialty

    Peels - CLOSED

    Born in the early '40s, St. Louis's Gooey Butter Cake was all but unknown in these parts until Shuna Lydon thoughtfully added it to her menu at Peels. She tweaked the cake's name (to "St. Louis Sticky Gooey Cake") but not its most glorious attribute, the delirium-inducing morass of sweet, buttery custard that sits quivering beneath a crackly, fissured crust.… More >>
  • Best and Most Accurate Use of the Word 'Crack'

    Ample Hills Creamery

    "It's like crack" is one of the highest compliments one can give a dessert. It's also one of the most inaccurate—no, whatever you're eating will not give you delusional parasitosis or cause you to lose your job and home. That said, Ample Hills Creamery's Salted Crack Caramel ice cream is eminently deserving of its name, thanks its great reserve of… More >>
  • Best Reason to Worship Satan

    Dutch

    There is chocolate cake, and then there is chocolate cake that would make a priest put his fist through a stained-glass window. The devil's food cake that Kierin Baldwin makes at the Dutch falls squarely into the latter category. Baldwin's genius lies not so much in the cake's impeccably moist and fudgy crumb, but in twists like the addition of… More >>
  • Best Makeover

    Blue Bottle

    Much as it has helped transform coffee from brown beverage to eroticized fetish object, Blue Bottle has taken the snickerdoodle, one of the most prosaic members of the American cookie canon, and remade it into an obscure object of desire. It's a feat that's accomplished by swapping the cookie's customary cinnamon with saffron, a substitution that's such a natural fit… More >>
  • Best Reason to Cross Northern Boulevard

    Cannelle Patisserie

    In a contradiction typical of Queens, some of the best French pastries in the city are found in that most American of institutions, a strip mall. That's where bakers Gnanasampanthan Sabaratnam and Jean-Claude Perennou are turning out Cannelle Patisserie's superb Francophilic delights, and one of the best is the Paris-Brest. The wheel-shaped pastry, whose shape commemorates an iconic 19th-century bicycle… More >>
  • Best Daily Serving of Fruit

    Bien Cuit

    Since opening its doors in July, Bien Cuit has earned deserved acclaim for its fantastic breads. But its fruit tarts have also inspired devotion. Aesthetically, they walk a fine line between French-style OCD perfection and rustic nonchalance. The ripe, barely adulterated fruit demands to be admired and then wolfed down, as does the crisp, buttery crust. Like all great beauties,… More >>
  • Best Display of Weirdo Genius

    SCRATCHbread

    The ovens at Matthew Tilden's SCRATCHbread have birthed some of the city's most compellingly unusual pastries, perhaps none more so than the bakery's plantain cake with molé streudel. What on earth happens when bananas, plantains, yucca, burnt caramel, and sourdough crumbs get mashed together and topped with pumpkin seeds, red chili seed molé, bitter chocolate, and pecans? A spicy-sweet-savory revelation,… More >>
  • Best Vindication of Frozen Yogurt

    Culture

    We have always considered frozen yogurt to be to ice cream what cupcakes are to cake: a food that is turning New York into a convincing facsimile of a suburban mall and largely lacking in purpose or character. That changed when we visited Culture, where the yogurt is refreshing, bracingly tart, and limited to two or three flavors but accessorized… More >>
  • Best Doughnut Masquerading as a Cake

    Jeffrey's Grocery

    In appearance, Jeffrey's Grocery's chocolate coffee cake is a wee bundt cake, dusted with powdered sugar. But in that powdered sugar is the betrayal of the cake's true nature: In texture and flavor, it's a cake doughnut. In the best way possible, mind you: It's got that alluringly crunchy crust and dense but springy interior. The flavor is low on… More >>
  • Best Use of Carrots

    ABC Kitchen

    A carrot salad sounds about as sexy as an enema, but this rendition at ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's sustainable, veggie-friendly restaurant, bests any version that has ever come before it. Small, bright-orange spears are kissed with cumin and roasted, then are combined with creamy avocado, a bevy of sprouts and seeds, several sourdough croutons, and a dollop of sour cream.… More >>
  • Best Bacon

    Landhaus

    Putting food on a stick always seems to make it better: A corndog bests a hot dog, just as a lollipop trumps a sucking candy. So obviously, bacon on a stick is going to beat any other porcine preparation around. Landhaus, a stand at Brooklyn food fair Smorgasburg, sells a fat slab of seared maple-glazed bacon that’s drizzled with… More >>
  • Best Bagel

    Murray’s

    What makes Murray’s bagels better than the rest is that both sides are covered in toppings, ensuring that each bite is perfectly onion-y, poppy-y, or sesame-y. The bagels are soft and supple, with the perfect amount of chew. The only downside? Murray’s refuses to toast its offerings, so you’ll have to wait until you get back home if… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Bien Cuit

    Since opening its doors in July, Bien Cuit has earned deserved acclaim for its fantastic breads and tasty sandwiches. But its fruit tarts have also inspired our devotion. Aesthetically, they walk a fine line between French-style OCD perfection and rustic nonchalance. The ripe, barely adulterated fruit demands to be admired, and then wolfed down, as does the crisp, buttery crust.… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Fette Sau

    Who wouldn't love a restaurant whose name means "fat pig"? At Williamsburg warehouse Fette Sau, the meat selection is naturally porky but also quirky (head and tails are common) and often features boutique meats. The smoky 'cue comes on a plain tray on a sheet of butcher paper, with two sauces available for self-service. Sides (save for salty pickles) are… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    Fourth Avenue Pub

    Free popcorn from a machine that looks like it was borrowed from a carnival wagon isn’t the only lure of Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue Pub. The beer selection is fantastic. From a shifting roster, which you can examine online before you go, you can grab a 25-ounce bottle of Saint Somewhere’s Lectio Divina, a lively Saison from a Tarpon Springs, Florida,… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Clem’s

    As they sing in South Pacific, “Bloody Mary is the girl I love.” And there’s probably no better drink for the gray area between 8 a.m. and noon, when you know you want one but are slightly embarrassed to ask for it. Check out Williamsburg dive-bar Clem’s, where the drink prices are cheap, and the bartenders are not wearing suspenders… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Le Bonbonniere

    Cast your mind back to the day when all restaurants pretended to be French—or wished they were. That’s the case with Le Bonbonniere, a very modest Greek diner that assumed its Gallic pretensions sometime in the '50s, and the faded sign still tells the story. Breakfasts there are superb, including eggs perfectly cooked to order, toast that pops out of… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    Heartland Brewery - CLOSED

    Manhattan is not the best place in the world to find a brew pub—and that’s an understatement. For one thing, the city is rich in locavoric beers, natives have good taste in beer (and hence the typical brewpub is off limits, since the homemade beer usually sucks), and the bon vivants of this town insist upon a range of exotic… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Fort Defiance

    Should you ever find yourself questioning kosherism, you can’t really beat Fort Defiance’s cold fried chicken with oysters and bacon. This tasty, protein-heavy dish is served only at brunch, however. Make sure to order it, then tack on an order of the Dutch pancake, which arrives in a piping-hot cast-iron pan is topped with warm blueberry compote, a… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Korzo Haus

    At Korzo Haus, a large ground-beef patty is first blackened on each side on a griddle, leaving it bright red and juicy in the middle. Next it is implanted in a ball of yeast-risen dough, which is then deep-fried. The burger remains about the same level of doneness while the bread cooks to a coffee-bean brown on the outside. Put… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    Dos Toros Taqueria

    Cal-Mex cuisine has never been better here than at Dos Toros Taqueria, a microscopic, San Francisco-style burrito joint that launched in the East Village a few years ago and this year opened an outpost in the West Village. The carne asada burrito comes bulging with rice, beans, and tender marinated steak. Don't forget to spring for the guac topping. … More >>
  • Best Chinese

    Hunan Kitchen

    Not long ago, New York had no authentic restaurants offering the spicy cuisine of Hunan, celebrated as Mao’s birthplace. Now we have two, both in Flushing. The better of the two was launched by the Grand Sichuan chain not long ago: Hunan Kitchen is located on lower Main Street, among on the new northern Chinese places. Unusual dishes to be… More >>
  • Best Chocolate

    Dutch

    There is chocolate cake, and then there is chocolate cake that would make a priest put his fist through a stained glass window. The devil’s food cake that Kierin Baldwin makes at the Dutch falls squarely into the latter category. Baldwin’s genius lies not so much in the cake’s impeccably moist and fudgy crumb, but in twists like the addition… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Bar

    Dram

    Need that perfect date spot? Off the beaten track, darkly wooded, and possessing drinks so strong that each seat ought to have a lap belt, at least? Dram is your spot. It’s right by the bicycle exit of the Williamsburg Bridge, so watch out! The place is staffed by a shifting roster of mixologists, who compete to see who can… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Mojo

    Despite the onslaught of Starfucks and other pernicious chains, the East and West Village still abound in independent coffee shops, where locals, ex-in-the-office workers, strippers, millionaires, zillionaires, and folks who just want to read the paper in peace converge. We must be crazy to reveal to you the one that we hang out at, because for sure it’ll be overrun.… More >>
  • Best Comfort Food

    Petite Abeille

    The Petite Abeille chain has flourished since its debut over a decade ago across from Old Navy in the Ladies Mile. The best and most commodious of them remains in Tribeca, where such Belgian commonplaces as stoemp (mashed vegetables, with or without sausage), carbonnade Flamande (Flemish beef stew), and a selection of steamed mussels in various sauces, are served with… More >>
  • Best Cupcake

    Molly's Cupcakes

    The death of the cupcake has been predicted for some time now, but that hasn't stopped Chicago-based confectionery Molly's Cupcakes from setting up shop in town. It even had the gall to open only a few blocks down from Magnolia Bakery, that temple of cupcakerie and other awfulness. And good thing it did, because its mini frosted cakes… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Mile End

    We’ve had a flood of restaurants from Montreal over the last two years, and it’s a toss-up which to choose for this category, since all have their individual charms and their own bailiwicks. Since M. Wells has closed, pending relocation, let’s say Mile End, a Brooklyn deli that has done a magnificent job of cloning the smoked meat of Montreal,… More >>
  • Best Drive-In

    Shake Shack

    You’re looking for a drive-in in New York City? What’s wrong with you? There are no drive-ins here. You mean the kind with carhops who come out on roller skates and hook trays onto your rolled-down car window heaped with burgers, greasy fries, and soft drinks? Sheesh! We don’t even have a Sonic in the city limits, and we ain’t… More >>
  • Best Falafel

    Taim

    While it's more of a takeout counter than a restaurant, the tiny storefront Taim boasts one of the best all-vegetarian menus in town, thanks to its excellent falafel and smoothies. Unlike most chickpea orbs, these are packed with handfuls of fresh herbs, which give them great flavor. Not in the mood for legumes? Try the sabich, a pita stuffed… More >>
  • Best Farmers’ Market

    Union Square Greenmarket

    For the past 35 years, the Union Square Greenmarket has been pumpin’ out the vegetable hits—from summer squashes to heirloom tomatoes to cheeses created on small farmsteads upstate to pastries cooked according to the most arcane of ancient techniques. With as many as 50 or more farms selling things every Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, even in the darkest winter,… More >>
  • Best Fish and Chips

    A Salt and Battery!

    Britannia rules at A Salt and Battery! This addition to the Tea & Sympathy empire is a replica fish-and-chips shop that strives for perfection in every detail, even wrapping the product in English newspapers. The seafood is wonderfully fresh, with a selection that runs to whiting, halibut, cod, cod roe, squid, scallops, andamy fave, rock salmon. Numbered among the sides… More >>
  • Best French

    Boulud Sud

    The south of France gets short shrift in most French restaurants, since the food is almost too . . . Italian, with its pistou soup, anchovy pizzas, and tomato-laced potages. But Boulud Sud tackles it— along with several other sunny cuisines that rim the Mediterranean. There’s a soupe de poisson that serves as a sort of baby bouillabaisse, a plate… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Mitchell's

    The prodigious culinary accomplishments of African Americans in the Southern United States—sometimes known as soul food—are an eroding presence on the city's culinary scene, and the remaining examples should be cherished and supported. Mitchell's offers the standards: knock-out fried chicken with more black pepper than flour in the supremely crisp crust, mac and cheese with little squiggles of cheddar, collards… More >>
  • Best Fries

    Balaboosta

    At Balaboosta, patatas bravas, traditionally a Spanish dish served with a tangy tomato-based sauce, gets a Israeli makeover. Einat Admony fries chunk of spuds to a deep golden brown, then douses them in zaa’tar (a spice blend containing hyssop, thyme, and sesame) and serves them with a creamy roasted garlic aioli. Think of them as the chosen fries. 214… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Stellina's

    Stellina's gelato is a hybrid of Italian tradition and American irreverence, which means it comes in flavors with names like Bananimal and Cinnamon Toast, and is paved with animal crackers, chocolate-covered marshmallows, brownies, and other bits and pieces that would probably incite a riot over at Grom HQ. Fortunately, there's craft to back up the conceit: Bananimal, for example, is… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Grocery

    Court Street Grocers

    Court Street Grocers, a specialty grocery and snack shop in Carroll Gardens, goes beyond offering the normal sundries. It makes many fine sandwiches, from a meaty Reuben to a fantastic turkey leg sammy that combines dry-rubbed, confit dark meat with herb-roasted white meat, plus Berkshire bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a smear of mayo seal the deal on three thick… More >>
  • Best Greek

    Agnanti Meze - CLOSED

    As with almost every other restaurant category in this app, you’ve got to define exactly what subset of the cuisine you’ve go a hankering for. Food of the Greek Islands? Food of Crete? Food of the Mainland? Food of the mountainous part of the Mainland? Food from the Greek expatriate community of Istanbul? As to the last, Agnanti Meze in… More >>
  • Best Hidden Gem

    Sun Light Bakery Corp.

    Sun Light Bakery Corp. is, of course, a bakery—one half of it, at least—but the other door leads to a small warren where a woman in an orange baseball cap makes the Chinese rice noodles called gee cheung fun by pouring a soupy and livid-white batter into a steam cabinet tray, then scrapes the result off with a spatula into… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Boulevard Drinks

    If you have to ask about hot dogs, you haven’t been keeping an eye on our food blog, Fork in the Road. In frank affection, we vacillate between the opposite poles of Bark Hot Dogs in Park Slope and Crif Dogs in the East Village, and now, Williamsburg. So as not to start a riot, let’s rather say Boulevard Drinks… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Ample Hills Creamery

    There's a reason that Ample Hills Creamery sold out of all of its ice cream within its first four days of business, and a reason that it's still selling out of its salted crack caramel. It is indeed habit-forming, thanks to its great reserves of salty, burnt-caramel flavor and the sedimentary deposits of sugar-coated saltines and milk chocolate chunks buried… More >>
  • Best Indian

    Indian Clove

    People look at you funny when you point out that the best Punjabi restaurant in town is just down the hill from Silver Lake in Staten Island. Elaborate mixed grills emerge from the tandoori oven at Indian Clove, including items like tiger shrimp and lobster, nor does poultry lag with a dozen subtly flavored choices featuring complex and arcane spice… More >>
  • Best Italian (Neighborhood)

    Frost

    Brooklyn has all sorts of old-fashioned Italian-American restaurants, where red sauce is king and baked pastas are the thing to get (indeed, anything that has ricotta or eggplant in it, too). Around since 1959, Frost—named after the obscure Williamsburg street it sits on, rather than any meteorological phenomenon—serves up a zinger of an eggplant rollatini, and the chicken, Sicilian style,… More >>
  • Best Italian (Upscale)

    Ai Fiori

    Michael White has had a big year, opening not only Osteria Morini in Soho, but also Ai Fiori, an elegant Italian (with some French influences) restaurant in the Setai Hotel. The $84 four-course dinner is actually a great deal, since you can pick any four dishes from the full menu of apps, pastas, entrées, and desserts. The butter-poached oysters with… More >>
  • Best Jamaican

    Blue Mountain Cafe

    If you’re a big fan of jerk—and we are—you’re probably almost tired of your selection of jerk items being limited to chicken, with the occasional whole fish or handful of shrimp. And you’re right in feeling this way, since the original jerking was done in Jamaica’s Boston Bay with whole pigs that were dumped into a smouldering pit with pimento… More >>
  • Best Japanese

    Cocoron - CLOSED

    We've yet to eat something that’s less than wonderful at this 14-seat Lower East Side newcomer named Cocoron. Highlights, however, include the silky zaru tofu, the cool and crunchy daikon salad, the smoky, pork-laden stamina soba, and the yuba dip soba, which, as its name suggests, requires you to dunk cold, springy noodles into a bath of hot broth,… More >>
  • Best Jewish

    Russ & Daughters

    Appetizing stores like Russ & Daughters originated from Jewish dietary law, which dictates that meat and dairy can't be sold together. The smoked-fish shrine has created a mouthwatering link between appetizing and delicatessen with its pastrami-cured salmon, for which a blend of 14 herbs and spices join forces to create a silken fish with a complexly flavored crust. The… More >>
  • Best Korean

    Book Chang Dong

    In Korean restaurants, curd is where it’s at, and a place with the beguiling name of Book Chang Dong (good name for a randy librarian?) specializes in it. Soft tofu stews are the things to get, filled with your choice of clams, oysters, oxtails, mushrooms, kimchi, and pork. Ask for it extra spicy and you'll be rewarded with a brick-red… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Eats

    Sarge’s Delicatessen

    By late night, we mean really late night! Sarge’s Delicatessen—founded by a NYC policeman known as “Sarge” in 1964—hosts a hopping scene 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 12 months a year. Slide across the Naugahyde upholstery into your booth and enjoy the epically smoky pastrami (ask for it to be sliced thick), or the corned beef hash… More >>
  • Best Macaroni and Cheese

    Brooklyn Star

    Two schools of macaroni-and-cheese philosophy exist: the highbrow, artisanal, gouda-gruyere-gorgonzola kind and the one devoted to the blue box. Yet at The Brooklyn Star, Joaquin Baca’s re-opened Williamsburg joint dedicated to highly caloric Southern favorites, you can sample the best of both worlds. Its version fills a cast-iron skillet with soft elbow noodles bathing in a bubbling, creamy… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Barrio Chino

    Restaurants come and go in the Lower East Side, but Barrio Chino has held its own for a while now, dishing up reasonably priced Mexican fare and oh-so tasty margaritas. The best one available is the ridiculously spicy—but still smooth—habanero grapefruit. The chile peppers are infused in Sauza Hornitos reposado tequila, which is then combined with fresh grapefruit… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Angel’s Share

    There’s really only one place to go for a martini in this burg, and that’s Angel’s Share. The shallow space sits right at the corner where Stuyvesant Street breaks off from West Ninth, which is the defacto crossroads of the East Village. So, as you sit in the upstairs window surveying the scene and getting plowed on martinis, you’re sure… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern

    Tanoreen

    At Tanoreen, you’ll find over two dozen hot and cold mezes, including a pungent olive spread flavored with capers, the dried Armenian sausage sojuk, and sambouseka—little braided turnovers filled with potatoes and peas and served with a homemade cilantro pesto sauce—all delicious. Sandwiches, grilled meats, and desserts broaden the culinary terrain, a portrait of the Levant. 7704 Third Avenue, 718-748-5600,… More >>
  • Best Mom and Pop

    Maima's

    Maima's, a cheerful spot a few blocks south of downtown Jamaica, is the city's only Liberian restaurant, run by immigrants from a country founded by slaves freed after the American Civil War. Specialties you should try include "dry rice" (not dry in the least, cooked with okra and bitter ball—a type of eggplant), pepper shrimp (made incendiary with the spice… More >>
  • Best New Coffeehouse

    Stumptown

    If you’re an espresso fanatic—and who isn’t these days?—there’s no better barrista pull than at Stumptown in the Ace Hotel. Be prepared to stand in line (for 20 minutes or so, in some cases) to sample the magic of a demi-tasse so perfectly smooth and bitter at the same time that you’ll sip instead of gulp. Try their novel bottled… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Goat Town

    Started by the folks who founded Ft. Greene’s The General Greene (named after a famous locomotive), Goat Town is an East Village bistro that strikes all the contemporary culinary notes: French cooking techniques applied to locavoric and sustainable provisions cooked up into a wide-scrambling menu of familiar dishes and somewhat more experimental ones. The interior is faced with off-white tiles,… More >>
  • Best Patio Dining

    Pure Food and Wine

    Yes, it might take some coaxing to convince your meat-loving companions to visit Pure Food and Wine, a raw-food restaurant, but you can assure them that the food is quite good and surprisingly not "healthy and hippie" tasting. Plus there's a lovely garden out back. Nestled amid tall city buildings, this back garden defines urban oasis. 54 Irving… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Pulino’s - CLOSED

    The pies have undergone some major tweaks at Pulino’s following Nate Appleman’s departure. We were ever partial to the Ottima breakfast pizza, topped with ricotta cheese, blueberry jam, and bacon, but this summer we fell for the the salty-sweet pesca pie, festooned with warm succulent peaches, nubs of prosciutto and lots of creamy ricotta. 282 Bowery, 212-226-1966, pulinosny.com… More >>
  • Best Romantic Dinner

    Asiate

    One of the best views in the whole city is what makes Asiate, located on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, worth a visit. You have a direct view of Central Park, one that is even more magical when you propose to your significant other over sunset. And yes, the Asian-accented food is spot-on, like the "Buckwheat &… More >>
  • Best Sandwich

    Meatball Shop

    Chicken meatballs often have the consistency of grainy cotton balls, which is why we're smitten by the ones at the perennially packed Meatball Shop—they're as tender and juicy as can be. We'll eat them in any preparation, but our most beloved method of consumption is in a hero with mushroom sauce and melted mozzarella. After eating this whopper, you won't… More >>
  • Best Sausages

    DBGB

    Daniel Boulud's most populist restaurant yet, DBGB is dedicated to homemade sausages and beer. And what sausages! There's boudin Basque, crafted from pork blood and pig's head that forms a black, sticky round on the plate and tastes completely wonderful; the Parisienne is composed of pale, plump links of coarsely ground veal and aromatic spices, with brilliant carrots Vichy on… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    Uncle Nick’s

    Where’s the cheapest place in town to get great seafood? A Greek restaurant of course, and none better in this regard than Uncle Nick’s, especially the Chelsea branch, where the food tastes marginally better than at the older Hell’s Kitchen evocation. Anything octopus is advised—the charred tentacles making a nice contrast to the rubbery softness inside. Flounder and swordfish are… More >>
  • Best Smoking Patio

    Abandoned rooftops and fire escapes

    New York City banned smoking in restaurants a while back, so the city’s best smoking patio is whatever fire escape or rooftop you happen to find yourself on, hopefully with a friend whose cigarette is filled not with tobacco but with marijuana. Citywide… More >>
  • Best Soul Food

    Rack and Soul

    Rack and Soul, a joint project of Harlem's Charles' Southern Kitchen and barbecuist John Wheeler, blends soul food and barbecue. The fried chicken is, naturally, crispy and moist, but parts of the 'cue menu—like the pulled pork and the excellent baby-back ribs—are even better. Eat here and your soul (and belly) will surely be satisfied. 2818 Broadway, 212-222-4800… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Peter Luger Steakhouse

    Really, if you’re going to eat a steak, why settle for Old Homestead or Keens or The Palm when you can go right to the mothership? Peter Luger has been located under the bridge in Williamsburg since before the bridge was there. Porterhouse is the only steak choice, served up for two, three, four, or any other number in the… More >>
  • Best Taco

    Tacos Morelos

    The quality of the food at Tacos Morelos is pristine and delicious, partly due to the Atlixco Deli next door and its profusion of fresh indigenous ingredients. The Pueblan sandwiches known as cemitas make great bar snacks, but the high point of the menu is the tacos placeros ("market tacos"), utilizing hand-patted tortillas and such striking ingredients as yellow rice,… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Tia Pol

    The seating at Tia Pol includes little more than a front bar area plus a a few banquettes and stools, but that doesn’t stop the Chelsea crowds from flocking to this Spanish spot nightly. The food is damn good, like the fried chickpeas walloped with smoked paprika, the chorizo in sherry, and the lamb skewers cooked in Moorish spices.… More >>
  • Best Newfangled Thai

    Kin Shop

    You'll encounter many spicy mouthfuls at Harold Dieterle's modern Thai restaurant Kin Shop. One of our favorites, though, is the duck laab, which the Top Chef winner makes by cooking ground duck leg and breast meat with chiles, lemongrass, and fish sauce, before tossing the whole shebang with chopped long beans and fresh basil, mint and cilantro, sprinkling the bounty… More >>
  • Best Vegan

    Strictly Roots - CLOSED

    True, there is a lot of fake meat on the menu at Harlem’s Strictly Roots, but vegan riffs on traditional Jamaican dishes like ackee—here it's served with tofu—as well as excellent baked goods and a terrific veggie burger set it apart from the rest of the seitan crowd. 2058 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, 212-864-8699… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian

    Dirt Candy

    We can't decide what we love more at Dirt Candy: the ruinously addictive jalapeńo hush puppies, the portobello mousse, the Emotional Overeating Awareness Month dessert specials, or the irreverent, pro-Canada ruminations that Amanda Cohen broadcasts on her restaurant's blog. But we can decide that all of it makes this East Village spot our fave for veggie eats. 430 East Ninth… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Five Napkin Burger

    Five Napkin Burger keeps its crown. Despite the fact that it has some serious competition this time around, its ranking stands for the simple fact that absolutely everything about this burger—patty, bun, vegetal accessories, condiments—works in perfect harmony. The bun: sturdy but pliant multigrain. Tomatoes, lettuce, bread and butter pickles: generous, fresh. Patty: Conjured from black beans, barley, brown rice,… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese (Everything Else)

    Thanh Da

    Thanh Da dishes up a great banh mi, that's for sure, but the real reason to ride the N train over to Sunset Park is for its bun bo Hue, the spicy beef soup from Hue, located in central Vietnam. The rich broth is packed with fiery chiles and showered with herbs; it's an instant cure for a cold or… More >>
  • Best West Village Wine Bar

    Buvette

    Small plates continue to take over New York City, suckering the gullible into paying big bucks for tiny bites. Yet at Buvette, Jody Williams’s new Francophilic “gastroteque” (French for boho wine bar, sorta) you'll actually leave—quelle surprise—charmed and with your belly full. Dig your toast deep into the crock of divine rabbit confit, nibble on saucisson sec, and down… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Morrell Wine Bar

    The Morrell Wine Bar is one of the city's great spots for downing a glass or two—its extensive list boasts more than 2,000 different bottles and over 100 different wines by the glass. A recent overhaul of the menu now includes small, wine-friendly bites like peach salad and black pepper crab on toast. It’s adjacent to the Morrell… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Old Town Bar

    The city of Buffalo can puff up its matted plumage in pride for this sainted invention. It has traveled all over the world, delighting drinkers with the combo of sour, salty, greasy, spicy, and crisp. Our favorite rendition in New York City is at Old Town Bar, where you can enjoy them in dark-wooded Victorian splendor, the smell of malt… More >>
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