Food & Drink

  • Best Balkan

    Balkanika

    The countries that lie along the eastern side of the Adriatic have a fascinating cuisine—centered on bread dips, salads, and grilled meats—but one that is rarely savored by outsiders. Younger sister of the Hell's Kitchen fave Kashkaval, Balkanika features not only cheeses, charcuterie, and dips that run from baba ghanoush to the red-pepper paste called ivar, but also Balkan main… More >>
  • Best Cambodian

    Num Pang Sandwich Shop

    Although it's true there's virtually no Cambodian food in New York, that's not an absolute. There is a place in Greenwich Village that specializes in sandwiches something like Vietnamese banh mi, but made according to Cambodian culinary principles, and that place is Num Pang Sandwich Shop. While it began life three years ago with a slender number of fairly predictable… More >>
  • Best Catskillian

    Kutsher's Tribeca

    The mountainous area surrounding Liberty, New York, known as the Borscht Belt, was for decades a center of Jewish-American vernacular cooking at its many resort hotels. Now the excitement of those vast comfort food buffets has been channeled in a bistro setting at Kutsher's Tribeca, partly owned by a family that operated a hotel of the same name. The food… More >>
  • Best Chinese (Hipster)

    Mission Chinese

    The hands-down hit of the season this past summer was Mission Chinese, a San Francisco transplant helmed by a Korean-American who grew up in Oklahoma. As if that's not random enough, the menu wildly incorporates regional Chinese, Japanese, and American elements. But even more important than the fusion lessons we all enjoyed was the level of spiciness, which was totally… More >>
  • Best Chinese (Northern)

    Yi Lan Halal

    Sure, there are plenty of halal Chinese restaurants in town (such as Brooklyn's No Pork Halal Kitchen), but they all basically serve a Cantonese menu with the swine cut out. By contrast, Yi Lan Halal slings the food of the Muslim population of northern China, which also conforms to the dietary standards of observant followers of Islam here. That means… More >>
  • Best Chinese (Southern)

    New Spring Garden

    Brooklyn's Sunset Park might now have outpaced Manhattan's Chinatown in the excellence of its dim sum. New Spring Garden is the most recent contender out of the gate, a massive entertainment hall that's slightly over the border in Dyker Heights. The southern menu highlights such pricey Cantonese standards as shark-fin soup, abalone, and sea cucumber at appropriately high prices, but… More >>
  • Best French

    Morgane

    For decades, relatively authentic French bistros dominated the mid-priced dining scene in many New York neighborhoods, from Greenwich Village to Cobble Hill. With the invasion of Naples-style pizzerias, tapas bars, and Thai restaurants, that has changed as old-guard bistros have become a rarity, and the word "bistro" has been more loosely applied. A few old-timers remain, and new places such… More >>
  • Best German

    Heidelberg

    Sometimes older simply is better. That's the case with Heidelberg, an antediluvian spot that was planted in Yorkville back in 1939, when German was a common language in this Upper East Side neighborhood. The place is all gingerbread trim and dirndls, though big, foamy steins of beer reflect a modern sophistication about suds. Naturally, the food is mainly Bavarian (reflecting… More >>
  • Best Indian

    Deccan Spice

    Southern Indian cooking has finally come into its own in the New York area, not just a dish or two on a mainly Mughal menu, or a shop that sells dosas, utthapams, and idlies, but little else. Newark Avenue in Jersey City has become a powerhouse of regional southern Indian cooking, one of its most ardent proponents being Deccan Spice.… More >>
  • Best Italian

    Rosemary's

    Growing herbs and lettuce on its roof, Rosemary's has the edge on the competition when it comes to freshness. This greenery propels a concise and excellent menu that never hesitates to borrow key dishes from the local pioneers of Tuscan-style cooking, including an octopus "salami" decorated with minced giardiniera that reads almost as a headcheese; homemade coppa and testa that… More >>
  • Best Ivory Coast

    Abidjan

    Located under the J tracks on the northern edge of Bed-Stuy, the restaurant channels the bustling and partly Europeanized largest city in the Ivory Coast. More so than any other restaurant hailing from that republic, the menu of Abidjan gives a clear picture of tribal as well as urbanized food there. Unfortunately, the place only makes a shifting fraction of… More >>
  • Best Mexican

    Tacos Morelos

    In our era, authentic southern Mexican taquerias have gone from being short counters in the rear of bodegas to being full-blown restaurants. A few even have liquor licenses, like Tacos Morelos, which morphed from a small cart beneath the 7 tracks into a brick-and-mortar establishment. It was also the place that first introduced New Yorkers to tacos placeros, the humble… More >>
  • Best Nepalese

    Lali Guras

    Nepalese continues to be a big deal in Jackson Heights, and there are a half-dozen cafés with an emphasis on various combos of Himalayan cuisines within the confines of the neighborhood. Lali Guras ("rhododendrons," the national symbol) is a truck stop of a place, picturesque and delicious. There are momos, of course, but also a dense and dark mutton curry,… More >>
  • Best New American

    Parish Hall - CLOSED

    Not even sure what this category means anymore, but it certainly should go to a restaurant that follows the "local and sustainable" rubric, plus one prone to adapt traditional American recipes, too, and to develop cooking techniques and combinations of ingredients that don't owe an arm and a leg to other national cuisines. Well, all of the above describes Parish… More >>
  • Best Singaporean

    Masak - CLOSED

    Although it's not the same as Malaysian, the cuisine of the Brit-leaning city-state sprints a long way in that direction, and the menu at Masak ("to cook") is proof of that. Try the delicious fiery-red crab dip furnished with little fried breads known as mantou, or slice into the pork chop smothered in savory black sauce and hinting of fish… More >>
  • Best South African

    Kaia

    This is a narrow category indeed, because only four restaurants in town qualify for the award. So let's give it this year to Kaia, a newish and remarkably comfortable wine bar—meaning there's space to spare among the tables—located on the Upper East Side. There's bunny chow, of course (a mild vegetable curry served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread), and… More >>
  • Best Spanish

    El Mio Cid

    Like a bolt out of the blue, El Mio Cid (named after an epic poem about the vanquishing of the Moors) appeared last year in Bushwick, just south of Maria Hernandez Park. Although it's a full-menu Spanish restaurant, the place pays special attention to tapas and a host of other short dishes on the menu, including a trio of perfectly… More >>
  • Best Thai

    Zabb Elee

    It's time for SriPraPhai and Chao Thai (even the new one!) to step out of the limelight for a moment and let the East Village's Zabb Elee take its rightful place among the great Siamese restaurants of the city. For a Manhattan place to grab this distinction is unprecedented, because even Hell's Kitchen fave Pam's Real Thai Food can't measure… More >>
  • Best Turkish

    Hazar

    What should you look for in a Turkish restaurant? Grilled meats, of course, if not cooked over charcoal, at least over flame. Principal among these should be adana kebab—a sizzling sword of ground lamb intermixed with hot red pepper and onions, with enough fat to absorb plenty of smoke. Secondarily, you have lamb chops, lamb kebabs, and chicken doner, also… More >>
  • Best Uzbeki-Korean

    Elza Fancy Food

    Korean expats have a long history in the republic of Uzbekistan, but the story of why is too long to explain here. Suffice to say, the cuisines have been melding in the former Soviet republic for more than a century, and a little café in Brighton Beach—now known as Elza Fancy Food, but formerly Café "At Your Mother-in-Law"—brings the odd… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese

    Sao Mai

    New York City is famous for not having good Vietnamese restaurants. Aficionados say our pho is lacking in subtlety, our spring rolls small and badly fried, and many of the fresh herbs that are essential to the cuisine simply not available here. Well, Sao Mai ("morning star") changed all that. The concise menu of this East Village newcomer omits the… More >>
  • Best Yemeni

    Yemen Café

    At any Yemeni joint, you can get a splendid plate of grilled meat with a huge tandoor-baked bread and all the trimmings, including a vinaigrette-dressed salad and perfect bowl of clarified consommé. (Sounds French, doesn't it?) But dig deeper and find the tribal dishes that are redolent of the country's towering cliffs, sandstone castles, and desert wastelands. Yemen Café is… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    John Brown Smokehouse

    New barbecues in town are always astonishing us, with their dedication to smoke, unfussiness, and well-selected lists of bovine, porcine, poultry, and ovine cuts. Oh, yeah, and the beer lists don't suck, either. John Brown Smokehouse is this year's 900-pound gorilla in the room, channeling the 'cue of Kansas City but with an Austin type of intensity. The place started… More >>
  • Best Bistro

    Calliope

    Husband and wife Eric Korsh and Ginevra Iverson cooked at the Waverly Inn and Prune, respectively, before taking over this East Village space, where the duo serves fine country-bistro fare between the candlelight and potted herbs. Calliope offers classic charcuterie that has been slightly refined, like the elegant tête de porc, and big, comforting dishes of roast chicken breast on… More >>
  • Best Burger Joint

    Blue Collar Good Job

    This Williamsburg burger shack delivers fantastic fast-food-style burgers: thin, griddled patties stuffed in a squishy bun topped with crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and a special sauce that's reminiscent of In-N-Out's iconic West Coast hamburger. We love Blue Collar Good Job's low prices (even the cheeseburger is under $5) and the fact that there's never a line. 160 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn,… More >>
  • Best Buffet

    Mei Wei Kitchen

    There are Chinese buffets, and then there are Chinese buffets. Some are gleaming, block-long affairs that rival the Queen Mary in luster, with price tags to match as vats of sweet-and-sour pork lie curdling on the steam table. If there were time stamps on the dishes, you'd be dissuaded from ladling many of them. Then there's Elmhurst's Mei Wei Kitchen,… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sushi Carryout

    Hong Kong Plaza

    Yes, it's easy to find cheap sushi in town—at vegetable-stand salad buffets, for example. But would you dare to eat it there? Somehow, when raw fish stands for a while next to gravied tubs of meat, it absorbs odors and shrivels—not that the seafood was any good to begin with. Enter Hong Kong Plaza, a Flushing mall anchored by a… More >>
  • Best Culinary Bookstore

    Kitchen Arts & Letters

    It's a glorious food-nerd paradise at Kitchen Arts & Letters, a culinary bookstore that carries new delights alongside forgotten classics (the store happily tracks down out-of-print volumes for you as well). Owner Nach Waxman has great taste and cares deeply about his wares, so there's always a new surprise in the store's comprehensive collection. 1435 Lexington Avenue, 212-876-5550, kitchenartsandletters.com (10128)… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Dough

    This lovely shop in Bed-Stuy sells beautiful, plus-size yeast doughnuts with fluffy middles, dolled up in some of the most exciting, delicious glazes in town, from blood orange with candied orange slices, to cheesecake dusted with buttery graham crumbs. Although all of Dough's goods are sticky and delicious, the dulce de leche, topped with slivers of toasted almonds, is something… More >>
  • Best Espresso Bar

    Everyman Espresso

    If you're tired of nerdy coffee shops that deliver great drinks but make you feel like a moron, then get yourself to the super-friendly Everyman Espresso in Soho. The second spot from Sam Penix offers all the specialty stuff, like AeroPress- or Chemex-brewed coffee, along with an ever-rotating espresso menu (with fun blends like the recent Lady Sybil). Besides the… More >>
  • Best Food Court

    Food Gallery 32

    Food courts are usually an indifferent collection of franchise restaurants found on the top floor of a shopping mall, a place where shopping captives have to eat because there's simply nowhere else. But New York has redefined the food court, turning out independent, self-contained institutions where stalls avidly compete for your dining dollar. The best this year is Koreatown's Food… More >>
  • Best Food Store

    Foragers City Grocer

    This small Chelsea grocery store from husband-and-wife team Richard Lamb and Anna Castellani, along with Clifford Shikler, is an excellent showcase for local, artisanal food products. The owners manage a 28-acre farm in Columbia County that supplies their Foragers City Grocer with vegetables and produce. The butcher counter, run by Terry Ragasa, offers beautiful fat-capped terrines and house-made pastrami alongside… More >>
  • Best Manhattan Splurge

    WD-50

    Wylie Dufresne's Lower East Side restaurant has been rocking our world with experimental, technique-driven dishes for years. WD-50's new 12-course menu, priced at $155, might sound like a hefty tag for delicious new thrills: A nest of hot-pink noodles made from lobster roe is a standout, as is the sticky nigiri of mackerel and salsify, beaded with trout roe and… More >>
  • Best Market Stand

    Flying Fox - CLOSED

    Maggie Nesciur connects us to wild fruit trees and bushes outside of the city, picking perfectly ripe fruits and carefully transporting them to the New Amsterdam Market, where she has a weekly stall. We've waited for up to 15 minutes for a pint of black raspberries, ripe cherries, or sultry plums, but we've never regretted it. The fruit from Flying… More >>
  • Best Pastries

    Bien Cuit

    This small Brooklyn bakery turns out some of the finest breads and pastries in the city. Croissants are cooked nice and dark, for crisp tops and bottoms but airy centers; the miche is seriously crusty and full of character; and we spent the whole summer obsessing over Bien Cuit's cantaloupe-and-chocolate tart. Zachary Golper and Kate Wheatcroft's neighborhood bakery is a… More >>
  • Best Pizzeria

    Pete Zaaz

    The sainted savory pie of Naples, totally remade in America 100 years ago, is set to go through another series of abrupt transformations. Crown Heights' Pete Zaaz—punning on the very name of the pie—is poised to do it. The signature pie parodies the baked potato, with bacon, crème fraîche, cheddar cheese, and, in a sort of visual coup d'état, purple… More >>
  • Best Ramen

    Momofuku Noodle Bar

    This clogged category includes so many different styles—yet, all falling within the narrow compass of wheat noodles in broth—that we nearly despair of choosing a best one. Contenders include Ippudo and Ramen Setagaya in the East Village, Tabata at the ass end of the Port Authority, and Chuko in Prospect Heights. But, as one might do in contemplating a flock… More >>
  • Best Rotisserie

    La Casa del Pollo

    Queens—especially Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona—boasts a mind-bogglingly large collection of chicken rotisseries, which you can identify by the birds flipping and kicking in the window like Rockettes, gradually turning browner. At those places, you can get a cheap meal outfitted with rice, beans, fried yuca, sweet plantains, and other starchy accoutrements, depending on whether the place is Peruvian, Colombian,… More >>
  • Best Sandwich Shop

    Mile End Sandwich

    We've spilled a lot of ink (and expended lots of electrons on the blog) promoting the virtues of Mile End Sandwich, a relative newcomer to the frontier shared by the East Village and Greenwich Village, an area that exploded with restaurants this year. Partly overlapping with the menu of its sire in Boerum Hill, this stand-up-only shop slings smoked-meat sandwiches,… More >>
  • Best Sidewalk Café

    Trattoria Machiavelli

    The Upper West Side is one of the city's best people-watching zones, as denizens and visitors stride up and down its broad boulevards—well, there's at least one actual boulevard, and that's Broadway. Anyway, in fine weather, an Italian restaurant with the quizzical name of Trattoria Machiavelli (there's a tortured explanation on the menu, but I'm not buying it) puts hordes… More >>
  • Best Sushi Bar

    Neta

    Top-notch sushi doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive or posh. At this stark West Village gem, co-chefs/-owners Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim take their years of serious sushi experience at Masa, the city's gilded temple of sushi, and bring it down to earth. Neta's prices are reasonable, the portions are generous, and everything is delivered with minimum fuss. Every bite… More >>
  • Best Tapas Bar

    La Vara

    Chances are you've never had a craving for the Sephardic-Moorish food of Spain, the country's little-known but deeply influential cuisine. That'll change after a visit to Clinton Hill's La Vara, which serves small plates of fried eggplant with honey and nigella seeds, roasted suckling pig that slides right off the shank bone, and wild salads of salt cod and pomegranate… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Sorella

    Gorgeous, rich Piedmontese fare from chef/owner Emma Hearst accompanies the excellent Italian wines chosen by co-owner Sarah Krathen, who loves to talk about her list with diners. Sorella's sleek, candlelit wine bar is one of the most romantic and underrated spots in the city. Although it's on a particularly grimy stretch of the Lower East Side, there are few places we'd rather… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: Staten Island

    Denino's Pizzeria and Tavern, Ralph's Famous Italian Ices

    When the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened its gates to Italian-American immigrants from Brooklyn, the Staten Island style of pizza was born. How to describe it? The crust is midway between a Neapolitan and a Sicilian pie in thickness, and it's browned but not blackened in a conventional oven, which is the case at Denino's Pizzeria and Tavern—Staten Island's most famous pizzeria.… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: Jersey City, New Jersey

    Sri Ganesh's Dosa House

    Dosas are one of the world's greatest vegetarian dishes—humongous fermented-batter crepes of Indian origin either stuffed with a potato-and-nut mixture or served plain, but always with chutneys and a soup called sambar on the side. You can get a few variations at Manhattan and Queens eateries, but why not explore the mother lode at Sri Ganesh's Dosa House in Jersey… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: Gravesend, Brooklyn

    L&B Spumoni Gardens

    Better than a viewing of the movie or musical Grease—and much more satisfying in a gustatory sense—is L&B Spumoni Gardens. Located in the sinister-sounding region of Gravesend (which was one of the six original towns of Brooklyn, and the only English one), it feels like a theme park with its trio of eateries. It also seems like the '50s, even… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: The Rockaways, Queens

    Rockaway Taco, Low Tide Bar, Steve’s, Commodore East

    If you haven’t made a trek out to the Rockaways recently, you might find it hard to imagine that among the weedy, abandoned bungalows, the sparks of a food revolution are flying on this little strip of Queens. Believe it: In season, Andrew Field’s pioneering Rockaway Taco is well worth the trip for its excellent chilaquiles and tilapia tacos, and… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: Red Hook, Brooklyn

    The Good Fork, Fort Defiance, Steve's, Pok Pok NY

    The Smith and 9th streets subway station is closed, but don’t let that stop you from hopping the B61 or walking over to Red Hook from nearby Carroll Gardens for a full, food-packed day. The grimy, somewhat isolated Brooklyn neighborhood has a small-town feel and some great eats all within a few blocks: Work your way down Van Brunt Street,… More >>
  • Best Foodie Adventures: Midwood, Brooklyn

    Di Fara Pizza

    The lines are long, and the wait can be unpredictable, but it’s absolutely worth your while to make the pilgrimage to Midwood for Dom DeMarco’s beautiful, charred pizzas at Di Fara. The slow-moving, Italian-born pie master quietly and carefully builds each one himself. A plain pizza involves San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Grana Padano, a generous drizzle of olive oil,… More >>
  • Best Cheese Use

    Murray's Cheese Bar

    Trust Murray's Cheese Shop, the West Village cheese institution, to open a wonderful cheese bar where you can order custom cheese plates based on your taste and mood, and pick from a whole menu of cheesy delights. Murray's Cheese Bar, just next door to the shop, has a thrilling menu designed by Tia Keenan. Crisp-fried cheese curds, a hamburger smothered… More >>
  • Best Snails Use

    Jeanne & Gaston

    Chef Claude Godard makes a mean escargots Bourguignonne—the old-school dish of snails cooked simply with tons of butter, parsley, and a touch of garlic. At his bistro Jeanne & Gaston, the fat, tender snails come swimming in hot butter dosed with Pernod and extra herbs, and a side of warm bread for cleaning your plate. 212 West 14th Street, 212-675-3773,… More >>
  • Best Bone Marrow Use

    Prime Meats

    This Germanic-American bistro in Carroll Gardens still roasts the best bone marrow in town. Prime Meats serves a single bone, but it's long, deep, and full of the stuff. It arrives with a side of lemony gremolata, grilled bread, and a whole head of roasted garlic that spreads like sweet, caramelized butter. 465 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-254-0327, frankspm.com (11231)… More >>
  • Best Eggplant Use

    Pok Pok NY

    At Andy Ricker's exuberant Thai restaurant in Brooklyn, forget about the famous candied chicken wings and deeply flavored curries, if just for a moment. Pok Pok NY's yam makheua yao is a beautiful flavor bomb of grilled eggplant with shallots, crispy garlic, and hard-boiled egg, dressed in lime and fish sauce. The dish is generously spicy and smoky, and on… More >>
  • Best Salted Caramel Use

    Acme - CLOSED

    What a pleasant surprise that chef Mads Refslund has come all the way from a slick, Michelin-starred establishment in Copenhagen to charm us with a humble dessert made from leftover bread. The beer and bread porridge at Acme is Refslund's riff on the traditional Danish dish, but his version is delicate, with a sweet smack of chocolate malt and a… More >>
  • Best Anchovies Use

    Lulu & Po

    Matthew Hamilton's teeny Fort Greene restaurant, Lulu & Po, offers a simple menu of shareable, rustic plates, including this heap of deep-fried anchovies. The fillets are crisp, gently fishy, and not too salty, and they arrive with a welcome side of tartar sauce spiked with Sriracha. It's wholesome anchovy fun for the whole family. 154 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn, 917-435-3745, luluandpo.com… More >>
  • Best Mastic Use

    Fresco Gelateria

    Ilias and Veneta Iliopoulos ran an Italian gelateria in Greece before opening their East Village shop, Fresco Gelateria. You'll find flavors that range from offbeat to classic—rosewater, goat cheese, and chocolate-hazelnut—but this being a Greek gelateria, you should be sure to try the mastic ice cream. The resin is harvested from trees and offers a green, fresh flavor to Fresco's… More >>
  • Best Soy Sauce Use

    Brushstroke

    David Bouley's elegant Japanese restaurant, Brushstroke, serves one of the most mind-blowing scoops we've ever tasted—a soy-sauce ice cream that's as wonderful to eat as it is weird to imagine. In fact, though, it's not weird at all: The soy is syrupy and salty, lending the creamy scoop that familiar depth of salted caramel or peanut butter, but with much… More >>
  • Best Raspberries Use

    Maison Kayser

    Eric Kayser's Upper East Side bakery is part of a huge enterprise, an international chain of French bakeries. The simple raspberry tart at Maison Kayser is an absolute bombshell: a buttery, crisp pastry shell full of a tender, almond-kissed cake. On top, there's a blob of sweet pastry cream and as many fresh raspberries as the tart can hold. 1294… More >>
  • Best Goat's Milk Use

    Victory Garden

    This small West Village ice cream parlor transforms goat's milk from Side Hill Acres Dairy Goat Farm in Candor, Ne York, into some of the best soft-serve ice cream in town: rich, creamy, and full of flavor. We love Victory Garden's take on salty caramel and its herb-happy soft-serve (which tastes of summery herbs de Provence), but the plain old… More >>
  • Best Club Door Person

    Markus Kelleman

    A really effective doorman is firm but not humorless, strong minded but not sadistic. What's more, he or she must be willing to provide the first visual signpost of what you'll be getting if you actually merit admission. Markus Kelleman serves all of that and more as a door god at the dance clubs xl and Westway (for Westgay Tuesdays)… More >>
  • Best Chicken Use

    Bobwhite

    Everyone’s doing a fried chicken these days, but the one at Keedick Coulter’s friendly little counter on Avenue C is the finest. Crunchy and tender, sweet and salty, juicy all the way through, it’s what all fried chicken aspires to be. Bobwhite soaks the birds in sweet tea, dredges them in flour and spices, then fries them under pressure. Piping… More >>
  • Best Gay Dance Club

    xl

    They said it couldn't be done. They said no one remembered how to dance anymore and that no one under 30 wanted to learn anyway. But when xl opened last year as part of the Out NYC hotel complex, the hungry gays lined up, and they didn't just stand around looking for instructions. They danced. Yes, the club premiered a… More >>
  • Best Mussels Use

    606 R&D

    No one does mussels like Ilene Rosen of 606 R&D in Prospect Heights. The small, wild mussels from Long Island are simmered in a bright-green liquor of cilantro, parsley, dill, and spinach, then served with grilled bread from Grandaisy Bakery. It’s a salty, buttery mess that reminds us how flavorful mussels can really be. 606 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-0125, 606vanderbiltbklyn.com… More >>
  • Best Long-Running Club Party

    Vandam Sunday

    The best way to keep a weekly bash going these days is to make sure the fabulous folk are there while always being certain to keep them in the minority. After all, the fabulous folk don't like to pay for anything, convinced that their presence should be treasured at any cost. (And they're sort of right.) Keeping this proviso in… More >>
  • Best Sea Urchin Use

    Neta

    Do something wonderful on a chilly evening and treat yourself to the warm, creamy uni porridge at Neta, run by Masa alums Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau. The sea urchin is melted into a bowl of sticky, dashi-simmered rice and garnished with thin slices of truffle. It’s a study in texture, in ocean and earth, and will make you feel… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar for All Races

    Hangar Bar

    Chi-Chiz—the longtime Christopher Street bar favored by many African Americans—was shut down after a lot of cop harassment last year, but fortunately, Hangar Bar hangs on. The unpretentious hangout provides a friendly setting where the community can freely mix in all its colors and textures. This place is never boring. After all, the staff is upbeat, the go-go boys really… More >>
  • Best Nice Drag Queen

    Dwayne Milan

    There are generally two kinds of NYC drag queens: The bitchy ones who will verbally cut you, even to your face, and the ones who exude warmth and goodwill for a living because they actually mean it. Dwayne Milan is the latter kind. Dwayne is an actor, singer, lip-syncher, and fierce dancer from South Carolina who went on to appear… More >>
  • Best Gay Party Promoter

    Daniel Nardicio

    Daniel Nardicio has a wonderful appreciation for sleaze, and he's not afraid to rub it in your face if it'll get you to come to his party. The long-running wizard of gay debauching, Nardicio specializes in underwear parties, naked pool bashes, Boylesque festivals, and anything else with a hint of raunch that will strike up the hormones and ward off… More >>
  • Best After-Theater Hangout

    Bar Centrale

    You have to be a real theater-world insider to find or even know about Bar Centrale, the most alluring place in town to compare Playbills and talk turkey (as in Broadway flops—you know, Pirate Queen. Bonnie and Clyde. The last Tony awards). You go to the building next to Joe Allen's and head up the imposing steps, right up to… More >>
  • Best Discreet Lounge

    Broadway Lounge

    Want a quiet drink before or after theater? Tired of places where everyone is crushed up in your face and tweeting every word they hear? Go to the Broadway Lounge on the eighth floor of the Marriott Marquis, a surprisingly welcoming place to let it hang without having to dart your eyes around and see who's watching. The lounge is… More >>
  • Best Club for Rimshots

    Friars Club

    So you wouldn't want to belong to a place that would have you as a member? If you think that's a funny observation, you'll definitely want to join the Friars Club, the legendary bastion of hoary but hilarious punchlines. They might even have you. After all, everyone here thinks with a ba-dum-pum at the end of his or her sentences.… More >>
  • Best Pricey Dinner and Show

    Café Carlyle

    One of the city's perennial joys is the ability to blow a week's discretionary budget on a night out and live to not regret it that much. The Café Carlyle is worth the cash—it's a perfectly intimate cabaret room where you can feel all fancy while indulging in fine food, mural gazing, and taking in a show, whether it be… More >>
  • Best Fascinating Sports Bar

    Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge

    The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge is a real New York find, the kind of place that's not supposed to exist anymore except in indie films about the '70s, but there it is. It's a hole-in-the-wall with a wacky ambience to match its name, making it way more textured than your average sports bar—or average anything. The lounge looks semi-tropical/safari-ish on… More >>
  • Best Bar Backyard

    Crown Victoria

    It's easy to be distracted by Crown Victoria's front lawn, its picnic-table-covered 1,000 square feet welcoming you in off Williamsburg's chilly South 2nd Street. Same with the interior: Once a police-car repair shop, the bar now combines soft mood lighting with the wood that once supported the Coney Island boardwalk to create a cozy, comfortable interior, one with spacious booths… More >>
  • Best Pizza Party

    Tiki Disco

    Once upon a time, Tiki Disco was a DJ's secret. Located in the backyard of Roberta's, a short walk from the Morgan L stop in the then even less-gentrified neighborhood of Bushwick, it was a place to munch on some pie and dance to tunes served up by residents Eli Escobar, Andy Pry, and Lloydski. These days, the party has… More >>
  • Best Hotel Bar

    Jimmy

    This year's best hotel bar is as American as apple pie—if that apple pie were served with a wacky cocktail on a balcony overlooking one of the best views in Manhattan. Eighteen stories high, on top of the James hotel in Soho, Jimmy patrons sprawl out on mod furniture and sip cocktails ($17 each) with a twist: The Kitty Hawk… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Planet Rose Karaoke

    Karaoke is meant to be cheesy. So don't do it in a posh, private room with a dozen of your closest friends. Sing your heart out in a lounge that looks like a 13-year-old girl decorated it (zebra print and hot-pink furniture are in no shortage here). Planet Rose Karaoke in the East Village is an old standby, yes, but… More >>
  • Best Paul Giamatti Hangout

    Roman's

    OK, we admit that we did not pull up a barstool and knock back a few with the Sideways actor. We were at one table enjoying some spirits and small plates, and he was at another. "Is that Paul Giamatti?" we whispered to a Roman's bartender. Indeed it was, and apparently the star has previously been to Andrew Tarlow's Fort… More >>
  • Best Tequila

    Mayahuel

    "Are you in the mood for something spicy tonight?" No, this wasn't a creepy pickup line from some dude on the next bar stool. Rather, it was an earnest question (our answer was "Absolutely") from a barkeep at Mayahuel, our choice for best tequila splurge that won't leave you with a hangover. Decorated in Spanish tile and votive candles, this… More >>
  • Best Beer Hall

    Spritzenhaus

    This gigantic, 6,000-square-foot beer palace might initially feel surreal to New Yorkers. When was the last time you felt like you could run laps inside of a building? Lined with brick walls, a fireplace, and cement floors, Spritzenhaus follows the exact definition of "beer hall": a giant hall with picnic tables and a great selection of brews. On summery days,… More >>
  • Best Video Arcade

    Barcade

    Ah, beer and video games—is there a better combination? This warehouse-like space just off the Lorimer L stop offers a premier selection of each. Barcade has your classic video games: Tetris, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, plus at least 20 more staples. Your standard arcade, sure, but all that is on top of a tremendous selection of beers on tap, specializing in… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    Wreck Room - CLOSED

    Find this little oasis in Bushwick only a few blocks off the Morgan L stop. It has everything you could ever want in a disgusting-in-the-best-way bar, where beer drinking and rock music is the lifeblood: dim lights, sticky booths, and a pool table that might work better as a bench. Plus, Wreck Room's drinks are cheap. Grab a $3 beer… More >>
  • Best Pinball Bar

    Satellite Lounge - CLOSED

    Who needs chairs? If you're going to a bar to play pinball, you should go to a bar to play pinball; forget about sitting down. Sure, this joint in the heart of Williamsburg might have a few booths for your butt, but Satellite Lounge places its emphasis on the ultimate never-too-drunk-to-play game: pinball, and pinball alone. The bright marquee lights… More >>
  • Best Brown-Bagging-a-Beer Spot

    Transmitter Park

    Being broke in our expensive city will teach you, if nothing else, how to appreciate a nice, tall can of beer from the bodega on the neighborhood block. You know the exchange: Walk in, grab that 24-ouncer, throw two bucks on the counter, and venture to a nearby park or street corner to throw it back. Greenpoint's new Transmitter Park… More >>
  • Best Punk Bar

    Saint Vitus

    Wander up to the tip-top of Greenpoint and slip into this dark, red-candle-lit bar just a block away from the Pulaski Bridge. Grab a tallboy of PBR and enjoy music that is probably too loud for you to seriously use the word "enjoy." Saint Vitus might get called a metal bar by some, but really, trying to label the bar… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    HiFi Bar

    In this digital age of Spotify, Rdio, or whatever the hell other applications are used to stream every piece of music that has ever existed at any given time, there has been something lost: taste. And with that sacrifice, the personalized, badass jukebox has become somewhat extinct these days. But thankfully, the HiFi Bar hasn't abandoned us just yet. Its… More >>
  • Best Whiskey Bar

    Noorman's Kil

    Ah, whiskey—the ultimate cure for sadness. Did you just get dumped? Take a shot. Did you get laid off? Take a shot. Did a pet pass away? Take a shot. The thing is though, despite all its benefits to sadness, whiskey can be appreciated, too. Head to Noorman's Kil for any situation in which you need that brown liquid. With… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    The Wick and the Well

    The city's best new bar has to be more than just a bar. Does it need a full-service kitchen? Yup. Danceable music from hot bands and DJs? A must. Its own line of beer? Can't hurt. Should its building be architecturally interesting? It certainly helps. Fortunately, The Wick and the Well, somewhat uncomfortably named after old police slang for the… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Hangout

    Café Amrita

    "Amrita" is a Sanskrit word that means everlasting life, and it also refers to the food of the gods. In a city that can often be cold and distant, what sets Café Amrita apart is that owner Robert Song has managed to create an unusually special and welcoming vibe, which has attracted a community of good-natured regulars who in turn… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    The Charleston

    It's tough giving an award to a dive, because the point of dives is to shun recognition. Nonetheless, the honor must go to a fine establishment that will keep your wallet intact. Our decision: the Charleston on Bedford Avenue. Right above the L, this drinking hole has stood the test of time since 1933. With a cocktail-wielding cockroach on its… More >>
  • Best Upscale Dive Bar

    Lovers of Today

    On a Friday or Saturday night, 7th Street and Avenue A is the busiest corner in all of what could still be considered Alphabet City. There, the upscale dive bar—somehow, that's a thing—Niagara is packed with partygoers, and smokers line the street. For food, the fancy diner 7A Café is open 24/7 to satisfy every drunk munchie possible. And the… More >>
  • Best Smoking Patio

    The Levee

    Closed in and boxed off by Mayor Bloomberg's crusading, the New York nicotine inhaler must find refuge somehow. The sidewalks of the city prove to be temporary hideouts if you're fine with bouncers' rebukes and constant reminders of "Please step to the side." In Manhattan, with its limited space, the smoking patio is a rare item for bars, but in… More >>
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