Let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: while we do love food and eat out entirely too much, we’re not experts on dining in the Five Boroughs — how could we be?
You could try a new restaurant every day in New York City for the rest of your life and most likely will
A. never have a bad meal, and
B. never eat at the same place twice.
Still, with all the options in the city, and all the other places where top 10 lists can be found around the internet, friends, family, and members of our online community reach out regularly asking for suggestions. So, we wanted to create this living document for all of our favorite restaurants across NYC.
While we haven’t yet found a proper BBQ place in the city that we really love — we miss Atlanta BBQ in a major way — we have found a lot of places we really love. As we stumble into dive bars or discover new, delicious cups of coffee around town, we’ll update this page with links, snippets, and suggestions for anyone traveling the city or just looking for a shake up for their Thursday night dinners.
Let us know some of your favorite spots in the comments!
Greenwich Village | West Village | Soho
John’s Pizza on Bleeker St – Hands down, our favorite pizza in the city!
Fiaschetteria Pistoia – This hole in the wall hand-made pasta spot is as authentic an Italian experience you can find.
Felix Roasting Co – Need a pick-me-up during a downtown shopping spree? This is the spot.
Little Taco House – “If the multiverse were real, each version of me would have one thing in common: Little Taco House would still be the greatest burrito I have ever had.” – Nathan
Three of Cups SoHo – An eclectic coffee and brunch spot that pairs an awesome environment with delicious menu.
Little Owl – At the base of the iconic F R I E N D S apartment building.
Lure Fishbar – A beautiful, classic, nautical-themed restaurant with excellent seafood and sushi. Highly recommend the Lychee Martini!
Upper East Side
Eli’s Night Shift – Light bites and cocktails. This is an excellent happy hour spot!
Sant Ambroeus – An iconic Italian UES staple. If you don’t have time for a full dining experience, stop in for a latte and a pastry from their cafe (but get there early so you don’t miss out on their croissants).
Via Quadronno – Another great, Italian coffee and pastry place if you’re passing by on a Madison Ave shopping day. But if you get a chance to sit down, try the Spaghetti Saltati Alla Carbonara… borderline life changing.
Bluestone Lane – With locations all over the city, you can’t really go wrong with Bluestone Lane.
The Penrose – It claims to be the “best bar on NYC’s Upper East Side”, and it just might be.
King’s Carriage House – A proper afternoon tea.
Anita Gelato – There’s a reason the line at Anita’s is always out the door — it’s worth the wait.
J.G. Melon – An NYC icon, and one of the best, purest burgers in the city.
The East Pole – A carefully curated menu with a great environment (both indoor and outdoor). Also, another one of our favorite burgers in the city.
Javelina – This was the first place we found in the city that has good, old fashioned, tex-mex style white queso dip. This alone keeps us coming back to Javeline often.
Sugar Wing – A go-to “delivery on gameday” option for N. The mac and cheese is amazing.
Chicken Insider – Delicious and unique, Korean-style fried chicken and chicken sandwiches.
Melody’s Piano Bar – An uptown spot that makes you feel like your downtown. Live music every night to pair with light bites and an excellent cocktail menu.
Brandy’s Piano Bar – Another great spot for live music and drinks.
PJ Clarke’s – One of the oldest restaurants in NYC. More of an experience than our favorite food, but it’s worth a visit! (The UES location is the original, but there is another location at the base of the Empire Hotel.)
Milano Market – One of our favorite sandwich shops in the city. Anything you need, they can make, and it’s a great “grab and go” option before heading to the park for the afternoon. We personally go for the “Smoke Show” regularly.
Levain Bakery – Potentially our favorite cookie in the city. (Multiple locations.)
Maman – This place does not disappoint. If you’ve ever been, you’ve never, not had something delicious, whether it’s one of their dishes, baked goods, or a drink from the cafe. One of our overall favorite spots in the city. (Multiple locations.)
Seamore’s – (Multiple locations.)
Miss Madeleine’s – Our favorite French pastry shop in the city. If you’re near either of their locations, go our of your way to get there (delivery is not an available, unfortunately).
Upper West Side
Cotta – One of the more cozy environments in the city.
Jacob’s Pickles – A very unique take on southern food. Come hungry or plan to split. These are not your grandma’s biscuits, and that’s not a bad thing.
Mermaid Inn – Great seafood, our favorite happy hour spot, and really solid brunch food to boot.
Cafe Lalo – You might recognize this cafe from the scene in You’ve Got Mail where Joe Fox realizes (spoiler alert) Kathleen Kelly is his cyber pen pal.
La Pecora Bianca – (Multiple locations.)
Lower East Side | Little Italy | Nolita
Gelso & Grand – A really fun, modern environment, with classic Italian food and wine.
Garfunkel’s Speakeasy – The perfect place for a night cap.
Meat Packing District | Chelsea | Hudson Yards
Restoration Hardware – One of our favorite restaurants in the city. The environment and menu are excellent.
Financial District | Tribeca
Blue Spoon Coffee – This was our go-to during the dog days of COVID, and it remained so until we moved out of Fi-Di. Their coffee, sandwiches, and cookies were always delicious (they have a 2nd location in Tribeca as well).
Le District – Outdoor dining by the water. The whole area is a beautiful walk with good shopping and restaurants, along with quick access to Rockefeller park. Try the watermelon salad on a warm Spring day!
Bubby’s – Forever will be one of our favorite breakfast/brunch spots. Southern food, dialed up to 1,000.
Eataly – This market meets restaurant environment is a really fun experience! (One other location in Flatiron, which has a great rooftop restaurant.)
Grand Banks – Dinner on a boat? Oh, and one of the best lobster rolls you’ll ever have? Throw in a view of the downtown skyline, and that is Grand Banks.
Stone Street – Preserved cobblestone alley near Wall St that has several restaurants packed together. It makes for a fun night out with bar hopping and good food, and occasionally live music as well.
Industry Kitchen – A great spot for waterfront views.
Cowgirl Seahorse – The menu is as eclectic as the name suggests (in a good way).
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – While you’re in Seaport, grab a cone from VL while you walk around the historic cobblestone streets.
McNally Jackson Bookstore – This iconic bookstore also makes a great latte. Make it a point to peruse this spot. (One other location on Prince St.)
Joe’s Pizza – We grabbed many-a-slice here when we lived in Financial District. Some will claim it’s not as good as the Greenwich Village institution… but it certainly gets the job done.
Kuu Ramen – The crispy fried chicken is delicious.
Melt Shop – Comfort food on steroids. (Multiple locations.)
The Beekman Hotel – The hotel bar is breathtaking!
Midtown | Flatiron | Gramercy Park
Ichiran – Our favorite ramen restaurant, and it comes with a unique dining experience.
La Grande Boucherie – One of the most sunning environments for a restaurant in the city.
Fig & Olive – We’ve never had a bad meal here, and the environment is as cozy as it is intentional. (They have one location at 52nd and 5th, and another in Meatpacking District.)