The Best Restaurants in New York City

Selecting the best restaurants in New York City poses a seemingly impossible yet utterly enviable challenge. With new spots continually raising the culinary bar across cuisines, what constitutes “the best” frequently shifts. But just as the legendary venues define classic NYC, a host of upstarts usher in its exhilarating dining future.

The below list attempts to capture a glimpse of both sides—the legacy institutions that have shaped restaurant culture here along with the daring newcomers unafraid to take it in bold new directions. While exhaustive evaluation of this city’s dining landscape could fill volumes, we spotlight 20 restaurants that currently rise to the pinnacle of the scene.

The venues featured below check every box: outstanding food, impeccable hospitality, one-of-a-kind ambiance. But beyond components, they deliver that subtle yet palpable X-factor—call it soul, vibe, creative energy—that transforms a meal from sustenance to special event engraved in diners’ memories. These alchemic venues reminds us of the glittering magic that makes New York City dining utterly unique and endlessly alluring even amidst ever-shifting trends.

Join us on a hyper-local tasting tour from neighborhood nook to white tablecloth hot spot, time-weathered classics to on-the-pulse revelations. While compiling any definitive “best of” list proves controversial, we fully believe these 20 captures why NYC restaurants continually invite, delight, and satiate even the most discerning palates year after year. The culinary landscape here simply overflows with gems waiting to be uncovered by intrepid diners willing to explore.


Although it may be a little bias, you can take a look at our reviews and see what New Yorker’s have to say about our Italian restaurant in NYC. Tucked away on 10th Avenue, SESAMO Italian Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen pioneers an ingenious blend of Italian cuisine influenced by Asia’s dynamic flavors. Our novel concept puts a creative spin on Italian staples honoring tradition while incorporating global inspiration. The vibrant yet intimate space features an open kitchen where SESAMO’s culinary innovation unfolds nightly.

Talented chefs infuse regional Italian ingredients with clever touches of lemon grass, fiery sriracha, pungent curry leaves, and more. Housemade pastas like squid ink tagliatelle or rigatoni showcase both traditional techniques and bold new flavors. SESAMO strikes a balance between familiar and unexpected by experimenting with diverse Asian profiles.

From Negronis to limoncello, the cocktail menu also provides an expanded lens into this union of cuisines. Every drink offers a complementary perspective, whether sake spritzes or yuzu-laced martinis. The amiable staff help navigate these inventive spaces between cultures forged on the plate and in the glass.

At SESAMO, come taste what happens when Italy collides with Asian spices, and infused with a little New York City creativity. The experience promises courageous flavors and atmosphere brimming with passion.


Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern
Fine Dining at Gramercy Tavern

This New York mainstay helmed by Danny Meyer radiates refined hospitality across two spaces – an elegant back dining room and buzzy front tavern. Celebrating the best of American cuisine, the seasonal tasting menu dazzles with dishes like seared duck breast and meatloaf elevated. Opt to order à la carte for classics like lobster pot pie or chicken hash. Wherever you dine, the food comforts as jazz plays, servers make you feel at home, and seasonal cocktails flow. With an atmosphere as satisfying as the plates, it’s no wonder Gramercy Tavern merits many a return.


Crown Shy

Crown Shy in NYC

Equal parts handsome and playful, Crown Shy sweeps you into an evening of spectacle. As downtown light streams through tall windows, the glamorous space sets the stage for executive chef James Kent’s American fare. While known for early standouts like Gruyère fritters, new additions like the juniper-scented pork chop astound in equal measure. Save room for the towering Grand Marnier crepe cake. From start to finish, Crown Shy’s refined plates, soaring ceilings, and lively ambiance guarantee a special occasion — even if you walk in on a whim.




With intimacy and Italian mastery, Rezdôra transports you to Emilia-Romagna through pasta alone. Beneath iron chandeliers, every handmade bite strikes texture and flavor in sublime harmony — from silky parmesan tortellini en brodo to indulgent pumpkin and amaretto ravioli. An ever-changing regional tasting menu spotlights traditional and modern creations alike as inventive as the space is understated. Helmed by Stefano Secchi of Italy’s Osteria Francescana, Rezdôra brings technical prowess to soulful, transportive plates worth crossing boroughs for.



Kochi brings Michelin-pedigreed Korean cuisine to Hell’s Kitchen through a mesmerizing nine-course tasting menu. Helmed by Per Se alum chef Sungchul Shim, Kochi spotlights artistic presentations of traditional dishes often relegated to daydreams. The $145 chef’s selection unfolds with meticulous compositions like charcoal-grilled mackerel wrapped in scorched rice paper or braised short rib blanketed in a soy-pear glaze. Optional drink pairings traverse traditional Korean liquors for a truly transportive experience. From start to finish, Kochi provides an intimate education in Royal Korean cuisine through Shim’s gripping culinary storytelling. Expect to be whisked away by the theater of masterfully executed dishes as resplendent as the serene, polished dining room itself. Reservations come at a premium, but Kochi’s stunning creative vision merits the coveted seat at this progressive K-Food counter.



At Lucali in Carroll Gardens, the wait makes the pizza taste even better. Arrive early or kill time nearby to join the line for these Brooklyn legends. Under hanging plants and tea lights, simplicity rules in sublime form – thin, crispy crust with slight chew supports minimalist tomato sauce and just enough mozzarella to melt mouths. Toppings stay spare to let impeccably balanced flavors shine. Each perfect bite explains the fervor. This stripped-down neighborhood joint makes exemplary pizza worth irrational acts, like waiting hours or smuggling in wine.


Le Bernardin

le bernardin nyc

This Midtown institution proves fine dining still dazzles after over 30 years. In the softly lit rectangle room, four-star service meets four-star seafood. Rare delicacies take center stage, from briny geoduck chawanmushi to buttery langoustine kissing uni sauce americaine. Interludes of trout tartare and hand-rolled caviar keep the showstopping plates coming. Though exquisite ingredients drive the menu, Le Bernardin’s technical mastery and transportive atmosphere cement its Michelin-minted renown. This is seafood as seduction – whether you’re on date night or an expense account.


L&B Spumoni Gardens

L7B Spumoni Gardens

When the craving for Sicilian slices strikes, make the pilgrimage to L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend. This south Brooklyn institution draws crowds with its rectangular pies – baked to a crisp sourdough crust before getting blanketed in molten mozzarella and sweet sauce. Chasing bites with chocolate or pistachio spumoni ices completes the experience. While the vibrant outdoor area accommodates large groups, don’t overlook the glittering indoor space and its rococo charm. However you experience this local legend, expect lines for the pizza deemed Brooklyn’s best. They don’t call it iconic for nothing.


Hwa Yuan Szechuan

Hwa Yuan Szechuan

With ornate interiors across two floors, Hwa Yuan Szechuan immerses you in Chinatown luxury. Having revived a local legend that once introduced New Yorkers to cold sesame noodles, these reinvented veterans continue to showcase Chinese cuisine at its finest. The Peking duck remains a not-to-miss ritual, with crackling crisp skin wrapped in paper-thin pancakes. But leave room to explore – handmade soup dumplings burst with savory broth, while those storied noodles balance sweet, nutty, and gently spicy flavors. Let Hwa Yuan transport you through lavish style and delicate technique alike.



Oxomoco NYC

Equal parts playful and sophisticated, Oxomoco brings the flavors of Mexico dancing to Greenpoint tables. Beneath strands of festive lights, masterful takes on classics and inventive additions mingle freely. While the plentiful taco selection deserves attention – from lamb barbacoa to beet “chorizo” – so dodiscovery bites like the complex queso fundido. For all the menu’s globe-trotting inspiration, an effortless conviviality remains. Take that as encouragement to order another round of wood-fired smoky mezcal cocktails and raise your glass among friends. ¡Salud!


More of our Favorite Restaurants

Hometown Bar-B-Que

When barbecue cravings strike, Hometown Bar-B-Que remains the smoky mecca mere mortals make pilgrimages toward. In this cavernous Red Hook temple devoted to slow-smoked meat, lines stretch out the door for good reason. From sticky spareribs to monumental brisket sandwiches, the flavor profile trends toward perfect – rich, tender, and just charred enough. While picnic tables accommodate big parties outside, the bi-level indoor dining rooms each host bars slinging local brews ideal for washing down the meat sweats. 10 years in, Hometown’s famously long queues aren’t going away anytime soon.



On an unassuming Greenwich Village corner, Dame makes magic with seafood and spectacle. Two chefs face a sleek bar, working exacting miracles from oysters and skate to subsidies salmon and whole dover sole. Meanwhile, disco anthems turn up the drama as dishes dance out in quick succession. Cucumber and mussel salad or cracker-crusted new potatoes set the stage for fried fish in cider vinegar and buttery lobster with charred lemon. And that’s just Act I. Grab a plush green booth, pop Champagne, and let Dame immerse you in maritime revelry.


Ayada Thai

Tucked away in Elmhurst, Ayada Thai turns up the heat and flavor in equal measure. As red lanterns cast a glow within, decision paralysis sets in early thanks to equal standouts across starters, curries, and noodle bowls alike. Creamy crab parcels wrapped in pandan lead to fragrant panang curry or vibrant salmon panang curry or vibrant salmon larb. And good luck declaring a favorite among the complex fried whole fish, luscious massaman duck salad, and flawlessly funky “drunken” noodles. With recipes spanning region and tradition, a toast seems fitting no matter where the night takes you. Kampai to Queens!



Tucked away on a Prospect Heights townhouse stretch, Olmsted makes an understated backdrop for special occasions to remember. Beneath iron chandeliers, executive chef Tracy O’Grady’s seasonally driven tasting menus captivate through impeccable execution and cohesive vision. Strategic indulgences like duck liver mousse strike balance with more restrained roasted sunchokes or delicately smoked arctic char. While prix fixe formats preview Olmsted’s greatest hits each season, part of the charm is leaving room for inspired surprises. However your visit unfolds, expect imaginative plates as carefully composed as the hushed dining room itself.



As we conclude this tour of New York’s outstanding restaurants, we hope these spots capture why so many diners consider this city a culinary capital. Beyond serving outstanding food, the venues featured above create dining experiences that elevate and expand beyond the meal alone.

Of course in a landscape this dynamic, “the best” evolves continually thanks to brilliant new openings, pop-ups, and rising talent putting creative spins on cuisine. But the restaurants here demonstrate what makes a restaurant truly unforgettable – those special touches that imprint fond memories for years to come.

Whether longstanding neighborhood gems or daring recent additions, these destinations deserve recognition for nurturing local community and culinary innovation alike. So we encourage readers to bookmark a few favorites while staying tuned for new spots undoubtedly joining the best-of conversation soon. If the last few years proved anything, it’s that New York’s restaurant culture will continue rising to ever more impressive heights.