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Top 6 Best Restaurants in New York City

best food restaurants in NY

You’ve probably heard New York City called the “city that never sleeps” and for good reason. Regardless of what hour you’re out, there’s always something going on and the city is a constant bustling hub full of attractions. Whether you’re interested in being a part of the crowd at Times Square, catching a great show on Broadway, shopping at high-end luxury stores, or going back to nature at Central Park, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the attractions keep you from experiencing the delicious eateries of New York though! So many times tourists and even locals are content to grab a hotdog from a local cart or a slice of pizza from a vendor. While these are definite New York treats that everyone should try at least once, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out some of their other restaurants. And there are tons to choose from! A quick Google search will return several pages full of local eateries and you can easily feel like you’re drowning in the amount of results. You can also check with locals to find our their favorite gems, but even that can be an overwhelming experience as everyone has their own preferences and taste.

Not sure where to get started or overwhelmed by the amount of choices provided by Google and locals? Check out our list! We’ve compiled 6 of the top rated and local approved eateries that are sure to wow you.

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park is one of the best-known restaurants located in the heart of New York City. The restaurant offers a stunning view of the beautiful parks in Manhattan and is located at the base of a historic Art Deco building that really adds to the ambience of the place. Both locals and tourists flock to this place; and one look at the menu will quickly reveal why.

Eleven Madison Park attained a coveted best-in-the-world status and revamped their place over the summer. The redesign is incredible and reflects both the food quality and dining experience you can expect from this delicious eatery. Despite being closed for a short period of time, their fan base remained loyal. The space was also featured on Netflix’s “7 Days Out”.

Why should you visit?

The restaurant is known for its extravagant tasting menus that perfectly match the grand dining room and all its decadence. The eight to ten course format (yes, you read that right) were the brainchild of Daniel Humm who can be found commanding the kitchen.

Our favorite dish:

The menu changes quite often but one of the items that always seems to find itself on the menu is the black and white cookies. Despite sounding “simple” given the extravagance of the place, this dessert favorite is a must try.

Le Bernardin

In 1986 siblings Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze opened Le Bernardin in Gotham. Since its introduction, the eatery has upheld its swanky reputation and attracted visitors from all over the world.

While the whole place has a very retro formality feel, the main dining room really up plays the retro experience. Here you’ll find crisp white tablecloths, very formal and professional service, and a jackets required policy that really adds to the dining experience.

Why should you visit?

Eric Ripert, who presides over Le Bernardin, takes his job seriously and insures that the French seafood eatery delivers a truly remarkable dining experience. Their extravagant menu offers a large variety of tasting options, four course feasts, and delicious French seafood.

None of the above sound like it’s in your budget or you’re looking for something lighter? Check out their bar snacks menu whose items are equally stunning.

Our favorite dish:

While the whole menu is delicious, the Striped Bass is our personal favorite. It’s a Striped Bass Tartare that is paired with fennel, avocado, saffron crisps, and topped with champagne vinaigrette.

Masa

Masa is a Japanese restaurant specializing in tender, juicy sushi. The restaurant is owned by world-renowned chef Masa Takayama who opened the New York eatery once he arrived from Japan.

Wondering “what makes this sushi restaurant so special when there’s a billion others located five steps from each other?” The difference is the quality (and expense, but we’ll talk about that later). When Takayama arrived from Japan, he made sure to bring with him the traditional elements of sushi preparation. The chef only uses the finest, most flavorful seafood and in house sauces to set his dishes apart from other restaurants.

We should also mention that Takayama offers what is probably the most expensive dining experience in the history of New York.  How expensive? Well, a dinner for two can easily top $1,500.

Why should you visit?

While the check can be a little off putting, we assure you it’s well worth the price. Despite assumptions, Takayama isn’t overcharging for his meals; if anything, he’s overspending.

It’s also more than just overspending, the chef uses exquisite items, rare ingredients, and combines them using extremely labor-intensive techniques that only serve to add to the ambience of the meal. Each course is meticulously prepared and the sushi is so tender that it practically melts in your mouth.  This preparation makes for an absolutely mind blowing experience and some of the best food you’ll ever taste.

Our favorite dish:

While everything on the menu is extremely decadent and tasty, the wagyu with truffle is definitely a favorite. If you’ve never had wagyu beef, then be prepared to have your mind blown. The meat is heavily marbled, which offers a rich flavor and is tender enough to cut with a spoon. And Takayama’s treatment of the beef sets it apart from others.

 The NoMad

The NoMad is a beautiful restaurant that features five luxurious and uber nice dining rooms. These rooms surround a glass-enclosed atrium that really speaks to the ambience of the place and makes the dining experience that much better.

Coupled with elegant service and attentive staff, you can expect a truly fine dining experience at the NoMad. Given the restaurant’s overwhelmingly positive feedback and high ratings, it should come as no surprise that it is owned and managed by Daniel Humm and William Guidara. Humm also owns the world-renowned Eleven Madison Park (listed above) so you can rest assured that not only will your meal be incredibly delicious but that you will also have one of the best dining experiences of your life.

The NoMad combines casual elegance with a delicious assortment of matching foods and beverages. The menu is heavily inspired by Humm’s time spent in Switzerland, New York, and California and reflects his experiences in each.

Why should you visit?

Guidara and Humm’s haute-cuisine restaurant has perfected the art of French inspired food and ambience. The food choices are equally extravagant and decadent ranging from slow-cooked suckling pig that is incredibly juicy and tender to dry-aged jalapeno duck that offers a truly unique take on the classic dish.

And chances are if you’re a food lover you’ve probably read about the restaurant’s roast chicken. Food blogs, magazines, and people from all over the world can’t get enough of NoMad’s slow roasted chicken that is fall off the bone tender and incredibly flavorful.

Our favorite dish:

The roast chicken, hands down. While it probably sounds like a generic choice, especially when compared to others on this list, we can guarantee that you won’t find a better roast chicken anywhere.

Samba Kitchen and Bar

Samba Kitchen and Bar

When compared to the others on this list, Samba Kitchen and Bar is far more laid back. However, this doesn’t mean that the food isn’t just as tasty as the others on the list! The restaurant advertises itself as “bringing the flavors of Brazil to Hell’s Kitchen” and has live Samba music on Wednesdays for those looking for a truly unique dining experience.

Unlike many of the restaurants featured, Samba also offers brunch from 12pm to 3:30pm so if you’re looking for a taste of Brazil and something between lunch and breakfast, you’ve found the right spot.

Why should you visit?

While dressing up and going out for a nice extravagant meal is nice, sometimes it’s cool to just plan a mellow day that includes a laid back restaurant that still offers quality food. And Samba Bar and Kitchen fills that role.

Most “affordable” restaurants often sacrifice quality in order to keep their prices low. Samba Bar and Kitchen definitely does not sacrifice quality; their food is rich in flavor, unique, and very well priced. You also aren’t limited to expensive cocktails and wines at this eatery. Their menu includes a number of fruity drinks, spirits, domestic and imported beers. There’s something for every palate.

Plus if you’ve never experienced true Brazilian cuisine, then this is a must stop!

Our favorite dish:

Normally we just pick food related items, but we also had to list their signature drink: the caipirinha. The caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink and for good reason; it’s delicious. The cachaca  (distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane) juice is can be combined with coconut, strawberry, or passionfruit for a truly tasty experience.

Food wise we highly recommend the espeto de carne. It’s a delicious grilled steak skewer, onion, and green pepper and served with tasty yucca fries.  The steak is perfectly seasoned, marinated and then grilled and we found it to be fork tender. As far as the yucca fries go they have a unique taste that you definitely don’t want to miss!

 Tempura Matsui

Tempura Matsui

Looking for a quiet eatery that features traditional Japanese tempura? Then look no further than Tempura Matsui. This restaurant features a variety of delicious traditional Japanese tempura dishes and offers a casual, intimate dining experience that is perfect for couples as well as singles.

The restaurant is best known for what they like to call “the Matsui Way”. Grand chef Mr. Matsui created the style and the restaurant has remained loyal to the way of doing things.  Over the years they have perfected craft and make the lightest, thinnest batter possible to coat their dishes. “Just [enough] to coat the ingredient, and not weigh people down,” says the website.

Why should you visit?

Tempura is an extremely popular dish but most restaurants feature very little items that actually tempura battered and fried. And a lot of these plates can be so covered in tempura that it’s hard to taste the actual ingredient. Tempura Matsui uses just enough batter to give the food a delicate crunch and light flavor.

The ambience is also another reason why you should make this is a must stop on your New York City eatery list. The restaurant is small, quaint, and offers a very romantic setting. You can even have a seat at the sushi bar and watch your meal come together under the guidance of well-trained chefs right before your eyes.

Our favorite dish:

For dinner we recommend any of their four course meals, as they’re all truly tasty. However, the Tokusen Course is our personal fave. You’ll begin your meal with a Toro sashimi and seasonal starter. Next, the chef will bring you your choice of foie gras infused chawanmushi or seafood chawanmushi. We picked the foie gras infused chawanmushi.

The next part of the meal is the chef’s special selection of vegetables and seasonal seafood. We had crab, lobster, and shrimp. Last but certainly not least, you get your choice of tendon, cold udon, or tencha; all of which are delicious choices.

Bottom line

Regardless of which of the above places you decide to check out (though we suggest as many as possible), you’re sure to have a delightful and memorable dining experience.

If you’ve tried any of the places listed above, let us know what you thought and what dish was your favorite. Did we miss your personal gem in New York City? Drop us a line and tell us about them! We’d love to hear all about your dining experiences in New York. Happy eating!

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on Ishli.com.

Written by Vimal Lalani

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on Ishli.com.

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