One question that I am asked more times that I can count, and love to answer, is “Can you recommend a good restaurant?” While I always try to suggest a spot that will fit the meal’s and diner’s needs, it’s always helpful to have options, especially in a city of endless options, like New York. Therefore, below I’ve provided a running list of various restaurants, bars, cooking events, classes, and other fun foodie adventures that I would recommend to those on an epicurean mission. While most of these are located in my stomping grounds, NYC, I’ve also included any other notable culinary adventures I’ve had regardless of geographic boundaries.
This page is meant to be an open forum for good or bad word of mouth and recommendations on different spots, so feel free to leave a comment or shoot an email if you want to know more about any of the places on the list. If you want an in-depth musing about what to expect from any spot on the list, just holler – or check out my reviews on Yelp.com.
NEW YORK CITY
- Dram Shop - Small Plates and Craft Beers; Excellent Bar (See my review!)
- Grimaldi’s - Brick Oven World Famous Pizza; the line is worth the wait. (See my review!)
- L & B Spumoni Gardens – Pizzeria & Beer Garden; Outdoor Dining
- Miranda Restaurant - Latin-Italian-American with emphasis on seasonal fare
- Pinnochio’s - Authentic and Old School Italian Cuisine
Chelsea (Incl. Meatpacking District)
- 675 Bar – Bar Scene; Eclectic Cocktails; Boardgames!
- Buddakan – Asian Fusion; killer edemame dumplings
- The Collective – Modern American Cuisine in a distinctly eclectic environment
- Cookshop - Farm-to-Table, Fresh American Cuisine
- Dos Caminos – Mexican; consistently delicious with a party atmosphere
- Plunge at the Gansevoort – Cocktails and Small Plates; try the Wagyu beef sliders
- L’Arte Del Gelato – Italian Gelato
- Markt – Belgian; it’s all about mussels and fries here.
- Nero D’Avola - Italian
- Rare View Chelsea – Rooftop Bar, Fashion-Themed Cocktails, Amazing View
- The Red Cat - American; featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” (See my review!)
- Spice Market – Upscale Asian Street Food
- The Standard Beergarden – German Beergarden with larger than life soft pretzels!
- STK - a Steakhouse all about “the scene”
- Tanuki Tavern -Japanese & Sushi; fantastic sushi, small plates, and strong drinks.
- Vento (now closed) - Italian
- Lil’ Frankies – Cozy and comfortable with satisfying Italian fare
- Taureau - Phenomenal cheese fondue and other dippable delights
- Eataly – Italian Super-Grocery Store and Restaurant(s)
- The Little Cheese Pub – Cheese and Beer, doesn’t get much better
- Mesa Grill - Southwestern
- Petite Abeille – Belgian Restaurant and Mussel Bar
- Pipa - Spanish Tapas and award winning sangria
- Shake Shack – Burgers and Fries (and beer, and squirrels)
- 230 Fifth - Rooftop Bar and Club
- Azuki Sushi – Japanese Sushi Bar (and Sake Bombs!)
- Barbounia – Mediterranean
- Brasserie Les Halles - French (See my review!)
- Sushi Choshi - Japanese & Sushi
- Tabla - Indian Fusion (See my review!)
- Blue Hill - Farm-to-Table Fine Dining
- Bobo - American; Bar Scene
- Cafetasia – Cheap, decent, casual Asian food; great for a low-maintenance bite with friends
- Euzkadi – Spanish Tapas
- Hudson Clearwater
- Keste Pizzeria - Neopolitan Pizza and Wine (See my review!)
- The Little Owl - Mediterranean; one of my favorite spots in NYC, best meatball sliders on Earth (See my review!)
- The Mermaid Oyster Bar – Seaford and Raw Bar (See my review!)
- Otto - Pizzeria & Wine Bar
- Palma - Italian; extremely authentic, amazing homemade pasta, try the cauliflower palma
- Scuderia (now closed) - Casual Italian Comfort Food
Lower East Side
- Bondi Road (Closed)
- Cafe Katja – German; truly amazing sausages and spaetzle
- Cheeky Sandwiches
- Clinton Street Baking Co. – Hot spot for brunch, amazing baked goods (obviously)
- The Donut Plant - Self-Explanitory
- Frankie’s Spuntino – Italian
- Jadis – Wine bar, small plates, romantic
- Katz’s Deli - Authentic Pastrami & Corned beef sandwiches
- The Meatball Shop – they stick to what they know, and make one a’spicy meat’a ball!
- Nomad – Morrocan & North African (with Belly Dancers and Live Music!)
- Nonna’s Pizzeria - Authentic grandma style slices
- Prosperity Dumpling – hole in the wall dive of a dumpling spot; best.dumplings.ever.
- Rue B - Jazz & Martini Bar with appetizers and small plates
- Sauce - Authentic Italian in a Small-Plate Format (See my review!)
- Spitzer’s Corner – American Food, Rage-Fest at night
- Stanton Social – Upscale small plates, very trendy
- Sticky Rice – Thai
- Sunburnt Cow - Burgers, salads, and appetizers + a $20 2-hour open bar all week
- Taqueria Lower East Side – Cheap, delicious Mexican eats – try the mexican beer and sangria (See my review!)
- Amma - Best Indian Food I’ve Ever Had!
- Aquavit - Scandanavian
- Blockheads - Mexican
- Dos Caminos - Mexican
- ‘Inoteca - Italian small plates and comprehensive wine selection (See my review!)
- Le Colonial – French-Vietnamese
- Norma’s - American, Brunch; extra-large portions and flawless execution make the wait & hype worth it
- Stout - Beer House and American Fare
- The Campbell Apartment – Old School Cocktail Lounge with a historic flare
- The Oyster Bar - Seafood
Midtown West (Incl. Hell’s Kitchen)
- Bar Americain – Regional American cuisine; Bobby Flay
- Daisy Mae’s Barbeque - Traditional BBQ in a casual setting
- Guantanamera – Authentic Cuban food, great cocktails, live music and hand-rolled cigars
- Print - In the trendy INK 48 hotel, farm-to-table cuisine
- The Smith
- Tony Dinapoli – Traditional family style Italian; think Carmines but better!
- Casaville - Spanish Tapas
- Cask Bar & Kitchen - American Fare and a wide wine selection
- Ethos – Greek
- DBGB Kitchen and Bar – French Gastropub
- Hecho en Dumbo - Mexican
- Mercat - Tapas
- Pulinos - Some damn good gourmet thin crust pizza
- Mundo (Astoria) – Fusion of Argentina & Turkey
- Studio Square (Astoria) – Beer Garden
- Sweet Afton (Astoria) – Rustic Bar, Eclectic Cocktails
- Balthazar - French. We all die a little bit for their bread and pastries.
- Hundred Acres – American, and the best damn quiche in town.
- Jane - Continental American Fare and dangerous caipirinhas
- Local - Cafe
- Mezzogiorno - Rustic Italian with alfresco dining; great for SoHo people watching!
- Pegu Club – Eclectic Cocktails ($$$)
- Shorty’s .32 - American Comfort Food kicked up several notches. Respect! (See my review!)
- Blue Water Grill – Seafood
- Ippudo - Japanese Ramen Noodle Bar to which I tip my fedora (See my review!)
- Max Brenner – Chocolate Shop & Chocolate Dining. Chocolate Heaven.
- Piolo - Modern Pizzeria & Italian
- Prof. Thoms – The go-to “get drunk with your college friends” spot.
- Side Bar - Straight-up Union Square sports bar
Upper East Side
- Baraonda – Mediterranean; delicious pasta dishes
- Central Park Boathouse – American; Bar Scene, Outdoor Dining
- Cilantro - Mexican, fun ambience
- El Porron - Spanish tapas; great ambience; sangria to-die
- Flex Mussels – Mussel Bar; every redition of mussels on earth, and a Top Chef dessert chef to boot!
- Land NorthEast Thai – Authentic, delicious and relatively cheap Thai Food in a chic setting
- Le Rendezvous – Wine Bar and Snacks
- Nino’s - Authentic, Old-School Italian the way your grandparents remember it
- Park Avenue Spring – Regional Seasonal American Cuisine; Menu & Decor Change with Seasons
- Petaluma - Mediterranean
- The Stumble Inn - Standard Bar + Grill
- Uva - Italian, Wine Bar; another favorite, a great place to take a date, friends, parents, your dog. You get the idea. (See my review!)
- Vero - Wine Bar, great paninis
Upper West Side
- Sambuca - Family-Style Italian
- Peter Lugar Steakhouse - One of the top steakhouses in New York’s Great Neck location (See my review!)
- The Palm Court at The Carltun – Upscale Continental Fare with Seafood Emphasis
- O Ya – Japanese & Sushi ($$$$)
- Craigie’s on Main - Amazing James Beard approved restaurant on the cusp of Cambridge, a must-try if you’re in the area
WASHINGTON DC (Incl. nearby MD and VA suburbs)
- Farmers & Fishers – Regional American Cuisine
- Georgetown Cupcake – Cupcakes. One free every day. Need I say more?
- Mie N Yu - A “Malange” of Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African Cuisines
- Restaurant 3 (Arlington, VA) – Southern Comfort Food (See my review!)