Travel

New York City Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
Union Square Cafe
101 E. 19th St., Midtown
The iconic Union Square Cafe moved from its namesake location to the corner of 19th and Park two years ago. The new space has all the charm of the original—subtle furnishings, great art, and the best service in New York City—but with more room, and more importantly, more barstools. This is one of those Danny Meyer establishments you can always rely on for a solid, even excellent, supper. A plate of Bibb and red oak leaf lettuces with a mustardy vinaigrette fools us into a healthy start every time. Following with those perfect knuckles of ricotta gnocchi in tomato sauce and ending with the banana tart is an order we rarely deviate from. Even people who hate bananas love this tart, improved only by the accompaniment of a glass of Sauternes. Trust.
Javelina
119 E. 18th St., Gramercy Park
Tex-Mex isn’t a type of cuisine you’d normally associate with New York City, but after a meal at this cheerful spot in Gramercy (a few blocks north of Union Square), you might rethink that idea. Grab some friends and order the traditional queso (yellow cheese tomatillos, serrano peppers, pico de gallo) and a round of prickly pear margaritas before diving into your entree. The chile relleno is reliably tasty, as are the grilled shrimp tacos, topped with salsa cruda, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and cilantro. The central location makes it a great group dinner spot, but there’s also a second location on the Upper East Side.
La Mercerie
53 Howard St., Lower Manhattan
Interior design firm Roman and Williams’s expansive new retail space in SoHo, Guild, is home to three things: a furniture and homeware showroom, a great florist shop called Emily Thompson Flowers, and La Mercerie, chef Marie Aude-Rose’s picture-perfect French café and the real reason to come here. Aude-Rose excels at creating food you want to take time savoring, and the egg dishes are especially wonderful—highlights include a soft-boiled egg with cauliflower and tofu cream and an expertly made cheese omelet. The crème brûlée puts all other crème brûlées the world over to shame.
Bakeri
150 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
A tiny café in the heart of Williamsburg, Bakeri is one of the original neighborhood hangouts in this ever-evolving slice of Brooklyn. All of the bread and pastries are made in-house, but locals also swear by the breakfast items, like organic Eggs Provencal, baked in tomato sauce and served with a side of sourdough rye, and the lunch salads, like grapefruit avocado with kale, red onion, fennel, pepitas, and sea salt. Most people take their food to go, but the main dining room is small, cozy, and highly recommended in winter, while the backyard is a shady, cool escape in the middle of hot, humid NYC summers. There are also outposts in Greenpoint and the East Village in Manhattan.
Fausto
348 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights
Fausto had big shoes to fill when it opened on a busy block of Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope last year. The space was formerly occupied by Franny’s, a much-loved neighborhood pizza place that had been a staple of the area for almost fifteen years. Luckily, Fausto was equal to the task. It quickly became a new favorite, thanks to chef Erin Shambura’s house-made pastas (like buckwheat rigatoni with shiitake mushrooms, dandelion greens, and Parmesan), and a clean-lined, sophisticated mid-century modern dining room. The wine list is as close to flawless as a wine list can be—which makes sense given that it was conceived by sommelier (and co-owner), Joe Campanale, the restaurateur behind popular NYC Italian spots Dell’Anima and Anfora.
Pilot
Pier 6, Brooklyn
When Grand Banks opened on a 142-foot wooden sailing ship on the Hudson River in 2014, it became an instant warm-weather hit, as much for the novelty factor as for the oysters and lobster rolls. Last summer, the same team (brothers Alex and Miles Pincus) brought their concept to Brooklyn, on a 140-foot 1924 schooner docked just off Brooklyn Bridge Park, with views of the famous bridge and all Lower Manhattan. Like its sister ship across town, Pilot offers everything you’d expect: In addition to the oysters and the lobster roll, there is a softshell crab po’boy, a tomato and watermelon salad, and a big selection of refreshing cocktails. Try the Life at Sea, a house cocktail of vodka and bitter lemon syrup.
Cervo’s
43 Canal St., Lower East Side
Portuguese and Spanish vibes take center stage at this cozy Lower East Side spot from restaurateur Nialls Fallon and chef Nick Perkins, partners known for their Bed-Stuy restaurant, Hart’s. The menu is simple but satisfying, with a seafood bent: cockles with Vinho Verde and garlic; Maine scallops with endive and Basque peppers; a whole Boston mackerel with aioli; platters of Cape Cod and Washington State oysters. And the dishes pair well with a glass of unfortified white from the Iberian peninsula. There’s also a juicy grass-fed lamb burger and a roasted half chicken with asparagus and paprika. For the true Portuguese experience, come for Sunday brunch, when Cervo’s serves a classic fisherman’s breakfast, consisting of sardines, house-cured trout, and pickled red peppers on toasted sourdough.
DEZ
227 Mulberry St., SoHo
This joint venture between By Chloe founder Samantha Wasser and chef Eden Grinshpan (of the Cooking Channel’s Eden Eats) feels like a groovy version of Marrakech (or, at least, Palm Springs), with decorative neon palm trees and camels, cacti, and geometric motifs sprinkled throughout. The fast-casual Middle Eastern–style salads and mezze are the kind of flavorful, healthy food you can come back to often without getting bored, and the bowls (harissa curry shakshuka; Moroccan lamb meatballs with preserved lemon, date couscous, and cilantro) make convenient on-the-go lunches, not to mention satisfying Instagram fodder.
Una Pizza Napoletana
175 Orchard St, Lower East Side
Anthony Mangieri is considered the king of Neopolitan pizza in NYC. This new and improved version of his former East Village restaurant comes with an impressive slew of desserts—a tiramisu that uses lemon sponge cake instead of the traditional lady fingers, and strawberry panna cotta—by Wildair and Contra chef Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra. There are also a few appetizers now, the best of which include burrata with tomatoes in lobster oil, and marinated white asparagus with bottarga and cured egg yolk. The pizza, of course, is still the main draw, and Mangieri hasn’t lost his touch at this new space: Perfect, simple margherita, bianca, and marinara pies are unbeatable.
Bombay Bread Bar
195 Spring St., West Village
Chef Floyd Cardoz grew up biking around Mumbai, India. It follows that he became an expert in Indian street food. His new SoHo restaurant celebrates the foundation of so many of these snacks—namely, the puffy, buttery, herby kulcha flatbreads slathered in spicy chutneys. We loved the Indian version of a panini, with spiced lamb, cucumber raita, and mustard mashed potatoes pressed between two slivers of toasted naan (he calls it the lamb naanini). But there are also plenty of less carb-y options, like the Bengali banana-leaf-wrapped halibut. The interior, meanwhile, was dreamed up by Kris Moran, a member of filmmaker Wes Anderson’s creative team who worked on The Darjeeling Limited. As you’d expect, it’s a whimsical collection of Pop Art, citrus-patterned oilcloths, and entire walls covered in Bollywood-inspired murals by artist Maria Qamar.
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