New York City Restaurants
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66 S. 2nd St., Williamsburg
We're not prone to sweeping declarations, but it's pretty unanimous that this is the best sushi spot in Williamsburg. The sleek interior has a sophisticated air to it that's perfect for a date night when you want to break out the heels.
15 E. 15th St., Union Sqaure
They use incredibly fresh fish in particularly inventive ways here, which has earned them a well-deserved Michelin star. We like to dine at the bar and give in to affable chef Masato Shimizu's omakase, which is full of some pretty unusual and surprising flavor combinations—not always the easiest thing to achieve when it comes to sushi.
44 & X
622 10th Ave., Hell's Kitchen
This is a great Theater District option, as evidenced by the friendly wait staff (many of whom are cued up for their big break on Broadway) and great cocktails (hilariously named after Tony Award winners—we like the Patti Lupomegranate and the Orange Julius Andrews). The dinner menu focuses on American cuisine and changes seasonally to accommodate locally sourced vegetables, but the brunch is also really great.
A Voce (Closed)
10 Columbus Circle, Midtown
A Voce's location on the third floor of the Time Warner Center offers sweeping views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, and its location makes it an easy spot for a working lunch or easy dinner. The cuisine is casual Italian, but the plating and the décor are both distinctly modern. There’s also a location on Madison Avenue in Flatiron.
41 Madison Ave., Upper West Side
Chef Ben Lee learned to cook alongside Philadelphia food legend Marc Vetri, so his command of sophisticated Italian flavors (without getting too fancy) makes the menu here an automatic standout. The cuisine is casual Italian, but the plating and the décor are both distinctly modern.
35 E. 18th St., Union Square
Helmed by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this airy, all-white space—attached to ABC Home—is a temple to inventive, seasonal, and local cooking sourced from nearby farms and cooperatives. It doesn't come as much of a shock that the fare is GMO-free, and also grown and made without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, and hormones. It's not surprising because you can taste the well-sourced provenance on the plate, whether in the form of housemade ricotta ravioli or fried organic chicken in a hot butter sauce. (We never said that the offers are ascetic.)
38 E. 19th St., Union Square
It's no secret that we love Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen, along with the rest of the world—and his adjacent and very new restaurant abcV, which employs the same GMO-free, sustainable ethos to an equally stunning effect—is certainly no exception. With a breakfast service that starts at 8am, abcV offers everything from omega seed butter shakes with raw almond milk, wild blueberry, hemp, chia and dates, to gluten-free almond pancakes, to lunch and dinner menus that boast incredible and varied plant-based dishes, there's really something for everyone. While you can still power-lunch in the back, you can also order takeout, or sit at the bar; if fresh-pressed juice, wellness tonics (which feature adaptogens, rhodiola, and ashwagandha), or kombucha aren't your thing, they have a cocktail menu, too.
9 Great Jones St., Greenwich Village
Formerly known as Acme Bar & Grill, this old-school standby shortened its name and got a little spruced up with the help of Danish celebrity chef Mads Refslund in 2012. With the upgrade came a cool interior and an even cooler scene. The food is homey, earthy American with a twist (country toast and white asparagus hollandaise, for example), and whether you're in the mood for a meal or not, it's also worth coming here for drinks. The downstairs space (which features exposed brick walls and is usually candle-lit) is available for private events.
54 Stone St., Financial District
If you've ever had a meal South of Canal Street, chances are that Peter Poulakakos was involved. He owns the booming and ever-expanding chain of Financier Patisseries, which line the Financial District and feed pretty much every banker at lunch, he's the force behind the uber-ambitious Le District in Battery Park City, and he also co-owns this quietly delicious pizzeria, which has been around for years. The pies are straightforward in execution (i.e., wood-fired), generously sized and topped, and reliably great. There's also an ample array of salads and antipasto on the menu, as well as Italian classics like chicken parm. On warmer nights you can sit out on the cobblestone street.
al di là Trattoria
248 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
This homey, casual, and very popular neighborhood trattoria doesn't take reservations, but you can wait in their charming wine bar next door. The menu hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1998—it’s pretty much perfect Venetian fare, with particularly excellent pastas. They take reservations for groups of 6-10 only.
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