New York City, arguably the dining capital of the world, has no shortage of top restaurants. Whether you’re seeking a seat at one of the buzziest new spots in town or looking for a place to impress your date, OpenTable has you covered with the right restaurants for any occasion or craving. Here Caroline Potter, our Chief Dining Officer, rounds up where to eat now in New York City.
Newly opened, Benno received a stellar three-star review in The New York Times as well as a recent rave from Grub Street. Jonathan Benno’s sweet spot is French technique and classic contemporary Italian cooking. Taking up residence in the Evelyn Hotel in the now-trendy NoMad neighbourhood, Benno, who was the longtime chef de cuisine at Per Se, is focused on flavour over fad. Fans of French food will be right at home, but those who loved his Italian dishes at Lincoln will find a number of pastas to satisfy their carb-y cravings. The coddled egg is a crowd pleaser for any palate.
Sound Bite: “An absolutely amazing dining experience! The attention to detail on each plate was magnificent. Every single bite had purpose.”
No time to travel to Mexico City? No problem. Enrique Olivera’s sexy Flatiron restaurant, which has been named one of the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best restaurants, serves super-fresh, super-fine Mexican fare from chef-partner Daniela Soto-Innes, who was named the James Beard Rising Chef of the Year. Yes, you absolutely must order THAT corn husk meringue for dessert — but order adventurously when it comes to savoury items. This is deeply flavoured, layered food that demands to be shared, from the cobia al pastor and the endive stuffed with ayocote beans to the epic duck carnitas. The cocktail menu features a killer Michelada that will make you break your day drinking rule (if you have one).
Sound Bite: “Cosme deserves its ranking as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. That says it all.”
Parisian cuisine without needing a passport? Sign us up. Tres romantic with a low-lit dining room and elaborate candelabras, this is the perfect spot to savour authentic French cooking. Chef Daniel Rose is a Chicagoan who spent 10 years refining his technique in France’s most revered kitchens. The eatery earned restaurateur Stephen Starr a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant of 2017, and the menu is proof that everything old is new again. Montagné himself would be smitten with chef Rose’s spin on quenelles (impossibly fluffy and full-flavored) and the tout le lapin, or all the rabbit. Bouillabaisse gets an upgrade in the black bass, eel, and stuffed squid with traditional fish soup and rouille. The wine list is an oenophile’s delight that ranges from affordable to splurge-worthy.
Sound Bite: “This may have been one of my finest dining experiences in Manhattan. Everything about our dinner was exceptional from arriving to departure. But the essence — my meal tout le lapis — was ‘toutally’ wonderful.”
There is elegance – and then there is THE GRILL. The pros at Major Food Group had big shoes to fill when they took over the legendary, landmarked Four Seasons space – and fill them, they have. This is event dining, a theatrical experience in all the best ways. There are tableside preparations and presentations, notably the standout prime rib from chef Mario Carbone, and don’t miss the flair of the show-stopping pasta a la presse. Duck and other game (meat, skin, bones and all) are roasted to perfection and then put it through the stately duck press at your table to produce a deeply-flavoured jus that is served over freshly made pasta. Keep the magic going with the flambé banana a la mode. Arrive early for your reservation so you’ll have time for a classic cocktail at the storied bar atop THE GRILL’s staircase.
Sound Bite: “This was my first time eating at THE GRILL. It was a wonderful experience from the time we came into the time we came out of the door. This is a temple of great food and top classic service. This is the place where you get what you expect!”
New York has always had its share of brasseries, but there was a time when they didn’t get the respect they deserved. Enter restaurateur Keith McNally, who opened the shining star of SoHo dining in 1997. Perennially popular seven days a week from its early morning breakfasts to late-night suppers, this remains a see-and-be-seen spot with a rotating cast of celebs and New York power players alongside crowds of locals and day-tripping shoppers. There are nearly two dozen different types of oysters on the raw bar menu waiting to be washed back with a bone-dry martini, plus extensive shellfish offerings that transcend the usual (case in point – whelk). You’ll find typical brasserie dishes on the menu, and that’s a good thing. Don’t miss the classic steak frites; pair it with a bottle from the massive cellar or a thrifty carafe for two.
Sound Bite: “What a wonderful special place this is! The service is wonderful, the restaurant gorgeous, and the food was delicious. I felt like I’d stepped into Midnight in Paris!”
Cosy and moody all at once, the scene-y Cote is on track to become New York’s must-dine destination for meat lovers. A veritable temple to steak, the restaurant highlights an array of cuts and types of beef, all expertly cooked to perfection right at your table and accompanied by delicious accoutrements. The seating is comfy yet intimate and this experience is ideal for a date night or a fun, interactive, shareable meal with friends or family. The butcher’s feast (and, trust us, it is a feast) of USDA and American Wagyu beef (with four accompaniments, such as the airy egg soufflé and zingy kimchi stew) is a steal at $52 per person (there is a spendier steak omakase available as well as a la carte choices). Wine lovers can spend what they saved on a selection from the 1,200-label wine list. Pro tip: Wander downstairs to have a peek at the meat-aging room and for a nightcap at the alluring boîte that is Undercote.
Sound Bite: “The ambiance of the restaurant, service, and quality of the food and meat were simply perfect! Totally recommend it! Can’t wait to be back again.”
After a decade of working at The Modern and putting it on Manhattan’s culinary map, chef Gabriel Kreuther stepped out on his own with his eponymous restaurant located across from the city’s Bryant Park. The team here spared no expense, from the cutlery and stoneware to the pristine kitchens (with arguably Manhattan’s coolest chef’s table). The two-Michelin starred palace is all about artful presentations of Alsatian-inspired dishes and formal-yet-friendly service. Get ready to Boomerang the signature smoked sturgeon and sauerkraut tart as it is revealed in all its smoky goodness. The simple sounding trout on cedar plank is anything but, served draped with Champagne sauce and trout roe. The desserts are killer, but be sure to drop by the chocolate shop next door after lunch or before dinner for some goodies to go.
Sound Bite: “Simply… PERFECTION. The most wonderful dining experience in NYC. Staff is knowledgeable and accommodating. venue is lovely…very romantic feel. Food is outstanding. Our absolute favourite restaurant.”
This West Village restaurant features upscale Indian food from chef Chintan Pandya in a space that is as photogenic as the stunning plates. Pandya hails from Mumbai, India, and the city’s street-food scene continues to inspire and inform his menu at Rahi. Billed as artisanal Indian cuisine made (as often as possible) with local products, this is flavour-bomb fare, from the dahi chili paneer with 5-chili house blend and guava compote to the kadak goat curry with star anise, annatto, and burnt ginger. Don’t be alarmed by the non-native ingredients; Pandya expertly marries many cultures while remaining true to his roots. Cocktails are both classic (the perfect Negroni) and colourful, like the Beet It, made with housemade beet syrup.
Sound Bite: “I am Indian and have been to great Indian restaurants all over the world, but Rahi is my favourite as it combines great creative/fusion Indian cuisine with one-of-a-kind presentations to make it a truly unforgettable dining experience. A must for everyone!”
The best way to appreciate the splendour of the Manhattan skyline is to step outside the borough and into Brooklyn – and up to the stylish Westlight, a 22nd-floor rooftop bar in The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg. Chef Andrew Carmellini (The Dutch, Locanda Verde) pairs a playful menu of globally inspired bar snacks (think charred eggplant dumplings and crispy potato skins with Kaluga caviar and yuzu hollandaise) with a list of handcrafted classic cocktails, rare spirits, beer, and wine. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the bar and interior lounge, with outdoor seating on the wrap-around balcony and 360-degree views of the city that never sleeps.
Sound Bite: “Westlight never disappoints! From the atmosphere to the tasty plates, this spot is highly recommended. Great date spot, meet spot, catch up spot, without all the pretentiousness. Can’t wait to get back.”
You can’t talk about the taco revolution that’s gripped New Yorkers for the last 10 years without talking about chef Alex Stupak and Empellón. The name itself means to push or break through – and that’s just what he’s done with his take on tacos. Here, fellow chef Duncan Grant offers tacos built around pastrami, falafel, and octopus among others. But there’s more to his American menu with Mexican influences than these spins on our favourite street eats. Offerings also include a refreshing clementine salad, crispy pork belly, skirt steak, and A-5 “fajitas” that are unlike any you’ve ever had, being crafted with Japanese Kobe beef and served with mole and fresh tortillas. The avocado dessert—a nod to his time at wd-50—is not to be missed, both for its terrific flavour and its simple, ‘grammable grace.
Sound Bite: “Another fabulous meal here. Super buzzy vibe and excellent food. The cocktails are great and all the food is top quality, modern, chic Mexican. The restaurant is dimly lit and great for a date or group of friends. Excellent service and a really wonderful evening.
Photo credits: Daniel Krieger (Balthazar); Alexa Bendek (Cosme); Alex Staniloff (Benno); Corry Arnold (Le Coucou); Andrew Boyle (Westlight); Major Food Group (The Grill).