On the Road: Top New York City Restaurants

The city that never sleeps is known for its melting-pot mix of global ingredients and cuisines. Sample the Big Apple's eclectic offerings of international eats, drinks, street food and more.

Photo By: Evaan Kheraj ©2009

Photo By: Patrick McLeod

Photo By: Nicole Franzen

Photo By: Emilie Baltz

Photo By: Kelly Campbell

Photo By: Brian Kennedy

Photo By: Jim Franco

Photo By: Max Flatow ©Max Flatow Photography

Artichoke Basille's Pizza

Eating at this pizzeria is a sloppy but delicious affair. The pizzas are easily an inch thick, and it’s mostly due to the toppings. Try a slice piled high with artichokes and spinach, their namesake dish, which tastes like an inspired take on game-day artichoke dip.

Bar Boulud

Daniel Boulud is known for haute French cuisine. But on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni praised Boulud’s homier menu and the classic croque monsieur sandwich. Gruyère and heritage ham meld perfectly, much like the foie gras favorite Pâté Grand-Père.

Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant

The award-winning blueberry pancakes with warm maple butter at Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant are so irresistible, Bobby Flay just had to challenge the owners to a throwdown. If you stop by the homey spot for brunch, also try the buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, hearty omelets and sugar-cured bacon. 

Red Rooster

Wherever Chopped judge Marcus Samuelsson cooks, you can be sure his flavors will pull from his past and present. Red Rooster is no exception. Marcus serves modern Harlem comfort foods like Fried Yardbird, and Mac & Greens. As a nod to his Swedish roots, he's added Helga's Meatballs to the menu.

The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

When Bruni craves a burger — a chargrilled lamb burger, to be specific — he heads to The Breslin, a British gastropub helmed by Chef April Bloomfield. Located in the Ace Hotel, the popular spot boasts decadent comfort food and a fashionable clientele.

Employees Only

Chef Rocco DiSpirito called the Bacon-Wrapped Lamb Chops appetizer at Employees Only "the best one-bite wonder that you'll ever have." Swing by the charming speakeasy-style spot for top-notch artisanal cocktails and a mix of hearty entrees, like roast chicken and short ribs.

Parm

The Italian-American classic is handled with care here: It's a perfect chicken Parmesan on a soft semolina roll.

Lupa

When Rachael Ray craves a big old plate of pasta, she heads to Lupa, a Roman trattoria co-owned by Food Network's own Mario Batali. The casual setting ties into its homey plates, including rustic Spaghetti alla Carbonara and the favorite Ricotta Gnocchi. Diners rave about the newest Roman-style late-night menu.

Baked

Before this hip Brooklyn bakery went head-to-head with Chef Bobby on Throwdown, it was Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s chance at perfecting dessert. Today Baked has become a sweet-tooth mecca with its favorites, which include red velvet cupcakes and the Sweet & Salty Brownie.

Balthazar

On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Bobby didn't hesitate in naming Balthazar's french fries as the perfect crunch food. Locals also swear by this brasserie's perfection of all foods Parisian, like Steak Frites and Boudin Noir. Pressed for time? Stop by the bakery next door and snag a crunchy baguette.

Barney Greengrass

As the self-proclaimed Duke of Herring, Alton Brown declared Barney Greengrass' Chopped Herring Sandwich (on rye) worthy of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The "Sturgeon King" deli of almost 100 years offers sandwich salads prepared in small batches, so every bite from sturgeon to nova lox is royally fresh.

Blue Smoke

As a pioneer of the urban barbecue scene, Chef Kenny Callaghan has created finger-licking barbecue right in a potato chip. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Susan Feniger raves about his chips, perfectly matched with blue cheese and bacon dip. It's a great start to scrumptious pit barbecue.

Caracas Arepa Bar

The arepas here are so flavorful that they beat Bobby's in a throwdown. The corn cakes are stuffed with sweet and savory fillings like the De Pabellon, filled with beef, beans, plantains and Cotija cheese. Want a kick in your bite? Try the La de Pernil with pork shoulder and spicy mango sauce.

Lombardi's Pizzeria

For true New York-style pizza, look no further than America’s first, and some say best, pizzeria in the U.S. Since 1897 Lombardi’s has been winning over New Yorkers like Rachael with a perfect balance of marinara and mozzarella, all atop a thin crust baked in a coal-fired oven.

The Bagel Store

If you've been dreaming of New York-style, boiled-then-baked bagels as big as your head, mosey across the Williamsburg Bridge to The Bagel Store. They've got the cheapest, best bagel sandwich ever (at least according to Jeff Mauro). Try a bacon, egg and cheese bagel topped with bacon bits.

The Lobster Place

Bobby loves picking up lobster from this Chelsea Market spot. In addition to lobster, it also sells 650 varieties of live, fresh and frozen seafood throughout the year. For a quick and delicious seafood-filled meal, try their lobster rolls, oysters on the half shell, or some of the handmade sushi.

The Redhead

At unassuming East Village gastropub The Redhead, seasonal, Southern-inflected food and carefully made cocktails reign supreme. On Triple D, Guy Fieri was blown away by Chef Meg Grace's homemade pretzels with beer cheese. For a comforting main course, try the buttermilk fried chicken or the shrimp and grits.

More from:

City Guides