Choosing the top 5 restaurants in New York City is a fun activity that offers various options depending on the occasion, mood, and even the season. Despite their varied qualities, your favorite dive, fine dining restaurant, and ‘any night’ type of place may all occupy top spots on your own best list.
Our list of the top 5 restaurants in New York City is the same, including all of those categories and more to create a catalog of all the places we wish we were eating right now. They don’t have to be the newest or most well-known (though some are), just places that we want to visit again and again, and that we believe you will as well.
Let’s get down to business and present you with a list of contenders for the best restaurants now that we’ve all realized it’s impossible to make a list of the top 5 restaurants in New York City. This is a comprehensive list, but it does provide a glimpse into New York’s culinary greatness.
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A few spots stand out in the midst of the insanity that has become the new Lower East Side. Wildair, the laid-back sibling restaurant of adjacent Contra, is one of these. Wildair is essentially a wine bar…albeit one that serves very, really wonderful food and unique, never-before-tasted food prepared by two of NYC’s most exciting chefs. The freshly baked bread provided with the meal is cooked almost entirely in-house.
James Kent, longtime chef de cuisine at Eleven Madison Park and executive chef at NoMad, and Jeff Katz, managing partner of Del Posto, collaborated on this venture. Crown Shy serves delicious meals and beautiful beverages in an attractive environment that is equally a particular occasion destination and a nice evening whim. After dinner, its upstairs neighbor Overstory is a fantastic place to grab a drink with a view.
Why do we love it? Crown Shy has a huge influence without being intimidating. This place has a great vibe that manages to be warm and inviting. The gruyère fritters, roasted short rib, and regally adorned Crown cocktails are our favorites.
- Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park underwent a major renovation recently that preserved the building’s original Art Deco details while also extending the bar to accommodate more regulars. On the food front, acclaimed chef Daniel Humm continues to astonish. While the menu varies frequently, guests can anticipate innovative food without the pomp and pretension found in many fine-dining restaurants in the city. “Today, it’s (the food) much more about feeling – it’s harder to explain how to make something look organic and beautiful,” Humm said, according to Grubstreet. In any case, this is a showstopper meal that you will never forget.
- Jean Georges
Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has a global culinary empire, but his eponymous restaurant in the Trump Hotel on the Upper West Side remains the gold standard for the chef’s subtly Asian-inflected French haute cuisine. It is one of the top 5 restaurants in New York. With Harry Winston-wearing hotel guests, well-dressed ladies who dine, and top-tier businessmen from the surrounding high-rise offices, his now-legendary tuna tartare and young garlic soup remain extremely popular.
Take in the views of Central Park West and Columbus Circle from the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows while enjoying stalwart service and expense account-worthy cuisine. Since its establishment in 1997, Jean-Georges has held three Michelin stars without interruption.
- Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern, one of the top 5 restaurants in New York, is an old standby that acts as a delicious utility knife. You can dress it up or down, come on a weekday or save it for a special event, and it will adapt to your mood. In 2016, Pete Wells of the New York Times gave Gramercy Tavern three stars, over 22 years after it first opened. Why? For one thing, everything works here. You know the service will be excellent and the food will be delicious. You can also expect the chef to keep experimenting on everything from the $110 veggie tasting menu to the decadent desserts.
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