Welcome to New York City – the culinary capital of the United States, and possibly, the world! With its vibrant and diverse food scene and world-class chefs, NYC is a paradise for food lovers like me. From Italian to Caribbean to Indian to Greek, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a dish that suits your mood in New York. There are thousands of incredible options! But over the last several years, I’ve gone on a phenomenal gastronomic quest to find the best restaurants in NYC that everyone must visit.
I scoured the bustling streets of all five boroughs to find the best eateries that The Big Apple has to offer. Whether you’re craving classic Jewish favorites, authentic Chinese dim sum, or eclectic Georgian flavors, New York City is the ultimate food destination. Join me, and let’s explore the best NYC restaurants and dive into the food that makes this city so special!
No list of the best NYC restaurants is complete without an authentic New York pizza joint. There are many to choose from, and most of them are fantastic. But there’s one that many locals say is the best. Joe’s Pizza, which has three locations in Manhattan, is the epitome of NYC pizza—a simple thin-crust pie with no bells and whistles.
Sometimes simple is best, and that’s the case with Joe’s cheese pizza. The crust is crispy on the outside but still doughy on the inside, while the cheese is melty with a nice pull. It’s also a wide slice, so it’s a hearty meal, but without all the grease you get at other spots.
It’s no wonder Joe’s Pizza has been featured in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies and is a favorite of celebrities like Rosario Dawson and Bradley Cooper!
Be honest. How much do you know about Georgian food? If your answer is “not much,” don’t worry because you’re in luck! In Brooklyn, you’ll find the cozy and rustic Cheeseboat Restaurant. This beautiful Georgian bistro is easily one of the best NYC restaurants around!
Georgian cuisine uses lots of fresh ingredients but is also heavy on butter, wine, and cheese. Try some Kakhuri wine from the country’s gorgeous Kakheti region, and then order their khinkali. These soup dumplings can scald your mouth if you’re not careful, so nibble a hole in it and slowly suck the juice out.
The signature dish here is the Adjarian khachapuri, a boat-shaped bread bowl filled with melted cheese, butter, and an egg yolk. Mix the filling together and dip bits of bread into it! And for dessert, you can’t beat the honeycomb brie Adjarian khachapuri, which is sweet, creamy, and decadent, almost like a cinnamon bun!
From Brooklyn, we now head over to the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens, where we’ll find a cute little diner called Cositas Ricas. This traditional Colombian-style diner is a big hit with locals, who often hit up this hotspot early in the day for a tintico, or small black Colombian coffee.
Grab a tintico and then order their monstrous Desayuno Montañero, or Mountain Feast. This incredible breakfast platter contains eggs, hash browns, rice and beans, fried plantains, chicharron, an arepa, and picante sauce. It’s a feast fit for a king! The crispy arepa, flavorful red beans and rice, and sweet plantains make Cositas Ricas one of the best NYC restaurants you can find!
If you’re exploring the Lower East Side or East Village and are in need for some kosher vegetarian food, you’re in luck! In the area, you’ll find B&H Dairy, a tiny Jewish diner that’s been in business since 1938. As someone who grew up eating Jewish food during Passover, the food here took me right back to my childhood!
The matzoh ball soup is sheer perfection. The spongy matzoh ball soaked up the flavor-filled broth, which also contains carrots and noodles. Their cheese blintzes are rich and delicate, with a bit of sweetness and savory flavors.
Try the crispy latkes with applesauce—they’re divine—and if you have room, the challah French toast with cinnamon and bananas is the perfect breakfast or snack!
If you’ve never had Albanian food, you need to change that now. In the Albanian corner of Little Italy in The Bronx, you’ll find one of the best NYC restaurants, Çka Ka Qellu. This rustic restaurant looks like a 19th-century Albanian tavern and its food is unreal!
No Albanian meal is complete without some raki, or fruit brandy. Follow that with their flija, a savory layered crepe dish containing eggs and butter. Their byrek is flaky and savory, and their smoky ajvar pepper dip goes well with the leçenik (a type of herbal cornbread).
You must try their earthy liver tava, a hearty stick-to-your-ribs dish that blew my mind. And their Skenderbeg, a schnitzel-like cutlet containing gooey cheese, is heaven on a plate.
When you’re craving good dim sum in New York, there’s no better place to visit than Tim Ho Wan. This Michelin-star-rated restaurant in Manhattan is world-famous for its delectable, bit-sized morsels. Their barbecue pork buns are sweet and savory, while their hearty shrimp chive dumplings have a delicious seafood flavor.
I can’t recommend the moist and sticky shrimp & pork shumai enough, while the shrimp eggplant is silky and buttery. If you’re adventurous, dig into the Fèng Zhuǎ, or chicken feet, but for something equally tasty, try the incredible shrimp rice rolls! They’re phenomenal!
What? You thought I only had one pizza spot on my list of the best NYC restaurants? If Joe’s Pizza has the best traditional New York slice in the city, then Lombardi’s Pizza has the most unique! This spot on Spring Street in Manhattan is the oldest pizzeria in America and dates back to 1905.
Their most popular pizza is the Clam Pie, an eclectic dish that probably shouldn’t work on paper, but is actually excellent! This Neopolitan-style pizza arrives hot and crispy, and looks almost like a white pizza. A large number of small but hearty clams dot the pie, which will set you back a hefty $32. They also add parsley, basil, and Romano cheese.
It’s not overly fishy or salty, and adding a squeeze of lemon gives you an acidic burst of flavor that sets off the entire pie. As someone who has eaten pizza all over the world—including Italy—I can confidently say that the Clam Pie is one of my favorite pizzas on Earth!
I’ve grown up around Mediterranean food my entire life. Italian, Spanish, and Greek dishes are a regular part of my diet, so I feel pretty confident when it comes to discerning good food from the region from the bad. Thankfully, Taverna Kyclades, easily makes my “good” list and is one of the best NYC restaurants you can visit.
This spot specializes in Greek seafood, and it’s some of the best I’ve ever had. Their red snapper is light and citrusy and pairs well with their tender fried calamari. The briny stuffed clams are a seafood lover’s dream.
Of course, you have to try the Greek salad, which contains mouthwatering blocks of feta. But the star of the show is the grilled octopus, which is so tender and meaty, it had my mouth watering before I even took a bite! Finish up with some baklava or a creamy and custardy galaktoboureko!
Back in Queens, I highly recommend heading over to the Little Guyana neighborhood to try some mouthwatering Caribbean food. You’ll find a mix of cuisines here, from Trini to Guyanese. For the best Trini food in the city, visit Tropical Jade 3, a diner-style restaurant with a long buffet.
You can’t beat the doubles here. These treats consist of a fluffy, fried flatbread called a bara, topped with a spicy chickpea curry called chana and various chutneys. Don’t miss out on the bake & saltfish, a type of crispy and flaky fish sandwich.
But their succulent shrimp curry and stew pork with dal puri (a flaky flatbread) are on another level! It’s one of the best NYC restaurants and will give you an authentic taste of the islands!
If you’ve followed me for a while, you might know that I’m a fiend for Indian food. If you head to the Michelin-star-winning Junoon in Manhattan, you’ll find elevated versions of Indian street food classics, as well as American favorites with an Indian twist. The masala pork ribs are certainly the latter—they’re tasty, tender, and come coated in a masala-infused barbecue sauce!
Their eggplant chaat is a unique take on typical chaats you’ll find on the streets of Mumbai and Delhi. I loved their take on puchka, a common street food also known as pani puri and golgappa. These puchka contained raw tuna, onion, tomato, caviar, and a rich, herbal pani.
I also recommend the smoky tandoori octopus, creamy mushroom and truffle khichdi, and the Tellicherry duck, which comes with a wonderful pepper sauce and naan! It’s no surprise that this spot is one of the best NYC restaurants in Manhattan!
These restaurants barely scrape the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the food in New York. You could honestly live in the city, eat a meal at a different restaurant every day for a decade and still have new options to explore. There’s no shortage of new and exciting spots to try, whether they’re fine dining establishments, diners, or food carts.
So, the next time you find yourself in New York, do yourself a favor and visit the 10 best NYC restaurants. Then, branch out and try some others that catch your eye. You’ll be in love with this city’s culinary scene before you know it. Book a trip to NYC today to check them all out!