There are thousands of really good restaurants around the city and I am sure that you will find almost every dish in the world somewhere within the five boroughs of New York. In this article I provide a list with my ten favorite New York restaurants. The order in which the restaurants are listed is irrelevant and does not include any ranking. I hope you’ll find an opportunity to check the one or other location by yourself.
1. Jing Fong Restaurant (Chinatown, Manhattan – www.jingfongny.com)
DIM SUM IN AUTHENTIC CHINESE VENUE
If you want a true, authentic Chinese dim sum experience, this is the place to be. But you should know a few things to beat “the system”: get there very early for your Saturday or Sunday lunch (before noon), the wait will become extremely long even though there is a HUGE space upstairs. It is so large that they actually have an escalator that takes you to your table. I am not such a big dim sum fan, but the whole location and the atmosphere is an event itself.
The moment we sat down, the cart ladies came around and offered us a large variety of dishes. Even if you have no clue about Chinese food, you can just pick something which looks appealing to you. Service was almost frantically attentive. More tea, water, napkins: all were provided instantaneously. The food was fresh, tasty, and HOT. We were choosing things almost at random, and there was nothing that wasn’t at least good. We were not the only non-Asians there, but it was close. Overall I can say: we ate so much and paid so little, but had an extremely extraordinary lunch in Chinatown.
2. Mitali East (East Village, Manhattan – www.mitalieast.com)
INDIAN LUNCH BUFFET
In Manhattan’s East Village – on 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue – is a stretch of various Indian Restaurants. The first time we went there, we had no idea which one to choose as they pretty much look all the same. And then Mitali East was recommended by a good friend of mine and it really serves good Indian food at affordable prices.
As they do offer a prix fix buffet for just $10.95 incl. soda or wine every Saturday and Sunday (from noon till 3pm), this is usually for us the time to go there.
More about the restaurant and its surrounding in this great blog article from Ellen Jovin:
A Gastronomical Approach – Indian food will not teach you Hindi, but it tastes amazing.
3. Charm Thai Restaurant (Upper West Side, Manhattan – www.charmthainyc.com)
EVERYDAY GREAT LUNCH DEALS
We found this restaurant by accident the other day – we were buying a futon in the neighborhood, were hungry and saw Charm and walked in. The restaurant is located on Amsterdam Avenue between 96th and 95th Street in the Upper West Side. The atmosphere is very cozy, modern and the decor on the wall (a variety of colored bowls) and a few other installations are a such a great idea, that I already thought to decorate my kitchen that way. Food is delicious – I love the hint of coconut milk and basil many of the dishes have – and all for very reasonable prices. All of the curries that are served are filled with spices and have a great aftertaste, especially Panang and Masaman Curry. The Lunch Prix Fix (everyday between 11.30am – 4pm) starts at $8 for one appetizer and one entree. Service is great too.
4. Kasbah BBQ & Grill (Upper West Side, Manhattan – www.delikasbah.com)
EXTRAORDINARY KOSHER RESTAURANT
Kasbah BBQ and Grill (more commonly known as Deli Kasbah) is a neighborhood restaurant and serves food mainly to its Jewish community. It’s been around for over 25 years. Located on the north side of 86th street just west of Broadway you enter Kasbah through a small entrance down a few stairs. The decor is pretty standard steakhouse, with a few Middle Eastern flourishes which you may not even notice not paying attention to it. What you most certainly will notice are the two flat panel TV screens playing a loop of video footage of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It’s an weird design choice to be certain, but it does give the restaurant a style all its own. From what I’ve learned from our Jewish friend, who introduced us to the place, is that the owner was Baal Teshuva (return of secular Jews to religious Judaism) which explains the dedication to The Rebbe.
They have a pretty extensive menu featuring many different kinds of burgers, different salads, shawarma, etc. Since a while they also offer kosher sushi, which is one of the best I ever had in the city.
5. Wonjo Korean Restaurant (Koreatown, Manhattan – www.newwonjo.com)
OPEN 24/7 AND DELICIOUS KOREAN BBQ
This 24-hour barbecue joint, located on 32nd Street between 5th Avenue and Herald Square, is widely considered to be the best on the block and I must agree. We tried a few other places in Koreatown, but we always go back to Wonjo. The Restaurant can be very crowded at prime time for dinner, but it is definitely worth the wait. They have two floors, though if you come for BBQ you have to wait for a table upstairs, where the grills are built into the center of the table itself (be aware that the room can become very hot in summer).
The waitresses were extremely nice and friendly. First they come with all these appetizers (about 6-8 different little plates), which they always serve no matter what you order. The appetizers are so delicious that they even refill them for you if you want. The Korean BBQ is a great experience. It is so much fun to prepare your bulgogi (sliced beef sirloin or tenderloin) or galbi (marinated beef short ribs) right in front of you. Nonetheless my personal favorite is the stew DDUKBAKI BULGOKI (marinated sliced rib-eye, rice cake and noodles). And also the other stews are very delicious with a variety in spiciness. Finally after dinner you usually get either a complimentary cinnamon tea or fruits.
6. Spice Market (Meatpacking District, Manhattan – spicemarketnewyork.com)
SENSATIONAL COMBINATION OF SPICES WITH WOW EFFECT
Located in the heart of the Meatpacking District this location is just gorgeous. Not only does this huge place has a spectacular Balinese decor, but the food concept “street foods of Southeast Asia” causes an explosion of the senses. Wow! What wonderful combinations of selected spices in each dish I’ve never experienced before. If it is your first visit I would absolutely recommend to choose the (7 or 8 course) Spice Market Menu, which gives you great overview of the various dishes. Overall: Spice Market masterfully combines creative food with aesthetics interior design in an absolutely stunning and unique NYC spot (check it out and look inside). Make a reservation though.
7. Wechsler’s Currywurst (East Village, Manhattan – www.currywurstnyc.com)
MEALS UNDER $10 AND A GREAT GERMAN BEER SELECTION
“A Temple to German Sausage” the Village Voice reviewed and they are right. It is a pub style eatery and this tiny, cozy place reminds me so much of home (especially Duesseldorf and the Ruhr area). You order your beer from a great tap selection and your choice of perfect prepared sausage at the counter. The currywurst with its delicious sauce (made by the owners own recipe secret) and the spicy merguez are my personal favorites. Fries are homemade too and you can be sure that all sides, such as kale, potato salad and sauerkraut are always fresh and tasty.
8. BANY – best Asian New York (Long Island City, Queens – www.banynyc.com)
ASIAN FUSION CUISINE
Located in Long Island City / Hunters Point – Queens, just a few minutes from Midtown Manhattan (1 Stop from Grand Central Terminal on 7-train), the restaurant features a full sushi bar with classic rolls along with house specialty rolls. BANY contains a Japanese influence to its dishes, but also has classics such as curries, pad Thai, teriyaki, tempura and Vietnamese spring rolls.
We learned about this location while a friend organized a meeting with virtualtourist here. And it was a great find. The food is delicious and a visit here can be perfectly combined with a nice walk to the waterfront in Long Island City (Gantry Plaza). Views of the skyline are magnificent and a final cocktail at SHI Restaurant (www.shilic.com) could make it a perfect evening.
9. Zum Stammtisch (Glendale, Queens – www.zumstammtisch.com)
BEST GERMAN RESTAURANT IN NYC
Glendale, where is that? I know many of you New Yorkers or visitors will say, that this places seems to be a little bit out of the way. I agree, but for me it is the best German Restaurant in the City. While exploring this unknown area, we also accidentally passed this restaurant. As native German – of course curious and snoopy by this find – we walked in right away . That was on a Saturday (early evening) and we quickly found out that we entered a really bustling place. Luckily we were still able to get a seat at the bar and ordered the advertised Steak Tatar, which came with a very delicious potato salad, anchovies and capers.
After this first experiences we went back various times and it was always fantastic. And for the holiday season in December I can absolutely recommend Zum Stammtisch for its great Goose dinner. This became our tradition, as we go there with a large group of friends to celebrate the Christmas Season.
10. Radegast Hall & Biergarten (Williamsburg, Brooklyn – www.radegasthall.com)
HUNGARIAN BEER HALL
Radegasthall, one block and a half from Bedford Avenue is another very unique place. The bar is massive, located in the center of the room, with dark wood and lots of stools. The next room has long picnic tables, where it is nice to sit during the day. I love communal seating, so this is pretty great as you always meet some nice people to chat with. The main menu offers a great selection of entrees, while my favorite is the Hungarian Goulash, where I always like to come for. In the beer hall is a grill, where you can also order various sausages and sandwiches. To accompany your food you’ll find an awesome German/Belgian/European beer selection. Cool live music.