New York City is a restaurant wonderland and Manhattan acts as a hub for many a hungry explorer. Choosing a restaurant is a formidable, agita-inducing test amidst Manhattan's vivacious culinary scene. So here's 15 of Manhattan's best, tailored to fit any budget, neighborhood, company or occasion. Choose easy and enjoy.
Szechuan Gourmet is a spacious and unassuming restaurant that radiates credibility from a central Manhattan location (just below Bryant Park). Authentic Szechuan food can be as rare as it is appetizing, which makes Szechuan Gourmet a jewel for anyone with a curious palate and an empty stomach.
Don’t dress up. No one else will. And it may not be safe to exercise for a few hours after your meal. Szechuan Gourmet is about the food. Don’t fall back on American Chinese standards. Explore the menu and ask for recommendations. At off-hours, you have a good shot of finding off-duty chefs trading punch lines at back tables.
This is a great choice for exploring some uncommon cuisine at a reasonable price and convenient locale.
Mémé’s unimpeachable Mediterranean fare, accessibility and laid-back vibe entice with vigor. Located on Hudson in the West Village, the little restaurant has appeal for days. The service is stellar. There’s good outdoor seating in prime people-watching and battery-recharging territory. The restaurant can be the perfect closing destination to a New York stroll.
Rounding out the appeal is a diverse and dutifully prepared menu with a matching wine list. Couples, couples entertaining guests, and couples entertaining parents all love this spot. An undisputed crowd pleaser, Mémé makes strong arguments for a visit.
The garage warehouse space of Tacombi- Fonda Nolita on Elizabeth Street brings a lofty vibrancy to the Mexican bungalow-themed restaurant. Tin tables and folding chairs have the look of salt-air-wear-and-tear. The bustling open kitchen relaxes nerves and excites stomachs. A streamlined paper menu shaves the scope, but hones the deftness of the populist offerings (tacos).
There’s a steadiness to the table turnover, slim prep time and menu staples that adds to the authentic beachside charm. At peak times, it’s best for smaller parties willing to wait for a table and let the brisk service make restitution. They also have sister locations in the West Village and Flat Iron.
Market Table is an intimate and gentle American joint fitted on a corner in the West Village. It’s got a ‘little-country-store-went-big-city’ feel. Big windows and amicable service bring fluidity to the cozy spot.
The food harvests great strength from its simplicity. They place a premium on seasonal dishes. And all dishes pack a stout punch. Entrees trend towards pricey. More reasonable choices can be found on the wine list.
This Chinatown haunt’s popularity is consistently high. Shanghai Café gives you an honest and sharp culinary experience within Manhattan’s Chinatown. It’s not as cramped as some places, but you may share a table at peek hours. And if you’re interested in exploring Chinatown, this is a great place for your entree.
It has a casual, but energetic ambiance with neon decorations and a bustling wait staff. Not a hole in the wall, but not deluxe dining. The food never disappoints.
Submerged in the heart of Soho is Lure Fishbar: a low-lit, seafaring sanctuary with expansive allure. A chic bar, roomy restaurant and accommodating staff are quartered inside.
This action-packed joint presents the opportunity for a variety of dining experiences. The menu is enormous with something for everyone in every mood. And the high functionality of this big scale operation is impressive. They take parties both small and large. Hostesses manage walk-ins well, but it’s best to make a reservation.
Famed East Village ramen restaurant, Ippudo, is a fierce Manhattan mainstay. Buzz and consistent acclaim ushers in troves. They don’t take reservations. Guests brave hours in the cramped bar or packed waiting area or outdoor queue to make it behind the curtain.
If you want to see what everyone’s been talking about and you’re prepared for the wait, the menu won’t disappoint. They have booths and communal tables. A diligent staff gives the modern interior a hospitable and fulfilling ambiance. Sister location in Midtown West.
Almond is a hybrid whale of a restaurant in Flat Iron. The spacious bar/restaurant is safe and comfortable. Their dishes mostly qualify as American with some French influence.
It’s a loveable mutt of a restaurant. No great pedigree. Just loyal service and production. This is a responsible alternative, if looking to avoid some of the posher spots in the neighborhood.
Barney Greengrass awards Upper West Side patrons with top-tier breakfast and deli eats to spark up a day. The storied Jewish deli perfects the classic model with all the beloved trimmings.
Dine in or take out, but bring cash. This is a glitz-less landmark of yesteryear that can only disappoint your wallet. It’s an ideal treat for NYC visitors. The menu is extensive and the food is prepared with care and pride. Watch out for weekend rushes.
When you need Mykonos in Manhattan, visit Souvlaki GR. The restaurant boasts food truck roots transplanted to an enchanted Lower East Side hideaway.
It is a pristine imitation of a seaside café. The interior is inventive and mellow with a blissfully simple selection of authentic Greek fare. The staff is friendly and wise. Outdoor seating is minimal. Walk-ins typically see a brief wait. Larger parties should call ahead.
Tamarind is a slick Indian restaurant chicly installed in Tribeca. The restaurant is large, open and elegant. Hospitable character accompanies the swank architecture.
The restaurant values execution over innovation, making the restaurant a strong choice no matter the company. One can test the menu without worrying about duds. Reserve for ‘nights on the town’.
Le Parisien is a French bistro snuggly imbedded in Murray Hill. They serve respectable, traditional French staples.
Charm is not in short supply at Le Parisien. Tables are. There’s nothing fancy. Just familiar French comforts. Expect compact seating and good service. They’re especially popular for weekend brunches. Walk-ins can steal tables with relative ease, but making a reservation doesn’t hurt.
Ever-present in the New York pizza conversation is John’s of Bleecker Street. The coal-fired, brick-oven monument hauls in troves of fans to the Greenwich Village venue.
They have wood booths carved with history. Celebrity headshots protect bits of wall murals. Black and white floor tiles bear the scraps from messy families and overeager devotees. Pizzas are served hot. By the pie, never the slice. The line is often out the door, but the cordial ambiance and terrific pizza make it worthwhile.
Uva is a notable Upper East Side trattoria. The wine bar/restaurant is versatile, unimposing and immensely hospitable. The place unwinds and defuses customers with spectacular competence.
Composed of a bar, dining room, outdoor patio and private cellar, the restaurant can meet almost any need at any hour. An amenable and attentive staff eases in steady streams of guests. They also indulge a wide Italian menu deftly, which is a feat in such an unpretentious setting.
Pylos is a Greek restaurant in the East Village with a refined modern style. Hypnotizing decorations under a manicured lighting scheme establish a dreamy ambiance, making Pylos a quintessential date night location.
Pylos’ delightful concoctions are authentic. Their menu runs the gamut of Greek cuisine. And each plated order seems to be done so with authority. This is a mature operation with an appropriate staff and stimulating menu.