- INSIDER asked chefs and restaurateurs about their favourite places to eat in New York City.
- Some chefs said they enjoy places that serve classic dishes, like Lucien and Timna.
- Some of the food experts said they enjoy places that have been open for quite some time, like Barney Greengrass and Ferdinando’s Focacceria.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Whether you’ve visited New York City or not, you might not be surprised to hear that the Big Apple boasts one of the finest and most extensive dining landscapes in the US.
INSIDER asked a range of food experts about their favourite, must-try eateries in New York City and they suggested everything from cheap, late-night bites to high-class spreads sure to impress even the pickiest of dates.
Here are some restaurants to try in NYC according to chefs and restaurateurs.
One chef said Noreetuh is a ‘hidden gem’ that offers authentic Hawaiian cuisine
“I love pretty much everything about Noreetuh. The food is so well-executed, delicious, and of amazing quality and the wine list is very impressive,” said Forsolone.
This chef said if you want traditional Greek seafood, Taverna Kyclades is the place to be
Chef Chris Nirschel of NY Catering Service said he heads over to Astoria, Queens, if he’s craving authentic Greek food.
“The most authentic Greek food is in Queens and my favourite restaurant [there] is Taverna Kyclades,” he said. “I love this place because of its authenticity and … [its] very fresh seafood, vibrant flavours, and [bright] colours. Make sure to get the octopus or branzino.”
This chef said Atoboy and Atomix both offer authentic yet inventive Korean cuisine
Rory Macdonald, executive chef at Patisserie Chanson Dessert Bar in NoMad, said both spots are some of his favourite places to eat in the city.
“I would describe them as modern Korean cuisine but truly authentic – Atoboy is more casual dining, Atomix [has a] fine-dining tasting menu – I never had anything that wasn’t a 10,” Macdonald told INSIDER.
Also located in NoMad, Hanjan uses locally-sourced ingredients to create exceptional renditions of traditional Korean fare, said one chef
“Hanjan has become a regular spot for me. It’s a traditional take on Korean food done with such precision. The flavours are always exciting and don’t bore the palate,” said Henry Lu, executive chef at Loosie’s Kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
One chef said fans of Spanish tapas should head straight to Casa Mono
“I am a big fan of Spanish food and the tapas scene – it’s a style of dining that brings everyone closer together. I love the coziness of the restaurant, along with its wine selection,” said Charles. “One of the most impressive things is [Casa Mono’s] consistency when it comes to food. Their menu is very creative, delicious, and well-executed.”
One chef said Timna in the East Village has tasty and impressive Mediterranean dishes
Erez Komarovsky, chef and culinary partner at Mint Kitchen in Greenwich Village, said he splits his time between NYC and his native Israel so when he’s feeling homesick, he sits down for a meal at Timna, a Mediterranean-Middle-Eastern eatery in the East Village that has a clean and ingredient-focused approach to traditional dishes.
“I love the fresh, young attitude [of the team at Timna] and their wonderful approach to ingredients,” he told INSIDER. “Some of my favourite items on the menu include mushroom cappuccino and the Moroccan fish, as the spices truly bring me back to my village in the Galilee [region] of Israel.”
Located in Flushing, Queens, Golden Palace Gourmet is a must-visit for this chef
If you’re looking for Chinese food, Eric Sze, chef at and owner of 886 in the East Village, said he recommends taking a ride to Flushing, Queens.
When he visits Flushing, Sze said he particularly enjoys sitting down for a meal at Golden Palace Gourmet.
“Golden Palace in Flushing is my favourite restaurant as it’s the best representation of humble Chinese food. You’re transported into a different realm when you step in,” he said. “If I had to pick a top dish, it would be the cucumber pig-ear salad.”
One chef suggested Lucien in the East Village because it delivers classic, French-bistro food
“Classic, French cuisine paired with classic cocktails is always a good idea on a day or night off. The energy of [Lucien] is unlike any other restaurant,” Baxtrom told INSIDER.
A pioneer of Brooklyn cuisine, Roberta’s serves an impressive seasonal menu and impeccable pizzas, said one chef
Located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Roberta’s has been serving inventive wood-fired pizzas for years and Chef Nick Tamburo of Momofuku Nishi in Chelsea said that this eatery is his “absolute, most favourite place in New York.”
“Whenever I have friends visiting from out of town, I bring them there. For me, it’s all about the vibe and they have really created something unique and special that can only exist in Bushwick. It doesn’t hurt that the food is great too,” he added.
With multiple locations throughout NYC, X’ian Famous Foods offers affordable Western-Chinese dishes, said one foodie
“I’m a huge fan of Xi’an Famous Foods,” he told INSIDER. “The food is handmade, delicious, and consistent. The pricing is fair for a fast-casual restaurant.”
Sushi Inoue in Harlem is one chef’s favourite place to grab a bite
“My favourite restaurant is Sushi Inoue in Harlem. You can barely tell that it’s even a restaurant from the outside. The blinds on the windows are drawn to block out a bustling corner on 129th street and Lenox Ave,” said Joe Vigorito, executive chef at L’Artusi in the West Village.
“What awaits inside is the quiet oasis of a fish whisperer. It is absolutely outstanding. There are different levels of omakase on offer at the chef counter or, if you prefer to order à la carte, you can sit at a table,” he added.
A NYC institution, Barney Greengrass is a welcome blast from the past, according to one chef
“On Sunday, when I’m usually off [from work], I love to go to Barney Greengrass for some smoked salmon and the best sturgeon in the city,” said Marcello. “Having a meal there takes me back in time to the ‘Old New York.'”
One chef said Le Bilboquet is the best place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary
If you’re in a position to spend a bit more on a special outing, an upscale restaurant like Le Bilboquet on the Upper East Side might just be a perfect choice, said Chef Harold Moore of Bistro Pierre Lapin in the West Village.
Le Bilboquet serves a menu of American-influenced French dishes and the eatery’s overall vibe gives it a “‘Gossip Girl,’ but grown-up” feel, said Moore. He said he considers Le Bilboquet to be one of his go-to eateries.
According to one chef, Great NY Noodletown offers authentic and tasty dishes at a highly affordable price
“I enjoy places that everyone can afford that don’t feel like another trend that is going to fade in a few years. Great NY Noodletown is open late and has never let me down in my 15 years of living in NYC,” she told INSIDER. “Almost every chef I know loves this place.”
According to one restaurateur, Ferdinando’s Focacceria has a lot of classic, tasty dishes
Francis Garcia, co-owner of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza(with multiple NYC locations), said he loves the classic ambiance and top-notch Italian eats available at Ferdinando’s Focacceria in the Columbia Waterfront District of Brooklyn.
“My parents and grandparents have been going [to Ferdinando’s] since they were kids. It’s been there over 100 years,” he told INSIDER.
“The best thing to get here is the Panelle Special, which is a chickpea-flour fritter with ricotta and shredded Reggiano on a toasted, seeded roll,” Garcia said. “I also recommend the potato croquettes and the rice-ball special. And, they have Manhattan Special (coffee-flavored soda made in Brooklyn) on tap and use an ice pick to break ice chunks for the sodas.”
If you like spice, Desy’s Clam Bar should be on your must-eat list for NYC, said one restaurateur
Sal Basille, co-owner of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, also named a Brooklyn-Italian joint as his favourite New York restaurant. He said even though the place is known for being a clam bar, he always orders a hero.
“[I love] Desy’s Clam Bar in Williamsburg. If you like spicy, you like Desy’s. I get the shrimp-parm hero with medium sauce. Get the hot sauce on the side and [add] a little bit [to the finished sandwich],” he said. “Their hot sauce is like the hot oil you’d get at a take-out Chinese restaurant but mixed with some marinara – it’s really nice.”
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