The 10 Must-Try Restaurants in New York

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Think food in New York, and you'll think of hot dogs, bagels, and subs. However, scratch the surface of the city's restaurant scene, and you'll find something for everyone. From fine dining to a comfortable dive, French restaurants, and a roadside food truck.

Whether you're looking for something in downtown Brooklyn, the Upper East Side, or with a view of the Manhattan skyline, these are 11 of the best restaurants New York offers.

Discover These 10 Must-Try Restaurants in New York City

We've carefully selected the 10 exceptional must-try restaurants in New York that exemplify the city's culinary brilliance.

From iconic eateries serving classic American fare to intimate spots offering global flavors, each restaurant on our list provides a distinct and delightful dining experience.

Embark on a gastronomic adventure through the city that never sleeps and savor the flavors that define New York’s vibrant food landscape. Curious? Keep reading to start your delectable journey!

1. Via Carota, West Village

Via Carota

Photo via Via Carota website

If authentic Italian pasta is your thing, Via Carota is the place to go. Although very popular, this restaurant does not take reservations, so it's worth planning and putting your name down a couple of hours before you want to eat. 

Then head off, do some sightseeing or see a show, and come back for the most exemplary plate of cacio e pepe in New York.

  • Website: Via Carota
  • Address: 51 Grove Street, New York City

2. Van Da, East Village

Van Da

Photo via Van Da website

Since it opened in 2019, Van Da has established itself as New York's premier Vietnamese restaurant in New York, thanks to the tasteful simplicity of its menu. 

Diners will be wowed in particular by the beef, shrimp, and pork tapioca dumplings which will tickle your taste buds and leave you desperate for more.

  • Website: Van Da
  • Address: 234 East 4th Street, (Btwn Ave A & B), New York

3. Hwa Yuan Szechuan, Chinatown

Hwa Yuan Szechuan

Photo via Hwa Yuan Szechuan website

One of the city's most popular Chinese restaurants before closing in the 1980s, Hwa Yuan Szechuan rebooted in 2017 and is located in the original space on East Broadway.

Standout dishes include the pork soup dumplings, Szechuan style braised oxtail, and double sauteed pork belly, while the range of noodle soups on the expansive menu will sate any taste.

4. Wildair, Lower East Side

Wildair must try restaurants in NYC

Photo via Wildair website

This outstanding Lower East Side restaurant offers one of the most refined tasting menus in New York City. Wildair also doubles up as a casual French-inspired wine bar.

With comfortable bar seating in this narrow space, customers can enjoy French classics like beef tartare and smoked cheese or a spicy Caesar salad.

And the best part is that you don't need to reserve; most of their tables are kept for walk-ins.

  • Website: Wildair
  • Address: 142 Orchard Str, New York

5. Katz's Delicatessen, East Houston Street

Katz's Delicatessen

Photo via Katz's Delicatessen website

One of the favorite restaurants in New York for locals and tourists alike, Katz's Deli found fame as being the location for that scene in When Harry Met Sally.

With their famous hand-sliced pastrami, corned beef, and enormous ground beef rye bread sandwiches, Katz's is instantly recognizable with its unchanged interior.

  • Website: Katz's Delicatessen
  • Address: 205 East Houston Street, (corner of Ludlow St), New York City, 10002 

6. Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, Upper West Side

Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

Photo via Charles Pan-Fried Chicken website

Initially established in Harlem, Charles serves arguably the finest comfort food in the city. Rather than being deep-fried, the chicken here is made in a cast-iron skillet, producing a stunning crust under which lies the tenderest meat.

The equally great pork ribs and turkey wings complement the relaxed vibe at this hidden gem amongst NYC restaurants.

7. Los Tacos No. 1, Chelsea Market

Los Tacos No.1

Photo via Los Tacos No. 1 website

This simple set-up of an indoor taco stand in Chelsea Market is reminiscent of a traditional roadside van serving authentic tacos and quesadillas right in the heart of Manhattan.

The small menu items include marinated pork, steak, chicken, or cactus, while the range of salsas and dips will have you drooling.

8. Dhamaka, East River

Dhamaka must try restaurants in NYC

Photo via Dhamaka website

For a never-to-be-forgotten Indian culinary experience, Dhamaka takes some beating. Dishes such as Gurda Kapoora, which consists of a goat kidney, testicles, red onion, and pao, are sure to live long in the memory.

A restaurant from the same people behind Adda in Long Island City and Semma in Greenwich Village, this is a pricey but necessary feasting experience.

  • Website: Dhamaka
  • Address: 119 Delancey Street, Essex Market, Store #34, New York, NY 10002

9. Kokomo Caribbean Restaurant, Brooklyn

Kokomo Caribbean Restaurant

Photo via Kokomo Caribbean Restaurant website

Opened by husband and wife team Ria and Kevol Graham, Kokomo combines authentic flavors from the Caribbean, such as jerk chicken, with pasta and flatbreads.

As well as the exquisite food menu, every day between 4 and 7 pm is Happy Hour with discounted drinks and live DJs regularly appearing during the weekend.

10. Gramercy Tavern, Flatiron

Gramercy Tavern

Photo via Gramercy Tavern website

There aren't many restaurants in the Big Apple that match the experience of dining at Gramercy Tavern.

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The restaurant offers a set five-course tasting menu in the dining room, featuring small plates of scallops, risotto, and duck. Meanwhile, the front-facing tavern area provides a-la-carte options.

With each main course, like braised short rib, fried swordfish, or half roast chicken, there's a superb natural wine list that few restaurants can match. Best of all, the prices are affordable.

  • Website: Gramercy Tavern
  • Address: 42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003, United States


In conclusion, New York's culinary scene is as diverse and vibrant as the city itself. These must-try restaurants offer a taste of the Big Apple that extends beyond your typical dining experience.

From mouth-watering steaks to innovative vegetarian dishes, and authentic ethnic cuisine to Michelin-starred fine dining, each one tells its own unique story.

As you venture out to explore the epicurean delights of New York, let this list of must-try restaurants be your guide. Bon appétit and happy exploring!

FAQs Related to Best Restaurants in New York

Is New York street food expensive?

New York street food is generally considered affordable, offering a variety of options that typically range from $5 to $9.

Whether you're in the mood for a hot dog, taco, or falafel, you can find something to satisfy your cravings without breaking the bank.

However, specialty or gourmet food trucks might charge a bit more for their unique offerings.

Is New York known for pizza?

Absolutely, New York is synonymous with pizza. Brought to the United States by Italian immigrants, New York City was home to America's first pizzeria, established in 1905.

New York-style pizza is famous for its thin, foldable crust, and has influenced how pizza is made across the country.

What is unique food in New York?

New York City offers a smorgasbord of unique foods, but classics like bagels, black and white cookies, and egg cream are distinctly New Yorker.

The city is also known for its food fusions, thanks to its diverse population.

Whether it's a cronut, a ramen burger, or an authentic knish, the city's culinary landscape is as diverse as its population.

Also Recommended

These ten New York restaurants are amongst the city's best. However, there is far more to explore in the city. If you're after a Thai restaurant, Me Thai in Park Slope is highly recommended.

Teranga in the Africa Center, within walking distance of Central Park, offers a wonderfully authentic taste of West Africa. 

Also, here are some more New York City restaurants you might like!

Hermillis H.
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