New York is a city of great and varied restaurants of impeccable standards – so make sure you’ve got an appetite to match. The NY food scene is highly creative, and whether it’s simple street or deli fare or the hottest high-end venue, each neighbourhood offers temptations for every taste and every budget. No matter what you crave, there’s a New York restaurant guaranteed to satisfy. Here are some of the best.
Budget and Mid-Range
Whether you’ve already spent all your money on attractions, or you’re saving it for a big blow-out at Bloomingdales, if you’ve not got much cash to flash there are still some excellent options for dining out in NYC for under 20 bucks.
Aux Epices at 121 Baxter St in Chinatown is bright and tranquil with exposed brick and lots of natural light – but tiny. The French/Malaysian husband/wife team serve up hearty, home cooked exotic Malay dishes with a French inflluence like delicious seafood Laksa and crispy duck rolls with star anise from the petite kitchen.
Marietta on Clinton Hill dishes up American comfort food with southern style in a countrified farmhouse setting. The low priced menu is easy on the eye as well as the wallet – juicy ribeye is under $20, and a meaty burger with a topping of duck liver mousse or house-cured pork cheek comes under the $10 mark. Desserts are also excellent and good value.
For quality Thai-food including excellent Pad Thai Noodles that are a far cry from your standard fare, head to Pok Pok Phat Thai on Rivington St. On the Lower East Side. The food here is authentic and fresh, and noodles are cooked in rendered pork fat and topped with an appetizing combination of dried shrimp, preserved radish, sour tamarind and crunchy peanuts. If you’re really hungry you can boost your noodles with extra toppings like ground pork or fresh prawns, but you’ll be hard pressed to spend more than $15.
For quality French style cuisine at a reasonable price, Buvette over in West Village is an excellent choice. Some serious small plates are served up in this intimate setting – big on flavour and beautifully presented – and there’s a great selection of wines to accompany your meal. Choose from dishes such as Cassoulet (pot of slow cooked duck, pork and beans), Brandade de Morue (house salt cod with olive oil, milk and garlic), and salsify cooked in red wine and honey. Wash it all down nicely with a rosé from Provence or a full bodied merlot. Food is available all day and there’s a nice garden for dining al fresco on sunny days.
Sometimes nothing but the best will do – and some of the best New York restaurants can also be the most expensive. If money is no object try these venues for the crème de la crème of food, fine wines and excellent service:
Eleven Madison Park can be found at – funnily enough – 11 Madison Avenue in the heart of NYC. It offers diners only one (multi-course) menu – and it weighs in at $195 per person without drinks. That said, this is one of the most reputable establishments in the city and it has long received critical acclaim for excellence. The menu focuses on the extraordinary agricultural bounty of New York and on the centuries-old culinary traditions that have taken root there. Extraordinarily pleasurable offerings include sea urchin custard with baby squid, bay scallop and apple, and pear poached with honey and acorn. Delicious.
Dining at Momofuku Ko at 163 first avenue is an experience. With only 12 seats place along the kitchen counter this place is tiny – and the decor is minimal – but with two Michelin stars and at #93 on the san pellegrino world’s best restaurants list, a visit here is guaranteed to delight. At the hub of this intimate dining space is the kitchen, where three chefs present a ballet of culinary artistry. Guests are served whatever is sourced fresh that day. After working their magic, the chefs hand each course directly to you. Dinner is a set tasting menu devised by the chef – usually about 10 courses long ($125 per person) – and at lunch the menu stretches out to 16 courses ($175 per person). Fine wines, sake and beer are the accompaniment to courses such as lightly smoked egg with sturgeon caviar, fingerling potatoes and onion-sorrel soup; and frozen foie gras torchon shaved over lychee puree and pine-nut brittle. Book in advance and be prepared to be flexible.