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The 16 Best Restaurants in New York City

Here's what you need to know...
  • New York City has been occupied for ten thousand years; today it is one of the world’s most diverse cities
  • The city’s best restaurants range from Michelin-starred fine French restaurants overlooking Central Park to Brooklyn-based, family-owned pizzerias
  • New York is an international hub for fine dining
  • Consider whether or not you want to drive your car in Manhattan: you have many other options to get around

Ten thousand years ago, the Lenape people hunted, fished, and farmed on the island of Manhattan.

In the early 16th century, Giovanni da Verrazano sailed up the Atlantic coast and became the first European to see the rivers and woodlands that became New York City. In 1624, the Dutch West India Company sent the first 30 European families to settle in what was then called “New Amsterdam.”

120 years later the British seized Manhattan from the Dutch and renamed it “New York;” by 1810, New York was the biggest metropolis in North or South America.

Today, more than 8.5 million people from all over the world call New York City and its five boroughs home. New York is one of the world’s most diverse cities, with over 36 percent of its population born somewhere else in the world, calling “The Big Apple” home by choice.

And if you’re looking to taste some of that diversity and visit New York City, enter your ZIP code above to find the best auto insurance before hitting the road!

Top 16 Restaurants in New York City

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New York has more of every kind of food and “diversity and depth” rivaled only by London’s restaurants, food author Mimi Sheraton told the Washington Post.

The New York Times’ long-time food critic Frank Bruni said New York had a ‘deeper bench’ of restaurants than any other American city.

With so many restaurants and such outstanding ones, it’s hard to choose the top fifteen. We used review rankings from TripAdvisor and other sources to find the top restaurants for different types of cuisine, restaurant guides, and experience, to bring you the most diverse group of New York’s top fifteen restaurants.

#1 — Daniel

The 2016 Trip Advisor Travelers Choice and number-one ranked restaurant in New York City is the Upper East Side’s Restaurant Daniel, just a few blocks from Central Park, Museum Mile, and Park Avenue.

Open for dinner each evening except Sunday, Daniel is one of only a few restaurants in the city with a two-star Michelin rating.

Seasonal menus include specialties like Scottish grouse, gourmet vegetarian cuisine, and tasting menus.

Prix-fixe dinners are $140 to $150, with optional wine pairings for $82 or $142; special seasonal menus can range up to $300.

Daniel also hosts many wedding and anniversary dinners in a gracious fine dining environment.

#2 — Gabriel Kreuther

Named one of the 50 best restaurants in NYC by Zagat and one of the top 10 best restaurants in America by Gayot, Gabriel Kreuther received the “Dish of the Year” award from Eater for its Fennel Cockle Veloute.

Looking out over Bryant Park, James Beard award-winning chef Kreuther’s namesake midtown restaurant serves nouvelle French inspired cuisine in a beautiful environment.

A three-course prix-fixe pre-theatre menu ordered before 6:30 p.m. is $98. Prix-fixe dinner menus are $142, while the chef’s menu carte blanche is $215.

World travelers and Manhattan natives alike praise the restaurant’s refined atmosphere.

#3 — Per Se

With three Michelin stars, Per Se, opened in 2004 by renowned chef Thomas Keller, provides diners with unparalleled views of Central Park and Columbus Circle.

The restaurant’s views are matched by its cuisine, using classic French techniques and only the finest ingredients. Per Se offers two nine-course chef’s tasting menus each day and a casual five-course walk-in tasting menu.

Prices range from $195 to $325, with supplemental charges for caviar, wagyu beef, and other luxury courses. International guests say that Per Se is a “high-end restaurant with high-end prices, but you will be treated like a rock star.”

#4 — Pisillo Italian Panini

Tucked in lower Manhattan’s financial district and close to City Hall, Pisillo is one of NYC’s highest-rated casual Italian eateries, specializing in sandwiches with Italian meat and cheese.

The atmosphere is casual, with only a few tables for diners; most patrons take their food ‘to go’ and eat in nearby parks and public areas.

Prices range from $10 to $15 for sandwiches that guests describe as “humongous,” able to feed two or more hungry people.

#5 — Lincoln Square Steak

New York City has many legendary steakhouses, and Lincoln Square Steak is one of the new generation.

Near Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side, Lincoln Square Steak is highly-rated by diners for food and a classic 60s-style ambiance with plenty of wood and red leather.

Prices are moderate for a Manhattan steakhouse, with steaks and chops ranging from $32 to $54 for a 24-ounce dry-aged rib eye. The restaurant also serves Italian entrees, desserts, and standard steakhouse appetizers and side dishes for sharing at the table.

#6 — Le Bernardin

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With three Michelin stars, Midtown’s Le Bernardin has served French seafood cuisine for more than 20 years. Zagat named Le Bernardin as New York’s top restaurant in 2012, following the restaurant’s James Beard award-winning redesign, which now includes a lounge menu.

Chef Eric Ripert specializes in seafood, ranging from “almost raw” to lightly cooked fish and shellfish. Prix-fixe menus range from $87 to $360 for a chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings. The atmosphere is light, refined, and contemporary.

#7 — Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern has been a destination in its neighborhood and a leader in contemporary American dining ever since it opened in 1994.

The restaurant’s dining room offers prix-fixe, seasonal, fresh “farm to table” foods designed by chef Michael Anthony, while the casual, walk-in only Tavern portion of the restaurant serves a la carte dishes.

The atmosphere throughout Gramercy Tavern is rustic, refined, and welcoming.

Seasonal lunch prix-fixe menus start at $79, while dinner menus start at $179; wine pairings are an additional $99.

Tourists and locals alike enjoy the fresh, seasonal foods at Gramercy Tavern, where you can sample lobster salad with carrots, rhubarb, and barley, and freshly grilled hake with summer squash and pole beans.

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#8 — Eileen’s Special Cheesecake

Tucked on a SoHo corner next to the Spring Street subway station, Eileen’s Special Cheesecake ranks as highly with diners as Michelin 3-star restaurants. A small bakery with counters and limited seating, Eileen’s confections draw visitors from all over the world.

“Light, airy” cheesecakes are available plain or in more than a dozen fruit and seasonal flavors. Many diners prefer to sample several mini-cheesecakes to see which flavors they like.

Prices are affordable, starting at $3.50 for mini cheesecakes in flavors ranging from cherry, chocolate, coconut custard, and salted caramel.

#9 — Los Tacos #1

In the middle of one of Manhattan’s bustling new food halls, Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No. #1 is serving up the most popular, authentic Mexican food in the city. Chelsea Market is a great shopping destination for food, specialty items, gifts, and clothing.

The menu is simple, and tacos are reasonably priced, ranging from $3.25 for nopal (grilled cactus) to $3.75 for grilled beef (carne asada).

Other choices include grilled, seasoned pork and chicken. Try a slightly heartier quesadilla with meat and cheese for a dollar more. Sample delicious grilled onions with a sprinkle of lime and chile and wash your meal down with Mexican Coke or aguas frescas.

#10 — Juliana’s Pizza

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You will have to cross the East River to try the pizza TripAdvisor members ranked #1 in New York.

The small pizza restaurant in Brooklyn’s DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) neighborhood has also been named the #1 pizza in the United States.

Juliana’s Pizza specializes in thin crust pies baked in a coal-fired oven, created by owner Patsy Grimaldi, who together with his wife Carol, formerly owned Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

Pizzas range from $18 to $32, with traditional red sauce, Margherita, white pizza, and toppings focused on Italian meats and cheeses.

#11 — Russ & Daughters

A quaint, small restaurant that has thrived for over a century in the East Village, Russ & Daughters is consistently rated #1 in New York for bagels and Jewish deli food.

Traditional, but not old-fashioned, Russ & Daughters serves a bagel with a whitefish and salmon salad schmear with wasabi-infused fish roe called “Super Heebster.”

Beloved home style specialties like chopped liver, house-made pickles, and fish platters for single diners and groups enrich the moderately-priced menu.

Dishes like knishes, latkes, and bagels range from $7 to $15. Meat lovers will enjoy brisket and corned beef sandwiches, but Russ & Daughters is all about the bagels and a “little piece fish.”

#12 — Ippudo

The top-rated Asian-inspired restaurant in New York, Ippudo has New York two branches, one in the East Village and one in Hell’s Kitchen.

While many Americans associate Japanese food with sushi or teppanyaki, Ippudo introduced New York to Hakata tonkatsu pork soup made with ramen noodles.

Soup, noodles, and toppings vary with the seasons and the chef’s creativity. Along with ramen, Ippudo also serves pork buns and chicken wings.

The classic Hakata bowl is $14, with add-ons ranging from $2 to $4. You may order extra noodles for $2 by asking the server for “kae-dama.”

#13 — Levain Bakery

Consistently ranked at or near the top for desserts in New York, Levain Bakery has three Manhattan branches and one store in the Hamptons.

Levain Bakery was founded in 1994 with a mission to create the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie. Each Levain Bakery location boasts a small storefront and long lines.

Levain’s menu is simple, with a wide selection of cookies, many with chocolate chips, all-chocolate, or both. Prices range from $4 for most cookies to $8 for individual pizzas.

#14 — Best Bagel and Coffee

Best Bagel and Coffee lives up to its name, ranked #1 in New York’s coffee and tea establishments, and an impressive #10 among the city’s 10,300 eateries, above some Michelin-starred restaurants.

The only downsides to Best Bagel and Coffee are the long line of customers spilling out of the front door and limited inside seating. Most diners take their bagels and coffee to-go.

Prices are modest. Bagels, available in a dozen flavors, including gluten-free, are $1.25. Spreads range from $2.00 to $4.30 for vegan cream cheese. Breakfast platters and sandwiches range from $5.25 to $7.25.

#15 — Crompton Ale House

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Nearly every block in Manhattan has a bar or pub, and being ranked #1 in the city is quite an achievement. Located in the Fashion District, Crompton Ale House also has sister restaurants located in Times Square and 2nd Avenue.

You can enjoy a draft beer and delicious pub grub while your children sample a complete menu for 12 and under, with beverage and entree for $11.

Warm and welcoming, Crompton Ale House serves a full range of beer on tap and in bottles starting at $6 for domestic beer, with no beer over $9 except imported Belgian ale.

Pub appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees range between $12 and $20, with pizzas priced at $14 and a variety of brunch dishes served on the weekends.

#16 — Excellent Dumpling House

Down-to-earth, unassuming Excellent Chinese Dumpling House beckons pedestrians who are hungry for authentic Chinese tastes. Like many other ethnic restaurants in Manhattan, the Dumpling House is cash-only.

The Dumpling House specializes in steamed or fried dumplings, and also offers New York-style stir-fried dishes and traditional appetizers.

The atmosphere is casual and busy. Be forewarned: you may be asked to share a table. Prices start at $7.75 for combination meals, $4.00 for steamed buns, and $13 to $15 for standard Chinese hot dishes like General Tso’s Chicken.

Traveling Around Town

If you choose to drive your car in New York City, be aware that some of the outlying boroughs are much easier to get around in than Manhattan.

Over two-thirds of Queens and Staten Island residents own cars, but less than 25 percent of Manhattan residents own a car, according to the New York City Economic Development Commission.

New York is a “no-fault” auto insurance state, but this provision affects how insurance companies pay in the event of an injury accident. You may still file a claim against another driver’s insurance company for damage to your vehicle in an accident in New York City.

Your auto insurance must meet minimum requirements in New York, which include:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for injuries per person
  • $50,000 total liability coverage for injuries per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident
  • $50,000 “no fault” personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident uninsured motorist coverage

Pros and Cons of Driving Your Car

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You may want to drive your car in Manhattan, but you should keep in mind that parking is expensive and traffic can be “hell” in the words of local newspapers.

You have many other options for getting around, from the subway to buses, taxis, and ride services like Uber and Lyft.

Many commuters take the train into the city, not just from other boroughs, but from suburbs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is easy to walk, bike, or use public transportation or ride services once you are in the city.

Renting a Car

New York State’s Attorney General offers useful guidance on renting a car in the Empire State. Most add-on insurance coverage that is offered at the rental counter is unnecessary, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

Added rental car insurance is optional, and most types of coverage offered for daily fees duplicates your existing auto, home, life, or health insurance policies, the Attorney General reports.

Ride Sharing and Other Options

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UberPool and similar ride sharing services are now being offered in the city, helping travelers and commuters to share ride costs. The positives about ridesharing services are reduced fare costs and convenient, easy-to-use apps.

Although, you may have to give up on being on time, because several riders must be picked up and dropped off, and traditional taxi services are strongly opposed to the technology.

Other options include buses, walking, and the subway.

Be alert to crowds in the subway. Walking down crowded streets under construction awnings and navigating busy intersections filled with buses, taxis and Uber drivers can be stressful.

Either way, if you want to visit NYC, you can compare multiple insurance policies and types of coverage beforehand to find the best rates.

Whether or not you plan to drive your car on a visit to New York City, learn what type of insurance coverage is best for your trip.

Enter your ZIP code below and start comparison shopping today!

References:
  1. http://www.history.com/topics/new-york-city
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2015/09/29/the-search-for-americas-best-food-cities-new-york/
  3. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/10/18/880278/0/en/Bon-Appetit-World-s-Best-Fine-Dining-Restaurants-Named-in-TripAdvisor-Travelers-Choice-Awards.html
  4. https://ny.eater.com/2015/12/23/10659116/nyc-best-restaurant-dishes-2015
  5. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d425628-Reviews-Per_Se-New_York_City_New_York.html
  6. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d6486923-Reviews-Pisillo_Italian_Panini-New_York_City_New_York.html
  7. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7616347-Reviews-Lincoln_Square_Steak-New_York_City_New_York.html
  8. https://www.le-bernardin.com/about
  9. https://www.gramercytavern.com/about-us/
  10. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d808386-Reviews-Eileen_s_Special_Cheesecake-New_York_City_New_York.html
  11. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4578404-Reviews-Los_Tacos_No_1-New_York_City_New_York.html
  12. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60827-d3741802-Reviews-Juliana_s_Pizza-Brooklyn_New_York.html
  13. http://julianaspizza.com/media
  14. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d7387632-Reviews-Russ_Daughters_Cafe-New_York_City_New_York.html
  15. http://www.ippudony.com/
  16. https://www.levainbakery.com/
  17. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lara604/3663574342/sizes/l
  18. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d2563134-Reviews-Best_Bagel_and_Coffee-New_York_City_New_York.html
  19. http://cromptonalehouse.com/79-2/
  20. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d478995-Reviews-Excellent_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html
  21. https://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-yorkers-and-cars
  22. http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/insurance-law/car-insurance/new-york-auto-insurance
  23. http://nypost.com/2017/04/21/dont-even-try-to-drive-around-manhattan-this-weekend/
  24. https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/car-rental-tip-sheet
  25. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2015/11/uberpool_lyft_line_and_via_want_new_yorkers_to_carpool_crazy.html

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