One thing can be said for sure about New York’s dining scene—it is diverse. And while someone may vow to know the “best” restaurant in New York, no single restaurant can be everything to everyone. So, yes, a meal at Le Bernardin might surely satisfy—but maybe not if you’re sharing it with your four year-old. Here are some selective suggestions for your next night out in the big city.
On warm, clear summer evenings, New Yorkers don’t mind waiting a little longer for a table outside in the fresh air.
Our Pick: River Café
A Close Second: Blue Water Grill (photo, right)
The Perfect Nightcap: People-watch to your heart’s content under the twinkling lights of Luna Park.
Table for Two
The city that never sleeps is perfect for a weekend getaway for lovesick puppies or long-time lovers. There are romance-ready restaurants for every budget—all you need is delectable food, low lighting, cozy tables, and a little candlelight.
Our Pick: The Place
A Close Second: Craftbar
The Perfect Nightcap: Cozy up to the sounds of Brazilian jazz at the cavernous Zinc Bar.
An Intimate Gathering for 10
Many of New York’s restaurants are itsy-bitsy spaces that fill up fast. Nabbing a reservation for the whole crew is a daunting task for any group leader.
Our Pick: Blue Ribbon Bakery
A Close Second: Churrascaria Plataforma (photo, right)
The Perfect Nightcap: Show off your pipes at Iggy’s, a popular Upper East Side karaoke bar.
Things can get a little crazy when you head off to the Big Apple with your closest girlfriends. You’ll want to pick a spot that’s social, not stuffy, where you can enjoy catching up without screaming over throbbing music.
Our pick: Artisanal
A Close Second: Tasting Room
The Perfect Nightcap: Gossip over marvelousy muddled mojitos at Spice Market.
Supper with The Sopranos
If you’re addicted to the hit HBO series The Sopranos, there are some establishments in New York that you might particularly take to. The following spots fit all the Godfather-esque stereotypes—but they’re also very good.
Our Pick: Raoul’s
A Close Second: Baldoria
The Perfect Nightcap: Hatch a plan over drinks at Tribeca’s Brandy Library. (photo, right)
Rub Elbows with the Locals
Yes, it might sound silly in a city of 10 million people, but no bother. Some of the very best neighborhood joints are unassuming hole-in-the-wall eateries.
Our Pick: Gennaro
A Close Second: Frankies Spuntino 17 Clinton Street
The Perfect Nightcap: Share a bottle of shiraz at ‘ino.
On Broadway’s Schedule
Many restaurants in the theatre district cater to the “we’ve got a show to catch!” crowd with prix fix early-bird menus.
Our Pick: District (photo, right)
A Close Second: Becco
The Perfect Nightcap: Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk east to P.J. Clarke’s, if Sardi’s is too packed.
Fine(r) Dining with the Kids
New York has a fair number of kid-friendly restaurants, and you’ll be happy to know that they’re not limited to the loud kid-centered restaurants clustered in Times Square. Your best bet is to go early, around 6-6:30.
Our Pick: Blue Smoke
A Close Second: Les Halles
The Perfect Nightcap: Head to the Top of the Rock for panoramic views of the city.
Savvy New Yorkers know that some of the city’s most savory meals can be had just across the East River. If you’re a repeat visitor to NYC and you’ve only stopped into Grimaldi’s for a slice, it’s time to delve deeper into the borough.
Our Pick: 360
A Close Second: Al Di La Trattoria
The Perfect Nightcap: Mingle with longtime residents and fresh-faced transplants at Brooklyn Social, one of the borough’s star cocktail bars.