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New York City Travel Guide

Where to Eat in NYC: Summer 2015

Alice Gao

Summer means a retreat to lighter fare, grilled seafood, and meat offerings plus plenty of craft cocktails. Fortunately, an onslaught of new Manhattan and Brooklyn restaurants focuses on a variety of cuisines, from fish tacos to Sicilian spreads to modern Korean comfort food. Of course, in the city’s true diverse fashion, you'll find these spots housed in corner digs, a renowned museum, and swanky hotels. Here are our twelve favorite newcomers that will please a variety of savvy palates, styles, and budgets.

By Kate Donnelly

Ayla Christman
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WHERE: East Village

This small, stylish space presents modern Korean fare with Instagram-ready, artful presentations. Oiji‘s industrious co-owners and chefs Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku (who cut their teeth at Bouley and Gramercy Tavern) are behind the shareable plates of comfort food classics like slow-cooked oxtail with root vegetables, slow-cooked pork belly with kimchi, and a ssam platter (for two) of spiced tofu, pork, and sticky rice wrapped snuggly in lotus leaves. Don't overlook the assorted kimchi side, which includes habit-forming pickled ramps, or the drinks list, which features Korean liquors that are virtually impossible to find elsewhere in the U.S. Don't let the casual setting fool you—this is undoubtedly one of the best new restaurants in town.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Anna Webber
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WHERE: Chelsea

Michelin-starred chef George Mendes (of Aldea) has opened a roomy, no-reservations restaurant called Lupulo (“hops” in Portuguese), flanked mostly by a large horseshoe-shaped bar. The décor features high ceilings, mod lighting, and a single wall of white and blue tiles. Inside the open kitchen, the focus is on Portuguese food of a more casual nature than you'll find at his other restaurant, including small plates of salty grilled sardines and crispy shrimp turnovers, and mains like oven-baked octopus and a salt cod casserole for two. Sip on some specialty beer or look into the all-Portuguese wine menu, which includes a refreshing Vinho Verde.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Alexander Stein
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Local, sustainable cuisine—primarily of the fish variety—is the focus of Seamore’s, helmed by The Meatball Shop’s Michael Chernow. Inspired by Montauk fish shacks, the casual 70-seat room is an exercise in wood, with floor-to-celling windows and hints of mint green. An open kitchen produces seasonal seared fish tacos, black bean sauce, and blackened fish sandwiches; the curry mussels and blistered shishito peppers are easy crowd pleasers. Everything washes down with an on-tap craft beer or a mezcal-laced Old Fashioned.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Paul Wagtouicz
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Chef John McDonald, of Bowery Meat Company and Lure Fishbar, has opened his new, 100-seat Sessanta inside the revamped SIXTY SoHo. Chef Jordan Frosolone (Hearth and Momofuku) is calling the shots with an eclectic menu of Sicilian coastal fare like braised octopus, a roast chicken for two, fennel tortellini with sardines, and street food-style offerings like lamb belly with green onions and lemon. The dining room is a meld of earthy tones, tile floors, and blue velvet banquets. Opt for the outdoor patio for a light al fresco dining experience.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of The Clocktower
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The Clocktower

WHERE: Flatiron District

London-based (and Michelin-starred) chef Jason Atherton and restaurateur Stephen Starr have teamed up to create a handsome, clubby, luxe dining experience in three rooms overlooking Madison Square Park inside the chic New York EDITION. The approach at The Clocktower is “tavern food,” and your meal should commence with Champagne as you nibble on hand-chopped steak tartare with roasted bone marrow. Move on to the roasted turbot with anchovy butter, zucchini, and broccoli, then share a few decadent bites of macaroni and cheese with morels and slow-cooked ox cheek. For desert, try the Pink Lady apple tarte tatin. Afterward, retreat to the purple-felted billiard room for a game of pool.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Alice Gao
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Untitled at the Whitney

WHERE: Meatpacking District

On the ground level of the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum of American Art is Untitled at the Whitney, with both chef Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern) and restaurateur Danny Meyer operating behind the scenes. The open kitchen, flanked by a long bar, is minimalist in décor (white oak, stainless steel, and Knoll chairs with red cushions), and the small menu is divvied into four parts. Try the grilled monkfish with green garlic and lobster sauce; vegetable lovers will appreciated the braised artichokes and string beans with sesame sauce. After your meal, why not stroll the High Line?

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Ashley Randone
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MP Taverna Brooklyn

WHERE: Williamsburg

Creative Greek classics have landed in Williamsburg thanks to chef Michael Psilakis’ fourth MP Taverna outpost, MP Taverna Brooklyn. The refurbished warehouse seats 120 and is filled with wooden tables, chairs, a live orange tree, and a long bar to sample the on-tap sangria or one of twenty craft beers. Plates are served family-style, and there’s a hearty selection of grilled whole fish like crispy cod with garlicky potato sauce, meats like a 45-day dry aged steaks, and generous dishes including spicy Greek paella.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Evan Sung
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WHERE: Lower East Side

The Bowery is the place to be—as is the chic, sparse, and industrial Rebelle. The restaurant is helmed by Daniel Eddy, who formerly worked in the Paris kitchen of Spring, and has returned to his native New York to serve French classics with a contemporary application. The room off the main dining area affords you a view of the open kitchen and chef’s counter. Try the lamb tartare with green chickpeas, olives, yogurt, and espelette and the crowd-pleasing chicken with potatoes, sorrel, and lemon preserve. A stellar wine selection of 1,500 bottles plays a key role thanks to knowledgeable wine director Patrick Cappiello.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Virginia's
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WHERE: East Village

There’s talent galore behind intimate 38-seater Virginia's, named after both Christian Ramos’ (Per Se) and Reed Adelson’s (Locanda Verde) mothers. The cozy space projects an old-school bistro style with smoked mirrors, white brick walls, vaulted ceilings, and cool tan banquettes. The menu puts a modern spin on the classics, like roasted duck with fermented soybeans, radishes, chives, and plum; and a traditional hanger steak with Argentine chorizo and bok choy. For desert, go for the baumkuchen (a spit cake) with apricot, anise hyssop, and cherry.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Dimes
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WHERE: Lower East Side

At long last, the newly relocated, California cuisine–inspired Dimes has opened with 35 seats and an expanded menu of old favorites and new selections. Sample the buratta with pesto and roasted asparagus, or the braised sunchokes with marinated goat cheese. Large plates include a pulled-pork bowl with jasmine rice and pineapple, and Thai salmon with grapefruit, coconut, chili, roe, and mint. Between lunch and dinner, stop by for small plates and herb-infused apéritifs, or if you’re in a rush, the restaurant’s to-go shop is an organic market stocked with fresh produce and natural apothecary items.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Daniel Krieger
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Grand Army Bar

WHERE: Boerum Hill

Oysters and small seafood plates pair easily with cocktails, beer, and cider in this 60-seat Boerum Hill bar. The American Construction League designed Grand Army Bar’s casual interior, complete with a custom oyster bar and wood-burning fireplace. Start with an Arrowhead Ltd (Campari, mezcal, Carpano Antica, and IPA) and move on to the fresh oysters and small plates like toasts with smoked shrimps, ramps, zucchini, and watercress, or asparagus with egg yolk and aged pecorino. A light summer meal never tasted better.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Alta Linea Garden
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Alta Linea Garden

WHERE: Chelsea

You'll find ample, manicured green space with a fountain and banquette seating at Alta Linea Garden. The quiet outdoor concept at the High Line Hotel serves Italian fare by the Epicurean Group (responsible for West Village hits like dell’anima and Anfora). On a sultry summer day, start with an apéritif in the form of a cool, slushy Negroni concocted by beverage master Joe Campanale. The menu is all about pork meatball polenta, fried artichokes, and grilled flatbreads with cannellini beans and preserved lemons. For more filling main courses, order a baked branzino in parchment or the roasted chicken.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide