Wondering where you should be eating in New York City right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off countless spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 11/26/19): Anton’s, The Riddler, Mina’s
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the American Express ® Gold Card. Click here to learn more about the benefits and rewards you get from paying with the Amex Gold Card while dining out.
Anton’s might have only just replaced Frankie’s 570 in the West Village, but it feels like this Italian restaurant has both been around forever and is here to stay. On our first visit a week into service, it was already running like a well-oiled machine, and almost everything we tried we’d want to eat again. With its dark wood, long bar, and ideal amount of candlelight, it’s the kind of place that makes you want to become a regular who has a standing martini and steak and/or pasta order. Speaking of which, the pastas are where we’d recommend you focus your order.
Not all museum restaurants are created equal. And Mina’s, the new Greek small plates spot in MoMA PS1, is proof. Unlike most museum cafeterias or upscale restaurants that feel like museums themselves, Mina’s is both casual and pleasant. The bright space is ideal for a brunch or snack involving things like a creamy muhammara, perfectly oily anchovies, and an excellent Greek egg and cheese boat peinirli. Take someone here who likes natural wine, Sally Rooney books, and the color seafoam. They’ll want to move in.
While we were drinking from a Chambong at The Riddler in the West Village, the couple at the table over stared at us, so transfixed by what they were seeing that they forgot they were holding shrimp cocktail in midair. Whether you want to have a classy evening involving raw bar and several glasses of Champagne, or debauchery by way of Chambong and glasses of wine filled to the literal brim, you’ll have a good time at this Champagne bar in the West Village. Just be sure to order the raclette burger and to make a reservation - the space is small and there’s very little room for walk-ins.
If you’re someone who thinks chicken is the elevator music of restaurant food, Frangos Peri Peri in the East Village will change that. A quarter of Portuguese-style chicken here costs $8 and comes covered in your choice of six sauces - we suggest mixing both the hot and the garlic and herb. If you hate making decisions or want to feel like you’re at a cake tasting but for chicken, order the wing roulette. It’s an assortment of twelve wings all drenched in the different sauces, and you won’t know which one is which until you eat it. Frangos is the ideal “I had a garbage day” meal, and even though it’s just a counter place with a few seats, you’ll want to tell all your friends about it.
If you’re looking for some quality hot pot in Chinatown, you have a bunch of great options. But as long you’re willing to spend just a little bit more than you would at an all-you-can-eat place like 99 Favor Taste, Da Yu is where you should go. The broths are excellent (especially the spicy two-flavor one) and the ingredients range from a big ball of cuttlefish paste to some tender wagyu cubes that arrive on a small pedestal as if you’re supposed to display them in your home. And - for how good everything is - the prices are pretty reasonable. (A big beef combo is around $35.) It’s also BYOB at the moment, and, as an added bonus, there are toothbrushes in the bathrooms.
Zooba is a fast-casual restaurant in the same way that Bob Ross is a watercolor painter. It’s technically true, but there’s a lot more exciting context. This is the first US location of an Egyptian spot with several locations in Cairo, and it’s officially where you should be getting lunch or a quick dinner in the Soho area. The ceiling in here is covered with neon signs and it’s pretty difficult not to admire the flashing lights above you while you wait in line. But the food is more memorable than any of that. The specialty is the ta’ameya (fried balls made out of fava beans), which you can and should order spicy, but we also love the hawawshi beef patty sandwich with cheese. Most things come on a soft homemade Egyptian pita called baladi and everything costs under $15. If you work anywhere downtown - we suggest beelining here.
Nami Nori feels like a tiny West Village boutique or a cinematic version of the afterlife. It’s a bright and attractive space on Carmine Street with two bars and just a handful of tables, and pretty much everything is either white, off-white, or a soothing shade of light brown. They specialize in hand rolls that are left open like tacos (instead of being cylindrical or cone-shaped). And of the 20 different kinds - like tuna poke with crispy shallots, lobster tempura with yuzu aioli, and a few classic varieties - the least-complicated ones are the best. For $28 you can get a chef’s selection of five rolls, and there are also a bunch of small plates like shishito peppers and miso clam soup, most of which cost less than $10. Start with one or two of those, get the chef’s selection, and you’ll have a very good and reasonably priced (for sushi) meal.
F&F Pizzeria is a new pizza place from the people behind Frankies 457 Spuntino and Franks Wine Bar, and it also happens to be located in a converted garage between these two very good Italian spots in Carroll Gardens. But unlike its neighbors, F&F is a counter-service slice shop with a rotating list of minimal toppings that you eat in slice form or as a whole $25 pie. The crust is crispy, the sauce is incredible, and the cheese tastes like it came straight from a cow in the back. There are no chairs, tables, or even ledges here, but you can stand on the curb out front, stare lovingly at your half-finished slice, and wonder how many of the world’s problems could be solved by bringing together a few people who treat bread like a vitamin.
When the servers bring the third course of the tasting menu at Red Paper Clip, they’ll tell you that the egg yolk between the two slices of brioche is cooked at exactly 72 degrees. Even if you usually just cook eggs on high until you smell smoke, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail when the brioche, egg, and trout lox all come together in your first bite. That same level of thoughtfulness shows up in all six courses, many of which have Chinese influences, like the soup dumpling agnolotti in a black vinegar broth or the beef carpaccio with Sichuan oil. The food at this West Village tasting menu spot comes from two Blue Hill At Stone Barns chefs, and wouldn’t feel out of place in a white tablecloth restaurant that charges twice as much (dinner here starts at $95), but it’s served in a dark, casual space by servers who make small talk rather than lecture you about cooking techniques. Though maybe they could help with your scrambled eggs.
You’ll know you’ve reached Sushi Jin when you see a koi fish flag hanging outside of a brownstone on 84th Street on the UES. This is the most exciting new omakase place we’ve been to this year, especially because dinner here will involve an uni handroll and won’t cost more than $100. The $95 option comes with 12 pieces of fish (including that handroll) presented like a valuable collection of baseball cards - as well as soup, dessert, and green tea. Each piece of sushi - like sea eel from the Tokyo Bay, cherry sea bream, or seared Japanese barracuda - is thoughtfully dressed with dabs of sauce, yuzu zest, or tiny flakes of hard-boiled egg yolk.
Llama San is the latest place from the people behind Llama Inn, a Peruvian restaurant in Williamsburg we’ve been recommending on repeat since it opened several years ago. But unlike Llama Inn, Llama San serves the type of Japanese-influenced Peruvian food known as Nikkei. There’s a plate of raw hamachi with matcha foam and tiny cubes of coconut, for example, as well as some Japanese eggplant with little mounds of fresh cheese and some bisected red grapes - and both of these dishes are bright, complex, and worth seeking out. We’re also fans of the space, which has a lot of blonde wood and ambient lighting, and we feel compelled to mention that we wanted to steal the plates and other ceramic dishware. So book a table, and bring a date or a friend who wants to have a special dinner. And don’t steal the plates.
The next time you don’t know exactly how big your group will be, when they’ll arrive, how late they’ll stay, or how hungry they’ll be, head to Ainslie. This converted warehouse near the Lorimer L stop in Williamsburg has two bars, an outdoor patio, tons of tables, and a DJ booth - and that’s just the first floor. The second looks like a ski lodge in Aspen, and above that there’s a big open-air rooftop (which isn’t open quite yet). But the best part is that if you wander in with half the people in McCarren Park, you’ll find food that’s better than anything you’d expect from places you typically reserve for Happy Hour or day drinking. We especially like the juicy burger topped with prosciutto and gorgonzola or a pizza with pancetta and a soft egg. Whether you stick around until the DJ closes the place down at 3am is up to you.
The name Win Son Bakery is a little misleading. Because in addition to some excellent doughnuts and other baked goods, this counter-service spot from the Win Son people also serves a few salads and bunch of different sandwiches like a burger with raclette on a milk bun. They also have some crunchy fried chicken covered in a sweet and sour sauce, and it’s one of our favorite things here. However, we could easily just sit in a corner and eat some of Win Son Bakery’s plain scallion pancakes for an hour or two. That’s how much we like the food here. So grab a table in the bright, cafe-like space. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s right across the street from Win Son in East Williamsburg.
If you’re hesitant to travel to Jersey City for a counter-service slice shop, know that we’d make the trip just for the crust. They don’t serve the light, charred crust on its own, though, and most of it comes with perfectly acidic and sweet tomato sauce, and/or mozzarella that’s pulled in-house. The slice variety changes every few minutes, so your choices are entirely dependent on whatever recently came out of the oven. But if you see them, prioritize the sausage and pepper or anchovy and green tomato slices, as well as the rossa and margherita. Since Bread And Salt is BYO, we suggest bringing some red wine, and hanging out for an hour or two so that you can order slice-after-slice without feeling like you’re missing out on whatever’s coming out of the oven.
It’d be easy to assume that The Fulton is a tourist trap. The massive restaurant overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge is inside of a big new development by the Seaport that has a concert venue on the roof, and it’s from a very famous chef who has attached his name to more than 35 restaurants around the world. But none of that matters once you’re seated and eating some of the very best seafood in the city. There’s a phenomenal whole black sea bass served inside a pastry shell that’s more ornate than a Christmas tree in Whoville - and though it would impress any date or client, the Fulton does not feel stuffy.
When you go to Red Hook Tavern and take a bite of the burger, you might wonder why it’s so good. You might even sit there and space out, with some burger on your face, while you try to put all the pieces together. But everything will start to make sense once you realize this place is from the same people behind nearby Hometown Bar-B-Que (one of the single best places to consume meat in the city). This spot is sort of like a modern mashup of Peter Luger and Corner Bistro in a dark, narrow vintage-looking space, and the menu consists of things like the burger, an excellent steak that comes with a side of creamed spinach, and a romaine wedge salad with some of the finest bacon you’ll encounter. And if you don’t want a big piece of meat, there are some things like clams, prawns, and a bowl of grilled corn with ’nduja. Make a reservation, or just stop by and put your name in for a bar seat. Just be sure to get here before the waits match the ones at Hometown Bar-B-Que.
Before you read further, we think you should just go ahead and make a reservation for two at Babs. We have a feeling it’s going to start getting a lot harder to get a table at this new restaurant in Greenwich Village from the team behind Mimi (a French restaurant nearby that we like a lot for celebratory date nights where we wear our nic shoes). While Mimi is the sort of place we’d only suggest bringing someone who you’ve already seen naked, Babs is a bit more casual. It’s got a nice little bar up front and a dining room with mirrors everywhere and green velvet banquettes. The food is generally European and most things are excellent. So far, the smaller plates here are better than the mains, but if you’re in the position to spend money on a whole lobster - Babs’ is stuffed with cream and garlic, and it’s very good (because it’s expensive lobster).
Kichin used to be in a tiny space beneath the JMZ in Williamsburg, and it was a great option for some quick rice balls or bibimbap. That place closed, and now they have a much bigger spot in Bushwick with a multi-level dining room, a DJ booth, and a bar up front. And you should stop by for some fried chicken before more people find out about it. The food here is Korean, and in addition to the (excellent) fried chicken, you can eat a bunch of other things like a whole fish topped with tobiko and some rice cakes with halloumi and mozzarella. It’s a great spot for a casual group dinner because most things cost less than $20 and it turns into a party late at night. That’s what the DJ booth is for.
Pasta is the reason you should set up text updates reminding you to make a reservation at Rezdora. That’s not to say pasta is the only reason you should come to this Italian spot in Flatiron. In fact, it’d be worth coming just for the mozzarella and fried zucchini flower appetizer that should start your meal, or for the housemade gelato that should end it. It’s just that the pastas are really, really good. The seven varieties on the menu range from a spinach pasta stuffed with leeks to others with rich ragu. But our favorite is the spaghettoni with clams, because every bite tastes like a mouthful of briny, baked goodness. Order that with something from the long, all-Italian wine list, and you’ll be happy you set those reminders to make a reservation.
Maison Yaki, the second restaurant from the people behind Olmsted (across the street), is a place of miniatures. Instead of entrees, there are skewers. Instead of normal-sized cocktails, there are slightly shrunken ones. Even the wine and beer glasses make you look at your hands to make sure you haven’t suddenly become a giant. Luckily, the prices at this French-Japanese mashup are downsized too - nothing costs more than $9. The setup makes it easy for you to try a lot on the menu, without spending a crazy amount of money. And while you’ll eat things like duck à l’orange and lobster Americaine skewers, the whole experience feels fun and relaxed. If you’re in a restaurant rut, this is a great place to come and mix it up.
Like most animals on this planet, we enjoy eating outside - and that’s part of the reason why we like Wayla, a new Thai restaurant on the LES that has a backyard filled with potted plants, string lights, and some patio furniture that’s probably nicer than a lot of the stuff you choose to keep indoors. The food here also happens to be excellent, especially the pork sausage and fried branzino. But we’d be keeping secrets if we didn’t tell you to order the noodle-wrapped meatballs and the daily curry too. Bring a few people, so you don’t have to waste time trying to decide between all of these things.
It takes a lot for us to tell you to go out of your way for a diner. But we would advise you do so in the case of Golden Diner, a little spot underneath the Manhattan Bridge with big windows, yellow booths, and lace curtains. The short (for a diner, at least) menu here is what sets it apart - there’s a club sandwich stuffed with chicken katsu, an avocado toast topped with turmeric, thai basil, and galangal, and a bibimbap-style bowl of creamy barley covered in enough vegetables, fruits, and flowers to look and taste like a field that you definitely want to frolic through. Make your next lunch-outside-of-the-office plans here, or stop by for a great tuna melt or burger at night for dinner.
Lokanta is a walk-in only Turkish restaurant in Astoria from the same chef as Sip Sak, another Turkish spot near Grand Central in Midtown East. The menu here is divided into small plates (like a zucchini pancake made with mint and chopped-up dill, and beef bourekas in crispy wrappers) and larger entrees, and you’ll want to split a lot of different things - as long as those things include the roasted lamb with rice. It’s got not-too-sweet currants, flavorful rice, and enough pulled lamb so that you get a piece in almost every bite. Bring some friends or a date, and you’ll be able to have an excellent meal for around $30 per person.
Crown Shy is one of a few new places (like Manhatta) that make us actually excited about getting dinner in FiDi. This new American spot off the lobby of a landmarked luxury apartment building has high ceilings and huge windows, and is perfect for clients or in-laws or anyone you generally want to convince that you have your sh*t together. The food - like hummus that comes with ’nduja and sugar-coated puffed bread, and crispy farro with bone marrow and chunks of oxtail - will also impress just about everyone. But while it’s certainly upscale, Crown Shy doesn’t feel stuffy - the walk-in-only bar area, as well as the open kitchen and surprisingly affordable prices (most dishes are under $20), make it the kind of spot you could go anytime you want to get a little dressed up for a nice night out.
This is the second spot from the people behind Tokyo Record Bar, and as with that restaurant, you’re here for a totally unique eating and drinking experience. At Niche Niche, the emphasis is on the drinking - every night, the wine menu completely changes, and the accompanying food does as well, with the whole menu coming in at $80 per person. We recently went on a night featuring four excellent American wines (like a sparkling from Monterey County and a riesling from the Finger Lakes), and dishes like cioppino and olive oil cake. The food was good - but the wine experience is what makes this place special. The night’s guest sommelier and Niche Niche team wander around the room throughout your two-hour seating, refilling your glass regularly, and you’re free to ask them as many or as few questions about what you’re drinking as you want. It’s already tough to get a reservation, but you could also try your luck walking in after 10pm, when they take walk-ins and you can order a la carte. Whenever you go, you can count on Niche Niche feeling like a party.
Sometimes, you only have to do one thing very well. Just look at The Container Store, or the near-identical characters Jason Statham plays in all his movies. The Fly, a new place in Bed-Stuy from the people behind Hart’s, is another great example. The menu here is tiny, and the only real entree is rotisserie chicken. You can either get a whole or a half, and it’ll come out so juicy and flavorful, you’ll want to walk into the kitchen and start asking questions. Add some fries and sauteed greens, plus a few glasses of wine (most of which are under $15), and you’ll have an excellent meal that shouldn’t cost more than $50 per person. The only downside is that this place doesn’t take reservations, and there aren’t too many tables. But there’s a big area up front where you can wait (or eat by yourself).