In few other situations does New York’s “melting pot” ideal come through better than in the restaurants that populate this diverse city. Traditionally immigrant Manhattan neighborhoods like Little Italy and Chinatown offer outstanding restaurants with authentic cuisine. In addition to old world favorites, some of the globe’s leading upscale restaurants can be found in the city. Top international chefs come to New York to try their hand, and visitors get to reap the delicious results.
There are several foods for which New York is known. For example, you can’t talk about “New York” and “food” without mentioning cheesecake. Junior’s, with several locations around the city, is the most famous cheesecake maker in the city; Mona Lisa Pastry in Brooklyn serves a ricotta cheesecake baked in a coal-fired brick oven; the signature cheesecake at Yura & Company on Madison Avenue is slightly lemony and fluffy; and Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in SoHo is incredibly light and not too sweet.
Deli food is another uniquely New York cuisine. Carnegie Deli in Midtown is an NYC landmark famous for its enormous pastrami sandwiches and cheesecake; Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side made a cameo appearance in the movie When Harry Met Sally and still hand-carves corned beef and pastrami; and Zabar’s Café on the Upper West Side is practically a New York institution because of its scrumptious bagels, meats, smoked fish, and exceptional coffee.
Reserve a table at one of these gourmet restaurants for a world-class dining experience:
21 West 52nd Street, Midtown West, New York, NY 10019
An Award-winning wine list, seamless service, superior cuisine and historical surroundings set ‘21’ apart. This prohibition-era speakeasy still exudes jazz-age elegance, and is set in a four-storey townhouse. Chef John Greeley endeavors to satisfy everyone with dishes like the famous '21' burger, as well as contemporary dishes such as risotto of squab and wild mushrooms with butternut squash, Parmesan foam, and black truffles.
65 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022
The first Scandinavian restaurant to open in America, today it’s known as the best. The restaurant itself, as well as co-owner and founding chef Marcus Samuelsson, have earned many prestigious awards for the innovative and constantly evolving menu. Unique highlights of Aquavit include its house blend of alcohols such as Vargtass-Lingonberry and the traditional Swedish smorgasbord every Sunday.
34 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065
Housed in a two-story brownstone, Aureole has made headlines for two decades with its progressive American cuisine, earning many lucrative awards along the way. It maintains its place in the hearts of New Yorkers and visitors alike due to its intimate ambience and sensational menu that features entrees like pan-roasted halibut with spring asparagus and risotto and luscious desserts such as roasted banana gateau with frozen rum custard.
56 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004
Arguably serving the best steaks in the world, Delmonico’s is remarkable not only for its succulent cuts of beef, but for its history as well. It was the first fine dining restaurant in the country when it opened in 1837; it also has the distinction of being the place where many culinary favorites were invented—namely Baked Alaska, Lobster Newberg, and Eggs Benedict.
42 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003
An incredibly popular New York dining destination, Gramercy Tavern features a sizeable menu of modern American cuisine. Dine on three- to seven-course menus consisting of items such as grilled baby octopus with shaved fennel, stuffed quail with a sweet corn relish, and fish stew with tomato-saffron broth.
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
A modern American restaurant with innovative dishes and techniques, per se quickly became a favorite of discerning diners. Only 15 tables are offered in the simple but elegant dining room, so a meal there is an exclusive treat. It’s notable for its non-tipping culture; rather, it’s taken a page from the European tradition of adding a service charge. You may feel like tipping anyway after dining on the mouth-watering tasting menus.
60 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
This exquisite French restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Daniel Boulud, who has created an opulent setting and stunning menu. The seasonal menus include fare such as morels with duck and foie gras stuffing and Maine sea scallops layered with black truffle in golden puff pastry.
141 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013
Dining at Rosanjun is an event, and neither the ambience nor the food disappoints. The harmonious, beautiful design and courtly service is orchestrated by owner Jungjin Park, who personally ensures that guests have a divine experience. The exceptional tasting menu includes the very best of Japanese cuisine, and its sushi chefs are among the best in the world.
165 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013
Scalini Fedeli offers guests both traditional and modern takes on Italian cuisine—with a definite French influence thrown in. It’s hard to argue with unique dishes like wild striped bass with a Sicilian olive-tomato jus and caponata with currants. Come for the atmosphere as well; dramatic vaulted ceilings and antiques create a warm Tuscan feeling.