It's virtually impossible to narrow the dining options of New York to 10 simple choices. There are so many fabulous restaurants in this "foodie lover's" town. But since I was asked, here are my top picks. My list runs the gamut of expensive to not-so-pricey, casual to elegant, brunch to pre theater dinner and everything in between. Whether your taste buds are crying for French, Italian, American or even Portuguese : these are all exceptional restaurants. Reservations are always highly recommended and in some cases they are even required.
Basso56 is an unpretentious trip to an Italian family kitchen. Chef/owner Paolo Marco Catini features fresh, simple and creative dishes from the Abruzzo region of Italy. This means, don't expect everything to be covered in marinara sauce. Try his crab cakes followed by a heavenly lemon sole.
234 West 56 St
New York City, NY 10019
Gramercy Tavern by Chef Michael Anthony is definitely worth a visit. I ate in the rustic Tavern area where meals are prepared on a wood burning stove. The wine list is massive, the food exceptional and the staff is very knowledgeable. You never know who might show up in their Main Dining Room where they offer a prix-fixe menu which starts at about $90 for dinner. Reservations required for Main Room.
42 E. 20th St New York, NY 10003 212-477-0777
Glass House Tavern is a great choice for pre-theater dinner. Located in the Theater District, let your waiter know you are seeing a show and they will make sure you are served and out of there before the curtain rises. Friends recommended their NY strip steak and it was perfectly grilled and covered with luscious mushrooms. They even offer a pre-theatre Prix Fixe Dinner for $29.95. Great food, service and prices.
252 W 47th St
New York, NY 10036
Bun, pronounced boon, is a small Vietnamese spot in Soho. Bun means "noodles" and Chef Huynh creates some very creative dishes at this under $12 dollar menu. For a delicious Asian meal that won't break the bank, go here.
143 Grand St New York, NY 10013 212-431-7999
Jean Georges is a 3-star Michelin rated hotel inside the Trump International Hotel. For an exquisite meal with spectacular views, their two course lunch priced at $29 is a steal. Prix-fixe dinners run $98 for three courses and $148 for six. One of the best meals I've ever had, a NYC "must."
1 Central Park West New York, NY 10023 212-299-3900 jacket and reservations required
The Spotted Pig, in the West Village, is touted as an Anglo-Italian gastropub. I couldn't really get a handle on what that was supposed to mean but once inside this lively spot you'll find some odd yet tasty items on the menu such as pot roasted rabbit and devils-on-horseback.
314 W 11th St New York City, NY 10014 212-620-0393
Balthazar's is a West Village bakery specializing in Belgian and French delights. I tried it for brunch and found their French toast to die for.
80 Spring St New York City, NY 10012 212-965-1414
Per Se , renowned chef Thomas Keller's restaurant, is all that it is cracked up to be with a small, intimate dining room, lounge, bar and wine cellar. For dinner, Per Se offers two prix fixe tasting menus for $275; a 9 course Tasting of Seasonal Vegetables or the 9 course Chef's Tasting Menu, which changes daily. For lunch, in addition to the two 9 course menus, a shorter 5 course menu is available for $175.
10 Columbus Circle New York, NY 10019 212- 823-9335
Le Bernardin is another great option in the Times Square/Theater District. Service is impeccable and you will know the minute you walk in that this is a very special place. Tall vases filled with fresh, colorful flowers surround you as you dine on their perfectly prepared French seafood created by award winning Chef Eric Ripert .
155 W 51st St New York City, NY 10019 212-554-1515
Aldea is a hip, lively little spot tucked away so well you might miss it if you don't know where you are going. Chef George Mendes creates artful and tasty Portuguese dishes with a French flair. Everyone insisted I try the Arroz de pato (duck rick) and I was so impressed with the dish I plan to return soon. Try the sangria, it is quite different from any sangria you've ever had.
31 West 17th St New York City, NY 10011 212-675-7223
There are about 20 more I'd like to add to this list, as New York is paradise for a food lover like me. Depending on your taste, budget and location there are more than enough options for the perfect meal in New York!
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