One of the best parts of traveling to or living in New York is the food. It seems like on every corner there’s a hole-in-the-wall place that serves up surprisingly good flavors. But with so many options, finding the restaurants or diners that really stand out is nearly impossible. That’s why we put together this list of a handful of our favorite and what we find to be the most unique spots to dine at in New York. Whether you’re on the hunt for a casual joint or something more upscale, you’ll find that one of the restaurants in our varied list below will fit the bill.
Address: 104 E 30th St, New York, NY 10016
Investment: Avg. $205+ per person
Experience: Minimalist in style, this restaurant’s menu is anything but plain. Husband and wife Junghyun (chef) and Ellia Park (manager), have crafted an innovative 10-course tasting menu that walks you through the rich flavors of Korean tradition and technique. These dishes are offered with beverage pairings and are enjoyed at the Chef’s Counter -- an environment that’s personable and intimate. Want something a little more casual? Stop by their Lounge Bar (in the same building) where you can order classic cocktails with a Korean twist alongside small bites.
Atomix, a follow-up to Atoboy, is a place where guests dive deep into Chef Park's 10-course tasting menu that best highlight the new Korean cuisine.
Address: 47 E Houston St 1st floor, New York, NY 10012
Cuisine: New American
Investment: Avg. $50+ per person
Experience: With vibes of an upscale café, Estela has been described as having “the very essence of downtown chic.” The elegance of the seating and oversized bulb lighting is perfectly balanced by the grit of the exposed brick and industrial-style ceiling vent. As for flavor, you’ll find Chef Ignacio Mattos has created an exquisite menu of small plates like burrata on toast, tartare and ricotta dumplings that offer an American spin on Mediterranean fare. While newer than the other restaurants we’re featuring, Estela has already been awarded one Michelin Star and two stars from the New York Times and New York Magazine.
Estela is a restaurant in downtown Manhattan from chef Ignacio Mattos. Set one floor above Houston Street, it is a bistro at heart, taking familiar ideas like tartare, ricotta dumplings, burrata on toast, fried rice, and steak, and presenting them in new, satisfying ways.
Address: 75 St Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Investment: Avg. $50 per person
Experience: From their homemade yogurt to their braised lamb shank, Sofreh is everything you could ever want in authentic Persian dining. Even the name “Sofreh” is a traditional term for a particular Persian fabric that would serve as the tablecloth backdrop for the presentation of food. As everyone eating would gather around this cloth, Sofreh took on deeper meanings of family, togetherness, and sharing. That familial-style experience is what you’ll get dining at this incredible restaurant. Inside the space, you’ll see mostly white with wood-beam ceilings; however, you’ll feel a sense of home.
The New Yorker By Hannah Goldfield Food is the language through which Nasim Alikhani best knows how to express herself. Her earliest and fondest memories are of staying indoors during the summer as a child, preparing foods and making jams and pickles with her mother.
Address: 281 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010
Investment: Avg. $100+ per person
Experience: The keyword here is romance. Impeccably designed with brass chandeliers, expansive high ceilings, and knotted wood flooring, Verōnika offers the elegance of twentieth-century Eastern Europe. As for the menu, Executive Chef Robert Aikens presents classic European dishes that will take you on a gastronomic journey from Budapest to Paris, with a few stops along the way. From comforting borscht soup to sublime filet de beouf, you’ll find every bite to be equally traditional and other-worldly.
Romantically reminiscent of Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, Verōnika is a grand European café that will take you on a culinary journey from Paris to Budapest. Starr's borscht-slinging Veronika is an objectively opulent restaurant.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Address: 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013
Cuisine: Dim Sum
Investment: Avg. $30 per person
Experience: Don’t let the single dollar sign fool you, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is one of the most unique restaurants in New York. While slightly resembling an American diner in looks, this restaurant is far from burgers and fries. In fact, it’s New York’s first dim sum joint, dating back to 1920. Grab a comfortable spot at one of the red leather booths, order a tea, mark your selections on the menu and enjoy. From their beef rice roll dim sum to their fried crab claw dim sum, you really can’t go wrong.
Vintage dim sum parlor dating back to 1920, Nom Wah is based in New York's downtown Chinatown. Also open in Nolita and Philadelphia.
Nobu Fifty Seven
Address: 40 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
Investment: Avg. $50+ per person
Experience: Set in an impressively designed, Asian-inspired space, Nobu Fifty Seven offers an equally impressive menu. Nobu’s spin on classic Japanese dishes is featured in items like their Black Cod Miso and Tiradito Nobu Style. An exotic escape from Midtown Manhattan, Nobu Fifty Seven’s decor stands out with abalone shell chandeliers, scorched ash tables, suspended sake barrels and more. Finished with soft lighting, this refined space is dripping with ambiance -- perfect for taking a date or an intimate group of friends.
Experience Nobu in the heart of Midtown Manhattan with Bar & Lounge, Sushi Bar, Cocktails & more. Reserve now.
Mercado Little Spain
Address: 10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
Investment: Avg. $30 per person
Experience: A little different from our other recommendations, this spot is actually a market. The market is filled with kiosks where you can opt for a quick tapa as well as three notable restaurants where you can enjoy a slow Spanish-style dinner. The first restaurant, Leña, serves meats, seafood and vegetables, all cooked over embers for an incredible flavor. The second, Mar, is more seafood-focused, featuring shellfish from the Atlantic cliffs of North Spain and bluefin tuna from Spain’s Mediterranean. Finally, Spanish Diner is a classic American-style diner with an Iberian spin. Here, you can order large portions of your Spanish favorites like gazpacho andaluz and arroz a la cubana.
Mercado Little Spain by Chef José Andrés is an all-day dining destination that brings the best products and recipes of Spain to New York City's Hudson Yards.