The NYC Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In NYC – New York – The Infatuation

The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in NYC. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.

Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at nyc@theinfatuation.com.

Whether you’re looking for in-person dining, takeout, or delivery, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support. Read on to find your new favorites.

THE SPOTS

Beloved Bengali street cart Tong finally opened their first brick and mortar store in Jamaica, so you no longer have to work through their delightful wreaths of fuchka standing on the street with a Tide Stick, hoping for the best. A permanent location also means an expanded menu, with A-plus luchi plates added to the roster alongside their fuchka, chatpati, and vorta, which are as good as ever. It’s great to see one of our favorite food carts (and restaurants) in the city expand, and we’re looking forward to trying whatever other classic, complex street foods they’ll add to the menu with a real kitchen on site. 

Good Fork Pub in Red Hook has inviting barn doors, brick walls, and British pub food that features Korean flavors. We’re forever loyal to their veggie burger, a fried green mung bean patty that gets a slightly smoky flavor thanks to some Vegemite aioli. The menu also has other intriguing items like a Korean cheesesteak and a fried chicken sandwich with gochujang sauce—but if you don’t want to have a full meal, you’d be just as happy coming with a group to drink some pints and share a pot of the spicy-sweet kimchi beer cheese.

Little Flower Cafe serves excellent food and some of the best coffee in Astoria. We highly recommend the Firni Doughnut and the Gochujang Chicken Sandwich with tart pickles, slaw, and a creamy mayo, all smashed inside of a pillow-soft bun. You could easily have a first date or an hours-long catchup with a friend here, or you could park yourself with a book and consume one excellent cup of coffee after another.

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Located right next to the MoMA, 53’s space is fittingly contemporary and objectively gorgeous. The main floor looks like a mini airport hanger designed by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, and you’ll see sweeping curvy, rainbow-colored blades in the opulent downstairs room. Start your meal at this modern Asian restaurant from the Marea team with the flawlessly-made chicken and truffle soup dumplings. Once you try them, you’ll know you’re in for a night of impeccable food—like skate covered in sambal and a unique mango pudding with greek yogurt ice cream. In a city with no shortage of high-end dining destinations, this stylish restaurant is one of your best options for an upscale dinner.

Just when we thought it was physically impossible for a restaurant opened by Momofuku alumni and serving “European” food to excite us, Claud rolls in and upends our expectations. Eating here feels like hanging in the cozy-yet-chic East Village apartment of your chef friends who don’t make a big deal about how talented they are. The menu will change seasonally, but right now, you want to make sure you order the razor clams, tomato mille feuille, and swordfish au poivre. Finish with a dish of ice cream and the devil’s food cake for two, which reminds us of that chocolate cake in Matilda (in a good way).

When José Andrés isn’t busy trying to save the world, he’s opening restaurants like this Eastern Mediterranean spot (from D.C.) in the Ritz-Carlton in Nomad. The spacious blue and white dining room makes you feel like you’re at a fancy seaside resort, and soon after you sit, someone will bring you puffy pita. Bring a group and share some subtly rich bone marrow kibbeh, sautéed shrimp in creamy mustard sauce, and spiced ground lamb hummus with pickled vegetables. Tables for dinner are tough to get, so give your boss a heads up about your “chiropractor appointment” this week, and plan a leisurely lunch here.

Really good barbecued meat on a stick is hard to beat. At Dhom, a Lao spot in the East Village, they’ve pretty much mastered the form. They have three types of skewers: duck heart, hanger steak, and chicken thigh, all marinated in a sweet-and-smoky sauce and served on little wooden sticks charred black from the fire. Get them with a side of sticky rice, served with a garlicky chili sauce that will make your lips buzz. Pad out your order with spring rolls and a crunchy coconut rice salad. The food here is snacky and designed for drinking, so avail yourself of their extensive list of beer, sake, and cocktails.

You might head to Rockefeller Center only once a year to glance at a very tall tree that was sacrificed to wear an outfit of colored lights. This brasserie is another reason to go there. Le Rock is from the Frenchette team, so it’s no surprise that the food here is French and the large Art Deco space is packed every night. If you’ve ever wanted to eat the Peter Luger burger like a steak, get the rich dry-aged steak haché. Grilled swordfish and pillowy agnolotti are cooked just right, and the whipped cheese and confit garlic on baguette is reason enough to keep coming back.

Potluck Club sits on the border of Chinatown and the LES, and the food is Cantonese-American. Dishes like salt and pepper chicken served with chive biscuits, pickled jalapeños, and a chili crisp jam embody the restaurant’s concept while also being the kind of things you want to eat every day. This spot was opened by the folks behind Milk & Cream bar, so it’s no surprise that dessert—Dole Whip soft serve topped with a bolo bao crumble—should not be skipped. We also love the nostalgia-inducing mocktails that are basically chic riffs on the flavors of salty lemon 7-Up and citron tea.

There are Great Restaurants, and there are Important Restaurants. HAGS is, without question, an Important Restaurant. Eating at this tiny East Village spot—billed as “by queer people, for all people”—is like taking a walk through Alice’s looking glass and coming out the other side. After a meal here, you’ll have a new perspective not only on what fine dining can be, but what a restaurant can do for its community. Whether you choose the Omnivore ($155) or Vegan ($145) tasting menu (better yet, go with someone else, get both, and share), don’t skip the wine pairing, which features some of the most exciting options we’ve ever been served.

The West Village never seems to get sick of Italian restaurants, but Arthur & Sons stands out as a fun addition. At this red sauce spot, you eat big plates of pasta and chicken marsala and drink colorful, playful cocktails. The room is bright and cozy, there’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and they focus on doing the classics well. Order the spicy rigatoni, and add the tender meatballs that fall apart upon contact with your fork. If you want some things to share with the table, get the large artichokes cooked piccata-style and the heap of lettuce with just enough caesar dressing.

This Vietnamese spot (only open Friday through Sunday) has transitioned from pop-ups to a permanent location on Forsyth Street in Chinatown, and they specialize in bún đậu mắm tôm. Their “special” version comes with all the fixings: rice noodles, shrimp paste, crispy intestine, juicy tofu, silky pork belly, sausages both blood- and meat-based, and a pile of herbs worthy of a parfumier. But you shouldn’t stop there. Be sure to order the apple nails stuffed with a mixture of lemongrass-scented pork and the chả chem chép, a dill-y sliced sausage made from mussels.

At Lyseé, you head up a set of concrete stairs to a minimalist gallery that wouldn’t be out of place in the Chelsea art world. Only instead of paintings, the folks milling about the space are analyzing resin replicas of what they’re about to order. Try the Corn mousse cake (which looks like an actual ear of corn) and the caramel-praline Lyseé that’s so good they literally named it after the place. You might have to stand in an hour-long line for your desserts, but they’ll serve you a little cup of iced chamomile tea while you wait your turn to wander the aisles of pastry.

Citrico Cafe is the type of restaurant you’ll love if you feel too old for the club. It’s not a party restaurant, exactly, but there’s a bright bar in the center that sets the tone, and everyone’s always having a good time. Focus on the taco menu, and order more than you planned as Happy Hour turns into a Tuesday night out. The filet mignon tacos consist of tender slices of beef in toasted handmade flour tortillas, and Citrico’s take on al pastor comes with a buttery slab of char siu pork belly in a blue-corn tortilla. You’ll see groups pregaming with cocktails or ordering margaritas until 1am, but you can tuck into a corner and have a more intimate date here as well.

Of all the things one can get at an Italian restaurant, we don’t know if we’ve ever been dying to order the spaghetti pomodoro. But if there’s anywhere to eat your rent-week favorite in public, it’s Cafe Spaghetti, where you can get a simple tomato-and-basil sauce on handmade pasta that tastes like your everyday spaghetti if it went through an episode of Rustic Rehab on HGTV. Cafe Spaghetti serves simple, quality Italian food, and it’s the perfect addition to the Carroll Gardens aesthetic. They have a super cute yard filled with small round tables under yellow umbrellas, and we’ll be returning for breezy summertime dinners of pasta, octopus salad, and tiramisu that deserves its own fan club.

The two-block stretch in Elmhurst that’s home to Khao Kang and Ayada is an intimidating place to open a Thai restaurant. But Zaab Zaab, a newer Isan Thai spot serving dishes packed with lots of chilies, herbs, and lemongrass, holds its own and then some. The menu is broken up into a bunch of different sections (grilled, fish, som tum, etc.), and you should treat it like an urgent checklist. Get the juicy larb with crispy duck skin, and be sure to have a hot pot in the middle of your table. We like the one with chunks of baby back rib that soak up the citrusy broth. If you’re a party of six or more, you can call for a reservation, otherwise, stop by with one other person and grab a table on the little astroturf patio.

Nine Orchard, a new hotel on Orchard and Canal, is the Lower East Side’s biggest opening in a while. And that’s saying something, considering we struggle to keep up with the number of places that open around here on a weekly basis. The hotel’s main event, so far, is Corner Bar, an American bistro run by the chef behind Estela, Altro Paradiso, and Lodi. Here, you’ll eat caesar salad, oysters Rockefeller, steak au poivre, and some of the city’s best french fries. The food is less inventive than at its sister spots, but it's well-executed in every case. Plus, you’re also here for what’s quickly turning into a real scene—we sat next to someone who put sunglasses on during the meal.

The Noortwyck serves dishes you may have seen at other West Village establishments, such as kale, crudo, pasta, and roast chicken. But they make all of these things extremely well, and with some extra flair. The cacio e pepe, for example, has juicy white asparagus instead of pasta, and the crudo comes with a tart cucumber dashi mignonette. Reservations are tough right now, but the whole front area (a few tables, plus all the bar seats) is saved for walk-ins, so try this place for an impressive last-minute meal. The dining room is all earth-tones-and-leather, and the wine list is extensive, with everything from $55 options to bottles of vintage Dom.

At this Israeli place on 8th Street, the ever-changing menu is typed out daily in Comic Sans font, with dish names like “370 Pea & their pea shoots (don’t try to count them)” or “Veal cheek that reminds me that I am a genius.” There's also an all-absinthe cocktail menu (don’t worry, they have a full bar too), and on our first visit, our server pulled up a seat at our table to take our order. In other words, this place marches to its own drum. It’s from the same owner of the party restaurant HaSalon in Midtown, but with a more toned-down approach and less (actually, zero) dancing on tables. Breads and vegetables are a good place to start, but we like the bigger protein dishes best, especially the roasted lamb neck that reminds us of a Thai larb and the whole mackerel served with a big chunk of challah.

Daniel Boulud opened his first NYC restaurant several decades ago, but these days, you might know him more for calling something “pseudo crudo” on Top Chef or cooking rooster testicles for Colbert. Le Gratin in Fidi will remind you why he became a celebrity in the first place: for cooking really good French food. Modeled after bistros in Boulud’s hometown of Lyon, this spot offers several bottles of wine under $100 to go with fried escargots in a spinach-herb sauce, perfectly tender duck breast, and, of course, a gratin made with gruyère and scalloped potatoes. The room, filled with mirrored walls and flowers painted on tiles, feels romantic and casual, and it's an ideal setting to celebrate a relationship status-related occasion without having to put on a jacket or a fancy dress.

Le Dive is in the middle of Dimes Square—the Lower East Side micro-neighborhood where fashion trends go to live fast and die young—and it’s exactly the sort of place you’d expect to find there. This natural wine bar is cute and buzzy, and it attracts the sort of people who wear slip dresses and loafers. The French cafe-inspired space is pretty small, and those loafer-wearing people tend to claim every single table, but there’s a big outdoor patio with additional seating (although that's usually full too). They don’t take reservations, so you might have to wait an hour for your table, but if you’re looking for a scene, a glass of wine, and some above-average small plates, this place is worth a wait. We especially like the peppery steak tartare and the big chunk of lightly smoked tuna with dill crème.

Bed-Stuy’s OStudio is a creative coworking space and cafe where you’ll find artists making ceramics during daylight hours. But from 5-10pm, the space turns into a wine bar called OStudio at Night with a tightly curated wine selection, a list of small plates, and rotating dishes from bi-weekly chef residencies. OStudio does very well for itself with its own in-house menu–the creamy duck rillette and toasted coconut flan are essential–but the pop-up menus are also worth a try. On a recent visit, chef Omri Silberstein of June Wine Bar was serving deeply flavorful roasted radishes with the unexpected addition of roe (a combination we fully intend to steal for dinner parties), in addition to maitake mushrooms crisped up in seaweed butter. Even if you don’t live nearby, make a trip over to this wine bar for your next date night.

One of our highest rated Philly restaurants, the Israeli grillhouse Laser Wolf, recently opened a location on the roof of the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg, and you should make a reservation ASAP. Laser Wolf is modeled after the Israeli skewer houses known as shipudiya, and they’re serving meat, fish, and vegetables cooked over an open fire. But what you’re really going to remember is the glorious platter of vegetarian salatim every table receives at the beginning of the meal. You’ll get about a dozen metal bowls of things like a potato salad with silky radishes, a smooth babaganoush, and a light, fresh fennel and orange salad that tastes particularly good on top of the grilled trout. The seating is outdoors (but covered), and you can feel a breeze from the East River while you look out at the Manhattan skyline.