Restaurants

The 10 best restaurants in NYC
From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers, these are the best restaurants in NYC you need to know about right now

Eleven Madison Park
Swiss chef Daniel Humm still mans the kitchen post-revamp at this Gramercy jewel, which began life as a brasserie before evolving into one of the city’s most rarefied and progressive eateries. The service is famously mannered, and the room among the city’s most grand. But the heady, epic tasting menus are the true heart of Eleven Madison Park, a format that spotlights Humm’s auteur instincts. Tableside flourishes are part of the fun: Look out for even more dazzling showmanship—including one dish presented by way of a sleight-of-hand trick.


Le Bernardin
New York dining mores have experienced a seismic paradigm shift in the past decade, toppling Old World restaurant titans and making conquering heroes of chefs that champion accessible food served in casual environments. But Le Bernardin—the city’s original temple of haute French seafood—survived the shake-up unscathed. Siblings Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze brought their Parisian eatery to Gotham in 1986, and the restaurant has maintained its reputation in the decades since. Le Bernardin is still a formal place, with white tablecloths, decorous service and a jackets-required policy in the main dining room.


Masa
When world-renowned sushi chef Masa Takayama arrived in New York, he came offering the most expensive dining experience in the city’s history: $300 per person for his cheapest tasting menu, not including tax, wine or sake, or the mandatory 20 percent gratuity. To be clear, Takayama doesn’t overcharge for his meals: He overspends, and the mystique of it all—his exquisite materials, his rare ingredients and his labor-intensive techniques—can be lost on a diner who doesn’t know the ins-and-outs. Takayama prepares each perfect bite-size gift, then places it in front of you on a round slate; you almost eat out of his hands, and the sushi seems to melt in your mouth. This process is, to some serious food lovers, a priceless experience.


L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
French chef Joël Robuchon has collected 32 Michelin stars to date and has mentored Gordon Ramsay and Éric Ripert. He retired in 1995—and thank God it didn’t stick. When his midtown outpost closed in 2012, New York was left as one of the only major food cities worldwide without his presence. Now Robuchon is back, this time in the Meatpacking District with an elegantly high-minded prix fixe menu. Our palates so enjoyed these pirouettes that L’Atelier is almost more ballroom than restaurant.


Per Se
Expectations are high at Per Se—and that goes both ways. You are expected to come when they’ll have you—you might be put on standby for four nights, only to win a 10pm Tuesday spot—and fork over a pretty penny if you cancel. You’re expected to wear the right clothes, pay a non-negotiable service charge and pretend you aren’t eating in a shopping mall. The restaurant, in turn, is expected to deliver one hell of a tasting menu even more pretty pennies. And it does. Dish after dish is flawless and delicious.


Sushi Ginza Onodera
After decades of New Yorkers’ sushi shrugs, this one-stop Little Tokyo flips that script, and its revenge is a nigiri best served cold—and aged (Ginza hews to edomaezushi). Ginza’s seasonal omakase is not just freshly flown in from Tokyo’s prestigious Tsukiji market, nor is it dependent on exotic varieties. Ginza delivers fish the way a diamond delivers carbon: with spectacular flawlessness lush with luxury. This is fish that traps us.


Jean Georges
Unlike so many of its vaunted peers, Jean Georges has not become a shadow of itself: The top-rated food is still breathtaking. The prix fixe dinner menu purveys classical French fare with some subtle global influences.
The top-rated food is still breathtaking. A velvety foie gras terrine with spiced fig jam is coated in a thin brûlée shell; a more ascetic dish of green asparagus with rich morels showcases the vegetables’ essence. Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini’s dessert quartets include “late harvest”—a plum sorbet, verbena-poached pear and a palate cleanser of melon soup with “vanilla noodles.”

Daniel
A vibrant redesign by Adam Tihany has brought Daniel Boulud’s classically opulent restaurant into the 21st century. The food is as fresh as the decor with unusually generous entrees consisting of seafood stunners. Sure, Daniel is still a big-ticket commitment, but Boulud and his team make a powerful case for keeping the high-end genre alive.


Shuko
That populist streak follows from Neta, and softly colors this 20-seat follow-up—the beanie-clad chef remains, as does the thumping “99 Problems”—but where a pricey omakase was an option at Neta, here it’s mandatory. But it's for a parade of exceptionally made edomaezushi served in its purest form, each lightly lacquered with soy and nestled atop a slip of warm, loosely packed rice.


Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy is the restaurant that transformed Danny Meyer from a one-shop restaurateur to a full-blown impresario, made Tom Colicchio a star and launched a citywide proliferation of casual yet upscale American eateries. It’s delicate constructions of vegetables and fish that dominate now. Ingredients-worship is evident as soon as the first course (of the main dining room’s mandated three-course prix fixe) is rolled out.