The Hit List: New NYC Restaurants To Try Right NowWe checked out these new restaurants—and loved them.
When new restaurants open, we check them out. This means that we subject our stomachs and social lives to the good, the bad, and more often than not, the perfectly fine. And every once in a while, a new spot makes us feel like Vin Diesel at a tank top sale. When that happens, we add it here, to The Hit List.
The Hit List is where you’ll find all of the best new restaurants in New York. As long as it opened within the past several months and we’re still talking about it, it’s on this guide. The latest addition might be a buzzy new restaurant with caviar priced by the bump. Or it might be an under-the-radar lunch counter where a few dollars will get something that’ll rattle around in your brain like a loose penny in a dryer.
Keep tabs on the Hit List and you will always know just which new restaurants you should be eating at right now.
New to the Hit List (11/27): Tolo
photo credit: Matt Dutile
From the chef at Parcelle, Tolo is just down the road in the Dimes Square area of Chinatown—and it successfully pairs Parcelle’s funky, fruity natural wines with a short menu of dishes from various Chinese regions: like gingery string beans with crisp ground pork, or a big shareable plate of sweet-and-sour fried fish. Once you realize your maps app isn’t lying to you and locate the currently unmarked restaurant, you’ll find a small dining room with metallic tiles and red candles, ‘90s hip hop, and razor-thin wine glasses on a handful of little round tables. Catch up with friends and show off your wine-swirling skills while admiring the wok action in the open kitchen.
photo credit: Justin Belmondo
Swoony’s is the second restaurant from the people behind the criminally charming Cafe Spaghetti, just around the corner in Carroll Gardens. And while it doesn’t have Spaghetti’s picturesque backyard or understated pomodoro, this American bistro evokes the same feelings of nostalgia with its crab Louie and wedge salads. Stacked with fine china and various tchotchkes, and painted in nautical shades of blue, Swoony’s feels like an extension of the neighborhood’s best brownstones. It all works, especially that tender short rib au poivre, and creamed spinach topped with breadcrumbs.
photo credit: Will Hartman
Williamsburg’s natural wine-slinging, naturally leavened pizza palace has arrived in the West Village. At L’Industrie’s Manhattan outpost, the pies are as perfectly charred and chewy as at the original, and still finished with gigantic basil leaves and parm shavings. And while this location has a little less of that block party charm, the indoor seating here will have us changing directions on the L Train for a hot slice in a warm space to sustain our winter hibernation. To avoid the worst lines, head over for lunch. And if they’re still serving the concord grape sorbetto, do yourself a favor and stain your teeth purple with this lush, acidic dessert that’s a best friend to the spicy salami slice.
photo credit: Willa Moore
Bread & Butter (formerly Back Alley Bread) began as a pop-up making something called an angel donut, which really took off. They’ve now got a permanent space in Bed-Stuy, which drastically improves the prospect of mid-December mornings, and it's worth a visit even if you live in another borough. Head there around 11am, when they begin selling savory pastries. That way, you can try both an ube morning bun and some frito pie, while watching them grate pecorino onto your two-inch thick, olive-oil soaked, cacio e pepe focaccia. This isn’t a place where you get just one thing—instead, order the whole menu, and spend the week finishing your haul.
photo credit: @halalnyc
If you get sad in the winter, you probably just need to witness some pita-making. At Ayat, you can sit at the counter and watch pita being shaped into balls, baked until they balloon, and then handed across the counter to you, still steaming. The East Village spot is the fourth NYC location of this popular Palestinian restaurant, and you’ll find a crowd spilling onto the sidewalk outside, massive platters of tender meats on the tables, and occasionally, live music. It’s a casual corner spot with enough room for larger groups—which is ideal when you want to order bigger platters like the bone-in lamb mansaf, topped with slivered almonds.
photo credit: Willa Moore
You’ve probably already heard about Jean’s. Before it began serving a burger topped with fondue cheese and fried onions that might soon reach best burger status, it hosted Snoop Dogg and various amateur East Village-based DJs in its subterranean cocktail lounge (currently “open occasionally”). Now, it’s a restaurant, and you can pair your burger with produce from their farm in Pennsylvania, or a cookie the size of your head (not an exaggeration) with a glass of bourbon milk. It’s mostly walk-in only (for now at least, Jean’s is mysterious), so have a pre-drink plan—perhaps a $20 cocktail at Jac’s on Bond, with other people waiting for a table at Jean’s.
photo credit: Byrnne Levy
Yes, this is the subway station restaurant. But it’s the 12-course tasting menu, which costs the equivalent of around 78 subway trips ($225), that makes this Korean fine-dining destination inside the 32nd Street entrance of Herald Square interesting. We’d return just for the eighth course: a squab head, breast, and leg in a pool of gochujang agrodolce, served with a truffle bao filled with squab gizzard char siu, and puffed duck feet with squab liver parfait. It’s not tweezer-y, tasting menu food—it’s a whole squab, in the spotlight, doing justice to pigeons everywhere.
photo credit: Farina
If your Friday pizza night is in need of a refresh, might we suggest a pork belly and bottarga-topped pizza under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway? At Farina, a Southern Italian restaurant on the border of Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, the pizza “irregolare” has a crust so chewy, you’ll briefly wonder exactly which seven grains make up the dough, before forgetting about everything but the next bite. Come for a relaxed evening with a group of people who enjoy house wine, crispy calamari, and a Red Hook excursion—it’s walk-in only, but at least for now, you can usually get a table.
photo credit: Delmonico's
Steam your best sport coat, Delmonico’s is back. The oldest steakhouse in New York recently reopened after a three-year hiatus, and at a time when once-stuffy dishes like chicken à la king seem to be making a comeback, we’re unduly excited about their lobster Newburg and baked Alaska. Lincoln, Elvis, and Elizabeth Taylor all ate at the Fidi institution, and rumor has it that Delmonico’s was the first to bring avocados to New York. Who doesn’t want to be part of a history like that? Its claims to fame could have easily turned this place into a charmless tourist trap, but we still feel like real power players when we eat their signature Delmonico ribeye under retro chandeliers and royal blue drapes.
photo credit: Nicole Franzen
Before you read on, beware of spoilers. The final dessert at Bar Miller—the new, $250 omakase spot by the Rosella team—is corn ice cream topped with caviar. That alone is enough to bring us back, but this East Village restaurant is also the chillest place we’ve eaten expensive fish lately. The sushi chefs here wear Yankee fitteds and chat up the bar, while chopping kimchi and tuna to a gentle Frank Ocean soundtrack. Like Rosella, they almost exclusively use ingredients found within the United States. Come here for a low-key birthday, to celebrate that friend who’d like to eat some locally-sourced, fancy fish eggs in a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
photo credit: Alex Staniloff
This corner spot in Soho has actually been on the Hit List since July, when we tried the downstairs tasting menu and gained a renewed appreciation for burrata. But now this Roman import's à la carte alimentari is open upstairs, where we ate a steamy bowl of amatriciana, showered in enough freshly grated parmesan to elicit a “do you want some pasta with your parmesan?” joke. They’re only doing dinner for now, but soon you’ll be able to stop by during the day for luscious tomato sauce, and perfectly marbled mortadella.
photo credit: Alex Staniloff
Sailor looks like a seaside cottage, smells an ocean, and sounds like a mellow afterparty with an R&B soundtrack. From the folks behind Fairfax and Joseph Leonard, the Fort Greene restaurant is the hottest nautical-themed opening of the year, and it’s the perfect place to bring someone who likes fish and sharing. Try the mussel toast, mackerel pâté, and big chunk of flaky cod in a pool of soup. There are also some worthwhile non-seafood options like crispy potatoes, thinly sliced pork, and profiteroles that arrive dripping in caramel.
photo credit: Noah Fecks
The latest spot at the Chelsea Hotel, Café Chelsea is one celebrity sighting short of a certified scene. At this art deco brasserie, you might end up sampling a bite of your neighbor’s maitake au poivre while, at the next table over, a pair of And Just Like That extras work through one entire artichoke and one branzino each. Who else is here? A family sharing post-swim burgers, tourists eating steak frites, Chelsea elders, and you, along with a friend who delights in prime NYC people-watching. Reserve a table in one of three mirror-filled rooms, or walk in for a drink and a bite at the bar. Breakfast is a calmer affair, where you can eat a decadent pain perdu while eavesdropping on hotel guests conversing in various languages.