Wondering where you should be eating in New York City right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off countless spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 8/13/18): Kopitiam, Manhatta, Bistro Pierre Lapin, 886
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Click here to learn more about the benefits you get from paying with a Premier Rewards Gold Card while dining out.
The original Kopitiam - a tiny Malaysian spot on the Lower East Side - closed last year, but now there’s a new, larger location near the Williamsburg Bridge. The counter-service menu has everything from spicy sesame noodles and sweet sticky rice desserts to iced coffee that comes in Capri Sun pouches, and it’s perfect for a casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner (they’re open until 10pm). We particularly recommend the pan mee soup, which has wide homemade noodles, beef, dried anchovies, a little sweetness, and potentially a hidden ingredient that will make non-soup-lovers love soup.
Manhatta has a lot in common with other spots from Danny Meyer’s restaurant group, like Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern - except for one key difference: it’s 60 stories up. The entire space has floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views, and the rest of the details, like the pads hidden under the tables so you don’t hit your knees, are just as impressive. They make it easy for you to feel relaxed here - even as you’re eating a three-course prix fixe. It’s $78 (hospitality included), and for each course, you get to choose from around six mostly-French options like foie gras mousse, wagyu bavette, and vanilla souffle. If you’re looking to spend around $100 a person, restaurant experiences don’t get much more impressive than this. (You can also order a la carte at the bar.)
Bistro Pierre Lapin is a new French restaurant from the chef behind Harold’s Meat + Three and an old NYC classic, Commerce. Commerce has been gone for a while, but the restaurant’s famous chicken can be found on the menu at Bistro Pierre Lapin, along with some additions to the usual French bistro menu - like a short rib stuffed pasta and a bone in pork chop. The room is a bit stiff, but otherwise it’s a restaurant we’ve consistently enjoyed over three recent visits.
St. Marks is full of affordable places to have dinner, and 886 is its newest spot. This is a modern Taiwanese place in a narrow little room that’s already packed with people eating things like stir-fried pork lettuce cups, sausage fried rice, and a spicy fried chicken sandwich. Come here when you want to eat well without spending too much money, or for a group dinner before a night out in the East Village. Just try to make a reservation or be prepared to wait.
If you like steakhouses that feel like places where Dean Martin would’ve smoked cigars in corner booths, and you also like smoked meats, you’re going to like Holy Ground. It’s a dimly-lit, below-ground steakhouse in Tribeca with red leather booths, low ceilings, and walls covered in art that looks very old. We like everything we’ve eaten here, especially the full rack of spare ribs that are sliced by a server tableside and fall off the bone when you pick them up. Come to Holy Ground the next time you want to drink a martini and eat some meat.
When you walk into Bernie’s, you step into an alternate reality that’s certainly not Greenpoint in 2018. There are red-checkered tablecloths, crayons on every table, shiny red booths, and stained-glass light fixtures that will make you feel nostalgic for a time and place you’ve maybe never experienced. This is the new restaurant from the people behind Frankel’s, who make some of the best bagel sandwiches in NYC - but here they’re serving straight-up American comfort food like cheeseburgers, caesar salads, baby back ribs, mozzarella sticks, and a giant brownie sundae. Bernie’s could have easily ended up being an embarrassing theme restaurant, but the attention to detail is what makes it a place where we’ll send you for a dinner that’s simultaneously easy and fun. That, and the fact that you will leave here feeling extremely satisfied for a very reasonable price.
If you’ve been reading The Infatuation for a while, you might be aware of a little whiskey and pork spot called Post Office that for years held one of our highest ratings. Sadly, it closed, and was recently replaced by something on the complete opposite end of the eating spectrum: a vegan restaurant. But at least Avant Garden is a very good vegan restaurant. The original location is in the East Village, and like that spot, the Williamsburg version serves upscale plates that won’t make you miss the presence of meat, in an intimate space that would be good for a low-key date. Try something off their interesting wine list, and get the eggplant toast - which is excellent, and one of the new menu items that’s only available at this location.
Hao Noodle first opened up a few years ago on 6th Avenue, serving excellent Chinese dishes like dumplings made of an egg crepe sitting in a chicken broth, and mung bean jelly in a spicy Sichuan sauce. They now have a new location on 14th Street, just at the edge of Meatpacking, with a slightly different menu. The menu here has a large section of single-serve skewers, and the ones we tried, like cumin lamb, were great. There’s no liquor license yet, but it would work well for a nice but non-sceney meal in Meatpacking.
The original Emmy Squared, in Williamsburg, serves the seventh best pizza and fourth best burger in the entire city, so we’re glad those things are now twice as accessible. This new location is in the East Village, and has a nearly identical menu of Detroit-style pies and other things like salads and sandwiches (the only addition is a delicious white pie topped with Indian pickles and cauliflower). The two-room space is big, with a bar up front, a couple of booths, and lots of small tables, but you should still try to make a reservation.
Oxomoco is a big, bright new restaurant in Greenpoint from the people behind Speedy Romeo. But instead of pizza, this spot serves upscale Mexican food, and instead of feeling like you’re in a former autobody shop, you’ll feel like you’re in a place where it’s the perfect tropical temperature year-round. Oxomoco has a great front patio where you should drink margaritas and eat fancy tacos this summer, and the interior is even better-looking, with high ceilings and plenty of hanging greenery. There’s a big menu of cocktails, and food ranging from tuna tostadas to pork cheek carnitas to a $95 steak. But so far, we think the best thing on the menu is the wood-fired half chicken, which comes with pickled onions, crispy rice, and tortillas for you to make your own perfect tacos.
This two-story Japanese restaurant in Nomad is owned by the same people who run two Korean restaurants we like a lot (Her Name Is Han and Take 31). It’s a place where you’ll eat a lot of things on skewers - you can get anything from scallops to eggs wrapped in bacon to chicken hearts - but also ramen, sashimi, and meat and vegetable small plates. The atmosphere is casual, and ideal for that Wednesday night catch-up dinner you told your friend you’d plan. If you encounter a wait (it’s already pretty busy), just get a drink at one of the many K-Town bars nearby.
Williamsburg’s Kings County Imperial now has a location right on the other side of the Williamsburg Bridge (really, it’s about 14 feet from the bridge) on the Lower East Side. The space looks fairly similar, and the menu isn’t too different either - there are very enjoyable dumplings, noodles, and larger wok dishes like tea-smoked mu shu duck and crispy garlic chicken. For a fun, casual group dinner on the LES where you can drink good cocktails and share a bunch of food, this is a new spot that definitely belongs on your list.
If you spend time around Union Square, you’ve probably noticed that building with columns at the north end that looks like either a Roman bathhouse or an extension of Scarface’s Miami residence. As of this summer, that’s where you’ll find USQ Bocce. It’s a big indoor/outdoor Italian restaurant just outside of the park at Union Square, and you should come here with a date or coworkers for pasta and negronis outside by the bocce ball courts. As long as the weather is nice, this place will be very busy, so we suggest making a reservation if you want to have a full dinner.
Even the most promising new restaurants in Greenpoint take a while to catch on - people usually don’t want to travel for a spot they’re not totally sure about. Di An Di is different. This attractive, plant-covered new Vietnamese restaurant is already slammed, but the better news is that it’s also already worth waiting for. They serve a pretty big menu that’s a mix of traditional Vietnamese dishes, like summer rolls and pho, and Di An Di originals, like a Vietnamese “pizza” made with grilled crispy rice paper for the crust. Everything we’ve tried is great - but you absolutely shouldn’t leave without getting at least one bowl of pho (and make sure to add the fried donut for dipping). The cocktails are great too. Overall, this is the most excited we’ve been about a new Vietnamese restaurant since Hanoi House.
Originally, Una Pizza Napoletana was in the East Village. Then it moved to San Francisco, where it made some of the best pizzas in the city - and now it’s back in NYC. The new location is on the Lower East Side, and it’s a big space with high ceilings and a minimalist kitchen in the back that sort of looks like a lab. The pizzas here are Neapolitan, and they’re both simple and very good. There are also some interesting small plates from the Wildair people (who are partners in this place), including some beef crudo with olive and pistachio that may be better than the pizza.
If an alien visited Lowerline, a new Cajun restaurant in Prospect Heights, they would go back to their mothership with the impression that running a great restaurant on planet earth is very easy. And that the word “po boy” is standard vocabulary for what they know as “food between bread.” As for we humans, it’s most important to know that Lowerline serves excellent and authentic Creole food. Everything is fresh, from the oysters they shuck at the bar to the whole crab leg you get in your gumbo bowl, and the people in the kitchen are close enough to chat with from the bar. The tiny brick-and-tile space and relaxed service make it feel like a kind of place you wish you had in your own neighborhood.
Pretty soon, Frenchette is going to be that place that people casually mention in conversation in order to impress you. A coworker might say something like, “(Blah blah blah)… after dinner at Frenchette,” for example. This place just opened in Tribeca, and it’s kind of like a smaller, more stylish Balthazar, with red leather booths and ceiling fans, and a great little bar area up front that’s slightly more casual. The menu is a mix of traditional and modern French, like the escargot, which come in a pool of scrambled eggs that taste like movie-theater popcorn. The steak and duck frites are also excellent. Keep Frenchette in mind for the time you feel like spending a little money on a dinner that will involve some great food and possibly even better people watching.
Davelle is a tiny spot with only a bar and a couple small tables, and you might hear Leonard Cohen on the speakers while the bartender/chef tells you about growing up in Hokkaido. This place specializes in oden, which is basically a small bowl of dashi broth with your choice of ingredients like fried tofu, boiled egg, or sausage with Japanese mustard. The broth is light but very flavorful, and all of the toppings are great, especially the fried octopus. Overall, this is a great option for when you want an interesting dinner but you also want to keep things low-key and affordable (each Oden is around $4).
This is the new restaurant in Hudson Yards from the people behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, and, like those other spots, the food is excellent, and it’s upscale without feeling uptight. It’s a great-looking space with high-ceilings, leather-topped tables, and some alcoves that are perfect for groups - and, despite the fancy wine glasses and top-notch service, you can wear whatever you want here. It’s a little pricey, however, so you’ll probably want to come for a somewhat special occasion. Make a reservation, and be sure to get the duck pasta, a few kinds of crudo, and the housemade gelato.
La Mercerie is a cafe in the front of a high-end furniture store in the part of Soho where you see people lined up for the latest streetwear, and they recently started serving lunch and dinner. The mostly-French menu has salads, crepes, and steak tartare - and the food is excellent. So stop by and have a lunch meeting here. Or buy a $2,000 bed in the adjoining furniture store, then sit down and eat some smoked salmon blinis to celebrate. A meal here won’t be cheap, but it will impress whoever you need to impress. Just be sure to make a reservation if you don’t want to risk waiting.
Annicka is doing a lot of things a little differently. This place is run by the people behind Greenpoint Beer & Ale (a brewery) and North Brooklyn Farms (an urban farm underneath the Williamsburg Bridge), all their alcohol is made in New York, and a lot of the produce in the food is sourced from the farm. Which brings us to the menu: it ranges from fully-vegan dishes to steak (with plenty of vegetarian and fish options in the middle), and should be able to make most people happy. We tried a charred sweet potato with black tahini, and a black rice with squid and clams, and both of them were interesting and very good. The space is also big and well-designed, with a circular bar in the middle, and an open kitchen at the back, which generally contributes to the impression that there’s a lot going on here. Luckily, most of it seems to work.
Your neighborhood might have some kind of diner, but chances are, it’s not one you want to use for a casual date night, a not-hungover brunch, or a dinner with your parents. But that’s exactly what MeMe’s is. If we lived in Prospect Heights, we would be here regularly, and because we don’t, we’ll travel for it. The space is smallish, with a wraparound booth and a little bar, and they serve great renditions of stuff like meatloaf and chicken cutlet along with well-made cocktails like negronis and palomas. They clearly put a lot of thought into most things here - take, for example, the fried giardiniera, which makes us question why more people don’t pickle-then-fry things. Get the patty melt, and the peanut butter pretzel pie or a slice of cake. Or both.
Tokyo Record Bar is just another place to eat food in much the same way that a party bus is just another way to get across town. Here, you come for the experience, which includes a seven-course tasting menu and the opportunity to choose several songs on vinyl that will be played at some point during the meal. All of this takes place in a little basement, and it feels almost like interactive theater, with all 20-odd diners helping to build the playlist. The food itself isn’t mind-blowing, although some of it is very good, and, at $50 for seven courses, it feels like a good deal. Go ahead and make this your new fifth date spot, or keep it in mind for whenever you might have out-of-town friends visiting.