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 10/17): Lighthouse Outpost, King, 21 Greenpoint, Gristmill
The Williamsburg neighborhood spot Lighthouse makes the kind of food you probably want to be eating right now: super fresh, pretty healthy, and really, really good. Which is why you should be excited about their new spot right in the middle of Nolita: Lighthouse Outpost, a mini, Manhattan version of the original. Currently only open on weekdays (11am-4pm at the moment, with dinner coming soon), this place is already the neighborhood’s best new lunch option by a long shot. It's a tiny place that's perfect for a quick solo lunch that will leave you feeling great about your choices - everything from the duck in pita to the big salad to the hibiscus tea is excellent.
You know that feeling you would get when you were a kid and your parents brought you out to a “nice” restaurant? The kind of place that would require your sweater with rhinestones on it, or your khakis with the front pleat? That’s a little how we felt walking into King, a new restaurant on the Soho/”South Village” border. It definitely feels happening - but in a very grown-up way: white tablecloths, attractive but understated decor, and a daily-changing menu of French and Italian-inspired dishes (including, on our last visit, a $70 truffle pasta). Besides the feeling that we had graduated to the adult’s table, the food we’ve tried here is very, very good - particularly the steak. One word of caution: they do run out of food (on an already very short menu) - get an earlier reservation if you can.
When you own a restaurant, and your dad is Bill Murray, you have two options: 1) avoid the fact that your dad is Bill Murray, or 2) tell everyone that your dad is Bill Murray. The guy behind 21 Greenpoint (formerly River Styx) not-stupidly chose option #2, and opening weekend let the world know his dad would be bartending at his restaurant. We can’t tell you how good Bill Murray is at making a negroni, but we can tell you that a few weeks later and no Bill Murray in sight, 21 Greenpoint is actually a great new spot. The vibes are good, the menu has everything from pizza to a Korean hot pot to roasted halibut, and it’s a fun place for a date or friend hang.
Unless you or your friends live there, you probably don’t find yourself with many reasons to eat or drink in beautiful (often-boring) Park Slope. But you finally have one in Gristmill, and it’s beautifully un-boring. The food here is hyper-seasonal (as in, if you couldn’t find it on a farm within a few hundred miles away, you’re not finding it on the menu), heavy on the vegetables, and cooked in a wood-burning oven. They do good pizza, but what’s even better here is the weirder stuff - like cornbread served inside a corn husk, or a black pepper and blackberry sundae. Whatever you do, get garlic knots. Lots of them.
Tsurutontan's specialty is serving noodles in absolutely massive bowls, and the result is that eating them makes you feel like an extremely fancy caveperson. This is the first US location of a very popular Japanese chain, and they specialize in udon. The 16th Street space could be described as "sleek" - it looks kind of like a moderately expensive modern hotel's lobby. The udon dishes come in both hot and cold varieties, and can come with anything from sea urchin to spicy cod roe to duck. If you're into Japanese food, or if your best experience with udon has been relegated to midtown bodegas, this place is worth a try.
Faun is the new semi-Italian neighborhood spot in Prospect Heights (from some people behind one of our favorites, Vinegar Hill House) that serves seasonal, farm-fresh food combinations that make you feel like you're making good choices in life. Arugula and strawberries? Check. Blue crab with cantaloupe? Check. The vibe is neighborhood-y, but the food is worth a trip.
You’re in a group text of friends planning a last-minute dinner tonight. One person wants something “fun!,” someone else wants something “not too expensive,” and your lazy friend doesn’t want to go “too out of the way.” The move is Thursday Kitchen, a Korean fusion small plates place serving things like eel tacos, edamame dumplings, and fried soft shell crab, alongside the most “fun” item of all: light-up, glow-in-the-dark alcoholic Capri Suns. It all could feel really cheesy. But it doesn’t. Do yourself and your friends a favor and get to this below-ground hideout of good food and good times soon.
Sushi On Jones is part of a new outdoor market that opened over the summer on the corner of Bowery and Great Jones, and is run by David Boudahana, who was formerly the chef you probably drank a bunch of sake with at Sushi Dojo. Here's how it works: show up, put your name down (or text them at 917-270-1815), and show up for your allotted 30 minute time slot. For $50, you get 12 pieces of sushi, including some interesting stuff like uni top of seared wagyu beef, served to you over the course of the half hour. The meal is quick, but it means they're able to get a good number of people in per night. If you manage to get one of those seats, it's a fun and unusual omakase experience worth checking out before winter comes.
Casa Apicii, a sleek Italian spot in Greenwich Village, looks like a Bond villain’s country club. It suggests both romance and a hidden pit of sharks. But note: this is not red-sauce Italian. The food is light, modern, and a little bit adventurous. This is a good place for a late-in-the-game date or a semi-special occasion. Payday, for example.
Pondicheri is a popular Indian restaurant from Houston - and an extremely welcome addition to the Nomad/Flatiron world. They might have used the same floor plan as a cafeteria on a Google campus, but the menu is Indian/American fusion that will likely have you leaving happy. The front has an order-at-the-counter situation suited for daytime, while there's also an area for dinnertime sitting down.
Atoboy is a modern Korean restaurant in Flatiron that's already heavy in our rotation. The situation here is a $36-for-three-plates setup, which is a pretty great way to try some stuff you maybe otherwise wouldn't. Atoboy is perfect for a small group dinner - as long as you like the people in your group enough to share with them.
Here are some of the ways you can get your oysters at Zadie's: baked with seaweed butter and prosciutto, broiled with sea lettuce and parmesan, pickled with tomatoes and cucumber. The list goes on. The place, run by the people behind Hearth, took over the old Terroir space in the East Village, and as you can guess, specializes in all types of delicious oysters. There are some side dishes too, but having a full meal here is a bit of a stretch. Use it for happy hour (Monday - Friday from 5-7) when oysters and sparkling wine are half off, or for a drinks date.
Hao Noodle is a West Village Chinese restaurant that looks like an Anthropologie store. It's an extremely nice place to sit, but it's also quite casual - no need to feel bad about showing up sweaty. The service is frequently a bit of a mess, but the food is unique and excellent enough that we'll still send you here. If you go, try the Claypot Dumplings, the beef ribs, and the mung bean jelly.
Planning your next special occasion dinner/fancy night out? Le Coucou is a restaurant from Daniel Rose, an American chef who started one of the most popular restaurants in Paris, and Stephen Starr, the restaurateur behind Upland, The Clocktower, and more. So far it's drawing a slightly older, fancier (though not uptight) crowd, especially given its location on the border of Chinatown and Soho - but the food and service are absolutely excellent.
Olmsted is like an SNL sketch making fun of Brooklyn restaurant stereotypes. Andy Samberg would play the cool young chef, Jon Hamm would play the ponytailed host who tells you about the herbs, vegetables, fruits, and animals grown in the manicured, string lit, high-tech sprinkler-systemed Prospect Heights garden, while Bill Hader would man the bar, shaking his head and laughing at everyone actually eating there. It would be easy to roll your eyes at Olmsted, but the truth is it’s actually pretty incredible. Read the full review.
Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint is full of many things - bodegas, liquor stores, Polish delis - but not a lot of spots that are great for a casual date night or catching up with a friend. Which is why Cherry Point is such a good addition to the neighborhood. Read our full review.
Emily, the Clinton Hill pizza place that also makes what might be our favorite burger in the city, just opened up a second spot in Williamsburg that serves "Detroit-style" square pies in a wine bar-like space. The pizza is very good (and very intense), but the absolute best thing here is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. They serve an excellent burger as well, but it's currently only available in the basement burger bar. Read the full review.
We're immediately going to be excited about a restaurant with a wood-burning oven, and Freek’s Mill is no exception. The food coming out of said oven is pretty great - roasted proteins, seasonal vegetables, and pastas - and the brick room also has a great vibe. Read our full review.
Because we love the original Speedy Romeo in Clinton Hill, we were both excited and hesitant about the Lower East Side location. But good news: the new location has the same kind of friendly, comfortable vibe and the food remains excellent - while the pizza is great, you want to go heavy on the rest of the menu too (especially the burger). Read our full review.
Similar to Russ & Daughters Cafe, Frankel’s is a mashup of the old-school Jewish deli concept with new-school execution. But while Russ & Daughters is very much a destination, Frankel’s is a casual neighborhood spot. As for the food: it’s excellent. Whether you go with lox, pastrami, eggs and bacon, or brisket on your bagel (or roll, or rye), you won’t be disappointed. Read our full review.
The closing of Perla in its original location on Minetta Lane was a heartbreaker, as it’s always been one of our favorite dinner hangs in the entire city. The new version of Perla on West 4th is more casual than the original (hence the addition of the word “Cafe”), and is best for weekday lunch and weekend brunch. Luckily, the pastas haven’t gone anywhere. Read our full review.
Italian food. On 27th and Park. In a hotel. Sounds... exciting, huh? Don't knock it til you've tried it. If you spend a lot of time around this area and have already eaten at Upland and The Clocktower more times than you can remember, definitely add Covina to your rotation. Read our full review.
Nix is a fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant brought to you by the guy that makes vegetables taste unbelievably good at Narcissa. But while Narcissa feels like a special occasion restaurant, Nix is a place you could easily have a weeknight meal. Nix isn’t a place you come because you’re on some kind of masochistic diet - it’s a place you come to enjoy highly tasty food that happens to be meat-free. Read our full review.
What makes a restaurant sexy? We’re not sure we can actually answer that, but we can tell you that Mimi has it. It’s a tiny Greenwich Village spot with dim lighting, a great bar, and generally cool vibes - but the place isn’t all about looks. It also happens to serve excellent, unusual French food. Read our full review.
Mr. Donahue’s didn’t skimp on any detail of their 1930’s-era diner counter that can seat a whopping 9 humans at once. You eat on branded doilies, you drink the singular beer, you order a protein with a side and a sauce, and you go home with one of those strawberry-wrapper lollipop things you used to eat at your Grandparents’ house. It’s really just the room that’s a throwback - the food is modern and delicious. Read our full review.
It's no secret that we love Charlie Bird. That's why we were honestly a little terrified at the prospect of the same team opening a new restaurant near our office. What if it's not as good? What if they don't play rap music? Will they still have wine? After countless meals since this place opened, we're happy to report that Pasquale Jones is not only a place we'd spend our time and money any day of the week, but we might even like it better than Charlie Bird because pizza. Read our full review.
This new Williamsburg restaurant is a former auto body shop turned restaurant, but not in the "we made a BBQ restaurant" sense. This is a beautiful space with a wood burning oven that feels far more like something you'd find next to Madison Square Park than you would next to McCarren. Think L'Artusi but in Brooklyn and think about getting there as soon as possible. Read our full review.
This West Village spot is a duplicate of its original Philadelphia location - a restaurant that’s been known as one of the city’s best spots basically since it opened. They bake their own bread, which has a huge part in this place’s outstanding daytime offerings. They also do dinner here, and while the food is certainly more serious (i.e. grilled tripe), it’s also excellent. Read our full review.
Tygershark is a Korean, seafood-focused restaurant in Prospect Heights that's also a coffee shop during the day, and also sells surfboards. And it's the Korean seafood coffee shop surfboard store you never knew you wanted or needed, but will be thrilled to have. The food is fun and flavorful, and the whole setup feels a lot different than most other places you’ve probably been eating at lately. Read our full review.
Le Turtle is a Lower East Side spot from the guys behind The Smile and Freemans, and we at one point were certain that it was actually an elaborate hoax. But it turns out the food is unique and excellent, the wine list smart and reasonably priced, and the service highly professional. Read our full review.
Llama Inn is not actually an inn, and there are no llamas on the premises. There is, however, great modern Peruvian food on the premises, which means everything from ceviche and simple roast chicken to beef heart skewers and goat neck. The space, right under the BQE in Williamsburg, is awesomely designed, with tons of bar seats particularly well-suited to one-on-one meetups. Read our full review.
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