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 4/15/19): Hanon
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. The Hit List is presented by the American Express ® Gold Card. Click here to learn more about the benefits and rewards you get from paying with the Amex Gold Card while dining out.
There are a lot of casual weeknight dinner options in Williamsburg, but not many that serve food as good as Hanon’s. This Japanese spot specializes in udon, and offers both hot and cold varieties with two types of housemade noodles. Our favorite is the curry udon with really rich broth and tender beef, and if you want something a bit lighter, go with the brothless mentai udon, which has a ton of spicy cod caviar. Definitely get some small plates as well, like the juicy fried chicken that comes with spicy chili paste. This place is worth traveling for (especially because it’s just a few steps from the Lorimer L and G stops) - but know that for the moment, it’s still waiting on a liquor license.
Crown Shy is one of a few new places (like Manhatta) that make us actually excited about getting dinner in FiDi. This new American spot off the lobby of a landmarked luxury apartment building has high ceilings and huge windows, and is perfect for clients or in-laws or anyone you generally want to convince that you have your sh*t together. The food - like hummus that comes with ’nduja and sugar-coated puffed bread, and crispy farro with bone marrow and chunks of oxtail - will also impress just about everyone. But while it’s certainly upscale, Crown Shy doesn’t feel stuffy - the walk-in-only bar area, as well as the open kitchen and surprisingly affordable prices (most dishes are under $20), make it the kind of spot you could go anytime you want to get a little dressed up for a nice night out.
This is the second spot from the people behind Tokyo Record Bar, and as with that restaurant, you’re here for a totally unique eating and drinking experience. At Niche Niche, the emphasis is on the drinking - every night, the wine menu completely changes, and the accompanying food does as well, with the whole menu coming in at $80 per person. We recently went on a night featuring four excellent American wines (like a sparkling from Monterey County and a riesling from the Finger Lakes), and dishes like cioppino and olive oil cake. The food was good - but the wine experience is what makes this place special. The night’s guest sommelier and Niche Niche team wander around the room throughout your two-hour seating, refilling your glass regularly, and you’re free to ask them as many or as few questions about what you’re drinking as you want. It’s already tough to get a reservation, but you could also try your luck walking in after 10pm, when they take walk-ins and you can order a la carte. Whenever you go, you can count on Niche Niche feeling like a party.
Even if the only things you associate with Chicago are Michael Jordan and cold winters, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of Au Cheval. They serve one of the best burgers in the country, and crowds of people are already packed into the new NYC location so they can try it. In keeping with the generally excessive nature of this place, the “single” actually has two patties - and yes, it’s an extremely good cheeseburger. Everything else on the menu (like the fried bologna sandwich and scrambled eggs with foie gras) is some combination of fatty, buttery, and salty, so it’s best to come here when your after-dinner plans consist of little more than drawing the shades in your apartment. But the big, dark space makes this place feel like a night out itself. Come early to put your name down, and you can hang out in the downstairs bar while you wait. Just know it might be a couple of hours.
Sometimes, you only have to do one thing very well. Just look at The Container Store, or the near-identical characters Jason Statham plays in all his movies. The Fly, a new place in Bed-Stuy from the people behind Hart’s, is another great example. The menu here is tiny, and the only real entree is rotisserie chicken. You can either get a whole or a half, and it’ll come out so juicy and flavorful, you’ll want to walk into the kitchen and start asking questions. Add some fries and sauteed greens, plus a few glasses of wine (most of which are under $15), and you’ll have an excellent meal that shouldn’t cost more than $50 per person. The only downside is that this place doesn’t take reservations, and there aren’t too many tables. But there’s a big area up front where you can wait (or eat by yourself).
It’d be a romantic date night to invite someone over to your apartment, then serve them handmade pasta and carafes of wine. But if things like cooking ability or apartment cleanliness make that a no-go, just go to Fiaschetteria Pistoia’s new West Village location instead. This tiny Italian spot feels like someone’s studio, but with about seven tables instead of an Xbox and a stained couch. The food is all excellent, from small plates like prosciutto with egg and black truffle to housemade pastas like cacio e pepe and pappardelle with beef ragu. As for the wines, there are only a few options, and we recommend going with a liter carafe of the house montepulciano for $30.
Niche is a walk-in-only Japanese spot right by the Williamsburg Bridge, from the people behind Nakamura (which is right next door). The specialty here is mazemen - brothless ramen - and each bowl is around $20. The one with ribeye and spinach is a must-order, and in addition to your noodles, you should also get a starter or two. There’s a very generously portioned $8 plate of uni toast, a refreshing yuzu scallop crudo, and addictive umami fries with seaweed and kelp seasoning on top. Just know that the space is really small - it has a single communal table with one server buzzing around it. If you have to use the bathroom, they’ll instruct you to leave the restaurant and pop into Nakamura. But as long as you’re OK with locking eyes with a stranger as you both eat delicious mazemen and try not to pee, you’ll have a great night here.
Momofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 (in the Time Warner Center) still has a downtown feel, despite the fact that you have to take an escalator three floors up and there’s a J. Crew across the hall. You’re here for noodles, of course, but there are also interesting small plates, breads, and buns (like a black truffle soy egg bun special we liked). Don’t skip the cucumber salad, which has some of the best spicy sesame vinaigrette dressing we’ve ever had.
Takeshi is just one little room with a sleek wooden bar, and you’re here to eat omakase sushi (there are a few different price options, including a eight-piece lunch for $50 and a ten-piece dinner one for $75). But it still feels casual, in part because they play songs like “Can’t Feel My Face” over the speakers, and the chef doesn’t rush anyone out. The smaller dinner service lasts around 45 minutes and actually has a few more than ten pieces (ours also came with a scallop and uni handroll and a Japanese sponge cake), all of which are very good. So if you want great sushi for a not-outrageous price in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, you need to try this place.
It may not be the most talked about (or real) award - NYC Street Corner With The Best Two Walk-In-Only Restaurants - but a strong new contender is 5th Ave and Carroll St. in Park Slope. Al Di La has been there for a while, serving some of the best Italian food in the city, and now there’s also Haenyeo, a great Korean spot right across the street. The menu has traditional options like kimchi pancakes and bibimbap, as well as more fusion-y dishes like rice cake fundido (a must-order). The corner space, which has a small bar up front and dining room in the back, feels fancier than most others in the neighborhood, and is a good option for a nice date night or group dinner. If there’s a wait, grab a drink at Blueprint alongside all the people waiting for a table at Al Di La.
At Sushi By M, you get exactly one hour to eat a 10-course meal. We don’t usually like being timed while we eat, but in this case, an hour doesn’t feel too rushed, and the $50 omakase (your only option) is actually a great value. It starts with things like yellowtail and arctic char, then moves on to richer pieces like botan shrimp, tuna belly covered in caviar, and a miniature handroll filled with wagyu and uni. The fish is uniformly excellent, and you can pay a little extra at the end of your meal if you want an extra hand roll or something called the “Big Mac.” That’s a roll with two kinds of uni, wagyu, and tuna belly, and it’s equal parts excessive and wonderful. Just keep in mind that there are only about eight seats (all at a bar), and you need to text ahead for a reservation. Also, there’s no liquor license yet.
Frankies 457 is one of our favorite casual Italian spots in Brooklyn, but the waits can sometimes get pretty bad. Good news on that front: they now have a wine bar next door, where you can get the full Frankies menu as well as a new selection of small plates. Several of the wine-bar-only dishes - like the garlic sausage with bottarga, the perfectly tender octopus terrine, and pretty much anything doused in the phenomenal olive oil - are worth a trip even if you’re not interested in ordering from the Frankies menu. And the same can be said of the 400-bottle wine list, which is organized with helpful descriptions, making this a great spot if you’re trying to learn more about wine.
“Tasting menu” and “casual date night” aren’t typically phrases people use in the same sentence. But Oxalis, a new spot in Prospect Heights, serves a $60, six-course set menu in an environment that feels surprisingly low-key. The dishes change nightly, but the things we’ve tried - like a rich and crispy duck breast with yogurt and fig, and a goat milk ice cream with amaranth and honey - have been both enjoyable and unlike anything else we’ve tasted recently. And despite the precise plating and unusual ingredients, the open kitchen, friendly servers, and fairly loud music keep this place from feeling stuffy. If you don’t want to commit to the tasting menu, you can always order a la carte in the bar room in the back. They’re still waiting on their liquor license, so there’s no alcohol for now.
If you’re going to spend $100-$200 on dinner, it’d better be at least as special as one month at Equinox or a pair of decent bluetooth headphones. And a meal at Benno is. This new French/Italian spot inside in the Evelyn Hotel offers three, four, and five-course prix fixe menus (for $95, $125, and $145). There are some phenomenal options for each course (our favorites are the savory coddled egg with black truffle, skate almondine with crab mousse, and duck with foie gras, and we’d recommend that you skip the pasta course and try as many other things as possible). The space is not particularly interesting - a quiet, high-ceilinged dining room hidden away behind Leonelli Taberna - and the dark-suited servers move in unison like they’re completing a military exercise. So Benno is definitely not at all casual. But you can expect to have some excellent food and an overall memorable meal here.
When you think “tasting menu,” you might imagine a big dining room that looks like a fancy cruise ship full of servers who watch over you like they hid some diamonds in your socks. But Atomix is just 14 seats around a well-lit counter. This place is from the same people behind Atoboy, they do a $175, 10-course Korean tasting menu, and each dish comes with its own note card that explains exactly what you’re eating. You start with things like raw scallop with fermented tomato broth, then move on to richer dishes like halibut with foie gras. And every dish is excellent in its own way. If you want to have a memorable dinner that isn’t too formal or uptight, Atomix is worth the price.
The new Mekelburg’s location in Williamsburg is similar to the Clinton Hill original: an upscale grocery store up front, with a bar in the back serving high-quality sandwiches, small plates, and craft beers on tap. The sandwiches - like one with wagyu roast beef on an everything baguette, and a banh mi with Peking duck and duck rillettes - are some of the best in Brooklyn, but you shouldn’t overlook the other things on the menu, like the slightly charred three-cheese mac and cheese, and a salt-baked potato with black cod and a lot of caviar. The bar seating and communal tables in the back are great for a casual lunch or dinner, but it’s also not a bad idea to get some sandwiches to-go and eat them across the street in Domino Park.
Adda is in a semi-industrial area between a big overpass and Queens Boulevard in Long Island City - and despite the not-so-charming location, we’re already planning our next meal here. This place makes excellent Indian food, and nothing on the menu costs more than $17. The goat curry is rich and spicy, the cheesy naan is great, and the deep-fried kale pakoda is one of the better ways we can think of to consume a green vegetable. Bring a friend or two and get a casual weeknight meal - or, if you don’t live in the area, come on the weekend (and make a reservation to be safe). The space is just one long room, the decorations consist mainly of old newspapers on the walls - and the food here is definitely worth a trip.