Which TikTok-Famous Restaurants In NYC Are Actually Good?
Find out whether any of the spots blowing up your TikTok feed are worth visiting IRL.
Some restaurants that gain traction on TikTok appear to have more style than substance. Their hype tends to be centered around super specific aesthetics (why is everyone still obsessed with pink?), showboat-y food (not everything needs to be prepared tableside), and exclusivity. But what if, under that oddly soothing, robotic text-to-speech voice, there’s a TikTok-famous spot worth seeking out in real life? Find our verdicts below on this regularly updated list of TikTok restaurants in NYC.
Verdict: Nailed it.
We always hope that restaurant reboots are as good as the one the Court Street Grocers team has pulled off in the old Eisenberg’s space. S&P Lunch combines everything you want in an old-school Jewish deli (counter-style seating, exceptional pastrami, life-affirming matzo ball soup) with modern touches like the option to swap meat for broccoli in your reuben. We particularly love the Dinkelburger, which is like if a burger and a reuben had an illicit child. The menu also has tons of Ashkenazi homestyle classics, including matzo brei, bananas and sour cream, and kasha varnishkes. We approve of S&P wholeheartedly.
Verdict: Literal smoke and mirrors. Skip it.
By the third time your server at 11 Tigers brings a blowtorch to your table, you’ll wonder why they don’t just save everyone some time and get a fog machine. Generating smoke is the preferred party trick at this Thai and Japanese-inspired in the East Village. They torch uni, ribeye, and cocktails right at your table, as if assisting with content creation is now a requirement for good service. The food here is unmemorable, but this pseudo-speakeasy is more of a scene than a restaurant anyway. Think of this place as a social club where much of the crowd looks like they still had fake IDs mere months ago.
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Verdict: Unless you want to party with four different versions of Donatella Versace, not approved.
During the weekly cabaret nights at this French restaurant in Tribeca, you'll see sparklers, champagne showers, and waiters in costume whipping around napkins while people dance on tables. But if you come for dinner on a regular night, there won’t be much to distract from the fact that your red snapper is overcooked, your pâte tastes freezer-burned, and your tough, flavorless dessert could inspire a children’s book called “The Saddest Clafoutis.” As the night goes on, the Belle Époque-inspired space fills out with fashion people who all seem to know each other. If you’re looking for a party, skip dinner and come for drinks after 10pm.
photo credit: Peter Murdock
Verdict: Approved if you're looking for a new boyfriend with a boat. Otherwise, eh.
Cucina Alba is one of the sceniest new restaurants in NYC, situated in Chelsea by the High Line. The look they’re going for is “urbanite’s Italian holiday,” which means you should expect a bright space with pops of pink, floor-to-ceiling windows, and sightings of mid-level celebrities whose own European holidays consist of snagging invites onto richer people’s yachts. The summer-fling feeling of the space could be appealing if your seasonal depression has already hit, but the food won't inspire you to start planning a trip abroad. Cucina Alba feels like any other Fashion Week-friendly spot where eating is secondary to being seen.
photo credit: Kate Previte
Forsyth Fire Escape
Verdict: Worth it.
Forsyth Fire Escape has been TikTok-famous since their very first pandemic-era pop-up. Back then, they used a rope and bucket to lower their scallion pancake burritos from an apartment's fire escape to customers waiting down below. Now, they have a residency at Chelsea’s Olly Olly Market, where the operation is less cartoonish. Still the only food item on the menu, Forsyth's $14 burrito comes with pernil, fried queso blanco, guacamole, and fish sauce-heavy lemongrass chili crisp oil—all wrapped in a thick scallion pancake. It's a tasty package of food that deserves its TikTok fame.
Verdict: Go with a group for a good time.
Arthur & Sons wants to remind you of the sort of Italian-American restaurants you see in Scorsese films, now in TikTok-friendly technicolor. The bright, cheerful interior is filled with scalloped red leather booths, and the soundtrack features Frank Sinatra. As cheesy as that sounds, the room does have a fun energy. Unfortunately, the food itself is not phenomenal. (You’ll find better revamped red-sauce fare at Don Angie down the street.) Still, we kind of like this place. With some flashy branding and fun umbrella drinks, this spot is a good option for a group dinner where everything is sharable and no one will shush you when you get too drunk-loud.
Tin Building by Jean-Georges
Verdict: Some hits, some misses. Overall, a surprisingly nice food hall.
The Tin Building closed in 2005, after the old Fulton Fish Market moved uptown. But now it's back as a massive food hall, under the direction of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This Seaport spot has both full-service and fast-casual concepts, with a lot of outdoor seating—and it doesn't just feel like your average mall food court. It’s got everything a dining destination needs to go viral (from uni flights to a speakeasy restaurant), but most of the stuff you’ll see online, like the puff pastry burger at T. Brasserie, is whatever. However, we do love the Peking Duck at the aforementioned speakeasy restaurant House of the Red Pearl, and Seeds & Weeds is a nice place to eat vegan food and stare out at the East River.