Sure, those plans to meal prep over the weekend didn’t pan out—but at least now you have an excuse to go to your favorite Indian restaurant again. Except it’s not open. Mondays are the restaurant industry’s weekend, which means a lot of places tend to be closed. Since you don’t need to start the week working overtime, we’ve done some digging for you and found a bunch of our favorite spots for casual dinners, date nights, and special occasions where you can actually eat on a Monday.
Hawksmoor on Park Avenue and 22nd Street is poised to become NYC’s next great steakhouse. The bar at this London transplant is first come, first served, and, on Mondays, their corkage fee is only $10. Yes, crispy Yorkshire pudding with potted beef and a strip steak with a side of creamed spinach is a rich lineup for a casual weeknight dinner—but just pretend it's a Saturday. A martini will help with that.
Every week, Niche Niche serves a different four-course menu with accompanying wine pairings, and they often have guest hosts—typically sommeliers, winemakers, or importers—who curate the wine selection for the evening. In other words, Niche Niche is a different restaurant from week to week, and you have absolutely no way of knowing what kind of restaurant that is until you arrive. This could also be said of your friend’s apartment, but we can guarantee the chicken here won’t be dry.
This spot in Ridgewood is part Italian bakery and part restaurant. You can stop by during the day for a cup of coffee and some olive-topped focaccia and gougères—but, at night, Rolo’s feels like a scene out of Bushwick fan fiction. It’s a cool, casual spot where you’ll run into neighborhood regulars, such as those friends you made at Mood Ring last week. Expect to eat a bunch of simple wood-fired breads, meats, and vegetables as you take in the scene.
El Quijote originally opened in 1930 in the bottom of Hotel Chelsea. Over the years, it functioned as a clubhouse where people like Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Andy Warhol drank sangria and talked sh*t. After reopening in 2022, the restaurant looks and feels pretty unchanged. More importantly, the Spanish food is all better than what’s typically found at NYC’s legendary landmarks. Order the boquerones and pan con tomate.
We’re usually suspicious of a place that offers both a dosa and a wild mushroom ragout on their menu. But the food at Lore is actually really good. As each dish passes the taste test, you’ll stop asking “Why?” and instead shrug and think “Why not?” Stop by this Park Slope restaurant for a casual weeknight dinner with an indecisive friend, or come for a dimly-lit second date when you don’t want to seem boring.
Unlike other hotel restaurants that seem like they only exist to serve out-of-town guests who can’t be bothered to step outside, this restaurant is a must-visit no matter what neighborhood, borough, or city you’re coming from. Here, you’ll find items that are on a bunch of other menus like salad, roasted chicken, and fish—but most dishes incorporate at least one Latin component as well. The portion sizes at Comodo are perfect for two people, but, for a group meal, you’ll probably end up ordering most of the items on the menu. That’s a good thing.
When you walk inside of Ci Siamo, you'll feel like you're checking into a nice hotel, about to start a vacation in Milan (but in reality, you'll still have that 8:15am meeting to discuss "team dynamics" in the morning). The menu centers around live-fire cooking, although your focus should be on the breads and pastas. Despite the massive space, it can still be tough to get a table. So make a reservation at this Manhattan West spot in advance.
This quintessential UWS restaurant is a great place to eat a thick, satisfying burger and drink a martini with someone near Lincoln Center, but we’d also recommend bringing any children in your life for grilled cheese and ice cream sundaes. Despite being revamped, Old John’s still has old school charm—jazz playing over the speakers, staff who have been working there for years, and egg creams at the ready.
You could have a meal consisting solely of Shukette’s garlic-embedded frena bread, za’atar-showered laffa bread, and gozleme bread stuffed with potato, provolone, and cilantro. And yet, the entrees here are worth prioritizing—especially if you come with a group. A few worth seeking out are the “Fish In A Cage” and the joojeh chicken. The former consists of a whole porgy that gets sandwiched between two wire racks before being grilled and topped with herb pistou.
This high-end soba restaurant is a Tokyo transplant, and it was even featured on Anthony Boudain’s No Reservations. The handmade noodles here are served either chilled or in a hot noodle soup, and you should order both. The massive bowl of hot sarashina soba in bonito broth topped with several thick pieces of roasted duck is essential. Every single noodle in this dish is exactly the same size and cooked to the perfect degree of firmness, and each slice of duck is just crispy and salty enough to let the soba shine.
This casual Caribbean restaurant in Fort Green serves jerk chicken that we can’t currently remove from our dreams. The restaurant is currently waiting on their liquor license, but it’s already a great, high-energy place to meet a date or a couple friends for a group dinner (and the scene will probably get even rowdier with rum cocktails in the mix).
At Dame, two chefs stand behind a sleek white bar and cook some of the highest-quality seafood you'll find in the city. Reservations for this Greenwich Village spot get booked three weeks in advance as soon as they’re released at noon every day, but at least you can take solace in knowing that everyone around you worked just as hard as you did to get a reservation. Once you finally land a table here, get the fish and chips, and don't forget to order the cucumber salad with smoked mussels.
It should go without saying that a restaurant that’s been open since 1998 is still good. Consistency is the only way to keep people coming back year after year, let alone decade after decade. The best part about Al Di La is that it’s simple. No gimmicks, no scene, just rustic Italian food that will never fail you. In a city with so many Italian restaurants that even the American ones serve pasta, few are actually memorable enough that you make a mental note to bring your mom there next time she’s in town.
Up Thai has a whole menu of dishes worth ordering, from curry puffs to excellent crispy duck, and that’s what helps separate it from your run-of-the-mill joints. With that in mind, dragging your human body over here rather than using your robot arm to press the Seamless buttons is worth considering because some of the dishes aren’t totally primed for travel—such as the "Thai-style bouillabaisse.”
San Matteo is one of the few places in NYC where you can get the type of pizza-dough sandwich known as the panuozzo. This Upper West Side neighborhood spot also does about 25 different kinds of pizza (and we tend prefer those), and they have pasta, calzones, and small plates as well. The space is large, with brick walls and plenty of windows, and it’s perfect for a casual dinner with some friends or a few children that you’re responsible for feeding.
Peter Luger Steak House
At Peter Luger, you’ll notice some people ordering without a menu. That's because, unlike what happens at most restaurants, there’s a certified correct approach to eating at this classic Williamsburg steakhouse. Start with the wedge salad and their famous caramelized slab bacon before you choose your steak. Finish with a hot fudge sundae, and your Monday will officially be a special occasion.
Even on a Monday, there will likely be a wait at Fish Cheeks—but the coconut crab curry alone is worth an hour-and-a-half layover at a nearby bar. If you don’t want to wind up eating around the time your loved ones are going to bed, either make a reservation at this Noho Thai restaurant a few weeks in advance, or stop by and put your name in for a table around 6pm.
Aldama serves the kind of food you can find everywhere in Mexico City. And considering this place is run by someone who used to work at Cosme, it’s no surprise that this sultry neighborhood hangout is our new favorite spot for drinks and snacks in Williamsburg. It’s ideal for when you want to nod along to a late-night DJ set in their basement-level front room, sitting on chic bar stools (that might remind you of wicker baskets) while you nibble on fresh tostadas until midnight.
This LES spot feels like a fun dinner party, but instead of cocktail weenies and sweaty cubes of gouda, you'll find flavorful Thai/Filipino dishes. And, as with any real party (or any trip to a haunted corn maze), you should come prepared with a small army of people who talk about “fun,” and also actually like to have it. The menu is broken up into “smalls” and “mains,” but the smalls are like tapas for giants—so plan to share as much as possible with your group.
Sugar Freak is a Cajun/Creole restaurant a block off the stretch in Astoria known as Little Egypt, but the big, packed space feels like a New Orleans-themed party no matter what day of the week you come. Beads hang from the light fixtures, and the space is usually full of groups sharing things like crawfish boils and jambalaya.
If you need a kind of sceney, semi-upscale spot for a last-minute dinner around Union Square, Kyma will work well. Reservations aren’t tough, and you can have some great food when you order correctly. This Greek restaurant specializes in seafood, so that’s mostly what you should order here. There are oysters, crab cakes, and a couple of good crudos, but for an appetizer, we especially like the grilled octopus.
Rangoon serves some of the best Burmese food in NYC, and this Crown Heights spot is ideal for when you need a new dish to daydream about during your next meaningless conversation. You could stop by for lunch or dinner wearing leggings and a T-shirt, but this place also works for an outdoor date night on a patio surrounded by string lights.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Houseman is in a part of Soho that's mainly known for the mess of cars constantly trying to squeeze into the Holland Tunnel, which means you'll find fewer people competing for a seat here than you would at a place like Balthazar. And that's one big reason why we like it here. Stop by when you want to catch up with people and not have to shout at everyone. The number one reason to come to Houseman, however, will always be the rich and juicy burger, which comes with Swiss cheese and two thin patties.
Katsuei has locations in both Park Slope and the West Village, and it's well-known for its relatively affordable omakase options. For $65, you get nine incredibly good pieces of sushi and a handroll. In terms of quality, price, and variety, this is some of the best sushi you’ll find in New York City—so come here the next time you want to feel mildly fancy on a Monday.
Fridays and Saturdays are slammed at the casual East Village sushi spot Kanoyama, so a weekday dinner is the way to go. The bar here also happens to be an excellent place for dining solo, and if you live in the area, this should be your choice for sushi delivery.
When Jing Fong’s 800-seat banquet hall on Elizabeth Street shuttered during the pandemic, we thought we were losing an NYC institution forever. The new, single-floor space on Centre Street is much smaller, but the dim sum is better than ever. There are still roving carts with chicken feet, fried turnip cakes (our favorite), and egg tarts, but none of these dishes ever seem like they've been sitting around for more than a few minutes. And if you don’t see a dish you want rolling by, just mention this to the accommodating staff, and someone will bring it to you straight from the kitchen.
Mimi is a tiny spot in Greenwich Village with dim lighting, ice cold martinis, a marble bar, and a general aura of coolness. Nowadays, the menu here is relatively simple, with dishes like chicken liver mousse, pork rillettes, rotisserie chicken, and fries. For a Monday dinner date (that you'll actually be able to book a table for), this is one of your very best options.
photo credit: Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Blue Ribbon Brasserie is an undisputed NYC classic and one of the first places we want to go at 11pm when we need a meal that doesn’t involve something between two buns. The menu hasn’t changed much since this place opened, and some of the go-to items are still the beef bone marrow with oxtail marmalade, the rack of lamb, and anything from the extensive cold seafood section of the menu.
Tokyo Record Bar is in a basement in Greenwich Village, and it has either two or three seatings per night, depending on the day. Each involves a seven-course tasting menu (which costs $65 per person), served in a little space that looks like something you’d find down an alley in Tokyo. Once you get seated here, the first thing you do is help make the soundtrack. A server hands you a brochure with around 100 different records, you pick a song or two, then the DJ takes everyone’s selections and turns them into an all-vinyl playlist. This restaurant is perfect for a more-creative date night, and it's an ideal way to forget about the fact that you're currently only one day into your work week.