The Best Restaurants In Soho guide image

NYCGuide

The Best Restaurants In Soho

Where to eat in a neighborhood known for tourists, high-end boutiques, and the occasional random dental clinic.

As you read through this guide, you’re going to notice a few recurring themes. First, you’ll see that the general takeaway about many Soho restaurants is: “This place has been around forever, and it's still great.” But in addition to some of New York’s best classic restaurants, you’ll find some new standbys on this guide as well as some solid options for groups who don't want to spend $100 per person.

You'll also notice that a lot of these places tend to be filled with tourists and people who actually wait in line to get into the Supreme store. But that's to be expected. This is Soho, after all. (By the way, we’re defining Soho as the western side of Layafette, going westwards. Nolita is another beast altogether.)

THE SPOTS

La Mercerie

La Mercerie is a restaurant embedded in the front of a high-end furniture store, and some baguette with butter here will cost you around $8. In other words, La Mercerie is a very Soho place. The mostly-French menu has dishes like salads, buckwheat crepes, and salmon blinis—and the food is excellent. So stop by and have a lunch meeting here next to a $20,000 couch. Your meal won’t be cheap, but it will impress whoever you need to impress (and still be a lot less expensive than the couch).

It feels like the Blue Ribbon staff get together every January and go through a presentation called “Let’s Make Sure This Year is Exactly the Same as Last Year.” You know what they say about things that ain’t broke. This American spot is an undisputed NYC classic, and it's one of the first places we think of at 11pm when we want a meal that doesn’t involve something between two buns. Some of the go-to items are the beef marrow with oxtail marmalade, rack of lamb, and anything from the extensive raw bar. 

It’s a good idea to make a reservation at Raku, because otherwise you’re looking at an hour’s wait for a table, even on a random weeknight at 6pm. Fortunately, you can put your name down and go shopping until it’s time for you to enjoy some of NYC’s best udon, available in both hot and cold versions, as well as some small plates. The minimalist space has a useful combination of cozy booths, bar seating, and long communal tables, and you can have a filling dinner for two here for under $100.

There are modern diners all over the city (S&P, Baby Blues Luncheonette, Thai Diner) but there’s something special about Revelie. Maybe it’s the old fashioned soda jerk behind the counter, or the fact that they sometimes play marathons of old Baywatch episodes on the TV. Either way, it’s a stellar lowkey place for a sneaky Friday lunch of clams casino, or a round of burgers and a bottle of rosé in a booth with your friends at 10pm.

Altro Paradiso is from the same people behind Estela, although this place is much bigger, and it’s open for both lunch and dinner. The food here is Italian, but it’s not the red-sauce kind—they serve a lot of small plates and lighter pastas, as well as larger things like steak and roasted chicken. During the day, Altro Paradiso is perfect for a lunch meeting, with lots of white marble, blonde wood and big mirrors. At night, it’s good for dates or dinner with the parents. You could also just stop by for a negroni and very good wagyu burger at the bar on your way home from work.

Sadelle’s serves things that you can get at any diner, like club sandwiches and omelets, but they’re the Queer Eye makeover versions of those dishes. Order a bagel, which is elaborately presented like afternoon tea, on a three-tiered tray with cucumber, tomatoes, and whitefish salad. Or a custardy french toast that is literally three-inches thick. It’s always a scene at this spot from the Carbone team, as if an A-list celebrity in a tracksuit may walk through the door any minute. 

Yubu does one thing, and they do it really well. They make about a dozen varieties of rice-stuffed, sweet tofu pockets, topped with Korean ingredients. The creamy crab salad one is our favorite, but the bulgogi is a close second. Get a couple pockets for a quick snack, or around four for a full meal. Be sure to add a refreshing “sparkling ade” like the one with fermented Asian green plum. This fast-casual place has a good amount of seating in their bright dining room—unlike their original East Village location, which is takeout-only. 

You can just pop into Ladureé for macarons, and a lot of people do, but having afternoon tea or an extravagant brunch on the back patio is also a great way to fight FOMO when all of your friends seem to be on a European vacation. Everything at Ladureé is French, from the fashionably disinterested hosts to the perfect croque monsieurs. Wait times can be aggravating, especially on the weekends, but it is possible to get a walk-in table. 

Houseman is in a part of Soho that's mainly known for the mess of cars constantly trying to squeeze into the Holland Tunnel. And maybe that's why you can pretty much always get a table here. Their refreshing tardivo salad with two kinds of oranges and grapefruit is one of the best salads we've encountered—but the number one reason to come here will always be the rich and juicy burger. Its gooey swiss cheese (merged with caramelized onions) comes through in every bite.

Soho has fewer sushi options than you might think, considering it's a neighborhood where hundred dollar bills outnumber public restrooms. If you’re looking for a place to order a la carte nigiri, maki, and sashimi, this iconic late-night spot is still your best option. Blue Ribbon might have the noise level of a restaurant where everything is topped with mayo and fried stuff, but the nigiri here actually leans pretty straightforward and traditional. 

Spread over two stories, this dramatic restaurant has lavish chandeliers and concrete walls, and the crowd includes people who treat every week like it’s Fashion Week. But you’ll also see groups of coworkers who refuse to blow their expense accounts at a Midtown restaurant. An ideal meal at Principe consists of as many raw bar items as you can afford, and a pasta or two (try the pillowy dollops of ndunderi with a buttery lemon sauce). As a bonus, the crumpet-like bread, served with goat butter and Calabrian chili oil, is possibly the best thing here, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

A group dinner or weekend brunch at Shuka won’t change the course of your life or even your month, but it will improve your day. And, in Soho, that’s high praise. Everyone can share flavorful Middle Eastern dishes like thick labne with toppings that change with the seasons, whipped feta with pistachio, and juicy kebabs with pita. There are plenty of vegetarian options, and almost everything costs less than $25. Shuka is a spacious restaurant with several sunny dining rooms, and outdoor tables on charming MacDougal Street. Still, spots fill up fast, so try and reserve ahead if you can. 

Eating a full deep-dish pie in NYC is the pizza equivalent of wearing a Trae Young jersey at Madison Square Garden. But when the urge hits, Emmett’s is where you should go. That being said, there are other more worthwhile Chicago-style things on the menu to order. We’re talking about the Italian beef with a spicy giardiniera that you’ll want to dip in the residual beef drippings and the crispy, thin tavern-style pizzas. The space is pretty small, and feels almost self-consciously dive-y, so  we  wouldn’t recommend Emmett’s for a big group dinner, but it works for catching up with a friend over a bottle of wine and a pie.

Some nights, there’s a tarot card reader at Raoul’s, at the top of the precariously steep staircase that leads to the restrooms. Other nights, there’s a random B list celebrity having a martini in the corner, under a hodgepodge of oil paintings. You never know who you’re going to see here, but there will always be a crowd. Known mainly for its peppercorn-crusted burger, which deserves every ounce of hype it gets, this bistro has been serving highly competent French classics  since 1975. If you can’t snag a reservation, put your name in for a bar seat.

Meals at this elegant French restaurant can be uneven—but the few outstanding dishes and stellar service will transport you directly to the Rue des Whatever in Paris. A creamy brandy sauce is a perfect match for the delicate pike quenelle, and the lobster au poivre (the best thing here) comes with tender chunks of meat in a rich cognac sauce. Once you get past the formal setting with grand chandeliers, you’ll notice you’re surrounded by guests in Tom Ford jackets and elbow-length satin gloves who look like they’re on the way to some kind of Eyes Wide Shut party.

Balthazar is always a scene. Like a one-vodka-cocktail-and-peep-toe-heel-away-from-Samantha-Jones scene. Next to the regulars sit Soho shoppers and Gen Z kids wearing camo bucket hats who heard about this restaurant from TikTok. It’s an undeniably weird mix for a classic French brasserie that opened in 1997—but the frenetic energy is what makes Balthazar worth visiting for a night of paying too much money for escargot and French onion soup. If you’re in the area with tiny martini stars in your eyes, check it out.

If you’ve ever walked across Houston Street and thought to yourself, "I wish there was a good Mexican restaurant around here that wasn’t Dos Caminos," Bar Tulix is for you. In the space on Houston and Greene that was home to Burger & Barrel for about a decade, you'll find this seafood-heavy Mexican restaurant with food from the chef behind Oxomoco and Speedy Romeo. The menu isn’t traditional—there’s an aguachile turned black with squid ink and a riff on a caesar salad—but all of the food is tasty. Coming here for a fun Saturday night involving probably too much mezcal, or for a drink and snack at the bar.

Trends are cyclical, so it was only a matter of time before Fanelli Cafe became a scene again. In the mid-twentieth century, this Soho restaurant was a hangout for beat poets and musicians like Bob Dylan, and now it’s one of the preferred destinations for people who wear tiny sunglasses and oversized pants. Swing by if you want to mingle with some influencers and enjoy a roughly $30 meal that consists of very normal bar food. The little space is dark and tavern-like, and there are some tables outside, where you’ll see folks congregating on the sidewalk.

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photo credit: Kate Previte

The Best Restaurants In Soho guide image