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.)
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.
La Mercerie is an all-day cafe 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).
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. 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.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
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, this is one of those places you should probably check out.
If you walked by King, glanced at the menu, and peeked your head in the window, you might get the impression that it’s a little stuffy. The restaurant has white tablecloths and a daily-changing menu of what seems to be pretty fancy food. But once you realize that “lombatello” is just another word for hanger steak, it all becomes clear: This place looks much fancier than it actually is. The service is friendly, the food is very good, and while it’s a bit pricey, King is actually a pretty low-key place to eat. If you have friends or parents who know what lombatello is, they’ll probably like it here.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
You want to eat the udon at Raku. Both the hot and cold varieties are loaded with soft, chewy noodles and ingredients like shrimp and eggplant tempura or chicken and sea eel—and while one of these giant pots is definitely enough for a full meal, the small plates are great, too. So we recommend sharing an udon and getting a few other things, like Japanese fried chicken and thin slices of tender, rare beef. This is a good spot for a casual date or a quick solo meal at the chef’s counter.
photo credit: David Sullivan
Cafe Altro Paradiso
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, and, 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.
photo credit: Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
It feels like the staff at Blue Ribbon Brasserie get together every January and go through a presentation titled “Let’s Make Sure This Year is Exactly the Same as Last Year.” 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 still the beef marrow with oxtail marmalade, rack of lamb, and anything from the extensive raw bar. But you shouldn’t overlook the garlicky strips of sautéed calamari and the collards cooked that maintain some of their crunchy texture despite being cooked in butter.
Blue Ribbon Sushi
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 à la carte nigiri, maki, and sashimi, this iconic late-night spot is still your best option. The place might have the noise level of a restaurant where everything is topped with mayo and fried stuff, but the nigiri here leans pretty straightforward and traditional. We typically order the $42 sushi deluxe, which comes with 10 pieces of sushi as well as your choice of spicy tuna or salmon maki.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
A group dinner at Shuka on MacDougal Street won’t change the course of your life or even your month, but it’ll keep things stress-free. And, in Soho, that’s high praise. Everyone can share better-than-average Middle Eastern dishes like bright pink beet hummus, thick labne, and kebabs that come with fluffy pita. Plus there are plenty of vegetarian options, and almost everything costs less than $25. This is a surprisingly spacious restaurant, despite being located on a charming street where we assume every apartment is 400 square feet. The catch? Tables fill up fast. Even if the reservations are fully booked online, we’ve had luck showing up here around 6pm.
photo credit: Le Coucou
Meals at this elegant French restaurant are a little uneven—but there are a few outstanding dishes here that arrive at your table without a single component out of place. A delicate quenelle made with pike goes really well with the accompanying sauce—made with cream, brandy, and lobster stock—and the lobster au poivre (the best thing here) comes with tender chunks of meat in an incredible cognac cream and peppercorn sauce The service at Le Coucou is genuinely among the best in the city, and when you stop by for dinner, you'll see people 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.
Beyond just the charm of waiters shouting out “hot fresh bagels” every so often, Sadelle’s is where you should come for cascading fish towers and some of the best tiny, crusty rounds of dough in the city. You can select your favorite fish topping, or, for $125, you can opt for the whole lot that comes with basically every bagel-appropriate fish you can imagine (like salmon, sable, sturgeon, and whitefish). The restaurant is best used for an over-the-top breakfast or brunch, as they have a couple of pretty good $40 salads and plenty of breakfast staples (french toast, omelettes, and benedicts).
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Raoul's is usually packed with tourists, neighborhood regulars, and people who travel to Soho in order to take selfies on the cobblestone streets. So you'd think it would be overrated. That is not the case. This French bistro—which opened in 1975—is still a fantastic place to eat perfectly seasoned steak with crispy fries and escargot over creamy polenta. The dark, old-school dining room is full of random paintings and taxidermy, and, for some reason, there's a fish tank in the middle of the room. If you're by yourself, get a seat at the bar, drink a martini, and order the famous burger that sports a thick layer of peppercorns.
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 in Soho 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, 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.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
Through a large window in the back of this restaurant, you can spy on the staff forming dumplings by hand like you're watching some kind of food porn peep show. It makes sense that they want to call attention to this process—because the dumplings are why you come to Pinch Chinese. While some of the pricier large plates are very good (we especially like the almost-completely-deboned wind sand chicken with fried garlic that goes through 72 hours of preparation), we suggest treating this place like a dim sum restaurant. Stick to the dumplings and small plates like the not-at-all-mushy eggplant in a thick garlic sauce with long peppers.
Omen Azen is the sort of place where you might come for a weeknight meal and see Patti Smith sitting a few tables over. This neighborhood restaurant is in the bottom of a small apartment building, and it’s a casual, charming space with brick walls and lamps hanging from the ceiling. The menu has things like sashimi, teriyaki, and avocado salad—so bring a friend who’s currently staying away from eating anything that could have plausibly touched butter, and enjoy a relatively quiet meal.
photo credit: Noah Fecks
There's a bar area in the middle of The Dutch that divides the room into two distinct sides. One side feels like a lively tavern, while the other provides a more subdued dining experience. At first glance, the fairly small menu looks about as straightforward as it can get, but many of the dishes have small, unexpected twists. You'll see things like roasted brussels sprouts with bacon bits submerged in creamy horseradish and a plate of black sea bass with shoyu dashi. Try this place for a meal with your coworkers when a meeting that was supposed to end at 5pm ends up going until 7pm, and you’ve all realized you haven’t eaten since noon.
The Tyger is from the people behind Chinese Tuxedo, and like that Chinatown party restaurant, this pan-Asian spot in Soho is usually filled with groups drinking colorful cocktails in a more-colorful dining room. From Phnom Penh fried chicken with lime and white pepper dipping sauce to spicy curry loaded with crispy confit duck and a not-quite-liquid, not-quite-solid coffee egg tart, everything on the menu is absolutely excellent. Bring a group, sit at a table near the retractable floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to Centre Street, and order as much of the menu as you can, colorful cocktails included.
Antique Garage feels kind of like a caricature of a Soho restaurant. It’s on a cobblestone street that’s often full of people posing for semi-professional-looking photo shoots, which makes the sidewalk seating here ideal for people-watching. But the indoor space is just as entertaining. It usually has a mix of tourists and people dressed according to trends you hadn't become aware of yet. As for the Mediterranean food, we like the small plates and mezze—like charred eggplant salad and phyllo filled with different cheeses—more than the entrees. Come here for brunch (they often have live music) or for drinks and a light bite after work.
As you’ve gathered by now, Soho is full of old-school hangs and a few new classics. But what about when you suddenly find yourself with a group of eight people looking to party without spending too much money? That’s where Galli comes in. Not only can you actually get a reservation for a big group here, but you’ll actually have a good time. Nothing on the menu costs more than $30, and you should be perfectly content with your beef ragu and chicken marsala.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Pi Greek Bakerie
The people who used to run Artopolis in Astoria (which sadly closed during the pandemic) also operate this highly-useful Greek spot on Broome Street. It’s a great choice for a quick lunch in the area. There are a few tables inside where you can sit and eat some moussaka or a sandwich on Greek bread, and you won’t have to stand in a long line like the tourists down the street at Dominique Ansel Bakery. You can also just stop by and get a spiral-shaped spanakopita to go.