As you read through this guide, you’re going to notice a few recurring themes. First, you’ll notice that the general takeaway about many Soho restaurants is “this place has been around forever and is still great.” And you’ll also notice that a lot of places serve what is essentially “nice American food and oysters.” At the best of these places, like Blue Ribbon Brasserie, those two things overlap.
In addition to some of New York’s best classic restaurants, you’ll also find some new standbys as well as solid go-tos for groups. You won’t find much by the way of cheap eats, but there is some greasy inexpensive Mexican should you need it in Soho. By the way, we’re defining Soho as the western side of Layafette, going westwards. Nolita is another beast altogether.
Raoul’s is classic Soho. This French bistro has been around since the 70s, and somehow hasn’t lost its cool with age. Order the steak au poivre and a few martinis, and you’ll feel like New York’s still got it.
One of our favorite restaurants in New York, Charlie Bird is another place that will make you happy you live in New York. Or mad that you don’t. Excellent service, even better wine, and some very good food, in a laid-back environment with hip hop regularly coming out of the speakers. You can never go wrong at Charlie Bird.
There is nowhere better in New York – or really in the world – to eat bone marrow and a tower of seafood at 3am. You can do that at Blue Ribbon Brasserie (you can do it at 8pm, too) and you absolutely should. Another place that never, ever gets old.
A newcomer to far West Soho, it’s well worth crossing 6th Avenue for a meal at Houseman. Actually, it’s worth crossing the entire city to eat Houseman’s insanely good burger. The restaurant is fun without feeling sceney, and the food is excellent. It’s “seasonal” taken to the next level – they literally print the day’s weather on the menu and often create specials that reflect that.
Carbs were actually banned from Soho back in 2009, but Osteria Morini has still managed to operate its pasta-heavy operation despite that legislation. Order a few pastas to share, along with some wine and some cured meats.
Great bar, great seafood tower, and a generally good menu overall. Of the restaurants serving the aforementioned American food and oysters, this one actually opened this century, giving it a more modern feel than the others.
This is not necessarily the best sushi in Manhattan, but it is very good, and it is fun. Like its sibling Blue Ribbon restaurant down the block, this place is all about late night eats and A-rate people watching. We’re not sure who the cool celebrities are these days, but there’s probably one sitting in the corner.
This subterranean restaurant looks and feels like a big party boat. Like much of Soho, tourists will be present, but the food – from assorted seafood and sushi to the burger – is very good and it’s always poppin'.
A few years after opening, Lure realized its burger was a pretty big deal, so they opened up this burger-focused restaurant and “winepub” up the street. It’s an enjoyable spot overall and the burger really is great.
As you’ve gathered by now, Soho is full of old school hangs and some new classics. But what about when you suddenly find yourself with a crew of eight people looking to party, less than two days from now, without spending too much money? That’s where Galli comes in. Not only can you actually get a reservation for a big group on OpenTable, but you’ll actually have a good time once you get there.
Some restaurants do brunch, other restaurants are brunch. You could come here for dinner (we have, and it’s fine), but the point of Hundred Acres is Bloody Marys and Southern brunch. The cinnamon rolls are unbeatable.
Balthazar is still a scene – though a different kind than the one you would’ve found 15 years ago when this was the hottest restaurant around. Today, most people in Balthazar appear to have at least three passports, which makes for some entertaining people-watching. Still, it’s a classic.
Another Keith McNally restaurant, Lucky Strike is actually even older than Balthazar – it’s been open on Grand Street since 1989. It’s maintained a much more local feel, and though the food is good but not amazing, the vibes and extra large cocktails make it an overall excellent hang.
Yet another neighborhood classic unchanged by current trends, come to Aquagrill primarily for the excellent oyster selection and to find the neighborhood’s over-60 population.
You know what is very easy to find in Soho? A great steak frites in a dark, sexy room. You know what is less easy to find in Soho? Cheap, vaguely healthy food. That’s what you get at Mooncake, which serves what they call “Asian comfort food.” We hit the tiny diner space mostly for takeout, but you can eat-in as well.
Jack’s Wife Freda serves an important purpose in Soho, and that purpose is an easy lunch or very casual dinner. There aren’t a ton of restaurants suitable for that as you go westward.
As we said in our recent review, “Welcome to West Broadway Reform, Temple Of Hot Bagels.” The Jewish appetizing store/restaurant from the guys behind Carbone and Parm is over-the-top in all the right ways. It’s a must-visit for all bagel and salmon obsessives, but the French toast and babka are really where it’s at.
This tiny shop on Sullivan Street makes some of the world’s best Italian sandwiches. Fresh ingredients, fresh bread, and surly people behind the counter. What more do you want in life?
Dominique Ansel is a bakery and most famously, the home of the cronut. But they also serve some very good savory items, namely the Perfect Little Egg Sandwich on brioche, which you don’t want to miss for breakfast. Or just eat a frozen s’more for lunch.
This is not the fancy Mexican food you’re used to seeing all over New York. Instead, it’s the cheap, slightly mushy, and generally delicious California-style Mexican food you probably grew up on. When’s the last time you had an enchilada?