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Everyone knows the food scene in New York City is to die for. After all, it’s a place that’s every bit as famous for its pizza and bagels as it is the Empire State Building and Central Park. No matter what I am coming to New York for, exploring new restaurants is always at the top of my to-do list. I knew there was no way I could call myself a travel blogger without devoting an entire post to the top restaurants in Manhattan.

Lunch at The Grey Dog

Every time someone tells me they are planning a visit to New York, one of the first questions they ask me is “where should I eat?” Undoubtedly, my answer is always one of the places on this page. Keep reading to discover all my top favorite Manhattan restaurants, a couple foodie neighborhoods that you cannot miss, and the secret to finding the best New York pizza.

The Top Restaurants to Visit in Manhattan
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My Favorite Restaurants
The Best New York Pizza
More Foodie Streets/Neighborhoods to Explore

The Top Restaurants to Visit in Manhattan

Cafe d’Alsace

Location: Upper East Side
Price Point: $$
Website: www.cafedalsace.com

Cafe d’Alsace is a French restaurant serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, along with happy hour from 5-7pm daily. I came here for brunch, and I can vouch that their omelette lorraine and pain au chocolat croissant are about as good as anything you’ll find in France.

Much like the Alsace region of France has French and German influences, food at this restaurant is heavily influenced by both cultures as well. You’ll find French classics such as the croque madame and croissants on the brunch menu, along with meat-heavy options for dinner. If you like German food, the Choucroute Garnie or Baeckeoffe would likely be right up your alley. And for those who still want to stick to French cuisine, the steak tartare or moules frites are 2 of their popular options that locals love.

Oscar Wilde NYC

Location: Nomad District
Price Point: $$$
Website: www.oscarwildenyc.com

If you were spending one day in New York City and asked me what restaurant to go to, it is highly likely I would tell you to come here. Quite possibly my favorite restaurant in NYC for numerous reasons, Oscar Wilde is famous for their cocktails and their Victorian-era aesthetics. If you know anything about Oscar Wilde the person, you know that he was unique in his dress, flamboyance, satire, and wit, and the restaurant itself has somehow managed to embody all of these qualities – right down to the Oscar Wilde quotes hidden throughout the decor.

The wall of whiskey at Oscar Wilde in Manhattan, NYC
A peak at the whiskey selection inside Oscar Wilde

The interior of the restaurant is elaborately decorated on a normal day, but on holidays, it’s on a whole other level. Make it a bucket-list item to go on Christmas AND Halloween, because it’s unreal (but also extremely crowded – so make reservations way in advance!). Even if you can only get in for drinks, it’s still worth it (fun fact: they hold the record for having the longest bar in the city at 118.5 feet!).

Cosmico NYC

Location: Nomad District
Price Point: $$
Website: https://cosmiconyc.com/

I first discovered Cosmico because it is the sister restaurant to Oscar Wilde (and, conveniently, located right next door!). One of NYC’s newest Latin restaurants, Cosmico boasts plenty of Latin American influences, between their food, music, and expertly-crafted drink menu. Outside the restaurant is a gorgeous display of flowers and lights that only gets better once you get inside, and will mentally transport you right to Tulum. Along with a few other places in this post, it’s one of my favorite restaurants with a feminine aesthetic in New York City.

Cosmico has Ladies Night every Thursday featuring $10 cocktails from 7-10pm, along with a DJ most nights of the week. Come check out the oasis vibes and order the Volverte a Ver which is, IMO, the best spicy marg in Manhattan (and you know my standards are high).

The Volverte a Ver at Cosmico in NYC
The Volverte a Ver at Cosmico

The Milling Room

Location: Upper West Side
Price Point: $$$
Website: http://www.themillingroom.com/

Located in what was originally a fancy hotel, the Milling Room is a stunningly beautiful space with locally sourced American food. The main dining room has a skylit ceiling and a rustic-yet-moody vibe that makes this the perfect date night spot. The food and drink selections rotate seasonally (if they have the ricotta gnocchi or squid ink linguine vongole when you go, I can attest that both are amazing). Additionally, there is a Tavern bar adjacent to the restaurant space that offers extra seating. I loved everything about this place when I went – drinks, dessert, food, service, moody vibes, all of it.

The Milling Room in Manhattan, NYC
The Milling Room

NoMo Kitchen

Location: SoHo
Price Point: $$$
Website: https://www.nomosoho.com/nomo-soho-kitchen/

If you are familiar with SoHo, you may have walked by the NoMo SoHo hotel and noticed the iconic archway leading to the hotel’s entrance. Follow this archway, and it will lead you into the hotel lobby and, subsequently, NoMo Kitchen. The restaurant inside this beautiful hotel space has a glamorous/girly/greenhouse theme complete with a graffiti heart wall and chandeliers. Outside, there is a rose garden patio, giving a chic yet urban secret garden vibes.

For food, I can recommend their squid ink fusilli, pizza flatbreads, and Spanish octopus. NoMo Kitchen is also known for their brunch and cocktails. Bask in the whimsical scenery and even check out the Library Cafe on your way out – a small, intimate space with a rotating book wall serving coffee, tea, and breakfast bites.

NoMo Kitchen restaurant at the NoMo SoHo Hotel in Manhattan, NYC
NoMo Kitchen (Dining Area) – New York City, NY

The Grey Dog

Location: Multiple
Price Point: $$
Website: https://thegreydog.com/

The Grey Dog is one of those places that you go when you want to grab your favorite people and have a cozy meal surrounded by good food and good vibes. Known for their all-day breakfast, they also have a variety of wines and cocktails and an extensive happy hour that runs from 3-7pm on weekdays (4-7 on weekends). If you come around happy hour time, they have shareable plates (their grilled cheese dippers are popular!) along with a variety of salads and sandwiches. Although dogs are technically not permitted in any NYC restaurant, I’ve been told as long as your pet is well-behaved, the staff will *pretend* they didn’t notice…

Clinton St. Baking Co.

Location: Lower East Side
Price Point: $$
Website: https://clintonstreetbaking.com/

Clinton St. Baking Company is known for their bomb pancakes that are served all day long until close. Their history is fascinating: what originally began as a small bakery focused on making muffins and scones has since evolved into the breakfast phenomenon that it is today. They currently have visitors from all over the world stop in to taste what New York Magazine proclaims as “the best pancakes in New York City.” But don’t think they have forgotten their roots: you are still able to order cakes and other baked goods for pick-up.

Clinton St. Baking Co. also has a location at Time Out Market in Brooklyn – in fact, this is where I tried their famous pancakes for the first time (and then came back the next day and had them again.)

Buvette

Location: West Village
Price Point: $$
Website: https://ilovebuvette.com/

I casually stumbled upon this place while strolling through the West Village and immediately noticed 2 things: the interior that reminded me of a cozy French cafe, and the line that was out the door. Fortunately, I was able to get right in (perks of being a solo traveler!) and now I am making it a point to go back every time I visit. The menu features comfort-food breakfasts such as waffles, croque sandwiches, and toasts, and they also have specialty egg-featured dishes. They also serve lunch and dinner, but the breakfast vibes are just too good for me to pass up. This is the perfect place to order a croissant with a cappuccino and spend the morning pretending like you’re in Paris (but make reservations in advance!!).

Avocado toast at Buvette in NYC
Avocado toast at Buvette in NYC

Becco

Location: Times Square
Price Point: $$$
Website: https://www.becco-nyc.com/

If you are looking for arguably the best Italian restaurant in NYC, put Becco on your list. I love this restaurant for numerous reasons – 2 of the most important ones being the food and the service. Famous for their innovative pasta tasting menu, you are able to taste 3 of the chef’s daily pasta preparations along with a choice of insalata or antipasto. Being an authentic Italian restaurant, I’m sure you don’t need me to assure you that the wine list is second to none either.

Located on Restaurant Row (W. 46th St.) right outside of the theater district in Times Square, Becco is famous for more than just its food. Fans of the classic TV show Friends will enjoy knowing that a few restaurant scenes were shot here, and the restaurant itself is rich in cultural Italian history. This is the perfect spot to eat after you catch your favorite Broadway show, but be sure to make reservations – this place gets packed!

Monarch Rooftop Lounge

Location: Herald Square
Price Point: $$$
Website: https://www.monarchrooftop.com/

Monarch Rooftop Lounge was one of the first rooftop bars that I visited in NYC, and I immediately loved it for its moody atmosphere, city views, small plates and cocktails. This is the perfect place to come with your friends or significant other and share a bunch of appetizers while working your way through the drink menu. (I can vouch for the parmesan truffle fries, grilled cheese bites, and beef sliders). They have an indoor skylight lounge that has exposed brick walls and chic animal print furniture, while the outdoor terrace has stunning Empire State/Midtown views.

Monarch Rooftop Lounge in Manhattan, NYC
Monarch Rooftop – New York City, NY

Little Ruby’s Cafe

Location: SoHo, East Village
Price Point: $$
Website: https://littlerubyscafe.com/menu

The Australians have made quite a name for themselves in the New York City breakfast scene. Many popular Aussie-run restaurants are all over the city serving staples such as breakfast toasts, açaí bowls, and egg sandwiches, and Ruby’s is one of my favorites. But don’t think it’s just breakfast – they also have an extensive burger and pasta menu (the Bronte burger is one of their most popular features!). The inside is vibrant and cute, and they have outside seating in warmer weather.

The Best Tip for Finding The Best New York Pizza

One of my dearest friends – not to mention a NYC native – taught me that in order to find the best pizza in New York, you have to pick somewhere that’s the dive-bar equivalent to a pizza shop. The sketchier, the better. And she was right.

One of my favorite NYC memories is stumbling into a hole-in-the-wall pizza place in Times Square after seeing Chicago on Broadway. Full disclosure: I had way too much wine in the theater to even begin to tell you what this place was called, but it was giving gas-station restaurant vibes.

TBH, it probably didn’t even have a name. Regardless, know that Broadway + wine followed by discovering the best pizza of your life in a nameless pizza place is what New York dreams are made of.


A Couple Foodie Neighborhoods to Explore

One of my favorite things about coming to New York City is that there are endless amounts of restaurants to explore. Each time I visit, I am constantly finding new areas and streets that have restaurants I want to try. In addition to the places mentioned above, these are the areas I intend on exploring next time I return:

West Village/Greenwich Village

Ahhh West Village: the neighborhood that Taylor Swift famously sang about is everything you would imagine it to be. The restaurants, bars, and coffee shops here somehow manage to be cozy, mysterious, artsy, rustic, and magical all at the same time. Turn down any random street and there are string lights hanging off of outdoor seating, comfort food aromas in the air, and people just simply enjoying each other’s company.

The more I visit New York, the more I fall in love with West Village/Greenwich Village. This neighborhood has truly become one of my favorite places in the city, not just for its food scene, but for its unwavering charm and quaint sophistication. I urge you to spend time walking around here on your next visit (you can pretend you’re T-Swift walking down Cornelia St. I won’t judge you.)

W. 46th Street – “Restaurant Row”

The best part about W. 46th St. is that it’s right near Times Square but doesn’t feel like it should be. Turn down this street and you’ll be (almost instantly) transported from the mania of New York City’s most famous tourist attraction to a much quieter, lest touristy part of the city where all you have to worry about is which restaurant to choose.

Nicknamed “Restaurant Row” because of all the delicious options, you may find it a tad overwhelming at first to choose. Fortunately, the city has your back: they recently installed 2 way-finding kiosks at the end of each block that lists the available restaurants in order of location, and color-coded by cuisine.

One of the things that makes Restaurant Row so special is its diversity when it comes to cuisine AND entertainment options. You have Asian flavors from Dim Sum Palace, Swing 46 featuring live jazz, the French Brasserie Athenee, and Becco, the Italian restaurant that I mentioned earlier. And those are just 4 options. This is the perfect area for anyone who wants to grab a bite to eat and then catch a Broadway show or end the night exploring Times Square.

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