The Best Restaurants in NYC Right Now, According to T+L Editors

From tried-and-true favorites to hip new openings.

While the New York City dining scene has seen plenty of hardships since the pandemic began, both outdoor and indoor dining have returned in full force. In fact, it almost feels as if there are too many incredible restaurants to choose from on any given evening. Many of our favorite spots are back after closures, while some stuck it out through the entire pandemic with takeout and to-go beverages. We're also excited about the variety of new dining concepts opening all over the city, from natural wine bars to environmentally friendly sushi spots.

We asked Travel + Leisure editors about their favorite New York City restaurants, including tried-and-true destinations and hip new spots. If you find yourself in the five boroughs in the near future, you're going to want to check out at least a few of these restaurants for delicious, inventive food, an inviting ambience, and a travel editor-approved dining experience.

Keep reading for 18 of our favorite New York City restaurants, from Manhattan taco spots to Brooklyn pizza joints.

Carne Mare

Interior of Carne Mare
Courtesy of Carne Mare

"The Seaport area has a brand new restaurant to add to its arsenal: Carne Mare, from New York heavyweight Andrew Carmellini. This Italian steakhouse celebrates land and sea in a formal (but not stuffy) space that overlooks the water. My favorite dishes? The gorgonzola-cured Wagyu striploin and the mozzarella sticks topped with caviar, already an Instagram regular." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

To visit:

Hancock Street

Evening view of whimsical patio lit by fairy lights at Hancock St
Courtesy of Hancock St.

"This clubby steakhouse and bistro, with both indoor and outdoor space, is a breath of fresh air in the West Village. John McDonald (of Lure Fishbar) brought in star designer Serge Becker to imagine a warm space to complement the nourishing food: steak tartare that melts in your mouth, roasted Dover sole, and adult's kid pasta (it's made with a gourmet butter sauce)." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

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"Sona is a beautiful addition to the New York restaurant scene — a fine-dining restaurant that celebrates Indian cuisine from multiple regions with sharable, healthy plates and gorgeous cocktails. Chef Hari Nayak has created a brilliant menu (order the rock shrimp koliwada, crab puri and caviar, and Floyd's Goan fish curry, with a side of the lamb biryani) and an even more brilliant atmosphere — come ready to listen to music and do some people-watching." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

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Plate of food at Estela
Courtesy of Estela

"I happened to end up at Estela for the first time just yesterday. If you were like me and hadn't been before, you may recognize the simply dressed endives of the restaurant's cookbook cover — which, I'll admit, I didn't quite understand the simplicity of. Because of this, my Estela experience was more than just a great meal out in Manhattan. It surprised me, checked my ego, and broadened my senses. I highly recommend the ricotta dumplings with mushrooms, the fried arroz negro with squid, and the oysters with nori. I haven't had such delicious, inspiring dishes in years." — Kendall Cornish, Ecommerce Editor

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Tacos Güey

Table of food from Taco Guey
Evan Sung

"The iconic cocktail den Flatiron Lounge, which closed in December 2018 after 15 years of bar brilliance, is one heck of a hard act to follow. Thankfully, the cheekily named mezcal and tequila drinks at this newly opened spot in the same 19th Street space are definitely up to the job. So too is the faultless cooking of chef Henry Zamora, a California native whose ceviches, tacos, and platos like pork ribs in salsa verde are proof that you really can find killer Mexican food in New York if you know where to look. It may be taking the reins from a speakeasy, but Tacos Güey likely won't stay a secret for long." — Paul Brady, Articles Editor

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Court Street Grocers

"I recently got my first sandwich from this beloved Carroll Gardens shop and had one of those true-love moments — it was as though we had met long ago, as though the place was an old friend who had been in my life as long as I could remember. I'm not a sentimental person, but the sandwich was that good. And as someone who is trying to eat less meat, I appreciate the wealth of veggie options: basically every meat-y sandwich has a plant-based counterpart. I ordered the Vegitalian (roasted butternut squash, mozzarella, pickle-y relish-y giardiniera-like "hoagie spread") and didn't miss a thing." — Hannah Walhout, Associate Editor

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Gallow Green

Table of food and drinks at Gallow Green
Jamie Watts

"The McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, has long dazzled visitors with over-the-top performances and parties. While I am a sucker for the variety shows like Speakeasy Magick —the must-see close-up magic show that re-premieres on July 23 — I have found myself coming back time and again for Gallow Green. The rooftop bar has top-notch cocktails and bites, and the decor transports you to a fantastical world not unlike Narnia through the wardrobe, but this is a rooftop in Chelsea. (It even becomes a log cabin in a pine forest in the winter!) And while Gallow Green offers a spectacle, the vibe is always approachable and surprisingly low-key. It's good for every occasion." — Scott Bay, Assistant Editor

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"Despite having done a lot of eating at home over the past year, I've been drawn to eating out at restaurants that feel, well, like home. That's the feeling you get at Pisticci, one of my Morningside Heights neighborhood favorites. The service is always friendly and the dining room has cozy, friend's-living-room vibes (though it's pretty hard to resist the airy outdoor dining setup). They've recently added menu options like plant-based meatballs and vegan bolognese alongside the more traditional offerings of mussels and skirt steak, so there's really something for everyone, including that friend (me) who wants to start dinner with a Spicy Spritz (mango chili vodka, peach nectar, Prosecco)." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

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Rosella Sushi

"I love high-end sushi as much as the next person, but the carbon footprint of flying fish in from Japan every day seems excessive. Times they are a-changing: Increasingly, we're needing to realize that what we eat hugely effects the planet. This small, unassuming sushi restaurant that opened in late 2020 uses domestic, locally caught or farmed seafood with minimal environmental impact. The menu consists of inventive takes on traditional Japanese sushi (the Yoni's breakfast roll is a play on a classic bagel and lox, hold the bagel), but every single piece of fish — whether it's the sweet scallop from Montauk or the meaty eel from Maine — is amazingly fresh, and you can feel good about eating it, too. As a bonus, the wine and sake program and the vibe-y playlist are equally on point." — Karen Chen, Editorial Producer

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Fiat Cafe

Exterior and Interior of Fiat Cafe in SoHo
Courtesy of Fiat Cafe

"My wife and I stumbled upon this quaint restaurant years ago and it's been one of our favorites ever since. The Italian eatery serves up all of the traditional favorites — carbonara, bolognese, and lasagna — with little flair but plenty of flavor. The setting will make you feel like you're dining in the center of Rome with an atmosphere that's quintessentially European. It's an unpretentious spot in a neighborhood that can be a bit luxuriant, and the prices really can't be beat. While I've been enjoying dinner here for years, it wasn't until recently that I realized they also serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch. If you're in the area during brunch, I'd highly recommend the eggs Florentine." — Sean Flynn, Contributing Editor

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Interior bar at Cadence
Courtesy of Cadence

"Cadence is one of the most exciting recent arrivals to the East Village dining scene. The dishes — like Southern fried lasagna, maple cornbread, and smoked grits — are inspired by chef Shenarri Freeman's Southern upbringing, but modernized, veganized, and made completely her own. And they're all served up in a warm, sophisticated space." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

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Santa Panza

Overhead view of 4 pizzas at Santa Panza
Courtesy of Santa Panza

"When Santa Panza arrived on Broadway in Bushwick a few years back, right under the tracks of the J Train, I immediately fell in love. Perfect for a date night or place to catch up with friends, the cozy restaurant serves wood-fired pizzas that compete with the best-of-the-best around town. One special pizza topped with Brussels sprouts and honey still makes my mouth water." — Tanner Saunders, Experiences Editor

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"I was a die-hard MeMe's Diner fan, so I was understandably heartbroken when it closed during the pandemic. But recently, a new queer-owned dining concept focusing on baked goods, natural wines, and even the occasional jelly cake opened up in the same Prospect Heights space. The new spot is called Kit, an acronym for 'Keep in Touch,' and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. Whether you stop by for your morning coffee or in the evening for a glass of wine, Kit is an undeniably charming spot with a friendly staff, and it's quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite." — Madeline Diamond, Ecommerce Writer

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"I recently braved indoor dining to finally visit the tasting-menu spot Oxalis. To me, a three-course meal isn't celebratory enough, and this restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, offers seven courses for a fraction of the price of Manhattan spots. It was awarded a Michelin star, and it's richly deserved. The dishes are intensely complicated, which in most hands isn't perceptible in the final product and just seems like hype. Here, it results truly new, subtle flavors. The optional wine pairing focuses on tiny natural producers." — Kathy Roberson, Copy & Research Chief

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Handroll from Tomokase
Courtesy of Tomokase

"There's nothing better than eating sushi made fresh in front of your own eyes. But wait, what if that high-end, restaurant-quality sushi came to your house and was prepared in your very own kitchen by chefs who have worked at some of the best spots in the world? With Tomokase, the restaurant comes to you — and it's the best meal I've had in 2021. We had Tomokase come to Bedstuy, where a chef and waiter prepared a 15-piece omakase, making sure we got plenty of Instagram videos and mouthwateringly fresh fish. No matter the size of your NYC apartment, they can make it work. And seriously, if you can make it work, you'll be absolutely thrilled (and dangerously full)." — Tanner Saunders, Experiences Editor

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Santo Brúklin

"Having lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a country that is near and dear to my heart. When I happened upon this restaurant during the height of the pandemic in April 2020, it had just opened (weeks before the city shut down — talk about unfortunate timing) and was selling to-go caipirinhas (Brazil's national drink) as a way to stay afloat. Despite being on mile five of a run, I bought a caipirinha, feeling it was the least I could do to support small business owners from Brazil in such hard times. Now, the restaurant is thriving, with a wonderful ivy-lined backyard that hosts movie and comedy nights, and the food brings a taste of Brazil to New York, with pão de queijo (cheese bread) that is to die for, delicious moqueca (seafood stew), and feijoada (traditional black bean stew) that I will always go back for." — Karen Chen, Editorial Producer

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Spaghetti Incident

"Having been a part of the the Lower East Side since 2015, Spaghetti Incident doesn't qualify as a new restaurant to the city, or to me. As its self-proclaimed advocate, it's not a restaurant enough people know about, but it's a place I fall in love with every visit. It's a struggle to share my favorite place in NYC, but with a grumbling stomach, its funky intimate charm and dream-worthy Amatriciana sauce is too delicious not to share. Maybe it's a mixture of the ambience, the cozy 35 seats, or the restaurant's mouth-watering homemade pasta menu, but I actively find myself twirling bucatini in my sleep. Its takeout helped pass some tougher quarantine nights, but nothing beats sitting at the chef's counter, or being tucked into a little table with good company and delicious food. My professional opinion is to try everything." — Alessandra Amodio, Digital Photo Editor

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Mark Sailboat

The Mark sailboat for dining
Courtesy of The Mark

"While not a strict restaurant, guests and friends of The Mark hotel — voted the #1 hotel in the U.S. in T+L's 2020 World's Best Awards — can charter its iconic 70-foot Herreshoff sailboat (one of the last in existence) for a two-hour journey in the New York Harbor. Enjoy unparalleled views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty while sampling the star of the experience: a bespoke menu prepared by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. There will be assorted oysters on the half shell, watermelon and goat cheese skewers, and an artisanal cheese and crudité spread." — Scott Bay, Assistant Editor

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