1 Le Coucou
We once dubbed this chic restaurant the best new French dining experience in the city–and it’s that and more. Perfect décor by interior design darlings Roman + Williams partnered with the dining ingenuity of restauranteur Stephen Starr (of Clocktower and Upland fame) makes this eating experience unforgettable and novel, while also feeling effortlessly cool at the same time. Located in the equally of-the-moment 11 Howard hotel, head here for a delicious, thoughtfully-prepared meal of nouveau French cuisine–you can’t go wrong with their chicken, duck or filet–and then head to the stunning, petite bar, where you can enjoy perfectly crafted nightcap. Should the small cocktail lounge (that seats approximately 6 people at best) be full, head upstairs to the hotel’s fantastic alternative, the blond.
Le Coucou; 138 Lafayette St. New York, NY 10013; 212.271.4252 BOOK
2 The NoMad
If you are after the most amazing roasted chicken, look no further–this one is magic. Meant for two, this whole roast chicken has foie gras, black truffles and brioche tucked inside, making it one of the most decadent, delicious and rave-worthy chicken dishes on the planet. The common phrase ‘tastes like chicken’ need not apply here–this dish, served with its dark meat on the side as a tender fricassee alongside pomme puree and baby leeks is a dinner you’ll be trying to relive for years after you’ve enjoyed it. If chicken’s not your thing, peruse the menu–you really can’t go wrong–or, head over to the Nomad Bar, an elevated gastropub where the beef, chicken and veggie burgers are equally delicious and hard to beat.
The Nomad Restaurant; 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001; 212.796.1500 BOOK
3 The Odeon
This restaurant finds itself on our list not only because it’s one of our go-to’s for any meal–from a business dinner to a night out with friends to a martini and snacks at the bar–but because it’s a New York institution. Some of journalism’s most talked about interviews have taken place here, and Lena Dunham even has their neon orange logo tattooed on her bum. This place is classic. No fuss, no pomp and circumstance, just good food in a great place with a phenomenal crowd that seems to be the perfect medley of fashion girls, notable writers and Hollywood types. The menu here is classic French bistro fare: opt for the mussels with frites, the steak tartare (fries are also encouraged here), or one of their lighter salads or hearty entrees. Their bar is just as well-rounded; stick to the basics and rest assured they’ll be executed perfectly.
The Odeon; 145 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212.233.0507 BOOK
This Italian must-visit cum pasta secret society is, without a doubt, some of the best Italian dining you will find in New York City. That speaks volumes, especially when you consider that we’re talking about a city that may just be as (if not better) known for its pizza as Naples. Come fashion week, expect to see Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner plopping their meatballs, cacio e pepe and glasses of well-selected red wine on their Instagram stories–this spot, aside from absolutely incredible pasta, is known for its supermodel and celebrity fans. As a result, getting a table here isn’t easy–be sure to book well in advance.
Carbone; 181 Thompson St. New York, NY 10012; 212.254.3000 BOOK
Natural wines and thoughtful, innovative food that feels effortless and always fresh are the staples of WildAir, the sister restaurants to its highly-acclaimed sister restaurant, Contra, located just a couple of doors down. Each dish here is more than it seems from the menu’s listings: lettuce, for example, is not something one should feel compelled to order off a roster that boasts an impressive list of proteins and interesting flavor profiles. But here, that lettuce is so much more than just lettuce; it’s Little Gems coated with ribbons of butter and lettuce dressing (a play on butter lettuce, we presume) and topped with crunchy topped pistachios. The beef options on offer–the Wagyu steak and the beef tartare served with sharp cheddar and horseradish–are smart follow ups to the salad you shouldn’t underestimate. If you’re in the mood for fish, the squid is a winner, as is the scallop crudo; if there’s shrimp on the menu, order them–they’re expertly sourced and could stand on their own when it comes to delicious, fresh-from-the-sea flavor. While this restaurant is all about catching up with friends in a wine bar style environment, you won’t feel rushed out. This is the kind of place you’ll want to take your time in, sipping a weird wine you just discovered–thanks to their curated list.
WildAir; 142 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002; 646.964.5624 BOOK
6 THE GRILL & The Pool
Speaking of New York institutions…we thought this one was lost forever. The Four Seasons restaurant, famous for the pool at its center and its cotton candy parting gifts closed its doors last year to the dismay of New York’s old guard. This year, thanks to Major Food Group, known for Carbone (above), Santina, Parm, Dirty French and more re-opened the iconic culinary (and architectural) landmark as THE GRILL and The Pool, both located in the Seagram Building home of the once-frequented Four Seasons. THE GRILL, a reinvented chophouse boasts a simple menu of classics redefined. Proteins on the grill abound, and side dishes include broccoli prepared four different ways, seven options of potato preparations and nostalgic add-ons like a crab louis–except this one comes with avocado. While THE GRILL is all about the land, The Pool is about bounty from the sea–head there for fish-focused dishes and a raw bar that won’t disappoint. Both restaurants get their wine from what might just be the largest, most expensive and most impressive selections in the city.
THE GRILL; Seagram Building, 99 East 52 St. New York, NY 10022; 212.375.9001 BOOK
The Pool; Seagram Building, 99 East 52 St. New York, NY 10022; 212.375.9001 BOOK
7 Mission Chinese
New York has its New American, French and Italian options covered, but some might say our island’s best restaurant serves Chinese food, and they’re right. San Francisco import Mission Chinese serves downtown, cool-kid, spicy takes on Sichuan dishes. The brainchild of Danny Bowien, this is where you should head for tons of flavor and proof that Chinese food in New York is best enjoyed over drinks and at a table with friends–rather than out of a takeout container on your couch. Here, delicatessen proteins like brisket and pastrami are served with Chinese broccoli and smoked oyster sauce and prepared kung pao, respectively. Fried rice here has smoked mushroom “jerky,” turmeric pork and shrimp or lobster and coconut flavors. Expect more than MSG-laced chicken with broccoli; this is far more nuanced than the Chinese food you’re used to.
Mission Chinese (pictured); 171 E Broadway, New York,NY 10002; 212.529.8800 BOOK
Mission Chinese; 154 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002;
If you’re looking for an NYC spot that doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle, head to DUMBO. Down-under-the-Manhattan-Bridge-overpass lies one of the city’s new and not-so-kept secrets. Cecconi’s is where you should head for great Italian dishes, well-done cocktails and waterfront views. The menu here is impressive, packed with options and all delicious. The decor lives up to the menu’s hype; with outposts in Los Angeles, Miami, Istanbul, Barcelona, Berlin and two locations in London (their home base), this team knows how to create an atmosphere their clientele want to spend tons of time enjoying themselves in. Sit back, relax, and prepare to leave well-fed.
Cecconi’s DUMBO; 55 Water St. Brooklyn, NY 11201; 718.650.3900 BOOK
9 Flora Bar
Chefs in New York eat at Estela, and to like eating at Estela is to understand food and how foodies like to eat. We know that much is true, and so when the brains behind Estela opened Flora Bar in the newly minted Met Breuer on the Upper East Side (the former home of The Whitney), we knew they’d come to the table with the same secret sauce. The Upper East Side isn’t what you think of when you scan the city for culinary innovation, but this spot has something special and dare we say, cool in the type of space that makes you take a quick breath and straighten your posture as you enter. While bordering on haute, the food here is delicious and far more advanced than you’d expect for a museum restaurant. The menu here comprised of fish-focused small plates and while on the pricier end, it’s well worth a visit (or five).
Flora Bar at The Met Breuer; 945 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10021; 646.558.5383 BOOK
10 I Sodi
There are places in New York where, after one visit, you feel the urge to fast-forward time–to when you can call yourself a regular. I Sodi, a quaint, rustic Italian spot in the West Village, is where you’ll want to hang out and bring your friends. Small and easygoing, this space feels upscale–and they don’t skimp on properly done everything. This place has good juju; the food is to the point and tastes delicious, and the bar is best known for their negroni menu (which lists seven riffs on the staple). Head here for all the Italian classics you crave done well: simple salads, lasagna and endless amounts of pasta.
I Sodi; 105 Christopher St. New York, NY 10014; 212.414.5774 BOOK