Navigating a great place to eat when your traveling takes time and some belly work to make sure you are eating at the best place in town. We are spoilt with options in New York and the good, the bad and the ugly can be hard to decipher.
Kaz and I love our food and take our culinary adventures quite seriously when traveling. We love our meal to be accompanied by great service and of course beautiful interiors. After almost eight months living in New York and eating my way around this incredible city, these are my ‘of the moment’ top five restaurants to add to your list.
Marta is a lively new restaurant from Chef Nick Andrea. Inspired by the tradition of a rustic Roman pizzerie, this local haunt churns out thin, crackly-crusted pizzas into the late hours of the evening. Located at The Redbury New York hotel in the growing neighborhood near Gramercy Park, Marta reimagines and invents thin-crust pizzas both classic and new, celebrating the Italian tradition of cooking seasonal specials “alla brace”—over open embers. I would defiantly make a booking for this one as it’s a favorite with almost everyone in New York.
Order: The mushroom pizza, the chicken meatballs and the pear and ricotta starter. I have tried and mildly succeeded in re-creating all of this dishes at home for Chris and I – they are that good!
Interiors: With grand ceilings, handmade copper pipe pendants and a view to the black gloss tiled pizza oven – every seat in this restaurant has a great view. The marble bar is never ending and the perfect spot to sip on a glass of Italian red wine and chow down on your favorite pie.
Inspired by the joy of having friends over for dinner, Bobo opened in the fall of 2007 and breathes new life into a century-old Greenwich Village townhouse. The restaurant was created by Carlos Suarez, the owner of Rosemary’s and Claudette ( two other favorites of ours), and focuses on sourcing the finest ingredients from local purveyors with French influence.
Order: The baked salmon on the dinner menu is superb along with the cauliflower side covered in cheese. Enjoy a French classic for dessert with the homemade creme brûlée.
Interiors: If we had a French country estate – I would look no further for my inspiration. Large crystal chandeliers hang perfectly over the velvet and leather ink colored bench seating. Settle into the perfectly positioned booths and take design notes on how to style a space that oozes dark depth and personality. The mood of Bobo is sexy, and has me wanting to paint our house deep charcoal and reframe all our art in vintage gold leafed picture frames. Lit in favor of a romantic date night, this place has you feeling right at home in this historical Greenwich townhouse.
Located under the celebrity favorite Mercer Hotel, Mercer Kitchen brings a chic, sophisticated vibe to the heart of SoHo. Take for the option to seat at the communal table (Mercer Kitchen was one of the first restaurants to have communal tables in New York City) and meet great new friends as you rub shoulders over a delicious dinner. There is an open kitchen, where guests can sit back and watch the show and a casual café upstairs that transforms into an exciting bar/lounge at night. If you want to spot a celebrity – this is the venue. In the two recent times I have been, we missed Rhianna, Kim K and Kayne West by minutes.
Order: I loved a few of the dishes paired with the lychee bellini. My absolute must have every time I go is the sashimi salmon with crispy sushi rice, chipotle mayo and ponzu. The burrata citrus salad and warm whole artichoke were other dishes I also really enjoyed and would order again.
Interiors: Located in the basement of a historic New York City building in the middle of Soho, this restaurant was designed by Christian Liaigre as a combination of industrial, dark and classic modernism. Exposed brick walls add warmth with long banquettes and candlelit sconces give this space a timelessly stylish, sexy, fun ambiance. The open herb garden in the kitchen is gorgeous and adds some much needed greenery to this bustling city venue.
Having been spoilt in Sydney for the worlds second best Southeast Asian street food, we really struggled finding this type of cuisine in New York. Then we discovered The Lucky Bee. This modest restaurant on the lower east side seats 50 and is the brainchild of executive chef Matty Bennett (the Fat Radish, Sydney’s Longrain) and Rupert Noffs. All dishes are designed to share and will blow your socks off with a mix of flavors that take me back to all my favorite Sydney restaurants. Nodding to the restaurant’s namesake, the bar program raises money for the New York City Beekeepers Association whilst also utilizing local nectar from Andrew’s Honey in cocktails like the Honey Bee My Baby and Whiskey Business.
Order: ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! You will love it all. My only suggestion is if you are a light weight when it comes to chill and spice, let your waiter know in advance as many of the dish’s pack a mean punch.
Interiors: It almost appears for the street this could be a cool beach side skate shop with its electric pink and aqua dining room decorated with murals by Bondi Beach artist Brett Cha. Its fun, quirky and most likely I would not use this place for my interior inspiration but I do enjoy the quirkiness of all the detail while I chow down on the best Asian street style food in the city.
June was not a restaurant we had even heard of but were desperate for a good brunch one Sunday morning. Feeling daring, we decided to take a chance on a unfamiliar spot in our neighborhood. My first impression was all about the space and how it almost reminded my of a luxe diner. A long bar on one side and tables for two made up of leather upholstered booths taking up the opposite wall. We made our way through and sat in the courtyard where we were presented with a very curated, clean and interesting menu. We have fallen deep in love with this restaurant and recently hosted a holiday dinner here in a private alcove where the food was, as always, so impressive.
Order: If you like vegetables tricked up with great flavors but not too difficult to re-create at home, then June is for you. The endive salad is available on both the brunch and dinner menu and is my favorite salad at the moment. For dinner our favorites are the polenta with apple, the cauliflower with pearl onions and the grilled maitake mushrooms with black garlic. For brunch if you are feeling like something sweet, the sourdough french toast with apple and mascarpone is deliciously evil.
Interiors: A quick google of who designed the interiors and it all made sense. This venue was one of the many masterpieces created by the team at Home Studios. The wine bar is made from veined marble and dirty indigo wood panelling is featured around the whole restaurant with exposed ‘beauty bulbs’ lining the ceiling giving off a warm glow.
Best of luck on your New York food adventures!