New York has too many awesome places.  I’ve tried to break them into categories to make things a little more manageable:

Kings of New York:

Sushi Nakazawa: Sublime, perfect sushi; really, the best; and, for the first time with unreal sushi, I can also include value in the description;  A+ ($$$$)

Pig Bleecker: The Camel Unfiltered of restaurants; the Tomahawk and Fired Chicken are insane (and smoked first) everything great ($$$$)

Ippudo: The only chain in this section of my list; most insane ramen ever; perfection in a bowl ($$)

Marc Forgione: Best neighborhood joint since Alva; my favorite meal of the year; sauces!; spicy lobster with Texas toast ($$$$)

Marta: I can’t get enough of this place; wood-fired grill and one of the best pizzas I’ve had in NYC ; thumbs up on everything! ($$$)

O Ya:  this place is money…and bring a lot of it with you; somehow they innovate sushi but still allow the fish to reign supreme ($$$$$)

Sushi Ginzo Onodera:  a purist’s heaven!  Blue fin toro dry aged for 10 days?  Dinner is too expensive; lunch is the value ($$$$$)

Cosme:  Wow! La Comida Mas Fina! Believe the hype.  Duck carnitas a must; same for uni tostada ($$$$)

Le Coq Rico: Whiskey Sour (or Sazerac) + beautiful space + talented gracious chef = poultry/fowl perfection ($$$$)

Fuku: so I just had the spicy chicken sandy delivered to my office; over the top; really bad habit potential ($)

4 Charles Prime Rib: the prime rib is sick, but the burger and French Dip are even better ($$$$)

Marea: angling to be my new favorite place in NYC; reminds me of the early days at Babbo…but seafood! ($$$$)

The NoMad:  everything is terrific, but the chicken for 2 (stuffed with foie gras, truffles, and breadcrumbs) is insane! ($$$$)

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria: finest cured meats in the city + finest bread = finest sandwich; short rib and porchetta sandwiches are insane ($$)

Chez Sardine: reminds me of Blue Ribbon when it opened; inventive, amazing food, cool space, wonderful people ($$$)

Dopo La Spiaggia: East Hampton and Sag Harbor; dining outside in Sag Harbor makes a crazy Hamptons weekend actually feel like a vacation ($$$)

Empellon: tequila and tacos, enough said.  Well, amazing tequila and insane tacos ($$$)

Mission Chinese: I’m still dreaming about cod fried rice and thrice-cooked bacon; easier to go at lunch ($$$)

North End Grill: the place to go if you are way downtown; cool space; the food rocks, especially the things with eggs ($$$)

Maialino: best breakfast I’ve had in NYC: from the coffee to the bacon (and everything in between); suckling pig at dinner! ($$$)

The Breslin: I will convince them to rename this place The Schrohe; gotta love your pork; insane! ($$$) (more details)

Babbo: one of the best Italian in the city, try to walk-in ($$$$)

L’Artusi: from Dell’anima folks; fun spot with really solid execution; roasted mushrooms the best; ($$$)

Sushi Yasuda: the best sushi in NYC…for sushi, not rolls; sit at bar ($$$$)

Locanda Verde: rare to find a place with a fun scene and food that kills it; porchetta sandwich at lunch is a must ($$$)

Gramercy Tavern: the mother of all American restaurants ($$$$)

Momofuku: really enjoyed the Noodle spot as well as the Saam bar ($$)

Blue Smoke: easily the best BBQ in NYC; love the salt and pepper beef ribs! ($$$)

Peter Lugers: the best steak in the world, bar none…try the bacon too! ($$$$)

Craft: the coolest menu concept, incredible food, great space; pricey ($$$$)

The Tavern at Gramercy Tavern: the perfect Sunday dinner ($$$)

Crif Dogs/PDT: Insanely awesome hot dogs and tater tots; and a bacon-infused bourbon cocktail! ($$)


When Cool is a Jewel:

Sen Sakana: Peruvian Japanese; incredible fresh fish (sushi) with bold flavor accents; stunning space ($$$)

Momosan: insane ramen choices; pair with Zuke Don and Kukuni Bao…and delicious sake ($$)

Gigino Wagner Park:  You might skip this place and it would be a mistake; great view and great food ($$$)

Vitae: The best food near GCT!  Try the burger or the ramen at lunch; or the schnitzel; or anything ($$$)

Olympic Pita: Shawarma (pita or gaffa) can’t be beat; sauces; salad bar; this place is on my lunch rotation ($)

Delaney Chicken (UrbanSpace): A truly superior fried chicken (thigh) sandwich with pickles, hot sauce, and may0 ($)

Lamb’s Club:  Brisket sandwich and iced coffee with iced coffee ice cubes…nothing finer ($$$)

Koi: it’s been around forever yet still super cool; delicious food; amazing service; get anything and everything with crispy rice ($$$)

Dell’Anima: LOVE this W Village Italian; everything is great, especially the Brussels sprouts ($$$)

Parm: you cannot go wrong at this incredible lunch counter; try the Saratoga Club ($$)

Cienfuegos: cool spot with over-the-top rum concoctions; great food to help absorb the punch-bowl sized drinks ($$$)

Booker and Dax: Near perfect cocktails with Momofuku snacks; the pre-bottled Manhattan could be the best ($$)

Hakkasan: loved it in London; great here too; expensive but worth it; food is amazing, but the drinks even better! ($$$$)

Mile End Deli: can’t wait to keep going here and try every sandwich on the menu ($$)

DBGB: burgers, sausages, beers and a million other things worth trying here ($$$)

Saxon and Parole: All the ingredients: great menu/food, classic cocktails, fun scene, and a great hamburger ($$$)

Aria Wine Bar: the food and the drinks are better than the wine, which is saying a lot; cool spot ($$$)

Ai Fiore: super sleek (and pricey) spot at the Setai on Fifth Ave; the food rocks, but presentation is even better; burger! ($$$$)

Hundred Acres: great (fun) for dinner, but also a mellow solid lunch spot; high quality food/ingredients ($$$)

The Dutch: All is good here, but the two things that I care about are the Fried Oyster Sliders and the Fried Chicken ($$$)

Toloache: my new favorite taco in NYC; great salsa; impressive tequila selection  ($$)

Morimoto:  not since the early days of Nobu has NYC has such refreshing Japanese ($$$$)

Spotted Pig: loud, cramped, raging; get the gnudi & the burger ($$$)

Vitae: one of may favorite lunch spots; incredible burger; ramen; great friendly service ($$$)

Xi’an Famous Foods: the noodles are good but not worth a Shake Shack-like wait; the lamb burger is though! ($)

Mercadito: another killer taco joint ($$$)

Hearth: simple, wonderful American menu; very strong appetizers; great original cocktails ($$$$)

Prune: fantastic, fresh bistro with a southern flair; try the succotash ($$$)

Pastis: great bistro, reasonable prices, “cheesesteak” for lunch ($$$)


Old School Making You Drool:

Four Seasons: Waiting….

Eleven Madison Park: foie gras lover’s paradise ($$$$)

Per Se:  Near perfection; but over-priced ($$$$$$$)

Nobu: go all out on the tasting menu and skip the sushi (have it for dessert) ($$$$)

Del Posto: Batali for special occasions; and worth it! ($$$$)

Le Bernadin: the seafood king of NYC ($$$$)

Il Mulino: one of the best classic Italians in the city; have the lobster ($$$$)

Il Giglio: horrific atmosphere, but great place for Italian Mega Lunch ($$$$)


Some Other Classics:

Smith and Wollensky: the best cheesesteak ever is called the Horseshoe; roast beef hash also amazing! ($$$)

Maloney & Porcelli:  2 reasons to go: Cracklin Pork Shank & wine list…and the bar pizza ($$$)

BLT Steak: excellent popovers, ribeye & side dishes; too civilized ($$$$)

Bistro DB Moderne: Boulud’s theater district; one word: dependable ($$$$)

Rao’s: who cares about the food, I actually got to eat there!!  (??)

Balthazar: trendy, but still one of the better French bistros ($$$)

Barney Greengrass: A classic; the best smoked fish in NYC ($$)

Esca: the best pre-theater meal you can find ($$$$)


Burger Joints:

Shake Shack: best burger in NYC; also try the Chicago style dog! ($)

Salvation Burger: Bloomfield + Burger = Bad Ass

Hard Times Sundaes (Urbanspace): Smashed, satisfying burgers ($)

Corner Bistro: at one time, it was the best burger in the world, the Bistroburger ($)

Five Guys:  great spot for burgers with all the fixins ($)

Bill’s Bar & Burger: kinda cheesy, but the coffee shake was unreal and the burger was solid ($$)


Chopsticks Required:

Sushi Seki: Worth every penny; sit at the bar and let the creativity pull you from tradition ($$$$)

Hatsuhana: Such a dependable midotwn lunch spot for sushi ($$$)

Sushiden: Such a dependable midtown lunch spot for sushi ($$$)

Wu Liang Ye: Very solid, down and dirty Chinese ($$$)

Koi: The crispy rice appetizer is the chalupa of Japan; some great rolls and other fun stuff too ($$$)

Lychee House: Modern Chinese?  No.  Amazing Chinese?  Yes! (Scallion pancakes are insane!) ($$$)

Joe’s Shanghai: great Chinese, and perfect soup dumplings ($$)

Hop Shing: serious, dim sum dive, dirt cheap, next to Chinatown OTB ($)

Ping’s Seafood:  very solid dim sum ($$)

20 Mott Street: great NYC-style dim sum ($$)


Get Your Meat On:

The Benjamin:  avoid a trip to Williamsburg!  Great drinks; great service; and amazing steak ($$$$)

Bowery Meat Co:  Broiled oysters + duck lasagna + tomahawk ribeye for 2; best downtown steakhouse by far! ($$$$)

Wolfgang’s: If you’re too lazy to go to Luger’s ($$$$)

Hunt & Fish Club: So cheesy I hesitate to recommend, but the burger and lunch and the homemade truffle tater tots put it on the list ($$$$)

Quality Meats: go for the steak sauce alone ($$$$)

Raoul’s: the best steak au poivre and a great artichoke; sit in front room ($$$)



Alidoro: They actually do NOT have sandwiches this good anywhere in Italy ($$)

Park Italian: What? An amazing (realistic) Italian deli (dive) in midtown? It rocks…($)

Tom Tov: 3rd floor diamond district Kosher kebab house; great! ($$)

WichCraft: so many awesome sandwiches, it’s impossible to order! ($)

Otto: Mario again…amazing pizza (try the clam), meats and fritto; go for breakfast! ($$)

Katz’s:  the best deli, great food and atmosphere ($$)

Joe Jr.: the finest little greasy diner in NYC; Big Greg owns the atmosphere ($)


UrbanSpace Vanderbilt:

Delaney Chicken:  the best spot in the Space; sandy is a rockstar; and lucky be you if they are serving fried chicken pieces ($)

Roberta’s:  Two words: Pepperoni Rolls!!!!  If you must pizza, the dough/crust is very addictive; don’t even contemplate the small ($$)

Mr. Bing’s:  Bada-BING! WTF is this? Not sure, but anything would taste amazing wrapped in one of their egg-infused crepes ($$)

Hard Time Sundaes: solid burger, but bacon-wrapped deep-fried hot dog steals the show ($)

Toby’s Estate Coffee: the Cold Brew On Tap is the next best thing to a real brew on tap ($)

Liquiteria: everything you need to start your day in a cup ($)

Mayhem & Stout: deeply satisfying (and sometimes spicy) sandys with braised meats and stuff ($)


Not Sure How to Classify:

Carbone: I used to love this place, but then they bummed me out! ($$$$)

Tocqueville: It just seems to get better and better (and bigger and bigger) ($$$)


Next Up:

Sushi Nazakawa

Pig Beach