My Top 10 Favorite Restaurants in
New York City
Location: Koreatown/Herald Square
Nestled in the heart of busy Herald Square, Gaonurri is the entrance to Korea Town. It's sits on the 34th floor of a high rise in the middle of Manhattan. The food could be terrible and I'd keep coming back. Luckily, it's not. It's Korean BBQ meets sophisticated city dining. The views are stellar and surprisingly, the prices are very reasonable. You don't have to break the bank to come here, but you will have to crack it a bit. I've been here countless times to bring out-of-towners and the service is consistently fabulous.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The view
Location: Hell's Kitchen
Just west of touristy Times Square is Hell's Kitchen, which boasts some of the coolest restaurants and bars on the island. One of my favorites is Ipudo. It's a Japanese ramen restaurant that's guaranteed to have a line out the door. Make a reservation and make sure your entire party is on time. Alternatively, come during the lower peak hours, like an early dinner at 6pm. The ramen is worth it trust me. Incredibly authentic and wonderfully cozy, whenever I'm craving a warm, brothy feast, I always know where to go.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The jelly champagne... it comes in a can. It's as intriguing as it sounds.
Location: Upper West Side
Chinese food with an action movie setting. Walking into the grand Han Dynasty located in the Upper West Side, you get a feeling that Daniel Craig has shot a bullet through the aquarium and raced through the kitchen in search of evil Soviets. (Is it obvious I've never seen a Bond movie?) The place is so elegant and grand, it looks like a movie set. I've even seen a few celebrities there as well. Alas, the food is fantastic and the atmosphere is as I described, epic.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The authentic welcome tea.
Serra by Birreria
Location: Flat Iron
This rooftop restaurant is the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the Flat Iron district. Located, on the roof of Eataly, the Italian farm-style restaurant has the perfect ambience for a relaxing summer night. The food is fresh and simple and the drink menu is buzzing with tasty tuscan-inspired libations.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The overwhelming greenery. It's a nice break from the concrete.
Location: West Village
Pizza pizza pizza, but not what you may think. Keste is an authentic Napolitano restaurant squished on adorable Bleecker street in the West Village. I love this place because it most closely resembles authentic pizza from Italy--the kind you have to eat with a fork and knife: my favorite. The tables are small like most in the village, so best to come with small groups or just two people. Also, keep in mind they do not take reservations. If you have to wait 20 minutes, please note: it's worth it.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The nutella pizza. Best I've ever had.
Location: West Village
Right down the street from Keste is my favorite Indian restaurant in the city. This tiny place is exactly what you want from an Indian restaurant: ornate, tacky wall to ceiling decor and the best butter chicken twelve dollars can buy. I highly suggest ordering the Prix Fixe dinner for an extra three dollars. You get four servings of food, and you are guaranteed to leave with your stomach way too full. However, your wallet will thank you. I don't know how they keep the prices so low, but hey, I'm not complaining.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The prix fixe.
Fine dining at its tastiest! It's no secret that New Yorkers love Quality Meats. Located in Midtown (between Central Park and Carnegie Hall), this is always my restaurant of choice when I'm celebrating something! They have fantastic service, a great steak, and wonderful sides. It's quite pricey, so I only get out here a couple times a year. Make sure to make a reservation in advance, but note that if you don't they have bar seating scattered around available for first come first serve.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The corn cream brulee. I have dreams about that thing. Trust me, order it.
Location: Upper West Side
A New York bagel at its finest. This is highly regarded as one of the best bagel places in the city. I don't get to come out here as often as I'd like because it's on the Upper West Side (and I live in Queens), but if you're in the area or you've never had a proper bagel before... you gotta try Absolute Bagel. Boundless cream cheese flavors and perfectly imperfect, hand-rolled bagels. Be prepared to wait in a line in the morning.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The bagels, duh.
The Frying Pan
Location: The Hudson River
Summer Only! The Frying Pan may be annoying to get to (located on the Hudson River and 26th street), but once you're there, you'll forget about the long walk back to the subway. The Frying Pan is permanently docked at Pier 66 in west Chelsea; its sea views and cool patrons make this the best summer after-work hang out spot. The food is tastier than typical bar fare and the drinks are fun and seasonal. Snag a table if you can, everything is first come first serve, but I don't think you'll mind with the relaxing vibes of being on a boat in the beautiful New York summer weather.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? The blueberry beer.
Last but not least, this is one of my favorite neighborhood spots in Astoria. Although I wouldn't recommend trekking out to Queens for this place alone, if you find yourself staying there, you gotta hit up The Grand. This is greek Astoria at its coolest. It's not Greek in the traditional sense, but the greek influences like honey on everything and Greek coffee and desserts exemplifies what makes this neighborhood so great. A DJ sets up on the weekend and has the young professional crowd dancing in their seats. I highly suggest ordering the flatbread--I don't think I've had anything else, I love it so much. They also have a wonderful Sangria, albeit deadly.
What Keeps Me Coming Back? That honey infused flat bread. Who knew sugar made pizza even better?