The Best Restaurants In NYC

A list of my favorite spots for stuffing my face in public.

Chris Klemens

Something I get asked all the time is, "Chris, I'm in New York City! Where should I go to eat??"

I figured this would be the perfect way to kick off my NYC Guide! Because I am always on the go, I eat at a large variety of restaurants – some of these will be cheaper and less glamorous, while others might be higher-end and fancy.

I will be updating this frequently as I try new places so always check it if you're coming to town! 

I love The Mercer Kitchen. It's located right in the heart of SoHo on Prince St. and Mercer St., and this is possibly one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. It is kind of pricy, but for what you get, it is worth it. The low lighting downstairs provides a nice ambiance, and everyone is so cool, hip (does saying this word unironically make me old?), and pretty, so definitely dress nicely. Also, celebrities often hit up The Mercer Kitchen if you're into that. The food is out of this world – I recommend the roast chicken or the prosciutto-wrapped pork chop...honestly so good! Anytime I have people in town, I take them to The Mercer Kitchen.

Located down the street from The Mercer Kitchen is Delicatessen (Prince St. and Lafayette St.). This is a very trendy place where loads of people go to eat. The staff is extremely friendly and the food is crazy good. I have gone here hungover so many times for dinner, and it cures my hangover so nicely. They have a large assortment of mac & cheeses, which could make me moan so loud just thinking about. They have a wide variety of food, as well, for those of you going with people who are wanting different things. The music can be loud at times, which is a really solid indicator that I am old. If you go and like truffle, you MUST get their truffle fries!

The amount of times I have gone to The Grey Dog hungover is outrageous. A really nice thing about Grey Dog is that they have multiple locations, such as one in SoHo, Greenwich Village, and West Village. Their brunch is absolutely incredible – I get the Grey Dog breakfast and it's everything and more. They have a lot of other menu items, too, if you don't go around breakfast/brunch time. They have a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, all of which are phenomenal. It can be loud at brunch times, but otherwise, I don't remember it being crazy loud. The staff is always really cool, and it has a fun feel inside. If you are looking to go for brunch: be warned...the line can get very long so go kinda early.

4. Aria

I am going to admit, I have only been to Aria once but it was one of those love at first sight moments. The restaurant is incredibly cute, especially at night when the facade of Aria is lit up in a billion Christmas lights. The food...WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?! Not only is it fairly reasonably priced but it is also just mouth watering. It was so good, that I ordered two entrees because I couldn't get enough of it. There are a few locations.

I went to Gunbae Tribeca with my team and this might be some of the best Korean BBQ I've ever had. There's something that makes a meal very fun and special when the food is literally cooked in front of you. The service was amazing, as well, and there is apparently karaoke downstairs. If you're looking for Korean BBQ in New York City, this is your place!

This is the best Italian food in the city. There. I said it. I cannot say enough incredible things about how good this place is. Located on Lexington Ave. and 21st Street, Maialino's atmosphere is great, the service is friendly, and again, the food is impossible to forget. If you have kids, leave them at home, as this isn't a great place to have a screaming baby, and also, it's kind of fancy (but you can get away with wearing dark pants and a plain tee. The Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe is my favorite thing on the menu. Reservations in advanced are recommended!

Pepolino is an Italian restaurant just below Canal Street in Tribeca. I know this is ANOTHER Italian place on this list, but what can I say...I'm consistent? Anyways, this Italian is no joke (a VERY close second to Maialino). While it is a little pricy, the servings are pretty generous. Also, their cheesecake is the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. I highly recommend eating dinner here and then getting the cheesecake for dessert. You're welcome in advanced. Fun fact: Robert De Niro often eats here.

Cafeteria is a fun place to go for any meal at any time because they are open 24 hours a day. Their food is like American food with a twist. If I go with a friend, sometimes it's fun to just order a few of their starters because they are all so delicious and hard to pick from but so filling. A must-get order there are the Mac & Cheese Spring absolutely will not regret it. Making a reservation is recommended and it can be a little loud for those of you sensitive to noise.

If you are in the mood for a burger that won't ruin your bank account, Bareburger is an excellent for this. As an added plus, they have locations scattered throughout NYC. You can't go wrong with ordering anything from the menu, but their burgers (obviously) are amazing, as are their onion rings and original dipping sauces. I have never really had an issue with waiting for a table, and the staff is quite nice.

If you are looking for an Italian restaurant in Little Italy, please go to Da Nico. I have had some of my favorite nights there. The food is always brought out right away, fresh and hot. Quite possibly the best part of the whole meal is after your dinner, they bring out a plate of free beignets, which is essentially fried dough with powdered sugar. Like any good rule of thumb when eating out in NYC, I'd recommend making a reservation because it can get packed during peak times.

 Blue Ribbon is one of my favorite sushi places in the city. With a few locations in the city, you really can't go wrong if you are in the mood for sushi. Because everything they serve is so fresh and delicious, I feel like it is reasonably priced for sushi. Another thing I love about Blue Ribbon compared to a place like Nobu is that it is so much quieter and relaxed. I never feel rushed, and the staff is incredibly gracious. Reservation recommended.

12. Westville

Westville is a really great place to grab lunch or dinner in the city, especially when the weather is nice and outdoor seating is available. It is also a good brunch spot, but it can be very crowded. This American bistro with multiple locations in the city focuses on bringing fresh and high quality ingredients to your meal. I personally love their kale salad or their burger, and it feels very affordable for the quality and taste of the food. I have taken so many people here and have never seen someone have a bad meal. In some locations, it can feel very cramped when you're seated at your table, so definitely don't come here with tons of bags.

13. Chop-Shop

This place is an incredible place to get dinner because Chop-Shop "brings together an eclectic experience of Asian cuisines with an international sensibility". The dimly lit hotspot is quite popular, and after eating there, I understand why. I highly recommend the Cold Spicy Sesame Noodle dish and the Szechuan Sweet and Spicy Orange Beef; they are both out of this world. Like I said, it is a hotspot, so it can feel claustrophobic and loud since it is a tiny, classic NYC restaurant in Chelsea, but it didn't bother me in the slightest. I don't think I would come here with a party over 4 unless I planned ahead of time, but if you're able to get a table, go, go, go!