I pride myself on knowing where to eat in Chicago. I’ve been covering the food scene there for nearly 15 years. But where to eat in New York City is another story. I come here and I can’t keep up. I feel lost in a sea of good food. Each time I visit I discover new spots recommended by friends and yet I’m still overwhelmed with how much more there is to see and eat. And of course this is still mostly in Manhattan. I’ve dipped my toe in Brooklyn and am hoping to do some food exploring of Queens soon too.
It’s been about two years since my last post on where to eat in New York, so here is the latest installment on some of my current favorite restaurants in New York City. Bon Appétit!
This homey place showcases New Zealand cooking in a modern way. It is the youngest New York restaurant to receive a Michelin star, after being open just four months. The vibe is sort of rustic-chic with cute a backyard garden. There are plenty of Kiwi wines and some dishes on the current menu include:
Cold smoked scallops, cucumbers, black garlic, pears and sea beans
Tofu gnocchi, tomato dashi, oyster mushroom and Asian greens
Chatham cod, parsnip purée, brown butter, beans and barley miso
A tip from my friend Melissa, Boqueria, looks, feels, and tastes like a tapas joint in Madrid. Crowded, lively and tasty, it serves up all the faves: tortilla Española, dates wrapped in bacon, patatas bravas, as well as some wonderful cheeses and cured meats.
857 9th Ave, New York
A new addition to my list, I was just able to try out Kilo suggested by my friend Aileen. It’s tiny, so make a reservation and enjoy a spot at the bar to get some expert wine recommendations and tastes — most of which is organic. Small plates reign here and I could not get enough of the grilled kale with garlic, octopus and chorizo, and mushroom tacos.
A tiny place in Chelsea that seats about 20 people, Naka Naka reminds me of cute, throwback Japanese joints with its welcome curtains, wood and bamboo feel. This isn’t your modern-day chic, thumping sushi spot with tricked out lighting and mod-motifs. And perhaps that’s why I like it. It’s just real good food in a place not trying to out do itself.
491 Columbus Av., New York
I took a stroll (more like a LONG walk of 50 blocks from 54th to 104th) on Columbus, and figured I’d pass many a cute café for lunch that would tickle my fancy. I was surprised by the somewhat limited interesting offerings on the Upper West Side. It was Sunday so I really wanted to avoid the throngs at Zabar’s and the like. There were packed brunch joints, requisite Starbucks, and burger joints, but nothing quite what I was looking for until I arrived at Gastronomie 491 at Columbus and 84th. It had that perfect combo that I love of café, coffee shop, and gourmet food market. Plus I could peer into the deli case and pick out some tasty salads to make a trio veggie plate. I opted for a kale salad, grilled eggplant, and also some rich cavatappi with mushrooms and truffle oil. I met the owner, Nicole, who grew up in Europe and saw a void for a place like this in the neighborhood. Don’t miss the cheese counter in back and lovely gourmet treats around to take home like artisanal chocolates and now, they are offering their own homemade gelato, just in time for summer. If you’re around the city on May 9th, pop in for some free gelato tastings of their first flavors!