Essential New York Restaurants and Eateries in New York City


New York City is the most populous — and densely populated — city in the U.S. with more than 8.3 million people within 302 miles. With so many restaurants to experience, and lots of lists to choose from, we went with a few more affordable and local options.  

Bon appetit! 

Yelp’s Price Range Key:

$$ Moderate
$$$ Pricey
$$$$ Ultra High-End

Essex Pearl

115 Delancey Street, Manhattan 

The farm-to-table movement has moved from trend, to cliché, to mainstay. It seems the same concerns for sustainability, freshness and authenticity that defined it has widened its scope. Essex Pearl, a seafood market and eatery in the thriving food hall The Market Line, is answering the call for all-encompassing food chain sustainability with tide to table dishes that guests can eat there in the 48 seat restaurant and raw bar, or bring home. Visitors to the raw bar will find a variety of fresh and seasonal uni and oyster, with a kitchen menu that includes simple but elevated pleasures like impeccably sourced tinned anchovies served with cured and whipped better and crusty, freshly baked bread. Don’t miss the curry-rubbed Porgy, braised lionfish, or monkfish liver croquettes. (Unless they’ve surfed off the constantly evolving menu, in which case, try everything else and report back). Yes, you’ll see and eat ugly fish you’ve never heard of; the flavors may be funky, stronger than you’re used to. Isn’t that kind of the point? $$

Photo: Essex Pearl

Roberta’s Pizza

261 Moore Street, Brooklyn

Remember when Bushwick seemed kind of scary? Me neither, and we can thank Roberta’s for that. Roberta’s may be evolving (you can even buy Roberta’s frozen pizzas online and at retailers), but to me, it will always live in spirit and fact on a wee patch of Brooklyn terroir. Walk in and cross your fingers (no reservations, waits can stretch past an hour during busy times), and grab a spot at a let’s-call-em-rustic picnic table, preferably within gawking distance of the hulking woodfired oven, out of which gorgeous charred pizzas will emerge. Everyone has their faves: Cheesus Christ (mozzarella, taleggio, parmigiano, black pepper, cream) and Bee Sting (tomato, mozzarella, basil, sopressata, chili, honey) are mine. But if you’re not in the mood for a slice, you won’t go hungry. Brave foodies love the Roman-style tripe and steak, slathered in horseradish soubise, and I’d never leave without a platter of the garlicky breadcrumb, pecorino and mint-addled Romaine lettuce. $$

Photo: Roberta's Pizza

Astoria Seafood + Stamatis

37-10 33rd Street, Long Island City + 29-09 23rd Avenue, Astoria

There is no shortage of wonderful Greek restaurants in Queens. These two are among the best where New York’s Greek transplants go when seeking to experience the authentic Greek food in New York. Astoria Seafood is a fish store where you select your fish and they prepare it for you. It’s BYOB and takes no reservations so the wait can be long. You can get salad and fries, but this is the place for fish. $

If craving more than fish -- or don’t have time to wait, you can find prepared Greek foods of all kinds just like a Greek mother would have made for you at Stamatis in Astoria. $$