Top 10 Favourite Restaurants in New York

 

10.3 min read

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1. The Polo Bar

When this restaurant first opened it was impossible to get a reservation, you would often see so many people arrive for dinner at 10.30pm just to get in!

There is a such an amazing atmosphere to this place, it’s like stepping right into one of Ralph Lauren’s stores or a horse stable.

The restaurant is fitted with Ralph Lauren fabrics and furnishings throughout, cosy leather lounges and a fireplace – heck! Even their bathrooms are horse stables complete with riding hats!

The food is simple, not overpriced and fun.

If you can secure a reservation – the corner both seats are the perfect place for people watching.

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2. Nougatine at Jean Georges

Within the same building of his more formal restaurant, Jean Georges dining room, Nougatine is the more casual, lively restaurant within the Trump Tower.

Sometimes you don’t want to do the long formal dinners and this is the perfect substitution to enjoy this amazing chef’s food in a more casual, accessible dining experience.

You can go there for breakfast / brunch / lunch and dinner or just a drink at the bar and one of his cheeseburgers.

My favourite place to sit is by the window, they have great tables for two with views of Central Park.

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3. Carbone

One of, if not my favourite Italian restaurant in New York. This place has such a great atmosphere, it loud, unpretentious and they play great old classic music; in some ways it feels like your dining in a scene from the Godfather.

I’ll often start with one of their strong cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Rusty Nail and let the stylish waiters decide what we order.

Chef Mario Carbone takes traditional Italian dishes to a new level, but I love that he still stays true to the cuisine.

When I’m there for dinner, I’ll often start with a selection of Antipasti; prosciutto, scampi, homemade pepperoni all with crusty bread.

Then for mains, take your pick of Lobster Ravioli, Linguini Vongole or a beautiful rich Tortellini Ragu. They have a great selection of meat off the grill to an amazing Porterhouse for two.

This is one of those classic Italian bistros that you could go back to every week and never tire of it.

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4. The Grill

If you ever want to feel like you’re in New York, then The Grill is the place to eat.

As the names suggests, this is your classic upmarket Grill with all the bells and whistles. Waiters are dressed in tuxedos and bow ties and tables are impeccably dressed in a spectacular dining room.

Start with a dry martini at The Bar while you wait for your table or if you’re lucky, a cosy booth seat.

The menu can be a little expensive but save it for a special occasion.

Their trolleys are the main attraction here with a Spit Roasted Prime Rib delivered to your table with all the sides.

They also do an amazing Wild Mushroom Omelette, also prepared table-side.

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5. Casa Mono

Despite its name meaning ‘Monkey House,’ there’s no monkey business here… When you’re at Casa Mono, it feels as if you’re sitting in an authentic tapas bar in Spain.

With a mosaic tile floor, floor-to-ceiling windows and shelves lined with bottles of sherries and wines, the Michelin-starred restaurant is intimate, warm, welcoming and very charming.

If you’re there with a few people, grab a table but if you’re there solo, take a seat at the bar in front of the grill (“la plancha” they call it) and watch the chefs cook Costa Brava style.

Start with a glass of Spanish red from their extensive wine list. If you can’t make up your mind, let their knowledgeable sommelier recommend one for you.

Designed to share, the menu by Executive Chef Andy Nusser features proteins like sweetbreads, lamb’s tongue and pig’s feet if you’re feeling adventurous. Otherwise, there are plenty of other re-imagined classics that hit the spot, like Oxtail Stuffed Roasted Piquillo Peppers and Dry-aged Beef Carpaccio with Tea Glazed Shiitake and Tomato Raisins.

For dessert, you can’t go past the Crema Catalana.

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6. Eataly

Eataly is a giant food hall and has everything you could possibly want.

It’s the brainchild of Mario Batali, his business partner Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich. It’s actually the biggest artisanal Italian food and wine market in the world and was inspired by Oscar Farinetti’s famous Italian market in Turin.

Eataly has a bakery, patisserie, handmade pasta and pizza bar, juice and salad bar, coffee and wine bar, butcher and a huge deli for gourmet Italian products, cheeses and meats. Located near Madison Square garden at Flatiron, it’s packed all the time and also has restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a great fresh produce market.

I love every inch of this place but I’m a sucker for fresh seafood, so head to the seafood bar for some freshly shucked oysters and wash them down with a glass of chardy. Fun fact, when I first met Mario in NY he took me to Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street - best fish burger I’ve ever had.

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7. Del Posto

This Michelin-starred restaurant is also owned by Mario Batali and is just brilliant. Whilst formal, it’s relaxed, the food is amazing, service is amazing and the ambience is spot on. The restaurant has a European vibe to it and the bar plays live piano music.

Every dish from Co-owner/Executive Chef Mark Ladner's team is incredibly crafted. I’ve had many great meals here paired with some spectacular wines but the homemade pasta with white truffle is something special!

I love the private rooms here too. One of the most memorable dining experiences I had was in the private dining room at Del Posto last year. Mario got 10 mates together and the setting, the music, the food and wine and the company were perfect. It reminded me why I got into the business.

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8. Balthazar

This is one of my favourite casual eateries in New York. I had my 30th birthday here and every time I visit the Big Apple, I make it my mission to head here and sit at the bar for feed and tipple.

While the food isn’t ground breaking, you can’t go wrong with the classic French Onion Soup with oozy cheese, their crispy and creamy salt cod croquettes and fresh Escargots doused in garlic butter.

Somewhat reminiscent of a Parisian restaurant, Keith McNally’s 20-year-old Soho brasserie is a classic and offers a great New York experience.

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9. Gramercy Tavern

always sit at the counter when I go to Gramercy Tavern and every time I’ve been blown away by the beautiful food, wine and friendly staff.

I love how the staff here are always up for a chat and patiently talk you through the delicious wines by the glass.

Founded by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer in 1994, Gramercy Tavern and the more formal Dining Room is led by Chef Michael Anthony and his team. The food is seasonal, elegant yet rustic, featuring dishes cooked on their wood fire grill.

The Gramercy Tavern’s front bar is the perfect place for a top-notch meal, casual bite or quick drink.

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10. Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Would have to be the best dining experience I’ve had in the last 10 years!

Blue Hill is more than just a restaurant, it's revolutionising America’s entire food chain.

Focused on creating and serving superior tasting seasonal produce and educating diners about sustainability and land preservation, Executive Chef and Co-owner Dan Barber is doing some incredible things at Blue Hill and beyond.

Dan and his attentive team seamlessly create unforgettable experiences for each table. It’s personalised and is at least a five-hour dining experience… There’s nothing better than a long lunch that turns into dinner!

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It was so hard picking 10 of my favourites, so special mentions to:

Le Bernadine – a stellar 3-Star Michelin French seafood restaurant and

Jean Georges - a stunning 3 Michelin star French restaurant with Asian influences overlooking Central Park.

 
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