New York City is home to an impressive number of world-class restaurants. As of this year, it has 56 Michelin one-starred restaurants, as well as five out of only 116 restaurants in the world with three Michelin stars. The Big Apple attracts the best chefs because of its vibrant culinary scene, and it’s tourists flock here all year round to experience its greatest gastronomic wonders.
If you’re looking for the best of the best in terms of food, service and price, remember to venture to them next time you’re in New York.
#1 – Balthaza
Balthazar is one of NYC’s most respected culinary institutions. Owned by restaurateur Keith McNally, it’s known for French-cuisine inspired menu. Its elegant gold interiors and high ceiling are the perfect backdrop while enjoying their French brasserie options. The restaurant is known for its exquisite steak frites ($41), oysters ($24 and up), as well as their banquet of raw shellfish.
Balthazar is very popular among celebrities, and you might end up brushing shoulders with some of the world’s most famous faces. Needless to say, it can get really packed, so it’s best to book in advance.
80 Spring St, New York, NY
+1 212-965-1414; Balthazarny.com
#2 – Legacy Records
(Source: Legacy Records Restaurant Facebook)
This Art Deco-inspired restaurant in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards is a project by prolific chef Ryan Hardy and the Delicious Hospitality Group. It’s named after the music studio where musical greats like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson recorded some of their classic songs. The restaurant has other culinary celebrities under its wing including Arvid Rosengren who is in charge of the wine menu; and Jeff Bell who brings his speakeasy expertise to the Please Don’t Tell cocktail bar.
(Source: Legacy Records Restaurant Facebook)
Fairly new to the scene, Legacy Records is already gaining widespread attention for its delicious food and excellent service. It serves a mean Artichoke and Black Truffle Risotto ($60), and entrees include Honey Lacquered Duck ($90) and Block Island Black Bass ($38).
517 W 38th St, New York, NY
#3 – The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Formerly in Brooklyn, The Chef’s Table is now in Hell’s Kitchen and has since accommodated a much more quirkier menu. It’s known as the first New York City restaurant outside Manhattan to receive three Michelin stars.
(Source: The Chef’s Table Facebook)
The menu changes regularly and is subject to the chef’s expert suggestions, but most customers go for the seafood. Inspired by Japanese cuisine, the owners cook up simple food that focuses on fresh ingredients. Those with more adventurous palates may be interested in the 15 to 20-course prix-five tasting menu which can cost up to $394 per person. The 18-seat restaurant may be small, but it’s always fully booked, so you will need to reserve a seat six weeks ahead.
431 W 37th St, New York, NY
+1 718-243-0050; Brooklynfare.com/pages/chefs-table
#4 – Eleven Madison Park
(Source: Eleven Madison Park Facebook)
Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s Art Deco space topped The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017. Eleven Madison Park’s contemporary American menu is described by Michelin as “innovative and clever”, and awarded it three stars. The restaurant serves 7- to 14-course meals, which can set you back $295 per person. Their most renowned dish is Humm’s signature recipe, duck roasted with lavender and honey.
11 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
+1 212-889-0905; Elevenmadisonpark.com/ourrestaurant/
The best restaurants in the city are also usually the most expensive ones, as many of them are located in regions where commercial rent is sky high in New York. Due to land being at a premium in areas like Manhattan, Marketing NPD Group revealed that the number of independent restaurants in NYC dropped 3% from March 2015 to 2016, and the New York Times indicate that this is largely due to astronomical rent and city regulations. Restaurateurs who establish new eateries are also subjected to high property taxes, as Yoreevo explains that the city’s transfer tax is 1% and above depending on the property’s value. The same tax is less than 1% in the majority of other US cities and states. All of these costs reflect in restaurant pricing, and has meant that the city is now known for its extremely expensive restaurants compared to the rest of the US.
But don’t be put off by the often sky high prices. If you want the best, sometimes you have to pay top dollar for it. And this list shows that while the food is far from cheap, you probably won’t experience anything like these restaurants anywhere else in the US.
For more interesting lists, check out our other posts in All World’s US section.