What is New York City’s restaurant scene like?

Answers from Our Experts (6)

Eating is a quintessential part of any visit to New York; critics often label this the best restaurant city in the world, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a global cuisine that's not represented. It's easy to drop hundreds of dollars here on meals created by some of the most recognizable names in the culinary stratosphere.

Food Network superstar chef Mario Batali has - count them - nine restaurants in New York, including the cozy, classic Italian spot Babbo and the 24,000-square-foot, super-fancy Del Posto. You can try the cuisines of other celebrity chefs at Jean Georges, Per Se and Masa. Then there are all the great classic New York restaurants, from Le Bernardin to Gramercy Tavern to the Four Seasons, a mid-century modern masterpiece where power deals are still made over long lunches. Restaurants generating buzz right now include Eleven Madison Park and Marea.

You can also get a good taste of the Big Apple without breaking the bank, and you can do it around the clock. Dozens of divey-and-delicious Chinatown eateries are open until the wee hours of the morning, and the hunger pang-inducing smell of $1.25 grilled hot dogs at Gray's Papaya wafts through the Upper West Side, luring in both the over-served and light-of-wallet 24 hours a day. Just a few blocks away, you can get hot bagels straight from the oven at the no-frills H&H Bagels. Ess-a-Bagel is a more full-service bagel bakery, serving up lox and other smoked fish. Grabbing a coffee to go along with it? Forget the overwrought Starbucks-style terminology: In New York, a "regular" coffee is one with plain old milk and sugar added.

Even though it's not in its original East Village location (or even on Second Avenue), make a pilgrimage to Second Avenue Deli for hot pastrami on rye or a soothing bowl of matzo ball soup. Just looking for a nosh? Stop at a sidewalk cart for a hot pretzel or warm bag of roasted chestnuts. Sweet tooths have to try big-as-your-head, spongy black-and-white (half chocolate/half vanilla) cookies, sold at delis and bakeries throughout the city, or line up with the masses craving sinfully good cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. Remember to choose carefully - the bakery limits the number you can buy when demand outreaches supply.

New York’s mega cultural melting pot means that the restaurant scene is as varied and diverse as anyone can dream. From every confine of the world comes tremendous contributions to the culinary institutions one can find in New York. From the Bronx to Astoria, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, there is a cornucopia of choices in prices, styles, cuisines, environments, atmospheres and any other personal preference.

New York is blessed with so many possibilities. Whatever you're in the mood for, you will find it! I think the hidden jewels, which are off the radar, are the best experiences. These places tend to try harder, go the extra mile, and give you a better chance of seeing real New Yorkers in action. A good rule of thumb is to plan in advance and do research. It would be embarrassing, for example, to show up at Daniel (you just read a great article on Chef Daniel Boulud on the plane) wearing blue jeans and have the maitre'd tell you, "I'm terribly sorry, we have a strict dress code."

The scene in New York is as diverse as the many faces you can see standing on the corner of 57th and 5th Avenues. Nevertheless, here we go:

Trendy

Sophisticated

Romantic

Smart casual

Chic

And downright funky at times

There is nothing like New York City for a variety of cuisines!

New York City’s diverse and dynamic culinary scene never ceases to delight and amaze. From a $5 lunch from a food truck to the many celebrity-chef-owned restaurants; from the glitter of Star-Rated restaurants to the simplicity of Chinatown; and from the trendy Meatpacking District to the up-and-coming restaurants in Harlem, there is an option for every price point and every palate! 

Michael Romei
  • Michael Romei

  • Chef Concierge, The Waldorf Towers New York

  • New York City, New York

It could be an eating and dining trip around the world without ever having to leave Manhattan.  Food and Restaurants is probably our most popular request from guests visiting our City.   The choices are endless from famous Chef restaurants to formal elegant old world classics; new modern trendy and hip, to great street food from the ever so popular Food Trucks; NYC has dining options for everyone and every imagination as well.   If you are thinking of dining in the most popular or famous restaurants I woudl highly suggest advanced planning and to know that most restaurants begin to take reservations approximately 30 days prior to the date.  I highly suggest also to consult with your hotel concierge who will relay their local knowledge and expertise and create the perfect match to your restaurant request!!

Member Answers
  • Vincent Stoessel, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA
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