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What do you think are the best New York City restaurants and why?

What New York City restaurants do yo prefer and why? ( list 5 in order from best to worst )
Mine would be:
Sasabune
Bouley
EMP
Le Bernardin
Kyo tofu

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  1. Same reason for all: Consistency/creative Chef/Good service

    La Silhouette
    Marea
    Lincoln
    Vice Versa
    EMP
    Crispos

    1. 1. Per Se
      2. Bouley
      3. Momofuku Ko
      4. EMP
      5. Picholine

      My criteria is delicious and creative food on a consistent basis, and attentive and friendly service.

      1. Jean-Georges
        Jungsik
        15East
        Aqua Grill
        Katz's

        It was difficult to pick "best" so mine is a mixture of best of each type of food, or "favorite". For example, Aqua Grill isn't as fancy and formal as Le Bernadin, but I have enjoyed many seafood meals there more than my last meal at Le Bernadin.
        15 East fits both categories for best and favorite sushi.
        Katz's certainly is not in the gourmet category or the formal ,fancy category. But I love their pastrami sandwiches and love going there.
        Jungsik is creative, comfortable, delicious and one of a kind.
        Jean-Georges fits into the gourmet formal fancy, but it never fails. Always consistently great.
        So that's my picks,,I left out Italian because since my favorite place Ennio and Michael's closed, I cannot find a perfect Italian or "best" restaurant. Al Fiori is good but not everything about it. Babbo has good dishes but some are weak. Bar Pitti has good food but it's crowded and not too friendly, Da Andrea is good but it's missing something. Marea maybe a "best". Anyway I left out Italian food for next time, maybe by then I will come up with a "best".

        7 Replies
        1. re: foodwhisperer

          You just took me back...I used to eat at Ennio and Michael's with my father. He'd meet me there after my last class at NYU. He always loved their osso bucco...They were so nice to us, always. He really loved it there.

          1. re: MRS

            I used to get the Osso Bucco sauce on my pasta , was so good. Their meatballs were excellent too. I can go on and on. It wasn't fancy but it was home cooked food and delicious. Even Bill Cosby thought so, he ate there often enough.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              That's why my father loved it there. Not fancy but really good was right up his alley. I hadn't thought about that place in ages, so thank you!

              1. re: MRS

                You are welcome. I miss it. They couldnt afford NYU's ( landlord) rent increase. I have to find out where the chef went to

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  Yea, if you find out where the chef went, please let the CH community know. Never had a chance to go, but I read somewhere that their linguine and clam was the closest thing to Don Peppe out in Queens.

                  1. re: deepfry7

                    as a visitor to nyc:

                    Jean-Georges, Bernadin, Per Se
                    Banrey Greengrass and Russ and Daughters.

                    I like Babbo but not as much as above

                    i was a big fan of EMP but have not returned since the grid was put in place. My butt is not built to sit for 3 hours.

                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      I visit often and my list changes but right now it's:

                      Le Bernadin
                      Picholine
                      Minetta Tavern
                      Jean Georges
                      Gramercy Tavern

        2. I find this kind of question too difficult to answer really well, because there are different categories of restaurants. (For example, I like Crispo very much for a mid-priced meal but find it bizarre to put it on a "best of New York" list with much more elaborate restaurants like Ai Fiori that use superb ingredients.) And the main problem I have is that I haven't been to most of the higher-end restaurants, among which, I presume the best restaurants are to be found (not that mere expense makes a restaurant good, mind you). That said, instead of giving a list of "the best," I'll give a list of favorites:

          Higher end:

          Ai Fiori
          Kyo Ya
          Tocqueville (I feel comfortable rating them on two superb lunches)
          Scarpetta

          I think I have to end the list there because I'm not confident I can rate restaurants I've been to only once and not had tasting menus or even dinner at. I'm also including only restaurants I've been to within 2 years at most.

          Mid-priced:

          Momofuku Ssam Bar
          Riverpark
          Lavagna
          Don's Bogam
          Madangsui
          Crispo
          Soba Koh
          Barney Greengrass

          Inexpensive (c. $25 or less plus tip):

          Anjappar
          Szechuan Gourmet (56th St. and 39th St. locations)
          Oriental Garden
          Great NY Noodletown
          Jerusalem Restaurant
          Katz's for pastrami
          Taim, especially for their sabich

          This list inevitably tips toward the restaurants near where I live, near where my girlfriend lives, near where I used to live in 2010 and 2011, and toward the price points and cuisines I eat most often. I would happily recommend any of these restaurants for good food, but in no way would I suggest this is a list of the best restaurants in New York. It also excludes some great restaurants in Queens that would be off-topic for this board.

          1. Jungsik - Everything, simply amazing.

            Per Se - The salon, having the possibility to dine in one of the most delicious restaurant in the world without making a reservation and a la carte it's just great. Food is always perfection on a plate.

            Jean-Georges - the best everyday-special-occasion lunch, top food and service.

            Perry Street - Great food, great location, reasonable prices, I think it's one of the most under rated restaurant in NY.

            Marea - Not a big fan of the place but I love their food and the quality of the ingredients is terrific.

            David Burke Kitchen - I keep going back because the food is always consistent, good, creative enough but still straightforward.

            My apartment - The best risotto and the best pasta of New York, especially when my girlfriend is around.. ;-)

            (I never went to Le Bernardin... But from what I hear I think it is going up there next year...)

            1 Reply
            1. 1. Eleven Madison Park (tied) - creative and inventive food with incredible service in a beautiful atmosphere.

              1. Per Se (tied) - perfectly executed dishes, flawless service

              3. Blue Hill at Stone Barns - wonderfully creative use of the freshest ingredients available, beautiful dining room on a beautiful property, fantastic service

              4. Jean George - just all around great food

              5. Picholine - great food, treats vegeatarian as equals to carnivores