Top Restaurants In New York City

new_york_city_restaurantNowhere else in America, but in Manhattan, in New York City, are there such a fantastic array of cultures, classes, and traditions coexisting, sometimes intermingling, in such a small geographic space. This very unique demographic blend is perhaps best reflected by the city’s diverse array of restaurants, food trucks, street side vendors, markets, and bars and pubs. Virtually every ethnic cuisine is represented in New York City, with many restaurants offer unique fusions of oft-disparate influences, found nowhere else. In not many other places but Manhattan, do some of our nation’s richest 1%, and poorest 1%, sleep oftentimes less than a mile apart. From a street taco that’ll run you $1.25, to a $1250 ice cream sundae, laced with gold flakes and rare imported truffles, there is food for virtually everyone.

Despite New York City being such a notorious culinary hub, it is oftentimes incredibly difficult for restaurants to survive. Street-level rent in prime spaces can end up costing upwards of 95% of the restaurant’s income. Competition is unbelievably fierce. Consumers are highly discerning and picky, and one lukewarm review in a respected publication can mean certain doom. Yet, despite this, some restaurants have managed to stick around for a good deal of time, earning the respect of locals, and a spot as a historic fixture on the otherwise ever-changing landscape of Manhattan.

Some of them, delis–renowned for their unique flavors of fresh cut meat, typically served in a signature flagship sandwich of some sort–are among New York City’s most famous. They owe their fame to consistent quality, affordability (so locals and tourists alike, of any stripe, can enjoy their food), and oftentimes unique styles of service. Some of the most famous include Katz’s Delicatessen (made famous by a particularly uncomfortable scene from Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally), Carnegie Deli (55th and 6th, famous for their cheesecake and towering pastrami sandwiches, leave your credit cards at home, because they only take cash), and Artie’s Delicatessen (82nd and Broadway, they’re adored the city over for their spiced pastrami and savory latkes).

On the other side of the dining spectrum, are New York City’s famous fine dining establishments. Everyone from vapid socialites in your favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, to the most recent Woody Allen feature frequents them, so why shouldn’t you? Establishments such as Delmonico’s (originally a small pastry shop, it was colonial NYC’s first formal restaurant; it’s sometimes credited with being at the vanguard of a la carte dining), Lutece (known as innovators in the preparation of foie gras, being one of the first restaurants to pair the tender duck meat with rich chocolatey confections), Rector’s (located in the theater district, their no-frills approach to French cuisine, as well as ethnic fusions (curried lamb crown, Chinese black bean mussels, etc.) well ahead of their time, secured their place in NYC history as one of the foremost democratizers of fine cuisine.).

Every day a restaurant stays in good shape in New York City, they edge just a little closer to becoming an iconic destination, in what is arguably already America’s most iconic destination. In “The City That Never Sleeps,” it might make sense for NYC’s next top restaurant to be a quaint 24-hour East Village brunch spot. Or, since NYC’s restaurant scene has always favored innovation, it may be one of many increasingly trendy mobile food trucks or pop-up restaurants, whose slim hours and constantly changing location set them apart. Only time, along the rugged road of running a restaurant in New York City, will tell.

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