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26 NYC Restaurants that are Actually as Good as they Look

Girl at Red Restaurant NYC with Ramen as a head



By Veronica Viccora



My fiancee and I frequently have (playful) food fights. I'm not referring to a symphony of lunch meat flying across the cafeteria. I'm referring to disagreements over where to eat in NYC.

You see, he and I are both major foodies, but we both value totally different things when it comes to restaurants: he's all about the flavors and I'm all about the finesse. I love a fabulous ambiance, I don't just want to eat Italian food, I want to be swept away to Italy for an hour or two. Even I have to admit though, there are plenty of places out there that look great, but leave plenty to be desired when it comes to the thing they're supposed to the best at: food.

However! After plenty of trial, and lots of error, I'm here today with a guide to NYC's best restaurants that are just as good as they look (fiancee approved).



Bobo Restaurant NYC on Instagram West Village French Restaurants


Be warned. You're going to want to live here. This is an old townhouse turned impeccable French restaurant. Get the gnocchi. I reapeat. Get. The. Gnocchi.

181 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Palma Restaurant NYC garden bistro West Village Italian Restaurants


She's pricey but she's worth it. This is another place you're going to want to live in forever and always. It's the most gorgeous space and the most heavenly Italian food.

28 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

Joseph Leonard NYC interior West Village American Restaurants

Joseph Leonard

This is the kind of place where even the bathroom is fabulous. The attention to detail in both the food and the decor is unprecedented.

170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

Daisie's Better Burgers exterior West Village Restaurants

Daisie's Burgers

The perfect spot if you're looking for a burger that can transport you back in time. Plus they're on a mission to make burgers that are better for you AND better for the planet.

516 Hudson St New York, NY 10014

Rosemary's NYC West Village Italian Restaurants


I've been here more times than I care to admit. But it's just THAT good. Between their rooftop garden and their ridiculously good pasta, it's a winner every time.

18 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

Jeffrey's Grocery West Village Seafood Restaurants

Jeffrey's Grocery

A cozy little West Village spot with amazing seafood and excellent Bloody Mary's.

Al Pacino at Cafe Reggio in 1989

Cafe Reggio

This place is like eating in the middle of a fine art Museum. Admittedly, you should avoid the hot chocolate. But it's the perfect spot for coffee and a pastry.

119 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Lucky Louie's NYC West Village Restaurants Comfort Food

Lucky Louie's

The perfect place for those days when you're craving quick comfort food but don't want to compromise your need for a ~vibe~.

535 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Delice & Sarrasin West Village French Vegan Restaurants

Delice & Sarrasin

Vegan French in the teensiest, moodiest little restaurant. The Vegan escargot is unreal.

20 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

Dante West Village Restaurant Aesthetic drinks

Dante West Village

My personal favorite of a couple locations offering the most fabulous European ambiance and delicious entrees off their wood fired grill.

551 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

The Creperie NYC Sweet Crepes

Creperie West Village

It's crepes! It's cute! What more is there to say? I guess that you should also see a show at the Comedy Cellar next door and then stuff your face with sweet and savory crepe-y goodness.

Hell's Kitchen

Kohoku-Ku Ramen Hell's Kitchen Asian Restaurants

Kohoku-ku Ramen

INCREDIBLE ramen and the coolest ambiance, you'll be positively whisked away to Japan.

709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Alfie's NYC Hell's Kitchen Bars and Restaurants

Alfie's Bar & Kitchen

Try the French Toast. Experience Nirvana.

800 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

Briciola Wine Bar Hell's Kitchen Bars and Restaurants


The coooooolest little wine bar with bottles lining the walls around their long community style farm table. The food is awesome, and the vibe is to die for.

370 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

Meme Mediterranean Hell's Kitchen Restaurants

Meme Medditeranean

The coziest little spot for Mediterranean and Moroccan inspired small plates.

607 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Giardino 54 Squid ink Spaghetti Hell's Kitchen Italian Restaurants

Giardano 54

Delicious authentic Italian food, try sitting in their garden space in the back.

400 1/2 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019


House of Joy NYC best Chinatown restaurants

House of Joy

This place is PURE organized chaos. Carts of food are flying all over the place. Someone with a microphone attempts to corral people waiting for table. And the food. is. AMAZING.

28 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

Dr. Clark House Restaurant NYC best Chinatown Restaurants

Dr. Clark

Imagine this: you're eating amazing Hokkaido-style dishes in Chinatown with your shoes off and a heated blankie to keep you toasty. You're warmed from the inside and the outside alike. THAT'S Dr. Clark.

104 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles

Hand pulled noodles that pull on your heart strings!!!

1 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013


Dimes NYC Lower East Side Restaurants


The coolest food cave in all of Manhattan. I've seen a couple famous people there. One of them was in the mirror. (Just kidding. But a girl can dream can't she?)

49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002


I've had to fight my way into this Greek restaurant a couple times because it's always packed and always delicious.

130 Division St, New York, NY 10002

Dudley's NYC Best Lower East Side Restaurants


Australian inspired MAGIC. That's right, this is not even food. It's pure magic.

85 Orchard St New York, NY, 10002

Freemans Alley NYC Best Lower East Side Restaurants


You go for the aesthetic alleyway. You stay for the food.

Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002


Ruby's Cafe NYC Best Lower East Side Restaurants


OMG please get a taro root latte and come tell me how fabulous it was IMMEDIATELY.

219 Mulberry St A, New York, NY 10012


Peasant NYC by Marc Forgione Best Nolita Restaurants


From the brilliant mind of chef Marc Forgione, who owns another incredible restaurant named after himself in Tribeca, his work is always a showstopper.

194 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

Epistrophy NYC Best Nolita Restaurants


Never did I think a lemon ricotta pancake could change me forever, but that's what happened folks.

200 Mott St, New York, NY 10012


Well, there you have it. Those are some of my favorite places to stuff my face in all of Manhattan. What did I forget? Where do you like to eat? Share your hotspots in the comments so we can all be well fed. :)


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