Best NYC restaurants: Where to eat in New York

Hungry? We explore the Big Apple via our stomachs, discovering emerging food trends in New York.

Most people go for the sights: the shimmering upturned ice cream cone of the Chrysler, the razor clam spikiness of the Empire State Building, and the cheesecake wedge of the Flatiron.

As you can probably tell, I've come for the food, and New York does not disappoint.

So how do you decide to what to eat?

This year, all eyes may be on America's politics, but these emerging food trends will be shaking things up too...

1. American south

Southern American food is in full-on revival mode, so if you haven't time to take in it's homeland, Louisiana's New Orleans, during your US trip, New York will plug the gap.

Promising 'honest Southern food', Root & Bone in the East Village, is all rustic wood, exposed piping and wire buckets of fried chicken, served alongside golden waffles and molten mac and cheese.

The rural American grub is so moreish and earthy, I'm still chewing on the salty, lemony chicken bones when a gooey Mississippi mud pie arrives.  Mains from $19 (£15); expect a queue if you don't have a reservation.

At Harlem's Red Rooster, the food is more technicolor - think crimson sauces that match the restaurant's frontage and bold portion sizes - but its fare is no less Southern.

We sit on plastic red chairs (everything is red) out on the street, people-watching between trying to stuff humongous crispy bird sandwiches in our mouths. Filled with half a chicken at least and dripping with a signature, terracotta-coloured sauce that's tomatoey, without being too sweet.  Mains from $25 (£20).

Over near Hudson Square, back in Lower Manhattan, Harold's Meat + Three serves decent fried chicken, but their Southern side dishes eclipse it.

I wolf down three nuggety 'biscuits' (like savoury scones, stuffed with sweetcorn, bacon and spring onions, and slathered in butter), before getting started on grilled asparagus spears and traditional creamy grits.

2. Family style

Don't like sharing? Family style - where portions are made for divvying out amongst your party - might not be for you.


A post shared by Jose L Ortiz (@o.josel) on

On the edge of Madison Square Park is the cosily understated Black Barn. The mentality here is one of farm-to-table, with little faffing in between - and the portions are absolutely colossal.

We feast on platters of barbecued beef ribs, each one as wide and thick as a hardback book, foraged mushrooms on chunks of toast and a bubbling rum and butterscotch bread pudding. Mains from $19 (£15).

At ATRIO, in the downtown hotel Conrad New York, American chef Gerron Douglas, a former sous chef at the Waldorf Astoria NY, serves hunks of halibut on a mattress of lentils, alongside vats of spaghetti Bolognese, because, he says, nothing "makes you feel at home like spaghetti". Mains from $22 (£18); reserve ahead.

3. Hotel dining

New York's hotels are upping their game - at a rate that might just make room service defunct.

In midtown, surrounded by chain steakhouses and gaudy diners, sits the Clement Restaurant, within the grandly elegant Peninsula, New York.

Dinner here is good - think beautifully seared sea bass and zingy roast apple salad with goat's cheese – but breakfast is something else!

Order the thick, fluffy wedges of French toast crusted in corn flakes, served with individual bottles of maple syrup, or medallions of beef tenderloin, accompanied by caramel-coloured hash browns that don't hail from the freezer.

Even if you're not staying at the Peninsula, you can still book a table beneath one of the restaurant's stunning art deco-style windows. Mains from $34 (£27); reserve ahead.

Just up the road on Park Avenue is Loews Regency Bar & Grill, where the service is less intuitive but the decor has more swagger - all polished wood, glinting mirrors and parades of flashy glassware.

The hotel itself is ideally located for keen shoppers, and runners who want to explore nearby Central Park. Come dinner time, carve through pink strips of salmon and perfectly cooked rib-eye steak, get tangled up in mounds of watercress and be pleasantly harangued by bold, straightforward flavours. Mains from $38 (£30); reserve ahead.

4. Michelin stars

For dinner that's not quite so in-your-face-American, head to the fire escape latticed streets of Tribeca, where vintage clothing and liquor stores huddle up besides the likes of one-Michelin-star-restaurant Batard.

Part of the Myriad Restaurant Group famed for London's Nobu, Batard dishes up 'new French cuisine' in a pared back dining room that hums softly with lunchtime business meetings, and what looks like an old boys' club of former film directors. (Two courses at lunch is $20 USD, cheaper than at dinner.)

A baton of crumbed, crispy lamb neck on a rich swirl of white beans, leeks and lemony lovage is astounding, but it's the meaty portobello mushrooms cooked with shallots and drizzled in salsa verde that makes my taste buds really somersault happily.


A post shared by Marciano Wilson (@mtwils3) on

Nearby in the artsy, indie Nolita neighbourhood, The Musket Room - another one star Michelin restaurant - serves up modern New Zealand cuisine while you sit on electric blue leather seats ensconced by rough brick walls.

Its a la carte menu reads more like a sparse shopping list than a collection of dishes, but I can confirm that an assortment of quail, blackberry, bread sauce and onion, once on a plate, is pretty ambrosial. Mains from $29 (£23); reserve ahead.

Ella Walker was a guest of The Peninsula New York and used OpenTable to book meals at Red Rooster, Root & Bone, Batard and The Musket Rooms.

More from BT