I spent much of my growing-up years exploring the city through its restaurants and pubs, and I'm here today to talk about such establishments because they carry the happiest memories for me.
To this day, several cherished spots hold a place in our hearts: Omen Azen, with its Kyoto-style cuisine; Tocqueville, where I was introduced to the wonders of tasting menus, leaving me wide-eyed with excitement; Japonica, a haven for sushi lovers; Basta Pasta, where Italian flavors intertwine with Japanese influences; Cafeteria, a fusion of a nightclub and a diner; El Cantinero, offering Mexican delights with a patio for savoring fajitas alfresco; and Cowgirl, formerly known as Cowgirl Hall of Fame, serving up Southwestern cuisine in the West Village. The list goes on, each place etched in our memories.
Manhattan, is bustling gateway to countless other worlds.
Innovative Basque flavors
240 Ninth Ave., New York, NY 10001
The husband-and-wife combo of Alex Raij and Eder Montero is one of the most talented chef duos in New York, and they are responsible for the recent reopening of this Basque restaurant. The recently remodeled room, which can be found in the Chelsea neighborhood, is a marble-accented, blond-wood-paneled fantasy. The menu is an aria; it is unique and precisely calibrated, and it features Basque tastes that are both respected and expanded upon. The octopus carpaccio is the most delicate and delicately graceful dish in town. Chef Raij's passion for pil pil, a classic emulsion sauce, is reflected in the fish poached in olive oil. The exquisitely arranged collection of vermouth and the exquisitely calibrated cocktails on their drinks menu are, hands down, my top picks from that section of their menu. If you find yourself in the neighborhood of Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, stop by two of my other all-time favorite restaurants: Saint Julivert, which specializes in seafood, and La Vara, which serves cuisine from southern Spain. They are located right next door on a charming street lined with trees.
Price: According to a review on OpenTable, prices at Txikito are on the high side, especially considering the bite size of the portions.
Halal Information: There is no information available on whether Txikito serves halal food.
Best dishes: According to an article on Gothamist, the Gilda is a must-try dish at Txikito. It consists of a Gordal olive, an anchovy fillet, and a guindilla pepper, all skewered together.
Cantonese with an award-winning wine list
177 Prince St., New York, NY 10012
Pinch is where I usually go for my first lunch back in town after being away. Cantonese cuisine is served, and the restaurant's wine selection has won awards. One of my favorite things about having lunch there is grabbing a seat at one of the high tables near the floor-to-ceiling front windows. My favorite soup dumplings have a thin, delicate dough that envelops flavorful pork bursts, and the shiitake and truffle mushroom dumplings are similarly high in craft and comfort. This meal is eerily crave-able. Other dishes that should not be overlooked are their house-special shrimp, cold-curing soups, spicy marinated cucumbers, dan dan noodles, and my love language, pea shoots. These pea shoots are rich emerald green, juicy, and laced with garlic.
Pinch Chinese is a restaurant located in Soho, New York that serves Chinese comfort food. Here is some information about Pinch Chinese based on the search results:
- Pinch Chinese is considered a Bib Gourmand restaurant by the Michelin Guide, which means it offers good quality, good value cooking.
- According to Tripadvisor, the price range is $$, which means it is moderately priced.
- According to HalalRun, some meat is halal at Pinch Chinese.
- However, it is not clear which meat is halal, so it is recommended to ask the staff for more information.
- The Infatuation recommends sticking to the dumplings and small plates for the best experience.
- According to Yelp, some of the popular dishes include the soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, and dan dan noodles.
- OpenTable also mentions the soup dumplings as a popular dish.
Pinch Chinese is a moderately priced restaurant that serves Chinese comfort food. Some meat is halal, but it is recommended to ask the staff for more information. The dumplings and small plates are recommended for the best experience, and some of the popular dishes include the soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, and dan dan noodles.
An intimate Euro-inspired restaurant and wine bar
90 E. 10th St., New York, NY 10003
Claud was the location of one of my most memorable evenings in New York City, an event I know I am not alone in having. Their newest concept, which former employees of Momofuku Ko opened, has that special sauce and is a buzzing, stunning French-inspired location built to stay. Despite its recent opening, this establishment already has the aura of a classic due to its thoughtful foundation in beautiful bones, excellent hospitality, and great skill on the plate. The colorful razor clams with apple and horseradish and the comfortable crimson shrimps in olive oil and garlic are two of the meals that stand out as my favorites. The restaurant's mille-feuille, which is a beautiful pile of flaky pastry, cheese, and jammy tomatoes; the chicken liver agnolotti, which is a creamy, nutty extravagance; and the restaurant's devil's food cake for two, which is the most incredible chocolate cake in the city are just a few of the menu items that have already become renowned in the culinary scene. If you have the opportunity, you should try to get a seat at the magnificent green-gray marble bar.
- Claud is a European restaurant located in the East Village of Manhattan, New York City. There is no information available on whether Claud serves halal food or not.
- The price range for Claud is on the higher side, with entrees ranging from $25 to $45.
- Some of the best dishes at Claud include the steak tartare, the roasted chicken, and the chocolate mousse.
Flavorful Thai in a big, vibrant space
55 Bond St., New York, NY 10012
In certain places, you may go with a group where the restaurant is simply background noise. Then there are other places where, after every meal, someone is spitting out expletives of ecstasy, such as, "How is this always so good" The latter kind of restaurant is represented by Fish Cheeks, a Thai institution located on the chic and picturesque Bond Street in Manhattan. It is home to the city's greatest wings, called Zabb Wings, and is fried with chili lime and makrut lime leaf dry seasoning. However, the restaurant is just as adept at producing bombastic tastes as it produces more subtle and straightforward preparations. There is not a single item on this menu that I would not want to purchase. One dish that deserves special mention since it seems unassuming on the menu but blows your mind once you put it in your mouth is their sautéed cabbage seasoned with garlic and fish sauce.
Fish Cheeks is a vibrant restaurant located on Bond Street in NoHo, New York City, that serves contemporary Thai food with a focus on seafood. The restaurant is named after the lean, tender cheek meat that is considered the tastiest part of a fish and a delicacy in Asia. Here is some information about Fish Cheeks:
- Price: Fish Cheeks is a mid-range restaurant, with prices ranging from about $10 to $30 per dish.
- Halal information: There is no information available on whether Fish Cheeks serves halal food. However, there is a halal food guide for New York City that includes several recommendations, which you can find at.
- Best dishes: Fish Cheeks offers an assortment of Thai seafood dishes that are great for the NYC foodie who isn’t afraid of a little spice. Some of the best dishes at Fish Cheeks include:
- Coconut Crab Curry: A Southern-style dish served with betel leaf, makrut lime leaf, and rice.
- Grilled Octopus: Served with a spicy lime dressing and crispy garlic.
- Fried Whole Fish: Served with a chili-lime sauce and herbs.
- Corn Salad: Fresh and tasty.
- Shrimp Pad Thai: A classic Thai dish made with stir-fried rice noodles, shrimp, egg, and bean sprouts.
Fish Cheeks is a great option for those looking for unique and flavorful Thai seafood dishes in a vibrant atmosphere.
Hearty Serbian fare in a lively setting
116 Loisaida Ave. (Avenue C), New York, NY 10009
Kafana is a true treasure since it provides a portal into a more ancient and emotional world. It is dark, brick-lined, and has ceilings that are gently arched. It is typical of Serbia. The walls are covered with mementos from Serbia, and the bathroom, despite its small size, is loaded with items from local drugstores. On Fridays, a live band sings traditional Balkan tunes, and patrons are encouraged to sing along between bites of their food. The regulars, together with the staff, will often sing on Sundays. When I went there the last time, they handed me a glass of Rakija, a Serbian brandy that is fragrant and high-proof. This is a usual way for them to say thank you after dinner, along with an explanation for the loudness. They clarified that "Sundays are family nights!" The meals are not pompous, and the portions are rather big. They range from hearty meat dishes like braised lamb shank to light and straightforward salads like their opska, which consists of tomato, cucumber, onion, and feta. Their assortment of cheeses comes with a delightful compote, and their warm baked beans have the potential to revive a heart that has been frozen. The excellent wine list features a fine selection of rare and valuable items from around the Balkans. You can only pay with cash.
Kafana is a European and Eastern European restaurant located in New York City's Lower East Side.
- According to TripAdvisor, the price range at Kafana is around $30.
- OpenTable describes the food as "great traditional food, for a decent price".
- There is no information available on whether Kafana serves halal food.
- Cevapi: This dish is a type of grilled sausage that is popular in the Balkans. It is listed as one of Kafana's popular dishes on Yelp.
- Zeljanica: This is a type of spinach pie that is also popular in the Balkans. It is listed as one of Kafana's popular dishes on Yelp.
- Gibanica: This is a type of cheese pie that is similar to zeljanica. According to The New York Times, the gibanica and zeljanica at Kafana are "wedges of cheese pie and spinach pie that are as good as any you’ll find in the city".
- Mixed grill: This dish is also listed as one of Kafana's popular dishes on Yelp.
Udon soups that are better than medicine
48 MacDougal St., New York, NY, 10012
My go-to destination for a light lunch or supper when I'm not feeling well is Raku since their udon soups are just like taking medication. They have two sites in the city, one that is bigger and sunnier in SoHo and the other that is more intimate and convenient to get in and out of in the East Village. One of my favorite things is going there with a buddy and splitting two soups, one light and one hearty. Some of my favorite combinations are the sansai with mountain veggies and mushroom tempura combined with their gyunan, loaded with washugyu beef, or the tantan, topped with spicy miso pork. Their broths are full-bodied and refreshing, and their noodles are chewy and springy. You can only pay with cash.
Raku NYC is a Japanese restaurant located in the East Village of New York City.
Price: The price range for Raku NYC is moderate, with most dishes costing between $10 and $20.
Halal Information: Raku NYC is not a halal-certified restaurant, but it is included in some halal food guides. However, it is important to note that not all dishes at Raku NYC are halal, so it is recommended to ask the staff for guidance on which dishes are halal.
Best dishes: Raku NYC is known for its udon noodles, which are served in a signature dashi soup. Some of the best dishes at Raku NYC include:
- Udon noodles with tempura
- Beef udon
- Curry udon
- Chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken)
- Takoyaki (octopus balls)
Raku NYC offers a contemporary and minimalist dining space paired with warm service, and is a great spot to enjoy Japanese comfort food in the East Village.
A transportive American tavern
50 Commerce St., New York, NY 10014
This establishment, owned by Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, the quietly reigning queens of the West Village, is often not the first place people pick as their favorite within the couple's portfolio. However, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams are responsible for its creation. But it is mine. It exemplifies the essence of a genuinely immersive restaurant, where every aspect of the dining experience - from the feeling of perusing the menu to the sensation of strolling down the restaurant's street, transports the diner. The restaurant is a Shaker-inspired early-American tavern, and it is situated on a historically significant street. The establishment serves dishes such as pickled oysters, molasses, and pork-belly cooked beans, all infused with the joyful and honest spirit of a Louisa May Alcott book.
Cho Dang Gol
A Koreatown institution
55 W 35th St., New York, NY 10001
This K-town gem is known for its tofu, prepared from scratch every day, and its stews served to simmer in hot stoneware beside vibrant bowls of banchan (the Korean side dishes provided with your meal). Every meal begins with a complimentary tofu beginning that is creamy, light and has a consistency similar to that of ricotta. Their pancakes provide a lovely, starchy companion to their soupier main courses, and my recommendations are the shellfish and the fish varieties. Make sure you order their kimchi tofu stew with plenty of heat.
- Price: The entree price is between $15-20.
- Halal information: There is no information available to suggest that Cho Dang Gol is a halal restaurant. However, there are several halal food options available in New York City.
- Best dishes: Some of the best dishes at Cho Dang Gol include:
- Kimchi stew
- Seafood pancake
- Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles)
Cho Dang Gol has been reviewed positively by Cititour and has been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide.
Il Posto Accanto
An Italian gem with Departures history
190 E. Second St., New York, NY 10009
A loyal following of patrons frequents this place, many of whom remain here for extended weekends and work their way through Il Posto Accanto's enormous menu of Roman trattoria-style standards—a genuine local treasure.
Il Posto Accanto is an Italian and Mediterranean restaurant located in the East Village of New York City.
- Price range: The price range is around $16.
- Halal information: There is no information available about whether the restaurant serves halal food.
- Best dishes: The restaurant is known for its meatballs and pastas. Some of the popular dishes include:
- Meatballs ($27.00)
- Cavatelli Di Ricotta Fatti in Casa ($23.50)
- Grilled calamari
- Spaghetti carbonara
- Linguine vongole
- Delicately fried anchovies
- Mussels with Tuscan cannellini beans
- Eggplant croquettes
- Roman-style tripe
- Almond cake topped with mascarpone gelato
According to reviews, the restaurant has a great wine selection that is almost entirely Italian, with plenty of options in the $40 range, including a Piedmontese rosé and an excellent Chianti Classico. Il Posto Accanto is a small plates, order-for-the-table kind of place, and there's a wide array of classic Italian dishes with a Sicilian slant. The restaurant is known for its spectacularly good food and has become a kind of legend in New York City.
The Bar at Eleven Madison Park
Excellent cocktails and a laid-back take on the restaurant's menu
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010
There aren't many restaurants with as much cultural significance as Eleven Madison Park. Their full-dining experience is the definitive example of fine dining in New York City because of the highly inventive food and the maintained paradigmatic levels of service. On the other hand, I just lately became aware of the joys of their bar experience, which is more laid-back but is not any less premium. It is located in a little space off the side of their expansive main dining hall. In this establishment, guests get the opportunity to sample Chef Daniel Humm's plant-based masterpieces, which were the first in the world to earn three Michelin stars, as part of a tasting menu that is condensed and less formal, in addition, of course, to the bar's extraordinary cocktail program.
The Bar at Eleven Madison Park is a must-visit for cocktail enthusiasts. The bar is known for its innovative and creative cocktails that make use of plants and other unique ingredients. The bar has some of the best bartenders in the city, and their skills are evident in the delicious and sometimes improbable drinks they create.
The bar is part of Eleven Madison Park, a plant-based fine dining restaurant that has received four stars from the New York Times and three stars from the Michelin Guide.
The restaurant has a tasting menu only, which costs $175 per person, and prices include service. The restaurant switched to a fully vegan menu during the pandemic in 2021. The restaurant still buys meat, though, and until the year ends, the menu offered to customers who book a private dining room includes an optional beef.
It is unclear whether the restaurant itself offers halal options. Some of the best dishes at Eleven Madison Park include the half chicken with foie gras drippings and the citrus and chicories with fiore sardo.
A community hub for your morning coffee
81 E. Seventh St., New York, NY 10003
Since it first opened its doors in 2007, this location has grown to become both an institution and a centre for the local community. When spring arrives, the outside sitting area is usually quite busy. They roast their own beans, and their olive oil cake is a time-honored tradition. Both of these items are created in-house.
Abraço NYC is a coffee shop located in the East Village of Manhattan.
Halal Information: There is no information available to suggest that Abraço NYC serves halal food. However, it is a coffee shop and does not serve meat, so halal certification may not be applicable.
Price: Abraço NYC is known for its espresso, which is considered the best in Manhattan. The price of a cup of espresso is around $3.50.
Best Dishes: Abraço NYC is known for its espresso, which is considered the best in Manhattan. They do not serve any type of milk other than whole milk, which is steamed for their espresso drinks. Abraço NYC also serves a variety of pastries, including croissants and olive oil cake.
Abraço NYC is a great place to grab a cup of coffee and a pastry. While there is no information available to suggest that they serve halal food, it is a great option for those looking for a coffee shop in the East Village.
A homey cafe nestled in a bookstore
197 E. Third St., New York, NY 10009
This bookshop is a genuine gathering spot with a cafe-style counter in the front. During the day, people come here to work from home while sipping coffee at the bar, and in the evening, they come here to read and socialize while drinking wine. The outside areas of the café, which include a patio in the rear and some small tables in the front, provide a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. When dreary outside, spending an hour or two curling up in one of their armchairs with a warm beverage and an exciting book is relaxing.
A piece of Paris in the East Village
115 Second Ave., New York, NY 10003
This bakery, decorated like Paris, is like a little piece of Europe transplanted into the East Village. Everything they make, from sweets to savory treats, is just delicious. One of my absolute favorites from them is their tomato tart since it is sweet and savory and has wonderful olive oil in it. Visit first thing in the morning while their pastries are prepared, and enjoy your coffee while sitting outdoors.
Soju cocktails in a minimalist space
45 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002
A hidden gem, Reception Bar is a minimalist, high-design setting with plenty of attractive, circular forms and subdued tones. The drinks served here are carefully crafted and include soju as the base spirit. From their spicy Ginger Goblin (made with Hwayo soju, ginger, Korean pear shrub, eucalyptus bitters, and white pepper) to their seductive Smokes (made with pine-smoked lapsang soju), every drink gives the impression that it has been carefully crafted. Their drinks are always so well-balanced and delicate that they make me think of tea. Their little snack menu is also a hidden gem, including plump mandu and garlic knots from Scarr's, the neighborhood's joyful and buzzing pizza establishment; both are topped with white kimchi like every garlic knot ought to be.
Reception Bar, located on the Lower East Side of New York, is a Korean-inspired soju bar that serves great cocktails. The price range is not mentioned in the search results, but it is expected to be in line with other bars in the area. According to The Infatuation, the best drink at Reception Bar is the "Korean Michelada".
The best wine bar in New York
135 Division St., New York, NY 10002
Without a doubt, Parcelle is New York City's most impressive wine bar. A time back, I wrote a more in-depth essay on them and their owner, the sommelier Grant Reynolds, who is a brilliant and dedicated worker. The area is characterized by an elegant Gio Ponti color scheme that features emerald green. Alongside their well-paired excellent culinary options such as crab fried rice, pieces of parm, anchovies, etc., their wine program has been precisely selected to include the perfect number of light and bright wines for simple sipping by the glass. Their wine program also features the proper amount of light and bright wines for easy by-the-glass drinking.
Parcelle NYC is a wine bar located in the Lower East Side of New York City. The bar offers a cozy and casual atmosphere, perfect for pre-dinner drinks or larger parties. The wine list is extensive, with over 500 bottles and rotating by-the-glass options. The price range is diverse, with unique reds, whites, and organic wines for every budget. The food menu is also impressive, with upscale bar snacks such as Maine uni toast and lemon ricotta and market veggies. The crab fried rice is also a must-try. The staff is knowledgeable and can provide personalized recommendations based on your preferences. The interior design is also noteworthy, with a dreamy hotel lobby bar vibe. Parcelle NYC is a great spot for wine lovers and foodies alike.
Chinese-inspired cocktails and snacks
40 Market St., New York, NY 10002
This filthy and lively tavern will have a special place in my heart till the day I pass away. A dash of irreverence is there, as they refer to themselves as "a salad bar" in their Instagram profile. This beloved spot in the Two Bridges area is known for serving strong drinks and food with a Chinese flavor profile. It is also frequented by those who seem to be part of the downtown crowd. My standard order consists of a salty plum old-fashioned and their Malaysian beef jerky, a pile of soft strips with pickles that are both salty and acidic. Visit in the evening, either with a person who completely captivates your attention or with many people. The area, which is dimly lit and has high ceilings, always has the proper spirit, whether used for a romantic drink for two or a loud and noisy hangout.
Mr Fong's is a hipster and casual bar located in Chinatown, New York City. The cocktail prices are around $12, which is pretty reasonable. They offer interesting drinks, and the Fong's Colada is a favorite among customers. In addition to drinks, they also serve some interesting snack foods. According to The Infatuation, Mr Fong's is a vibey little bar with a bit of a scene, and Thrillist describes it as a cocktail bar with Asian-inflected drinks that are classic in character.
French tabac, NYC style
37 Canal St., New York, NY 10002
Le Dive is a bar that is more like a brasserie. It is New York's version of the traditional French tabac. Their menu is comparable in breadth and depth to a restaurant, and the cuisine is delicious. It is difficult not to appreciate their mushroom paté, which is creamy, meaty, and nutty. The same can be said for their more traditional dishes, such as tuna nicoise that is done well and a lacy bibb salad of soft delicata squash and aged goat's-milk gouda, all of which are executed in a pleasant and unfussy manner. Because of these enormous windows, which let an abundance of natural light into the room, this is my go-to location for the apéro hour. Their outside dining area transforms into a bustling community as the temperature rises. In the company of good friends, you may make the most of a beautiful day by sharing a dish of charcuterie and sipping some of their exquisite natural wines, which are presented in attractive small glasses.
Le Dive is a wine bar located in the Lower East Side of New York City.
- Price: The price range is moderate, with most dishes costing between $10 and $20.
- Best dishes: Le Dive is known for its wine selection and small plates. Some of the best dishes include:
- Cheese and charcuterie board
- Grilled cheese sandwich
- French onion soup
- Steak tartare
- Fried chicken sandwich
- Frites (french fries)
- Chocolate mousse
Le Dive is a popular spot for drinking and snacking, and it has a lively atmosphere. It's a great place to grab a drink and some small bites while taking in the scene of the Lower East Side.