A Seat at Our Table

Fiery Noodles for All! December’s 11 Hottest NYC Dining Destinations

Where our Secret Culinary Insider is eating this month.

Photo courtesy of Intersect by Lexus

Close out 2018 by eating epic mortadella sandwiches in midtown and splurging on tequila in Williamsburg.

1. Breakfast With a “Bang”

David Chang’s done it again—but in a mall? The breakfast-and-lunch-only takeout space in Time Warner is a godsend for anyone looking for good, quick food in Columbus Circle (the Whole Foods salad bar sure does get old). Here, he has zeroed in on Korean flatbreads and shawarma-style spits of meat for the short daytime menu. For breakfast, that means a wrap with mortadella, cheese, and spicy mustard, or Zabar’s salmon, capers, and cream cheese. For lunch, it’s a wrap with crispy-tender pork or chicken and some Middle Eastern–inflected dips to spoon through. 10 Columbus Circle (between West 59th and 60th Streets), Midtown West

new nyc restaurants
Photo courtesy of Bar Bang/Yelp

2. A Good Reception on the LES

Stir together the focused serenity of modern Korean restaurants like Atomix, cocktail science geekery at new bars like Existing Conditions, ingredients from Korean grandmas’ home remedies, and just a cool bar on the Lower East Side, and you get Reception Bar. The menu of cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks is concise and exciting, especially those with bubbles. The owner created her own carbonation machine to get the tight, focused bubbles she wanted in her effervescent, feel-good drinks, like the Matcha Meadow (matcha-infused soju, pear shrub, sparkling jasmine) and the Buckwheat Bubbly (sparkling chrysanthemum, buckwheat, goji honey, and lemon). 45 Orchard Street (between Grand and Hester Streets), Lower East Side 

new nyc restaurants
Photo courtesy of Reception Bar

3. An UWS Haven

Mokum, Yiddish for “safe haven,” is serving the type of healthful, fresh, comforting food you wish you had time to cook for your family every day. And luckily for Upper West Siders, it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pastries, eggs any way, oatmeal, and toasts for breakfast; vegetable-heavy, well-spiced options for lunch and dinner. No matter what you and your family are craving, Mokum probably has it on the menu, from charred chili broccoli with sesame dressing and cumin-roasted carrots to a charcuterie platter, a burger and potatoes, and pan-fried gnocchi with wild mushroom ragu. 464 Amsterdam Avenue (between West 82nd and 83nd Streets)

4. Bolt to Bombay

Walking into GupShup is like leaving buttoned-up Gramercy for a Bollywood film set. The vibes are Technicolor and almost clubby, and while the food is also vibrant, it is so much more than bar food. The chef moved here from India to create modern Indian dishes that’ll be hard to find anywhere else. Just take a gander at the chutney options: gooseberry-cilantro, tequila and smoked pineapple, ghost chili and garlic. All sound pretty great on some tandoori chicken, curried lentils, or braised lamb, right? 115 East 18th Street (between Lexington and Park Avenues), Gramercy

Indian restaurant GupShup Union Square Gramercy
Photo by Noah Fecks/Courtesy of GupShup

5. Just in Time for the Hall-idays

The former chef of high-end Japanese vegetarian restaurant Kajitsu has opened the doors to his own, much more casual endeavor. Hall is an all-day bistro and bar that’s mostly Japanese but also a little European—think: panko-fried calamari with miso mustard sauce, and fries with mackerel dip. Another reason to go? Pleasant music at a conversation-encouraging decibel. The playlist is created by master musician Ryuichi Sakamoto (you read that NYT profile about him). 17 West 20th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Flatiron

6. Paris by Foot

Intersect by Lexus, a Chefs Club–like restaurant with big names (and big bucks) behind it, has opened its doors. It’s operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and, like Chefs Club, features a rotating crew of buzzy chefs manning the kitchen. First up is Gregory Marchand, bringing the market-friendly French cuisine he’s known for at his Paris and London bistros Frenchie to the ground-floor café (don’t miss the pastries) and restaurant and bar upstairs. Oh, yes, it’s sponsored by Lexus, which only really intrudes on your meal on the third floor’s immersive marketing “experiences,” which you can easily avoid. 412 West 14th Street (between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), Meatpacking District

new nyc restaurants
Photo courtesy of Intersect by Lexus

7. Zabar’s 2.0

Oliver Zabar, the grandson of that Zabar, has gone downtown for his first restaurant foray. And, for better or worse, there’s no smoked fish in sight. Devon skews to the nighttime crowd—it’s a laid-back, retro bar with batched cocktails, a reasonably priced wine list, local beers, and fun (more so than elevated) bar food. Standouts include harissa chicken wings, disco fries, and a fish katsu sandwich. If you’re on the Lower East Side itching for something somewhere between a dive, a diner, and a buzzy place, here’s your spot. 252 Broome Street (between Orchard and Ludlow Streets), Lower East Side

8. Not That Xi’an

Xi’an Famous Foods devotees have another option to try out: Old Xi’an Delicacy (not related) has landed for all your wintertime lunch needs. Its specialty is wide, hand-ripped noodles in spicy, spicy dishes. People are already lining up for the cumin lamb, pork dumplings, and spicy beef soup. Get it while it’s hot—er, cold. 164 Pearl Street (at Wall Street), Financial District

new nyc restaurants
Photo by Jenny Z/Yelp

9. Drain Your Bank Account

A room with a view doesn’t come cheap in New York. You already knew that, but not like this: The Williamsburg Hotel’s Water Tower has a $150 tequila cocktail, $500 bottle service, and a $525 caviar tasting (the drinks start at $22). If you’re paying those prices, there’d better be perks, and indeed there are. The bar is in a water tower–inspired glass structure that lets you take in the Manhattan skyline completely unobstructed from a plush, bright, but casual interior. Blue velvet couch, white truffle grilled cheese, sturgeon caviar, side of skyline—please and thank you. 96 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg

new nyc restaurants
Photo courtesy of The Water Tower

10. Update Your Bar Snacks With Caviar Éclairs

Pomona is one of the best iterations of upscale bar food we’ve seen lately. That it’s across from the Plaza Hotel might already hint that it’s chichi, but what’s great is you can wander in wearing jeans and a T-shirt and not feel out of place digging into goose-fat tater tots, a duck confit burger, or a caviar éclair for dinner. The space is luxe but not austere—orange leather banquettes, mod wicker chairs, pop-y music—and the cocktails skew classic with a twist, with a few options for old-fashioneds and Negronis. 8 West 58th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Midtown

new nyc restaurants
Photo by Nick Solares/Courtesy of Pomona

11. Mykonos in Midtown

Fournos Theophilos is like a Greek Eataly for a few reasons: It’s designed with separate stalls for various food items—a yogurt bar with toppings over there, pastry counter over here, hot food buffet down there. It’s a little overwhelming to navigate, but it’s also completely worth it. The midtown Greek emporium is great for a pick-me-up of the phyllo variety, but the serve-yourself hot foods are especially a deal: For just $12, you can fill up your tray with lamb stew, lemony chicken, lentils, salads, and sauces galore. Just save room for baklava. 45 West 45th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Midtown

new nyc restaurants
Photo courtesy of Fournos Theophilos

Be the first to taste-test your way through our picks. We’ll save you a seat.