A Seat at Our Table

From Ramen Cravings to Brilliant Business Dinners: 9 New NYC Dining Spots to Hit Today

Champagne all day! Genius cheese boards! Egyptian street food! Here’s where you should be eating right now.

Photo courtesy of the Riddler NYC/Facebook

Winter is coming and you know what that means—time to pack on a few extra pounds to keep the chill away. So what are you waiting for? Start eating!

Good for a Fast-Casual Nolita Lunch: Zooba

This street-food chain out of Cairo is perhaps best known for its falafel-esque ta’ameya, crispy-edged patties made with fava beans instead of chickpeas and served in a floury pocket called baladi, all bundled in Arabic faux newsprint. Zooba educates the uninitiated cheekily, with signs reading “Not Falafel” (the ta’ameya) and “Not Hummus” (the bessara, a fava-based dip). The space inspires sensory overload, with the kind of blinking colored lights that might hang in a bodega window patchworking the ceiling over the counter. Like any good fast-casual Nolita restaurant, there’s a list of partnering farms on the wall by the menu, plus shelves of to-go lunches in Pop Art–y paper bags. 100 Kenmare Street (at Cleveland Place), Nolita

Photo courtesy of Zooba/Facebook

Good for Toasting Fridays: The Riddler

Among the West Village’s newest arrivals is the Riddler, an outpost of the perky champagne spot Jen Pelka opened in San Francisco in 2017. The bar, tucked into a sunny corner space a few blocks south of the Meatpacking District, feels like a party: a pressed gold ceiling; a frosty raw bar on display behind a curved brass–railed marble counter; and as much free popcorn as you can eat, provided you’re not saving your appetite for caviar service or tater tot waffles, or both—together. You’ll find Dom, Krug, and Veuve on the extensive list, but the Riddler offers an impressive selection of biodynamic and organic stills and sparklers, too. Ask and you shall receive a glass filled all the way to its brim (an option that should exist everywhere). 51 Bank Street (at West 4th Street), West Village

Good for a Quick Lunch With Coworkers: Joju Banh Mi

Those bleakly seeking a quality quick lunch in midtown will be pleased to learn of JoJu’s arrival in an airy little space on Fifth Avenue at 46th Street. The shop, a sister to the original in Elmhurst, will sell the same customizable banh mi, cabbage salads, and rice bowls, not to mention excellent twice-fried french fries and cold-brewed Thai tea. Opening day saw a line not just out the door but down the block. You’ll be seeing a lot of its lime green takeout bags around Bryant Park come lunchtime. 555 Fifth Avenue (between East 45th and 46th Streets), Midtown East

Photo courtesy of JoJu/Facebook

Good for Ramen Cravings: Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai has opened its first New York spot on the Upper West Side in a teensy former pizzeria. It offers a flatter, wider, chewier style of noodle in clear, pork-based broths, as well as its signature toro chashu—extremely tender slow-braised pork belly that you can relish over rice or have added to your ramen, which arrives on its own little lacquered black tray. The new shop joins existing locations in California, Illinois, and Japan. The other U.S. outpots regularly see a wait of over an hour—hie thee to Amsterdam Avenue before everyone else finds out about this one. 267 Amsterdam Avenue (between West 72nd and 73rd Streets), Upper West Side

Good for Beer Buffets: Evil Twin Taproom

Since 2010, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso has been brewing exceedingly tasty, snarkily named beers (see: Açai Bowl Helmet, a pale ale, and Three Hours? No Problem. I’m Sure Your Pizza Is Totally Worth It, a double dry-hopped IPA). Now he’s opened a taproom in a glossy black greenhouse adjacent to his Ridgewood brewery. Inside, it’s all cool-kid plywood walls and bar, the rafters drippy with hanging plants and twinkle lights; outside are rows and rows of blond picnic tables. (Oh, and there are 20 taps. And the Tacos La Carcachita truck parks out front.) 1616 George Street, Ridgewood

Photo courtesy of Evil Twin Brewing

Good for When Lucali Is Packed: F&F Pizzeria

From the Franks behind Frankies 457 Spuntino and Franks Wine Bar comes a slice shop only these particular Franks could open, with assists from Chad Robertson (the bread demigod of Tartine) and Chris Bianco (of Pizzeria Bianco, in Phoenix). F&F Pizzeria is parked smack-dab between the Franks’ other ventures, in a converted garage with tables in a garden that feels like the Carroll Gardens backyard you wish you had. The dough is tangy, based off Robertson’s recipe and fermented four days; the slices are served on paper plates and sauced with a blend of Bianco’s California-grown canned tomatoes and the Franks’ olive oil. 459 Court Street, Carroll Gardens

Photo courtesy of F&F Pizzeria/Facebook

Good for Top-Notch Cheese Boards: C. Di Palo Wine Bar

At first you might not notice anything different about the corner where the famed Di Palo sits at Mott and Grand Streets. But continue down Mott and you’ll notice the 109-year-old cheese shop has sprouted an arm in the shape of a wine bar, named for the founder’s daughter and the wine bar she ran on Grand Street in the ’40s. The family’s talent for sourcing and producing excellent Italian cheese and wine are on full display. At the long marble and reclaimed-wood bar, you can order sturdy little boards piled with the same cheeses, cured meats, and sandwiches that it sells next door—all without the grocery’s infamous line. 151-153 Mott Street (between Grand and Broome Streets), Little Italy

Good for Seeing What the Big Deal Is: Wegmans

Fervent fan followings are reserved for very few grocery stores. Wegmans is one of them. The Rochester-based chain is set to arrive in the southwest corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yards in late October after four years in the works. It’s the store’s first foray into New York City, and it is arriving with all cylinders firing: The space is 74,000 square feet (that’s nearly 20,000 square feet on the Whole Foods in Gowanus), with “restaurant-quality prepared foods,” a café, a liquor license, and seating for up to 100. 21 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Good for a Nice-ish Business Dinner: Lola Taverna

From the owners of the Frenchy SoHo bistro Little Prince comes this beachy, modern Greek restaurant, which opened at the beginning of the month. It’s cozy and lively and focused on the especially seafood-forward cuisine of the Greek isles, all served on status ceramics (i.e., Jono Pandolfi) beneath a thatched ceiling. The dishes nod to its New York locale, with offerings like chicken gyro bao buns and spanakopita spring rolls, but the menu tips mostly toward updated taverna classics (such as a modernist Greek salad with cucumber granita, and moussaka with zucchini, eggplant, and veal cheeks). 210 Sixth Avenue (between Charlton and King Streets), SoHo

Photo courtesy of Lola Taverna

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