Keeping up with the hottest restaurants in New York can be like a game of whack-a-mole (whack-a-meal?). Just when you get that coveted reservation to the season’s best-reviewed, must-dine destination, a buzzier place opens across town with even better reviews and a harder-to-land reservation. Staying current can be an exhausting—and delicious—quest.
What follows is a list of some of the best new eateries in Manhattan and Brooklyn requested by WSWD’s readers and clients in 2017. Since these spots are high on our very tasteful, very smart members’ radar, they’ll definitely be worth your time. Let the following serve as your bookmark-worthy wish list for a tasty 2018.
New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells gave this downtown French place three stars upon its opening in 2016, and with good reason. You almost can’t go wrong at this collaboration between restaurateur Stephen Starr and chef Daniel Rose. Our culinary expert, Jess Bender, is partial to the breakfast, with “overflowing Parisian bread baskets with pain au chocolat and kouign-amann” served alongside more sophisticated smoked salmon and a gooey Gruyère omelet. Dinner offerings include duck, squab, Dover sole, and prime filet, along with oysters and tout le lapin (“all of the rabbit”). 138 Lafayette Street (between Spring and Prince Streets), SoHo
A warm dining room nestled in a West Village townhouse, Alta specializes in small plates with outsize flavors like bacon-wrapped dates and olives, salmon tartare, and pan-roasted sea scallops. Besides the handsome wood decor and delicious food, the thing that draws diners in again and again is the careful sourcing and emphasis on local growers and purveyors. 64 West 10th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), West Village
This haute pasta purveyor has restaurants in Los Angeles, Miami, Berlin, Barcelona, London, and Instabul, but we’re obviously excited about the Dumbo location, which combines great food with fantastic views of Manhattan. Meat lovers will swoon for the carpaccio and tartare, while vegetarians can fill up with whole cauliflower and eggplant parmigiana. Meanwhile, everyone will dive into the wood-oven pizzas and pastas. Head over Tuesday to Friday, 4–7 p.m., for the aperitivo special, with drinks and snacks from $4 to $9. 55 Water Street, Dumbo
In a city filled with great Indian food, Rahi has made a name for itself with innovative dishes created by chef Chintan Pandya, formerly of Junoon. You won’t find the classic chicken tikka masala you’re used to, but you’ll enjoy some surprising combinations like edamame artichoke chaat and tandoori wasabi lamb chops. It’s modern Indian for modern palates in a cool West Village setting, conceived by restaurateur Roni Mazumdar. 60 Greenwich Avenue (near West 11th Street), West Village
The owners of Miss Ada call their cuisine “Mediterranean food with a twist.” Think: za’atar-crusted salmon; falafel with feta, Taggiasca olives, and green tahini; and baba ganoush with ginger aioli and eggplant chips. Chef Tomer Blechman takes the classics and augments them with herbs grown in the restaurant’s cozy backyard. With innovative cocktails and surprising desserts, this friendly neighborhood joint draws a diverse crowd from Fort Greene and beyond. 184 DeKalb Avenue, Fort Greene
This small-yet-charming Vietnamese spot has drawn favorable notice from critics like Robert Sietsema (“The frog legs are a revelation”) and Adam Platt (“This is definitely three-star material, Dad!,” his daughter Jane told him). Chef John Nguyen has created something for everyone, from the adventurous (papaya and crispy pig ear) to the more straightforward (vegetable pho made with mushroom and seaweed broth). WSWD’s Secret Culinary Insider is a fan of the che (a decadent take on a sundae made with lychees, pandan, and black grass jellies); it only makes a dozen of these bad boys per night, so dining early may be your best bet. 119 St. Mark’s Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A), East Village
New York isn’t exactly hurting for quality meat purveyors, but Brendan Sodikoff’s dimly lit West Village steakhouse has already drawn crowds of loyal carnivores. Grub Street declared the burger “the best new burger in town” (“Every detail is spot-on, the execution flawless, the ingredient synergy unsurpassed,” gushed Rob Patronite). But the main attraction is the prime rib, slow-roasted for 12 hours and served in three different cuts with horseradish cream. If you can possibly make room, go for a side of bacon, which Jess Bender praised for its “hints of maple and black pepper.” 4 Charles Street (between Greenwich and Seventh Avenues), West Village
Why are folks requesting Augustine? For starters, because of Keith McNally, who is, in the words of WSWD’s Carolina Ramirez, “the guy responsible for making downtown dining cool.” (Surely, you know Odeon, Balthazar, and Schiller’s—restaurants that defined the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, respectively.) This French eatery nestled in the Beekman Hotel serves excellent breakfast (smoked salmon, eggs Augustine, avocado toast), great lunch (tuna niçoise salad, steak frites), and you’ve-gotta-experience-it-for-yourself dinner (leg of lamb, rib eye steak, sea urchins spaghettini). The place is also a feast for your eyes: The New York Times’s Pete Wells praised the decor as “the prettiest, giddiest interior [McNally has] ever done. It’s a space that makes you feel, as Holly Golightly put it, as if nothing very bad could happen to you there.” 5 Beekman Street (between Nassau Street and Theatre Alley), Tribeca
If the name of this place doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, we don’t want to know you. Founders Todd Enany and Adam Landsman, along with chef Jaime Young, have created a celebration of the borough’s laid-back cool. Deceptively simple brunch items (warm oatmeal with goat milk butter, Cheddar scramble ) and a dinner menu filled with fresh fish (scallop crudo, roasted hake) and carefully selected meats (bison tartare, flat-iron steak) make this a treat for Williamsburg locals and visiting Manhattanites. The New Yorker’s Becky Cooper called brunch here “hedonistic” and (seriously) “a perfect meal.” Who are we to argue with that? 348 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
This part of Prospect Heights doesn’t lack for great dining options or places with lovely backyards, but Olmsted stands out for both. Chef-owner Greg Baxtrom is all about serving flavorful, seasonal fare, drawing heavily from his own backyard garden in which guests can dine year-round. The “snacks” include surprising takes on classics, like the beer-battered delicata squash rings that make your old onion rings feel, well, old, and duck liver mousse; the dinner menu features trout with creamed brussels sprouts and tamarind-lacquered lamb, along with signature cocktails like the Lemon Balm (scotch, charred lemon, and iced tea). WSWD’s Jess Bender is fond of the hot buttered rum, Olmsted’s “decadent libation infused with whipped cinnamon butter,” which sounds perfect for toasting a New Year filled with culinary adventures and old favorites alike. 659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
Start your 2018 on a delicious note. Let our food-obsessed advisers reserve your table.