So here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! My thoughts on who has the best pizza, pasta, Mexican food and more in all of New York! Some things to note: I had many amazing meals and dishes that are not mentioned here. These are just some that really stood out to me…not to say I didn’t enjoy many many more! I also didn’t cover “the best of” every possible food category because that would just take way too long…both to write and read! And of course, I was not able to get to even half of the restaurants on my very VERY long list. This may shock some of you with the plethora of restaurant related posts on this blog. But trust me, there are just so many good restaurants here…it’s kind of overwhelming (and very stressful!) But I did what I could, and without further adieu and in no particular order…
The Best Appetizer: Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with truffle honey butter and burnt orange toast from Locanda Verde (review)
The Best Brunch: Cookshop (review #1 #2 #3)
So I think the fact that I went back to this place three times speaks to how good it is. From the ideal location right next to The Highline, to the wonderful and homey atmosphere, to the absolutely delicious food! Let’s look back at some of my favorites, shall we?
Scrambled eggs with creme fraiche, smoked salmon, caramelized onion, served on homemade biscuit and watercress salad
Pastry board: chocolate chip scone, sweet potato bread, apple muffin, pecan sticky bun, blueberry jam and butter
Poached egg popover: poached egg, popover, leek and cheddar fondue
The Best Mexican: Barrio Chino (review #1 #2)
I originally fell in love with their strong margaritas and fish tacos. A return visit showed me that their enchiladas were truly top notch.
achiote and citrus rubbed tilapia served with avocado salsa and pickled onions
Enchiladas Verdes: green enchiladas stuffed with zucchini and mushrooms and melted oaxacan cheese served with black beans topped with queso fresco
The Best Vegetarian: Pure Food and Wine (review)
This is definitely a special occasion vegetarian restaurant but truly delicious! Even for the non-vegetarians among you!
Chocolate mint sundae with thin mint cookies, chocolate ice cream, mint ice cream, and whipped cream and chocolate sauce…never knew a vegan raw sundae could taste so good!
Zucchini and local heirloom tomato lasagna with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta
The Best Dessert: The salted caramel sundae from ABC Kitchen (review)
I know what you’re all thinking…yes, I do love me some Big Gay and Ample Hill, but those are in a category all to themselves. This is the best plated restaurant dessert…come on, totally different!
Sundae: salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts, popcorn, whipped cream, chocolate sauce
The Best Sandwich: The scuttlebuck from Saltie (review)
Homemade foccacia bread with pickled veg, hard boiled egg, greens, feta, house-made aioli, olives, and capers
The Best Salad: The kale salad from Northern Spy (review)
Kale salad with cheddar, delica squash, almonds and pecorino (the potato gnocchi on the right were excellent too!)
The Best Meatball: Piccolo Angelo (review)
Meatballs the size of my head! In a marinara sauce
Honorable Mention: Chicken meatballs from The Meatball Shop (review #1, #2)
Chicken meatballs in tomato sauce topped with grated parm and foccacia bead
The Best Pasta: House made linguine with spring fava beans, garlic, tomato, and toasted breadcrumbs from Frankies Spuntino (review)
House-made linguine with spring fava beans, garlic, tomato, and toasted breadcrumbs
The Best Pizza: The stracciatella and spinach pizza from Co (review), the margarita from Keste (review), the overall experience and uniqueness from Pauli Gee’s, (review #1, #2) and the bee sting from Roberta’s (review)
So I know it may not be proper to name FOUR places as “the best pizza,” but I think pizza is a very complex dish and there are many different kinds. When craving the traditional margarita, none is better than Keste. For your white pizza, head to Co. For the ultimate pizza parlor experience and very unique pies, travel to Greenpoint to see and meet Paulie Gee himself. And for fantastic sweet sauce mixed with spicy sausage and sweet honey, Roberta’s is truly top notch. All the crusts were fantastic, the sauces well seasoned, and the pies perfectly charred.
Stracciatella: crushed tomato, stracciatella, arugula, black pepper from Co
Regina Margherita: tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, grape tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil from Keste
Grapeful dead: Baby spinach, olive oil, mild gouda, shaved parmigiano reggiano, and pickled red grape halves from Paulie Gee’s
Three pies from Roberta’s: From right to left: the margarita, the bee sting (spicy salami, hot honey) and seasonal (kale, parm, fontina, lemon garlic oil)
The Best Asian Food: Talde (review)
Yes, I realize this is quite a broad category. But, Talde really wins for me for it’s perfectly cooked and flavored whole fish and it’s wacky over the top cereal bowl dessert.
Whole market fish: banana leaf roasted topped with tumeric-tomato chutney
The Best Burger: The lamb burger from The Breslin (review)
Chargrilled lamb burger with feta, cumin mayo, and thrice cooked chips
Best Ice Cream: Anything from Ample Hills (review)
Seriously…any of their hand crafted, small batch ice cream is absolutely delicious. And they make EVERYTHING in house…from the butter cake in the ooey gooey to the oatmeal cookie dough in Nona D’s oatmeal cookie. I have yet to find a place EVER to match these cups and cones.
Nona D’s Oatmeal cookie on the left and pumpkin with graham crackers and marshmallow on the right
Honorable Mention: The salty pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (review #….too many to count!)
This sweet and salty cone should really be in a category of its own. In fact, the whole shop should be! From it’s eclectic decor, to boisterous servers, to a menu filled with names like Bea Arthur (which is also delicious btw) and Affo-“gay”-to, how can you not fall in love with it?
The Salty Pimp: I think you’ve seen this maybe one or two times here before! Caramel line ice cream cone with sea salt and chocolate
The Best Overall Dining Experience: ABC Kitchen (review)
This award is based not only on the food, but the whole package…service, atmosphere, and the all-round feel of the place really makes a difference to me. ABC kitchen was a stunning restaurant with fantastic service, beautiful food, and obviously, so delicious!
Line caught tuna sashimi marinated with ginger and mint
Roasted beets with homemade yogurt and balsamic
Honorable Mentions: Traif (review) and Degustation (review) and Allswell (review)
Traif’s unique combinations and flavors really blew me away. The 5 course tasting menu at Degustation was so impressive…if they only had better service, I think this could have been a winner! The fact that I am STILL thinking about the pork from Allswell is definitely worth noting. Also worth noting is I visited all three honorable mention-worthy restaurants with the same friend…I think she may be just as food obsessed as myself!
Crispy pork belly, caulilflower, peperoncini, romesco, parsley-garlic from Traif
Third course: seared trout with chard leaves on a bed of corn, farro, and pea succatash with chorizo oil from Degustation
Roasted pork with aioli, anchovies, capers, and homemade olive bread from Allswell
I think that I could have really gone on and on…I will never forget the arepas from Caracas or the tofu from Gwynett St. or the octopus from Kefi…but I had to cut it off somewhere! I hope I have helped you sort out where to eat in a place where you will never EVER run out of restaurant options. I have already had some fantastic Toronto restaurant experiences and have many home-cooked meals to share with you. So please, STAY TUNED!
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