Welcome to Grub Street’s weekly survey of the most-talked-about, must-visit restaurants in New York City. The list below features spots both new and old ranked according to one important, ever-fluctuating (and admittedly subjective) metric: Who has the most buzz? Perhaps a famed chef has taken over the kitchen, or there’s a new dish you absolutely must order. Maybe the restaurant is just brand-new, or the critics are raving about it. Whatever the reasons, these are the hottest restaurants in New York right now.
1. Nix (Last week: 5)
With no big openings this week, John Fraser’s veggie destination on University gets the top spot, thanks to the strong word of mouth it’s gotten since opening a few weeks ago. If the team can parlay the early buzz into lasting appeal, this could be one to watch going forward.
2. Pasquale Jones (7)
Of alllll the Italianate cafés that have opened recently, the Charlie Bird team’s new spot — devoted to wood-roasted everything, with a heavy emphasis on pizza — is the one Grub could most easily see itself dropping into throughout the warmer months for a couple of plates and some glasses of nice wine …
3. Café Altro Paradiso (1)
… Then again, once Ignacio Mattos and Thomas Carter open their new Soho-adjacent trattoria for lunch, it’d be another very strong option for exactly the scenario laid out above, albeit with pasta instead of pizza.
5. Covina (4)
This new Kips Bay spot from the O Ya team specializes in a cuisine that’s inspired, at least in part, by the time chef Tim Cushman spent in California. Oh, but, also, there’s a burger and pizza. In other words, something for everyone.
6. La Sirena (3)
Hey, look, it’s the new Maritime Hotel behemoth from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Highlights include the huge, gorgeous bar; this lovely ravioli in spring-onion butter; some nice breakfast options; and — soon — an enormous outdoor patio.
7. Lilia (8)
Missy Robbins’s Williamsburg spot also has some nice breakfast options, thanks to the small café that’s opened in the rear of the dining room (it has its own street entrance, too), where people can grab coffee and pastries. This is reason enough to try and move nearby.
8. The Nomad Bar (Off last week)
Hey, this is cool: California chef Christopher Kostow, from the Restaurant at Meadowood, has a few dishes on the menu at this Flatiron spot for the next month. Tempura-fried avocado sounds very good.
9. Le Coq Rico (6)
It’s a full-on chickenfest at this new Manhattan restaurant from French chef Antoine Westermann, a spinoff of his Paris original. If "chicken restaurant" doesn’t sound like the most exciting concept in the world, know that there are a lot of interesting-looking options that speak to Westermann’s renown
10. Fair Weather Bushwick (New this week)
An interesting development: This coffee shop has reopened as a destination for a ten-course tasting menu, put together by a chef who’s worked at Le Cirqe and Saxon + Parole. The price of entry is just $65 (and an à la carte menu is offered on weekends), so it’s certainly the kind of thing that’s worth checking out.
11. Mr. Bing (New this week)
Here we go: A Manhattan pop-up that specializes in Jian Bing, which Grub’s own Chris Crowley helpfully explains is sort of like the Chinese equivalent of a breakfast sandwich. There are worse ways to start your day than with a crêpe stuffed with eggs, hoisin, and chili sauce. In fact, that sounds like an awesome way to start the day.
12. Tekoá (10)
What’s not to like about a Cobble Hill coffee shop and café from Alex Raij and Eder Montero, the people who are also behind La Vara and El Quinto Pino? Absolutely nothing, that is what.
13. Lowlife (Off last week)
This presumably casual LES spot confuses Times critic Pete Wells, who writes this week that the restaurant exudes "a leaden self-importance" with service so fussy that it borders on "lunacy." That said, there’s still much to like here, especially the rib-eye cap and the yakitori chicken with cabbage and a neon-green dipping sauce.
14. Le Turtle (Off last week)
Here we have another very hip restaurant located not too far away from Lowlife, run by — among others — Taavo Somer and the Smile’s Carlos Quirarte. There is also an excellent chicken on the menu, and a wine list with lots of interesting selections.
15. Momofuku Nishi (14)
Tejal Rao is the latest critic to leave David Chang’s Italian-ish Chelsea restaurant feeling a little underwhelmed. Chang himself has promised the team is "working hard to make necessary improvements," and he has been known to completely overhaul restaurants when they aren’t working — remember when Ssäm Bar was a Korean-burrito shop? — so it’s possible Nishi will look very different in the coming weeks and months.
16. OddFellows: The Sandwich Shop (Off last week)
New York now has an ube ice-cream sandwich from Sam Mason and Danny Bowien: It’s almost 70 degrees out today, so get to it.
17. Mimi (9)
This place is awesome. Though the Sullivan Street French spot has flown under the radar since opening a few months ago, the (small) dining room was full when Grub stopped by earlier this week. Chef Liz Johnson is putting together some very impressive, unusual dishes, including a blood-sausage croustillant with crème fraîche for dipping, and chicken-skin mille-feuille with lemons and capers. Also, they’ll flambée an entire duck right in front of you, if you’d like.
18. By Chloe (Off last week)
Do not underestimate the buying power of health-conscious millennials. The little Greenwich Village shop is expanding into a full-on empire — with new locations announced for NYC, L.A., and now Boston — so get a guac burger at the original before everyone’s, like, so over it.
19. American Cut (Midtown) (New this week)
Marc Forgione’s Tribeca steakhouse now has a midtown sibling on East 56th Street. It’s rare to hear anything bad about the downtown original, so if this is your scene, the brand-new restaurant sounds like a very safe bet.
20. The Odeon (Off last week)
The Times this week unleashed a second story highlighting Condé Nast editors’ newfound love of this Tribeca institution (the first one came out last summer), and, you know, the Odeon has been comfortable and turning out nice food for as long as anyone remembers, so go, enjoy. Get an omelette or maybe some steak-frites. Have a glass of wine with lunch. Go nuts! Just, please, do not fucking call it "the O" like the Times story suggests.