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. Emmy Squared (Last week: 1)
Brooklyn’s Emily has a surprisingly devoted fanbase, and all of those people appear to have transitioned over to the owners’ new Williamsburg pizza place as well. (The crowds will no doubt only get bigger when a planned burger bar opens downstairs.)
2. Amada (New this week)
Philadelphia superchef Jose Garces has landed in lower Manhattan with the opening of his brand-new Spanish spot (based on the Philly original). It’s one of the biggest openings NYC’s seen in a while, and it will be interesting to see if the city warms to Garces. The food on the opening menu certainly looks impressive.
3. Agern (New this week)
Speaking of big names and big openings, international culinary superstar Claus Meyer just opened his own new restaurant, inside Grand Central Terminal. If you’re familiar with Meyer’s particularly Scandinavian-ish aesthetic, all of the blond wood and beets on display here will not surprise you. And if you aren’t familiar with Meyer’s sensibility, you will probably be pleasantly surprised by this new addition to the city.
4. Momosan Ramen & Sake (3)
Rounding out the celeb-chef trifecta, Masaharu Morimoto’s three-week-old Murray Hill ramen joint is by all accounts mobbed on a nightly basis. You can’t say it’s unexpected in a city where a good bowl of noodles almost always requires an hour(s)-long wait.
5. Nix (5)
It seems the world has decided: Vegetables are our future. The crowds lining up at John Fraser’s new vegetarian restaurant would certainly indicate there are plenty of diners willing to embrace this new produce-driven age. (It helps that Fraser’s food thus far has been pretty impressive, too.)
6. Salvation Burger (2)
… Then again, there are few things in life as satisfying as a big juicy burger, two excellent examples of which are available at April Bloomfield’s newest restaurant. Or, hey, you can even embrace meatless living here, too, since Bloomfield also offers her own spin on a veggie burger.
7. Barano (12)
After some delays, the much-anticipated Williamsburg place from Rubirosa vet Albert Di Meglio is open, specializing in all sorts of crowd-pleasing Italian-American specialities.
8. Lilia (8)
Of course, any conversation about Italian food in Williamsburg must also include Missy Robbins’s three-month-old blockbuster, where the pasta is plentiful and the soft-serve gelato flows for dessert.
9. Té Company (Off last week)
Grub has been enamored of this tiny tea shop, and its surprisingly excellent food, since it opened late last year. Seriously, it is good, and if you need more proof, just check out this new four-star review from the Underground Gourmet, writing, “Té Company should be a destination for anyone who loves food, serenity, and neighborly spirit.”
10. Le Coq Rico (4)
The thing to get at the all-poultry bistro: Chef Antoine Westermann’s raved-about chicken baeckeoffe. It’s very good and comforting in a surprisingly familiar way (even if you didn’t grow up in Alsace). The sleeper hits here, though, are the fantastic desserts, including a perfect mille-feuille and the most impressive floating island in New York.
11. TurnStyle (9)
Manhattan’s latest food hall is … in the Columbus Circle subway station. Strange but true, and no doubt a very welcome addition for the area’s many commuters.
12. Pasquale Jones (6)
Adam Platt recently checked in on Ryan Hardy’s Little Italy pizza place this week and found a seriously solid NYC trattoria, awarding three stars to the “handful of generally well-executed pastas,” top-notch pizzas, and wood-roasted entrées at the “diminutive, oddly named, highly satisfying restaurant.”
13. Café Altro Paradiso (7)
The new, casual Italian café from Thomas Carter and Ignacio Mattos is turning into the kind of comfortable, clubby spot that the neighborhood — west Soho, basically — could use. Mattos’s menu continues to evolve, but you can generally expect to find straightforward dishes that are easy to warm to.
14. Dutch Kills (Off last week)
This Long Island City bar has long been one of the city’s premiere cocktail destinations, and now it also happens to be a destination for food from the M. Wells team. That seems like a solid pairing.
15. Chaiwali (Off last week)
In the Times this week, Pete Wells awards a star to this Harlem Indian spot, finding that owner Anita Trehan “seems to have built the restaurant on the belief that the things she likes will make the rest of us happy, too.” For the most part, the critic finds, it works.
16. Freek’s Mill (10)
Here’s a new Gowanus spot that specializes in seasonal ingredients, easygoing cooking, and, of course, the natural wines of Georgia (the country). It’s another solid-sounding neighborhood option in an area that could always use more.
17. Speedy Romeo (LES) (11)
The much-liked Brooklyn pizza place has a new outpost in Manhattan and, befitting its Clinton Street location, a new pizza that pays homage to the neighborhood, draped with things like Katz’s pastrami and mustard-infused béchamel, all on an everything-spiced crust.
18. Foster Sundry (17)
Bushwick’s gourmet grocery has unveiled a new sandwich program that’s as serious as you’d hope. Get ready for Italian heroes, a varsity-level egg-and-biscuit sandwich, and a very special-looking Rueben.
19. Fair Weather Bushwick (18)
This former coffee shop has turned into a spot hosting ten-course tasting menus, put together by a chef who’s worked at Le Cirque 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.
20. Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing (13)
The classic delicatessen tradition has gotten another boost thanks to this Greenpoint newcomer, which broke out all sorts of smoked meats and appetizing specialties during its recent debut. This could quickly become a new weekend tradition for lots of people.