About a year ago, we asked ourselves a simple question: Is there a better way to help people find great places to eat and drink? Sure, vast troves of information on restaurants and bars are already crammed into every nook and cranny of the internet, and finding the particulars of a given place is as simple as searching Google or asking Alexa. But cataloging every restaurant also means cataloging every mediocre (and sometimes downright bad) restaurant. Add the inconsistent advice that often comes with these inventories, and there ends up being a lot of information to sift through.
At the same time, the voices of real restaurant experts and critics — the people who hopefully can tell you exactly where you’ll want to eat — are often missing from crowd-sourced databases. We wondered if there was a way to combine the most useful parts of the restaurant-search experience — the endless customization options, the abundance of practical tips and helpful details — with New York’s own critical expertise about the city’s boundless options for eating and drinking. Could we, say, catalog and rank the 1,000 best restaurants and bars in the city and turn that into an easily searched, dead-simple-to-use interface?
At the time, it felt like an admittedly insane idea, which is exactly why we did it.
Today, we’re rolling out our first version of this concept with something we’re calling the Thousand Best. Our critics and editors have spent months and countless hours reevaluating old listings and revisiting New York’s seemingly infinite array of tony dining rooms, superlative bars, assorted food trucks, and ever-growing roster of food halls to come up with a list that we think represents the very best of what the city has to offer. (Plus all the new must-visit spots that seem to open almost daily, and a few popular places that we really don’t love, so we can hopefully steer you somewhere better.) Then, because all of that didn’t seem like enough, we also decided to rate each restaurant and bar to help you know exactly what we think about every single establishment on our list.
Do we intend this to be the definitive list of New York restaurants and bars? Of course not. (In fact the actual list will never even contain exactly 1,000 businesses.) Instead, we’ve designed it to be a fully searchable directory of our thoughts and recommendations: a highly subjective, always changing group of places we want everyone to know about.
We’ll be the first ones to admit it’s not perfect — yet. We stand by our critical assessments, but we now want to see how you use it. What kinds of restaurants and bars do you want to find? What are the features that everyone loves best? What are the features that people hate? Just as our new ratings will evolve over time, so will the Thousand Best. We’ll continue adding businesses and features while eliminating the things that don’t work. We’ll keep poring over every element of the individual listings, and honing the entire experience so that it becomes, hopefully, the only place you need to visit when you want to instantly find an awesome place to go.
So check it out here, on our new restaurant-focused landing page, and let us know what you think.