ELEVEN MADISON PARK

11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA

Eleven Madison Park is set in a beautiful old building in Manhattan which looks right on to the eponymous park – a befitting setting for one of the best restaurants in the world. Closed for four months in early 2018 for refurbishments (a move that saw it go from No. 1 to No. 4 on the World’s 50 Best list), the room is real stunner with huge windows, church-like high ceilings, slick marble floors, original light fixtures, comfy booths…. we could go on!

The restaurant has a tasting menu set up that you pay for in advance and while some courses are ‘mandatory’ for the night (although they’ll obviously change something if you’re really upset about it) you do get a few choices, which the waiter will explain to you at the start of the evening so you can customise the menu a bit. It’s a nice touch in a meal that’s full of nice touches.

The first dishes of the night all feature tomato and as we love tomatoes we couldn’t be happier about this. There’s a tomato tea, essentially a tomato consume; a thin crispy dosa stuffed with goat cheese and green tomato; and an incredible salad of tomato and mini strawberries. We could have left at this point and gone home buzzing. Next was a warm, slightly sweet, corn souffle which was balanced out with a salty hit of American caviar, from Snake River in Idaho, which was pure joy.

We won’t bore you with a description of every single course but there was not a foot put wrong in the succeeding dishes, which included foie gras made in the Hudson valley; snails with chanterelles and onion; duck glazed with honey and lavender; warm molten cheese bon bons; and chocolate covered pretzels.

Yes it’s an expensive meal but they really do make it a special experience and the food is absolutely incredible so we highly recommend it if the budget allows. We can’t guarantee you’ll get your own paddling pool experience but can guarantee you’ll have an incredible dinner to remember.

MAISON PREMIERE

Maison Premiere, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Easily the best-looking restaurant in Brooklyn, Maison Premiere is one of those places that makes you feel better as soon as you enter. With an artfully distressed New Orleans vibe more than certainly ‘borrowed’ from the legendary Napoleon House in the French Quarter, the choice seats in the house are up at the horseshoe shaped bar, although there is a beautiful little garden out back too. It’s chock full of ‘old stuff’, with vintage light fixtures, scuffed furniture, wooden ceiling fans, and, old tin-framed mirrors; even the host is decked out in a three piece suit and bow tie.

Maison Premiere specialises in two things, oysters and absinthe, so you can imagine how things could turn out here. With over 30 types of oyster to choose from, this place is an absolute dream if you’re an oyster fan – in fact one of our favourite things to do is just pop in for a few of the little molluscs and a glass of fizz up at the bar. There is a whole host of other great things to choose from though and we can definitely recommend the sea urchin with butternut broth and the incredible trout with burnt butter sauce and pecans. Don’t forget about dessert either – the cheesecake with warm chocolate ganache poured over is an absolute winner.

THE CLOCKTOWER

5 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA

This cosy Michelin-starred restaurant at the New York Edition Hotel takes it’s name from the stunning 1909 Gothic clocktower-style building in which it resides. While we were a little disappointed in wasn’t actually high up in the clocktower itself (it’s only on the second floor) we quickly forgot all about it once settled inside the pretty dining room.




The menu here is headed up by London’s own Jason Atherton, in partnership with Stephen Starr who’s behind such seminal New York restaurants such as Le Coucou and Buddakan. There are some distinctly British elements to the menu – if you’re after Fish and Chips stateside this is the place to do it – but it’s all done with local ingredients and New York flare.




The Clocktower offers an incredibly good value prix fie lunch menu all year round at $26 for two courses and $32 for three – for the quality of food on offer this has to be one of the best value lunches anywhere in the city.




We began with a beautiful, light-as-a-feather foie gras and chicken liver pate made in the Hudson Valley, served on a bed of lentils with cured duck and fresh brioche toast. We also had the rather decadent Champagne risotto with yuzu and lobster reduction – a richer and more satisfying risotto you’d be hard pressed to find.




Mains were also excellent: soft Long Island monkfish came with brown mushrooms and parsley sauce, while the juicy Lancaster farm chicken breast, with cauliflower cheese and nutmeg white sauce was as comforting as can be. Take our tip and order a side of potato gratin to go with it. We went off the fixed menu for dessert too as if we see a Tarte-Tatin on any menu we have to order it – needless to say the soft apple topped with caramel sauce in buttery pastry didn’t disappoint.




Our meal at The Clocktower is some of the best food we’ve had in New York so we highly recommend at any time – at lunchtime however, it’s an absolute no brainer.

SUNDAY IN BROOKLYN

Sunday In Brooklyn, Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Sunday in Brooklyn, a three-story gem on Whythe Avenue ticks all the boxes: a relaxed neighbourhood atmosphere; great interiors; friendly service; and fantastic food. It’s open from breakfast right through to dinner seven days a week and it’s rightfully always packed full of locals (it’s new enough to be off the tourist trail) and in the summer tables spill on to the street and the roof terrace is open for business.

Some signature items are available throughout the day, such as the burger and black cod pastrami, but it’s worth coming by for dinner for the extended menu. We love the garden pickles, and chicken liver mousse with their incredible grilled sourdough bread, and a fresh black sea bass crudo served with crisp curry leaves, radish and turmeric. The standout for us, however, is the wood roasted maitake mushroom in an onion vinaigrette – you’ll want to order extra bread to soak up all those juices. For dessert, sit back with a big slice of the Chocolate Cake with Peanut Praline and Caramelized White Chocolate and plan your next visit.

BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS

Blue Hill At Stone Barns, Bedford Road, Tarrytown, NY, USA

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is situated in a beautiful, picturesque farm building set amongst the Pocantico Hills in upstate New York. Surrounded by greenhouses, vegetable gardens, and grazing animals, this is a fully working farm and agricultural centre, that since 2004 has also been home to one of the world’s best restaurants. With Dan Barber at the helm Blue Hill at Stone Barnes has receieved worldwide acclaim, with its own Chef’s Table episode and rising to number 11 on the World’s 50 Best restaurants list.

Ordering is not the done thing here. Instead there is a small booklet on each table that lists some of the produce that might appear on the menu according to the particular month you are there. There is one set price of $258 and then you are in the hands of the chefs and the season; the majority of the menu is plant-based but there are some fantastic interludes of fish and meat too.

We began with a few fresh crunchy vegetables, raddishs and lettuces straight from the field, plus pickled chillis – if this doesn’t sound that interesting then think again. Who knew a raddish could taste this good! There followed more bounty from the garden, artichokes and fresh new-season rhubarb before a beautiful selection of seafood: finely chopped razor clam served in it’s shell: and sea urchin with kabocha squash. Then there was the lamb served with a gravy that had been mixed with the leftover pickle juice from those chillis.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns is definitely one of the best meals we’ve ever had. Their dedication to the produce they grow and reducing food waste goes far beyond the lip service paid to such ideas by other restaurants. If you can save up for this one we can highly recommend it. And if you can’t quite stretch that far, our tip would be to come up here anyway and enjoy the scenery and the cafe – the bread is worth the trip alone.

THE FLOWER SHOP

The Flower Shop, Eldridge Street, New York, NY, USA

There’s a bit of a Tarantino-esque retro feel to The Flower Shop, a restaurant / cocktail bar on the Lower East Side that opened in March 2017. There’s wooden panelled walls, yellow booths, kitsch wallpaper, and paintings that wouldn’t look out of place in your nan’s house – and we totally love it. While upstairs is more of a dining area, downstairs is a full on basement dive bar (but nicer), with pool table and more vintage schtick on the walls that is pretty much always rammed.

Thankfully the retro styling doesn’t extend to the menu. Order a round of mushroom escabeche on toast, exquisite bite sized pieces of vinegary mushrooms with aioli on buttery toast, and then order another one – they’re THAT good. Other must-order highlights include the English pea tostada with whipped ricotta, trout roe and pea shoots, the crispy sprouts with rice wine, maple and Szechuan pepper, and the burger with black garlic mayo and perfectly crisp fries. A fun spot to hang out with great food, this is one of our favourite spots in NY.

WIN SON

Win Son, Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

This casual Taiwanese-American restaurant has all the usual Brooklyn design tropes – exposed brick walls, white tiles, wooden floors, and minimal decoration. Perhaps, knowing how good their food was, owners Trigg Brown and Josh Ku didn’t want any unnecessary details to distract from the joy of eating here, and rightly so, as this is simply some of the best food we’ve had in New York.

As with all exceptionally good restaurants, Win Son has one of those menus that leave you dizzy when trying to narrow it down on what to order. One thing we’d say is absolutely essential though, is the BK Egg Bomb, a roti-style flat bread wrapped around wagyu beef tartare and a fried egg – yes it is every bit as good as it sounds. We’d also have to recommend the pan-griddled pork buns, the marinated cucumber, the fried egg plant with black vinegar and keffir cheese, and the zhajiangmian noodles with lamb, yellow bean paste and cucumber.

LILIA

Lilia, Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Located in a converted old garage in Brooklyn, Lilia is the welcome return of chef Missy Robbins, and is one of the hottest tables in all of New York right now. Needless to say the place is always packed, and wait times can be long, but it’s all totally worth it to get a seat in the beautiful dining room, filled with light thanks to the huge industrial windows.

Go with a group and order as much as possible! To start, we loved the cacio e pepe fritelle, the radishes with whipped ricotta, the chicken liver crostini, the cured sardines, and the roasted trumpet mushrooms.
Fresh pastas are the speciality here and unless something really grabs you from the mains, we’d recommend trying as many pastas as possible. It’s impossible to go wrong, as they’re all totally delicious, but if you want to know our favourites, go for the agnolotti, little rectangular parcels filled with soft sheep’s cheese, dried tomato, saffron and honey; the fettuccine with spicy lamb sausage; the ricotta gnocchi with broccoli pesto, basil and pistachios; and the linguine with tomato, anchovy and lemon.

BLUE RIBBON SUSHI

Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Sullivan Street, New York, NY, USA

This little sushi joint is a New York institution but it could be straight out of Tokyo. On a slightly subterranean level on Sullivan Street, the room is long, thin, and dark, decked out in plenty of natural wood, and is always jam packed. The hustle and bustle all adds to the experience however, and despite them not being the most comfy seats in the house, we’d definitely recommend opting to sit at the beautiful walnut sushi bar if you can.

The menu is BIG so choosing took us some time, although we were helped along by the friendly staff. Our main advice would be to try bits from each different section, including the daily specials, so that you get a nice variety of dishes, but whatever you choose you’re going to get super fresh fish flown in daily from Japan, as well as the Pacific and Atlantic.

From the appetisers we can heartily recommend the Maguro Zuke, thin slices of tuna marinated in soy with garlic chip and onion; from the Maki, our favourites were the Kyuri Special featuring fresh grilled eel, cucumber and avocado, and the crunchy prawn tempura roll; and you must get at least one of the lightly-grilled tatakis – amberjack works well here. We also had a selection of nigiri, including fatty tuna, sea urchin, and butterfish, plus an incredible special of soft shell crab tempura which was probably our favourite of the night.

ESTELA

Estela, East Houston Street, New York, NY, USA

Ignacio Mattos opened Estela in 2013 with Thomas Carter who worked as Beverage Director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and quickly found themselves on the Worlds 50 Best list, where it currently resides at 66 (in the 51 – 100 section). This is a small-plates kind of joint, so if you’re from London you’ll be well accustomed to this style of dining.

Although the dishes sound pretty straightforward, there’s some seriously good cooking going on here, with familiar things almost inexplicably taken up to a new level. There’s a beef tartare with elderberries and sunchoke (that’s Jerusalem artichoke folks); four little squares of mussels escabeche that you’ll demolish in seconds; smoked eel with white asparagus; and fresh ricotta dumplings under thin slices of mushroom. Then there’s dessert – a warm, soft, gooey chocolate cake with whipped cream. Like everything else, sounds so simple but is just so so good, you’ll be licking the bowl clean.

OPS

Ops, Himrod Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Other than Totonnos, this might be our favourite pizza in NYC. A super-chilled spot in Bushwick, sitting outside here on a summer’s night with a beer and a couple of pizzas is about as good as it gets. There are a few set options such as the Juno – broccoli, potatoes, provola, and ricotta – but the real star of the show is the square pizza. With a slightly thicker base (but not too thick), you can add your own toppings to the basic margheritta and in our opinion you just can’t beat pepperoni and mushroom. Well worth making a special trip for.

DIRTY FRENCH

Dirty French, Ludlow Street, New York, NY, USA

Occupying the ground floor of the Ludlow Hotel, Dirty French is dark, sexy, loud, and flamboyant. Set up like a classic French brasserie but with an added injection of fun, there’s dark wood panels, red leather banquettes, brass rails, and big chandeliers – it’s the perfect place to come for dinner with a bigger group, to eat well, and get drunk.

The mushroom millefeuille is a stroke of genius – thin layers of mushroom packed together and served with pea shoots and green curry – and is a must-order in our book. The tuna tartare is the other winner from the starters, but it’s the flatbread that gets delivered to every table that is one of the real standouts and keeps us coming back for more every time. For mains, the black bass with madras curry, and the scallops with celery root and pickled lemon are both winners, and we also love the juicy pork chop with a spicy outer crust from the rotisserie section. For dessert, it’s essential to order the warm beignets – light and fluffy and fresh out the oven, these are some of the best we’ve ever had.

KINGS COUNTY IMPERIAL

Kings County Imperial, Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

To sum it up: Hipster Chinese. Yes, Kings County Imperial is a Chinese restaurant, Williamsburg-style, with exposed brick walls, rickety wooden furniture, art deco lighting flourishes, and bearded waiters in Hawaiian shirts. In one concession to tradition there is one big table near the door with a Lazy Susan and we’d definitely recommend coming with your mates and bagging this spot if you can – after all, who doesn’t love a Lazy Susan?! They score big points for growing some of their own Chinese vegetables in their back garden too, a marker of the quality and freshness of the food on offer.

Another good idea is to arrive or book early if you can. Not only does it get very busy later on but if you’re here before 7pm you can take advantage of the special set menus, which are a bloody bargain. We were there in a group of 5 and paid $15 per person for dim sum, rice, and noodles and we were STUFFED by the end. Even though it’s a ‘set menu’ you still get to choose which dishes you want from the menu in each category and we’d definitely recommend the sesame shrimp toast (possibly the best we’ve ever had) with spicy mustard and Chinese Ketchup; the soup dumplings; the dry fried long bean with minced pork; the ‘angry pig’ fried rice with pork and smoked tofu; and the dan dan mian noodles. Essential eating if you’re a fan of Chinese food.

LLAMA INN

Llama Inn, Withers Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA

There’s no indication that this bright, airy spot located on a pretty dodgy looking road serves up Peruvian food but that’s exactly what it does. It’s not authentic Peruvian food, nor does it pretend to be but with a chef whose CV includes Eleven Madison Park and Nuela it’s safe to say even the more unusual combos taste delicious. There’s a killer cocktail list to boot and having opened in November 2015 and become a staple on the local dining scene it’s busy even on a Monday night.

We’d recommend kicking off with the Cumbria cocktail, served sour style with big pineapple flavours and a couple of the sticks – the pork belly char siu with pickled chilis and spicy mayo and scallops with raisin chimichurri are a good place to start. The fluke ceviche drenched in a delicious acidic sauce, shouldn’t be missed either, and the quinoa, banana, avocado and cashew which sounds so wrong but is really so right. But the highlight is the whole bronzino fish with a creamy curry sauce and crispy brussel sprouts swimming in a crack-like asian chill vinegar. Take our tip and ask for an extra portion – you can thank us later. End with lime pie covered in burnt meringue and a couple more cocktails. This is one place you’ll want to go with company to make the most of the menu as you’ll want to try as much as possible.

MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR

Momofuku Noodle Bar, 1st Ave, New York, NY, USA

Now he has restaurants all over the world and his own Netflix series, it’s good to remember that superstar chef David Chang started out with a straightforward noodle bar back in 2004 – and much like Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar is still going strong, packed full of hungry diners slurping ramen from noon till night. It has a pretty classic no frills Japanese style to it, with chairs, tables and walls all being decked out in plain light wood.

Some of the dishes that made Chang famous are still here present and correct – every visit to Momofuku Noodle Bar should include a round of the insanely good pork buns, featuring a thick slab of juicy pork belly in a soft pillow-like bao. The pork ramen is as good as ever too: rich broth, springy noodles, more pork, and a soft boiled egg make for a winning combo. There’s plenty more to explore too, however, including fried chicken, smacked chilli cucumber, Chinese broccoli, and crispy fried shrimp buns.

EGG

Egg, North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Not to be confused with the nearby Egg Shop, Egg has been in its new current location on North 3rd Street since 2014 – it was a good move as its original site on 5th was tiny and wait times could be long. The new site is similarly minimal and industrial in its design, but much bigger with a room that starts long and narrow but opens out into a spacious main dining room.

Egg grows a lot of its own organic produce on tis farm in the Catskills and all their eggs are from happy cage free hens – they even make their own oat milk and it probably doesn’t get more Brooklyn than that. Yes eggs do feature heavily but there is a distinct Southern slant to the menu, with biscuits, gravy and grits popping up all over the place. Our favourite though is the duck hash – duck leg confit with potatoes, green onions and eggs. They also do some mean pancakes and French toast, best served drenched in maple syrup, and at lunch there’s some bigger dishes such as fried chicken, and a fried oyster sandwich. A solid breakfast and brunch all-rounder.

PAULIE GEE’S

Paulie Gee's, Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

This dark, narrow room just near the waterfront in Greenpoint is one of New York’s best pizza joints. When we say dark we mean it – the only natural light comes from the doorway and that slowly fades as you get further back into the room, lit gently by the pizza oven at the far end and sparse moody lighting. There’s no reservations and it does get busy but turn up early (before 8pm) and you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

Paulie Gee’s manages to tread that fine line between making a serious pizza with top ingredients but also having some fun along the way. There’s a big menu to choose from and we like that – none of the infuriating Naples tradition of ‘you’re getting margarita and that’s it’ here, oh no. For a flavour of what we mean consider pizzas such as the ‘Hometown Brisket’ topped with fresh mozzarella, beef brisket from Red Hook’s Hometown Bar-B-Que, house-pickled red onions, and a drizzle of Hometown Bar-B-Que sauce, or the ‘Ricotta Be Kiddin Me’ topped with mozzarella, Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage, fresh basil, and post-oven fresh ricotta dollops.

We were very happy with the ‘Porkypineapple’ made with Italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, house-pickled pineapple, and post-oven speck and the ‘Mo Cheek’s’ – thats’ Italian tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, house-pickled red onions, and Berkshire guanciale. This place is also amazing for vegans with at least nine vegan options on at any one time. For banging pizza with a bonus slice of FUN, Paulie Gee’s is where it’s at.

RUSS & DAUGHTERS

Russ & Daughters, East Houston Street, New York, NY, USA

Like the nearby Katz’s, Russ and Daughters comes with an incredible history. Originally founded in 1914 round the corner on Orchard Street, Joel Russ moved his Jewish deli to East Houston Street in 1920 where it’s stood pretty much unchanged ever since –  it’s now in its fourth generation of family ownership. In 2014 they opened a proper sit down cafe but we like the original store for its history, jam-packed shelves, and quick grab and go set up (although the constant queues might take away the ‘quick’ part).

Russ and Daughters specialises in smoked fish, caviar, and breads – you can pop in to buy products to take away or they will make up a sandwich or bagel for you in the shop. With a choice of over 10 cream cheeses, including ones infused with caviar, plus a massive range of smoked and cured salmon, plus mackerel, tuna, and trout, the possible combinations are endless but we reckon the classics are the best. We went for the ‘everything’ bagel with grav lox cured salmon, spring onion cream cheese, and some extra slices of red onion to add some crunch, and it was worthy of all the hype.

UNCLE BOONS SISTER

Uncle Boons Sister, Mott Street, New York, NY, USA

Uncle Boons Sister is the – you guessed it – sister restaurant to Uncle Boons, just a block away in NoLita, which was opened by owners Ann Redding and Matt Danzer in October 2017. Uncle Boons serves some of the best Thai Food in the city and at this tiny, very informal takeaway shop with just a few stools and tables, you can stop by for a quick snack or fully-fledged feast – just don’t expect to be sitting around for too long, this is an eat and leave kind of place.

The short menu of Thai street food-style snacks is full of winners. Try the Sai Oua, the slightly sour Thai fermented sausage with rice and green papaya salad, and the roti bread with a bowl of pumpkin curry. There’s also a fried chicken laab – although don’t expect minced fried chicken in the tradidional salad as we did; this instead comes as huge crisp nuggets to dunk into herby salad to create a rough aproximation of a laab. But no matter, as just like everything else here, it tastes damn good.

FIVE LEAVES

Five Leaves, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Quintessential Brooklyn-cool, Five Leaves has been doing its thing for 10 years now and has become one of Greenpoint’s (and New York’s) best-loved spots. On the edge of McCarren Park, it’s in the heart of the action and in summer tables spill out on to the pavement, making it a perfect place to people watch and soak up the sun along with some great food.

Five Leaves is especially well known for its breakfast – think big plates of eggs and hash browns, plus stacks of ricotta pancakes, and the obligatory avocado toast. But we’re also big fans of the dinner menu, which adds some interesting creations amongst the American standards like the Five Leaves burger with truffle fries and the fresh market oysters. The side of brussel sprouts with a sweet and spicy sauce and pecans is one of our favourite things in New York, while the crispy black rice is a bit like bibimap, served in a hot iron pan and topped with fried egg, fermented raddish, spicy mayo, and pickled vegetables. There’s also a Shepherd’s pie for homesick Londoners, just in case you need something really comforting.

KATZ’S DELICATESSEN

Katz's Delicatessen, East Houston Street, New York, NY, USA

Around in one form or another since 1888, Katz’s Delicatessen is one of the most famous restaurant-delis in New York, if not the world. With the decor largely unchanged though out its history, the huge brightly-lit space is like a time warp, filled with memorabilia and photos of its celebrity clientele from years gone by. When you arrive at Katz’s, you’ll be given a little ticket – DO NOT LOOSE THIS TICKET! Everything you order will be recorded here and you hand it to the cashier on your way out to settle up. If you loose it there’ll be big trouble (really).

Ordering is done at the counter and although there’s a huge and varied menu, if it’s your first time then the classics are the way to go – get the pastrami on rye and watch as thick juicy slices of smokey pastrami are cut off and piled high into fresh rye bread. Add a matzo ball soup, a pickle and possibly a latke and you’ve got yourself a classic Katz’s lunch. Warning: you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.

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