8 Chic Must-Eat Restaurants In New York City
New York Food Luxury

8 Chic Must-Eat Restaurants In New York City

I’m always the go-to person my friends ask when they want to take someone out for a must-eat meal in New York, whether it be cheap eats or a more upscale restaurant. New York has the perfect mix of both. It’s a place where you can get six awesome dumplings for $1 or an incredible thirteen course meal for $300. But this list is about the in-between. As of January 2017, these are the latest trendy, chic restaurants for tourists and locals, the ones you hope to see celebrities at or just want to feel like you are one.


Mission Chinese Food

Famous Spicy Wings from Mission Chinese Food, NYC
Famous Spicy Wings from Mission Chinese Food, NYC @missionchinesefood


Mission Chinese was a critic darling after a crazy popular first restaurant in Portland, Oregon. It came to New York and had some let’s just say hiccups with the health inspector. Don’t let that turn you off though, it’s moved locations, revamped itself and includes an awesome wood-fired pizza oven. The décor is classy Chinese from the 1950s and the menu is unique, Schezuan and just really delicious. When you go, don’t forget to get the salt-cod fried rice or the thrice-cooked bacon. Make sure you can handle some spice; chances are you won’t be able to feel your lips when you leave.



Steak frites from Balthazar, NYC
Steak frites from Balthazar, NYC @balthazarny


Walking through the crowds in Soho past the shops on Broadway you can’t miss the red awning. This restaurant is always packed, usually full of tourists and the occasional celebrity sighting. While you wait for your name to be called you can go next door to their bakery and grab a delicious pastry. Steak frites and classic French dishes in a big open room will mirror glass instantly transports you to the 3rd arrondissement. Maybe try to make a reservation first.


Lure Fishbar

Open lobster from Lure Fishbar, NYC
Open lobster from Lure Fishbar, NYC @lurefishbar


Another Soho spot, Lure Fishbar is relatively new but always on the list of “hottest” places to eat. You walk down into what looks like the inside of a boat. Wood paneled floors, ceilings and nautical circular windows line the walls. They also have an insane raw bar and seafood tower that might make you cringe when you get the bill but it’s perfect to split with friends. The restaurant serves classic American dishes like steak, lobster rolls and burgers, it’s worth a visit.


Le Coucou

Gorgeous french cuisine from Le Cou Cou, NYC
Gorgeous French cuisine from Le Cou Cou, NYC @lecoucou


This new French bistrot in an open, airy setting downtown is one of the hardest reservation to get in New York. Opening a few months ago to a lot of buzz and praise, it’s a place that the “Sex and The City” foursome would talk about. Old-school French dishes like veal tongue, sweetbreads and foie gras can be sampled underneath stunning chandeliers, if you can even get in.


Gramercy Tavern

Perfectly cooked burger from Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Perfectly cooked burger from Gramercy Tavern, NYC  @gramercytavern


This place has long been a must-visit restaurant in New York. Its menu is full of farm-to-table, recipes like pork loin and flounder. While it’s not exactly in my price-range, the wooden beams and romantic lighting make for a perfect anniversary dinner or a fancy night out with the girls.



Mozzarella and prosciutto from Carbone, NYC
Mozzarella and prosciutto from Carbone, NYC


If you’re looking for old school New York Italian in Manhattan this is the place to go. Booked up a month in advance, it’s worth it for the mozzarella and prosciutto alone. Did I mention the lobster ravioli yet?  The narrow dining room, tiled floors and waiters in bow ties just add to the authentic experience. Again, a perfect, intimate spot for a dinner for two.



Pasta from Upland, NYC
Pasta from Upland, NYC @upland_nyc


Anywhere President Obama  goes to eat, is probably a safe bet. This all day Italian eatery has everything from pizza to pasta to meats and vegetables. It’s wrap around booths, glass jars lining the walls and three story bar make the space a total stunner. Plus, their extensive wine list makes it a perfect place to go for pre-club cocktails.


Le Coq Rico

Stuffed chicken
Stuffed chicken from Le Coq Rico, NYC @lecoqrico


They say there are more French restaurants in New York than Paris. Maybe that was just a Snapple fact. Le Coq Rico’s sleek white dining room with the occasional bird painting serves delicious French food. Known as a bistrot of beautiful birds, this restaurant certainly highlights the chicken. From rotisseries to foies and terrines, it’s rich, saucy and delicious.


For more tasty food from around the globe check out my Top 5 Destinations For Foodies Around The World!


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  1. Barbara

    What a fabulous collection of restaurants-my mouth is watering just looking at your photographs! If ever I needed an excuse to visit New York, this is it!

    January 17, 2017 Reply
    • Katie Lockhart

      Definitely, you can’t go wrong! Let me know next time you’re in New York!

      January 18, 2017 Reply
  2. Sidewalker daily

    We are actually hitting NYC streets next week, so we’re definitely checking atleast one of these out! ???

    January 17, 2017 Reply
  3. Pat

    I…. I need… I need to go to all these places ?

    January 17, 2017 Reply
  4. Katie Lockhart

    Awesome! Let me know which one you go to!

    January 18, 2017 Reply
  5. chloe

    I officially just asked my husband to take me out to eat.. this post made me one hungry lady! haha I look forward to visiting NY and dining at these restos you recommended Katie.

    January 25, 2017 Reply
    • Katie Lockhart

      Yay! Definitely come visit New York. I’ve got plenty of other food suggestions, cheap eats, bars etc.

      January 26, 2017 Reply
  6. Tereza

    These look absolutely amazing, I really want to visit New York – it would be such a fairy tale holiday! x

    March 14, 2017 Reply


Find Your Happy Plate

My name is Katie Lockhart and I launched Find Your Happy Plate in 2015 to offer adventurous wanderers the best advice for food and travel around the world. Find Your Happy Plate is a place for travel inspiration, food porn and tips on where to find the best of both. Whether you’re looking for luxury of budget, I write and photograph it all. Follow along!