We've all experienced dining occasions where the food quality didn't align with the cost. If you're tired of those letdowns, here's a compilation of NYC restaurants that justify every dollar spent. This list covers restaurants known for their exceptional dining experiences, so you can't go wrong.
1. Masa's Sushi Bar
Masa's Sushi Bar is one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, with the Dinner Omakase: Hinoki Counter Experience costing at least $1,000 per person before drinks. The restaurant is renowned for its omakase-style sushi, prepared by Chef Masa Takayama himself. Masa's Sushi Bar has been awarded three Michelin stars, making it the only stateside sushiya to receive this accolade. This sushi bar offers a unique culinary experience, and attention to detail makes it a must-visit for sushi lovers and foodies alike.
2. Per Se
Per Se offers an intimate, serene environment with stunning Central Park and Columbus Circle views. Per Se's daily nine-course tasting menu and a nine-course vegetable tasting menu use classic French techniques and the finest quality ingredients.
Saga is a fine dining restaurant in New York City's Financial District. The restaurant offers a modern European tasting menu that costs $245 per person before additional drinks, tax, and tips. Saga's unique selling point is its stunning views of Manhattan from the building's 63rd-floor terrace. You can savor the likes of caviar and foie gras, indulge in seafood paired with laksa sauce, or relish a dry-aged duck with a Moroccan twist. The restaurant is an ideal destination for special occasions and romantic dinners.
Atera is one of the restaurants in the Tribeca neighborhood that I enjoyed visiting. The restaurant offers a modern American tasting menu that costs $295 per person, excluding drinks or extras. This establishment features an open kitchen where guests can watch the chefs prepare their meals. The menu changes each season, but I highly recommend the Lamb En Croute, which was indeed the most succulent and well-seasoned lamb I've ever tried. It's worth the money for the fantastic food and the service.
There's nothing quite like a little art before you sit down for a meal. Before getting to this 16-seat counter looming over the open kitchen, you'll have the chance to admire original artwork at the on-site gallery. Inside the Greenwich Village restaurant, the counter gives diners a glimpse into the magic behind the meals, and it's a delight to watch everyone work in unison, all so that you can grab a bite to eat. Along with a menu full of stellar dishes, Frevo also has a wine program under the direction of award-winning sommelier Quentin Vauleon.
6. Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern is a contemporary American restaurant in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The restaurant serves seasonal cuisine and has earned nine James Beard Awards, including “Outstanding Restaurant” and “Outstanding Chef in America.” Chef Michael Anthony's ever-evolving menu showcases the restaurant's relationships with local farms and purveyors. Gramercy Tavern's tasting menu, priced at $158, features a selection of five courses that showcase the finest seasonal fish, vegetables, and meats sourced by the culinary team.
7. Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park is in Sony Square NYC, and Chef Daniel Humm presents elevated American tasting menus within an art deco venue boasting soaring ceilings. The restaurant's menu is entirely plant-based and showcases Modern Nordic fare. In their main dining room, you can savor a nine to ten-course tasting experience priced at $365 per guest, typically spanning two and a half to three hours. This culinary journey includes a combination of individually plated dishes and communal servings. Alternatively, they offer a six-course menu at $285 per guest.
Aquavit is in the Park Avenue Tower, and this Scandinavian restaurant is beloved amongst locals and tourists. The restaurant serves the Winter Dashi, Beet Gravlax, and Arctic Bird's Nest. They have an impressive wine list and an Aquavit infusion and cocktail program. The restaurant's innovative dishes, impeccable service, and beautiful decor offer a unique dining experience that is at least worth trying on special occasions. It costs between $115 and $195 per person, depending on your selection from the Prix Fixe menu.
9. The Frenchette
The Frenchette is a contemporary French restaurant in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. The restaurant serves classic French dishes with a modern twist and has earned two Michelin stars. The warm hospitality, exceptional service, and delicious food at a slightly lower price point of around $100 per person make this establishment a favorite among many in the area.
10. Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin is a French seafood restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. The restaurant specializes in seafood and has earned three Michelin stars and four stars from The New York Times. The menu features a variety of seafood dishes, including kindai maguro (farmed Pacific bluefin tuna) and wagyu beef. They have a long-lasting reputation for exceptional cuisine and impeccable service. The pricing begins at $120 for a three-course lunch and gradually increases to $298 for an eight-course tasting menu featuring caviar and langoustines.
11. Yakitori Torishin
Yakitori Torishin is a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. Guests rave about the yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and the restaurant has been awarded one Michelin star for seven consecutive years since 2012. The restaurant's use of Kishu Bincho charcoal while grilling with the utmost care and skill inspires every diner's devotion to the resulting flavors and the faint smell of charcoal.
12. The Modern
The Modern is one of the best contemporary American restaurants in NYC, and you can find it in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The restaurant's menu features a variety of dishes, including foie gras torchon, roasted duck breast, and black truffle risotto. The menu options range from about $160 to $325 per person, but according to reviews, they have fast, professional, and highly hospitable service night in and night out.
13. Peter Luger Steakhouse
Established in 1887, Peter Luger Steak House is in Brooklyn, about 30 minutes outside NYC. The steakhouse specializes in beef steaks and serves a variety of meat, such as hamburgers, lamb, pork, chicken, and barbecue. Two people can enjoy a delicious meal for around $200 before adding dessert or cocktails. The restaurant's long wooden bar, upscale ambiance, and reasonable prices attract people from all over the city to try them.
14. Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare
Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare offers a unique and intimate dining experience in downtown Brooklyn. The eatery marries the finesse of fine dining with the vibrancy of an open kitchen. With its minimalist decor and ever-changing tasting menu, Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare is one of the best restaurants near NYC. The menu consists of 20 courses and costs $430 per person, but you'll get your money's worth after your time there, which can last for several hours to sample everything.
In Midtown Manhattan, Marea is a premier restaurant specializing in seafood. They serve seasonal Italian cuisine emphasizing fresh ingredients. Before drinks, the average person can expect to pay about $60 for a meal or $120 if you opt for the tasting menu. Marea also has an extensive wine list and promises the freshest expertly cooked fish and oysters you've ever had!
Jean-Georges is a French restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The restaurant's menu features a variety of dishes, including foie gras brûlée, black truffle pizza, and roasted lobster.
L'Appart is an apartment-like restaurant that serves French cuisine in Le District. The menu changes daily based on the freshest ingredients available in the market. The tasting menu is $185 per person, excluding beverages and gratuity. L'Appart is worth the fee for its exceptional quality, creativity, and service. You can make a reservation online or by phone.
Daniel is in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which serves contemporary French cuisine. The impressive menu features foie gras terrine, one of the most-ordered dishes by those who dine there. Daniel offers menu options that start around $275, not including their fantastic wine pairings. Despite the high prices, the cozy setting and luxurious decor make for a lovely dining experience when you consider how good the food is.
19. Le Coucou
Le Coucou is in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, and they serve delectable classic French cuisine that keeps guests coming back for more despite the costs. You'll find escargots de Bourgogne, roasted chicken for two, and chocolate mousse, one of the most highly recommended options on the menu. They also have standard options like duck, rabbit, and foie gras. Expect to pay $100 to $200 for a filling meal if you ever get the chance to visit.
20. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a farm-to-table restaurant in the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. It sits on gorgeous grounds within a refurbished barn and has a rustic yet luxurious feel, according to those who have had the opportunity to dine there. A friend of mine swears by the food quality and service, saying there's no better place to get a roasted beet salad, grilled pork chop, or roasted duck meal anywhere in the city. The prices may fluctuate periodically, but it's somewhere between $250-$350 per person for a complete meal.
Aska is in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. The restaurant offers Scandinavian cuisine, focusing on local ingredients and a refined wine list. The most popular menu items are the smoked trout roe, grilled lamb heart, and juniper ice cream. Their formal tasting menu takes you on a culinary journey of 12-14 dishes for nearly $300 for each person.
22. The Grill
This American steakhouse is located in the Seagram Building in Midtown Manhattan, and this chophouse is to be noticed if you want a high-quality steak dinner. They're also known for the oysters Rockefeller and lobster thermidor. With a little over $150, you can get a delicious meal, drink, and possibly a dessert. Compared to many other restaurants with higher prices in the area, that may be a steal for someone not interested in a tasting menu.
23. Sushi Nakazawa
Sushi Nakazawa is a high-end Japanese sushi restaurant in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The restaurant has been praised for its quality and preparation and has earned one Michelin star. The menu changes constantly, but excellent choices are always available to suit various palates. Some of the most popular offerings are fatty tuna, spot prawns, scallops, salmon, and sea urchins. The cost for the omakase menu is around $180 per person.
Carbone is an Italian-American restaurant serving favorites like spaghetti pomodoro, baked clams, lobster ravioli, and other Italian classics. Known for its retro decor and lovely staff, it's one of the more affordable restaurants offering attentive service, incredible food, and a great atmosphere. You can get a great meal there for about $150, and the portion sizes are generous!