New York’s 12 Best New Restaurants of 2023

The theme of this year’s list of my favorite new restaurants in New York City is: bigger.

Some of the places I reviewed most enthusiastically this year were bigger versions of existing restaurants. I Sodi, where fans of Rita Sodi’s Tuscan cooking used to be packed in tighter than anchovies, moved around the corner and grew several sizes. Superiority Burger traded its six original burger desks (maximum occupancy: one) for an assortment of booths, counter seats, bar stools and cocktail tables inside a former coffee shop on Avenue A. Finally, it also has a kitchen large enough to contain some of Brooks Headley’s ideas.

We could debate whether I Sodi and Superiority Burger deserve slots on a list of new restaurants. Let’s not, though. Instead of letting them take up spaces that might have gone to entirely new businesses, I made the list bigger. This year, I’m writing about 12 favorite “new” restaurants instead of the 10 I’ve typically named.

Whether you see Torrisi Bar & Restaurant as the long-awaited resurrection of Torrisi Italian Specialties or as an original work addressing some of the same themes, it’s definitely way bigger. It’s got a long bar of green marble, two high-tops and an upholstered dining room, all wrapped around an open kitchen. Like some of my other favorites this year — Mischa, Hav & Mar, Naro and Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi — Torrisi has square feet to spare, and deploys multiple centers of activity across the space to create a sense of theater.

They all represent a style of dining that all but disappeared in 2020, 2021 and even parts of last year. Small, friendly joints in residential areas found ways to thrive in the WFH economy of the pandemic. Larger, more expensive spots, which often rely on business meals and out-of-town visitors, did not.

The New York real estate market is a wonderland of miniature spaces where diners sit shoulder to shoulder, too, like Foxface Natural’s skinny alley or Hainan Chicken House’s takeout counter supplemented by tables.

But places like those are a constant in any market. Not so the grander restaurants, more of which have just opened or are coming any day now. Some, like Cafe Carmellini and Four Twenty Five, are too new to make this list, which draws from restaurants I’ve already reviewed. But they all suggest that the chef-centric, big-night-out restaurant, a genre that some people were writing off a year or two ago, is in the middle of a very healthy comeback.

The Malaysian cooking at Hainan Chicken House is some of the best in the city.Credit…Colin Clark for The New York Times

12. Hainan Chicken House


The city’s most impressive source of Hainanese chicken at the moment is not the one that was singled out from among hundreds of vendors in Singapore and given its own stall in the multimillion-dollar Urban Hawker market in Midtown. It is instead this tiny Malaysian restaurant next to a cellphone store on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. To be sure, the chicken that comes wrapped in brown wax paper is somehow not as chicken-y as the glossy domes of aromatic chicken rice rolled up with it. But the complete package, including a cup of golden chicken broth and tiny portions of three super-focused sauces, is unbeatable. Did I mention that Hainan Chicken House also serves char kway teow, Penang prawn mee and a handful of other Malaysian standards? And that they are at least as good as the chicken rice?

4807 Eighth Avenue (48th Street), Sunset Park, Brooklyn; 347-365-3864;

Raw shellfish and other seafood is the specialty at Hav & Mar.Credit…Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times
Seared scallops are served with shiitakes and sliced chiles.Credit…Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times

11. Hav & Mar


The party at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem has been going strong for 12 years and counting. It’s no great surprise, then, that with Hav & Mar, Mr. Samuelsson has built another perpetual-motion machine that showers endless good vibes on the notably diverse crowd that shows up early and stays late. (Well, late by post-pandemic standards, anyway.) What is unexpected, though, is the cooking. Under Fariyal Abdullahi, the executive chef, it’s fun, smart, fresh and liberated from geographical boundaries. Ms. Abdullahi reaches into other cultures for a global cuisine that’s distinctly new.

245 11th Avenue (West 26th Street), Chelsea; 212-328-8041;

Traditional Korean dishes are the starting point for the refined tastings at Naro.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

10. Naro


The first year has been shaky, as Naro kept tweaking its hours and menu formats (dinner is now served every night, but lunch was canceled) to suit the distinctive rhythms of the Rockefeller Center concourse. The culinary vision, though, appears stable. The kitchen recasts traditional Korean dishes in modern, artfully understated forms. At Junghyun and Jeongeun Park’s first tasting-menu restaurant, Atomix, each dish seems designed to make your jaw drop. The nine-course dinners they offer at Naro are after something different — more like a slow, satisfied smile of recognition. Even if you miss the references, the smile still comes.

610 Fifth Avenue (West 49th Street), Rockefeller Center concourse, Midtown; 212-202-0206;

Black hummus, center, and a hypertrophic hot dog are among the innovations at Mischa.Credit…Cole Saladino for The New York Times

9. Mischa


Midtown used to be full of expense-account restaurants where you never had to worry that the steak or pasta would scare the sales team from Pottsville. Mischa is the opposite of those places. If you think something on the menu sounds familiar, chances are it’s been twisted beyond recognition. None of the pastas are remotely Italian, the deviled egg is treated like a dessert, and the sauce for the steamed halibut contains asafoetida. The tater tots are the size of hot dogs, and the hot dog is the size of a kielbasa. It’s also one of the most delicious and original things you can eat on or off Lexington Avenue.

157 East 53rd Street (Lexington Avenue), Midtown; 212-466-6381;

Pappardelle al limone and other long-running I Sodi dishes survived the change of address.Credit…Colin Clark for The New York Times

8. I Sodi


Moving a hit restaurant to a new address is notoriously hard to do. Rita Sodi could write a book on getting it right, based on her seamless transfer of I Sodi from a narrow slot on Christopher Street to a space on the corner of Bleecker and Grove Streets. The new I Sodi keeps the original’s stripped-to-essentials feel, even though it’s much bigger, with two dining rooms and a back garden. It’s handsome without any ornamentation. That applies to the entire menu, which was also transported intact from the first location: the papery fried artichokes, the pappardelle coated with butter and Meyer lemon zest, the pepper-strafed Cornish hen grilled under a brick, the semifreddo of toasted hazelnuts. Most of the cooking is drawn from Ms. Sodi’s Tuscan upbringing. All of it is sublimely sure of itself.

314 Bleecker Street (Grove Street), West Village; 212-414-5774;

Bengali cooking is the focus of Masalawala & Sons.Credit…Adam Friedlander for The New York Times
As it would be at home, food is brought to the table in aluminum casseroles, pressure cookers and clay pots.Credit…Adam Friedlander for The New York Times

7. Masalawala & Sons


Chintan Pandya became one of New York’s most distinctive restaurateurs by emphasizing the aspects of India’s cuisine that some of its chefs used to see as too messy or lacking in delicacy for restaurant dining — all the things they learned to clean up or smooth out or tuck out of sight. At Masalawala & Sons, he trains his sights on Bengali cooking, zeroing in especially on rustic dishes from the countryside. The lamb stew called kosha mangsho arrives in the aluminum pot it was cooked in, looking as blackened and dried out as if it had been forgotten on the back of the stove. It’s delicious, of course. Keema kaleji is ground lamb and liver cooked with cloves and black cardamom; you spread it on a fluffy piece of pao, then wait for the mustard oil to blow the back of your head off.

365 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn; no phone;

Roasted fluke is served on the bone with parsley, garlic and rivers of olive oil.Credit…Rachel Vanni for The New York Times

6. Foxface Natural


Behind an anonymous facade, Foxface Natural seems immune to outside pressure. It doesn’t play it safe, or even to put its name someplace outside where people walking along Avenue A might see it. Critics, including this one, have made a lot of David Santos’s kangaroo tartare, stirred with a rumbling African spice blend. The dish serves as a kind of warning sign: If it makes you nervous, you might want to leave before the camel course. But exotic meats aren’t really the point. Mr. Santos gets extraordinary flavors out of fluke and scallops, and striped bass, too. The last time I saw a restaurant with a similar sense of freedom and adventure was Momofuku Ssam Bar, when it had just started leaving burritos behind.

189 Avenue A (East 12th Street), East Village; no phone;

These innocent-looking agnolotti are filled with taleggio and inky drops of phytoplankton.Credit…Rachel Vanni for The New York Times

5. Foul Witch


It’s not nearly as eye-of-newt as the name suggests, but there is something supernatural about Foul Witch. Carlo Mirarchi, the ringmaster of the three-ring circus in Bushwick that is Roberta’s, presents us with Italian food that seems to come out of a strange, Lynchian dream. Agnolotti are filled with oozing taleggio that’s been seasoned with inky drops of phytoplankton. Squab and duck hung by their feet to age are ground into a sauce for a pasta called spaccatelli, and then showered with chopped red walnuts. You can see where almost every dish started and where it went off the rails to push toward some more intense and interesting place. Salt, bread crumbs and serrano peppers season a plate of citrus slices. Is it a salad? A dessert? No. Also: Yes.

15 Avenue A (East Second Street), East Village; no phone;

The chef April Bloomfield has returned to New York City with rustic, simple-seeming dishes at Sailor.Credit…Evan Sung for The New York Times

4. Sailor


The restaurateur Gabriel Stulman is a miniaturist who excels at making tight spaces into rich, textured environments where people want to hang out. At Sailor, he’s used his talent to build a small, mature restaurant where you feel lucky to be — and you’ll need some luck if you want to get a reservation. Since Sailor opened in September, there’s been a constant demand for seats, and for April Bloomfield’s cooking. Rustic, simple-seeming and unfussy, her braised radishes, poached celery root and other humble dishes have flavors and nuances that almost nobody else can bring to them.

228 DeKalb Avenue (Clermont Avenue), Fort Greene, Brooklyn; no phone;

Dover sole, a staple of continental cuisine, gets the francese treatment at Torrisi Bar & Restaurant.Credit…Evan Sung for The New York Times
Rich Torrisi tells his story through his menus.Credit…Evan Sung for The New York Times

3. Torrisi Bar & Restaurant


Some restaurants are personal and introspective, and they succeed because the chef tells you secrets, does some soul-baring. Others are loud and extroverted — the scene is why you go. Torrisi’s achievement is that it’s both kinds of restaurant. The menu is where Rich Torrisi tell his story. He’s a suburban kid who ate his family’s Italian American cooking at home, then encountered other cuisines around New York City and learned the rituals of fine-dining kitchens early in his career. All of it comes together, in surprising and deeply delicious form, on the plate. But you could still have a good time at Torrisi if you didn’t eat anything and just watched the theater of the place. Not many restaurants can give you confession and spectacle at the same time. Not many even try.

275 Mulberry Street (Jersey Street), NoLIta; no phone;

Custom paper placemats are among Superiority Burger’s tributes to the old-school Ukrainian restaurants of the East Village.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

2. Superiority Burger


The address on Avenue A is new, but the foundation of the business hasn’t changed since Superiority Burger operated out of a little subterranean box on East Ninth Street. It’s still the vegetarian burger, which makes a very compelling argument that the best fake meat is made from real ingredients (in this case, chickpeas, quinoa, carrots and other things). A remarkable achievement, it isn’t even the most delicious thing at this art project disguised as a vegetarian restaurant. What is? Perhaps the extraordinary sandwich of tart collard greens pressed between triangles of a focaccia so light and crisp that it’s the subject of a cult in its own right. Or the stuffed cabbage in an unexpectedly joyful tomato-ginger-blackberry gravy. Or the dried beans that Brooks Headley, the chef, stews with aromatics that he chars on the flattop as soon as he gets in each morning. And any dessert made by Darcy Spence will always be a contender.

119 Avenue A (St. Marks Place), East Village; no phone;

Cucumber, grapes, quinoa and other elements make up the honeynut piri-piri salad at Tatiana.Credit…Nico Schinco for The New York Times
Among its other achievements, Tatiana is a party.Credit…Nico Schinco for The New York Times

1. Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi


There’s a lot to say about Tatiana. Kwame Onwuachi, the chef, uses his menu to redraw the culinary map of New York. He makes an argument that our West African restaurants and Trinidadian roti shops and sidewalk jerk grills all deserve a bigger part in the story the city tells about itself. From a prime spot in Lincoln Center, Tatiana reminds everybody that the Bronx is important, that bodegas matter. And the place is just fun; it’s a party that starts with rum drinks and keeps going until somebody orders the tribute to the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie, down to the multicolored sprinkles. But what I probably haven’t stressed strongly enough is how much flavor he builds into things like oxtails and goat curry, how many of the dishes just make you stop and look around the room and wonder how many other people are seeing new galaxies. The cooking may not be the most newsworthy thing about Tatiana, but it is wildly good.

In David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza (Ninth Avenue), Upper West Side; 212-875-5222;

Follow New York Times Cooking on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest. Get regular updates from New York Times Cooking, with recipe suggestions, cooking tips and shopping advice.

Back to top button