Best Restaurants in New York

A young woman with short hair enjoying dinner with a view of the New York City skyline.

There are over 25,000 restaurants in New York, serving up familiar favorites, authentic cultural food, and delicious basics on almost every block.

With so many options and so little time, how can you sort through the noise to find the gems? Here are the best restaurants in New York to satisfy your inner foodie.

 

 

Best Cheap Eats

Just Pho

Exterior of Just Pho in NYC.
Image Source: Just Pho via Yelp

It’s said that the best Pho is not found in the well-known East Village or Chinatown, but across the street from Penn Station.

Just Pho offers a fairly simple but excellent Pho that doesn’t use the sprouts or basil like more Americanized versions. It’s laboriously crafted, too, with hours dedicated to boiling beef or pork bones just the right way. Sample their outstanding crab-stuffed spring rolls while you’re there, too.

 

Papa’s Kitchen

Sign in Papa's Kitchen, reading "Traditional Filipino Cuisine."
Image Credit: Papa’s Kitchen via Yelp

Papa’s offers great Filipino fare at great prices. The restaurant recently moved from a smaller store to a larger one, on the 37th Avenue shopping strip.

For less than $10, score some “silogs”—a Filipino dish served on rice with a runny fried egg on top. Other inexpensive entrees include milkfish, sweet sausage, and crisp fried pork belly. They serve a great mix of meat and veggies too!

 

USHA Foods

Wall of food dispensers in USHA.
Image Credit: Ashmani M. via Yelp

USHA Foods is unique: they only serve vegetarian food.

Their sandwich bar is under $8, and includes the Alu Tikki burger, which is a griller potato stuffed with vegetables and tomato and wrapped in a bun.

They also have a “fast food” menu starting at $4. It’s filling and varied, from the Paneer Pakora plate to the Chola Bhature.

 

Pyza

The exterior of the Pyza building in New York.
Image Credit: Kate S. via Yelp

No, Pyza isn’t pizza: it’s Polish for “dumpling.”

This small Polish restaurant offers counter service, and meals for around $10. Pyza offers some great stuffed cabbage, potato dumplings, stew, and pierogies, as well as Poland’s famed Borsch soup.

The prices are kept low by its cafeteria atmosphere, which is surprisingly peaceful and enjoyable compared to similar setups. Pyza also offers huge portions, so prepare to box it up and take it with you.

 

Best Pizza Parlors in New York

Di Fara

Exterior shot of the Di Fara pizza shop building in New York.
Image Credit: Vicki G. on Yelp

Dom DeMarco has been making almost every pizza here since Di Fara opened in 1964.

A round pizza from Di Fara has several kinds of cheese with olive oil, and a light, slightly salted crust. The square pizza has almost too much cheese (almost), and a crunchier but more buttery crust. Be warned: a second slice might result in a food coma.

The interior of this pizza place isn’t especially exciting, but who cares. It’s pizza!

 

L&B Spumoni Gardens

A dish from L&B Spumoni Gardens.
Image Credit: Wendy W. via Yelp

Spumoni Gardens make dense pizzas with a sweet tomato sauce (made from a top-secret recipe) and a thick, doughy crust.

They also put the sauce on top of the cheese. Don’t worry: not only is this more traditional, but many say it’s even better than what you’re used to.

 

Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop

Wood-fired pizza oven in Paul Gee's Slice Shop, New York.
Image Credit: Cameron D. via Yelp

Without a doubt, Paulie Gee’s is a mainstay of Brooklyn pizza. Perfectly complementing their thick tomato sauce is a mountain of toppings on every crispy slice.

 

Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria and Restaurant

A black and white menu from Joe and Pat's Pizzeria and Restaurant in New York City.
Image Credit: Sumana K. via Yelp

Do you like bright red tomato sauce and gooey cheese on your pizza? There’s no better place than Joe and Pat’s. They offer incredibly thin crust and one very interesting Tri Pie, which includes three different sauces in alfredo, pesto, and vodka. Many people outside of New York have Joe and Pat’s on their pizza bucket list.

 

Best Restaurants in New York for Pasta

Celeste

Pasta dish from Celesta in New York.
Image Credit: Melanie G. via Yelp

Handmade pasta, anyone?

Celeste is full of old school charm: they’re cash only, with an old-world decor and made-from-scratch…well, everything.

The pasta is naturally delicious as a result, and comes with toppings like goat’s milk cheese. Bring friends: you’ll want to split dishes, just to try them all.

 

Union Square Cafe

A sandwich from Union Square in NYC.
Image Credit: Andreas P. via Yelp

Union Square changes their pasta seasonally, and rotates other dishes monthly, so no two visits are ever the same!

With pasta dishes starting at $25, Union Square Cafe isn’t exactly budget-friendly…but it’s totally worth the price, considering how flavorful their pasta and sauces are.

 

Times Square in New York at night, illuminated in neon.

The thousands of restaurants in New York provide locals and tourists alike with endless variety. It’s the ultimate melting pot: you can try authentic and delicious dishes from different cultures, stick to American classics, or score some comfort food favorites no matter where you go in the city.

For more travel guides, check out the best spots to eat in Portland or San Diego, or these awesome day trips out of NYC.