Feast On My Top 3 Restaurants In NYC

Top three restaurants in NYC?  Annndddd…GO!

Obviously, this will look very different depending on who you ask, but today I’m getting all personal with you and sharing my very favorite restaurants in NYC…all wildly different in their own right.  Not to say that these are the fanciest, or trendiest, or even would be described as NYC classics, but they certainly have staying power if your palate and taste align with mine, read: going out to eat should be just as much about the experience as it is the food.  These three do it for me, every time.

Freemans: For Comfort Food Classics and a Cozy Downtown Vibe

Tucked down a little alley in the Lower East Side, this restaurant embodies classic Americana–the dishes here are simple, rustic, and inspired by old world traditions.  Think: ooey-gooey mac-n-cheese, butternut squash schnitzle, and wild rice crispy treats. Produce is all sourced locally in New York, and the interior design makes me want to wrap up in a big wool sweater, sipping cocktails well past brunch. We love this place so much we hosted our rehearsal dinner here!


Panna II: For Indian Staples With The Most Festive Atmosphere You’ll Find This Side Of Bengal

This is my go-to restaurant anytime there’s a reason to bust out the bubbly and get silly on a budget: birthdays, engagements, TGIF…you name it!  Kitschy as it is, I adore this pepper-light strewn, BYOB restaurant, complete with upbeat staff who will ensure every visit feels like a reason to celebrate.  The dishes are your typical Indian fare–but so good–and plenty of options for vegetarians.


ABC Kitchen: For High-Quality Dishes You Can Feel Good About Eating

I believe the exact words uttered the first time I ate at ABC were “Best. Salad. Ever.”  And coming from a vegetarian who eats LOTS of greens, this is a big, bold statement.  With Jean-Georges name behind it, you can be assured your seasonally inspired meal is going to shine, and the all white decor is as fresh as the farm-to-table goodness you’ll be putting in your mouth.


If you need transportation to a night out on the town to one of these gems, consider NYC Shuttle Service.

We’d love to know…if you had to pick your top 3 restaurants in your city, what would they be?  Share below!

||Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3||


  • Mike says:

    I’m going with Freeman’s – the hot artichoke dip for a starter, then the pan roasted salmon because of hellloooo…saffron aioli!! And I mixed green salad on the side. Yes, I’m still a look-up-the-menu-online geek Jessica! 🙂 🙂

    • Used York City says:

      Oh I totally hear ya, Mike, I do the same exact thing! Freeman’s is a perfect choice!

  • Susan says:

    Loved ABC Kitchen! Have been there twice and my daughter was there during her weekend trip for the NYC marathon. She’s a vegetarian and also a fan. We used to live in north Jersey so trip back once a year to NYC is a must! Traveling again in a few weeks and will for sure try Freeman’s. Looks fantastic. Love your book and will definitely try some suggestions from it. I got on your website to see if you had restaurant suggestions and didn’t have to go far 🙂

    • Used York City says:

      Oh I hope you guys love Freeman’s as much as I do, it’s such a great spot! The vibe is also so fun!

  • Heather says:

    I love NYC’s ridiculously tacky Indian restaurants! They never fail to bring a smile to my face 🙂

    Freeman’s looks like my kind of place!
    Heather recently posted..The Best Meals We Ate in ParisMy Profile

    • Used York City says:

      I’m certain you’d love it! They also make fantastic craft cocktails, and delicious coffee beverages for brunch!

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve only lived here a year and it’s already so hard to narrow the list down! I’m so glad you posted about good Indian food, because it’s one of my favorite ethnic cuisines and yet I feel like there are so many mediocre places that skimp on the flavor, and I hadn’t found a really yummy one yet in NYC. My list doesn’t reflect the incredible, “special occasion” meals I’ve had once in a while but rather places I could happily eat once a week: #1.) Have to agree with Jen – Razza’s maple bacon pizza is the best pizza I’ve ever had, and I’m already missing it after leaving JC! #2.) Bar Primi in the East Village (or is it NoHo?) because if I could only eat one kind of food for the rest of my life it would be Italian, and their menu is mainly appetizers an pastas, which pretty much sums up happiness for me. #3.)Pok Pok in Brooklyn, because until I tried their sister restaurant in Portland, OR, some years ago I was convinced I didn’t like Thai food. It’s the best Thai I’ve tasted — and I’ve been to Thailand! Aaaaand #3.5) — Because it’s not really a restaurant but rather a sort of takeout/sandwich shop kind of place, Taim in SoHo and the West Village, because mid-eastern food is my other favorite ethnic cuisine. It’s all vegetarian, and mostly vegan. The falafel, pitas, salads, and veggie sides are all so amazing that even self-proclaimed carnivores have really liked it. Oh, and the smoothies are great too.

    • Used York City says:

      What a fabulous roundup, Sarah! I’m so running to Taim next time I’m in Soho, it sounds AMAZING!

      And agree with Indian–it seems there are several options on each block, so it’s hard to even figure out where to go! I’m sure the REALLY authentic stuff is in Queens, but Panna II is solid food I could easily eat once a week, and you just can’t beat that atmosphere! Plus, BYOB minus corkage fee is always a plus!;-)

  • Muza-chan says:

    Looks great….
    Muza-chan recently posted..A bit of samurai history, the odd bear wigsMy Profile

  • Top 3 in NYC is a hard one to choose from – I recently wrote some of my top 5 (because let’s face it, there is SO much good food in NY) on a friend’s site and it included Sweet Chick, Kesté Pizza & Vino, Luke’s Lobster, By The Hudson, and Miss Korea. 😀
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted..Where to Eat Cheap Sushi in TokyoMy Profile

  • Jackie says:

    Also taking inspiration from the CitizenM article, here is my own personal Top 3 list for Glasgow. All the restaurants are in the city centre. Enjoy!

    For a girlie afternoon of tea and cakes:
    The Tearooms at The Butterfly and Pig

    For grown up dining at a seafood restaurant:

    For contemporary Scottish cuisine cooked by a rock ‘n’ roll chef!
    Red Onion:

    • Used York City says:

      Awesome, thanks for sharing, Jackie! These sound great–means I need to make a UK trip sooner rather than later!;-)

  • I’m a HUGE fan of Freeman’s, and I’ve been wanting to try out ABC kitchen for so long. and even before I moved here I heard about Panna II, but I keep forgetting to go (thanks for the reminder!)

    top 3 for me across the river in jersey city are (in no particular order):
    – Razza – brick oven pizza DONE RIGHT. http://www.razzanj.com/
    – Talde – I’m convinced it’s better than the Brooklyn one (hellloooo lobster tom kha soup!) http://www.taldejerseycity.com/
    – Third and Vine – the best chill, unpretentious-but-knows-their-stuff wine and cheese bar http://www.thirdandvine.com/

    the best thing? you can walk to all 3 from the PATH station (and my house :P)
    jenn @ beyond the stoop recently posted..happy fridayMy Profile

    • Used York City says:

      Thanks so much for sharing those, Jenn! I swear, I’m going to get over to JC one of these days this summer, yay day trip!! And love that these are so accessible from the train!

Comments are closed.