Eating + Drinking

The 10 Best Spots to Eat During 2020’s NYC Restaurant Week

Even after 27 years, Restaurant Week still attracts some of the scene’s biggest dining establishments.

Photo courtesy of Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery/Facebook

Yep, NYC Restaurant Week is back. Happening during the time when tourism usually slows to a trickle, hundreds of eateries throughout the five boroughs—yes, even Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx—sell two-course lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42) at a fraction of their regular prices, January 21–February 9. With RW in its 27th year, it’s likely you’ve eaten your way through the event’s mainstays—including the places we’ve recommended in the past—but there’s still plenty of delicious food to try. Switch things up this winter with our favorite newcomers, overlooked gems, and Michelin-starred winners.

For Please-Everyone-in-the-Family Comfort Food, Try…
Maison Pickle on the Upper West Side

Fancy yourself a decadent feast? Dip into this comforting uptown staple and indulge in some naughty New American fare. Balance out a sinful Reuben French dip with an heirloom tomato salad during weekday brunch, or dig into a nonna-style chicken-eggplant parm with an English pea soup during dinner. Oh, yeah, save room for a mile-high chocolate cake (available during dinner service for an extra $5) that will haunt your dreams long after you clear the crumbs from your plate. 2315 Broadway (at West 84th Street)

Reuben French dip, anyone? / Photo courtesy of Maison Pickle
For Nine-to-Fivers Craving a Vacation, Try…
Noreetuh in the East Village

Maui meets metropolis at this easy-breezy gem, where island cuisine goes beyond Spam musubi and King’s Hawaiian rolls (although the latter appear in a tropical rum-raisin bread pudding for dessert). Your taste buds deserve a vacation, so treat them to garlicky shrimp over grilled onigiri; ham hock wontons buried underneath pickled salsify and shaved truffles; uni- and smoked cod–forward spaghetti; and a split pineapple brûlée seasoned with lime zest and Hawaiian red salt. 128 First Avenue (between East 7th Street and St. Mark’s Place)

For a Client Meal That Won’t Break the Bank, Try…
Esca in Hell’s Kitchen

Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s especially the case with chef Dave Pasternack’s Italian seafood gem, which has risen from the (literal) ashes. Let your mouth feel the Adriatic Sea breeze with a tasting of crudo creations, a linguine that’s both spicy and briny, or a whole grilled yellowtail snapper that can serve one (or two!). Save room for dolci, since the restaurant is offering fragrant rosemary churros and two types of tortes—Meyer lemon EVOO and a flourless/gluten-free chocolate. 402 West 43rd Street (at Ninth Avenue)

Photo by Kate Previte/Courtesy of Esca
For European Charm, Try…
Lafayette in NoHo

Andrew Carmellini remasters and pays tribute to France’s regional cuisines at his grand, all-day bakery/brasserie/marketplace with Parisian classics like beef tongue with richer-than-rich sauce gribiche, melt-off-the-bone duck leg confit, and profiteroles inspired by Snickers. 380 Lafayette Street (between East 4th and Great Jones Streets)

Photo courtesy of Lafayette

To Impress Out-of-Towners, Try…
Soogil in the East Village

French flair and South Korean flavor come together at former Daniel Boulud protégé Soogil Lim’s eponymous haunt. You can see the chef’s seasoned expertise in modern fusion bites, including finely chopped beef tartare surrounded by pear bits and micro egg yolks; delicate glass noodles swirled underneath sweet and salty bulgogi; scallops crusted in Korean chili paste; and a seven grain–green tea dessert that could best be described as a Jenga tower108 East 4th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

For a Classic New York Experience, Try…
Smith & Wollensky in Midtown East

Just because it made a glorious cameo in a high-profile Oscars snub doesn’t mean the renewed fame is getting to this institution’s head. Instead, the restaurant is making the steakhouse classics as excellently as it usually does: a big Caesar salad, filet mignon, pan-roasted branzino, and New York–style cheesecake. Even the items that can be considered splurges—surf and turf with lobster tail and a dry-aged sirloin—are only an extra $10. 797 Third Avenue (at East 49th Street)

Photo courtesy of Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse/Facebook
For When You Want to Show Your Teenage Kids You’re Still Hip, Try…
Pig and Khao on the Lower East Side

As if you couldn’t tell by the name, you’re in for a pork-tastic time if you swing by Leah Cohen’s tribute to hearty Filipino cooking. The brunch and dinner menus drastically differ—which is pretty rare during Restaurant Week. Go on a weeknight evening for pork belly adobo, Malaysian fried chicken with sambal and curry leaves, and halo-halo shaved ice. Then return one weekend afternoon for sizzling corned beef hash, longonnisa sausage, and perfectly fried doughnuts in powdered sugar. 68 Clinton Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets)

Photo courtesy of Pig and Khao/Facebook
For a Rustic-Romantic Date Night, Try…
Porsena in the East Village

Take a fast trip to Rome by heading to chef Sara Jenkins’s cozy East Village trattoria. It serves uncomplicated yet still incredibly memorable Tuscan meals; you can expect house-made anelloni tossed with spicy lamb sausage and mustard greens; grilled bread and sweet meats from Little Italy’s Di Palo; and braised short ribs glazed in red wine. 21 East 7th Street (between Second and Third Avenues)

For Underrated-Gem Seekers, Try…
Taiki in Boerum Hill

High-quality sushi nestled in a quaint residential neighborhood? Yes, please! Taiki’s namesake, Taiki Minamitani, worked as an itamae (sushi chef) for almost two decades in Japan before flying to the States, so you know he’s got some skills. Traditional omakase and sashimi pair nicely with modern-inspired bites like fried monkfish karaage and yellowtail with garlic ponzu, making for one exceptionally tasty night out in Brooklyn. 134 Nevins Street

Photo courtesy of Taiki
For a Quiet Catch-Up, Try…
The Leroy House in the West Village

One of the neighborhood’s quieter nooks is this seasonal New American sit-down on the ground floor of a West Village townhouse. While the restaurant will be sticking with classically comforting standbys during Restaurant Week, we can guarantee they’ll also be perfectly executed. Crispy, crackling calamari gets paired with a harissa aioli with plenty of heat; mafaldine is blanketed in a rich, hearty meat ragu; and brick-cooked chicken sings with a garlic confit hash, brown-buttered carrots, and plenty of succulent jus. 430 Hudson Street (between Leroy and Morton Streets) 

Photo courtesy of the Leroy House

Book your rezzies sooner than later. We’ll save you a seat.