The New York dining scene is back and more atmospheric than ever. In the past two years, the National Restaurant Association has reported the closure of 90,000 bars and restaurants across the country. Our city was bereft of long nights under candlelight, which made eyes meet strangers in the pub, and it is undeniable that it is one of the city’s biggest attractions – its restaurants.
As diners sit sweating as they navigate through the ’90s and home made recipes from their favorite restaurants, we’ve been dreaming of the good old days. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it seems the good old days are back. Today the streets are filled with swarms of diners in ’90s clothes spilling out of cafes, each of us queuing up to get a taste. A new hum is rising from our city streets and with it a new batch of restaurants. Meet five new favorites on the scene this summer.
Emilia from Nye feels – and tastes – like a celebration. The return of the New York dining scene, to Chef Ruben Rodriguez’s hometown of Galicia, and, most importantly, to his mother’s and grandmother’s cooking. First Avenue Restaurant serves thoughtful appetizers like Maitake Bomba Rice and Monkfish Liver Mousse with a wine-based cocktail list with otherworldly infusions like Black Truffle Rainwater. A bright and simple space lined with cave-like domes will give you all the advantages of going out to eat, with the generosity of being at a friend’s house.
Where the warmth of a small town meets the glow of a big city, find Noortwyck. West Village’s latest hunt is the kind of place that invites you to waltz and order the “usual”—just know that the usual may change with the restaurant’s ingredient-focused menu and seasonal menu. The rotating collection of new American dishes currently features items such as White Asparagus Cacio e Pepe and Tilefish with Green Curry. Managed by Andrew Quinn and Cedric Nikes, both Eleven Madison Park graduates, the vibe is sure to be rowdy and low-key no matter the season.
In a city where even the most upscale restaurants are filled with diners in jeans, Verōnika invites you to get dressed. The vibrant scene is a feast for the eyes, from the custom-made velvet outfit to the high ceilings, ornate chandeliers, and rotating photographic fixtures by Fotografiska, found the museum upstairs. The visual journey is only enhanced by the culinary demonstrations, where festive dishes such as Three Tempura Oysters dress up in the same splendor as you are with Champagne Sabayon and Dutch Osetra Caviar.
Unless you’ve stumbled across this quaint and charming area of Woodward Ave in Queens, chances are you haven’t met Ester yet. The humble wine bar and restaurant didn’t do much in the context of self-promotion, but that seems to be its beauty. This neighborhood spot is delightfully decorated—menus etched into a rusty mirror, a piano tucked away by the wall, and a co-working space hidden in the back. Ester offers a small menu with options like crab cakes, scallops, and of course a beloved list of pets, beer and cider. Best of all, the staff seems to epitomize the place itself – casual, effortless, and cozy.
Nabila brings Lebanese classics to Cobble Hill and according to owner Michael Farah, “It’s the culmination of a years-long dream to bring my mother Nabila’s home cooking to the neighborhood I call home today.” Inspired by his mother’s lively dinner parties, Nabila is found in an appropriately welcoming and modern setting where a mother and son duo can share the same spirit with the Brooklyn community. The ambiance may draw you in, but you’re sure to come back for fan favorites like fattoush, kibbeh, malfouf, and more.