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Eat and Drink

Best food, drinks in NYC: Di Fara, DeKalb Market Hall make the list

amNewYork’s annual Best Of guide celebrates the cream of the crop in New York City, from the institutions that have shaped the city's identity in the past (classics) to those that will in the future (new classics).

Here’s a look at our picks in the food and drink category, for everything from the best dive bar to best old and new food halls in the five boroughs: 

Taverna Kyclades (classic)

Best restaurant standby: This beloved Greek spot in
Photo Credit: Newsday / Yvonne Albinowski

Best restaurant standby: This beloved Greek spot in Astoria (with a second location in the East Village) is tight quarters, but you will get a little more space in the enclosed patio. Fresh seafood dishes prepared in an authentic Greek way include the grilled octopus appetizer, swordfish kebab and the Kyklades Specialty platter, which comes with stuffed clams, stuffed shrimp, lobster tail, fillet of sole and scallops. There’'s always a line around dinner time, so plan an early-bird or night-owl meal. (33-07 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, 718-545-8666,

Russ & Daughters (classic)

The exterior of Russ & Daughters, founded in
Photo Credit: Newsday/Rebecca Cooney

Best appetizing shop: This Lower East Side institution, a fourth-generation family business now more than 103 years old, is one of the last smoked-fish vendors remaining in the neighborhood. This is the place to pick up a brunch spread complete with thinly sliced lox, filleted whitefish, cream cheese, bagels and chocolate rugelach. (179 E. Houston St., 212-475-4880,

Rudy’s Bar & Grill (classic)

Photo Credit: Jillian Jorgensen

Best dive bar: Rudy’s has won over broke college students, the after-work crowd, birthday revelers and late-night ralliers one free hot dog at a time. There’s no official happy hour, but with $3 pints and $8 pitchers, the price is right. (627 Ninth Ave., 646-707-0890,

Prune (classic)

Waiting for brunch at Prune. photo by amNewYork
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Best brunch experience: From the atmosphere (charming and lively) to cocktails (plenty of Bloody Marys) to, of course, the food (the Dutch-style pancake is a favorite), there’s a reason Gabrielle Hamilton’s tiny East Village spot has been on brunch bucket lists (or go-tos) for nearly 20 years. And given its consistency over that span, it’s not likely to change anytime soon. (54 E. First St., 212-677-6221,

Nom Wah Tea Parlor (classic)

Best dim sum dining: Nom Wah already has
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Best dim sum dining: Nom Wah already has a lot going for it, from its famous location (Doyers Street in Chinatown) to its lineage (considered the oldest dim sum parlor in the city) to its film credits (including “"The Amazing Spider-Man 2”") to, of course, its checkmark menu of dumplings. But that hasn’'t stopped the family business from reinventing itself, with well-received fast-casual spot Nom Wah Nolita, the new Nom Wah Tu and a stall at the Canal Street Market. (13 Doyers St., 212-962-6047,

Di Fara (classic)

Best beloved pizza joint: Pizza lovers have made
Photo Credit: Newsday / Barbara Alper

Best beloved pizza joint:  Pizza lovers have made a pilgrimage to Midwood to try Domenico DeMarco’'s pies for decades. Since 1965, the pizzaiolo has been churning out some of the best pizza in the city, one pie at a time. Besides flirting with modern tech like UberEats, not much has changed in the past 50-plus years, from the wait to cash-only payment. But this fall, Di Fara will expand for the first time, to the forthcoming North Third Street Market. (1424 Ave. J, Midwood, 718-258-1367,

Pommes Frites (classic)

Best cheap eat: This Belgian fries maker was
Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

Best cheap eat:  This Belgian fries maker was a dependable late-night, stomach-lining eat for nearly 20 years until a fire destroyed its original East Village hole-in-the-wall in 2015. Since reopening in Greenwich Village last year, it has settled into its new digs and continues to draw crowds for the generous servings of its signature fries (and variety of dipping sauces) at friendly prices. (128 Macdougal St., 212-674-1234,

Chelsea Market (classic)

Chelsea Market in Manhattan offers many choices for
Photo Credit: David Handschuh

Best food hall:  NYC’s OG food hall continues to draw tourists, Chelsea residents and the lunch crowd going on 20 years now. Some vendors have come and gone (RIP Eleni’s), but top names still vie for a space, from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy (in the new Chelsea Local cellar space) to Philly favorite Michael Solomonov (Dizengoff) to Israeli celeb chef Eyal Shani, with the forthcoming Miznon. (75 Ninth Ave., 212-652-2110,

Murray’s Cheese (classic)

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Drew Angerer

Best place for cheese lovers: The team at this Greenwich Village shop established in 1940 (which has a second location in Grand Central Terminal) travels across Europe and the United States in search of new artisanal cheeses you can taste at the counter before you decide what to take home. Head three doors down on Bleecker to the restaurant for cheese flights with wine and beer pairings. (254 Bleecker St., 212-243-3289,

Katz’s Deli (classic)

Best late-night destination: In business on the Lower
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Best late-night destination: In business on the Lower East Side since 1888, Katz’s remains the standard by which New Yorkers judge all other pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. The setting of that famous orgasmic “When Harry Met Sally” scene is open all night on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can “have what she’'s having” into the wee hours of the morning. (205 E. Houston St., 212-254-2246,

Du’s Donuts (new classic)

Du’s Donuts, available at the William Vale Hotel
Photo Credit: Wyatt Conlon

Best chef-cred dessert:  Whatever Wylie Dufresne does, it’s a guarantee people will pay attention. And after closing his influential wd~50, that thing was doughnuts. His cake doughnuts come in inventive flavors, like banana malt and brown butter key lime, that will have you savoring every bite. Bonus: In addition to the William Vale Hotel location, you can now find them at Chefs Club Counter this fall. (107 N. 12th St., Williamsburg, 718-215-8770, 62 Spring St., 646-438-9172,

Empire Stores (new classic)

Inside Cecconi's DUMBO, opening June 13 at Empire
Photo Credit: Dave Burk

Best dining destination: DUMBO has been on the foodie radar this past year, in large part thanks to this warehouse redevelopment. In addition to retail, museum and office space, much of the space is devoted to restaurants. There’s something for every budget and craving, including Soho House’s Italian spot Cecconi’s, pictured, with stellar waterfront views; the Vinegar Hill House annex VHH Foods, ideal for picnic provisions; Miami import Sugarcane raw bar grill; and takeout shop Smile To Go. (53-83 Water St., DUMBO, 718-858-8555,

Sunday in Brooklyn (new classic)

Sunday in Brooklyn brunch spread. Photo by amNewYork
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Best brunch scene:  You can go to Sunday in Brooklyn for any meal and be satisfied (including getting a breakfast sandwich from the to-go window), but brunch is kind of its thing. You have probably seen the stacks of malted pancakes on Instagram already, if you haven’t posted them yourself. But you can’t go wrong with other offerings, from the classic scramble to biscuits and gravy. (348 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg, 347-222-6722,

Pilot (new classic)

Pilot. for amNewYork best of section 11/15/17. photo
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Best boat bar: NYC has enough bars on floating barges and schooners to warrant its own subcategory. Enter Pilot, from the people behind Grand Banks. And while it’s more of the same — down to the yellow-and-white awnings — it improves upon the former with unparalleled views of the lower Manhattan skyline. (Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, 917-810-8550,

Made Nice (new classic)

The interior of Made Nice restaurant is seen
Photo Credit: Louis Lanzano

Best fast-casual: The fast-casual space got some fine-dining credentials when the team behind Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad opened this popular work-crowd eatery. Despite the more wallet-friendly cost (plates range from $11 to $15), there’s no skimping on the ingredients — Made Nice uses the same food distributors as EMP and The NoMad. (8 W. 28th St., 212-887-1677,

Diamond Reef (new classic)

Diamond Reef's banana hammock. for amNewYork best of
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Best tiki bar: NYC has a thing for tiki bars; this new entry is from the folks behind craft cocktail bar Attaboy. It’s more low-key than the résumé would suggest, from slushy machines to an outdoor taco truck. It’s built for lazy summer days. (1057 Atlantic Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, no phone,

DeKalb Market Hall (new classic)

Reuben Shorser makes a 13 Spice Pork Jianbing
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Best food hall: The food hall scene may seem saturated, but this entry was worth the wait. After months of delays, this giant subterranean food hall finally debuted this summer, with some 40 vendors that celebrate NYC’s diverse culinary scene. There’s Katz’s Deli’s first expansion, Queens favorite Arepa Lady, Red Hook dessert destination Steve’s Key Lime, Chinese street food spot Jianbing Company, pictured, famed pickle purveyor Guss’ Pickles and many, many more. (445 Albee Square W., Downtown Brooklyn, 929-359-6555,

Cote (new classic)

Butcher's Feast at Cote. Photo by Gary He.
Photo Credit: Gary He

Best steakhouse: The Michelin-starred crew from Piora added an upscale, ambitious Korean spot to a neighborhood full of them with the opening of Cote. And it’s managed to stand out; in the 2018 Michelin Guide, the team got another star. Despite the accolades, a meal at Cote wouldn’t do significant damage to your bank account: Its signature Butcher’s Feast is a reasonable $45 per person. (16 W. 22nd St., 212-401-7986,

White Gold Butchers (new classic)

Best catch-all: The Upper West Side spot, whose
Photo Credit: Eric Medsker

Best catch-all: The Upper West Side spot, whose owners include April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, has multiple identities. There’'s its butcher shop, stocked with pasture-raised, grass-fed beef. It’'s a restaurant, excelling in — of course — meat, but also veggie sides. And it’'s a some-time school, sharing its knowledge in topical classes like turkey carving. (375 Amsterdam Ave., 212-362-8731,

Parklife (new classic)

Parklife tacos. for amNewYork best of section 11/15/17.
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Best all-day spot:  Gowanus does the casual outdoor bar well, from Pig Beach to Lavender Lake. Adding to the mix is this taco spot from the folks behind the acclaimed El Atoradero Brooklyn. Grab a picnic table and get tacos, nachos and cocktails. The outdoor space isn’t just a summer draw — a new enclosure and heat lamps will keep it open all winter long, too. (636 Degraw St., Gowanus, no phone,


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