August 18, 2022

The Best Restaurant Advice for 2022

Tammie Teclemariam is about to hit the halfway point of “The Year I Ate New York,” her 12-month attempt to visit as many of the city’s restaurants and bars as possible. So far, she has tried 200 spots. Here are 100 especially useful tips she’s accumulated along the way — including the most delicious way to kill 20 minutes in midtown and where to procure the city’s largest Long Island iced tea.

Delivery from Peter Luger is much better than you’d expect it to be. The rib steak may be warm instead of sizzling hot, but it will somehow be perfectly medium rare.

My favorite place to drink whiskey is a Flatbush pizza joint called Wheated.

Sea Witch Tavern looks like a nondescript dive bar in Greenwood Heights, which it is. But it also has a shockingly deep collection of Japanese whiskey.

The Upper East Side German stalwart Heidelberg deserves a Bemelmans-esque Gen-Z revival.

When the servers at Ernesto’s warn you that the special Basque-style steak is “chewy,” believe them.

Too many restaurants are happy to load their menus with expensive dips

… But the $18 fava-bean purée at Roman’s remains a must-order.

Avenue J is famous for Di Fara, but the best reason to take a trip to Midwood is the smooth hummus and spicy shawarma at Hummus Bar.

If you see croquettes on the menu, order them. That’s especially true at Runner Up in Park Slope, where they’re filled with smoky whitefish.

Illustration: Joana Avillez

Wenwen in Greenpoint sells a 4XL drink that’s basically a Long Island iced tea for a group of four. But two people can successfully finish it and still manage to walk out under their own power.

Nobody over the age of 22 should be ordering a Dirty Shirley.

The Clinton Hill wine bar Place des Fêtes is secretly the best fish restaurant in town, as the sardine toast and salt-and-vinegar mackerel made clear the day I tried them.

I have eaten every kind of potato you can order at Keens. The French fries are the best.

Illustration: Joana Avillez

“Speakeasies” exist expressly to make you feel stupid while trying to find the entrance.

Go to June in Cobble Hill and order the grilled duck. Don’t ask questions; just do it.

Red Hook has the best dive bars. Go to Ice House and Sunny’s, and don’t forget to bring cash.

Entrées remain the least interesting section of most menus. Why would I pay $45-plus for steak at Cozy Royale when I can get chicken-liver mousse, steak tartare, and smoked-trout dip for around the same amount?

You would be well served to make the candlelit D’Antan in Crown Heights your new date-night go-to.

If you need to kill 20 minutes in midtown, go to Soba Azuma and order its biggest bowl of noodles.

It’s fine if you get restaurant recommendations from TikTok

… The soufflé pancake at Rule of Thirds really does live up to the hype.

A “tempura omakase” is absolutely as fun as it sounds. Try Tempura Matsui in Murray Hill to see why.

You could make a whole day out of eating on Arthur Avenue — or you could just grab a few perfect sandwiches at Casa della Mozzarella.

Illustration: Joana Avillez

Hawksmoor is like if Madame Tussauds became a steakhouse. If you crave beef, Cote is only a block and a half away.

There’s a $28 cocktail at Thyme Bar in Flatiron that comes suspended from a hook in the ceiling. (Really!) Take my word: You don’t actually want to order it.

The one thing you have to order if you go to Bonnie’s is the salt-and-pepper squid. Trust me.

You can order a $95 baked potato at the Nines in Noho. I don’t recommend it, exactly, but I’m still thinking about all the caviar on top.

The restaurant on the roof of the Flatiron Eataly is a total party scene at lunch for some reason.

Macosa Trattoria in Bed-Stuy is a very nice under-the-radar spot for a bowl of porky pasta alla gricia and a carafe of cheap wine.

If you really need fondue after midnight, remember the Blue Ribbon in Soho is open until 2 a.m.

Truffles are cheugy.

If you don’t have a reservation, the best time to show up at any restaurant is 9:15 p.m. (The early rush will be winding down, but the kitchen will still be open.)

Illustration: Joana Avillez

The best way to spend $100 is to take five friends to Taiwanese Specialties in Elmhurst and eat like royalty.

You really, really won’t get into the new Temple Bar without a reservation.

Saint Theo’s is the coolest restaurant with the worst food.

If a restaurant makes its sorbet in-house, order it. It is the best way to end a meal at Purple Yam in Flatbush.

At this point, $25 uni “supplements” feel pretty corny.

Saturdays are for the outer-boroughs. You’ll like the freshly pulled noodles at Lagman House, said to be the only restaurant serving Dungan Chinese food in New York.

Actually, the bouncer outside Minetta Tavern is good; he’s the guy who will hook you up with a bar seat.

Stop vaping inside restaurants.

If you want to have an IRL Cousin Greg sighting, don’t go to his bar, Ray’s. Instead, grab a table outside Bar Pisellino because I keep seeing his six-foot-seven shadow on that stretch of Seventh Avenue.

The fatoush at Tanoreen should be just as famous as its stewed lamb shank.

Bernie’s is a Greenpoint Applebee’s, which is why people love it.

A recent meal at Dirty French felt like a scam. Ordering fries and a side of spinach added $24 to my bill, and my $35 pork chop was mostly inedible fat.

You really should be tipping 25 percent.

Pizza joints need to cool it with the hot honey for a while.

There is too much chicken parm right now.

The best new name for a restaurant is Cafe Spaghetti.

The worst new name for a bar is Wiggle Room.

If I can’t fit into a restaurant’s bar seat, I will either ask for a table or leave, because there is nothing worse than having to dine with your legs at a weird angle. (I’m looking at you, LittleMad.)

Illustration: Joana Avillez

The Lower East Side Indian restaurant Gazab sells something called “70’s chicken tikka masala.” The name is a joke, but the dish is no gimmick.

You can now find birria at almost every taco joint, but most versions pale in comparison to the Birria-Landia trucks in Jackson Heights and Williamsburg.

There is a bar called Double Chicken Please that sells wacky cocktails inspired by stuff like pizza and Waldorf salad. Against all odds, the place is cool and the drinks are delicious.

If you’ve never eaten the satsuma-marshmallow dessert at Crown Shy, do yourself a favor and correct that oversight.

The most expensive drink I’ve ordered this year is $38 (with tip) for a Red Bull vodka at Webster Hall. For the same price, get a drink and pigs in a blanket at Polo Bar.

The restaurant with the hottest customers is Shukette.

Illustration: Joana Avillez

Let’s all agree to put an end to the “fancy blooming onion” trend before it really takes off.

Buvette is still a perfect restaurant.

Brooklyn BBQ advice: The food at Hometown is better, but Pig Beach is the place to go for a party.

The $16 Sri Lankan buffet at Lakruwana is the best all-you-can-eat deal in town — plus you get to ride the Staten Island Ferry first.

Sheepshead Bay is rolling in great sushi. Start at Masuta, Chikurin, or Sushi by Hiro for the omakase.

Sushi on Me is possibly too generous with its unlimited sake. Don’t be afraid to pace yourself.

The “tavern style” pizza may be the same at both places, but the new Emmett’s on Grove is better than the original Emmett’s location.

Your out-of-town friends may want to go to Williamsburg. Take them to the Four Horsemen and drink some orange wine at an outdoor table.

I recently ordered a sloe-gin fizz at the Commodore, and you know what? It was so good.

Ice cream at Van Leeuwen is a better way to end a meal than 90 percent of restaurant desserts.

Before you plan to eat somewhere on a Monday or Tuesday, check to make sure the place is actually open. And then call because the hours posted on Google — or even outside the restaurant — may not be correct. As I learned when I showed up for Peking duck at Decoy on my birthday to find the lights out.

You officially have my permission to stop caring about Dimes Square — but don’t forget about Kiki’s, which remains excellent.

You don’t have to spend $500 for world-class sushi. Check out Sushi W on the Upper West Side or Taikun on Delancey Street instead.

I love the shawarma at Al Badawi on Atlantic Avenue, and I especially love all the leftovers I get from one order.

If you go to Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights, be prepared to pay $18 for guacamole with chips and salsa.

A toaster oven behind a bar is not the same thing as “a kitchen.” I had fun at Sauced on Bedford Avenue, but its faux-fancy snacks left much to be desired.

PLANTA Queen in Nomad is the bougie vegan restaurant your healthy friends will love.

The days of single-digit pricing are numbered. Even fancy sodas cost $10 now.

Some people are already a little too comfortable with indoor dining — like the guy who offered me a sip of wine from his glass at Misi.

The vibe at Union Square Cafe is downright geriatric these days.

Please do not tell a woman she is “brave” if you see her dining alone.

Anton’s in the West Village is quite possibly the preppiest restaurant in New York. I still love its pastas.

It’s not your imagination: Most restaurants just aren’t as good as they were before the pandemic. The mushy sea-urchin spaghetti I had at Frenchette would never have made it out of the kitchen during the spot’s 2019 prime.

Despite what you might have heard, the food at Barclays Center is not good. Hit up the Cesar’s Empanadas truck outside instead.

The restaurants at Manhattan West — like Ci Siamo — are more interesting than anything at Hudson Yards.

Manhatta in the Financial District has great drinks, nice views, and boring food

… Maybe go to Le Gratin for a bite of pâté and cheesy potatoes.

The best place to gorge yourself on fish is Astoria Seafood. But there’s going to be a wait.

Illustration: Joana Avillez

The spiciest thing I’ve eaten this year is the black pork curry at Sigiri in the East Village. It’s wonderful.

When a bar goes to the trouble of putting certain cocktails on draft, they are usually quite good — like the paloma at Leyenda,which is a perfect highball for summer.

The going rate for a plate of bread with butter is $10

… And the $21 bread service at Nura in Greenpoint is worth it for the naan alone.

Who is forcing all these chefs to put Caesar salad on their menus?

Proteins, ranked:
5. Chicken.
4. Beef.
3. Pork.
2. Lamb.
1. Duck.

The best place to celebrate a birthday is Abe’s Pagoda Bar in Bushwick.

Zou Zou’s is the least Middle Eastern “Middle Eastern restaurant” in the world.

If a place makes only five of something per night, it should be legally barred from calling that a “signature dish.”

I really didn’t think I’d like Gem Wine on the Lower East Side, but a plate of tuna with “rhubarb ponzu” changed my mind.

A fine place to sit on a sunny day is outside King on the border of Soho, eating some lemon sorbet drenched in cold vodka.

I waited an hour in line for jerk chicken at the Queens Night Market just so I could tell you it’s not worth it.

Employees Only is too full to be fun anymore.

No bar — not even the very cool Eavesdrop in Greenpoint — is good enough to warrant putting your name on a wait list. Just go get a drink somewhere else.

Items I would be happy never to see on a menu again: Fried Cauliflower, Fried Chicken, Fried Mozzarella.

Yes, I have been to five different restaurants in one day. No, I do not recommend it.