The Best NYC Restaurants of 2016

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When it comes to restaurant critiques, few–if any–do it better than Pete Wells of the New York Times. He can be scathing (see his epic Guy Fieri pièce de résistance), elated, transported, thoughtful, sharply humored, or eloquently disappointed (who knew a chocolate soufflé could lack “conviction”?). Reading his work, how he describes every morsel and crumb, is akin to listening to a symphony, each description an otherworldly note. Even those who care more for eating food than reading about it cannot deny Wells’ near-poetic turn of phrase. And so, who better to trust with a year review than the writer himself? The Times recently released Wells’ own Best of 2016 list. We’ve pulled some of our favorite spots and quotes from the piece, just as a start. As for booking a table, we’ll leave that to you. We’re pretty sure these will stand up well into the coming year.

le-coucou-nyc-copy

Photo courtesy of @aguynamedpatrick via Instagram.

Le Coucou

“The dining room isn’t stuffy, the service isn’t snooty, and people don’t get seated in Siberia if their pronunciation of boeuf bourguignon doesn’t have the right backhand spin.”

138 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

lilia

Photo courtesy of @thisgirlcaneat via Instagram.

Lilia

“[Missy Robbins is] a sleight-of-hand cook. You don’t see her tricks coming, but you taste them and wonder how she did it.”

567 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

mr-donahues

Photo courtesy of @foursquare via Instagram.

Mr. Donahue’s

“It has a contemplative, almost wistful mood. If that happens to be your mood, too, I can’t think of a more congenial place to eat well downtown.”

203 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

coq-rico

Photo courtesy of @tt.tu via Instagram.

Le Coq Rico

“The Alsatian chef Antoine Westermann has built a poultry-focused bistro that’s more compelling and carnally satisfying than any modern steakhouse.”

30 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

agern-nyc-2

Courtesy of @agernrestaurant and @evansungnyc via Instagram.

Agern

“The ambitious Nordic invasion of Grand Central Terminal by the Danish entrepreneur Claus Meyer has many facets, including a food hall and a Danish hot dog stall, but Agern is the one that has food worth missing a train for.”

Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

aska-nyc

Photo courtesy of @danielkrieger via Instagram.

Aska

“Mr. Berselius is not dogmatic. He does have his share of strange ideas, but even the odd stuff pays off when you eat it.”

47 S 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

hao-noodle

Photo courtesy of @infatuation via Instagram.

Hao Noodle and Tea by Madam Zhu’s Kitchen

“So many fresh green chiles lurk in Madam Zhu’s Spicy Fish Stew that eating it is a contact sport.”

401 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

llama-inn

Photo courtesy of @plateinprogress via Instagram.

Llama Inn

“[Erik Ramirez] makes the only quinoa salad I’ve ever looked at without feeling pity, either for the salad or for myself.”

50 Withers St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

To read the rest of the list in full, head over to the New York Times here.

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