Having lived in NYC my whole life — born in Brooklyn and lived either there or in Staten Island with frequent trips to Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx — one would think I would have a good beat on where to eat.
But where to eat in NYC is a limitless topic. There are thousands of restaurants across the 5 boroughs. And they are constantly changing. Restaurant here gone tomorrow.
The following are places I recommend — having been introduced to these eateries through family, friends, or my own discovery:
Quaint Italian eatery on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 18th Street known for its thin-crust pizza, Italian dishes, and arugula salads. Have eaten here many, many times — recommended by my sister, and now recommended by me, my wife, and kids. A little cramped interior — normal for NYC — and very quaint; usually dark.
The menu (click the top bars for salads, Italian dishes, wine list, etc):
The best veal in the city, boasts the menu. That is what was said about Louis Restaurant in the Bronx in the movie The Godfather, where Al Pacino shot Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey. That restaurant didn’t exist; the scene was in reality filmed at the Old Luna Restaurant.
Rossini’s exists — in Manhattan — on 38th Street between Park and Lexington — and it claims to have the best veal in the city. Amongst many other fine Italian dishes. I’ve eaten here with friends, as it is across the street from an apartment coop my friend owns — and I’ve had the veal. It was fantastic. The atmosphere is terrific. I ate here with 8 people and all said their food was great.
Walkers is a terrific family restaurant on the lower east side of Manhattan, below Canal Street — on North Moore Street. Recommended by a friend many years ago, I’ve met him and other friends here many, many times, and brought family as well. Good food; affordable prices; pretty decent menu variety wise; and good atmosphere.
Walkers has a nice front room with bar, and then an even nicer and bigger backroom, with family tables. In warm weather they have tables up front.
Across the street from where John F Kennedy Jr lived so it has always been said. And indeed, according to published reports he and his wife had an apartment at 20 North Moore; Walkers is on 16 North Moore.
The only problem with Walkers is finding it. But these days your cell phone will get you there pretty reliably.
Gino’s Pizzeria on 72nd Street and 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge rose to fame in the 1980’s and 1990’s as one of the best Italian Pizzeria/Eateries in the borough. The food was good and cheap, and the small pizzeria with seating in the back was constantly PACKED, with a line of people always waiting for a seat.
As years progressed, Gino’s expanded, taking the storefront to their left (facing outward) to double their size, and added decor to normalize the look of the place.
Gino’s to this day maintains its reputation as one of the best Italian eateries in Brooklyn and NYC, although the prices aren’t quite as cheap as they used to be. From underrated they now might be a tad overrated — but still great food and a sure fire place to have a great Italian meal.
The Place 3 Blocks Down from Gino’s — Bay Ridge Pizzeria
Gino’s (above) is often so packed with a long wait for a table, that one is forced to look elsewhere for an Italian meal — and no better place than 3 blocks down on 77th Street and 5th Avenue — Bay Ridge Pizzeria, which has been around since 1978. There you will sit in a normal pizzeria, with tables, and get Great food at decent prices — with no wait.
A quick lookup shows Bay Ridge Pizza won an award for “Best Pizza in Brooklyn” a few years ago so we (my family and I) aren’t the only ones to find it very good.
There are probably a thousand pizzerias in Brooklyn, most untried by this reviewer, so its left to the reader to try the others and find good ones. Anyone reading this article is encouraged to post a response below informing readers of their favorite Brooklyn Pizzeria.
Pick a Pizzeria
Like Brooklyn, there are hundreds of pizzerias on Staten Island and everyone has their local favorite so it’s hard to pick one or two. While I lived in Great Kills for 25 years there were 9 (nine) pizzerias within walking distance of our house, for example.
Joe’s Lobster House
Joe’s Lobster House on Hylan Boulevard in Dongan Hills has been for at least 20 years the top seafood joint on Staten Island — and known far and wide as a great place to have a cheap, good seafood dish — whether it be lobster, clams, mussels, or other kinds of seafood dishes.
Joe’s Lobster house is a small eatery that also sells fish. They opened up a second location in Tottenville about 8 years ago, which does not get the traffic the original Joe’s does due to its remote location.
Il Portobello Restaurant on Hylan Blvd in Great Kills has been, for the past 15 years, known as one of the best Italian Restaurants in the borough. Good to make reservations on a Saturday or Sunday; you should be able to get a table without too much wait on a weekday night.
Marina Cafe is a long-time name as a good Italian restaurant on Staten Island. It is situated on the water in Great Kills harbor. The prices aren’t cheap but the food has a reputation for being great, and you can get a table with a view of the harbor.
Cole’s Dockside opened up just over 10 years ago a block down from Marina Cafe, to take its overload. They are situated on the second floor of a building, with partial harbor views (although not on the water — on the other side of the street from the water). They established a reputation for great food at moderate prices (a little less than Marina Cafe’s). These days their prices are in line with Marina Cafe — but it is a good restaurant to have a good Italian meal (and seafood).
That’s it for now — we’ll be adding more restaurants to this article as time goes forward, and good restaurants are discovered (or remembered).