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5 restaurants reshaping the dining world in New York City

A photo of Red logo
by Aarti Virani
Updated July 20, 2023

No one can deny that New York City is a place of innovation. That ahead-of-the-curve spirit fuels NYC’s dining scene, which is full of ambitious, boundary-breaking restaurants. They’ve flipped the script on ingredients such as monosodium glutamate, created inclusive dining spaces for those with disabilities, and brought the wilderness to Brooklyn, just to name some past innovations.

These New York City spots stand out for reimagining the dining world. Read on for a list of five cutting-edge restaurants to book right now.

A photo of Bad Roman restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1507)
$31 to $50
Italian
Upper West Side
About the restaurant

One of Bad Roman’s most jaw-dropping features could be the neon-necklaced wild boar statue that graces its entrance. Or the amaro shots served on toy race cars. Or its filet mignon topped with a cacio pepe raviolo that oozes cheese sauce, authenticity be damned. Together, these more-is-more components add up to a decadent Italian American lineup that enticed New Yorkers even before the restaurant officially opened. The Quality Branded hotspot is a flashy flag bearer for a new wave of restaurants ditching years of chic minimalism for louder and prouder dining. Pro tip: schedule an Availability Alert if you can’t find a reservation for the time you’re looking.


Top review
marrieddatenight
Dined 7 days ago
Loved the experience--a tad expensive and they will throw chili flakes in some things without telling you, but truly fun and pretty good food. Portion sizes are on the more modest side.
A photo of Trust Bae restaurant
3.3
3.3 (128)
$50 and over
Japanese
NoMad
About the restaurant

New York City is no stranger to world-class omakase places, but women-powered Trust Bae by Simplevenue (the group behind NYC favorites such as Sushi by Bou and Sushi Suite) soars above other chef-selected meal spots. The intricate dishes reflect Top Chef alum Frances Tariga’s culinary background, a blend of her Filipino heritage, a professional stint in Dubai, and stops at NYC clubstaurants such as Buddakan and Catch. Which explains the polyglot kaiseki menu, featuring everything from Mexican achiote tofu to Indian-inspired pani puri. Spotlighting Tariga’s journey is part of Simplevenue’s commitment to elevating women in the hospitality industry and cements Trust Bae’s status as one of the most exciting counter-style restaurants in New York City right now.


Top review
BrianNvip
Dined on Dec 15, 2023
AMAZING! Cant recommend this enough. Chef Francis is a vibe and gets all of us engaged with great stories and jokes. I’ve dined at many spots in NYC and this one will be unforgettable. On top of all that, the food was top tier. Come here for a great time with even better food!
A photo of SONA restaurant
4.3
4.3 (103)
$30 and under
Indian
Gramercy Park
About the restaurant

Sona turns heads for inventive east-meets-west dishes and ritzy Art Deco interiors (and Priyanka Chopra's involvement). The gilded columns and Thonet-style chairs make a glamorous backdrop to the restaurant’s bi-monthly drag brunch—the only one of its kind in New York City. The family-friendly Bollywood-themed afternoons are hosted by drag queen Malai and feature everything bagel-seasoned naan with cured gravlax, a South Indian-style fried chicken sandwich, and a dedicated kids menu. Sona’s drag brunch honors owner Maneesh Goyal’s own queer identity, along with childhood memories of his family’s Indian restaurant in Dallas, and is part of the restaurateur's larger quest to make the innovative Indian spot a haven for the LGBTQ community.


Top review
Laurenxyzvip
Dined 3 days ago
Very enjoyable meal. Sophisticated Indian cuisine and cocktails. Attentive service.
A photo of Kebaya restaurant
4.6
4.6 (9)
$31 to $50
Indian
Chelsea
About the restaurant

Until 2023, even in an exceptionally diverse city like New York, it was tough to score Peranakan food—a mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian ingredients and cooking methods. But chef Salil Mehta filled that void when he opened Kebaya near Union Square. The seasoned chef has long been a passionate ambassador for underrepresented Southeast Asian cuisines, and his latest act continues to deliver on that mission, serving kaleidoscopic dishes including fried quail over caramelized soy mango salad and turmeric-seasoned, charred whole baby squid cooked in a sour tamarind paste. The patchwork feast is an ode to a cuisine shaped by waves of immigrants who landed in Southeast Asia—Chinese, South Indian, and more—and a welcome addition to a city well-known for transplants.


Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on Dec 30, 2023
Incredible food and drinks. The ambience was perfect to catch up with friends. I’ll definitely be back!
A photo of Journey restaurant
4.1
4.1 (23)
$50 and over
American
NoMad
About the restaurant

Journey is steered by major players in New York City’s dining, fashion, and multimedia worlds who joined forces to create an ultra-theatrical and transportive meal. Diners pick from four distinct experiences: Journey 360 is a whirlwind trip to destinations including an underwater shipwreck and a raging waterfall—all accomplished via cutting-edge tabletop projection mappings—while Journey Odyssey is a five-course meal featuring comic vignettes by Broadway performers. Add spectacular Korean American dishes by chef Edward Hong (whose resume includes the kitchens at MICHELIN-starred Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and Aureole), and you’ve got one unusual riff on dinner and a show.


Top review
VickB
Dined on Feb 24, 2024
I went there on a Saturday night for a first date, and we had a really nice time. We arrived at around 630 which seems to be early since there were very few people in the dining room. So I think a better time would be around 8 PM, but everything was great including the service and ambience, and the food/cocktails were really good too. The decor is really cool too. 
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