Photo composite by Tania Bou Samra, with photos courtesy of Hav & Mar, Eyval, Charles Zhao, and da Toscano

Staff PicksNew York

The New York Restaurants We Loved in September


Yes, it’s officially restaurant opening season in New York, the time of year when we all try to snag a Resy for the latest, buzziest spot in town. For the Resy staff, though, it’s also a time to return to some tried-and-true favorites — the places that keep us coming back time and again whether it’s because of the food, the drinks, the service, or just because they feel like a second home. Here are some of our favorites.

Resy Staffer Spotlight: Juliana Dutan

Juliana Dutan.

A native New Yorker, Resy strategy and operations program manager Juliana Dutan loves staying close to home when it comes to dining out. Growing up, that meant Elmhurst, Queens, and nowadays, it’s Park Slope, Brooklyn. Before joining Resy five years ago, Juliana worked in a number of restaurants throughout the city, including the now-closed Brother Jimmy’s BBQ right by Madison Square Garden, and Emmy Squared in the East Village. Today, her No. 1 criteria for dining is a neighborhood place with good cocktails. “I’m a big cocktail person; if you have a good cocktail menu, you will catch me there.”

Her one piece of advice for fellow diners? “I feel like there are always so many hidden gems in your neighborhood. I want to know every nook and cranny in my own neighborhood, and I’m convinced you’re going to find something incredible that’s going to become your spot.” Here are some of her absolute favorites.

The One Worth Leaving the Borough For: Fish Cheeks
It’s the only restaurant I will consistently leave the borough to go to. It’s such a fun party environment. The food is incredible; you can’t beat the oyster happy hour, and the cocktails are stellar. It’s just such a fun vibe, and not pretentious at all. They have good stuff, and they know that they do.

The Neighborhood Burger Spot: Fort Defiance
It’s in Red Hook, so it’s a little out there for us, but we go there pretty frequently because their burger is out of this world: It’s got these two really thin patties, and you can even do half beef and half mushroom so it gives it a nice veggie twist. And you gotta have bacon and cheese, of course. I’m trying to get everyone onboard with the burger because it’s so good, and so are the cocktails. It’s an unassuming place and not flashy; it has such a homey, fun vibe, and the team is so amazing; all their bartenders are just stellar. I love to order their iced version of an Irish coffee; I drank that all summer. The Oaxaca Old Fashioned with mezcal is so good too.

The Sunday Sauce Joint: Pasta Louise
Pasta Louise has a great Sunday dinner vibe: Pasta, red sauce, a nice bowl of something warm and comfy before you go back to work — what more could you ask for? We often find ourselves at the bar on Sunday nights there. The chef and owner started off selling pasta from her stoop during COVID. They opened a smaller location on a street in Park Slope and maybe a year ago they opened a way bigger spot down the block on Eighth Avenue. They make all their own pasta there, and each day they feature one shape of pasta, and you get that one shape and then you get to choose your sauce, which is kind of fun. The cocktails are really on point. The staff is all super friendly and fun. My mom is incredibly picky and she’s vegetarian, and we always end up taking her there because she can always eat almost everything on the menu.

The Special Occasion Spot: Claro
We just find ourselves here on birthdays, celebrations, and New Year’s Eve. They have a relatively affordable tasting menu and everything they make here is just incredible. They make all their own tortillas. The aguachile is definitely pretty spicy, and I can’t handle spice like that, but I will devour their aguachile and really anything they make. Their stuff is incredible; we did the mezcal flight before, and it‘s great. They also have this clear milk punch that’s incredible; it looks like you’re drinking a glass of water but it’s a cocktail that’s been clarified and it’s so good.

The Go-To for Brunch: Agi’s Counter
I’m not a brunch person. I’m not attracted to going out during that time period, but I will go there just because it’s so delicious and I can’t stay away. The pastries are out of this world. It’s a very small space, so you need to have a Resy or be prepared to wait. I’ve had the tuna melt there, and it just felt so nostalgic. They also have this sugared grapefruit with salted yogurt that’s delicious. They also have really nice wines and really good local beers, which my husband loves.

The One Worth Setting a Notify For: Sofreh
We can’t always get in but when we can, we head to Sofreh. I’m not really a red meat person but I have to get their lamb every time we go; it’s delicious. The space is really beautiful, and it’s so nice to sit outside in their backyard in the summer. They are almost always booked up but great for them, and I’m glad to see they are always packed. The dips are incredible; they have an eggplant and whey dip that’s delicious. All their rice dishes are so incredible. I love the flavor profile of their desserts — rose cardamom, pistachio. They also have some really nice cocktails and good wines. It feels like a fancy dinner out even though it’s definitely a neighborhood spot.

After picking up 10 pounds of pre-ordered chiles …

To take home from Ursula’s Hatch Chile Roast at The Meat Hook, we eagerly got in line for the food that’s made to order: green chile cheeseburgers and New Mexican fry bread with pork verde topping. While the line was long and it was about 95 degrees out, we powered through with the help of the incredible smell of the roasting chiles around us, some Bad Bunny on the speakers, and a few beers in hand. The end reward was absolutely worth it, though we know to get there a little earlier next year!

Isabelle Andrews, Senior Product Manager


Sichuan is my comfort food …

So I went to Han Dynasty in Dekalb Market after going to the movies. Growing up in New York City, I had takeout for dinner most nights and Han Dynasty plays the hits. My go-tos are the dumplings in chile oil, three-cup chicken, and dan dan noodles. Pro tip: Book a reservation for before your movie to resist the $10 M&Ms! Bonus Pro tip: See “Bottoms” starring Ayo Edibiri from “The Bear!” It’s a laugh-a-minute, folks!

Tess Gostfrand, Senior Product Marketing Manager


You can tell how authentic the dishes are …

At Telly’s Taverna in Astoria. Everyone who works there was Greek, and the patio setup is really cute. They have fresh seafood, crispy hand-cut fries, and delicious appetizers. The spanakopita is freshly baked to order, and it comes piping hot out of the oven! Don’t skip the loucoumades for dessert: fried dough with honey and cinnamon, it’s super light and airy!

Tania Bou Samra, Senior Brand Designer

This was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday …

I had seen a few viral TikTok videos showcasing Café Chelsea’s opening and immediately booked a reservation to try it out myself. We feasted on the croquette de chèvre, deep-fried goat cheese balls topped with honey and thyme packed with richness and flavor; the bluefin tuna crudo dressed in a lemon caper vinaigrette; and the artichaut, but the star of the show had to be the ravioles du Dauphiné: It almost looks like one big block of mini ravioli. This meal was great for sharing and an amazing location to visit the historic Hotel Chelsea. After our meal, we grabbed a drink at the Lobby Bar, which is equally as beautiful as the restaurant itself. Pro tip: For dessert, the chocolate soufflé is incredible, but Café Chelsea requires you to order it in advance with your entrées, so make sure to check out the dessert menu ahead of time.

Emily Lyons, Experiential Marketing Senior Analyst

I wasn’t sure what to expect …

From the combination of Swedish and Ethiopian cuisines at Hav & Mar, but with chef Marcus Samuelsson, I knew I would be in good hands. The combinations of flavors were unique but still familiar, while the space itself was carefully thought out with beautiful design touches, fitting for its location in Chelsea’s arts district. My personal favorites were the mar biscuits made from teff and practically infused with honey and butter for a lovely combination of sweet and savory, as well as the havatini pasta with crab, shrimp, and uni butter where the creaminess and decadence made me want to lick the plate afterwards (I did).

Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product


I’m definitely coming back just for the …

Garganelli Bolognese from da Toscano. I’d never had it before but it was so good. We had a family reunion here with my mom visiting from out of town and my cousins, and we had the best booth and everything was just perfect. I’d suggest coming here with a larger group so you can try a bit of everything like we did.

Felicity Lin, B2B Marketing Senior Analayst


Eyval is a restaurant that truly keeps bringing me back …

Every visit gets more special and delicious: the lamb ribs, all the dips, the eggplant,  the kebab, and truly any of the main dishes cannot be missed! Some of the most flavorful desserts can also be found at Eyval. I dream about the saffron ice cream sandwiches. They’re perfect with a side of tea to end your meal.

Lala Liban, Senior Manager, Revenue Enablement


Finally, after much delay …

I got myself into Semma and it was deserving of all the hype. The gunpowder dosa is on every table for good reason. And the snails, paniyaram, and tiger prawn starters are fantastic. But the real standouts I’m still craving were the lobster and goat biryani. The lobster is served with mustard, turmeric, and coconut milk and it’s one of the best things I’ve eaten in 2023. The biryani was unlike any other I’ve had: tender, fragrant, spicy, and so delicious.

Aaron Ginsberg, Vice President of Restaurant Partnerships


Because nothing will ever be as satisfying …

For me, at least, as eating with your hands. And better yet, when you’re eating something as delicious as the marinated raw crabs I had at Quan Ngo‘s pop-up at Hana Makgeolli. A perfect balance of salty and sweet along with some spice, his Vietnamese interpretation of gejang, a beloved Korean dish, was pitch perfect. Everything else on the menu was also incredible — I especially loved the roni-cup-esque slices of lapcheong placed atop the hotteok, and the jokbal (pig trotters) paired with perilla leaves and radicchio. All the sool options at Hana Makgeolli made for some pretty ideal drinking, too, especially the low ABV Sujeonggwa cocktail. P.S. Quan is popping up at Sobre Masa in October, and Winona’s in November.

Deanna Ting, New York Editor, Resy Editorial


Because legends never die …

While a lot of the attention has shifted to the pizzas at Nowon’s new location in Bushwick, I made my way to the original Nowon in the East Village, a place that has truly stood the test of time and remains an institution. We got all of the classics, like whipped ricotta toast (loaded with extra chile oil on top, of course), chopped cheese rice cakes, and of course, the legendary double stack cheeseburger (the one that’s made its rounds on TikTok as the best cheeseburger in town, and rightfully so!). After our meal, the Nowon team gifted us with merch and choco pies to go, reminding me of my aunties and uncles who would always make sure I’m always warm and fed before going out.

Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product


Eyal Shani’s Port Sa’id is a party!

The unmarked entrance on a quiet corner of King and Hudson doesn’t prepare you for the boisterous Tel Aviv energy inside. The front of the restaurant is helmed by a vinyl DJ booth with live sets happening every night. The long bar and open kitchen make the space feel connected and communal. Last but definitely not least: the food … just yum. From the hummus gargarim with globs of olive oil to the lamb shislik and kebab (get them both), this menu has soul. Go with a group so you can order it all. I’m already thinking about my next Pomegroni and burnt Basque cheesecake.

Lauren Young, Communications, Resy and American Express Global Dining


Do yourself a favor …

And get yourself to Sunset Park for a picnic during the last of these warm days. What you’re eating? A hefty taco order from Tacos El Bronco. There are nearly 20 different taco varieties on the menu and picking will be hard, but surefire bets are: the cabeza (veal head), tripe, and pastor. Get a horchata to go, too.

Noëmie Carrant, Resy Editorial Senior Writer


We ate family style, so we got to try a little bit of everything …

At Canto West Village. The restaurant maintains the same look and feel as the old Aria restaurant with the dual bar seating, communal tables, and inviting yet busy atmosphere. The service was great; we were seated immediately, the food came out quickly, and we never had any empty drink. My favorite dishes were the bucatini alla carbonara and the gnocchi gratinati. Reservations were pretty easy to grab, but they do have a decent amount of spots for walk-ins. If you do a walk-in, I recommend putting your name in and grabbing drinks at The Otheroom while you wait.

Kaylee Fields, Manager, Card Membership Marketing & Capabilities 


To prepare for our trip to Montreal …

I went to M. Wells. I didn’t think I would find a Quebecois-style restaurant in New York, but this place was French as hell! It had the perfect neighborhood bistro vibe, and the food was delicious. I am still thinking about the smoked meat ravioli — smoked meat isn’t usually in ravioli; it’s usually in a sandwich — so I was skeptical, but mon Dieu, it was so good! I loved the foie terrine, the wedge salad, and the duck au poivre with fries but I’m still thinking about the ravioli! Pro tip: Long Island City is the perfect place to meet up with your in-laws from Long Island or Westchester. Or if you’re in Long Island City wandering around PS1, M. Wells would be a great place to chill and eat after.

Tess Gostfrand, Senior Product Marketing Manager


This was my second time going …

To Arden in Crown Heights, but it definitely won’t be my last. Both their food and wine menus are constantly changing to reflect what they have to offer. We sipped on a couple of juicy chilled reds while enjoying fresh scallop crudo and lamb meatballs over polenta. The owner, Scott, would come over to check on us to make sure our glasses were always full. Now that’s the neighborhood hospitality I’m talking about!

Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product


The Resy Notify gods came through …

And I recently snagged a table at 4 Charles Prime Rib. It was my second time dining here and the vibes were just as impeccable as I remembered — you slide into a booth and know you’re in for a good time. We had martinis (kept cold with a mid-service switch to a freshly chilled glass), oysters, and split a cheeseburger and steak. Everything was delicious, but being the dessert lover that I am, the bite I keep thinking about is the lemon meringue pie. With a graham cracker crust and mile-high meringue on top, it was the ultimate way to cap off the night.

Alex Johnson, Senior Brand Manager


Le Rock never disappoints …

I could eat the baguette with radis beurre everyday (picture the best butter of all time with crisp radishes). But the caviar dip with pommes dauphine is one of the most luxurious snacks I’ve had and honestly, probably some of the most affordable caviar in the city, which I know is kind of an oxymoron, but so worth it. Whether it’s for the warm, fun service or the gorgeous atmosphere by Rockefeller Center, I can always find a reason to go to Le Rock. I highly recommend the tableside baba au rhum. And when I inevitably return for more, I hear the piña colada is the next must-have.

Emma Cadd, Restaurant Success Manager


Go with a group so you can try a bunch of different things …

At Monkey Bar. I went with four other friends from college and we all shared the spinach and artichoke dip with garlic bread, tuna tartare, burger, fries, and penne pasta. I loved the setting. The waiter was also super helpful with advising us on the best dishes, and also making sure we weren’t overordering, which usually tends to happen. It’s also a great spot to try to sit by the bar for a more casual experience. I was able to snag this reservation day off, during the week, so definitely put that Resy Notify on!

Erika Greengarten, Restaurant Success Manager, NYC


Deanna Ting is Resy’s New York Editor. Some of her other favorite meals this month took place at Golden Diner (get the breakfast burrito, even if it’s for dinner), Moono (they’re back!), Semma, and Foxface Natural (don’t sleep on the pig ears or the whole fish if they have them). Follow her on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). Follow Resy, too.