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30 Cool Restaurants in New York City You Need to Try

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Bored of eating at the same places? Well, NYC is home to some of the best dining experiences in the world. There are an endless amount of cool restaurants in New York City, for all kinds of tastes out there.

From restaurants dripped in lights, to pizzerias featuring giant burratas on their slices, we just love trying different places to eat and drink around the city, and are always discovering something new. As a native New Yorker/ Jersey girl I've been actively exploring the food & drink scene in NYC for over a decade.

In this guide I'm going to share with you some super cool restaurants in New York City, as well as bars, and pop up experiences. Let's get started!

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Cool Restaurants in New York City: Simple Eats

Looking for some quick and easy spots to eat that won't cost you a fortune? Here are a few cool restaurants in New York City that should be added to your list.

1. Unregular Pizza

If you're looking for some authentic Italian pizza, with a bit of a twist, then this is your spot. Unregular Pizza is owned by a Roman couple, and is right near Union Square. Their ingredients are fresh, and the crust is light and crispy like typical pizza you'd find in Italy.

The signature dish at Unregular Pizza is the slice of pizza with a giant ball of burrata on top. Whether you want hot honey and pepperoni, truffle, or your own customized burrata slice (you can add one to any for $3.75), you'll be blown away by how good the pizza is.

Unregular pizza, cool restaurants in New York

Unregular pizza has fun pizza boxes and burrata pizza slices.

Want to try one of their other specialties? They also have arancini, chicken parm sandwiches with vodka sauce, and even fried cacio e pepe. Also, check out those fun pizza boxes!

2. L & B Spumoni Gardens

If you're looking for a truly iconic pizza place in New York, then L & B Spumoni Gardens is definitely one you need to try. Unlike most thin crust pizza, L & B is known for their thick Sicilian slices and their ice cream. Open since 1939, this is a local favorite, and is located in Brooklyn.

For those that don't have the time to go all the way to L & B, we have good news! There is a new location opening right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. This will make it much more convenient for tourists to enjoy L & B without having to travel too far.

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3. DO

Remember when you were little and your parents would make cookies? We all know the best part of homemade cookies weren't the cookies themselves, but actually the dough. Well this place has cookie dough (in a variety of flavors) served just like ice cream, and it is sinfully delicious. They’ve even created the cookie dough without raw eggs so you don’t have to worry about the Salmonella!

DO edible cookie dough NYC, cool restaurants in New York City

DO serves edible cookie dough just like an ice cream cone.

4. 7th Street Burger

We all know that when restaurants offer too many products, the majority of it isn't great. Well 7th Street Burger brings back the old concept of quality over quantity. They specialize in burgers and fries, and keep their menu simple.

Each of their products are super delicious and convenient, meaning you can skip that nasty fast food and actually have a good burger on the go. Vegetarian? No worries- they also have a delicious impossible burger as well.

7th Street Burger currently has four locations throughout NYC, and will be opening a fifth one soon. 

5. Ess-a-Bagel

Bagels are an absolute staple for any New Yorker, so it's a must to try one while in NYC. While there are plenty of great ones, Ess-a-Bagel is pretty popular, and has been for decades. This place is so popular that it has a line that wraps around the street starting from early in the morning until the afternoon.

With all different types of bagels, spreads, and sandwiches, there are so many great options at Ess-a-bagel. We definitely suggest ordering online in advance, so that you don't spend your whole morning in line for a bagel.

Ess a Bagel, bagels in NYC
Ess a Bagel, bagels in NYC

6. Posh Pop Bakery

Looking for some of the best baked treats in town? Well, not only does this place have super delicious cakes, cookies, brownies, etc, but it is actually 100% gluten-free! The small storefront is super cute, and it is a great spot to stop in and cure your sweet tooth. 

Our favorite? They have Jersey Shore boardwalk favorites like funnel cake and fried Oreos!

Posh Pop, cool restaurants in New York
Posh Pop, cool restaurants in New York

7. Faicco's Italian Specialties

Looking for some of the best sandwiches in the city? Well Faicco's is definitely a place you won't want to miss. Full of flavor, and piled high with meat, this is more than just a little grocery store.

8. Trapizzino

Want a twist on a typical Italian specialty? Well Trapizzino has folded and stuffed pizza! This was actually recommended by a friend from Rome, so you know it's the good stuff. This is a great place if you want something a little bit more than a pizzeria, but not quite a fancy sit down dinner.

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9. Remi Coffee & Flower Shop

The place is right in the name. This adorable coffee shop doubles as a flower shop, making it cute and fragrant. We suggest trying their signature Rose or Lavender lattes that they have.

Remi Coffee shop, cool restaurants in New York
Remi Coffee shop, cool restaurants in New York
Remi Coffee shop, cool restaurants in New York

Remi has both coffee and flowers.

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Cool Restaurants in New York City: International Specialties

One of the thing that is so great about NYC is that you can seriously find any type of food that you're in the mood for. There are so many cool restaurants in New York City with a variety of different cuisines to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites.

10. Peppercorn Station (Szechuan)

This isn't your typical Chinese food. Szechuan food is much healthier, spicier, and classier than the Chinese food you may be thinking of, and Peppercorn is definitely the place to try it. It is known for it's green peppercorn, which has a very pungent taste, and is what gives the restaurant its name.

We highly suggest the braised chicken with taro, which is insanely flavorful, and big enough for two. Peppercorn Station overall has generous portions, and great prices for NYC. Additionally, the overall value is insanely good for being in the heart of midtown.

11. Rubirosa (Italian)

Located in Little Italy, Rubirosa is known to have some of the best Italian food in NYC, particularly the pizza. While it's definitely on the pricier side, this is a bucket list place for those wanting to have a really great pie while in New York.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

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cool restaurants in New York pin
cool restaurants in New York pin

12. Pasta Eater (Italian)

It's pretty easy to find Italian restaurants in NYC. However, there aren't a ton that offer homemade fresh pasta on their menu. Pasta Eater is owned by a guy from Naples, and his menu is to die for.

One of their specialties is a large Parmesan wheel where they finish cooking the pasta inside- talk about drool-worthy dishes! The small cozy eatery is right by Union Square, and is easily spotted by the people working there that make pasta all day right in the window.

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13. Lavaux (Swiss)

This adorable Swiss restaurant is located in Chelsea, and is perfect to add to your list of cool restaurants in New York City for a few reasons. First of all, they have a ski gondola in the front of their restaurant, and you can actually eat inside!

There is only one, so you'll have to reserve this in advance, or have patience to get placed here. The second reason we love this restaurant is because of the delicious comfort food they offer, particularly their incredible 6 different choices of fondue.

Lavaux, cool Restaurants in New York City

Lavaux has a ski gondola that you can dine in!

14. Old Tbilisi Garden (Georgian)

One of our favorite places we've been to is Georgia (the country, not the state!). So when we found out that there was a restaurant in NYC with Georgians serving their specialties, we knew we had to check it out. While the prices certainly aren't as cheap as Georgia, the food definitely was spot on. 

Georgian food is rich and hearty, perfect for when it starts to get cold in New York. We highly suggest getting the Adjarian Kachapuri, and the Khinkali, which are two extremely popular Georgian dishes. Also, make sure to sit in the back on their heated patio, which is super cozy and cute.

Old Tbilisi Garden, cool restaurants in New York
Old Tbilisi Garden, cool restaurants in New York
Old Tbilisi Garden, cool restaurants in New York

Old Tbilisi Garden has great food and a heated patio.

15. Jongro BBQ (Korean) 

If you're looking for a fun dining experience, then Korean BBQ definitely needs to be added to your list of cool restaurants in New York City to check out. 

Korean restaurants often serve a number of tiny plates for the table to share, and then allow you to choose different meats to cook yourself right on a hot plate in the middle of the table. This is the perfect dinner idea for groups or celebrations, and one of the best ones in Manhattan is Jongro BBQ, located in the heart of Midtown.

Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ is one of the most fun dining experiences with groups.

16. Lafayette Bakery (French)

Want to feel as if you've teleported to Paris? Well, this high end bakery and restaurant is the perfect place to spend a boujie brunch or to grab a cup of coffee. If you're just popping in, we highly suggest their winter specialty, which is their "Supreme de Noel", a flaky pastry stuffed with eggnog cream, and their olive bread.

If you're dining there, they have some of the best lunch options like hand cut fettuccine with wild mushrooms or lobster risotto. Lafayette Bakery is so much more than a bakery, but a restaurant, bar, and experience all in one.

Lafayette Bakery, cool restaurants in New York City
Lafayette Bakery, cool restaurants in New York City

Lafayette is known for their incredible French pastries.

Cool Restaurants in New York City: The Best Decorations

There are so many cool restaurants in New York City when it comes to decor, especially for the holidays! Here are some of the best ones to check out, whether it's during Christmas, or the rest of the year.

17. Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde, Cool Restaurants in New York

This is one of our favorite places in the city when it comes to its decorations. It has a Victorian theme, and is so beautiful. During the spring they feature giant pink flowers, and during the holiday season they have some of the best Christmas decorations out there. Whenever you go though, you'll love the detail that Oscar Wilde has.

Oscar Wilde, Cool Restaurants in New York
Oscar Wilde, Cool Restaurants in New York
Oscar Wilde, Cool Restaurants in New York

Oscar Wilde is one of the best decorated bars in NYC.

18. Cosmico

Located just next to Oscar Wilde, lies a true hidden gem. Cosmico is often overshadowed by its sister restaurant, but is cozy and romantic. Dripping with lights and flowers, this spot is truly one not to miss. Cosmico has a great happy hour from 4-7, featuring Latin style eats, and the most stunning and delicious cocktails out there.

Cosmico, cool restaurants in New York City
Cosmico, cool restaurants in New York City

19. Lillie's Victorian Restaurant

Lillie's is another Victorian-themed restaurant that is under the same ownership as Oscar Wilde and Cosmico. Lillie's has two locations in the city. Both are cozy yet elegant, and have exceptional food and drinks. Don't miss out on the truffle gnocchi!

Lillies, cool restaurants in New York City
Lillies, cool restaurants in New York City

20. Papillon

Our final sister restaurant of the previous three is Papillon. We came here for brunch, and were blow away by the beautiful Christmas decor. The two-story restaurant is so lavishly decorated, and has some really great cocktails for that perfect boujie brunch you're looking for.

Papillon, cool restaurants in New York City
Papillon, cool restaurants in New York City