Classic NYC Standby Restaurants

Marra Pasta

Maybe it’s the cold weather, or not wanting to over-engineer things. But there’s something about January that makes you want to return to the basics. In NYC, those are your old standby restaurants where everybody knows your name. These may not be the newest restaurants, but they will always be the best restaurants in NYC. So, this is the list of the places to put back on your list this January.


The Cuisine: Greek

What to Order: Branzino, lobster pasta and the Milos special, which is their classic fried zucchini chips and with a few pieces of saganaki

The Location: Midtown

The original Milos location is a staple as far as the list of best restaurants in NYC goes. It has it all; a power scene at lunch (yes that is Jeff Bezos), beautiful people and excellent food. Milos is arguably the best Greek restaurant in the city too, where the seafood is almost as fresh as in the Greek isles.

The Special Marea Lobster


The Cuisine: Italian

What to Order: Lobster astice, sea bass tartare, crudi and the langoustine

The Location: Central Park South/Columbus Circle

Marea is in the Hall of Fame of the best restaurants in NYC, and it landed on the list the day it opened. There’s always an elegant crowd and the food is consistently top quality. Service is also tops which is why 75% of the people in there are repeat diners.

Polo Bar

The Cuisine: American

What to Order: Pigs in a Blanket, the burger with French fries and the Reuben

The Location: Midtown

Polo Bar is not a private club but it may as well be, as it’s near impossible to get a reservation. There are times where the waitlist to get in is over 2,500 people. But there is a reason why everyone from Presidents to musicians like John Legend and even George Clooney frequent the restaurant.

Via Carota

The Cuisine: Italian

What to Order: Meyer lemon risotto and the tonarelli

The Location: The West Village

When a place doesn’t take reservations yet has at least an hour wait, if not two each night, you know it’s good. Via Carota represents everything that is effortlessly good on the New York City restaurant scene. It’s an unassuming restaurant but the people who dine there, the quality of the food and the service make it a perfect neighborhood spot.

waverly inn2

Waverley Inn

The Location: West Village

The Cuisine: New American

What to Order: Chicken pot pie, jumbo lump crab cake and the aged beef Tomahawk rib chop

The Waverley Inn, like the Polo Bar, feels like a private club with its dark leather booths and wood paneled dining room. Waverley Inn brings an elegance as well as a throw-back to the Sinatra days in its vibe, and serves classic comfort food that’s perfect for cold evenings.

Monkey Bar

The Location: Midtown

The Cuisine: Steakhouse + American cuisine

What to Order: Crab rangoon, crab cakes, shrimp scampi and the prime rib French dip

When a restaurant has been around since 1936, it deserves a spot as one of the best restaurants in NYC. Yes, the ownership and concepts have changed over the past 80+ years, but in recent decades, the scene and food have been tops. We didn’t think that anything could be better than Graydon Carter running the show, but then the guys from 4 Charles came in. This is food you can’t eat everyday but when you want a comforting meal, Monkey Bar is your spot.

Other Articles You’ll Like

Classic NYC Restaurants 
A Review of Monkey Bar NYC 
Fine Dining NYC Restaurants 

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