As a lover of good eats and great company, I am always looking forward to when NYC Restaurant Week rolls around. Often I joke that the universe really messed up by giving this foodie, a chronic autoimmune disease because I've always enjoyed a good meal! I'm the furthest from a food critic but I surely love to stuff my face and make recommendations on the best places to dine that will allow you to catch up with your tribe and belly laugh over drinks while you wait for dessert. Whether it's a girls day out in Williamsburg or a meet up with family at the Queens Night Market we're always keeping an eye out for places with cool vibes and a great menu.
Folks message me all the time asking for suggestions on where to eat with a group of friends, for a family celebration or on a cute triple date-night. With dinner offerings at $42 per person and lunch options at $26, I figured I'd round up my recommendations for restaurants to celebrate a winter birthday while saving a coin during NYC Restaurant Week ! If you don't get to check these eateries out between January 21st and February 9th it's ok bookmark these suggestions because they're honestly great choices all year round.
LA LOTERIA (Eclectic/Mexican)
A new spin on authentic Mexican can be found at this James Beard award-winning, west village restaurant with an exciting menu from celebrity chef Julieta Ballesteros.
Address: 29 Seventh Ave. South
Lately, I've been reminiscing about the trip to Cancun, Mexico that Mike and I went on last summer and have been dreaming about how serene our stay was and how delicious all of the food and cocktails were. I knew La Loteria had to be an option for my girls to choose from because it would be the closest we'd get to an authentic Mexican experience.
La Loteria did not disappoint! We indulged in a flavorful ceviche, beer-battered fish (my choice) and braised pork tacos, decadent flan, and amazing churros that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I'm going to insist you get the tamarind margaritas that were so on point I had four. My friends tried out the hibiscus and passion fruit flavors on their first go-round before finishing the evening with three of my favorite. Told ya it was good, I promise it's the only drink you'll need.
BEAUTY and ESSEX (Eclectic)
Ok, so I feel like I'm really late to the party on this because so many folks I know love going to Beauty and Essex and I can't believe I've never been there. I've read reviews that mention you can pop into the women's bathroom for free champagne, who doesn't like that idea? Behind the pawnshop secret entrance, you'll find glitzy chandeliers and great menu choices. I've got my eye on the tuna poke wonton tacos, sweet potato ravioli and I'm torn between the NYC donuts with not one, but three dipping sauces or the apple pie milkshake shot. Which would you pick?
Address: 146 Essex St.
BODEGA NEGRA (Mexican)
Guests enter the space through a tequila warehouse and patrons of the restaurant will enjoy upscale Mexican cuisine with traditional dishes like ceviche, tacos and varied options that all go great with, you guessed it.......Tequila! To be honest I'm completely intrigued by their #LocoMondays and need to see what that's all about in person. Yes, it's another Mexican choice but honestly, can you ever go wrong with Mexican? I'm all for the sweet potato and roasted rmushrooms empanadas, the enchiladas and the pot de creme for dessert.
Address: Dream Downtown, 355 W. 16th St.
I've never had Korean before but I've read great things about Danji, especially if you're looking for authentic Korean flavors. Danji is the perfect place to try out shareable dishes, served over multiple courses and made with classic techniques to enhance the taste. What's great is that the meat is raised with no antibiotics or growth hormones, their fish are caught wild but not overfished or endangered, they strive to use organic and local produce, and do not use chemicals like MSG, to enhance flavors. I'm digging into the K.F.C "Korean Fire Chicken, the kimchi bacon wet fried rice (it's topped with Spam) and then I'd grab the ice cream/sorbet (only choice) for dessert.
Address: 346 W. 52nd St.
FEAST (American/ Eclectic)
Head to Feast in the East Village for a modern-day twist on the traditional dinner party with a charming rustic vibe and seasonal dishes with Latin, Chinese and American influences. I'd likely order the Diver scallops, mushroom polenta, and churros with 5 spice chocolate sauce.
Address: 102 Third Ave.
HUDSON YARDS GRILL (American /Steakhouse)
Hudson yards Grill is a modern eatery in the heart of one of New Yorks's coolest neighborhoods and offers classic American food in a more upscale way. I'd totally try the Manhattan Clam chowder, roasted chicken with gnocchi and veggies, then top it off with the apple strudel and cinnamon ice cream.
ADDRESS: 20 Hudson Yards, 4th fl.
LA PECORA BIANCA NOMAD (Italian)
Local produce, fish, meat, grains and making pasta from scratch is why this Italian cafe is a must-try. I haven't had meatballs in ages so that would be the first thing I ordered, any pasta dish and the milk chocolate Budi with hazelnuts sounds like the perfect dessert.
Address: 1133 Broadway
JUE LAN CLUB (Chinese/Japanese)
I'll admit, without knowing anything about the menu, the really cool and unexpected mix of decor and graffiti caught my eye as a dope spot for a few fun, Instagram-worthy birthday pics. If you're a New Yorker than you may find it's even cooler because it occupies the old Limelight space. My dinner choices would include the crispy rock shrimp tempura, miso-glazed salmon and sauteed eggplant, pork fried rice and then the vanilla creme brulee to end the night.
Address: 49 W. 20th St.
Address: 49 W. 20th St.
In Hindi "Rahi" means traveler which makes for the perfect name for this Greenwich Village restaurant that guarantees to take you on a culinary journey through India with its mix of traditional and modern dishes. I'd likely order Chacha's Chicken Tikka followed by the Three Mango Cod for my first and second courses. To be honest though I'm not sure what either dessert choice is but I'd go for the Mawa Tart
Address: 60 Greenwich Ave.
ROOT & BONE (Southern/ Soul food)
Last year the girls and I headed to this East Village restaurant for brunch for my birthday and enjoyed the charming vibe and good eats. With farm-fresh ingredients, the menu featured dishes that would soothe your soul and leave you with a smile on your face.
You've got to try the drunken deviled eggs and shrimp and grits, you won't regret it! I want to say that there's dessert options but I could not find this heavenly pie on the menu. Note that Root & Bone is not a very big place so keep your group minimal or prepare to wait a bit.
ADDRESS: 200 E. 3rd St.