2016 was the year of Pasquale Jones. This restaurant makes delicious, accessible food at a reasonable price point (gratuity included!) in a great downtown location. I bring friends here repeatedly so that they can try the clam pie and the pork shank, which are two of Pasquale’s outstanding signature dishes, and no one has ever been let down. The same applies to myself. I’ve been back multiple times because the food is always good.
2016 was also a great year for poke bowls. There’s been an explosion of poke restaurants in the city, and my favorite one is Chikarashi in Chinatown. Indian food is also having a great year with the openings of places like Paowalla, Pondicheri and Indian Accent. So are sexy French restaurants, which are dishing up luscious meats and seafood in all sorts of creamy, buttery sauces in the prettiest of places. Brooklyn shows no signs of slowing down, New Nordic is still a thing, and you can never have too many new sushi restaurants. 2016 for me was also noteworthy for a lot of new overhyped restaurants I didn’t quite understand–Lilia, Llama Inn and Superiority Burger come to mind–but the ones that lived up to expectations really stuck. Here’s my list of the best new eateries that I think will have staying power.Read More
If you love the climate and culture of Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy with half the crowds and at a fraction of the price, you should start looking into Portugal. We were driving through the winding roads of the beautiful Douro Valley, the equivalent of Napa in Portugal, making our way from one winemaking quinta estate to the next, and we were struck by how accessible this country was. In any other European city, there would be a harrowing traffic jam from place to place, and we would have had to call the best vineyards and restaurants ahead of time to fight for a spot, only to fend off the crowds once we arrived. But not in Portugal. A meal at the top restaurant or a photo of a stunning castle can be yours, hassle-free. And it doesn’t make it less delicious or less beautiful because it’s less competitive. People just haven’t caught on to Portugal just yet.Read More
The best fine dining restaurant in Lisbon, and perhaps all of Portugal, is Belcanto. It has 2 Michelin stars and is No. 78 on the list of the World’s Top 100 restaurants. It deserves a higher spot than that, in my opinion, and I’m sure it would be if it were in a more high profile region like London or France. It was certainly my favorite meal on my London + Lisbon trip, which included meals at higher ranked places like The Clove Club and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. What’s crazy is that Estela, a restaurant in New York, is ranked higher at No. 44, despite Belcanto’s higher skill level, better ambiance and more attentive service, but I guess when President Obama visits your restaurant it opens a lot more doors for you. Read More