It sometimes seems as though the same 15 or 20 restaurants get all the press attention in this city (Eataly, Jean-Georges, anything owned by Tom Colicchio). There are, however, thousands of lesser-known places worth a try. We asked New York chefs and foodies for their favorite off-the-radar restaurants. Try them. If you don’t enjoy, there’s always Mario Batali.
Gael Greene, critic/blogger, insatiable-critic.com
Her pick: Fiore in Williamsburg. “I am always amazed when I arrive and it isn’t full,” she said (284 Grand St., Williamsburg, 718-782-8222).
Don’t leave without ordering: Grilled pizzas ($10-$12) and fried calamari with crispy zucchini ($9).
Sam Talbot, chef, Imperial No. Nine at Mondrian Soho (9 Crosby St., 212-389-1000)
His pick: Caracas, a Venezuelan arepas spot (93 E. Seventh St., 212-228-5062; 106-01 Shore Front Pkwy., Rockaway, 718-474-1709).
Don’t leave without ordering: The La Del Gato, with cheese, fried sweet plantains and avocado ($6.50).
Ruth Reichl, editorial adviser,Gilt Taste
Her pick: Txikito, a Basque tapas joint in Chelsea (240 Ninth Ave., 212-242-4730).
Don’t leave without ordering: Octopus carpaccio ($15), grilled head-on shrimp ($13), blood sausage bundles ($8) and marinated anchovy with eggplant and piquillo peppers ($7).
Plus: When there’s a wait, Reichl goes across the street to El Quinto Pino (owned by the same people) and orders a sea urchin sandwich ($15) that she calls “the finest sandwich in the city.”
Jesse Schenker, chef/owner, Recette (328 W. 12th St., 212-414-3000)
His pick: Sake Bar Hagi, a subterranean yakitori spot in midtown (152 W. 49th St., 212-764-8549).
Don’t leave without ordering: The yakitori (grilled skewers, $1.50-$2.50). And, “it’s the only place to get hamachi collar at 1 a.m.,” Schenker said.
Chris Leahy, executive chef, Lyon (118 Greenwich Ave., 212-242-5966)
His pick: Pongsri Thai Restaurant (165 W. 23rd St., 212-645-8808).
Don’t leave without ordering: The off-the-menu Moo Kum Wahn, a spicy BBQ- marinated pork served with chili-lime sauce and the Vietnamese steamed dumplings with shrimp and pork ($6.95).
Cesare Casella, chef and owner, Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto (283 Amsterdam Ave., 212-877-4801)
His pick: The something-for-everyone Vietnamese eatery Nha Trang Centre (148 Centre St., 212-941-9292).
Don’t leave without ordering: One of the many Vietnamese pho (rice noodle) soups (with fresh herbs and sprouts on the side, $5.25-$6.50) and summer rolls (two for $4).
Lee Schrager, founder and director, New York City Wine and Food Festival
His pick: French Riviera-inspired Nice Matin (201 W. 79th St., 212-873-6423).
Don’t leave without ordering: Tuscan chicken cooked under a brick ($19.75).
Amy Brandwein, executive chef, Casa Nonna (310 W. 38th St., 212-736-3000)
Her pick: Japanese soup-and-noodle spot Totto Ramen (366 W. 52nd St., 212-582-0052).
Don’t leave without ordering: The blow-torch pork belly ($5.50) and the ramen, which has a “very rich but clear” broth, Brandwein said.
Chris Stang, blogger, ImmaculateInfatuation.com
His pick: Post Office, a whiskey bar with a small kitchen (188 Havemeyer St., Williamsburg,
Don’t leave without ordering: The pulled pork sandwich ($7), deviled eggs ($5) and steak tartare ($14).
Andrew Steinthal, blogger, ImmaculateInfatuation.com
His pick: Mas (farmhouse), a fine-dining restaurant that won’t break the bank (39 Downing St., 212-255-1790).
Don’t leave without ordering: The four-course, $68 prix fixe dinner, where you can choose from anything on the menu.