The “Secret” Best Restaurants in NYC

In New York City, a city known for its culinary scene, nothing gets food lovers together like the discovery of hidden gem restaurants. This article explores some of the best restaurants in NYC that are also best-kept secrets..

Sometimes, the best restaurants in NYC are those that are hidden away from the public eye. To foodies and non-foodies alike, there’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes from discovering a restaurant that has managed to fly under the radar, especially in NYC. These best-kept secrets can be anything from tiny hole-in-the-wall rooms in nondescript buildings to big, well-lit restaurants that look like average suburban dining spots. Neighborhoods all around the city contain hidden gems. Here are three noteworthy examples.

Burger Joint (Midtown West)

You’ve just come from Lincoln Center, decked out in your finest after seeing the Bolshoi Ballet, but the last thing you want right now is some boeuf this or amuse-bouche that. You want grease. You can find it, and in the last place you’d expect to: Le Parker Meridien hotel. Tucked behind the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling drapes is the bizarrely placed and epically brilliant Burger Joint, complete with all the trappings of, well, a burger joint. Faux wood paneling, tacky photos on the walls, and classic vinyl diner seating make it feel like you’ve been transported back to some Midwest hometown hangout spot. The burgers are thick and juicy, and they cost around eight bucks. Not bad for a hotel where a night in the Presidential Suite can set you back nearly $6,000. In addition to the simple fare — burgers, fries, and shakes — there’s beer on tap and wine by the glass.

Hudson Clearwater (West Village)

So you walked up to this “restaurant” in the West Village, saw some boarded-up storefront, and thought your college friend played a trick on you when you asked for a great date spot recommendation. But before you send a string of angry texts, turn your gaze slightly to the side, and you’ll see the little green door that will afford you entry into one of the most charming hidden restaurants in the city. Whether you score one of the few outside tables or one of the hidden-away dining nooks inside Hudson Clearwater, there’s no such thing as a bad seat here. Angus burgers, braised lamb shank, and rhubarb-and-mixed-berry shortcake are just a few of the yummies on the menu. As you chow down, you’ll smile to yourself as you think about how cool your date must think you are.

Bohemian Restaurant (NoHo)

So you’re saying the restaurants above just aren’t enough for you? You’re saying you want a bit of old-school NYC cool thrown in with your invisible dining spot? The Bohemian Restaurant in NoHo just might do the trick. It’s got classic Gotham chic, since the building it’s housed in used to be owned by Andy Warhol. It’s got that grungy “Is this a restaurant or an abandoned building?” look, thanks to the nondescript black door. It’s got sumptuous Japanese cuisine, a secret reservation line, an aversion to press coverage, and it’s one of the best restaurants in NYC. You want to go? Send an email to (their website asks that you use the words “Visit Enquiry” in the title of your email), and you may just get a reply inviting you to come on over. If you’re not sure what to eat, remember these three words: foie gras soba.

Image Source: Flickr/Natacha Raphael

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