The Best Michelin Starred Restaurants in NYC

Each year, New York foodies await the next Michelin guide to see which of the city’s restaurants will join the prestigious ranks of Michelin starred establishments. The 2016 Michelin guide was released at the end of September, and I was pleased to see some old favorites remain on the list, and excited to scout out the up-and-coming spots earning their first star. Here’s a list of my favorite Michelin starred restaurants in NYC:

Photo courtesy of thefinchnyc.com

Photo courtesy of thefinchnyc.com

The Finch
212 Greene Ave
b/t Cambridge Pl & Grand Ave
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Located on the ground level of a newly renovated brownstone in Clinton Hill, the Finch serves seasonal New American fare with a focus on hospitality. The restaurant is helmed by chef Gabe McMackin, who has worked at Gramercy Tavern and Roberta’s, among other well-known New York establishments. Given the Finch’s commitment to serving fresh, in-season cuisine, the menu is constantly changing, but reviewers have enjoyed the pasta dishes, shaved lamb tongue, and the reasonably-priced small plates.

Photo courtesy of Zagat

Photo courtesy of Zagat

Rebelle
218 Bowery
b/t Spring St & Rivington St
Nolita, Manhattan

Lauded by Bloomberg as “the French restaurant New York deserves,” Rebelle draws inspiration from the bistronomy movement, which has been steadily gaining ground in France. Bistronomy scraps the fancy linens and expensive silverware in order to bring gourmet food to the public at an affordable price – this is, perhaps, where Rebelle gets its name. The menu is split into four categories, encouraging diners to select a course from each. The lamb tartare is a must-try, and the wait staff is more than happy to help you craft the perfect meal.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Somtum Der
85 Ave A
(at 6th Street)
East Village, Manhattan

This restaurant is named for its signature dish, som tum. This papaya salad is made to order in eight variations, all of which are delightfully tart and spicy. The second part of the restaurant’s name denotes a warm invitation in the Isan region of Thailand, where the owners and chef are from. The menu is a mix of Isan and central-Thai food, with plenty of options for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Small plates are meant to share, as is the norm for Isan food. The restaurant measures the spiciness of dishes on a scale of one to four chili peppers; the high end of the scale is not for the faint of heart. Build a meal out of some sticky rice, a grilled or fried entree, some soup, and of course the papaya salad.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Uncle Boon’s
7 Spring St
b/t Bowery & Elizabeth St
Nolita, Manhattan

Uncle Boon’s is run by owners and chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, a husband-and-wife team who met while working at Per Se. Redding, who grew up in Thailand, named the restaurant after a beloved uncle, and decorated the restaurant with trinkets from family houses in Thailand. Essential dishes include the crab fried rice and classic massaman curry served with beef ribs.

Photo courtesy of carbonenewyork.com

Photo courtesy of carbonenewyork.com

Carbone
181 Thompson St
b/t Houston St & Bleecker St
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, the creators of beloved Italian-American staples Parm and Torrisi, designed Carbone as a nod to the great Italian-American restaurants of mid-20th century New York. Carbone aims to bring delicious food in a comfortable and unpretentious setting. Serving old favorites such as seafood salad, linguini vongole, and veal parmesan, Carbone is one of my go-tos when I want comfort food at Michelin star quality.

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Semilla
160 Havemeyer St
b/t 3rd St & 2nd St
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Semilla is a self-described “vegetable-forward” restaurant, meaning meat and fish play a secondary role to vegetables on the menu. All food is sourced from nearby farmers, and the menu is completely dependent on what is in-season and available. The U-shaped bar seats just 18 people, and is meant to encourage conversation and interaction among diners. With a menu that changes daily and a confoundingly tiny kitchen, Semilla delivers a unique experience to those looking for a vegetable-based, locally-sourced meal.

Photo courtesy of twitter

Photo courtesy of twitter

Hirohisa
73 Thompson St
b/t Spring St & Broome St
South Village, Manhattan

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi hails from a region once called Echizen in the countryside of Japan. He opened his eponymous restaurant in the Village in order to bring a bit of his hometown to NYC. Relying on simple ingredients and traditional Japanese cooking methods (boiling, stewing, and frying), Hayashi has created a menu from which guests can choose a seven-course or nine-course tasting. The sake list is just as notable as the food, and certainly shouldn’t be skipped.

Photo courtesy of cagenrestaurant.com

Photo courtesy of cagenrestaurant.com

Cagen
414 E 9th St
b/t East 9th St & Avenue A
East Village, Manhattan

Owner and chef Toshio Tomito spent over 16 years at Nobu before endeavoring to open his own spot, the name of which translates to “just right” from Japanese. Tomito strives to achieve the perfect balance between classic and contemporary by adding his own innovations to traditional Kappo cuisine. Fresh ingredients are sourced directly from Japan whenever possible to ensure superior quality. The tasting menu provides a sample of raw, fried, and cooked fish with housemade soba noodles and Western preparations to complement the Japanese cuisine.

Photo courtesy of thepicurist.com

Photo courtesy of thepicurist.com

ZZ’s Clam Bar
169 Thompson St
b/t Houston St & Bleecker St
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

This tiny, 12-seat raw bar requires a reservation and serves up craft cocktails to go with their toasts, tartare, and of course, oysters and clams. Helmed by the Torrisis of Carbone, ZZ’s provides a high-end experience for raw bar enthusiasts with a speakeasy feel.

Photo courtesy of 2ight.com

Photo courtesy of 2ight.com

Take Root
187 Sackett St
b/t Hicks St & Henry St
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

With just 12 seats and a sparse schedule, Take Root offers a $120 tasting menu with fresh ingredients and entirely homemade items. The restaurant was opened by chef Elise Kornack and her partner Anna Hieronimus when they were just twenty-five years old, serving a menu that predominantly featured vegetables. Kornack and Hieronimus remain the only employees at Take Root, and they continue to serve vegetable-focused contemporary American cuisine to a lucky 12 guests each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Let me know in the comments which of the newcomers you’re waiting to try out!

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