Where to Eat in New York City

The interior of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in New York.
Slow-roasted short ribs with Castelvetrano at Il Buco.
Sip on a Dandy Riot at The Library at the Public.

Eat Like a Local

Notable residents share their favorite New York City spots

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By David Farley 
Photography by John Kernick

Farley’s Picks | Food and travel writer:

  • Mission Chinese Food: In 2012 chef Danny Bowien opened this Lower East Side outpost of his San Francisco restaurant, and it’s been packed ever since. Bowien puts his Oklahoma spin on Szechuan cuisine with affordable, addictive dishes like kung pao pastrami and thrice-cooked bacon. 154 Orchard Street; 212/529-8800
  • Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria: You can’t throw a meatball in New York without hitting an Italian restaurant, but this unassuming NoHo restaurant stands out. Perfectly seared octopus gives way to juicy porchetta alla Romana paired with peaches and charred onions. 53 Great Jones Street; 212/837-2622
  • Luksus: The Scandinavian cuisine craze has bitten the Big Apple. Enter Luksus, which you do through the front of Tørst, the (great) Danish beer bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The $75 multicourse dinner adapts to seasonal ingredients, but expect dishes like roasted lamb breast with tongue and sunchoke puree. 615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718/389-6034
Andrew McCarthy | Actor, director, and author of The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down:
  • Red Rooster Harlem: Since his recent move to Harlem, McCarthy calls Marcus Samuelsson’s homage to American regional cuisine “my new local.” His favorite dish? “I love the yardbird,” he says. If extra-crispy fried chicken doesn’t catch your fancy, try the chili-lacquered pork chop or the Gouda-spiked mac and cheese. 310 Lenox Avenue; 212/792-9001
  • Esca: The name means “bait” in Italian (a clue to the menu). “I could have an entire meal of just the crudo,” McCarthy says of this upscale Midtown Italian restaurant’s large raw seafood selection. “Especially the red snapper with black salt.” 402 W. 43rd Street; 212/564-7272
  • Lexington Candy Shop: “My favorite diner in New York City is the Lexington Candy Shop,” says the Pretty in Pink star. “They still make soda from syrup and serve great shakes. It’s as old-school New York as it gets.” The luncheonette also serves plus-size club sandwiches and American breakfast classics. 1226 Lexington Avenue; 212/288-0057
Andrew Carmellini | Chef and restaurateur (Locanda Verde at The Greenwich Hotel, The Dutch, and others):
  • Daniel: “I had the privilege of working with Daniel Boulud for six years,” Carmellini says. “His flagship restaurant is one of New York’s great treasures.” It’s a trove of haute French cuisine—butter-poached, wine-braised, syrah-sauced, and all—in a stately atmosphere. 60 E. 65th Street; 212/288-0033
  • Hearth: “I just love the food here because it has a lot of heart,” he says. This wine-centric East Village spot serves hearty and satisfying Italian fare, including veal-and-ricotta meatballs and olive-oil-poached Alaskan salmon. 403 E. 12th Street; 646/602-1300
  • The Library at The Public: This restaurant near Astor Place adjoins The Public Theater, but it’s not just for patrons. Go for pork chops and polenta or orecchiette with basil pesto. But start as Carmellini (who helps create the menu) does—with a cocktail. “Bartender Tiffany Short can mix a cure for anything,” he says. “Especially cocktail fatigue.” Try the Dandy Riot: Old Overholt rye, Aperol, Angostura, and Talisker 10 Year Old. 425 Lafayette Street; 212/539-8777
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, November 2013.

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The Library at the Public's orecchiette with basil pesto.