Chelsea is New York City’s most colorful and artistic neighborhood, uniting all walks of life to celebrate the arts and creative events like the famous Chelsea flea market or the historic Chelsea Hotel, which is now an artist colony.
Chelsea’s old warehouses and lumberyards became stomping grounds of the punk rock movement, and there are hundreds of art galleries, music clubs, gay bars, and innovative restaurants. NYC is already known for its fantastic food, and Chelsea is a culinary hotspot that undoubtedly contributes to New York City’s culinary fame.
Chelsea restaurants are among the best in the city. If you’re not sure of where to eat in Chelsea, rest assured that there’s a culinary gem on every corner.
I was lucky enough to eat at numerous restaurants in Chelsea and have compiled a list of the best restaurants to eat in Chelsea, with something for every taste, culture, and occasion.
435 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
Miznon is an Israeli pita restaurant offering the very best of Mediterranean street food tailored to incorporate NYC’s flavor profile. Miznon opened its first restaurant in Tel Aviv and has since opened restaurants around Asia, Australia, and Europe. Their Chelsea Market debut in 2018 has garnered much acclaim from New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple.
Their menu gives you the choice of a pita sandwich or a large plate. All flavors are characteristically Mediterranean and easily accessible to vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters, not to mention affordable.
My go-to at an Israeli restaurant is the Falafel. Their Falafel burger is one giant patty served in a freshly baked warm pita with tomato, pickles, sour cream, and green chili peppers.
They’re also famous for their roasted cauliflower which you can get in a pita or as a whole plate. They have numerous scrumptious red meat, chicken, and lamb kebabs worth trying if you’re a meat-lover.
75 Ninth Avenue, Market, New York, NY 10011
Cull & Pistol is a contemporary seafood restaurant located in the famous Chelsea Market. It is the latest creation of the owners of the Lobster Place, another historic seafood haunt in the heart of Chelsea Market, which you will read about later on in my list.
Cull & Pistol has earned Michelin-acclaim for its impeccably fresh and inventive seafood dishes.
The menu at Cull & Pistol has a raw bar section, a sushi and rolls section, and a cooked seafood menu. I recommend trying a rice bowl with various pieces of sashimi like the Bara Chirashi bowl with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, and chili soy sauce.
Pastai NYC Restaurant
186 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Meaning “pasta makers” in Italian, Pastai NYC is a pasta-centric restaurant specializing in Southern Italian flavors. They make numerous kinds of pasta daily, using various grains for unique flavors and shapes that they prepare with local produce, dairy, and meat purveyors to bring customers delicious, fresh, and decadent pasta dishes. They have plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options to accommodate many dietary preferences.
They have daily brunch as well as a complete wine, beer, and cocktail bar that delivers expertly crafted drinks to accompany a boozy brunch or lavish dinner. I would start with the arancini di riso, which are risotto balls stuffed with a beef-pea ragu and soft pecorino cheese.
The pasta is the star of the show, so I recommend the Tagliatelle con aragosta, which is lemon tagliatelle with lobster, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and crispy artichokes. Their lasagna with a short rib ragu, bechamel, ricotta, and broccoli rabe is also spectacular.
230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Shukette is a Middle Eastern restaurant and sister restaurant to SoHo’s Shuka, the Head Chef of which is Brooklyn native Ayesha Nurdjaja whose vast experience and education in the culinary arts shine through her beautifully curated menu. Shukette’s team of highly experienced barmen and general managers brings you a creative, world-class dining experience.
You’ll get specialty dishes from all over the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They even feature my favorite Turkish dish, the Gozleme, a kind of thin crepe with potato, provolone, and scallions.
They have a section dedicated to various Middle Eastern dips, which you should sample, especially the Moroccan Zaalouk, an eggplant dip with tomato, scallions, and cilantro. As a main dish, I recommend the Joojeh Chicken marinated in saffron yogurt and grilled.
Bocca di Bacco
Bocca di Bacco is a modern Italian bistro with three locations around New York City, all of which have become neighborhood favorites. Their Chelsea location incorporates the artistic spirit of the neighborhood by offering events like outdoor film viewings nightly at 7 pm.
Their outdoor patio seating and warm, open dining room are inviting, comfortable, and romantic settings for a special dinner, lunch, or brunch.
Their menu has an excellent selection of traditional antipasti, pasta, pizza, and large meat and fish dishes. I recommend trying the baked clams or fried calamari to start.
I recommend splitting a black truffle pesto pizza with mozzarella, mushrooms, and speck to save room for the main course. I recommend the pork chop Milanese, with arugula and burrata.
202 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Puttanesca Restaurant is a classic Italian restaurant and Chelsea favorite in a super cute, narrow wooden bar with a small two-top lined wall replete with old school Italian family pictured canvases and interesting light fixtures.
The bar has a green-lit glass back-drop that goes perfectly with the creamsicle-colored walls. Puttanesca captures the Chelsea vibe perfectly in décor while serving authentic Italian food made with ingredients imported from the home country.
Their menu uses many Italian words that may not be familiar to the average New Yorker. They’ve anticipated this, supplying a full glossary of Italian cooking terms, dishes, and ingredients.
I recommend trying their meatballs as antipasti and a small plate of house-made gnocchi with butter and sage. As a main dish, I recommend the Jumbo shrimp scampi with prosecco risotto.
189 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Fonda is a contemporary Mexican food restaurant opened and run by Mexico native Roberto Santibanez, whose vision is to bring the delicious urban eats of his beloved Mexico City to the urban neighborhoods of New York.
Fonda has all the traditional Mexican favorites like house-pressed corn tortillas and made-to-order guacamole. However, it also supplies modern Mexican dishes that bring new and refreshing flavors to the mix.
One of my favorite dishes at Fonda is the Huarache con Hongos, a corn masa boat filled with black bean spread and sauteed mushrooms, salsa verde, chipotle salsa, and queso fresco sprinkled on top.
Mexicans are always proud of their tacos, so you should try the most traditional taco al pastor with chopped marinated pork with pineapple, onions, cilantro, and topped with avocado tomatillo salsa.
172 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Specializing in Venetian cuisine, Le Zie Trattoria has been a Chelsea institution since 1999. They use seasonal produce to create a special, rotating menu along with an impressive wine list featuring wines from the Americas and Europe.
Their restaurant could also serve as an art gallery with a vast collection of paintings lining the walls, including works from noteworthy artists like Lucio Pozzi, Jan Frank, and Gaetano Pesce, to name a few.
They serve lunch, brunch, dinner, and cocktails, each with its extensive menu of Italian favorites. I recommend them for lunch. Their whipped ricotta with honey and freshly baked house bread are utterly decadent, and their vast array of amazing paninis will have you coming back time and again to try each one.
72 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
District Local is a cocktail bar and restaurant featuring small plates. Their cocktails have won them acclaim in the Eater, Forbes, and the New York Post.
Their food is bar fare at its very best, encompassing favorite comfort foods from all over the world, from Mexican tacos to wings, to grilled cheese sandwiches.
Their cocktails are expertly crafted, and they have an impressive list of local and foreign craft beers, along with at least 13 beers and ciders on tap. District Local is the perfect spot for beer lovers who also like a high-end modern bar environment.
156 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Cookshop is named for an 1800’s culinary trend in which homeowners created eateries wherein menus offered home-cooked, simple meals that used the ingredients chefs had on hand.
Cookshop’s head chef Marc Meyer seeks to revive this ingredient-dependent concept, offering a seasonal menu that uses the bounty of New York’s local product, meat, and dairy.
The New American menu has plenty of fresh vegetable options along with all local seafood and meat dishes.
I recommend trying the local bartlett pear and roasted beet salad with mint, feta, hazelnuts, and a spicy honey vinaigrette. Their roasted Montauk skate with Sorana beans, dill, anchovy, chili, and shaved apple is unlike any fish dish I have tried.
Los Tacos No. 1
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Los Tacos No. 1 is a traditional Mexican taco stand restaurant created by three close friends from Mexico and southern California who wanted to have decent, authentic street tacos on the east coast.
The tacos are tasty, cheap, and as authentic as street tacos get. They serve tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, and all the delicious salsas and guacamole that you’d expect as garnishes.
Traditional street tacos use corn tortillas, and while they offer your choice of corn or flour, I would always choose corn. They’re house-pressed and impart a flavor essential to Mexican cuisine.
I also suggest you try the carne asada, a grilled steak taco, as well as the nopal, Mexican grilled cactus quesadilla.
107 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011
With over 30 years in the business, Da Umberto is a beloved Chelsea haunt serving modern takes on traditional Tuscan dishes in a classic yet high-end Italian restaurant setting.
Da Umberto has received a 2020 Star Diamond award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for its excellent service, as well as a spot on the 2020 Michelin guide.
The presentation of their food is beautiful in its simplicity. I recommend the prime beef carpaccio with arugula, parmigiano, capers, and lemon oil, along with the toasted cheese ravioli for antipasti.
Their spaghetti with clams, pancetta, and hot chilies is my pasta pick. As a main dish, their dry-aged porterhouse for two with rosemary sea salt and roasted potatoes is the perfect dish for a romantic dinner for two.
176 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
LouLou is a French Bistro and Speakeasy named for the owner’s rescue dog. LouLou has a cute street-level restaurant with a beautiful rustic-chic interior and a basement bar with nightly live music performances and a bustling, fun atmosphere for happy-hour or late-night drinks.
Their menu features a raw bar, charcuterie, and flatbread menu, as well as high-end French Bistro-rich meat dish offerings like Duck Leg Confit and Escargot.
I recommend their mussels in saffron fennel broth with lemongrass and grilled filoni. They also have a delectable surf and turf option of crispy pork belly with seared scallop served with charred leek and celery root, apple puree.
246 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011
Westville is a humble farm-to-table American comfort food restaurant with locations all over New York. Their affordable prices, and no-frills, hearty dishes have earned them a substantial local following.
Their extensive menu runs the gamut of American regional comfort foods, from southern smokey mac and cheese to breaded chicken cutlets. They consistently have over 20 market vegetables to choose from, all from local farms.
With such an incredible selection of fresh veggies, I recommend getting a salad or creating a vegetable plate. My favorite salad is the Tuscan Greens salad with bacon, avocado, fried halloumi, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, radicchio, endive, romaine, and kale with lemon caesar dressing.
409 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
Meaning “shellfish” in Spanish, Los Mariscos is a Mexican seafood restaurant serving seafood tacos, shellfish and seafood cocktails, and Mexican ceviche in a casual environment that assumes the décor and atmosphere of a traditional Mexican fish market.
You can even get classic Mexican micheladas, a beer cocktail that usually uses clam juice, and seafood garnishes like shrimp skewered with pickled veggies.
I recommend their coctel campechano, which includes shrimp, clams, scallops, and octopus in a spicy tomato salsa served in a conical milkshake glass with freshly fried corn tortilla chips. Their battered shrimp and fish tacos are as fresh as they get. They also have a salsa sampler that I recommend ordering to top your tacos.
Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen
169 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen is a cocktail bar and draft house offering more than twenty draft beers as well as an extensive mezcal list.
Their food is new American bar fare at affordable prices with plenty of shareable plates meant for groups of friends and colleagues to enjoy with their beer, cider, wine, or cocktail of choice. They have a great happy hour every day with 5$ wine, beer, and cocktail selections.
I would try one of their beers on tap that features mainly local brewers using local ingredients. If you’re there for a brew, the best accompaniment would be Cooper’s warm buttered soft pretzels with beer cheese dip and stout mustard.
They also make a killer double cheeseburger called the Smash burger with Russian sauce, American cheese, red onions, and house-made pickles on a potato bun.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Located inside the famous Chelsea Market, Lobster Place has been a high-quality seafood counter, raw-bar, and sushi bar since 1974. Their raw oyster bar has earned them a Michelin Guide mention, and they consider themselves pioneers of fresh, sustainable seafood. They even created a menu from local East Coast seafood, with the show’s original star being the Maine lobster.
They’ve partnered with various sustainable seafood projects to ensure that their fish and shellfish come from healthy ecosystems that regenerate, providing seafood and a thriving world under the sea for the next generations of fish and patrons.
I recommend trying their raw oysters, of which there are over ten varieties. I also recommend their fantastic lobster rolls.
209 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Restivo is a classic Italian bistro in a small, unassuming yet cozy space with dark green walls, wood trim, and an old wood bar, serving traditional Italian pasta, antipasti, and main dishes, as well as a fancy weekend brunch. Restivo has been a Chelsea favorite since 1994.
I recommend coming to Restivo for their delicious Italian brunch offerings: the salmon bollito, poached salmon topped with bearnaise sauce, or the polenta with pink sauce topped with two poached eggs.
185 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Momoya is a trendy Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi and cooked fusion dishes with a lively atmosphere and beautifully presented, colorful dishes.
In addition to their extensive offering of traditional sushi, nigiri, rolls, and dumplings, they also use Japanese flavors to create unique takes on dishes like tacos and Chinese teriyaki. They also have plenty of tasting plates with multiple small bites.
Momoya has the most extensive menu on my list. I recommend the lobster tempura roll with avocado, smoked red pepper, and lobster jus, as well as tempura and sashimi tastings that give you eight different high-quality cuts of fish.
Jun-Men Ramen Bar
249 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Aptly named, Jun-Men means pure-noodle, and that is what you’ll get at this classy and delectable ramen bar.
Although they also have fried rice, small plates, and delicious buns on their menu, everything takes a backseat to their over-the-top ramen bowls. They also have sake and a Japanese beer list.
I love their pork bun with pork belly, pickled cucumber, and hoisin sauce to enjoy with a refreshing and light Sapporo beer. My favorite ramen at Jun Men is the Uni mushroom ramen with roasted pancetta, porcini butter, truffle oil, fried shallots, scallion, and parmesan cheese.
Ovest Pizzoteca & Bar
513 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Ovest Pizzoteca & Bar is a lively, fashionable, industrial-chic Neapolitan Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant with a traditional wood-fired brick oven.
The head chef is a Naples native who is also a prized pizzaiolo or traditional Neapolitan pizza maker. Ovest is a popular happy-hour haunt for Chelsea’s businessmen and art gallery merchants.
Their Aperitivo-Italian for Happy Hour- the menu features delicious cocktails, small plates, and world-class pizza at lower prices, served every day from 5-8 pm. You can only get pizzas at lunchtime, but they are some of the best and most authentic I have tried.
I recommend the Ovest specialty pizza with tomato sauce, spicy salami, ricotta, black pepper, and fresh basil.
Sullivan Street Bakery
236 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Sullivan Street Bakery is a New York native bakery with various locations around the big apple, serving a wide variety of artisanal bread baked fresh daily.
Just the smell of this place is enough to overwhelm your senses. Owner and master baker Jim Lahey is the first recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker.
If James Beard made an award especially for this bakery’s superb bread products, you can imagine how delicious they are. You cannot visit Chelsea without stopping in to buy a loaf. They also offer a small menu of Roman-style pizzas, pastries, and sandwiches.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Not only will you feel transported in time at Buddakan, but you’ll feel transported to an entirely different continent altogether. The restaurant’s interior looks like a dining room in a 16th-century French palace, with the most beautiful wood-carved walls, two-story ceiling, and exquisite gold chandeliers.
However, you won’t get French food at Buddakan. Buddakan serves a pan Asian cuisine with specialty dishes from China to Japan.
The vast menu at Buddakan has vegetable dishes, dumplings, meat, poultry, fish, and tofu. I recommend the dungeness crab sticky rice with Chinese broccoli, Peking duck, and the tea-smoked spare ribs with hoisin Barbeque sauce and sesame.
Chelsea’s restaurants are as creative, innovative, and diverse as its art scene. Whether you’re looking for a happening happy hour, a fine-dining experience, or an innovative cultural fusion extravaganza, you’ll find the very best option on my list of Chelsea’s best restaurants.
Did I leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to check it out!