20 standout New York City Restaurants that opened in 2020

December 30, 2020, 5:46.06 pm ET  

2020 has been a challenging year for New York's restaurant scene with many restaurants struggling to survive. Sadly, many did not due to the pandemic. But through it all many restaurants did open, and despite all of the challenges continue to march on. Here are 20 that stood out to us in 2020.

Photo: Da Toscano/Evan Sung                                                                                       

DA TOSCANO: Da Toscano brings a fresh take on regional Italian cuisine to Greenwich Village. Located in the former Perla space (24 Minetta Lane), Chef Michael Toscano oversees the kitchen, while his wife Caitlin, also a veteran of the New York City dining scene, operates the front end of the house. more

Photo: Le Sia/Cititour                                                                                                           

LE SIA: Le Sia livened things up with a new location in Hell's Kitchen. The restaurant is known for large shareable plates of everything from jumbo shrimp and dungeness crab to lobster and sautéed baby clams. Unfortunately, its original restaurant closed due to the pandemic.  more

Photo: Loulou/Cititour.com                                                                                             

LOULOU: Loulou feels like it’s been around for ages. Located on a sunny corner on Eighth Avenue on West 19th Street, the lively space boasts a classy marble bar, exposed wooden beams and hardwood floors. Its signature drink is served in a canary-shaped glass. more 

Photo: Thai Diner/Alex Muccilli                                                                               

THAI DINER: The husband and wife team behind Uncle Boons, Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, opened Thai Diner on Mott Street. Visitors will find everything from Thai snacks to specialties like crab cakes in a yellow curry sauce to duck braised noodle soup in a soy anise broth. more

Photo: Paisley                                                                                                         

PAISLEY: Paisley introduced us to fine Indian dining paying homage to India's food, art and culture.  Michelin-starred Chef Peter Beck, who served as Executive Chef at Tamarind, helms the kitchen. Aside from elevated Indian cuisine, diners will also discover spirited cocktails. more 

Photo: Somtum Der/Cititour.com                                                                                  

SOMTUM DER: Somtum Der brought its Isan-style of cooking to Red Hook, Brooklyn. The restaurant is known for freshly crushing all of its spices. Dishes include Crab Pad Thai, fiery Somtum Salad and Laew Hon similar to a "hot pot" served tableside. more  

Photo: American Brass                                                                                             

AMERICAN BRASS: With spectacular East River views, American Brass in Long Island City spans some 14,000 feet featuring custom brass light fixtures, mosaic tilework and leather banquettes. Offerings include cherry-glazed barbecue ribs, a smoked cowboy ribeye and rotisserie suckling pig. more 

Photo: Dante/Cititour                                                                                                

DANTE: Everything old is new again at Dante. The original on Macdougal Street dates back to 1915, but the new location at 550 Hudson Street (at Perry St) is just as precious with its meticulous old-school design. The food and drink offer a more modern approach. more

Photo: Silver Apricot/Emmeline Zhao                                                                       

SILVER APRICOT: Silver Apricot, led by Chef Simone Tong, arrived in the West Village at 20 Cornelia Street. While the menu was scaled back due to the pandemic, diners can expect Chinese-inspired fare made from hometown recipes using local ingredients. more

Photo: Murray's Cheese Shop/Emily Andrews                                                              

MURRAY'S CHEESE: Murray’s Cheese opened in Long Island City. Designed by the Rockwell Group, Murray’s Cheese Bar LIC is the restaurant’s flagship location and its first-ever full-service bar, with an adjacent cheese shop offering more than 400 specialty items. more 

Photo: Bar Marseille                                                                                                   

BAR MARSEILLE: Bar Marseille brought a touch of elegance to the Rockaways. The restaurant occupies the ground level and rooftop spaces inside The Tides at Arverne by the Sea offering picturesque ocean views. The restaurant celebrates the flavors of the French Riviera. more 

Photo: Felix Roasting Co.                                                                                              

FELIX ROASTING CO: Felix Roasting Company is bringing java to the next level.  Located on Greene Street in SoHo, the beverage program is inspired by 4x James Beard Award-nominated coffee expert Reagan Petrehn. Select bites are also available. more 

Photo: Cozy Royale                                                                                                    

COZY ROYALE: The team behind the Meat Hook opened it first full-service restaurant. Cozy Royale, in East Williamsburg, aims to give the neighborhood what everyone could use these days, a hug, with dishes like Pepperoni Rolls, Pickled Bologna "antipasta" and Tomato Pie. more 

Piggyback, Pig & Khao, NYC
Photo: Piggyback NYC/Cititour.com                                                                           

PIGGYBACK NYC: Piggyback NYC, from the folks at Pig & Khao, is a perfect spot for cocktails and bites located not too far from Herlad Square. Deep Fried Chicken comes with a mound of coconut rice topped with a perfectly runny egg yolk on top. more

Photo: Festival                                                                                         

FESTIVAL: 2020 was the year we got our first spot dedicated to farm-to-table cocktails courtesy of Festival on the Upper East Side. The owners call it a "labor of love." The cafe emphasizes sustainability, community nourishment and quality experience. more

Photo: Forsythia/Emily Adler                                                                                         

FORSYTHIA: Forsythia, known for its rustic Italian fare, bloomed on the Lower East Side. All of the pasta and bread is made fresh daily in-house for dishes like Spaghettone alla Carbonara, thick spaghetti with egg yolk, guanciale, pecorino Romano and black pepper. more


Photo: Isabelle's Osteria                                                                                          

ISABELLE'S OSTERIA: Isabelle's Osteria brought contemporary Italian to Gramercy Park this year with a sprawling bar, exposed brick and lush greenery. Visitors can also choose to dine in a fully heated outdoor veranda. The restaurant is named after Chef James Tracey's mom. Tracey helped open Craft. more 

Photo: CheLi                                                                                                          

CHELI: CheLi, which specializes in centuries old Shanghainese cooking, opened on Saint Marks Place in the East Village.  The Dashan Restaurant Group, the team behind Szechuan Mountain House, says it is reinventing ancient cooking methods for modern times. more

Photo: Thaimee LOVE                                                                                            

THAIMEE LOVE: Thaimee Love by Hong Thaimee, the force behind Ngam in the East Village, popped up for 6 months celebrating the foods of her homeland, Thailand. The vibrant cuisine is only matched by Ms Thaimee's vibrant personality. more 

Photo: La Grande Boucherie                                                                                     

LA GRANDE BOUCHERIE: La Grande Boucherie stretches across an entire city block in Midtown, and includes a large outdoor plaza meant to evoke the joie de vivre optimism of the turn of the century. It gives us hope that New York City will survive this pandemic and come out even stronger.  more 

Those are our top picks for 2020. We wish we could have showcased every restaurant opening this year.  You can check out blog for more. But for every restaurant that opened during these tumultuous times we salute you for you bravery and wish you and your courageous employees a very Happy New Year, and many more years of good eating and drinking to follow! 




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