15 NYC Restaurants Worth The Splurge!

"Fine dining" may be one of the top reasons it's tough for New Yorkers to leave New York. And it's true, we're spoiled by the bevy of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options at our disposal. But really, these decadent spots are only in play when we've got the funds to order up at the most acclaimed restos in town. So, in order to make the process more seamless, we've given our top 15 NYC picks for the best restaurants in the Big Apple that are actually worth all of that lunch (and dinner) money.
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Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons
Four Seasons
"In many ways, it's still 1959 at the Four Seasons restaurant. Not only has the space, designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, remained virtually unchanged, the crowd and the menu is a sort of time capsule from those bygone days of posh and privilege. That said, my dear friend Libby and I were all for time traveling on a recent visit for a snazzy lunch. Let's face it, nothing beats that gorgeous Pool Room and all the Mad Men-esque midcentury furniture lining the ladies room. And, well, the menu is just like the service: serious and sort of stuffy (unless of course you choose the cotton candy for dessert at dinner!). Our fancy girls' lunch consisted of gin martinis, green vichyssoise with peekytoe crab, corn ravioli with shrimp and chanterelles, topped off with a cool coconut custard pie. But the Four Seasons is so much more than just a pricey lunch — it's an anthropological journey through old school New York and the publishing scions I used to worship. Bottom line: Go for the Mies and the martinis….it's more than worth it. " - Christene Barberich, editor in chief

Four Seasons, 99 E. 52nd Street (between Lexington and Park avenues); 212-754-9494.
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Photo: Courtesy of Da Silvano.
Da Silvano
"Da Silvano has been in the West Village on Sixth Avenue for over 35 years and there's good reason! The food here is deliciously fresh with authentic flavors, even celebrity cameos from time to time. The best part? The menu varies often in order to serve fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and black and white truffles, and fiddlehead ferns, and oysters, and only the freshest Branzino, and the richest olive oil, and mouth watering mash potatoes and I can go on forever... It is worth every penny!" - Amanda Savinon, photo assistant

Da Silvano, 260 Sixth Avenue (between Bleecker and W. Houston Streets); 212-982-2343.
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Photo: Courtesy of ABC Cocina.
ABC Cocina
"It's so annoying to get a reservation, but everything here lives up to the ABC promise. Sure, it still looks like Pipa on the inside, but the food is so much better than the standard-fare tapas of the old restaurant. Every single vegetable there tastes SO fresh and amazing, and the homemade hot sauce is almost unnecessary — but insanely good. Also, yummy cocktails, such as my go-to that I like to make for myself: rum and coconut water!" - Neha Gandhi, executive editor, features

ABC Cocina, 38 E. 19th Street (between Park Avenue and Broadway); 212-677-2233.
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Photo: Courtesy of Acquavit.
"Aquavit...and I'm not talking about that Restaurant Week menu. I'm talking about the summer tasting menu with beverage pairings. Cardamom-infused Aquavit Manhattans, foie gras, gravlax and an assortment of modern takes on Scandinavian cuisine." - Jake McGraw, director of operations

Aquavit, 65 E. 55 Street (between Park and Madison avenues); 212-307-7311.
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Photo: Courtesy of Brooklyn Fare.
Chef's Table At Brooklyn Fare
"I took my boyfriend here for his 30th, and while it was certainly the most expensive meal I've ever had, it was absolutely unforgettable. Twenty-something courses, all eaten in about two bites. The flavors were like nothing I've ever had (and know I'll never have again), and the experience of watching these master chefs create the meal in front of us was thrilling. This isn't a going-out-to-dinner experience. This is like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory, or seeing a stunning piece of theater that will only be performed once. And then you get to eat it." - Kelsey Miller, SEO editor

Brooklyn Fare, 200 Schermerhorn Street (between Bond and Hoyt streets); 718-243-0050.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chez Sardine.
Chez Sardine
"Chez Sardine is pure heaven! Super cool vibe from the minute you walk in, nestled away in the heart of the West Village. The food will knock your socks off. From the foie-gras-and-smoked-­cheddar grilled cheese sandwich to the "melt in your mouth" silver-dollar pancakes topped with salmon roe to the delicious selection of fresh sushi. Not to mention one of the best cocktail selections I've experienced in the city. Same owner as Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey, two of my other favorite local spots." - Ashley Miles, executive vice president, sales and brand partnerships

Chez Sardine, 183 West 10 Street (at W. 4 Street); 646-360-3705.
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Photo: Courtesy of Blue Hill.
Blue Hill
"You might have to spend several months saving up for the tasting menu and a matching bottle of wine — the cheapest pairing rings in at around $60, a stark contrast to the more desirable price of free/stolen from roommate — but it is beyond worth it. I've been treated to a few fancy, small-plate meals in the past, but nothing compares to the incredible subtlety of these flavors. I wish there were words to describe the cucumber sorbet, undoubtedly the highlight of the meal I recently had there. It was somehow colder than normal ice cream. This sounds weird, but I felt like I could taste it with senses other than my tongue. That's how powerfully delicious it was. Furthermore, I'm not the type who takes service and atmosphere into much consideration when picking a restaurant, but that was a huge part of what made Blue Hill so incredible. It's quiet and dark and plush, and the servers are so kind and delicately enthusiastic, you feel like you're some kind of long-lost Anastasia who has seemingly returned from the dead and is being honored with a feast of the very best the townspeople have to offer, made even more succulent by their unbounded joy. The last thing I'll say is that if you have to eat ramen for a month to afford this place, that's fine, because afterwards you'll be disgusted by all other food." - Lexi Nisita, news editor

Blue Hill, 75 Washington Place (between Sixth Avenue and MacDougal Street); 212-539-1776.
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Photo: Courtesy of Estela.
"Tucked away on a strip of East Houston not known for its culinary prowess, this wine centric, shared-plates establishment is quickly becoming a gastronomic get away for people in the know. Sidle up solo to the bar for a glass of rose and a plate of razor clams, or pack in with a crew to one of the intimate tables for bottles and burrata." - Darin Bresnitz, events director

Estela, 47 E. Houston Street (between Mulberry and Mott streets); 212-219-7693.
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Photo: Courtesy of Momofuku Ko.
Momofuku Ko
"My boyfriend surprised me on my birthday this year with an exquisite lunch at Momofuku Ko. We sat at the smallest of the Momofuku restaurants — only 12 seats at the counter — for about three hours and enjoyed 17 courses of serious deliciousness." - Samantha Yu, editorial assistant

Momofuku Ko, 163 First Avenue (at E. 10 Street); 212-500-0831.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pure Food & Wine.
Pure Food & Wine
"I never can understand why something raw and vegan is so expensive, but there is an art to making that $24 lasagna taste like mom's homemade — and it is absolutely delicious!" - Jill Meisner, director of public relations

Pure Food & Wine, 54 Irving Place (at E. 17th Street); 212-477-1010.
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Photographed by Ellen Silverman.
Gramercy Tavern
"My favorite expensive restaurant is Gramercy Tavern. Favorites include the Lamb Pappardelle as well as just about anything Mike Anthony does with chicken or smoked fish (they smoke the fish at the restaurant, it's amazing). What I also love is that while it's 'expensive' they always have several reasonably priced delicious wines and also if you stalk a Tavern table you can have a GT meal without paying much more than you would at a normally priced restaurant." - Riva Syrop, senior beauty director

Gramercy Tavern, 42 East 20th Street (at Park Avenue South); 212-477-0777.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kajitsu.
"The best most expensive restaurant I have been to recently was Kajitsu, a traditional shojin zen-style Japanese restaurant my boyfriend chose for my birthday. I'm a veggie, but rarely eat out at vegetarian or vegan restaurants because I'm not a huge fan of the fake meats and prefer not to fork over tons of cash for complicated, raw, room-temperature concoctions. (Not that there's anything wrong with a lovingly made nut-cheese plate, it's just not for me.)

I ended up being completely blown away by the meal at Kajitsu. You get to choose from two tasting menus. Being that it was so much $$$$, we opted for the smaller one which was more like $$$. What we got was five courses, with each plate being more surprising and gorgeous than the one before, and the best part was I was able to try everything. Just because it was vegetarian doesn't mean there weren't some more daring items to try — some textures I've never had before both because they were made with Japanese ingredients I don't have access to and prepared in a way that are not commonly found outside of Japan." - Marissa Rosenblum, director of programming

Kajitsu, 125 E. 39 Street (at Lexington Avenue); 212-228-4873.
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Photo: Courtesy of Per Se.
Per Se
"I wanted to treat myself for a big birthday I was having so I begged my foodie sister (who has a birthday a week after mine) to fly into New York to have dinner at none other than Per Se. We love Thomas Keller and having dinner there just made sense. We had the chef's tasting menu and it was the BEST. MEAL. WE'VE. EVER. HAD. Each of the nine courses were pure perfection and we literally felt like we were treated like royalty. Dropping those hard-earned dollars for this was WELL worth it to the point where I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat." - Isabel Cafaro, executive assistant

Per Se, 10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-9335.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cookshop.
"This place is the ultimate for a romantic (or friend!) date.The food is the perfect mix between home-y and inventive. It's the kind of place where you take your in-laws, your oldest and best friend, etc. — I actually don't think there's anyone who wouldn't like this restaurant. Everything is seasonal, and there's a great mix of vegetarian and meat dishes. It's just totally fail-safe." - Tara Rasmus, assistant beauty editor

Cookshop, 156 10th Avenue (at W. 20 Street); 212-924-4440.
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Photo: Courtesy of Churrascaria Plataforma
Churrascaria Plataforma
"I know what you're thinking: How can a salad bar and endless meats be chic, let alone worth $63 a person, not including drinks or dessert? [If that doesn't sound expensive to you, trust me, it adds up — I recently treated my boyfriend to a birthday dinner here and the bill was upwards of $275 for the two of us, no dessert.] But trust me — this super-authentic Brazilian steakhouse is every bit as delicious as it is decadent. Each table gets a card, one side red, one side green. If the green card is facing up, expect rounds of tender sirloins, chicken hearts, and lamb chops delivered right off the spit in an endless parade of carnivorous delight. Just make sure to save room for the cheese breads, the side dishes, and the salad bar which offers unlimited fresh shrimp, pasta, ceviche, and more. Oh, and just to stick with the Brazilian theme, you'll probably want to order a caipirinha, too."

Churrascaria Plataforma, 316 W. 49th Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues); 212-245-0505.