Travel Tip: What's Shaking in New York City?

Where to eat, drink and soak up some (food) culture while visiting the Big Apple
Travel Tip: What's Shaking in New York City?
The panoramic space from Union Square Hospitality Group houses Manhatta, the restaurant, and Bay Room, a private dining and events space. (Emily Andrews)
Oct 15, 2018

This tip originally appeared in the Nov. 15, 2018, issue of Wine Spectator, "Napa's Top Gun." Pick up a copy, on newsstands today!

Oct. 18–20, Wine Spectator's annual New York Wine Experience returns to the Times Square Marriott Marquis for three days of tastings, seminars and entertainment—and a few surprises. If you're in town for the event—or if you're planning a trip to the city soon—you probably want to know what the area's latest hot destinations are. Exciting restaurants have joined the ranks of our Restaurant Award winners, including two earning the top honor. There's a new spot for admiring the city's iconic skyline views while dining. And a promising new museum puts the spotlight on food and drink. New York City is as vibrant as ever. Welcome!


Wine Spectator Restaurant Award Highlights

Welcoming Two New Grand Award Winners

Evan Sung
Ai Fiori wine director Alessandro Piliego pours for guests

Ai Fiori overlooks Fifth Avenue from the second floor of the Langham hotel. The refined space sets the stage for chef Michael White's Mediterranean cuisine and wine director Alessandro Piliego's 1,900-selection (and growing) list, focused on top Italian and French labels, as well as less-familiar picks.

Sistina has been an institution since the Bruno family opened it in 1983. The restaurant relocated in 2016 to a 120-year-old Upper East Side townhouse, where Giuseppe Bruno presides as the restaurant's chef and sole owner. His Italian staples are complemented by wine director Renzo Rapacioli's 1,800-selection wine list, which has great vintage depth and excels in Tuscany and Piedmont.

Evan Sung
Old-school Italian comes together in both the cuisine and the wine list at Sistina.

More New Award Winners

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, opened in Nolita in 2014, is a laid-back neighborhood bar with a serious wine program run by co-owner Caleb Ganzer. Fun, French-centric picks abound on the 1,000-selection list. You can also partake in "wine bootcamp" classes or test your skills with the by-the-glass mystery wine—identify the wine and you win the bottle!

Momofuku Nishi in Chelsea, which reopened after a concept switch in October 2017, serves Italian dishes from chef de cuisine Nick Tamburo, featuring David Chang's signature Asian twist. Wine director Andy Wedge's 215-selection list strikes a balance between comprehensive and concise, with standouts in France and Italy, especially Tuscany and Piedmont.

Scampi opened in the Flatiron District in December 2017. The wine program, run by head sommelier Kimberly Prokoshyn and beverage director Patrick Cappiello, shines in France and Italy, and champions lesser-known Sicilian labels. The decor's nautical details reflect the seafood-forward southern Italian menu, headed by owner and chef P.J. Calapa.


Best New View: Panoramic Skylines at Manhatta

Daniel Krieger
Manhatta's peekytoe-crab salad, croque madame and heirloom tomato salad

Just when you think you've seen the best view in New York, another one is created. Manhatta, the newest in restaurateur Danny Meyer's roster, is on the 60th floor of a Financial District skyscraper. Breathtaking panoramic views are the draw here, along with a French-focused menu and wine list. Make a reservation well in advance, or walk in at the bar anytime.


One to Watch: Museum of Food and Drink

Megan Swann
The Museum of Food and Drink is located just one subway stop away from Manhattan, in trendy Williamsburg.

The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), which opened in 2015 in Brooklyn, explores how food and beverage interact with culture. As plans for a full museum are under way, the space hosts temporary exhibits like the one showing now until March 2019: "Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant." It goes in depth into the history of a cuisine so many Americans enjoy on a regular basis, exploring how Chinese immigrants came here, opened restaurants across the country and tailored their food to American tastes. Small dishes from rotating chefs are included with general admission ($14). MOFAD is an exciting project to keep tabs on.

New York City United States New York

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