2. Union Square Cafe (Union Square)

Image courtesy Rockwell Group by Emily Andrews

Conveniently located near Union Square on 101 E 19th Street, Union Square Cafe has served as a standard for farm-to-table cooking since 1985. Taking inspiration from the Greenmarket and the community, Chef Quagliata focuses on entrees that pay homage to his southern Italian and Californian roots. Accordingly, this non-tipping and market-driven restaurant — self described as “one of the originators of contemporary American cuisine” — features a diverse mix of American, Italian, and French-inspired dishes, including the Berkshire Pork Chop and Ricotta Gnocchi. Restaurant patrons can also enjoy a roomy upstairs bar that serves a great assortment of wines and cocktails.

While “other restaurants have customers; Union Square Cafe has fans, and knows it,” says Pete Wells of the New York Times.