SoHo may be the epicenter of loft parties, quaint cobblestone streets, and Midwesterners dashing in and out of Broadway stores, but it’s also a hub for dining. The neighborhood flaunts a host of fine-dining establishments, as well as a number of casual, cheap-ish eateries for when you’re just about maxed out on your credit card. From an iconic French bistro to a Chinese restaurant boasting some of the best jiggly soup dumplings outside of Chinatown, these are the top places to eat in SoHo.
Bistro classics are the focus at Balthazar
Brasserie, French, $$$
The quintessential brassiere from prolific restaurateur Keith McNally, Balthazar remains enormously popular two decades after it first opened. The iconic decor features the trademark glowing “McNally gold” light, which flows over the red-leather booths and banquettes, filled with poshly dressed locals swirling red wine. Here you’ll find a host of French bistro classics—escargot, French onion soup, steak frites—placed in front of you by smartly suited servers, making you almost believe you’re dining in France
It's all about tacos and agave at La Esquina
Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
At street level, La Esquina is an unassuming cafe and taqueria offering the typical Mexican standards—mainly tacos, tortas, and quesadillas. Below is a pseudo-secret nightclubby dining room with pricier fare, an array of agave spirits, and a reputation for debauchery.
Nosh on rustic Italian cuisine at Cafe Altro Paradiso
Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
From the team behind the buzzy Estela and Flora Bar, Cafe Altro Paradiso leans Italian—but this is anything but an ordinary red-sauce joint. The menu changes often, but it’s dominated by small plates, pastas, and larger entrees, which in the past have included dishes like fava bean salad dotted with dates and ramps, and malfatti twirled with wild mushrooms and Parmesan.
New-American food and plenty of wine converge at Charlie Bird
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Wine is a big deal at Charlie Bird, and its carefully selected offerings are served in elegant Zalto glasses with stems as slender as the beautiful people who frequent the place. The menu feels very much American, but it has a bit of Italian flair (there’s excellent pasta, after all). Try the farro salad (featuring ingredients that rotate with the seasons) or the famed Tuscan chicken liver swiped with rhubarb mostarda and lemon thyme.
Experience a bit of France at Le Coucou
Restaurant, French, $$$
A couple of years ago, Le Coucou was one of the buzziest NYC openings—and deservedly so. Le Coucou sparked New York’s poignant return to classic French dining, presented in a room that’s elegant yet decidedly unstuffy. Go for a killer date, or when you’ve recently come into a large sum of money, and don’t miss the quenelle de brochet with caviar or the stunning three-dish tout le lapin (entire rabbit).
Go for meat at The Dutch
Restaurant, North American, $$$
Situated on tree-lined Sullivan Street, The Dutch feels vaguely like an upscale tavern. Noted chef Andrew Carmellini cooks up classic American comfort-food fare for a celeb-heavy crowd. Notable dishes include the fried chicken, the lunch-only burger, or any of the many steak options.
Prepare for a small menu and plenty of surprises at King
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Two chefs from London’s famed River Café crossed the Atlantic to open King, a tiny yet bright bistro. Their menu, which takes its influences from Tuscany and Provence, changes daily; you might encounter dishes like whipped salt cod with polenta and olives or red wine-roasted guinea hen with spinach, lemon, and ricotta.
Twirl heaps of pasta at Osteria Morini
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Osteria Morini, one of the more casual restaurants from pasta wizard Michael White, celebrates food from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy in a rustic atmosphere with farmhouse-style furnishings. Starting with plates of cheeses and cured meats, then continuing on to any of the handmade pastas (try the tagliatelle with bolognese or the tortellini with duck-liver mousse), is the way to go here. Pro tip: the Monday late-evening $10 pasta special ranks among SoHo’s best deals.
Munch on the much-coveted and elusive burgers at Raoul's
Bistro, French, $$$
A lively, low-key French bistro, Raoul’s is now more than 40 years old (it was around long before SoHo became cool) and is still as popular as ever. The steak au poivre remains a must-order, and the elusive cheeseburger—only 12 are served per night, and only at the bar—bookended by a soft challah roll and crowned with ribbons of red onions, watercress, and a melty wedge of cheese. While you shovel duck-fat fries into your mouth, keep your eyes peeled: Raoul’s has been a late-night celebrity magnet through the decades.
Reward yourself with French pastries at Dominique Ansel Bakery
Bakery, French, Contemporary, $$$
Although blood baths still systematically erupt each morning as tourists elbow each other out of the way in hopes of securing Ansel’s famed Cronut, there’s much more to the SoHo bakery. Ansel, after all, is a mastermind when it comes to pastry.
Try his torched-to-order frozen s’mores (vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafers enshrined in sticky marshmallow) or shot-glass-shaped cookies lined with chocolate and filled with Tahitian vanilla milk. For those seeking something more traditional, peer into his cabinet of classic French desserts for éclairs, Paris-Brests, and madeleines.
Slurp Soho's best soup dumplings at Pinch Chinese
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
Squeezed among the slew of charming boutiques near West Broadway is Pinch Chinese, a relatively small spot that’s made a name for itself via its soup dumplings. There are three versions available—pork, seafood, and chicken—all plump and jiggling with hot soup. But the menu is not all dumplings. There are spicy dan dan noodles, slick with peanut oil and bits of pork, and wind-sand chicken, an Amish bird roasted and browned with a downing of garlic.
Split gargantuan Italian sandwiches at Alidoro
Sandwich Shop, Italian, $$$
Alidoro has been slinging mammoth Italian sandwiches for over 30 years in a teeny, no-nonsense shop on Sullivan Street. They’ve expanded now to locations in Midtown and the Bowery Market, but the idea remains the same: choose from a roster of 40 sandwiches (think the Fellini, which is layered with rings of sopressata, mozzarella, hot peppers, and a tangle of arugula), or create your own, right down to kind of bread. Pro tip: Alidoro is cash only.
Live out your bagel and lox dreams at Sadelle's
Bakery, Restaurant, American, $$$
Jewish fare is ubiquitous in New York, but no one dresses it up quite as much as the team at Sadelle’s. There are smoked salmon towers, plush with all the necessary bagel accoutrements (including actual bagels, which arrive strung along standing, wooden poles), along with an inverted grilled-cheese bagel and sticky buns. Brunch tends to be a splashy scene, but you can also dash in for made-to-order bagels and lox sandwiches, or swipe a loaf of dense chocolate babka to go.
Feast on Mediterranean fare at Shuka
Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
From the team behind Rosie’s and Vic’s, Shuka is the kind of place you wish was stationed on your corner. If the wonderful blue-painted exterior doesn’t lure you in, then the bright-pink beet hummus flush with hunks of pillowy pita will. Here, the kitchen focuses on Mediterranean-inspired fare: spinach pie stuffed with lemon, herbs, and feta; lamb and chicken kebabs drizzled in spiced yogurt; and spit-roasted chicken shawarma.
Transport yourself to Japan at Sunrise Mart
Grocery Store, Asian, Japanese, $$$
A Japanese grocery store at heart, Sunrise Mart is home to a selection of freshly rolled, simple sushi dishes and neatly arranged bento boxes, as well as house-made soba noodles and steaming bowls of ramen. It’s frequently teeming with SoHo workers looking for a quick, cheap bite to eat, but there are plenty of tourists pouring over the floor-to-ceiling collection of Japanese snacks and candy too.
Dip warm naan in mango chutney at Bombay Bread Bar
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
What was once Paowalla is now the Bombay Bread Bar, chef Floyd Cardoz’s ode to his native India. The space has been re-envisioned to better reflect India’s personality: a vibrant, Bollywood-inspired mural covers the walls, and diners dip naan in chutneys atop tablecloths adorned with orange halves. The house-made breads are must-haves, but you’d be remiss not to sample the paneer pizza or fall-off-the bone short rib nihari.
Looking for other places to eat and drink in Soho? We’ve got you covered. These are the best bars in Soho, the best places for breakfast, and the best happy hours in the neighborhood.