The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now

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The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now

The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now: 2024

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Figure EightPhotograph: Courtesy of Heather Willensky

Including dazzling newcomers and familiar favorites.

Tuesday May 7 2024

Photograph: Courtesy of Heather Willensky

Amber Sutherland-Namako

Restaurant Critic, Food & Drink Editor

Choosing a favorite restaurant in New York City is a joyful task with myriad possibilities depending on the occasion, mood and even the time of year. Your favorite dive, fine dining destination and 'any night' type of place might all occupy top spots on your personal best list in spite of their disparate qualities. 

Our list of NYC’s 50 best restaurants is the same, spanning each of those categories and more to comprise a catalogue of all the places we wish we were at right now. They don’t have to be the newest or the most recently reviewed, just places that we want to return to again and again, and that we think that you will, too. 

RECOMMENDED: NYC’s best bars right now

Note: Many of the city’s best chefs, restaurants and concepts have been welcomed into the Time Out Market. Because that is the highest honor we can award, establishments related to the market have not been ranked here, but you can see them below. 

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Time Out Market New York

We really like eating around the city, and we're guessing you do, too. So lucky for all of us, we've packed some of our favorite restaurants under one roof at Time Out Market New York. The Dumbo location at Empire Stores boasts Bark Barbecue, Clinton St. Baking Co., Wayla and more sensational spots sprawling across two floors, with dazzling views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. 


Best restaurants in NYC

What is it? At once an emblem of Old New York and a relative newcomer, Gage & Tollner was revived well over a century after first opening at this location in 1892. A trio of Brooklyn hospitality pros, including chef Sohui Kim, reopened the august institution to quick acclaim in 2021. 

Why we love it? G&T’s landmarked interior, which hosted several unrelated businesses before its latest unveiling, is beautiful: enveloped in crimson velvet, gilded and appointed with towering mirrors to reflect all its splendor. The menus are terrific, too, abundant with steaks, chops, seafood towers, sensational fried chicken and best-in-class desserts. The recent addition of weekend lunch service makes the tough-to-book Brooklyn jewel a little bit easier to get into, and G&T recently started making its sensational pastries available for pre-order. Check out Sunken Harbor Club upstairs, too, if you get the chance.

What is it? An excellent entrée to NYC’s nicer-than-normal restaurants, Crown Shy is as suitable for a special occasion as it is for an evening that unexpectedly turns a bit fancy. The 2019 opening was longtime chef de cuisine at Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park James Kent’s first solo venture.

Why we love it? Handsome, distinguished, and ultimately as delightful as a twirl around a ball, a visit to this sweeping space, where the spirits are as high as the ceilings, simply always seems important. The soothing Gruyère fritters that helped launch it all in 2019 are still here, and the related upstairs bar, Overstory is a knockout spot for drinks with a view after dinner. Crown Shy also hosts guest chefs some Sundays, with Kent leading a morning after running club subsequent Mondays. 

What is it? Last year's buzziest restaurant (which actually opened in 2022) is as good as you’ve heard, and maybe even better. It follows Bronx-raised chef Kwame Onwuachi's D.C. restaurants, Top Chef season and James Beard award. 

Why we love it? Its ethereal space, where sunshine streams in by day, and light fixtures fashioned after clouds are suspended overhead, is as comfortable as it is cooly grand. Its Afro-Caribbean-influenced menu lists one stunner after another, and its short rib pastrami is New York City’s can’t miss dish. 

What is it? A New York City classic among New York City classics, Gramercy Tavern is both a special occasion destination and an every day, but better, kind of place. It’s the special sort of spot where you arrange to go after you’ve become engaged, or simply slip into to escape a sudden rain.

Why we love it? Big night out atmosphere crackles in the dining room in the back and the tavern space up front, with a bar that that feels like the place to be. The dining room’s $168 five-course tasting, which presently includes Arctic char and roasted duck breast, is splendid for a splurge, or you can order à la carte in the (also lovely) tavern section, where every main is $38 or less. 

What is it? NYC’s dazzling best new restaurant of 2021 with dishes seldom seen on local menus. 

Why we love it? The unstoppable Unapologetic Foods team spotlights what they refer to as “the forgotten side of India.” Dhamaka recently updated most of its menu, but favorites like the gurda kapoora (goat kidney, testicles, red onion and pao)  and champaran meat (mutton, garlic, red chili) remain. The group has continued opening new venues since Dhamaka, including Rowdy Rooster, which serves the best new fried chicken sandwich in NYC, and Masalawala & Sons, which was one of 2022's best new restaurants

What is it? Per se alum chef Sungchul Shim’s $145 nine-course tasting of skewers inspired by Korean royal court cuisine. A sool pairing is also available for $105.

Why we love it? Kochi first opened in 2019 and was subsequently awarded a Michelin star. Ordering everything on the menu is usually relegated to daydreams, but at Kochi, it’s possible. Courses include items like charcoal grilled Spanish mackerel and braised short rib. Shim followed Kochi's success with five-star restaurant Mari late in 2021, which also collected a sparkler in 2022. His latest, Don Don, was also recently awarded four Time Out stars in these pages

What is it? New York City's best Italian restaurant. Rezdôra follows chef Stefano Secchi's turn at highly-regarded Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.

Why we love it? Dinner at Rezdôra feels like a new culinary experience even for people who grew up on pasta night. Individual plates are available, but its $98 regional pasta tasting is an exciting tour of the restaurant's best. Prime time reservations are still tough to acquire, but you should be able to ease in for weekday lunch. 

What is it? Incredible omakase from Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s chef Daisuke Nakazawa.

Why we love it? This city’s full of expensive omakase, and Sushi Nakazawa has all the exquisite quality and reverent ambiance of its tip-top price peers for a slightly less account-clearing sum. It is not unexpected to see $300+ chef’s selections at NYC’s best sushi restaurants, but reservations at Nakazawa’s counter are $180 for about 20 palate-changing courses like fatty tuna, sea urchin and yellowtail. It’s $150 in the peaceful dining room, and perfect sake pairings are $90. Nakazawa followed his eponymous first spot with Saito in 2022.

What is it? Just joining its esteemed peers here, this self-billed “unconventional” Thai restaurant on a darling Brooklyn block is NYC’s best new restaurant of 2023

Why we love it? Untable’s outstanding drinks defy the conceit that all the good cocktails already exist, menu items like the crab croquettes with tom yum purée, tiger shrimp and “what the hell” fried rice (named for its fiery heat) are best in class, and the hospitality is warmly inviting. It also does not accept reservations, so prepare to wait for a table at last year’s finest debut. 

What is it? One of 2022’s best new restaurants on a picturesque block in Brooklyn. In addition to our early five star review, the special occasion tasting spot went on to further accolades like a Michelin star and the guide’s young chef of the year award for co-owner Charlie Mitchell. 

Why we love it? In New York City, nothing is truly ever “off the beaten path.” So-called hidden gems are somebody’s regular. But a place can be a bit more tucked away than the rest, mapped as hard to reach in paces from the subway. Sweet, petite Clover Hill is just that, situated on an almost unbelievably telegenic little reach of westernmost Brooklyn Heights. Starting at $305 per person, the relaxed fine dining destination is priced to match its excellently sourced and executed, multi-course, seasonally updated menu. 


What is it? “Contemporary Americana with a flair for sustainability.”  

Why we love it? It uses ingredients that would otherwise be relegated to waste in its fantastic preparations; it’s fresh and has knockout flavor combinations. The beets, mac and cheese, hake and pork chop are all superb and it is charming, comfortable and romantic in that carefree, French cinema kind of way.

What is it? Another newcomer among the best new restaurants of 2023, Figure Eight on lovely Cornelia Street "celebrates the culture and culinary richness of the lower Atlantic coast through a Chinese-American lens.”

Why we love it? Its seafood tower is among the best in town, a particularly delicious and celebratory addition to an already festive category. Its drinks, ribs and fried fish are real hits, too. 

What is it? A pretty Israeli restaurant by way of Philadelphia in Williamsburg’s Hoxton hotel.

Why we love it? That K’Far might be better known as Laser Wolf’s related downstairs neighbor is a quirk of the headline cycle. The latter’s nice, and lovely, too, on the hotel’s 10th floor. But K’Far is superb on the lobby level, with large dining rooms arranged a few ways and a chicken schnitzel to recall again and again, along with savory baklava, Palestinian lamb tartare and world class dorade. 

What is it? “New York City’s first Korean steakhouse"—among the best in both categories.

Why we love it? Cote is sleek, stylish and superb, with gleaming, bronzed inset grills to heat all manner of meat at your table. It’s butcher’s feast cannot be beat, replete with American Wagyu beef and the requisite cumulous egg soufflé, duo of stews and banchan. 


What is it? Chef Junghyun Park’s array of modern Korean small plates are presented in five courses for a set price of $75. Fried chicken with gochujang and spicy peanut sauce is available as an add-on for $28. 

Why we love it? Tasting menus are one of the best ways to sample as much as possible, but some are too rigid and prohibitively expensive. Park’s prix-fixe is more affordable than most, and you’ll get to choose from a few options for some courses. 

What is it? One of NYC's few Persian restaurants where plates like roasted eggplant dip, beef kebab and rosewater sorbet shine bright. 

Why we love it? The Prospect Heights favorite is one of the best and only representations of Persian cuisine in town. Sofreh's lengthy cocktail list is also unlike most others in the area.

What is it? Booming on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens since 2017, Ugly Baby is a Thai restaurant that will test the limits of your heat tolerance. Fiery flavors abound in the “stay-away spicy Udon Thani’s duck salad," and orders of soothing tue ka ko will slake any palate flames. 

Why we love it? Ugly Baby’s use of spice is a master class in heat notable to aficionados and novices alike. Like a lot of the city's best no-reservations restaurants, the wait for tables can be long, and if you don't nab a spot close to 5pm, expect to linger for a while. 

What is it? A familial seafood spot on a cozy Queens corner.

Why we love it? If you know anything about Elias Corner for Fish, you know that the decades-old local favorite eschews menus in favor of a catch of the day display case. Choose from whole fish, octopus, bivalves and other fantastic sea fare. There’s a nice, breezy side deck in addition to Elias’ homey dining room. 

What is it? Michelin-starred Oxomoco (from the team behind Speedy Romeo) focuses on wood-fired dishes. Taco options include beet “chorizo," fish and lamb varieties.

Why we love it? The food is serious and the atmosphere is buoyant and the whole place is a lot of fun. Case in point: Oxomoco has frozen drinks on its cocktail list, which many restaurants of this caliber can’t even. 

What is it? A vegan soul food restaurant led by executive chef Shenarri Freeman that recently relocated from a slip of an address to a new, 80-seat space nearby. Cadence is part of Overthrow Hospitality’s group of NYC plant-based restaurants. 

Why we love it? Freeman’s menu is a list of hits like the rich, expertly-textured grits and excellent hearts of palm cakes. The southern-fried lasagna with pine nut ricotta, spinach and a red wine Beyond Meat bolognese is a can't-miss dish.

What is it? Excellent neighborhood pasta worth visiting in spite of its caveats. 

Why we love it? Maybe it's because we first started visiting when Lillo still had a de facto BYOB policy and before it became almost impenetrably popular, but we keep recommending this tiny pasta shop even though it doesn’t have booze, a bathroom, hardly any seats or take credit cards. We’re just so fond of Lillo’s no-nonsense meatballs, fettuccine with speck and zucchini, branzino, broccoli rabe and lasagna, that we’re willing to wait for one of it’s smattering of tables and pay cash for the pleasure. Head to Henry Public next door for great drinks after dinner.

What is it? A Vietnamese restaurant that lit up the neighborhood when it first opened in 2019 and earned notices like a star in the New York Times and a Michelin Bib Gourmand nod in short order. 

Why we love it? Van Da still has some items from its opening menu—a good thing since it was never easy to nab a table. Early hits like the short rib grilled cheese with a shot of pho, shaking beef and shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings are as wonderful to return to as they are to taste for the first time. 


What is it? A favorite among favorites in a city with plenty of pizza

Why we love it? Ask any new or old pizza-maker about their inspiration, touchpoint, or simply their favorite pie, and Di Fara, which dates back to 1965, will come up again and again. Toppings include all the hits–sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and so on–in addition to extras like soppressata, broccoli rabe and artichokes all atop thin, crispy crust.

What is it? Chef Amanda Cohen’s Dirt Candy was dishing out creative, satisfying, wildly popular vegetarian food before going plant-based became headline news

Why we love it? Cohen’s prix-fixe changes seasonally, so there's always a reason to come back. The present, $105, five-course menu includes inventive preparations of mushrooms, squash and cabbage. 

What is it? NYC’s best barbecue destination. 

Why we love it? Hometown is in top form after more than ten years in Brooklyn. Lines still form and stretch all the way out the door for ribs, pulled pork, towering sandwiches and nice sides. It also has even more space to accommodate the crowds than when it first opened, both inside the warehouse-sized dual dining areas (each with its own bar), and outside at a multitude of picnic tables.  

What is it? An accolade-collecting special occasion destination with a focus on seasonality. 

Why we love it? Olmsted became almost impossible to book with it first opened in 2016, and its still worth the lower effort today. Its expertly executed and frequently rewritten menus are presently configured into an $89 dinner tasting, with ingredients like duck liver and sunchoke. 

What is it? A charming neighborhood restaurant on a quaint corner that you might find yourself unexpectedly going out of your way to return to.

Why we love it? A relatively small menu actually allows for myriad combinations, visit after visit. We expect to try them all some day, once we can resist the temptation of Leland’s trout rillette, charred lemon skillet mussels and whole fried fish. The kitchen also turns out some of the best bread you’ll find in or out of NYC’s finest bakeries. 

What is it? Now operating for more than a decade, this is a cozy noodle bowl destinarion (we’d recommend the boat variety) where you’re sure to be satisfied.

Why we love it? These noodle soups are so fine you'll still want to seek them in the steamy summer. Colorful cocktails will cool you down when temperatures rise above the broth this season. 

What is it? What began as a Burmese cuisine pop-up by chef Myo Moe in 2015 became a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2020. 

Why we love it? Rangoon's southeast Asian cuisine is less commonly seen in NYC, and Moe’s menu displays a nice array. Vibrant dishes like lemongrass fish noodle soup and curry varieties are served in the bright, sleek space. Its email list also includes special offers with surprising frequency, and Rangoon has gone on to open a Manhattan location.  

What is it? Bo Ky’s menu is one of few specializing in Chaoshan region cuisine. Its noodle menu is long, and you'll find roasted duck and rice dishes too.

Why we love it? Bo Ky is not only one the most comprehensive, but also one of the best noodle shops in the city, and it performs above its dollar sign designation. 

What is it? What first came into existence as a street fair staple, executive chef/owner Derick López’s The Freakin Rican gained critical acclaim shortly after going brick and mortar. 

Why we love it? The plantain and pork pasteles alone are worth the trip to Astoria if you aren’t a local.

What is it? A vegetarian Indian food destination in Queens specializing in fast casual bites, savory snacks and colorful desserts. 

Why we love it? Generous portions and myriad combo platter options that let you try almost everything in just a few visits make this one of the borough's highest-ranking meatless options.

What is it? A vegetarian Etheopian go-to with an abundance of items like red lentils in berbere sauce, ground split peas simmered with tomato and sautéed crimini mushrooms. Cool the heat of spicier bites with a bit of injera.

Why we love it? Individual orders are like a mini buffet. And Bunna’s sharable quality makes it a delightful date spot.


What is it? Soho’s most West Village-esque restaurant with Alsatian flair

Why we love it? Raoul’s romance feels thrillingly incidental; like a place that you and an as-yet affectionate associate can accidentally stumble upon and fall in love. The dining room’s a little moody, its art’s a little nudie and these rhymes must end now but the steak here is quite good. You can also get oysters, of course, and tartare, foie gras, moules frites and roast chicken. Even confirmed cocktail devotees will be tempted by Raoul’s deep French reds. 

What is it? This Middle Eastern destination in Bay Ridge has been a standard-bearer in its category since 1998. Palestinian-born chef-owner Rawia Bishara deftly captures the flavors of her Nazareth childhood—charring eggplants in charcoal, rolling out pita, hand-making savory yogurt. 

Why we love it? Tanoreen’s staying power alone is evidence of its excellence, and it comes up often when you ask locals for restaurant recommendations. Try the variety of silky spreads like lemony labna and smoky baba ganoush.

What is it? A tiny, two table spot owned and operated by chefs from some of NYC’s best (and most expensive!) sushi restaurants for far less cash. 

Why we love it? Even with its slightly hard-to-find, second floor location and paucity of seats, we will happily take Sushi 35 West’s sensational salmon roe, sea urchin, Spanish mackerel and striped jack to go for the opportunity to taste exceptionally sourced fish improved by beautiful knifework. 

What is it? A pair of previous Hanoi House staffers took over this neighborhood spot in an area that was once an enclave of New York's Vietnamese population. They stayed true to the kitchen’s comforting recipes and incorporated a few updates.  

Why we love it? There's a share of great Vietnamese restaurants in NYC, and Com Tam Ninh Kieu's homestyle preparations have become increasingly unique among them. 

What is it? A perpetually-packed Greek restaurant that commands crowds even in a neighborhood saturated with the cuisine. 

Why we love it? Although Taverna Kyclades keeps it casual, lively lunch and dinner here always feel like an event. This is also the rare spot that maintains a long menu where everything (like the grilled octopus, saganaki, lamb chops and swordfish) is consistently good.

What is it? A kosher diner in the East Village serving up tuna melts, pierogies, kasha varnishkes and borscht.

Why we love it? The narrow space has a tremendous egg cream, and it's one of the last remaining old New York spots in the neighborhood

What is it? A jubilant Chinese restaurant with book-length menus and brightly colored cocktails.

Why we love it? Congee's sprawling interior is ideally suited to boisterous nights filled with stories you may have heard before that still elicit sonorous laughter. Lines accrue fast, but the pretty bar area is a cozy place to wait if you can nab a spot, and the dining areas beyond have plenty of big tables to accommodate groups. The menu’s almost as large as the space, with several congee varieties and an encyclopedia of Chinese plates. 

What is it? Easy, local-favorite French fare 

Why we love it? Every neighborhood would be lucky to have a restaurant like French Louie, which serves as fine a special occasion spot as any fancy-address destination in the city. If for example, you happened to be nearby, and it was your birthday, and a sudden blizzard made even local travel inadvisable, you could still drift into French Louie’s dimly honey-hued dining room for a suitable fête. Its moules frites, duck au poivre and uncommonly generous portion of pȃté are priced decently enough to add to your regular weekend rotation, too.

What is it? A choose-your-own seafood adventure as close as many of us will ever get to fishing. 

Why we love it? Dining out and having fun are, shockingly, not always mutually inclusive in NYC. At Astoria Seafood, you’ll peruse and choose from uncooked tuna, octopus, sardines, branzino shellfish, scallops, snapper, fluke and all manner of sea creatures before you tell ‘em how you’d like it cooked. BYOB and a bubbly, casual environment make this popular spot worth its long lines. 

What is it? One of a few spots here that also appeared on our best restaurants of 2020 roundup, Kokomo is a Caribbean restaurant from husband and wife team Ria and Kevol Graham.

Why we love it? As we wrote at the time, Kokomo’s wood-fired flatbreads, slow braised oxtail and chicken and waffles are all bonafide comfort foods. The restaurant interior’s warm tones and florid design further set the mood, and we recently named Kokomo NYC's best outdoor dining spot in our Best of the City awards. 

What is it? An East Asian general store with bites at the counter, Maya Bed-Stuy specializes in novel takes on congee.

Why we love it? Maya serves noteworthy congee with additions like quinoa, avocado and other tasty ingredients.

What is it? Spam’s bad reputation in pop culture is unearned. And at Noreetuh, it's among the menu’s stars. Plates like spicy Spam musubi invite you to reconsider the canned meat that walked so tinned fish could run.  

Why we love it?  Few restaurants in New York specialize in Hawaiian cuisine. Noreetuh has done so with gusto since 2015, quietly becoming a neighborhood staple.

What is it? A small, James Beard award-winning Caribbean stop in Bed-Stuy with three specialties: bake, doubles and roti. 

Why we love it? Doubles are the real hit. The Trinidadian snacks, which start at $2-a-pop, envelop fillings like a savory potato-channa curry in bara. 

What is it? This cozy Italian restaurant, run by the chef power couple of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, is a rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling gem.

Why we love it? The simple food—towering insalata verde, hearty chopped steak and any of the soul-satisfying pastas—makes this Village favorite a place where everyone wants to be a regular.

What is it? Chef Pierre Thiam first opened this West African fast-casual concept at Harlem's Africa Center in 2019. 

Why we love it? The counter service space is roomy and comfortable inside and out at its sidewalk seats. Many of Teranga’s bowls are gluten free and/or vegan, and options like grilled chicken and roasted salmon are also available. 

What is it? A taqueria-style counter where cooks roll masa and slice spit-roasted pork with ease and speed to keep up with demand.  

Why we love it? Los Tacos No. 1's lively Chelsea Market location is our favorite of the micro-chain's outposts, which now number six throughout Manhattan. But we'd visit any one of them for pollo asado tacos, carne asada quesadillas and homemade aguas frescas.

What is it? A cart-turned brick-and-mortar restaurant specializing in arepas and other Colombian bites in Jackson Heights.

Why we love it? That titular item abounds, in adition to some of the best South American corn cakes in NYC.

Local chefs, restaurants and concepts we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Jacob's Pickle helped the Upper West Side shed its sleepy restaurant reputation by offering gastropub fare we could get behind. The comfort food, mac and cheese to patty melt, pair effortlessly with the extensive beer list and whiskey cocktails.

Wayla was already poised for stardom shortly after first opening its doors on the Lower East Side in 2019, when seemingly everyone in NYC was salivating over its noodle-wrapped meatballs, clamoring for tables and snapping selfies. Even now, years later, prime-time reservations for chef Tom Naumsuwan’s homestyle Thai food still aren’t easy to come by. His attention to ingredients, focus on fresh flavors and market-inspired menus have folks filling up Wayla’s tables night after night. 

Sugar Hill Creamery owners Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin Larsen’s seasonal ice cream flavors are often inspired by their Midwestern and Caribbean backgrounds as well as their longtime home of Harlem. The husband-and-wife team has been crafting distinct ingredient combinations out of their Central Harlem store since 2017, and devoted fans hungry for frozen treats that you won’t find in the supermarket led the pair to open a second location in Hamilton Heights just a few years later. Stop by often—there’s always an innovative new flavor to try.

Clinton St. Baking CompanyClinton St. Baking Company

Neil Kleinberg’s fluffy pancakes alone are more than enough reason to hit up this brunch favorite. But the rest of the menu, from biscuit sandwiches to a smoked salmon scramble, makes a case for why breakfast can be just as good for dinner. Some consider brunch a sacred experience in New York, and this Lower East Side classic doesn’t disappoint between its delicious bites and buzzy dining room.


Wood-fired brick-oven pies are sprinkled with herbs and vegetables grown in the restaurant's greenhouse. Freshly picked arugula, for example, might be combined with eggplant, bresaola and Parmesan, and locally grown figs may be matched with prosciutto and Gorgonzola. Too esoteric for your family? No worries: Try the basic marinara or Margherita. You can't go wrong with any of the pies here.

The Tuscan-inspired dishes, wine-bottle-lined walls and leather banquettes serve as the perfect backdrop for comforting Italian fare. If there are two words that describe FELICE, we’d choose cozy and carbs. The bowls of pasta beckon us to this intimate restaurant no matter the time of year.

The world-class pizzeria sets up shop at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Dig into wood-fired pies (classic Margherita, eggplant-and-ricotta) and sandwiches (roasted turkey, prosciutto) at one of the indoor picnic tables, or snag a patio seat overlooking the water. A rooftop beer garden pours selections from Peroni and Brooklyn Brewery, along with wines by the glass. One of our favorite spots for pizza in the city—you can't go wrong with any of the pies here.

New York is teeming with ramen options, but this Lower East Side spot commands a loyal following for good reason: the overall quality and consistency of its broth, whether a hearty tonkotsu or spicy miso, is always on point. We can't get enough of the hearty tonkatsu and basically any dish from this kitchen.

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

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