NYC’s Best Meals of 2011

With over 1,300 restaurants in Manhattan alone, it’s easy to say there were a large number of great meals to be had in 2011. yet, to figure out New York City’s best of 2011 remains an impossible act, because really, finding the “best” is more about personal taste rather than professional opinion.

Accordingly, it is better to find out what diners (both pros and amateurs alike) said when asked where they had their best meal of this soon-to-end year.

Zagat asked 18 prominent chefs from all over the United States what their best meals of 2011 were. several of those chefs chose restaurants in NYC, such as Chef Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Restaurant who named Per Se as his best meal of 2011, which is where he celebrated his birthday.

Chef Marcus Jernmark from Aquavit also named per Se as the place of his best meal in 2011, saying the ambiance and concept transported him.

Other NYC eateries mentioned were Daniel, selected by Chef Daniel Holzman from the Meatball Shop (NYC), Vanessa’s Dumpling House, a favorite of Chef Alex Young from Zingerman’s Roadhouse, in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Alex Seidel of Fruition in Denver, Colo., found Eleven Madison Park a memorable best meal.

For Soba (buckwheat) noodles, New York Magazine said the best Soba could be found at Cocoron on Delancey Street. “At this tiny cube of a slurp shop … lap up firm and nutty strands of buckwheat-flour noodles, made in-house and served in hot or cold soups or dipping style in about a dozen preparations. the house-made yuba variety is the one to get.” Yuba is the skin that forms when making soymilk, and can be prepared like a noodle.

NY Mag’s choice for the best bacon and eggs in New York is Peels, on Bowery and 2nd Street. A reviewer said the eggs are so fresh, you’ll wonder whether they’re keeping chickens on the roof. Bowery’s fresh eggs are paired with their house-cured bacon.

For tacos, 161 of 208 reviewers (yelpers) on, think Tacos Matamoros in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has the best tacos in NYC, matching the authenticity of California’s and even Mexico’s tacos in taste. One Yelper said their “green salsa is like pure gold.”

Notably, a very large number of yelpers also found per Se a top choice for 2011, describing their meal there as “worth the price” and “unforgettable.”

When New York Times asked Twitter users on what their best meal of 2011 was, several were keen to respond with their picks. Here’s what some of them had to say:

@karenakeller said, “One of my faves: dumplings smothered in chili oil, mysterious wine-colored powder (sumac?) at White Bear in Flushing for $4.50.”

@rypat_ said, “perfect Valentine’s Day dinner at Five Leaves in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.”

@jbkelly said, “… my #bestmeal2011 was first time at Per Se. Eve after Jan snow slammed NYC. Dining room 1/2 full & service A+++.”

@SarahMShakerz said, “Bone Marrow appetizer and duck at Prune #nyc.”

@FelicitySpector said, “the sweet potato gnocchi with fall vegetables and salted chocolate caramel tart at Recipe NYC.”

@mrybennet said, “My #bestmeal2011: old school Italian w/Dad at Il Mulino: squid ink pasta, bronzino, cauliflower gratin & delightfully overbearing service.”

Not in NYC, but worth a “best meal” mention; Greenpeace blogger Tracy said a crew of Greenpeace warriors had not only the best meal of 2011, but she’d heard some of the warriors say it was the best meal of their lives, as they dined on Dorado, a sustainable fish which, two Michelin-star Chef Diego Guerrero had prepared aboard the Rainbow Warrior ship during an Eco dinner event.

NYC’s Best Meals of 2011

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