SoHo, an acronym for South of Houston (Street), is one of the most atmospheric neighborhoods in New York City. Its cobblestone streets are lined with stunning mid-19th-century cast-iron buildings that house design shops and upscale clothes stores, transforming SoHo’s sidewalks into ersatz catwalks, particularly on weekends.
The borders of the district aren’t cut and dry, but generally SoHo stretches from Houston St. to Canal St. from north to south and from Lafayette St. to Sixth Ave., east to west (with West SoHo going from Sixth Ave. to the Hudson River.)
The neighborhood might be more occupied with fashion and design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any good SoHo restaurants. In fact, there are great eateries lurking within just a few stiletto clicks and clangs away. You just have to know where to look. Or you just need to read below to find the nine best SoHo restaurants.
Located just east of Broadway on Spring Street, Balthazar first fired up its burners in 1997, which is a couple of lifetimes for New York restaurants. And it appears it isn’t going anywhere soon, as the eatery is a beloved Big Apple dining institution.
If you can’t get to Paris, Balthazar is the next best thing. The decor and menu beautifully mimic a classic brasserie, from the high-backed red banquettes, the peeling brass smoky mirrors, and the high ceiling to the Gallic staples like French onion soup, steak au poivre, and duck confit.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
The restaurant that birthed a small edible empire, Blue Ribbon Brasserie has also been a highly influential player on the New York dining scene and beyond. One reason why: it stays open late.
For years, NYC chefs have been pointing themselves here for one last late-night, post-work meal to commiserate with other chefs and to graze on the signature bone marrow and oxtail marmalade, legendary fried chicken with mashed potatoes, and the luscious rack of lamb.
Cafe Altro Paradiso
Buddingly legendary Uruguayan chef Ignacio Mattos is the toque behind this wonderful Italian restaurant in west SoHo. The atmosphere is elegant yet casual, the type of place you’d impress a first date with.
The menu is pan-Italian, so expect nearly anything Italian-accented to come out of the kitchen. And expect it will be satisfying. Mattos’ flagship Nolita restaurant, Estela, is also worth seeking out.
It would be understandable to become jaded about Italian restaurants in New York. There are more Italian eateries on the streets of the Big Apple than rats scurrying around the subway. If that’s your mindset, then head to Charlie Bird, set in north SoHo near the border with the West Village.
Talented chef Ryan Hardy knows his way around edible Italy. The cacio e pepe here is the best in the city. He sneaks fegato into his pork-and-veal Bolognese sauce, giving the ragù a richer, deeper taste than you’ll find elsewhere on this side of the Atlantic.
Named for a Zapotec pre-Columbian site in the state of Oaxaca, this Mexican restaurant is one of the most off-the-radar and underrated spots in the neighborhood. The focus of the kitchen is—sorpresa, sorpresa—that of Oaxaca. And the menu would make food lovers in this southern Mexican state proud with the classic (and near-obligatory) chicken in a rich, luscious mole sauce and seared prawns in a chipotle sauce.
Nacho lovers should take note: the mountainous Oaxaca cheese-laden nachos here are very good.
If you’re looking for some of the best xiao long bao in the city, most New York food experts might point you to the bustling Chinatown in Flushing, Queens. Maybe the Manhattan Chinatown if you don’t fancy the trek. But SoHo? Yep. Pinch Chinese is that place, and one of the best SoHo restaurants as a result.
For the uninitiated, xiao long bao, also known as Shanghai soup dumplings, are a culinary miracle of sorts: pork, crab and broth magically encased in a thin-skinned dumpling. They’re delicious here and could save you a trek out to Flushing. There are other great Chinese plates at Pinch, but first-timers (or even regulars) should start with the soup dumplings.
This Prince Street spot, founded by two brothers from Alsace, has all the trappings of a neighborhood French eatery. The menu is loaded with classic French staples like steak tartare, seared foie gras, escargot, and steak au poivre. And they’re all good. But the real reason to come to Raoul’s (180 Prince St.) is because it serves one of the best burgers in town, making it one of the best SoHo restaurants.
In pre-pandemic times, they only made a handful of these juice-dripping morsels per day, and getting one was like winning the lottery (or having to eat a very early dinner). These days, there’s no quota on the number of thick, juicy hamburgers they churn out. Dieu merci for that!
There are not many bagel shops in New York City where visitors will be perpetually greeted with the question, “Do you have a reservation?” from the host the second they walk in the door. Then again, this is no ordinary bagel shop. In fact, to call it that might be belittling this temple to all things bagel.
Brought to you by Major Food Group (who owns Dirty French, Carbone, and The Grill, among others), Sadelle’s focus is on Jewish appetizing. Think: bagels, cream cheese, and lox, all which arrive at your table on a majestic tower, usually reserved for prime seafood at old-school fancy restaurants. Sadelle’s is a breakfast event worth making a reservation for, and one of the best SoHo restaurants.
Anchored on the corner of Sullivan and Prince Streets, The Dutch has become something of a SoHo stalwart since it first fired up its burners in 2011.
Opened by chef Andrew Carmelini (who is also the man behind Locanda Verde, Bar Primi, and Lafayette), The Dutch does American fare what Balthazar does for French: solid, consistent staples in a great atmosphere with a cool design. In this case, the design of The Dutch is Roman + Williams. The menu changes slightly, but always good here are the hot fried chicken, the double-decker burger, the hangar steak with kimchi fried rice.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.