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An insider's guide to New York dining: Lyft rideshare data reveals where locals love to eat

Written by:
February 12, 2024
This story was produced by Lyft and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

An insider's guide to New York dining: Lyft rideshare data reveals where locals love to eat

It's a crime to have a bad meal in New York. But with so many restaurants to choose from, you can't blame visitors for sticking to tried-and-true classics — even if it means they're often rubbing elbows with fellow tourists.

Lyft dug into its rideshare data to discover which hot restaurants are most likely to fill up with local New Yorkers — and which are particularly popular among out-of-towners. Here's what we found:

map of NYC with highlighted locations where locals go
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Where locals go

The Brooklyn "Park" Effect: Walter's, Bernie's, Colonia Verde, and Le Crocodile

Four of the top seven spots were park-adjacent Brooklyn restaurants: Walter's, Bernie's, Colonia Verde, and Le Crocodile.

Nestled right next to Fort Greene Park, Walter's — coming in first place as Lyft locals' most popular restaurant — is a casual environment with a simple menu. Colonia Verde, also near Fort Greene Park, is a Latin food spot with a greenhouse-like back room with a ceiling made of windows

Bernie's, located right on the edge of Brooklyn's beloved McCarren Park, serves reliable, hearty, American comfort food. And not far away is Le Crocodile, a more formal French restaurant located at the Wythe Hotel.

New and Trendy: Rolo's, Trad Room, and Winona's

Although Rolo's only opened in 2021, the New York Times has dubbed it a Critic's Pick — so at this point, it's hardly a best-kept secret. (Fun fact: "The Bear" star Jeremy Allen White used to frequent this Ridgewood spot before he was famous.)

With only five years under its belt, Trad Room is a Japanese izakaya bar in Bedford-Stuyvesant (off the Utica Avenue subway stop) that offers an expansive menu of sashimi, sushi rolls, burgers, and fried chicken.

Another new Bed-Stuy haunt, Winona's is a natural wine bar with a wide range of food options like smoked fish pâté and fresh tagliatelle.

Downtown Staples: Wu's Wonton King, Cervo's, & Emmett's on Grove

With several round tables and a massive menu that's ideal for sharing plates, Wu's Wonton King, established in 2016 on the Lower East Side, is known for its authentic Chinese dishes. Plus, it's BYOB

Located in Chinatown, Cervo's serves Iberian-inspired seafood and offers a chic, tiled set-up for outdoor dining. 

The only West Village restaurant to break the locals' list is Emmett's on Grove, which self-describes as a "Midwest-inspired supper club." With cozy wood paneling and plenty of seats at the bar, it's known for its tavern-style pizza and has a particularly affordable happy hour.

map of NYC with highlighted locations where visitors go
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Where visitors go

New York Classics: Tavern on the Green, John's of Bleecker, and Joe's Shanghai

A trip to New York isn't complete without a classic New York slice — and what better place to grab a pie than in the heart of Greenwich Village at John's of Bleecker, which has been making pizza since 1929? Just be prepared: You'll likely have to get in line.

Nestled along the edge of Central Park, Tavern on the Green's location is simply unbeatable. The iconic New York spot first opened as a sheepfold in the 1880s before transforming into a restaurant in 1934 and has been featured in at least 21 movies over the past 45 years (including "Ghostbusters"!). 

Joe's Shanghai — the only Manhattan restaurant south of Houston to make the list – claims to have served millions of its iconic soup dumplings over the almost three decades it's been in Chinatown.

Celebrity Chefs: Red Rooster Harlem and Eleven Madison Park

Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster Harlem is known for its "global soul" food (particularly the cornbread) and fun environment that includes a bar and live music. Bonus points if you can make it for the "Sunday Gospel Experience" brunch at Ginny's Supper Club downstairs.

Eleven Madison Park, owned and run by high-profile chef Daniel Humm, has been around for more than 20 years, has three Michelin stars, and notably went vegan in 2021.

Iconic Steak Houses: Keens and Peter Luger

The iconic Keens Steakhouse, which opened in Midtown in 1885, embraces its history with its throwback decor: wood paneling and leather couches abound and smoking pipes line the ceiling. 

Similarly impressive in its history is Peter Luger Steak House, which opened in Williamsburg in 1887 — it was the only restaurant on the list to lure tourists from Manhattan to an outer borough.

Transformative Aesthetics: Thai Villa, La Grande Boucherie, and Baar Baar

La Grande Boucherie, a French brasserie that fills up an entire block in Midtown, features an ornate bar, a fancy area specifically dedicated to seafood, and a dining area — filled with greenery and skylights — that makes you feel like you're eating outside.

Thai Villa is adorned with lamps, intricate floor tiling, candles, and golden decor. Located in New York's Flatiron neighborhood, this restaurant is known for its classic and authentic Thai dishes that are "rarely served outside of Thailand."

In a similar vein, Indian gastro bar Baar Baar boasts an eclectic decor with quirky light fixtures, an impressive cocktail bar, and art painted directly on the wall. The spot is also known for its Indian brunch that's accompanied by live music.

This story was produced by Lyft and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.


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