Look, there’s no such thing as twenty best restaurants in a city this teeming with quality. Best I can do for you is pick a few hundred and then randomly select twenty of those. Otherwise we’d just be looking at a list of French and sushi joints with more stars than George Patton. So with my editor’s blessing, my criterion was “What’s a place you’d want to BE at?” Take the great food as a given. Who has atmosphere, a good crowd, excellent service, etc.? And that, your honor, is why who enter its doors know that Pugsley Pizza had to be on this list. It’s not exactly Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, but there is no idle dining, here. If you go to Pugsley, you’re part of the action. And God bless Sal Natale.
For the other 19, some of which I adore and some of which I yielded to the knowledge of my betters who have been, click on to Tasting Table’s 20 Best Restaurants in New York City. Yes yes, I know, you think it’s ridiculous that X is on there but not Y. My only rule was what are the places I would want to visit again if I had a month before I left NYC? After coming up with ten, I split that with ten from the list that everyone else would slit my throat for neglecting. The entire premise is an illusion! Just love what you love in this awesome city, man.