6 Farm-to-Table Restaurants to Visit Now
New York is teeming with farm-to-table fare. Requirements to be considered a legit farm-to-table restaurant include a hyper-focus on all things seasonal and locally grown, as well as a sustainable space that boasts a head-turning design: recycled wood interior with some quirky vintage furniture is not enough. All our favorites meet those requirements but to towering-like-a-skyscraper culinary heights. One of our favorite spots was once an old dairy farm prior to its rustic, rich-feeling transformation. Another favorite comes with an Instagram-post-perfect Brooklyn backyard-meets-mini-farm, involving a crayfish-filled claw bathtub and a quail coop. Below, we’ve thoughtfully gathered our picks for the top New York farm-to-table restaurants now open for limited-contact outdoor dining.
Adjusted Hours: Mon through Sun, 4pm – 9pm
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen is an institution in New York City’s farm-to-table department. Located in Union Square on the ground floor of ABC Carpet & Home, the restaurant opened its doors in 2010 and received major fanfare from the get-go. Thankfully, the food was given just as much attention as the beautiful space—distressed ceiling beams salvaged from a barn, framed modern art scattered on white-painted brick walls and artfully hung antique crystal chandeliers.
The menu’s size reflects the restaurant’s immenseness—there are over 40 selections on the patio dining and ABC to go menu, and that’s not counting the seasonal specials. In the mood for fish? Get the Faroe island salmon with summer peas, pole beans, ginger, and scallions, because you’re worth it. The big market salad comprising market herbs, lettuces, flowers, sugar snaps, and strawberries with an elderflower mustard vinaigrette is a popular must-order for a mouth-watering reason, and it’ll cost you a reasonable-ish $19. The raves for the black truffle, fontina cheese pizza are especially warranted.
35 East 19th Street, New York; T. (212) 475 5829
Adjusted Hours: Open for dinner Mon through Sun, 5pm – 10pm; open for lunch Fri through Sun, 11am – 3.30pm
If you’ve ever asked someone for Williamsburg restaurant recommendations and Diner wasn’t highly suggested, then you asked the wrong person. Diner is a Williamsburg classic—the homey and charming spot opened 20 years ago. According to a recent feature in The New York Times, the lauded establishment “forever changed New York’s food scene”—Williamsburg wasn’t exactly the foodie hotspot back then. Housed in an old dining car beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, the 60-seat restaurant’s menu has focused on locally sourced produce from the beginning. American diner classics, like omelets, french toast, burgers, all come with a kick and are all written on butcher paper table cloth by the friendly waiters. Come for lunch, and order the red pozole with brisket, the salmon and eggs, and/or the lamb sandwich—but expect a wait. Also expect stellar meat and fish, because the folks behind Diner also own ’Burg butcher shop, Marlow & Daughters.
85 Broadway, Brooklyn; T. (718) 486-3077
Adjusted Hours: Open every day, 9am – 5pm
Williamsburg is also home to farm-to-table famed favorite, Marlow & Sons, which just so happens to be Diner’s next-door-neighbor and sister restaurant. It was opened by Diner owner Andrew Tarlow in 2004. Marlow & Sons share the perfect blend of laid-back, funky and classy vibes of its eldest sibling, and like Diner, the food here is really good and always fresh. Marlow & Sons opens at 9am, so start your day off by ordering a coffee and a to-die-for biscuit egg sandwich, which comes with a side of fresh seasonal veggies. Another breakfast choice you won’t regret is the egg and rice bowl with kimchi. For carnivores, go on and add sausage or bacon to either of the aforementioned. Oh, and absolutely get a seasonal scone to-go. Things get dim-lit for dinner when customers meet in a wood-paneled space located in the back of the restaurant and share communal tables over fun and fancy cocktails – green tea vodka sour, anyone? – and fantastic oysters, pickles, olives, etc. As for the main course, in true authentic farm-to-table form, the menu changes frequently with the seasons. By the way, you can never go wrong when ordering their beloved brick chicken with koji-roasted cauliflower, which is permanently on the menu. Marlow & Sons has that hip home-away-from-home feel. You’ll leave wanting to become a regular.
81 Broadway, Brooklyn; T. (718) 384-1441
Adjusted Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5pm – 9pm
Housed in a historic 1848 building in the heart of Greenwich Village is the vegetable-forward gem that is Loring Place. The restaurant has a major farm-fresh emphasis, which makes sense considering the owner is none other than award-winning chef Dan Kluger, known for opening the aforementioned acclaimed ABC Kitchen as its executive chef. According to Kluger’s website, he is all about “seasonality and a love of all things local,” which is obvious when taking a look at the massive menu—and even when looking around the picturesque place—minimal and modern with urban-rustic vibes. Speaking of stylish, designer Todd Synder curated the staff’s uniforms. But this isn’t a pretentious fashion world-only spot. It’s all about the (reasonably-priced-for-what-you-get) food, and there’s something for everyone, including vegans who like their veggies fried.
A few go-for-it dishes from the outdoor-dining menu include the baked ricotta, cherry tomatoes, chilies and sourdough; the roasted beets with ginger, orange, toasted cashews, and sunchokes; crispy, spiced cauliflower with Sungold tomato, and fennel salad; and the grandma-style pan pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Don’t fret, enthusiastic non-vegans, Loring Place has got you covered: Try the BBQ chicken with corn, tomatoes and jalapeños; and the downright divine bacon cheeseburger. For those who visit just for the dessert, we aren’t judging you, Loring’s Place’s version of the Dairy Queen Blizzard, which involves pretzels and toffee, is incredible.
Those unable to make the trip over to Loring Place can order family-style dinner kits, Loring Place signature dishes, and a variety of beverage selections to enjoy at home via takeaway or delivery.
21 W 8th Street, New York; T. (212) 388-1831
Adjusted Hours: Wed, Thurs & Sun, 5pm – 8.45pm; Fri & Sat, 5pm – 9.15pm
Opened in 2016, the Michelin guide restaurant’s story involves a seasonal, ingredient-driven menu, “some of which comes from our backyard garden” replete with “a living wall” that’s named after Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect behind nearby Prospect Park. During these warmer months, Olmsted’s backyard garden is the place to be. Grab a drink in what is basically an urban farm with a quail coop, mini apple trees, and crayfish-filled, claw-foot bathtub—we recommend the cucumber or spiced-pear cocktail—and order small bites, like the trumpet mushrooms. For the flavorful big plates, we suggest you order the sweet potato and uni pierogies; a carrot crepe with littleneck clams and sunflower; watermelon sushi; dry-rubbed scallops; and for dessert, the waffle s’mores with pumpkin spice marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate. The high quality of every menu item (which this summer takes on a playful summer camp theme) dished out at Olmsted shouldn’t surprise you—Chef Greg Baxtrom’s has worked at Mugaritz, Per Se, Atera, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Reservations are aptly hard to come by, so, get on it. Did we mention the most expensive dish is a reasonable twenty-four bucks? In other words, we’ll meet you in the blissful backyard.
659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn; T. (718) 552-2610
Adjusted hours: Wed through Sat with two seatings at 5.30pm and 7.30pm
The most extravagant farm-to-table restaurant on our list is an awe-inspiring destination spot, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which opened in 2004 on the old Rockefeller estate. Blue Hill is now offering outdoor picnic dining—$195 per guest exclusive of beverage and tax—on the patio and lawn with meals commencing with a meet and greet with members of the cooking team.
This celebrated restaurant takes farm-to-table to a whole new level. Once an old dairy barn, Blue Hill has been refurbished in an immaculately fancy fashion, and it’s located within the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. True foodies know that a visit to Blue Hills is an exhilarating experience worth the 30 mile drive up the Hudson River. They also know that what’s on the plate comes from the cinematic farm the restaurant is sitting on. It’s therefore not surprising to read that Michelin gave it two well-deserved (when it comes to the food and atmosphere) stars in their 2020 guide.
The menu is pretty much perfect, thanks to the famous, award-winning chef and owner, Dan Barber. What will be served for the multicourse picnic feast depends on the day’s harvest. Reservations are released at 9am on Wednesdays for the entire following week for parties of up to eight guests.
WORDS Alex Catarinella