Top AAA Five Diamond Restaurants in New York City
Updated: October 12, 2023
The perfect New York getaway is not complete without a visit to some of the best dining locations in the region.
With so many top New York restaurants to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which to visit on your next adventure.
In order for a restaurant to achieve a AAA Diamond rating, they must pass an on-site evaluation with 13 minimum requirements to be approved as a Diamond restaurant. There are 57 elements included in the score that determines a property's Diamond level.
To achieve a Five Diamond ranking, a restaurant must have leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings. From the level of hospitality and professionalism at the location to distinctive dining offerings, Five Diamond New York restaurants have achieved the highest ranking of excellence.
Below, explore some of the best Five Diamond New York restaurants worth a visit on your trip.
- Upscale New American menu
- Immersive sensory dining
- Offers seasonal, revolving tasting menu
- Wine pairings available
Atera is a Five Diamond restaurant named after the Basque phrase, "to go out". Opened in 2012 and situated in the neighborhood of TriBeCa, it is known for its 18-course tasting menu crafted by Chef Ronny Emborg. Atera offers an immersive, innovative dining experience that emphasizes seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant's minimalist and open-kitchen design allows diners to engage with the chefs, making it a destination for those seeking a unique dining experience in NYC.
Notes from AAA Inspector: Each day brings another opportunity for Chef Ronny Emborg and his team to create and dazzle like few others can. A treat for all the senses, a two-hour plus tasting menu here slowly builds and excels with incredibly visual and highly precise presentations and combinations. Golden Osetra caviar paired with pistachio and IPA cream is a signature dish, as is the luxuriously savory waffle with tuna and truffle. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this. Reservations are made weeks in advance.The build of the menu is carefully planned so that the diner does not get overwhelmed by the sheer number of courses or novel new arrangements being delivered from the kitchen. Delicate plating of halibut with cauliflower in a brown butter sauce or an artistic mackerel with geoduck ably show the natural beauty of a New Nordic influenced kitchen and a reverence for almost raw fish. The juicy venison in pear, truffle and pine might equally make a diner yearn for the outdoorsy great North. Service is highly professional, warm and personable, with enthusiasm in presenting an experience which is truly new and pretty incredible. Wines are carefully paired and include some very fine European and American selections.
- Smart casual attire required
- Nordic cuisine
- Romantic ambiance
- Three menus available
Awarded the AAA Five Diamond in 2022, Aquavit is another top-tier dining location you won’t want to miss on your visit to the city. Offering a seasonal Scandinavian menu, Aquavit offers a unique menu housed within a minimalist, upscale restaurant setting. Located inside Park Avenue Tower, Aquavit offers three menus which include a Lunch Menu, Tasting Menu and Chef’s Tasting Menu.
Since its opening in 1987, Aquavit has remained one of the most unique restaurants in the city, with classic menu favorites like Swedish Meatballs and a Wagyu Strip Loin steak. In addition to its Five Diamond ranking by AAA, Aquavit has also received a Michelin two-star award.
To complete your meal, you won’t want to miss some of the most unique desserts on the menu, such as the Arctic Bird’s Nest. Tourists looking for an unforgettable dining experience outside their comfort zone will love Aquavit.
Notes from AAA Inspector: Classic. Aquavit has become a landmark for leading-edge fine-dining by being inclusive to aspirant culinary newcomers who arrive with an emerging talent and passion for the new. Star Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson famously got his start as a chef at the restaurant in the 1990s and Emma Bengtsson has led the kitchen onward to new heights in the 2020s.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns Highlights
- Situated outside of NYC
- No menu
- Ingredients sourced right from the farm
- Bring your wine available
- Pay in advance for dining
Though many of the top New York restaurants are situated within Manhattan, Blue Hill at Stone Barns sets itself apart from the others. This high-end farm-to-table dining location is located in Tarrytown, situated on the banks of the Hudson River. A visit to Blue Hill at Stone Bars is certainly worth the travel time, situated about 25 miles north of the city.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns continues to maintain excellence as one of the Best Five Diamond New York restaurants since its award in 2011. Operating since 2004, guests get a unique experience when dining at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, featuring a multi-taste feast sourced right from the fields and pasture. Unlike other restaurants in New York, visitors must pay a fixed menu price in advance of their visit, which ranges from $348 to $398 per guest. Wine bottles are also available for purchase or guests may bring their wine to pair with their farm-fresh meal.
Offering more than just a meal, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is ideal for visitors looking for a wholesome, farm-inspired dining experience. Inside the dining room, guests immerse themselves in a converted dairy barn, complete with plank food floors and exposed beams.
Notes from AAA Inspector: The abundant resources of the Hudson Valley are harvested with such craft and expertise at this artisan eatery that the experience borders on the transcendent. There are no menus, instead guests are presented with a list of seasonal ingredients, mostly farm grown on the surrounding rolling acres. The modernist renovation of a converted dairy barn has been painstakingly restored with exposed beams, plank wood floors and gorgeous lighting which casts a warm glow over the room. Service is top notch, knowledgeable and witty, as a procession of artisans present their offerings plate by plate. The restaurant can accommodate those with food allergies. This highly sophisticated eatery is not recommended for children under 10 years old, as a typical meal lasts three and a half hours.
- World-class wine list
- Contemporary French cuisine
- Refreshed, modern dining room
- Hearty meal choices
Named after Chef Daniel Boulud, Daniel is one of New York's finest restaurants serving French cuisine. Located on the Upper East Side on 65th Street, visitors can enjoy a spectacular meal here with a menu that includes both classic and modern choices. Both a Pre Fixe and seven-course menu are available including local seafood, vegetables and meat options using the finest ingredients.
Since its opening in 1993, Daniel has received many awards, including AAA's Five Diamond Award, thanks to its fine European cuisine and exceptional service. What makes Daniel unique is its location at the original site of Le Cirque. The fine dining experience visitors enjoy at Daniel is provided by more than 150 staff members, each taking part in creating an unforgettable meal for every customer.
Notes from AAA Inspector: I have never felt so pampered during a dining experience from the meticulous service to the artful plating and the extraordinary flavors. Daniel Boulud masterfully orchestrates a spectacular meal in a majestic world class setting on the Upper East Side. Rich colors, sublime flower arrangements and stunning interior design from Adam Tihany set the scene for a grand event and lavish meal. The tasting menus feature the finest seasonal items from all over the globe deftly prepared using a mix of classic and modern techniques. The formal dining room service reflects the pinnacle of refinement and sophistication.
Eleven Madison Park Highlights
- Signature dish: The renowned "Honey Lavender Duck"
- Exceptional service with a team of expert sommeliers
- Seasonal tasting menus featuring local, sustainable ingredients
- An elegant and sophisticated dining atmosphere
Established in 1998, Eleven Madison Park has been celebrated for its exceptional fine dining experience. Situated in the Flatiron District, the restaurant is renowned for its evolving tasting menus that showcase the culinary artistry of Chef Daniel Humm.
With a rich history of culinary innovation, the restaurant places a strong emphasis on seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients, with a commitment to sustainability. Its elegant and spacious Art Deco interior adds to the appeal, making Eleven Madison Park a preferred choice for those seeking a memorable and upscale dining experience in the heart of Manhattan.
Notes from AAA Inspector: Highly acclaimed as one of the very best modern restaurants in the country, this trendsetter wields its prowess in a league of its own. Brilliant culinary artistry is paired with a visionary ability to bravely usher in the new. Expect cutting edge dining and one which doesn’t rest on its laurels. Dining here is a much sought after experience —the tasting menu includes a parade of imaginative plant-based dishes unlike anything one has ever seen before. Sitting and watching artfully presented vegan dishes served by elegant staff in a magnificent dining room, once an Art Deco bank lobby, is truly something beautiful to behold. Simultaneously it is a bold statement on where we once were and where we are now. As one of the preeminent dining and social spots in town for the New York super-elite, meals can be very expensive, but are at the same time highly memorable. Reservations open on the first of the month for the following month and sell out quickly. There is a modified and less expensive version of the main dining room tasting menu available at the bar nightly, and reservations in advance are required for there as well.
Gabriel Kreuther Highlights
- Regional French cuisine
- Handmade ceramics with elevated Alsatian-inspired fare
- Offers 3-course menus, 4-course menus, or chef's tasting menu
- Alsatian-inspired contemporary fine-dining experience
Established in 2015, Gabriel Kreuther is a culinary treasure in the heart of New York City. With Chef Gabriel Kreuther's expertise, it offers an upscale Alsatian-inspired dining experience near Bryant Park. The restaurant is known for its elegant ambiance and a commitment to seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. It's a top choice for those seeking an exceptional and culturally-inspired meal in Manhattan.
Notes from AAA Inspector: Chef Gabriel Kreuther leads this modern, sophisticated fine-dining restaurant. A diverse menu that leans on chef Kreuther's French-Germanic roots includes a signature sturgeon sauerkraut tart, foie gras terrine and langoustine tartare. Even basic items such as Kugelhopf bread with soft white cheese and chives are astonishing. Much more than a meal, a visit here is a full-blown sensory event full of unexpected twists and turns. Passion and artistry are displayed from start to finish. The experience provides a kind of culinary magic many aim to achieve, but few accomplish. To really indulge at this wonderful restaurant there are a good variety of prix-fixe menus available as well as a signature exclusive experience. Chef’s Carte Blanche offers private dining in a prized and prime nook within chef’s kitchen - six guests maximum. There are a choice of spectacular supplements to further embellish the meal. Prized golden osetra caviar, sustainably sourced, is sold by the ounce and provides a delicate oceanic finish.
Le Bernardin Highlights
- Contemporary and elegant interior design
- Interior wine bar
- French and seafood cuisine
- Extraordinary service and surroundings
Le Bernardin, opened in 1986 and led by Chef Eric Ripert, is renowned for its "Barely Cooked" signature seafood dish. Celebrated for its pristine flavors and consistently high-quality, its enduring popularity remains a testament to its unwavering commitment to the art of seafood cuisine. With an exquisite wine selection and a dedicated team of sommeliers, the restaurant offers an unparalleled seafood dining experience in an elegant setting.
Notes from AAA Inspector: Considered one of the premier seafood restaurants in the world, Le Bernardin creates an emotional and lasting impression. Renowned chef Eric Ripert and his team exquisitely prepare seafood divided into sections titled Almost Raw, Barely Touched or Lightly Cooked. The tasting menus give the full experience, while lunch can also be a splendid, and a well-priced, option. Dining among a global elite, you’ll find the setting to be elegant and formal with refined service that is genuinely hospitable. Signature dishes include the sautéed Dover sole, charred octopus, and poached lobster with truffles that are seasonally prepared with luxurious and light sauces. Timeless sophistication is carried throughout the dining room with a wall sculpture resembling fish scales and an oversize ocean painting that pays homage to the sea’s rich bounty. This timeless eatery towers most mightily as the essential New York restaurant for any seafood lover.
- Modern and chic dining experience
- Private dining available
- Wine selection from around the world
- Italian and seafood cuisine
Located on Central Park South, Marea is distinct from other Five Diamond New York restaurants, offering a menu of high-end Italian and seafood favorites. Led by Executive Chef Lauren DeSteno and Executive Chef PJ Calapa, visitors can indulge in handmade pasta dishes, grilled meats and whole-fish preparations while dining at Marea. Awarded the AAA Five Diamond award in 2011, Marea delivers an excellent meal, complete with stunning surroundings and exceptional service.
Notes from AAA Inspector: The much-lauded fare here means you will dine with those who love fine food and wine, served up in a most metropolitan setting. The Italian seafood-centric menu has selections of oh-so fresh raw crudo, delicious house-made pasta and more complex entrées that artfully combine the best of the seasonal ingredients. The contemporary dining room has closely set tables but is done with a stylish sensibility. A la carte menus have taken the place of the former prix-fixe value pairings which characterized the restaurant in its earlier days.The signature fusilli with grilled octopus and bone marrow is a menu highlight and possibly the most expensive, yet soul-satisfying, pasta in town. But the regulars pay no heed, as many are the Manhattan elite at the top of the business and social pyramid, and Marea is as much a comfortable dinner party to them as it is a restaurant.
The Modern Highlights
- Three menus to choose from
- Garden views
- New American/French cuisine
- Seasonal selections
Located in the Diamond District of New York City, both locals and tourists know “The Modern” for its exceptional garden views of the Museum of Modern Art. This location has been awarded AAA’s Five Diamond Award for good reason, offering the finest elements of food, service and decor all in one setting.
This popular spot for New York fine dining was founded by Executive Chef Thomas Allan in 2005 and has remained a bustling spot ever since. The unique menu features three distinct culinary expenses, with a different menu for each experience (The Modern, Bar Room, The Kitchen Table).
The cuisine across all menus uses the highest-quality American ingredients to craft the freshest and most unique meal combinations. In addition to a quality menu, The Modern also offers an extensive wine list to complete the meal. Of course, as one of the top New York restaurants, you’ll want to make a reservation for lunch or dinner at the Modern.
Notes from AAA Inspector: An exquisite museum sculpture garden provides this restaurant a timeless, cosmopolitan and relaxed setting for a most splendid meal. The multi-course chef’s tasting menu focuses on seasonal, high-quality ingredients such as foie gras, lobster, duck, caviar or bone marrow-crusted beef. The wine list is ample, and desserts are, like the setting, wonderfully artistic. The room buzzes with an A-list clientèle of New Yorkers and visitors, alike. Chef Thomas Allan adds his own signature New American touch while the staff is a pleasing blend of professional, enthusiastic servers. A four-course lunch menu is offered on weekdays in the main dining room. The more casual Bar Room serves lunch daily and dinner Monday through Saturday with an a la carte menu. For a truly memorable experience, consider The Kitchen Table which gives you a unique viewing into the kitchen as the talented team prepares your tasting menu.
Per Se Highlights
- Exquisite New American cuisine with a French influence
- An immersive and luxurious dining experience overlooking Central Park
- Seasonal tasting menus that celebrate locally-sourced ingredients at their peak
- Exceptional service and attention to detail for an unforgettable upscale dining experience
Per Se, founded in 2004, stands as a prestigious New York City dining destination. Helmed by Chef Thomas Keller, it's celebrated for its French-inspired menu. It's distinguished atmosphere is complemented by meticulous service and private dining options. Renowned for its wine program, Per Se boasts an extensive selection of vintages, adding to the overall experience. With a constantly evolving menu and the serene Central Park backdrop, it remains a top choice for discerning diners, promising an unforgettable dining experience.
Notes from AAA Inspector: This beautiful, contemporary restaurant from Thomas Keller stands mightily among the legendary fine dining establishments in New York. Enjoy a distinctive and artfully presented menu of 9-courses which builds from the simply sublime to the flat-out spectacular. Guests can also select a menu of highly inventive all-vegetable selections. Service is outstanding with exceptional attention to detail. The dining experience is pricey, but the food is approachable, satisfying and highly memorable. In Midtown Manhattan, where personal space is at a high premium, the restaurant's beautiful dining room, designed by Adam Tihany, has an expansive spaciousness. The tables are far enough apart to provide both room to breathe and privacy, all with a panoramic view out to Central Park. Reservations are accepted a month in advance, and are notoriously hard to get, but a wait list is available. For a spectacular meal to celebrate a milestone event, this is a highly coveted setting.
Discovering the Best Five Diamond New York Restaurants
From farm-to-table dining experience at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns to upscale, modern dining at The Modern, New York is home to some of the most renowned dining locations across the country. Visitors interested in dining at AAA's Five Diamond New York restaurants have plenty to choose from across the city and the state.
Explore more top-tier dining locations and attractions to help you plan your New York City adventure using AAA's Trip Canvas. Plus, contact one of AAA’s Travel Agents today to start making your perfect trip vision a reality, using your AAA membership for exclusive deals.