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Ranking The Statistically Best Restaurants In NYC

Dashed Arrow Jean-Georges

Three years ago, we ranked New York City's best restaurants from a statistical standpoint—or rather, data head Steven Melendez did, because I am not so good at the maths. Since there's constant evolution (and devolution) in the city's dining scene, we tapped Melendez once more to update the rankings.

As with last time, Melendez compared information from Zagat (which has changed its scoring system in the interim), Michelin, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Eater and assigned points based on the outlet and the review. And because the Health Department plays such an important role in a restaurant's status, a restaurant's letter grade was then factored into the final score.

Here's how he broke it down:

  • 2 points (Zagat food score / 5) [so a restaurant with a perfect 5 score would get the full two points here]
  • 1 full point per Michelin star (if any)
  • 3 points if the restaurant has 3 NY Times stars, 4 points if it has 4
  • 1 full point if the restaurant's on NY Mag's list
  • 1 full point if the restaurant's on Eater's top restaurant list
  • Minus the number of Health inspection violation points, divided by 14 (so a restaurant that just missed getting an A would lose a point, one that just missed getting a B would lose two, etc.)

Unsurprisingly, many of the top names are the same from our first installation; however, there's been a shakeup in their placement. Top placeholder from 2013, Le Bernardin, has fallen to second place, being usurped by former #4 restaurant Jean-Georges. That blistering Times review of Per Se had an enormous impact on the restaurant's ranking, falling from a lauded #3 spot to #39. Ouch.

Some sparkly newcomers from 2016 also saw placement on this year's list, including fancy Nordic tasting menu spot Aska and Missy Robbins's Italian stunner Lilia, both in Williamsburg. Another new-Nordic restaurant, Agern, also opened last year and made this list.

The most prolific restaurateurs on this list turned out to be Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, whose fleet of (mostly) Italian restaurants were represented five times on this ranking.

Below, Gothamist's Statistically Accurate List of the Best Restaurants in NYC with tips straight from the sources about why each eatery deserves a visit.

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist who was previously a full-time member of WNYC's Data News Team.

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