The End of the Year is Nigh, and your Twitter feeds are littered with links holding claim to 2013's Best Nissan Commercials and John Boehner GIFs. For this year's final Best Of, Gothamist staffers are digging deep into their 2013 dining repertoires to pull out a few of their personal food favorites this year, whether it be cocktails, craft ales, burgers, cheese slices or five-course tasting menus. Some of these bars and eateries might be fresh on the scene, while others have belonged to the city for decades; regardless, this year they delighted us when we revisited them or stumbled upon them anew. Leave your year's favorites in the comments, and be sure to check out the rest of this year's Best Of collection before we start rounding up the next batch of Gothamist picks come 2014.

Bunna Cafe (Courtesy Sam Saverance)

Start Me Up cocktail at the NoMad Library Bar: Far be it from me and my bank account to rep a $15 cocktail, but the crisp bourbon-and-rum concoction is well worth all the crumpled bills in my wallet. Aside from the aforementioned bourbon and rum, the festive drink is whipped up with Strega liqueur, ginger, lemon and orange bitters and ever so slightly sweetened with honey; the whole shebang comes in a festive pineapple-y glass filled with pebbled ice and topped with a few sprigs of mint, making you feel like you're lounging on a real island instead of this slush-covered wintry hellmouth. Rebecca Fishbein

Ethiopian lunch and dinner at Bunna Cafe: It's not just the food at this Brooklyn-based vegan pop-up that keeps me coming back—though the heaping portions of fiery, fresh-tasting vegetables and legumes they serve will hook you right off the bat. For a few years, Bunna did pop-up dinners and feasts all over town; I had the pleasure of attending one such feast at Bushwick coffee shop Little Skips this spring, and it was a festive neighborhood affair, complete with communal tables and communal metal platters and a whole lot of Ethiopian honey wine. A visit to one of their recent Ethiopian Lunch Box lunches this summer was just as spectacular, with a fresh, pureed mango, papaya and avocado juice ($6) substituted for the alcohol. R.F.

Plain Slice at Sal & Carmine's: This neighborhood slice joint—once a middle school staple of mine—has been kicking it on the Upper West Side for decades, and a recent return proved it's stood the test of time. Though Sal Malanga, the main pizzaiolo behind the masterful pies, passed away in 2009, partner Carmine continues to growl at you from behind the counter as he serves you a cheesey triangle of perfection for $3. R.F.

Via SCRATCHbread

Extra Fancy Memphis Fried Chicken at Marietta: The best fancy fried chicken isn’t found at Buttermilk Channel, it’s over in Clinton Hill, at Marietta. Owned by the same proprietors as the outrageously tasty Peaches in Bed-Stuy, Marietta hews closely the same habit of across the board excellence—the cocktails are wonderful, the service is abundantly friendly and locating a lackluster dish is a challenge. The "Extra Fancy Memphis Fried Chicken," though, is an event to remember. Bathed in lemon-honey brine and Marietta’ s hot vinegar, it's juicy and flavorful in a way heretofore thought impossible of poultry. Order it with a side of ham and cheese heirloom grits, or brussels sprouts with whipped foie gras glaze and feel no pain. Lauren Evans

Grits at SCRATCHbread: Like a parched hiker spying the first lush hints of a far-off oasis, SCRATCHbread is visible from a great distance due to its unceasing weekend lines. Its lack of seating means that hungover zombies from miles around lurk outside the Bed-Stuy storefront, bundled in sunglasses and scarves and anything else capable of blocking out the Vile Sun until sustenance is achieved. But what sustenance! Bacon cut as thick as steak, buttery grits that obediently embrace the artisanal add-ins of your choosing: Charred jalepeno, organic free range egg, broccoli rabe and truffle oil are just a few of the toppings you can request lovingly dumped into your order and, soon, your stomach, a salve for a long night of drinking and precursor to a long day of napping.

In Normal Brooklyn, such delights would cost a fortune, but the fact that SCRATCHbread is little more than a modest kitchen with a take-out window appended means that your whole brunch—with coffee—will set you back less than 10 bucks. Once you've braved the line and made your selection, you and your delicate concoction can find a seat together in the gutter, cementing the perfect marriage of high and lowbrow. L.E.

The Italian at Defonte's: It may have a Manhattan outpost, but the only Defonte's that exists in my mind is wedged in a corner of Red Hook right where the Gowanus Expressway meets the BQE. You can order a “small” Italian sandwich, but it's only small in the sense that a Sperm whale is smaller than a Blue whale. For $11, you are handed a monstrosity stuffed with the contents of an Italian farm, which will promptly explode all over your hands, face and hair after your first bite. If you’re a mortal, you’ll give half to a friend, and if you're starving or a giant—or a longshoreman or a dock worker, as many Defonte’s patrons are—you might just devour the whole thing yourself. After minutes of frenzied feasting, you’ll emerge in a daze, unsure what happened. You’re covered in olive oil, flecks of bread stuck to your neck and face. What happened? Did you kill a man? Is everyone OK? Yes—your family is fine. You just ate a Defonte’s sandwich. L.E.

Crispy Rice from Koi

Crispy Rice at Koi: I'm constantly eating out for my job so it was tough to narrow down the best things I shoved into my face this year. But when I remembered the incredible dinner at Koi SoHo I knew it had to be on the list, especially the delectable Crispy Rice, an elegant hybrid between a hot dish and sushi appetizer. Tiny cubes of rice are griddled on all sides until they're brown and crunchy on the outside but still creamy on the inside. Each cube is then topped with extremely fresh spicy tuna or yellowtail tartare, creating multiple layers of texture, temperature and flavor. They come four to an order; you will want more. Nell Casey

Marinated Black Pork Belly at Shilla: This gigantic palace of Korean food pleases on so many levels from the seafood-stuffed pajun to the fiery Ddukbaki Bulgogi; but it's the intensely flavorful and tender marinated black pork belly that haunts my dreams. Insanely tender fatty meat gets slow cooked at your table by the skilled—if somewhat harried—waitstaff until it's just cooked through and nicely caramelized. It's all I can do not to just pluck meat directly from the grill and pop it into my mouth, but taking the extra few seconds to wrap the meat in a lettuce leaf and dab with some gojuchang works too. Ask for some sesame oil and salt on the side for dipping; it sounds like overkill but trust me it takes the meat to a whole other level. N.C.

Italian Fries from Shorty's: Each Wednesday this Philly cheesesteak truck parks in our neighborhood and each Wednesday I must resist the urge to eat only french fries for lunch. I don't know what they do to these fries but they're the perfect combination of creamy interior with pleasingly crunchy exterior and I cannot get enough of them. I hear the cheese whiz-topped version satisfies and the Old Bay-sprinkled versions are killer but I haven't been able to get beyond the Italian Fries, seasoned with Iots of dried herbs and an ungodly amount of grated Romano cheese. They're super salty, super flavorful, and super addictive. You've been warned! N.C.

Chickwich from Hill Country Chicken (via Facebook)

Chickwich at Hill Country Chicken: The best thing I ate this year was the Chickwich from the Hill Country Chicken place on Madison Square Park. It was vastly superior to most fast-food fried chicken sandwiches, because the chicken was perfectly fried- crispy on the outside, not too thick, and still moist in the interior. Also it comes with a few spicy pickles and for like $2 you can buy a soda cup and have endless refills of Boylan's sodas. I've probably eaten there thirty times in 2013! Jake Dobkin

Fried Goat Cheese from Alta (via Yelp)

The Whole Shebang at Alta: It's hard to pick one thing out at Alta, the fantastic Greenwich Village tapas bar. But the secret is that you don't have to, if you go with a nicely sized group. Because Alta has this deal on their menu: it costs $490 for the whole menu. That's 44 dishes altogether, including their honey-dipped Fried Goat Cheese, their signature Bacon-Wrapped Dates, and the enchanting Sea Bass Tartare. Get a group of 8-10 people, and you will not be disappointed. Ben Yakas

Lover In The Stars at Hunan Balcony: When I take people to Hunan Balcony on the Upper West Side for the first time, I explain to them that there are two kinds of Chinese food: there's the kind you get in Chinatown or LIC or whatnot, hip places with reasonable prices, fresh ingredients, authentic dim sum and deliriously spicy specialities. And then there are your somewhat dinky 'Americanized' Chinese places. Hunan is the greatest version of the latter in NYC. And their best dish is Lover In The Stars ($14.50), which is tender shredded beef sautéed with snow peas in a special hot brown sauce, served with Chinese scallion pancakes. It's the perfect grammatically incorrect dish to share with a real lover.B.Y.

Cheesesteak at Shorty's: As Nell mentioned, Shorty's Philly Cheesesteak truck parks in our neighborhood every Wednesday. I've always had bad luck finding good Philly cheesesteaks in NYC, to the point that I would specifically go down to Philly to get one (and I suppose, tangentially, to visit friends) once every other month or so. But over the last year, I've devoured one of their classic cheesesteaks with onions every week, and found myself happily sated while listening to my coworkers complain about their limp salads and disappointing sandwiches. Shorty's is the only reason I get out of bed on Wednesdays, and I don't visit Philly half as much as I used to (sorry Philly friends!). B.Y.

Spaghetti Squash (Courtesy of Colonie)

Spaghetti Squash at Colonie: The Atlantic Avenue spot offers up a number of smaller dishes that you'll never want to share even one bite of. Their Ricotta, Honey & Mint Crostini? Get that. Then follow it up with their Spaghetti Squash, Egg, Pancetta, and Parmesan dish. (Fact: If you put an egg on something, I will probably order it.) For $15, it's not really as filling as a pasta dish might be, but if you're looking for something light, flavorful, and delicious this is it. The egg is at the bottom, hidden underneath a healthy portion of squash strands, and then topped with a parmesan foam. (I do not know where the pancetta would be here, because I optioned that off the dish.) Again, you won't be stuffed... but that'll just put some legs on the $12 whiskey drink you ordered. Jen Carlson

Ricotta & Butternut Squash Ravioli at Jack The Horse: I struggled with even mentioning Jack The Horse because it is hands down my favorite place in all of New York City. Everything in this adorable, cozy haven is absolutely terrific—from brunch, to the reasonably-priced large-portioned appetizers, to a full-on multi-course dinner. And I could write an ode to their Aviation cocktail, a sonnet on their Old Fashioned... their bartenders are amongst the best in the five boroughs. But when I first tasted this decadent ravioli dish I was speechless, and maybe a little teary eyed. The perfect pieces of pasta are complimented by a mouthwatering brown butter, along with capers, sage and grana padona cheese—while the portion is not huge, it is worth the $11 (and you can up the size for around $10 to make it a main dish). J.C.

Pretzel Croissant at City Bakery: Our office's Silver Table Of Sin has seen many items throughout the year, but there was actual shoving when someone brought in these pretzel croissants. They are salty and crunchy on the outside, with perfect light layers on the inside—you won't even care that the croissants outer shell is shedding all over your new black dress. And you will want to eat an entire box in one sitting, but luckily their $3 per croissant price tag will prohibit that. J.C.

Seared cod at Lincoln (Jen Chung/Gothamist)

Umi no sachi at Sushi Yasaka: When I want to feel virtuous (as in eating something not fried or covered in cream), I opt to pig out on sushi. The $26 umi no sachi at Sushi Yasaka its version of chirashi sushi. A variety of fresh raw fish, plus shrimp, tamago, roe and an oyster, sit on a bed of sushi rice and daikon radish. The dish could definitely be split between two people! And it's also beautiful when not Instagrammed. Jen Chung

Seared Cod at Lincoln: I took my mom out for brunch and we went to Lincoln Ristorante, our go-to fancy restaurant in the neighborhood. The brunch is $36 for two courses, and you can choose from antipasti, primi (pastas) and secondi (bigger mains) and the menu changes based on what's available. One of the dishes I ordered was this excellent seared cod, served with fat, tender asparagus and a lemon butter-mayonnaise. The cod was fresh and the lemon butter-mayo was decadently rich. Definitely a splurge, but besides the delicious food, it's a beautiful space over looking the Revson Fountain at Lincoln Center, and the service is always wonderful. J.C.

Breakfast burrito at Pequena: If I were going to judge over 100 pooches wearing Halloween costumes at Fort Greene Park, I needed to be fortified. I ordered an $8.50 breakfast burrito at Pequena and it was awesome. It had scrambled eggs, plus a lot of oaxacan cheese (there's also chipotle mayo and pico de gallo). It was incredibly filling and I couldn't even eat half of it—maybe that's because I also ordered a side of chorizo. I wanted to cry about how there's nothing this good and well-priced on the Upper West Side. J.C.

Beetball Parm from Chickpea and Olive

Phatty Beetball Parm Sandwich at Chickpea and Olive: Nestled in the hustle and bustle of the sprawling new indoor Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg you'll find, if you look for it, an unassuming little booth with hardly any hype serving a vegan parm hero that defies expectations. Chickpea and Olive's "Phatty Beetball Parm Sandwich" is yet another indisputable reminder that vegan food can hold its own and sometimes even transcend carnivorous, cheesy alternatives.

Daniel Strong, formerly of Dell'Anima, makes it with Barry's Tempeh, breadcrumbs, beets, some "very simple" marinara from Shushan Valley Farms tomatoes and a subtle dusting of Daiya mozzarella. It served on a toasted baguette from Sullivan Street Bakery, and made to order in small sizes (one beetball) and large (two beetballs) for $5 and $9, respectively. Chickpea and Olive also sells the beetballs "nude" for $3 each or two for $5, and if you want to go crazy you can get them served on top of a bowl of polenta topped off with fresh sauce and a splash of garlic oil. I've only had the sandwich, and it was delicious. John Del Signore

Martini at the 21 Club: Cocktails at the 21 Club clock in around $15, which is not cheap, but there are plenty of places in town that charge that much and give so little in return. The old timers at 21 do not skimp. The martini here is an unsung hero of the hip NYC mixology scene—big and dry, like Charles Grodin in drink form, it floats to you in a glass so capacious there ought to be a goldfish swimming in it. Instead, if you're like me, it's a twist of lemon. You don't have to sit down for dinner to order one, either; 21's front lounge area was transformed into a full-service bar a couple of years ago. But if you make a dinner reservation online, they give you a cocktail or glass of Champagne on the house. J.D.

Tempura Shrimp at Lure Fishbar: The nautically elegant Lure Fishbar in SoHo can be ordered at Lure's bar (grab a seat next to Alec Baldwin]) or in the main dining room—I like to call them Tempura Shrimp Poppers because they're prepared as little balls of hot, crispy heaven and piled into a bowl drizzled with Spicy Mayo, Black Sesame Seeds, and Chives. It's my favorite thing on the menu, and you can almost make a meal out of it. Which is good, because it costs $17. J.D.

Spicy Vegetable Hui Mei at Spicy Village (via Yelp)

Spicy Vegetable Hui Mei at Spicy Village: Mark Bittman recently made it impossible to eat here between the hours of 7 and 9 p.m., but he was fool enough to feature the big pan of chicken. Sure, get the chicken. But Chinatown is already swimming in an abundance of cheap, tasty meat—veggies are usually an afterthought. This $5 bowl of hand-pulled noodles, tofu slabs, seaweed, and bok choy submerged in a half-inch of spicy broth and topped with fresh cilantro is delicious, satisfying, and expertly paired with a crisp bottle of suds (BYOB).Christopher Robbins

Rum Baba at Calliope: A perfect grace note for a not-inexpensive meal or a solid accompaniment to a nightcap or evening espresso, this dessert is transcendent simplicity. Hot buttery cake + whipped cream + rum. When the cake had disappeared, my companion wondered if it would be OK if she sipped the last of the rum from the cup (it was). C.R.

Brooklyn Lager (bottle) at Happy Fun Hideaway: There is no friendlier place to imbibe in New York City. A patio for the smokers, a few video games to distract you before that first date, and plenty of room to sit and argue or stand and laugh makes Happy Fun an ideal joint to hunker down and stay awhile. A wall of televisions screening obscure films and video art reminds you you're in Brooklyn, while the cheap bar food (Frito pie, vegan BBQ, potato skins) and superb pizza joint next door remind you you're in Heaven. C.R.