It's impossible to come up with a definitive list of the best NYC restaurants but these are all highly recommended.

Babbo is a great experience. The tasting menu is wonderful; $50 for a seven course pasta meal.
For a great Turkish restaurant try Ali Baba . They also have regular chicken and roasted veggies if you don't like anything too out of the ordinary. Great food!
Craft is a wonderful place that specializes in finely prepared, very fresh food. Their regular menu is somewhat pricey, but the quality and service was exceptional.
Cafe Sabarsky is located in the Neue Art Gallery, across the street and a block down from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   They have very good Austrian food. Beef goulash and spaetzle, sandwiches, soups... and a wonderful dessert list. This is a great place for those wondering where to have a good dessert and cup of coffee. Their hot chocolate is served in a bowl with a side of real, fresh whipped cream.
For pizza there are many options: In the theater district there's John's , near Little Italy there's Lombardi's and in East Harlem is Patsy's . If you are crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimaldi's is one of New York's finest pizzerias.
The food at Balthazar is definitely first rate French bistro fare. The atmosphere is fun and loud, and that is part of the appeal.   Celebrities, locals and visitors all hobnob together.

Dallas BBQ is one NY's proud establishments found in 5 locations through the boroughs. They have excellent, authentic barbeque as well as phenomenal drinks (even non-alcoholic ones for the kids). Everything on the menu is at a very reasonable price.

If you are hankering for some excellent Italian fare in NYC, whether it's Italian American or the regional taste of coastal Italy, here are few of the best right now:  

  • L'Artusi
  • Ferdinando's Focacceria
  • Prova
  • Enoteca Maria
  • Osteria Morini 



** Note:  The original information for this thread came from the following forum thread: