Popular Dining Trends Taking Over NYC

December 18, 2023

New York City doesn’t have a food scene, New York City is THE food scene. With thousands of restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world, New York is at the very top of the list of culinary destinations. It’s the perfect mix between iconic and modern gastronomy. We can all agree that nothing screams “welcome to New York” more than a bagel with lox or a slice of hand-tossed, thin-crust pizza. But besides its staple dishes and well-established cuisines, the Big Apple is also known to be the perfect gastronomic laboratory for the food world’s latest inventions and dining trends. 

So far, 2023 has brought some seriously delicious, innovative, and health-conscious dining fads. NY Times’ food culture writer Kim Severson said, “High-end Jell-O shots, bright naturally colored fare and packaging that evokes the ’70s are in. Food and drinks that make you feel healthier will continue to proliferate, too.”  Nostalgia is in the air as well as a need for color when it comes to food these days. Not to mention, a lot of people are also letting their health and the planet’s well-being guide their dining choices. All this to say, New Yorkers are by default trendsetters and are always interested in the latest restaurant or dining craze. “People want something fun, and they want newness and they want natural,” said Claire Lancaster, who forecasts food and drink trends for WGSN. Food lovers around the city are more than ever curious about food and flavor and are looking for fun new ways to experience the sacred act of dining. 

From having an NYC private chef at home to booking a reservation at a notorious green kitchen restaurant, here are some popular dining trends that are booming in New York City in 2023:

Private Chef Dining Experiences

It’s no lie that New Yorkers have great taste, and it just so happens that this year they’re on the hunt for luxury and personalized attention when it comes to their dining experiences.  Going to top-tier Michelin restaurants around the city would be the obvious choice for what they’re looking for, but now having the Michelin chef at home is what it’s all about. 

NYC private chefs are becoming more and more popular and accessible, and now you can even download a private chef app for people looking to book an exclusive private dining experience in New York and the Hamptons. Gradito’s personal chef app connects curious individuals with top-ranked NYC private chefs to create luxury dining experiences in the comfort of their homes. By booking a personal chef in NYC or the Hamptons with Gradito, people can have the opportunity to enjoy a full-course menu personally designed by their chosen chef. You can book the best omakase in NYC with a world-class Michelin-trained private chef in minutes with this private chef app! Talk about delicious luxury at your fingertips…

Another popular experience in the private chef dining world has been the pop-up dinners with Resident. These top-tier NYC chefs from popular Michelin restaurants are setting the bar by hosting ‘speakeasy dinners’ at some of the most exclusive venues in the city. Each of their private chef dinner parties includes a five-course personal chef dinner that is specially curated for that evening. Resident’s private chef dinners are a great place to connect with people and support talented young private chefs who are crafting some legendary flavors in the kitchen. When it comes to experiencing something fun and new, private chef dining experiences around the city are dominating 2023.

Healthy & Eco-Friendly Dining

2023 is the year of healthy eating and greater efforts toward a healthier planet too. There is such a thing as ‘sustainable dining’ now as diners are demanding that restaurants offer menus that align with their health and concerns about the environment. As a result, climate-conscious and eco-friendly restaurants have become very popular during the past year. From having plant-based menus to sourcing local ingredients to producing zero waste, these establishments are all trying to minimize their impact on New York City as well as the planet. 

Food waste in New York City is a serious problem, and one of New York’s top contenders for eco-friendly restaurants is Rosemary’s. With two locations in the city, this zero-waste restaurant serving up Italian fare counts with a rooftop garden that supplies fresh and seasonal ingredients for its menu. By sourcing its ingredients from its rooftop as well as its upstate farm, this restaurant is surely bringing the farm-to-table experience to life in all its glamour. And we can’t go without mentioning Le Botaniste, the first carbon-neutral restaurant in New York City. This organic, plant-based restaurant is leading the way for the rest of NYC’s eco-friendly restaurants thanks to its partnership with environmental consulting company CO2logic. Not only does Le Botaniste work exclusively with organic and plant-based products, but they are focused on reducing energy use to a minimum and offsetting their carbon footprint.

A few other restaurants with sustainable practices to check out:

Ghost Kitchens

Now let’s get into this new post-pandemic trend of ‘ghost kitchens’… No, these are not Halloween-themed restaurants or a supernatural gastronomic experience… ‘Ghost kitchens’, also known as ‘cloud kitchens’ or ‘dark kitchens’ are commercial kitchens that focus on food delivery services. Unlike a typical restaurant, they offer no dining space or storefront. In other words, these businesses are virtual restaurants that have a digital presence and can reach far more customers than if they have a physical location.

In 2022, research showed that 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week. With so many delicious options to choose from, New Yorkers are some of the biggest fans of takeout. Not only are these ghost kitchens catering to the high demand for takeout in NYC, but their delivery-optimized kitchen is specifically designed to cut unnecessary costs. Due to this increasing demand for food delivery services, advances in online ordering platforms, and of course, the need for restaurants to adapt to the effects of the pandemic on consumer behavior,  ghost kitchens have become an increasingly popular trend in the restaurant industry. Statistics show that they are projected to be a $2 trillion market by 2026. As of 2021, over 100,000 ghost kitchens are operating worldwide and the U.S. ghost kitchen industry is estimated to reach $96 billion by 2030. 

Solo Dining 

Dining out alone has been looked down upon for the longest time, but 2023 is the year to embrace taking yourself out to dinner. Now there’s no need to pretend to be on your phone to avoid weird looks for being alone at a restaurant. Especially in New York, no one is looking and frankly, no one cares. This city is the perfect place to enjoy your own company, and seek out the truly distinct gastronomic adventure that is ‘solo dining’.

Greatly inspired by posts on Tik Tok and Instagram, solo dining is not only becoming the norm, but a sacred experience all in itself. Diners are finding a certain level of indulgence, and some might say luxury, to eat where they want, when they want, and how they want without having to depend on anyone. Solo dining allows people to taste and savor dishes mindfully without the distracting effects of small talk. Eating out alone allows diners in NYC to dedicate their full attention to the flavors in front of them, and go on their own sensory experience of their food.  

Here are five fun places to check out as a solo diner:

There you have it, some of the most popular dining trends that 2023 has until now… The question is, what’s next? It’ll sure be delicious, that’s for sure. 

Camelia Iturregui Fuertes
Writer
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