Seizing August: Your Chance To Snag the Hottest Tables in Town

Oh, August. With its sweltering heat and, shall we say, perfumed trash dotting the sidewalks, this is generally considered the worst time to visit Manhattan. Here at the Soho Grand, however, we’ve come to love summer’s last month — with the city’s inhabitants sunning themselves in the Hamptons, all the best restaurants are noticeably empty. Consider this your chance to walk into some of the hottest tables in town, from New York’s best burgers (is it Minetta Tavern or the Spotted Pig?) to a joint beloved by the Obama’s. Here’s how to take advantage of the summer lull.

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Pasquale Jones

This Italian newcomer had a lot to live up to. Opened in February, its sister restaurant, Charlie Bird, has long been famous for stellar American fare and a wine list that just won’t quit. The baby restaurant would also have to compete with the plethora of Italian options already dotting Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. But with long wait times and a stellar New York Times review under its belt, Pasquale Jones has become one of the toughest tables south of Houston — even critics have trouble getting in.

What To Order: The burrata pizza, pork shank for two

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The Spotted Pig

Since the famed gastropub from British chef April Bloomfield doesn’t accept reservations, you can easily wait two to three hours to be seated. (Hence the hordes of hangry tourists permanently glued to the pavement outside the corner joint’s West Village locale.) You won’t want to miss that perfect burger topped with blue cheese and a perfect, doughy bun, however, so take advantage of the slow summer month.

What To Order: The burger, shoestring fries, deviled eggs

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Minetta Tavern

We know, we know. Everyone’s always talking about Minetta Tavern. But no matter how long this place is open, it never becomes any easier to get in. Reservations are damn near impossible (unless you’ve managed to secure the super-secret cell number where celebs text in requests), and it’s not uncommon to wait until midnight before a spot opens up.

What To Order: Black label burger, roasted bone marrow, chocolate souffle

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Estela 

We suppose any restaurant frequented by the Obamas is probably pretty good. But Estela, which opened to groundbreaking reviews back in 2014, is amazing. Pair that with the fact it’s located in a tiny, second floor space reminiscent of a speakeasy, and you’ve got yourself a bonafide hotspot.

What To Order: Steak tartare, ricotta gnocchi

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Le Coucou

A refined French restaurant in Little Italy? The choice had people scratching their heads — that is, until the relatively new restaurant from celeb chef Daniel Rose became one of the toughest tables in town. And while we normally suggest breakfast as the easiest time to snag a table, August provides a respite for the otherwise booked restaurant. (Note: This is possibly the most stunningly beautiful restaurant in the city.)

What To Order: Rack of lamb, bourride, the whole rabbit

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Batard

We know what you’re thinking: Did New York really need another prix fixe French restaurant? According to the reservation list at Batard, the answer is yes. With an option of 6 or 9 courses, this Tribeca newcomer has wooed everyone from celebrities to the New York Times. Consider this your chance to give fine dining another try.

What To Order: Octopus pastrami, milk bread

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Dell’Anima

Both this restaurant and its nearby sibling — the more upscale L’Artusi — famously serve some of the best bowls of pasta in the West Village. (Perhaps you saw them on Bravo’s Best New Restaurant?) Dell’Anima, however, it’s markedly tiny, meaning it can be tough to find open tables any day of the week.

What Not To Miss: The bone marrow appetizer, pasta arrabiatta

Words by Emily Siegel