In a generally male-dominated industry it’s truly a breath of fresh air to see female restauranteurs thriving in the competitive food scene. A constantly growing female front is turning tables and there’s no shortage of restaurants owned and operated by female powerhouses, like these 20 delicious women-owned restaurants in NYC, that are guaranteed to have you coming back for more.
We couldn’t possibly list all of our favorite women-owned restaurants in New York City, but these are 20 of our favs:
1. Mokbar, Multiple Locations
Women-founded and led Mokbar, started by Chef Esther Choi in Chelsea Market, has now grown to three NYC locations. At Mokbar you’ll find Korean-inspired ramen as well as Choi’s upscale version of the Korean comfort food she grew up eating. Menu items include “Bulgogi ‘Ribeye’,” made with smokey beef marinated in sweet and savory Korean BBQ sauce with triple seasonal kimchi, poached egg, scallion, and sesame seeds, and “K-Town Fries,” crispy shoestring fries topped with kimchi, housemade gochujang aioli sauce, bulgogi mayo, scallion, and furikake.
Where: Multiple locations in Brooklyn, Chelsea Market, and Midtown
When: More info here
2. Vinatería, Harlem
Vinatería is a Black-owned, women-led restaurant that serves up some of Harlem’s most deliciously fresh and seasonal Italian and Spanish cuisine. They also support other women and boost female entrepreneurs through spotlighting small-batch distillers and wine producers.
Where: 2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd
When: Monday-Friday 4p.m. – 11p.m., Saturday 12p.m. – 11p.m., Sunday 12p.m. – 10p.m.
3. King, SoHo
At King restaurant you’ll find a small and cozy dining room and a short menu, but you’ll also find elegant and delicious Italian food. Owned by British co-chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer, the menu at King changes daily, and sometimes features items such as Littleneck clams steamed with chicken stock, crème fraîche, tarragon, and croutons, or Poached ox-tongue with braised white endive, sauce verte, and watercress leaves.
Where: 18 King St
When: Monday-Thursday 5:30p.m. – 10p.m., Friday-Sunday 5p.m. – 10p.m.
4. La Cueva Fonda, Bronx
Women-owned La Cueva Fonda Mexicana is an authentic Mexican restaurant serving the Bronx. This joint uses fresh ingredients in all of their dishes, taking you and your taste buds on a trip to the deep roots of Mexico. From tamales and chilaquiles to tostadas, nachos, and tacos, there is undoubtedly something for everyone on this menu.
Where: 961 Leggett Ave
When: Sunday-Thursday 9a.m. – 10p.m., Friday-Saturday 9a.m. – 11p.m.
5. Lekka, Tribeca
Brought to you by Chef Amanda Cohen of the Lower East Side’s Dirt Candy and co-founder Andrea Kerzner, Lekka is a fast-casual all-vegan eatery. The main feature of the menu is the Lekka Burger, based on a 900-year-old recipe that Cohen started experimenting with in the Dirt Candy kitchen. Besides this tasty burger, you can order items like loaded fries, salads, and milkshakes.
Where: 81 Warren St
When: Tuesday-Saturday 11:30a.m. – 8:30p.m.
6. Baoburg, Greenpoint
Born in Thailand, Chef Suchanan Aksornnan, nicknamed Chef Bao Bao, states her early exposure to food is one of the main reasons behind the opening of Baoburg. She pairs her French culinary education with her Thai culture, effortlessly creating delicious pan-Asian fare. Bao buns, noodles, and rice are all items you can find on her menu.
Where: 614 Manhattan Ave
When: Sunday-Thursday 12p.m. – 9p.m., Friday-Saturday 12p.m. – 10p.m.
7. Gazala’s, UWS
Gazala’s Restaurant, the creation of Gazala Halabi, is New York’s first Druze restaurant. The Druze is a religious minority that lives in Israel that are known for their hospitality. Preparing all her dishes from scratch using imported spices, herbs, and olive oil from Lebanon, Druze serves up items like meat pies, kebabs, hummus, and pitas.
Where: 447 Amsterdam Ave
When: Monday-Sunday 11a.m. – 9p.m.
8. The KOVA, Staten Island
The KOVA is a women-owned brunch spot serving up some of the tastiest breakfast and lunch in Staten Island. You’ll find the perfect balance of sweet and savory dishes on the menu, from omelettes and egg Benedict to french toast and Belgian waffles. Don’t leave without trying one of their tasty drinks, like a Lavender or Crème Brûlée Latte.
Where: 1775B Richmond Rd
When: Monday-Sunday 9a.m. – 4p.m. (closed Tuesdays)
9. Khiladi, East Village
Owner Sruthi Chowdary’s restaurant Khiladi serves up her rendition of homestyle South Indian cuisine. Chowdary offers a tasty menu filled with dishes that are inspired by her childhood, as well as street food staples that can be found in South India. Some of these items include dosas, lentil pancakes, curries, and samosas.
Where: 175 Avenue B
When: Monday-Thursday 11:30a.m. – 2:30p.m. and 5:30p.m. – 10:30p.m., Friday 11:30a.m. – 2:30p.m. and 5:30p.m. – 11:30p.m., Saturday 11:30a.m. – 4:30p.m. and 5:30p.m. – 11:30p.m., Sunday 11:30a.m. – 4:30p.m. and 5:30p.m. – 11p.m
10. Nneji, Astoria
Beatrice Ajaero, owner of Nneji, opened this restaurant in Astoria as a way to share her West African culture and heritage through food. At Nneji Ajaro tries to do things sustainably, implementing practices such as small-batch preparation and creating products that have multiple uses. At her restaurant you’ll find West African staples such as red stew, jollof rice, and garri.
Where: 32-20 34th Ave
When: Monday 1:30p.m. – 7p.m., Tuesday 2:30p.m. – 8p.m., Wednesday-Friday 1:30p.m. – 8p.m.
11. Bessou, NoHo
Owner Maiko Kyogoku opened Bessou which was conceived from her desire to share her family’s Japanese food traditions. Here you’ll find a modern twist on Japanese comfort food. Cooked up by executive chef Emily Yuen, you’ll find tasty menu items like prawns in chili sauce, gyoza, sushi, and Japanese seafood paella. They also offer brunch.
Where: 5 Bleecker St
When: Wednesday-Thursday 5p.m. – 9:30p.m., Friday 5p.m. – 10p.m., Saturday 12p.m. – 10p.m., Sunday 12p.m. – 9:30p.m.
12. Lilia, Williamsburg
Missy Robbins, head chef and owner of Lilia, serves up rich and delicious Italian food in the heart of Brooklyn. From pillow-like pastas such as their sheep’s milk cheese filled agnolotti to seafood dishes using black bass and grilled clams, Lilia is a must-stop for Italian cuisine lovers.
Where: 567 Union Ave
When: Monday-Sunday 4p.m. – 10p.m.
13. Dimes, Chinatown
Dimes owner’s Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner bring the California sunshine to NYC’s Chinatown with their retro-eatery Dimes. They offer tasty dishes that are filling but not too overwhelming, like “Love Toast,” made with homemade tahini, raspberry, mint, and honey, or “Earth Tacos,” made with za’atar sweet potato, red cabbage, oyster mushroom tofu crema, and chlorophyll salsa verde.
Where: 49 Canal St
When: Monday-Saturday 9a.m. – 10p.m., Sunday 9a.m. – 4p.m.
14. Via Carota, West Village
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s love for each other inspired them to explore their shared love of food. Both self-taught chefs, Williams and Sodi have a passion for all things Italian as well as a love of attention to detail, which shows in their deliciously prepared menu items. For a truly delicious experience pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list.
Where: 51 Grove Street
When: Sunday-Thursday 11a.m. – 10p.m., Friday-Saturday 10a.m. – 10p.m.
15. Cafe Mogador, East Village and Williamsburg
At Cafe Mogador, founder Rivka Orlin challenges culinary boundaries with her Moroccan-inspired dishes. After being around for three decades in the East Village they decided to expand to a second location in Williamsburg. On the menu you’ll find a ton of tasty dishes like couscous, kebabs, and hummus.
Where: 101 St Marks Place, East Village / 133 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
When: Monday-Thursday 10a.m. – 11p.m., Friday 10a.m. – 12a.m., Saturday 9:30a.m. – 12a.m., Sunday 9:30a.m. – 11p.m. / Sunday-Thursday 10a.m. – 11p.m., Friday-Saturday 10a.m. – 12a.m.
16. Dirt Candy, Lower East Side
When Amanda Cohen isn’t cheffing it up at Lekka Burger, you can likely find her at her Lower East Side eatery Dirt Candy. This restaurant serves nothing but vegetables on their regularly changing menu, and their goal is to make them taste better than anything you’ve ever had before (which we definitely think they succeed at).
Where: 86 Allen Street
When: Tuesday-Saturday 5:30p.m. – 10:30p.m.
17. The Butcher’s Daughter, Multiple Locations
First founded by Heather Tierney, this plant-based restaurant, cafe, and juice bar refers to themselves as a “vegetable slaughterhouse.” Tierney leads the designs on every location and ensures the distribution of health focused food to table service. All the locations serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch and feature a daily-changing menu, which is 100% vegetarian, with many vegan and gluten-free options.
Where: 19 Kenmare Street, Nolita / 271 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg / 581 Hudson Street, West Village
When: More info here
18. Buvette, West Village
Established by Chef Jody Williams, Buvette has become one of NYC’s favorite French restaurants. With an adorable ambiance and magnificent cuisine, you can’t go wrong for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks here. On the menus you can find items like croques, fish, ratatouille, and an extensive charcuterie assortment.
Where: 42 Grove St
When: Sunday-Thursday 8a.m. – 10p.m., Friday-Saturday 8a.m. – 12a.m.
19. Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, Multiple Locations
Hannah and Marian Cheng have been making handmade Taiwanese dumplings since 2014, and after discovering that they couldn’t find cooking like their Mom’s they opened Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings. Whether you choose the pork and chive dumplings, buffalo chicken dumplings, or the mighty veggie dumplings, you truly can’t go wrong.
Where: 309 Amsterdam Ave, Upper West Side /179 2nd Ave, East Village / 380 Broome St, Nolita
When: More info here
20. Lovely Day, Nolita
Lovely Day is a Thai restaurant that is a NYC gem! Owner, Kazusa Jibiki, is an inspiring entrepreneur making a place for women in business, and her food is so tasty you’ll absolutely want seconds. On her menu you’ll find a bunch of small plates like edamame and fried tofu, entrees like seared salmon and flank steak, and classic dishes like pad thai and coconut curry noodle.
Where: 196 Elizabeth St
When: Monday-Sunday 11a.m. – 10p.m.