BELLA's "Best Of Summer 2012"


By Janene Mascarella

Looking for the hottest sensations rocking the wining and dining scene? We’re on it! To help guide you to the best of the best, we’re giving our local faves the ultimate nod. Take a look and see who tops BELLA’s ultimate summer lovin’ list – with winners in 17 categories.

  • Best Rooftop Bar: Plunge Rooftop Bar + Lounge at Gansevoort, Meatpacking District

Ready to reach new heights? With 360-degree views of the Hudson River and Manhattan, indoor and outdoor terrace seating, and a fully landscaped garden, Plunge is a top-notch choice.  DJs play nightly for the “it” crowd – stars like Shia LaBeouf, Katy Perry and Usher have been spotted there.

  • Best Frozen Treats: PopBar, West Village

Prepare to become a popaholic. Popbars are handcrafted gelato, sorbetto and yogurt on a stick.  You may go nuts over the – brace yourself – pistachio popGelato, topped with chopped pistachio “poppings” and half-dipped in premium dark chocolate. Oh, sweet heavens!

  • Best Guacamole: Besito, West Hartford, CT

Nothing beats Besito’s guacamole en molcajete, their signature guacamole prepared tableside and served with fresh tortillas and chips. It’s also known as Long Island’s premier Mexican restaurant with locations in Huntington and Roslyn.

  • Best All-American Family Fare: Johnny Rockets, South Street Seaport

With indoor and terrace seating, and servers who can break into one of their signature dance routines at any time, Johnny Rockets is a fun spot to chill with the whole family. Shakes, floats, fries and melts make for the ultimate fun form of “rocket”

  • Best Brunch: Brasserie Beaumarchais, Meat Packing District

Beaumarchais brunch, well, it’s been described as “insaaane.” We’re talking ladies dancing on the tables and a siren that goes off … it’s a regular Sunday afternoon party! Oh, and the pancakes at this Parisian brasserie are served with Nutella, peanut butter, maple syrup and walnut candy.  It’s not a brunch—it’s a movement!

  • Best Hotel Lounge: The Sanctuary Lounge, Midtown Manhattan

Located on the main floor of The Sanctuary Hotel, The Sanctuary Lounge is a sultry city escape.  Enjoy gourmet bar-bites and intimate conversations in their cozy alcoves or catch an old movie on the floor-to-ceiling screen showcased in the lounge specifically devoted to viewings.

  • Best Appetizers:  Monsoon – An Asian Kitchen and Lounge, Babylon, NY

With its pan-Asian inspired dishes (some with an American twist), this new hot spot has exotic and tasty bites. Diners say Monsoon’s Dim Sum is incredibly delish. Two words for you: edamame dumplings!

  • Best deli: Lansky’s Old World Deli, Upper West Side

The Pastrami sandwich is all the rage at this classic Jewish deli with a twist. Once you’ve mastered the classic, you must move on to the oh-so-addicting Lansky’s Crispy Pastrami Grilled Cheese (cheddar and tomato on rye). You’ll be hopping on the train just to get your fix.

  • Best Pizza: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Brooklyn

There are locations across the nation – and many right here in our area (Hoboken, Queens, Manhattan), but word on the street is this coal brick-oven pizzeria under the Brooklyn Bridge lives up to its legend. Be prepared to wait in line; no slices, no reservations, no deliveries— no disappointments.

  • Best Salad: Tossed, Flatiron District

This is the spot to gather your greens and the freshest fixin’s around. The BBQ Chicken Salad is a crisp choice: Romaine hearts, BBQ chicken, corn, chopped tomatoes, roasted onions, jicama, cheddar and tortilla strips topped with citrus chipotle

  • Best Summer Barbecue: Neely’s Barbecue Parlor, Upper East Side

Get fired up with irresistible barbecue dishes and creative twists on classic southern fare in a sprawling restaurant set up like a southern home. The outdoor café is the perfect spot to enjoy a sunny summer day with some of Executive Chef Wade Burch’s succulent ribs!

  • Best Boozy Shakes: Brooklyn Diner, Times Square

Opt for two straws in one of their signature Tipsy Shakes, including the Strawberry Blond CheeseShake with Bacardi Rum, strawberry cheesecake and strawberry ice cream, or the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana with Godiva, Bailey’s, bananas, chocolate ice cream and crumbled peanut butter cups. Yum!

  • Best Beach-Chic Resort: Revel, Atlantic City , NJ

Designed to embrace its natural surroundings, Revel incorporates the beauty of its 20-acre beachfront location into all elements of the resort. Revel is smoke-free and features 1,800 rooms with an ocean view, two performance spaces, more than a dozen restaurants, two nightclubs, a day club, spa, beach club, retail shops and a

  • Best Outdoor Dining: My Moon, Williamsburg Brooklyn

This sprawling outdoor patio will have you moonstruck. Enjoy modern Spanish tapas while sitting in an intimate booth swathed in billowy cloth or at a table under the stars. You’ll feel transported thousands of miles away – even though it’s just a short trip over the Williamsburg Bridge!

  • Best Breezy Brunch: La Bottega at The Maritime Hotel, Chelsea

Set sail for La Bottega’s outdoor seating – it’s what gives this venue the wow-factor. Chef Bart Retolatto’s rustic Italian cuisine is often able to pull focus from the street scenes below with dishes like the Prima Colazione Pizza, featuring sunny side up eggs, pancetta and mozzarella.

  • Best Burgers: Burger Deluxe, Wayne, NJ

This family-friendly dining destination with retro flair offers signature burgers in 17 juicy combinations, all served on a toasted brioche bun with a side of fries. Kick it up a notch with their En Fuego Burger, served with chipotle sauce, smoked bacon, pickled jalapeños and pepper jack cheese.

  • Best Celeb Spotting:  Philippe Chow New York, Upper East Side

As the glow from flickering candles and overhead skylights set the tone for a luxe dining experience, you also might spot a superstar: Jay-Z, Beyonce, George Clooney, Anne Hathaway, Denzel Washington, Rihanna, Drake, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Zac Efron and Justin Bieber  – to name a few – are frequent diners.

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