Chelsea is, I find, generally given short shrift as a restaurant neighborhood. It has as many great restaurants, though, as any neighborhood, more or less; they're just not as hyped. But I will vouch for every one.
Owner Jimmy Bradley is in many ways the consummate New York restaurant guy, and the Red Cat is his consummate restaurant. Set on the far west side, away from all trends and traffic, and with an unpretentious but perfect American menu, this is a restaurant where New Yorkers eat well with other New Yorkers.
Created as a literary hangout by journalistic superstud Sebastian Junger, Half King provides a much-needed harbor for people of all professions lost in the wilderness of far west Chelsea.
Sue Torres' supremely authentic and painstaking Mexican food deserves a hell of a lot more credit that it gets; this place is one of the best restaurants of its kind in the city.
The same people who brought you Five Points extend their local, seasonal touch to this less formal Chelsea eatery.
A small place, a committed chef, a lot of pork and seasonal produce served with the utmost simplicity: Trestle on Tenth is a very humble restaurant, but also a very good one. It's in a remote part of town on the far west side, and isn't much to look at, but if you love good cooking and wholesome ingredients it's worth going out of the way for.
Considered by many the city's greatest tapas bar, it's at least home to what might be the city's greatest tapa: a tiny uni sandwich revered by Chelsea gastronomes.
Master baker Jim Lahey turns his hand to pizza at this Chelsea restaurant, which serves some of the best no-knead crust you'll ever eat.
Tipsy Parson was one of the first ones to the New Southern Cuisine party in New York, and are still pretty much the best. The food is great and the place also has a big, nice bar. Probably my favorite restaurant in Chelsea right now.
Rogue restaurateur Donatella Arpaia turns her hand to vera pizza napoletana and succeeded with a really outstanding Chelsea pizzeria centered on a reconstructed oven worthy of the Italian masters.