New York has it all when it comes to food and drink. Here are 40 restaurants and bars, from the smart and sophisticated to late-night dives, worth checking out.

Alder: This casual restaurant and bar on Second Avenue is the baby of Wylie Dufresne of wd-50. Cocktails are quirky ( Hey Rube, with Pimm's, gin and rhubarb in an enamel beaker, with cucumber), and cooking is creative (fried quail with banana curry). Accessible and fun. 212-539-1900,

Balthazar: This buzzing brasserie is so popular with tourists and fans of "Sex and the City" that it's easy to lose track of how good it is. Keith McNally has created a celebrity hangout with food you want to eat at prices you can afford. 212-965-1414,

Le Bernardin Lounge: Eric Ripert's midtown restaurant is one of the world's best. How about the lounge? Excellent. The snacks — oysters, ceviche etc. — are tempting; the room is quiet and sophisticated. Great place to start the evening. 212-554-1515,

BLT Steak: This group of American steakhouses is popular, and it can be difficult to snag a table. I got a seat at the bar at the East 57th Street branch and was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the welcome. The gruyere popovers are a great way to start a meal. 212-752-7470,

Blue Hill at Stone Barns: Book well in advance to eat at this restaurant on a farm almost an hour by train from New York City. You may need to save up as well. The menus are $148 or $208, with wine pairings at $110 and $150. If you can afford it, it's worth it. 914-366-9600,

Charlie Bird: This fashionable new Midtown brasserie of chef Ryan Hardy and wine director Robert Bohr is Italian, with a raw bar. It's scene and be seen. 212-235-7133,

Costata: This is a modern steakhouse where chef Michael White serves pasta dishes and raw seafood alongside meaty cuts. From the abstract art on the walls through to the cocktails, it's a refreshing change from more traditional restaurants. Costata is smart and can be expensive. 212-334-3320,

Creative Juice: This is the new idea of Danny Meyer of Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack. All detoxers aside, the juices and salads taste good.

DBGB: This crowded and loud bar and kitchen in the Bowery is a lively place where chef Daniel Boulud takes his inspiration from the French brasserie and gives it an American twist (a meal of oysters, a burger and peach tart with beer, perhaps). 212-933-5300,

Eleven Madison Park: Daniel Humm won the James Beard award for outstanding chef after taking the top restaurant accolade. I'd say it's among the best in the world. The standout dish? Carrot tartare with spicy carrot vinaigrette, mustard oil, pickled quail yolk, English pea mustard, toasted sunflower seeds, smoked bluefish, grated horseradish, fresh snap peas, sliced chives, mustard seeds, Amagansett sea salt and toasted bread. 212-889-0905,

Ellington: This venue on the Upper West Side terms itself a gastropub and even features a chef, Lester Almanzar. This is a very pleasant bar far from the frenzy of Manhattan's hot spots. 212-222-4050,

Employees Only: Getting served can be a struggle at this speak-easy-inspired, loud West Village bar, but it's a good crowd, and the cocktails are worth the wait. 212-242-3021,

Fatty Crab: This cramped Malaysian restaurant in the West Village still draws the crowds. Loud music rules out casual conversation, but if you are prepared to shout, Fatty Crab can be fun. 212-352-3592,

Fette Sau: This Brooklyn joint isn't for the faint-hearted. You line up, order a chunk of meat — brisket is a specialty — then settle at a shared table or bar and make your way through the large portions. Some of the best barbecue anywhere. 718-963-3404,

Forcella: Giulio Adriani's Neapolitan pizza restaurant on the Bowery is a good spot for authentic pies, such as the Margherita Extra ($17). Throw in a glass of wine and you are looking at about $30. Adriani's most famous creation is the Montanara, where the dough is flash fried, then baked. 212-466-3300,

Gastronomia Culinaria: Chef Vincenzo Pezzilli graduated from Ecole des Arts Culinaires in Lyon, France, and his food is worth the trip to the Upper West Side. The hospitality is the icing on the cake. 212-663-1040,

Grand Sichuan: The mini-chain's Seventh Avenue outlet is unattractive, but I'd go back like a shot for the food, including plenty of authentic, spicy Sichuan dishes. Prices are low. 212-645-0222,

Jean Georges: If it's a special occasion, this three-Michelin-star restaurant is a world beater in its combination of American, French and Asian influences. The dining room, overlooking Central Park, is beautiful. 212-299-3900,

Lafayette: This NoHo grand cafe is becoming very popular under the direction of chef Damon Wise (ex-Monkey Bar) and Andrew Carmellini. The food is mainly French-Mediterranean. On my visit, though, I wondered if the kitchen was overwhelmed by the crowds. 212-533-3000,