New York's Top 15 Service Scores


Providing good service is about meeting—and even exceeding—expectations. In the world of fine dining, excellent service is more than a smile and occasional check-in. After all, you’re paying a premium for attentive and unflagging service.

At Atera, number one in service, a series of factors converge to guarantee their specific brand of guest-pleasing service. The space—with only eighteen seats—is small and intimate, giving the waitstaff more time per guest. And the team at Atera is close, fostering an environment of friendly rapport guests quickly become a part of.

But one thing that sets Atera apart is its counter.

Photo: Danny Kim for New York Magazine

Photo: Danny Kim for New York Magazine

Counters may bring to mind diners—not always well known for their impeccable service—and can seem like a stylistic interior design choice rather than a guest-focused one. But trading the traditional tables for a counter can make for better service. Your server is never more than a few feet away. You can see your dinner being prepared, carefully and thoughtfully, right in front of you. You feel closer to the staff, more involved in the evening, and you’re gratified to see how invested the team is in giving you what you requested, as well as what you might ask for next.  

It’s not so surprising that two other restaurants in the top five on our service list, Momofuku Ko and Sushi Nakazawa, also happen to have large counters. Sushi restaurants have done it for decades. There’s a certain guarantee of quality when the food is prepared in front of you, a process usually hidden behind kitchen doors. But there’s more to it than the spectacle. Counters guarantee a closeness, an intimacy, where traditional systems create distance.