5 Women-Led Restaurants to Check Out Right Now

Nikhita Mahtani

Women are dominating the culinary scene in all five boroughs of New York City, whether through elevated spins on their ancestors’ traditional cooking or by combining cuisines in new ways. Here are just a few of our favorite women-led restaurants, including a spot that features an Indian menu with global influences and a gem serving up generations-old Peruvian recipes made with the freshest ingredients.

Claudia Berroa. Courtesy, Claudy’s Kitchen

Claudy’s Kitchen

5981 Broadway, Fieldston, the Bronx

Chef: Claudia Berroa

Lauded as a Hispanic-owned Peruvian mainstay in the Bronx, Claudy’s Kitchen is also the first area restaurant to be awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Chef and co-owner Claudia Berroa is on a mission to share the best versions of the Peruvian classics she grew up eating, and she’s devoted countless hours to perfecting each recipe. All the ingredients are fresh, natural and sourced as locally as possible, and there’s a rotating menu of specials based on what’s in season. Want a taste of generations-old Peruvian staples like empanadas, ceviche and tamales? Take a trip to the Bronx. (And don’t forget the flan.)

Signature dish: chicken empanadas, filled with chopped rotisserie chicken, onions and tomato

Jae Jung. Courtesy, Kjun


154 E. 39th St., Murray Hill, Manhattan

Chef:Jae Jung

Korean and Cajun cuisines might not sound as if they go together—but that’s because you haven’t been to Kjun yet. Opened in September 2022, Kjun is the brainchild of former Top Chef contestant Jae Jung, who moved to the United States from Seoul in 2009 to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She moved to New Orleans shortly after graduation and fell in love with both Southern flavors and the hospitality, which inspired her to open fast-casual restaurant Kjun after working at the NoMad Restaurant and Le Bernardin, among other fine-dining spots. Here, you’ll find some of your favorite Southern favorites, elevated: cornbread served with Korean-spiced honey butter, tangy okra kimchi and cornmeal-crusted fried oysters with yuzu-infused aioli.

Signature dish: jalapeño honey cornbread with house-made honey butter

Jayantha Wijesinghe and Julia Wijesinghe, Lakruwana. Photo: Kyle Deitz


668 Bay St., Tompkinsville, Staten Island

Chef: Jayantha Wijesinghe

Jayantha Wijesinghe’s Lakruwana was the first Sri Lankan restaurant to open in the City in 1995, and when the original Manhattan location burned down in 2004, the family decided to move Lakruwana to the thriving Little Sri Lanka in Staten Island. There they share the flavors and cooking styles of Sri Lankan cuisine through their family business: Jayantha helms the kitchen, using traditional spices and ingredients to make the restaurant’s signature dishes, and her daughter, Julia, works as the general manager. (Julia also founded the world’s first Sri Lankan museum outside of Sri Lanka in 2017.)

Signature dish: lamprais, in which a protein, basmati rice, cashew nut curry, various condiments and an egg are wrapped in a banana leaf and topped with your choice of curry

Beatrice Ajaero. Courtesy, Nneji


32-20 34th Ave., Astoria, Queens

Chef: Beatrice Ajaero

One of the only West African restaurants in New York, Nneji is a small takeout spot that already has a huge following—The New York Times’ Pete Wells is a vocal fan. It also sells traditional West African ingredients curated by chef and owner Beatrice Ajaero. Patrons can choose from a huge variety of comfort foods, including classics like jollof rice, okra and spinach, along with egusi soup served with a choice of chicken, salmon or goat meat. Heaping piles of chicken stew are topped with juicy cooked tomatoes and caramelized onions in large pots, and you can serve yourself as little or as much as you like.

Signature dish: egusi, a soup of melon seed, tomato, greens and savory spices

Jackie Carnesi. Courtesy, Nura


46 Norman Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Chef:Jackie Carnesi

In just a little over two years, this neighborhood eatery has earned a reputation as one of the best new restaurants in the City—and for good reason. Helmed by Jackie Carnesi, of Roberta’s fame, Nura was originally planned as a traditional Indian restaurant. When Carnesi was hired, things changed. She put her own Texan spin on the menu, and diners enjoy an unusual combination of Indian preparation techniques with more global flavors. Inspired by her parents’ cooking, Carnesi employs underused ingredients like Urfa biber (a dried chile) and harissa to create comforting roast chicken and spicy prawn dishes for a new twist on old favorites.

Signature dish: the half-chicken, served in a butter chicken hollandaise with collard greens, schmaltzy potatoes and fenugreek roti