Oh 2012, we hardly knew ye (and not just because of all the excellent cocktails we had). The NYC dining scene got fancy once again this year, with expensive tasting menus and opulent openings that would have seemed overblown during the height of the recession. There were also a few lower-key options that were just as tasty: a San Francisco import heated up the city's Chinese restaurant scene (through the liberal use of spice), and a Nordic pop-up in Williamsburg was one of Brooklyn's most interesting new restaurants. And that's just for starters. Here are the 18 establishments that defined the year in dining, and let us know which were your favorite openings in the comments.
Bonus: Nightlife lovers can check out the 15 coolest new bars, lounges and clubs of the year here.