New York Food Guide: Where To Eat In The Big Apple!

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream

Heading to NYC? Here’s my New York food guide!!

I originally made this New York food guide after a month-long visit to NYC in November of 2013. I’ve just recently visited again wanted to update this post rather than make a new one. I’m not going to write too much but rather give you a visual diary of my go to places to eat in New York. This post will get updated and grow. I hope to make this into a downloadable PDF in the future. This post doesn’t include higher end restaurants, more wallet-friendly ones. I’ve been to some really bougie places in the past but I’ve wanted to share affordable finds for eating in NYC.

New York |

Let’s begin! *Updated April 2015

I hope this New York food guide induces hunger and a desire to visit! I’ve decided to group things into neighborhoods to make things easier to map out. I usually stay with a friend in Chinatown so there’s a ton of places downtown where I tend to spend most of my time.



Do yourself a favor and go to Mario Batali’s Eataly. It’s a behemoth of an Italian gourmet food shop along with cafes, restaurants, a cooking school and I’m sure more. I get a bit frazzled in there but it’s worth the visit. They have them in Chicago, Italy, Dubai, and Japan.

If you’re interested in a Mario Batali food tour, check out the food tour I did with Walks of New York here.

New York Food Guide - Eataly |

A Mega Italian food dream! Go!

Ace Hotel

I popped into the Ace for both cocktails and coffee. I have not made it to The Breslin (by April Bloomfield) but hope to on a future trip.

Ace Hotel NYC Old Fashioned

Old fashioned at the Ace Hotel Lobby Bar. It’s a scene but hey…sometimes you have to do it


Some favorite downtown joints:

Clinton Street Baking Company

I didn’t really get the hype. I remember when it opened and I never ate there. Then the lines grew…and grew…and grew. This time I was determined to try it. I went with my friend Debbie on a Tuesday late morning. She put our name down, we grabbed coffee across the street and walked around the LES. We came back and got seated shortly after the hour wait. It wasn’t so bad with great company and a coffee. We ordered food to share and I had to have the pancakes. I’m not a pancake person but they were fluffy and delicious. Damn…now I want pancakes.

Clinton Street Baking Company - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

Two Hands 

I heard about this Aussie cafe opening in Nolita. If you know any Aussies or have spent any time in Australia (or NZ) you know that coffee in the southern hemisphere is serious business. It really is that great. I also have been missing a good proper flat white so I knew that I could get a real one here. They also serve a handful of menu items like avo on toast, acai bowls and such. I loved the avo on toast either regular or with an egg on top. Yum.

**Need coffee in NYC? Click here for my coffee guide**


Avo on toast with some olive oil, salt, chili flakes and a squeeze of lemon

Cup & Saucer

Do you want a typical diner meal in NYC? Cup and Saucer is it and it’s in Chinatown. I have to have at least one breakfast sandwich on a roll when I’m in the city. I used to get them from my local bodega but now I come here.

Cup and Saucer Diner - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

So NYC! A breakfast sandwich on a roll


I’m kind of obsessed with eggs so I really like this spot. They’ve got breakfast sandwiches and bowls with eggs. I decided to order something healthier which of course I regret because now I want a super duper egg sandwich. I got the cruzer bowl with quinoa, greens, pickled carrots and a poached egg on top. It was tasty! The flat white wasn’t a flat white though…so I’d skip it and order one from Two Hands or Happy Bones down the way instead. Just get a regular coffee, they serve Stumptown if I recall correctly.


Mmmm eggs-cellent!


This spot is like a closet. It’s down past Canal in Chinatown and was walking distance to where I was staying. It’s so small in there so unless you’re with one other person, I’d skip it. Waits would take forever. I rolled solo and sat against the wall. I ordered one of their acai bowl, which I don’t normally do. I’m a savory breakfast person. It was good but I don’t know if it’s my jam. Coffee was good. Kinda on the hipster tip.


Acai bowl – strawberry, banana, house made almond milk, bee pollen, gojis, granola

Cafe Habana

Habana is older but it’s still a popular place for some Cuban flavor. I will often pop into the cafe next to the restaurant and just grab take out.

NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE - I’m a sucker for Habana’s elote/corn

Cafe Habana Brunch - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

I had brunch at Habana with my cousins and aunt we all had a great meal

La Esquina

3 spots in one. There’s a taqueria (where I usually go), cafe, and brasserie. Service can be abrupt but I chalk that up to NYC. Ha.

La Esquina Cafe - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE - Tacos & elote!


I love this place. It’s a Japanese soba (noodle) spot. My favorite dish is the kimchi dip soba. I ate this several times on my trip. Perfect for cold, cold NYC nights!


Mmm kimchi soba dip, daikon salad, and a potato and okra croquette


Nyonya is my Malaysian standby. I’ve been coming here since the late 90s. It used to be a tiny local spot in Chinatown but they’ve expanded and moved across the street. I wouldn’t say everything is great but there’s a handful of good dishes still.


Kangkung belacan, Hainanese chicken and rice, and roti canai


Do you like bubble tea? I do. I like Teado (no website). They use Lactaid for their milky teas which is rad for lactose intolerants. It’s on Hester Street between Bowery and Grand.


I’m a fan of the grapefruit, lychee and aloe juice

Russ & Daughters

I’m a fan. Some people think it’s overrated but there’s a reason it’s popular. Grab a bagel and lox to go at their shop on Houston or eat at their new-ish cafe on Orchard. There are line-ups for the cafe and it doesn’t matter if you’re solo like me! Go at a random time to avoid waits…not the weekend!

Russ and Daughters - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

Mmmm I grabbed an everything bagel and lox at their shop. It was delicious!

On this trip, I went to the cafe and ate at the counter. Loved the retro vibe and the servers wearing lab coats.

Russ and Daughters - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

I had a smoked pepper bloody Mary…it sure was smoky! I went with the classic board.

Doughnut Plant 

Want a delicious sweet treat? Come here. It’s silly how good they are. Get the creme brulee and the tres leches donut!

Doughnut Plant NYC - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

Pumpkin Spice donut, creme brulee donut, and inside the creme brulee donut. Right?! OMG!

Blue Ribbon Sushi

Blue Ribbon is a standby in NYC. I know that there’s a hell of a lot of amazing and pricy places to eat sushi but it’s not too hard getting in here without an advanced reso and the quality is good. I don’t usually like restaurant groups but this is one I do like. I still have to try their fried chicken spot.

Blue Ribbon Sushi - NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE -

Photos are from Soho and East Village Izakaya

Dim Sum Go Go for….wait for it…dim sum!


Dim sum and then some!

**Went to Nom Wah on Doyers with a local friend and did not take pics. Too busy talking! Recommend it!

I don’t know what to say about this place except that I love it and I’m addicted. I went three times on my latest trip of a week and a half. It might have helped that it was only a few blocks away. The ice cream is rich, uniquely flavored and not full of crap. The way it should be. The flavors I tried from left to right (seen below) are green tea pistachio, PB picosos (peanut butter chocolate with red skinned peanuts), Szechuan peppercorn chocolate with Madagascar vanilla with Luxardo cherries folded in, salted pretzel caramel with chocolate bits. All amazing!

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream

Just go!! It’s amazing

The Bowery Hotel

The Bowery is a great hotel on Bowery. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the rooms are nice and the staff is super friendly. I chilled on a couch in the patio area while sipping on a Moscow Mule. A super cool place for a mellow drink if you’re in that area.

Bowery Hotel Bar NYC

Moscow Mule at the Bowery Hotel

Destination Guides and Tips -

East Side


Around St Mark’s is a great Japanese curry restaurant called Curry-Ya. Super hearty and comforting.

Curry Ya Japanese NYC

Mmm Japanese curry! Try it if you’ve never had it before.


I’m a little partial but I’m hyped on Filipino food in NYC! I went here with my cousin and we had a serious food fiesta! We ordered kare kare (oxtail stew), lumpia (egg roll), longanisa (like chorizo), bangus (fried milkfish), leche flan (flan dessert), mango cheesecake.

Maharlika Filipino Restaurant NYC

Sarap na man!

West Side

Lumpia Shack Snackbar

Another Filipino spot. Perhaps it’s my lack of getting my people’s food without my mom. Anyways NYC has the Pinoy game on lock so I’m happy to oblige. I went here on my way to the Highline and grabbed a very very late lunch. I ordered the pork belly bowl lunch special. It was not traditional, more of a modern twist to Filipino food. It was delicious and I ate it all. The pork belly had an adobo type sauce and came with 3 small lumpia (or Filipino eggrolls). I also ordered a calamansi (Asian lime) juice and a halo halo or a shaved ice dessert. Halo halo translates into mix mix and you mix up the ice and the toppings in this delicious dessert. This version had some ube (purple yam) whipped cream, leche flan, banana, strawberries, coconut and some other goodness. It was soooo good.

Lumpia Shack Snack Bar NYC Filipino

Joe’s Pizza

I went to Joe’s in the West Village randomly. I found it on the review sites rated highly while I was waiting for friends to see a show on Minetta Lane.

NYC 2013

It’s a good slice!

Jinya Ramen

If you’re on the west side of the city and want a decent ramen option, Jinya is not bad. It’s not the best in my opinion but it’s good.

Jinya NYC

Mmm ramen, pork belly bao, and a rice bowl side order

Totto Ramen 

Totto Ramen is super busy. There are super long lines and it’s a tiny spot. They’ve opened another location but I’m sure it’s still crazy.

**Note: ramen at Totto uses a chicken broth rather than pork giving it a lighter taste

Totto Ramen NYC

Ramen, tuna appy, uni rice appy. Had a pork belly bao but wouldn’t order again

Shake Shack

Several locations in NYC. People love it. I’m on the fence about the burger and def not a fan of the fries but I’m all about no line ups for the shake and the pavements!!

NYC 2013

Brooklyn – Where BK at, where BK at!?

Roberta’s Pizza 

This place is great. It’s much more than just a pizza place. There’s a cool bar in the back where you can have drinks while you wait for your table, there’s a garden where they grow their own veggies, there’s a music studio and I believe they have their own radio station. There are a million things happening but the most important thing is the food is tasty!

Robertas Pizza Brooklyn - New York food guide | Baby Sinclair pizza and a beet and pear salad. So good!

La Superior

Came across La Superior in BK randomly. Was walking around and wanted a cocktail with my cousins. We just had drinks and chips and guacs here but I’m sold on the margaritas.

La Superior Taco Brooklyn - New York food guide |

Damn that guava margarita is awesome!


Restaurant in the Wythe Hotel. The rooftop bar at the Wythe is great too but dinner was on point at Reynard.

NYC 2013

Liver mousse on toast at Reynard. Yes, please!


Smorgasburg is part of the Brooklyn flea market on the weekends. Definitely worth the visit but when I went it started to rain so the vendors were shutting down. Must return!

New York food guide | Smorgasburg NYC |

Pork belly from Landhaus and Porchetta getting chopped up at Smorgasburg

Here is an old post I wrote about Ippudo, still my favorite spot for ramen.

I am sure there are more places that I ate at but these were all the photos I have from my camera and phone. There are some places that I went to but didn’t really think they were noteworthy or my photos were complete crap.

Places that I loved that I don’t have good photos of:

  • Bianca’s on Bleecker. Great Italian food for reasonable prices. There’s a bar next door to drink at while you wait and they find you
  • Apizz in the LES. Good Italian again in the Lower East Side
  • There’s a cheap spot dumpling spot in Chinatown on Eldridge called Vanessa’s. You can totally eat for less than $5. You’ll see a ton of students and kids in there because it’s budget friendly.
  • The scones at Harney & Sons are so good with their tea. Stop and get a ham and cheese and one with clotted cream!

Not worth IMO:

  • Shake Shack burgers are not worth the lineup. I’m still confused about the hype. Skip the line and get a shake in the shake line. I guess burgers are subjective, try it out and tell me what you think….
  • Momofuku Milk Bar. I was obsessed with going here after seeing photos in mags, etc. The soft serve is whatevs. Perhaps my expectations were too high? I had the compost cookie and the crack pie as well and wasn’t impressed. Sorry.

Please share any New York food recommendations with me. NYC is so vast so I’ll never be able to eat at every place even if I lived there and ate out every day. But I do love recommendations from people!



Related Posts