New York Food Guide: Where To Eat In The Big Apple!
This New York food guide was made after a month-long visit to NYC in November of 2013. Just recently, I visited again and rather than write a new post, I updated this one. Also, rather than write a lot of text, I wanted to give you a visual diary of my favourite places.
This post will get updated and grow with each visit. Hopefully, I can make this into a downloadable PDF in the future. This post doesn’t include higher-end restaurants that I have been to, more wallet-friendly ones (those are my favourite).
New York Food Guide *Updated April 2015
Hopefully this New York food guide induces hunger and a desire to visit! I thought the best way to make this guide is to group things into neighbourhoods to make things easier to map out. In the past, I stayed with a friend who was living in Chinatown so I eat a lot in that area.
Do yourself a favour and go to Eataly. It’s a behemoth of an Italian gourmet food shop along with cafes, restaurants, a cooking school and more. I get a bit frazzled in there but it’s worth the visit. They have them in Chicago, Boston, LA, Italy, Dubai, and Japan.
A Mega Italian food dream! Go!
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.
Old fashioned at the Ace Hotel Lobby Bar. It’s a scene but hey…sometimes you have to do it
Check rates for your NYC hotels with cancellation by using this search engine
Clinton Street Baking Company
I didn’t really get the hype behind Clinton Street Baking Company. I remember when it opened yet I never ate there. Then the lines grew…and grew…and grew. This time I was determined to try it.
My friend Debbie and I went on a Tuesday late morning. She put our name down, we grabbed a coffee across the street and walked around the Lower East Side. 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 ordered the pancakes. I’m not a pancake person but they were so fluffy and delicious.
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 is really is that great (I’ve been to Australia and New Zealand). I heard about this Aussie cafe opening in Nolita and I have been missing a proper flat white and knew that I could get my fix here. They also serve items like avocado toast, acai bowls and more. I loved the avocado toast with an egg on top. Yum.
Read more: A New York City Coffee Guide
Avo on toast with some olive oil, salt, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon
Cup & Saucer
Do you want a typical New York food experience? Cup and Saucer would be the place and it’s in Chinatown. Whenever I am in NYC, I have to have at least one breakfast sandwich on a roll. It’s something I used to eat when I lived in NYC. I would get them from my local bodega but now I come here.
So NYC! A breakfast sandwich on a roll
I’m kind of obsessed with eggs so I really like Eggshop. They’ve got breakfast sandwiches and bowls with eggs. When I went ordered something healthier which of course I regret because I should have ordered an 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.
This restaurant is down past Canal in Chinatown and close to where I was staying, so I thought I would try it. It’s so small in there so if you are more than a pair I would skip it. Waits would take forever. I went solo and sat against the wall. I ordered one of their acai bowls, which I don’t normally do. It was good but I’m a truly a savoury breakfast person. Coffee was really good.
Acai bowl – strawberry, banana, house-made almond milk, bee pollen, gojis, granola
Habana is older but it’s still a popular place for some Cuban flavour. I will often pop into the cafe next to the restaurant and just grab take out to avoid any kind of line.
I had brunch at Habana with my cousins and aunt we all had a great meal
La Esquina is 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.
Tacos & elote!
Cocoron is a Japanese soba (noodle) spot. My favourite 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 great dishes still.
Kangkung belacan, Hainanese chicken and rice, and roti canai
Do you like bubble tea? I do. Teado in Chinatown is great (no website). They use Lactaid for their milky teas which is great for all the lactose intolerants. It’s on Hester Street between Bowery and Grand.
Russ & Daughters
Some people think Russ & Daughters is overrated but there’s a reason it’s popular. I love it! 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!
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. The retro vibe and the servers wearing lab coats were awesome.
I had a smoked pepper bloody Mary…it sure was smoky! Ordered the classic board.
Want a delicious sweet treat? Go to doughnut plant. It’s silly how good they are. Get the creme brulee and the tres leches donut!
Pumpkin Spice donut, creme brulee donut, and inside the creme brulee donut. Right?! OMG!
Blue Ribbon Sushi
Blue Ribbon is a standby sushi spot for me in NYC. I know there are tons of amazing and pricy places to eat sushi. But getting a table is not too hard without an advanced reservation and the quality is good.
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 but did not take pics. Too busy talking! Recommend it though!
Morgenstern’s is amazing. All I can say is that I love it and I’m addicted. On my last trip, I went three times in a week and a half. The ice cream is rich, uniquely flavoured, and not full of crap. The way ice cream should be!
The flavours I tried from left to right (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!
Just go!! It’s amazing
The Bowery Hotel
The Bowery is a great hotel located on….wait for it…Bowery. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the rooms are nice and the staff are friendly. While I was there, I hung out on a couch in the patio area while sipping on a Moscow Mule. It’s a great place for a cocktail if you’re in the area.
Moscow Mule at the Bowery Hotel
Around St Mark’s is a great Japanese curry restaurant called Curry-Ya. Super hearty and comforting.
Mmm Japanese curry! Try it if you’ve never had it before.
Maybe I’m being partial but I loved the Filipino food in NYC! My cousin and I had a serious food fiesta at Maharlika! We ordered kare kare (oxtail stew), lumpia (egg roll), longanisa (like chorizo), bangus (fried milkfish), leche flan (flan dessert), and mango cheesecake.
Sarap na man!
Lumpia Shack Snackbar
Another Filipino eatery! Perhaps it’s a lack of getting Filipino food without my mom. New York City has the Pinoy food game on lock so I’m happy to eat at all of the restaurants.
On my way to the Highline one day, I dropped by LSS 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.
Randomly while I was in the West Village, I popped into Joe’s to get a slice. Pizza is a New York food must! I found it on the review sites rated highly while I was waiting for friends to see a show on Minetta Lane. Sorry no photo!
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 NYC but it’s good.
Mmm ramen, pork belly bao, and a rice bowl side order
Totto Ramen is crazy busy. There are super long lines because 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
Ramen, tuna appy, uni rice appy. Had a pork belly bao but wouldn’t order again
Several locations in NYC. People love it. I’m still on the fence about the burger but I’m all about no line ups for the shake and the pavements!!
Brooklyn – Where BK at, where BK at!?
Roberta’s is great. It’s much more than just a pizza place. In the back, there’s a bar where you can have drinks while you wait for your table. They have a garden where they grow their own veggies. There’s even 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!
Baby Sinclair pizza and a beet and pear salad. So good!
I came across La Superior in BK randomly. My cousins and I were walking around and we wanted a cocktail with my cousins. We walked by and decided to pop in for margaritas and chips and guacamole. The margaritas were amazing. I’m a fan!
Damn that guava margarita is awesome!
Smorgasburg is part of the Brooklyn flea market on the weekends. It was definitely worth the visit but when I went it started to rain so the vendors were shutting down. They have it in LA now too!
Pork belly from Landhaus and Porchetta getting chopped up at Smorgasburg
Here is an old post I wrote about Ippudo, still my favourite spot for ramen.
There are a bunch of places I went to but all the photos were from my phone and not very good or dark.
New York Food Spots I Loved Without Good Photos
- Bianca’s on Bleecker. Great Italian food at 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
- Reynard’s in the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. Spendy but delicious.
- There’s a cheap spot dumpling spot in Chinatown on Eldridge called Vanessa’s. You can 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 great. Have some with their tea. Stop and get a ham and cheese and one with clotted cream!
New York Food Spots Not Worth The Visit IMO:
- Shake Shack burgers are not worth the lineup IMO. 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.