Before heading to NYC, we asked for tons of recommendations from our friends who are just as crazy about food as we are. It’s been a long while since we’ve done a foodcation in New York. We’ve actually never done any of the tourist attractions yet, because we’re always preoccupied with filling our bellies with as many meals as possible.
We had a very ambitious list of food places we wanted to get through in 5 days, and I think we can say that we had a very successful trip in terms of eating. We all gained at least 10 extra pounds. We also lost our DSLR with our NYC photos (it got lifted by a lyft driver). Luckily, I took some food photos on my phone, but RIP to the other guys.
We’ll be back to eat more, so check the date at the bottom to see when this was last updated.
ULTIMATE NYC FOOD BUCKET LIST (99 Places to Eat in NYC):
- ⬡ 15 East
- ⬡ Amelie (French wine and small plates)
- ⬢ Artichoke Pizza – Great fatty midnight snack that’s huge and filling. If you get the artichoke pizza, it’s like eating a creamy soup on a pizza.
- ⬢ Bar Jamon – Great spot to hang out and have appetizers and wine. Get the Chorizo with Pickled Peppers! :)
- ⬡ Birch Coffee (notable mentions: A Little Taste, Piccolo Cafe)
- ⬡ Boba Guys (Shiny Tea is another great choice for bubble tea)
- ⬡ The Breslin at the Ace Hotel (lamb burgers)
- ⬡ Bun-Ker (Vietnamese)
- ⬢ Buvette – A cute french cafe that serves an amazing brunch with fresh ingredients. I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice, scones, and a special – tartinette with zucchini and goat cheese. Jacob ordered the croissants and proscuitto with eggs and toast. The croissants were so flaky and yummy. I loved the croissants over the scones, but also the creme fraiche that came with the scones!
- ⬡ By Chloe (Vegetarian)
- ⬡ Ciao for Now (brunch)
- ⬡ City Bakery (February is Hot Chocolate month)
- ⬡ Cheeky Sandwiches
- ⬡ Contra NYC (best tasting menu)
- ⬡ Clinton St Bakery (February is Pancake month)
- ⬡ Crosby Street Hotel (brunch or high tea)
- ⬡ Culture (froyo)
- ⬡ Daniel
- ⬢ Dominique Ansel BakeryWe didn’t want to wait for a cronut, so we ordered the DKA and enjoyed it on our plane ride!
- ⬡ DB Bistro Burger – According to my friend, you must order the The Original DB Burger. It’s a sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs foie gras, black truffle, parmesan buns, with a side of pommes frites!
- ⬡ Dig Inn (healthy go-to spot)
- ⬢ Doughnut Plant* – Every doughnut we’ve had here was delicious. The coconut cream was my favorite, and the creme brulee was Jacob’s favorite. The creme brulee was apparently invented at Doughnut Plant. This is my favorite doughnut spot on the east coast.
- ⬢ Dough (good, but Doughnut Plant is still our favorite!)
- ⬡ Eleven Madison Park – has received the James Beard award and 3 michelin stars (2012-2015)
- ⬢ Ess-A-Bagel – Everyone says you have not had a real bagel until you try the ones in NYC. I’ve had two friends recommend Ess-A-Bagel, but other people say most bagel spots in NYC will have a bagel that surpasses any other bagel you’ve had.
- ⬢ Eataly (the roast beef sandwich at La Rosticceria) – Their roast beef sandwich might be a bit pricey ($16), but it’s a delicious sandwich. Jacob and I ended up sharing one, since we were already on our way to our next food stop after this.
- ⬡ El Cocotero (Venezuelan)
- ⬡ Grace St Cafe – shaved ice and tea
- ⬡ Gotham West Market
- ⬢ The Halal Guys – Everyone claims that the best Halal Guys is still the one on 53rd and 6th. It was definitely a great stop after drinks. There was even a fight that almost broke out while we were eating. One of our guy friends went here for almost every meal. I can’t say that it was my favorite meal I had, but it’s a solid meal on the cheap.
- ⬡ HU Kitchen (healthy paleo spot)
- ⬡ Hungarian Pastry Shoppe
- ⬢ Ippudo – They’re supposed to have decent ramen, but the pork buns are amazing! Out of the ramen places, Totto ramen is supposed to have the better bowl of ramen. We’ll have to try it to compare the two. :)
- ⬢ Jack’s Wife Freda
- ⬡ Jean-Georges
- ⬡ Jeepney
- ⬢ Joe’s Pizza
- ⬡ Jungsik
- ⬡ Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong or Jongro for KBBQ
- ⬡ Katz’s Delicatessen (pastrami sandwich, other popular spots: Carnegie Deli & 2nd Ave Deli)
- ⬡ Kristalbelli – Some say it’s good, and others say it’s just overpriced Korean food.
- ⬢ The Kunjip – It’s open 24 hours and the Galbi tang was pretty good here. They give you a lot of meat too. I would only go if you happen to be in K-town and it’s after hours.
- ⬡ Kyclades Taverna (best Greek, Astoria)
- ⬡ La Lanterna di Vittorio (cute date spot)
- ⬢ La Maison du Macaron (my fave) or Laduree (popular with tourists)
- ⬡ Lan Shen – 1 Michelin star Szechuan food
- ⬡ Le Bernadin
- ⬢ Mamoun’s
- ⬢ Mandarin Oriental – afternoon tea with a great view of Columbus Circle and Central Park
- ⬢ Marea
- ⬡ Martha’s Bakery – best cakes
- ⬢ Mary’s Fish Camp – I was surprised that this was my favorite meal from the trip even though I’m not the biggest seafood fan. Everything was delicious. We had deviled eggs, oysters, wild bass tartare, octopus over corn, cod sandwiches, grilled lobster, scallops over soba noodles. Also, Liv Tyler was dining a few seats away from us. She must have good taste in food. ;) Pro tip: Bring bug spray. Tons of mosquitoes.
- ⬡ Miti Miti (Spanish tapas)
- ⬡ Mooncake Foods (Asian fusion)
- ⬡ Momofuku Ko
- ⬡ Morimoto
- ⬡ Nishida Ramen
- ⬡ Nobu – It might just be the name, but we want to try it for ourselves to see.
- ⬢ Numpang – They have several locations throughout NYC, and they serve Cambodian sandwiches. We went to the location in Chelsea Market and tried the pulled pork sandwich, because the pork belly wasn’t available. It was good, but definitely not as good as the pork belly I had last year.
- ⬡ Oceanview Cafe (Russian food, Brooklyn)
- ⬡ Odd Fellows Ice Cream (also check out Morgenstern’s Finest, Ample Hills, Van Leeuwan’s)
- ⬡ Oh! Taisho (Japanese bar food)
- ⬡ Ootoya – order the Japanese katsu and earl grey ice cream
- ⬡ Oriental Garden Dim Sum
- ⬡ Pardon My French – has cute waiters in suspenders ;)
- ⬡ Pasar Malam (Malaysian, Wiliamsburg)
- ⬡ Per Se
- ⬡ Peter Luger’s Steakhouse (more for the burger than the steak)
- ⬡ Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
- ⬡ Pig and Khao
- ⬡ Pocha 32 (Ktown) – order budaejjigae and watermelon soju
- ⬡ Prohibition Bakery (boozy mini cupcakes)
- ⬡ Pure Thai Cookhouse
- ⬡ Rest Au Rant – cute bar in Astoria with the best egg salad sandwich
- ⬡ Rice to Riches
- ⬡ Rubirosa Pizza
- ⬡ Sakagura – For homecooked Japanese food. They have a great sake selection too.
- ⬡ Sake Bar Hagi (late night spot)
- ⬡ Samurai Mama (authentic Japanese, Williamsburg
- ⬡ Seva Indian Cuisine (lunch special, in Queens)
- ⬢ Shake Shack – Now that there are locations in Atlanta and Las Vegas, I never feel the urgency to eat here. You can always grab a burger before your flight if you’re flying out of Terminal 4, though, for a much better meal than eating the airplane food.
- ⬡ Shanghai Cafe (for xiaolongbao)
- ⬡ Soju Haus – Has a great Boodaejjigae (Korean Army Stew).
- ⬡ Souvlaki GR
- ⬡ Spot Dessert Bar (St. Marks)
- ⬡ Spuyten Duyvil (bar in Greenpoint)
- ⬡ Sushi Nakazawa
- ⬡ Sushi Yasuda
- ⬡ Taste of Persia – order the Ash Reshteh (Persian stew)
- ⬡ Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles – great hole in the wall for dumplings and noodles.
- ⬢ Totto Ramen – They use chicken broth which makes the soup base very light. It reminded us of dduk gook (korean rice cake soup). They used very thin noodles, and I usually like my ramen noodles thicker, but overall, it was an impressive bowl of ramen. We went to the original location in Midtown West and the one in Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen wasn’t as crowded, but the soup base didn’t taste as good. Hoping to check out their third location to see if it’s our ideal location.
- ⬡ Traif
- ⬡ Uncle Boons
- ⬡ Waffles and Dinges Food Trucks
- ⬡ Wajima Japanese (lunch special)
- ⬡ Wildair (small plates and wine bar)
- ⬡ White Bear (dumplings, Flushing)
- ⬡ Woorijip – quick bite, prepared foods
- ⬢ Xi’an Famous Foods – The walls featured almost every Food Network star visiting this place. We ordered the oxtail soup with hand pulled noodles and the stewed pork burger. The noodles were good, but I was confused with all the talk about complexity of flavors in the soup. We talked to some other folks who said we should have ordered the lamb instead. One of my gfs also suggested the Liang Pink Cold-Skin noodles, but we weren’t in the mood for cold noodles. We’ll have to give it another try!
HONORABLE MENTIONS (ones that got knocked off the list):
- ⬢ Momofuku Milk Bar – The cereal milk ice cream was really gross IMO, but if you love the leftover cereal milk, this might be right up your alley.
- ⬢ Momofuku Ssam Bar – The food was good and it’s worth checking out if you’ve never had Korean food before and want something with the Momofuku name attached. It was kind of hard for us to justify paying so much for Korean food since we make it at home all the time.
- ⬢ Cafe Lalo – The food wasn’t very special, but there’s an iconic scene here from the movie You’ve Got Mail that brings in a ton of tourists. I wouldn’t mind sitting here with a cup of coffee when it’s not crowded, but I wouldn’t order the food again.
Check out our VLOG from our FOODCATION! :D
If you’re in town and don’t have time to make it out, food delivery has been growing in large cities like New York, and food courier services like Postmates are popping up to fill this demand. You can even make money delivering food (so you can then go spend it on more food for yourself ;D).
If you want more recommendations, try checking out 365 Guide New York City: Drink. Eat. Save. Every Day of the Year – A Guide to New York City Restaurants and Bars. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Have you been to any of these spots?
Anything on this list that you feel is overhyped and doesn’t belong here?
Any other food spots in NYC that we must try?
Updated: Jan 16, 2017