Before our first visit to NYC, we asked for recommendations from our friends who are just as crazy about food as we are. By nature, I’m a maximizer. I’ll cross-reference 100 different articles with all my friends’ recommendations and still wonder if there are better options floating around out there.
It doesn’t help that a city like NYC also has an unending list of options with new restaurants popping up every week and old ones closing from ridiculous rent. Luckily, now that we live in NYC, we can dedicate more time to filling our bellies with as many meals as possible. So far, we’ve tried all the three starred Michelin restaurants, minus Le Bernardin, as well as many of the cheapest eats in the city.
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Last Updated: June 29, 2021
ULTIMATE NYC FOOD BUCKET LIST (99 Places to Eat in NYC)
On our first foodcation, we had a very ambitious list we wanted to get through in 5 days. We returned home many pounds heavier, which I think we can say was a success. On the other hand, we lost our DSLR with most our NYC photos (it got lifted by a lyft driver). RIP to the original photos and places we won’t return to, but I’m glad I happened to take some on my phone to share.
- Aska (Williamsburg, 💰💰💰💰, Scandinavian) – Michelin 2 Star 2018, Bon Appetit Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2017
- Bien Cuit (Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill + Midtown East, 💰💰, Bakery/French) – Zachary Golper at the Brooklyn location was a James Beard Outstanding Baker Nominee 2017.
- Bunker (Williamsburg, Vietnamese, 💰💰) – on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand Guide.
- Di Fara Pizza (Midwood, Pizza, 💰💰) – a 52-year-old institution with pizza legend Dom DeMarco, mentioned by many friends and is also recommended by Timeout and Thrillist.
- Frankies 457 Spuntino (Carroll Gardens, 💰, Bar/Italian) – Homey setting, handmade pastas. Named as a neighborhood Italian staple by Eater.
- Hart’s Restaurant (Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy, New American, 💰💰💰) – Bon Appetit’s Best #5 New Restaurants 2017
- L’industrie Pizzeria (Williamsburg, 💰, Pizza) – on the yelp100 list in 2017.
- Lilia (Williamsburg North, 💰💰💰, Italian/Cocktails) – Missy Robbins was a JBF Best Chef NYC Nominee 2017, Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. Try the burrata sandwich
- Maison Premiere (Williamsburg South, 💰💰💰, Seafood/Bar) – JBF Outstanding Bar Program 2016
- Mile End Delicatessen (Boerum Hill + Various, 💰💰, Sandwiches) – On the Michelin Guide. The Smoked Meat sandwich is one of NY’s best sandwiches according to CNN, and the Fried Green Tomato is one of Eater’s 15 Best NY Sandwiches. Try the smoked meat sandwich, the fried green tomato sandwich, or the Reuben.
- St Anselm (Williamsburg North, 💰💰💰, New American/Wine Bar/Steakhouse) – On eater’s essential NY restaurants for Fall 2017. Order the NY Strip or ax handle rib-eye.
- L&B Spumoni Gardens (Gravesend, 💰, Pizza/Italian) – On the thrillist and timeout’s NYC bucket list. Try the Sicilian square pizza and the rainbow spumoni for dessert.
- La Vara (Cobble Hill, 💰💰💰, Spanish, ) – Michelin 1 Star in 2018, Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. The Molletes sandwich is one of Eater’s 15 best NY sandwiches.
- Olmsted (Prospect Heights, 💰💰💰, New American) – James Beard Best New Restaurant Nominee 2017, Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants 2017, Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants, on the Michelin Guide – Try the crab rangoon, carrot crepe, and watermelon sushi.
- Peter Luger (Williamsburg, 💰💰💰💰, Steak) – It’s an NY namesake, and you should try it at least once. A lot of people say it’s the best steak in the city others think it’s a waste of money. A group of us went for my birthday and tried just about everything. The burger was better than the steak, but you can only get it at lunch. Bacon was really thick like ham, and we like ours crispy. Everyone raves about the creamed spinach, but I’ve never been a fan, and this one did not change my mind.
- Roberta’s Pizza (Bushwick + Midtown East, 💰💰, Pizza/Italian) – Haven’t heard of another pizza joint in NYC mentioned more than Roberta’s.We ordered the Margherita pizza and romaine salad. It was good, but I personally wouldn’t go out of the way for it since there’s great pizza in the city too. It’s also mentioned on businessinsider, buzzfeed, thrillist, timeout, Eater’s Essential 38 Restaurants to eat in America in 2016, and eater’s essential NY restaurants in Fall of 2017, and on the Michelin guide.
- Traif (Williamsburg, 💰💰💰, New American/Tapas)
- Breakroom (💰💰, Burgers/Mexican) – popular ig spot
- Eggloo (Chinatown, 💰, Ice Cream/Desserts/Waffles) – finally got to try these after seeing them all over instagram. Liked the earl grey ice cream with a regular waffle.
- Shanghai 21 (💰💰, Chinese) – Shanghai style soup dumplings, pan-fried dumplings, and more. The crab and pork soup dumplings are my favorite.
- Taiwan Pork Chop House (💰, Taiwanese) – the food is so cheap here! Oddly enough, the popcorn chicken and chicken over rice were much better than the pork. Also, it’s on the famous Doyers st, so don’t forget to stop for some photos.
- Hanoi House (Alphabet City, 💰💰, Vietnamese) – one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. They have a great beef pho.
- Hearth (East Village, 💰💰💰, New American/Italian/Breakfast/Brunch) – Marco Canora won the James Beard Best Award for Best Chef in NYC 2017
- Jeepney (East Village, 💰💰, Filipino) – recommended by our foodie friend.
- Luke’s Lobster (East Village + Multiple Locations, 💰💰, Seafood) – They get daily shipments from Maine. The Lobster Roll is one of cnn best NY sandwiches and the Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich is one of Eater’s 15 Best NY Sandwiches. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it of the seasoning, but the lobster itself was good.
- Momofuku Ko (💰💰💰💰, New American) – Michelin 2 Star 2018, #58 on the World’s Best Restaurants (2017), Business Insider’s #22 Best Restaurant in America (2017). Christina Tosi won the JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef Award in 2015.
- Momofuku Noodle Bar (💰💰, Ramen/New American) – I always hear mixed reviews about this, and while I didn’t love the ramen, the other dishes like their chilled spicy noodles were good. Could I make them better at home? Probably. Awards: JBF Outstanding Restaurant Nominee 2017, one of Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in America (2016) and NYC (Fall 2017), Michelin guide, timeout.
- Prune (East Village, 💰💰💰, New American/Breakfast/Brunch) – Gabrielle Hamilton was a JBF Outstanding Chef Nominee 2017. Prune is also on America’s 38 Essential Restaurants on Eater (2017), and on the Michelin guide.
- Somtum Der (Alphabet City, 💰💰, Thai) – found on the Michelin guide. Normally, we like trying new spots, but everything we order here has been so good that we kept coming back once a week to try new things on the menu.
- Sunny & Annie’s Deli (💰, Sandwiches) – Try the pho #1 sandwich here. It’s the strangest thing how a sandwich can satisfy my craving for a bowl of noodle soup, but it does. The first few bites were so confusing, but by the end, I wanted another. I ended up being so addicted to these that a friend of mine vacuum sealed a bunch and sent them to me.
- Cosme (Mexican, 💰💰💰) – Daniela Soto-Innes was JBF Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2016, #40 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2017), Business Insider’s #9 Best Restaurant in America (2017), one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
- Eataly (Italian/Grocery, 💰💰) – There are multiple food stalls. You should try the nutella crepe bar, pasta at La Pizza and La Pasta, the roast beef sandwich at La Rosticceria. You can also make a reservation at the rooftop restaurant and microbrewery La Birreria.
- Eleven Madison Park (New American/French, 💰💰💰💰) – I can definitely see why it has a Michelin 3 star. The food didn’t stand out compared to other prix fixe meals in the city, but the service is exceptional. If you’re getting the wine pairing, they say it will be 9 half pours, but they felt way closer to full pours. I was feeling it. Other Press: #1 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2017), Business Insider’s #2 Best Restaurant in America (2017), yelp100 (2014, 2016).
- Gramercy Tavern (New American, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Michael Anthony won the JBF Outstanding Chef Award in 2015, Business Insider’s #16 Best Restaurant in America (2017), yelp100 (2014, 2016), one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
- The NoMad Restaurant ( French/New American, 💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #29 Best Restaurant in America (2017), and one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. Try the chicken sandwich during brunch.
- Carbone (Italian, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2020, sometimes 2-month wait for reservations.
- Joe’s Pizza (Multiple Locations, Pizza, 💰) – We found that some locations were better than others. It’s great grab and go pizza.
- Babbo (Italian, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #39 Best Restaurant in America (2017).
- Gotham Bar and Grill (New American/Bars, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #36 Best Restaurant in America (2017) (Reopens in September 2021)
- Willow (💰💰, Vegan, New American) – Vegan bistro serving up plant-based American comfort food. Try their vegan mac and cheese.
LITTLE ITALY + NOLITA
- Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (Nolita, Cheesecake, 💰) – so fluffy and delicious. My fave is the plain, and Jacob loved the marbled one.
- Estela (Nolita/NoHo, New American/Brunch, 💰💰💰) – Ignacio Mattos was a JBF Best Chef NYC Nominee 2017.
- Nyona (Little Italy + others had bad reviews, Asian Fusion, 💰💰) – on the Michelin guide. The food we tried was just okay, but I couldn’t get over how affordable it was. Maybe we need to go back and try some more dishes
- Taiyaki NYC (Little Italy, Desserts/Ice Cream, 💰) – those popular fish cake ice creams on ig.
- Uncle Boons Sister (Nolita, Thai, 💰💰) – for good authentic Thai. The main restaurant, Uncle Boons, closed during the pandemic, but you can find similar flavors here at their sister restaurant.
LOWER EAST SIDE (LES)
- Contra (New American, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018 and a few of our friends mentioned it’s their favorite tasting menu.
- Doughnut Plant (Multiple Locations, Donuts, 💰💰) – Don’t want to overhype it, but these are my favorite doughnuts on the east coast. The creme brulee doughnut is their top seller, but I loved the coconut creme best. Even if you don’t like coconut, this might convert you.
- Ice & Vice (Desserts/Ice Cream, 💰💰) – popular on ig. Don’t love the cones.
- Katz’s Delicatessen (LES, Deli/Sandwiches, 💰💰) – We still haven’t tried it because I’m intimidated by the lines, but we’ll eventually get around to it. It is one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants, and also recommended by cnn, thrillist, timeout, Michelin guide. There are only a few places left in NYC you can get a traditional smoky pastrami sandwich. The wait is horrendous, but go and grab a ticket, since it’s an experience in and of itself. Fun Fact – they serve 10k pounds of pastrami, 5k pounds of corned beef, 2k pounds of salami, and 12k hot dogs each week.
- The Meatball Shop (Multiple Locations, Italian/American, 💰💰) – Try the spicy meatball with spicy sauce over polenta, homemade ice cream sandwich, some locations are open until 3 am.
- Russ & Daughters (Also LES2 + Upper East Side, Bagels/Smokehouse/Delis/Kosher, 💰💰) – You have to go to the deli and not the cafe. It’s on thrillist and timeout‘s NYC bucket list, and on the Michelin guide. Get the bagel with the city’s best lox or get the lox alone according to cnn, and the old pickled herring.
- Soft Swerve (Ice Cream, 💰) – popular ice cream spot on ig. Loved their matcha, but the ube is too pretty not to try.
- Spaghetti Incident (Italian, 💰💰) – Homey, cash-only Italian pasta dishes. Known for their Sicilian-style rice balls.
- Spicy Village (Chinese, 💰) – so cheap and so good! Order one of the hand-pulled noodles. We got the spicy beef dry noodles. one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
- Wildair (LES, New American, 💰💰💰) – Brought to you by the restauranteurs from Contra, is #8 on Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants (2016) and is one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. It’s great for small plates and natural wines.
- Ess-a-Bagel (Midtown East + Stuyvesant Town, Bagels, 💰) – 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. These were pretty damn good.
- Nishida Sho-ten (Midtown East, Ramen, 💰💰) – our friend’s favorite ramen spot in the city. We liked the black kakuni over the white one.
- Sushi Ginza Onodera (Midtown East, Sushi, 💰💰💰💰) – It’s the only Japanese restaurant in the United States to hold 2 Michelin stars in 2018.
- Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East, Sushi, 💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Hell’s Kitchen, Japanese, 💰💰💰💰) – Our second favorite prefix meal in the city. Michelin 3 Star 2018, #82 on the World’s Best Restaurants, Business Insider’s #48 Best Restaurant in America (2017)
- The Halal Guys (Multiple Locations, Middle Eastern/Food Stand, 💰) – I personally think it’s overhyped for what it is. Everyone claims that the best Halal Guys is still the one on 53rd and 6th. It was definitely a great stop after drinks and a solid meal on the cheap (P.S. their prices went up again though). The one right next to our apartment in LIC is pretty comparable sans the drunk crowd. Some carts have a sign for a free drink with your meal in tiny print, which they won’t give you unless you specifically ask for it. On yelp 100 for 2016. They’ve opened up locations in other cities, and so far the ones we’ve tried have been terrible.. especially Atlanta.
- Gabriel Kreuther (Midtown West, French, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #26 Best Restaurant in America in 2017.
- Kwik Meal Cart (Indian/Middle Eastern, 💰) – this actually tasted way fresher and better than halal guys.
- Le Bernardin (Theater District, 💰💰💰💰, French) – Michelin 3 Star 2018, #17 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017, Business Insider’s #3 Best Restaurant in America (2017), yelp100 (2014, 2016).
- Masa (Hell’s Kitchen, 💰💰💰💰, Sushi) – The best meal we’ve had in NYC and we had high expectations. It’s the most expensive meal we’ve ever paid for. I have to drag Jacob to prix fixe places and he almost always complains when the bill comes, but this one he thoroughly enjoyed. We even got to meet Chef Masa! P.S. No photos are allowed except the one at the. end with Chef Masa. Press & Awards: Michelin 3 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #17 Best Restaurant in America (2017).
- The Modern (Midtown West, 💰💰💰💰, New American) – Michelin 2 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #14 Best Restaurant in America in 2017
- Oceana (Theater District, Seafood, 💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2014.
- Per Se (Hell’s Kitchen, 💰💰💰💰, French) – I’m a huge fan of Chef Keller’s restaurants. We went for my birthday and they added some nice personal touches. Nothing to complain about the food, but the service was off, which was a surprise us for a 3 Michelin star place. Some of the servers were awkwardly quiet and we couldn’t hear them or too loud and startling us out of nowhere. Still worth checking out if you care more about the food than service. Per Se is on every list imaginable: Michelin 3 Stars, World’s Best Restaurants, Business Insider’s Best Restaurants in America, and Yelp 100 (2014, 2016).
- Pure Thai Cookhouse (Theater District, Thai, 💰💰) – This is the one spot we always recommend to friends in town since it’s in Midtown and convenient to where most visitors like to stay. We usually never order pad thai, but we were told it was exceptional here. They were right! It was our second fave thing we tried, and our absolute fave was the crab and pork dry noodles.
- Sullivan Street Bakery (Also Chelsea, Bakery, 💰💰) – Jim Lahey won the JBF Outstanding Baker Award (2015), and it’s also one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
- Totto Ramen (Multiple Locations, Ramen, 💰💰) – This is still our favorite ramen in NYC. 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 tasted different. Hoping to check out their third location soon too.
- The Alcove (Woodside, Gastropub, 💰💰) – On Yelp 100 (2018). How do they have 5 stars?
- Blend (LIC, Latin American, 💰💰) – Pan-Latin dishes. Try their empanada sampler paired with their classic mojito.
- Casa Enrique (Long Island City (LIC), Mexican, 💰💰) – The only 1 Michelin Star in our neighborhood for 2018.
- Cafe Henri (LIC, French, 💰💰) – Great for brunch in the area if you can’t be bothered to go into the city.
- Chip NYC (Astoria, Bakery, 💰💰) – popular cookie place that’s similar to Levain as far as how dense the cookie is.
- Fish Dumping (DT Flushing, Chinese, 💰) – Chinese dumplings filled with white fish and greens.
- Hahm Ji Bach (Flushing, Korean, 💰💰) – the best Korean we’ve had in NYC (not saying too much because the Korean food in NY hasn’t been great) and you have to trek far to get it. We didn’t try the samgyupsal but the galbijjim was good.
- Sal, Kris, & Charlie’s Deli (Astoria, Deli/Sandwiches, 💰) – On the yelp 100 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018). It’s my fave sandwich spot in NYC. The Soppressata on that sesame bread is so delicious.
- Xi’an Famous Foods (Multiple Locations, Chinese,💰) – The original one was in the Golden Mall in Flushing but eventually closed because they outgrew it. Now they’re everywhere. You can watch them hand pull the noodles. I liked the dry noodles over the soupy ones and the burgers weren’t that good, but the Liang pi cold skin noodles and spicy cumin lamb noodles were delicious. Not a fan of the pork burger. Can’t wait for the one in LIC to open up!
UPPER EAST SIDE (UES)
- Cafe Boulud (UES, French, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2018, Business Insider’s #31 Best Restaurant in America in 2017, one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
- Daniel (UES, French, 💰💰💰💰) – Ghaya Oliveira – Michelin 2 Star 2018, JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef 2017, Business Insider’s #8 Best Restaurant in America in 2017, and yelp100 for 2014 and 2016.
- Two Little Red Hens (Yorkville, Bakery, 💰💰) – loved their cheesecake and key lime pie. We still need to try more spots to compare, but our friend thinks it’s the best cheesecake in town and it reminds her of the Friends Cheesecake episode.
- Buvette (West Village, French, 💰💰) – Jody Williams was a JBF Best Chef NYC Nominee in 2017. Buvette is a cute French cafe that serves an amazing brunch with fresh ingredients. I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice, scones, and the special – tartinette with zucchini and goat cheese. Jacob ordered the croissants and prosciutto with eggs and toast. The croissants were so flaky and yummy. I loved the croissants over the scones, but the creme fraiche was amazing that came with the scones.
- Faicco’s Italian Specialties (West Village, Italian Sandwiches, 💰💰) – get the famous and massive Italian sub. Just the meat alone had to be stacked a couple inches tall. It’s a good one to split with a friend.
- Jack’s Wife Freda (SoHo + West Village, Mediterranean, 💰💰) – go for a boozy brunch, and try the prego roll is one of eaterNY’s 15 Best Sandwiches.
- John’s of Bleecker Street (West Village, Pizza, 💰💰) – historic pizza joint with delicious pizza, but you can’t order them by the slice. So far it’s my favorite sit down pizza spot.
- Mary’s Fish Camp (West Village, Seafood, 💰💰💰) – This was my favorite meal from one of our previous trips even though I’m not big on seafood. 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.
- Magnolia Bakery (West Village + Various, Desserts/Bakery, 💰💰) – the other desserts weren’t great, but their banana pudding is so bomb.
- The Spotted Pig (West Village, Burgers/Gastropubs, 💰💰💰) according to timeout, you should try the burger here. Ken Friedman won the award for JBF Outstanding Restauranteur in 2016. It’s also on the Michelin guide.
- Bar Jamon (Gramercy, Spanish/Tapas, 💰💰💰) – Great spot to hang out and have appetizers and wine. Get the Chorizo with Pickled Peppers.
- Batard (TriBeCa, European, 💰💰💰💰) – 1 Michelin Star in 2018 and JBF Best New Restaurant in 2015.
- The Dead Rabbit (Financial District, Cocktails, 💰💰) – JBF Outstanding Bar Program Nominee 2017 and best bar in the world by world’s 50 best bars. “Cocktail menu looks more like a graphic novel than a bar menu” – Business Insider. They have 145 different Irish whiskeys and other unique cocktails.
- Dominique Ansel Bakery (South Village, Bakeries/Desserts, 💰💰) – The spot where the famous cronut was invented but now there’s no line. We tried the DKA and cookie shots. I wouldn’t go back. They’re also famous for the frozen s’more, magic souffle, waffle affogato, and DDQ.
- Jungsik (TriBeCa, Seafood/Korean, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 2 Star in 2018.
- Le Coucou (Soho, French, 💰💰💰💰) – James Beard Best New Restaurant 2017, Business Insider’s #28 Best Restaurant in America in 2017 , Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants in 2017, America’s 38 Essential Restaurants according to Eater in 2017, and of course, and one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. (Reopens Sept 2021)
- Levain Bakery (Also UWS 2 + Harlem, Bakery, 💰💰) – everyone raves about the cookies here. One is good enough to share with 2-3 people. It’s so big and dense, and the texture is in between a scone and a cookie. We tried all the flavors, and the oatmeal raisin and chocolate peanut butter were our favorites.
- Jean-Georges (UWS, French/New American, 💰💰💰💰) – We went for their lunch tasting menu, which was a nice way to sample their food. Michelin 2 Star 2018 2018, Business Insider’s #13 Best Restaurant in America in 2017.
- Los Tacos No 1 (Meatpacking District/Chelsea + Midtown West, 💰, Tacos) – if you can’t make it out to the west coast and need a taco fix, this is probably the best in NYC we’ve tried so far and it’s inside Chelsea Market. They are on the yelp 100 (2015, 2016, 2018), and one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants.
HONORABLE MENTIONS / TAKEN OFF THE LIST
- Artichoke Basille’s 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. There’s better pizza in town, so I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, but try it if it’s convenient.
- Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beers – popular ig spot for their ridiculous over-the-top $15 milkshakes. We don’t get why there’s always a line. The burgers are nothing special and the milkshakes look better than they taste. It’s more for the gram than anything else.
- Dumpling Galaxy – I wouldn’t say you go here for the best dumplings in NYC, but there is every type of dumpling imaginable. It was on Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in America in 2017, on the Michelin Guide (2018).
- Her Name is Han – Korean food made for white people. We ordered the galbijjim and pork belly appetizer and both were mediocre. If you’ve never tried Korean food and you’re scared, this place might be perfect for you.
- Marea – It’s a Michelin 2 star, but I think the service and ambiance are way better than the food.
- 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, because I’ve had better in LA and I can make it better at home.
- 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.
- Ippudo – Their pork buns were good but really pricey. And I would skip the ramen. Overall, not worth the wait when there are other options in the city.
- Rubirosa – We tried it because it was on the Michelin guide. We had a pizza and pasta, and both were just okay. Kind of wish I spent that money elsewhere.
- 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 of JFK, though, for a much better meal than eating the airplane food.
- Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie, Union Square / Flatiron, $, Japanese – it wasn’t bad, but not worth the wait and not as good as the hype. Also, the bowls were too big and annoying to eat out of. My hand kept cramping up.
- Crif Dogs – Known to be the #1 NYC Weiner. Within the restaurant there’s an old-fashioned phone booth that gets you into the most touristy speakeasy in the city, Please Don’t Tell. Call 212.614.0386 for a reservation as soon as the phone line opens at 3 PM.
Restaurants that Closed
- If you plan on riding the subway 13 times or more in a week, buy the 7-day unlimited.
- 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)!
- For more tips: 21 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting NYC
Best Places to Stay
More Resources and Sources
- 365 Guide New York City: Drink. Eat. Save. Every Day of the Year
- Michelin Guide 2019, 2018, 2017
- Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide
- James Beard Award Winners (2018) and Nominees (2019, 2017)
- Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants 2019
- Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants in America 2017
- Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat for 2018
- Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat for 2017
- Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2016
- Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2015
- Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat for 2014
- Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in America 2017
- Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in America 2016
- Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City Fall 2017
- Eater’s 15 Best New Sandwiches in NY (2013)
- The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
- Business Insider’s 50 Best Restaurants in America
Have we missed any on our list of best places to eat in NYC? How many of these have you been to and were any of these unsatisfactory?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.