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The Ultimate NYC Food Bucket List in 2023 (99 Best Places to Eat in NYC)

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 as well as many of the cheapest eats in the city.

99 Best Places to Eat in NYC Food Bucket ListPin

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Last Updated: January 3, 2022

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.

Brooklyn

  1. Aska (Williamsburg, 💰💰💰💰, Scandinavian) – Michelin 2 Star 2022, Bon Appetit Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2017
  2.  Bien Cuit (Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill + Midtown East, 💰💰, Bakery/French) – Zachary Golper at the Brooklyn location was a James Beard Outstanding Baker Nominee 2017.
  3.  Kitsby (Williamsburg, Desserts & Tea, 💰💰) – Cute spot for an afternoon tea set.
  4.  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.
  5.  Frankies 457 Spuntino (Carroll Gardens, 💰, Bar/Italian) – Homey setting, handmade pastas. Named as a neighborhood Italian staple by Eater.
  6.  Hart’s Restaurant (Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy, New American, 💰💰💰) – Bon Appetit’s Best #5 New Restaurants 2017
  7.  L’industrie Pizzeria (Williamsburg, 💰, Pizza) – on the yelp100 list in 2017.
  8.  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
  9.  Maison Premiere (Williamsburg South, 💰💰💰, Seafood/Bar) – JBF Outstanding Bar Program 2016
  10.  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.
  11.  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.
  12.  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.
  13.  La Vara (Cobble Hill, 💰💰💰, Spanish, ) – Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. The Molletes sandwich is one of Eater’s 15 best NY sandwiches.
  14.  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.
  15.  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.
  16.  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 been mentioned on businessinsiderbuzzfeedthrillisttimeout, 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.
  17.  Traif (Williamsburg, 💰💰💰, New American/Tapas)

See More: 21 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting NYC

99 Places to Eat in NYC Food Bucket ListPin

Chinatown

  1.  Alimama (💰💰, Desserts) – Mochi donuts and the best cream puffs. On our recent NYC trip, this was the most memorable thing we ate.
  2.  Breakroom (💰💰, Burgers/Mexican) – popular ig spot
  3. Keki Modern Cakes (Chinatown, 💰💰, Desserts) – These fluffy and jiggly cheesecakes are so good! We’ve only had the Ube one and it’s very light with a hint of cheesecake.
  4.  Shanghai 21 (💰💰, Chinese) – Shanghai style soup dumplings, pan-fried dumplings, and more. The crab and pork soup dumplings are my favorite.
  5.  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.

See More: 27+ Most Instagrammable Places in NYC

alimama cream puffs nycPin

East Village

  1.  Hanoi House (Alphabet City, 💰💰, Vietnamese) – one of Eater’s 38 Essential NY Restaurants. They have a great beef pho.
  2.  Hearth (East Village, 💰💰💰, New American/Italian/Breakfast/Brunch) – Marco Canora won the James Beard Best Award for Best Chef in NYC 2017
  3.  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.
  4.  Momofuku Ko (💰💰💰💰, New American) – Michelin 2 Star 2022, #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.
  5.  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.
  6.  CheLi (East Village, 💰💰, Chinese) – Puer tea soaked rice with sea urchin. Talk about indulgence! Featured on Eater’s 30 Restaurants That Define the East Village.
  7.  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.
  8.  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.

See More: 17 Best Desserts in NYC + Ones You Should Skip

Flatiron

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3.  Eleven Madison Park (New American/French, 💰💰💰💰) – Since we visited they changed their menu to be completely plant-based. We haven’t decided if that’s worth another visit or not. Other Press: #1 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (2017), Business Insider’s #2 Best Restaurant in America (2017), yelp100 (2014, 2016). Note: since our visit, they now only serve vegetarian dishes.
  4.  Gramercy Tavern (New American, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2022, 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.
  5.  Upland (New American, 💰💰💰) – Chic brasserie with Cali-style culinary ideas.

See More: The Best Things to Do in Central Park

Greenwich Village

  1.  Carbone (Italian, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2020, sometimes 2-month wait for reservations.
  2.  Joe’s Pizza (Multiple Locations, Pizza, 💰) – We found that some locations were better than others. It’s great grab and go pizza.
  3.  Babbo (Italian, 💰💰💰💰) – Business Insider’s #39 Best Restaurant in America (2017).
  4.  Gotham Bar and Grill (New American/Bars, 💰💰💰💰) – Business Insider’s #36 Best Restaurant in America (2017) (Reopens in September 2021)
  5.  Willow (💰💰, Vegan, New American) – Vegan bistro serving up plant-based American comfort food. Try their vegan mac and cheese.

See More: The Ultimate NYC Bucket List / 101 Things to Do in NYC

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Little Italy + Nolita

  1.  Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (Nolita, Cheesecake, 💰) – so fluffy and delicious. My fave is the plain, and Jacob loved the marbled one.
  2.  Estela (Nolita/NoHo, New American/Brunch, 💰💰💰) – Ignacio Mattos was a JBF Best Chef NYC Nominee 2017, Michelin 1 star 2022.
  3.  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
  4. Rubirosa (Pizza, 💰💰) – People love this spot but we thought it was just okay
  5.  Taiyaki NYC (Little Italy, Desserts/Ice Cream, 💰) – those popular fish cake ice creams on ig.

See More: 9 Amazing Things to Do in Rockefeller Center

Lower East Side (LES)

  1.  Clinton Street Baking Company (Bakeries / Breakfast, 💰💰) –  Super popular spot with long waits. It was good, but I wouldn’t wait long for it.
  2.  Contra (New American, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2022 and a few of our friends mentioned it’s their favorite tasting menu.
  3.  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.
  4.  Sam’s Fried Ice Cream(Desserts/Ice Cream, 💰💰) – Don’t forget to try the fried Oreos.
  5.  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 cnnthrillisttimeout, 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
  6.  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.
  7.  Soft Swerve (Ice Cream, 💰) – popular ice cream spot on ig. Loved their matcha, but the ube is too pretty not to try.
  8.  Spaghetti Incident (Italian, 💰💰) – Homey, cash-only Italian pasta dishes. Known for their Sicilian-style rice balls.
  9.  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.
  10.  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.

See More: 21 Best Places to Visit in Upstate NY

Doughnut Plant + 17 Best Sweets in NYC // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #food #foodie #usa #travel #donut #doughnut #dessertsPin

Midtown East

  1. 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.
  2.  Nishida Sho-ten (Midtown East, Ramen, 💰💰) – our friend’s favorite ramen spot in the city. We liked the black kakuni over the white one.
  3.  Sushi Ginza Onodera (Midtown East, Sushi, 💰💰💰💰) – 1 Michelin star in 2022.
  4.  Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East, Sushi, 💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2022

See More: 11 National Parks in New York City

best nyc bagels + 99 best places to eat in new yorkPin

Midtown West

  1.  Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Hell’s Kitchen, Japanese, 💰💰💰💰) –  Our second favorite prefix meal in the city. Michelin 3 Star 2022, #82 on the World’s Best Restaurants, Business Insider’s #48 Best Restaurant in America (2017)
  2.  The Halal Guys (Multiple Locations, Middle Eastern/Food Stand, 💰) – I 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 a great stop after drinks and a solid meal on the cheap (P.S. 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.
  3.  Gabriel Kreuther (Midtown West, French, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 2 Star 2022, Business Insider’s #26 Best Restaurant in America in 2017.
  4.  Kwik Meal Cart (Indian/Middle Eastern, 💰) – this actually tasted way fresher and better than halal guys.
  5.  Le Bernardin (Theater District, 💰💰💰💰, French) – Michelin 3 Star 2022, #17 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017, Business Insider’s #3 Best Restaurant in America (2017), yelp100 (2014, 2016). It was just okay – enjoyed the other Michelin 3 star restaurants more.
  6.  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 2022, Business Insider’s #17 Best Restaurant in America (2017).
  7.  The Modern (Midtown West, 💰💰💰💰, New American) – Michelin 2 Star 2022, Business Insider’s #14 Best Restaurant in America in 2017
  8.  Oceana (Theater District, Seafood, 💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 Star 2014.
  9.  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 weird that day, a surprise us for a 3 Michelin star place. Per Se is on every list imaginable: Michelin 3 Stars 2022, World’s Best Restaurants, Business Insider’s Best Restaurants in America, and Yelp 100 (2014, 2016).
  10.  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.
  11.  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.
  12.  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.

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Queens (QNS)

  1.  The Alcove (Woodside, Gastropub, 💰💰) – On Yelp 100 (2018). How do they have 5 stars?
  2.  Blend (LIC, Latin American, 💰💰) – Pan-Latin dishes. Try their empanada sampler paired with their classic mojito.
  3.  Casa Enrique (Long Island City (LIC), Mexican, 💰💰) – The only 1 Michelin Star in our neighborhood for 2022.
  4.  Cafe Henri (LIC, French, 💰💰) – Great for brunch in the area if you can’t be bothered to go into the city.
  5.  Chip NYC (Astoria, Bakery, 💰💰) – popular cookie place that’s similar to Levain as far as how dense the cookie is.
  6.  Hahm Ji Bach (Flushing, Korean, 💰💰) – the best Korean we’ve had in NYC (not saying too much. I thought NYC’s Korean food was supposed to be as good as LA but hasn’t been as good as I had hoped) and you have to trek far to get it. We didn’t try the samgyupsal but the galbijjim was good.
  7.  Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (DT Flushing, Chinese, 💰💰) – Soup dumplings.
  8.  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.
  9.  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.

See More: Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in NYC

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Upper East Side (UES)

  1.  Daniel (UES, French, 💰💰💰💰) – Ghaya Oliveira – Michelin 2 Star 2022, JBF Outstanding Pastry Chef 2017, Business Insider’s #8 Best Restaurant in America in 2017, and yelp100 for 2014 and 2016.
  2.  Ladurée Madison (Bakery, 💰💰) – Pick up some iconic macrons.
  3. Uva (Italian, 💰💰💰) – Cute Italian spot

West Village

  1.  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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.
  6.  Magnolia Bakery (West Village + Various, Desserts/Bakery, 💰💰) – the other desserts weren’t great, but their banana pudding is so bomb.
  7.  Sushi Nakazawa (Japanese, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 1 star 2022. We’ve heard a lot of good things about this spot but haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

See More: 25 Fun Things to Do Indoors in NYC for Rainy and Cold Days

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Miscellaneous

  1.  Bar Jamon (Gramercy, Spanish/Tapas, 💰💰💰) – Great spot to hang out and have appetizers and wine. Get the Chorizo with Pickled Peppers.
  2.  Batard (TriBeCa, European, 💰💰💰💰) – 1 Michelin Star in 2018 and JBF Best New Restaurant in 2015.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.
  5.  Jungsik (TriBeCa, Seafood/Korean, 💰💰💰💰) – Michelin 2 Star in 2018.
  6.  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)
  7. 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.
  8.  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.
  9.  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.

See More: 11 Top Free Things to Do in NYC + More

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Map of Best Places to Eat in NYC

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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Animals, Annisa, Aureole, Beygl, BrisketTown, Bunker, Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen, Cafe Boulud, Dumpling Galaxy, East Dumpling, Eggloo, Fish Dumpling, Glaser’s Bake ShopGraham Ave Meats and Deli, Jeepney, kristalbelli, The Lucky Bee NYC, The Meatball Shop, The Spotted Pig, Two Little Red Hens, Pasar Malam, Mu RamenPork Slope, RBBTS aka Rabbits Cafe, Rebelle, Ruimilk in DT Flushing, SotoUncle BoonsUncle Boons Sister, Wajima Japanese

Essential Tips

  • 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

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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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found 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 Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jason Duncan

    Hello from Memphis! My favorite spost in Brooklyn are Pizza Moto(It’s in Red Hook) and Frankies 457 (in Carroll Gardens). If you meet Dave, the owner of Pizza Moto, please tell him Jason (Helen’s friend) says hi. Try things other than Pizza. Dave does a great job allowing various flavors to be expressed individually as well as having them work together. Enjoy the blog guys….thanks and safe travels!

  2. Courtney

    Lombardi’s in Little Italy really needs to be on this list. Just saying.

    1. Esther JuLee

      I wasn’t a fan the first time I tried it, but maybe I ordered the wrong thing. What did you order?

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