There are two main reasons to visit New York: to eat, and to eat some more. Shopping fits onto the list somewhere, as does flying over the city seated on the floor of a helicopter with no doors with your feet dangling over the edge (trust me, you haven’t truly seen New York until you’ve done that!), but without a doubt, eating is the most important part of any trip to the Big Apple.
We were recently in New York for a six-day trip and ate an insane amount of food. Fortunately, we also walked or ran an average of 18km per day, rode around on Citi Bikes and tried a couple of the city’s cult classes (namely Soul Cycle and Brick Crossfit) to try and make up for the calories we were consuming.
I wish I had the time to recount each dining experience in full, but given the long list of recommendations I have to share with you, unless you want to wait until 2020 to hear about them, a brief summary of each is all you’re going to get!
I feel like I barely even touched the surface of the amazing eats NYC has to offer. If I could get on a plane and go back tomorrow to continue my dining tour, I would. Until then, here is my list of New York restaurants:
Named after the legendary author Gabriel García Márquez’s fictional town in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Macondo offers Latin street food in a lively, fun corner of the West Village (unless you go to Macondo East, which is obviously in the East Village).
We visited for brunch almost straight off the plane with some New York-based friends and family and got seriously stuck in to the 1.5-hour bottomless Mimosa option!
We were somewhat disappointed that the restaurant was entirely out of seafood, so a few of our orders, including ceviche, weren’t possible. We therefore somehow ended up with a lot of heavy, fried food that we could barely finish. Highlights were the arepas with queso fresco (though these were Colombian, rather than Venezuelan arepas, and were actually more like cachapas in texture), the chicken empanadas and the yucas fritas.
2 Bank Street, New York, NY10014
Tel: +1 212 463 0090
French-American “gastroteque” Buvette is tucked away on a cute, tree-lined street in the West Village. We sat at the bar for a much needed breakfast after the previous day’s brunch (which continued late into the night…) and were in awe of how the friendly and efficient team prepared and served every single dish from behind the very narrow bar area.
The eggs are whisked in a jug and cooked using the steam from the coffee machine, resulting in gorgeously fluffy eggs like you have never tasted before. Then there’s the waffle sandwich…imagine a perfectly runny fried egg and deliciously crispy bacon, sandwiched between two halves of a waffle, doused in maple syrup… In. Sane. The fresh orange juice also deserves a mention.
42 Grove Street, West Village, New York, NY
Housed inside a furniture store are ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina, two restaurants by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. We went for lunch at ABC Cocina and were blown away by the creativity and flavours in this beautiful space. The menu features a modern blend of global flavours such as mezcal-cured salmon with flaked potatoes, and crispy fish tacos with aioli and cabbage chilli pickle.
Order four or five dishes to share between two, but just make sure you save space for the cookie platter – the peanut butter and banana cookie is out of this world.
38 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003
Tel: +1 212 475 5829
Sons and Daughters of New York
Sons and Daughters serves food by New Yorkers, for New Yorkers (and guests), claiming to offer a true experience of New York hospitality. We booked it very last minute, as it was just around the corner from our hotel, and almost walked away when we saw how empty it was. Then we realised it was 9:30 on a Monday night, so we gave it a chance and were very pleased we did.
The food and service are not in the least pretentious, but just honest and real. The P.I.Z.Z.A wasn’t really a pizza at all, but delicious it certainly was. Both the grilled miso salmon skewers and the grilled pork and pineapple skewers were simple yet so flavoursome and it was clear the chefs are very passionate about what they do.
85 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Tel: +1 646 490 6013
Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach at American diner Bubby’s, where portion sizes truly are American. I put up a bit of a fight when the husband said one dish would be enough for the two of us, as I wanted to try more things. Thankfully, however, his stubbornness paid off, as I couldn’t even finish half of my share of the plate of buttermilk pancakes, each one of which was bigger than my face and oh so fluffy.
We did also try a side of cheddar grits, which, albeit a little odd, were rather delightful.
73 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014 (also located in Tribeca)
Tel: +1 212 206 6200
When walking over the Brooklyn Bridge fuelled by our stack of pancakes, our friend proclaimed that Trip Advisor’s number one pizza restaurant was a mere 300ft away. So we followed our noses (and Trip Advisor’s directions) to Juliana’s Pizza.
Again, these are American-sized portions, where the “small” pizza is 16 inches big and enough to feed three hungry people. We were recommended to try the margarita, but couldn’t resist adding meatballs on top. Although quite a feast, the dough was actually quite light and the mozzarella incredibly fresh.
19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: +1 718 596 6700
Opened by the team behind TAO, Vandal is the place to see and be seen. The enormous space celebrates art, architecture and street food from all over the world in an atmosphere so buzzy it verges on being a night club.
Yet again I hoped the blackened shrimp arepas would be Venezuelan-style, but yet again they were Colombian and the shrimp overly blackened and bitter.
The jerk chicken tostones, however, were delicious, as were the banh mi’eatball sliders and the crispy brisket baos. However much you eat, you’ll want to save space for the Vandal s’mores – graham cracker ice cream, people!
199 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
Tel: +1 212 400 0199
Every person who I asked where I could get the best bagels in New York told me to go to Murray’s Bagels. Walking into this bagel lover’s paradise was, admittedly, a tad overwhelming – there is just SO much choice that we had to stare at the menu boards for a good 10 minutes before deciding what to go for!
To begin with, there are about 20 different types of bagel you can choose from; then there are all sorts of different cream cheeses to tickle your fancy, including some made out of tofu, for those who are that way inclined; then there’s a whole host of deli meats and smoked fish.
Since it was breakfast time, we opted for breakfast bagels – mine a whole wheat sesame bagel with omelette, bacon, avocado and jalapeño cream cheese. I will continue to dream about it until my next visit to NYC.
500 Avenue of The Americas, New York, NY 10011
Tel: +1 212 462 2830
Both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines have so much to offer, so why not blend them together, as they have done at Taboon! This cosy restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen serves hearty comfort food that’s simple yet seriously satisfying, even if the service leaves a little to be desired.
I could have gorged on plate after plate of the house focaccia dipped in hummus, baba ghanoush and labneh, but then I wouldn’t have had room for the beautifully creamy burrata (interestingly served with Brussels sprouts and medjool dates), or the spectacular terracotta lamb kebabs served in a flatbread dome.
773 10th Avenue, 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019-5027
Tel: +1 212 713 0271
What are the three winning ingredients for a breakfast of champions? Bacon, egg and cheese, of course. This fun eatery does exactly that – bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, in a variety of different combinations. I tried the BEC Classic, consisting of two fried eggs, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and avocado (my addition) in a bacon and cheese crusted brioche bun. I probably undid all the good work I did that morning at the gym, but who cares?!
148 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Tel: +1 212 633 8020
The name translates to ‘fat pig’, and that is exactly what you will feel like when you waddle out of this barbecue joint in Williamsburg where meat takes centre stage. Housed in a converted garage in the hipster, up and coming side of Brooklyn, Fette Sau is well and truly all about the meat, which you order by the pound and receive smacked on a butcher paper-lined tray.
We tried a quarter pound each of Black Angus beef brisket, Berkshire pork belly, Duroc pulled pork and Duroc pork ribs. The pulled pork and ribs were my favourite, along with the burnt end baked beans, made with burnt ends of pork and beef and slow-cooked over night. We got a side of broccoli salad so we wouldn’t feel quite so bad, but really it just got in the way of our meat feast.
354 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tel: +1 718 963 3404
We turned down dessert at Fette Sau because a colleague had told me I couldn’t go to New York without getting an ice cream from Morgenstern’s, and I am eternally grateful for the recommendation. Here, there isn’t just vanilla and chocolate and strawberry; there is a list of ‘vanillas’, a list of ‘chocolates’, ‘caramels’, ‘parlor coffees’ and ‘strawberries’. Enough to make you want to come back every day until you’ve tried them all. Sadly, we only had one day, so I opted for the salted chocolate, the MothaKnucker (peanut butter and caramel), topped with salted caramel sauce. Dreamy.
2 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
Tel: +1 212 209 7684
If you really want to try 11 Madison Park but don’t want to re-mortgage your house in order to do so, try NoMad, which is owned and run by the same Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Humm. That said, NoMad is not cheap, but it’s fantastically tasty and the service is excellent, where staff are more than willing (perhaps a little too willing) to offer their recommendations and ensure you are enjoying your dinner.
Try not to fill up on the house bread (we had three plates of it between four of us!) as the food here is top notch. We particularly enjoyed the chicken liver mousse, which was nicely balanced and not overly rich; the roasted corn with basil granola; and, most importantly, the whole-roasted chicken with foie gras and black truffle (pictured at the top of this post). For dessert, the chocolate mousse with dulce de leche was also one to remember.
1170 Broadway & 28th Street, New York, NY 10001
Tel: +1 212 796 1500
On our last morning in New York, in search of somewhere to stop for a quick breakfast, we stumbled across a food truck that had gathered a bit of a crowd. If Eggstravaganza was good enough for the local finance crowd in the CBD, it would be good enough for us.
Good is an understatement – my ‘torero’ wrap was the best breakfast burrito I have had to date! The whole wheat tortilla was stuffed full of marinated flank steak, fluffy eggs, guacamole and cheese, making the ultimate power breakfast to kick start our final walking marathon of New York City.
+1 917 657 0987
It would have been a sin to go to America and not eat a burger, so, since multiple sources had recommended Minetta Tavern as one of NY’s best burgers, it made it onto our hit list. This place is seriously old school, dating back to the 1930s and looks as if it might not have changed much at all since then.
The Black Label Burger is the restaurant’s signature. I usually insist on having bacon and cheese in my burger; all this one had was caramelised onions and – as if as an afterthought – a slice of tomato and lettuce leaf on the side. The monster burger patty, made with prime dry-aged beef cuts, really needed no toppings, as the nutty, cheesy flavours of the aged beef held their own. The mountain of fries on the side were also dangerously good.
113 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012
+1 212 475 3850
Despite being stuffed after our burgers at Minetta Tavern, just a few minutes later, on our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at Tacombi for a crispy fish taco and a couple of margaritas each. These were up there amongst the best fish tacos we’ve had and we were sad we only discovered it hours before leaving and minutes after stuffing our faces! The vibe is very cool and, again, had we not been leaving soon, we could easily have spent a long afternoon there sipping on margaritas.
255 Bleeker Street, New York, NY 10014 | Tel: +1 646 964 5984
267 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012 | Tel: +1 917 727 0179
30 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10010 | Tel: +1 212 242 3491
So there you have it, my rather extensive and certainly expensive eating diary of six days in New York City! Thoughts, suggestions and any other NYC favourites are welcome, although, sadly, it’ll probably be a while before my next visit to the Big Apple. Then again, there’s a whole world of eating out there ready for exploring!