With all the endless options in this city...
How the hell are you supposed to know what to choose?
With my help, of course.
I bring you the best eats of NYC that I’ve had (to date). As I continue my Big Apple adventures, I will be sure to update this list with the foods I deem worthy. Apologies to any vegetarians out there, for this post does contain a fair share of meat. But wait!! I still encourage you to peruse it, as you might find a dessert or snack you're interested in on the list.
Grab your fork and lettuce dive in!
(You knew the food puns were going to start eventually...)
⬗ BURGERS ⬗
When people ask what my favorite food is, my answer will always be a burger or salad (I don’t mean a skimpy Caesar salad ok? A hearty salad needs way more credit people!) Therefore, you need to please trust me when I recommend the burgers below, because I’ve had A LOT. Each of these have earned a spot on my top-ten of all time list. Yes people, I take rating burgers very seriously.
– KINGS OF KOBE –
This burger makes it on my top 5. Although this restaurant has very limited seating, you won't have to wait long for your food, and the burgers exceed expectations. Juicy, flavorful, and filling–at a reasonable $16, it's a steal for this expensive city. What more could you ask for?
– EMILY –
The Emmy burger is a well-sought after burger for foodies–so much so that they only have a limited quantity of the burger each day. But enough about how recognized it is. A pretzel bun, caramelized onions, Grafton cheddar, dry aged beef and the Emmy sauce is what makes it so desirable. It's one you will definitely have to experience it yourself. You might find yourself surprised... in a good way.
– BURGER INC –
Glistening with grease, a buttery brioche bun, and an oozing yellow yolk, there’s no way this burger won’t go bacon your heart. For those of you who aren’t into red meat, they’ve got a very tasty, spicy chicken sandwich. Perfectly crunchy, juicy chicken topped with red slaw, pickles, and their house sauce makes for another great option.
⬗ PIZZA ⬗
Because New York is known for its pizza.
– ARTICHOKE –
…If you know, you know.
If there is one thing on this list you absolutely cannot miss, it's this guy.
Imagine a creamy spinach artichoke dip spread across a warm, crunchy, salty, garlic bread. Let me introduce you to Artichoke Basille’s pizza. Always a favorite among locals and tourists alike, the rich white spinach sauce layered over baked mozz and parmesan will leave you questioning your existence. This place is a chain, but each location sets the standards high. Although [some locations] are open until 5am, this slice will hit the spot any time of day. You don’t even need to be drunk to appreciate it. Ask any New Yorker, they'll tell you it's unlike any other pizza you’ll have. (Lactose-sensitive people beware. You will experience, bloating, discomfort, and the very likely urge to shit your pants. I took a lactaid pill and it made absolutely no difference, it's so rich. But it’s worth the pain, I'll tell you that.)
– Joe's Pizza –
If you're on the hunt for a cheap slice of classic, authentic pizza, Joe's is where X marks the spot.
⬗ PASTA ⬗
– Carmine's –
Known for their gigantic portions–no joke, one dish could feed Africa–Carmine's is a family-style Italian restaurant. There’s enough pasta in one dish to feed at least four, so go with a group and get there early to make a reservation! If you’re craving a saucy pasta, they have plenty of options. Their delicious penne alla vodka is easily the most satisfying and tastiest I’ve ever had (keep in mind, I have yet to make it to Italy...).
⬗ SANDWICHES ⬗
– Anthony & son’s panini shop –
These sandwiches taste as good as they look on Instagram. I didn't know what to choose! You can get a massive sub for $12, so I say go with a friend and do a half/half deal. This way you can each sample two options from their menu. I got the Mario and Tuscan Delight, and both were bomb.
– Kat'z Delicatessen –
If you haven’t been here yet, you’re doing it all wrong!!! Only excuse is if you're veggie. This place is buzzing, man. As the oldest deli in the city, they are widely known for their stacks of hand-carved pastrami. And the scene in When Harry Met Sally. It's even been argued to be the best in the world. Walk in, take a ticket, get in line at the counter, tell the guy what you want, watch him slice and dice it and turn it into a sandwich in seconds. I’ve been twice, and got the pastrami again on my second visit, it was that good. As many others will agree, no other pastrami will ever compare. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…the price of their sandwiches is pretty steep ($24 for the pastrami), but I PROMISE you, it’s worth it. It’s a fat sandwich, so depending on how much you eat, I’m guessing most of you would be satisfied after half.
I can't make any promises I won't get the pastrami for a third time...just look at it.
– Papi's Food and Grille –
I stopped here after a trip to JFK (~15 minutes from the airport). I don't know if it's because it was super early, but the fact that it's located inside a supermarket threw me off! I had hoped to try one of their badass heroes, but because it was 7am, they were only serving breakfast. I did the half and half thing again and tried the sausage egg and cheese, and bacon egg and cheese. Both were good, but for me, the sausage stole the show. Since this place is Dominican, the sausage wasn't American style–think kielbasa. Now, can one of you do me a favor? Go for lunch, order a club, and let me know what to get!
⬗ BBQ ⬗
Craving some Texas or Memphis barbecue? Don't worry, NYC's got you covered.
– Mighty Quinn’s –
If you want slow roasted, smoky, firey, melt-in-your-mouth, southern pit barbecue, Mighty Quinn's is the answer. Fatty brisket, Flinstonian ribs, and the most delicious recipe for baked beans, they do it better than some restaurants actually in the south.
– Blue smoke –
A jazz club serving soulful barbecue classics, Blue Smoke is great for date night. Although their ribs and sauces are quite good, the last thing I would have chosen to order ended up being my favorite. Two words: fried chicken.
⬗ INTERNATIONAL ⬗
New York City is America's melting pot. With people and chefs from all over the world, there's a restaurant here with cuisine to represent almost every country.
– The Halal Guys –
Yes, yes, I know it’s a chain. But it all had to have started somewhere right? The original cart on 53rd, has a most addicting combo platter. Why is it addicting? The answer lies in the white sauce. You're going to want extra.
– Bonchon –
Korean fried chicken anyone? Though I haven't been to the New York location, I've tried the one in Philly, so I expect it to be the same. Imagine biting into a sticky yet juicy chicken wing. Your mouth hits the outer coating full of garlicky/spicy sauce, but before your tongue meets the chicken underneath, there's a pocket of air to captivate your taste buds. That's Bonchon.
⬗ BAGELS ⬗
NYC bagels. More like ba-goals. Just wait until you try one.
– Bo’s Bagels –
Located in Harlem, Bo's is claimed to have one of the top three bagels in the entire city. A bagel from these guys will cure any hangover.
⬗ BRUNCH ⬗
Because your girlfriend is obviously going to want to take an Insta pic at brunch.
– The Smith –
The ideal place for friends with Benedict's, brunch at The Smith is a Midtown staple. Although they're most popular for their brunch, it's also a great place to grab drinks after work, or a solid burger.
⬗ SWEETS ⬗
Calling all sweet tooths! Wondering when you get to have dessert?
– Chip NYC –
Buttery, melty, warm, chocolatey goodness. Need I say more?
You don’t have to tell me twice.
Chocolate chips and chunks of whole walnuts are dispersed generously throughout each cookie. Have you ever had a cookie so thick and dense that when you break it apart, it just ends up falling off in chewy gooey chunks? Yup. That’s this one. From the looks of it, these cookies sound exactly like the ones from Levain Bakery (which I still have yet to try!). So if you want to avoid a potentially long line, I recommend Chip for your chocolate chip cookie needs.
And for those of you who aren’t into the chocolate scene or can't eat walnuts, their sugar cookies with rainbow sprinkles (pictured above) are yummy too! If you see fit, enjoy your cookies while strolling atop the High Line.
– Levain Bakery –
Go there. And arrive as early as possible. (Went at 10am on a Sunday and there was no line.)
So fudging good.
– Oddfellows Ice Cream –
An eclectic variety of flavors, this little ice cream and coffee shop switches up the menu faster than a speeding bullet. Alright, I'm exaggerating, but they're always rotating their 12 homemade flavors! I had the Thai tea flavor when I visited, and it certainly tasted just like it.
– Wafels & Dinges –
You can smell the tantalizing sweet aroma of the fresh, hot waffles and Belgian chocolate fudge as you approach this little hut. They have a plethora of "dinges" (Belgian for "whatchammacallit") for your waffle, so you can create your own or order from one of their selections. From fresh strawberries, to speculoos ice cream, to Nutella, to bacon, there's an exciting combo for everyone. With pop-ups all over the city, you don't have an excuse to miss out on this Manhattan favorite!
⬗ OTHER SNACKS ⬗
– Hold My Knots –
Hold My Knots in Gansevoort Market has garlic knots like you haven't seen em before. Stuffed with bacon, pepperoni, or cheese, they do KNOT get it wrong. The pepperoni one pictured below was so delicious, I think I went blind for a second. Served warm, the garlic explodes on your tongue, and then the flavors of the oil, pepperoni, and seasoning follow. The salty goodness left me wanting more.
⬗ DRINKS ⬗
– Cha Cha Matcha –
Ok all you hipsters and basic bitches out there. Craving your daily matcha? Whether you want soy milk, coconut milk, or a hibiscus flower on top, Cha Cha Matcha can satisfy all of your high-maintenance needs.
OVERRATED SPOTS TO AVOID:
Dominique Ansel Bakery – cookie shots? More like a cup of cardboard with regular milk inside. And I have to wait on a long line? Pass.
Flip N Toss – The mac and cheese burger was very disappointing.
Shake Shack – Okay, I realize this famous fast food chain started in the city. But with so many other great burgers that you can't get anywhere else, why would you wait on a horrendous line for a mediocre burger, when you can have a memorable one for the same price?
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NOT IN NYC, BUT REACHABLE BY SUBWAY:
Tony Baloneys – loaded pizza, dirty subs, and top notch knots. You don't wanna miss it.
It's always a battle for me trying to decide if I should return to one of these amazing locations, or try something new! What do you guys think? Is there a certain spot you'd recommend? I wanna know!
⬗ Alex ⬗