New York City is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself and on the culinary side of things, it’s a true stalwart of raising truly world-class dining and food establishments. Every trip that we’ve made down to NYC, we’ve always managed to find gems and new discoveries.
Much of this is thanks to having friends in the city that have their ear to the ground of what’s new and their willingness to try to places while also mixing in their own tried-and-true favourites.
Over the years, we’ve had numerous people ask us our favourite restaurants and while we certainly don’t profess to be the raise-your-pinky foodie, we wanted to put together a no frills list of the best places to eat in NYC.
Read more about New York City
- Top Things to Do in NYC
- The Perfect Weekend in New York City
- Top 10 Dessert Spots in NYC
- Going Off The Beaten Path in NYC
- Best Coffices in NYC
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Best Places To Eat in NYC
To make this a bit more organized, we’ve broken down our favorite restaurants in NYC down into a few major categories. We’ve eaten at all of these spots and would not hesitate to recommend them.
Links are included to their websites so you can hop over to make a reservation or take a peek at what they’re currently working on and offering on their menu.
- Blue Ribbon Sushi – Expensive sushi restaurant but is top notch quality. Had my best tuna toro there. -$$$$
- Yakitori Totto – Best yakitori I’ve had. -$$
- Kenka – Awesome izakaya place – very funky war-time Japanese decor – you get cotton candy at the end! -$$
- Morimoto – Fancy sushi/japanese place that does not disappoint. Small portions though. – $$$$$
- Aburiya Kinnosuke – Damn fine Japanese food with really good seafood. Their tuna collar bone was indescribable. – $$$$
- Sushi by Bou – This is almost like a secret underground sushi spot. There aren’t many seats so you’ll need to reserve but they have an awesome chef’s menu (omakase) that’s quite affordable for NYC. The interior’s got a fun and approachable vibe and all the sushi chefs are superb. – $$$
- Ippudo NY – Always a line here so make sure you reserve. -$$
- momofuku noodle bar – The original is still the best. The pork buns are to die for. -$$
- Miss Korea BBQ – Korean BBQ done right in K-Town – $$$
- Tim Ho Wan – The 1 Michelin-star dim sum specialist is now in NYC with several locations which is incredibly exciting. Their baked BBQ pork bun is to die for and pretty much everything else on their menu is must-have. -$
- Xi’an Famous Foods – This has recently become huge in the city and now have locations all over. Their speciality is their spicy hand ripped noodles. Doesn’t seem fancy at all but it’s so damn good. Their restaurant in Midtown (45th St.), is tiny and always packed. If you want fresh flat noodles with a kick, this is the place you want to go to. Surprisingly authentic. -$
Malaysian & Singaporian
- Kopitiam – A new discovery in China Town that is the first Malaysian coffee house I’ve ever been to that is truly authentic with kaya butter toast, hand-pulled pan mee noodles, hot kopi, and various sticky rice cakes. -$
- Laut Singapura – It’s hard to find a pure Singaporean restaurant and was so happy to discover this restaurant in the Flatiron District. You’ll find legit Singaporean chili crab and it was mind-blowingly good. This was opened by Michelin-starred chef Salil Mehta. -$$$
Num Pang – If you’re craving for some really good bahn mi-style sandwiches, this spot will certainly satisfy. They’ve got quite the creative list on their menu including pulled duroc pork, coconut tiger shrimp, grilled steak, and so much more -$
- 5 Napkin Burger – Amazing ahi tuna and their own signature burger. WOW -$$
- Social Eatz – An interesting bimbimbap burger -$
- Shake Shack – Good basic burgers equivalent to say a In & Out but with more of a gourmet take to it…or think of it of a Priest Burger if you’re from Toronto. There are quite a few in the city now so try to stay away from the Times Square one if you don’t want massive lines. -$
- Luzzo’s – Scott took me here and he swears this is #1 or #2 when it comes to the best Italian pizza in the city. I concur. -$$
- Grimaldi’s – Well known Pizza place in Brooklyn. Expect line ups for this one. Cash only. – $$
- Lombardi’s Pizza – Okay i’m not that big a fan of this place but it’s the classic NYC pizza place that you have to visit at least once. -$$
- Roberta’s Pizza – The easiest place to get to them is at the Urbanspace by Grand Central. Our favourite is their Bee Sting pizza. There’s something about their dough and fresh ingredients that makes this one of the best pizzas in NYC. – $
- Max Brenner – For all those chocolate lovers. They make great dinner items as well. -$$$
- Lady M Confections – Their crepe cakes are SPECTACULAR. Must have when you’re in NYC. They have a new location at Bryant Park and also at the Plaza Hotel Food Hall which are much easier to get to than their original spot. -$$
- Dominique Ansel Bakery – The original location of the cronut but you’ll find other fabulous pastries and desserts here if they run out including the frozen s’mores, hot chocolate in a cookie cup, and the DKA which is a must-have. -$$
- Doughnut Plant – Doughnut lovers were love it here. Very good flavors and will run out as the day goes by. -$
- Eileen’s Special Cheesecake – Love this place. Personal sized cheesecakes. -$
- Junior’s – Classic NY cheesecake place. Grand Central location is a lot easier since you can get a seat anywhere in the station vs their Times Square location -$
- Carlo’s Bakery – The original Cake Boss shop. Great for their cannoli’s, lobster tails and tiramisu cakes -$$
- Cake Boss Cafe – This one is right by Port Authority if you don’t want to venture all the way out to Hoboken, NJ. Feels a little pricier than the original Carlo’s Bakery. -$$
- Levain Bakery – Giant sized cookies that almost look like scones. The walnut chocolate ones are so damn good. -$
- Spot Dessert Bar – dessert place in a food court kind of place in K-Town (third floor). Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake was really good and pretty much everything else on the menu we tried -$
- Frozen yogurt – Pinkberry and Red Mango is everywhere and I profess that I will visit at least a couple of fro-yo places every time we’re in the city :) -$
- Milk Bar – An offshoot of Momofuku, NYC how has their own dedicated Milk Bar with locations all over the city including Upper West Side, East Village, West Village, Nomad, and Nolita.
- Everyone knows about Crumbs (which unfortunately has since closed) and Magnolia now and they are everywhere so it’s not that special anymore but they’re still good to try. Magnolia makes an awesome banana pudding. -$
- Georgetown Cupcake – If you follow DC Cupcake Girls then you’ll know about this one. Currently my favorite cupcake place in NYC. -$
- Two Little Red Hens – Really good cupcakes here as well. Location is a bit out of the way though. -$
- Sprinkles Cupcakes – Originated from LA but another good take on cupcakes. The last time I passed by this place, they even had a cupcake ATM! -$
- BASSO56 – It’s been awhile since I came here but it was #1 on TripAdvisor at one point. Great Italian. -$$$
- Felidia – Excellent Italian – Paparadelle and Ravioli were excellent. The grilled octopus was amazing and like nothing you’ve ever had before. -$$$$
- Becco – Another Italian restaurant by the same chef that brought you Felidia, celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. It’s small, homely cellar like and unassuming but it’s that theme that makes the food so good here. It’s all home made and fresh. The awesome part about this place is that it’s casual and affordable as well. Their main draw is the all you can eat pasta for $22.95. Everyday, they rotate 3 different types of pastas but usually it’ll consist of a ravioli, some sort of linguini and something else. This also includes an appetizer which I’d recommend you pick the antipasto instead of the salad. Even if you wanted to go all out and order wine too, they only charge $25 for a full bottle that comes from quite the extensive list. I can understand now why my friend keeps coming back to this place. Great price, amazing pastas, and you get to eat as much of it as you want! -$$
- Mercado Little Spain – This is a food hall adjacent to The Vessel in the new Hudson Yards area of Manhattan. Think Eataly except with superb Spanish food. Here you’ll find everything from paella, Iberico ham, Spanish omelettes, and more. – $$
- Maze – Your chance to try a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Actually reasonable prices for lunch. -$$$
- L’Ecole – Good French food for a reasonable price that is actually run by the students of the French Culinary Institute -$$$
- Peter Luger Steak House – Legendary cash only steak place in Brooklyn. Never been but I hear it’s very good. I’ll make it there one day! -$$$
- Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – A honky tonk rib joint. It was a bit far to get to but very good BBQ. -$$
- Hometown Bar-B-Que – If you’re going to be exploring Brooklyn and the Red Hook area, we highly recommend this BBQ joint. It was juicy, tender, and darn delicious -$$
- The Lobster Place, Inc. – If you’re @ Chelsea Market definitely check these guys out. You can have full fresh boiled lobsters or oysters or special sandwiches to go. -$$
- Luke’s Lobster – Best lobster rolls I’ve had in a long time. More of a take-out kind of place. -$$
- Ed’s Lobster Bar – Sit down lobster place that’s pretty good in the city. This is more of a sit-down kind of place. -$$$
- Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien New York – Super awesome brunch. -$$$
- Clinton St. Baking Company – Yummy pancakes. There must be some kind of crack in their maple butter syrup. Expect line ups so make sure you go early. -$$
More Local Favourites
- Pommes Frites – Fries lovers. Located in St. Mark’s. – $
- Halal Guys – The famous Chicken over Rice guys at the corner of 53rd and 65th. Tip if you don’t want to wait for the original stands – just go to any other stand that says “Halal Guys” on it. They’re all run by the same guys and is just as “authentic”. -$
- Katz’s Delicatessen – Really good pastrami sandwich (think Schwartz in Montreal). -$$
- McSorley’s Old Ale House – Oldest Irish pub in NYC. Unique vibe which transports you back to the early 1900s or even further back. Seriously. Only serves two types of beer – light or dark. -$
- Angel’s Share – One of the many speakeasy’s in NYC through a secret door in a Japanese restaurant -$$$
Map of Best Places To Eat in NYC
To aid in your eating adventures, I’ve put together an interactive map to help you in planning where you should eat on your trip to New York City.
TIP: You can make a copy of this map and tweak it to how you want to tackle all of the amazing food in the city. Simply expand the map and make a copy onto your own Google account.
Happy eating in NYC!
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